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.357 question about barrel length

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Old 01-30-2013, 05:11 PM   #1
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Default .357 question about barrel length

Any particular preference? Wanted a.357 with a snub barrel. Would that be mire accuraye than one w/ a longer barrel
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:18 PM   #2
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To get the best performance from a .357 Magnum revolver, at least a four inch barrel is required, longer even better. The longer barrel gets the most performance from the cartridge, plus the added benefit of longer sight raduis and added weight for stability and recoil-dampening.

But I've carried a 2 1/2" S&W Model 19 in times past. And was well satisfied with the gun. But I loaded the chambers with .38 Specials instead of Magnum rounds. The .38s perform a tad better in the shorter barrel with far less flash and blast, and extraction of spent cartridges is more certain. The short barreled guns have a shorter extractor throw and don't always eject the longer cases with certainty.

But just my views, anyway.

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Old 01-30-2013, 10:42 PM   #3
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You don't buy a snub to use as a target gun. They tend to be carry/ defense guns. For accurate target shooting, most agree that 4" is a minimum.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:48 PM   #4
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My 4 inch GP100 is my favorite though my 3 inch shoots quite well also.

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BCM 16 inch, LW barrel w/ EOtech 512.

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Old 01-30-2013, 11:13 PM   #5
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What are you going to use it for is the key ? If a carry pistol 3-4" seems ideal. If you are a Tgt puncher or hunter, then 6-8" will do.

6" seems to be the longest you can carry comfortably.

While a longer site radius is beneficial, the man/woman behind the gun is the primary factor. I remember an older gent used to show up at a pit we used to shoot in. He had a SW 357 w 2.5" and he could hit anything he had a mind to. It was remarkable and reminded me of Elmer Keith. I won many a beer betting on him.

If I had to buy one right now, I w take a long look at a 5" barrel - might be the best of both worlds. (carry n range)
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:23 PM   #6
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I carried a 2 1/2" S&W Model 66 Stainless Snub for several years in an ankle holster for back-up and off duty. Bob is correct for peak performance as far as ballistics the 4" or longer provides slightly better. But to be truthful with you. With practice you will probably shoot a 2 1/2" as well as a 4" 50 yards and in. Mine would shoot with my Model 66 4" that I carried in my duty holster. In addition the 357 is an excellent choice since you can also shoot 38 SPC, rounds in it to target practice or plinking. They shoot inexpensive 38 wad cutters well also. I guess as far as protection and accuracy within that distance either would do you well and especially the 2 1/2 if you want to carry concealed.

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Old 01-30-2013, 11:32 PM   #7
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Granny gave me a snubby .38 special when i was in high school, traded her an airhorn for it. I didn't much enjoy shooting the thing, tiny grips and the kick of a small, drunken mule. It turned me off revolvers for many years, until i saw a Ruger GP100 with BIG squishy grips and a 6" barrel; i still love target plinking with that GP100.

So, accuracy is not the primary feature of a snubby, nor, in my experience, is comfortable shooting.

Try before you buy.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:12 AM   #8
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I had a 2" .357 before,and every shot at 7 yards was about 12" higher than point of aim every shot,to this day I never figured that one out and have in mind that if I ever got my hands on one in a defensive situation-aim for the waist.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:17 AM   #9
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Accuracy wise, the shorter barrel is as good, if not better than the linger barrel because of relative stiffness. This is more than offset by the reduced sight radius of the snub nose. This allows for small sighting errors to be magnified. The longer barrel allows more precise sighting and more practical accuracy.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:44 PM   #10
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Barrel length has nothing to do with 'inherit' accuracy.
But it does have an effect on 'shooter' accuracy. This is due primarily to sight radius. You can't 'aim' as well because a minor change in sight picture with a short sight radius is magnified much more than with a longer sight radius.
As for velocity/terminal effectiveness. In a 4 in bbl the standard 357 Mag 125 gr JHP loads do average of about 1400 fps, in a 2.5 in bbl the same load will average about 1250 fps. The effect on a 'human' target at these velocities, realistically, is the same. BUT a hit with a 38 is better than a miss with a 357, so unless you can handle the MUCH greater recoil and muzzle blast of the 357 carry the 38 +p!!!
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