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Distinguished Revolver Matches - barrel length

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Steve B
aub1957
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Post by aub1957 1/18/2023, 11:14 am

I have shot two CMP Revolver EIC matches. First match I shot, I used an S&W 14, 6-inch, with factory 158 American Eagle RN ammo. Second try, I used an S&W 586, 6-inch, with the same ammo. Shot a little better with the 14, but it was ugly for both matches. I have tendonitis in my shooting arm, so I think that full lug 586 was a bit too heavy for me. I thought the model 14 was more comfortable to shoot. I am sure I'm not using the right ammo, but I had higher hopes with the model 14.

I was messing around with a new 4-inch 686 plus recently at the farm, and shot some hand loads at 25 yards. It was 10-ring accurate, which surprised me. For those that shoot these distinguished revolver matches, would you be at a disadvantage shooting a 4-inch barreled revolver (especially at 50 yds)? I am wondering if this would be a better platform for me with the right grips. Anybody out there shoot these matches with a 4-inch barrel?

Also, not against picking up a different revolver if anyone has a recommendation that they campaign successfully in these matches.

aub1957

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Post by aub1957 1/18/2023, 11:15 am

By the way, I think these revolver matches are fun as heck!

aub1957

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Post by Steve B 1/18/2023, 12:11 pm

I've had quite a few 14's over the years.  Nearly every one had dimensional issues with the cylinder throats, forcing cone and crown.  Addressing those areas will help to maximize the potential accuracy of that factory pistol.

I always shot a 6" gun for the longer sight radius, but have seen quite a few competitors use 4" revolvers.

Steve B

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Post by Boxturtle 1/18/2023, 12:38 pm

In my experience 4" revolvers with iron sighs shoot just fine.  If you shoot the gun well and like it, it will not put you at a disadvantage.  Shoot the one you shoot the best.


Last edited by Boxturtle on 1/18/2023, 1:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by JRV 1/18/2023, 1:19 pm

I would feel disadvantaged with a shorter gun, yes.

A 4” medium frame revolver would have a sight radius of around (or under) 6”—roughly equivalent to shooting bullseye with a Commander-length 1911.

A 6” revolver, depending on frame size, has a 7.5-8” sight radius—roughly equivalent to shooting a Government 1911 with a Bomar rib and an extended front sight.

Provided gun weight, gun balance, and shooter strength are all reasonable, there’s no benefit to a shorter sight radius. The coarser sight picture will hide alignment errors that will cost points at 50 yards.

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Post by RodJ 1/19/2023, 5:59 pm

Steve B wrote:I've had quite a few 14's over the years.  Nearly every one had dimensional issues with the cylinder throats, forcing cone and crown.  Addressing those areas will help to maximize the potential accuracy of that factory pistol.

Steve, Did you investigate and find these issues because the gun wouldn’t shoot? Or are these issues that you checked for and found before (o after) purchase? I’m not educated deeply into S&W so was not familiar with these issues that seem so common. 

Curious because I now have a Model 14-4 (thanks to the forum) and a Model 19-5. No chance to RR them but I plan to sand bag as best I can.

Thanks
Rod

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Post by John Dervis 1/19/2023, 8:04 pm

Accuracy wise there won’t be a difference between the two barrel lengths.  A 6” barrel  has a longer sight radius and that generally makes it easier to shoot well.  But since you are struggling with strength and hold etc, there is no reason not to use the shorter barrel if you shoot it better.  

Good luck.
John

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