I am looking to buy an older (read that as not the current models) to use as a target shooter primarily. I prefer .38 sp. (or 357 mag).
Based on what I have and what's out there (that's reasonably priced) what do you guys recommend?
In revolvers I currently have:
Blued 1969 Colt Cobra 38 sp., alum frame, <2" barrel
SS 1978 Ruger Security Six .357 4" barrel
SS 2011 Ruger SP101 .22LR 4" barrel
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October 30, 2011, 03:29 PM
I have '64 vintage 28-2 Highway Patrolman. Very nice. It's an M27 without the high polish or checkered top strap. Very popular, reasonably priced in shooter grade. It's heavy tho. You might be happier with a 6" M19. They aren't particularly expensive in 6".
Sometimes you can find a smokin' deal on a .38 K frame. Most people are wanting the magnums.
October 30, 2011, 03:33 PM
14 19 28 27 they are all great!
October 30, 2011, 03:35 PM
S&W 586 6." I have the stainless version - the 686 - and it's great at the range. If you're older than 40, I suggest getting one with the sight-mount holes already drilled, and attach a micro red-dot. Some brands have the specific mount to keep it low, but a rail-mount works also.
October 30, 2011, 03:54 PM
"older (read that as not the current models)"
in 22s, a S&W k22/17/18
in 38s, a S&W k-38 Masterpiece or Dan Wesson
preferably in a 6" barrel, any of them (but 18s are 4" guns if that's your preference)
stick with black-on-black sights if "serious" about target work
I do as well as I can shoot anything in 38/357 with 19/66 flavors, but world class I ain't anyway, with anything
You already have a RSS, though, and I would not rate 'em (the usual S&W Ks, other than aforementioned) 'better' than that myself, even though they be my personal favorites, and very accurate
CPE & G will be along shortly to give you excellent advice on old Colts !
(but a Diamondback would do in either caliber, though a tad pricey)
last time I looked, you were still looking for your 2nd revolver, and now looking for #4
you are doing GREAT
it may be parsing it all a bit much, but target 357s are pretty much few and none, even the great 357s
22s and 38s, there are some seriously great target revolvers to be had
in 357s, target would imply to me, a single action, and a real pricey one at that
357s are well suited to somebody suddenly dead being required, due to lack of choices
22s and 38 wadcutters are admirably well suited to real small, clean groups, and the good ones (revolvers) can run head-to-head with classy target pistolas
October 30, 2011, 07:30 PM
If target shooting is the principal purpose for this intended purchase I see little or no reason for the .357 Magnum option, which would apparently be used little, but cost more.
In an older revolver it's hard to beat a Smith & Wesson K38 Masterpiece (model 14) with the ever-popular 6 inch barrel. They have everything you need, nothing you don't, and from the various revolvers you can choose from they are likely to be the most reasonably priced because S&W made tons of them.
October 30, 2011, 07:52 PM
Like it was said, .357 Magnums aren't exactly target calibers due to recoil.
That said, for target use, I would probably look for a 586 or a 19, in that order. The 586 has slightly more mass which I think helps steady itself at arms' length. I say that based on my opinion of a 6" GP100 being of comparable size to the 686. While not a true "target" gun, it's a good shooter.
The K-frame 19 is a bit lighter, but it's just a sweet and well-balanced gun. I've got a couple 4" .38 K-frames and they are about as good as .38 goodness gets.
If you want more of a target .357, save your sheckels for a Python. Between a hand-tuned action and a slightly tapered bore, that's going to be about the closest thing you'll get to a commercial target gun.
October 30, 2011, 07:57 PM
The S&W Model 14 .38 Special would be hard to beat for target duty and it will serve for other functions too.
If you decide .38's are too expensive, the Model 17 .22 Long Rifle is the exact same weight and configuration.
Get a matched pair for giggles and grins.
