The Firing Line Forums

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 18, 2017, 11:22 PM   #1
Wheel-Gunner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 24, 2006
Posts: 215
Let's talk about the Smith & Wesson Model 19

Today I was lucky enough to pick up a S&W Model 19 for $400. In is in decent condition with some honest wear on the cyclinder, which I don't mind as I plan on shooting it for the rest of my life. It is a 19-4 with a pinned barrel and recessed cylinder. It will make a good brother to my models 65 and 66.

Recently there have been some very informative and entertaining threads about some of the classic Smith's (model 10, model 27, etc), and I wanted to start a similar thread pertaining to the history of the model 19. There are many S&W enthusiasts and I always enjoy learning about how these models came to be and the specific purposes/niches they served.

I also wanted to talk about the types of .357 ammo and the quantity that is appropriate for these K frames. I have read that 158 grain is fair game indefinitely, however 125 grain should be totally avoided dude to a history of forcing cone cracking (enter the 586 and 686 as the answer to this problem). I wanted to know how true these claims are and how much .357 mag a K frame can handle cumulatively. Are these K frames best used with a steady diet of 38 special and the occasional 357 mag outing?

Thanks and I am looking forward to your responses.
__________________
"History does not entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. We must acquire proficiency in defense and display stamina in purpose." Dwight Eisenhower
Wheel-Gunner is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 06:02 AM   #2
CajunBass
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 6, 2005
Location: North Chesterfield, Virginia
Posts: 4,306
I've owned about a dozen or so Model 19's and 66's (stainless steel version) over the years. My first handgun was a Model 19. I've had as many as three at one time, but now I'm down to just one.

I almost never shoot 357 ammo, but I'm an oddity I suppose. When I started shooting 357 ammo was two, three times as expensive as 38's. I had scads of 38 brass, so I reloaded 38's. I just never really developed any interest in 357's. After all, I wasn't a cop, I didn't hunt with a handgun. All I did was punch holes in paper with one.

I recall hearing about the forcing cone issue back in the 80's I guess, but it didn't really take off and become a major deal, until S&W stopped making barrels. If you cracked a forcing cone, you just sent the gun back to the factory and had a new barrel installed. I never had to do it of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't done under warranty so the cost was minimal.

These days, the only way to fix a gun (Model 19/66) with a cracked forcing cone is to find a take-off barrel somewhere. So I see even less sense in shooting the hot stuff. I'll continue to stick to 38's and enjoy my gun. If I wanted to shoot a lot of 357, I'd get an L or an N and go at it. (I just bought my first L-frame not too long ago. Still haven't shot it.)
__________________
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
CajunBass is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 07:35 AM   #3
old bear
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2009
Location: Not close enough to the beach
Posts: 1,415
The model 19 was the brain child of Bill Jordan and Smith and Wesson. It was intended to be the ideal belt revolver for working cops. Less weight than the N frames, which can get heavy when worn on a gun-belt for hours at a time but could be safely fire .357 Magnum ammo. Over the years, the Model 19’s has been offered with 2 ½”, 4”, and 6” barrels. A small number were produced with 3” barrels which offered a full-length ejector rod. This version has a high collectors interest and have become very expensive.

Mr. Jordan suggested that most of not all practice be done with 38 special ammo and full power .357 Magnum ammo be loaded for duty use. Something that did not always happen. I understand there were several reasons for this; officer preference, department guidelines, and law suits by community action groups.

It’s believed that the use of ultra-hot 125Gr. rounds along with a lack of proper maintenance did cause damage to the forcing cones of Some model 19’s. I also UNDERSTAND that the dash 5 variants, of the model 19 had the greatest number of forcing cone erosion problems.

I carried a 4” model 19-3 to work daily for 27 years, and never felt under-gunned. I.M.O. the model 19 is one if not the best all-around revolver ever produced.

Last edited by old bear; May 19, 2017 at 05:58 PM. Reason: Sp.
old bear is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 07:45 AM   #4
Real Gun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2004
Location: SC
Posts: 2,088
My 19-4 is fed exclusively 357 but custom loaded to minimum or below. My carry ammo is Speer Short Barrel. I think the full power stuff should be reserved for the 627 N-frame and the like, comparable to the 357's original platform.

