The only handguns that I would consider porting would be 44 magnun Smith & Wesson's or to keep recoil really light any of the double action 357 magnums. The big Ruger double actions don't need porting. Porting works best on high pressure cartridges so unless the pedals really to the metal it won't do much good. I've owned and shot quite a few guns that were Mag-na-ported and that system works quite well. Smith is offering some of their guns factory ported now and that works OK but I don't like the look myself. The Taurus ports are effective and don't take away from the cosmetics of the gun. Don't get me started on porting a gun that would be used in a defensive role. Just shoot one in low or no light some time for a fantastic light show.
Porting a single action is sacrilege, just don't do it. If the grips fit your hand properly the gun will make shooting just about any load bearable. Again if your shooting a 45 Colt, most loads will have pressures so low that the porting won't have much effect.
Barrel porting on handguns is a sensitive issue. I have ported a bunch of handguns and all of them are in 44 mag. All were one version or another of Magnaporting. Some in SA (Sorry Matt). I will agree that in light loads it is useless and just throws "dust" on your sights. On the other hand though.... In my SBH with a 4 5/8" bbl, the non ported recoil with heavy loads is a sobering and painful thing. Yet, with the (in this case), dual trap Magnaporting, I can shoot 300 gr bullets at over 1200 fps without even considering the effects of recoil and giving me very fast followup shots. The same is true with 325 gr bullets at just under 1200 fps. Recoil and recovery time cease to be a concern. With my 5 1/2" Redhawk I was, just today, shooting 330gr bullets @ 1300 fps and recoil was not an issue. Oh, there's lots happening but very little of it is perceived as recoil.
One reason there are a lot of opinions out there is that each hand is a rule unto itself. My son will not shot my Magnaported handguns because they sting his had badly. I will not shoot his SBH with origional grips as I can't control the gun or the pain well. That's why honest people have different views here. Guess it's a lot like shoes.
If you would like to get some more info, I wrote an article in "Tech Notes" that deals with some additional parts of this subject." I hope you find somebody who well let you shoot a ported handgun or two to try them out.
I've fired three revolvers that were ported and two autos. All wheelguns were .357's: a 2.25" SP-101, 3" S&W M65, and a factory comped S&W M686. The self-loaders were 1911 IPSC race guns in .38 Super and .45 ACP (they were a while back).
The only ones that seemed an improvement over similar by stock guns I'd shot were the Ruger and snubbie Model 65. Maybe the Super was helped a bit as well. I honestly don't think the majority of handguns create enough pressure to positively impact typical 30+ oz. handguns. Small, concealed carry magnums yes but not much. If you do it, go with the relatively cheap Magnaporting. That way you don't have a lot tied into a marginal improvement.
MT brought up something we should all consider if you pack a shorty for home invasion or what all. I love my "big Boys" but pack a S&W 640 all the time around the place. Load it up with slow burn powder and the flash is blinding in low light. So is the Big Boys when light off down in the swamps with slow burn! WW has worked to reduce the flash in WW296, but you can bet its still there. I shot some old loads with Speer 225 JHP's on top of 26 grs WW296 it the little Marlin 1894P late in the evening! WOW! I thought I had blown the end of the barrel off! Looking through the scope set at 1x it looked like a flash cube went off! Something to think about! Thanks MT.
Best Regards, James
Is there any truth to ported barrels "plugging" when using cast bullets without gas checks? Does the problem exist with GC bullets?? Perhaps the root question is: do cast bullets cause plugging???
Bill M - thanks for directing me to your tech note info - well written and practical.
My only experience with any barrel "modification" is with the rifle BOSS system on a 'new' Win Pre-64 .338. I helped my father-in-law sight in his BOSS .338 and his cousin's "plain" .338. BIG (and painful) difference without the BOSS system after 20 rounds.
It seems from what you folks have stated, as well as what I have read elsewhere, that high pressure/heavy bullet handgun loads benefit most from porting. This makes sense. However, IF a high velocity and heavy slug 45 colt load produces similar recoil figures (per the recoil calculator) as a 44 mag load, why wouldn't porting benefit the 45 handgun? Recoil is as recoil does....is it not?<!--emo&???--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt='???'><!--endemo-->
It really boils down to the pressure of the load. Porting relies on the "jet effect" to control muzzle lift. Basically a little rocket engine. Factors such as pressure, mass, weight of gun, grip design, perception of shooter and bullet wt. all combine to determine the net effect of the actual recoil reduction.
