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Old November 1, 2022, 07:21 AM   #1
Join Date: September 10, 2009
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Old disabled guy revolver

I have a Ruger SP 2 inch 357 which is to big and heavy to carry.....I would love to have a Colt Diamondback 38 2 inch but dont have 2k to waste on one revolver.....
Of the two a Ruger LCR or the Smith MP 38 5 shot which would you get....
Im leaning towards the Smith.... 400 bucks vs 550 for the Ruger.....
Either would be my carry gun.
I even though about used Model 36 ....but no plus + ammo...keeps me away
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Old November 1, 2022, 09:25 AM   #2
wild cat mccane
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Not knowing your disability, the good news is every one that you mentioned is better than the SP. Weight will be better and the trigger on the SP is unfortunately probably the worst of all revolvers. That the GP100 and 686 are much more expensive than the SP has got to be the reason the SP line hasn't dead off. I suspect most people like yourself run into it is smaller, but too heavy for actual purpose.

Pick any that you like most, you'll do fine.
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Old November 1, 2022, 10:44 AM   #3
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Broke my back (plus lots more) from a motorcycle crash in 79...was in hospital 71 days......Im 65 now.....walk with a going to have to give up and get some power scooter in the near future.
I smoked heavy for about 13 years stopping at 32....sometimes i use oxy when sat level goes to 92/93 at wife is a retired ER lucky.
Ive had the SP for years....not great but built like a panzer tank. Ive shot the LCR .....recoil was bad.
I found a used model 66 2.5 inch for 800.00 which is kinda high .....i use to have one 25 years ago or so and could kick myself for selling it.
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Old November 1, 2022, 05:28 PM   #4
unit 900
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I am pretty sure that more recent S&W 36 revolvers are fine using +P ammo. That said, there are good ammo choices in .38 that are standard pressure. I carry Hornady 158 gr. XTP in my much older Cold Cobra (another choice worth exploring). Good luck.
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Old November 3, 2022, 06:25 AM   #5
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I have used an S&W®M&P® BODYGUARD® 38 with Integrated Crimson Trace® Laser for the last 8 years as my EDCG. I am thoroughly pleased...
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Old November 5, 2022, 05:23 PM   #6
Super Sneaky Steve
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The LCR has a trigger that beats any J frame hands down. I own many J frames and a few LCR's.
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Old November 6, 2022, 09:48 AM   #7
Don P
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You may want to look at S&W 649 (chief special series), 5 shot loaded weight is 27 oz.
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Old November 6, 2022, 10:25 AM   #8
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Get the smith. I have a lcr in 38+p, the internals rattle and it just feels cheap. Triggee leaves a lot to be desired. Also full power 38s, not even +p make your hand sting.
I don't believe in "range fodder" that is why I reload.
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Old November 7, 2022, 09:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Don P View Post
You may want to look at S&W 649 (chief special series), 5 shot loaded weight is 27 oz.
The 649 is the humpback and I had no idea it was considered part of the Chiefs Special revolvers. I thought it was the Bodyguard series.

Carrying my pre-model number Chiefs Special today.

The only change is it has the Altamont grip instead of the original:

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Old November 7, 2022, 10:57 AM   #10
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The Ruger SP101, as the OP (original poster) said, is what he has, and I wouldn't sell it off to get something else, at this point. OP, it's working for you right now and something else may later be found to not be to your liking.

One's finances are always going to be a factor for consideration. If the OP can afford two revolvers for awhile, I say do so, until he definitely say he likes one over the other. Otherwise, he may regret letting the SP101 go, just to get something else he doesn't quite like in the long run.

While I've had an SP101, and wished I still owned it, on retrospect, I also didn't like the overall feel as much as my: S&W Mod. 66-2; 642-1; 640-1; & 60-7, among other S&W revolvers I also have.

The Model 649 (in its final .357 Mag chambering) was discontinued, not to say a used one wouldn't become available at any time. S&W does still have the Mod. 638 in a similar design, but lighter weight in an aluminum alloy frame.

The S&W Bodyguard 38
gets mixed to negative reviews/comments. I've not ever even touched one and can't personally comment.

Ruger LCR
I considered getting one but just never got around to spending the hard-to-find money to do so. I've read mostly good reviews, but some negative reviews, too.

The current S&W Model 36 is +P rated, as somebody else said.

