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Old July 23, 2016, 09:07 AM   #1
Rogervzv
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Is it just me? .357 hurts my hands...

I was at the range yesterday shooting .357 and .38 Spl. with my 4" S&W 686+ revolver. I just had a trigger job done to it by West Coast Gunworks, and I wanted to ensure that it still shot reliably (i.e. no light strikes) with both .357 and .38 special. The trigger job made the trigger significantly lighter (and nicer) but as always, reliability is the most important thing. Happy to say that the gun shot 100% reliably with both calibers and I really like the trigger job that Mike did.

It had been quite a while since I had shot .357, and I have to say that it was not especially pleasant. The 686+ is a full lug gun and not a light gun like, say, a Model 60 or SP101, but nonetheless I found shooting .357 to be distinctly uncomfortable. When I switched to .38 Special the improvement in the comfort level was remarkable. I have to admit that I shot .38 Spl. much more accurately too -- (Yes, I know -- Miculek is in no danger from my estimable skills at ten yards)



My conclusion is that FOR ME .38 Special is probably a better self-defense/home defense round. I shoot it better and with a much greater feeling of control. Makes me wonder how Inspector Callahan managed to do so well with .44 Magnum.
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Old July 23, 2016, 09:39 AM   #2
Targa
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You could change the grips but I wouldn't, it is just to pretty with the wood ones. Maybe get a shooting glove, that makes a noticeable difference for me when shooting my .44mag.
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Old July 23, 2016, 09:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
You could change the grips but I wouldn't, it is just to pretty with the wood ones. Maybe get a shooting glove, that makes a noticeable difference for me when shooting my .44mag.
Great suggestion and thank you. Yes, I was pondering going back to the stock rubber grip, but I just don't like it; feels tacky.

I'll take a look at shooting gloves. I don't shoot .357 that often so not really that big of a deal. .40 S&W no problem, oddly enough.
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Old July 23, 2016, 10:06 AM   #4
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My guess is that a change in grips will make all the difference. It looks like those grips dont really fit the gun, as the back strap seems to stick up higher than the grips which will focus all the recoil energy to a narrow spot on your hand. That would definitely lead to a sore hand. Try and experiment with different grips, I bet you'll see an enormous difference.
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Old July 23, 2016, 10:13 AM   #5
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I have had good luck with the Lyman Diamond Pro grips. They cover the backstrap, so that means a greater reach to the trigger, possible resulting in a slower double action pull. They're great at absorbing recoil.

http://www.pachmayr.com/home/diamondpro.php
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Old July 23, 2016, 10:31 AM   #6
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Try shooting a 357 LCR or J frame and you'll look at it differently! They make a 629 (44 mag) seem like a pussycat.
Having said that, everybody's hands are different. I would probably try a Hogue grip. They are cheap and might help. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with shooting 38s or 38 +Ps in that 686. If it's range use, then what difference does it make. If it's carry use (I'm guessing it's not), then you could go with +Ps or simply practice with 38s and carry 357s. You won't notice the recoil if you ever have to use it. I carry a 3" 686 and it conceals and carries well. Not sure, but the 4" might be too much.
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Old July 23, 2016, 10:59 AM   #7
buck460XVR
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One thing folks tend to ignore is how much influence proper grips make in shooting comfort. Smooth narrow grips that expose the web of the hand to being hammered by the backstrap under recoil, are the worst.


Quote:
I was pondering going back to the stock rubber grip, but I just don't like it; feels tacky.
The reason the rubber grips feel tacky is because they are supposed to be. The tackiness keeps the grips from sliding in your hand under recoil, unlike your shiny smooth wood stocks. Being tacky distributes the recoil over more of your hand than just the web and helps keep the backstrap from slamming into your web on every shot.

