Standard Barrel Length for .357 magnum?


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MikePGS
July 4, 2007, 10:15 PM
I know that the .357 is generally considered to be one of the best cartridges so far as personal defense goes. But what length of a barrel is considered to be ideal for this purpose? I'm guessing its a 4 inch, but i don't know for sure. If so, can a 4 inch be comfortably carried and if so, what sort of holster do you use for this purpose?

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Cosmoline
July 4, 2007, 10:17 PM
The original custom magnums were from 4" out to 8" or more, but they were geared more for hunting. 4" is a pretty good length for a .357 for standard holster carry, but if you want to have CCW as an option 3" or just under 3" is about perfect.

Don Lu
July 4, 2007, 10:23 PM
It probably depends on what type of self defense.. Will it be for home SD or CCW SD? there really isnt a standard/right size. But for me, I have a 4" for my home and a 2" for CCW. I keep the house revolver (4") loaded w/ 38 sp+p in case the wife needs to use it. Its easier for her to handle and will get the job done.

Majic
July 5, 2007, 12:04 AM
You also have to consider the frame size. You can get anywhere from a medium frame gun to a large frame model with a 4 inch barrel.

Alphazulu6
July 5, 2007, 12:09 AM
Most of the older Colt revolvers were standard 4" barrels. Though you could get the Python or Trooper and of course they gave the option of varying lengths.

But really ballistically speaking, 6" is needed to get the power of the shell to the bullet. Otherwise your spewing alot of your powder out the end of the barrel onto the ground (the little 2 1/2" Featherlight S&Ws are coming to mind) :( I know in these cases for CCW most just use the .38 +P instead. But some swear to the .357 mag from a snubby barrel so who am I to argue with progress :D

I like the 6" but understand 100% why a 4" is so nice as you can easily maneuver/holster it without much trouble. I am just such a big fan of the Python and its accuracy (or any nice .357 mag revolver). hehe

http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:sjkOd0UO21AhEM:http://www.nic.fi/~pikkis/kuvat/357.jpg

Majic
July 5, 2007, 12:27 AM
Most of the older Colt revolvers were standard 4" barrels.
The standard was the 6 incher. The 4 incher was considered the combat revolver. The 4 incher didn't become popular until the LEOs stopped walking the beat and started doing their route in cars.

Alphazulu6
July 5, 2007, 12:29 AM
The standard was the 6 incher. The 4 incher was considered the combat revolver. The 4 incher didn't become popular until the LEOs stopped walking the beat and started doing their route in cars.

I stand corrected! Tough to find 6" .357s these days though. I was at the Sportsmans Store here in Colorado and they didnt have one! A whole 20' wall of handguns 4" was it in .357 mag.. the bigger .454 and such were in the 6"+ but thats it.

4" does do a good job if you use it for carry... it is still rather large and cumbersome if you were going to think of using it as a CCW.... I wouldnt personally. hehe

But as far as a holster there are some great ones out there. Colorado Leatherworks is a nice company and so is Don Hume. Both are a little pricey but its one of those one time purchases... they are only expensive when you keep buying the "El Cheapos" or "Good Idea Holsters" over and over finding the right one hehe.

Good Luck!

Rexster
July 5, 2007, 12:38 AM
IMHO, the .357 is at its ballistic best from longer barrels, but anything over 6" tends to become difficult to carry. I routinely carry a 2.25" SP101, a 4" Speed Six, and a 4" GP100. I do not find a 6" GP100 burdensome to carry, but it is too long to go inside the waistband, so it takes a quite long cover garment to conceal it, making it impractical for concealed carry most of the time. I doubt any critter hit with a .357 bullet will be able to tell whether it came from a 4" or 6" tube. I have seriously thought about having a 'smith cut a 6" Security Six barrel to 5", producing what may be a really handy sixgun. FWIW, I carry magnums in my SP101 snubbies.

Rexster
July 5, 2007, 12:45 AM
Hmm, forgot the holsters! I use the PMK rig from Milt Sparks for the SP101 snubbies, and for the 4" Speed Six. For the 4" and 6" GP100s, I have some duty-type holsters made by G. Wm. Davis, who is retired from holster making. For the 4" GP100, I also have a Galco Phoenix. Any of my 4" to 5" sixguns will ride quite well in a now-discontinued nylon IWB rig made by Eagle Industries. I also have a Milt Sparks 200AW in which I can carry the Speed Six; it's a bit less concealable than the PMK.

22-rimfire
July 5, 2007, 12:58 AM
There is no one size fits all. For CCW, 3" or less on a medium to small frame unless your method of carry is duty style.

Alphazulu6
July 5, 2007, 01:00 AM
Bianchi holsters are nice as well if you dont want to go leather. Forgot to add that in there :D

glockman19
July 5, 2007, 01:07 AM
The nice thing about the 4" & 5" is the balance. Once you get to 6" & over IMHO it becomes barrel heavy.

Feanaro
July 5, 2007, 01:31 AM
6" is probably the most versatile if you exclude carry. 4" the best balance if you want to carry, IMO.

Checkman
July 5, 2007, 04:24 AM
One of my favorite revolvers (that I own) is a 586 with a six inch barrel. In terms of esthetics (sp?) it just looks and feels right. However the ones that I take to the range more often are the 686 and the Model 28. both with 4" barrels. Ruger, S&W and Taurus are still making revolvers with six inch tubes, but it does seem that the 4" models are more common now.

I can remember back in the seventies, and much of the eighties, when the 6", 8" (Colt) and 8 3/8"(S&W) were popular models. Oh well tiems change.

As I've said in a similar thread on the revolver forum I'm currently infatuated with 38 special revovlers with 6" barrels. Don't know why, but I can tell you this. There seems to be very little interest in long barreled 38 special wheelguns, the used specimens are usually in very good condition and the prices tend to be reasonable.

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