My latest with this gun is ordering a Detective grip from Herrett's Stocks that shortens the stouter grip style to something more suitable for concealment. These square grip frames were intended for open carry by LE. Love this gun and partly for a very nice nickel finish.
__________________
Not an expert, just a reporter.
Real Gun is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 11:27 AM   #5
jetinteriorguy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2013
Posts: 457
Oh man now y'all got me wanting a Model 19. If I ever find s fairly decent one for around $500.00 I'm jumping on it. Of course it has to be a 4".
jetinteriorguy is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 11:38 AM   #6
Bob Wright
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 10, 2012
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Posts: 2,505
A friend of mine up in Ohio bought a 6" Model 19 for his wife for metallic silhouette shooting. He was using the 173 gr. cast SWC at the time in a Ruger, and the N-Framed Models 27 and 28 couldn't digest these (cylinder too short) so he went with the Model 19. These loads proved too heavy for the gun, resulting in sheared off pivot pins, much like the early Model 29s.

So far as I know, they went through many 158 gr. loadings without a problem. I've been through several Model 19s with no problems at all.

Bob Wright
__________________
Time spent at the reloading bench is an investment in contentment.
Bob Wright is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 12:19 PM   #7
GeauxTide
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 20, 2009
Location: Helena, AL
Posts: 3,473
My first handgun was a 4" Mod 19. That was in the Super-Vel heydey and my soiree into reloading. It was too much recoil and blast, so I went to a 6" Mod 27. I mostly shot the 19 with 158 SWC @ 1000, which was comfortable. Did love the finish of the Smiths in those days.
GeauxTide is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 02:06 PM   #8
SIGSHR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 13, 2005
Posts: 3,793
Have 2, a 4" and a 6" with a Patridge front sight. I have seen the M-19 described as a 38 that can shoot 357s as opposed to an N-Frame which is a true 357. I recall Jan Libourel writing that a steady diet of 357s in his M-19 had caused frame stretch and excessive barrel/cyinder gap.
SIGSHR is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 02:57 PM   #9
FITASC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 6, 2014
Posts: 3,051
My 19-3 is a RB snub, so I will minimize the stout stuff for my 4" 66. Even, I do not find it comfortable to shoot, especially indoors - between the noise, recoil and flash - it just isn't any fun.

Quote:
Are these K frames best used with a steady diet of 38 special and the occasional 357 mag outing?
As mentioned above, that was Jordan's original intent and it was mostly those previously mentioned hot 125s that did the most damage.
__________________
FITASC: Fédération Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse. http://www.fitasc.com/uk/home/view
FITASC is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 05:27 PM   #10
Hanshi
Member
 
Join Date: April 23, 2017
Posts: 19
I've owned quite a few and an M66. I had more than one at a time; switched barrels back and forth and loved every one of them. I now have only one; a 4" I bought in the early 1970s. I've killed deer with that little revolver but rarely shoot any .357 in it except for mid power cast bullet rounds. However 90% of the rounds that go through it are various .38spl.
Hanshi is offline  
Old May 19, 2017, 05:49 PM   #11
dgludwig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2005
Location: North central Ohio
Posts: 6,252
I have a friend who has a Model 19 but he never shoots it. He's named it Baby Doll II (Baby Doll I was a car). No amount of cajoling, pleas or generous offers of money will unloose his hand from the death grip he has on it. I'm giving thought to stealing it. Is lust a defense for the crime of theft, especially when the "victim" takes great joy in flaunting it just to make me sweat great, green drops of envy whenever he can?
I think a jury of my peers would find me "not guilty" for the reason of insanity provocation.
__________________
ONLY AN ARMED PEOPLE CAN BE TRULY FREE ; ONLY AN UNARMED PEOPLE CAN EVER BE ENSLAVED
...Aristotle
NRA Benefactor Life Member
dgludwig is offline  
Old May 20, 2017, 12:41 AM   #12
BigJimP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 12,755
I have a pair of model 19's ( dash 1's i think )....both in 4" Nickel finish....and a few model 66's in 2 1/2" and a couple in 4".... and i have fired thousands of my own reloads thru them, all with 158 gr jacketed bullets....with no forcing cone issues.

