Author Topic: What barrel length for .357?  (Read 2765 times)

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Spike 7.62

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What barrel length for .357?
« on: March 05, 2010, 12:05:15 AM »
Greetings,

Surfing the web for .357 revolvers, I see barrel lengths ranging from 2" to 8" and longer for special purpose revolvers. I realize that a barrel that is too short will rob the round of energy, but will a barrel that is too long have a negative effect? What barrel length is best for ulitizing the best that the .357 mag cartridge has to offer?

Thanks  8)

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docbuckhead

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2010, 12:55:16 AM »
In a revolver, if you want the most oomph, go with the longer barrel.

Friction effect on a magnum pistol round won't happen until 16 or so inches.

http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/357mag.html

Frisco Pete

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2010, 01:03:48 AM »
Like all with magnum revolver rounds, a longer barrel gives more velocity, and my 18" Marlin carbine really gets a lot out of the .357 Mag cartridge.  So I guess that in a purely single-minded sense, the long sight radius and velocity advantage 8 3/8 inches "is best for utilizing the best that the .357 mag cartridge has to offer" if no other criteria is considered.  

However the handling and handiness factor steps in eventually when the thrill of initial ownership dims - and you may come to the same conclusions as revolver greats like Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton that the 4" to 5" revolver barrels are the best all-around lengths.

I have both 6" and 4" .357 Mags.  The 6" was my first and I felt that I needed that extra length at the time.  This length was also the common length owned among all of my friends.  I have found that personally I have come to prefer the handiness of the 4" - so that would be my preference if I only could own one.  Actual chronographing both of mine shows a loss in velocity for the 4" compared to 6 in most, but not all loads - but nothing really significant in the real world. So 4" to 6" works for me.  

I have also shot the 8 3/8" version and found them fairly unwieldy for most uses and would not recommend this length.  Ballistically-speaking, this barrel length performs better, but not enough that I would consider it worth the trade-off as to it's handling.  If all you ever did with one was hunt deer and Silhouette competition, they would be great.

When it comes to the snubbie versions, they tend to be very "blasty" and the sight radius is short, so you start getting handicapped a bit here.  The .357 Mag is a long-range handgun cartridge that can really reach out there with the right loads and shooter, so sight radius can be a limiting factor here.  So I think that the 2 1/2" to 3" barrel versions are more of a specialized type.

« Last Edit: March 05, 2010, 02:00:46 AM by Frisco Pete »
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krazyk86cu

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2010, 01:41:36 AM »
I'd say get the 6 incher.




Danjal

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2010, 03:34:14 AM »
A 6" IMO can be a decent all around wheel gun. Not as much pep as a longer barrel, enought to hunt with, but not as portable for a ccw/HD.
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krazyk86cu

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2010, 04:20:20 AM »
unless its strictly for ccw, I wouldn't want a snub nosed .357 mag or anything like that. me and some friends had pinned targets on a clothes line one time and I was shooting the clothes pins off the line instead of the targets :lol: def go with at least the 6 incher if you want any kind of accuracy.

karlsgunbunker

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2010, 08:52:35 AM »
I like the 4".
6" is too long for carry, 2" too short for accuracy.
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Hodgie

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2010, 08:57:42 AM »
My 1st handgun purchase was a 8" Taurus revolver it is very nice but a bit cumbersome at the range after 20 or 25 rounds.
Just to much gun for me, I recently picked up a 3" Smith & Wesson revolver and really love it, it was used and the price was
something I just could not pass up. If I were to buy a brand new one all over again it would be a 4" just enough to get the job done
without being to bulky and heavy at the range.
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thespork

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2010, 10:04:15 AM »
4 - 6 inches is the best compromise of weight, power, and accuracy. You can even find them in 5" which I would call just about perfect..

less than 4 inches tends to get really "blasty", you'll probably just end up running .38s through it.

more than six inches is great for shooting, especially if you are shooting from some kind of partially stabilized position like you would at the range or in a hunt, but they are heavy, and unwieldy for some kind of SD situation..

rich

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2010, 10:12:57 AM »
4 - 6 inches is the best compromise of weight, power, and accuracy. You can even find them in 5" which I would call just about perfect..

less than 4 inches tends to get really "blasty", you'll probably just end up running .38s through it.

more than six inches is great for shooting, especially if you are shooting from some kind of partially stabilized position like you would at the range or in a hunt, but they are heavy, and unwieldy for some kind of SD situation..

I agree.  4"-6" is perfect.  I have a 2" snubby, I can tell you it is definately "blasty".  I also have a 6" 686 that I use for whitetail's.

Ceddie

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2010, 10:13:13 AM »
Greetings,

Surfing the web for .357 revolvers, I see barrel lengths ranging from 2" to 8" and longer for special purpose revolvers. I realize that a barrel that is too short will rob the round of energy, but will a barrel that is too long have a negative effect? What barrel length is best for ulitizing the best that the .357 mag cartridge has to offer?

Thanks  8)

-Spike
What are you going to do with it?
For CCW, I'd recommend 2-3 in
For OC or a nightstand gun, 4-5 in
For a Long distance target gun or hunting, go 6-8in
all have their plusses and minuses but ultimately, the job defines the tool.
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nhblaze

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2010, 10:14:29 AM »
SO  maybe something other than   .357 ???
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martin08

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2010, 10:16:12 AM »
I have a 6", 4" and 2" for my Dan Wesson.

I primarily OC with it during hunting season and the shorter barrels never get installed anymore.

Frisco Pete

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2010, 12:46:38 PM »
I probably should mention that at the time I bought my first .357 Mag - a S&W 686 - Utah hunting regs stipulated that a 6" barrel was the minimum length for deer hunting (and 500 ft/lbs muzzle energy) with a handgun.  This regulation certainly played into my choice, besides the fact that everyone I knew had a 6" DA except for my cousin with a 4 5/8" Blackhawk (3-screw).  While I never intended the gun for a primary deer hunting weapon, I wanted to be able to pack it legally during the season.  Funny thing was that I had a great chance to pop a small buck with one close to the dirt road, but it was packed in the back of the jeep - and I debated so long on shooting it with my rifle, that the deer got smart and left.  It would have been a perfect .357/158-gr shot!

Since that time, the Utah Dept Wildlife Resources has dropped the barrel length stipulation.  I think we started getting some of the newer generation in there and they might have realized that Elmer Keith and others used 4", 4 5/8", and 5 1/2" wheelguns with success, and the new generation of 10mm autos with 4.6" to 5.5" barrels were all capable of downing a deer.
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Spike 7.62

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Re: What barrel length for .357?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2010, 04:40:51 PM »
Great info everyone, thank you  :)

I'm thinking of defense in bear country. I also like the Ruger Redhawk double-action .44, but every man has to have a .357  8) I think I will choose the 6" barrel.

-Spike
"The nation is divided; half patriots and half traitors. And no man can tell which from which."
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"When you have to shoot; shoot, don't talk."
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