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Hey Guys

I'm a big fan of the cowboy guns. I have a Single Six, Henry Lever in .22, and some black powders. But I'm about to start reloading, and want to get some big bore SA revolvers.

I like the looks of the Ruger's, but I'm looking to get something more true to the SAA clones. BUT, I am also quite the snub nose fan. I've been looking at the Cimarrons, because I like the price tag with them as well. I was thinking of getting the .4.75 barrel, but then I saw they have the sheriff models.

I understand the "long barrel, better accuracy" and whatnot. But that aside, is there any other disadvantage to the 3.5 in barrels? They look like hand little guns.
 

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Short barrels are more difficult to shoot, that's a fact of life. They're not specifically less accurate, but they're more difficult to shoot accurately. Short barrels also give up velocity, so they'll have considerably less power than longer barrels - which may or may not matter to you.

There are concessions made in buying an SAA clone - concessions that the Ruger New Vaqueros don't include. You might consider digging more into understanding those differences before you buy.

If you just want a plinking revolver, a sheriff's model is a fine option. If you're looking for a concealed carry piece, then a double action revolver or bottom feeder is a much better option.
 

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dubshooter, Varminterror is right ... all the accuracy and velocity attributes favor longer barrels. You will find ... velocity increases at a very rapid rate until the bullet has traveled about 4" down the bore. Velocity continues to increase in virtually all handgun length barrels but with each additional inch of bullet travel, the increase in velocity gets less and less per inch. So ... a 4" barrel is about the minimum length for good velocity.

Sight radius makes a big difference in the shooter's ability to aim well. For example: if you had a 6" sight radius (distance from the rear sight to the front sight in a 4" barreled revolver), at 25 yards, each .0066" of sight movement will drive the bullet off target by about 1 inch. If you had an 8" sight radius (6" barrel) it's a bit more forgiving and will allow .0089" of sight movement for the same 1" difference on the target. BTW, your fingernail is about .030" thick so we are talking about a very slight sight movement that causes a large difference downrange. Sight radius is not the only accuracy feature with a longer barrel. As velocity increases, so does the bullet's spin rate, which can make a notable difference in longer range bullet stability. Further, higher velocity means the bullet takes a shorter time to get to the target, which in turn means less bullet drop.

Short barreled revolvers do have an undeniable "cool factor" but after you get past looks, a longer barrel will serve you much better in all respects. I think one of the best "cowboy" guns ever made is a Ruger Blackhawk (not a mid frame BH) chambered in 45 Colt. A 4 5/8" barrel is a good compromise between ultimate performance and looks. You get the "old time cowboy" cartridge, plus you can safely load it to blazing velocity if you so choose. These guns hold up much better than the typical Colt Clone.
 

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Cool Factor 11 out of 10:)


Short barrels are actually more "mechanically" accurate, there are tons of people on YouTube shooting short barreled revolvers and rifles from Ransom rests and they shoot better than longer barreled guns, but not enough for the average shooter to care.

There's also the guy who pops balloons at 300 yards with a S&W .38 snub.

Cool Factor sells a lot of guns, that's why people gobble up 2.5" pre-lock S&W 686's, 3.5" S&W 27's and snub S&W .44 Mags, but you pretty much can't give away the 8 3/8" versions which have better velocity and sight radius.

Try selling a snub Super Blackhawk on the used market vs. a 10" model.........there's been a used 10" Super Blackhawk at my local dealer sitting in the case for years, no one wants that stuff unless a Silhouette shooter who just happens to want a gun walks in. Throw a 3" .44 Super Blackhawk in the case for a fair price and it won't last the week.
 

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I *think* if you look at the videos of SASS shooting events you'll notice that there's a LOT of Rugers being used.

I venture to guess that for those who shoot a lot, like the SASS competitors, they're the choice because they hold up the best.

The Italian guns are ok but if you want durable: Ruger.
 

