NEw to revolvers, some background and Hello...


November 2, 2011, 11:06 PM
The first handgun I ever shot: A Smith and Wesson .38 with a 2 inch barrel, if memory serves, and a J frame. Years later I shot a Glock 26. Most recently I shot a ruger sr9c, that my friend owns.

I am thinking of getting handgun.

I have looked at a ruger lcr in .38 special. I feel as my first revolver maybe a .357 might be a little much to become decent with.

Concealed carry passe din my state recently, so I am planning on doing this at some point with this handgun.

THe S and W .38 was more comfortable than all the rest.

They are just more expensive.

I want to spend between 400 and 650.

Thank you ahead for your time and patience with me, and ignorant questions from a newcomers perspective.

I am leaning more towards .38.

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November 2, 2011, 11:45 PM
Welcome to THR.

The S&W J-frame .38 is the cheapest option, not the most expensive. Shouldn't cost you more than $400 new. Ruger SR9c might be close to that, maybe $450. Glock 26 is probably just barely over $500.

Get whatever you're most comfortable with. Any of the models you listed would serve very well as a conceal-carry weapon.

November 3, 2011, 12:08 AM
You might also add the original recipe Ruger SP-101 to your list of things to check out; it's a little bit like a J-frame on steroids. I have both a J in . 38, as well as one of the original short cylinder 2 1/4" sp101s in .38: the J is a great little gun, accurate and all that, but the sp is an all-day shooter. In .38, it's a pussycat and you can stuff it with any .38 you can find, even +P+.

November 3, 2011, 02:16 PM
I just picked up a VERY lightly used S&W 442, that's a 2 inch J frame .38 Special with a concealed hammer, for $320. A new one was sitting next to it for $400.

I'd recommend it all day long, awesome little concealed carry piece.

November 3, 2011, 06:22 PM
Paistemage. A 357 will shoot 38specials and the 357 mags. I love my 38,s. A 38 with 130 gr. flat point will be quite nice to stop an, intruder .But you need to shoot and feel every different kind of round to feel what you like the best and what you feel like you can handle.

November 3, 2011, 06:37 PM
If you plan to shoot the revolver on a limited basis but plan to carry for defense, I think the J frame by Smith is ideal. I have several snub nose Smiths but rarely shoot them as recoil is more than I like.

November 4, 2011, 12:24 AM
Having shot a J frame gun I have to agree that it's more suitable for a carry often and shoot only occasionally. Even with normal power .38Spls it tends to kick a lot. The one I got to try had the small old style grips which certainly didn't help any. Better grips would cure much of the woes. But it still wouldn't be a gun I'd want to shoot often.

If you want a gun to carry AND shoot for lots of practice and maybe some competition then look around for a K frame model 10 with a 2 to 3 inch barrel. It's slightly bigger but for that you get one more round to shoot along with enough more weight that the gun becomes a joy to shoot a lot.

Really though this just all points out that with handguns there's just no way to shoot a lot in a variety of practice and competitive settings as well as have something which is really ideal for carry. So plan on this not being your ONLY handgun.

November 4, 2011, 06:25 AM
On a related note, and speaking of the Model 10, I'd like to get a revolver, mainly for a different shooting experience (my other handguns are semi-autos) while putting many holes in paper (seems to me as if something like this with rubber-ish grips would result in a bit less recoil).

A close-by store is advertising in a sale paper "Police Trade" Model 10's for about $250 (certainly when compared to new ones). Obviously they're used, but the price seems reasonable if one gets a decent shooter; given that I of what sorts of things should I be wary? Also - does S&W tie warranty to the original purchaser or is there some sort of "lifetime of the firearm" support?

Sorry if I've changed the direction of the thread, or asked anything patently dumb.

Any advice welcomed and appreciated.

November 4, 2011, 08:36 AM
welcome to THR PM, in that price range, a great NEW gun (about $450) would be the Ruger SP101. it will shoot .357s and .38s all day long. the gun comes in a few different configurations also. 2.25 barrel, 3in. barrel DAO (no hammer spurr) or with a hammer spurr for shooting single action. weighs about 25oz. and is pretty concealable if you choose to carry it. it is also a good platform to teach yourself some trigger controll.

