Does anyone have experience with the triggers on S&W? I'd like to the get model 60 snubbie and/or the 640 but I'm reluctant about the 640 because I had the 442. I hated the gun; I couldn't fire it easily and obviously missed the targets all the time. I'm guessing the 60 with a hammer might be easierl but the hammerless had the advantage when carrying. I'm sure most men don't have a problem with either but how do women feel about the different trigger pulls? It's a big concern with me that I can use it at the range actually hit the target. Comments?
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RON in PA
February 19, 2005, 12:38 PM
The trigger on the 640 is like the trigger on a 442, but the 640 is a heavier gun and thus easier to shoot. Also the 640 comes with a bigger (slightly) grip. J-frame triggers are difficult for lots of people and require lots of practice. They need a straight, no hesitation pull. A J-frame with a SA/DA trigger will give you the better trigger pull of the SA, but you don't want to use SA for defense and external hammers have a habit of catching on things when drawn. J-frames are specialist guns IMHO, meant to be carried lots and shot not that often. Also, before I forget what did you use to practice with, full power loads are a handfull in an Airweight. Practice with wimpy wad-cutter loads.
February 19, 2005, 12:52 PM
I've always thought that a gun you carry often but shoot rarely is kind of a waste. After all, the purpose of the gun is to be used, not kept in a closet. It's like throwing money away if you don't use it at the range a lot and you can't get accurate that way either. I might need to do some more reading up on this. I'm curious how other women feel about the hammerless models. I think my next gun will be the 686 snubbie but I do want a good carry gun at some point. My Detective Special I love too much to risk losing. Once you use it in defense, the take from you for a while and I don't want to think what would happen when they take the gun apart. I imagine the 640 would be more comfortable to shoot than the 15 oz snubbie and I don't need to necessarily use magnums to be effective.
February 19, 2005, 02:52 PM
It's an extremely rare Smith & Wesson revolver that can't benefit from a professional trigger job.
If you find the right gunsmith, there's no reason a J frame revolver can't have a trigger that's nearly the equal of a Detective Special's.
Since I hardly ever shoot double action, I'm usually content simply to replace the slide rebound spring, polish the rebound slide, and occasionally slick up the sear and hammer a little.
Nota bene: any time you have any work done on a carry gun, you need to run at least 100 or 200 rounds through it to make sure it still functions entirely reliably. Tweaking revolvers sometimes causes problems. Those are annoying enough in target guns, but could be fatal in a self-defense gun.
February 19, 2005, 03:42 PM
One of the reasons it is easier to accurately shoot the Detective Special over the S&W J-frame is because of the difference in they're respective handles. Clearly, your hand is better supported with the Detective Special and you have more to hold on to. You can buy grips for the S&W that are larger and more like the ones on the D.S. Factor this into your thinking ...
February 19, 2005, 04:40 PM
My wife shoots my 642 pretty well, but like fuff said the boot grip is a handfull to shoot for some....she shoots her all steel 36 with a larger pachmeyer grip MUCH better, and these are still light guns......all mine are older guns and seem to have much nicer triggers than the brand new ones, YMMV......tom
February 19, 2005, 08:59 PM
For PD, a hammerless is fine - you will only use a PD firearm DA anyway. As for 'trigger jobs', do a simple one yourself - involving nothing more than a little aerosol cleaner/lube and your trigger finger. Most S&W's come fresh from the production line and testing with their innards as dry as the Sahara. Sometimes, some manufacturing grime finds it's way into the innards as well. Some serious blasts with the straw on your aerosol cleaner can's nozzle, and RemOil or Breakfree are fine, through all orifices - for a longer time should some crud exit the lower openings. Shake as much out as possible, with the revolver wrapped in a paper towel. Dry the surfaces as much as possible.
Make sure your ammo is put up somewhere. Double check your cylinder to be sure the chambers are empty. Settle down in front of the tube with a useless program to view - and start dry-firing away. You must dry fire at least 1,000 times - switch hands periodically. You are 'wearing in' the new surfaces - removing burrs, etc, by dry firing. A good trigger job simply replicates thousands of trigger pulls. Do it yourself... you'll build up your trigger finger, too!
If you opt for a commercial trigger job, stay away from a hammer spring change in a PD revolver. Sure, most reduced power springs will ignite nearly all primers, but what if the one in a thousand that won't fire costs you your life? My plinkers have lowered power springs, my CCW/PD are stock. Do find a comfortable set of grips or stocks. My wife likes slick wood with no checkering and softened finger grooves. I resanded and refinished some goncalo alves Hoque stocks on the 3" 65 she uses - my poor-man's 65LS. She practises with some wimpy .357 Magnum 158gr LSWC homebrews, but has 158gr LSWCHP +P .38's aboard and in the speedloaders for 'effect'. Those old 'FBI Loads' still enjoy a 6-8% higher 'OSS' (one shot stop) rating than my longtime favorite, 230gr FMJ .45ACP. Hope this helps.
PS Consider the 642 with some larger grips of your choice... you can easily replace it should you have to.
