It is technically longer than 4 inches — 4.2 makes it legal to own in Canada — but it’s one of the most popular 4-inch revolvers on the market, and the velocities we measured with it didn’t show any unusual outliers.
In some cases, however, the velocity actually drops going from a shorter to a longer barrel.
The 6" bbl will cut down on recoil and blast. For the 4-inch test gun, we decided on the Ruger GP100. And thanks to our spouses, who were not just tolerant but enthusiastically supportive
The S&W 686-3 also showed a major drop in velocity with the Magtech 158 gr .357 Magnum load even though the same barrel had comparatively high velocities with some of the other loads. I suspect the barrel length that maxes .357 magnum velocity is probably quite long - longer than any rifle barrel made for that caliber. This was no doubt due to the fact that at some point, the drag of the rifling overcame the force of the gas pushing the bullet out the barrel.
been much more difficult and perhaps impossible. For every load, there was a velocity increase between the 2-inch barrels and the 4-inch barrels, but adding an additional two inches did not always produce greater velocity from the 6-inch barrel.
Both are good. There's a problem with that data...actually two problems.
Finally, while we did decide to test a range of different ammunitions, we realize that our tests are not comprehensive - we did not test every single type or brand of ammo available for a given caliber. cylinder gap +
We used products we
JHP: Cor Bon 140 gr.
the firearms community. this insane project much more practical. Your choice. This email contact address is not an "Ask the Firearms Expert" service. Thanks, tipoc - one of the most common complaints around the web (I try and drop in to sites where I get reports of discussions, but with almost 600,000 hits to the site so far I can't keep up with it all) is that we didn't test this or that ammo, or that we. Mine has a 4" barrel for that reason. We chose to use the 2-inch Kimber K6s for the actual gelatin tests because it’s got a steel frame so firing the magnum loads is more tolerable than a lightweight gun. Furthermore, the
A lot of you guys have been asking about the status of our .38 Special and .357 Magnum ballistic gel tests. How much does barrel length impact bullet velocity in .38 Spl and .357 Mag revolvers? them by name does not constitute an endorsement of any kind. Compared to the 4" barrel you will get an increase in velocity (100 fps +/-). Some of these results are a little suspect, but it's interesting nonetheless.
were either familiar with, or because they were what was available, and mentioning
Indeed, it would be almost impossible to do so - manufacturers change formulation of the ammunition frequently, so any such comprehensive tests would be obsolete by the time they were done. lb Muzzle Velocity ft/sec.
In the meantime, I wanted to give you a quick look at some of the background research we did before we started the actual gelatin tests. JHP: Federal 158 gr. The longer the barrel, the greater the velocity, and for self-defense rounds, higher velocities often translate to … No further tests will be conducted, but we will maintain this site and data for the use of
It includes the results of Speer’s velocity testing of three different .357 magnum loads with 30 different firearms. Those guys have done basically the same thing we did here, but they’ve got results for just about every handgun caliber and barrel length you can think of. Thanks for the great info and opinions from all.
Very interesting. We'd like to personally and specifically thank Pat Childs at Fin & Feather in Iowa City, as he not only helped get most of our
for a Muzzle Energy graph. Here’s what we came up with: There is another piece of conventional wisdom that says every time you add an inch to the barrel length, you should get a velocity increase of about 50 feet per second. or remuneration from anyone.
