.357 v. 9mm


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Nematocyst
September 24, 2005, 05:52 AM
Dang it, folks, you've done it again.

I came to THR seeking advice about shotguns. Got 10X more than I was looking for. (Thanks.)

Then, I decided to upgrade my 9mm. Done. (Kahr K9. Thanks.)

Then, a holster for the 9. (Ordered; now in production: High Noon Topless. Thanks.)

Then came swords. (Verdict is still out, but likely to be an Angus Trim 1320.)

The latest: somehow - I'm sure it has nothing to do with things I've read on THR :rolleyes: - I've become interested in a revolver for HD/SD. (NOT hunting.)

Some background: my first handgun was a revolver: Taurus .38 snubbie that I bought in a panic the day after some crack-crazed loonie tried to break into my apt. Later changed to a SW 3914, which was too big for my small hand, so changed recently to a Kahr K9. Ahhh. Perfect fit, love the gun. Great for CCW.

But in recent days, I have started lusting again for a revolver. (DA like my K9.) I've been reading the archives (as I write this) looking for advice.

I'm a relatively small person who's not fond of heavy recoil, so not inclined towards .44/.45. So, I'm leaning towards a .357 mag. I'm attracted to the fact that a .357 can take .38 ammo. That's one reason I'm buying a Rem 870 12 ga.: parts availability, shells widely available. If, for some ungodly reason (translation: TEOTWAWKI), I'm unable to find 9mm cartridges, maybe having a .357/.38 could be useful.

Here's what I've learned so far about that caliber: they shoot both .357 and .38. Some of the most recommended ones are the Ruger GP100 and SW 686. (I'm leaning strongly towards a 4" tube.)

Here's what I am still unclear about:

1) This is mostly academic: why does a .357 also accomodate at .38? That's more than .02 difference. I'm not clear about how one pistol can shoot both & still maintain accuracy. Can someone please explain this to me?

2) How does .357 mag compare to 9 mm in terms of stopping power? (My current HD rnds are Rem Golden Saber 124 gr.)

If there's a thread in the archives that deals with this, please just let me know (maybe with some keywords).

Thanks in advance. :cool:

N~

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Shear_stress
September 24, 2005, 08:21 AM
Ah, the addiction begins.

At the risk of codependency, let me encourage you. Either a GP100 or a an S&W 686 is a great choice. If you want to buy new, might also consider S&W's new 619 and 620. If used, keep an eye out for an S&W 586 (blued version of the 686), M19 (K-frame magnum), or 66 (stainless version of the 19).

To answer your first question, despite the names, the 357 and 38 Special actually use the same diameter bullets. Making things more complicated, bullets used for both rounds actually have a nominal diameter of .357 or 0.358". Confused yet? As for why the old "38" isn't, well, that's another story . . .

Anyway, the 38 Special was originally developed for black powder, and its large case capacity and low chamber pressure reflect that legacy. The .357 Magnum is essentially a "hot-rodded" 38 Special--a high-pressure, high-velocity version developed in the mid-1930s. The slightly lengthened case of the Magnum is a safety feature intended to prevent unsuspecting shooters from attempting to fire this round in guns not designed for it. The ".357 Magnum" name is half marketting and half an attempt to further differentiate the rounds in the minds of shooters.

The upshot is a .357 revolver can fire 38 Specials, but not vice versa.

jlh26oo
September 24, 2005, 08:21 AM
.357 and .38spl bullets are of the same diameter. As far as "stopping power"; well, let's just say power. Assuming each round is loaded near max recommendations:

.357>>9mm>38spl

Nematocyst
September 24, 2005, 08:31 AM
Ah, the addiction begins. LOL. :D :D :D

Ah, thanks to you both. Great way to wind down a fine friday night.

Shear-Stress: not confused at all. Your post clears up mucho. ;)
SW 620 (http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/store/index.php3?cat=293600&item=1207358&sw_activeTab=1): I may be in love. :evil:

jlh2600: this is very clear: .357>>9mm>38spl

I'm particularly intrigued that .357 is '>>' {much more powerful} than 9 mm,
which is more {though not 'much more'} powerful than the .38 spl.

Seems to relate to my handgun sequence so far:
1) Taurus .38 that i traded for;
2) SW 3914 9mm (which i traded 1 month ago for);
3) Kahr K9 (which I love; it resides inches from my right hand);
4) the addictive pull towards a .357 mag.

Ah.

More suggestions very welcome.

N~

Nematocyst
September 24, 2005, 10:40 AM
On closer look, I find that the SW 620 & 686 are very similar.

When i open both pages in the browser, and click between the two,
http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/store/index.php3?cat=293600&item=831407&sw_activeTab=1
http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/store/index.php3?cat=293600&item=1207358&sw_activeTab=1
i find little difference.

One ounce difference in weight, similar grips,
identical barrel lengths, frame, finish, sights;
yet $50 difference.

The only difference is that 'trigger' and 'hammer' are 'target' in the 686,
but ostensibly not in the 620.

I'm thinking 'target' is more for competition shooters than SD.

Thoughts?

N~

Shear_stress
September 24, 2005, 11:34 AM
I'm particularly intrigued that .357 is '>>' {much more powerful} than 9 mm, which is more {though not 'much more'} powerful than the .38 spl.

Stuff like this keeps these boards full of irreconcilable debate regarding the "effectiveness" of one handgun caliber versus another. For instance, the 9mm, for its apparently small size, is actually a high-pressure round that, on average, offers 50% more muzzle energy than even +P 38 Special loads. Does that make it more "powerful"? I have no idea. Afterall, the 38 Special can generally support heavier bullets, which could be an advantage. Even the status of the .357 as "much more powerful" than 9mm is not always true in the context of snub-nosed revolvers, where the velocity loss for some factory ammunition can be enough to bring the muzzle energy down to 9mm levels. And the debate goes on . . .

The great thing about a 357 revolver is the range of ammo choices--everything from 38 match wadcutters to full-house Buffalo Bore magnum loads. I find that I tend to shoot 38 Specials more than anything due to the low cost of that round and the fact that I am mostly a paper puncher. I'll run an occasional box of magnums through when I just want to make some noise.

Regarding the differences betwen the 619/620 and 686, they are not too substantial. They are all based on the same L-frame. The 619/620 are interesting in that they combine Smith's new two-piece shrouded barrels with a more traditional "service revolver" look than the full-lug 686. The jury is still out on S&W's stab at shrouded barrel technology (Dan Wesson has been at it for a while), but, for whatever it's worth, the folks over at Gunblast.com raved about the quality and accuracy of the new guns.

ClarkEMyers
September 24, 2005, 11:59 AM
S&W has made J-frame revolvers in 9mm. You might like the J-frame size. S&W even made a comped J-frame mostly in .356TSW but with some straight 9mm cylinders available. Ruger and others have made 9mm revolvers mostly for the export market (such as India if I recall correctly) - see the history of 9mm Federal rimmed ammunition after the pattern of the .45 Auto Rim for a general discussion of 9mm revolvers.

22-rimfire
September 24, 2005, 12:53 PM
In my opinion, the 357 Mag far out performs the 9mm in terms of stopping power. The 357 was developed for police use where the recoil was still controllable. (Police were using 32's and 38spls primarily at the time.) Many 38spl rounds would not penetrate car doors or ricochet off windshields. This was before the +P 38's were introduced. Police liked the 357 round, but it has over penetration problems for a general use caliber and in a revolver it was limited to 5 or 6 rounds in the cylinder. (With the higher strength steels available now, you see higher capacity cylinders available from S&W.) Then came along the spray as you go 9mm guns of the 1970's and 1980's... more "fire power", but generally not as effective as the 357 when you hit what you are aiming at.

I personally have a 3" GP100 (357 Revolver) that I think is nearly perfect for the application you seek. I shoot both 357 and 38spl +P rounds through it. The 357 mag has probably too much muzzle flash, noise, and certainly over penetration issues for home use. I keep my GP100 loaded with 38spl +P 125 gr factory HP's at home. Gun handles the recoil of the 38spl +P round like a champ and is sufficently accurate for typical defensive situations. This is not a hunting firearm. You would be better served with a longer barreled revolver 41 magnum and larger for deer sized game, but the 357 works okay.

With autos mostly, I prefer the 40 S&W over the 9mm. Never owned a 9mm and don't intend to ever buy one. (Not completely true as I have owned and shot an Uzi carbine a fair amount.) The 45 ACP is better yet. But, the recoil of the 40 is very manageable in factory loadings.

As a revolver alternative, you might consider a S&W Model 625JM which is in 45ACP. You get an auto round that will fit your auto inclinations as you step up in power.

MillCreek
September 24, 2005, 01:28 PM
Nema, I have little to add to the sage words above, except that from a standpoint of cost-effectiveness, durability, shootability and pure fun, you cannot go wrong with a stainless Ruger .357. I happen to be partial to the Security-six models over the GP-100, but that is a personal preference. Either is a fine, fine revolver. The Security-six is no longer manufactured, more's the pity, but many used models at great prices are on the market. Since you also live in the wet part of the country, I like stainless handguns, myself.

Be sure to come back to us when you want advice on buying a serious snubby revolver for carry!

Nematocyst
September 25, 2005, 12:21 AM
Everyone, thanks very much for your kind suggestions. I've read each one at least a couple of times this afternoon. Good thought-provoking ideas.

Pardon the length here. I'm thinking outloud so others more knowledgeable than me can critique my thinking. I'm also using this as a set of on line notes for myself to review while making a decision in this issue. (Hopefully, they may help others reading archives in some future day also...)

Stuff like this keeps these boards full of irreconcilable debate regarding the "effectiveness" of one handgun caliber versus another. Good point, Shear_stress; I agree.

In retrospect, I wish I'd named this thread differently. I wasn't intending to start a 'which caliber is better" war, just trying to get some sense, on average, what the relationship is between those two. That was actually only a part of what I am hoping to learn here, but the wording of my questions was not good.

Still, so far, based on this limited number of opinions, it does seem that, on average across various loads in each caliber, the .357 with a hot load is going to offer slightly to substantially more bump than the 9. (At least, that's my read.)

Good point also, Shear_Stress, about the variety of loads that the .357 eats. That's actually part of my motivation for looking at them, instead of staying with a 9 only. I like the idea of having two calibers such that, no matter what podunk town in the outback that I might wind up in after a SHTF event, there'll probably be some rounds available that I can shoot (9, .38 spl, .357).

22_Rimfire, good idea about going with the .38 spl P for HD. I hear you about the hot mag loads.

Speaking of home defense, and the issue of overpenetration, "home" for this gun is different than most. My studio, where I spend most of my time, is not in a residential area, but an industrial one. At night (which is when I work there), the hood is nearly totally deserted. (Which is part of why I want a .357 there: I'm mostly on my own out here. My kindly, smaller 9 will eventually be my carry gun.)

Since you also live in the wet part of the country, I like stainless handguns, myself. Mill creek, the friendly guys at my local gun store said the same thing today. I agree. My K-9 is stainless. I didn't think I'd like the 'shiny' as much as black, but given the weather here ... and, the 'shiny' is growing on me. :p

When I posted this thread last night, I hadn't ever even held a .357. So this afternoon, I took a bike ride over to the store. Looked at SW 520, 686 + (seven rnd, stainless) and a Ruger CP100. (They didn't have the SW 620; haven't checked the other store in town yet.)

Clark, they also had a SW J-frame (60 maybe?), which allowed me to try out that type of frame. Admittedly, the LOP was much better for me, but I confess it didn't feel right for me; the balance, feel and weight wasn't as immediately satisfying as the more massive L frames.

Yet, catch 22: even though I liked the larger frames, the immediate issue that came up was the LOP: each was slightly longer LOP than my K9. (Again, I've got small hands.)

Of the three, the GP100 seemed most comfortable, but even with it I seemed to need to "cock" my grip sightly to the right side of the grip so that my finger would lay comfortably flat on the trigger. But then my thumb did not lay completely naturally (flat) on the left side of the grip. Hmmm. But, it felt "OK", and allowed a comfortable, smoothe trigger pull. Yet I'm not sure how much difference that slighly altered grip would make during shooting, especially hot rounds.

The salesman would not offer too much advice on the fit other than, "Bunch that skin between thumb & forefinger a bit by gripping high, and if it feels good, it's probably right."

He did point out that changing the grips could be part of the solution. Indeed, he recommended full rubber grips for the Ruger to help with the sting of recoil. Would enjoy hearing more thoughts about that.

Both SW's felt a bit more awkward than the Ruger. I liked the DA pull on the Ruger better. It seemed smoother yet more solid than the SW, but that's only first impressions.

In addition, I wasn't sure that I liked the "finger indents" on the front strap of the grip on the SW. The Ruger is smoothe. The SW forces my fingers into those dents. In particular, given my small hand, both of them forced my pinky finger lower than felt natural, separating it from my ring finger. Not sure how I feel about that.

Overall, if I'd have been forced to pick one today, I'd have taken the Ruger.

But the grip issue does raise some amount of concern for me since I traded my other auto for the Kahr because the former was too big by only a small amount, but was uncomfortable to shoot, and it affected my accuracy.

Be sure to come back to us when you want advice on buying a serious snubby revolver for carry! I'm guessing by 'serious' you mean .45, right? None of these puny little .357 mags, but a real gun? ;)

Thanks guys; I much appreciate the help, as always.

More thoughts and opinions are very welcome. I've got some time on this. I'm not going to rush it at all. (In fact, the money for a purchase in the form of a LONG overdue IRS refund ( :fire: ) is still at least weeks away. I'll also probably buy the 870P first, get it settled in before getting too serious about bringing home a .357.

NemA

MillCreek
September 25, 2005, 01:59 AM
Quote:
Be sure to come back to us when you want advice on buying a serious snubby revolver for carry!
I'm guessing by 'serious' you mean .45, right? None of these puny little .357 mags, but a real gun?

Oh, no, NemA, I routinely carry a variety of small frame .38 or .357 revolvers (S&W J-frame, Ruger SP-101, Taurus 650 or Taurus 651) and rarely, if ever, feel undergunned. Note that my lifestyle is as an executive living in suburbia, so easy concealment is a must and I am rarely going where angels fear to tread. I cannot readily conceal a full-size service pistol in my usual weekday attire. Small frame snubby revolvers meet my needs just fine.

PS: Do they actually allow gun shops in Eugene, or are they forced across the river in Springfield? :uhoh:

Marshall
September 25, 2005, 02:32 AM
.357 Mag is substantially more powerful than 9mm, I can't see them even being compared.

Sunray
September 25, 2005, 02:53 AM
Geezuz, how far out in the boonies are you? 9mm should be readily available in Walmart.
"...the friendly guys at my local gun store..." No 9mm there? They can order it.
"...why does a .357 also accomodate at .38?..." The .357 case is 1/10th of an inch longer. Other than that the cases are identical. The length difference is so .357 ammo won't fit in a .38 Spec. revolver. If you're reloading, it's a good idea to load .357 cases to .38 specs. It avoids having lube gunk building up in the cylinders.
No handgun round will give 100% reliable one shot stops. Not even a .45. There are too many variables.
If you can, try a .45ACP pistol. They're not the big, mean, bone jarring, pistols the gun rags used to prattle on about. Most of the Government model copies will fit your hand too. The truth is that a .45 is far more comfortable to shoot than a .357. However, the fit of any handgun is paramount.
"...I seemed to need to "cock" my grip sightly..." Change the grips. The stock grips don't quite fit your hand. There are very few revolvers that beat a GP. They need a trigger job though, but so do all new firearms. Frivolous liability law suits.

