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Barrel Length For Frame Size?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by WisBorn, Aug 28, 2022.

  1. WisBorn

    WisBorn Member

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    What are your favorite barrel lengths for the different frame sizes?
    Smith & Wesson J, K, L, N, & X frames
    Please include Colt, Ruger, Taurus, and other revolvers.
     
  2. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    I’ve got a flattop Blackhawk with a 5.5” barrel I find to be pretty ideal for packing around
     
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  3. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    3" or less and 5" or more. Anything but 4".

    I've never bought a 4" revolver. I'm always thinking of concealed carry or target shooting. 4" seems to be more suited for open carry, I guess, and I've never really done that.
     
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  4. Old_Grouch

    Old_Grouch Member

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    J - 2"
    K/L - 2½" or 3" for carry. 4" for range.
    N - 4"
    X - No experience so no opinion other than 4" for aesthetics.
     
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  5. mcb

    mcb Member

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    J-frame: 1-7/8 or 2-inch not a fan of J-frames but I have one that I do CCW.
    K-frame: 4-inch is very nice, good length for shooting and carry.
    L-frame: got no use for an L-frame until they make a 10mm version
    N-frame: 6.5 inch, Very shoot-able, spent years shooting USPSA with a 6.5 inch N-frame and I like the length better than the more popular 5-inch.
    X-frame: no idea but long to help tame the recoil.
     
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  6. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Im not a 4" fan either, except on the M15, where it looks perfect- B20.jpg
    Otherwise, I agree, its 2-3" or 6"+ for me.
     
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  7. nofendertom

    nofendertom Member

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    N frame---.44mag---8 3/8in barrel
    .357 mag---4in barrel
    No interest in J,K,L or X frames.
     
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  8. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Oops, see below.
     
  9. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I shot a 4" .500 X-Frame once.
    Well, twice, actually- as in two rounds. That was enough for me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2022
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  10. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I am partial to the 5” barrel length on anything K-frame and up.

    I only have one 5.5” Blackhawk, and a custom-length Model 14-3 that I had made from the 8 3/8” gun that had the bulged barrel, but that size just feels right to me.

    E90D5006-617A-4016-BE4C-E7E654661D66.jpeg

    8 3/8, 6, 5, 4 inch K frames.

    Stay safe.
     
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  11. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    The only J-frame I ever owned was a full lug 3" .38SPC... it was quite a revolver. Unless you just had to have a 2", I would say the 3" J would be the way to go... including the lug.
    EDIT: I forgot... I did own a 4" J-frame model 63 for a short period... a right handy pistol. I'm still mad that I sold it.

    I've owned 2 K-frames... a wonderful 1962 4" model 10, and a horrible 8 3/8" full lug 617 .22LR. If I was still shooting .38's, I'd still have that nice model 10. The 617, on the other hand, was a complete mismatch of a gun... I honestly don't know why I bought it, except I was still on my long barrel kick at the time. I wound up trading it for a Winchester 9422.

    I've owned 1 L-frame, a retired Westerville, OH police gun... 4" .357MAG. For weight and size, I don't think there is a better configuration.

    I've owned a few N-frames... including a 6" model 57, and 4"er 57 and 58. The 6" is reasonable enough, if you have a way to carry it... but the 4" beats the 6" hands down if you have to carry it. Although I've never handled one... I would opine that a 5" N-frame would be ideal, and a good trade-off between the two. I've also owned a 6.5" full-lug 657... the 1st Generation Classic Hunter. Indeed, a fantastic pistol, but at the same time, a LOT of pistol to carry. I had mine in an Original Dirty Harry shoulder holster from Cathey, which worked very well.

    I've often wondered how well a 4" full-lug N-frame would work out, in something like .41 or .44MAG. Seems like that extry weight on the muzzle would help a bit... even if it was only a few ounces.
     
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  12. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I had a 5” 629 for a while, it was about as nicely balanced an N frame as you could get. I stupidly sold it to pay for some utv upgrades a decade ago. I still kick myself for that one :thumbdown:.

    Stay safe.
     
