barrel length/accuracy difference

This is a discussion on barrel length/accuracy difference within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Range experiences this weekend. I'm a 1911 guy. My regular carry is a Kimber Pro-CarryII (4"barrel). I do shoot an old ColtMarkIVSeries70 (5") on regular ...

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Thread: barrel length/accuracy difference

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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    barrel length/accuracy difference

    Range experiences this weekend. I'm a 1911 guy. My regular carry is a Kimber Pro-CarryII (4"barrel). I do shoot an old ColtMarkIVSeries70 (5") on regular occassions. I went with my Father and Brother-in-Law this weekend and burned a load of ammo - not all pistol (but about 2500 rnds in a matter of hours between the 3 of us. I normally only run around 200rnds per session so yes my hands hurt the next day. Anyway, I had various sized clay pigeons lined up along the top and middle of the 25yard berm (I don't normally spend much time at that distance as I figure most encounters are going to end up being 15yards or less). I had no problems hitting regular sized clays at 25 yards with the Kimber(4"), but it seemed on average I was 5 for 10 on the smaller clays(around silver dollar sized). I picked my old Colt back up and was repeatedly 8 for 10 on those same mini-sized clays. I guess the question is: Does anyone else really notice that big of a difference with a 1" shorter barrel...or am I missing something -BESIDES THE CLAYS!
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

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    In pure terms re barrel length only - the difference IMO is quite small, altho obviously as distance is stretched effects become magnified.

    I think the main difference is more a bi-product of the shorter barrel regarding the gun's feel, balance, recoil characteristics and of course too - sight radius.

    A longer and maybe heavier gun, with the extra sight radius could well be usually the winner in accuracy - any lift and torque effects will be IMO less marked than on the smaller more compact gun.

    Not forgetting also - even such points as grip - size and again a ''feel'' factor - all aspects affecting controllability and consistency shot to shot.

    I am sure too on occasion - a smaller gun with shorter barrel can outshoot the larger longer one. Lot of variables come into play.
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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Ive never really noticed that the length of the barrel itself is detrimental to the accuracy but more so the length of the sighting plane. The closer two points are together, the greater the degree of error if mis-alignment occurs. For me, this is most noticeable when shooting an iron sighted rifle as I do a lot of cowboy action shooting. With a 20 barrel, Im a mediocre shot at best. By adding just 4 to the barrel and going with a 24 barrel, Im able to hold my own. Stepping up to my 34 barreled Sharps, Im even able to occasionally place in competition (target). While its not impossible for a shorter barreled handgun to be less accurate, especially if the rate of twist is not sufficient to impart the needed amount of spin in the short span for necessary bullet stabilization, it is most likely that any inaccuracy is more a factor of shorter sighting plane than shorter barrel. If you really want to know if your 4 Kimber is less accurate, Id suggest shooting it slow fire from a solid bench rest. By carefully getting a perfect sight picture with each shot, you can determine if its the short barrel or short sighting plane that is affecting your accuracy.

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    ditto: most likely a sight radius issue.

    also possible that a specific ammo choice (and the powder type burn rate) will sometimes react differently from varying lengths of barrel enough to influence/alter poi to some degree.
    But, we are talking really super short snub barrels there.
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    Packin , an inch ( or more ) of barrel makes no difference in intrinsic accuracy of a firearm , as long as there is enough tube to spin the bullet up to stable then the intrinsic accuracy will be there ( at least at pistol ranges ) . It does however make a difference in the practical accuracy since you shorten the sight radius when you shorten the barrel. As an extreme example go out in the yard with some nails or any straight " pin " that you can see and stick in the ground and string put a nail down , and look at a small object across the yard using one side of the nail , have a helper place a nail out at 1 ft using the same side . now take a third nail and set it off 90 degrees from the first , wrap a string around the two nails and pull it taunt to the target , keeping it touching the side you used and sighting the leingth of the string to keep it straight . Mark that spot on the object where the string intercets it . , then do the same thing out at 4 ft instead of 1. It illustrates how small errors in sighting become bigger as you extend an arc . I dont know your age , or physical condition/problems but it may be time for an eye exam . Myself i am latter 40s and need to get new lenses for my glasses annually anymore due to some health issues.

    Long post but hope it helps somone , like a lot i pitch out here its food for thought .
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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. I guess I understand that it's more or less a human error issue with the sight difference, I'm just wondering how many other people really notice that much of a difference...especially since I have good eyesight. Guess it's back to basics for me.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the **** out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

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