I wouldn't know how much, +P ammo, an older non-+P Model 36 could take before some type of failure. For some monetary estimates/comparisons, however, 5,000 rounds of .38 Special would likely be ~$3000, just for practice, with +P defensive ammo being approximately $1/round, or ~$50/box of 50. Would a used non +P Mod. 36 take 50 rounds of +P ammo? Probably, but I don't know regarding any specific old Mod. 36.

Enough from me as I'm not anybody's salesperson. OP, good luck in your search and I hope you decide upon something to augment your revolver inventory and can then find one for sale at an agreeable price.
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Old November 7, 2022, 04:54 PM   #11
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OP, I'm old, broken, and full of arthritis so I sympathize with you.

My first recommendation would be give the Taurus 856 Ultra Light a look. Six shots in a package about the size of your SP101 and easier to carry.

Second would be to quit worrying about +P as a necessity for self defense. After retiring from law enforcement I spent 10 years training over a 1000 people in self defense and to qualify for a concealed carry permit. I always recommended owners of 2" 38 Special revolvers, particularly alloy framed models, shoot 148g factory wad cutters. They are mild in recoil and report, scary accurate, and penetrate all out of proportion to their humble appearance. And all the while cutting a full caliber hole unlike round noses, HPs that don't open up, and even many semi-wadcutters.

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Old November 13, 2022, 08:33 AM   #12
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Were me, would try to make what I had work. But if you want to go lighter, a S&W Airweight J Frame 38 is +P rated and the J Frames have been carried many a mile by folks who walk the wild side.
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Old November 15, 2022, 12:18 PM   #13
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Well, if you're going to a mobility scooter, weight won't be an issue and you should stick with your trusty SP-101.

You'll find if you go to something lighter, loads that were manageable in your SP feel like rip-snorting magnums in the lighter gun.

I have a 3" SP-101 in 357 and a LCR in 38. A standard pressure 38 Spl with 158 gr. bullet or a +P with lighter bullet feel fine out of the SP, but are abusive from the LCR; don't want to shoot more than a couple cylinders of it, and I have to re-adjust my grip after every shot.

I second Dave T's advice to shoot standard pressure wadcutters, probably by Buffalo Bore, as defense ammo. I don't know about Buffalo Bore's but my standard pressure wadcutter handloads are pleasant to shoot in both my SP-101 and LCR.

Side note: stay with the walker as long as you can. You'll find your fitness level and quality of life will rapidly decline when you go to the scooter. Muscles atrophy, etc. It's what happened to my grandpa. My company president was wounded in war and can't really bend one knee. He walks with a cane and is like Frankenstein's monster from the old movies, but it keeps him in shape.

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Last edited by Smaug; November 15, 2022 at 04:22 PM.
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Old November 15, 2022, 02:34 PM   #14
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I’d go S&W. I would go further and get a J and box of hi performance 38sp SD loads. I know a guy that shot a whole box of +P through a m38 S&W. Only reason I know is he gave me the brass. I told him the error of his ways and he brought gun for me to check. No damage I could see although I advised him not to shoot +P any more.
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Old November 16, 2022, 03:50 PM   #15
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If you're worried about +P in a 38 Special J frame, don't shoot it.
Federal still makes 110gr non +P 38 in a Hydra Shock.
If you can find any, standard full Wadcutter 38 isn't a bad option.
Any bullet beats none, if worst come to worst 158 RNL, or Semi Wadcutter.
I have Arthritis, and nerve damage in both hands, my choice in Revolvers is S&W J frames, either a Model 36, or 640.
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Old November 16, 2022, 11:36 PM   #16
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I have a Ruger LCRx and love the feel of it when shooting DA. With the extra light gun, regular 38s do kick more than I expected. I reload, so it was easy to come up with some 110 gr extra low recoil loads. If you do not reload, try some factory ammo with lighter bullets.

If you do not reload and a small 38 with light bullets is still a bit much, the LCR in 327 is an option. Using 32 S&W long for volume practice should be easy on the hand. 32 H&R is "enough" for serious work and should not be too terrible to fire off a cylinder or so now and then. Ammo cost will be somewhat higher but on-line shopping for bulk 32 Long ammo may eventually get back closer to what it was several years ago.

The 32 has an real recoil advantage over a 38. This can be a big deal for those with hands that will get less capable over time. The next step down is probably a 22.
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Old November 19, 2022, 04:35 PM   #17
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Most of the time my carry piece is a Colt Combat Commander in .45 ACP. Back up gun is an S&W M60, the stainless version of the Chief's Special. The load I run is the Federal 125 gr. +P Hi-Shok. They shoot quite well in the M60 and are not bad with the small factory stocks. Currently I have one of the Pachmeyr rubber stocks on the gun. I also have two M49 Bodyguards with clones of the Spegel boot grips. They're a very nice compromise BTW.

