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Discussion Starter #1
New to the forum, not to Rugers, I have a 2008 22/45 target that I've had probably that long. My question is is there any information that says one is better than the other or is it personal preference? I have the 4 inch version but I'm looking into the 6 inch tactical solutions upper.
 

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They say longer barrels give the shooter more "sight radius." Longer sight radius makes aiming easier. I like a good mix of sight radius and balance.
 

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I have three Ruger pistols with the long barrel: Mark ii Gov. Target, Mark iii Target and Mark iii Competition Target. I'm shooting the Mark ii with iron sights, can't mount optics without drilling and tapping. Long barrel helps with sight radius. Shooting both Mark iii's using scopes, sight radius isn't a consideration in those situations, but eye relief is. But, eye relief won't be a factor because of long, or short barrel, the optics rail is mounted in the same location on both.

I don't feel either of my Rugers are well balanced. m/b a four inch barrel would be better balanced. I'm going to try my Burris FastFire red dot on the Mark iii's to see how they balance. If there isn't any accuracy difference between the short and long barrel, using a nice red dot, like the Burris, eliminates the sight radius equation.

In general, I find four to five inch barrels to offer better balance, but it really depends on the guns. I shoot both a SIG X-5 and X-6 regularly. The X-5, 5 inch barrel, feels better balanced. But, I shoot the X-6 much, much better, even though the balance doesn't feel as good.
 

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Here's three Rugers with three different length barrels:

The two handguns are
10.5" .44mag and a
2.25" .357mag
Kinda apples to oranges.
I can easily hit gallon milk jugs at 100 yards with the .44, probably not with the .357
 

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The Tactical Solutions aluminum barrels will not feel the same as a Ruger 5.5" or 6 7/8" steel heavy barrels. The balance and handling on a 6 7/8" steel heavy barrel, a 4" steel bull, and a 6" aluminum TacSol will all be very different.

Sight radius advantage is a real benefit, but only if you're shooting open sights. Throw a red dot on top, or other optic, and you'll have equivalent aiming precision potential in any barrel length.

Accuracy advantage of longer barrels isn't imaginary, but for 90% of shooters in 90% of their applications, the difference will be moot. I have 4.75" tapered barrel Ruger Mark I and II's that shoot incredibly well, despite their marked lacking of muzzle weight and short sight radius. Can I milk better accuracy out of 10" bull barrel? You bet. But I have to try pretty dang hard to be able to tell the difference, especially for off hand shooting, and most of the time, either are accurate enough to do what I need of them.

Personally - for a heavy barreled, full size, rimfire pistol, I'm not thinking about any type of tactical or defensive application, so a 4" barrel isn't an advantage. For a usable belt gun, target arm, and small game hunting pistol, a 6" barrel makes much more sense to me. No bunny or squirrel will ever be able to notice the 50-150fps gap between a 4" and a 6", but the shooter often can.

I'd rather have a 6". My "go-to's" out of a few dozen Ruger Mark I/II/III pistols are a 6" tapered Mark II Standard Stainless and a 6 5/8" slab sided Mark III Competition.
 
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