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Ideal .44 Magnum Barrel Length

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by SWAddict, Nov 22, 2009.

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  1. SWAddict

    SWAddict Member

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    Hello.

    I may take the plunge and get a S&W model 629 .44 magnum. I am looking at 629's with a full lug barrel. What would be the ideal barrel length? These are the factors I am considering:

    1. Portability.
    2. Felt recoil.
    3. Accuracy.
    4. Sight radius.

    Bearing those factors in mind, I am considering a 5" barrel or possible getting a 629 with a 6" or 6.5" barrel and having it cut down to 4". What would you guys recommend?

    I already have a 4" 625 and love the look and balance of it. I also have a 610 that has a 3 7/8" barrel and this barrel length seems to have an even better balance. Both of these have full-lug barrels and their recoil is easily controllable. How close to the recoil of my 625, or 610 would a .44 mag be in similar barrel lengths? Any and all opinions welcome. Thanks.
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Full lug? 4", because 6" full lug barrels are too front heavy to suit me. I don't think the sight radius between 4", 5" and 6" is a big deal, but obviously a 6" sight radius will give a bit of an edge.
     
  3. -eaux-

    -eaux- Member

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    what primary purpose will the weapon serve?
    .44mag is great in a 10.5" Super Blackhawk for hunting medium-sized game.
    great in a 3-4" barrel for SD Vs. black bears.
    completely useless for SD vs. two-legged uglies, IMHO. YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  4. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Well, it used to be that .44 mags were hard to sell because of the horrendous recoil, with 6-inchers being the best. If I were an Alaskan guide, I'd sure get one in both, but as a shooter, I'd stay with a 6-inch.

    If you handload, my choice would be a 4-incher -- that is, if you wanted a gun for self defense. For short-barreled guns, I like the .357 and for .44 mags, a 6-inch. Anything longer than that should have a bayonet mount! I like the craftsmanship of the 4-inchers; I just wouldn't enjoy shooting them.
     
  5. NMGonzo

    NMGonzo Member

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    my 5 /12 works well ... only fall and winter conceal
     
  6. glockman19

    glockman19 Member

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    I bought the S&W 629 5" classic. Love it. IMHO, the 5" fully lugged barrel is the perfectly balanced .44 mag.
     
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I shoot and carry the 4" 629 all the time. Great gun! With the 4" barrel the size is just great for carry, both IWB and OWB.

    I shoot a lot of .44 Spc. through it (~8,000 last year) but the recoil is by no means uncomfortable, even with my 300 gr. reloads at over 1,200 fps.

    A great gun, that hits a sweet spot between power and carry-ability.

    -Sam
     
  8. victory model

    victory model Member

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    I loved my 7.5" Redhawk.....but want a 4"....pretty sure I'll stick with special loads.
     
  9. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    I really like the feel of the 6" full lug. I like my big thumpers a little nose heavy.
     
  10. Rio Laxas

    Rio Laxas Member

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    I think a 5" barrel is the perfect length for a large frame revolver.
     
  11. Maj Dad
    • Contributing Member

    Maj Dad Contributing Member

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    +1 on the 5"

    I agree with almostfree - a Brazilian Navy S&W M1917 that I put a pair of Magna grips on to replace the disintegrating factory stocks has turned out to be one of my favorite revolvers. It's not a 44 by any means, but the overall feel of it and the holsterability are just superb. A late friend had a nickel M29 with a 5" bbl he got in the early 70's and it was a veritable Da Vinci in looks, portability and quality. But I digress... :D
     
  12. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    I think my 629-6 with a 6" half length lug barrel is the cat's meow.
     
  13. medmo

    medmo Member

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    I have a 3", 4" and 6". The 3" round butt is what I carry all the time when out hunting, hiking or just out knocking around in the boon docks. It's more portable than the other two. If I was handgun hunting than I would have the 6" due to longer sight radius and higher velocity.
     
  14. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    IMO the best length barrel for a .44 Magnum revolver is 5".
     
  15. Oro

    Oro Member

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    I have N frames in 3", 3.5", 4", 5", and 6.5". Some of them are .44 magnums but not all of them. On your criteria I would say:

    The accuracy/sight radius issue is just not that big a deal - it is between 4" and, say 8 3/8", but on any length between 4" and 6.5" is going to decide accuracy on the gun itself and it's inherent quality more so than the length. There was an extensive test of this on a combat handgun test famously reprinted in Gun Digest. Skilled shooters in the comparisons scored equally well with 4" or 6.5" guns at a wide variety of distances. You will always get a few more fps out of the longer barrel, but not necessarily more accuracy.

    5" balances nicely. But the 4" carries more easily. But I don't think they made a factory 4" full lug did they? If that is a strict criteria, get the 5" full lug and live with that - the high cost of altering it for 1" of length is not worth it. Like medmo, my 3" .44 magnum gets carried as much as all others combined (except the 3.5") because of the ease of carry.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  16. ClemY

    ClemY Member

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    I like 5" for most stuff. My Redhawks are 5 1/2". Of course, it is a matter of personal preference.

    If you intend to hunt with it, check your local regs. Where I live, 6" is the minimum length.
     
  17. flipajig

    flipajig Member

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    Gods coununtry. IDAHO.
    I like mine 7 1/2 super blackhawk shoots great with light loads and fullbore
    and when i get serious my super 14 contender barrel is alot of fun too.
     
  18. BushyGuy

    BushyGuy Member

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    at the end of the world..
    i would say 5" or 6" is best, 4" might be a little slow for needed velocity.
     
  19. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Here's some reading on that:

    http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355776

    Basically, each revolver will produce it's own velocities due to a number of factors including b/c gap, and some 4" revolvers will shoot the same ammo at a higher velocity than some 6" guns.

    But compared side-by-side a 4" and a 6" barrel will most probably produce less than a 30 fps difference in velocity. i.e: nothing worth worrying about.

    -Sam
     
  20. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    7" or more

    That cartridge was born as hunting round not to be used in a CCW piece...

    The 44 Mag perform the best in longer barrels.
     
  21. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I'll chime in on the 5" being the best all around that I have had. I would like a 3" 5 shot.
     
  22. Kernel

    Kernel Member

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    Ditto
     
  23. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    That would probably be news to Elmer Keith, who we have to thank for the existence of the .44 Magnum.

    So, while he did hunt with it, he actually cut down his hunting gun to make it more carryable. So, it would seem he carried it more than he specifically hunted with it.

    I like his way of thinking and CCW my 4" 629 regularly.

    -Sam
     
  24. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    What do you mean??

    I do not see Keith handling a short barrel revolver or a snubnose here...:rolleyes:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A 4" or less 44 Mag revolver is nonsense, IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  25. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    And yet, he cut 2" off his 6-1/2" 629 to more easily carry it. And, apparently, he had a factory 4" version as well, which he carried more often. It seems these are part of his estate's collection, so I don't think they're imaginary.

    You may feel that they are "nonsense," but it seems that the guy who invented the round came to disagree with your point of view!

    You should try a shorter 629... mine's a pussycat. Even with the big loads it's not uncomfortable to shoot a lot -- just lively.

    -Sam
     
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