The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 14, 2008, 02:06 PM   #1
Saab1911
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 1, 2008
Location: Los Angeles, Kalifornia
Posts: 1,176
How does a S&W K Frame revolver stand up to 357 magnum?

I am thinking about adding a Smith & Wesson K frame revolver to my puny
collection of revolvers (I just have the one 686).

I was thinking about getting a S&W Model 620, but I heard mentioned on
this forum that K frame revolvers do not stand up to a steady diet of
357 magnum as well as say an L frame revolver, like my 686.

I want to get a K frame revolver because I heard that they are natural
pointers and have great balance. I don't have to have another 357
magnum revolver.

So If I'm interested in long term durability, am I better off with say S&W
Model 10?

Cheers,

Jae
Saab1911 is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 02:48 PM   #2
18DAI
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 30, 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 2,115
The 620 is actually an L-frame. I don't own one, so I won't opine further on that model.

I do own 23 K-frame revolvers. They stand up very well to 158 grain 357's. The lighter, faster, hotter 110 and 125 grain 357's are tough on the K-frame magnums. They peen the forcing cone and stretch the topstrap, when fired in abundance. how many 110, and 125 grain 357's to damage a K-frame? Your guess is as good as anyones.

My high round count K-frames are a 19-4 with just over 12,000 rounds through it, 2300 or so being 158 grain 357's, and a 66-2 with untold rounds through it. Many were hot 357 loads, based on the forcing cone erosion, and flame cutting on the topstrap. The 66-2 is just starting to develope some endshake. It still shoots like a laser, and regularly prints a 1" cloverleaf at 15 yards, using WWB 38's.

If you don't want the 357 power, a pre lock model 10 is a very fine revolver that will last you a lifetime. They are extremely accurate, and can easily handle 38+P. Hope this helps! Regards 18DAI.
__________________
S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum. Everything you need in a revolver, and nothing you don't.
18DAI is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 03:01 PM   #3
scoutleader
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 26, 2007
Location: WestTN
Posts: 121
I have two K frames both are the 65-2 prelock with a pinned barrel. They are both police trades, I know that one has had a bunch around 10 to 12 thousands round range. One was my Uncles duty weapon, he shot it often and so do I. All I have run in it are 158 grain 357, i just had it at the smith for a check up and it still shoots and points like no other handgun I own.
scoutleader is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 03:03 PM   #4
10-96
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 19, 2005
Location: Tx Panhandle Territory
Posts: 3,255
+1 what 18DAI said.

Nuff said.
__________________
Rednecks... Keeping the woods critter-free since March 2, 1836. (TX Independence Day)

I'm going to use the words "clip" and "Long Colt" every chance I get. It grinds my gears to see new members attacked when we all know dang good and well what's being refered to.
10-96 is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 03:32 PM   #5
Saab1911
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 1, 2008
Location: Los Angeles, Kalifornia
Posts: 1,176
Quote:
The 620 is actually an L-frame. I don't own one, so I won't opine further on that model.
Thanks for the correction.

Does Smith & Wesson make any 357 magnum revolvers on the K frame
currently?

How does one find out which S&W revolver is built on what frame? Smith
& Wesson web-site just says "Medium" for both K and L.

cheers,

Jae
Saab1911 is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 03:46 PM   #6
18DAI
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 30, 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 2,115
S&W did away with the K-frame magnums a few years back. I have no use for any current production S&W revolvers, so I don't keep up with the current models.

The good news is that S&W made many 357 K-frames prior to discontinuing them. CDNN has some model 66's as of Monday. They are beat up, but clean up well and the 4" 66-2 I purchased is a great shooter. you might want to call them. I paid $328.

IMO the K-frames do point more naturally, and I find them easier to shoot quickly, and handle them than my L-frame revolvers. Thats why I prefer them for IDPA matches. Regards 18DAI.
__________________
S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum. Everything you need in a revolver, and nothing you don't.
18DAI is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 03:48 PM   #7
45_Shooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 11, 2008
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 1,050
Quote:
Does Smith & Wesson make any 357 magnum revolvers on the K frame
currently?

How does one find out which S&W revolver is built on what frame? Smith
& Wesson web-site just says "Medium" for both K and L.
No current production K-frames besides the model 10 and 64 I think. No .357's anymore

Basically the k-frame is more than adequate as long as you know it's limitations. It is not designed for high volumes of .357 magnums, especially of the lighter weight (125gr and lighter) bullets. The forcing cone tends to crack in a small area that was clearanced for the crane. Endshake tends to appear, and the action can work loose.

The L-frame (686,586,620,681,etc) fixed the weak spot in the forcing cone and increased the frame size. Built like a tank, it can take most anything, but you pay for it in size and weight. The cylinder is wider and the frame is taller.

So, if you wanna carry it a lot and shoot mainly .38's, get the K. If you plan on shooting a lot of boomers, and are open carrying it or hunting, get the L.
45_Shooter is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 04:18 PM   #8
Keltyke
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 6, 2008
Location: Spartanburg, SC
Posts: 2,933
Quote:
K frame revolvers do not stand up to a steady diet of
357 magnum as well as say an L frame revolver, like my 686.
Crap! I have a Model 19 that's designated ".357 Magnum". "K" is simply the frame size - K meaning a mid-size.