If the 45 colt is loaded to the same pressures as a 44 mag with the same bullet wt. and barrel length the effect of reduction should be similiar. However, the Colt is usually loaded to lower pressures even in +P loadings. Say 30,000 CUP to 40,000 CUP. The 45 Colt has more powder space in the case so often times you can achieve the same ballistics with lower pressures.
In a drastic example,
A 72 caliber revolver firing low pressure loads would not be able to take much benefit from porting due to the lack of pressure for the ports to use for the jet effect.
You are now a junior rocket scientist.
I wouldn't really bother porting a 45 Colt myself.
Contender now has to add to his title of Avanced Load Developer to include Rocket Scientist. :wink:
Alan, if your going to be shooting nothing but high pressure, high velocity loads you might get some benifit from porting. I think that as with most shooters, you'll be playing with low power fun stuff 95% of the time. The money saved from not porting will go a long way in bullets and powder.
Two things to consider when dealing with ported small arms: increased muzzle blast to either side and greatly increased noise levels. As you know from our private correspondence, I have a great deal of respect for Ross Seyfried. He has emphatically stated that not only will he not use ported weapons again, he will no longer guide paying hunters with same. All due to these downsides I just mentioned. The 2.25" SP-101 I mentioned in my first post to this thread is the ported weapon I'm most familiar with and is absolutely unpleasant for anyone within about a 270 degree "cone" when full-power 125-grain loads are used. My own Marlin Outfitter has chased away a few people the the firing line to either side.
I only have one handgun that is ported, and it is a factory job (still done by MagnaPort) on my FA .454. All I have ever shot out of it is 355 gr. bullets at 1700 fps, except for a little experimenting with some "lightweight" 310 gr. loads. Since this is a factory porting job, I really do not know how much it would buck and kick without the ports, but I can tell you my SB .44 Mag with stiff loads rears up almost as much so they must be working to some extent. Now, I do have two rifles that are Mag-Na-Ported and I had them done myself so I can confirm the differences it made. The first was a .458 Winny that would not say in the sandbags when shooting off the bench. After porting the rifle never leaves the bags. Recoil wasn't reduced much, if any, but there is now no muzzle jump. The exact same thing holds true for my son's Marlin 1895SS in .45-70. I can also confirm that Mag-Na-Porting does not decrease muzzle velocity even one foot per second, at least not in rifles. A friend of mine (yup, it's one of "those" stories) has a 6" FA .454 that he had ported himself. He swears it has made all the difference in the world between an afternoon of shooting being a chore and being a pleasure. Just some more fuel for the fire.
You asked about plugging up porting using cast bullets.
A couple of observations: First is with conventional porting, whether Magna-Port, or factory porting such as on Taurus, or Marlin guns. Although you will notice a slight gray lead spray over the area where the ports vent, you won't get any significant "plugging" of the ports. When you begin to see a buildup of lead in the ports themselves I've found that the common tip cleaners used on Oxy-Acetelyne cutting torches work wonders for cleaning out this lead accumulation.
Now for true muzzle brakes.... a real life story. I've only had one rifle muzzle-braked. At one time, Sam Johnson, (owner Answer-Products Corporation), was buying volumes of lapping supplies from us for their custom rifles, and the lapping services they one-time offered. In the couse of a phoe conversation one day he asked me if I had a particularly hard kicking rifle that I would like to have tamed. Well, I bundled up a Ruger KM77MKII in .338WM and shipped it to him. At no charge to me, Sam had his crew fit a trimline muzzle brake on that rifle, and sent it back to me to put through the paces. Through the paces it went!
I fired about a hundred jacketed bullets through that gun, and it behaved about like a .243 Winchester! Talk about spectacular on rock-chucks using 225g Hornady's! I also burned up a couple boxes of Sierra 250's that I had sitting around, one sitting I fired off 100 rounds across a canyon over 500 yards busting rocks! Some fun, and what an improvement!
