6" vs 8" Pythons


November 7, 2006, 09:33 PM
Can you add comments to my thoughts?

For range practice and accuracy, the 8 will give better sight radius, but what about FPS/FPE benefits over the 6? Assuming porting the 8, will that give the same FPS as the 6?, or does porting not take ALL the pressure out of barrel so that the 8 might still give a little better velocity.
And what about accuracy betweent the 6 and 8 at say 50 yards? Any significant difference, or is most of the benefit in velocity and FPE?
If you shoot a magnum, it's all about the fpe, so what is the diffeence in the 6 vs 8, does anyone know?

Thanks for streering me straight.

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November 7, 2006, 09:52 PM
If someone wants an 8-inch barreled revolver, they should get training wheels or a rifle. Of course if range shooting is all you're going to do, then I reckon it's whatever you're most comfortable with. Just remember that you won't be able (or willing, most likely) to haul it around the countryside.

Me, I'd take a 4-6 inch barrel any day!

Standing Wolf
November 7, 2006, 09:54 PM
I have Pythons with 2.5-, four-, six- and eight-inch barrels. I've had all but one ported and crowned. I own a chronograph, but haven't ever actually used it, so I can't address those concerns.

Sight radius is a big deal for eyes as old as mine; unfortuantely, so is weight.

When I do my part, my Python snubs are as accurate as the long models. If I had a Ransom rest, I'm sure I'd find the snubs give up half a skosh of accuracy and some velocity, but even they're amazingly accurate. I've shot three-inch ten-shot groups with one of my snubs at 25 yards—and that's shooting offhand, not from a rest. I don't mean to say I normally shoot that well, mind: only that barrel length is sometimes overrated.

I do best with the four-inch models: more or less long enough sight radii for my eyes, but not too much weight for my wrist. I have a hunch the velocity loss with short barrels is partly a function of powder type: slower-burning powders would probably give up more velocity. That's a hunch, not a fact.

dfariswheel and Old Fluff will most probably have more definite answers. Gunkwazy will probably have pictures. I've just got aging eyes, arthritis, and opinions.

November 8, 2006, 12:51 AM
As far as accuracy goes, probably the most accurate DA revolver ever made in America is the 8" Colt Python Target in .38 Special.
Whether this is due to the 8" barrel, the .38 Special chambering, or both, I don't know.

I don't know what the velocity advantage is from an 8", but porting may well DEGRADE accuracy.

Which barrel length to get depends entirely on what type of shooting you're going to be doing, and on your personal preferences.
As far as formal NRA-style target shooting goes, you saw almost ALL 6" barrels, and NO porting.

I suspect the 6" was king due to better balance.

While FPS is largely a function of powder load, a given round will have a higher velocity out of the longer barrel.
This does not necessarily mean better accuracy.

Remember that accuracy is a matter of both mechanical and practical.
A gun will have a maximum accuracy potential based on the gun itself, and will have practical accuracy based on sights, trigger pull, how well you shoot it, and other factors.

In other words, a gun will have a built-in maximum potential accuracy. Whether you can actually get that accuracy depends on how well you can shoot the gun.

November 8, 2006, 09:17 AM
I'm with Confederate. The Python is a medium-frame revolver and IMO it just doesn't look right with an 8 inch barrel.

Black Knight
November 8, 2006, 09:25 AM
Stick with the 6", the 8" would be to unweildy. I love my 6 incher.

November 8, 2006, 10:11 AM
Sight radius is a big deal for eyes as old as mine

I find the older I get the better I shoot the shorter barrels. I used to do great with the 8" guns but now don't. I can't even see both sights at the same time on a rifle! I can still kick the kids butts with a 4" 29 on our 9" gong at 100 yards though! Sight alignment is the important thing with a pistol and I find it harder to do with the longer barrels as I get older. The rear sight is just too fuzzy when I focus on the front one.:(

November 8, 2006, 10:50 AM
I've had both, and the 8" is just a bit too front heavy. The 6" feels much more comfortable to shoot, much better balanced.

November 8, 2006, 12:45 PM
If just range shooting why worry over speed and energy? You really have to determine which balances best for you. The accuracy potential will be in the one that feels the best to you (assuming the revolver is in good mechanical condition).

Jake H
November 8, 2006, 05:52 PM

If I understand you correctly when you say "port" the barrel you are talking about having small holes drilled into the sides of the muzzle to reduce recoil. Porting a barrel or adding a muzzle-break does not "reduce the pressure in the barrel". It simply allows the gases to escape out-ward and to the side of the muzzle instead of pushing straight back. This in turn reduces recoil.

There are some advantages and potential disadvantages when you port a barrel. The advantages are: a lot of gas is diverted away from the bullet upon exiting the muzzle which may help to keep the bullet from being disturbed, and obviously recoil is reduced. The potential disadvantages are: if done wrong porting could ruin the interior of the bore at the muzzle or somehow alter the diameter of the bore, and ports or muzzle-breaks add noise and muzzle blast.

I personally would never have a firearm ported, especially not a Python. Something else to think about is that the most accurate firearms in the world never have ported barrels. These firearms are short-range (100-200 yard) Benchrest rifles. These rifles are capable of shooting five 5-shot groups that all average under .1500" at 100 yards. The world record SINGLE 5-shot group at 100 yards measures only .009" from center-to-center. That is not a typo.

Opinions By,

Standing Wolf
November 8, 2006, 09:19 PM
Sight radius is a big deal for eyes as old as mine...

I didn't explain that very well. Sight radius puts the front sight farther away from my eye, which makes it easier to see. I haven't been able to see rear sights at all clearly in years.

November 8, 2006, 10:29 PM
To each their own, as they say. I think you only gain about 2/4 % with the longer barrels, but there are some that just like them. :) I got this old girl for fathers day in 1981, last fathers day, I treated her, and me, to some fine Ivory grips. She shoots just fine. ;)

November 8, 2006, 10:46 PM
IMO, the 8" barrel is too long. There is a point of diminished returns where you lose some practicality w/o gaining that much in shootability. I wouldn't go longer than 6" if it were me :D

November 8, 2006, 11:45 PM
You are right on my verbal error. I know the pressure's not reduced; what I meant was that the pressure was not all "used up" to drive the bullet to a higher FPS (from being diverted out the ports). My guess would have been that the 8" would raise fps maybe 20% over a 6", but I guess not.

THANKS ALL, for the advise. I guess the 6" seems the most preferred. I thought the front-heavy 8" might compensate for the magnum kick, but most prefer resting balance with the BANG combo more!
...but you gotta love those ivory grips
---by the way Tusk, when you gonna sell me that? Wanna trade for a Kimber Gold Match?


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