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Old October 15, 2013, 05:32 AM   #1
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642 replacement

I had a S & W 642 that I used for pocket carry. Hated the trigger (even after 800+ rounds of "break in"). I have decided to trade it toward a replacement. My first inclination is to move to a Ruger LCR. I'm Just having a problem with the concept of a polymer gun. Any suggestions as to which ones I should focus on?
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Old October 15, 2013, 05:52 AM   #2
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If the only problem is a heavy trigger, much can be done with spring kits from Wolff that have both hammer and trigger return spings of graduated weights. It is my opinion that all S&W double actions come with needlessly heavy springs.
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Old October 15, 2013, 05:55 AM   #3
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What are your other requirements... do you want to stay with a revolver? Is weight a very important concern? .38 or .357?

Most/all S&W J-frames are going to be like the 642 in DA.
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Old October 15, 2013, 06:12 AM   #4
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I would like to stick with a revolver. .38 spl is o.k. I use LSWCHP catridges.
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Old October 15, 2013, 09:17 AM   #5
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I have an LCR in 38 special with the tritium front sight. I bought it before they came out with the 357 version. I love the gun and it will never be traded. I carry in in a simple Desantis Nemesis pocket holster and literally can forget about it. Like all snub nose revolvers you have to put in your practice with it but an average shooter can have no problem placing shots on a human sized target at 7 yards pretty soon after shooting for her first time. There's no issues with my frame being plastic... it recoils just fine and I could put a 100 rounds through it in a range session before my hand starts to ache too much. The trigger is awesome out of the box. The only drawback of any kind for me is that it makes some light rattling noise in the fire control housing. A little bit annoying but not a big deal. I'll probably carry it until we have laser guns to choose from.

S&W has the Bodyguard which is similar. I know someone at Smith & Wesson, and he said it was true that when the idea of a polymer revolver was floated it was laughed down. While I like a lot of Smith guns, they frantically designed and put the Bodyguards into market only as a response to Ruger's LCR and LCP and I have a bit of a lack of respect for them for it, so personally I wouldn't choose one but they are probably very comparable to the LCR

Last edited by Elerius; October 15, 2013 at 09:24 AM.
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Old October 15, 2013, 09:40 AM   #6
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Thanks for everyone's feedback. I always want my ccw weapons to retain their factory internal componets. That's why I didn't opt for replacing springs, etc. on the 642. I had a chance to put some ammo down range earlier today with an LCR equipped with the XS Big Dot front sight and was pleasantly surprised. I, too, found the "rattle" to be a bit annoying. though.
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Old October 15, 2013, 10:47 AM   #7
Don P
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Why not have a trigger job done to smoothen up the action. Reliability can be kept while having a smooth trigger. Much cheaper that getting a new gun. Just my 2 pennies worth
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Old October 15, 2013, 11:26 AM   #8
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S&W has a new 637 Wyatt Edition that has some factory trigger work and is said to have a very good trigger. The LCR is another good choice, but it depends on personal preference. Get your hands on one and see if you like it.
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Old October 15, 2013, 03:59 PM   #9
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Factories always build in enough spring power to deal with adverse conditions like dirt, mud, old grease, and other such conditions. If the owner knows that his gun will never get dirty or be dropped in a pothole, he can use a spring kit or have the gun worked on to lighten the trigger pull.

But don't ask the spring maker if he will guarantee his springs to function under severe conditions.

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Old October 15, 2013, 06:53 PM   #10
Super Sneaky Steve
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My 642 has stock springs and a 7.5# trigger. Took it to a good gunsmith and had him do a trigger job. Cost me $50.
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Old October 15, 2013, 07:12 PM   #11
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You can use one of several spring kits -I used the Apex and it made the pull lighter - along with using a stone on the rebound slid surfaces that mate with the frame (inside and underside). I used a Lansky sharpening extra fine stone and oil and lightly went back and forth - that also helped smooth things out
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Old October 15, 2013, 08:46 PM   #12
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If the customer wanted (and was willing to pay) I used to mill lengthwise grooves in the sides and bottom of the rebound slide to reduce friction. It seemed to help and not have any downside I could see. I never had complaints about reducing spring tension either, but I was always a bit concerned and would try to make sure the customer intended to use that gun only on the range.

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Old October 16, 2013, 06:52 PM   #13
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I'll chime in with the opinion that getting a trigger job on another S&W might be the way to go. There is a lot of experience out there and I don't think they would make your gun unreliable.

That said, I respect your decision NOT to have any work done on a carry weapon.

The LCR is a nice handgun that I have shot and I just will not shoot .357 magnum 158 grain bullets out of it anymore. The .357 125 grain bullets are a handful too. I'll shoot them, just not too many at one time. YMMV depending on how recoil sensitive you are and you always have the option of using .38 specials or if you reload you can taylor your rounds to your tolerance but maybe you want to use just factory ammo in a carry gun - another decision that I would respect but respectfully disagree.
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Old October 16, 2013, 08:24 PM   #14
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A Colt Cobra weighs the same as a Smith Airweight, is only slightly larger and carries one more round. If it were me, I'd look for a nice used one-though can be somewhat pricey and difficult (expensive) to repair if you ever need to. I carry mine concealed in a iwb holster most of the time.
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Old October 17, 2013, 06:17 AM   #15
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I have a 637 and put an apex kit into it. I also polished and stoned a few areas inside and it has a great trigger and a very smooth 8 lb trigger, with no issues.
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Old October 18, 2013, 11:03 PM   #16
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I swapped my LCR for a 642 because I could not get used to the false reset of the LCR trigger.
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:21 AM   #17
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I also support letting a good gunsmith help with the trigger. I have both 642 and LCR and, after the trigger job, the 642 is my hands-down favorite pocket carry...
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:48 AM   #18
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It depends on what you want. A 642 was never designed to be a range gun. Therefore, a match grade trigger was not on the designers menu. If you have fired 800+ rounds through it, and it functioned flawlessly, and you could keep your rounds COM at combat distances, what more do you expect? In my humble opinion, the most important part of "breaking in" a new gun, is getting used to the trigger. Put another couple of hundred rounds through it.
642 is still the flagbearer of pocket revolvers. Going to the LCR is a step down.
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Old October 19, 2013, 11:46 AM   #19
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I agree with Yankee and the others. Lightening the springs too much could be a little scary I guess, but the smoothing of internals would really have to be botched to cause issues.

Also that whole argument about if used in a shooting, and you changed the trigger. Are the lawyers really gonna open up your jframe and check the spring? Or break out a Guage and check the pull? I doubt that. Besides I have seen huge differences in the pulls from the factory (Kahr is the worst) literally 3-4 pounds difference between one gun and the one beside it in the case. Now some of that may be due to it being dry fired by customers from having been in the case longer, but hey I would recommend a lot of that any how, it is how I built my finger up.

The others are right, get a trigger stoning and/or some spring work and you will love that beautiful S&W more than you ever could that polymer abomination (I don't hate Rugers for the record, I own a Bearcat, SP101, 10/22, etc just not an LCR). Also the new bodyguard 38's from Smith have or at least had a short stroke issue (design flaw). Look on YouTube for "don't buy a bodyguard" or something like that and you should be able to find a video or two shows you just that.
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Last edited by engineer88; October 20, 2013 at 08:27 AM.
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Old October 20, 2013, 12:22 AM   #20
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Pre 1977 Colt Detective Special, but a 642 S&W is really hard to beat; how about a 2 inch S&W K Frame?
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