November 4, 2011, 09:08 AM
Never understood the reasoning of wanting to stick with a .38 only. If weight, size, and concealability are your primary factors for consideration, then yes you might have to go with a .38 only. But the ".357 might be too much" argument just never makes since to me. If you're not comfortable shooting .357, you can still shoot the same .38s out of the same gun. Buying a .357 gives you "room to grow" so to speak, but I'm confident there will be a time when you're ready for the .357 and then you'll be backing buying a .357 when you could have just done that from the very beginning.

I'll be completely honest, I own a lot of .357s and not one single .38 only. 95% of what gets shot out of my .357s is pussycat .38 Special loads. I get all the enjoyment out of shooting mild .38 loads while still having the ability to load up the cylinder with full house .357 loads and make the fireballs fly if the mood strikes me!

For your price range, let me show you want you can get. These are both classic S&W Model 66s, no-dash versions to be exact. One is a 1974 and the other is a 1975. These guns were made in a time when craftsmanship was an art and gun companies weren't worried about cutting costs. Their value is constantly going up and they make great investments. Much better than a LCR ever will. The one with the combat grips was purchased last weekend at a gun show for $500 cash, out the door. The one with the service grips I bought a little over a year ago for $600 cash. I shoot .38s out of these guns all the time, but when I carry them they get loaded with .357.

November 4, 2011, 10:14 AM
Yeah that was quick, and varied.

MY friend argues with me that a .357 would be HARDER to carry because of the width of the weapon.

I am 5'10", weigh 175, and am lanky. In my non work clothes I tend to relaxed fit jeans, and xl shirts. A little bit of room. Not skin tight clothes.

I always tell him, the owner of the Ruger compact, that a .357 would give me options, and shooting .38s out of it , with the extra weight, would be a breeze.

I figure, in my layman's opinion, the extra weight would keep the end of the gun from flying up, more.

I DO plan on owning more than one pistol.

The K frame idea I feel holds credence. I would probably do an in the waist band holster, on my right side, since that is my dominant hand.

I want something I would shoot often. Practice as much as possible and yet, be a carry weapon.

It's a gun not a paperweight.:evil:

I didn't realize smith and wessons came as cheap as that. I thought the name would cost more...

November 4, 2011, 10:15 AM
Olympus= NICE guns...

November 4, 2011, 10:44 AM
I did actually look at ruger sp101....
A friend of mine has several revolvers as well. I was planning on shooting some and seeing more what I like too.

November 4, 2011, 11:06 AM
They're a boatload of service size, 4 inch barrel and 6 shot, revolvers in 357 or 38 spl out there. Please don't try a find a gun that will do everything for your 1st gun.

If you buy a service size 1st you can carry it. Might not be the perfect carry gun but it will work. Later go get a J -frame for carry and use the service size for Home defense and a range gun.

The best I've found for a do everything gun is a 3 in barrel model 60 357 J- frame. The 3 in barrel is to long for pocket carry but covers everything else. Good luck in you're hunt and welcome.

Don't be afraid to buy a used S&W or ruger as many have been well cared for and are dependable guns. Many have been police or security turn ins.

Frank V
November 4, 2011, 01:04 PM
Welcome to the forum.

I think you said the S&W J frame was comfortable to you. I'd get the one that's most comfortable. I've found that if you like a gun you will usually shoot it better, & if it fits you, are REALLY likely to shoot it better.

The price range you mention should allow you to get a really nice gun. Don't forget that you don't have to shoot .357 Magnums in a .357 gun. It will handle .38 Specials quite nicely, you just want to clean the chambers with a cleaning brush after you shoot .38s in it.
Good luck.

November 4, 2011, 01:45 PM
As a lot of you have mentioned, the used market has lots of potential to me. With two anklebiters around watching the pennies is paramount.