October 30, 2011, 08:34 PM
In my opinion, I would get the revolver in 357 mag because it offers more versatility. While you can soot 38s with it, you can reload very accurate target rounds in 357 without much recoil but still have the option to use heavy loads if desired. The real choice is which model Smith to get. If you have a smaller hand, go with the K/L frame and the N frame for large hand.
October 30, 2011, 10:28 PM
since you already have a 357 and a 22lr, suggest you get a used s&w k-38 (model 14) with a 6" bbl. you will fall in love with this gun. accurate, smooth action, sweet trigger. make sure it has an adjustable rear sight and coke-bottle grips. mine is only a 4" bbl, but still shoots like a dream.
October 30, 2011, 11:11 PM
Not very nice Iggy, You're making me want!:D
I have a 17 but nothing to match it up with.
P.S. beautiful pair.
October 30, 2011, 11:51 PM
I admit it, I'm an evil rascal.:evil:
October 31, 2011, 12:01 AM
+2 old Fluff & Iggy, The Model 14 is a great choice, there were also some 19's (.357) turned out nearly identically. A 6" Model 10 ain't exactly bad.
October 31, 2011, 08:39 AM
I agree with Old Fuff, for a strictly target revolver the Model 14 is hard to beat. The 357s are a bit heavier and often more costly for what they are. I have a couple of older M&P models and while they are not truly "Target Revolvers", they are accurate enough to satisfy me. The M14 is never a bad choice.
October 31, 2011, 08:59 AM
My vote goes to the 6" Smith & Wessson model 19~! ;) :)
October 31, 2011, 09:19 AM
I, too, agree with Old Fluff, Iggy and others when they talk about "K" & "L" frames as great guns on the range. I am not a target shooter in the purest form, (eyes are too old and I started the sport late) but I like to punch holes in paper with my .38s. I have a model 14 with 8 & 3/8" barrel, a 4" barrel model 15 with TT & TH, and a newly acquired 586 with 6" barrel that will be going with me today for the initial shooting. I will shoot a mixture of .38 & .357 with it to get a "feel" for the new gun. I also take my .22 Model 17 with 6" barrel that starts and finishes each range session.
If you are like me and not a competitive shooter don't overlook a good deal on any of the S&W revolvers with a 4" barrel. I also like to shoot my fixed sight guns (mods 10, 13 & 65) on the 7 yard self-defense range. The cost of a nice 85% model 10 is usually around $300 from the local gun stores.
Good luck in your search!
October 31, 2011, 11:48 AM
Yea. Iggy has this annoying habit of posting pictures of guns I don't have. He does this right after I say "That's it. I'm NOT buying another one. I have too many guns I don't shoot now."
Looks like I'm going to "need" a K-38 Masterpiece now. <sigh> ;) :D
October 31, 2011, 12:23 PM
I don't believe that S&W's old K38 Masterpiece (model 14) is used very much in formal competition anymore - maybe not at all. But because of this they are often found on the used market, and since as a general rule 6-inch/.38 Special revolvers are not in big demand, prices are more "reasonable" then is the case with others.
So it makes a great gun for any individual who simply want to go to a range and shoot for pleasure and fun. When they were made during the golden age of bullseye shooting S&W paid special attention to how they were put together. When marksmanship is the goal, adjustable sights are a must - unless you get very lucky. The sight picture itself is better then that found on fixed sighted guns. It is seldom that you find one with a bad trigger pull - single or double action. The rib on the barrel is for most, just right for an ideal balance. Custom stocks of every description are available. In short, for the intended purpose it's very hard to beat.
October 31, 2011, 12:32 PM
M14, M19 if you must have .357. The N frame M28 & M27 are great too. I find the M586 & M686 to muzzle heavy in 6" form.
