Help with S&W 66


October 10, 2005, 09:30 PM
I have a S&W 66 with a 2 1/2 inch barrel and I'm very much in love with it. I also had a 686 with a 4 inch barrel and I loved that gun but not like the 66. Today I found a S&W 66-3 with a 4 inch barrel and feel deeply in love with it so much I traded my 686 for it plus I got $20.00 extra dallors. I feel it was a good trade due to I really feel in love with it ( not as much as my 66 with a 2 1/2 barrel but very near it :) ) my question is can I run hot loads ( hunting ) through the 66 like I was able to with my 686 ? :confused: Thanks for the help.

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October 10, 2005, 09:40 PM
It would depend on what your hot loads are. The L-frame (686) is slightly stronger than the K-frame (66).

Old Fuff
October 10, 2005, 09:55 PM
The K-Frame model 66's are stronger then some people think, but they were not intended for a steady diet of top-end loads. These do not "blow the gun up," but tend to accelerate problems like cylinder end-shake (back & forth movement as opposed to rotational turning). This was the reason S&W developed the slightly larger L-frame.

Occasional use of heavy Magnum loads will not have any bad effects, so there is no reason you shouldn't use it for hunting. If you were going to shoot such loads on a weekly basis you'd be better off with a 686 or Ruger GP-100.

October 10, 2005, 10:17 PM
Old Fuff's right on the money about the S&W 66. I usually shoot lower end reloads or .38s in mine(when my wife will let me have it) but it's had quite a few full power loads through it too. Won't hold up as well with a steady diet of hot loads like the stronger 686 but it is much sturdier than many folks would have you believe.

October 10, 2005, 10:32 PM
I carry speer gold dots in the 2 1/2" 66 as self defense loads, most likely I'll carry Remington Golden Sabers in the 4" 66 as self defense, both are about the middle of the road, not week but not real strong. When hunting I'll use Magtech simi jacketed soft points. To go out and kill paper I'll use Wal-Mart white box. Does this all sound o.k. ? All is about the middle of the road I think. Any sugestions.

October 11, 2005, 06:45 AM
The 66 has a slightly smaller OD forcing cone, and only a few thousandths more metal on either side. It's Achille's heel was reportedly that forcing cone eroding from very lite, ie, 125gr and under, and higher speed, Magnum loads. With 148-158+ gr loads, expect a long life with either .38 Specials or .357 Magnums - as long as the ammo is standard commercial, ie, no 'Ruger-T/C Only!' loads.

Another great 'snubby' PD/HD load is the proven so-called 'FBI' load - the 158gr LHPSWC .38 Special +P loads, such as the Remington R38S12. I have chrono-ed them at 840 fps from a 2" 10 - and 912 fps from a 3" 65 - expect 870 fps from your 2.5" 66. My pusher orders them for me for $20/50 or less OTD. Definitely not 'plinkers' - but a lot less costly than the Gold Dots (Their $14-$18 price is for 20!).

Remember to get both bore and a chamber bronze brushes for cleaning. That longer and slightly larger diameter chamber brush is a must for cleaning, and I still use Hoppes, the .38 residue before inserting Magnums. Enjoy that 66 - the best selling S&W ever - and it's gone! Go figure...


Sleeping Dog
October 11, 2005, 07:59 AM
Check your state regs before you hunt. Some states (MI, eg) require a minimum 6" barrel on a handgun. (There is no "why", it's just a rule)


October 11, 2005, 03:26 PM
require a minimum 6" barrel on a handgun

Is there a place I can go to see this law in print or is it just another Michigan DNR officers opinion. I have been all over the Michigan DNR websight and can't find any special handgun hunting rules other than for deer hunting in zone 3:

A conventional (smokeless powder) handgun must be .35 caliber or larger and loaded with straight-walled cartridges and may be single- or multiple-shot but cannot exceed a maximum capacity of nine rounds in the barrel and magazine combined.

And the only mention of handguns for zones 1 and two:

It is legal to hunt deer in the rifle zone with any caliber of firearm except a .22 caliber or smaller rimfire (rifle or handgun).

I have used 22 rimfire and many different centerfire calibers for small game and varmit hunting with all barrel lengths. I use to know the DNR officer that was the PBS spokesman for "ask the DNR" and he used a 5.5" Colt single action army in 38 special for hunting rabbits. His reputation was "he'd give his mother a ticket" among other officers so I can not imagine he would break a law. I have used everything from a 4" 38 special to a 15" 219 Zipper A.I. for deer in zone 2 and have never heard of such a barrel length law. About 30 years ago while deer hunting on state land I was worked over good by a DNR officer because I had a S&W model 39 in my pocket (I had a CCW hunting and target permit) and I am sure he would have loved to give me a ticket if he could have. As far as I know, the only rule is no rimfire calibers for deer hunting, other than the zone 3 rules. My DNR freind confirmed this years ago. If there is a new law, I would like to see it in print.

I talked to a guy two weeks ago in Lansing that told me he called the DNR office and they told him for zone 3 he could put a shoulder stock on his super 14 Contender as long as it was a straight-wall 35 or larger caliber and it was registered (manditory safety inspection registration in Michigan) as a pistol. I told him such a combination was in violation of federal law and he gave me a look like I was stupid...after all, the DNR said it was OK!

Sleeping Dog
October 11, 2005, 07:05 PM
Jet22, I stand corrected. I looked at the 2005 guide online and on paper. No mention of barrel length. My 4" 357 is legal. Thanks.


October 11, 2005, 07:47 PM
Sleeping Dog;

Thanks. You had me scared for a minute. Every since the Michigan AG said "in his opinion" all rifles and shotguns under 30" and over 26" should be registered as a handgun it seems that is all that has to be done to make a law. No legal law actually has to be passed in Michigan for it to be enforced. That was 20 years ago and it is still being enforced as if it was a real law. Kinda keeps me guessin. :confused:

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