Bosshog your remark about getting a gun that will do everything is what I have been going over in my mind as well.

I figure since .38 was good for me to shoot in the past get something more suited for .38. I also saw a 6 inch barrel ruger gp100 that I liked.

I feel that larger gun would be more comfortable to shoot .357 out of...

I feel if I were to go with something that does everything, so to speak, it would be lacking in one of the departments of its functionality because it is almost like an in between gun.

You guys have given me a LOT to consider, hence why I joined here.

My former place of residence, Illinois , STILL doesn't have CCW permits. If they did, well there would be less muggings and the like I am sure.

Thanks guys.

November 4, 2011, 03:00 PM
In the revolver arena, I won't buy anything made before 1980 (Okay, I admit I bought the 627 Performance Center. But that gun is made with more attention to detail as the older ones were). Older revolvers were better made, using better components, and more attention to detail. As long as the gun hasn't been abused, there's absolutely NOTHING wrong with buying used.

I've found that there's never ONE gun that can fill multiple purposes. I tried the same thing, looking for guns that could serve double and even triple duty. I found that the sacrifices were not worth the trouble. Now I stick to buying a gun for one single purpose. I don't target shoot with my CCWs, I don't conceal my target guns, and my hunting guns are strictly for hunting. It may take longer to get your collection built up like that and you may have to put other purposes on hold a little longer, but I promise you'll end up with a collection of guns that meets your EVERY need perfectly and without sacrifices in other area.

November 4, 2011, 03:06 PM
Beautiful Smiths, Olympus.

November 4, 2011, 05:56 PM
Beautiful Smiths, Olympus.

Thanks. I'm pretty proud of them.

November 4, 2011, 05:59 PM
Never understood the reasoning of wanting to stick with a .38 only. If weight, size, and concealability are your primary factors for consideration, then yes you might have to go with a .38 only. But the ".357 might be too much" argument just never makes since to me. If you're not comfortable shooting .357, you can still shoot the same .38s out of the same gun. Buying a .357 gives you "room to grow" so to speak, but I'm confident there will be a time when you're ready for the .357 and then you'll be backing buying a .357 when you could have just done that from the very beginning.

The one problem that new shooters can run into shooting constant .38 out of a .357 revolver though is that nasty carbon ring inside the chambers. Nothing a good cleaning wouldn't take care of. But it can cause the longer .357 casings to stick hard when ejecting the rounds. This happened to a few of my friends and they didn't understand why the .357 casings were getting stuck up.

Second thing is cost. Around here at least, .38's seem about 20% cheaper than the .357 counterparts.

But I am with you on the ".357 might be too much" argument.

November 5, 2011, 07:28 PM
So far the 642 is the top contender. I wonder about the airweight versus the all steel. Would the heavier frame make ease of use more substantial? Otherwise the alluminum is cheaper than steel. Might have a match there

November 5, 2011, 09:53 PM
Airweights are nice for concealing, but not a lot of fun to pleasure shoot.

November 5, 2011, 10:46 PM
Olympus is right. And honestly, for carry on the belt (IWB or OWB), a good gun belt makes the weight of a steel gun disappear. Aluminum frame revolvers are strictly pocket guns for me, where weight is VERY noticeable (I've got a 642 that I only carry in the pocket).

But IWB, I carry a 4" S&W Model 28 (N Frame) pretty regularly. That's a big honkin' hunk of steel that probably weighs close to 3 lbs loaded. But a stiff leather gun belt and high quality holster (leather in my case) do make it possible, though it certainly isn't an every day carry for me.

On the used front, there are plenty of deals to be had on Rugers and S&Ws if you are patient. And as another poster said, though .38 Special only guns are less flexible than a .357 (they are the same width BTW, your friend is mistaken), they often cost quite a bit less. For example, you can find a 4" S&W Model 15 (blued, adj sights, K Frame) for around $350. To get the same style gun in .357 Magnum, the Model 19, you are looking at at least $450. You just have to decide which is a better value based on your own priorities.

