6" or 8" .44 mag?


October 5, 2010, 09:07 PM
just wondering what everyone's preference is.
I'm looking at the Taurus Raging Bull revolvers, just because I think a big bore revolver is probably necessary for the collection sooner or later.
I loved my Taurus 66 (6") but I'm thinking a bit more barrel may be better for the bigger round

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October 5, 2010, 10:02 PM
I can shoot .44 mags much better with the longer barrel. My 29-2 is 8 3/8th.

October 5, 2010, 10:31 PM
6" is a good compromise for the caliber and portability. I had an M29 that had a 6"bbl and my Vaquero is 5 1/2". I kind of wish I had gotten the Vaquero with the 4 5/8" bbl, but I mostly shoot it in .44Spl anyway. For carry, the 4" is certainly the better choice. I'd be hard pressed to shoot a .44Mag in a shorter barrel than that.

October 5, 2010, 10:45 PM
The only way I would consider the 8" would be if this a primary hunting revolver and then I would have to feel both to see which I preferred. (I'm not a Taurus man so I don't have any experience with them.)

But in general, I prefer longer barrels for hunting. They're not so long once you're out there.

October 6, 2010, 02:20 AM
If you plan on carrying it as a trail gun or something similar I'd go with 4 inch. Primarily for hunting I might consider the 8 inch but would most likely go with a 6 inch.

October 6, 2010, 04:48 AM
My favorite barrel length in a .44 Magnum revolver is 5" but that's not in the Poll.

August 28, 2011, 08:59 PM
well after almost a year, im finally getting it tomorrow, lol

I'm still torn between the two, im leaning tward the 8" but
the 6" balances a tad better. Is there a significant difference between a 6" and 8" in terms of recoil and muzzle blast?

August 28, 2011, 09:03 PM
I have a 4" and a 6"...The 6" is a tad friendlier with full house loads. However, the 4" is just an all around nicer gun for carrying. I can carry it in the same pancake I carry 4" .357's in. With the 6 incher, I have to either use a shoulder holster or be uncomfortable when sitting from using a belt holster....8"? No, thanks unless I only planned on using it for the range or hunting from a stand.

Smokey in PHX
August 28, 2011, 10:59 PM
My 44's are used for hunting and have the 8 and 3/8 " barrels. Really like them. I have a Vaquero with a shorter barrel for carrying when I am scouting.

NM Mountainman
August 28, 2011, 11:02 PM
I think the 6 or 6.5 inch is best for hunting. You are not giving up that much sight radius or velocity when compared to 7.5" or 8.375" barrels 6.5" barrel is the longest I can carry comfortably in a belt holster without it feeling awkward or hampering walking in the field.

7.5 " and longer barrels work best with a shoulder holster or an across the chest holster for me.

4" is the best for frequent holster carry while hiking or for defense while camping. Forget barrel lengths shorter than 4"; they have no advantages.

August 29, 2011, 12:23 AM
I prefer the longer barrel length, the slightly longer sight radius helps my aim, and the extra weight helps tame the recoil a bit.

When I carry a .44, it's usually a primary hunting weapon. I also do a fair amount of plinking, and the longer barrel lengths are just easier for me to shoot.

Just my $.02. Hope you enjoy your new toy. :)

August 29, 2011, 12:02 PM
well I think you guys may have swayed me to the 6" one with the poll results.

In an email resopnse from him, Randy Garrett (of Garrett Cartridges (http://www.garrettcartridges.com/)) also said he would prefer the 6", and from what I gather he knows a thing or two about the 44mag

Lucky Derby
August 29, 2011, 01:27 PM
For shooting I like the 6" or 6.5". For carrying I like the 4". A 5" would be a compromise between the two. I know not everone agrees with this, but I have always felt if you are going to have more than 6"-7" of barrel, you might just as well get a carbine instead of a handgun. If you are going to hunt, I understand some places have a minimum barrel length, so check those regs before you buy.

