S&W 63 .22 - Suggestions Needed


September 27, 2007, 08:41 PM
I'm looking for a DA .22 revolver as a training gun for a friend (having never shot before, she's a bit frightened by the .38 sp recoil and noise).

I found what looks like a good deal on GunsAmerica (http://www.gunsamerica.com/976941345/Guns/Pistols/Smith-Wesson-Revolvers/Full-Frame-Revolver/S_Wmodel63_22_st_steel.htm#) - $439, and box or papers not included.

I'd appreciate any general thoughts on this gun/price, and any specific questions that I should ask the seller. Thanks in advance for your advice!

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September 27, 2007, 09:59 PM
i have a 4" model 63 for the same reasons, as a trainer gun....

thats a descent price for a gun in good shape.

September 28, 2007, 08:33 PM
I agree that that price is fair, if the revolver is as desscribed. There's not as much to go wrong with a .22LR as with, say, a centerfire magnum, but every gun is subject to Murphy. There's an excellent (though long) sticky at the top of this forum on how to check out a revolver (new OR used). I'd make sure I had a clear understanding with the seller about how the 5 day return period is counted and then I'd, err, pull the trigger. The J-frame is good for small hands, the SS has just enough weight to make it stable, and it should be a nice, lower-maintenance trainer, for old and young alike.

September 30, 2007, 09:20 AM
63 for 439 buy it! S&W has liftime warranty

deputy tom
September 30, 2007, 08:31 PM
Vanderbuilt,I own a 63 that I thought would be great to teach my daughter with.It turns out that the J-frame with it's coil spring caused for a stiffer pull making double action firing impossible for her.Single action was just a bit better due to the stiff hammer action.Next outing we will try a well worn K-22 and I'll bet her shooting will improve greatly.That price is about average for a used 63 in these parts .YMMV.tom.:cool:

Chuck Dye
September 30, 2007, 08:47 PM
I bought a Model 63 last year ($300). It looked pristine and passed all of Jim March's used revolver checks (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=1430). On my 100 foot range, with over a dozen different kinds of ammo, including some spendy match ammo, it will barely stay on the paper (15"x15".) When I spoke to Smith&Wesson about shipping it in for evaluation and possible repair, I was warned that I should not expect much better than 3"-4" groups with any Model 63.

Your mileage may vary. Indeed, I hope it does.

September 30, 2007, 10:19 PM
I've owned 2 model 63's and neither were accurate. Has nothing to do with the heavier hammer spring. Maybe due to it's smaller size. Chambers are very tight, requiring frequent cleaning. Maybe the forcing cone is not cut right. Anyway I've given up on trying to get it to shoot decent groups. I just carry my .38 when I go hunting.

October 1, 2007, 01:04 AM
Thank you all for the responses. For those of you who haven't been impressed with the 63, what would you recommend instead?

The "trainee" will be most likely carrying a 642 for personal defense. She has two limitations: small hand size and relatively weak fingers. As such, I thought a DA J-frame .22 would be an ideal way for her to safely learn the basics. A K-frame would likely be too big, as even my SP101 is too big/has too hard a trigger pull for her.

Are there any advantages to her learning on a SA 22., such as a Bearcat or Single Six, and then graduating to a DA .38?

October 1, 2007, 03:13 PM
I don't think a .22 SA would add anything to the mix; that is, provide a smooth transition to a .38 snubbie. Maybe forego the .22 trainer idea and just start her out with 148 gr. wadcutters in a 642. There's virtually no recoil from them, and use the money you saved from the .22 trainer to buy more ammo and range time. Plus the more time she spends with the 642, the more familiar she'll become with it, and might make for an easier transition when she wants to try some slightly hotter SD rounds.

October 1, 2007, 04:00 PM
Thanks for the advice, bannockburn. If she grew up around guns or was vaguely familiar w/them, I would definitely start her out on the 642. However, she comes from a country in which guns are strictly prohibited (which is why I've seen people being chased down the street w/meat cleavers there, but that's another story).

Let me put it this way: after one range visit in which I tried to teach her with my SP101, there is no way I want to be anywhere near her when she's got a .38 :eek:. Also, I don't want to pay for holes that she'd put in the range owner's roof :uhoh:. On second though, maybe a Daisy Red Rider is a better starting point than a .22 revolver...

October 1, 2007, 07:19 PM
I have a 2" 63 I use as a understudy for my 442. Saves me money and lets me get more range time. The accuracy always seemed fine to me, but I'm not using it as a target gun. Every time I shoot it I kick myself for not having got a .22 revolver sooner- they're great fun and cheap to shoot. :)

October 1, 2007, 07:52 PM
The S&W K frame .22s were more refined than the J frames (I am thinking of the Model 17 and 18, not the 617, which seems to have more than its share of bad examples). They should have excellent triggers and sights, unless they've been effed with. They are, of course, a little bigger, which may or may not be an issue - but you should be able to figure that out in a store.

I have not had the bad experiences with the 63 reported above. One thing to be aware of is that .22s tend to be somewhat fussy about ammo. Buy one or two boxes only of several different brands and speeds and see if whatever gun you wind up with favors some loads over others.

I'd also add that although I think replacing springs can lead to unanticipated problems for some uses, in this case, for a purely recreational revolver, you might well consider lighter springs from Wolff. The worst that happens is that it doesn't go bang.

October 2, 2007, 12:51 AM
I think your trying to fit the J Frame to the wrong shooter.
If she has very small hands, the better choice may be A semi auto.
I shoot and carry J frames, there hard to train with, I have A old M 34 22lr kit gun that I thought would be A decent trainer, its not for me. Feel of the action is different then A center fire gun.
If your locked into the J frame .38 spl, some handloaded wadcutters might be A better training idea then another firearm. They won't hit to point of aim with fixed sights, but they will be easy to train with. Some Cowboy loaded rounds may be ok, I don't have any experience with them.

October 2, 2007, 11:44 AM
If her PD gun is going to be a J-frame snub, she may be better off using a 2" 34 .22LR as a trainer (the scarcity of the 2" 63s makes them pricer). I CCW either a S&W 432PD or a 36, and I own both a 4" 63 & 2" 34. I use the 63 for plinking fun, and the 34 for inexpensive snub shooting practice.


October 2, 2007, 08:26 PM
In my experience the reason most people who find J frames hard to train with do so because their hands are too big for the small frame. I haven't had complaints from kids or small-sized women.

If she's going to carry a J frame for personal defense, it makes a lot of sense to train with something that is approximately the same.

The Model 34 suggestion is good, though at least around here they seem to be scarcer (though cheaper, it is true) than M63s. The 2" barrel's short sight radius makes it harder to get good sight alignment, but again, if that's what she's going to carry, it is a good idea to get used to it under good conditions so you're not handicapped under bad conditions.

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