Nematocyst
September 25, 2005, 04:06 AM
Geezuz, how far out in the boonies are you? Hahaaha...not at all. I'm in a medium sized city.

"...the friendly guys at my local gun store..." No 9mm there? They can order it. No, never said that. I bought my 9 from them. Good folks. I'm also looking at .357's at their shop, and if they don't have the one I would buy (they don't now), yes they can order it. Quick turn around time they tell me (relative to the 12 ga. I want, which is now in short supply thanks to Ms. Katrina & Ms. Rita.)

The .357 case is 1/10th of an inch longer. Other than that the cases are identical. The length difference is so .357 ammo won't fit in a .38 Spec. revolver.

[quote]No handgun round will give 100% reliable one shot stops. Not even a .45. There are too many variables. Check. Yeah, i understand that well. Placement matters. My questions related more to, given good placement, which one would "most likely" stop better.

I've just never explored any caliber (in handguns) larger than .38 & 9 mm, so I'm here to learn about what's up there, & how they relate to what i know..

If you can, try a .45ACP pistol. They're not the big, mean, bone jarring, pistols the gun rags used to prattle on about. Most of the Government model copies will fit your hand too. The truth is that a .45 is far more comfortable to shoot than a .357. Really? That's interesting. I confess, I haven't explored them because of my own uneducated biases, but I will. Thanks for the suggestion.

However, the fit of any handgun is paramount.

"...I seemed to need to "cock" my grip sightly..." Change the grips. The stock grips don't quite fit your hand. After my experience with my last auto (before K9), I agree about the importance of fit. I wasn't even thinking grip change until today, when the sales person suggested it, and now you. It seems a reasonable strategy, given that the level of 'not fit' is so small. Thanks for the idea.

There are very few revolvers that beat a GP. I'm hearing nothing but good about them.

Thanks for the tip re trigger job.

N~

BluesBear
September 25, 2005, 04:25 AM
The 620 has a short underlug. It just encloses the ejector rod.
http://www.firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/164401_large.jpg

The 686 has a full underlug.
http://www.firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/164222_large.jpg

pauli
September 25, 2005, 10:30 AM
The truth is that a .45 is far more comfortable to shoot than a .357.the question is, are you speaking in absolutes (where i will have to take issue with you), or are you speaking of all else equal situations (686 vs 625, etc)...

Nematocyst
September 25, 2005, 06:04 PM
BluesBear, thanks for the clarification.

Pauli, would you mind elaborating on your point? I'm not getting it. Thanks.

KONY
September 25, 2005, 06:36 PM
Some of the most recommended ones are the Ruger GP100 and SW 686. (I'm leaning strongly towards a 4" tube.)

Don't forget the Ruger Security-Six. I own both this and a 686 with 4" tubes and they both are very accurate. I shoot both exclusively in DA.

Vern Humphrey
September 25, 2005, 06:49 PM
Here's what I am still unclear about:

1) This is mostly academic: why does a .357 also accomodate at .38? That's more than .02 difference. I'm not clear about how one pistol can shoot both & still maintain accuracy. Can someone please explain this to me?

The original ".38s" were developed at the dawn of metallic cartridges. These cartridges used "heeled bullets" -- the after part of hte bullet was reduced in diameter to fit inside the cartidge case. After a few years, an improvment was made -- the bullet size was reduced to allow the bullet to seated deeply in the case, with the lubrication grooves below the mouth of the case.

This required reducing bullet size from about .38 to about .36. The bore diameters were also reduced, but the guns and ammo continued to be called ".38." The bullets were made of soft lead with hollow bases so they would still shoot fairly well in the older revolvers.

The .357 Magnum was developed in the mid-1930s. It is essentially a very high pressure .38 Special, with the case lengthened enough to prevent if from being used in a standard .38 Special revolver.

At the time it was introduced, Doug Wesson, them president of Smith and Wesson, decided to name the new cartridge for the true bullet diameter.

If you line up the "family," you have in ascending length and power the .38 Short Colt, the .38 Long Colt, the .38 Special and the .357 Magnum. All four can be fired in a .357 revolver.

2) How does .357 mag compare to 9 mm in terms of stopping power? (My current HD rnds are Rem Golden Saber 124 gr.)


That's a difficult term to define. But look at it this way:

The .357 Magnum can drive a 125 grain bullet to between 1,700 and 1,800 fps.

The 9mm can drive a 124 grain bullet to about 1100 fps.

The .38 Special (+P) can drive a 125 grain bullet to about 1000 fps.

The velocity advantage of the .357 is especially impressive when you realize kenetic energy increases with the square of the velocity. The 70% increase in velocity (compared to the .38 Special +P) works out to a 189% increase in energy.

On the other hand, the 9mm gains only about a 21% increase over the .38 Special.

pauli
September 25, 2005, 07:11 PM
nematocyst, you asked for elaboration about my comment about sunray's comment about 45 vs 357 in terms of comfort.

there are two ways he could have intended his statement.

a: 45 caliber handguns, as a rule, are more comfortable to shoot than 357's. ie, 1911 vs 686.

b: under the same conditions - same grips on the same frame size with the same barrel length and same over all weight - 45acp ammo is more comfortable to shoot than 357. something like 625 (45acp n frame) vs 627 (357 n frame).

a is obviously a 100% subjective apples and oranges comparison. i can't shoot a 1911 worth a darn, and cannot stand they way they recoil in my hand, but my model 13 is the most comfortable centerfire handgun i have ever shot, bar none. maybe i need to find even hotter ammo, but i'm having a hard time figuring out how to make it as unpleasant as a 45 auto. other people, however, feel the reverse.

b, however, is somewhat different. fired from the same platform, 45acp is going to feel different than 357, but in quantifiable ways. the recoil change is measurable.

Nematocyst
September 25, 2005, 07:51 PM
Pauli, thanks for that clarification. I get it. Very clear. If I add a new pistol - still an "if" for the moment - I'm virtually certain it's going to be a .357, which increasingly seems the logical and reasonble step up from 9 mm. I'll save explorations of .45 for another day after becoming comfortable & proficient with the hotter rounds of .357. ;)

Vern, excellent post. That adds a great amount of clarity to what I learned from Shear-Stress' and others posts so far. The history lesson and technical details are much appreciated. Thanks very much for the info.

NemA, who's appreciation of THR University continues to grow.

Shear_stress
September 25, 2005, 10:16 PM
Vern--

Good informative post. Still, it would be better to compare apples to apples, or +P to +P in this case. According to Stephen Camp's chrono data from hipowersandhandguns.com, a 125 grain 38 Special +P bullet can indeed push nearly 950-1000 fps from a 4" barrel (or between 250 and 280 ft-lbs of energy).

For comparison, he also clocks 125 grain 9mm +P loads at between 1200-1250 fps from a 3.5" Glock barrel (or about 400-430 ft-lbs of muzzle energy). So, with the +P loads given, the 38 Special generates 65-70% of the muzzle energy for these barrel lengths. Note that the barrel length of a semiautomatic also includes the chamber. With this in mind, the actual Glock barrel length can be considered to be roughly 2.5", or about the equivalent of a snub-nosed revolver.

The difference widens considerably with non +P loads. The non +P 130 grain 38 Special loads (Nyclad excepted) are in the 775-840 fps range from a 4" barrel, for about 180 lb-ft of muzzle energy. The weakest non +P 9mm load (PMC 115 grain) saw 1050 fps out of the Glock barrel, or about 280 ft-lbs of energy.

In addition, you probably won't see 1700-1800 fps out of snubbie .357 Magnum. Camp clocks a Remington 125 grain .357 Magnum load at 1240 fps out of a 2 1/2" barrel Smith M19. Like I posted above, this is well within 9mm territory for that particular combination of load and pistol.

Okay, that said, all these numbers are pretty pathetic compared to rifle loads. Even so, there really is a quantitative difference between 38 Special and 9mm, at least on paper. Whether or not this actually translates to significant differences in "stopping power", I will leave to someone else.

Vern Humphrey
September 25, 2005, 10:21 PM
Even so, there really is a quantitative difference between 38 Special and 9mm, at least on paper. Whether or not this actually translates to significant differences in "stopping power", I will leave to someone else.

Agreed on both points -- as I said, "stopping power" is hard to define.

And yes, a +P 9mm load will churn up an extra 100 fps or so -- but the point I wanted to make is that there is a stair-stepped performance curve from .38 special to 9mm to .357. In a 4" barrel, with proper ammo, the .357 is in a class by itself.

Nematocyst
September 25, 2005, 11:09 PM
Hey guys,

My bad for using the term "stopping power" in my original post. I should have known better. I agree, there is probably no definition for it, let alone a way to quantify it.

{As a biologist, I know how nebulous some terms can be. Example, even though "fitness" (as in natural selection) is an important concept in evolutionary biology, it is notoriously difficult or impossible to actually quantify, especially in real world, outside-the-lab situations. Unlike mass, energy or dimension, it can't be easily measured. Likewise, I'm sure, with a term like "stopping power".}

What you folks, knowledgeable about ballistics, are doing is totally appropriate: shifting the discussion to pressure, fps, etc, rather than the more nebulous "stopping power".

Sorry for the confusion, but glad to have the input.

Thanks.

N~

Vern Humphrey
September 25, 2005, 11:27 PM
My bad for using the term "stopping power" in my original post.

No reason to apologize -- a lot of people who know or claim to know a lot about firearms use the term. They can't quantify it either.

GunGoBoom
September 26, 2005, 01:12 AM
If it was a 2" gun, I'd say get the revo in 9x19. But for a 4" or more, go ahead and get the .357 - it will outperform a 9. Or, just get the best of all worlds & wait for the triad from Taurus, which shoots .357 mag, .38 spl, .38 super, and 9x19mm. For that matter, it would probably shoot .380 and 9x18 makarov as well, with the 9mm moonclips:

http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=TRIAD-627B&category=Revolver

7 shots in a small ergo frame, shoots cheap .38 spl & cheap 9mm, as well as more expensive ammo. What's not to like? Accuracy will suffer a smidge from 9mm/.38 super but not enough to matter for defensive purposes.

Mr_Moore
September 26, 2005, 01:18 AM
I recently purchased a Ruger SP101 in .357 caliber.

I highly recommend this revolver - of course, this is my personal opinion and may not apply to you.

The weight of the SP101 is about 25 oz. I got the 2.25 barrel. It holds 5 rounds. It is stainless steel. I got it new for $379.00.

I bought an Uncle Mike's Sidekick holster for about $15.00 and it carries like a feather tucked inside my belt – I often forget that I am carrying it. Of course, this is a subjective opinion. My Mom hefted the gun (she is 74) and said, “Wow that is heavy.”

I bought a Hogue grip for $20.00 and it reduced the perceived recoil considerably. The gun fits my hand perfectly.

I also filed the razor sharp serrated hammer tang – it has a diamond design. I actually had several slices on my thumb from pulling the hammer back. The file job fixed this.

I find the trigger to be stiff, but not bad once I got used to it. I also did the poor man’s trigger job and dry fired it about 500 times – this improved the action. I did not go to the Wolf Spring Kit for easier pull and probably will not. I usually shoot single action anyway. I know… some experts say to always use double action. I disagree- again just my opinion.

I have a Smith and Wesson Model 19 6 shot and it is heavier than the SP101. Smith and Wesson recommend not feeding the Model 19 a steady diet of .357 loads. They say to practice with .38s. Additionally, the 125g .357 is not recommended at all as it can crack the forcing cone. Correct me on this if I am wrong.

I believe that if I am going to use .357 loads for protection that I should be shooting .357s for practice - again just my opinion. I am using the .357 because of the likelihood of a one shot end of conflict – the knock down power (kinetic energy) is much greater than that of a 9mm.

Hell, the noise and flame alone should end a conflict, even if you miss. The .357 turns heads on the range when everyone else is shooting 9mm and .40 calibers. Ok, I admit I get a kick out of this.

Ruger has no restrictions that I know of on shooting .357s out of their .357. This makes more sense to me than S&W’s policy.

I have found the recoil to be moderate. It’s nothing like the .45 derringer I shot a few months ago (that puppy really slapped me) nor the .44 magnum I tried. Again, I understand that this is relative. My wife does NOT appreciate the Ruger’s recoil and will not shoot it again. She does not mind the S&W loaded with .38 specials, but prefers my .22 Mark III for target practice. My 16 year old daughter shoots my S&W with .357s with no problem, yet my 14 year old son prefers the .38’s in it.

I have never tried one of the new Scandium .357’s, but the guy who owned the .45 derringer likened the recoil of that to his Scandium .357. This information made me happier that I had decided on the Ruger and not one of the lightweights.

I chose the revolver because of its reliability. I have had jams with every automatic I have ever shot – period.

I chose the 5 shot capacity because I am not a police officer nor am I in the military. I do not foresee a prolonged gun battle in my near future. (When I was in the military our side arm was a model 1911 .45) Because of the smaller cylinder, the 5 shot capacity allows for less weight.

I understand that most confrontations where a gun is fired are settled with one or two shots at the most. Correct me if I am wrong.

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth.

Nematocyst
September 26, 2005, 02:24 AM
Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth. Mr. Moore, welcome to THR! I'll give you at least a nickle for all those words. Nice post. Well written, informative and easy to read. Thanks for sharing that.

I've bookmarked that Ruger SP101. (Funny, I hadn't even looked at those yet; I've only looked so far at their GP line. Thanks for the motivation.)

I'll confess that at the moment, I've got my taste buds all set for a full 4" barrel. Their longest for that model is a 3 1/16. Obviously would be better for carry, but my carry is going to be my 9 (once I get that little permit). This .357 is more for field, range & bedside (in case another crazed meth head comes in my window some night). I want to have that extra stopping power ... er, wait, extra fps and an extra notch up that non-linear, step-function of ft-lbs. {I'm learning... ;)}

_______

GunGoBoom, you get a gold star for recommendations. Wow! I like the look of that Taurus. :what: Like the Ruger, it will eat .38, .357 AND - in a pinch - 9s. That's like the best of all possible worlds.

I've also owned a Taurus .38 spl (my first handgun) and liked it just fine. I only sold it to move up in, er fps & ft-lbs with a nine, plus just had to try an auto. But I miss the revolver. I think it's cool that with a revolver & my K9, I'll still be all DA. That's comforting to me in some way.