February 19, 2005, 09:41 PM
Both the 442 and 642 I tried reciently seemed to have heavier triggers than my mod 60 and 640. I've read that the pulls are rated the same but that teh airweights are notorious for having rougher trigger that "feel" heavier. In any case, my 60 and 642 have excellent triggers IMHO.
February 19, 2005, 10:07 PM
If you have trouble with the 640s DAO pull, how about trying the Bodyguard series (649 or something thereabouts)? The hammer is not totally enclosed and allows cocking for single-action fire on the range. The shroud on the sides give you the advantages of the 640 while keeping the single action capability. Downside it that the gun isn't nearly as good looking as the 60 or 640.
I'm afraid that virtually all S&W's, as they come from the factory, could use a bit of help on the trigger. My standard practice is to send mine to Clark Custom Guns (http://www.clarkcustomguns.com/) for their Service Action Job, which makes any S&W trigger a "buttered-finger-over-silk" proposition, and completely spoils you for anything less! :D
February 19, 2005, 11:39 PM
A bit of slurry, some dry firing, good springs. Cleans up just about anything.
February 19, 2005, 11:44 PM
Take a look at the 649 as mentioned, I am waiting to sell my 642 to buy a 649.
February 20, 2005, 07:13 AM
Mas... I think the perfect SHOOTABLE complement to a 686 or 66 snubby would be the 640. Solid weight, sleek, quite compact, able to shoot potent loads with some degree of comfort due to the weight.
If you can't handle the weight of a 640... it would be the 642 for me.
Remember that hitting well with ANY pocket gun will require considerably more practice than with a larger gun. Hence, the 640 is such a good choice... more comfortable to shoot and practice more than the lightweights are.
February 20, 2005, 08:59 AM
I don't think the weight will ever be an issue. I'm going to be buying a snubbie 686 after all so if I go with the 640, it'll probably only be for short periods. The advantage of it too is that it allows for more cofortable shooting and I can probably use it often at the range -- which is what you're supposed to do to get accurate. I'll take a look at the Bodyguard too; I didn't know anything about this model so thanks Southpaw for the recommendation. :) Since I'm looking at a gun for carry, I'm not concerned with how pretty it is, only that I can use it.
Thanks for the link, Preacherman. I took at look at the site and bookmarked it. When I pick up my snubbie carry gun, I might send it along for work. ;)
February 20, 2005, 09:33 AM
The 49 series guns have been around for a long time. They stayed in the line when the 40 (blued grip safety predecessor of the 640) was discontinued. Their popularity is only rivaled by the chief's special. It's a good, solid gun. If I didn't have a glut of snubbies in my personal inventory already, I'd probably get one myself. May get one anyway. :D
BTW, I love my 686 snubbie. I think my 66 2.5 incher is a better looking gun, but the 686 is still very nice.
February 20, 2005, 09:36 AM
Quick question -- are both the 640/649 able to be fired in a coat pocket? I'm assuming they can since they're both snag free guns. Thanks. I'm leaning more to the 649 at this point. Looks like a nice gun that gives me the advantages of the hammerless without the difficulty of the DAO trigger pull.
February 20, 2005, 09:54 AM
There is the remote possibility that cloth from the garment or something else is the pocket could interfere with the hammer falling. You'd almost have to be trying to make this happen. I wouldn't give it another thought. You'll see when you look at the gun (or the 851/651 Taurus series - same gun). A bigger (but still remote) concern is that lint and/or other small pocket crud can enter the gun's internals and tie up the works. My view is that unless you have an extremely dirty pocket, this will take literally years to build up to significance (may want to return the revolver to S&W for cleanup every now and then, say every 5-10 years with regular cleaning).
February 20, 2005, 10:05 AM
Supposedly the original model 49 came about through a collaboration between Smith & Wesson and the Secret Service’s Presidential Protection Unit. They wanted a revolver they could carry in their overcoat pocket when weather or other circumstances dictated this kind of attire. The design they proposed retained the single-action feature, but if necessary could be fired through the pocket. They may have got the idea from an optional shroud that could be fitted to a Colt D-frame Cobra or Detective Special. Over the years the model 49 in various versions has proved to be one of S&W’s most popular snubbies.
February 20, 2005, 10:37 AM
Sounds good to me, it's highly unlikely I'd carry a gun in my pocket. This would be a very rare move for me but I'm just curious so I ask. I'll be looking around for the 649 to handle it before I buy. From everything I've heard so far it appears to have all the features and advantages I'm looking for in a snubbie. Thanks again. :)
February 20, 2005, 03:35 PM
I have a 640 and a 642. The 642 has a much lighter trigger pull than the 640. The trigger on the 640 is much smoother now that I've dry fired it several hundred times and put about 500 rounds through it. It's seems more accurate after use. One of us is getting better.
