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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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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.

Bob Wright
 

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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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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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Glock,

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.

03
 

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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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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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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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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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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.
Sorry about that. I just responed to the inital post.;)
 

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i have to agree that the shorter barrel is not less accurate, but is more difficult to be accurate with. now at longer distances, the longer barrels do help with velocity that is a factor in accuracy, due to increased MV.

my ideas for revolvers.

2.5" or less for CC or HD.

4-6" for target or range use.

6" or more for hunting uses.
 

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Practically speaking, FBI studies repeatedly have shown that most defensive shootings take place at very short to point blank range, so that long-range accuracy (something you might well have trouble defending in court as self-defense) is not much of a consideration for CC.

Also, in a very short-barreled revolver flash and blast are magnified even with .38 Special. Personally I'd be concerned that in defending myself in the dark with a fire-breathing .357 I could be temorarily blinded by the first shot and less able to be aware of the state of the threat(s).
 

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Practically speaking, FBI studies repeatedly have shown that most defensive shootings take place at very short to point blank range, so that long-range accuracy (something you might well have trouble defending in court as self-defense) is not much of a consideration for CC.

Also, in a very short-barreled revolver flash and blast are magnified even with .38 Special. Personally I'd be concerned that in defending myself in the dark with a fire-breathing .357 I could be temorarily blinded by the first shot and less able to be aware of the state of the threat(s).
That is not as big of a problem as you might think today. When we first started using the 125 gr 357 for our duty round we were issued Remington ammo. The muzzle flash was, to say the least, excessive! It was like lightning, even in daylight!:eek:
When we did our night fire it was so bad you had to close one eye to shoot. But then we went to the Federal ammo which had a flash retardant in the powder and this cured the problem. This was in the early 1980's, today all the modern defense ammo use flash retardant powder.
 

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Good to know--I haven't owned a .357 for years. The ones I did have were a 4-inch and a 6-inch, and the flash from each was one hell of a fireball from muzzle and cylinder gap. Come to think of it, I think I always shot Remington 125gr JHP. :)
 

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Reloaders have an edge. They can slow velocity down to meet IPSC stds w/o the fireball effect or at least limiting it. Whatever helps you shoot faster and more accurately usually wins.

Even with a high grip n 6" barrel, the 357 can be a handful. Yet, with good loads, grips, & proper technique - it can be controlled. I never liked anything shorter than 6" in my youth but as I get older, I like the balance of shorter barrels. Your money - your call.
 

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I have changed to Fiocchi ammo for the 357 mag. The local deputies tested Fiocchi for their secondary and off duty weapons. From my 6.5" Blackhawk 125 gr Fiocchi was clocked by a chronograph at 1740 FPS. Fiocchi doesn't have the huge flash that some ammo produces in my old Charter with a 2.5" barrel. The snubby is hard to handle.

Ballistics 101 got similar results from Fiocchi ammo. http://www.ballistics101.com/357_magnum.php
 

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Nothing prettier than the flash off my SP101 @ night. 3 inch barrel is pretty snappy.
 

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Sight radius is important - the greater barrel length - the better. But that doesn't mean you can't hit something at distance, even, with a short barrel. On his youtube videos, Hickok45 pretty well dispels the myth that you can't hit at distance with a short barrel. He hits his "gong" at 80 yards consistently with a 2 inch barrel revolver or even semi-auto. The man is good. He is a perfect example of "Don't blame the equipment". He is actually inspiring.

The .357 will rock you harder in a smaller, lighter gun, though. So - you gotta know what you want the gun for. If it is for pleasant range time - a small, short .357 is probably not the best, or at least the most pleasant, answer. But if you want power for defense - there is little doubt that .357 is an excellent answer.
 
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