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Old February 15, 2013, 02:32 PM   #1
Waspinator
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Some Revolver questions.

Hi,

I'm reaching revolvers right now, looking for different models to put on my "watch for list", be them new models, or older used models.

What I'm looking for is a .38 special or .357 magnum with 2"-3" barrel. I would prefer a steel framed gun rather then an alloy or alloy/polymer hybrid frame. I want something with a bit of weight to it. For size .. well, I'm up in the air about. I don't want it to small, but no giant either. I would want this gun for an "all-rounder".. in other words, Range, HD and carry (have a shotgun for HD already, but I feel a handgun would be a quicker response weapon).

Since I want to carry this as well.. I'm not sure what size frame I can really get away with (not so much as in weight, more of physical size). I would not pocket carry, but would use an IWB or OWB holster. To give you a ruff size, I'm about 5' 10-1/2", 180 lbs, waist is about 35". So.. I mean, I guess I wouldn't know until I could actually handle the firearm to see for myself, so I'm open to what ever size you could recommend.

I'm not opposed to spending money for a nice gun, within reason..I mean, I would say $1k would be absolute max I would consider for the right gun, but less is most definitely better, lol.

I've already added to my list so far to look out for:
Ruger SP101 (2.25" or 3")
Ruger GP100 (3")
S&W Model 60 (3")
S&W Model 686/686+ (3")

Now those seam to be very popular in my initial research. They are all .357 , but I'm not opposed to .38 sp. Those are also new models and I'm afraid I am not versed enough in this area to know of past models, or even newer/current models to look out for.

For instance. Today while banging around on the web looking for ideas, I came across this very nice looking .38 I found on GunsInternational.

http://www.gunsinternational.com/Col...n_id=100318588

Now something like that looks very nice and I have read Colts are highly thought of. Thing is, with used market , I don't know what is what and how good of a price something is (compounded by the current market). But that is a good representation of the type of .38 I would be looking for, style wise (steel frame with 2" min/shrouded barrel). Maybe looking at that .38 and the .357s I listed above will help you with some model suggestions.

Any help appreciated,
Thanks.


Oh, and btw.. I'm not ready to buy yet, so if that Colt looks like a good deal, have at it, lol. But still wondering if that was a good price or not

Last edited by Waspinator; February 15, 2013 at 02:45 PM.
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Old February 15, 2013, 02:36 PM   #2
jmortimer
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Had a 3" SP101 .357 very nice gun. It would be a good choice based on your specs.
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Old February 15, 2013, 03:11 PM   #3
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For your specs, I like an old Colt Detective Special 2" in .38, a prelock Smith Model 13/65 3" in .357 (hard to find), or an old Ruger Speed or Police Service 6 2.75" in .357 or .38 ( available in blue or stainless), and finally, a 2" Colt Lawman in .357. As you can see, I prefer Old School.
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Old February 15, 2013, 04:58 PM   #4
Zachary H.
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I would go with the Ruger SP101 or S&W M60. The GP100 and S&W 686 are a little large for carrying concealed. That's not to say they can't be concealed,you're just more limited. A shoulder holster or IWB under a coat would work. An SP101 or M60 can be carried in larger dress pants sized pockets. (Wranglers are a little tight)
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Old February 15, 2013, 07:58 PM   #5
BigJimP
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686 is an L frame ...( between K and N frames...) ...

60 is a J frame ( smaller than a K )....and the model 60 is a .38 spl not a .357 mag....
------------
I think you've left out the K frames ( model 19's either blued or nickel / or the model 66's in stainless.....and they're both .357 mag....)

2 1/2" snubbies are available in the K frames ...although I like a 4" a lot better...( longer sight plane, a little heavier ) ...and in .357 mag the 2 1/2" can get a little hard to control in rapid fire...and the short sight plane makes it tougher to shoot beyond 21 Feet or so....

I use the same Kramer leather IWB holster - or their scabbard holster.. for a 4" K frame and a 2 1/2" K frame...so fit, and weight isn't an issue.../ while I have a model 66 2 1/2" it rarely gets carried or shot vs the 4" models I have in both model 19's and 66's ...
------------
If for some reason you really want to go the L frame model 686...its not a bad gun in 2 1/2" ...but they're a little hard to find in my area ...and so are the 4" models...where I see a lot of 686's in 6" all over..../ and a 6" is way too long to carry on a belt holster - for defense / its ok for a "woods gun" but dragging that 6" up out of a holster means you really have to raise your elbow a lot..!! ....where I find the 4" easy to draw and easy to return to the holster.
---------------
I think the answer to your question is to look for a K frame in .357 mag ...and then shoot .38's in it if you want ...and carry it with .357 mag...

