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At first I thought it was clearance whe the barrel tilts during the slide cycle. After looking at my P40 that's not it. I'd bet it's weight reduction. I was noticing that the rifleing in the barrel is pretty shallow. I'd bet the barrel is designed with very little extra metal. Shallow grooves = smaller OD.
 

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I always assumed it was for slide clearance also due to the relatively short recoil action. Are you saying the P-40 barrel does not have a "waist" or the waist is less pronounced on the P-40 barrel?
 

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  That "bell mouth" is what the slide pushes on to put the barrel back down straight after it tilts to load a cartridge. It only NEEDS to be on top, but it's easier to manufacture this way.

Packer.
 

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Ah, this may seem obvious to you but, if you don't mind, I'd like to paraphrase to make sure I understand.

You're saying a "dent" in the top of the barrel near the muzzle would be sufficient for recoil operation but the manufacturing process is easier with a "dent" that goes all the way around?
 

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doubloon said:
I always assumed it was for slide clearance also due to the relatively short recoil action. Are you saying the P-40 barrel does not have a "waist" or the waist is less pronounced on the P-40 barrel?
The 40 has the waist but it's not a clearance thing. It would clear with a straight barrel.
 

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doubloon said:
You're saying a "dent" in the top of the barrel near the muzzle would be sufficient for recoil operation but the manufacturing process is easier with a "dent" that goes all the way around?
  It's really a cam that sticks up, but essentially yes. Most barrels are turned in lathes. It's just easier to turn that cam completely around the barrel while it's in the chuck. If the barrel did not tilt--it wouldn't be necessary.

Packer.
 
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