S&W 4th edition collectors catalog is full of good info on model 19's....and all the S&W revolvers....by jim supica & richard nahas ....is a great edition to revolver shooters library ....and you can buy it at gunshows, amazon, etc for around $30.../ I highly recommend it...

I'm getting into my late 60's now....hands and wrists are not good, so i don't shoot my K frames as much as i do my heavier N frames ....but i do love those old model 19's....
BigJimP is offline  
Old May 20, 2017, 08:57 AM   #13
BubbaBlades
Member
 
Join Date: April 22, 2013
Location: South Florida
Posts: 90


I have several 2 1/2" and 4" Model 19s but I needed a 3" and 6" to complete my collection. I had to settle for these "parts guns."

Mark
BubbaBlades is offline  
Old May 20, 2017, 05:15 PM   #14
Trooper Joe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 117
Some thoughts on the S&W Model 19 and full house .357 loads.

I just picked up this 19-6 for a great price. It had some dumpy looking rubber grips on it so I sprung for the Altamont grips (laying on the table). However, when I shot it with .357 Mag ammo (158 grn stuff), it really stung (the Altamont grips are a lot thinner than the stock grips). So, I picked up some used, stock grips and added a Pachmayr grip adaptor. It was a lot more pleasant with .357 ammo, but I still think I will limit my shooting to the "FBI" load from Buffalo Bore (158 grn, hp, gas checked, .38 Special +P).



If I want to shoot .357 ammo, I am going to stick to this S&W L frame, model 581 (.357 magnum with fixed sights/great gun).



The Pachmayr grips laying on the table were purchased for my model 19, but they are to big and bulky (besides, the grips don't keep damage from happening to your gun even though the felt recoil will be decreased). I may install the grips on this 581 and see how that works out.

I purchased this model 66 (same as model 19 but in stainless) from the widow of our former Michigan State Police range officer. When I first got it, it seemed to be a little "notchy" when I tried to open the cylinder. Took it to the MSP armor and he advised that the former range officer did shoot this gun a lot and probably slightly stretched it. The armor was able to tweak it so the gun works perfect now. It is quite comfortable with full house .357 158 grn loads, with Pachmayr rubber grips on it (not quite so comfortable with these wood presentation grips but not bad).







I think that I will use the "FBI" load in my K frame .357 magnums and save the L frame (Model 581) for the full house .357 loads.

As a side note, the +P "FBI" loads are really not very comfortable in my various 38 Specials so I am going to stick to non +P in those (although my heavy barrel model 10 would probably be OK).



Lot of good information on this forum and in this thread in particular.

Thanks gang,

Trooper Joe
Trooper Joe is offline  
Old May 22, 2017, 09:39 PM   #15
Driftwood Johnson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2014
Location: Land of the Pilgrims
Posts: 1,376
Howdy

Sorry I'm late to the party, my photobucket account has been acting up.

Here is my Model 19-3 that I bought brand-spanky new in 1975, for $125. It was the first centerfire revolver I ever bought. Why did I buy a Model 19? No idea, don't remember. I was just a kid in my 20s and probably thought it was really cool. But I can tell you $125 was a good chunk of change back then.

I still have the box and all the goodies.

Interestingly enough, the 4" models are usually referred to as the 'Combat Magnum', but that's what the instruction manual called mine. Incidentally, the 4" models usually came with a Baughman front sight, the 6" models like mine usually had a Patridge front sight.






I would not exactly call my Model 19 a safe queen, I do take it out and shoot it now and again, probably should bring it out again soon. These are the original Goncalo Alves 'Oversized Target Stocks' that came on it. That's what the factory was calling them back then.








Here is the deal with K frame Smiths and 357 Magnum revolvers. Ever since about 1902 the forcing cone on K frame revolvers has had a flat cut into the bottom of it. This was a clearance cut to provide clearance for the gas ring on the cylinder. This clearance cut reduced the thickness of the forcing cone at the bottom. This was not a problem with 38 Special Smiths, they were made this way for over 50 years without a problem.

When S&W first made up the 357 Combat Magnum on the K frame at the suggestion of Bill Jordan in 1955, nobody really knew if it would work out. There were no sophisticated computer programs to predict if the gun would stand up to the abuse. The engineers did their math and made up prototypes and shot the [email protected] out of them to see what would happen. S&W felt confident enough in the results to manufacture the model.

