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Old May 22, 2007, 11:29 AM   #1
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"Optimum" Length for barrels

I've been playing around without reliable facts for long enough.
Time to ask for help from those who know more than I ( I would hope).

I have a TC Contender in carbine configuration.
I shoot at an indoor range which is limited to 25 Yards and "Pistol" ammunition calibers.

I reload and am trying to "simulate/emulate?" bench rest reloading and shooting for accuracy.
( At age 71 it is getting too hard to "stand up and shoot like a man" with consistently satisfactory results )

I have already gathered the following barrels for my Contender:
16 1/2 " .45 Winchester Magnum
18 " .357 Maximum

Adjustable Objective Scopes (3x-12x) mounted on each.

I've got both these printing three shots basically into one hole at my maximum 25 yards ( on a bad day at worst a "tight" cloverleaf )
I load 230 FMJ in the 45 and "was" using 180 FMJ in the 357, but I think I will go to 158 FMJ on the 357 to "standardize" my 357 bullets for bulk buys ( I shoot 357 Magnum in other pistols and levers )

Question is:
What are the guidelines for optimum Barrel lengths when shooting .45 Win Mag and 357 Max.

I need to keep the length over 16" to make the "carbine" "legal" ....
but what am I doing to the ballistics and accuracy by getting barrels longer that this.

I have been searching for a used 16+ barrel in 44 Magnum and can't find one.
Are there none out there
Are they soo good that people hang on to them?

As an aside:
Trying various loads with the 45 Win Mag
I found that 23 g of H110 with a 230 FMJ seems to give the best Accuracy, but the recoil was driving the scope dangerously close to my shooting glasses.
I found the 10 g of HP38 was very near as accurate and a lot less punishing.

Shooting regular 357 MAGNUM rounds out of the 357 MAXIMUM barrel printed ( at 25 Yards ) EIGHT (8) Inches ABOVE the POI of my 357 MAXIMUM Loads.

I'm guessing > Longer barrel + lower velocity of 357 Magnum = Longer time in Barrel - Gives more "lift" to bullet -resulting in higher POI.

This leads me back to my original quiestion.

What is the "Optimum" barrel length for a Contender in Carbine Configuration - for accuracy ( I'm not hunting and trying to kill) at 25 Yards.

Why are there not more 44 Magnum Barrels in 16" + length
Is it a "Bad" idea ???

What other "Calebers" should I consider for my goals ( accuracy at 25 Yards in a "pistol" caliber.

I have been using H110 and HP38 because I found recepies for these and I had them on hand
Are there better choices?

I believe I will standardize on 230 and 158 grain Jacketed (semi or full)for 45 and 357
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Old May 22, 2007, 01:15 PM   #2
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What you are seeing is the effect of recoil OR harmonics. EITHER the bullet stays in the barrel longer, so the barrel is pointed higher when the bullet finally clears the muzzle OR the harmonics have the muzzle pointed in a different direction when the bullet finally clears. I have 2 loads for my 22-250 (IMR 3031 and WW760 powders), they chrono within 30 fps of each other, yet the POI of the 3031 load is about 4"left and 1" below the POI for the 760 load. Both accurate, both good loads. Read Varmint Al's page on harmonics for an in-depth explanation.

For more info on optimum barrel length, Google "Houston warehouse".

For real accuracy, get a 22lLR barrel.
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Old May 23, 2007, 07:44 AM   #3
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For Scorch re Houston Warehouse

Thanks for the comeback.
I tried Googleing "Houston Warehouse" and got just that:
Warehouses in Houston Tx.
Did I misunderstand?

I am going to "Varmint Al"
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Is a Polite Society.
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Old May 23, 2007, 07:57 AM   #4
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I think this is the story Scortch is refering to.

Facinating read.
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Old May 23, 2007, 10:34 AM   #5
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"What is the "Optimum" barrel length for a Contender in Carbine Configuration - for accuracy ( I'm not hunting and trying to kill) at 25 Yards."

Short and thick.
You want the most rigid structure you can get, and do not appear concerned with velocity (shorter barrel lowers velocity).
A thicker barrel has smaller harmonic movement since it is stiffer.
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Old May 23, 2007, 01:39 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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I think you are doing darned well with a Contender in pistol calibers.
You might try different bullets. I would expect to be able to find something more accurate than FMJs; nearly all rifle match bullets are of hollowpoint construction and there are pistol shooters who prefer hollowpoints to FMJ.

If it is not in the TC catalog - back numbers for scrounging used barrels - then you will have to go custom to get what you want. E. Arthur Brown advertises TC Custom Shop barrels in about any configuration. He makes new barrels for Encore, maybe he would for Contender on request.
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