Full House 357MAG in a Model 19!


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dodging230grainers
August 9, 2006, 12:14 AM
I've been looking at picking up a 2.5" Model 19, but I want to be able to go to the range and shoot 357MAG from it more than 38 specials. Would a diet of a couple hundred 158gr 357MAG loads a week be safe for a J-Frame snubby? From what I understand, hot 125gr loads can mess up the forcing cone.

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ugaarguy
August 9, 2006, 12:31 AM
Well first the 19 is K-Frame service revolver, but they did make snubbies. IIRC a J-Magnum frame it could handle a pretty good diet of full magnum loads, but your wrist might not. From what I've read here the K frames were meant to practice with 38s and then duty carry 357s. They'll handle a moderate amount of 357 mag - but heavy stuff only no 125gr and that kinda stuff as its been documented to rapidly lead to a cracked forcing cone.

The Lone Haranguer
August 9, 2006, 12:33 AM
The Model 19 is a K-frame. That many 158-grainers would be less hard on the thin forcing cone than the 125-grainers, but at least equally hard on cylinder lockup and timing, IMO. However, it is more likely that your shooting hand or ears will give up first before any of these. ;)

For this kind of high volume shooting I think I would prefer a L-frame (686, etc.) or a Ruger GP100.

dodging230grainers
August 9, 2006, 03:36 AM
oops- I meant a K frame, as Haranguer pointed out. So is my best bet probably a 3" Ruger GP-100?

ugaarguy
August 9, 2006, 04:19 AM
So is my best bet probably a 3" Ruger GP-100?
Do you have to have a six round cylider? Look at the five round Ruger SP-101. You might also look at a 2&1/2" L frame S&W 686. However, I'm still trying to understand why you want to fire that much full house magnum every week, and especially out of a snubbie. If we understand the motivation behind your desire maybe we can help give you a better answer.

XavierBreath
August 9, 2006, 06:56 AM
Rather than try to answer something that I only have second hand knowledge of, I'm simply going to refer you to this thread on the S&W forum (http://smith-wessonforum.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/530103904/m/8321050901/p/1). One thing is certain. If you suffer a cracked forcing cone, S&W has no more Model 19 barrels to repair your gun with.

I really like my Model 19-4, but if I were going to shoot .357 regularly from a revolver, I would pick an N frame.

MachIVshooter
August 9, 2006, 08:54 PM
I really like my Model 19-4, but if I were going to shoot .357 regularly from a revolver, I would pick an N frame.

Or a GP100.

Croyance
August 10, 2006, 02:01 AM
I'm not worried about the forcing cone on my 19-3, rather the timing from 10,000 full house .357 Magnums a year. People have worked up heavy hunting loads and used heavy .357 Magnums on their 19's for decades.
I would stay away from the lighter bullets, especially 125 grain. Keep that forcing cone clean. Those seem to be the two real factors in cracking, as well as the "crush fit" barrels.
Which revision is your 19? The 19-5 was the crush fit revision and the one most likely to have problems.

FWIW full magnums from a 2.5" 19 can smack some people in the webbing.

Steve C
August 10, 2006, 02:08 AM
K frame Smiths will take as much magnum ammo as you want to feed it. Few people have the time or the pocketbook to ruin one. Most disparagers of K frames are paroting comments made in magazine articles that cite damage experienced by some large volume users of 125gr JHP's, in general police departmetns. Even at that its not a given that all K frame modle 19's or 66's will be damaged if shooting lots of full power 125 gr loads, only that SOME have been found to be damaged. Note that the original complaints from police dept's where from those firing 125gr JHP magnum ammo for training and practice not any other loading or bullet weight. Now any fool can destroy a gun with overpressure handloads so if you shoot ammo that's heavier than factory loads all bets are off as to if any gun will hold up.

For an opinion on the durability of the K frame M19 read this article on GunBlast http://www.gunblast.com/Butch_MagnumLoads.htm

I want to be able to go to the range and shoot 357MAG from it more than 38 specials. Would a diet of a couple hundred 158gr 357MAG loads a week be safe for a J-Frame snubby?

That's what you say now but you will probably change your mind in a short time. "A couple hundred" rounds or 4 boxes of magnum ammo runing around $20 a box so $80 a week x 52 weeks comes out to a little over $4000 a year. If your $400 pistol gives out after a year its only 10% of the cost of shooting so go buy another one. If you hand load you could wittle the price down to maybe $1K a year for ammo.

BluesBear
August 10, 2006, 04:05 AM
Now I like to shoot and I usually shoot a lot. But a couple of hundred rounds of full house .357 EVERY WEEK is a lot of .357 ammo!

And a lot of time.
That's at least 33 cylinderfulls each trip.
Of course if you have the luxury of shooting several days each week then a box of 50 a day for 4 days isn't so bad.


