Making my own "fighting revolver"


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vanilla_gorilla
January 25, 2007, 03:56 AM
Taking the phrase that I first heard mentioned by Clint Smith, my alcohol-laden and sleep-deprived mind came up with the idea that I needed a "fighting revolver."

Members input would be welcome here, as I'm just getting these things down to see so I can refer to them later.

The gun, I have decided, will likely be a Smith & Wesson. The triggers, particularly the double action triggers, are simply unbeatable by the most commonly available DA revolvers. My GP-100 is hell for stout, but the trigger simply cannot compare with my 629-6, even with the cursed (dare I say the word?) lock.

Now, moving on. I am yet undecided as to the choice of actual weapon. I can continue with the 629-6 that I have here before me, or look to another 629, most likely scouring the earth to find a pre-lock 4 inch 629 Classic. That oughta hold just right in the hands. I have debated back and forth about purchasing a more concealable 686 for this project instead, but I feel much more comfortable with bigger, heavier bullets.

The finish is a given. Blued guns are simply not pleasing to me in a utility view, and stainless rules the day. The gun will wear wood finger groove grips, with round butt grips if at all possible, those being slightly more compact and concealable, much in the sense that Hulk Hogan is more compact and concealable than Andre the Giant.

The gun should have it's cylinder machined for moon clips, which is no big deal. I believe there's even an outfit in Florida that performs this service. The sights, I honestly have no idea about. Something that is durable, easy to pick up, and ideally something with a tritium dot. Hmmm, that will indeed require more research...

This beast will likely be fed a diet of Speer Gold Dot .44 Magnum ammunition, in the 200 grain Short Barrel flavor. This round seems to hold promise for .44 Magnum owners, bearing the 200 grain Gold Dot bullet at about 1100fps from a 4 inch revolver barrel, or about equivalent to a 200 grain .45 ACP defensive round.

That's enough for tonight. How about some suggestions? Let's see where this goes. ;)

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Nightcrawler
January 25, 2007, 05:02 AM
I like .44s too.

But why such a mild load? I had a 625 revolver that I sold because it's weight inefficient. In the same frame size and weight, you can get a .44 Magnum. While it's slower to reload from HKS loaders, it's a lot more versatile.

If your load of choice duplicates .45ACP ballistics and you want moonclip feeding, why not get a 4" 625 and build from there?

Personally, I think the combat .44 round is an illusive goal. Most loads are too powerful for most defensive work, in that they simply have too much recoil for fast shooting. If you download to .44 Special levels, you might as well be using a .45ACP gun.

The trick is how much recoil you can handle while still shooting with reasonable speed and accuracy. For me, 240 grains at about 1100 FPS would be ideal. That particular load is actually hard to find in factory .44 Mag, though. You do see quite a bit that's loaded a bit faster, and most is in the 1300+ FPS category, which I think is too much for me.

Cor-Bon loads a 165 grain .44 Magnum SD load at around 1,300fps. Why they went with such a light bullet is beyond me. Their .45 Colt SD round uses a 200 grain bullet (at 1100fps).

Another load I'd like to see is a 200 grain JHP doing just under 1,300 FPS. That's almost down into the 10mm evenlope, and in a beefy N-Frame I don't think the recoil would be bad. If you wanted, you could lower to to 1,200. That's the upper end of the 10mm envelope but still packs quite a wallop.

Basically, I think if you're only going to have six shots, make 'em as powerful as you can without losing controlability.

mes228
January 25, 2007, 06:31 AM
The perfect fighting revolver was once made by Smith & Wesson. The Model 19 with a 2 1/2" or possibly 3" barrel round butt. Replace the grips with Ahrends finger groove. They shoot like a rifle, are concealable, incredibly balanced, and are relatively inexpensive. For stainless the Model 66 is the same gun. The .357 is hard to beat in a combat round. If I could have only one gun thats the one it would be. I believe them to be the finest revolvers ever made considering size, weight, quality, concealability, comfort, accuracy, trigger etc.etc. The package was complete. It's pretty much a myth they shoot loose. Just my opinion but it is based on owning and shooting many revolvers.

Nightcrawler
January 25, 2007, 06:45 AM
I'm going to get called a blasphemer for saying this, but the K-Frame Smiths are far from perfect.

Any gun that can't handle a steady diet of the cartridge it's chambered for is a flawed design, in my opinion. What'd they used to say? Fire one .357 for every six .38 rounds out of a Model 19? Something like that? I'm not talking about hot hunting loads, either. By many accounts (that, admittedly, are on the internet and are thusly of dubious accuracy), steady diets of mid-range (standard defensive stuff) .357 loads beat up a K-Frame too much.

Besides, .357 is a lot of things, but it's not big bore.

dbarale
January 25, 2007, 07:29 AM
From what you describe it sounds to me that you need a 3 or 4" 625.
Or maybe a M22 TR and get it hard chromed...

Stainz
January 25, 2007, 07:53 AM
The Achille's heel of the 19/66 .357M's was the forcing cone - and it's purported erosion from shooting lighter mass/hyper velocity .357M's. Normal SAAMI spec'd heavier .357M's would yield a standard (long) life from the K frames. It's replacement, the 620, has a .040" wider front frame, a la the L-frames, to permit a larger (.025") forcing cone. The taller opening also permits the 7-shot cylinder.