And, the Triad looks good. Really like the idea of the grip. Ribber, they call it. :D

And only 28.8 oz. Impressive. But what got my attention most was your comment "a small ergo frame". Please, could you tell me what the term "ergo frame" means? On their site, they refer to "Frame: Compact". Music to my ears, er small hands. (Like I said before, the Ruger GP101 & SW 6XX that I've tried felt a tad bit big. )

Too bad the Taurus is not available in stainless, but for the right fit, I'll deal with it. i'd just have to fondle it more with an oil or silicon cloth. I think I could handle that responsibility. :rolleyes:

Any knowledge of how it would handle a steady diet of .357? Do they, like SW, recommend against a steady diet? I think I agree with Mr. Moore: it's great to have all those ammo options, but if one is going to use the .357 round for SD, it would pay to practice a lot with it (as well as the other calibers to see how it handles with various loads). But I'm open to opinions, also.

Very promising, that Taurus. I'll be looking for one locally to handle.

Thanks!

N~

Nematocyst
September 26, 2005, 03:16 AM
Earlier I wrote, "Too bad the Taurus is not available in stainless..."

But this just in: bingo - a Taurus stainless that's similar (http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=627SS4&category=Revolver).

This is the Tracker instead of a Triad - seems to be marketed to packers and other outdoors people (that'd be me) for protection. There's no indication of whether it'll take 9 mm (thus, i presume it won't; seems if so, they'd list it as such since they explicitly state that for the Triad ... ?).

But, importantly: 1) it's stainless (my part of the country IS wet); 2) it's still got that compact frame.

I am impressed that Taurus specifies their revolver frames as compact, medium and large (for 8 round revolvers, looks like).

Otherguy Overby
September 26, 2005, 03:25 AM
If you are bound and determined to get a .357, you might also consider something like this, to keep it company:

http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/1894_centerfireRifles/1894C.htm

It sure seems that almost everyone loves lever guns in pistol calibers. I have one myself, but it's a .44 mag. I'm quite sure it needs a .357 to keep it company.

Trust me! hahahahahaha!

BluesBear
September 26, 2005, 04:36 AM
The Taurus Triad is touted as being able to fire .38 Special and .357 magnum and also 9mm Luger and .38 Super in moon clips.
Of course you could also shoot .38 Short Colt and .38 Long Colt.
I suspect that .380 would also work okay in the clips.
And since .38S&W is almost the same dimensions as .38 Super it might work also.

But, I'd advise against shooting the 9x18mm Makarov since it has a bullet diameter of .363" and that would be a mighty tight fit in a .357" bore.

Cosmoline
September 26, 2005, 05:06 AM
The .357 is IMHO the aureas mediocritas of revolver cartridges. It's not a wrist breaker like the larger magnums, but it packs enough punch to kill anything in North America--in theory at least. The versatility of the round is astounding, ranging from .38 Special wadcutters with about 150 ft. lbs. to over 1,600 ft. lbs. for some of the hot buffalo bores out of a Marlin 1892. That's a range few other cartridge combinations can offer, and it has the added bonus of being ubiquitous and cheap. It's also very easy to reload using store bought bullets or your own cast loads.

I find it far superior to the 9x19 and the .45 ACP as a back woods cartridge, and it more than holds its own in the urban self defense role.

Nematocyst
September 26, 2005, 07:36 AM
The .357 is IMHO the aureas mediocritas of revolver cartridges. It's not a wrist breaker like the larger magnums, but it packs enough punch to kill anything in North America--in theory at least. Cosmoline, you're talking my language. I'm mostly convinced. I'm thinking a 357 is going to be my next one. Hell, at this point, I'm even willing to eat more ramen for a while to make it happen.

If you are bound and determined to get a .357, you might also consider something like this, to keep it company:
http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firea...ifles/1894C.htm Oooooh, a Marlin Model 1894C lever action. <: drooling :>

I'm a sucker for lever actions. I owned a Remngton .35 caliber deer rifle until a decade ago, when i stupidly sold it in order to make it through grad school.

So, thinking of a .357 mag (same as my next pistol) level action with an 18.5" barrel (same as my 870) sends chills up my spine.
____

OK, so speaking of 357s, I have a question. I'll keep this (uncharacteristically for me) short:

I'd appreciate reading opinions about the following two revolvers compared to each other and SW 600 series & the Ruger GP100s:

1) Ruger SP101 (3+" barrels please)
@) Taurus Tracker (stainless but .357/.38 only?) or Triad (.357, .38 & 9mm).

I'm particularly curious about the following two characteristics of the later guns:
A) will they accept a steady diet of the mag rounds, or do they prefer moderate doses of those really hot chiles?
B) which one has the shortest length of pull? (Hopefully, this handgun novice is using the correct term to refer to the standardized distance to trigger while gripping the guns securely and comfortably.)

Thanks,

N~

Sleeping Dog
September 26, 2005, 07:59 AM
"aureas mediocritas" ... Cosmoline, you're talking my language
It sure isn't my language :). I'd translate it as "halfassed halo", or, in the case of guns, "not a very impressive fireball".

Anyway, the reason I'm typing here ...
"length of pull" - distance to trigger while gripping the gun
I woulda guessed it's the distance the DA trigger has to move backward to cock the hammer until it's released. If so, then for a given amount of enery stored up in the hammer spring during cocking, a shorter trigger pull means a higher trigger effort. Too short, and it takes a gorilla to shoot it (in a contolled way). Something about levers and mechanical advantage.

Is that what "length of pull" is?

Regards.

Nematocyst
September 26, 2005, 08:16 AM
It sure isn't my language . I'd translate it as "halfassed halo", or, in the case of guns, "not a very impressive fireball". LOL. :D

I think I agree, Sleeping Dog. It seems like just a bit of a slight of that gun, even if a good-natured punch. But I know Cosmoline from other threads as a straight shooter (ha, at least with words), and trust his judgement. Plus, for me, with a smaller body frame, "not a wrist breaker but enough punch to [theoretically] kill anything in North America" appeals to me.

Given that, I may be willing to accept a less impressive fireball. ;)

However, I'm glad to read of your alternative interpretation of length of pull. I'm betting there are experts on the forum that can sort it out for us.

I'm interested in that concept that you suggest, but equally as much in the distance from the backstrap to the trigger. I want to be able to grip the gun securely, comfortably with the skin between my thumb and forefinger bunched up a bit, and still lay at least the first digit - ideally up to the first joint - of my trigger finger flat on the trigger.

I'm not sure what the relevant name for that measurement is. I was thinking "length of pull", but could totally be wrong.

Corrections welcomed.

N~

BluesBear
September 26, 2005, 08:50 AM
Length Of Pull (LOP) is applicable only to firearms with shoulder stocks and is measured from the center of the trigger to the center of the buttplate.


What you are referring to is commonly called Trigger Reach. I don't know of any other specific technical termiology for it. Trigger Reach applies only to guns that have a full pistol style grip or thumbhole stock and is measured from the center of the trigger at rest to the web of the shooters hand when the gun is properly gripped.

MillCreek
September 26, 2005, 12:40 PM
In regards to the post above by NemA, I own 'several' Ruger and Taurus .357 revolvers, albeit all of my Taurus revolvers are snubby carry models. I own the Taurus 650 and 651 and some Ruger SP-101s and various Ruger Sixes. I no longer currently own any S&W medium or large frames in .357.

I like my revolvers by both manufacturers. However, of all the choices you have listed, I would still go with a 4" stainless GP-100, Security Six, or a 3" SP-101. I would lean toward the SP-101 in 3" since it would also make a wonderful carry piece.

Any of the Rugers or Taurii will shoot full-power .357 rounds all day long, and I would give a edge on this to the Rugers. Of note, the Ruger is considerably easier to do a detailed field strip and clean than the Taurus or S&W.

I really think that your needs could well be met by a 3" stainless SP-101: tough, durable, accurate, cost-effective, fun to shoot and could also be a very viable carry piece.

Mr_Moore
September 26, 2005, 04:26 PM
Thanks for the kind words.

Ergo means ergonomic.

______________________________________
One entry found for ergonomics.


Main Entry: er·go·nom·ics
Pronunciation: "&r-g&-'nä-miks
Function: noun plural but singular or plural in construction
Etymology: erg- + -nomics (as in economics)
: an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely -- called also human engineering
- er·go·nom·ic /-mik/ adjective
- er·go·nom·i·cal·ly /-mi-k(&-)lE/ adverb
- er·gon·o·mist /(")&r-'gä-n&-mist/ noun

fallingblock
September 27, 2005, 02:00 AM
You're becoming a gun-addict! :D

Lots of good advice above, this is a great place for learning.

I'll share my own preferences, since I know more about them than anyone else's (apologies to Henry Thoreau). :D

If you've found the factory grip of the Ruger GP-100 too large, be sure and try the grip on the fixed sight GP-100. I have the 4", but at present only the three inch barrels are catalogued in .357 fixed sight GP-100.
The grip on the fixed sight GP-100 is perfect for my paw.

The grips are interchangeable between GP-100's - for $12 or so you can buy the smaller grip and install it on the adjustable sighted GP-100.

As for the 3 1/16th SP-101 -

it is a beautifully proportioned and delightful little fivegun.

The one I owned (before all sub-4" revolvers were 'banned' in Australia) was very pleasant to shoot with factory 125 grain .357 and very accurate.

You're obviously gonna have to get one of each!

The Marlin 1894C is a fine choice for a .357 carbine.

Light, handy and very slick once it's 'worn-in' a bit.

Mine is equipped with a Lyman 66LA receiver sight and will make one-hole groups for as long as the ammo lasts at 25 meters, and stay inside the ten ring of the 50 meter pistol target at 50 meters (until I get tired and flinch).

Now that we've assisted you in allocating your next few weeks disposable income.... :D

Nematocyst
September 27, 2005, 05:18 AM
Folks,

More thanks for your advice. This is very interesting.

BluesBear, yes, Trigger Pull. I knew that before, but forgot. Thanks for reminder.

If you've found the factory grip of the Ruger GP-100 too large, be sure and try the grip on the fixed sight GP-100. I have the 4", but at present only the three inch barrels are catalogued in .357 fixed sight GP-100.
The grip on the fixed sight GP-100 is perfect for my paw.

The grips are interchangeable between GP-100's - for $12 or so you can buy the smaller grip and install it on the adjustable sighted GP-100. FallingBlock, my friend, thanks. Interesting suggestion. I did indeed find the Ruger GP-100 to be just a "tad" large. Since I seem to have my heart set on the longer 4" barrel, rather than a 3" that you and MillCreek suggest, I'd like to look into the interchangable grip option.

I'm looking now on the Ruger web site at the grips page
http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/FAAccFACat?group=12
but I can't sort out the "smaller grips" of which you write.

Can you point me in the right direction, please?

I confess, I really liked the feel, weight and balance of the GP100, and though I suspect the Taurii would be serviceable pistols, there's just something about that Ruger...

My LONG awaited IRS refund check came in the mail tonight!!!!! :D :D :D

#1 purchase: Rem 870P.
#2: 0.357 revolver. Which one remains to be determined, but am closing in on it, thanks to the help in this thread and one other.

Ah, life is good.

Gimme gun addiction over drug addiction any day. ;)

Nematocyst
September 27, 2005, 06:07 AM
So I'm leaning most strongly towards the following two .357 revolvers:

A) Ruger GP100 (Currently with a slight lead, but the lead is changing daily. Even that 3" barrel is looking good, and I can imagine the balance must be supurb; but I'm still lusting for a 4". Am I being unreasonable?)

B) Taurus Tracker (http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=627SS4&category=Revolver) or Triad (http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=TRIAD-627B&category=Revolver) with a clear preference so far for the stainless Tracker, even if it doesn't eat the same variety of cartridges.

Question: both of the Tauri have ported barrels. (And I gotta confess: they just look sexy. :evil: )

Can anybody describe if and how the ports affect the ballistics?

That is, I have no doubt that the ports slow the verticle acceleration of the pistol, and that's desirable. But at what price? Do the ports reduce the fps or ft-lbs of force in a statistically significant way?

jlh26oo
September 27, 2005, 07:11 AM
dude, a four inch gp100 is obviously what you want. go for it.

Porting might not decrease velocity significantly (not sure exactly what the percentage is, it will vary of course with different rounds and barrel lengths), maybe a few percent. I don't know. But it'll make a flash at night, and it's louder. If you get a 4", .357's are not going to be a problem regardless.

I'd avoid porting and the triad. Fo for the ruger or a smith and WESSON.

Brian Williams
September 27, 2005, 09:47 AM
I had 2 trackers and I feel that a S&W K frame vastly outshined either one. Mine were a 357 and a 45 Colt. I found that they both had good triggers and the grips were good but snagged on my clothes during CCW. As for the Trackers being a compact frame they are the same size as a S&W K frame and a touch less clunkey(is that a word) than a Ruger. A problem with Taurus is there are very few aftermarket grips for them. Both Rugers and S&Ws have way to many aftermarket grips available. While I thought that the trackers were cheap copies of S&W they are good shooters. If I ever needed a shove it down a bears nose gun I would get me a tracker in 45 colt and load up some Wunderbear whoompers because if figure it is light weight and easy to carry and if I had to let fly with one of those Wunderbear Whoompers or all five then I would not care what remainded of the gun after I shoved it down their nose.

danhei
September 27, 2005, 10:57 PM
I have a 6" GP100 and I like it a lot. The factory grips are comfortable shooting even the hottest loads, at least for me. Mr_Moore mentioned filing the sharp points on his SP101's hammer. I did the same for the GP100's hammer. Just took off the points at the edge of the hammer. Makes cocking nicer and it's something anyone can do with a file. Mine has a heavy but smooth double action pull and it breaks nicely in single action. I've not had any trigger work done.

My understanding is that porting will make more flash and probably be quite a bit louder. I've never shot a ported gun so I don't have personal experience.

The Triad looks neat but I'd only get one if I could find it unported. If you do get one DO NOT shoot 9mm Makarov in it. It's a .365 diameter bullet. 9mm and .380 use .355 bullets and .357 uses .357 bullets.

fallingblock
September 28, 2005, 02:50 AM
"I'm looking now on the Ruger web site at the grips page
http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/FAAccFACat?group=12
but I can't sort out the "smaller grips" of which you write.
Can you point me in the right direction, please?"
*********************************************************

Be happy to. :)

Go to:

http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/FAProdView?model=1719&return=Y

Then click on the "parts booklet" to the right of the beautiful revolver.

The grips are on the third page of the booklet.

Part# T01010 - Grip, 1 piece rubber, no inserts $7.20 is the bargain option

Part# T21010-CS - Grip, 1 piece Rubber, with Wood Inserts $23.75 is the deluxe option.



*********************************************************
"I confess, I really liked the feel, weight and balance of the GP100, and though I suspect the Taurii would be serviceable pistols, there's just something about that Ruger..."
*********************************************************


Ruger has a fine reputation for making things right if work is needed on their products.

Taurus has a lifetime warranty, but there have been some grumbles here and on other forums about their customer service.

If possible, inspect the revolver which you intend to buy.
All the manufacturers have produced a dud now and then. :(


*********************************************************
"My LONG awaited IRS refund check came in the mail tonight!!!!!"
*********************************************************


You see! The gun deities WANT you to buy guns. :D

campbellcj
September 28, 2005, 03:10 AM
Now why'd you guys have to go and tell me about that Marlin 1894C lever carbine 3 days before my birthday? ;) I was really getting to like my S&W PC627-5 and this could be a good buddy for it.

