Interested in a carry gun.


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pgmrdan
September 23, 2011, 03:24 PM
Since this is my first post I will say hello.

What brings me here is that I'm looking for a carry gun and have way too many questions. At this point I'm thinking of something in a .38 special.

If I decide to use a .38 special cartridge would I be better off with a .38 special revolver or close enough with a .357 magnum revolver? (I've read that, all things being equal, there's better muzzle velocity shooting .38 special ammunition out of a .38 special gun instead of a .357 magnum gun.)

I've read about the NYPD round for the .38 special revolvers with a barrel length of 2" or less. Would this round also work really well in a revolver with a 3 1/16" barrel or are there better rounds?

I'm looking at the Ruger SP101 in the 2 1/4" barrel and the 3 1/16" barrel but the new ones are only available in .357 magnum. Who makes a good .38 special that would be a similar revolver?

Thanks,
Dan

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Tallinar
September 23, 2011, 03:51 PM
Welcome to the forum!

There is a lot of good information on this forum pertaining to your questions. I encourage you to do some searching and read past threads. Lots of great information.

I've read about the NYPD round for the .38 special revolvers with a barrel length of 2" or less. Would this round also work really well in a revolver with a 3 1/16" barrel or are there better rounds?

All other things being equal, the longer the barrell length the higher the velocity. So whatever round you're looking into would in fact have higher muzzle energy out of a longer barrell.

Regarding .38 special vs .357 magnum, it really boils down to what you'll be doing. Many (like me) are of the mind that I'd rather purchase a .357 revolver and shoot .38 specials than to get a .38 special revolver and not be able to shoot .357's.

The only aspect of shooting .38's in a .357 is that the mouth of the case sits a bit shallow in the cylinder - further back from the "throat" area of the chamber. This is really of no importance from a practical perspective. The gun won't care, and you will not damage the throat of the cylinder chamber - so don't worry about that.

The only argument that I've read that seemed to have any sort of a legitimate case for not using .38's in a .357 had to do with the use of hot +P .38 special loads. The argument was that using these loads with their "firebreathing" qualities could theoretically cause erosion in the chamber. This argument seemed theoretical only, and I've never personally read any accounts of this being a problem in the real world. Besides, if your gun is chambered in .357, you could use light magnum loads instead of hot .38's for the same end result. <shrug>

SP101 is a very popular carry gun. Many folks on this forum own and carry them daily. You really can't go wrong.

pgmrdan
September 23, 2011, 06:07 PM
"All other things being equal, the longer the barrell length the higher the velocity. So whatever round you're looking into would in fact have higher muzzle energy out of a longer barrell."

I'm more familiar with long guns and I know that's not true of rifles so I thought I'd ask about it in regards to handguns.

Thanks for the information.

I see you're near the Des Moines area. So am I. Small world.

vicdotcom
September 23, 2011, 06:44 PM
I tackled this a few years ago myself. SP101 is a great firearm. It would be good with either .38 or .357. The steel frame makes recoil more manageable with either loads.

Now, if you wanted the lighter carry options such as the Smith and Wesson airweights, then I would recommend to try it out in .357 first to see if you would ever want to shoot that enough to get proficient with it. And if that is the case, I would say just go with the lightweight .38 only option.

Just my experience with it. Just keep in mind your primary purpose of the firearm.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
September 23, 2011, 06:49 PM
What everyone has stated is true.
However, if size is one of your restrictions, then you may be better with a smaller-frame gun, which would most likely be the .38 Special.

I wouldn't want to use a .357 Magnum frame as a pocket gun, just one example!

As others stated, you should have in mind just how you picture yourself carrying this gun. Will it be in a pocket holster or will it be in an inside-waste-band (IWB) holster? Or, perhaps you always wear a jacket, so a shoulder holster may always suit you just fine!

pgmrdan
September 23, 2011, 07:29 PM
I'm not willing to go with an Airweight. I want a steel gun. No strong preference for blued or stainless. Either is fine.

At the moment (and this could change any time) I see myself carrying IWB instead of pocket.

If I was sure I could conceal it I'd really prefer to carry a revolver with a 4" barrel but the SP 101 with the 3 1/16" barrel would be close enough. Summers around here get a little warm sometimes and I couldn't wear a jacket but a square tailed shirt would be okay.

I'm just under 6' tall and weigh about 220 to 225. Any suggestions on how to conceal?

Guillermo
September 23, 2011, 07:57 PM
shoot before you buy!!!

go to a range that rents guns and tell them what you are doing.

most will accommodate you.


Don't buy a gun just because it carries easily...you have to shoot it well or what's the point?

vicdotcom
September 23, 2011, 08:39 PM
Don't buy a gun just because it carries easily...you have to shoot it well or what's the point?

Because rule number 1 is to have a gun when you need it? No one says you can't shoot well with it. Easy carry and shoot-ability is not mutually exclusive.

pgmrdan, since you are adamant against the lightweight firearms, I would certainly go for a .357. Since you are going to carry the extra weight anyways then being able to shoot .38 or .357 is a nice option. And also the extra weight will help tame the recoil of the .357 if you shoot that.

Top choices are Sp 101, Smith and Wesson Model 60, Smith and Wesson 640/649, even Taurus 605 if budget is a factor.

Or you can go full size with 6 shots. You have plenty of short barrel options here also.

ColtPythonElite
September 23, 2011, 08:58 PM
If you want a smaller steel framed gun and in .38 Special, you will be hard pressed to find a better small snub than a Colt Detective Special. The bonus is it's a 6 shooter compared to the other guy's 5 shot.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=138583&d=1300423629

Guillermo
September 23, 2011, 08:59 PM
Easy carry and shoot-ability is not mutually exclusive.

everything is a compromise

and while they are not mutually exclusive..the factors that add to shooting well are at the opposite end of the spectrum from "easy to carry" and "easy to conceal".

Guillermo
September 23, 2011, 09:00 PM
CPE points out a great compromise between easy to carry and easy to shoot

The DS is a great EDC gun

Tallinar
September 24, 2011, 01:45 AM
As you're in the area, If I currently owned any DA revolvers, I'd invite you to come out to the range with me sometime and try a few. I seem to have ended up with SA's only. Now how'd that happen...

pgmrdan
September 25, 2011, 09:52 PM
This afternoon I bought a 1959 Colt Trooper, .38 Special, 4" barrel, and adjustable rear sight. Sweeeeeeet!

I shot a few rounds through it and fell in love with it.

A couple guys at work kept telling me to get a really small gun. I took this bad boy and put it in a front pocket of my blue jeans for a couple hours. Not a problem at all. Amazing!

It will go into a holster though.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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