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Old September 12, 2012, 07:25 PM   #1
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Barrel Size on a revolver

What should be the minimum barrel size on a revolver?
For .357 size and up ammo.
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Old September 12, 2012, 07:59 PM   #2
Bob Wright
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We seem to be in a two-way conversation!

The length of the barrel should be comensurate with your needs. A .357 Magnum with a 4" barrel is fine for most general shooting, but as the range increases, the 6" offers a longer sight radius and better accuracy. But I've carried a 2 1/2" Model 19 S&W for protection at times. I loaded it with .38 Special +P ammunition to minimize the blast and flash of .357s, but there are those who would load it with full-power .357s.

Generally, for hunting, a 6" or 7 1/2" is usually preferred, while shorter barrels work for carry purposes.

Bob Wright
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Old September 12, 2012, 09:10 PM   #3
Strafer Gott
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A 4 inch Security- Six is my utility revolver. An "N" frame 6 inch for revolver hunting, and a 2.5 model 19 is the snub that shoots like a long gun. I just can't get over the pinned and recessed goodies. Don't forget about Colt Troopers. They can be quite smooth shooting as well. But back to the Smith, I like to launch 148gr DEWC +P to get good hole punching up to POA.
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Old September 12, 2012, 10:08 PM   #4
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Depends on what you're going to use it for. Concealed carry? 2" - 3". General purpose? 4" Hunting? 6" - 8".
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Old September 12, 2012, 10:31 PM   #5
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2" or there around I guess.
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Old September 12, 2012, 10:46 PM   #6
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If I recall your other posts correctly, you're looking for a home defense gun, not a carry weapon. For home defense, I'd stick to the 4" to 6" range.

A 6" barrel will probably increase bullet velocity a bit, will be a little quieter (magnum ammo can be VERY loud), has a longer sight radius for more precise aiming, and may have less muzzle jump. However, a 4" revolver feels better balanced to me, and that's the length I prefer for general purpose.

Last edited by idek; September 12, 2012 at 10:52 PM.
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Old September 12, 2012, 10:46 PM   #7
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I say 12" , but maybe I am compensating. Size

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Old September 12, 2012, 10:47 PM   #8
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3 inches is perfect for carry. 5 inches is perfect for range work or hunting.
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Old September 12, 2012, 10:49 PM   #9
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Chris - it's best to state your primary and secondary intended uses. You'll find that the more information you give up front, the more refined will be the answers you get in return. It's sort of like the who-what-why-when-where-how stuff that is taught at work.

In the case of this particular post, I'd have recommended you (1) state your primary and secondary uses for the gun and (2) how often you intend to use it (fire it) for each purpose.

Had you said, for example, that you mainly want a strong home-defense gun, then you'd receive responses that question why-a-.357? (because of the ear-damaging report or other reasons).

Fortunately, you're in the right place. I've owned guns longer than the average poster here has been alive, but I wasn't computer savvy enough to find the forum until recently. There isn't anything related to guns or shooting that you can't get good answers for here, provided you post the question in the right part of the forum and that you ask the question with as much useful detail as possible. The staff members are good about steering newbies to the proper areas if they post in the wrong ones, which is great.
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Old September 13, 2012, 08:06 AM   #10
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Chrisintexas - this 'problem' was 'solved' years ago by Dan Wesson.

A .357 with four interchangeable barrels of 2.5, 4, 6 and 8 inch size.

Note: this really did not 'solve' the problem because there are many, MANY factors to consider when buying a gun and barrel length is just one of them and sometimes not even the most important one.

The Dan Wesson Pistol Pack really caught my attention when it came out and I've always imagined owning one but they were expensive back then and still pretty pricey today.
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Old September 13, 2012, 09:37 AM   #11
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Like everything else in life, it depends. How you plan to use the gun makes a big difference. Generally, long barrels for hunting and some types of target shooting, short barrels for concealed carry, and something in between for everything else. Except as a necessity for concealed carry, I wouldn't go with less 4" and in my opinion 5"-6" is ideal for general purpose/home defense. The longer barrel will give you a longer sight radius and better velocity without being cumbersome or muzzle heavy. Shorter barrels are just trading velocity and accuracy for reduced performance and increased muzzle blast unless you have a specific need for them. Longer barrels improve performance but at some point make the handgun harder to conceal, slower to draw, and muzzle heavy.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
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Old September 13, 2012, 10:26 AM   #12
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Def depends on what you're wanting out of the pistol. With a 2" barrel so much of the .357 mags energy is wasted outside of the barrel. Id say if youre wanting power then 4" would be the min length.

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Old September 13, 2012, 12:45 PM   #13
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In general ...I like a 4" gun for Tactical shooting / or for a gun I might carry.

If I were trying to hunt with a gun ...or shoot "bullseye" with it, I'd want a
6" or 8 3/8" barrel....( in .357 mag or .44 mag ).

Weight is also a big factor in selecting a gun ...especially in the heavier calibers...and while I understand the attraction of carrying an airweight gun / I find them very unpleasant to shoot vs a heavier steel gun.

The older I get - the more issues I have with my hands (arthritis, etc) the more I enjoy shooting heavier guns they don't beat me up.
Going to the range for a few hours this afternoon.....3 boxes of .357 mag in an N frame S&W model 27 4" / 6 boxes of 9mm ..and a pair of guns in
9mm ...a Sig 226 / and a 1911 4" gun. I'll run a variety of tactical drills with all 3 guns ...drawing from holsters, some reloads....double taps, triple taps, etc...( my reloads on the revolver are really slow..even with speed loaders...) but then, that's another reason to practice...and have some laughs...
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Old September 13, 2012, 01:00 PM   #14
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General purpose 4inch. My favorite woods and target gun was a 6 inch GP100. My favorite camp gun was a SP101 2 1/4. You probably will like the 4inch barrel in a S&W or Ruger. Plus as a gun owner your are required to own a 4 inch 357 magnum, it's one of the rules!
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Old September 13, 2012, 04:50 PM   #15
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With 357 or 44 mag 4" is about the minimum. Barrels of 3" or less are just making a lot of noise, flash and recoil with very little velocity. To gain any real performamce gains over 9mm you need to go with a 6" barrel with a 357.
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Old September 13, 2012, 06:15 PM   #16
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For me it's easy. Four inches. I don't care for longer or shorter barrels. That's not to say I don't have any, I do, but I PREFER four, and don't need a practical reason for it.
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