David E
August 29, 2011, 01:45 PM
For general purpose, the 6" wins easily. For strictly hunting or long range pursuits, the longer barrel might be better.

For those that don't think they can belt carry a 6" revolver apparently haven't used a cross-draw holster like the Bianchi Cyclone #111, because it allows very comfortable carry.

Add a shoulder holster and you can carry any barrel length easily.

But if I had to choose between my 4", 6" and 8 3/8ths, it'd be the 6" hands down.

August 29, 2011, 02:38 PM
When it comes to 44 mag's, my 6" gets carried and hunted with, by far the most...


August 29, 2011, 03:38 PM
Forget barrel lengths shorter than 4"; they have no advantages.

So I guess that means the Ruger Alaskan is out? :)

August 29, 2011, 04:52 PM
Since I've opted to shoot hot loads with heavy projectiles I bought the 8-3/8" barrel to help with recoil. I realize this makes for a somewhat awkward carry piece but I can't walk very far anyway. Mine is just in case really BIG feral hogs show up in my area. Oh... and for fun at the range.:)

August 29, 2011, 05:01 PM
I voted 4". If I need a longer barrel I'd just as soon carry a rifle.

August 29, 2011, 05:16 PM
I think four inches is the most useful length for general purpose DA's. Six inches is probably best for a dedicated hunting weapon. Anything more than that is just unnecessary.

August 29, 2011, 08:15 PM
I agree that 4 inches is probably best for general purpose/ all around type use; that's why I have a 4 inch 357. But for a dedicated .44 mag. hunting gun I really like my 7.5 inch Redhawk and the only place it gets carried to is either the deer woods or the range.

August 29, 2011, 08:43 PM
My opinion is, if it is a 'hunting' gun, then the longer the better. If it is a 'self-defense' gun, a 2.5 up to 4 inch is better.

August 29, 2011, 09:13 PM
here is how I'm gonna rationalize getting the 6" :p

the 8 3/8" barrel raging bull is nearly the same size as the Smitty XVR460 8" and only 10oz lighter, if I need more power than the 44 ill get the .460

August 30, 2011, 01:55 PM
Got my eye on this :)


Ala Dan
August 30, 2011, 06:24 PM
In a S&W model 629, definitely the 5" length~! ;) :D

August 30, 2011, 08:08 PM
My favorite to carry was a 4" 629, the gun also shot quite well.. Wish I never sold it.

My favorite to shoot is my 8" wesson 44VH, very tame recoil and it'll do 3 1/2" 100y groups from all 6 cylinders from a rest with sierra 220FPJ's at 1500fps. Not too bad to carry with a good, well fitted leather holster. A real pain with a cordura POS holster.

David E
August 31, 2011, 01:34 AM
All six cylinders?

Interesting gun. My .44 only came with one cylinder......but at least it has six chambers in it, but that's still only six shots to your 36.......

Maybe I need a new revolver.

August 31, 2011, 12:11 PM
I like four inches even though it's not in the thread.http://i817.photobucket.com/albums/zz95/VictorCastle/Anaconda.jpg

August 31, 2011, 12:33 PM
I like four inches even though it's not in the thread.
I would also disagree with how the poll is setup. IMHO, four inchers should not be lumped in with the snubs. Four inches is the widely accepted shortest practical barrel length for general purpose use. Snubs (anything less than 4") are a different matter entirely.

captain awesome
September 1, 2011, 01:46 AM
I like your rationalization gofastman, I voted eight inch because I like the long barrel revolvers, but leaving your option's open for going bigger is always a favorite.:evil:

September 1, 2011, 01:55 AM
I voted 6" because I can hit anything with it, don't see the need for longer.

September 1, 2011, 02:29 AM
I still think a 5" barrel is the optimum length for a .44 Magnum...