Last edited by BigJimP; February 15, 2013 at 08:07 PM.
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Old February 15, 2013, 08:19 PM   #6
Waspinator
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Hi BigJim,

Like I said, I'm not real knowledgeable about all the ins-and-outs of Smith and Wesson models, especially their older models not in production. So, this is a learning process for me.

I did see that model 19, I believe, in the "K Frame Snub Superiority" thread, post #2.. and it looks very nice. I'll add that one to my list for sure. Thanks.

We may be thinking of two different Model 60's I think. I'm referring to the one in production now. The .357 mag with 3" barrel.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...layErrorView_Y

I'll be sure to look into some of the other suggestions made thus far.

Keep em coming

Thanks
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Old February 16, 2013, 05:10 AM   #7
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Indeed, the Model 60 has come in both .38 and .357 at different times. For a short period of time, I owned a 3-inch Model 60 in .357 Magnum and I've gotta say -- for carry, it was a fantastic size.

But I couldn't keep this revolver...
--I carry a semi-auto. LOVE revolvers, but on range day. For carry, I prefer the autochucker and a spare magazine.

--5 shots in the cylinder. And if that's your primary carry, that's a low number. The guy I swapped to get the Model 60 took a Glock 19 in trade for it from me. This man was HUGE, 6'7" and all of 350 lbs, but he was ready to swap the Model 60 because three disenfranchised youths were smart enough to change their mind when introduced to it -- but you've got to wonder about the boldness of approaching a man that large with ill intent. And afterward, 5 shots and three assailants simply didn't sound like fun math, so he moved the Model 60.

--Felt recoil from a 3-inch J-frame with .357 Magnum ammo was entirely unenjoyable. And I don't consider myself overly recoil sensitive. My daily carry and practice (often with!) pistol is chambered in 10mm and I do my practice with 180gr slugs. I love 4-inch and 6-inch .357 Mag revolvers with full bore 158 grain handloads as much as anything on range day. But shooting the Model 60 was no fun whatsoever and I couldn't make it fun.

...so it had to go. Very accurate revolver and very well made and a joy to carry. I'd definitely re-consider owning one if I were the type to wear a second gun, but I don't do that.
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Old February 17, 2013, 09:19 PM   #8
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The revolver that goes with me everywhere, and stays hidden, is a SW 640 (2" hammerless J-frame in .357). I shoot .38's for range work through it, but I always finish the day with a cylinder of my carry .357's. At 7 yards it is 3/4" high, but it puts them all inside of an inch.

If I were to stretch the duty of it to include home defense as well I think I would opt for a J frame with a 3" barrel.
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Old February 17, 2013, 09:49 PM   #9
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A 3" or 4" K Frame sounds like a good option. A round butt 3" S&W Model 13 (.357) is a great all around handgun, as would be a 3" Model 10 (.38). Honestly though, I carry K Frames with barrels ranging from 2.5 to 4" and I find the 4" to be the most comfortable barrel length for carry (Note I am 6'7" and 185 to 190 lbs). For some reason, the longer barrel and holster (IWB) some how snugs up against me better and more comfortably than the shorter lengths. Also, I think with a larger holster for the longer barrel length the pressure of the gun pressing against my side is spread out over a larger area. Overall I find K Frames to be exceedingly easy to carry and conceal with a good holster and gunbelt.
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Old February 17, 2013, 11:10 PM   #10
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'The revolver that goes with me everywhere, and stays hidden, is a SW 640 (2" hammerless J-frame in .357).'

Same for me, but mine is a .38 Special rated for +P (and tested, according to etching inside the frame, for +P+). Weighs about 21 ounces unloaded. I find it easy to control with severely arthritic hands shooting +P 158 grain LSWCHP ammo. Easy to conceal, and I've carried it daily for over ten years without feeling undergunned.

"Don't let macho be your epitaph."

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Old February 17, 2013, 11:41 PM   #11
Nathan
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My CCW revolver is my S&W 640-1 2 1/8" barrel revolver. Frankly, it is pretty small to grip and shoot well. I also have a 19-3 4" which is great to shoot.

IMO, you want a 3" - 4" S&W 13, 19, 65, 66 from the late 70's. this is a nice mid sized 357 mag revolver.
13 - blue, fixed sight
19 - blue, adj sight
65 - SS, fixed sight
66 - SS, adj sight

Or a slightly larger or heavier 586, 686 or 27.