Here is a photo of the forcing cone on a Model 13-2. You can clearly see how the flat reduces the thickness of the metal at that spot. If the forcing cone is going to fail, that is where it will split.






Here is the forcing cone on a N frame Model 28. The cylinder is larger in diameter, the barrel is larger in diameter, the cylinder window in the frame is taller, and there is more room, so no clearance cut was needed on the forcing cone to clear the cylinder gas ring. You can shoot what ever 357 Mag ammo you want in one of these all day long and it won't hurt it. And because it is a heavier gun than the Model 19, the recoil is less severe.






Lastly (because we're only allowed 6 photos per post here) here is the forcing cone of an L frame Model 686. The L frame was pretty specifically designed to overcome the shortcomings of a 357 Magnum on a K frame. While not as large as an N frame, the L frame cylinder is larger in diameter than the K frame cylinder, and there is enough space that a clearance cut on the forcing cone for the gas ring is not required.




Do I shoot 357 Mags from my Model 19? Not much. It has pretty much seen a steady diet of 38 Specials all its life. Sometimes I will fire a couple of cylinders of Mags out of it, just to remind me how I prefer to shoot them out of an N frame.
Driftwood Johnson is offline  
Old May 22, 2017, 10:48 PM   #16
walks with gun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 20, 2014
Location: northern Mn.
Posts: 264
From the time i was maybe 11 or 12 I wanted a model 19, mostly because of Skeeter and Bill Jordan, I worked all summer when I was 13 and bought a model 10, then a security Six but didn't get my four inch 19 till much later on and then traded it for a fancy single action that caught my eye. Great gun and really a piece of American law enforcement history.
walks with gun is offline  
Old May 23, 2017, 06:35 AM   #17
Real Gun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2004
Location: SC
Posts: 2,088
Thanks for that excellent contribution, Driftwood Johnson.

My 19-4 does not suit me for full up 357 Magnum but it works very well for me with 357 cases and a lighter load of a faster powder than most magnum loads use, still above 38 +p. I carry Speer Short Barrel 357, and yes, hoping I don't have to use it. I never resort to 38 Special in a magnum-chambered gun, since I have real 38 Specials for that. So my point is that I think of this gun as a reloader's gun.

I treat my Security Six the same way, reputed to be sturdier, but it is not a full size, recoil-absorbing gun. It is also compromised by a grip style that is more concealable like something for a round butt grip, designed to be concealed. My SW686 is the more capable with full power stuff. I have never fired an N-Frame 357, but that would be the ideal range gun, I think. I just don't buy any more guns that are too big to carry unless "large" caliber. So, a full power 357 gun is kind of an odd duck, while the little guns pretending to be 357 Magnum are a bad joke without a reloader's intervention.
__________________
Not an expert, just a reporter.

Last edited by Real Gun; May 23, 2017 at 06:42 AM.
Real Gun is offline  
Old May 23, 2017, 07:23 AM   #18
highpower3006
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 30, 2011
Location: Reno NV
Posts: 782
I have a couple of Model 66's and a lone Model 19. I have shot a fair amount of .38's through S&W K frames over the years, but very few .357's. When I feel the need to go magnum, I usually break out my L or N frame guns.

I am almost ashamed to say that I have never shot my Model 19-2. I picked it up a couple of years ago for $475 at a local shop still in it's original box with all the paperwork. When I got a real close look at it I realized that it has never been shot besides the factory test firing. I have so many other K frame Smiths that I just don't feel the need to shoot this one.

highpower3006 is offline  
Old May 23, 2017, 07:59 AM   #19
BubbaBlades
Member
 
Join Date: April 22, 2013
Location: South Florida
Posts: 90


Just remembered I have another Model 19 but this one is in .32 Magnum.

After years of not finding a reasonably priced S&W Model 16, I found this Model 19 that had been converted from a 2 1/2" .357 to a 4" .32 Magnum. The .32 mag barrel and cylinder replaced the rusted .357 barrel and cylinder. The round butt is something that I prefer to the Model 16's square butt.

As far as I'm concerned, Model 19s are great in any caliber.

Mark
BubbaBlades is offline  
Old May 23, 2017, 08:29 AM   #20
Driftwood Johnson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2014
Location: Land of the Pilgrims
Posts: 1,376
Howdy highpower3006

Lovely 19-2 you've got there. As you can see, yours has the Baughman front sight, which was standard with that barrel length.