Quote:
I heard that they are natural pointers and have great balance. I don't have to have another 357 magnum revolver.
You'll love it. I wouldn't take $1000 for my model 19. A natural pointer, easy to control, accurate.
Keltyke is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 08:01 PM   #9
Majic
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 24, 2004
Posts: 3,888
Quote:
Crap! I have a Model 19 that's designated ".357 Magnum". "K" is simply the frame size - K meaning a mid-size.
The K frame was designed for the .38 spl. It was beefed up slightly for the magnum round. Unfortunately the forcing cone had to be notched on the bottom to allow room for the yoke to close. There lies it's weak point. Some have been known to crack there if fed a large supply of lightweight, high performance loads. So although it does say magnum it was made before those loads were developed. Feed it the heaver 158 grain loads (which it was designed for) and it will last forever.
Majic is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 08:47 PM   #10
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,501
Quote:
No current production K-frames besides the model 10 and 64 I think. No .357's anymore...
The M67 and M617 are still in production, and S&W just introduced their very first scandium K-frame ever, the M315NG... but that's a little off topic.

The last of the K frame .357s, the M65 and M66, were discontinued in 2004.
Quote:
Basically the k-frame is more than adequate as long as you know it's limitations. It is not designed for high volumes of .357 magnums, especially of the lighter weight (125gr and lighter) bullets. The forcing cone tends to crack in a small area that was clearanced for the crane.
FWIW if you handload, I've also heard S&W experts warn against using slow, hot-burning powders such as H110, H4227, and Accurate #9 in a K frame. They will reportedly accelerate erosion of the weak forcing cone and cause flame cutting of the topstrap.

Basically, the point is to avoid trying to hot-rod the round. Stick with heavy bullets and fast powders and you should be good. If you want to hot-rod, get an L frame or an N frame. You'll probably want to do that anyway to absorb the extra recoil.
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak
carguychris is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 09:49 PM   #11
tenusdad
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 27, 2008
Posts: 396
K Frame

I have a S&W Model 66 with 6" barrel, bought new in the early 80's I think. I carried, shot and abused it. Heavy hunting reloads, etc. At the time it was the only centerfire handgun I had so I tried to wear it out. I've heard all the stories, but mine is still tight, accurate, has never failed and looks good. Viva S&W - I have bought more over the years and still have this one.
tenusdad is offline  
Old August 14, 2008, 10:21 PM   #12
kamerer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2007
Location: Way west
Posts: 481
Shopping list, price vs. caliber

If you ever want to use it as a woods gun, or cc gun, some find the .357 K frames very versatile. You will pay more for this versatility in the used market; I find a K .357 will run $100 or more over a .38 K of the same quality.

Shopping list:

Adjustable sight .357 models: 19 and 66
Fixed sight .357 models: 13 and 65

Adjustable .38s : 14 (6" only), 15, 67
Fixed .38s: 10, 64

If "pointing" is your main criteria - e.g., really light and sooth handling, should you go the 10 route I recommend the standard barrel vs. the heavy barrel. Others like the heavy, but it is a tad slower. I have two 686s, and quite a few Ks, but I think my very favorite is the 2.5" Model 19 .357. Does just a HUGE range of what a handgun can be asked to do.
kamerer is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 04:37 AM   #13
Elvishead
Junior member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2007
Location: Las vegas, NV
Posts: 3,397
You'd have to shoot enough ammo threw it to ware it out, to buy the gun many times over.

I see no issue.

Doesn't mean I own one, I got me'z an N-Frame .357.
Elvishead is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 05:49 AM   #14
Stainz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 13, 2007
Location: Alabama
Posts: 739
The 620 is the replacement for the 4" 66 - and weighs a massive 36.9 oz. Compare that with the 4" 66 at 37.0 oz. The 620 is just an L frame 4" 686+ with a half lug. Like the last run of 4" 66s, it has the two piece barrel liner/frame construction. The 66s came with Uncle Mike's Squared Combats, the 620 come with Hogues - K & L frame grips are the same size, of course, so they are interchangeable. The 620 is a great value today, as it is a 7-shooter without that full lug - and a few bucks cheaper than the 4" 686+. I love my 686+, but it is a 5" half lugger - I am not as fond of full lugs.

Now, for $150 more in MSRP than the 620, you can have the new this year 627 Pro - an N frame 8-shot with lots of extras (moonclip ready, chamfered charge holes, tuned action, spring-loaded front sight, custom barrel). It has to be this year's 'deal'. Mine jumped ahead of the 620 on my 'short' list, causing me to hurry and divest myself of some Rugers to pay the CC bill when it arrived. It was $719 + s/t locally. I am not fond of the IL, but I won't permit it's inclusion to prevent my owning a new S&W model.

