Difference in 2" & 3" barrel .357 revolvers?
I had my first opportunity to shoot a small frame revolver the other day - Ruger SP-101 .357 with 3" barrel. More accurate than I expected, and seemed to have less recoil (Winny white box mags) than my 1911-A1 with middle-of-the road .45 handloads. I'm in love.
Anyway, I'd like to know how much accuracy and recoil would suffer with a 2" barrel. I tend to enjoy shooting fairly hot handloads.
Estimates on recoil effect - 2 inch vs. 3 inch
I can't speak to the accuracy question, but regarding recoil - I happened to run across some interesting data recently on muzzle velocity vs. barrel length for a particular loading of 115 grain 9mm ammunition. It was published in Guns Magazine on August 30, 2006, and is shown in graphical form here:
Originally Posted by DistantHorizon
9mm muzzle velocity and chamber pressure vs. barrel length
For the 9mm shown, the muzzle velocity from a 2 inch barrel is about 1000 fps, and from a 3 inch barrel velocity is about 1150 fps. So the bullet picks up 15% more velocity in that last inch of barrel.
Since recoil varies with muzzle velocity for a given gun and bullet weight, the recoil should be about 15% greater in the 3 inch barrel gun than in the 2 inch, just based on the backward force of the pressure in the chamber. Of course, the loss of one inch of barrel makes the gun lighter in weight, and this has the opposite effect, increasing recoil because the gun is lighter. So if you assume that the gun lost 5% of its weight due to barrel shortening, the net effect on recoil might be 15% minus 5% equals 10% greater recoil for the 3 inch barrel.
So my very rough guess, assuming that .357 magnum behaves in the same way as 9mm, is that the 3 inch barrel gun would have 10% greater recoil due to increased muzzle velocity.