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Old 03-30-2013, 01:32 PM
Jamesconn Jamesconn is offline
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Default Best barrel length for 357



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What is the best barrel length for 357 in a revolver to get the most power while still being able to conceal. I was thinkin 4in would be good. What do y'all think? I also wanted to get a levergun in 357 for the truck. What is best barrel length in levergun without goin overkill?
Old 03-30-2013, 01:50 PM
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I presently own my third 357. The first was a Ruger Security Six in 2 inch. It was a bit hard to handle but I was about 21 years old. I wish I still had it. The next was a Taurus with a 4 inch tube. It was accurate and controllable. My current magnum is a S&W M686 with a 3 inch barrel. On a good day I can place 2-3 inch groups at 25 yards. I have read where some have said that it carries like a 2 inch but shoots like a 4 inch. I don't carry it much but when I do, I agree with this statement.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:51 PM
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4" is the way to go unless there is a 3" is available for cc. ymmv
Old 03-30-2013, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wheelslave View Post
4" is the way to go unless there is a 3" is available for cc. ymmv
Agreed, 3" if you can get it in the gun you want, or 4" if not.

Just an FYI, 3" inch S&Ws usually have the 'round butt', which is slightly smaller and easier to conceal than the 'square butt'. The 4" and longer will usually have the square butt. Notice I said 'usually', because you will occasionally see a 3" with a square butt and a 4" with a round butt.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:04 PM
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Agreed. 3"-4" are also my favorites in .357 Mag.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:33 PM
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4" is the best all around if you are going to conceal the gun.
6" is the most practical for hunting and targets.

But the 5" barrels are almost magic for balance, and all the other intangibles. Good luck finding one though for any reasonable price.

Choosing one? I'd I were going to carry it day in and day out,the 4" would get the nod again.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:43 PM
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Barrel length will gain you next to nothing with a pistol except sight radius. Longer barrel = better sight radius. The difference between a 2" or 8" will be 40fps and that adds up to just about nothing when it comes to a ballistic advantage. Your talking about a carry pistol to be used at close range, no taking deer at 100yds.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:49 PM
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4 inch barrel.
Old 03-30-2013, 09:17 PM
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2 and 1/4 or 4 in for me
Old 03-30-2013, 09:45 PM
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This is like asking what is the best all around shoe. Or motor oil. Everything is subjective.

A four inch barrel MIGHT give you some advantage in a self defense situation, although I doubt any control study would support that claim. Some studies {FBI and NYPD} find most true self defense shootings occur between 6 and 10 feet. Just how far away can the bad guy be and it still be considered a "defensive" shooting? If he has a gun, he's dangerous at nearly any distance that he can be seen...although I don't think I'd care to explain to a jury why I felt the need to shoot a man armed with a pistol who was 45 yards away. There's differences between an offensive shooting and a defensive shooting other than the spelling.

I shoot competitively with a six inch barrel and a five inch barrel, yet if I were forced to carry either of them, I'd file suit for inhuman treatment. I'm 6'0 and 190, and I could not any more conceal either of those revolvers than a truck axle. And drawing either from concealment would be listed in the dictionary under "difficult to do under duress".

Most cops are killed in feet rather than yards, and a snub nose will not be the weak link in winning at those ranges. And like barrels being subjective, context plays it's part. Your body build, wardrobe choices, affordability, proficiency, and ability to comfortably conceal will all play their part in determining your "right carry gun".

[And yes, I've heard about "a weapon is supposed to be comforting, not comfortable". I flag BS on that, and hold a weapon is like a bad fitting pair of shoes. When either becomes a PITA to wear, I ain't.]
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:18 PM
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Looking at ballistics, 4 to 6 in should be in the sweet spot of energy and usability. Id personally go 4. Going 3 or 2, will inhibit the celebrated round. You CAN CCW a 4 in revolver... a 6 in starts getting a bit difficult.

Get an Alaskan Guide type holster for a 4 in and you should be happy.... IMHO.

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Old 03-31-2013, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
Barrel length will gain you next to nothing with a pistol except sight radius. Longer barrel = better sight radius. The difference between a 2" or 8" will be 40fps and that adds up to just about nothing when it comes to a ballistic advantage. Your talking about a carry pistol to be used at close range, no taking deer at 100yds.
The reality is an increase of 25 to 50 fps for every inch of additional barrel length.

Check out www.ballisticsbytheinch.com for actual test chronograph data.

For real life use, the 4" is easier to shoot and control, at 5' as well as 50 yards over the 2/2.5" barrels.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whirlibird View Post
The reality is an increase of 25 to 50 fps for every inch of additional barrel length.

Check out www.ballisticsbytheinch.com for actual test chronograph data.

For real life use, the 4" is easier to shoot and control, at 5' as well as 50 yards over the 2/2.5" barrels.
Doing my own tests with a chronograph and a 4" 357 and an 8" 357 I did not see 25-50fps gains per inch of barrel, I saw 10fps gains. I am not an expert. With that said, even if you cut the velocity's of a .357 Magnum in half you would still have a decent self defense round at 125gr and 800fps.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
Doing my own tests with a chronograph and a 4" 357 and an 8" 357 I did not see 25-50fps gains per inch of barrel, I saw 10fps gains. I am not an expert. With that said, even if you cut the velocity's of a .357 Magnum in half you would still have a decent self defense round at 125gr and 800fps.
Wouldn't the type of powder used have an impact on that also? Faster burning vs slower burning? Even the shape of the powder.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whirlibird View Post
The reality is an increase of 25 to 50 fps for every inch of additional barrel length.