Otherguy Overby
September 28, 2005, 03:27 AM
campbellcj: Now why'd you guys have to go and tell me about that Marlin 1894C lever carbine 3 days before my birthday? I was really getting to like my S&W PC627-5 and this could be a good buddy for it.

Well, one of the best kept secrets in shooting is lever rifles in pistol calibers.

They are a whole buncha fun, surprisingly effective (at least to the uninitiated) at 125-150 yards or less. And are just plain nice and CHEAP to shoot.

Welcome to the dark side... :)

There are even "Lever Action Essays"
http://www.lneilsmith.com/lns_lever.html

sigstroker
September 28, 2005, 05:42 AM
If you're concerned about recoil, you should definitely try a .357 Magnum out before you spend dime one. Use the full power loads you would for self-defense, like 125 gr hollow points. In small and medium framed guns they kick hard.

Ports will make it much louder and the flash would probably blind you temporarily in a dark room.

Loading it with .38's is silly - you take a downgrade in power from a 9mm.

Nematocyst
October 3, 2005, 03:34 AM
So here's a question for you revolver shooters, especially - but not entirely - for Ruger fans.

For several reasons that I need not detail here, I find myself almost equally attracted to the Ruger GP100's with 3" & 4" barrels.

Now, obviously, the 4" barrel is going to make better groups at 25 yds than the 3".

But since my objective is SD against the crazed idiot coming in my window at night (v. a rifle shooter down the street), maybe the 3" is just fine for me. It also strikes me that the 3" may have a better balance for me than the 4", and is 4.5 oz. lighter. Plus, it'll be easier to wear in a holster.

Am I missing something important? Can any of you offer advice, comments & opinions about the difference in barrels? Why should I care about one more than the other? Does the 4" really offer that much better accuracy at shorter ranges than the 3"?

Danke, gracias & thanks.

Nem

jlh26oo
October 3, 2005, 06:31 AM
Accuracy will be the same. It will be easier to shoot the 4" accurately with a longer sight radius, and better sights. But at close range you will shoot them the same probably.

I was in your position not too long ago. I eventually decided on the four inch because I was primarily using it at the range, and to leave in my glove box. Different ammo had different POI, and I am glad I went with the 4" w.adj sights. I like being able to dial it in to any type of ammo so that I can spot it exactly where I put my front sight.

But accuracy from a rest will be the same. Point and shoot at close range will be the same (actually maybe more handy with a 3"). But if were getting it to CARRY, and willing to sacrifice my adjustable sights and sight radius, I would get an SP101. It is slimmer and trimmer in ALL dimensions, and weighs less than any GP100.

I would get a 4" GP100, and just keep carrying your Kahr. It will be tough to switch from that to a GP. Less so to an SP.

No matter, whatever you pick 3" 4" gp, sp- you can't go wrong.

BluesBear
October 3, 2005, 06:47 AM
Now, obviously, the 4" barrel is going to make better groups at 25 yds than the 3". What makes you say that?

Actually the 4" is NOT going to shoot better groups.
The longer sight radius will enable YOU to aim a little more better.
The longer barrel will give you a few more FPS in velocity but not enough to worry about.

As for balance, that's all a matter of taste. Depending on the grips mounted on the gun the balance will be different to different people.


And it will depend on the holster and the build of the wearer as to which is easier to carry. Often the size and style of the grips is just as important to concealability as the barrel length.

The bottom line is you're going to need to try each length in order to really know which is better for you.

Vern Humphrey
October 3, 2005, 11:13 AM
As jlh26oo says, there really won't be any difference in accuracy. There will be a little difference in shootability and velocity, but those are almost negligible.

Do you intend this gun for concealed carry? If so, the shorter barrel will have a slight advantage -- but not much. If you don't plan to carry it concealed, the 4-inch barrel has the edge.

middy
October 3, 2005, 03:18 PM
Then came swords. (Verdict is still out, but likely to be an Angus Trim 1320.)
No, no! Get the 1501!

:uhoh:

Sorry, we were talking about revolvers?

fallingblock
October 4, 2005, 12:37 AM
As others have already written, there's simply not much difference between a three inch and four inch barrel.

If you plan to sometimes pack the 3", it is a bit handier for that than the 4".

The loss in velocity between the two is insignificant for practical purposes.

The extra 1" sight radius will make the 4" bbl. a bit easier to align than the 3".

Practice with the 3" will make you a better shot, as will practice with any firearm.

My preference would be for the 3", if the mindless morons running this nation hadn't "banned" them. :cuss:

Try one of each out, at least you'll be able to decide which "feel" suits you.

Both are excellent revolver choices...and you have the choice!

Smuggs
October 4, 2005, 12:50 AM
The choice between 3 or 4 inch barrel is mostly what is comfortable to you. One thing I did want to mention in relation to the "stoping power" issue is that while I have not followed the topic of late the .357 had one of if not the highest "one shot stop" ratings based on real world shootings. While my favorite handgun is still my Para Ord .45 a .357 is a good choice for a SD weapon. And I realy wish somone had not mentioned the .44 lever guns I had almost goten over the loss of mine :banghead:

kahr404life
October 4, 2005, 01:25 AM
I think a Ruger SP101 with a 3 inch barrel would fit the bill for you. The grip fits small hands well. If the grip is still to big, no problem, you can have a custom grip made to any size as long as it fits the mainspring stud. I have two SP101's, 2 inch DAO, and a 3 inch DA/SA. Both are good shooters.
If I had to choose a good JHP 357 mag (any weight) it would be the Speer Gold Dot. The bullet jacket is bonded with the lead core so it does not separate on impact :what: . If I had to choose a good .38 spl (non +p) it would be the Fedral 125 or 158 gr nyclad. It has a soft lead core with a nylon jacket so it will expand reliable. If you want a good 38 spl +P try the Fedral 158 gr +P nyclad. same as above but faster :D .
Anyway good luck on your purchase :cool: .

Nematocyst
October 4, 2005, 05:02 AM
Guys,

Once again, you offer such excellent advice. Thanks.

Funny how i made such assumptions about bbl lengths being tied to accuracy. Don't know why exactly i thought that. Extra turns of the rifling? Who knows. But OK, points taken: for relatively close range SD, no significant difference.

Good points of course about 3" better for carry. I'm not sure that I'll carry a .357. I mostly see it as bedside companion. My K9 feels like my carry for now; so trim, so thin lined, so efficient. But who knows?

And thanks to several of you for patiently drumming home again the suggestion to look at the SP101. For some silly reason (read, didn't read the description well enough), I'd assumed it was a lower quality pistol. In reality, Ruger clearly states the difference between it and the GP's is frame size: GP = medium frame; SP = smaller frame.

Admittedly, I like the "look" of the GP with 3" bbl slightly better than the SP. But what good does "look" do if you can't shoot it well because it's too large to fit my hand? (Rhetorical question; answer not required.)

Clearly what I need to do is handle both. That's tough in this town. Two gun stores with limited stock.

Anybody know of a gun show coming up in the Pac NW, NA in the next couple of months where SP & GP might both be present?

Thanks again.

THR University rules.

Nem

Nematocyst
October 4, 2005, 02:25 PM
I'm confused about the criteria distinguishing various frame sizes. I keep reading about J-, K-, L-, & N-frames. I see the terms used on various web sites, and can perceive a difference in some cases, but can't find the terms actually defined in a compare and contrast way. I'm searching the THR archives, but not turning up anything yet.

And, from what I've seen so far, this appears to be a designation invented (?) by SW. Do they apply equally as well to other makers, say Ruger?

Any definitions or pointers to a URL with their difference is appreciated. (I'll keep looking; if I find a good page, I'll post it here.)

Thanks,

Nem

MillCreek
October 4, 2005, 05:03 PM
NemA, try this link: http://www.gunshows-usa.com/oregon.htm

As you can see, there is a show right there in Eugene/Springfield later this month. Ruger revolvers are common enough that I suspect you will be able to look at and handle some of the Six, GP-100 and SP-101 models there.

pauli
October 4, 2005, 06:55 PM
I'm confused about the criteria distinguishing various frame sizes. I keep reading about J-, K-, L-, & N-frames. I see the terms used on various web sites, and can perceive a difference in some cases, but can't find the terms actually defined in a compare and contrast way.

to put it simply, J is small, K is medium, N is large. I is extra small, X is extra large, which leaves L, naturally enough, as extra medium.

to be less glib: i and j are small, concealable snubbies; k is typically 38spl and 357 service revolvers, but the l frame, which is slightly larger, was brought out to replace the magnum k frames. n frame is for 44magnum and such, and x frame is for the 500/460 beasties.

visually:

http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/163050_large.jpg 637, j frame 38

http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/162802_large.jpg 67, k frame 38

http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/164401_large.jpg 620, l frame 357

http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/163603_large.jpg 629, n frame 44

http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/163504_large.jpg 500, x frame 500

strangebrew
October 4, 2005, 07:44 PM
what has higher penetrating power 9mm or .357?

Vern Humphrey
October 4, 2005, 07:56 PM
what has higher penetrating power 9mm or .357?

You'd have to define "penetrating power."

However, the .357 has about the same frontal area as the 9mm, but generates about 200 fps more than the 9mm with a given bullet weight. It will also handle bullets much heavier than the 9mm. That would tend to indicate that the .357 will drive much deeper, regardless of the medium, with virtually identical bullets.

And, of course, the .357 was originally brought out in response to police complaints that other cartridges wouldn't penetrate automobile bodies in a car chase.

Nematocyst
October 4, 2005, 07:59 PM
Pauli, even your first paragraph made sense and was helpful, but the additional one with images is excellent. thanks very much. :) I'm getting ready for work now, but afterwards I'll look more closely. May have a question or two then.

As for penetration of .357 v. 9, i'm reluctant to even make a comment about that one. to be precise, and sound like i know what i'm talking about, i'd probably have to present data on standardized test gels, complete with statistical analysis, then explain the results in terms of fps, ft-lbs & such, and I just don't have my calculator handy right now.

However, I'm going along with Vern: I'll bet a Snickers bar that the .357 is going to have a significant edge. ;)

Marshall
October 4, 2005, 08:43 PM
Since you're looking at a range/target/nightstand gun in .357 Mag, I wouldn't go a step further without highly considering the 686 or 620 L Frames from S&W. If you said hunting was going to be a big part of your usage I would switch you to Ruger and the GP-100 of your flavor. I have a 6" GP-100 too, best .357 Mag I know of with full house loads for deer hunting. But for the sweetest shooting, well balanced, well made and best trigger out of the box new, stainless revolver for your uses, I would have to go with one of these.

http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/content/00/01/32/32/75/userimages/164222_item.jpg

http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/content/00/01/32/32/75/userimages/164401_item.jpg

BluesBear
October 5, 2005, 01:03 AM
I'm confused about the criteria distinguishing various frame sizes. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=505040

Anybody know of a gun show coming up in the Pac NW, NA in the next couple of months where SP & GP might both be present? The show in two weeks (Oct 15 & 16) in Puyallup (just south of Seattle) will be worth the trip.
It'll be the first show in the new buildings at the fairgrounds.
It's the show everyone has been waiting for.

Nematocyst
October 5, 2005, 04:18 AM
BBear, thanks for the link. Tamara's photo says a lot.

Sensory overload, indeed.
______

Puyallup, eh? Hmmm...wish it was in November. October is a busy month for me, hard to fit in a road trip. Moving into a new business space. But I'll see what I can do...

Nematocyst
October 5, 2005, 05:05 AM
By jove, this could be the one.

I've downloaded images of both a GP101 and an SP101. When flipping rapidly from one to the other, I've observed 3 details that seem relevant to a person with smaller hands (like me), who hasn't yet fondled ... er, handled, an SP101, but loved the feel, weight & balance of the GP101 while noticing that its trigger pull was slightly too long for me:

A) the grip of the SP is smaller than the GP. While I understand the value of the larger grip for recoil control, I understand equally as well the importance of grips that fit. ("If the gun doesn't fit...")

B) Perhaps the grip of the SP has a slightly smaller angle, is slightly more vertical than the GP. (Not convinced of that one...could be an optical illusion from the image.)

C) Most importantly, the trigger angle is different for the two pistols. The GP trigger is angled slightly more forward, whereas the SP trigger is more vertical. If I'm right, that should translate into just the right amount of reduction in trigger pull length that I need.

Oh, online shopping is so much easier, and so much fun. :cool:

MillCreek
October 5, 2005, 11:44 AM
Puyallup, eh? Hmmm...wish it was in November. October is a busy month for me, hard to fit in a road trip. Moving into a new business space. But I'll see what I can do...

NemA, see my previous posting with a link to the gunshows in Oregon. There is a gun show at the Fairgrounds in Eugene/Springfield later this month, the 22nd and 23rd. Go there first before making the drive up to Puyallup.

Dollar An Hour
October 5, 2005, 12:18 PM
SP101's are little tanks - but the DA trigger pull is from hell on new ones, really, really heavy! Trigger job would be mandatory if it were for me.

Cosmoline
October 5, 2005, 01:28 PM
I find that with Hogue combat style rubber grips, the SP-101 is completely controllable even with powerhouse loads. I do not like Ruger's factory grips however. You'll need to lay hands on each one to see what you like best. THe GP-100 is pretty big and heavy. For Ruger Six-guns I much perfer the earlier Security Six. Its frame is smaller than the GP's and it's a bit lighter weight. It's like a beefed up K Frame.

Several outfits make lighter springs for the SP and GP. It's a fairly easy matter to swap them out and it really improves the DA trigger pull.

Vern Humphrey
October 5, 2005, 01:42 PM
I really like the SP 101 -- as a defensive gun. When I carry a .357 in the woods, I usually carry my Colt M357 or my Colt SAA.

I bought an SP 101 for my older daughter as a carry gun -- it shot beautifully, but was a little stiff for her hands. I swapped out the springs with Wolff, and also stripped the gun down and put a dab of valve-grinding compound on each contact surface, and dry fired it a couple of hundred times, then stripped and thoroughly cleaned it. Made a big difference.

BluesBear
October 5, 2005, 02:45 PM
The November Puyallup WACA show is on the 5th & 6th.

RonJon
October 5, 2005, 03:15 PM
From the bottom to the top:
J,K,L,N,and X (642, 66, 686, 629 Mountain Gun, and 500 Magnum)

http://webpages.charter.net/ronjon/S&W%20Frames.JPG

Paco
October 5, 2005, 03:39 PM
I'm gonna have to disagree with the whole short barrel, mechanical accuracy bit. If this was the case then a scoped varmint rifle barrel would only need to be 6 in or some such thing, but length of barrel equates to burn time for the propellent, which, among other things means speed. Speed and accuracy are very closely intertwined; this is why varminters and snipers and sillouette shooters use platforms that send a projectile on a fast thus FLAT trajectory making it more accurate at longer distances, thus the longer barrels even when scopes are present.

