Range 22lr substitute for 38 snubby


April 26, 2007, 10:01 PM
With both wife and I shooting at the range, it's getting a bit pricy for two pistol lanes and a 100 count box of WWB 9 mm's and one of 38 spl. Last "value pack" of 38 spl cost $23.50/100. Been looking at the Taurus website at the Ultra Lite Model 94 22lr revolver to use for practice most of the time (not all the time) instead of my S&W 38 snub nose.

Ignoring the recoil difference, would this 22lr be enough like a S&W 38 snub nose to be a cheaper substitute?
Paul G

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April 26, 2007, 10:10 PM
Sure, especially if it is the same frame and barrel length. Really with a revolver I think most of it is getting proficient with the double action trigger.

April 26, 2007, 10:15 PM
Why not get the S&W 317 2" instead?? I often use mine for high round count practice sessions in lieu of one of my S&W snubbies.

April 26, 2007, 10:17 PM
My brother had a Taurus revolver as you describe he ended up selling as it was not up to the quality of a Smith and Wesson 34 or 63 .22 J frame.
Also check into a 317 Smith & Wesson very light weight and 8 rounds a great trainer with a two or three inch barrel.
A trigger spring kit helps allot on these.
Try to rent before you buy one.

April 26, 2007, 10:29 PM
I have a S&W kitgun and several S&W .38's.
As the .38's are five shot and the kitgun is a six shot I find the trigger does not feel the same.
You choices may feel the same. Lots of difference between SA and DA when practicing.
Since both you and your wife seem to enjoy shooting together, consider getting A progressive reloading setup.

April 26, 2007, 10:33 PM
Ignoring the recoil difference, would this 22lr be enough like a S&W 38 snub nose to be a cheaper substitute?

You won't notice the recoil difference much (on a steel snub anway)... probably even your wife won't with light-bullet loads.

What you WILL notice is the horrible trigger pull on currently available .22 revolvers. To get rimfires to go off, the trigger does have to be a little worse than a centerfire. Taurus .22s are very stiff in double action. Even the Smith is heavy... it's only 11 ounces or so, so it has to have a stiff spring too.

I shouldn't tell you this, because I don't have one yet... but your only hope for a decent .22 snub revolver is to get an out-of-production Smith Model 63 (or the blue one, whatever the # is... 36?)

Alternatively, you could get better deals on .38 ammo online.

April 26, 2007, 10:42 PM
You should also consider a larger-sized revolver. The trigger is what really matters, and a longer barrel will show more clearly where your trigger technique is going wrong instead of making it a guessing game whether it's your sight alignment or trigger technique.

April 26, 2007, 10:50 PM
While this sounds like a good idea practicing with the 22 in the same size gun does not equate to practice with the 38 spl. Several LE agencies had the idea if we do most teaching and training with a 22 the same size as our 38 service revolvers we could save a bundle. They all found after teaching recruits with 22s it was like they hadn't taught them anything when they switched to 38s. Recruits maintained basic gun handling skills (safety etc) but found the recoil from the 38 made them learn all over again resulting in no savings at all. Even with experienced shooters the 22s didn't equal the same training as with 38s.

This does work if you use a semi auto with a conversion device like the one Colt made for the 1911. The floating chamber in this setup nearly duplicated the recoil of the 1911.

Any practice is better than none but you can find better deals on 38 spl ammo.

April 26, 2007, 11:04 PM
Probably not the answer you want to hear, but shooting .22LR at a range a lot gets fairly boring fairly quickly. The fun factor of a .38 is significantly higher in my opinion than a .22LR.

I hate shooting at ranges. People are always bringing their big bore ultra-magnum revolvers that disrupt everyone on the firing line. In fact, shooting indoors is about as fun as riding a stable horse.

April 26, 2007, 11:16 PM
.22 hammer springs are heavier than center fire springs. I noticed it quite a bit when trying out s & w j frames in .22. I called s & w and they confirmed that the springs in their .22's have to be stronger to set off a rimfire. I've never been one to cut factory springs, but I did it once on a very nice model 63 smith. Started having missfires. Had s & w send me a new spring and it's works every time (unless I used remington's famous golden bullet)

April 26, 2007, 11:22 PM
I have a 4" S&W 617 .22LR and a 4" S&W 686 .357. I got the .22 to serve as an "understudy" to my .357. Typically at the range, I'll shoot 250-300 rounds of .22LR and a box of .38spl, then a few .357mags.

I think using a .22 as an understudy has worked very well for me, but I think the additional recoil of the 686 would make shooting the 686 the ideal practice for the 686. If it were only .38spl/.357mags at the range, though, I'd have to limit myself to a box or 2, then what? I'd be done too quickly, and I like shootin' too much to be out of there too soon!

The other, probably bigger benefit to the .22LR as an understudy is that I get lots of additional DA trigger pull practice, and a smooth trigger pull (without disturbing the sight picture) is necessary for any kind of accuracy. I also do a lot of dryfire practice at home with my 686 (and that's a big help), but there's something good about the positive feedback (i.e. seeing how bad or good I actually did) I get from live fire of the .22LR.

I'd probably recommend getting a longer barreled .22LR (better positive feedback from the better accuracy) but in nearly the same frame as your .38, and set up with similar sights and grips.

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