When it comes to shooting magnum handguns, sometimes one needs to choose over aesthetics or comfort. It always amazes me the number of folks that admit their wood stocks are uncomfortable, but refuse to use comfortable grips because they are "ugly". The same cushioned grips used to tame recoil on the X-Frames fit on square butt 686s. Those grips are duo-compound and completely cover the backstrap. They turn a 686 into a pussycat with magnum loads. But they aren't as pretty as wood. It comes down to priorities. If one prefer looks over comfort, go for it, but they shouldn't snibble when their hand hurts from it.
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Old July 23, 2016, 11:01 AM   #8
roashooter
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the 357 is a handful....until as others pointed out....you warm up with a 44mag.
bear in mind...the more hand filling the grips are...the less perceived recoil...I have S&W target stocks on one of my 357...and my 686 has the hogue....the hogues...DO NOT reduce the recoil....slimmer profile....as buck points out
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Old July 23, 2016, 11:16 AM   #9
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I think your problem is just not shooting 357mag enough. It really isn't a hard recoiling handgun at all. I have several L Smiths and shoot them quite a bit. I don't find the recoil much at all and I'm not immune to recoil. What I do though is shoot that caliber to the point that I'm pretty used to it. As some have pointed out, shoot a full house 44mag a few times and the 357mag becomes quite tame. I think it's more about noise than actual recoil. Put on a good set of muffs with plugs in also and just watch your hands as the gun fires. It's not really doing all that much. I train all new students to do that drill before we even start shooting at targets. Their anticipation of recoil is far worse than the actual recoil is. I think you've just adapted to the lighter 38Spl loads to the point that the somewhat heavier 357 loads make their difference obvious. Either grip style will work once your sensitivity calms down. I shot Team Challenge with a pair of Coonan 357mags and put thousands of rounds out of them. Good luck.
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Old July 23, 2016, 11:23 AM   #10
mehavey
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A gun is a tool....
Change the grips.

It's supposed to feel tacky.
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Old July 23, 2016, 11:31 AM   #11
Model12Win
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Some Pachmayr Presentation grips (I recommend finding an old pair as recent quality control has slipped) would look very nice and are not tacky like some other rubber grips. They control recoil nicely.

I personally find .357 magnums to be mild in recoil in L and N frame revolvers, with proper grips. It's more the noise and muzzle blast that anything, and why in general I do prefer a warm .38 special +P for defensive if/when I'm carrying a wheelgun (which isn't often anymore).
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Old July 23, 2016, 11:50 AM   #12
SSA
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It could just be the way the grip fits your hand. Looks like a Hogue grip, maybe a round-butt-to-square-butt conversion. If it is, you could try the round butt version. They also make them without finger grooves.
I have a round butt smooth wood Hogue on a round butt 66 and shoot it with no discomfort.
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Old July 23, 2016, 12:09 PM   #13
tallball
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Some people like to shoot 357. Some don't. If someone doesn't like shooting 357's, they can just shoot 38's instead. Problem solved.
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Old July 23, 2016, 12:14 PM   #14
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Shoot .44 mag for a while and it will make .357 seem a lot easier.
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Old July 23, 2016, 12:16 PM   #15
T. O'Heir
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Change the grips or the load. You can load .357 brass using .38 Special data with no fuss. +P loads if you think you need it.
"...I shoot it better..." Nuff said.
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Old July 23, 2016, 01:49 PM   #16
Jeff #111
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What it really means is you're getting older. I used to shoot magnums and 45 ACP almost exclusively. Now I prefer 38 Special, 22LR and 9mm. Just more comfortable and that's important as find myself getting closer and closer to 50. Oh and rubber grips are also better for control and comfort. Put the woods on for the photo-op opportunities then I put them back into storage and the Pachs go back on.
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Old July 23, 2016, 02:18 PM   #17
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Well, back when I carried an issued M686 4", I much preferred shooting it when I had rubber grip stocks installed on it. I'm a long time Magnum revolver shooter, too. (I installed rubber grip stocks on my Ruger SBH.) Back during those days I usually carried and shot my assortment of Ruger Security & Speed-Sixes with factory wood stocks, too, but the Service-Six in my safe presently has rubber.

For me, it depends a great deal on the shape & size of the grip stocks.

I like rubber on my round butt M629 Classic (which is MagNaPorted), but I like shooting my Redhawk (not ported) with the re-profiled Bird's Head grip frame, and either wood or plastic stocks. My Blackhawks have factory wood or bone stocks.