Still, I like more bore... I've been told I am more of a big bore, but that's another story. I would look at the .45 ACP/AR platform - maybe even the .45 Colt - a S&W 625 - maybe even a 625MG. My choice for a perfect 'packing' pistol is the .45 Colt 625MG, loaded with a mix of 255gr LSWC and Speer thin walled (#4484) 250gr GDJHP. At just over 800 fps, they will nearly triple their frontal area in ballistic gelatin, if you fear an attack by marauding blobs of such goo. The 255gr LSWC has a good penetration record - even at 800 fps - and both will be easy recoils, even with wood stocks.

The choice of a full-lug 4" 625 adds 3.5oz, but it is the only means by which you can add a SS 4" .45 ACP revolver, those MG variants being few and far between. My 625JM, purchased nearly two years ago, remains a super deal. For a few bucks more than a standard 4" 625, you get a great fast-grab Miculek stock, eased ejector star for faster reloads, spring-loaded (easily changed) gold bead Patridge front sight, and hard-chromed hammer & trigger. I prefer my 625JM's birthday present (which it insisted on trying early last week...), a f.o. HiViz front sight, for quick target acquisition. Ammo choices are wide open - including some slightly hotter .45 Colt-ish loads. Oddly, I load my 255gr LSWC's warmer in .45 AR cases for this gun (885fps - some folks go to 950+ fps!) than I do the .45 Colt 625MG. Still, with .45 ACP's and moonclips, reloads are very fast.

I also like .44 Magnums - but mine are more like sub-Keith level Specials. My 4" 629, bought new 4/06 to replace my 629MG, has a nice 300gr LSWC 885 fps round for 'emphasis'. It should suffice for many envisioned uses, should the .45's be 'elsewhere'. Lots of good choices... hopefully, it will give you a great excuse to 'add' another caliber...

Stainz

mes228
January 25, 2007, 10:21 AM
I've heard on the internet of Model 19's shooting loose, forcing cone weakness, top strap etc.etc. If you shot thousands of full power rounds ie at metal targets (which was becoming the "thing" at the time of these guns, and that was the "potential" problem) it "might" be possible. I've never seen it. I've never seen one shoot "loose'. I don't think it's a problem for anything but the 125 grain "hot" loads - no matter how many thousand rounds you shoot. Most people could not afford to shoot enough to have a problems. Who would practice with thousands of full house 125 grainers? When 38 specials are less costly and less punishing on the hand and ears? The guns that replaced the K frames, the N frames - are such a large step down in a "using" weapon that it's incredible. I've had several of each (K-frames and N-frames) in various barrel lengths. Also, at the same time I've read on the internet of top strap erosion, I've read that a simple lead pencil "marking" the strap leaves enough "carbon" behind to prevent any erosion at all. The triggers on the 19's are so good that you'll spend the purchase price of a used 19 trying to duplicate it through custom work on todays triggers. This is just my opinion but it does come from actual using and firing many pistols. It's very hard to beat the Model 19's.

HiWayMan
January 25, 2007, 10:25 AM
Base frame: S&W 629
Cartridge: .44 special ( the CCI Blazer/Speer Gold Dot 200gr loading makes 950fps out of a 4" Barrel)

The mods:
Install pencil barrel with half moon front sight,
Shorten barrel to 2-1/4" outside of frame,
Shorten ejector rod,
Shorten cylinder to just allow clearance of 200gr loadings,
Chamfer cylinder,
Set barrel back into frame to compensate for cylinder shortening,
Shorten grip frame to two finger grip,
Bob hammer and make DAO,
Install overtravel stop to trigger,
Remove lockwork and seal up bug hole in frame,
Melt sharp edges.


Behold an N-frame snub that has the weight to remain controllable, unlike the 625-10 I had to get rid of.

Nightcrawler
January 25, 2007, 11:01 AM
Thing is, too, most factory .357 defensive loads are downloaded to the envelope that .45ACP +P can reach. A typical out-of-the-box 158 grain load clocks what, 1,250 feet per second? .45ACP does that same velocity with a 165 grain bullet that'll make a bigger hole to start with.

A typical .357 Magnum load is 180 grains at about 1,150, right? .45ACP +P 185 grain does 1150 feet per second.

.357 Magnum can, of course, be loaded much hotter (like Buffalo Bore), but when dealing with typical factory ammo for self-defensive purposes, it doesn't offer much advantage over .45ACP. (It will have better penetration for any given bullet weight, obviously.)

Thaddeus Jones
January 25, 2007, 11:10 AM
I don't have one yet, but I think I know what my combat revolver will be. It's a 3 inch barrel, S&W model 686 cs1. It was made for the US customs folks back in 1988. I read that S&W modified them to be more accurate, and last longer, than the regular production 686's. Now I just have to find one.

JoeHatley
January 25, 2007, 12:38 PM
How about some suggestions?
about equivalent to a 200 grain .45 ACP defensive round.

Your gun is already available in several different variations.

325PD/625MG/22-4TR/or the new 3" model 25.

