Handgun porting: is it worth it?
Due to the fact that my father was an avid hunter, firearms have literally been a part of my life since I was little kid.
In fact, although I don’t remember it, my father once told me that he helped me shoot my first handgun when I was only three years old!
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However, I do recall when he gave me my first .22 rifle at age eight, and my first 20-gauge shotgun when I was ten.
Sometime in my early twenties, I became fascinated with the idea of hunting with a handgun and thus, I purchased my first Smith & Wesson model 29-2 .44 Magnum with a six inch barrel. I also started reloading my own ammunition so that I could afford to shoot it on a regular basis.
But, with my bodyweight set at all of 145 pounds, that first revolver rocked my world with full powered hunting loads!
I was an avid reader of Guns & Ammo at the time, and I eventually became aware of a company called Mag-na-port International that had developed a process for using electrolysis to remove metal. They added two trapezoidal shaped holes in the muzzle end of a revolver’s barrel, which they claimed reduced muzzle flip as well as felt recoil by 15% to 20%.
This process, known as “porting,” was intriguing. Was this the way to cut recoil and muzzle flip?
Since handgun recoil is perceived differently by different shooters, there seemed to be a considerable amount of controversy as to whether this process actually worked.
Then, a few years ago, I purchased both Ruger Redhawk with a 7 1/2 inch barrel and a Smith & Wesson Model 629 with a four inch barrel, and it just so happened that both of these fine revolvers had ported barrels.
So, in an effort to satisfy my curiosity concerning whether or not the ports actually performed as advertised, I got out my old S & W model 29-2, grabbed some ammo, and headed out the back yard to do a little target demolition.
With a scientific frame of mind, I decided to fire the non-ported 29-2 first as a control, and then shoot the ported 629 with the same ammo to see if there really was a significant difference between a ported and a non-ported barrel.
I loaded all three handguns and fired the 29-2 first with the result that I had become accustomed to over the years. However, when I fired the first shot from the model 629, I was immediately amazed!
Not only did the ported four-inch barrel have noticeably less recoil, it also lacked the wrist wrenching muzzle flip of the non-ported six-inch barrel. I then fired the Ruger Redhawk with the same result, and I am now forever convinced that porting a revolver barrel does indeed work as advertised.
Do you have experience with a ported barrel handgun? Leave your thoughts below.