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Old January 2, 2009, 05:17 PM   #1
Join Date: March 13, 2008
Posts: 99
Need Opinions/Reports on S&W Model 60 3" or 5"

I wandered into a gun show recently and picked up, for the first time, a S&W Model 60 with a 5" barrel. It was love at first sight. While I have a half dozen center fire semi-autos I have wanted to add a .357 revolver to my collection and so was browsing the pistol offerings.

This thing is just gorgeous. It is massively similar in feel and balance to my trusty old S&W K22 Masterpiece. I want one of these with an irrational desire that I just can't justify--so I won't try.

Anyway, I want one of these in either the 3" or 5" barrel and would deeply appreciate any information on the questions below or your general opinion. Please do me a favor and let me know if you are replying based on ownership experience or expressing a general opinion.


1. Does anyone use this as a carry weapon (any barrel length)? If so, what ammunition do you load when carrying?

2. Unlike my old K22 Model 17 this doesn't seem to be offered with a target hammer or trigger. Does anyone know whether S&W will retrofit this?

3. Talk me into or out of using this as a carry weapon in either 3" or 5". My usual carry piece is either a Kimber Pro Carry or an Interarms/Walther PPKS, depending on the weather (IWB for the former or pocket for the latter). I actually don't carry all that often as I'm a professor in a state where they lock you up for a long time for weapons on any campus (Florida--even the recent right to keep it in your car at work law doesn't cover campuses).

4. Any opinions on the 3" vs 5" decision?

5. Are there any other smaller frame revolvers that anyone might recommend? Minimum barrel length of 3", adjustable sights, and not much bigger than the Model 60. I handled quite a few other .357s and most seemed like you'd need a small wagon to haul them around and a bipod to shoot them from.

6. Any comments on the recoil? I can shoot a full size 1911 all day. The Pro Carry will have me feeling it after one box.

Many thanks for any and all information.
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Old January 2, 2009, 06:01 PM   #2
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Join Date: December 27, 2008
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My wife has owned a 60-3 3" since 88 (38) and won't part with it, stainless with a shaved hammer. She took her CCW class with it and did better than 98% of the people there...wonderful piece. I shoot it every time we go to the gun club and wouldn't mind one in 357 myself.

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Old January 2, 2009, 07:02 PM   #3
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I own the 5" Model 60. I don't carry it in the city/suburbs because of barrel length but I do carry it outdoors. It is heavy enough to comfortably shoot 38 +P. 357 isn't too bad but not the best. Weight isn't the issue - the grip is small - just can't hold onto it as well as a larger 357. I won't change the grip because I like the compactness of it. I keep it loaded with handloads (170 grain, Speer, SP, Gold Dots). I shoot this revolver more accurately than any of my semi-autos (excluding Mark III 22LR). It is a favorite for others to shoot in 38. I like the compactness/power/accuracy of this revolver. I also have the model 63, 22 LR in 5 inch length. Fast becoming my favorite 22LR for all-around use. If they make a similiar styled j-frame in a 22 Mag with a 5 inch barrel - I'll buy it.
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Old January 2, 2009, 08:00 PM   #4
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Join Date: October 10, 2008
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I use a model 60 w/3" barrel as protection in my car, carried in a cheap holster in the driver's side door pocket. It is filled with Winchester SXT Personal Protection .38 Special +P 130 gr. hollow points. My neighbor gave me the ammo, so my mentioning it here is not necessarily a recommendation - there are other good brands. At the range, accuracy is very good. I imagine that a 5" barrel would be even better for range use. For actual carry I prefer a semi-auto (.380) because its slimness makes for better concealment. Sorry, but I can't answer your other questions.
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Old January 2, 2009, 08:59 PM   #5
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I have a three inch Model 60 which I carry concealed on occasion. Carrying a five inch barreled gun concealed is a problem for me. If it is for range use and field carry, I would probably go for the 5 inch. Actually, I would look for a pre-lock SW K-frame in a 4 to 6 inch barrel. The K-frames have great triggers, though some have to be smoothed. SW J-frames have a different trigger and the new ones sometimes cannot be smoothed out as nice as the K-frames.
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:56 PM   #6
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Join Date: May 21, 2006
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 102
I carry a 3" Model 60 Pro daily in a Crossbreed Supertuck holster. It replaces a 642. With the longer barrel and larger, adjustable sights, I can hit well using full-power .357 ammo -- I can keep all 5 in a pattern the size of my palm at 25 yards (Oops -- I mean FEET), much better than the 642 with 38+P, and equal to the Bersa Thunder in .380. The recoil is stout, but the steel frame and broader back of the grip render it much more manageable (and less painful) than the 642.

A 5" barrel would fit inside my pants until I tried to sit down.

Last edited by wjg686; January 4, 2009 at 03:13 PM. Reason: accuracy
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:38 PM   #7
Join Date: March 13, 2008
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Many thanks for all of the great information.
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:45 PM   #8
Join Date: December 30, 2007
Posts: 99
I've got the 5" Model 60 and the .22lr version as well. I just shot them both today too and I have to say they are keepers. I took off the stock grips and put Pachmayrs on them and they fit my hand perfectly. Accuracy is top notch and single action pull is nothing short of amazing. Double action is heavy but smooth. I bought these to be all around outdoor carry pieces in a Simply Rugged pancake holster, .22 for when I have a rifle and .357 when I don't.

I like these guns a great deal. I'd also like a .22 Magnum version and would love to see a .327 Mag as well.
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Old January 3, 2009, 06:43 AM   #9
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I own both barrel lengths, the 3" is the handiest,, I carry it with 358429s over 11.5 grains of 2400 or a sedate 5grs of unique in .38 cases. Use to feed it a bit hotter cast gc load but now only load it in bear country. ground off the hammer spur, but adjustable sights still tend to snag. The 5" mostly goes back and forth to the range. Why would you want a target trigger, or hammer? I like the 3".
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