The Firing Line Forums

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 15, 2012, 11:12 AM   #1
chaim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 11, 2001
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,539
Near a decision- carry revolver

So, I was recently considering a new revolver for use as my primary winter CCW revolver:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=502293

I like my S&W 442 and Taurus 85CH for warm weather carry (love them actually), but small framed snubs do have some disadvantages (5 shots, lightweight and short barrel making quick and controllable follow up shots a bit of a challenge) so when late fall and winter clothing choices allow a larger gun, I want a larger gun.

I wasn't in a huge hurry because I had a Rossi 451, still a 2", but in .357mag and a 6 shot snub so I felt it addressed two of the disadvantages of my other snubs. I hadn't shot it enough to be sure of it and felt the jury was still out, but it was a good gun. Well, until last week, I had only shot .38spl out of it. After shooting a box of .357mag I am now in a hurry to get something else. The cylinder binded on all but the first cylinder, and some cylinders saw binding on nearly every shot (one had it on each shot). I'm not sure it is just an issue with close tolerances and needing to keep the cylinder face clean since it didn't bind once with .38spl even after it was binding on .357mag. I will probably send it off to Rossi to fix, and I assume they'll take care of it, but it will take a lot of shooting before I'll trust it for defensive use (I may just trade it after I get it fixed since I'll have a replacement for its current role by then).

I know a lot of people don't like Taurus so please don't comment on the brand, please focus on the features.

I've nearly decided for sure on the Taurus Tracker in .357mag (the 627).

What I like about it:
-7 shots of .357mag
-Under 29oz
-A long enough barrel to get reliable expansion and full performance out of the round
-Acceptable CCW and great as a woods gun
-Compact frame that is about halfway between a S&W K-frame and J-frame (great for concealment)
-Very smooth triggers on the ones I've dry fired at the store (both new and used guns)

What I don't like:
-Porting.
-4" barrel (I'd prefer a 3")

So, I am not a big fan of porting in a defensive pistol. The flash from the ports exhausting upwards into your field of vision can destroy your night vision. However, shooting magnums out of a 2" .357 can have quite a lot of flash and wreak havoc on your night vision as well. Is the flash from a ported 4" better or worse than the flash from a non-ported 2" in the same caliber?

I am undecided if I'd want to cut the barrel from 4" to 3". In a K-frame I love a 3" .357mag, but they weigh nearly 10oz more. With the 28.8oz Tracker, cutting an inch off would likely put it into my Rossi 451's weight range (26oz). When it didn't bind, .357mag out of the Rossi was fun at the range, but I doubt I'd ever use it for defensive purposes (it had a lot of kick so follow up shots weren't all that quick, and I did find myself starting to anticipate the recoil with a slight flinch after a couple cylinders). The extra weight from the inch of barrel, and the porting, might make a big difference in the shootability of this handgun. I do think weight probably makes a bigger difference than barrel length for concealability, so it might not be that big a deal that it is a 4" instead of a 3" barrel.
chaim is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 11:23 AM   #2
chaim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 11, 2001
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,539
Some possible alternatives:

-Taurus 425 Tracker. The 5 shot .41mag version (34oz). The caliber may be a bit much for the weight, and as much as I love .41mag, finding many defensive ammo choices won't be easy. It would be a terrific camping/woods gun.

-Taurus 445. 5-shot, 2" .44spl.

-Taurus 617. Also only 2" and with the disadvantages of a 2" .38/.357, but it holds 7 rounds of .357mag. It weighs 28oz, has the Taurus compact frame (between S&W K-frame and J-frame in size), and has big "ribber" grips so it is supposed to tame the .357mag recoil pretty well unlike a smaller framed .357mag.

-S&W 386 or 396 Nightguard. They already have the nightsights I want, but they are expensive.

Long Shots:
-3" S&W 686. Size (L-frame) and weight (about 35oz) may keep me from getting one, and they are more expensive by quite a bit than most of the Taurus handguns I'm considering. They have the S&W lock (inferior to the Taurus lock IMO since the Taurus lock is less obtrusive). However, they are a medium frame revolver with a 3" barrel from the factory, and they hold 7 rounds.

-3" Ruger GP100. Slightly bigger and heavier than the 686, thus less likely, it only holds 6 rounds, but it is a bit less expensive than the 686.

-Taurus 605, S&W 60, or Ruger SP101 with a 3" barrel. They are all in the 25-26oz range, but only hold 5 shots. The 3" has some advantages over a 2" (bullet performance, full length ejection rod), but they are still 5-shot small frame revolvers.

So, there are a few other options, but I'm likely to go with the Tracker. I would like some feedback on weight (I have carried my 36oz S&W 65LS around the apartment, it might be doable with a better holster), and advantages of the small frame that might change my mind. Obviously, I'm OK with the 5 shot snubs in the summer, it is just I would prefer more rounds when I can conceal a bigger gun.

