S&W J frame 2.5" barrel vs 1 7/8" barrel

This is a discussion on S&W J frame 2.5" barrel vs 1 7/8" barrel within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; While looking online at some Smiths my son and I got into a discussion concerning my m638 that is also available (for some xtra dollars) ...

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Thread: S&W J frame 2.5" barrel vs 1 7/8" barrel

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    Member Array gryphon's Avatar
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    S&W J frame 2.5" barrel vs 1 7/8" barrel

    While looking online at some Smiths my son and I got into a discussion concerning my m638 that is also available (for some xtra dollars) with a 2.5" barrel. The question being, "just how much could that extra 5/8" really provide". My best guess was that since the 638 can also be fire as a single action that perhaps the longer barrel stabilized the bullet a little better and maybe provided slightly better performance out beyond the limits of the shorter barrel. Or perhaps it made it slightly more controlable. It just really doesn't seem like a big increase in length. Any ideas or, even better, a definative answer?

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    longer bbl for longer sight radius

    provides an illusion of accuracy. my 642 groups under 3" at 25 yards. that was more before arthritis became troublesome.
    but it is more the shooter than the gun
    i think the 2.5 looks nicer but it may not be as 'pocketable' as its shorter brother.
    perhaps a slight increase in velocity, but not enough to warrent buying one over the other.
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    Member Array gryphon's Avatar
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    I'll give it that, it does look nicer to my eye also. Kind of balances out the hammer shroud.

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    The single best advantage to the longer barrel on the snub is the increased sight radius, with the added ounce or so of weight being secondary but helpful for recoil 'damping' and control.

    The bullet is adequately stabilized for decent accuracy with the short barrel, within the limits of a bullet with a low ballistic coefficient. Being a numbers geek I looked at the "Ballistics By the Inch" data for .38s in the 2-4 inch range, and a very simple analysis shows an average velocity gain of 140 ft/sec per inch of barrel length, so 5/8" extra barrel length will produce an average of about 85 ft/sec higher muzzle velocity. It's in the right direction, but that alone isn't a reason to go with the longer barrel.

    Personally, I like the longer snub barrel and one of them is on the wish list.
    Smitty
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    I love snubs and love owning them but the short barrel offers less advantage for concealment than most believe. Except for dedicated pocket use, a 3-inch or even 4-inch revolver is pretty easy to conceal.
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    Distinguished Member Array deadguy's Avatar
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    Like BMC mentioned, it depends on where you plan to carry it. For me there is a big difference when it's pocket carry. I got the 360 just for that reason. Short, light and shoots 357 mag. I often carry it IWB for short runs here and there. I am not concerned with barrel length and velocity since it is a 357. Sight length isn't a concern for me either because if I ever have to use it, it will more than likely be at less than 10 yards and possibly less than 5 or even 3. Point and shoot.

    It is a self defense tool and not a range toy for me personally. Short snubbies are the perfect close quarters combat tool.
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    Member Array ConcealedG30's Avatar
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    I have a 1-7/8" barrel I just ankle carry this weapon, but I am ordering a Remora holster so I may start carring it in different locations.

    If it had a longer barrel I would IWB carry it.
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