Joe

earplug
January 25, 2007, 01:51 PM
They may be called Wheel guns because we tend to reinvent them.

If you get a adjustable sight N Frame, there is a firm that makes a drop in fixed rear sight. Cylinder and Slide?

vanilla_gorilla
January 25, 2007, 02:19 PM
I had not thought of the 625, but my choice of the 629 is based upon my familiarity with this cartridge. I have the option to load up some much hotter ammo than could be used in a .45ACP-chambered 625. The 625 in .45 Colt could very well be an option, but I do prefer factory-loaded defensive rounds. (Let's not get off on that tangent!)

Regarding the power of the rounds I mentioned, I believe those are about the best defensive rounds that are completely controllable in the gun. I've loaded some loads that fairly closely duplicate this round, and have found that recoil is there, but is not enough to deter quick, multiple shots with accurate placement. Any hollowpoint round that I've been able to find in the 240+ category requires more velocity in order to expand, and more velocity equals more recoil, which takes us back to the aforementioned argument of multiple rounds on target quickly. On a side note, I, too enjoy lobbing a 300 grain round at about 900 fps. Certainly rings the plates with authority.

While we're talking about it, I'll mention that there's a reason I do not own a single K frame. I don't want a piece that's going to wear itself out just by shooting the rounds it was made for. I'll go to the L frame if it's a .357.

Keep the ideas coming. This may get good before it's over with.

Oh yeah, pic of the potential host. I like the heavy barrel, and shy away from the Mountain Guns that were mentioned by somebody.
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/vanilla_gorilla911/gunpix005.jpg


Edit: and thank you Earplug. I knew SOMEBODY made that fixed sight, but I couldn't find it.

Stevel
January 25, 2007, 02:52 PM
Maybe instead of re-hashing caliber debates we could look at energy delivered. I seem to remember about 400 fpe being the level most of the effective handgun cartridges were at, and over 600 fpe always left the target causing a waste of energy. I'm not sure it matters much if that energy is delivered in a .357 sized or .44 sized piece of metal.

As far as the gun, I think of a 3-4" fixed site at about 35 ounces, with a smooth trigger pull which goes bang every time and outs the bullet where I'm pointing. I would feel fine with a .38 special as long as it met the other requirements. I know this doesn't create 400 fpe, but it has served law enforcement well for most of last century and bullet design is much better now. A flat black or matte blue coating would be a cherry on top.

pwrtool45
January 25, 2007, 03:24 PM
Thing is, too, most factory .357 defensive loads are downloaded to the envelope that .45ACP +P can reach. A typical out-of-the-box 158 grain load clocks what, 1,250 feet per second? .45ACP does that same velocity with a 165 grain bullet that'll make a bigger hole to start with.

A typical .357 Magnum load is 180 grains at about 1,150, right? .45ACP +P 185 grain does 1150 feet per second.

Assuming similar bullet construction, that 158gr .357 JHP will likely poke a hole clean through a whole block of ballistic gel (or whatever you're shooting at) while that 165gr .45 JHP will probably not clear 12" in gel (and also likely not reach the vitals of whatever you're shooting at barring a perfect shot). The 158gr .357 will universally have much, much more penetration than the 165gr .45.

The 158gr .357 JHP in any flavor is going to have a substantially greater sectional density than a 165gr .45 ACP. A more apt comparison would be a 110gr .357 JHP, which will have a sectional density of .123, and a 185gr .45 JHP which will have a sectional density of .130. A 180gr .357 and a 185gr .45 are almost entirely without intersecting uses and are virtually incomparable.

I'm not sure I'd call the kind of penetration you get with a 180gr .357 "better." More, to be sure. A lot more. But I'd be quite comfortable to say, however, that comparing two loads of drastically different bore diameter based on bullet weight to be somewhat less than useful.

Nightcrawler
January 25, 2007, 04:47 PM
A 180gr .357 and a 185gr .45 are almost entirely without intersecting uses and are virtually incomparable.

Two handgun cartridges throwing projectiles at similar velocities with similar bullet weight.

Incomparable.

The only difference is bullet construction. Most 180 grain .357 loads are intended for hunting, whereas there are no hunting loads in .45ACP, for the penetration issues you mentioned.

However, unless you're going to argue that .45ACP doesn't penetrate enough for defensive work, I don't see the differences in sectional density as being important. Most JHP ammo is designed to severely limit penetration from the outset.

Yes, you have to throw a much heavier pill in .45ACP to get the same sectional density as a .357, but so what? The average human is less than a foot thick, and in any case I've never heard of the 185 grain loads being poor performers.

If someone wanted to make a 180 grain .357 bullet that was a JHP for self-defense use, they could. I don't think anyone does, but it's not because there's some special property about .357 magnum where a 180 grain bullet just penetrates too much for defensive use.

It's just that ammo manufacturers are married to the 125 grain load for .357, and I don't really understand why. You get a lot of flash and bang for what translates into only mid-level ballistic performance. I always liked 158 grain loads more, but most of them were downloaded quite a bit.

pwrtool45
January 25, 2007, 05:18 PM
Incomparable.

