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Discussion Starter #1
Mine is a 24" barrel, although I'm not sure if the slightly better accuracy is worth the limited handling abilities of a long barrel more suited for a rifle cartridge.

I'm thinking about trading it, but maybe not. I don't know yet.

What do you all think?
 

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I like the extra weight of the 24" octagon barrel on my Marlin for shooting offhand. Seems to help with stability. The long barrel also quiets down subsonic loads a good bit compared to a 20".

That said I think the 20" is the best compromise if you're limited to one levergun.
 

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I really like my Win. 94 .45 colt 20", easy to get around with. Real good shooter, it wouldn't matter to me, their great guns!Enjoy it, it's not like their making anymore!
 

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With standard or lite loads I don't think it matters much. but when you load top end loads and 300gr and heavier bullets,you really appericate the long barrel.Jim.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
.45colt said:
With standard or lite loads I don't think it matters much. but when you load top end loads and 300gr and heavier bullets,you really appericate the long barrel.Jim.
So if I'm firing standard pressure .45 Colt, there wouldn't be any noticeable difference between a 19" carbine and a 24" sporting rifle? Would anyone happen to know the difference in FPS?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Longer = quieter, usually faster MV.

Shorter = handier. Often shorter barrels are a bit more accurate, but this certainly isn't going to come into play unless you are on the bench, shooting from sandbags.

If you are hunting, you'll have to pick some sort of reasonable compromise. For target shooting, just use the one that you like best.
 

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When shooting off hand, the extra weight makes it easier to hold still. One is not that much more accurate if any. Its just which one you like the looks of better. It is all really what you prefer. I like both, but prefer a longer barrel for stability. If you carry one, you won't even notice the length of the barrel. I carry a muzzleloader deer hunting. It has a 32" barrel. I have never noticed it being too long to handle in the woods. It is also 9lbs. and never notice that either.
 

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A short barrel being accurate has to do with barrel harmonics - shorter = stiffer for the same profile. Smaller oscillations, keep the bullets all started downrange pointed at the same place. More of a competitive bench rest type of consideration and I'm not really sure why I brought it up, in retrospect.

It's a small thing and not something I'd worry about in the hunting fields. As noted, a longer barrel is often easier for a person to shoot off-hand, with more weight out in front.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
MikeG said:
A short barrel being accurate has to do with barrel harmonics - shorter = stiffer for the same profile. Smaller oscillations, keep the bullets all started downrange pointed at the same place. More of a competitive bench rest type of consideration and I'm not really sure why I brought it up, in retrospect.

It's a small thing and not something I'd worry about in the hunting fields. As noted, a longer barrel is often easier for a person to shoot off-hand, with more weight out in front.
Wow, I didn't know that...I always thought longer barrel = better accuracy. I guess you learn something new everyday!

Well, when I say easy handling, I don't mean easy handling per se; rather, I mean what is a practical length for the power of the cartridge being used.

For example: I could understand a 20-24" barrel for a 30-30 winchester. But a revolver cartridge? The Thompson submachinegun had a 10" barrel as opposed to the 5" barrel of the 1911. On single shot, this made the Thompson useful up until 100 yards or so. A 10" barrel is far more easier handling than a 24" barrel. But as you mentioned, longer barrels are easier to balance when aiming.

So it's basically a matter of diminishing returns. After a certain point, an FPS increase for every inch of barrel is less than worth it.

Hmm, that's some bad grammar now that I look back at it, but I don't know how else to reword it but this:

What's the shortest barrel length I can get away with for a .45 Colt and still achieve good performance? I've heard that 19" Saddle Ring Carbine is the best for .45 Colt and .44-40 chambered weapons.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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The .45 Colt is a far cry from the .45 ACP, when loaded up to modern guns. You're talking much higher pressure (when loaded for the Rugers et al), and quite a bit more powder capacity, to boot.

My Marlin 1894 Cowboy, with a 24" barrel, is treading on the heels of the black-powder .45-70 loadings (300gr. bullets at 1700FPS). These aren't 'cowboy' loads, and they kill on both ends :D

Question remains... what do you want to do with the gun?
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
MikeG said:
Question remains... what do you want to do with the gun?
Well as you said, the Colt +P rounds fired from these things really rock the house. But just like any other magnum, they're not really comfortable for plinking. For some reason, I could sit there and shoot a 30-06 rifle all day and standard pressure .45 Colt. But those super heavy 250-300 gr bullets moving at near rifle velocity? Recoil is brutal, and my dad doesn't want to shoot those. For the kind of recoil is produces, it's ineffeciency compared to a 30-06 is almost, well it is, dissapointing. Unless I decide to get a tang sight.

That is why I made that thread about recoil pads, if you remember.

But that OTHER thing you said about it being almost like a blackpowder 45-70: I plan on buying a 45-70 rifle sometime in the future, so what use would the Colt +P be (unless I still wanted a revolver).

Winchester, as great a weapon you made, with the technology available to you at the time, I would still only consider it a repeating carbine, not a repeating rifle.

So now that you know the backround information, I'll tell you straight up what I wanted to do with it:

Not quite CAS, but I would do alot of quick levering action. Something that could easily be done with standard pressure loads, but impractical with Colt +P loads.

The only reason I considered shooting off +P loads in the gun was because I was told that it would be great companion to a heavy ruger revolver. But now that I've shot magnum pistols, and realized I don't really like it that much, I'm not too keen on shooting them off in that light rifle either.

So plinking, Deer hunting, and possibly some amatuer CAS.
 

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My Marlin .45 Colt is a 24" barrel. I use only standard loads around 900. Works very well hardly any recoil , and a dream to use. I can use my Colts .45 SAA with the same ammo. I don't reload but a friend does for me. Just my .02 cents.............MUTT
 

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I prefer the shortest bbl length possible (16") so when I am carrying muzzle down, the bbl doesn't touch the ground. Having the short bbl also allows for a quicker draw on target, and less weight. The loss of velocity isn't too bad, considering the rest of the advantages. (but I really like being able to walk with my arm rested down and the bbl not touch the ground with the gun on one hand)
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Point taken.

But consider that the .45-70 1886 has a barrel length of 26". When you compare the performance that you get from a .45-70 compared to that of a .45 Colt or a .44-40, is a 24" barrel really that necessary?

You'll likely not notice anything in the way of performance (might lose a few FPS) if you just use a 19" carbine; but you will notice how much easier it is to handle when your barrel is 5" shorter.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, Im seriously considering getting a winchester with a shorter barrel. I find that it's awkward having a rifle length barrel for cartridges that are a match for revolver rounds in terms of power (.44-40, std pressure .45LC, etc).

Now I'm trying to decide weather to get a 16" trapper, or a 19" saddle ring carbine.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yeah, I think I agree with you. Anything longer than 16" for a revolver cartridge doesn't really make any practical difference.

But let me ask you this: If the trappers were the optimum size for leverguns (that fired pistol cartriges), then why did were most of Winchester's sales were of the standard 24" barrel? Why wasn't the trapper more popular?
 

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I think it is a combination of looks and what people are used to. It should be easier to shoot straight with the long bbl because the sights are further apart, and you have a little bit of velocity gain. I don't see the need for a 24" bbl, but a 19" bbl makes sense. Heck, my Model Seven in 243 has an 18" bbl, wth does a 45 colt lever gun with iron sights need to be 24"?
 
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