Check out www.ballisticsbytheinch.com for actual test chronograph data.

For real life use, the 4" is easier to shoot and control, at 5' as well as 50 yards over the 2/2.5" barrels.
......and where do we appreciate this differentiation in fps at distances of under seven yards, where a defensive shooting situation is most likely to occur?


I pushed the button and the elevator door opened. Suddenly, there were two possibly armed thugs lunging toward me at full speed. I panicked as I drew my revolver and started blasting. Forgetting the basics of trigger pull and sight alignment, I resorted to “spray and pray” even though I knew better. I got lucky and took one of them out, but the other didn’t have a mark on him, which was a big problem.

How would this situation, where bringing the weapon up to sight level to fully appreciate the benefits of a four inch barrel over a 2 inch barrel sight radius [and placed that weapon in a position to be snatched away or deflected away] have been made better by the bullet reaching the target a thousands of a second sooner? I contend the longer barrel length would have inhibited the ability to draw, would have become a liability when attempting to acquire a sight picture, and provided a much better opportunity to be grabbed by the bad guys.

In true self defense situations, agility and speed of the user and possession of a user friendly tool will trump the fraction of a second arrival differences of the bullet. Unless of course, TV representations are now accepted fact, and .357 rounds will lift and send a 200 pound man through a wall on impact, ending all aggression as if the bad guy swallowed a flash bang.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:16 AM
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5" is ideal if you can find it. With a shoulder holster, barrel length doesn't matter as much. However, 4" is great all around. Any less than 4" and your muzzle flash and noise with many rounds goes up dramatically.

Of course, if you were going for an everyday carry gun, I'd go with a short little snubby and shoot 'short barrel' 357s or 38+p out of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
Doing my own tests with a chronograph and a 4" 357 and an 8" 357 I did not see 25-50fps gains per inch of barrel, I saw 10fps gains. I am not an expert. With that said, even if you cut the velocity's of a .357 Magnum in half you would still have a decent self defense round at 125gr and 800fps.
The type of gun and type of ammunition more than likely plays a large role in this. As you can see on BBTI, the 6" python has less velocity than the 4" Smith. Tighter cylinder gap means higher velocities.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:29 AM
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This is where the celebrated S&W K frame comes into it own. Nuclear 158 grain load's will turn it into junk, but your wrist, and elbows will be gone first.

Unfortunately the 19/66 is no longer made, but a nice L frame will work just as well with a 4'' barrel. This will give you some concealability while at the same time allowing plenty of weight, and sight radius for target shooting.

I, prefer a 6'' L, or N frame, but it will be the truck axle as mentioned above.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatrader01 View Post
......and where do we appreciate this differentiation in fps at distances of under seven yards, where a defensive shooting situation is most likely to occur?


I pushed the button and the elevator door opened. Suddenly, there were two possibly armed thugs lunging toward me at full speed. I panicked as I drew my revolver and started blasting. Forgetting the basics of trigger pull and sight alignment, I resorted to “spray and pray” even though I knew better. I got lucky and took one of them out, but the other didn’t have a mark on him, which was a big problem.

How would this situation, where bringing the weapon up to sight level to fully appreciate the benefits of a four inch barrel over a 2 inch barrel sight radius [and placed that weapon in a position to be snatched away or deflected away] have been made better by the bullet reaching the target a thousands of a second sooner? I contend the longer barrel length would have inhibited the ability to draw, would have become a liability when attempting to acquire a sight picture, and provided a much better opportunity to be grabbed by the bad guys.

In true self defense situations, agility and speed of the user and possession of a user friendly tool will trump the fraction of a second arrival differences of the bullet. Unless of course, TV representations are now accepted fact, and .357 rounds will lift and send a 200 pound man through a wall on impact, ending all aggression as if the bad guy swallowed a flash bang.
The velocity difference at any distance is the difference in effectiveness.

Comparing actual shooting results using 2" and 4" barrels, the added velocity does make for greater effectiveness with the same loads.

Add to that the added control factor, being able to make faster repeated hits, the 4" makes more sense.

In your example, it wouldn't matter what you have if you panic and lose all ability and control.

Pistol snatched from you, that's a weak argument for short barrels. The proper response to that is to yank back on the gun and pull the trigger. If nothing else happens the flash gap removes flesh and skin when the gas comes out of the flash gap.

The differerence between the 2" and 4" becomes evident in the snatch category, with the little guns, the bad guy can grasp the gun around the cylinder, preventing it being fired easier. With the 4" barrel, they are more likely to grab the barrel and try to wrench it away. When that happens, pull the trigger.
Old 03-31-2013, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
Barrel length will gain you next to nothing with a pistol except sight radius. Longer barrel = better sight radius. The difference between a 2" or 8" will be 40fps and that adds up to just about nothing when it comes to a ballistic advantage. Your talking about a carry pistol to be used at close range, no taking deer at 100yds.
My chronograph normally shows a 40 to 50 FPS difference per inch with the different barrel lengths.
Old 03-31-2013, 10:59 PM
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For the truck... Rossi Lever Action Ranch Rifle


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