The only difference is bullet construction

And bore size. If you hold the bullet weight and velocity to be constant as you seem to be doing, increasing the bore size increases the amount of work necessary for the bullet to continue moving through whatever your target medium is. This increases the amount of energy the bullet expends in order to move forward over a given distance. As a result, your 185gr .45 will have limited penetration by way of comparison to your 180gr .357. Therefore, a 185gr .45 and a 180gr .357 are incomparable as they perform very differently. The only thing they have in common is bullet weight and velocity. There are other factors to consider.

Yes, you can go out of your way to modify the bullet construction on both rounds in very different fashions in order to bring them closer to a converging point. A very lightly constructed 180gr .357 will have reduced penetration and increased expansion. But why bother? If you want to reduce penetration and increase expansion why not use a 158gr (or lighter) bullet? You're expending a lot of effort to do something which could be done more easily.

However, unless you're going to argue that .45ACP doesn't penetrate enough for defensive work, I don't see the differences in sectional density as being important. Most JHP ammo is designed to severely limit penetration from the outset.

If it penetrates fine why use something which penetrates nearly 2-3x as deep?

Yes, you have to throw a much heavier pill in .45ACP to get the same sectional density as a .357, but so what? The average human is less than a foot thick, and in any case I've never heard of the 185 grain loads being poor performers.

They will probably have a similar level of penetration against naked/clothed gel as a comparably constructed 115gr standard pressure 9mm JHP. Meanwhile, the 180gr .357 will have appreciably greater penetration. Again, it will perform in a completely different manner despite having the same weight/velocity.

It's just that ammo manufacturers are married to the 125 grain load for .357, and I don't really understand why

Why would they go to 180s when 145-158s already exist and do the same thing your extensively modified 180s will do?

Additionally, there really aren't that many 125gr .357 loads available. Rem, Win and Fed have standard SJHPs loaded in that cal, but most of the exotics are either exclusively loaded in heavier bullets or are available in both. (e.g., 158 HydraShok, Gold Dots in 125 and 158, The Golden Sabres are medium velocity, so their use of the 125gr weight makes sense in that context, Starfires were also 140gr+ IIRC, the Silvertip is a 145gr, etc)

Nightcrawler
January 25, 2007, 06:50 PM
And bore size. If you hold the bullet weight and velocity to be constant as you seem to be doing, increasing the bore size increases the amount of work necessary for the bullet to continue moving through whatever your target medium is. This increases the amount of energy the bullet expends in order to move forward over a given distance. As a result, your 185gr .45 will have limited penetration by way of comparison to your 180gr .357. Therefore, a 185gr .45 and a 180gr .357 are incomparable as they perform very differently. The only thing they have in common is bullet weight and velocity. There are other factors to consider.

Not necessarily. The shape of the projectile has a lot to do with it, in the same way the shape of an airplane determines what its thrust to drag ratio is. When you're talking about a JHP bullet that's expanding and becoming less aero(hydro?)dynamic as it continues, I don't think the difference will be enough worry about. This is, of course, assuming identical bullet construction. A 180 grain FMJ .357 will out penetrate a 230 grain FMJ .45 at the same velocity every time, despite the .45 slug's greater momentum.

With the .45 slug you get a larger wound channel. You get the same projectile weights, velocities, and associated kinetic energy levels of standard factory .357 loads, but with bullets that are better designed for self-defense use.

The point I was trying to make is that before everyone started arguing for a .357 K-Frame, someone should point out that .357 Magnum isn't really the be-all-end-all of handgun catridges that it's sometimes purported to be. With most factory self-defense ammo, it offers no ballistic advantage over .45ACP +P, and the .45 round always has the potential to create a larger wound channel. Since most .357 loads are downloaded to moderate velocities for recoil control, you'e not giving up terminal performance by going to .45. What you're gaining is the faster reload associated with moonclips.

Why would they go to 180s when 145-158s already exist and do the same thing your extensively modified 180s will do

I don't know. Why have 145s and 158s? They do the same thing, right? Why have 200 and 230 grain .45s? Why bother with 115 grain 9mm when 124 grain works better? *shrug* I'd just like to see a little creativity on the part of ammo makers. They're getting better with their short-barrel loads, for instance, and this is good.

Anyways, we're hijacking the thread, especially since the original poster has expressed interest in neither a .357 nor a .45ACP revolver. ;)

Bart Noir
January 25, 2007, 06:51 PM
I think the 686 Plus is a fine combat revolver. It is stainless, can handle lots of hot .357 loads, would be a light recoiling shooter with only .38 +P+ loads, and carries 7 rounds on board. To me, the fact that the cylinder doesn’t have to turn as far makes the double-action trigger pull seem lighter than any N-frame I have.

I would be thrilled to be able to buy a used 3-inch 686, so that I could have the cylinder replaced with a 7-shot version. But the 4-incher is still a handy pistol. Not as light and balanced as a 4-inch K-frame, but the recoil is controlled more with the 686 than it is with the K-frame.

And with the 686 round butt (the L- and K-frame frames being the same in the grip area), you have a choice of probably more aftermarket grips than for any other revolver, to include using the round–to-square butt conversion grips.

