A Little Help With Wheel Gun Choices...


Bayou Redd
August 11, 2011, 08:17 PM
Please be patient while I set this up...

1. First of all, I am not a total rookie, but I do respect others opinions & why they have them...

2. This is for my daughter, but I would never buy a gun & say this is yours so love it...

3. My time with her is on a limited basis as she is away in school but I think she needs home defense & a traveling companion which she agreed to my terms...

On a recent visit, we took a trip to the range. She is a cute little petite 5'6" firecracker, but very athletic. (no you can't meet her & her dad is always packin' you pervs)
We went through my auto .380's and got a definite NO. First time shooter didn't like the auto jirations (understandable) She shot my Wife's Taurus Model 82 .38 sp (copy of a Smith Model 10) She did well, but also got to shoot a range member's Rossi J-frame...

Her comments: I love the way that the medium frame 82 shoots, but even though the J-frame kicked more, I felt like the small frame was easier to manage (both were .38 sp shooting standard pressure) We went inside and handled the Ruger LCR & the Smith Bodyguard. She loved them both, but has not shot them...

Here's the dilema...

She had such fun shooting, that I do not want to put such a lightweight revolver in her hands & take the fun out of practice. I have no doubt that she could handle even a 357 if she needed to, but I want her to want to go to the range and practice. I can't help but believe that the lightweight will sour her.

I am not going to buy one & say here ya go. What I need from you folks, are choices to chase & try to get shooting time with...

My Idea is J-frame in the 22 ounce arena with Hogues or the like...

Whadaya Think... All opinions & why, are welcomed...

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August 11, 2011, 08:49 PM
Sounds like an all-steel .38 snub is the way to go.

My first gun is a blued Taurus 85. No problems in about 20 years now (granted I don't shoot the snot out of it). 21 ounces empty, no problems with recoil.

Taurus can be a bit of a dice roll, but I got a good one. On the other hand, I have a Smith at the shop right now. Nothing is guaranteed, no matter what you might read on gun boards.

I put on a Hogue Monogrip on the 85, which helped (they came with wood back then).

August 11, 2011, 08:59 PM
EAA windicater 38 sounds the way to go all steel comfy grips.See if you can find one for her to shoot.No recoil no flip points and prints inside the 9 ring at 20 yards. the trigger might be a little much shooting double action though.Just my suggestion.

Kendal Black
August 11, 2011, 09:09 PM
I agree, an all steel .38 snub is probably the answer here. It's too bad Colt quit making the Detective Special, and drove up the prices for used ones, for that was a pretty good gun for the person who wanted a snub that didn't bounce up and down a lot when shot.

Another thing that might be worth a look is a round butt K frame. It feels smaller in the hand. They've been made in 2, 3 and 4 inch versions.

I like Pachmayr rubber grips and recommend them: The kind that covers the backstrap sound like the right ones in this case.

August 11, 2011, 09:10 PM
I think you are approaching this very smartly. My first .38 Special was an S&W model 15 with a four inch barrel. Adjustable sights, easy shooting, very accurate, major fun, good enough (actually very good) as a defensive gun although a little heavy.

I just absolutely love mine and I just smile when I pull it from the safe to go have some fun. I have many wheel guns of all calibers from .22 to .454 Casull and this Model 15 is one of my favorites. All my kids (young adults now) love to shoot it as well.

Just a thought.


August 11, 2011, 09:18 PM
Wife and daughter have old charter arms, and smith snubbies in 38

Other daughter liked Ruger SP101 and 3 inch security six

August 11, 2011, 10:03 PM
J-frames just fit some people well: especially people with small hands. My suggestion would be to look for a S&W 36 or 60 with a 3-inch barrel. Old or new, the 3-inch barrel makes a huge difference in taming the recoil: S&W made a 3-inch 60 in their LadySmith line that was awesome: tapered 3- inch barrel in .38 special only. I think they currently make the model 60 with a 3- inch heavy barrel and adjustable sights that will take .357 mag. Any of these would give your daughter the frame she likes with minimal recoil for the j-frame.

August 11, 2011, 11:30 PM
S&W 60, 3" barrel. Load it with regular .38 and go to town.

August 12, 2011, 01:02 AM
+1 on the 3" Smith model 60.

David E
August 12, 2011, 01:18 AM
Dang, no one mentioned selecting the right load???

If an all steel .38 won't be too heavy, then fine. But the LCR with those superlative grips loaded with standard .38's or even the 148 grain wadcutter target load will not sour her on the gun if she already likes it.

August 12, 2011, 02:11 AM
I have to agree that the gripframe of the Ruger LCR makes a huge difference in controlability and comfort.

A very controllable and effective loading is the Speer 135gr +P+ JHP specifically designed to expand in a short barreled snubbie

August 12, 2011, 02:21 AM
Is she gonna carry it, or leave it at home? If she does carry, purse, or on her body? Because if she's not trying to conceal it under clothing, I think a K-frame would be perfect. 13/19/65/66.

