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Old 08-11-2017, 07:17 PM
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Default ACCURACY: model 14 (6 inch vs. 8 3/8 inch)

Well my wait is almost over, going to pick up my longer barreled model 14-3 tomorrow. Thing is my other 2 model 14's I own with 6 inch barrels are already the most accurate of my 8 S&W revolvers. I guess the question I have to ask is: if there is any appreciable difference anybody is able to notice between a 6 inch model 14 and an 8 3/8 inch version. I certainly will find out tomorrow when we all go together straight to the range, but I am so excited tonight I just have to ask.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:30 PM
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The barrel length should have no bearing on the inherent accuracy of your revolvers.

The longer sight radius on the 8 3/8" may help your shooting marginally or it may magnify your perception of sight motion attributable to muscle tremor resulting in less accuracy. The extra muzzle weight may also effect things.

Let us know your impressions after you've shot your new revolver.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:36 PM
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Well, my only Model 14 is a long tube (8 3/8" bbl.) model and it is a very accurate gun. However, I would seriously doubt there is much, if any, difference between the accuracy of the two. I think the shooter would be more of a factor.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:40 PM
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I shoot my M-14 (8 3/8) scoped 7X35 on a rest, that taught me how important the right ammo combination is, stay away from the cheap stuff.

Last edited by Jersey Doug; 08-11-2017 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:40 PM
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Oh ya I will post my thoughts on the whole situation. I have been thinking on the subject all day and most of my other revolvers are 4 inch and I think that's why I find the 14's so accurate. My only other longer barrel is a model 29 and it's just not comparable to shooting a 38 special so I am unable to make that comparison outright. I think what is going to end with, is it will all be in my head (in my mind longer sight radius=accuracy) so that's what will happen.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:52 PM
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Great project.

I will be picking up my 8 3/8 masterpiece in 30 days and can not wait. I share your excitement. This will also be my first long barrel 38 caliber Smith.

I am thinking that you may see differences. Yes, sight radius will be positively influenced by the long tube.

However I know from rifle shooting there is a winning barrel length which must be a multiple of the harmonic vibration of the barrel and caliber. Some say 20'' is often a good length for 308 and going longer may diminish returns. I think that also depends on the harmonics, wall thickness, free floating etc which are hard to measure or predict.

I would assume that a 8 3/8 revolver barrel will undergo quite some vibration compared to a 4'' tube. You have a nice few days of experimentation on your hands. If you hand load, the parameters you can play with will be endless which makes our pastime all the more exciting.
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:00 PM
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I just had some Remington target wadcutter match rounds arrive today, not that much more money, looking forward to trying them tomorrow. Almost have enough one shot brass to break out of storage my reloader & dies. Going to the range in the morning, we'll see.

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Old 08-11-2017, 09:10 PM
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I have a friend with a 6" Model 14 and I have shot a 8 3/8 Model 14 at bullseye for decades. My friend wondered if my longer barrel gun was more accurate so we shot both from rest with my wadcutters, and either gun routinely shot 1" at 25 yd.
So as far as the gun itself, I expect no difference. How the shooter does with the gun can be substantial. For our model 14s, if we're shooting over 1" at 25 yards, it's not the gun. Reassuring but also humbling.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:33 PM
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I was thinking that the longer barrel may show itself at a longer distance such as 25 yards. So my first experiment will be both guns at 7 yards mostly because I have never shot the gun and must see where it's sights are set at. But then move out to 15 yards then 20 that's about where I normally shoot at can keep it pretty close off hand. Then out to 25 yards the max distance of my indoor range. I do reload so I have some different weight bullets with varying powder charges (mild to wild). So yes options become limitless but for now just some standard side by side shooting. I always bring at least a half dozen guns and spend at least an hour shooting so tomorrow I will just save the 14's till I'm all warmed up.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:16 PM
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The problem with either may be that when you miss you can't blame the gun......
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:08 AM
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I shoot 4" barreled guns better than 6" ones. When I competed I always used a 4" M15 even though I've got many 6" guns too. I think it's more an individual thing and individual experiences will vary.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:04 AM
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Barrel length actually has no bearing on inherent accuracy. Sight radius is what can make the difference. If your vision is sufficiently sharp and your hands sufficiently steady, you should be able to shoot more accurately with a 8 3/8" barrel. But, if that longer barrel does not balance as well in your hands as a shorter barrel or your eyes cannot make use of the increased sight radius, then you will see no improvement and maybe even worse accuracy.

