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Old July 30, 2011, 06:29 PM   #3
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,340
I have wondered the same thing

I tend to prefer longer barrels (see the web site titled "Ballistics by the inch"), but have often wondered.

Back in the '30s the 357 magnum was a 6" cartridge and a 4" magnum was considered a short barrel. Nowadays, the 4" is considered the standard. I know that powder technology has improved since 1934 and by choosing the propellant carefully, one can mitigate the compromises a short barrel imposes on the shooter.

But how to choose?

I always figured a faster-burning powder would be a natural. I also figure that faster burning powders give higher peak pressure behind any given bullet in any given barrel/cartridge combination. But I have figured wrong before, and internal ballistics is an esoteric science.

I expect the correct answers (or areas to investigate) will not depend on the specific .32 cartridge much at all, and I look forward to reading what more experienced loaders have to say. Though, as 3leggeddog suggests, knowing the cartridge volume-to-diameter ratio might be useful when you finally get down to specifics.

Lost Sheep
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