Bart Noir

Tylden
January 25, 2007, 07:17 PM
I don't have one yet, but I think I know what my combat revolver will be. It's a 3 inch barrel, S&W model 686 cs1. It was made for the US customs folks back in 1988. I read that S&W modified them to be more accurate, and last longer, than the regular production 686's. Now I just have to find one.

Tylden
January 25, 2007, 07:25 PM
Thaddeus Jones....sorry about the last post...I tried to insert a quote. Anyway, PM sent

Barr
January 25, 2007, 07:38 PM
For a true "fighting combat revolver" the .44 Magnum has just a little too much punch and penetration. Recover from recoil takes longer as well depending on load. For hunting there is not many peers to the .44 Magnum for price, effectiveness, etc. I am a big fan of this round.

A true combat revolver is usually a medium frame revolver or a "smaller" big frame gun. Something in a .357 Magnum or .45 ACP would be ideal. S&W 686 or 625 would be near perfection for what you are looking for. They offer plenty of punch and knockdown power in a package that is easier to carry and conceal.

Dr.Rob
January 25, 2007, 07:58 PM
If you are looking for 45 ACP preformance, rather than cut the cylinder for moonclip and 44 mag, why not just get a 45ACP revolver and shorten the barrel?

SW is making the 1950 version of the 1917 Army again.

Cosmoline
January 25, 2007, 08:06 PM
If .357 will work, the Security Six stainless is about as ideal as you can get. It's beefier than the K frame magnums but not overly so. Field stripping is incredibly easy and it has no more moving parts than a combat pistol.

lawboy
January 25, 2007, 08:11 PM
I do get that you are looking for a large bore fighting revolver. However, my vote fora fighting wheelgun has been cast for the k frame m19 and m66. I carry a snubnose m19 and am fervently looking for the elusive 3-inch m66. An L frame CS1 would also be bought on sight!

If I were to go the large bore route, I would get myself a 3-inch m624 and have the action worked. I would call it good at that. 44special is preferable to 44magnum for social purposes and I am a huge fan of the 44magnum. However, I have fired snubnose 44magnums and I do not find them controllable enough for defensive useage. I am not particularly recoil sensitive, but when you consider the manner in which you must be able to fire the gun quickly and accurately under extreme stress, recoil management become very important. Yes, you may not feel the recoil in a real fight, but not feeling it does not mean you will be in control of it and does not mean it will not negatively impact your shooting. Consider this issue very carefully when moving forward with your project and picking your carry ammunition. Regards to all.

Click Click Boom
January 25, 2007, 09:55 PM
I Love 3 inch N Frames for carry. I just Picked up a M25-14 Lew Horton in 45 acp. Its going to get a set of Decelarator grips. If you want more power in the M25/625 you can always load it wit 45 Super.

I have a 629-4 Trail Boss with a factory Magnaport. It is not my night stand gun becase of the porting but It is very resonable in the recoil department. I added a set of S&W 500 monogrips to it (as well as a set of decelerators for when i want to carry it) I am a hefty guy at 6 feet 225 pounds of GYM and Burgers.

vanilla_gorilla
January 25, 2007, 11:22 PM
If you are looking for 45 ACP preformance, rather than cut the cylinder for moonclip and 44 mag, why not just get a 45ACP revolver and shorten the barrel?

Because I wish to retain the capability to push a 300 grain bullet at a thousand fps or more if I choose. This gun is to be a fighting revolver, made to go anywhere I do, and take anything that I may encounter, including hooved and clawed animals. Besides, if I wanted a .45ACP, I'd carry one of the 3 .45s I already own. :D That would be too easy.

Dr.Rob
January 25, 2007, 11:39 PM
Well then I guess you can pick a fight with a bigger hombre then. :D

I'd be worried about creating bowed or blown out brass with a moon clip conversion and nuclear handloads.

jame
January 25, 2007, 11:54 PM
Ruger SP101 anyone?

Or.......

How 'bout some of a flavor of the newer S&W Thunder Ranch models?

Stainz
January 26, 2007, 06:32 AM
HiWayMan,

First, that 200gr Blazer GDHP, and the GA Arms brass loaded equivalent and my homebrew with that same Speer #4427 bullet over 5.7gr Titegroup, are all nearly identical in their ballistics. I've chrono-ed them from 805 fps from my 2.5" 296 to 882 fps from my now gone 6.5" 24. I did measure a 947 fps with them - from my now gone Henry 'Big Boy' levergun (20" barrel). The bullet was designed to open by 800 fps - and is best below 1,000 fps. The work you mention would cost a fortune... maybe a 296 would be a better choice? I've had one for over four years... and, while pocketable in a big pocket, with it's standard boot grips and those Blazers, it'll say 'Howdy!' to your wrist when you shoot it.

v.g.,

I concur - my home/personal defense ammo is the only commercial c.f. ammo I keep on hand. I keep 158gr LHPSWC +P's for .38/.357M; 200gr Blazer GDHP's in .44 Special for .44 Spec/Magnum; and .45 Colt 250gr Speer GDHP for my 625MG (That #4484 250gr GDHP is available in .45 Colt brass from Speer.).

