S&W model 19, Ideal .38s round for longevity of revolver


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seventy7-7s
July 10, 2010, 03:42 PM
I have a S&W model 19-3 (1971) and from what i hear i should only shoot .357m 1/10th of the time and .38s the rest. As for the range, what .38s round is best on my weapon and still accurate for combat practice?

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The Bushmaster
July 10, 2010, 03:53 PM
Yup heard that too. I purchased a Mod 19-5 with 2 1/2" barrel in 1986. It has never seen a .38 Special round (I have three .38's for that). I would shoot only 140 grain and up though. The lighter bullets tend to flame cut the top strap though I am not sure just how much of that is bunk too.

seventy7-7s
July 10, 2010, 04:03 PM
To add to this post my 19-3 has a 2-1/2" barrel.

Steve C
July 10, 2010, 04:30 PM
Any .38 spl will work fine for practice. If you don't hand load then get some Winchester, Remington or Federal at the best price you can find. Walmart usually has some of the best prices.

For self defense any of the .357 mag JHP loads are good but if you want to use 125 gr I'd recommend the Remington Golden Sabers since they are loaded to mid range and should have less chance of damage to the forcing cone of your model 19 with modest use than the full power 125's that have a reputation of cracking them. Of course there are heavier JHP's in the 135 to 158 grain weights that work well too that don't cause any forcing cone problems in the K frames.

MrBorland
July 10, 2010, 05:21 PM
I found Privi Partizan 158gr LRN to be terrific practice ammo. Good price and soft shooting to boot.

roaddog28
July 10, 2010, 05:29 PM
I agree with Steve. I have three K frame magnums. A M13, M19 and M66. For the range and practice I shoot 38 specials and sometimes I shoot the Blazer 158 gr 357 rounds for practice. A good self defense round is Remington Golden Sabers 357s HP. Clean the revolver after every range session paying close attention to the forcing cone area and top strap. For me I do shoot 357 out of my K frame but not all the time. Remember they are not made anymore and barrels are hard to find. If a person really wants to shoot 357s all the time I suggest a revolver that can take the steady diet of 357s. Either a L or N frame Smith or the Ruger GP100. Any of these can take large amounts of 357s.

Regards,
roaddog28

seventy7-7s
July 11, 2010, 04:53 PM
On a side note I went to the range yesterday and the guy behind the counter was pressuring me to sell him my 19 lol. He offered $650 but i politely declined

Lucky Derby
July 11, 2010, 10:35 PM
The K frame was originally developed for the .38 Special cartridge.
The weak spot on the K frame .357's it the flat part on the bottom of the forcing cone. This is where the K frame .357's typically fail. However it requires A LOT of shooting Full Power Magnum loads with light weight (125 grain and lighter) bullets to do so. Most people do not shoot enough of these loads to cause the problem.

The Lone Haranguer
July 12, 2010, 12:01 AM
Other than requiring more frequent cleaning of the chambers, there is no amount (within reason) of .38 Special loads that is going to wear out the revolver.

evan price
July 12, 2010, 12:33 AM
Unless it's new in box or something with some sort of heritage I'd take $650 cash for a plain 19 w/2.5". Heck, I paid $420 for a 66 no dash 2.5" in mint condition (That's the stainless 19 in case you didn't know)

Anyway, any commercial .357 or .38 load will do fine in the K-frame. Just stick to the 158-grain loads, the light 110 and 125 grain stuff at high velocity is what can do the most harm.

Cosmoline
July 12, 2010, 01:21 AM
You can avoid the .38 Special chamber ring and reduce wear by hand loading .357 brass with .38 special specs. Or fill it with Trail Boss.

Robert Wilson
July 12, 2010, 01:39 AM
Lane Pearce wrote an article for Handloader a few years back in which he fired 5000 .357 rounds through a 19. IIRC he noted at 2500 rounds that the gun was still tight and had slightly improved accuracy. At 5000 rounds he wrote that there was more endshake than when new but that accuracy was essentially unchanged. Since then I have not worried as much about the issue, though I still avoid jacketed bullets (and the 125 JHP in particular) in the model.

I personally use 158 cast SWC downloaded just slightly and have had no troubles.

robctwo
July 12, 2010, 01:56 AM
I shot a couple hundred 158 gr lswc over 4.0 Bullseye in .357 cases, and a couple hundred 125 gr lrnfp over 3.r gr Bullseye in .38 Special today. The 19-3 love both.

I bought a package of .38/357 Chamber brushes from Brownell's. No fire rings.

I'm steering clear of hot 125 gr .357. If it's hot, I'll shoot it in my L or N frame.

I just bought a brand new 19-3 and plan on shooting 25-50,000through it before the kids get it.