I see you still have the tools wrapped up in their original plastic bag, just like I have with my Model 19-3.

Did you ever look up when it was made? According to the SCSW the Model 19-2 first came out in 1961 and was produced until 1967 when the 19-3 came out.
Driftwood Johnson is offline  
Old May 23, 2017, 09:25 AM   #21
highpower3006
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 30, 2011
Location: Reno NV
Posts: 782
Quote:
Did you ever look up when it was made? According to the SCSW the Model 19-2 first came out in 1961 and was produced until 1967 when the 19-3 came out.
I did. According to the SCSW, it was made in 1967.

highpower3006 is offline  
Old May 23, 2017, 10:08 AM   #22
Paladin7
Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2002
Posts: 99
First off... that Model 19 you have is a GREAT gun...excellent choice, it is a classic.

The Model 19, as others have said was a joint project by Bill Jordan and S&W. It was intended to be a Peace Officers Dream Gun. Easier to carry, and powerful enough to get the job done with authority, in a package that is easy to shoot well...K Frame.

The original intent was for officers to practice with a steady diet of 38 Specials and load 125 grain 357 Magnum defensive loads for serious social purposes.

Problems developed with the forcing cone, when doctrines changed. There was a school of thought that stated that an officer should practice with the load they will actually use in combat...the 125 gr 357 Magnum. With a steady diet of these high pressure loads, problems developed with the forcing cone cracking. S&W corrected this by developing the 686/586 series of firearms built on the L Frame.

So, your Model 19 should be fine with 125 gr 357 Magnums, but not with a steady diet of them.

Hope this helps...
Paladin7 is offline  
Old May 23, 2017, 04:26 PM   #23
roaddog28
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2009
Location: Escondido, CA
Posts: 960
I have owned six K frame magnums in my lifetime. Four model 19's, one model 66 and one model 13. They are the finest all around 357 magnum. They handle the best, have a great double action trigger and are accurate. Most the time I used 38 specials or plus P 38 specials. I sometimes will put twelve or so 158 gr 357 magnums in them but for shooting 357's I much prefer my 686. They were designed to shoot the 357 round. There is no reason to abuse the finest revolver ever made. That is why I have a 686.
My opinion only
Howard
roaddog28 is offline  
Old May 24, 2017, 04:34 PM   #24
Hal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 1998
Location: Ohio USA
Posts: 7,700
Quote:
Thanks and I am looking forward to your responses.
I have a 6" barreled P&R M19 circa 1977 in bright nickel finish.

It's the only gun in my safe that I can pick up and say, "If I can see it & if it's in range, I can hit it."

I have that much faith in that gun.
Hal is offline  
Old Yesterday, 03:06 PM   #25
SaxonPig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 24, 2006
Posts: 1,744
I've had three M19s. All with 2.5" barrels. First two were blued and purchased used in the late 1970s. No idea exactly what models they were. Could have been -1s or -2s or anything available prior to 1979. Sold them both fairly quickly.

Around 1990 I was wandering a gun show and an older gentleman had a table with just a couple guns on it. One was a nickel 19-3 with a 2.5" barrel. I like the shiny ones. Hi story was that he was recently retired as a federal agent and this had been his duty weapon for 19 years. He bought it or kept it when he retired and now he was selling off some guns. Buy the gun...not the story. Thought it unlikely any federal cops carried nickel plated wheel guns.

He was asking $185 for the 19. Emptied my wallet and found I had exactly $180. He would not accept a penny less than his asking price. Offered to give me his mailing address if I promised to mail him the $5. I did...and I did.

Lettered it and paint me purple and call me Sunshine it was shipped to U.S. Customs & Immigration Service. Later someone told me the Customs agents did indeed carry issued 2.5" 19s in nickel. BTW- the seller told me he fired 50 rounds each month. All of it full power 125 JHP ammo. So 19 years x 12 months x 50 rounds is 11,400 rounds. No endshake problem, no cracked forcing cone, no signs of excessive wear at all.

Had compact Pachmayrs on it when I bought it so I scared up a set of original Magnas.

SaxonPig is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

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 06:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12292 seconds with 9 queries