November 1, 2011, 02:02 AM
For pure joy of balance in a wheelgun it just doesn't get any better than a K frame if your plan is to shoot 99% .38Spl. If you think you'll shoot a little magnum here and there for giggles then get a Model 19 and just shoot the Magnums in 158gn bullet choices. But if you know you'll be happy with all .38's then that 14 posted up above isn't going to have anything better IMHO. Match the K frame up with grips that suit your hands and you've got Wheelgun Nirvana to hold onto. With .38Spl being the primary ammo of choice there really isn't anything to be gained by going with the heavier L or N frame options other than arm exercise from holding them up.
I'd steer clear of the Model 10 and other fixed sight guns just simply for the reason you want to shoot target work. Unless, that is, you reload already and are willing to load to suit the gun's POA of the fixed sights. If that is the case then a fixed sight 10 with a 5 or 6 inch barrel would not be a bad option.
On second thought unless you want the cleaner look to avoid catching in a holster you're better off with the adjustable sights of the 14 or 19.
Once you get a S&W invest in a Wolff spring kit and fit it with the lightest rebound spring to match the mainspring. This reduces and smoothens up the DA pull markedly.
November 2, 2011, 08:44 AM
Talk to me more about swapping springs...is there a method to matching the trigger to the hammer spring or the main spring?
November 2, 2011, 09:05 AM
Before you start messing with springs, get the fundamentals of target work down. Once the fundamentals are learned, the spring changes are really not necessary.
November 2, 2011, 10:03 AM
Hard to go wrong with the K-38 Model 14, as has been pointed out.
November 2, 2011, 05:27 PM
The rebound springs provided in the Wolff kit all work with the reduced tension mainspring. The lighter options will slightly slow down the return speed and that demands that the works be clean and lightly oiled with a good quality oil for the least drag. But even so the stock 11 lb rebound spring still snaps the trigger back nicely while reducing the DA pull to a big degree.
On one gun I even went so far as to clip about a coil and a half and it still works well. But keep in mind that I only shoot for fun at targets. No defensive carry allowed up this way. So I don't need to worry about any possible issues related to "light springs". Having said this I haven't had any issue at all with my S&W's set up with the Wolff kits other than I grin so much that my face hurts.... :D
And yes, there is an interaction in the S&W system where the main and rebound springs play off against each other. Try to go too light on the rebound block spring and the trigger will not return. This is due to a camming action between parts where the system is reset for the next shot. It needs enough rebound spring pressure to ensure a snappy jump past that point. The harder the mainspring the more rebound spring pressure is needed to get this to happen.
I tried to further lighten up the Wolff mainspring to allow me to go with an even lighter rebound spring one time. To do this I just didn't tighten the tension screw fully. And I wound up my own rebound spring which was likely down around an 8 to 9 lb value. But that led to trigger system reset issues where I had to fine tune the mainspring to just get the trigger to reset consistently. I got those resolved but even with the tension screw just two turns out I began to get some FTF's. So consider the Wolff mainspring as it comes to be as light as you want to go and work with it. The stock Wolff kit sets up to provide reliable no fuss operation for targe work and unless you're willing to go crazy on the tinkering you'll want to just go with that.
I also found that this test setup resulted in a DA pull which was actually TOO light. Or perhaps the pull became too non linear. Either way I found that I didn't seem to have as good a control over the gun during the trigger pull. When I went back to the full screw tension setup and the 11 lb rebound block spring I was actually much happier with the trigger feel even though it was slightly heavier than the silly light pull test setup. With the test setup the hammer broke at around 4.5 lbs of pull. With the stock Wolff setup and the clipped 11 lb spring the hammer breaks at around 6.5 lbs during the DA pull. That's light enough for anyone but still seems to result in a more positive control.
None of this alters Strawhat's suggestion to concentrate on the basics though. I'll admit that I'm a compulsive tinkerer so that's why I did all this work as well as some polishing of the rebound block and the area it slides over in the frame. I still recomend the Wolff kit but don't go nutz like I did. Just install the main and 11lb rebound springs and clean and oil the works and then go enjoy and work on the grip, trigger and sight basics.
