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Old February 10, 2013, 08:35 PM   #1
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Thinking about a S&W Model 36 for SD, or best .38/.357 under $400

Hi all. Im looking for a revolver for self defense for under $400. I've found a model 36 which seems to be in great condition for $400 which includes 50 rounds of ammo. This seems like a pretty good deal to me but I wanted some feedback first. Im pretty set on a .38 (or .357 firing a .38) as my wife could possibly use it and she has small hands so I am afraid a .357 round and up would be too much recoil. I really like a revolver because of the reliability and easy of use and maintenance. I've looked at many different brands, Taurus/Rossi, EAA, Armscore, Charter Arms, ect... I was considering a Taurus M82 for $230 but reviews are mixed. Ive seen a few Charter Arms around $275-300 that I have seriously considered. I was also considering an Armscore Model 200 for around $220 brand new because of good reviews but I was worried about it being an offbrand and now they are very hard to find. I like the EAA Windicator but they are very heavy/bulky and I'm afraid my wife will have a hard time with it.

The model 36 seems reliable and not too heavy and bulky. This wont be a CC but just a bedside SD gun. Does anyone have any other recommendations for a nice 38 special revolver under $400?
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Old February 10, 2013, 09:32 PM   #2
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Well, the 36 should fit the bill just fine. I really think you would be well suited with that choice. You also mentioned some alternatives, you could possibly look at a nice model 10, 15, or maybe a 19 if you could find one in your price range. Any of the above should provide you with years of reliable service.
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Old February 10, 2013, 09:33 PM   #3
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For a bedside gun if you can find a service size revolver such as the S&W model 10 it would serve the bedside role a bit better. The M36 is a great pistol, $400 seems a bit high though. If you do pick it up consider puting on larger grips.
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Old February 11, 2013, 07:41 AM   #4
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I love my model 36. $400 is a decent price where I'm from. I much rather the older j frames than the newer ones. To me, the craftsmanship has deteriorated over the years. Good luck with your choice.
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:31 AM   #5
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I've got a 36 that I carry when the 1911 is just too big. I like the gun and it shoots pretty well considering it's only got a 2" barrel. I wouldn't feel under gunned carrying one full time even though I prefer the .45 ACP over the .38 Special.

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Old February 11, 2013, 01:08 PM   #6
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While a M36 is a fine gun that can certainly work for HD, it's primary niche is as a CCW. For a strictly HD gun, the larger K-Frame is better suited to most people because it holds one more round, has more weight to dampen recoil, and generally has a smoother, lighter trigger. J-Frames typically have heavier triggers because their smaller, lighter hammers necessitate a heavier mainspring in order to ensure reliable ignition of primers.

K-Frames seem to be one of those guns that fits a wide variety of people very well. They're big enough that, with a meaty set of stocks, they can be shot easily by people with large hands but, with a slimmer set of stocks, can just as easily be adapted to a small-handed person. Good K-Frame Models to look at include the models 10, 14, 15, 64, and 67 in .38 Special and the models 13, 19, 65, and 66 in .357 Magnum. While they're not as cheap as they once were, you should be able to find a nice used K-Frame for $400 or less without too much trouble.
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Old February 11, 2013, 03:11 PM   #7
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Stay away from Charter, Taurus, etc. Stick with S&W or Ruger. My preference is S&W. If it is a bedside gun and not for carry, then a four inch Model 10 is what you want. Much easier to control than a 2" gun of either j-frame or k-frame. I like Ruger for single action, S&W for double action.
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Old February 11, 2013, 08:32 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice. I am getting partial to Ruger and S&W as this will probably be the only handgun I get and I want it to be quality and last. I have found the model 10's seems to be the cheapest .38 s&w and i like the smaller frame for my wife. I saw a Ruger 38 CLR yesterday for $350 shipped on gunbroker yesterday but it was gone before I could bid, that would have been perfect. Usually they are around $550.
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Old February 11, 2013, 08:41 PM   #9
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I like the EAA Windicator
No. Stop. Just don't. Its a pile.

As said above, Ruger or S&W those are the only two worth considering.
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Old February 13, 2013, 11:07 AM   #10
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+1 on the K frame,as it holds six shots.
I picked up a S&W model 12,and a model 64 for around $350.00 each
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Old February 13, 2013, 01:51 PM   #11
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If you are looking for a larger peice, like the K-frames you owe it to yourself to try out a Gp100. They shoot great and soak up recoil well. Mine lives right next to the bed and I trust it with mine and my wife's lives.
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Old February 15, 2013, 01:17 PM   #12
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For house guns, I like a 4" 6 shot .38 Smith, Ruger, or Colt mid frames. My personal choices are Older Colt Official Police. If it were for CCW, I would go for a Smith J frame airweight. The price on the 36 is good and it makes a good IWB carry or vehicle gun.
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