But even if you're shooting reloads 10,400+ rounds of full house .357 get's a little spendy.
And if you reload chances are you'll end up dialing them back a little bit in the power department because that's also 200 snub nosed recoil impulses your hands are going to have to deal with each week.

So the real answer is that a good Model 19 will easily endure 200 rounds of moderately loaded .357 magnums on a weekly basis.

SAWBONES
August 10, 2006, 11:14 AM
The S&W Model 19 will handle 110gr .357 Magnum loads indefinitely, IME.

Heavier, more powerful loads with 125-158gr bullets and "+P" charges will beat up the gun eventually, and be less comfortable to shoot, as well.

For CCW and occasional use with more powerful magnum loads, no problem.
For consistent and frequent use with heavier .357 loads, I'd say get a Ruger GP100.;)

Ben Shepherd
August 10, 2006, 01:18 PM
A little curve ball here:

Not sure about your smith, but my ruger SP101 has digested nearly 60,000 rounds of 158gr 357 @ 1250 loads with no problems. Just throwing it out there as an option.

Deer Hunter
August 10, 2006, 01:41 PM
I was always under the impression that 158 grain bullets traveling at around 1250 were pretty nominal for the .357? I would consider 158 grains traveling at 1400 fps to be getting on up there, which is what they used when the model 19 came out. When they switched to the 125 grain bullets, it put more pressure on the forcing cone. A steady (and I mean steady) diet of these loads may lead to the eventual cracking of the forcing cone of guns that had been used for 158 grain bullets all their service lives.

I don't consider myself an expert, but I got that from http://www.freepatriot.com/model19.php which tells you everything you need to know about the model 19. Scroll down the page and read the part about "ammo".

Ben Shepherd
August 10, 2006, 01:47 PM
Clarification:

That's 1250 out of 1 2 1/4" barrel. The SAME LOAD out of my 7.5" redhawk does 1550.

I use load data that is no longer published to get those speeds.
You know the "safe in my guns, may not be in yours" type loads.

Anyhow, just letting you know that the SP101 would be a viable alternative if you are planning on shooting mostly full power 357.

Mannlicher
August 10, 2006, 05:31 PM
Frankly I would be more concerned by the snubbie barrel than the model number. Full mags from a snubby have a lot of muzzle blast and recoil. From a 4 or 6 inch Model 19, no sweat. My 4 inch 19 has easily taken well over 3K of full power rounds, with zero ill effect.

Croyance
August 10, 2006, 10:04 PM
Most disparagers of K frames are paroting comments made in magazine articles that cite damage experienced by some large volume users of 125gr JHP's, in general police departmetns.And the fact is that on the internet, old myths never die. Instead the same story takes half a dozen seperate paths and is read ad nauseum You will have entirely seperate posters that say the same thing based on the same original source.

Old Fuff
August 10, 2006, 10:50 PM
Smith & Wesson admitted that there were problems with their K-frame .357 revolvers and SOME .357 loadings - if they were used extensively. As a result they went two ways. First they introduced the L-frame Magnums, intended to stand up to unlimited use with any .357 Magnum loading within industry standards, and second they beefed up the K-frame Magnum frame. However they untimately discontinued K-frame Magnums, and replaced them with L-frame alternatives.

Ruger in turn discontinued their Security Six/Speed Six line of revolvers and replaced them with the GP-100. The SP-101 also has an excellent reputation for standing up to .357 loads, and for a snubby is built like a brick outhouse.

Past history would seem to suggest that someone that wants to both carry and practice with .357 ammunition would be well advised to pick an L-frame S&W or Ruger GP-100/SP-101. Colt's in no longer in the ball game.

Steve C
August 11, 2006, 12:34 AM
I was always under the impression that 158 grain bullets traveling at around 1250 were pretty nominal for the .357? I would consider 158 grains traveling at 1400 fps to be getting on up there, which is what they used when the model 19 came out.

Old factory balistic data was almost always measured from a 6" or 8" barrel, often an enclosed breach test barrel. When chronographs began to become affordable to the ordinary reloader and magazine writer they found that from a typical 4" barrel the velocities where well under the published data. Manufacturers have since changed to using vented 4" test barrels to simulate a 4" revolver with cylinder gap that gives velocities that one measures from most handguns. Remington, Winchester and Federal now advertise the velocity of their 158gr JSP and JHP .357 mag loads at 1,235 fps from a 4" vented test barrel. In 1970's Gun Digest the advertised velocity of the same load was 1,550 fps from a 8-3/8" barrel. This wouldn't be an unexpected velocity using todays ammo if measured from a revolver of that barrel length. The ammo hasn't got weaker the numbers have just got more realistic for the type of arm that most will shoot it from.

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