Difference in 2" & 3" barrel .357 revolvers?

Difference in 2" & 3" barrel .357 revolvers?

This is a discussion on Difference in 2" & 3" barrel .357 revolvers? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 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 ...

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Thread: Difference in 2" & 3" barrel .357 revolvers?

  1. #1
    Member Array DistantHorizon's Avatar
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    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.


  2. #2
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    2" is enough but I am of opinion that 3" and onwards does confer a degree of extra accuracy.

    That said if talking combat distances then not a biggie really. The small extra weight ''up front'' from a 3" will also slightly improve perceived recoil and controllability - for the better, particularly with a heavier gun like SP.

    Bottom line - I doubt you'll feel a huge difference with hot loads - remembering of course the shorter the barrel - the less you'll ''get out of'' a hot load, due to wasted gas dissipation.
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    Member Array ExSniper's Avatar
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    Shorter the sight radius, the more difficult it is to aim accurately. Shorter barrel gives up some velocity, therefore less power. 3" is no more difficult to conceal, so stay with the 3" - you'll like it. The added weight helps with recoil.

  4. #4
    Member Array TimM's Avatar
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    I own both length barrels. With that minimal difference, I think it is more dependent on individual technique and shooter skill. I am not saying that there is no difference but all things equal I am not sure a shooter of average ability could tell distinguish the difference.

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    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Difference in 2" & 3" barrel?
    1" of course! J/K

    Anyway, I agree with the above post's on this subject. I'd also stick with a 3" if at all possible for the slightly added benifits.


    Ti
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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I prefer the 3" Barrel to make use of "hot" .357 Magnum rounds.

    I used to have a J-Frame with a 2" Barrel in 357, but didn't like shooting it, so I sold it. I have no problem shooting my 3"er. The 3" Barrel gives you a longer sight radius, less recoil, and higher velocity. What's not to like?

    I personally don't shoot anything bigger than 38 Special in a J-Frame because I can't pass the 5x5x5x5 test consistantly to my satisfaction. The 5x5x5x5 test is: 5 Rounds in 5 Seconds at 5Yards keeping all shots within 5 Inches.

    Biker

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Estimates on recoil effect - 2 inch vs. 3 inch

    Quote Originally Posted by DistantHorizon View Post
    Ruger SP-101 .357 with 3" barrel...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.
    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:

    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.
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  8. #8
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    I'd go for the longer barrel. Snubbies are cool but the longer barrel really will conceal just as easily in an IWB holster.

    I got to experience an SP 101 a couple of years ago and thought it was a treat. I've never been any fan of revolvers that are built like a tank but this one was easy to shoot well and had an action that was much better than the usual double action product from that firm.

  9. #9
    Ex Member Array Joe R's Avatar
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    I would go for the longest barrel you can easily draw from IWB. For me that's a 4". 3" would be the minimum in a 357 Magnum in order to get ballistic benefit of such a cartridge.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    The SP101, when held high on the grip, will tend to recoil directly into the center of my palm, making it very comfortable to shoot with amazingly stout louds. Thus far, I have only fired the shorter SP101 snubbies; eventually, I am sure I will end up with a 3-1/16" version, when availability and cash coincide.

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array Gunnutty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ti Carry View Post
    1" of course! J/K



    Ti
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  12. #12
    Member Array DistantHorizon's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for all the responses; for everything I want this one gun to do, the 3" looks like the better compromise. That way I'll have something I can practice a lot with, shoot some .357, & let girlfriends shoot (little longer sight radius might be real helpful for them & me both). I'll put a 2" barrel model 60 or airweight on my "someday soon" list, for more of a pocket gun to shoot milder loads.

    As for the Ruger, managed to talk myself out of buying it again today while at the range, but it's coming home with me soon. Just puttin' it off a little longer, 'cause time I get dies, brass, bullets, & primers; add in taxes; wham, I've hemorrhaged $800 on a $445 gun.
    Last edited by DistantHorizon; December 5th, 2007 at 03:53 AM. Reason: my grammar is not too hot.

  13. #13
    Member Array DistantHorizon's Avatar
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    Hey, just wanted to thank you all for your help... I got the 3 1/8" sp101 the other day as a result of all the forum feedback & can't wait to shoot it.
    -Cole

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array Sportsterguy's Avatar
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    Prefer a 3" to a 2.5" barrel not only for the better balance, but also the fact that the longer ejector rod on the 3" (S&W/Ruger) will eject your empty cases reliably. If you are shooting hot .357's with the shorter barrel the short rod does not always have the length to properly eject your cases. I have experienced this numerous times with my 686 and that's why I prefer my 3" model 66 over my 2.5" 686. Last thing you need in a speed reload is fumbling around trying to pull a stuck round out of your cylinder. The 3" barrel also carries better IWB. JMO
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