I highly recommend the Hogue .500 Magnum grip, a $35 accessory available only from S&W Accessories (Check website - or 800#). One size fits all - K/L, N, & X-frames, and the padded backstrap makes my 4" 629, like yours pictured, a real .44 Magnum, taming the recoil nicely. It does nothing for muzzle rise, of course, but I can live with that. Besides, I shoot very few real .44M's. Check the feel of any .460/.500 Magnum's grip at a dealer's - they all use that grip. My 6"-er, which looks just like the 4" - except the additional 2" barrel - also sports them, while everything else sports wood. Oops... the 4" .32 H&RM SP101 I just got has Hogue rubber on it... can't quite rationalize another $76 for wood there - yet. Probably not a great 'combat' revolver choice, anyway!

Stainz

HiWayMan
January 26, 2007, 07:44 AM
The work you mention would cost a fortune...

A man can dream can't he?

vanilla_gorilla
January 26, 2007, 03:33 PM
Well then I guess you can pick a fight with a bigger hombre then.

I wouldn't. No matter what you've got, there's always somebody with something bigger and better. :uhoh:

Sniper X
January 26, 2007, 03:47 PM
How bout this?

Dr.Rob
January 26, 2007, 03:56 PM
... meaning zombie bears, were-rhinos etc.

300 gr Hornady XTP + 21.5 gr H110 and a crimp that won't allow setback.

Thaddeus Jones
January 26, 2007, 06:27 PM
SniperX is that a 3" 629, or the elusive 3" 66? I can't tell from the picture. It's my eyes though, not your photo. Thanks.

earplug
January 26, 2007, 11:19 PM
Does anyone know if the cylinder, barrel interchange between the 325 and 625 family of N frames?
I handled a 325 the other week and it was to light for my taste.
To continue with the fighting revolver idea I'd like to have A volver with the weight of about 26 ounces. Same as a Colt Commander.
I'm thinking a steel frame, light weight cylinder, and a four inch barrel.
I'd heard talk that the light weight cylinder holds up better then steel when lots of DA shooting is done, due to the light weight puts less stress on the bolt recess cuts on th cylinder. Anyone else here this rumour?
I know my old M-27 and M-29 both developed A burr on the bolt notches when lots of DA firing was done. Rotational weight is pretty high in N frames.

rbmcmjr
January 26, 2007, 11:40 PM
(I've posted a version of this elsewhere, but what the heck, it's my content)

I love the idea of the combat revolver. And I agree with the choice of the .44 since it allows for a broad spectrum of power options. Use the light loads in an urban setting where quick recovery is more important. Pick the heavy hitting monster loads when your travels take you to the land of large carnivores.

Ultimately, I blame Hal Swiggett for my love of this style revolver.

The reason for this is an otherwise unremarkable review he wrote for the Rossi .44 Special revolver in the November, 1992 issue of “Gun World”. While Hal liked the little snub, that wasn’t what really affected me. He compared the new gun with several custom pieces he owned, including a “Fitzed” 1917 S&W and a Jovino-modified Astra .44 Magnum that he called “The Terminator” (no doubt sending Mas Ayoob into a swoon of liability panic). I REALLY liked those custom bulldogs.

As he was summing up his feelings, he wrote:

“Sooner or later, all thinking people get back to basics. Basic handguns were revolvers.”

Except for the past-tense of that last sentence, I think he really hit the mark. Of course, in those pre-Brady days, revolvers were playing a sad second-fiddle to the Wundernine Wars as all the big manufacturers tried to market their latest and greatest autos to the police and general buying public. I doubt many people paid much attention to the idle musings of Hal.

I did. And I conceived of the two revolvers you see here. It has taken many years and much work to get to this point, but I am pretty happy with the results.

First: The Nightstand Gun

This one started as a Model 29-4. This was one of those “Gun of the Week” specials that S&W was running off during the early 90’s. 3” barrel with full underlug and an unfluted cylinder give this piece both visual and actual heft. I actually have two, only a few serial numbers apart. One remains unmolested; the other was modified as follows:

* From Weigand Combat
o “Tame the Beast” barrel porting
o Double action only conversion
o Bobbed hammer
o Smoothed and polished the wide target trigger
o Action job (smooooooth!)

* From Tarnhelm Supply Company
o Magna-Trigger Conversion

* From Accurate Plating & Weaponry
o Matte Hard Chome


I had this work done over the period of several years. The Weigand mods were the first and really changed the nature of the piece. Recoil, while still stout, seems much reduced, no doubt attributable to the almost complete elimination of muzzle flip. Unfortunately, this is paid for by significant muzzle blast and flash. In a close encounter, the blast will be formidable.

The Magna-Trigger was added after my children were born. I wanted to make it as difficult as possible for there to be a tragedy involving unauthorized use with this gun. During the day, the revolver and ring are locked in the safe. At bedtime, they come out. There is only one ring, and it resides on my hand. Besides protecting my children from themselves, it effectively renders the gun inoperable for any intruder. That just might give me a momentary advantage in a confrontation. As a side note, my children don't require this level of protection now, but at the time, it seemed prudent.

I lived in South Carolina, so hard chrome was a desirable choice. I wish I had opted for the brushed finish rather than the matte. I had a 1911 pattern pistol done in brushed at the same time and I find it much more attractive. Your preferences may vary. I like the Hogue monogrips. I got these from a sale bin at a Pittsburgh gun shop. I’m not sure what the wood is. The night sights are from Meprolight.


