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Old January 5, 2019, 08:45 AM   #1
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New to Me Gun Day - S&W 65

Howdy everyone,

I was gifted this Smith and wesson 65-3 from a long time friend. It's a beautiful firearm and I'm already proud to have it in my small collection. From the research I've done it appears to be made in the early 80's but I was curious if someone could narrow that down a tad for me if possible and possibly provide some history. Serial # AFT87XX

It appears to be in fantastic condition for the most part. There's a ding on the front of the crane but the forcing cone shows no areas of concern that I can see and the top strap doesn't have any flame cutting on it. I've never owned an older Smith and Wesson firearm but from what I've read (which I know things online can be blown out of proportion) the flat spot on the forcing cone can be a weak spot if you run a lot of full throttle lightweight bullets through K Frames.

I want to prolong the life of this firearm but I don't want it to be a safe queen either. So I was curious about some ammunition. Anyone's experiences and/or recommendations would be appreciated. I plan to just completely stay away from any lightweight bullets, especially in 357 mag. I've ordered several different types of the 158 SWCHP from Federal and Winchester in 38 special. Both standard pressure and +p. I'll see how those shoot. I have an abundance of American Eagle 158 JSP sitting around in 357 magnum I might try out as well.

As for hand loading I plan to load and play with a variety of different bullets. I was thinking some 158g SWC or 158g Speer Plinkers loaded around 1000 fps in 357 Magnum cases. Should make a good utility load if I can get a combination that'll shoot POA.

Also, I was looking at purchasing a T Grip for it. Seems the general consensus on these are fantastic and I really like the way that they look.

And as always, general commments are always welcome.
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Old January 5, 2019, 10:03 AM   #2
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Nice gun.

I have a police trade in DAO 64 in 38spl, which is very similar, and a few other S&W's as well. You cant go wrong with the Smiths. Great shooters.

From just a quick look around, the 65-3's were introduced in 1982. The list I found, only shows the three letter serial number prefixes starting with AAA000 in 1980. Their list didnt go beyond that.

As far as the Tyler T grips, you may try E bay. Ive picked up a couple there. They, like the S&W grips, seem to have become collectors items and have gone up a good bit in price.

Last I bought anything directly from Tyler was back in the early 2000's, and things weere a bit sketchy with them. There was no internet ordering, you had to print out the order form and mail it in. Took a few months to get the order, and they werent answering the phones either or emails.

Lately, Ive been using this guy......

He makes basically a copy of the Tylers, but out of a polymer of some sort. He also uses two "clips" to attach them, and I think the fit is better too. Price is around $25. I got a number of them off him now, and I prefer them.

As much as I do prefer the old Magna's and a T grip for the classic look (they are OK shooting wise too), for shooting, the Hogue one-piece rubber grips really are a lot nicer, especially with heavier loads. They look like crap though.

This is my 64 with the Hogues on it. Like I said, looks like crap. Shoots great though.

This is one of the BK T grips on my old Brit Victory
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Old January 5, 2019, 10:16 AM   #3
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I'll have to look into those BK grips for sure. I do love hogue when it comes to heavy loads but I don't think this one will see as much of that as my Rugers do. And thank you. I've always loved the lines of the more vintage Smith's. Those are some gorgeous firearms you have as well.
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Old January 5, 2019, 10:21 AM   #4
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That is a great revolver, congrats! Enjoy that thing!
Say when.....
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Old January 5, 2019, 10:30 AM   #5
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As far as loads, for practice and general plinking, I load most of my 357's with 158 grain plated RNFP bullets from Everglades, over 7 grains of Unique in 357 cases. I think they are running right around 1000fps.

Got tired of leading with the LSWC's. These seem to shoot well and cleanup is a lot easier. Price isnt much more than I pay for the LSWC's I use with my .38's.
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Old January 5, 2019, 01:53 PM   #6
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Kwik, congrats on the 65-3. I've got one of those too. They are great shooting guns. Mine is wearing some Pachmayr grips, but I do have the original grips.
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Old January 5, 2019, 06:25 PM   #7
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I'll look into that Everglades stuff. As of right now I have several hundred of the lswc bullets sitting here so I better get some use out of them. And thanks GoPappy. I haven't decided if I'm gonna keep the originals on it or not.
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Old January 5, 2019, 10:33 PM   #8
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Tyler T I grips are available on line from the same location as always but Melvin has probably bit the dust by now. Prices are in the $35 + range and they deliver in a couple of weeks. I have older T grips that I use on S&W 65, 2 ea 60’s a 64 and if seriously shooting I put one on my mod 66.
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Old January 6, 2019, 03:28 AM   #9
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SCSW says the prefixes for November 1984 were AEV through AFJ.

The SN for January 1985 started at AHA 0067.

That's about the best I can do for when your Model 65 shipped.

This Model 65-3 shipped about 1982, best as I can figure. I forget now what brand the grips are that I put on it, maybe Uncle Mikes.