September 1, 2011, 08:26 AM
I would answer more generically

I never could get myself all excited about any magnum caliber round in snubbies, not even in rimfire or 32. (I would choose minimum of 3" for say, 22WMR or 32 H&R mag, but preferably 4")

Minimum 4" for general purpose, handles and carries real well, though I would still favor such as 38+P or 44 special in such, 5"-6" for range work or at home magnums

But.. if/when 6" still isn't enough sight radius to get the job done, well, that's why they make carbines. If you load up magnum level powder, might as well give it enough barrel to let the powder do it's work.

Sure, extra boost is extra boost, but it fades pretty quick as barrel length shrinks, rapidly diminishing returns, too much so to suit me.

September 1, 2011, 08:52 AM
My 6" 629 still points well - but feels different than it's 4" sibling with a bit less muzzle rise during recoil. A few more ounces 'out front' does help, with both recoil and longer distance shot placement.


Longer distances are aided most with a 2x28mm scope (Weaver H2). Note also the S&W/Hogue .500 Magnu X-frame grips - great aid to recoil control.


I've held 8+" 29/629's - I just like my revolver's muzzle to be in the same time zone as the trigger! 8+"-ers? Not for me. YMMV.


NM Mountainman
September 1, 2011, 03:04 PM
So I guess that means the Ruger Alaskan is out?

IMO, the Ruger Alaskan in .44 mag, is a cool looking, high quality revolver that is fun to shoot. The ones I have shot have been reasonably accurate.

But the Redhawk 4" or 629 4" is just as as easy to carry and draw quickly (unless you are sitting most of the time.) Almost all shooters shoot the 4" better than the snub, and the 4" gives a little less recoil and muzzle blast along with a little more velocity. So the 4" is a more practical choice than the snub.

If you can afford to own several .44 mags; a snub, a 4", a 6.5", and a carbine would be fun. But if you can only afford one or two, the 4" is more practical than the snub.

stainz in post #33 has the perfect 2 revolver set up, IMO: A 629 with 6.5" barrel with scope or red dot for hunting and range use paired with an easier to carry (and still good shooting) 629 4".

Cop Bob
September 1, 2011, 03:50 PM
For everyday carry, 4".. 2" in a 44 is insane.. way to much muzzle blast and you would be throwing away too much energy..

6" is the optimum barrel lenght for balance, effective powder burn, sight radius, and can be carried comforatably if you shop for the right rig... great choice..

8 3/8".. hunting and target use only... good, or should I say great length for sight radius, good barrel length for optimum powder burn to get the most velocity and energy out of your loads...

But a might unwieldy in a carry situation, unless your 9 ft tall... Long barrels do you more harm than good in a fire fight, Target acquisition, instinctive pointing, being able to negotiate corners, cover, concealment, etc.. not a CQB weapon at all.. and you have way to much handle sticking out there to make it safe from keeping someone from knocking it out of your hand or using it as a handle to take it away from you.... problem with the 6" as well.

September 1, 2011, 03:55 PM
A 4 incher makes for a great package to carry. This holster is actually for a .357, but my Anaconda fits in it just fine.


September 1, 2011, 04:51 PM
But the Redhawk 4" or 629 4" is just as as easy to carry and draw quickly (unless you are sitting most of the time.) Almost all shooters shoot the 4" better than the snub, and the 4" gives a little less recoil and muzzle blast along with a little more velocity. So the 4" is a more practical choice than the snub.
Agreed, 100%.

September 1, 2011, 06:57 PM
I own a Ruger super blackhawk 44 with a 7 1/2 " barrel.I love this gun it will give you a hell of a kick if your not expecting it. But if I was hunting or walking in the woods I would carry a 6" barrel. Just because it will give me a longer barrel for accuracy. A 4" barrel is fine for carrying. But I would be most likely not to use magnum loads just because of the recoil. Well living in the New England region I can shoot any thing ( pretty much ). Well it comes down to the shooter what you like and what you feel good with is what you use..

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