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Thread: Match grade barrel for pistol, worth it?

  1. #1

    Default Match grade barrel for pistol, worth it?

    Now I know match grade barrels are of very high quality, but the thing I wonder is does a match grade barrel make difference on a pistol when compared to a normal quality barrel.
    I'm thinking it of high tolerances and all that means better fit of bullet and barrel thus better accuracy, yet at the same time I think but a pistol barrel is so short atleast mine will be (4 inch barrel) and that any gain is could be wont justify the cost.

  2. #2
    Moderator James's Avatar
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    I've installed Ed Brown and Nowlin match barrels on a couple of 1911s (5") and they are noticeably more accurate than standard factory barrels. That said, the factory barrels are plenty accurate for most people. For me, a factory barrel on a 1911 might give me a 10" group at 25 yards (offhand) while, everything else being the same, the match barrel allows me to shoot about a 6" group.

    Depending on your level of experience, you'll very likely see a greater increase in accuracy by getting a lot of practice with your existing barrel, rather than investing in a new one right now.

  3. #3

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    Ok thats a larger difference then i expected, at most i thought a match for a pistol would take off like 1 inch in the groupings. good to know there is a worthwhile difference. Now i'm kinda sad since I have to research into match grade barrels, and then design one for .357 magnum. Oh well all in the pursuit for what i hope will be the perfect revolver for me.

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    Μολὼν λαβέ Hollis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YourImaginaryStalker View Post
    Ok thats a larger difference then i expected, at most i thought a match for a pistol would take off like 1 inch in the groupings. good to know there is a worthwhile difference. Now i'm kinda sad since I have to research into match grade barrels, and then design one for .357 magnum. Oh well all in the pursuit for what i hope will be the perfect revolver for me.

    H&K SOCOM, suppose to have a match barrel 3 MOA. Now, that being said, how it it being held is a big factor. Most pistols are not shot from a rest. The best MOA are from a rest and from rifles that are never held/shouldered.

    You might what to do some research. A good book on rifles is The Accurate Rifle.

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    Moderator James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YourImaginaryStalker View Post
    Ok thats a larger difference then i expected, at most i thought a match for a pistol would take off like 1 inch in the groupings. good to know there is a worthwhile difference. Now i'm kinda sad since I have to research into match grade barrels, and then design one for .357 magnum. Oh well all in the pursuit for what i hope will be the perfect revolver for me.
    I should have added that I made the change to match barrels about 3 years ago, while I continued to shoot and improve my skills. Even with a factory barrel, I would shoot better today. My results weren't scientific.

    Also, FWIW, my factory Kimber barrel (from a 2001 pistol) was far superior to a 1997 factory Colt barrel. I honestly believe that 90% of accuracy comes from the shooter, not the equipment. I consider myself a fairly accomplished marksman, and this after something like 100K rounds through the platform, which isn't really that much for pros/SOF types.

    I'd still encourage you to spend time at the range vs. upgrading your barrel right now. Most of your accuracy comes from your sight picture and trigger pull, not your barrel. When you get to a high level, that's when you start to shave inches by upgrading equipment.

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    Member snake's Avatar
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    Though the bushing should be matched to the barrel with tightest Tolerance my 2 cents

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    Senior Member wiking's Avatar
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    Pistol accuracy is a somewhat tricky subject. Most factory pistols will outshoot most shooters, meaning the inherent mechanical accuracy of a pistol is greater than the majority of shooters can actually achieve. Once you get up into the top IPSC, IDPA, ISSF, Olympic etc. shooting, the skill level and performance demand becomes great enough to warrant an expensive match barrel.

    Most accuracy issues can be rectified in other areas, as barrels are made to quite exacting tolerances anyways, while some other components are less so. A good trigger job, nice big sights that can be easily seen and provide a good sight picture, on 1911s tighten up the frame\slide\bushing\barrel fit and lock-up, on revolvers ensure uniform chamber dimensions, cylinder gap and correct forcing cone.

    Also i wouldn't buy a barrel marked "Match grade". smells to much of marketing over quality to me. Better to make one from a blank\uncut barrel and then get a gunsmith to ream it to correct and close tolerances if you want a accurate barrel.

    Thats atleast my take on it, and what i've picked up from some quite smart shooters, including a national champion.

    But the first lesson of poor accuracy, stop looking at fault in the innanimate object. and look at the eejit operating it. 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% or there abouts of all faults should usually lie with him.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by YourImaginaryStalker View Post
    Now I know match grade barrels are of very high quality, but the thing I wonder is does a match grade barrel make difference on a pistol when compared to a normal quality barrel.
    I'm thinking it of high tolerances and all that means better fit of bullet and barrel thus better accuracy, yet at the same time I think but a pistol barrel is so short atleast mine will be (4 inch barrel) and that any gain is could be wont justify the cost.
    A "match" grade pistol will provide more advantages compared to just changing the barrel. But as the others already mentioned you have to be very good to actually use the improved precision.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wiking's Avatar
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    another point to make about pistolsmithing\accurizing is that it all got its start back in the 60's and 70's, going from NRA bullseye shooting to combat shooting.
    At the time almost everyone was shooting 1911's, and unless you got a Colt Gold Cup (which would usually shear of the rear sight pivot pin at the worst possible moment) you had something that was very much a GI 1911. A new made gun isn't as bad as ratty old, been to hell and back, issued in WW1. WW2. Korea and Vietnam surplus\bring back 1911. but it's still not the best.
    That was where alot of the improvements came from, in a day and age where alot of people were indoctrinated with the NEED to send even a brand new. in the box gun off to a 'smith to be tinkered with. The accurazing, plus stuff like extended beaver tails and trigger jobs. had to be done after purchase. untill mfgs figured out they could do it and make a killing selling ready-tricked-out guns.

    The point is, for most people. any money spent on custom work and new and "better" parts, is money better spent on ammo or reloading components for training.

    EDIT: OP says it's for a revolver, in that case you'd do better to look at the cylinder first of all. One key "problem" area for revolvers is discrepancy in the size of the chamber throat, well balanced cylinder gap and a correctly cut forcing cone, as well as consistent and uniform lockup for each chamber.

    The way i read your requirements i'd say any factory barrel\barrel blank from a reputable manufacturer would work perfectly, regardless of any price-enhancing match-grade magic.

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    Moderator James's Avatar
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    On a Glock, the first thing 'd do is change the sights. I installed Heinie sights on mine, and it's plenty accurate now, with just the factory barrel.

  11. #11

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    oh on sights, know of a good adjustable sight/s, because I need to look into those so i know how high or low. because for my revolver i plan to have a little spot a pistol red dot can be installed on, since red dots i learned with my last gun are amazing. (thou it's really just an idea i like so far)

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