We also wanted to verify that there was a significant difference in velocity between the two inch and four inch guns we were planning to use before we started shooting up our expensive gel blocks. The same could be said for the semi-auto calibers that we’ve tested in the past, but .38 and .357 cover a much broader range of velocities than any one semi-auto caliber and that means barrel length tends to be an even more important factor with revolvers. There was an interesting article a while ago regarding the .45 Colt when fired out of a long barrel such as a Henry 1860 (Uberti) rifle. JHP: Cor Bon 125 gr. With .38 Special, and especially with .357 magnum, conventional wisdom says that barrel length has a huge bearing on the effectiveness of the bullet. If we tried to predict this data using the “50 feet per second per inch” rule, each line on the graph would progressively rise higher as the barrel length increases from left to right. This email link is to reach site administrators for assistance, if you cannot access TFL via other means. Taking a quick glance at the chart, it’s readily apparent that the velocity generally increases with barrel length, but not in every case, and the rate of increase is not predictable. In the meantime, I wanted to give you a quick look at some of the background research we did before we started the actual gelatin tests. 357 Magnum: LRN: 158: 225: 800: 357 Magnum JHP: Federal 130 gr. All in all the 6" barrel is better in most ways except carry. We are very close to having that wrapped up and I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as the results are ready. The purpose of their test was to illustrate the same basic principle we discovered here: every gun is different and you don’t really know what velocity you’ll get until you measure it.
If you want to know whether any of this velocity stuff actually has a real impact on self-defense bullet effectiveness, be sure to check the blog again soon for our ballistics gelatin test results. Depends on bullet weight, burn rate of the powder used, etc.
In fact, if you use rigorous protocols and document your findings along similar lines to how we did ours, we'll happily add your results to our site (and give you full credit) so that everyone can benefit.
for a Muzzle Energy graph for the tests in this caliber.  And remember to also check
Thank you. All the other revolvers we tested are fairly new. The link above to the guys who tested all sorts of variations is the best data I've seen so far. At the longer lengths, the round was actually exiting the barrel slower as barrel length increased. home +
Jim, sorry that our tests disappoint you.
Buffalo Bore also claims that their “Heavy” .357 Magnum hard cast 158-grain loads will produce 2153 fps and 1626 lb-ft from an 18″ carbine. So we got out the chronograph and measured velocity for a few different loads that we just happened to have in the safe – four .38s and four .357s. I suspect the barrel length that maxes .357 magnum velocity is probably quite long - longer than any rifle barrel made for that caliber. The longer the barrel, the greater the velocity, and for self-defense rounds, higher velocities often translate to better penetration and expansion. The longer the barrel, the greater the velocity, and for self-defense rounds, higher velocities often translate to better penetration and expansion.
real world guns. Such emails will be ignored. data is provided purely for entertainment purposes - to better facilitate arguments
With .38 Special, and especially with .357 magnum, conventional wisdom says that barrel length has a huge bearing on the effectiveness of the bullet. site designed and maintained by Coeurbois Graphic Design, Click here
Taking a quick glance at the chart, it’s readily apparent that the velocity, If this kind of nerdy velocity stuff gets you excited, check out, semi-auto calibers that we’ve tested in the past, this article originally printed in the 1974 Speer Reloading Manual, Cruiser Ready: How to Store a Home Defense Shotgun [2020 Update], You Can’t Use Your Sights in a Gunfight: Another Myth That Just Won’t Die. If this kind of nerdy velocity stuff gets you excited, check out Ballistics by the Inch. polygonal rifling +
But deciding which guns to use for the tests was a little tricky because, for example, not all so-called 2-inch snub nose revolvers are actually 2 inches.
Hornady makes a .357 Magnum 140-grain Leverevolution that claims to get 1850 fps and 1064 lb-ft from an 18″ carbine. Legal Disclaimer. It could be that those older revolvers were made to be optimized for loads we didn’t test. ATTENTION: Effective Sept 1, 2020, the BBTI Project is in "Archive Status." It's more barrel heavy (the 4" GP has about perfect balance though) making it easier to hit with at range. JHP: Cor Bon 125 gr. Follow Lucky Gunner Lounge from your Inbox!
For example, the Model 28-2 we used was made in the 1970s and the 686-3 is from the 80s.
The Kimber also showed pretty middle-of-the-road velocities compared to other short barrels. Jim's data for the tested loads seem to indicate a significant increase in velocity/energy going from 3" to 4" but a marginal increase or drop-off from 4" to 5".
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