SAA - 4 3/4" or 5 1/2"- which is better "balanced"?


November 4, 2004, 07:22 PM
I'm going to buy myself a new USFA SAA :eek: :)

UNfortunately I've only ever handled (loaded) a 7 1/2" SAA and was wondering how the two, shorter-barreled SAA models compare when loaded w/ 5 rounds?

A lot of SASS folks seem to prefer the 5 1/2" version but the looks of a 4 1/2" bbl appeal to me more.

Are there any noticeable differences between the handling of the two bbl lengths (other than the sight radius)?

Thanks for any direction.


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November 4, 2004, 07:47 PM
I prefer the 4 3/4 barrel, but everyone has their own preference. Go pick up one of each and discover for yourself.

El Rocoso
November 4, 2004, 08:01 PM
I have both and the 4 3/4 is hard to beat for balance alone. The 5 1/2 gives a little more sight radius and still feels good. Obviously, a longer tube is a hair slower out of the holster--if that matters at all to you. I agree that the best idea is to handle both if you can and make YOUR pick!

November 4, 2004, 10:09 PM
I just got a single action in .357 after having tried the 5 1/2" and 4 5/8" versions. I am mostly a shorter bbl guy but I found that the 5 1/2" didn't seem any heavier or muzzle heavy so I went with that. I think the 5 1/2" looks more of what I think a SAA should look like. I think it may point a little better also since it has the extra length to aid.

I would try both of them side by side and if one doesn't feel better or worse, get the one you like the looks of. I wanted the shorter bbl for size weight but I really didn't see any downsides to the 5 1/2" so when a deal crossed my path, I got one of those. You could keep an open mind and wait for a deal on either bbl length if you are undecided. Let the deal make your mind up for you.;)

Jim March
November 4, 2004, 10:10 PM
Want to get more confused?

The balance on a 44 or 45cal SAA with a 5.5" barrel will be almost identical to the 4 & 3/4" in 38/357 calibers!

Yup. Thicker barrel wall in the smaller bore. Affects weight and balance.


At some point, you need to sort out whether or not you prefer a "heavy barrel" feel or a "light barrel". That will guide your choice. If you don't yet know, you need to borrow or rent various types, shoot 'em some, figure it out :).

November 6, 2004, 09:46 PM
I doubt that anyone can tell which they are holding with their eyes closed. Very small difference. Mainly personal preference on appearance. I prefer the short barrel SAAs like this .44 Special Colt with ivory grips.

November 6, 2004, 10:02 PM
I prefer the short barrel SAAs like this .44 Special Colt with ivory grips.

I can see why :what: ...that's a beauty :)

To be honest, I think I was secretly posting in order to see if there was a reason NOT to go w/ the 4 3/4" :D

So, a 4 3/4" it shall be!

Now I just have to decide if I want a Pre-War model or not....

Thank you all for the input.

Lone Star
November 7, 2004, 10:12 AM
I've always favored the 4.75-inch barrel over the 5.50 -inch barrel. But it's mainly a looks issue.

I also like the 7.5-inch barrel.

Doesn't matter a lot: I can't afford any of them in a genuine Colt...

Lone Star

Bill B.
November 8, 2004, 10:48 AM
I lile the looks of the 4 3/4 but to me nothing works and points any better than the 5 1/2. I have a Colt 3 rd. generation in 45 LC that simply shoots better than any single action I have ever owned. It's superb! :)

November 8, 2004, 06:35 PM
I survey of a cowboy board will find that everybody has a preference with no two people the same. 5 1/2" is a good compromise and 4 3/4" is nice and quick.

guy sajer
November 8, 2004, 07:09 PM
I've owned SAA's in 3" , 4" , 4 3/4" , 5 1/2" , 7 1/2" and 12" .
I prefer the 4 3/4" , but could easily settle for 5 1/2" . :)

Tony Mig
November 8, 2004, 08:37 PM
I prefer the 5.5" for both looks and balance, to me the 4.75" is just a little too short. I've also fired a few 7.5" models, and although they are a little slower out of the holster, they point well, and that extra barrel and sight radius sure helps place that bullet where you want it to go.....

November 8, 2004, 09:45 PM
For pure accuracy, 7.5".

For holster carry, speed, accuracy and balance...... the 5.5" in .45 Colt or .44 has always been my pick. The 4 3/4" just doesn't quite feel right in a Peacemaker.

November 8, 2004, 10:13 PM
i prefer the 5.5 length myself..

November 9, 2004, 06:30 PM
I have two early third gen. Colt SAA's in .357-one 4 3/4 and one 5 1/2. I like the balance of the longer length but the looks of the 4 3/4. Both have nice actions and are equally accurate, so it's looks vs. feel. Flip a coin.

November 9, 2004, 09:25 PM
Flip a coin.

I did...several thousand of them, directly to Turnbull Restoration :)

Looks won out ;) (well, almost, as I couldn't afford the ivory grips :( )

Should be getting my mits on it early in 2005. Now it's time to start hording 45LC brass

November 9, 2004, 11:44 PM
I still prefer the short barrel. Even in a nickel plated clone.

Johnny Guest
November 10, 2004, 05:31 PM
Perhaps the only thing LESS objective than one's individual "feeling" about personal sidearms is one's choice of a significant other.

And it truly does extend right down to a difference on 3/4 inch in barrel length on an SAA.

Regardless of the (admittedly small) gain in velocity and sight radius with the 5-1/2" barrel, I've always preferred the 4-3/4" length - - All of mine having been in caliber .45. And, while I'd like to have a pure army pattern example of the 7-1/2" barrel revolver, this would be only for "historical" purposes. I've never been able to do any good in "point shooting" with the longer barrel, notwithstanding what ought to be a detectable "feel" with the added weight out front.

BUT, this is my opinion only, and I know guys who hate and dispise the shorter tube pieces. And, some of them dearly love women for whom I have little affection . . . .

I hope you're very happy with your individual choice. :p


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