4" vs 6" Barrel

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

  1. Rick O'Shay

    Rick O'Shay New Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Southwest Michigan
    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.
  2. BobMcG

    BobMcG Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2005
    Somewhere in the Twilight Zone.
    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.
  3. Bushmaster1313

    Bushmaster1313 Member

    Sep 13, 2009
    I've read that the 5" Model 27 is considered best for all around shooting and balance:
  4. Archie

    Archie Active Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    Hastings, Nebraska; the Heartland!
    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.
  5. springerbuster

    springerbuster Member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Southwest Washington
    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.

  6. Regular Joe

    Regular Joe New Member

    Sep 28, 2010
    There's rather more to it than barrel length though. Powder burn rate, and primer intensity contribute to making that difference more or less. Let's say you have a 4" .357, and you're accustomed to loading with near max using W296 in a 6" barrel. With bullet weights at the lighter end, you can almost equal performance in a 4" barrel using Alliant Blue Dot instead. That's just one vague example. There are people who reload, and then there are Reloaders.
    FWIW, the only revolver I have ever been able to shoot consistent one hole 6 shot groups with @ 25 yards was a 7.5" Ruger Stainless Super Blackhawk.
  7. hogger129

    hogger129 Active Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Easier to line up your sights more precisely with a longer barrel/longer sight radius... There is no difference in accuracy.
  8. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

    Dec 11, 2010
    western wyoming
    You are more likely to carry the shorter 4" handgun. A longer barreled handgun at home in the safe is never as good as one on your belt.
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