August 12, 2011, 05:06 AM
3" SP101 gets my vote.

August 12, 2011, 07:57 AM
agree with the choices so far named, in all steel versions only (not airweights)

Taurus 85 series, S&W 60, Ruger SP101
only liteweight I would have her look at is the LCR

Do have her look at both 2" and 3" models, the 3" is typically more "shootable" for most folks
I would not do a DAO unless she has the opportunity to actually shoot it first. IMO most have less friendly DA triggers than the DA models.. the LCR might be an exception

"Her comments: I love the way that the medium frame 82 shoots"

no surprise that, k-frames are well loved for good reasons
see MachIV's list above, excellent
but a S&W heavy barrel 4" model 10 would be my suggestion
(OP did appear to hint at "in vehicle/at home" moreso than "on me")

practice mainly w/ 38s, load 38+P for serious
357s out of less than 5"-6" barrels are best left to "my next gun", not "my 1st gun"

August 12, 2011, 08:03 AM
You could always get her some bling like this:


August 12, 2011, 10:25 AM
Smith 64/67 is another choice.

August 12, 2011, 10:45 AM
I'm with the Smith Model 60 in 3 inch barrel or a Ruger SP101.
Like Oldfool, everything in steel.

August 12, 2011, 11:00 AM
She is a cute little petite 5'6" firecracker, but very athletic.

Yep. Just the type that attracts unwanted attention. I've got one of those myself, so I know about the sleepless nights.

Sounds to me like the Smith Model 60 is just the ticket. If it were me, I'd shop around for an older, pre-lock/MIM model...but that's just me. The M60/36 is a lot like the Model 10. Smith made a blue million of'em, and most weren't shot hard and heavy. I recently picked up an early production M60 that probably hadn't seen more than 150 rounds, and the price was more than reasonable.

August 12, 2011, 01:18 PM
If she's going to be carrying, it needs to be light. I like the LCR. Light, small, and has a better grip, better trigger and better sights than the S&Ws. But, if she has to have the weight in order to shoot comfortably, then look at the S&W 60 and the Ruger SP-101, as others have mentioned. Shoot standard pressure .38s out of any of them.

August 12, 2011, 04:36 PM
Any one gun is going to be a compromise. The 3" S&W 60 with cushy Pachmayr or Hogue grips would fit your/her niche well. It is small and light enough to carry well - large and heavy enough to shoot well. Start with standard pressure loads and gently ease upward to determine her tolerance level.

Bayou Redd
August 12, 2011, 04:54 PM
Well, I pounded out the information listed & all choices fall right in line with what I was looking for...

To add some detail, no it isn't a CCW at this point. One step at a time I guess...

I think that I may have found what I was looking for. If the bug bites her, then the number two gun for CC will be purchased and with a bit of luck I will inherit the beauty that I found today...

It is a very tight S&W Model 36 with a 3" pinned barrel. How can you not love this little girl. Shop is asking for just over 5 bills with a clean bore & about 95% bluing. Looks like holster wear & not that many rounds through it.

Only problem might be that it is a square butt & the replacement rubber grips seem to be mostly for round... What do you think???

Kendal Black
August 12, 2011, 05:27 PM
The 36 sounds just right! Pachmayer lists a couple of grips for square butt J frames on their web site.

Their lookup page: http://www.pachmayr.com/home/revolver-grip-details.php

August 12, 2011, 05:41 PM
If this is definitely NOT a CC gun, then why go with a small gun? A full size gun like a 686or GP-100 will be easier to handle and much more forgiving and fun to shoot. J frames really aren't much fun to shoot. As in they are pretty nasty. At least go up to a SP-101.

August 12, 2011, 06:04 PM
a 3" model 36 sounds pert-near perfect to me, good choice Dad !

but don't be in too big a hurry to assume rubber is better than wood
it's more in the personal hand fit, than what the grip is made out of
(I still have the set of Pachmayer and the set of skinny wood, that both came with a NIB model 60 a couple of decades + ago, but it wears different wood for me)
get some rubber, but do let her try both

she will find her own comfort zone w/ loads, like others said
and you might just be surprised.. milady near threw the gun up over her head the 1st time she insisted on trying some 357 in a k-frame a tad too early on, but she wasn't long moving from 32 S&W to 38 wadcutters to 38/38+P and then 357.. smiling thru the whole trip, one step at a time.. turns out she likes power

Ks are my personal woobie thing, but all steel Js are plenty fun, not nasty if you don't treat 'em nasty, and Dad's favorite 'firecracker' has already shot some small frame 38

our family's 'cracker' is a cute little Georgia Peach about same size and age as 'firecracker'
(our grandson's lady)
I have little girly hands that look big next to hers
Ks don't fit her trigger finger well at all, but all my old Js suit her just fine, as does milday's SP101
it matters

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