Also more speed helps with the round fighting a side wind for instance, as does mass, etc. But saying a 2" tube is as mechanically accurate as a 6" tube even when locked up in a press is ignoring alot of other 'mechanical' considerations. Yes, if you stick a laser in the chamber of a 2" and a 6" the light should impact exactly in the same place but Han Solo's blaster isn't available yet at the Wally World.

Every inch helps! :D

Nematocyst
October 5, 2005, 06:43 PM
NemA, see my previous posting with a link to the gunshows in Oregon. There is a gun show at the Fairgrounds in Eugene/Springfield later this month, the 22nd and 23rd. Go there first before making the drive up to Puyallup. MillCreek, thanks for hitting me again with that. :) I totally missed your original post the first time. Sorry, not intentional...busy time here juggling multiple things at once, not reading THR as closely as I need to.

The show here makes great sense. If both GP & SP101's are here, then it'll save me a trip to Puyallup. If not, then I can take BluesBear's advice and drive up for the Nov show up there.

Thanks to others who continue to post suggestions, and to RonJon for the great pics. You folks are great.

More soon...

Nem

grendelbane
October 5, 2005, 10:17 PM
I'm gonna have to disagree with the whole short barrel, mechanical accuracy bit.

Everything else being equal, a short barrel is stiffer than a long barrel.

So the accuracy of a short barrel may actually be greater than that of a long barrel.

There are other factors involved, including the ones us mere humans bring ito the equation.

When I was younger, I could shoot my 6" barrel revolvers better. Now that I am pushing the half century mark I do my best work with 3" to 4" barrels. It is easier for my eyes to keep the sights in focus when they are closer together, now. The guns have not changed, but I have.

Nematocyst
October 5, 2005, 10:35 PM
Now that I am pushing the half century mark I do my best work with 3" to 4" barrels. It is easier for my eyes to keep the sights in focus when they are closer together, now. The guns have not changed, but I have. I heard that.

I'm feeling the same thing sort of intuitively, even though I don't own, and never had, a pistol with a longer barrel.

Since I'm mostly interested in SD issues, I want to develop that zen of point and shoot close range. I feel that I'm well along the path of doing that with my K9.

I feel intuitively that will be better served with either a 3" or 4", and am increasingly feeling it's going to be a 3. I won't go below that length though. At least not with this .357.

caz223
October 6, 2005, 11:52 AM
I still am under the conviction that a 4 to 6 inch barrelled .357 is one of the most versatile handgun in existance.
Handloading it helps a bunch.
If you don't like the way it shoots, you can adjust it to your taste.

Be careful about eating ramen.
I started out as a college student shooting .41 magnum.
I ate a lot of ramen.
The secret is to make it spicy.
If your mouth is burning, you can't taste what you're doing to yourself.
I even got to like the taste of ramen. :what: :what:

BluesBear
October 6, 2005, 02:07 PM
I have found that the Nissin brand of "Cup Noodles" is much better tasting that any brand of ramen. It costs about 8¢ more but tastes 600% better.

I would not have survived the nursing home without it. :)

Now that I'm home I have it for lunch at least twice a week but I still can't afford guns. :(

Nematocyst
October 6, 2005, 06:03 PM
long as we're talking about soup (and risking getting this thread shut down cause we're not talking about guns :uhoh: ), i recommend the stuff from "Thai Kitchen".

It's probably technically not ramen (isn't ramen wheat based?), but is rice noodles. Still relatively cheap, quick (cooks in 3 minutes) but imo way better than any other ramen or cup-o-soup i've ever eaten.

Lemon grass & chile is my personal fav. :cool:

MillCreek
October 6, 2005, 06:38 PM
To keep this gun related, I can personally testify that when you shoot an unopened cheap cup of ramen noodles with a .357 125 grain JHP, the block o' noodles explodes most gratifyingly. :p

BluesBear
October 6, 2005, 07:48 PM
MillCreek, I cannot believe you said that! I though I was the only one who'd do such a thing.

When I worked for public storage we had a customer move out and leave a bunch of stuff behind. One thing was a case of 500, yes Five HUNDRED, packs of ramen noodles. 500 packs of expired ramen.


When you lay the pack flat and hit it with a 5.56mm it literally explodes! :evil:


And the best part is, since it biodegrades, you don't have to clean it up afterwards!
And it's a lot cheaper than citrus fruit.

Nematocyst
October 6, 2005, 08:30 PM
And the best part is, since it biodegrades, you don't have to clean it up afterwards! And you probably make some small furry & feathery critters pretty happy for a while, at least until they get to the 150th package. I can hear them start to say, "Aw, ramen again?!" :D

MillCreek
October 7, 2005, 03:36 PM
MillCreek, I cannot believe you said that! I though I was the only one who'd do such a thing.

We are simple folk up here in Snohomish County, and we enjoy our simple pleasures. :)

BluesBear
October 8, 2005, 02:53 AM
All pleasures are simple.
The only complicated parts are the convoluted antics we will perform to achieve them.

roo_ster
October 9, 2005, 01:33 AM
NemA:

All the weapons you have under consideration are quality (S&W686, GP100, SP101). I guess the question is finding the right one FOR YOU.

I would strongly suggest renting a 4" bbl S&W686 or Ruger GP100. The first time, maybe stick with powder puff wadcutter target rounds & then firing full-house .357mag defensive loads in it Why one of those? If you find the recoil at your limit or more than you'd like, you can pretty much cross off any smaller .357mag revolver from your list.

Some slimmer grips can be had for S&W686.

More Random Thoughts:

FWIW, the 4" service revolver in .357mag is about the most versatile handgun on the earth.

Ports reduce subjective recoil, BUT MAKE A WEAPON EXTRAORDINARILY LOUD...UNLESS YOU'VE EXPERIENCED IT WITH & WITHOUT HEARING PROTECTION, YOU CAN NOT APPRECIATE THE DIFFERENCE.

A .357mag can sling a 158gr cast lead bullet at around ~1500fps. There is no 9mm (+P, +P+, or whatever) that can match it that I know of. At the extreme, the .357mag can sling more lead & sling it faster.

I expect that if I went to a microbiology board, I would be asking many questions to get up to speed, too. My last biology course was in 10th grade & I graduated in 19(ahhh-choo! cough-cough), which is a while back.

Selling a firearm to further your education surely would hurt, but I hope it was worth it, after all is said & done.

My S&W686 firing full-house 158gr .357mag rounds is not excessive recoil, in my highly subjective opinion. When I shot IDPA with such, I sure got a lot of comments about "shooting a cannon" and "what are you loding that monster with?" from others, though.

Disclosure: I own a 4" S&W 686 & Taurus 651 snubby, both .357mag.

Nematocyst
October 13, 2005, 01:18 AM
Today was my "day off" {translation: i had less to do in my self-employment than most days}, so i took a couple of hours off and went to my fav local gun store.

i spent a bit of time discussing the pros/cons of 30-30, 30-06 & .308 rifles with a knowledgeable salesperson (but that's another thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=160161)).

After that, we went over to another counter to discuss .357 revolvers.

Recap: A couple of weeks ago, after catching the .357 bug, I went to said store to look at .357's. At the time, even though I liked the weight, feel & balance of both the GP101 & the SW686, both seemed too large for my relatively smaller hands.

I posted that concern here, earlier in this thread, and received several reasonable suggestions: 1) consider the GP101 3" barrel with fixed sights which has smaller grips, or buy the adjustable sights GP then add the grips available for the fixed sight model; 2) consider a Ruger SP101, which is built on a smaller frame (comparable to SW J-frames).

A phone call to the store on Monday informed me that, even though they didn't have an SP101 in .357, they did have a Ruger SP101 in 9mm. I was assured that the caliber may be different, but the frame is identical to a .357.

So today, I tried it out.

Result: surprisingly, it is too small for me. While it feels good upon gripping for the first time, and the trigger pull length feels good (because i can more than comfortably get my trigger finger on the trigger up to the first crease), upon squeezing the trigger, I find that before the release happens, my finger has to be so far bent that the last 2mm of trigger pull is not natural.

Hmm.

I repeated this manuever over and over. Same issue.

So, I requested to look again at the GP101.

This time, it was as if my hand had grown since I last tried it out. It darn near fits! The trigger pull is much more comfortable (not to mention smoother) than the SP101. Not to mention the greater mass of the GP, which will undoubtedly help to abate recoil.

Then, to add even more mystery, I asked to try, again, the SW 686. Same thing! Last time, the grips seemed too large and the finger indents on the front strap seemed to force my fingers into unnatural, non-ergonomic positions.

This time, it mostly worked. Felt natural, not too large, and the fingers felt fine.

Plus, the SW: 1) was a bit lighter, and 2) I found the trigger pull to be both shorter and smoother (both of which may explain the higher price tag for the SW).

Hmmm. Does this mean that my hand has increased in size since my first trial? No. Hypothesis rejected.

But for some reason, both the Ruger GP101 & the SW 686 felt distinctly better today than two weeks ago.

Closing time came about before I was able to make a choice (money for said purchase is still several weeks away anyway), so I promised a return visit, and was kindly told, "come back as often as you wish to try them out." Quality folks, they are. No pressure.

So, my current standing: SP101 is out for me. (My carry will be my Kahr K9.)

The choice at this point is between a Ruger GP101 & the SW 686 or 620.

And, another change: I'm liking the 3" barrel. For my smaller bod, it seems a good weight and balance without sacraficing anything significant for SD/HD in terms of barrel length.

So, that's where it stands now. With a time out on the field, it's a tied game: Ruger GP101 v. SW 686/620.

The latter is a few more bucks than the former, and a bit lighter.

One moral to the story: try out your guns multiple times before buying.

We'll see which one wins. As always, opinions welcome.

Nem

kahr404life
October 13, 2005, 02:52 AM
Ruger has a 3inch GP100 but I like the old style S&W 686+ 3inch better :D . I have an older one with a 3inch barrel and adjustible sights. Ruger does not offer adjustible sights in its 3inch GP100's :scrutiny: . The new S&W 686's have a barrel liner under the tube and I am unsure if they offer a 3inch version at this time :confused: . You might be able to find an old style S&W if you look around. Good hunting.

Nematocyst
October 13, 2005, 04:10 AM
The new S&W 686's have a barrel liner under the tube... K4L, could you please help me understand the term "barrel liner"? New word for me.

Checking the SW 686 page (http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/store/index.php3?cat=293600&sw_activeTab=1) , I find one offering in the 3" barrel range: 163687 (http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/store/index.php3?cat=293600&item=831383&sw_activeTab=1).

Admittedly, that's why i lean towards the Ruger GP101. I seem to be favoring that 3" barrel right now. Could change my mind later towards a 4", but not a 2".

But for now, 3" seems 'bout right.

Nem

kahr404life
October 13, 2005, 04:21 AM
The S&W 620 (new L frame) has a shroud over the barrel. The shroud has the sights, underlug, and is attached to the barrel or frame. The barrel inside the shroud is screwed into the frame and contains the rifling. Dan Wesson revolvers are a perfect example of this type of revolver. There is nothing wrong with this type of revolver barrel construction. :)

Nematocyst
October 13, 2005, 04:36 AM
The S&W 620 (new L frame) has a shroud over the barrel. Oh, yeah, that SW 620 (http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/store/index.php3?cat=407533&item=1207358&sw_activeTab=1). Thanks for the reminder.

We may need an emoticon for :drool: :)

Similar to the 686, but an ounce lighter. Not sure I fully understand all the technical differences yet, but am convinced they're worth considering.

But first, I need some buttered popcorn.

kahr404life
October 13, 2005, 04:53 AM
Guns and Ammo recently had a write up on the 620 which compared it to the older L frames. I beleive you can find the article at their site. If I could only own one handgun it would be my stainless 686+ 3inch with nice Hogue grips(I likes it that much :D ). Have you thought of owning a good .22lr as well.

Stainz
October 13, 2005, 09:19 AM
One thing to remember regarding perceived strength - if you compare a six-shot 4" 686 to a 4" GP-100, you'll find the Ruger weighs a whole ounce more. Looking at their massive barrel/lug, I think you know where the extra mass is. Then consider that the Ruger is made of cast components, while the S&W is made of forged and heat-treated components... the S&W is just as stout. Go to the seven-shooter 686+ and you will get some thinner cylinder walls - still SAAMI spec's, of course - and that extra round.

The 620's barrel liner is simply a barrel tube inserted in a frame, something S&W has done for eons with their Airweight frames - and, more recently, in the .500 Magnum. The 620 replaced the 66 series this year - else, I would suggest you look at a new 2.5" 66, like the one my local pusher recently sold, or even the 4" 66, which I believe he still may have (Oddly, the last batches of them have that two piece barrel used in the 620!). Besides the neat pointing capability of the partially lugged 66, they, as K-frames, used the excellent Uncle Mike's squared combat grips, which enclose the backstrap and make a better grip for me than those open-backed Hogue's standard on the L-frames (The K & L frame grips are the same size, thus they are interchangeable.).

I think the 6" 66 I bought new a few years back is a super piece... I put square conversion f-g cocobolo Ahrends stocks and a HiViz front sight on it immediately. It is super accurate - and a quick pointer. Sadly, S&W had a very similar 'Stocking Dealer Exclusive' 5" 686+ half-lugger available the next year - with the same stocks and sight. I eventually got one - and thought I'd not need the near duplicate 6" 66. Wrong! They are both still here. I predict you will have several .357M's.... just start with whatever feels good in your hand. You can't go wrong... but I personally put a vote in for the 5" Stocking Dealer Exclusive' 686+, if you can find one - or a 4" 620.

Stainz

jlh26oo
October 14, 2005, 04:34 AM
Looking at their massive barrel/lug, I think you know where the extra mass is. Then consider that the Ruger is made of cast components, while the S&W is made of forged and heat-treated components... the S&W is just as stout.


Seems logical to me. I agree with forged > cast.

What exactly is the concern about abusing a revolver with a lifetime of hot loads? Compromising the structural integrity of the frame? If so forged definitely has the advantage.

Or is it more likely that too many hot loads could eventually throw the timing off, or the cylinder not locking up as tight? If so, I would think frame strength might be secondary to aspects like the mechanisms and design, for instance if one's cylinder locked in at more points than the other's. Might make a difference. I don't know.


I wonder how many ammo manufacturers use a smith as their test gun?

SwampWolf
October 17, 2005, 03:09 AM
Lots of great advice on these posts! I very much agree with those recommending the S&W 686 L-frame varient, especially the seven shot model. It's my opinion that a 4" bbl., 686+, stoked with .357 Mag. 125 gr. JHP may well be the world's most deadly self-defense revolver (if not pistol, period).

However, Nem.(I'm not going to try and spell your clever handle every time:) ) has indicated that the L frame might be a little large for him (though it seems that he may be reassessing this impression as time goes on). Before our department switched to semi-autos, I carried a a S&W Model 65 (same as the Model 13 but in stainless); a K frame, 3" bbl., .357 Mag. for many years and would recommend it highly as a home defense or carry piece (even better, some say, is the Lady Smith varient-the 65LS). The model 65/13 (the 13 has been discontinued but I believe (hope!) they still make the 65) is a super compromise gun: smaller than the L (though the L employs the K grip), yet big enough to control the recoil of snappy .357 loads and permit accurate repeat shots.

