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Overweight barrels

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by russlate, Oct 31, 2004.

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  1. russlate

    russlate Member

    May 8, 2003
    Walker Lake, NV: Flyway of the Loons
    Like the cars of the '50's had fins, and the cars of the late '90's and early twenty-first century have rear end spoilers, the revolver makers have been succumbing to a perverse trend that says all handguns should have ribbed and fully underlugged or heavy bull barrels.

    Tried to buy a 22 auto without a bull barrel lately?

    I recently picked up a Police Positive Mark V. It has a low but solid rib on top of the barrel, a heavy untapered cylindrical barrel and a Diamondback like full length underlug running all the way to the muzzle. Late model 36 3" target sighted chiefs' have also succumbed to such tomfoolery. And the K-22 has been ruined with a similar addition.

    It's time to tell the gun companies to knock the trend off!

    There are good reasons for a heavy bull barrel, a ventilated rib, and a solid underlug on a target or hunting handgun. The heavy barrel dampens twitches. The ventilated rib helps dissipate heatwaves. The underlug breaks up the harmonic vibrations to stiffen the barrel.

    Anyway, the point of this diatribe is that heavy barrels are heavy to carry. They also take more momentum to start and stop moving. Try an early Police Positive Special with 4" pencil barrel and exposted ejector against a 4" PP Mark V or a Diamondback. Now Smith and Wesson is about to discontinue the K frame in favor of the L frame. Fine: put a 4" pencil barrel model 10 up against a 4" L frame with top rib and full underlug. Guess which Colt and S&W is going to get the first hit? The lighter more easily manuverable ones.

    The moral of this story is to carry "just enough" gun and no more. or you'll end up leaving it at home instead of having it on you when it's needed.

    I feel much better now that I've said that.
  2. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 22, 2002
    Kampong Cham, Cambodia
    I tend to agree
  3. Dienekes

    Dienekes Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Concur. This heavy barrel/underlug stuff has been foisted off on us long enough. Similarly we got wide target triggers and hammers on revolvers for decades. In the main these things were actually counterproductive when it came to anything but deliberate slow fire. In fast DA it made for a more clumsy gun.

    When I finally had to get my slim barrelled Security Six overhauled it came back with a heavy barrel. It never handled as well for me afterwards. I adapted to it but sure missed the original feel.

    Same with .22 autopistols. We have about four in the family and all are standard slim barrels with the exception of a 5 1/4" heavy tapered barrel (which is a safe queen).

    Perversely the only guns I do like a heavy barrel and lug on are J frame Smiths--but they only run about 27 ounces in weight which is the same as a pencil barrel M10--still pretty quick to handle.

    And don't get me started on short barrelled (2"-3") N frames. I sometimes wonder if there are any shooters in the S&W organization or if they are all just a bunch of whiz kids. Their decision to drop the K frame probably answers that question...
  4. Majic

    Majic Member

    May 3, 2003
    Well sales killed off the K-frame magnum. In fact if there was a L-frame chambered in .22lr then the entire K-frame line would roll over and play dead. The M686 has been outselling the entire K-frame series by itself since it's introduction. So when you look at the numbers you will see that many more buyers chose the M686 with the full lug over the M66 with the half lug.
    The heavy barrel issue was solved much earlier. The M26 simply didn't sell as well as the M25 so it was dropped. Also the M10 could be bought with either barrel and more people were buying the heavy barrel model and the pencil barrel fell by the wayside.
    We all have specific styles we like, but if our desires don't fit in with the general buying public then we get left out. Such is economics.
  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    Personally, I think those "benefits" are myths that began life as marketing fluff. As well as I've ever been able to discern, heavy barrels help absorb recoil—period.

    I like under-lugged and ventilated-ribbed barrels out to about six inches; after that, I'd prefer a half lug or none at all.
  6. unspellable

    unspellable Member

    Aug 30, 2004
    thin barrels

    Buy one of those stainless Lugers. They still make them with thin barrels.
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