Seen here with its unmodified sibling:


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b240/rbmcmjr/44projectgenesis.jpg



From the front:


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b240/rbmcmjr/44weigandfrontright.jpg




From the rear:


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b240/rbmcmjr/44weigandrearright.jpg




Second: The Trail Gun

Around 1994, S&W issued a 3” Model 629-4 they called the Backpacker. I found a gently used (the apocryphal “less than a box through it” sale) one for sale at a Virginia Beach gun show and salted it away for future use. Fast forward a dozen years, and I now live in Idaho and have a need for an easily carried and powerful revolver for my hunting and fishing trips into bear country. I could have chosen to modify the other Model 29, but I decided the 629 was a better candidate for what I had in mind.

I decided to place an order with the folks at Cylinder & Slide, over in Nebraska. After spending an inordinate amount of time looking at the wide array of options offered for S&W revolvers, I chose the following modifications:

* Recrown Barrel
* Ball Detent for Crane
* Chamfer/Polish cylinder
* Action Job (2.75# single / 9# double)
* Smooth/Radius/Polish trigger
* Radius/Bevel exterior sufaces
* Bead blast
* Install and regulate Extreme Duty Fixed Sights (the principal reason I chose C&S for this work)

Chamferred cylinders:


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b240/rbmcmjr/44candscylinder.jpg




Ball detent on the crane:


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b240/rbmcmjr/44candsballdetent.jpg




The competed gun, with Ahrends grips in Cocobolo (not the best fit, unfortunately):


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b240/rbmcmjr/44cands.jpg



Here's a shot of the two from the working end:


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b240/rbmcmjr/44muzzles.jpg



And here from the operator's perspective:


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b240/rbmcmjr/44projectsrear.jpg

I have a Milt Sparks PMK for the 629 and it really makes carrying a breeze. It is a very comfortable holster.

Rick

Dienekes
January 27, 2007, 02:01 AM
For me at least N frames are out because they require a bigger paw than I have.

The K frame S&Ws or the old Ruger "Sixes" in the flavor of your choice do the job very, very nicely. The Smiths are more elegant and sophisticated, but the Rugers are invulnerable to just about anything short of a meteor strike. One of my favorites is a smooth 4" stainless Service Six .357 polished to a high gloss and Hogue pebble finish nylon stocks.

Everything you need and nothing you don't. (What a concept...)

Gordon
January 27, 2007, 02:38 AM
I posted a month or so ago a poll asking for suggestions on which 2 gun rig to take to a Jim Cirullo course to get some 'retro' revolver training. My thoughts were either my much modified Cylinder and slide 1917 Colt .45acp right and a Colt Detective Special left in a Saguaro Leather custom floral tooled rig or a Python 6 right and a Python 2.5" left were also considered. I also threw out a couple K frame S&Ws as I know they will hold up to the 3 months of pre training I am doing, which probably would batter the Colts.
I was very surprised to see overwhelmingly the S&W K frames were recommended. To that end I will be using 2 4" K frame .38s , both 5 screws. A model 15 Combat Masterpiece right and a 4" pencil barrel Model 10 left. Not wanting to spend money on a lark, I found on e bay a like new police duty Milt Sparks belt and a left and right like new black basket weave Milt Sparks Police holsters from some dept in Ga. . I didn't know Milt Sparks made a Police Duty line for dept.s. I paid $15 per holster and $8 for the belt , all which match.:D
I bought for $18 apiece two new/old stock double HKS speed loader pouches with 4 10A speed loaders. I got an old black police Mini Mag flashlight belt holder for my Surefire Executive defender (no vintage Mini Mag light-sorry) . I bought 12 A-Zoom .38 spl dummy rounds and every night am making 50 draws from each holster with a simulated speed load on the right side. I really don't know how to use the sppedloader one handed on the left side- Jim will have to show me!:cool: I am having to put service grips on the Model 15 as the speedloader won't clear the old Target grips, I am using Tyler grip adapters on both guns. I am taking both guns to the range this weekend. I hope the UMC Ball 130 grain ammo (works slick in speed loaders!)I bought 2000 rounds of cheap, will hit close on the pencil barrel. I can move the Model 15 sights.
When I get a chance I'll take a picture of my "fighting revolvers" ;)

mes228
January 27, 2007, 04:57 AM
Jim Cirullo, Knows what he's about if he's reccomending the K-Frame Smiths. They were the finest fighting gun's ever made. Change the grips and you have the equlivant of any "today's" revolvers with several hundred dollars custom work. And you'll still end up with a lesser product. I know I've owned well over 50 handguns and that might be a hundred or more. I've always got 3-4 around and trade quite a bit. Nothing that's ever passed through my hands beats the total package of the K-frames for actual carry, and use. The Model 19, 2 1/2 or 3" barrel, early model pinned and recessed are incredibly accurate, versatile, reliable, perfect in balance, and precision made. True pisteleros input made that gun. Just my opinion but it's real, it's not read from a gun rag. It comes from actually owning and shooting the guns.

