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Old 09-26-2011, 06:32 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by arizona View Post
I apologize for entering back into the discussion late. Years ago I read an article on barrel length and accuracy unfortunately it was print based and I do not have the information on it. The gist of article was that barrel length need only be about an inch and a half to properly stabilize the 38 special. I strongly believe that much of the myth that short barrels are inherently inaccurate comes from the j frame smiths. These weapons are very light making it easy to pull of target, the sights are typically hard to see and they have quite heavy recoil. Finally most folks just do not like to shoot j frames and thus they never become as proficient as they would like. Compare the j frame to the K frame and l frame snubbies and you find them a horse of a different color. The guns are heavier and thus easier both to hold on target and less punishing in recoil. At best I can get a three finger grip on a j frame versus the full grip on the k and l frames. The sights on the ka and l frames are much easer for my 50+ year old eyes to find. Color me biased but the full framed snub nose revolvers have many virtues including speed from leather (Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting) by Ed McGivern and easer retention in the case of a gun grab (Massad Ayoob). I own 5 full frame snubbies and 1 j frame.
Although not the article I wanted the following links support my claims

Defining Handgun Accuracy | Handguns | Guns & Ammo | Page 3
The Effects Of Reducing The Barrel Length On Velocity And Accuracy In The 223 Remington
accuracy is being able to hit what you aim at, period. doesn't matter if the barrel is 2" or 30". in the case you have to pull a pistol, and defend yourself, that pistol is in your hand. you can take just about any firearm and shoot it from a rest or vice, and get totally different accuracy results, VS shooting the same firearm from your hands. so in a sd situation, if i were to choose to carry a sub 3" barreled pistol, remember this gun is in my hand not a vise, i'm going to go with up close and personal. you stated once before that some FBI carry smaller 3" revolvers, that's fine, but the agency pays for their ammo and training. most agents practice a lot more than the average citizen does. i have had 2" 38 special revolvers in the past, will probably buy another, but realistically, i'm thinking practical range of about of about 15-30 feet as a maximum range of accuracy for myself. my wife carrys a 3" barreled 380 semi auto pistol, i have her practice at 30 feet and less.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:05 PM   #22
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As with most people, I prefer 3-5" barrels and shoot them well. The 2" barrel are good things to pick up and shoot on occasion especially at 20-40 yds. I certainly am no Bob Mundin or Nutin Fancy, however, short barrols surely show you if your fundamentals are are solid- stance (position), breathing , sight picture, squeeze,and follow through. A small error with a Walther TPH shows up a whole lot quicker than with a Ruger Mark II, likewise an error with a Tarus 2" titanium .357 shows up a lot quicker than with a Smith 6" model 27.

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Old 09-28-2011, 12:41 AM   #23
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Default Efficient?

To the original question, the .45 ACP round will deliver a bit more velocity with equal bullet weight in the circumstances given. Here's why.

1) The 45 ACP round operates up to 21,000 PSI. The .44 Special is limited to 15,500 PSI.

2) In ballistics (not holster making), barrel length is measured from the muzzle to the base of the bullet. The .45 ACP round is shorter so the bullet is seated further from the muzzle and the .45 ACP round therefore has a longer ballistics barrel length - even though the physical length is the same.

3) The .45 ACP has a smaller case. Smaller cases get more velocity from the same amount of powder than larger cases, with equal bullet weights. (Check a load manual.)

In reality, the results will probably be so similar as to be negligible. In some instances, the .44 Special may do better if the .45 ACP revolver has excessive muzzle gap, over sized chambers or a number of other factors.

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Old 09-28-2011, 01:33 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by OldManMontgomery View Post
To the original question, the .45 ACP round will deliver a bit more velocity with equal bullet weight in the circumstances given. Here's why.

1) The 45 ACP round operates up to 21,000 PSI. The .44 Special is limited to 15,500 PSI.

2) In ballistics (not holster making), barrel length is measured from the muzzle to the base of the bullet. The .45 ACP round is shorter so the bullet is seated further from the muzzle and the .45 ACP round therefore has a longer ballistics barrel length - even though the physical length is the same.

3) The .45 ACP has a smaller case. Smaller cases get more velocity from the same amount of powder than larger cases, with equal bullet weights. (Check a load manual.)

In reality, the results will probably be so similar as to be negligible. In some instances, the .44 Special may do better if the .45 ACP revolver has excessive muzzle gap, over sized chambers or a number of other factors.

OP here, thanks!
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Old 09-28-2011, 05:03 AM   #25
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Default Better performance out of a short barrel?

Sight radius does make a difference in how well you can hit a target at a longer range, but self defense shooting is usually at very close range, maybe 7 yards (21 feet) or less. I own a S&W Model 10-5, .38 Special, 2" barrel, fixed sights. From a bench rest and a sandbag, it will put all 6 rounds into a 3 inch (or less, on my good days) circle at 25 YARDS (75 feet). That is plenty good enough for a carry sidearm, although, being an old soldier, I like to carry my 1911-A1 .45ACP. Just old habits, I guess! wktipton, SSG, USA (Military Police), Retired.

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Old 09-28-2011, 06:04 AM   #26
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Auto and revolver barrels are measured differently. A 3"-barreled .45 has about the same effective barrel-length as a 2" .44special.

And yes, the .44special works at a bit lower pressure, but that is offset by the larger case capacity (similar to how the .45 is still more powerful than 9mm or .40), so indeed they are very close.

It really does come down to whether you prefer revolvers or autos, in this case, heh.

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