Can't help you with ammo, I prefer not to fire my K frames with 357 Mag ammo, I usually only put 38s through them.
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Old January 6, 2019, 07:39 AM   #10
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Your 158 grain bullets at 1000 fps may hit a little high. If you you'll have to move them faster or go to a lighter bullet something lIke 140. Those are really nice sixguns & if not abused will last your lifetime. I love the T-Grip on the N-Frame but they don't quite feel right on the smaller guns but that's just me. You're going to love that sixgun.
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Old January 6, 2019, 08:30 AM   #11
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Thank you Driftwood. That narrowed it quite a bit. I'll probably stick to 38s for the most part. Especially if I can find a combination that shoots POA. I'll get it out next weekend and put some rounds through it.
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Old January 6, 2019, 08:59 AM   #12
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I must be the only person who thinks the black rubber/white metal (stainless) combination doesn't look too bad. I prefer wood, but the black/white isn't too bad, especially if you're out and about in all kinds of weather with it.

Driftwood, I believe those are Uncle Mike's grips.

I've used both Tyler's and BK's over the years. I have both on guns right now, and to tell you truth, I can't tell a dimes worth of difference. The big difference is I can go to BK's website right now, (Sun morning) order a set and they'll be in my mailbox with Wednesday's mail, if not Tuesday's. I'll allow them an extra day for it being Sunday. The last time I ordered from Tyler's I had to print a form, fill it out, mail it and wait about eight months (I concede they're much faster now). I had actually forgotten about the order.
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Old January 6, 2019, 09:40 AM   #13
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OP mentioned the American Eagle 158gn JSP 357 load. That’s one of my favorite factory loads. Shoots great in my GP100 3”.
The Blazer Brass 158gn JHP is a moderate shooting load, not full power Magnum, but beyond a 38spl...a good shooting load.
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Old January 6, 2019, 09:55 AM   #14
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It (AE) is mine as well. My 4 inch GP100 shoots it beautifully. It just seems to work. I keep a box in the pickup whenever I'm out doing it anything along with the GP and it has yet to ever let me down. Granted, I've never taken a bull elk with it, nor would I, so I can't vouch for it's large game ability, but it has slayed several varmints and a coyote.
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Old January 6, 2019, 10:02 AM   #15
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Gun porn. . . . . Thanks for the pics!
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Old January 6, 2019, 10:05 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by CajunBass
Driftwood, I believe those are Uncle Mike's grips.
Looks like it to me, too. Hang on to them. They're good grips, but no longer made, so they can be tough to find.

Congrats to the OP for a fine looking M65 .
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Old January 6, 2019, 10:37 AM   #17
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I forget now what brand the grips are that I put on it, maybe Uncle Mikes.
That's what they are.

They also made round butt as well as RB boot grips with exposed backstrap, and a RB-to-SB conversion grip.

These are RB.
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Old January 6, 2019, 10:41 AM   #18
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Mr Borland is correct, those are Uncle Mikes, later Butler Creek grips. They are my favorite k frame grips but very difficult to find. Had I known that they were going to end production I would have bought several sets.
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Old January 6, 2019, 01:44 PM   #19
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Ive taken a number of the Uncle Mikes type grips off used guns in the past. They do feel good in the hand just holding the gun, the only problem for me is, they offset your grip from the frame, and put my trigger finger in the wrong place. They are OK shooting with, and better than what S&W is using now from the factory.

The "new" S&W rubber grips are similar. They also put more of a sharper radius that meets at the rear seam, forming a dull knife edge along the back of the grip, that concentrates the recoil into your palm. They pretty much suck with the harder recoiling calibers. Same problem with the trigger too.

For me, the Hogues work better, as the rear of the grips meet the exposed rear of the frame in a flatter radius, and my hand is against the flat of the frame (which helps with recoil), and my trigger finger is in the right place.
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Old January 6, 2019, 03:55 PM   #20
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I think that you will like it, it is a very good all around gun, IMHO.
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Old January 6, 2019, 07:30 PM   #21
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I am jealous ... Very nice gun .. Enjoy

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Old January 6, 2019, 07:59 PM   #22
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I carried a Model 65 for a few years before my agency transitioned to semi-autos. When my oldest daughter expressed her desire to have a gun for home defense, her wish was fulfilled on Christmas day these many years ago. Mine was/hers is a Model 65 with a 3" barrel. My son-in-law dispensed with the Tyler grip adapter and installed Uncle Mikes rubber grips. I have to admit, the "new" grips feel pretty good.

My daughter and her husband have also "transitioned" to autos but the Model 65 still stands guard in their home.
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Old January 9, 2019, 01:00 PM   #23
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I keep a Model 65, loaded with .38 spl +P Gold Dots, as my basement emergency gun. I bought it well-used, but in good condition. This thread reminds me that I haven't shot it in awhile. Need to get it to the range.
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Old January 21, 2019, 06:45 PM   #24
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I have a model 65 just like yours and it does have an Uncle Mikes grip on it. Mine was a police turn in from GB I paid $280 for several years ago. Mine shoots to POA with any 158gr bullet. At least very close. I shoot more of the 158gr Laser Cast SWC bullets in 357 cases with 6.6grs of Unique. Its my favorite mid range 357 load that should be getting just over 1100fps. just like the old 38/40 loads.

And don't worry about the forcing cone. Just use the heavier bullets. They are more accurate than the light bullets in all my 38/357 guns anyway.

I learned to reload with a model 19 and I shot every hot 110-125 grain bullet load I had powder for. And I never had any issues with the forcing cone in that gun. And I went shooting 2-3 times a week back then.
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