Need some advice on barrel length

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by mudslinger79, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. mudslinger79

    mudslinger79 New Member

    I'm in the market for a revolver. I've always like them. .357 is my caliber choice. My question has to do with barrel length. I'm stuck on a 4 inch barrel. I'm just not a fan of snubbies. Carrying is not an issue. I'm just wondering is there much of a difference in the 4 inch barrel and the 6 inch barrel? I wouldn't carry this daily, just now and then. Any help will be appreciative.
  2. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    While the 6 in. may give a better sight radius, I prefer the 4 in. myself (and I am talking barrel length).

  3. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter


    I would have to say if I was going to carry it I would go with the 4". There are several good quality ccw holsters in the market for them. Pancake, Clip, In the pants clipped to the belt, shoulder and others. Ballistics is not hampered by going with the 4". Agreed the sight radius is longer on the 6 which is a plus for target shooting. But the versatile choice between the two choices would be the 4". And as you know the quality of the weapon means a lot.

  4. kcolg

    kcolg New Member

    6 inch revolvers are big but they will let you get a better perfomance out magnum loads cause more powder will burn inside the barrell ,how much difference 2 inches it will make I don't know,but I'm sure somebody here will enlighten us about this matter, do you plan to use the revolver for hunting?
    By the way,and I don't use it for hunting ,I own a Ruger GP 100 with a 3 inch barrell,very sturdy gun (they also come with 4 and 6 inches barrells)
  5. mudslinger79

    mudslinger79 New Member

    It will be mainly for home/self defense. It isn't a must have but more of something I'd really like to own. That and some type of lever action rifle. I enjoy classic/antique firearms.
  6. steve666

    steve666 New Member

    If you are going to carry it (other than hunting) then the 4" is the better choice. For all other purposes the 6" is the way to go, higher mv (175 fps), more accurate, less felt recoil. Or you can always split the difference, get an older S&W Mod. 27 with a 5" barrel.
  7. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    Get a 4" barreled version and don't look back. It's about as good as you can get for a compromise. You'll have a good range gun as well as a carry gun and home defense gun with a 4".
  8. Catfish

    Catfish Member

    For plinking and target shooting the 6 in. is better. If it will be carried some go with the 4 in. barrel though.
  9. powg

    powg New Member

    6'' vs 4''

    sight plane is the only real advantage ....going longer ...for what you want to do 4'' is plenty .also if you go with something like a colt python or a s&w 586..the value would stay high .
  10. wktipton

    wktipton New Member

    barrel length

    For carry, go with the shortest barrel you feel comfortable with. In your post, use the 4". I have a S&W .38 Special, Model 10-5, with a 2", and find it very accurate. I've always been told that you couldn't hit a car over 20 feet away with a 2" BBL, but this one will (with a rest over sandbags) put all 6 rounds in a 3 - 4 inch group at 25 yards. I can even hit a 2 - liter soda bottle at 25 yards off-hand 4 out of 6 rounds with it! Don't let the "experts" tell you otherwise until you try it out. The main thing is....practice. If you need it quick, the bad guy isn't going to give you the time to get into a good firing position and take a good, steady, supported aim! SSG Tipton, USA, Military Police, (Retired)
  11. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

    I have .38 special, .357's and .44 mag revolvers of all different barrel lengths and I can say 3"-4" is perfect for all applications. A good (Smith or Ruger) .357 revolver in 4" will provide MORE than enough sight radius and velocity to compete in paper punching, while still being portable.

    The 6" barrel is border-lining too long and anything over 6" is definitely too long. I know this because I have a really nice Ruger Redhawk in .44 mag, except it has a 7-1/2" barrel. The gun is imbalanced because of this and therefore every aspect of it's performance is limited. Target aquisition is slower, follow up shots are slowed, carrying is a hassle and the draw time is ridiculous.

    Anyone who tells you a 6" barrel is ideal is simply inexperienced.

    My 4" GP100 is my best overall shooter, followed very closely is a 2.5" Model 66 S&W. Then a 3" SP101.

    Have FUN!:)
  12. freefall

    freefall New Member

    Everybody should own at least one 4" .357.
  13. Dave T

    Dave T New Member

    The obvious answer is a 5", like this 357 Magnum (predecessor to the Model 27) made about 1954,


    The 5" barrel is the best balanced, best looking and most practical barrel length for the N-framed S&Ws. Others may differ but you asked for advice. Heck, I even provided a picture! (smile)

  14. culdee

    culdee New Member

    4 inch

    I personally find the 4 inch to be the best compromise. But I am only 5'6" and a six inch is hard to carry concealed.
  15. nwrednk

    nwrednk New Member

    When it comes to short range...

    Weapons, 2 mere inches is not going to "matter"! Most handgunfights occur @
    3 to 10 feet as stats have proven. Thank goodness I have not had to prove
    that myself, but I have come close! 4" barreled handgguns are the "norm".
    But, I also carry a 2.25 barreled AMT .380 semi-auto that will inflict a "bad-
    day" on a "perp" that might try to kill me!:cool:
  16. Jay

    Jay New Member

    I'd offer just a few considerations...

    1. the longer barrel length will tend to lessen perceived recoil

    2. the longer sight radius will tend to provide better accuracy (assuming a decent shooter)

    3. The shorter barrel will provide a bit less weight, and it will lend itself a bit more favorably to concealed carry.

    What anyone else thinks doesn't count... YOU get to decide... :)
  17. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

    You said it. They are the most well rounded, versatile, yet simple handgun platform that has (and probably will) ever be made.

    A female friend for the job recently moved into a beautiful little cabin about 40 mi WNW outside of town. Out there is well known (and fairly thick :eek:) Bear country. I suggested she get a gun and we made a few trips to the range using mostly handguns.

    She recently got her first gun. . . A RUGER SECURITY SIX!!!

    Guess what barrel length?!? ;)
  18. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

    Yeah, obvious, DaveT. . . :rolleyes: 'Cause they are just everywhere. I can't go into a gun shop with out having to dig through all those dang 5" S&Ws.

    I know, just your opinion. :)
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  19. skullcrusher

    skullcrusher New Member


    Anyway, I think the consensus is 4" for what the op is gonna use it for. What about the other way? I don't think going down to a 3" barrel is gonna be that big of a jump either.

    Defense and no snubbie means without a doubt the 4". Lots of choices.

    Hunting demands the longer barrel.

    But...if .357, why not a .44?
  20. Scratchammo

    Scratchammo New Member

    0 is a good source for the info you need. Four inches of barrel is plenty to get that flying ashtray well beyond the 500 foot pound minimum required for hydrostatic shock, plus it's the popular vote for this thread.