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I have an older Ruger Blackhawk Bisley in .45LC and it's a wonderful, robust SA shooter. The adjustable rear sight and target front sight takes a little bit away from the 'cowboy factor' but that, along with the long sight radius does make for an accurate revolver. Another option if you want to shoot old school cowboy rounds is the 44-40. I have a Uberti 1890 Outlaw SA that is a period Remington clone in 44-40, and It's also a nice shooter. The Rugers are probably more robust, but the 'pretty factor' of the Uberti with that deep charcoal blue, the varnished grips, and lanyard ring is hard to beat!:cool:
 

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ExArmy11b,
Short barrels are actually more "mechanically" accurate, there are tons of people on YouTube shooting short barreled revolvers and rifles from Ransom rests and they shoot better than longer barreled guns, but not enough for the average shooter to care.
I hear the Brooklyn Bridge is for sale???

I used to own a Ransom Rest with many different grip adapters. After using it for over 10 years, I never saw one instance where a short barrel gun would outshoot a longer barrel gun ... assuming all parameter are kept the same. Sure, you could test a 7 1/2" barrel Ruger BH with tight throats and crappy ammo and easily beat it with a short barreled revolver with proper specs and good ammo. That said, if the guns are both in spec and decent ammo is used, a longer barreled revolver will win .... maybe not by a huge margin, but it will win.

I will say .. max velocity spreads are tighter with short barreled revolvers when using poor quality loads with slow burning powder. That's because a good share of the powder doesn't burn so the barrel acts almost like a regulator. This is a "saving grace" when shooting crappy ammo because velocities will be more uniform. When slow burning powder is used in good quality ammo, both a short barrel and long barrel will exhibit very tight velocity spreads. It's things like this that affect accuracy.
 

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I *think* if you look at the videos of SASS shooting events you'll notice that there's a LOT of Rugers being used.

I venture to guess that for those who shoot a lot, like the SASS competitors, they're the choice because they hold up the best.

The Italian guns are ok but if you want durable: Ruger.
Spike, AFAIK, you're very correct. Rugers are completely "legal" in cowboy action shooting, and popular because they last a long time.

Italian clones are popular too, and much more like "real" Colts, but they also wear out faster and break more often.
 

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I have various models and it does take a more practiced time using short barreled revolvers for distances greater than 20yrds or so. However my intended use for short barreled revolvers is much closer and meant for gun fights within closer proximity. Each variation has it's advantages. I do love Italian reproductions...just like potato chips, can't have just one.




 

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just feed them in the loading gate like rimmed cartridges?
Yes. seat on the case mouth.
 

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Like a lot of us in here I have more than a couple single action Rugers and they have barrels from 4 5/8" to 6 1/2". Personally I think the 5.5" barrels are the sweet spot. They look right, feel right and shoot the best IMO. I confess to liking the look of the short barreled BHG guns but I like the practicality of the longer barrels.

Caliber has something to do with barrel length too. I have five 4 5/8" guns and all but one are .357 or smaller. OTOH, all my 5.5" are either 45 Colt or 44mag. I've only owned two large caliber 4 5/8" guns. One was a SBH 44mag that I hated shooting. It's long gone. The other is a 45 Colt/ACP Vaquero that I still have and really enjoy shooting. Factory 45 ACP works well in the almost 1911 length barrel and I mostly shoot cowboy loads when using the 45 Colt cylinder.

If I ever felt the desire to buy a sub 4" barreled SA revolver it would probably be chambered in 357 or 45ACP. From my experience those calibers would be more enjoyable and more practical to shoot than 44/45 calibers in that barrel length. YMMV.
 

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For a good shooter, I agree that the 5.5 seems the sweet spot. I do gain a little on off hand accuracy out of my 6.5 and 7.5's,, but they are not very carry friendly,, especially the 7.5. But you can stand there and whack pop cans all day @ 25 to 50 yards with a 7.5 Ruger Blackhawk 45 cal convertable using the cheaper 45 ACP rounds. Fun to shoot too. No recoil since its so heavy. I always stuck with Ruger revolvers because they were the most consistantly accurate for me. Ive tried a few clones and cheap knock off's. Even off the bench @ 25 yards they had pretty wide groups. If your only shooting 10 yards, it really dont make much difference. A cheap clone would make a fun gun. But , IMO, if your going to step out to 25, 50 or 75 yards, and like accuracy, I'd get a Ruger.
I can hit a 6 inch square target @ over 100 yards with my single six 22 mag 6.5, or my blackhawk 327 FM 5.5 (of the bench) all day long. I'm not really capable of that kinda shooting off hand,, but the Ruger revolvers certainly are. So you know if you missed,, it was your fault. :D Not saying there might not be some decent clones,, but No clone I ever had would shoot like that. So I just stick with Rugers when it comes to revolvers. Never had one yet that wasnt a great shootin tack driver.
 