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  13. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    That 6.5" 657 Classic remains the One Pistol I Regret Selling all these years later. I sold it to buy my M1a Socom16. While I'm happy that I have my M1a, it would have happened anyway, eventually, without selling that pistol. I know what I was doing, though... my interest in long-barreled pistols was waning, after I started shooting that 4" 686 I had. Along with the 657, I sold a 7.5" Bisley in .45 Colt, and one other pistol I don't recall... probably my 6" 57. I just should have made an exception for that 657... :(
     
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  14. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    9EAE2DB5-D107-4CA5-9EE4-8FF0B267F1A8.jpeg EE33756D-B389-4513-9565-5FC3D6464056.jpeg Depends on the application, 2 and 3 are good for fixed sight carry guns, 4&6 for target and hunting adjustable sights.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2022
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  15. Bill_in_TR

    Bill_in_TR Member

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    I guess I am the odd man out. I'm a big fan of the 4 inch barrel. For me anyway they provide a perfect balance. Longer barrels are more muzzle heavy than I like and shorter barrels are just too light in front for good stability. And it's just me but I would never own a snubby of any kind.
     
  16. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Frame sizes K frame and larger, 4" to 8-3/8". The frames are too big in my opinion for anything shorter than a 4" barrel.

    I have several K-frame, L-frame, and N-frame revolvers with 3" or shorter barrels. they shoot fine, but there just is not enough barrel.

    I do not think I'd shoot an X-frame with anything shorter than the 8-3/8" barrel. I have a 460XVR.

    I have 1-7/8", 3" and 4" barrel J-frames. 38 Special is about the most powerful cartridge I'll shoot in a J-frame. 22 LR and 32 S&WL are great to shoot in J-frames.

    The same choices would apply to similar sized Ruger and Colt revolvers of which I have a few of each. A Ruger GP100 in 44 Special is the only short barrel revolver I have in the larger frames models of these makes.
     
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  17. Rubone

    Rubone Member

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    A 4" Model 34 "Kit Gun" is just fine....
    DCP_4826.JPG
     
  18. LoonWulf

    LoonWulf Member

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    I'm a Ruger guy.....

    But in general....

    Small frame 3"-4" (sp101, bearcat/single 6)
    Medium frame 4-5" (gp-100, small frame Blackhawk)
    Large frame 5-8" (redhawk, super Blackhawk)
    XL frame.....pass
     
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  19. bangswitch

    bangswitch Member

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    Anything equal to or shorter than 6-1/2" in K or N. I and J, if I had any, would want the snub noses. I don't like L frames.
     
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  20. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    That's my favorite... revolver or auto. Even 2 of my 3 1911's are 4"...
     
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  21. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I have them from 1 7/8" up to 9.5".

    Lots of them are awesome and fun.

    N Frame: If it's going to have a heavy barrel and underlug, 5" shoots about as well as 6" and will balance better. My 625 is a favorite for that reason. Without a full underlug, 6" also feels good.

    J Frame: 2" is the classic, starting to also like 3" with large grips as a belt gun

    K Frame: 2" underrated carry piece, far easier to shoot than a j-frame
    3" nice belt gun, nice for SD
    4" not too big to wear on a belt, nice accuracy, classic for HD
    6" + nice for hunting and/or target shooting
     
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  22. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    J - 1 7/8”
    K - 2 1/2” unless it is a .22 then I like 6”
    L - 3” or 5”
    N - 3 1/2” or 6 1/2”

    X - :confused:

    Ruger RedHawk - 4”
    Ruger Blackhawk - 5.5”
     
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  23. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    J frame 3”
    K/L frame 4”
    N frame 5”

    All with enclosed half under lugs.
     
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  24. Rubone

    Rubone Member

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    DCP_4154.JPG
    .357, 7 shot 5", 6 shot 4", 5 shot 3", all fine by me.
     
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  25. WisBorn

    WisBorn Member

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    J frame 2" (1 7/8"-2 1/8")
    K frame 3"
    L frame 4"
    N frame 7"
    X frame 8 3/8"

    The problem is some of my favorites don't fit in the longer barrel as the frame size increases. My favorite 357 is a 686 3". My 415 Taurus 41mag is a K/L size with a 2 1/2". A K frame 22lr 4-6" would be nice!

    With the beefier/heavier Ruger frame add an inch with the exception of the LCR. I would stick with 2".
     
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