Stainz

PS BTW, that 627 Pro is a keeper! Here it is, along with my 625JM, with a HiViz front sight and rounded cocobolo Ahrends stocks:


Stainz
Stainz is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 09:28 AM   #15
salvadore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 1, 2007
Location: Idaho
Posts: 1,864
A design flaw was the reason for the 66's bad press about using lotsa .357 rounds? I have an older mod. 60 .357 3" that I use to fire high pressure .358429 blue dot loads, and am currently using 358156/2400 +P+ .38 loads and always wondered why the 66 was suspect and the 60 isn't. Ya learn something new everyday.
salvadore is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 04:30 PM   #16
Majic
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 24, 2004
Posts: 3,888
The Model 60 (a J frame for those that don't know) doesn't have the notched forcing cone creating a weak point. It's that area where there is less metal that can crack. It didn't used to be a big problem but today there are no more factory replacement barrels.
Majic is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 04:44 PM   #17
salvadore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 1, 2007
Location: Idaho
Posts: 1,864
So Majic, does that mean my 60s are OK with .357 pressures for routine shooting?
salvadore is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 04:49 PM   #18
Evyl Robot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2008
Location: OOOOOOOOOOO-Klahoma!
Posts: 403
With the 2008 lineup of K's, I have to wonder if they are slowly phasing out the frame. I think there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth over that beloved frame. Then again, my K is somewhere around 85 years old... Discontinuation does not mean extinction afterall does it?

--Michael
Evyl Robot is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 05:02 PM   #19
Majic
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 24, 2004
Posts: 3,888
Yes Salvadore, you can shoot your M60 all you want.

No Evyl Robot, the K magnums were dropped because that problem did exist and they had a stronger frame. I could see someone filing a lawsuit if their K magnum broke and Smith knew about the situation. The .38s, .32s, and .22s have never been a problem in a K frame and are still good sellers so they will remain with us for a very long time.
Majic is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 06:43 PM   #20
salvadore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 1, 2007
Location: Idaho
Posts: 1,864
Thanks Majic, I'm looking forward to increasing my flinch factor first started in 1968 with the purchase of a SBH.
salvadore is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 07:57 PM   #21
SAWBONES
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Location: The third dimension
Posts: 662
Quote:
How does a S&W K Frame revolver stand up to 357 magnum?
Not too badly, certainly no worse than a J-frame does!

While not as heavy as the all-steel L-frames, my experience with the Model 19 suggests that they handle .357 Magnum rounds with aplomb.
__________________
"Humani nihil alienum"
SAWBONES is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 09:09 PM   #22
kamerer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2007
Location: Way west
Posts: 481
Quote:
Then again, my K is somewhere around 85 years old...
Actually, it's 109 years old (1899). The lockwork was tweaked with a few times in the first decade or so, but not radically altered. The current lockwork was finalized in 1915 and has changed very little since then.

Quote:
While not as heavy as the all-steel L-frames, my experience with the Model 19 suggests that they handle .357 Magnum rounds with aplomb.
Today 04:43 PM
I would say they handle it "competently," and reserve the high praise of "aplomb" for the L or N frame. When I want to really shoot .357s, I reach for an L or N. But when I want something light to carry or for .38s, I rustle out a K...
kamerer is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 09:48 PM   #23
Webleymkv
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 9,926
Here's an excellent article on the subject

http://www.gunblast.com/Butch_MagnumLoads.htm

Seems to me that so long as you stick with the heavier bullets (preferably lead) and keep your revolver well cleaned, you should be OK. Personally, I don't shoot anything lighter than 140grn in my M66. If I want to shoot the "death ray" 125grn loads (which I really don't) I've got my M28. Personally, I find the 158's to be more pleasant to shoot due to the reduced flash and noise and they already shoot to POA in my revolvers so I don't have to mess with adjusting the sights so not shooting the 125's isn't any big loss to me.
__________________
Smith, and Wesson, and Me. -H. Callahan
Well waddaya know, one buwwet weft! -E. Fudd
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures. -J. Caesar
Webleymkv is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 10:35 PM   #24
kamerer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2007
Location: Way west
Posts: 481
Quote:
so not shooting the 125's isn't any big loss to me
Big amen on that. I just don't have a need a good 158gr. SJHP can't deal with!

On the subject of the light bullets causing the damage - I have heard from very knowledgeable 'smiths and gun industry employees that this was a real issue in the 70s with certain hot loads marketed then. They say there isn't a modern 110gr. or 125gr load out there now that can do the damage like these older loads did. I trust their opinion, knowledge and expertiese in this area, and also note I have not heard of a case of this damage happening in a very, very long time. I am beginning to think it's a case of "used to be a problem" and isn't any more, but we just keep repeating the mantra.

I'm not trying to fight the reputation, just passing on words of wisdom from those much more knowledgeable than I. I think if I found myself in need of ammo on the road, and 125gr. was all their was, I wouldn't worry about it. But I am happy with 145 and up gr. and see no need to test the thesis.
kamerer is offline  
Old August 15, 2008, 10:40 PM   #25
Majic
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 24, 2004
Posts: 3,888
The Remington load was the culprit.
Majic is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13094 seconds with 7 queries