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I have a Ruger Bisley 45 Colt with a 7.5" barrel. I am thinking about buying another one with a 5.5" barrel. In general it is my understanding that with open sights people shoot longer barrels better because of the longer sight radius. How big of a difference on average does this make? For example if I can shoot 1.5" groups at 25 yards with a 7.5" barrel how much bigger if any would the groups likely be with a 5.5" barrel? Brian.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Not necessarily. It depends a LOT on your vision. For some people, as you get older and your eyes a little less flexible, the shorter sight radius starts to work better again.

You'd just have to try it and see.
 

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Mental focus, good form,(sight picture, grip and wrist tension, trigger squeeze, etc.etc.) and practice are the basics of pistol shooting. Some people are more accurate with a shorter bbl.(to me short barrels stop at 4" [revolvers], below that are snubbies) This happens because the shooter percieves less "shaking" of the front sight, and hence shoot more accurately due to increased confidence.
This is one of many variables to your querry.
 

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Brian,
the times when the longer barrel really seem to matter to me are when ranges are extended. At 25 yds I can shoot a 7.5 Bisley better than a 4 5/8" Blackhawk, but at 100 yds the difference is much greater. If you want a unscoped revolver to shoot or carry, and you're only concerned out to 25 yds, I don't see any reason to not go with the shorter tube.

If you're shooting full power .45 Colt loads, I think you'll find the longer tube more pleasant overall. Less perceived recoil, less muzzle blast, etc. Either way, you'll be way ahead with the added weight and shape of the steel Bisley grip frame than you would be with a Blackhawk. That applies most if you are using the stout loads.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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I am certainly no expert - I'll probably never shoot a handgun as well as I would like. But here is my experience.
I got a Super Blackhawk w/ 4 5/8" barrel and shot it until I got pretty good, but I couldn't seem to get any better. I also decided I should have a double action for bear protection, rather than the single action SB. So, I traded the SB for a S&W 629 with a six inch barrel, fully expecting the longer barrel on the more expensive gun to shoot better.
To make a long story short, I shot better (from the bench) with the 4 5/8" barrel than with the 6". Granted, I can put six rounds into a paper plate a lot more quickly and reliably with the 629, which is what I wanted for my purposes, but pure accuracy went to the shorter barrelled gun.

So, there are no hard and fast rules.
 

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If all things wee equal, then the longer sight radius would always shoot bettter than a short one. All things are never equal.

Could just get a better fit/better barrel/ or a better fit to your eye sight with the shorter tube, and it could shoot better than the long one. Once had a 4", 6" , and 8 3/8" S&W 57's. In order of grouping, it ran 6", 4", and the long barrel came in dead last (this is froma a bench rest with scope attached to each). Standing and shooting without suport, the 6" still shot better.
 

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Another thing to take into consideration is how much you are going to shoot the revolver. I'm not very muscular at 6' 195lbs, and without regular practice, a heavy revovler hanging out on the end of your arms can be challenging to shoot. The longer the barrel, the more leverage the revovler has working against you. If you're a dedicated shooter, it's not a problem, but with occasional practice, the shorter gun may be easier to shoot. See how long you can extend both your arms out in front of your for, with no handgun, you'll see what I mean.
 

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It all depends on what you mean by more accurate. If you are shooting iron sights then typically a longer front focal point will be better. Also your velocity will improve. At short range of 25 yards or less it makes no difference but if you want to shoot targets 75 or 100 yards out or more then a longer barrel is much better only if the longer barrel is heavy. The thinner a barrel is the more it vibrates when the round goes off.
 

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Hi Brian,
I' ve read all the replies to you on your question, and I want to discuss a subject that none have mentioned. However, firstly, let me congratulate you on being able to shoot 1 1/2" groups at 25 yards with an open-sighted-anything.

The subject I want to discuss is "sight picture". Most mfgrs that I'm familiar with use the same , rear, notch widths on their 4-5 inch barrels as they do on their 7-8" barrels. The same goes for the front blade widths.

Thus, with the longer barrel, the front sight MAY have more "white" on each side of it in the rear sight notch. It is harder to center the front sight with the longer barrel. If the "white" is not equal you'll experience a horizontal spread that you won't want.

With those same sight widths we are talking about, the front sight is nearer the eye, the "white" beside the front sight is much "tighter" and the tinyest difference in the widths of the "white" on each side of the front sight is VERY easily seen. Thus, many shooters of black, round, bullseyes at 25 and 50 yards can shoot VERY well indeed with the shorter barrel lengths and thus shorter sight radius's.

For all the other shooting situations, the others who responded to your question are very expert in their replies and I admire each of them greatly. I just wanted to throw my hat into the ring---but not my body--I'm too old for those games anymore. heh heh

Chuck
 
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