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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking at my first revolver. I am like the looks, reputation and characteristics of the Ruger GP100 and SW 686. The extra round on the 686 plus is something I am thinking about but I am looking for opinions on barrel length. It will not be a CCW. It will be used for home defense, target and camping trips. I will start shooting the .38 rounds but will also look to familiarize myself (and my wife) with shooting the .357 rounds. Does the 6" barrel give a significant range/accuracy difference?
 

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Only my opinion. I prefer the 4 inch barrels. If you are going to be using the revolver for hunting/target shooting the 6 inch gives you a longer sight radius. This will provide slightly better accuracy.

Welcome to the world of shooting!!
 

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Been away for awhile. But as a CCW instructor and seeing a lot. Do they make a speed loader that holds seven rounds? Also as you say your wife is going to be shooting it also, can she handle a six inch barrel revolver comfortably? I see a lot of men buying a handgun they like and expect their spouses to be able to shoot it comfortably and it does not always work out for them. As far as barrel lenght goes, if youand your wife practices enough what ever you shoot with a 4" or a 6" barrel will not know the difference in accuracy. I also prefer the 4" guns as they shoot just as good as 6" or 7 1/2" guns but pack easier. I am a firm believer of trigger time on the gun range, if you practice you will not need that seventh round. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Generally, I’m another one who prefers a revolver with a 4 inch barrel; however, my hunting, PPC (Police Pistol Combat), and range revolvers all have barrels longer than 4 inches. Why? Because a 6 inch barrel is easier to shoot straight and hits a little harder. I have a custom-built, 6 inch barreled, S&W Model 27 that is absolutely deadly to use.

Could I shoot PPC with a 4 or 5 inch barrel? Sure, but, the longer barrel points more quickly and easily. My hunting pistol is an S&W Model 29 with an 8 3/8 inch barrel. This pistol has the best balance and is the most natural pointer of any handgun I’ve ever owned. Personally I wouldn’t shave an inch off my Model 29’s barrel length.

My EDC carry revolver is an S&W Model 686 with a 2 1/2 inch barrel. I shoot it well enough for most self-defense scenarios; but you’ve got to remember I’m a practiced double-action revolver shooter. I suppose that if I had only one general purpose revolver it would have a 4 inch barrel; but, I own many revolvers and am able to match various barrel lengths to specific intended uses. For whatever it’s worth, it wouldn’t bother me to use my Model 27 (with it’s 6 inch pipe) as an EDC piece. It’s an easy pointing, hard hitting gun that I happen to have a nice piece of leather for. So, it is possible to carry a concealed revolver with a 6 inch barrel if you happen to have the need.

HKS does make 7 round speedloaders. The only problem is you’ve got to be Jerry Miculek in order to use one of those things (with their rotational locks) well. The rest of us, mere mortals, are better off with 6 round, Safariland, ‘Comp II’ speedloaders - For most revolver shooters the Comp II’s (with their push action locks) are, both, faster and easier to use.

Consequently I, personally, wouldn’t own a 7 shot revolver; and I would think twice before purchasing any revolver that I couldn't get Comp II speedloaders (or, perhaps, ‘moon clips’) for. 6 in the gun, and 2 full Matt Del Fatti, ‘split-the-belt’ speedloader pouches (12 more cartridges) on the strong-hand side of my gun belt should be more than I’ll ever actually need.

By the way, I never use 38 Special cartridges, or cases, in my 357 Magnum revolvers. What I’ve done for many years, now, is to load down longer 357 Magnum cases to 38 Special velocities; or else I purchase commercial, ‘el crapo’ 357 Magnum target loads and use them in my 357’s. Running a lot of shorter 38 Special cartridges through a 357 Mag cylinder can, ‘fire etch’ or powder-corrode the front of each individual chamber. Then, when you return to shooting the longer 357 Magnum cartridges hard extraction can be the result. A few boxes of 38’s won’t do any harm - Especially if you clean the pistol well after each use; I’m talking about a steady diet of 38’s in a 357. THAT is never a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses they are much appreciated. My wife will have her own gun. I will handle (if possible) both the 4 and 6" barrels and see how they feel. I have seen similar responses on other forums to the 7 shot versions and will avoid them. I would rather get plenty of rounds through the gun and not worry about having the extra round. Again thanks for the responses and helpful information.
 
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