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Thread: What barrel length do you like on your big iron?

  1. #1

    Default What barrel length do you like on your big iron?

    I had accumulated 3 Super Blackhawks over the last several years and don't need but one. I took them out the other night and shot all three of them about 50 rounds each. It's obvious that the 4 and 5/8 and the 5 and 1/2 inchers shoot better groups with my eyes than the Blackhawk with a 10 and 1/2 inch barrel.....and by quite a bit. In fact I shot my very best with the 4 5/8" gun. I was shooting my hot deer hunting loads with li'gun and 240 grain XTPs.

    Since Iowa's shotgun season and second muzzleloader season now allows the use of handguns I usually kill 2 deer during the first muzzleloader season with my muzzleloader and then 2 in December/January with a handgun.

    I have a real nice holster for the 4 and 5/8 incher and could very easily make it my one hand gun for everything including CC. Last night I traded the long barreled one for a Sig Sauer M400 ar15 for my daughter to give to her husband for his birthday. I then sold the 5 1/2 inch gun on advance to a retired friend who has a meager lifestyle simply because he refuses to let the rest of us pay his way even though the regs say he is entitled.

    What barrel length do you guys like up there for your packing and killing stuff gun?

  2. #2
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Myself, I like 4 to 6 inch with 5" being just about as dandy as could be. I've had longer and I see little point for the extra. I have had snubs and though they are very accurate I am not accurate with such a short site radius.
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    My sbh with 3 3/4" barrel has become my favorite but a extra inch would not hurt it for handy. I prefer 4 5/8 on back.
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    5" is just about right!


  5. #5

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    I have an array of calibers in barrels including 2", 2 1/2", 4", 4 5/8", 5", 6", 7 1/2", and 8 3/8". My shooting skills are best at the high end and worst at the low end.

    But the 4" and 4 5/8" in get all the carry. In my eyes, if'n I'm going to carry a 5, might as well get it over with and carry a 6. Choice of the 4" (ported 629 with a buttery double action) and the 4 5/8 (a 44 spec and a 45 colt) is more about what I'm doing with them. The 629 has been my principle carry gun for something like 30 years, and I shot it in pin shoots before that. I can shoot it DA better than most guys can single. I've killed a few deer and one elk with it, but it's still more of a carry gun. The 4 5/8" are easy to carry hunting guns. I've whacked truck loads of deer with both using basic factory-equivalent loads and no snorting them up. They're reliable 50 yard killers, far as my eyes can perform with those short barrels anyway. I don't regard either as a defensive carry gun for my needs.

  6. #6

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    I like the 5" SRH .454 the best so far.


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  7. #7
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    ~4 5/8 gets the nod. Don't find a long barreled handgun to be of any practical utility.
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  8. #8
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    Carried 4" mod 19 for about 8 years then a 686 w/4" barrel for another 12 years. Then came a time I was required to carry 40 automatic, not sure how long that barrel was, then I carried a 4" 500 and now because of the long cylinder of the 500 I carry the snubby 2 3/4 I believe it is called. I have others even a 14" contender. I do not carry these I transport them for specific purposes. I carry the 4" guns.

  9. #9
    Member gunbugs's Avatar
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    The 4" S&W's are my favorite to carry, although I have carried 6 inchers as well. The 6's are more pleasant to shoot, in most cases. But overall, the 5" barrels are my overall favorite, I would be pleased if they had made 5 inch barrels on all the old N-frames.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

  10. #10
    Member jdb3's Avatar
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    4 5/8 for my Super Redhawk works just fine.
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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    6". I know guys who swear by and at longer then that. 6" seems to give me much better performance out to 50 yards.
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  12. #12
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I think the 4 5/8" SBH is about the perfect length for packing around. I briefly had a SBH Hunter with the longer heavy barrel (7 1/2"?)....didn't like it.

    In the double action genre- I really, really liked my M19 S&W with the 2 1/2" barrel. (sadly long gone.)
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  13. #13
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    When it's in the holster a 4". When it's in my hand a 6".

    Years ago I had a pair of Dan Wessons, .22 and .357, I played with a lot; 4", 6" and 8" barrels to share between them; same gun just different length and weight shrouds. I could shoot the 6" a LOT better than the 4" and the 8" was only about 10% better than the 6".

  14. #14
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    5 1/2-inches for me.......

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitworth View Post
    5 1/2-inches for me.......
    I love 5 1/2" pm single action and I like 4 3/4" in 45/454. I like 5" on S&W N-Frames.

  16. #16

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    In a single action I prefer 5.5 inches and in a double action four inches. An N frame four inch seems to balance perfectly for me at that length and the single actions feel right at 5.5.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mart View Post
    ...balance perfectly for me....
    You said a great big mouthful right there.

    Balance for aiming and shooting should be Numbero Uno in picking barrel lengths, yet you almost never hear anyone cite it. They're all touting one barrel or another for convenience of carry, sighting radius, yada-yada-yada.

  18. #18
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    I choose handgun barrel length for Velocity, Shootability, and Sight Radius, because to me, those are more important than carrying ease.

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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    You said a great big mouthful right there.

    Balance for aiming and shooting should be Numbero Uno in picking barrel lengths, yet you almost never hear anyone cite it. They're all touting one barrel or another for convenience of carry, sighting radius, yada-yada-yada.
    Yup, I'll go with that. That's why the long barreled one was the first to go(it did look cool though). When I pulled it up to free hand at the target like happens in a woods deer hunting situation it was nose heavy and I probably could have gotten used to it if I was just starting out hunting with a handgun. I have been at this a while I wanted the gun that was on target when I naturally brought the gun up while looking at the deer. For me that was almost a toss up between the 5 1/2 incher and the 4 5/8 incher. I thought the edge went to the 4 5/8 inch gun. I still have my short barreled Redhawk and aim to keep it even though it has a tendency to pull my britches down a bit when I carry it.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I choose handgun barrel length for Velocity, Shootability, and Sight Radius, because to me, those are more important than carrying ease.

    Smitty of the North
    Spot on with sight radius. That's a big part of how they point and acquiring a quick line on the target.

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