BTW, Wikipedia is your friend for learning S&W model numbers.

If you want 38 only, there are like 20 more numbers to add to that list!

The great thing about most of the K frames is $500 should bring home any but the nicest gun and it would only be $50 or so more.
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Old February 18, 2013, 09:58 AM   #12
jad0110
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Quote:
IMO, you want a 3" - 4" S&W 13, 19, 65, 66 from the late 70's. this is a nice mid sized 357 mag revolver.
13 - blue, fixed sight
19 - blue, adj sight
65 - SS, fixed sight
66 - SS, adj sight
Those are the .357 K Frames, here are some .38 K Frames:

10 - blued, fixed sights
12 - blued, aluminum frame, fixed sights
14 - blued, adj sights, nearly all with 6" barrels but some were sold with 4"
15 - blued, adj sights
64 - stainless, fixed sights
67 - stainless, adj sights
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Old February 18, 2013, 10:43 AM   #13
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If you COULD find a 686 (L frame, not K) in a snubbie bbl, I think it would be a fabulous gun. I think that the "concealability" of any gun is almost completely dependent on it's grips, rather than the rest of the gun. ie, an 8 3/8 inch revolver would really hide just as easily as a 2 inch revolver. You've just got more bbl tucked down into your pants. It's the grips that are showing. And to further that, I believe that the "sharpness" vs "smoothness" of the grips are what makes one gun print more than another. Those bob handled 1911s conceal better than a regular square handled model because of the round off. Put smooth, rounded grips on a 686 and it will hide nearly as well as a J frame.

Width of guns is really not that different. Example -
S&W Chief's Special J Frame Snubby - 1 1/4" at widest
S&W Mod 66 357 Mag K frame 4" - 1 7/16" at widest

The bigger, six shot magnum is only 3/16 wider than the smaller 5 shot 38.

Height of the guns are also not that different. The magnum is 1/2" "taller" than the snubbie. 3 1/2 vs 3 inches, top strap to bottom of trigger guard.

Generally a 357 should be a stronger gun than a 38. And, of course, you can shoot 38s in a 357.

Carrying a 357, loaded with 38s, is a concept worth considering, IMO. In an urban situation, that magnum may go through the bad guy, then into the lady with the baby stroller 4 aisles over in the grocery store. Or through the burglar, your sheetrock, your horse trailer then into the paper boy out front.

In my case, if carrying a magnum, it's loaded with 38s if urban, hot magnums if hiking in the desert. One is protecting against overpenetration, the other is protecting against wildcats, bears and heavily armed drug runners.


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Old February 19, 2013, 12:14 PM   #14
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Just about any 3 inch J-frame is on my watch list. Watch for a nice S&W 36-1 but remember they're like Lay's potato chips, you can't have just one.
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Old February 19, 2013, 01:30 PM   #15
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They don't get much love and you won't impress the friends but the EAA Windicator (pronouced Vindicator) in 38spl/357mag does a pretty good job for the price. It has 6 rounds, is relatively beefy at 28 ounces, is not much bigger than a J-frame and mine shoots as straight as any gun I have. The 357rounds are as easy to manage as a regular 38 special though a light-weight J-frame. If you have $1,000 to spend and don't mind the cost, obviously a S&W is a better gun. The EAA is definitely industrial-grade but it does work and I haven't seen any really bad reviews of it. Most actually seem to be surprised at how functional the gun is. I carry it with no problem IWB. Will it stand up to thousands of rounds - I have my doubts but for now, after 200-250 with 50 or so 357's for the added fireworks, it real works well. I paid about $300 for mine.
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Old February 19, 2013, 01:38 PM   #16
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I carry a S&W 686+3inch CCW without any problems
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Old February 19, 2013, 01:47 PM   #17
Waspinator
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I would like to thank everyone for their continued responses. This is exactly the information that I was seeking. You all have given me many options and models to look out for. I'm still in my research phase at the moment and this information is giving me a great start.

Thanks again for your continued suggestions !
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Old February 19, 2013, 04:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
They don't get much love and you won't impress the friends but the EAA Windicator (pronouced Vindicator) in 38spl/357mag does a pretty good job for the price. It has 6 rounds, is relatively beefy at 28 ounces, is not much bigger than a J-frame and mine shoots as straight as any gun I have. The 357rounds are as easy to manage as a regular 38 special though a light-weight J-frame. If you have $1,000 to spend and don't mind the cost, obviously a S&W is a better gun. The EAA is definitely industrial-grade but it does work and I haven't seen any really bad reviews of it. Most actually seem to be surprised at how functional the gun is. I carry it with no problem IWB. Will it stand up to thousands of rounds - I have my doubts but for now, after 200-250 with 50 or so 357's for the added fireworks, it real works well. I paid about $300 for mine.
I wanted to post up a similar review but because the revolver is NOT mine (belongs to my BIL), I can't really confirm all that's been said here from the perspective of an owner. However, BIL & I are in constant communication and share range reports & updates and his opinions, experience and review mirrors what's in the quoted text.