Though the L frame is better suited for sustained .357 shooting, the K is good for the moderate use of .357s, with the bulk of the time using .38s (which most people do, no matter what they say).

Most of the revolvers suggested by the members are entirely satisfactory and, as so many have advocated, get the one that feels best in your hands. Best of luck, Nem.

Nematocyst
October 17, 2005, 05:34 AM
Stainz, JLH & SwampWolf, thanks for your ideas.

(I'm a bit behind with THR threads right now. Preparing to move into a new business location (renovations, painting, etc) while keeping the old one up and running until the move, so am working two jobs right now. Funny though, I slept for two hours, then woke up thinking about guns. Couldn't sleep, so got up to read THR. Who can sleep when there's so much good info to read? :D )

SwampWolf, I see you're relatively new member. Welcome to THR. Thanks for the complement re the handle. I'll see if I can find a 65 to look at. (Gun show coming up here this weekend, though it's unclear from the listings I've seen if SW is going to be represented.)

I also hear what Stainz & JLH are saying re the forged components.

And, as I think I mentioned in a previous post, though I haven't yet tried a 620, on the second trip to the store the 686 did feel much better in my hand. I.e., it fit better than I remembered. I'm probably still leaning towards the 620 if I can find one. It appears the 686 is set up more for target folks, which I'm not so interested in. I'll take the difference in an ounce less weight.

Also, I won't judge all the GP100's by the one that I handled there, but I've repeatedly noticed that the one at the store has a minor issue with the wheel closing. It hangs up a bit, and requires a bit more push to get it closed than I would expect. The salesperson said, "It'll loosen up with time."

Anyway, I hope to offer some more impressions after next weekends gun show.

jlh26oo
October 17, 2005, 06:01 AM
Also, if you are looking at GP100's check the recessed screw to the rear under the cylinder on the left side (you have to turn it upside down). In over half of the ones I looked at, that screw was MANGLED. I ended up examining all four they had in the back to pick out the best one. Don't think you'd ever need to get that screw out- most everything is held by pins. But I didn't like the fact that some were mangled for whatever reason.

BluesBear
October 17, 2005, 09:59 PM
N870 I have a trader friend who lives nearby that has a couple of 686s for sale. One 4" and one 6".

I also know of a very nice 2½" seven shot 686+ for sale locally at a very reasonable price.

Nematocyst
October 22, 2005, 11:10 PM
NemA, try this link: http://www.gunshows-usa.com/oregon.htm

As you can see, there is a show right there in Eugene/Springfield later this month. So, I went there today searching mainly for an SW 620. It's the only one outstanding on my list that I haven't yet handled.

No luck. It's a fairly small show by most standards (but then, this is a fairly small town, so not surprised). A fair number of handguns, more rifles, and interestingly relatively few shotguns. Saw only a couple of 870's (besides me, of course :D ).

Interestingly, about half of the dealers/sellers I spoke to ("Say, do you happen to have a SW 620 on hand?") hadn't even heard of it. I did get to try out a few others used, but so far - at least until I get to try out a 620 - the 686 still is the closest to a good fit for me.

I'll have to try to find a show up in Portland soon...but first, I gotta get my business moved into the new space.

In fact, I'm heading back over there to paint some more on this beautiful Saturday night.

Nem
______

PS of a different tangent: we've broken yet another record in this hurricane season: tropical storm Alpha has formed in the Atlantic. We've broken the record now for named storms in one season, and the season is not over til Nov 30.

Other records broken this year: earliest named storm; most cat 4's to hit the US in one year; most powerful hurricane ever recorded (Wilma); now along comes Alpha.

Interesting.

Cosmoline
October 23, 2005, 12:02 AM
I had a real-life 9x19 vs. .357 experience last week at the range. There were only two of us a the pistol range. I had my SP-101 "Firefly" and I was firing off my usual series of six speedloaders of cheap Fiochi .357 in quick succession. The other guy had a Beretta 92. After watching me blow a 4" hole in the target with rapid fire drills, he came over to see what the fuss was about. He was amazed that a mere revolver could be cranking out the rounds that fast and handle so tightly. I think I sold a Ruger :D

It always amazes me how many younger shooters regard wheelguns as archaic and impractical.

Nematocyst
November 6, 2005, 01:30 AM
OK, OK, I'm on the way back to work. Just one more THR post. Then, I promise, I'm on the way back to work. (Gun addiction? Me? No way...)

So, speaking of .357...since the 686 just consistently feels a bit too large for my hand, and I've read at least one thread today in which one member claims that the L/N frames are just too large for a .357, what are your opinions about this little puppy (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=11101&langId=-1&productId=14755&tabselected=tech&isFirearm=Y&parent_category_rn=15704).

Note: 3.57 with a 3" barrel on a J-frame.

Or this one (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=11101&langId=-1&productId=14789&tabselected=tech&isFirearm=Y&parent_category_rn=15705) on a K-frame.

For some reason, I'm fond of 3" barrels.

Just like women: I tend to like them a bit smaller.

Nem

BluesBear
November 6, 2005, 02:10 AM
N870, a buddy of mine just bought a 2½" S&W 686+ 7 shot L-frame.

If you ever make it up this way we can all hit the range and you can try it out.

I have another friend who has a 3" S&W 65 K-frame. (with a damn fine trigger pull if I do say so myself)

You can compare them to our 2" J-frame.

Nematocyst
November 6, 2005, 07:25 AM
Bear, thanks for the invite.

I'm moving into a new business space right now, and am overwhelmed beyond having days off for travel. I've got a couple of months of work to do to get the new space ready for winter classes beginning in January.

However, if I can resist the urge to buy a revolver until then - which I suspect I can, given that the 870P is first, followed by a .22 LR (CZ 452 Style, me thinks), then maybe i'll head up your way after the first of the year. Would be fun to hang out and shoot some.

As I remember, you're up around Puyallup somewheres. I'll PM you if I get the chance.

Best,

Nem

BluesBear
November 7, 2005, 06:23 AM
I'm in Mountlake Terrace, the Sunny Side of Seattle.

In other words, north of Seattle but south of Everett.

Nematocyst
November 24, 2005, 02:06 AM
Be sure to come back to us when you want advice on buying a serious snubby revolver for carry! T'was the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the house... Oh, wait. Wrong holiday.

Anyways, my ship came in yesterday. The money I've been waiting on for MONTHS arrived. Today, I ordered my 870P. :) ;) :cool: :D :evil:

The gun store is looking for a source for my CZ452 Style (synth stock, nickel barrel), and I will order it next week.

So, time to revisit this revolver business.

I'll confess, when I started this thread, I was attracted to the allure of the magnum. I was lusting for the power, awed by the size.

But, since last I wrote here, I've been having some second thoughts about .357. I read something in another thread about the intense flash and bang of said caliber, especially for indoor use.

And, I keep reading and being reminded of the same thing: shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. I mean, I'm looking for an SD gun, not a duty weapon. I'm not going to be shooting through windshields. Do I really "need" a .357?

And when I fondle the 686 & GP100 at the gun store, I consistently feel they're just a tad too big for me.

So, I'm re-evaluating. I'm thinking it would be nice to add a revolver to the K9, to have a little variety, just in case TSHTF, twould be nice to have some extra options for rnds, etc.

So, I'm thinking about .38.

I've reread this thread, seeking information. Yes, I'm aware of the ballistic difference between 9 & .38.

But of all I read, it was Mill Creek's comment, quoted above, that caught my eye.

So, even though the thread is titled 9 mm v. .357, let's go this route for a while.

Let's talk about a serious snubby revolver for carry.

I'm not opposed to something that'll shoot both .38 & .357. But I'm thinking now that the former may be more my caliber than the later.

The SW 64 looks interesting. Then again, so does the 640. (Does that one come with exposed hammer? Is that what the "chief's special" is?)

Advice?

Nem

PS: Happy Thanksgiving all! Extra turkey with dressing, gravy & cranberries for me.

Surefire
November 24, 2005, 02:26 AM
IMO, the .357 magnum is significantly more powerful than the 9mm. You're not going to find ANY 9mm Luger loads that can throw a 200 grain bullet at 1,200 fps....you will find a couple .357 magnum loads that accomplish this. Even at similar bullet weights, all things being equal the .357 magnum achieves higher velocity given similar barrel lengths.

.357 magnum Recoil.... can be uncomfortable to very uncomfortable in small framed snubbies (S&W J-Frames for example) .... IMO not at all an issue with medium or large framed revolvers. I can shoot practically any .357 magnum load in my GP 100s (3", 4", or 6" models) and control the recoil easily, with little or no discomfort.

My recommendation for .357 magnum revolvers would be the Ruger GP 100. Excellent grip (the GP 100 rubber factory grip soaks up recoil and feels ergonomic to me), durable, reliable, accurate, and user-friendly all are benefits I associate with the GP-100. Negatives to look out for vary from gun to gun, but some GP 100s can have mediocre triggers out of the box, and lately I've experienced some quality control problems with NIB GPs.

Nematocyst
November 24, 2005, 02:41 AM
IMO, the .357 magnum is significantly more powerful than the 9mm. Hey, Surefire, thanks for your thoughts. Appreciated.

Yes, I more than realize the ballistic differences between 9 and .357.

I understand the problematic recoil of the latter in smaller frames like the J's. (Well, I understand it intellectually since I haven't really fired one yet.)

But I'm undergoing a serious re-eval about why I'm thinking of adding a revolver. My mantra is SD, SD, SD, along with 'carry'.

I'm a small guy (5'11"+, 135-140), with small hands, so the GP100/SW686 is suddenly seeming BIG for me.

The more I look at them tonight, the more threads (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=163778&highlight=smith) I read, the more the SW 640 strikes me as reasonable. I can use the .38 +P rnds mostly, and if pressed, or if I feel the need, it'll still eat .357. And the "Centennial" frame with fully enclosed hammer is beginning to make sense.

I'm going to see if my local gun store has one on Friday (closed tomorrow, T'giving). Funny that I've limited myself to the 4" barrels til now.

Again, MillCreeks comment about 'serious snubby revolvers' got me thinking.

Nem

wodad16
November 24, 2005, 06:43 AM
Nema, if you are a reloader or plan to learn, one nice thing about a revolver is that you don't have to pick the brass off the ground out of the mud. (It rains a lot in western Oregon...) I've had a Ruger Security Six for years that has digested several thousand rds of both .38+p and full house .357 loads (I reload in volume...) I recently bought a Taurus M608. It sports 8 holes in the cylinder, not 6, has an excellent trigger (better than my Ruger hands down, and I'd say equivalent to my S&W 629 .44) a ported barrel, and excellent sites. One thing I noticed... The orange insert in the Taurus' front site is recessed, while the Ruger (and S&W) inserts are flush. With the sun shining over your shoulder, the Taurus recessed site stays focused and sharp, but the flush inserts blur. I was kind of stunned at the difference the first time I saw it. The M608 is built on their 44 mag frame, is comparatively heavy but has small grips, ported, and has almost no recoil (or at least mild) even with full power loads. And it is accurate. I can hit milk jugs with it at 50+ yards with it quite regularly. It can easily outshoot me.

Stainz
November 24, 2005, 07:17 AM
For SD/PD, you cannot beat the utility of the 642. With it's enclosed hammer and lite weight, it is a natural pocket gun. You can carry the reportedly excellent 135gr .38 Special +P Speer Gold Dots (~$15/20) - or my favorites, the venerable 'FBI load', the 158gr LHPSWC +P, like the Remington R38S12 (~$21/50). The latter, from a 2" snubby, has a documented 'One Shot Stop' some 8% higher than 230gr .45 ACP ball from a 1911. It isn't real difficult to shoot from the 642, better with a slight increase in grip size (Hogue). You can, of course, plink away with some usual 158gr LSWC/LRN loads/reloads... don't expect a target gun, of course.

Now, if you want a 4" house gun, that 64 is ideal. It has a fixed sight - find a 67 for an adjustable sight. Better yet, find the new 619/620 - they are fixed/adjustable sight replacements for the 65/66 series - with seven shot .357 Magnum cylinders and the thicker forcing cone. They take the same grips as the 10/64/67 - all being K/L frames. You can shoot .38's until the cows come home in these revolvers - just clean the carbon ring in the chambers before going to Magnums. The 619/620 are 5/8" longer than the 64/67, weigh 1.5/1.9 oz more, have MSRP's $32/$37 more, and all share the partial lug look.

About ammo and it's 'effects' when fired indoors. Even target/plinker CCI Blazer 115gr FMJ is just supersonic (~1,100 fps from our range's chrono from my last semi - a CZ-75B.), so expect a significant 'crack' when discharged in a small room - possibly producing permanent hearing damage. Certainly, ball ammo will penetrate interior walls with aplomb... collateral damage is certainly possible. Producing a less damaging 'boom', those aforementioned 'FBI loads' chrono-ed 912 fps from a 3" 65 - and 995 fps from a 6" 66 at the range - so a 4" 64/67/619/620 should produce 940 fps - certainly a less effective source of 'collateral damage' as the first wallboard will destroy that LHP. I keep speedloaders so loaded for everything .38/.357 caliber in my home. My wife's HD revolver is a late model 2" 10 with those rounds loaded (I have a 2.5" .44 Special S&W 296.).

Stainz

Jamie C.
November 24, 2005, 08:59 AM
Nem, given all of your "waffling" about caliber and size, I can't help throw one more possible choice at you: Taurus' 905 9mm.
http://www.taurususa.com/imagesMain/H_905SS.jpg

It's about "j" frame size, and if the 605 I carried for years is any indication, it should be a very sturdy and trouble-free CCW gun. As a matter of fact, it's on my own "next buy" list.

Here's the link to it, at the Taurus site:
http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=905SS&category=Revolver



J.C.

JMusic
November 24, 2005, 09:18 AM
If you are looking at 38 snubby's and like the bodyguard feature look at the S&W 638. It has a bodyguard construction(enclosed hammerless) but has a cutout in the center that allows for thumb cocking for single action shooting. The revolver also comes from the factory with two grips. One a simulated ivory smooth finish and one a larger black rubber grip. I currently own one of these and is my primary concealed weapon. I have owned and fired revolvers for a long time. It is hard to beat a J or K frame Smith. As far as barrel length and accuracy the only difference is the velocity gain per inch ,about 50-75 fps and accuracy gain by increase distance between sights. I think it is a phenomanon that older people can shoot shorter barrel revolvers better than they use to. My humble opinion is that these guys (me included) have become more disiplined in their shooting plus we are all going blind and the distant sights do blur.
Jim

depicts
November 24, 2005, 09:39 AM
Nematocyst-870, I am MUCH smaller than you, and I love my GP100 with 4 inch barrall, except for concealed carry since it is too big to hide on my body. I have a cold mustang .380 as one carry gun, and just bought a S&W640 .357 that I really love.

I think you'll find that the .357 from a snub wil kick more than a .45 in a large from gun...a lot more...or seem to anyway.

