The rabbi lent me two of his Ruger SP101s for Sam. The Jewish gun guru can’t get his head ’round the fact that Her Indoors home carries a Smith & Wesson 686 on her hip, and plans on continuing to do so as and when she gets a concealed carry permit. “The gun weighs more than Sam does,” the rabbi pronounced, exaggerating only slightly. The stainless Rugers sported two-inch and three-inch barrels. Sam shot them alongside her Smith (which used to be my Smith, around the time of my last birthday). Sam couldn’t hit squat with the Rugers, and didn’t enjoy the experience. She shot nice tight groups with the four-inch Smith and smiled that crooked little smile of hers. .357? Even better. And now survivalblog.com has the low-down on barrel length and .357 ammo that proves that Sam does, indeed, own the perfect gun. Well almost . . .
The power of the .357 is greatly affected by barrel length. The .357 seems to hit its prime at 6”. Any shorter and a lot of power is lost any longer and you are toting a gun unnecessarily to [sic] big. If you look at the charts made by the gentlemen at Ballistics by the Inch you will see that the difference between a 2” barrel and a 6” barrel is upward of 700 ft/sec of velocity. If you use this info and plug it into the [Energy, Momentum, and Taylor KO (TKO) Calculator] calculator you will see that your values skyrocket as the barrel length increases. Using the data on a Corbon 125 grain JHP a 2” barrel yields an energy of 226 ft/lbs, momentum of 16, and a TKO of 5. Now you plug in the data from the same round out of a 6” barrel and you get an energy of 816 ft/lbs, momentum of 30, and a TKO of 10.
Now that’s what I call stopping power. Although yes, shot placement. The bottom line: six is better than four but four is better than three and three is a LOT better than a snubbie. In terms of recoil control, accuracy and stopping power, bigger is better. Although yes, shot placement. And no way Sam could schlep a six-inch Smith & Wesson 686-6. She’d end up walking funny. If you know what I mean.