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Pencil barrels and aesthetics

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Dr_2_B, Sep 23, 2012.

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  1. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    I remarked recently that manufacturers make revolvers with wider (thicker/broader) barrels these days based mostly on aesthetics. I.e. buyers generally find the looks of the thicker barrels more appealing than the looks of the older-style pencil barrels... so that's what the manufactures build. I went on to note that the pencil barrels would work just as well and might theoretically be a little less expensive to manufacture because they would require a little less material.

    But this was merely supposition on my part. Some of you guys with more experience with revolvers correct me if I was wrong. Was I off-base?
     
  2. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Heavy barrels are useful for absorbing recoil on magnum loads, so have a purpose. Tapered barrels will be more complex to machine. My guesstimate is that tapered barrels were dumped because it was simpler to keep one cheaper to manufacture profile in stock.
     
  3. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Member

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    Less material equals more machine time, machine time equals money.

    Besides, I am in the camp that thinks heavy barrels look better!!
     
  4. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    I like the "Standard" barrel and have converted a S&W 65 3" HB to a 4" standard barrel.
    here it is with my 3" 13
    [​IMG]
     
  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I have always liked the heavy barrels for better balance. Just feels nice to have a bit more weight at the muzzle end. I also prefer the looks of a heavy barrel compared to the pencil shape model.
     
  6. whtsmoke

    whtsmoke Member

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    nothing sexier than a ruger 6 7/8 inch bbl on a MK111 target, long slim and tapered. glad i got mine before they quit making them.
     
  7. firesky101

    firesky101 Member

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    I am in the heavy barrel camp, they do indeed look better IMO.
     
  8. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    I like them long and sleek.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    I'll take a hb over a pencil any day of the week. That is my opinion. If I were a street cop I would probably go with the pencil.
     
  10. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

    Recoil aside and going purely for looks, I like the heavy barrels on the S&Ws with counter bored chambers and the pencil barrels on the S&Ws with non-counter bored chambers.
     
  11. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    Ooh VERY nice.

    Still, the first thing I thought of when I saw them was Jack Nicholson as the Joker and his big ole loooong revolver.
     
  12. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    I'm with you Iggy, those are some nice revolvers. Now, I'll draw the line on my Python, no skinny there!
     
  13. hariph creek

    hariph creek Member

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    Tapered or "pencil" barrel for me.
    Really don't care for the looks of a full underlug, either.
     
  14. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    It all depends on the gun, for me. An old Model 10 looks best with high polish blue and a 4 inch tapered barrel, in my eyes.
    A 3" Model 65 bull barrel looks great to me.
    Underlug looks great on a Python, GP100, or 686.
    N frame Smith looks plain SECKSY with a tapered barrel.
    Charter Bulldog looks great to me with the 3" tapered barrel, or the 2.75" (scarce) bull barrel.
    The Colt Police Positive Special looks best, to me with the old tapered barrel, though I do like the 1990s vintage redo with the heavy barrel.
    In other words, it all depends on the gun.
     
  15. waidmann

    waidmann Member

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    ^+1 more for classic tapered. And with a nod to Radagast, its all HB's and RB's cause we have determined one size fits all.

    W.
     
  16. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Member

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    Personally, I like 'em ALL . . .

    The tapered barrels are more sleek and beautiful, IMHO.

    Here's a couple of my tapered barrel revolvers . . .

    [​IMG]

    . . . and a 1970 S&W Model 27-2 with the sexy 3 1/2 tapered barrel and original magna stocks. It doesn't get any better than THIS, IMHO . . .
    [​IMG]
     
  17. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    On the fixed sight guns I far and away prefer the tapered pencil barrel. When it's got a tall rear adjustable I like a half lug straight barrel with a full length top rib. Sadly my Model 19 doesn't have a full length rib. But I like it anyway... :D
     
  18. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Member

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    For a hard kicking caliber, obviously from a use standpoint the heavier contour is the way to go. Otherwise I prefer the tapered barrels.
     
  19. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    There was a time when I didn't like the tapered barrel. I thought they looked "quaint and old fashioned."

    Nowdays, I like them because they DO look "quaint and old fashioned."

    24-3 (44 Special)

    [​IMG]

    But there is a time and a place for the heavy barrel. A little extra weight in front helps with recoil with heavy recoiling calibers like the 44 magnum, in this 29-2.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    When I was shooting competition I used revolvers with heavy barrels to help get me back on target faster, it worked. I no longer compete so I get to use what I like or what I think is better looking. For that, I prefer the pencil barrel. And like others have said, they just look better.
     
  21. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    As a machinist/engineer in the past, the LEAST expensive aspect of a part is, with rare exceptions, the amount of stainless/carbon steel used. The MOST expensive part is the set-up time for machining. Those oversize and, for some, ugly (not me) full-lugged barrels are easier to fixture in the machining center. They have much more "meat" to grab in the fixture, have fewer angles to accomodate, and are far less affected by temp rise during fabrication.
    And those are not opinions, but facts.
    But aesthetics are often far from having anything to do with practicallity. Buy what you like, but be prepared to pay for it, if necessary.
     
  22. lowercase

    lowercase Member

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    I like the standard barrel revolvers, too.

    Model 10-5

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    Interesting, beag_nut. I was wrong at least on that point.
     
  24. skidder

    skidder Member

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    Yes, it seems strange how they woke up one morning and said, "Let's start making heavy barrels". These two are 1 year apart, 357 left 1979, and 38 right 1980. Strange how the 38 has the heavy barrel :confused:.

    I could be wrong, but I think the heavy barrel was introduced to the Sixes in 79'.


    [​IMG]
     
  25. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    That's where I'm at with it. IMHO, plain few things in this world are more beautiful than an N-frame with the tapered barrel. Bull barrels like on the model 29 are okay and I find the red insert front sights to be more offensive than the barrel contour ever could. For the most part, I despise full lugs and think they are a product of more shooters shooting at the range and fewer actually carrying them.

    [​IMG]
     
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