Now.... for the rest of the story. I had tuned up some really good 235g Cast bullet loads for this rifle before it went to get tamed. These loads turned in a good solid 2680 fps with near MOA accuracy. I went for another shooting session with 200 of these loads to sling across a canyon and make small rocks out of big rocks. All went great, and a friend of mine went with me, we had a great afternoon shooting, untill about eighty shots into the session, that rifle cracked like a cannon, and the recoil literally spun my partner around! My neat, trimline muzzle-brake blew apart like a frag grenade!
I bundled the whole shebang up and sent it back to Sam at Answer Products. There, their engineers looked at the brake (the broken stub that was left) and determined that the lead had built up in the very fine ports of the brake, and had changed the harmonics of the porting, causing excessive pressures inside the brake, thus blowing it apart! They now have a disclaimer on their brakes voiding warranties if cast bullets are used!
This is the only brand of brake that I know of this happening with however. They use a multitude of ports drilled at many different angles which are very small in diameter.
Other brakes use much larger porting on the brakes they manufacture, and I have many customers shooting cast bullets with perfect satisfaction through these other brakes. Lead will build up to some extent, but cleanup is easy, and if you get a stainless brake, simply unscrew it, and drop it into a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and hydrogen-peroxide, and the lead deposited in the ports will be dissolved and totally gone in only 15-20 minutes!
Thank you board members for allowing me to benefit from your many years of experience.
I realize my question is sort of putting the cart before the horse (no handgun in hand) but I like to be prepared! I will not make a porting decision until I have fired several hundred rounds of hot loads through whatever it is I wind up with ~ the big gun show is this weekend....WAHOOOOOOOOO!!
That is probably the best course to take. I have two of the Mag-Na-Port conversions, the Stalker and Predator built on the Ruger SBH. The other two guns I own that have ports are my 375 JDJ and the SRH in 454. Three of these guns I qould not have ported except it was part of the conversion package or done by the previous owner. I have shot a 45-70 in a Contender with bullets up to 500 grains and not felt the need to have the muzzle ported. A friend on mine has an Encore in 416 Taylor and it is a good idea on it. Neither of my Freedom Arms 454s are ported, nor will they be. I have ordered a Freed Arms in 475 unported. None of the Linebaugh conversions I have shot were ported and they did just fine.
So, having said all that, it will boil down to being a personal preference, but remember, it always much easier to remove metal than to put it back.
Alan, I can't tell you about porting or braking reolvers as I have none that are treated this way.
In the Encore I have a handcannon that is muzzle braked, and there is almost no muzzle climb, the recoil is almost totally to the rear. This particular handgun benefits greatly from braking and I wouldn't consider shooting it without braking (50 ft/lb catagory and it comes back FAST!), blast and noise are easily tolerable with this big boomer for various reasons. I also have a magna ported .308 handgun barrel and it causes me to echo the blast and noise concerns that have already been written. With full house loads this particular load/barrel combo is painful w/o hearing protection in a leafed out forest. I'd never get another .308 handgun ported, the recoil just doesn't warrant the additional blast. Part of what I'm saying is that the better the cartridge utilizes the ports, the worse the blast (the higher the pressure when the ports are uncovered the worse the effect on the shooter and bystanders). In my limited metallic sil. shooting I've had shooters next to me "sit one out" because my shooting was rocking them way off target.
I'd like to add that just plain old shooting will do alot to remove the need for braking or porting. Shooting teaches one to "handle" or grow accustomed to recoil better than any brake or port can. Some handguns need the treatment, but most hunting handguns don't IMHO. If you reload, you can also make loads that have reduced recoil to reduce the need for porting or braking. I regularly download to save the hand/wrist/arm from major damage caused by shooting full power loads. Continual pounding from heavy recoil will definitely cause problems eventually. The ported .308 that hurts the ears so much is a real pussycat with reloads that mimic the ballistics of a .300 Whisper. The handcannon is a pussycat when downloaded also, this from new handgun shooters.
I have shot both ported and unported single action revolvers in .44 Mag, and the only real differance I notice is in muzzle jump. My buddys Vaquero with the dual trap ports has a quicker recovery time, than my unported Super Blackhawk. Recoil to me seems about the same. If you have the cash and it will give you more confidence then port, if not just keep shootin' them down range!
Just my $.02 worth. <!--emo&--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=''><!--endemo-->
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