I've shot the gun on 3 different occasions. Besides the fact that I just don't like snub revolvers (and I never have), I've been impressed with the function, accuracy and appearance of this gun at it's price point. I simply can't give a firm review because I don't own it myself... but from what I've seen in-hand, it looks like a viable option.

Or to put it another way, I'm more impressed with what I've seen from the Windicator than I am from a new Rossi or Charter at a similar price point.
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Old February 20, 2013, 07:15 AM   #19
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A k frame Smith & Wesson such as the Model 10 or 64 would be a good "all around" gun. I have both in 4'' barrels and they can be concealed without much trouble if you dress around it, good nightstand guns, and utterly fantastic at the range.

Buffalo Bore makes some good defense ammo which I've had my eyes on. Their Outdoorsman load certainly takes the 38 special to a new level.
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Old February 20, 2013, 12:47 PM   #20
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First and foremost: if you are learning to shoot, or are learning to shoot revolvers, do not buy a short barreled revolver! You will not have a positive learning experience. Buy a gun with four inch or longer barrel. I found the S&W 327 TRR8 with five inch barrel to be a very easy gun to shoot. It was even better than my tuned S&W 625. If you can afford to get the 327 TRR8, do so!

The pictured 327 is something to aspire to:


S&W 327 N-Frame with eight round cylinder



Close up of the cylinder

The Ruger SP101 is a terrible design and does just about everything wrong (short crane so ejected cases bind, poor sights, poor grip, too heavy for carry in a standard sized pocket, only five shots). Go with the GP100 if you want a Ruger.

I would not buy a Colt for carry. They are no longer made and you won't get support from the factory. This leaves Ruger, S&W and some miscellaneous manufacturers of double action revolvers.

Of the guns listed, I'd go with either the S&W 686 with 3" barrel or Ruger GP100 (Wiley Clapp version, add a night sight) with 3" barrel. Both are a reasonable compromise for carry and shooting. However, you may have a bit more difficulty mastering it since the barrel is short and you'll see every mistake you make while pulling the trigger.

Last edited by tomrkba; February 20, 2013 at 01:09 PM.
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Old February 20, 2013, 01:30 PM   #21
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I'd agree with not getting a 2" snubby if it was one of the light-weight ones (16 ounces or less usually). They are not very forgiving when you are just starting to shoot. But the heavier snub-noses can be very easy to shoot. As long as the sights are okay, you will be surprised at how accurate they are - just remember the basics, sight alligment, surprise break (let the gun shoot itself!) and follow-through with the trigger finger.

I'd love a 686 2 1/2" or a GP-100 3" - who wouldn't, they are the higher-end guns in that category - But they are not small guns regardless of the barrell length and most people would find them a little too big and heavy for CC. I'll buy one of them in the future but probably won't carry it. The SP-101 ussualy gets listed as the best of the smaller 357 magnums and the size and weight are about right for CC and shootabilty.

I have a 642 which I like for CC like many others but my hand isn't happy with it after 50+ rounds at the range. I went with the EAA because of the extra weight and bigger grip and because it was on sale and there was little monetary downside if it was a lemon. Happily it has been very nice. Taurus and Rossi make guns of similar size, etc but you will have to decide for yourself on how you feel about them - check this forum / the "how bad is Taurus" posts seem to come up about every 2 weeks. Charter Arms seem to be better but they tend to go for light-weight guns that maybe you would not appreciate. The S&W 60 (I think it's a 60) is a nice 2" snubby and all steel but not cheap.

Snubbies are great guns for CC and lots of fun. A larger revolver would be great for a range gun but I'd bet you'd end up leaving it in the safe most of the time.
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Old February 20, 2013, 02:04 PM   #22
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Agree with some others, I had a S&W Model 13 and in a moment of stupidity sold it

I would agree, a nice pre-lock Smith K frame with a 2 to 3 inch barrel would have you covered. Don't know much about the Ruger SP101 or GP100 but they may be an option as well. Oh, and if you can find an old Colt Detective Special that would be nice, but I would be concerned with parts etc.?
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