Just bought my first revolver - S&W 65LS


October 24, 2004, 06:12 PM
So now I'm in the hurry up and wait mode. It should arrive at the FFL by the 26th then 10 days after I do the paperwork... blah.

I'm trying to decide what ammo to try with it. I got a couple of different .38 Special and some .357 Magnum to try. Is it just a matter of personal preference? Or is there something specific to avoid? I don't do handloading so I haven't got into all of the particulars of different loads at this point. I'm trying to read a bit on it here, but if someone has a particular thread to recommend reading, I would appreciate it.

I'm thinking eventually I'll use it for home defense, but I already have a Sig 239 and an Kimber Custom Eclipse (1911) target. Right now it's just to broaden my horizons into the wheel gun thing. Maybe after I shoot that for a while I'll decide I'd rather have a longer barrel or a shorter barrel or a different caliber. Who knows? :D


BTW, the 65LS is a 3" barrel

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October 24, 2004, 07:43 PM
Congrats on your purchase. The 3" Model 65LS is a premier revolver, probably the best for concealed carry. It comes with a factory action job so it shouldn't need any 'improvements' by a smith.

Find grips that are comfortable and then try various ammo loads to see which you prefer.

A .38 Spec +P load should be very satisfactory as well as a mid-velocity .357 magnum load.

October 24, 2004, 08:04 PM
...probably the best for concealed carry.

Maybe some day when I'm not in PRK, or at least not near SF, I will have become very comfortable with it and will be wanting to choose it for a CCW which I might actually be able to get by that time. But for now, I will have to just have it for home defense and shooting paper ;)

At the moment, I really like the Kimber (or my husband's Ruger MKII target)

October 24, 2004, 08:55 PM
I second the best for concealed. I like 145-grain Silvertips in mine for carry.

October 24, 2004, 11:31 PM
I like 145-grain Silvertips in mine for carry.
Sorry for not knowing, but I'm still learning... what's the caliber and mfr of those? And is Silvertip a style like JHP?

October 24, 2004, 11:43 PM
Great choice!

Silvertip is a Winchester brand name. It is a JHP. Another good ammo choice is proload's excellent 357 Magnum "Tactical Lite" load. It is also a JHP loaded for reduced recoil. Both of these loads are "premium" self defense type loads. For everyday shooting you will likely want something less expensive.


October 25, 2004, 10:05 AM
I made a poor-man's 65LS for my wife by purchasing a $200 88-vintage police trade-in 3" 65 and fitting some Hoque goncalo alves finger groove wood grips I had to it. After some time polishing the scratches out, it looks great. It was clean inside the lockwork, chambers, and bore - a great buy. I lubed it and broke it in by dry-firing (That won't hurt a S&W!)... great trigger,too. I really like the wood grips better - as does my wife, as long as they aren't checkered.

I have relegated our 3" 65 to home defense - for her. I keep the old standby - the so-called 'FBI' load - the 158gr LHPSWC .38 Special +P rated rounds loaded in our speedloaders for it and my +P rated 2" 10. The Remington model number is R38S12 - and they run around $21 list for 50. Many stores won't carry it because it is lead... believe me, it isn't a problem to clean from the 65's 3" barrel, as all I shoot is lead. They can order it, of course. There are also 135gr Speer Gold Dot .38 Special +P loads that are gaining a following for personal protection. The beauty of the slower 158gr LHPSWC's over traditional high speed .357 Magnums is the lessor collateral damage of the slower rounds. Remember, the .357 Magnum was developed in the thirties to shoot through fleeing felon's car doors. That 158gr LHPSWC round actually has a significantly higher 'one shot stop' rating than 230gr FMJ .45 ACP ammo, too. Just my opinion...

Yes, you made a great revolver purchase! Try several ammo's to see what shoots closest to the point of aim for you, as it is a fixed sight firearm. Great revolver!


