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First let me complement everyone on such a great forum, I have found answers to many of my questions here. But I do have one that I have not been able to find an answer to. If it has already been discussed please just point me in the right direction.

A little background, I made my first gun purchase earlier this year, a SA “Loaded” 1911, without knowing much about what I was doing. I have learned a lot over the summer, taken a few classes, and even went to my first tournament. I am very happy with my SA, but I am now looking to upgrade. Soon I will have my CCW and I am deciding between a few different models of 1911 to carry.

My question is about barrels, what are the pros and cons of a bull barrel? Or the “tactical” barrel you can get on a Wilson or Nighthawk with the doughnut on the end (I am not sure what the official name is). Thus far I cant find anything bad about them, except the extra cost. But I have also noticed most of the “tactical” pistols don’t have them. Is there a reason for this?

Thanks in advance for any advice. :)
 

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The cone or bull barrels add weight to the recoiling mass and damp recoil a bit. The "blast wafer" (doughnut) adds a bit more and looks kewl. Which is about all "tactical" is.

Caution: It is not allowed in IDPA except for barrels 4.2" or shorter; just in case that is the tournament you are going to.
 

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Biggest downside to a bull barrel is that once accuracy begins to degrade, it is not as easy (or cheap) to simply refit a new barrel bushing like conventional barrels have.

Welcome to the Forum by the way. Nice signature line. :)
 

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Lots.

Thousands - perhaps 10's of thousands. Depends on how well you maintain and lube your pistol, the power factor of the ammo you shoot, how well the pistol was fit from the factory, how the planets are aligned......)
 

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There are two main advantages to a bull barrel. The first is the potential for greater mechanical accuracy. The second is additional weight at the muzzle of the gun which some people believe reduces felt recoil and/or provides a better balance to the gun.

The disadvantages are it makes the gun heavier overall, it tends to create a muzzle heavy feel to the gun (which some people don't like), and as the barrel to slide fit wears you can't just replace the bushing.

As far as durability or service life with a bull barrel, assuming it is a high quality barrel, and assuming you properly maintain the pistol, and it was properly fit in the first place, you should expect to get about 25,000 to 30,000 rounds thru it before you get a measurable reduction in acurracy (1/8 to 1/2" larger average groups). I have seen them go as many as 50,000 to 60,000 rounds while maintaining their accuracy but at some point other areas such as the slide to frame fit will degrade to the point where accuracy will suffer. Also if you are running very hot loads, or using ammo with an abrasive powder, you will start to see flame cutting in the chamber and lead areas of the barrel before you get detectable wear anywhere else. Thats why major 9mm's and 38 Super's will lose their accuracy potential faster then say a 45acp would.
 
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