November 24, 2011, 07:25 PM
Ok it's been a while. I'm down to a S&W Model 19 or 27...6-inch, blued with a 95%+ finish. Can you folks help me with what I might expect to pay? Thanks!
November 24, 2011, 08:09 PM
For a Model 19, with a 6" barrel, you can expect to pay $550, and upward.
For a Model 27, with a 6" barrel, you can expect to pay $700, and upward.
Your 95% criterion is setting the minimum you'll have to pay. Generally, the Model 27's will come with the Presentation case, and that keeps the prices up. The Model 19's with 6" barrels are less common than the 4" variety, but they generally cost a bit less. They're just not as popular.
There are Model 586's out there with 6" barrels, and they'll generally cost a bit less. They have the same stock size as the K frame. However, the beefed up L frame will handle any .357 magnum out there without the risk of flame-cut top straps, eroded forcing cones, and end shake that K frames can develop when shooting high velocity, light weight (125gr and less) loads.
November 24, 2011, 09:54 PM
14-4 for me. Target trigger, hammer and 3lb trigger spring. 25 yd tack driver with HBWC reloads.
If you looking at a M-27 for target work. Consider a M-25 in 45 ACP.
Hard to beat the big fat holes made on paper with a 200 grain SWC.
The weight is a tad less then a M-27 due to the amount of metal removed from the cylinder and bore.
I have shot Bullseye with 625's and a M-14. They each have there days.
November 25, 2011, 03:39 PM
i would go with a 586 built like a tank....
November 26, 2011, 12:12 PM
I'm now bent on having a Model 19. I like the ribbed top of the barrel (vs. 27's checkered) and the shrouded ejector (vs. Model 14).
I'm looking for one with a high gloss blued finish but has been shot, square butt, original target grips, and one dated from 1963-1972. Keep your fingers crossed for me to find a nice old one. Once I get it, I'll post pics and give a range report.
November 26, 2011, 12:24 PM
The Model 19 is a nice revolver and I've come across a couple 6" versions in the past. They don't seem to have been used as hard as the 4" and 2.5" specimens that I've looked at in the past.
I still have to put in a vote for the Model 14. It's a great revolver and since you're looking for a target revolver the shroud for the ejecter rod isn't as necessary. But it does add a little more weight I suppose and many like that. Here is my K-38 4 screw (mfd. 1955). It has a very smooth trigger action and at 25 yards (bench rest) will easily shoot the center out of a target.
LEt us know what you decide.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=559042|My S&W Model K-38. (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=559042)
November 26, 2011, 07:44 PM
For my money S&W revolvers are just about the top of the heap. I have a Model 28-2 N frame .357 Highway Patrolman that is about the nicest wheel gun I've ever owned. Great SA trigger and about as smooth and light DA as any gun I've ever shot. With the six inch barrel and adjustable sights it's a first rate paper puncher especially with .38 specials. Recoil with .38s is very light and even with .367 this is a comfortable gun to shoot. Certainly not much of a concealable weapon but that big, heavy, strong frame makes for a great target revolver and side arm for open carry.
November 27, 2011, 07:27 PM
I agree with others here that the Model 14 is the way to go. It's THE classic target revolver in .38, and, across the range of issue, its accuracy is very reliable and consistent.
November 27, 2011, 08:06 PM
I just got a model 14 at auction. When i got it i pulled the trigger and the cylinder would rotate but the hammer wouldnt function. In single action it was an awesome 3.5 lbs with no travel at all. I took it to the gunsmith to get it fixed but he called me back and said its not broken.
Someone bought and installed a matched trigger and hammer to convert it to single action only...a bullseye gun. It shoots like an absolute dream. I really like the mod 14...its a great target piece.
November 28, 2011, 02:09 AM
I'll chime in with the SS m14 bunch. Short of a 38/22 outdoorsman is is the sweetest target shooting 6" out there. .38 special is just enough without going overboard.
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