Just my experience with firearms.
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:27 AM
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Would this barrel length theory (barrel length not that much of a factor on accuracy) hold true just as well in .22 cal ? I have a scoped 8 3/8 M-53 (.22 L.R, cylinder) and and scoped 8 3/8 M-17 (both 7X35) I shoot consistent groups size of a quarter or less. I also have a four inch M-18 I could scope easy for test comparison. Going to give it a try,, being scoped on a rest we can factor out site radius, yes? . Results in one week.

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Old 08-13-2017, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
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Would this barrel length theory (barrel length not that much of a factor on accuracy) hold true just as well in .22 cal ? I have a scoped 8 3/8 M-53 (.22 L.R, cylinder) and and scoped 8 3/8 M-17 (both 7X35) I shoot consistent groups size of a quarter or less. I also have a four inch M-18 I could scope easy for test comparison. Going to give it a try,, being scoped on a rest we can factor out site radius, yes? . Results in one week.
Absolutely. The use of a scope eliminates any advantage or disadvantage of sight radius.
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:06 PM
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Just got back from the range having shot my M-14 8 3/8 scoped at 7X35. The difference this time, using those Remington target wadcutter instead of the budget ammo.
The result, made a six shot connecting clover (a few in the same hole) got so excited when reeled the target in lost my calmness for the next cylinder full
. I found out today that I've been letting successes compromise my shooting accuracy.
Next week have to arrive knowing this gun is going to do this and maintain that inner calmness. Emotions effect accuracy it seems????
Should add, I'm not pro scope anti open sights, for those (like me) that age has effected your ability to focus open sights,,, scopes not only get you back on the range, some of the results are jaw dropping to those curious in the next booth.

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Old 08-24-2017, 10:46 PM
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Default ready to test

This weekend putting a scoped four inch M-18 (.22) against my eight inch M-17 (.22). Both using same exact type 7X35 scopes, same ammo, same style rest. Most here know already what I'm about to find out, just want to see for myself.
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:04 PM
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I realized for my testing I should have done as you did - shoot from a rest. I was just too excited to test out my new toy against my other one shooting as I always do. Standing freehand at 25 yards just don't translate out on bullseye in a pic. I went back Wednesday with some hbwc out that 8/38 from rest at 25 yards night and day difference. Everything in center all touching/overlapped. Unfortunately I had my 4 inch 64-5 not the 6 inch 14-3 or I would have documented the difference. Was my first time using the hbwc over 4.5 grains of R sllohuette. Wow its a perfect complement to a model 14!
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Old 08-25-2017, 09:56 PM
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Default 4 inch verses 8 3/8th

This morning was at the range accuracy testing. Exactly what I was told would happen,, happened!! My four inch M-18 shot just as accurately (for me) as my long barrel 8 3/8 inch M-17 or my M-53 with L.R.cylinder , (both with same scopes and ammo). For anyone that wants to reply "told you so" this is the time. And yes,, every time I reeled the target back in thought,, "you have got to be kidding me" ,, little M-18 proved the point today.
Like to try a two inch barrel scoped (some one has to do this crazy stuff) . I know in J-frame there's a M-34 in two inch .22 , but not sure the Model of a K- frame .22 for a donor ?
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Old 08-26-2017, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersey Doug View Post
This morning was at the range accuracy testing. Exactly what I was told would happen,, happened!! My four inch M-18 shot just as accurately (for me) as my long barrel 8 3/8 inch M-17 or my M-53 with L.R.cylinder , (both with same scopes and ammo). For anyone that wants to reply "told you so" this is the time. And yes,, every time I reeled the target back in thought,, "you have got to be kidding me" ,, little M-18 proved the point today.
Like to try a two inch barrel scoped (some one has to do this crazy stuff) . I know in J-frame there's a M-34 in two inch .22 , but not sure the Model of a K- frame .22 for a donor ?
Told you so! LOL!

Longer barrels simply do little to nothing for accuracy. What they do is increase sight radius, which can help you shoot more accurately, increase weight, which can help with recoil control and muzzle rise, and increase velocity, but only up to a point. There is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to velocity, especially with non-magnum calibers.

Now, you have proven this to yourself and you had a good day at the range. Win-win.
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Old 08-26-2017, 01:58 PM
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The testing supplied doesn't convince me that anything was proved. If the 4" shoots just as good as an 8 3/8", with say 4" groups standing offhand, we have proved nothing.

Lots of folks looking to prove a point, not collect data. Not enough good controls and data shown here. I would think that looking at what winning competitors use would be a better analysis.

