4" vs 6" Barrel

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by Casey, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. Casey

    Casey New Member

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    Besides the 2" in sight radius difference is there really any noticable difference in accuracy between the same gun in either 4" or 6" barrel length?
    Say 25 - 50 yards? I love the looks of a 4" gun but always ended buying a 6" gun thinking its will be more accurate. Anybody have any experience with both?
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    There is no "gun accuracy" difference. A gun with a two-inch barrel is just as inherently accurate as a gun with a ten-inch barrel. The thing is "shooting the gun accurately". The farther apart the front and rear sights are, the easier to see if you are off target even a little bit.

    Elmer Keith shoot accurately enough with a 4" 44 magnum to kill at 600 yards. But then, he shot the gun often enough, and at distance, to know what he could and could not do.
  3. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Well-Known Member

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    would agree with that..i used to bring home "tree rats" using a davis semi auto..it had maybe a 1 1/2 bbl on it? average shot 20 40 ft? but then i shot at least 200 rnds a week through it....fed family for a yr during lean times till gun wore out, not bad for a $10 pistol!!
  4. American Leader

    American Leader Well-Known Member

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    Agree, no difference in the accuracy of the guns, just the shooter!
  5. johnboat

    johnboat New Member

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    well depending on the type of ammo the shorter may give up 75-100 fps or so and if hunting is a possibility many states require a minimum of 6 ,although i agree the 4 "looks" better and if concealment is an issue 4 are also better here as well.
  6. Regular Joe

    Regular Joe New Member

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    This being the rifle/shotgun forum, I can't say I've ever seen either one with a barrel that short..........
  7. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    Casey, I will let you know when I get an off day that doesn't rain!!

    I bought a Dan Wesson pistol pack last weekend and I am going to test exactly what you are asking about, when I get a chance. I am going to test the 2.5, 4, 6, 8, and 10 inch barrels, both supported and un-supported.

    I just need some semi-clear weather so I can get to the range.
  8. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    :confused: :confused: :confused: I'm in the centerfire pistol forum??
  9. carver

    carver Moderator

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    There it is! The shorter the barrel the more velocity loss. As velocity drops, so does the bullet. But the accury should be the same no matter the barrel length on a given gun. Switch guns, and all bets are off.
  10. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Moody, at 10:45AM (Central), yes you are in the Centerfire Pistol forum. Howsomever, at 5AM (Central), when I read Regular Joe's post, this was, in fact, in the Rifle/Shotgun forum. It appears it got moved.
  11. patrol

    patrol New Member

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    I'd say scientifically speaking you add two inches to the barrel you are adding about 150 to 250 velocity in feet per second not to mention the longer sight radius.
    If Keith Elmer shot a target with a four inch barrel his groups would be tighter more than likely with a six inch barrel.

    Anything beyond that would be skill. Also the fact that a longer barrel steadies your hand better and can help with less "flinching" during firing. Another issue to think about.....
    So yeah, over-all the longer barrel may matter.
  12. noslolo

    noslolo New Member

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    As much as I love my 6inch 686, I wish it only had a 3-4 barrel. Some day I might have enough money to get one, but for right now, I'm just going to have to make do.
  13. whip

    whip New Member

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    I love my 4 inch Colt Anaconda and my son's S&W 44 mag Mountain Gun. Both guns are very accurate. You do give up some velocity but at reasonable ranges I don't feel its that important. The big drawback with short barreled guns is the recoil. The plus is they are lighter to carry. The short barreled gun you have with you because its light to carry is better than the long barreled gun that's at home because its to heavy to lug around.
  14. Python

    Python Former Guest

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    I believe the velocity loss is 50 fps. per inch?
  15. Python

    Python Former Guest

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    I've got the 4 inch 686, love the "balance".
  16. Rick O'Shay

    Rick O'Shay New Member

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    In centerfire handguns I own a range of barrel lengths from 2" to 7 1/2" and my most accurate gun has a 4 5/8" barrel. This gun has had it's features corrected and super tuned along with hand lapping the barrel by one of the nations leading gunsmiths. I say this talking about shooting off hand which I am sure the 7 1/2" barreled gun would out shoot if given the same treatment. It just proves there are many other things to take into consideration for gun accuracy than barrel length but ovaeral most people will shoot a longer barreled handgun better than a short barreled one.
  17. BobMcG

    BobMcG Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    To an individual, quite possible as accuracy will be in the hands of the beholder.

    There's a good chance that you might just be more accurate with it.

    Yes, and as the beholder I've yet to find a four inch barrel that I can shoot as accurately as a six inch model at 25 or 50yds.
  18. Bushmaster1313

    Bushmaster1313 New Member

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    I've read that the 5" Model 27 is considered best for all around shooting and balance:
    [​IMG]
  19. Archie

    Archie Member

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    From extensive testing of my own and countless others, there is NO inherent difference in accuracy based solely on barrel length. However, the practical accuracy is very much affected by - ignoring other factors like trigger pull and other mechanics - sight radius and inertia. Longer sight radius typically means a greater degree of precision in lining up the sights.

    However, longer sight radius can also show the shooter a greater amount of 'wobble' on target and therefore undermine one's confidence. Longer barrels are heavier and can quickly tire out the muscles in the forearm, wrist and hand, making for more 'wobble'.

    From some forty-five years of handgun shooting, I find I do better with a four inch revolver than a longer one. Obviously, you're someone else and just as obviously, lots of longer barreled guns are sold.
  20. springerbuster

    springerbuster New Member

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    Python, you are pretty close to what I came up with myself. I just ran some loads of 9mm over my chronograph last week from a load I was trying to work up. I was shooting them through my Kahr pm9 (3" barrel) and the same loads through my Springfield xdm 9mm (4 1/2" barrel). In working up a load you start out with a minimum charge and work your way up adding more powder until you get the results that you want. In each group I got almost exactly 200' per second more velocity from the longer barrel.
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