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Hey Guys

I'm a big fan of the cowboy guns. I have a Single Six, Henry Lever in .22, and some black powders. But I'm about to start reloading, and want to get some big bore SA revolvers.

I like the looks of the Ruger's, but I'm looking to get something more true to the SAA clones. BUT, I am also quite the snub nose fan. I've been looking at the Cimarrons, because I like the price tag with them as well. I was thinking of getting the .4.75 barrel, but then I saw they have the sheriff models.

I understand the "long barrel, better accuracy" and whatnot. But that aside, is there any other disadvantage to the 3.5 in barrels? They look like hand little guns.
I would recommend that you buy what you like. Don't overthink your purchase, all the information above may be true, but from a practical perspective, it's generally irrelevant. You won't know if the Sheriff model is for you until you get try it. They are very handy so since that appeals to you have a go with one. If you just don't like it, you can sell it. You'll have some practical experience under your belt for your next purchase choice.

There's an awful lot of short barrels posted about on these forums and they're most all liked by their owners.
 

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I would recommend that you buy what you like. Don't overthink your purchase, all the information above may be true, but from a practical perspective, it's generally irrelevant. You won't know if the Sheriff model is for you until you get try it. They are very handy so since that appeals to you have a go with one. If you just don't like it, you can sell it. You'll have some practical experience under your belt for your next purchase choice.

There's an awful lot of short barrels posted about on these forums and they're most all liked by their owners.
This is exactly right. I have several of these and they are fun to shoot. Maybe pick one up used and see if you like it. I have Rugers and Uberti's. They are all fun to shoot.
 

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Everybody has given you good sound advice but I agree with Hondo, get what you like, and trust me, SAS shooting is addictive and you will end up with several.
 

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Go Ruger

I too love the "cowboy" guns. I have had foreign made clones, and enjoyed them, but it seemed they needed a gunsmith's attention every few years of hard use. Once my Ruger addiction got started I found I could spend my money on holsters and ammo instead of having to give it to the 'smith to re-time a spitting revolver. I have Ruger single actions with barrel lengths of 3.75", 4.6", 6.5", 7.5", and 9.5" and love shooting them all. I'm missing that "perfect" 5.5" length in my collection, but when I find a stainless Bisley .357 in that length I can afford I will take care of that! I consider the planned use of the revolver, as well as the chambering, to determine what barrel length is appropriate. My adjustable-sighted magnums used for hunting wear long barrels for increased accuracy and velocity. My "traditional" sixguns (Vaqueros) have shorter barrels since they look great, are easy to carry, and still get plenty of performance from the .45 Colt. The ejector rod on my short barreled birdshead gets empty cases far enough out of the cylinder to where they are easily pulled out, but I will never get a speedy reload accomplished with that one.
 

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My "traditional" sixguns (Vaqueros) have shorter barrels since they look great,
And this is why dubshooter has to make his own decision :) . I don't think the shorties look all that great (proportion is just all wrong)... But hand me a 5 1/2" barrelled Sixgun ... and now that looks great, feel good in the hands and shoots wonderful. :D Thank goodness the manufacturer's make all kinds! I do have a couple of shorties. On is my .44 Special Bulldog for CC, and a .44Spec Sheriff also for CC. However I haven't yet CC'd the Sheriff as it is much heavier and bigger than the little Bulldog.... That said, I also can't quite shoot them as well. But then the purpose of a shortie, is really for very short range anyway (across the poker table distance for example) . So I suppose it is all for how you intend to use your revolver. One reason most sixgunners have more than one, two, three, etc. revolvers! Get what you like!
 
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