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Old 08-26-2017, 05:23 PM
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I shot my identically scoped 8 3/8 M-17 and M-53 (.22 L.R. cylinder) each and every weekend, sometime twice a weekend from the same exact type rest with the same exact ammo, same exact targets. It is a indoor range with no weather variables what so ever and have had the same results hundreds of times over without deviation, that being groups the size of a quarter (or less) each time. The four inch M-18 (once scope was set) instantly matched the 8 3/8 grouping, not did pretty good, did not just come close, matched it. Although no one was more skeptical than I, with the amount of proven information on this site, this whole test was a confirmation of fact, not projecting a new theory.
For others that shoot un-scoped "off hand" agreed there is a multitude of shooter factors this type test did not have to contend with.

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Old 08-27-2017, 02:16 PM
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I have question about the use of the words prove and fact.

I have no idea if the barrel length has anything to do with accuracy.
But I do know the variables are almost endless. Inherent accuracy is tough to measure outside of a true lab situation.

For example, each and every gun is different, even the same model. I have several of the exact same models that do not have the same accuracy. Every time a drill bit is used it looses some sharpness, which means cylinders made one right after the other, are not the same.

Jersey Doug clearly has a personal M53 that he can shoot as well as his personal M17. That is as far as the proof goes. That does not prove one barrel length is better than another. Using the same ammo and rest provide consistency for only two variables out of many. Using two different model guns for the comparison puts the test into questionable results before you start.

We have no idea if the M53 is the best one ever made, and the M17 is the worst one every made. We certainly have no idea whether the barrel length had anything to do with it. It was nice seeing the use of scopes; scopes are required to reduce user variable.


It's difficult to see differences up close. Many of my best revolvers look very similar in accuracy at 15 or 25 yards (under an 1"). However, I do most of my shooting at 100 yards plus and accuracy differences really begin to show up.

My own lifetime of testing has shown both short barrels and long barrels with good accuracy. Some guns are better than others. Testing is tough for one because of the sight radius differences.
My shorter barreled sixguns could be as accurate, but I definitely can not shoot them as well because of the sights. Do I believe a short barrel can get a bullet spinning cleanly in 2". Yea, I think I do. Do I think it's "easier" to get it spinning cleanly in 10". Yea, I think I do.

Prescut

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Old 08-27-2017, 03:46 PM
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Well Prescut, with all the expertise that is on this site if the results weren't viable and already know by these experts here ahead of time this tread would have one correcting post after another wouldn't you think? All three of my revolvers were bought brand new (by me) and one N.O.S. and are in pristine condition.
I had another long session at the range this morning and will say,,, there is an ease of shooting tight groups with the weight of the longer barrel. This is to say, once again they all shoot the quarter size groups only much more comfortable with barrel weight. The M-17 and M-18 are identical revolvers except for barrel length. The test preformed is scoped revolver, results pertaining to that set up. Only thing left to say is all those center rings blown out of each target (as shown) every time using the four inch M-18 didn't happen by accident.

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Old 08-30-2017, 06:41 AM
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There are plenty of people who still believe that the earth is flat and the sun and stars revolve around the earth and there is nothing that will change their minds.
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:22 PM
MygunisaS&Wrevolver MygunisaS&Wrevolver is offline
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Model 14s were always considered a target revolver and buit with extra care. At least the ones that I have owned and shot have barrel cylinder alignment that is always precise and the gap is about .400. Thats why they shoot so good. As far as the 6" versus the 8 3/8", I don't know, never had an 8 3/8".
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:39 PM
MygunisaS&Wrevolver MygunisaS&Wrevolver is offline
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This reminds me of the sign above the toilet in the restroom at the gun club "Shooters with short barrels must aim carefully" same principle I think!
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Old 08-30-2017, 07:01 PM
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I have both. The 8 3/8" is the most FUN to shoot. At least to me anyway. When I carry it to the range it draws lots of attention and plenty of "may I please shoot it". Your mileage may vary...
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Old 08-30-2017, 09:12 PM
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I used to think that longer barrels meant greater accuracy at longer ranges. Then I tried shooting my M&P CORE L at 80 yards from a rest with a fastfire II red dot. Much to my surprise I was able to hit a 10 inch gong with regularity. This was in no way shape or form a scientific approach, but it did upend my bias that short barreled guns can't be used to hit targets at surprising distances. I have an 8 3/8's 586 that I always used for longer range shooting. I plan to do some more shooting at the longer distances to see what kind of groups I can put together, but until recently I never even considered attempting it. FWIW
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