CajunBass
July 12, 2010, 02:07 PM
When I go to the range I go to have fun. I can't think of anything much more fun than a Model 19 and a bunch of 38 wadcutters.

You young fellows can knock yourselves out with the hot magnums all you want. :D

The Bushmaster
July 12, 2010, 03:09 PM
Aah come on now CajunBass. Ya gotta cut loose once in a while and run some magnums to clear the dust and cobwebs from your gun...:D

Deaf Smith
July 13, 2010, 12:11 AM
77,

Get an old Combat Masterpiece .38 and just use .38 standard loads.

And put your pretty Combat Magnum up to admire.

That is what I did!

Deaf

BCRider
July 13, 2010, 12:59 AM
Nothing you can load in your 19 that has .38Spl stamped on the base of the case will hurt it.

For myself I do prefer the mid weight and heavier bullets just for how they feel when shooting.

I even play what I call "Revolver Roullete" where i load 5 .38 and one .357. It sure does quickly tell you if you have a flinch or not... :D

From what I've read and from hearing from two serious 19 fans it is hard to bust the gun if you stick to the heavier bullet .357 options. And they TRIED HARD! Both of them still have their guns. One is down for timing issues and the other is still soldiering on with a fair amount of end shake but no other issues. And this was despite loading them to the max for powder to get more kick from them for a lot of this time. So if you don't feed it the hyper velocity light bullet rounds they would appear to be quite durable.

duns
July 13, 2010, 01:28 AM
SAAMI specs are I think 17,000 psi for 38 special and 35,000 psi for 357 magnum. So the pressure with 357 mag is higher by a factor of 2.059. I don't know about guns in particular but in general fatigue damage is proportional to stress to some power n. Now if n = 3, 2.059^3 = 8.7, so one might expect one round of 357 mag to do as much damage as about 9 rounds of 38 special. if n= 4, one round of 357 mag would be equivalent to about 18 rounds of 38 special. So the rule of which you heard makes sense in order to prolong the life of the gun. If you don't mind refurbishing or replacing the gun more frequently, then you can fire as many 357 magnums as you want.

ArchAngelCD
July 13, 2010, 01:33 AM
You WILL NOT damage your M19 shooting .357 Magnum ammo in it as long as you stay away from 125gr bullets that will generate well over 1400 fps and possible damage your forcing cone. Shoot all the 145gr-158gr bullets you want in it.

As for .38 Special practice ammo. my favorite is 4.0gr W231/HP-38 under a 158gr LSWC bullet.

madcratebuilder
July 13, 2010, 10:02 AM
You WILL NOT damage your M19 shooting .357 Magnum ammo in it as long as you stay away from 125gr bullets that will generate well over 1400 fps and possible damage your forcing cone. Shoot all the 145gr-158gr bullets you want in it.

As for .38 Special practice ammo. my favorite is 4.0gr W231/HP-38 under a 158gr LSWC bullet.
+1

It's the 125gr .357 loads that cause forcing cone problems. A steady diet of 158gr .357's may wear the revolver faster than just .38spl, but you are looking at thousands of rounds to see any difference.

Mike OTDP
July 13, 2010, 01:33 PM
Amen, Cajunbass!

bflobill_69
July 13, 2010, 03:11 PM
Whenever I take a new shooter to the range, I bring the model 19... it ruins them for all future handguns lol!

I start beginners out with .38sp lead wadcutters. Now these are lighter loads than fmj, so if you decide to fire self defense rounds later, expect more recoil/report... I pretty much only fire 158gr .357 rounds out of the model 19. I want to shoot it for many years to come, and its just not worth the risk of damaging the forcing cone on this old beauty.

Enjoy your model 19, its one gun I think you wont sell any time soon.

Bflobill69

ScratchnDent
July 13, 2010, 03:20 PM
My model 19-3 lives on a steady diet of 158 gr .357s loaded to about 1050 fps. I don't believe I have ever put a .38 special in its cylinder.

dogngun
July 14, 2010, 08:59 AM
and have never had any problem shooting ANYTHING out of them. The terrible stories are based on very early production guns and very hot loads that were used at the time - the loade were made mainly by SuperVel and their imitators, and NO ONE has used these loads for many decades - the powders they used are not even made now AFAIK. There is NO reason to limit your 19 to .38 specials only, but it you choose do do so, it it more than strong enough for any load you will buy.

These stories are like "whisper down the alley" - they get very distorted in the passing, and they get passed along a lot by people who read them elsewhere. I'm an old gun nut - I was there when it was happening.

There were also problems with the early stainless steel revolvers - the steel used was fairly brittle.They fixed that long ago, too.
The Model 19 will last for a hundred years, like any S&W revolver.

mark

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