The best part of revolvers is they go boom when you pull the trigger, at least the second time (If gun is loaded)

The 640 is a hammerless design meant to be carried in a pocket and not get snagged on clothing. The chiefs special has an exposed hammer, and allows for single action firing (cocking the hammer, softer trigger pull)

Set your priorities, what do you want the gun for. A 4 inch .357 is about the perfect all around gun if you only have one. Many S&W's and Rugers are highly recommended. The S&S performance shop now sells a J frame 5 shot 5 inch barrel .357 with laminated color grips that fits my hand like a glove.....a really nice gun.

Good luck, remember, you can always buy ANOTHER one later *S*

Marshall
November 24, 2005, 11:05 AM
You're much smaller that 135lbs? You guys are little or I am fat, maybe both? Are either of you women, maybe?

MillCreek
November 24, 2005, 12:28 PM
Although I have mentioned it before in this thread, I am still partial to a 2.25" or 3" Ruger SP-101. The S&W Centennial or Bodyguard are also excellent choices, albeit a bit on the spendy side, depending on what your local shop is charging for them. These days, my most commonly carried snubby revolvers are either a stainless Taurus 650 (the Centennial clone) or a stainless or titanium Taurus 651 (the Bodyguard clone). It is not unduly difficult to find a stainless 650 or 651 for approximately $ 350 or a little less. All of my Taurus revolvers were manufactured in 2004, and I have been very pleased with the reliability, fit and finish. The trigger pulls are much like my Rugers, since both brands use a coil mainspring. Without additional work, a Ruger or a Taurus will probably never have a trigger pull like the Smiths of twenty years ago. I will say, though, that in shooting recent manufacture Smith J-frames alongside my Taurii, the Taurii trigger pull is pretty darn good compared to the Smiths.

In terms of caliber, I like .357 revolvers for the option of either .357 or .38. In fact, as I think about it right now, probably 75% of the time that I am carrying, it is a snubby revolver. Although each situation is different, as a middle-aged, middle-class healthcare executive living and working in a suburban/small city environment, not very different at all from Eugene, Oregon, I don't feel undergunned with this.

The titanium 651 weighs 19.1 ounces loaded with five rounds of Speer Gold Dot .38+p 135 grain JHP, fits neatly into a Desantis Nemesis holster (for the Glock 26/27; it fits better than the Nemesis for the J-frame) and rides nicely in a pocket. My stainless snubbies either ride in a IWB holster or the Taurus 650 can also ride in a pocket, although usually only a jeans or parka pocket. The SP-101s are a little bit too heavy, too large and since mine are not DAO, have too many edges to ride comfortably in a pocket.

Although all of my revolvers can shoot better than I can, I routinely train for reasonably rapid fire to COM out to seven yards. I figure this is going to be my most realistic self-defense scenario. Most of the snubbies are regulated to 158 grain loadings, and they tend to shoot a little low with lighter loadings.

As you continue to do your research, you will find just how many pistoleros with far more experience than I, tend to gravitate over the years to carrying a small snubby revolver. There are good reasons for this.

Best of luck in your search, and please keep us posted.

Nematocyst
November 24, 2005, 05:58 PM
Happy T'giving everyone. Hope all of you are having a great one.

Just before heading over to eat with friends, I'll offer up a big thanks for the continued help.

OK, I know I'm repeating a lot of what you all said in this post, but summarizing it in writing for myself makes a big-picture overview easier for me. After all, if it wasn't for me waffling on this, you'd have way too much time on your hands. :D

Nem, given all of your "waffling" about caliber and size, I can't help throw one more possible choice at you: Taurus' 905 9mm. :D Yep, J.C., I be wafflin'. Funny, when I was younger, I tended to be an impulse buyer, which always cost me money in the long run 'cause I didn't do enough research on expensive items before I bought. Of course, they always drop in price by 30% as you walk out of the store.

These days, it's just the opposite: I sometimes go to extremes before finally making a decision, but it's usually paid off, because I rarely sell stuff anymore because it was the "wrong one". (Now, if only I could make that work with girlfriends. :rolleyes: )

{Speaking of, Marshall, can't speak for Depicts, but I'm a guy. Pure 100% hetero. I'm small because I nearly died as a child. I just never got big. However, if we ever meet, don't let my size fool you. :) As a 'little guy' in high school, i learned fighting tricks that allowed me to survive on the street. Never underestimate us small guys. :evil: }

Back to J.C's suggestion of that Taurus 9 mm: very interesting option. I'd sort of thought about that, but noticed most of the makers don't seem to make revolvers in 9 these days. I'm going to consider that since I plan to keep my K9 even if I get a revolver, having both use the same would make ammo purchase, etc, much easier.

On the other hand, part of my motivation for a second pistol is that I'm one of those looney SHTF/TEOTWAWKI prep types. I reason that if one ammo is in short supply "out there", maybe another common caliber could be found. Minor point, admittedly, but...

Tangentially, i certainly have nothing against Taurus. Even though I tend to like the S&W's and Rugers a slight bit more, I think Taurus makes a great gun. My first handgun was a Taurus .38 snubby. (Should have kept it of course, but got 9 mm fever and traded it in.)

With a nod in JMusic's direction re the SW 638, I'll confess I'm still waffling big time about whether a revolver would be .357 (AND, thus, .38 also) or .38 only. We seem to be having a bit of a disagreement about whether, given the same round, the snubby will 'kick' more than a longer barrel. I hear what Depicts is saying, but another member PM'd me with an opposite view: his experience is that his snubby kicks LESS than a longer gun, at least with 125 gr.

Any other thoughts on that? This is a relevant issue for me, being a smaller guy. I'm not "afraid" of recoil, but am aware that for a defensive gun, too much recoil makes getting that second shot off more difficult. I'd rather use a smaller power caliber with accuracy for a 2nd/3rd shot than a cannon that doesn't allow me to get #2 off accurately.

The slightly heavier weight of the SP101's in 2 1/4 & 3" barrels could be a small factor in that recoil.

Likewise, I've got to think through the exposed v. concealed hammer issue. I get it now: concealed hammer for pocket carry. I'll have to think through that a bit.

{I just noticed that the SP101 comes in both exposed and concealed hammer in the 2 1/4" snubby, but not the 3". Other than snaglessness {is that a word?} of the concealed hammer, is there any reason that I'm missing for having a hammer? Obviously, exposed hammer allows SA shots, but I've become such a DAO guy with my K9 I'm not sure I'd use it. Any thoughts?

No decision yet on the snubby v. 4" barrel either. Depicts & Stainz' points about the generality of a longer gun ring true, but so does JMusic's point about the benefits of closer sights as we get older. Yep, I'm there.

Stainz, thanks also for the heads up on potential ear damage inside a room from firing one of these. As an aside, which would be louder: .357 or 12 ga 00? (The latter will be my primary SD (where S = studio) weapon as soon as it arrives.)

Thanks, folks. Keep those ideas coming.

Nem

tgfang
November 24, 2005, 06:41 PM
I had a Taurus 905 for a short while. The recoil with ordinary power loads was a bit more snappy than I wanted to shoot, so I sold the 905 thinking that a 38 would be better for me. I tried Hogue grips and Pachmayr compact grips on the 905, as well as the factory grips. the Pachmayr grips were the most comfortable for me.

After the 905, I bought a Ruger SP101 with 2" barrel. I can shoot .357 loads in it; .38's have less recoil than the .357's. I am not yet sure that I will keep the SP101. My thought here is that you may not like the recoil of .38, 9mm or .357 in a small revolver; I don't, but may be able to get used to it.

Smith & Wesson K and N frames are kind of large for my hands. The SP101 definitely is a more comfortable size. I probably will try Pachmayr grips on it. The factory grips are nice, but a little small for my hand.

Additional thoughts on the 905: mine worked just fine out of the box. The "stellar clips" that Taurus makes for it are easy to use in that it is very easy to load and unload them. 9mm ammo is very inexpensive. The 905 would probably conceal a bit more easily than an SP101. the 905 was made only with 2" barrels.

Tom

Marshall
November 24, 2005, 07:02 PM
{Speaking of, Marshall, can't speak for Depicts, but I'm a guy. Pure 100% hetero. I'm small because I nearly died as a child. I just never got big. However, if we ever meet, don't let my size fool you. As a 'little guy' in high school, i learned fighting tricks that allowed me to survive on the street. Never underestimate us small guys. }

Hope I wasn't perceived as being rude, I really wondered. I'm glad you're here today. Happy Thanksgiving.

Nematocyst
November 24, 2005, 07:10 PM
Marshall, no offense taken on my end at all. :)

Happy T-day to you, also.

Nem

Jamie C.
November 25, 2005, 01:54 AM
Hey, I never said waffling was bad.... To me, it just means I need to buy one of everything I'm waffling over. :D

As for the ammo issue, and a SHTF situation, I figure 1.) I'd rather only have to scrounge up ONE caliber for 2 guns than have one out of two that I might not be able to "feed". And 2.) what do you really think the likelihood of NOT being able to find 9mm ammo really is, no matter what happens? Not like it's a rare, or hardly-used caliber, y'know... ;)

And concerning new manufactured 9mm revolvers.... I dunno what's up with their scarcity. At one time S&W and Ruger both made one. Now Taurus seems to be the only one. This is strange to me, considering how many people carry a full-size 9mm as a primary, and a J frame as a BUG. Wouldn't it make more sense to have both guns in the same caliber?

As for the recoil issue.... It's been my experience that smaller guns recoil more than large ones.... Due to weight alone, if nothing else. But the other thing to take into consideration with recoil and a small gun is the fact that the grip is usually smaller. This means less surface area in contact with your hand, and therefore more "pounds per square inch" than with a larger grip. This could make perceived recoil feel worse.

For the .357 vs. 12 ga..... I'm thinking the .357 would be louder, and harder on the ears, indoors. Could be wrong on this one though, having never set either one off while in a confined space. ( And I'd really like to keep it that way too. )

Oh, as for the exposed hammer.... I just like having the option of a SA shot, and think that the "bobbed" hammer guns look funny. But then again, I've always liked the S&W 640....
I guess it's just that the 640 was intended to be hammerless from the start, whereas the bobbed hammers just make me think "hack job".
One way or the other, all it takes is putting your thumb on the end of the hammer while drawing from a pocket or other cover to make a standard J frame "snag-free".

J.C.

pbhome71
November 25, 2005, 03:44 AM
if you are a reloader or plan to learn, one nice thing about a revolver is that you don't have to pick the brass off the ground out of the mud.


I'm with you here. The only reason I bought my Taurus 617 is because of exactly that.

I was getting tired of picking up my 45 brass.

It turns out to be a pretty good buy. I am really happy with it. In fact, I like the 357 so much that I have just bought a Marlin 1894C to go with it.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.....

-Pat

DukeNukem
November 25, 2005, 04:29 AM
Here's a link to some gunshot noise levels. http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

357 Magnum is louder than even an 18" barrel 12 gauge, according to that site.

Nematocyst
November 25, 2005, 02:17 PM
DukeNekum, I see that was your first post, so let me be the first to welcome you to THR. :)

Newbies buy the drinks around here. Hmmm. Still early for me (I'm just up), so I'll take a double mocha latte (at the risk of getting slammed by certain members from Arkansas who can't stand members from the Pac NW who drink fancy coffee ... :rolleyes: ).

Second, that's a GREAT site on gun fire noise levels. Thanks much for it.

{We should consider starting a new thread in "general gun discussions" about this. I just did a quick search in that subforum on keywords "noise levels ear" and came up with ... not much. I'll search more later...}

For me, and the handguns I'm considering (actually, I already own the 9 mm, and ordered my 12 ga Wednesday), these are the relevant data:

.38 S&W 153.5 dB
.38 Spl 156.3 dB
9mm 159.8 dB
.357 Magnum 164.3 dB

12 Gauge:
28" barrel 151.50dB
26" barrel 156.10dB
18 _" barrel 161.50dB

If anyone is a bit rusty on the meaning of decibel, check this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decibel

I found this statement of interest: "Keep in mind that conversational speech is approximately 60-65 dB, and the threshold of pain is considered to be 140 dB. According to Dr. William Clark, Ph.D. senior research scientist in charge of the NOISE LABORATORY at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, the damage caused by one shot from a .357 magnum pistol, which can expose a shooter to 165 dB for 2msec, is equivalent to over 40 hours in a noisy workplace."

And this: "With the introduction of MUZZLE BRAKES and PORTING, the risks of hearing loss dramatically increase." So much for the Taurus Tracker and other ported guns. :eek:

Hmmm. I think a 9 mm wheel gun or a .38 wheel gun is "sounding" better to me all the time. (Get it? :D )
__________

Actually, at the recommendation of JC and several other previous posters, I spent about an hour last night reading threads that popped up on a search for "Taurus 905").

They're getting mixed reviews. Some, maybe even most, owners like them, but there were several posts addressing issues with misfire & the "stellar clips" (also "moonclips"??? I'm not sure I understand the concept of "moonclip"...).

I also spent some time reading about SW642 chambered in .38 SW special. (Yes, I'm technically off topic now, since the thread is titled 9 mm v. .357, but I started the thread so I'm going to take the liberty to expand it a bit. :neener:

OK, since my mocha latte isn't here yet, I've got to go cook some coffee to drink with these two day old donut holes.

Nem

Surefire
November 25, 2005, 02:58 PM
I think you'll find that the .357 from a snub wil kick more than a .45 in a large from gun...a lot more...or seem to anyway.



This is also my perception.

Surefire
November 25, 2005, 03:06 PM
I'm a small guy (5'11"+, 135-140), with small hands, so the GP100/SW686 is suddenly seeming BIG for me.



Nem

I'm a lot smaller than you (mostly in height), and I don't consider the GP 100 or SW 686 to be big, at all.

Having said that, if you need a small frame for "carry", as it sounds like you might, try the SP 101 3". It is more than small enough for carrry, but is IMO more controllable than the tiny J-Frames using full powered .357 magnum rounds.

tgfang
November 25, 2005, 03:19 PM
A moonclip is a metal device that is needed to use rimless cartridges in some revolvers. I have attached a photo of a loaded and an unloaded moonclip of the type used for Smith & Wesson revolvers. The Taurus "stellar" clips accomplish the same purpose, but use a series of radial arms or fingers that are attached to a central hub.

Tom

tgfang
November 25, 2005, 03:24 PM
Following a transitory obsession, I looked up the weights of the Ruger SP101 and the weights of a couple of Smith & Wesson J-frames. the SP101 is the heavier revolver; in my experience a good thing for reducing felt recoil.

Tom

Nematocyst
November 25, 2005, 03:55 PM
Following a transitory obsession, I looked up the weights of the Ruger SP101 and the weights of a couple of Smith & Wesson J-frames. the SP101 is the heavier revolver; in my experience a good thing for reducing felt recoil. Good point, Tom. The 3" SP101 = 28 oz; the SW642 (2") is 15 oz.

Surefire, point taken about carrying the SP101 3". But given the above difference between the 101 & 642, the latter would be much easier to carry.