October 26, 2004, 02:10 PM
You made a very good choice with the 65. I have carried both revolvers and semi-autos for work but prefer a six shot revolver for home defense. I would suggest the new 135 grain, .38 plus P Speer Gold Dot. Of all the current rounds in that caliber, it seems to be a very good one. I would not suggest loading with .357 magnum rounds for home defense. The muzzle flash and noise is a major issue. The best advice I ever got was from an old cop who told me to never carry .357 rounds as long as I worked nights, the reason being the flash causing major problems with regards to eye sight if the weapon in fired in dark or dim conditions. I did a little testing when I was a firearms instructor and found it to be completely true.

Any of the major ammo brands like Speer, Federal, Remington and Winchester in a .38 or .38 plus P will due very well in your model 65.

October 27, 2004, 02:31 AM
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I ordered some ammo to try but may get some others as well, based on your comments. (That's the fun of it though :D)

It is supposed to be delivered to the FFL tomorrow so I'm hoping I can go do the paperwork tomorrow night... then just ten more days... I hate the waiting. Doh!

Al Thompson
October 27, 2004, 08:01 AM
If your new to revolvers, you've certainly picked one of the top three if not (IMHO) the best. :)

Don't be afraid to change the grips to suit your hands. There's a bunch out there and it's not too expensive to experiment.

Also be aware that some rounds will not hit POI/POA due to the fixed sights. Just shoot different weights and see what suits. The loads listed above are quite suitable.

October 27, 2004, 03:48 PM
I'm glad to hear you all think it was a good choice. I didn't get the opportunity to shoot that particular model.

I did get to shoot my friend's S&W .357 with a 4" barrel (I think it was a 686). I only shot .357 out of it too so I'm hoping the .38 will be a bit less of a kick even though mine is a 3" barrel.

I'm looking forward to trying it out.

October 31, 2004, 12:45 PM
I got to see it when I filled out the paperwork. It's pretty! I get it a week from yesterday. Someone at the FFL said I'd want different grips after about 50 rounds because the wood tends to be a bit slippery. I guess we'll see. It sure is pretty though.

October 31, 2004, 01:25 PM
I absolutely love my S&W 65LS. You made a great choice. A 3" K-frame is probably the best overall revolver. It has a long enough barrel for a decent sight radius (easier to aim) and to get decent velocity out of the round, yet it is short enough for carry. The size and weight make it a great handling gun.

Normally, I'd agree with buying a few different grips and seeing what you like, but for non-carry use I don't think you can do better than what comes on the Ladysmith. Of course, it is a personal enough choice that you may feel differently.

As for ammo, I like 125gr or 158gr Speer Gold Dot .38+P for home defense. The +P gives decent power, without the overpenatration that can result from .357mag. Another great round is the old fashioned 158gr LSWC-HP (lead, semi-wadcutters- hollow point) in .38+P. The semi-wadcutter is well designed on its own for tissue damage (important for a defensive round) so you are better off than a JHP if it doesn't expand, and the soft lead without the copper jacket makes the HP more likely to expand (important considerations with any less than a 4-6" barrel). For range use I like everything from cheap 148gr .38spl wadcutters, to 158gr fmj .357mag (any company). Some people say the K-frame .357s can't handle a lot of the lighter weight (faster) .357mags, I don't know if it is true, but just in case it can't hurt to stay away from the 110gr .357mag and maybe the 125s.

October 31, 2004, 03:18 PM
I've a 2&1/2" round butt satin nickeled M19. The 3 " 65 has a longer ejector rod stoke that will clear 357 cases while the 2&1/2" bbl's ejector won't.

I do prefer the adjustable sights, but I'm not sure why. After all the years of shooting it, if I needed to use it my reflexes would probably have gotten 3 shots off before my brain got in gear, let alone used the sights.

I would however suggest getting a pair of wood stocks (without checkering), and having someone show you how to sand them down to fit you right.

October 31, 2004, 03:40 PM

I have a M65LS and use it as my nightstand gun. I load mine with .38 special Federal Nyclads.


November 7, 2004, 06:50 PM
If I'm lucky, I'll get to pick it up tonight. :D

November 7, 2004, 09:27 PM

Congrat's on your 65LS! I have to agree with the rest, with a good belt and holster of your choice, the 65LS is arguably the very best carry gun on the planet and certainly one of the best looking! I have no doubt you will enjoy it!

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