Now, shooting either of my M&P 340's with Magnum loads can really make the hand sting. I prefer to usually carry one or another +P load in them.
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Old Yesterday, 12:59 AM   #18
bamaranger
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grips

Our outfit shot the .38 +P+ Treausry Load for many years. They finally had a few shootings with the load, with noteable failures to stop. Almost overnight, .357/125 or 110 ammo was approved.

I had taken a good bit of grief from my old school district ranger for my "gunfighter grips" which were nothing more than square butt Pachmeyers. He was big into appearance and uniformity,and believed that all should use the big wooden target grips. In those days, the revolvers stayed at the park. If you changed parks, you turned in the gun, got issued another one when you arrived at your new post. Keeping a set of personally owned Pach's made sense, in that they could screw on and off K or L frames, and the revolver at least felt somewhat familiar.

Anyhow, my Pach's were within policy, authorized, and there was not much the supv. could do about making me swap to what he wanted. When we made the jump to mag ammo, many folks, including Mr Old School himself, were complaining bitterly about magnum recoil. The old Geezer went out and bought Pach's for himself and anybody in the district that wanted them.

I, of course, did not need a set. Vindicated.
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Old Yesterday, 02:27 AM   #19
jmstr
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First, IIRC, Lt. Callahan downloaded the .44mag to something like .41mag levels, or lower. I seem to recall the movie where the killers are cops and he says that to the young punks.


As to your issue, I concur about the grips. I have Ruger .357 and .44mags. Sold an 629 for the SuperRedHawk and didn't look back.

I use the 'old school' rubber/wood grips and find the power of Mag loads to be no problem.

I will agree that my groups are tighter in the 'special' loads with either, but I don't find the mag loads hurt my hand.

Unless I am firing 1500fps .44mag loads from my SuperBlackHawk- then my knuckle is rapped by the trigger guard. Ouch!

Change out grips. Some swear by custom fitted wooden grips to fill the hand out more. You may get the pain fixed without going to ugly rubber. But it will take some experimentation for any of it.
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Old Yesterday, 05:47 AM   #20
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I don't think the 357 recoils HARD in particular, but I don't shoot it all that often. The paper targets I use at the range, don't take a lot of killing.

I think rubber grips are "tacky" also. Tacky as in "cheap" looking. My guns are not just tools. I spend a lot more time looking at them than I do shooting them. I want them to look good as well as shoot good.
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Old Yesterday, 07:08 AM   #21
mehavey
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I reiterate:

Gun are tools.
Make them fit their function.
If that means a rubber-based grip to control high recoil, so be it.

Same with cheek pads to establish a fast high-scope weld; or a recoil pad to tame excessive/felt punishment; or or an internally-padded buttstock cover to extend/adjust length of pull.

Make it fit. Make it functional.
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Old Yesterday, 07:24 AM   #22
walnut1704
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Quote:
Makes me wonder how Inspector Callahan managed to do so well with .44 Magnum.
He cheats. Note his comment at about 1:05 in the shooting range scene in "Magnum Force"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs8AqzN9Ga4

Often shooters objection to .357 recoil is more about the muzzle blast than the actual recoil.
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Old Yesterday, 07:24 AM   #23
Targa
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Quote:
My guns are not just tools. I spend a lot more time looking at them than I do shooting them. I want them to look good as well as shoot good.
I agree^^.
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Old Yesterday, 07:39 AM   #24
mehavey
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So be it....
But on reflection I will offer that:

A gun that doesn't shoot well,
or is difficult to shoot...
or painful to shoot...
...doesn't get shot.

So hanging on the wall isn't a bad idea.


.

Last edited by mehavey; Yesterday at 07:47 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 07:52 AM   #25
old bear
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Roger, you didn't mention your age. I'm 67, over the last few years I've noticed that shooting .357 Magnum ammo can be harder on the hands and forearms.

One thought and several suggestions. Are you "death gripping" when you shoot .357 Magnum ammo? If so try and work on a more relaxed grip, and forearm pressure. Just let the gun do it's recoil thing, don't try and fight that.

Try some exercises to increase hand and forearm fitness. Finally try shooting more .357 Magnum ammo. Start slowly and increase your round count.

Best of luck..
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