Practice loads run a home cast 148 gr. wadcutter over 3.1 gr. of W231, any make of decent brass and the WSP standard primer. Carry loads are in two HK speed loaders with the Federal load mentioned earlier. Like some here, old age and physical problems pop up and I believe one either has to adapt to the situation. I'm 84. In the last three years I've been in a nasty car wreck, had a heart attack and now am fighting cancer. Arthritis is a given with two bad knees, left shoulder and left thumb. Never figure out why just on the thumb???? About 25 more days of radiation treatments and maybe I'll have enough time to go to the range and do a little shooting. It's been three years plus since I've been able to do any shooting and the itch is getting real bad.
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Old November 19, 2022, 04:55 PM   #18
Dave Chuppa
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I would buy a Smith. The LCR trigger has such a long reset that a lot of people have a problem with double stroking.
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Old November 20, 2022, 01:56 AM   #19
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So you need a smaller, lighter gun with lower recoil because as you know you're going to get older and more weak with time. This is really perfect territory for .32 Magnum and .32 S&W Lg.

How opposed are you to .32 caliber? The .327 LCR is smaller and lighter than the SP101 and the .32 Mag and .32 SWL will have less recoil even in a lighter gun. If you're not shooting it a lot, you can manage with factory ammo, but if you shoot a lot you'll have to reload or go broke.

Taurus also makes a .327 snub, so if you wanted a cheaper entry into the caliber that's a way to go.
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Old November 20, 2022, 07:51 PM   #20
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Colt made the Detective Special in 32 New Police caliber - that's the same as 32 S&W Long of course. Great little guns. No longer made but reasonably priced on GI and GB.
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Old November 24, 2022, 10:56 AM   #21
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So, what exactly is it about the SP101 that you don't like? If it is the weight, you mention in a subsequent post about a 2.5" S&W 66 (that you seem to have only decided against due to price) which is a K-frame, so both larger and heavier than the SP101. Also, as already mentioned, if you are soon going to a mobility scooter, how much does a couple ounces really matter? If it is the trigger, just about anything will be better. If it is the recoil, I'm not sure either option you are looking at would be better.

Personally, I wouldn't go with any of the guns you are considering. In small frame revolvers, my current choices are Colt and the Taurus 856. Sure, they are a hair wider, but I find the extra round to be comforting. For general carry I prefer the 3" new Colt King Cobra or Taurus Defender. For deeper concealment, the aluminum alloy (16oz) Taurus 856UL with a 2" barrel, though if you prefer steel the .38spl Colt Cobra and .357mag King Cobra as well as the 856 are all available with a 2" barrel. The Colts have some of the best triggers I've ever tried in a small frame modern production revolver. The Taurus isn't bad. Of course, the Colt King Cobra isn't cheap, but you may find a Cobra around the price (or just a bit higher) than what you are looking at, and you may be able to get two Taurus 856s for the same price as the Ruger.

Limited to just what you mentioned, I strongly prefer S&W over Ruger, so that is the way I'd go.
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Old November 26, 2022, 10:58 AM   #22
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I picked up a S&W 442-1 up in a local gun shop for $350. I already had a 442-2, but this one is virtually unfired and has no lock. Could not resist. Makes a dandy pocket carry revolver in a Sam Andrews holster.
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Old November 28, 2022, 06:07 PM   #23
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Good Move. From personal experience, the Ruger LCR is very light, but hurt my hand when I fired it with normal (i.e., not +P) 38 special factory ammo. Lite does have a disadvantage.
I think you'll be happy with your choice.
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Old December 11, 2022, 06:36 PM   #24
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LCR in 327 Federal Magnum.

327 Fed can be loud and some loads have a bit of recoil.

You can also shoot 32 H&R Magnum which has a light recoil and is arguably equal to 38 special.

Also shoots 32 S&W Long, 32 S&W Short and 32 acp.

Excellent trigger. Small and light. For me it is excellent for pocket carry. I wear Duluth Trading Cargo Pants and the LCR hides in those cargo pockets.

Good luck!

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Old December 11, 2022, 09:16 PM   #25
Bill DeShivs
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Airweight J frame S&W with wadcutters. DaveT is a smart man. Listen to him.
You don't need "+P."
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