Last edited by chaim; October 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM.
chaim is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 11:24 AM   #3
Nathan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 1, 2001
Posts: 2,065
Per Wikipedia, the 13 3" is 31 oz. The Taurus is still lighter.

Still, I would rather have the generally better trigger, better grip selection, better holster selection and reputation of the S&W. Also, loaded, I would guess the S&W weighs less. Just things to think about. I have never handled the Taurus.
Nathan is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 11:25 AM   #4
mavracer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2008
Location: midwest
Posts: 3,088
Quote:
So, I am not a big fan of porting in a defensive pistol. The flash from the ports exhausting upwards into your field of vision can destroy your night vision. However, shooting magnums out of a 2" .357 can have quite a lot of flash and wreak havoc on your night vision as well. Is the flash from a ported 4" better or worse than the flash from a non-ported 2" in the same caliber?
The blinding flash is internet BS. If it's dark enough for muzzle flash to "wreak havoc" with your night vision, it's too dark to ID your target. Besides where's your flashlight? any good one will put way more light in the room than muzzle flash will.

With a good belt and holster I'm good to about 40oz loaded weight.
__________________
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
Quote:
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
mavracer is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 11:38 AM   #5
chaim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 11, 2001
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,539
Quote:
Per Wikipedia, the 13 3" is 31 oz. The Taurus is still lighter.
The 65 Ladysmith has a full ejector shroud, but I just looked it up, it is lighter than I thought. It is 32oz. It has been OK around the apartment for short periods, but I'm not sure I'd want to carry it all day. However, I haven't invested in a good holster for it, so with the right holster, maybe more weight might work (I don't really know). Still, I have noticed with my autos, the more often I am somewhere I can carry, and the more experience I have with CCW, the more I have been gravitating to lighter and lighter handguns (even with some very good holsters on some of my heavier autos). Even if 30 some ounces is acceptable, I'd prefer the 28oz of the Tracker or 24.5oz of the 386 Nightguard to a 31 or 32oz 3" S&W 65 (I assume the few 3" Taurus 65 and 66's out there weigh about the same), 36.8oz 3" 686*, or 36oz of the 3" GP 100*.

*I earlier said that the GP100 was slightly heavier than the 686. I remembered wrong. I looked at the websites to get the weights- the 2.5" 686 is slightly lighter at 34.7oz, but at 3" the GP100 is 36oz and the 686 is 36.8oz (the GP100 is slightly longer though).
chaim is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 11:44 AM   #6
chaim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 11, 2001
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,539
Hmm, another question. Does anyone out there use Hi-Vis or any other fiber optic sights on their revolvers? I'm sure it isn't as good, but how does it compare to night sights?

The GP100 Talo edition comes with a fiber optic front sight. I'm wondering, in real self-defense lighting conditions (i.e. not complete darkness, but often pretty dark), if it would be enough advantage over steel sights to forgo the expensive modification of adding night sights to a revolver. If so, it won't put this over, but it will put it quite a bit higher on the list.
chaim is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 01:15 PM   #7
mavracer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2008
Location: midwest
Posts: 3,088
Quote:
Hmm, another question. Does anyone out there use Hi-Vis or any other fiber optic sights on their revolvers? I'm sure it isn't as good, but how does it compare to night sights?
I have both, Fiber optics are great til dusk and work especially well indoors and in shadey outdoor light.
I have Fiber optics on my IDPA and woods guns and prefer nights on defensive guns. But I'm pretty comfortable carrying my F/O equipped guns. I've also found that plain old black on black works pretty good with a flashlight.
__________________
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
Quote:
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
mavracer is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 01:39 PM   #8
chaim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 11, 2001
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,539
Quote:
I have both, Fiber optics are great til dusk and work especially well indoors and in shadey outdoor light.
I have Fiber optics on my IDPA and woods guns and prefer nights on defensive guns. But I'm pretty comfortable carrying my F/O equipped guns. I've also found that plain old black on black works pretty good with a flashlight.
You and flashlights

I do have a Streamlight TL-2 by my bedside. However, I don't generally carry it around. I used to carry a small keychain flashlight, but that was more for just finding things in the dark, not a tactical flashlight. I would think that in most self-defense situations when out of the house we probably won't have time to mess with both a flashlight and a gun so while carrying one may be a good idea, I don't want to make CCW choices that rely upon a flashlight.

That said, do you find fiber optic sights to be an advantage over iron sights in the dark? I'd assume they aren't better than night sights, but they do pick up light when there is some to pick up so they should be better than irons in all but full on night-time situations. Even at 0 dark 30, there is usually some light from the moon and/or street lamps, do they help in this kind of light? At the least, I assume there is nothing about them that causes a disadvantage at night over irons.