Yes, the latter is a .38, but I'm not interested in a .357 that weighs less than about 20 oz. (I'm reading horror stories about shooting the mag loads in the lightweight Smiths. :uhoh: No thanks.

What I'm doing now is carefully rethinking why I'm interested in a wheel gun. Is it going to become my primary carry gun? If so, then small & light could be good. Why, that 642 is even lighter than my K9. (The latter is 23 oz without the magazine.) The SW 640, that handles .357, is almost as heavy as my K9, so no weight advantage there for carry.

Is it going to be a general purpose "camp" gun, and something substantial enough for "serious" protection against invading hords, but not an everyday carry? If so, maybe I'll still continue to consider an SP101, GP100, 686 or something similar.

This continues to be an interesting exercise in sorting out exactly what I would do with another handgun (in addition to my K9), and how bad I really need it (relative to something else, like another rifle). Unlike some of you folks, I've got limited resources for guns.

Nem

axeman_g
November 25, 2005, 04:13 PM
here you go...

SP101 in .357 with 3" tube for carry
GP100 in .357 with 3" tube for not every day carry
GP100 Combat in .357 with 4" tube, adj site and smaller grip frame from the 3" verision for HD, range

Jamie C.
November 25, 2005, 05:10 PM
If I understand this correctly....and I could be wrong here.... the moon/stellar clips are only needed for ejecting the spent cases. ( You could still poke the individual cases out with a pencil or something, if you needed to. You just couldn't do it all at once, with the gun's ejector, without the clips. )

Meaning that the cartridge still headspaces on the case mouth, and is therefor held firmly in place for firing, with or without the clips being in place.
( Rimmed cartridges space off the rim, rimless ones space off the case mouth )

Anybody out there that can confirm or deny this?


J.C.

Nematocyst
November 26, 2005, 03:05 AM
So today, while out on business errands, as I was driving by my local gun shop, a powerful tractor beam grabbed my truck and forced it into the parking lot. (I forgot my tinfoil hat, so the beam was effective. Darned aliens. :D )

So, as long as I was forced in there, I decided to go in and investigate the Taurus 905 & the SW 642. (While there, I ordered a CZ 452 Style in .22LR (synth stock, nickel barrel/receiver), but that's a different thread).

The 905 is indeed, very sweet. Great size, fits my hand well. The folks in the shop praised it. Said they've sold several, with no complaints.

I asked about the alleged problem with "moonclips" being a bit flimsy. Yes, they said, perhaps, but they favored a different type of quick load system anyway: something by Galco that was a linear, rubber strip. Two for $7. They claim that they're almost as quick as a speedloader. (Yeah, we'll see another time.)

But the action of the 905 was quite smooth. {Not as smooth as the SW [see below], but smooth.} The price was right at $329. I could live with it. Actually, kind of appealing.

However, I noticed that its weight is very comparable to my K9 at 22 oz. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but as I reconsider this whole question, I'm thinking more and more that maybe what I wanted is a lighter weight (than my K9) carry gun.

Honestly, all the talk of recoil, noise levels, rings in the cylinder, etc has sort of soured me a bit on .357. Even the guys in the store said, "If you're looking for SD against humans, .357 may be a bit overkill." They characterized it as more of a 'range gun' or suitable for defense against large animals (like up in Cosmoline's neighborhood).

And, speaking only for myself, I've come to think that even the smaller SP101 just feels too large for carry. And as for studio defense, my 870P will be here shortly, and is a whole 3-5 dbl quieter :rolleyes: than a .357 with a LOT more power.

So, next I looked at the SW 642.

SSSSSWWWWWEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTT!!!!

At 15 oz, it's light as a pea shooter.
Admittedly, next to a .357 it IS a pea shooter.

Small. Even tiny. Good feeling. Fits my hand well, even if my little finger has to fold under the grip.
Still, that makes it small. I can live with it.

Action smooth as glass. Cylinder opens smoothly.

I tried it out in my pocket, both my Carhartt vest & my BDU's. Smooth fit with and without a synthetic fabric pocket holster.

I thought to myself, "Self, I can see you carrying this out way more regularly than the K9, let alone a .357. Leave it by the truck keys. Pick up the truck keys, throw the 642 into the pocket, and off to the {choose one or more} grocery, bookstore, discussion seminar, hardware, Saturday hike...

Price: $389.

I felt good about myself, thanks to what I've learned on THR, that I was able to correct one store employee who contended that the .38 spl +p ranks even with the 9mm.

"No it doesn't", I objected.

He goes to get a Remington catalog listing velocities for Golden Saber ammo.

"Well, you're right", says he. "9 mm is about 150 fps faster than the .38 spl +p."

With confidence I smiled.

Still, even given that, I like that little 642.

They claim it is THE best selling pistol in the store. For every other pistol, they keep one in stock. For the 642, they keep 2-4 in stock, and still sell out of them.

I was proud that I walked out without it, however.

Still waffling a bit. Think I'll sleep on it for a few more days...or weeks.

Nem

Jamie C.
November 26, 2005, 08:38 AM
.....
I asked about the alleged problem with "moonclips" being a bit flimsy. Yes, they said, perhaps, but they favored a different type of quick load system anyway: something by Galco that was a linear, rubber strip. Two for $7. They claim that they're almost as quick as a speedloader. (Yeah, we'll see another time.)
......

Nem

Nem, the speed strips aren't applicable to a revolver that uses rimless ammo, like a 9mm or .45 acp.... There's no rim there for the strip to grab on to and hold.

Which is the whole point in the moon/stellar clips; they give the revolver something to eject the cases by.

So, the gunshop folks were blowing smoke up your backside when they suggested that speed strips were better than moon, half-moon, or "stellar" clips for an auto pistol-caliber revolver. 'Cause it just ain't so.


J.C.

Nematocyst
November 26, 2005, 09:48 AM
Nem, the speed strips aren't applicable to a revolver that uses rimless ammo, like a 9mm or .45 acp.... There's no rim there for the strip to grab on to and hold.J.C. J.C., that could be my bad.

I think they had the speed strips loaded with .38 spl. Perhaps I was too vague, and even incorrect to suggest that they implied the strips would work with 9 mm. (We didn't talk about them with .45.)

I got a lot of info today, on top of too many irons in my fire this week. Haven't had a 'real' day off in weeks, what with the move and all.

Thanks for the clarification. I understand your point.

Nem

Brian Williams
November 26, 2005, 11:28 AM
I had a S&W 940 with the moonclips and I have carried 6 rounds of 9mm in a speed strip. The problem with that is the reload after loading from the speed strip is done with a pencil or other dowel to push out the empties. I carry a loose moonclip in my pocket loaded with 5 rounds of Speer golddots for my 9/642, but I could use a speed strip. Moonclips make for very fast reloads. Get the 642 and a few Hk speed loaders, shoot it and have fun.

Jamie C.
November 26, 2005, 12:16 PM
Brian, are the speed strips you use specifically designed for 9mm?
I can see where one could be designed to work with rimless cases.... I just didn't know anybody had bothered.

If they aren't, what caliber are they for, and do you have any trouble with the rounds falling out due to the strip being jostled around?

Either way, I stand (or sit, as it were ;) ) corrected. :o

Oh, and thanks for confirming that 9mm revolvers ( S&W revolvers, anyway... can't imagine Taurus being much different, although it is possible... ) will indeed work without clips, even if ejecting spent cases does become a bit more complicated.



J.C.

MillCreek
November 26, 2005, 12:36 PM
Nema, if you have ruled out the SP-101 due to size and weight, and you are looking for something for pocket carry, you could do much, much worse than a S&W 642. And $ 389 is not a bad price for one. Get one of those, and the latest flavor of the month in .38, the Speer Gold Dot .38+p in 135 grain JHP, and you will be good to go.

PS: I forgot to mention: if you buy a S&W or Taurus revolver, resist, resist, resist the temptation to take off the sideplate and 'look around inside'. There is a legion of stories about people who did this and chewed up the screws, bent the sideplates and lost tiny yet vital parts from the interior lockwork. Please do not do this unless you have the proper tools and shop manuals. Many a gunsmith has earned lots of money from people who tried this and subsequently brought the gunsmith a bag of parts to reassemble. If you are worried about cleaning the interior of the lockwork of a S&W 640/642 or Taurus 850/650/851/651, here is what I do:

Remove the grips
Using your favorite gun cleaner spray with a straw attached, put the straw up through the bottom of the frame and hose out the lockwork to remove any grit, dirt or congealed lubricant. Dry fire the action and allow the spray to drain out. I shake the revolver vigorously while draining it.
I then take some Breakfree CLP spray with a straw attached, and again hose out the lockwork and dry fire the action about 50 times or so. I then prop the revolver upright muzzle down on a piece of newspaper and allow the remaining lubricant to drain out.
Dry fire the action another 100 times or so
Replace the grips


This method does a fine job of cleaning and lubing the lockwork without the risk of damage. If you want to go further than this, as an example to hone the lockwork, this should be done by a competent gunsmith.

Nematocyst
November 26, 2005, 05:32 PM
Brian & Millcreek, thanks for the nudge on the 642. I woke up thinking about it this morning. (Which could be a bad sign, because I usually wake up thinking about women... :uhoh: ).

I'm so strongly leaning towards that little gun...

PS: I forgot to mention: if you buy a S&W or Taurus revolver, resist, resist, resist the temptation to take off the sideplate and 'look around inside'. <snippage> If you are worried about cleaning the interior of the lockwork of a S&W 640/642 or Taurus 850/650/851/651, here is what I do: ... <snip> Good point, MC, thanks for the heads up.

Guess I hadn't even thought about cleaning that gun with the concealed hammer; now that I think of it, yes, I can see it would present some unique challenges. Your method sounds quite workable.

Nem

John C
November 27, 2005, 01:48 AM
N-870;

Sorry to be a killjoy, but I think you're going the wrong direction in looking at a Smith 642. I have one, and carry it as a backup. It's a fantastic revolver.

However, I think it defeats your original reasons for wanting a revolver. (Disregard if you've changed your reasons. This is a free country, change your opinion as often as possible and make your buying decisions) You basically want a bedside pistol that will allow broader ammo availability in case of shortage. Implicit in your reasoning is shootability for general range use.

Many new handgun shooters gravitate to small pocket revolvers for the cool factor. The sacrifice all other considerations to minimize size and weight. They're kind of like rapiers, so specialized in what they do, they're almost useless for other things.

In fact, snubbies are not very easy pistols to shoot and not very fun at the range. Also, they are only adequate bedside guns because they're difficult to shoot accurately. Before any jumps on my case about the relative effectiveness of a snubby for a house gun, I think we can all agree that a 4 inch full sized revolver is easier to handle. The prime reason for a snubby is pocket concealability. Absent that need (you have a Kahr), a full sized gun is better for all around use.

A full sized pistol is easier to shoot, and more fun at the range. The more you shoot, the better you will become. A .357 has more ammo options than a .38 spl.

There's been a lot of talk about relative recoil and noise of these pistols. Absent Buffalo Bore 180 or 200 grain loads, the average .357 loads are easily handled by most police recruits. You current shooting interest shows me that you would place in the top 30% of police recruits in shooting ability. You will have no issue handling a .357 at the range and otherwise. Plus, should you desire, you can shoot .38 spl in it. I would recommend a 4 inch gun for your uses.

As for the noise, I assume that you wear ear protection when shooting. Hearing protectors will protect you from the noise and blast of the .357. Yes, there is difference, but not uncomfortable on an indoor range. If you ever need to shoot the pistol without hearing protection, I assume it will be in an exigent circumstance, and you will be grateful for the extra power of the .357, even if it's just a warning shot to scare off a sleepy black bear.

A .38 spl revolver might be a good idea, but I would definitely buy a used one for the cost savings. A 4 inch Smith model 10 is an excellent choice, but I think it's worth an extra $50 and get an adjustable sighted model 15. Again, the shootability at the range and in your house, should you need it, will allow you to work on your handgun skills. A snubby will be difficult to shoot alot and become proficient.

-John

jlh26oo
November 27, 2005, 02:42 AM
The prime reason for a snubby is pocket concealability. Absent that need (you have a Kahr), a full sized gun is better for all around use.


Well, his kahr is a k9, not a pm9/mk9.

But I agree that where the snubby shines, is pocket concealability. Has taken a tangent from optimizing all around use.

Nematocyst
November 28, 2005, 03:09 AM
Sorry to be a killjoy, but I think you're going the wrong direction in looking at a Smith 642. John, thanks for your ideas. Don't worry about being a 'killjoy'. My life is so good right now, I doubt that killing my joy is possible.

I may or may not take your advice, but all advice is useful to me in thinking through this issue.

However, I think it defeats your original reasons for wanting a revolver. (Disregard if you've changed your reasons. This is a free country, change your opinion as often as possible and make your buying decisions) Hey thanks for that re-enforcement. This has been a long decision process. Glad to know others understand and support it.

You basically want a bedside pistol that will allow broader ammo availability in case of shortage. Implicit in your reasoning is shootability for general range use...Before any jumps on my case about the relative effectiveness of a snubby for a house gun, I think we can all agree that a 4 inch full sized revolver is easier to handle. The prime reason for a snubby is pocket concealability. Absent that need (you have a Kahr), a full sized gun is better for all around use. Indeed, when I started this thread, I was thinking of a .357 for a 'bedside' weapon.

But as JLH correctly pointed out, I own a K9, which I consider to be my main handgun now. (It's 18" to the right of my mouse as I write this.) At this point, I'm looking more to buy a lighter weight carry piece that will be more convenient for EDC than the K9. The latter requires a holster, and I will carry it when on extended road or camping trips, and around the studio (I work nights, often with the bay door partially up on hot summer nights).

But for that quick dodge out to the grocery, or coffee shop, or a favorite cafe, I'd rather stick something smaller in my pocket than put on the holster.

AND, i've ordered my 870P. (FINALLY! It's on the way!!!). It, loaded with some 00 or #1 buck, will be my bedside weapon. (My studio has three layers of locked doors, the last of which is upstairs. I'm a light sleeper. Ain't no way I won't hear some drug-crazed idiot trying to break in.)

{Please remove ski mask when entering after business hours. :evil: }

So now, I've moved to thinking of getting a revolver for SD carry.

I looked at some lighter weight .357's (esp the SP101) and 9 mm (Taurus 905). Great guns both.

But right now, I'm liking the 642 a bunch. (Heaps. Very much. Probably going to buy one this week.)

As for the noise, I assume that you wear ear protection when shooting. At the range, of course. My concern is more if I ever have to fire said weapon 'at home' (in the studio).

I do plan to leave a set of ear protectors near the 870P, just in case, but if I hear something going 'bump' in the night, why do i think I won't put on the ear protectors?

The 870 is only 3db quieter than the .357, but that's a LOT, given that the dbl scale is logarithmic.

A snubby will be difficult to shoot alot and become proficient. I heard that. Fully understood.

Found this great essay (http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Making%20J%20Frame%20Work.htm) about becoming proficient with a snubby as a result of some THR thread. (This one? Can't remember. So many great threads here. We're weaving a fabric of many threads. THR rules.)

Again, thanks for your thoughts, John.

Regards,

Nem

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