Malamute
January 27, 2007, 12:12 PM
Couple guys have mentioned HKS speedlaoders. I'm surprised nobdy has so far mentioned that Safariland speedloaders are quicker to use. I used to use the HKS, but after trying the Safariland, switched over and never looked back.

Had several HKS wear, and lock up.


"I am having to put service grips on the Model 15 as the speedloader won't clear the old Target grips,..."

If your grips don't clear the loaders, why not modify the grips?




A 4" 29 or 629 is an excellent general purpose gun, as our original poster indicated. Much more flexible for out in the hills and all around use than smaller calibers. Load options cover a lot of ground. The mountain gun with the skinny barrel helps with the weight, at the expense of some recoil. I believe I'd rather have the 4" barrel in standard or MG weight than a shorter barrel. In a good holster the 4" guns are easy to carry all day.

srtboise
January 27, 2007, 01:05 PM
rbmcmjr, i really like that 629 backpacker you got there. i almost bought a backpacker at the last gunshow but found a deal on a no dash 696 i couldnt pass up. i am considering having my 696 customized similarly.

btw, where in idaho are you? (you can prolly guess where i live)

to the original poster, the 696 does a good job fulfilling my personal concept of a big bore 'fighting' revolver. i find N frames too large for cc but the L frames are easy to cc under many conditions (but not all). i intend to use the 696 as my cc piece occasionally but i think it will mostly be a range/field piece. i cc my 3" m60 most of the time.

steve

vanilla_gorilla
January 27, 2007, 03:48 PM
Well, the decision has been made regarding the base gun for this work, minor though it may be. I went to the local fun show today looking for a 4 inch 629 classic the begin work on, but somehow found myself walking out with a S&W 28-2 instead. It appears work will go forward with my 629-6.

Regarding the speedloaders, I'm still convinced that the Safariland is better than my HKS, but moonclips beat them both. We shall soon (I hope!) see what is in store for this work in progress.

mainmech48
January 27, 2007, 04:24 PM
What I wouldn't have given for the wealth of choices in a starting point for this kind of project forty years ago!

My personal solution ended up as having a nice old S&W 1917's barrel cut down to 2 1/2", a new front sight fabricated and regulated for 230 gr. HB, and custom Herrett's stocks. Went to Armolloy for refinishing, and that was that. It's worked out just dandy.

What I really wanted was a CCW along the lines of a somewhat updated "Fitz Special", but couldn't get a comparable New Service or Colt 1917 and do the mods for anywhere near enough the same money.

It would've been a lot cheaper in today's dollars to just get a new 22-4, pick a load, regulate the sights and send it to Robar for NP3.

Dienekes
January 27, 2007, 04:54 PM
Some good info here. Jim Cirillo is the real deal; did some very heavy duty stuff with just an old-shoe Model 10 S&W which ought to mean something. Met the man down at Glynco in 1981 and spent a very profitable couple of hours with him.

The Safariland Comp II speedloaders are far superior to the HKS; quicker, easier to use, reliable, tough. I have a couple coming up on 20 years old that have been thrown around a lot as practice units and they still work just fine. HKS's are usually on sale; Safarilands are not.

rbmcmjr
January 27, 2007, 08:16 PM
SRTBoise,

I'm across the state from you in Idaho Falls.

Nightcrawler
January 27, 2007, 10:03 PM
Safariland speedloaders are great. Assuming, of course, you have a six-shot medium framed .357. While this covers the bulk of revolvers out there I think, those with .44s, .45s, seven shooters, etc. are kind of left in the cold. At least HKS makes loaders for nearly every conceivable type of gun.

I've been emailing S&W trying to get them to make their own speedloaders that are better than HKS. Why not? They make everything else, including handcuffs and bicycles...

Gordon
January 27, 2007, 10:52 PM
I sold my 2 double HKS speed loader pouchs with 10a HKS loaders this afternoon at the range for $25 each ($50) I ordered a Safariland 333 with 3 comp III loaders for $90 shipped. I did NOT like twisting the HKS button that much, and my Python comp 1 speedloaders reguire the gun to be tilted down whereas the comp III shove them in, a better deal under pressure and I don't want to hold up the line!:) This with a pocket full of loose rounds to 'top off' ought to do it. BTW the Model 15 was easily adjusted to shoot thise 130 grain ball rounds into little bitty 15 yard groups in a 1/2 scale silo's head, DA of course. It only has a Power Custom tapered mainspring to get that nice 6lb. DA!;) what a joy to use my old retired safe queen! The Model 10-2, however hits 2" low and left at 15 yards with the load. I have to decide to monkey with the rear notch ( it's a little tight anyway)or use my Model 19 2.5" in the left holster , which is a 4" holster but would work (I'm anal!:o ). Reloading is gonna be a trip for this course. I am gonna switch back to a .45 Auto -Hi Cap, with Awerbuck after I go with the Cirullo portion. Louis would have some choice comments with me fumbling to stay 'topped up' and I don't want to drop dozens and dozens of unexpended rounds to do so with speed loaders :rolleyes:

rnovi
January 29, 2007, 01:33 AM
Smith & Wesson performance center offers a ported 3" 629 in .44mag. Sounds exactly like what you want, sans moonclips.

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