I doubt I'd spend the money to have a gun modified to take fiber optics. However, in a situation where they already have them, or if I pick a gun (like the Ruger) where it would be pretty easy to switch out the sights and no milling or major smithing work it required, I might consider them as a cheaper than tritium improvement.
chaim is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 01:55 PM   #9
Clifford L. Hughes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 24, 2011
Location: Southern Californis
Posts: 795
Buy a nice Smith & Wesson model 19 or a model 66 in a 2 1/2 or 3 inch. Have a good gun smith work the action and trigger and you will have a revolver that will put a Colt Python to shame. They are comfortable to wear and comfortable to shoot.

When I worked in a gun store I wore an N frame Smith & Wesson model 625 four inch for eight hours a day with out any discomfort.

Semper Fi.

Gunnery Sergeant
Clifford L. Hughes
USMC Retired
Clifford L. Hughes is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 02:18 PM   #10
mavracer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2008
Location: midwest
Posts: 3,088
Quote:
You and flashlights
After carrying one for a couple years I don't know how I ever went without. I have a streamlight pro tac 1aa it's very small and unobtrusive and oh so handy.
Quote:
That said, do you find fiber optic sights to be an advantage over iron sights in the dark?
Yes they will definitly have an advantage over Irons in all but very dark conditions and I can't imagine a realistic situation that they'd be a disadvantage.
__________________
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
Quote:
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
mavracer is offline  
Old October 15, 2012, 07:53 PM   #11
badge851
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2005
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaim
Some possible alternatives:

-Taurus 425 Tracker. The 5 shot .41mag version (34oz). The caliber may be a bit much for the weight, and as much as I love .41mag, finding many defensive ammo choices won't be easy. It would be a terrific camping/woods gun.

-Taurus 445. 5-shot, 2" .44spl.

-Taurus 617. Also only 2" and with the disadvantages of a 2" .38/.357, but it holds 7 rounds of .357mag. It weighs 28oz, has the Taurus compact frame (between S&W K-frame and J-frame in size), and has big "ribber" grips so it is supposed to tame the .357mag recoil pretty well unlike a smaller framed .357mag.
These are your most viable alternatives I feel. I own two of these three, a 425, and a 617. They are fine guns with many thousands of rounds through them. If you could find a discontinued (2012) Taurus® Mdl 415 that would be great also. The 415 is the same as the 425 but has a 2½" barrel. Some are ported & some are not. While I love the 41 Remington® Magnum as much as you I relegate it's use to being my trail gun.

If it were me in your situation I would get the 617 357 Magnum. It is easy to control with 158gr 357 ammunition. For me however, it is a real handful with far more recoil if shooting 125gr ammo.
__________________
Only two defining forces have ever died for you:
1. Jesus Christ.
2. The American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & Marine.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.
badge851 is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 10:57 AM   #12
Nathan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 1, 2001
Posts: 2,065
I didn't want to say it. . .but spend some time shopping Taurus's before you set your sights on one. The one I had PT101 had the permanent front sight dot drilled visibly off center. This made fast groups visibly off center!

To avoid Taurus bashing, I will limit this to my one experience.
Nathan is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 11:56 PM   #13
DaleA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 12, 2002
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 1,693
Have you considered a laser?
DaleA is offline  
Old October 17, 2012, 04:40 PM   #14
tomrkba
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2011
Posts: 636
Why I don't work on Taurus revolvers by Grant Cunningham

Quote:
Have you considered a laser?
How does this contribute to the thread?

Last edited by tomrkba; October 17, 2012 at 04:46 PM.
tomrkba is offline  
Old October 17, 2012, 10:15 PM   #15
DaleA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 12, 2002
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 1,693
Laser sights.

When people start considering fiber optic sights and trintium night sights and other low light options I sometimes wonder if the Crimson Trace laser grip sights might provide a solution. They make them for a variety of weapons and they advertise them as being good for low light shooting.

http://www.crimsontrace.com/
DaleA is offline  
Old October 18, 2012, 06:43 AM   #16
saltydog452
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 16, 2004
Posts: 510
Static, or curb, weight as opposed to felt weight

No firsthand knowledge of Tarus.

I do have two 3" HB, RB, S&W Model 13s. They are deceptively agile and have a lively feel to the hand. Like your favorite pair of boots, some things just 'feel right'. There may be a more user friendly revolver option is out there somewhere, but I've never shook hands with it.

salty
saltydog452 is offline  
Old October 18, 2012, 03:35 PM   #17
tomrkba
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2011
Posts: 636
Dale,

Anything is better than plain black forward and rear sights or rear white outline/black front sight. Laser sights are a good secondary solution. They provide several benefits, including the ability to fire the gun in a non-linear way. They give the shooter a shot in extreme conditions; very fine misting in low light is one such where a blast with a flashlight will wash everything out. Iron sights, and point shooting skills, are also required. Night sights assist in other conditions and are versatile enough that they should be included on any self-defense handgun.

I have found fibre-optic sights to be too fragile for defensive work and training. The "clue" was the second broken front sight. I think they are fine for competition and range use, but I won't use them for hunting or defense.
tomrkba 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 11:15 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 0.11871 seconds with 9 queries