February 20, 2005, 03:38 PM
The only thing about the 642 that looks different from my 442 is the finish -- and that gun's trigger wasn't an easy pull either. :uhoh:
February 20, 2005, 04:44 PM
There are lots of times, especially during cold weather, when having a small pocket gun is nice... when taking a walk with a coat on in a potentially risky area (on a beach, in the woods, in a metro downtown area, etc.) where you may encounter individuals who could appear harmless but turn threatening at the moment you get close to them... you can have your hand in your pocket, holding the gun ready to fire and no one is any the wiser that you are capable of instantly defending yourself. Much better than holster carry, where if someone turned hostile while they're standing right in front of you... you'd never have time to pull a gun from a holster. It's the ultimate in "getting the drop" on a threat. And if the need to shoot doesn't happen, you have not brandished your weapon or even revealed that you are armed. I consider this option to be very valuable indeed... much better than holster carry.
As to the shroud, I agree that the risk of items and stuff getting in there is low, but over time lint and such will collect in there. I just prefer the completely sealed internal hammer of the 640/642. This way there is no possibility of anything getting down in the hammer area. These guns are made for close range double action style shooting and I prefer to train with them DA only. If distance and time to the threat are great enough that I would have the luxury to cock the hammer and take precise aim, the threat is probably not significant enough to justify firing a weapon. And since double action firing these things takes a lot of practice, I prefer to only practice DA.
February 20, 2005, 04:58 PM
I just don't want another bad experience like my 442. I can't stress enough how much I hated the gun. I also don't care to carry guns in pockets for the same reason I wouldn't stick it in my pocketbook -- the lint and everything can interfere with it's ability to function right. I think it's ultimately going to come down to the 640/649. As I said, I'm not planning the purchase right away so I have time to do a little more comparison shopping.
February 21, 2005, 12:11 AM
The S&W Model 49 was made at the request of the Mass. State Police who wanted a steel version of the Model 38. The Model 38 may have been a USSS request, but it may have been S&W's answer to Colt D frames with hammer shrouds. The Model 640 is S&Ws best J frame, hands down. With Pachmayer Compacs and practice (starting with 148 Gr wadcutters and moving up to 158 and +Ps or Speer Gold Dot 135 Gr HP +Ps), the 640 can be mastered.
February 21, 2005, 11:11 AM
Mas- had a 640 for years and loved it. One of what I consider to be the few near-perfect CCW's. I actually got rid of mine, though. I tend to carry an auto when dress allows belt carry and a lighter weight "J" when I must pocket carry. Good luck.
February 21, 2005, 11:14 AM
Which "J" do you carry now?
February 21, 2005, 02:03 PM
Let me guess... a 642? ;)
February 21, 2005, 02:10 PM
I've got to ask, how is the 642 different from the 442 I sold?
February 21, 2005, 02:39 PM
642: stainless steel and aluminum alloy
442: black finish on carbon steel and aluminum alloy
Other that that, they're identical.
February 21, 2005, 02:44 PM
That's what I though...so if I couldn't hit the side of a barn, the recoil hurt, and I couldn't pull the trigger on the 442 I sold -- why would I want the same gun in a different finish? As I said, heft is best and a slighly longer barrel might help too.
February 21, 2005, 03:41 PM
Mas... I think it's pretty clear through all of this that you want an all steel, internal hammer revolver. Shrouded hammer as a second option. But you said you had a thing about lint and such getting in the works. I agree. The best choice is a 640. Train double action as double action is how you would be shooting any revolver in a defensive mode.
February 21, 2005, 03:50 PM
You're right. I hate light weight guns which is naturally why I ditched the 442. I'll be mulling it over yet -- the 640/649 are the best choices. However, given how my father is so pleased with his GP, I may consider the SP101 snubbie too. I won't be making the purchase for another two or three months so I have plenty of time to think. Thanks everyone for the input. :)
February 21, 2005, 06:36 PM
Mas, current "J" is Bro-in-law's 642 but I am waiting on delivery of my own, a model 37 w/ bobbed hammer. I like a lightweight for pocket carry or I would still have the 640. The airweight that's coming will replace my .380. Even tho small and light, I'll take a 158 gr .38 spl over a 90 gr. .380 acp. You said you don't like lightwieght. I understand that. As I said the 640 is a great gun. I don't have the luxury of carrying a lot in my "inventory". I loved it, it just had to go to make room for something else. Good Luck.
February 21, 2005, 10:16 PM
I currently carry a S&W 340PD.
I agree with Ron in PA, in that my 340PD is meant to be carried a lot, but not shot much. Quite frankly, I don't believe that my 340PD is up to the rigors of having thousands of rounds pumped through it like my 686 is capable of doing. It is specifically made to be used as a very lightweight concealed carry, or back-up gun, NOT a daily shooter.
My 340PD came from the factory nearly bone dry, and had a trigger pull in excess of 12 pounds; there was no doubt in my mind that it needed work. I performed my own trigger job (trigger jobs on S&W's are really quite easy to do) and I highly suggest that you get a copy of Jerry Kuhnhausen's book "The S&W revolver: A Shop Manual"; it will take you step-by-step through just about anything you need to do to your revolver (Brownell's is a big help, too).
I own about 7 S&W revolvers, so it really made sense for me to do the work myself. I was quoted between $75.00 to $120.00 per trigger job by various gunsmiths, so with what I saved by doing the work myself, I could afford another revolver!.
February 22, 2005, 12:46 AM
+1 on the 640
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