I agree. A 5 inch barrel does seem to be a sweet spot for an N frame gun.
That's a big reason why the mountain gun configuration is popular. They have a 4 inch tapered barrel and have been made in .22 LR, .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, and .45 Colt.A 5" 27 to me is the best balanced N. Second place goes to 6" 24. The tapered barrel knocks a good bit of weight off. Compare a tapered S&W 24 to a 29-2 and you will feel the difference.