Me? I own an equal # of .38s and .357s (6 each). I love them all equally.

Here are some examples of used revolvers and prices I paid. All can be carried quite easily with quality gear, though I admit the Model 28 wouldn't be for everyone. I carry it is often as possible because I shoot it better than anything else.

Ruger Police Service Six, 4", .357 Magnum, paid $274 in Oct 2009:

S&W Model 15-2, 2" .38 Special, paid $374 in Jan 2009:

S&W Model 66-1, 2.5" .357 Mag, paid $430 in late 2010

S&W Model 28-2, 4" .357 Mag, paid $425 in Dec '09

S&W Model 13-3, 3" .357 Mag, paid $450 in 2009:

S&W Model 15-3, 4" .38 Special, paid $309 in the spring of 2009:

Taurus 431, 3" 44 Special, paid $268 last fall:

I recently acquired a 4" S&W Model 19-2 for $450, but I've not taken a photo of it yet.

November 7, 2011, 06:56 PM
I went and checked out the 642 yesterday at the store, does fit nicely in my hand. I have the expectation it wont be marvelous to shoot.

Personally I am going to own both calibers and wouldn't mind a .357 in a larger framed revolver anyway.

November 7, 2011, 09:10 PM
I will say the 642 can be fun in it's own right if you can load your own light shooting wadcutters. I use 148 grain WCs and 3.2 grains of Winchester 231. This moderate recoiling load comes out the barrel so slow you can see the bullet in flight. Makes practice more enjoyable than shooting 158 grain +Ps.

November 8, 2011, 07:34 PM
thanks Jad.

Now for the elusive holster. The Mika seems good from others estimation....

Ill read more in 642 club...

November 8, 2011, 07:52 PM
I'd get a .357 over a .38 any day. You can run specials through the .357 but not the other way around. Once upon a time, the .357's were bigger and thicker, but technology has 'em so similar now it is difficult to tell the difference. Mostly I think the top strap is heavier in a .357? Anyway, I have a 340PD. You won't get a lighter and smaller handgun with that kind of power, they don't make one. Period.

They also don't make a firearm in the world with the same recoil impulse! With .357, it is brutal, it feels like it is cracking finger bones. I didn't practice with it much, just pocket carried when I needed to, until I found out non +P specials, 158gr., were really soft. I've always practiced with specials in a .357, but never tried that combo in the 340PD.

If you plan on getting more handguns, get a 340PD. Best carry piece you can get when you think about it. I'd carry mine more, but I just feel more comfortable with a Glock. The Glock, even a small one, feels like a brick in your pants, but the 340PD? I've heard people say it is so light they forgot they had it on them. Then it really did happen to me, I was working around the yard, got distracted, had to go to the hardware store, and when I paid I reached in my pocket for change and felt a handgun instead. How's that for light and comfortable?

If you don't plan on getting more handguns, steer clear of the 340PD. It is a great carry piece, but not the one you always want to take to the range. For me anyway. Smith also makes the Nightguard series, check that out. They have the .357's from five shots to eight, all frame sizes, scandium frames, but with stainless cylinders. The stainless cylinder will help a lot with the recoil, but I wouldn't trade my all scandium and titanium revolver for it.

Finding a great condition 340PD shouldn't be hard either because most people fire it and realize it isn't for them. Just keep that in mind. I love mine, but they aren't for everybody.

I have a 686+ 6", pre-lock. Finest revolver I've handled. I can put five of seven shots in a sillhouette at 300m with it too. Amazing handgun, but 6" is too long to conceal. The 686 is, I think, THE .357 much like the Glock 17/19 is THE 9mm. To me anyway.

Some folks like Ruger big time, but I just can't wrap my head around 'em. I have a 10/22, and know they make some great stuff, but the Smiths just feel better to me.

Good luck, and safe carry. Make sure to get a REALLY GOOD holster and a REAL GUN BELT! Don't skimp on those, they can ruin an otherwise perfectly comfortable and concealed carry.

November 8, 2011, 07:55 PM
For holsters, for the J-frame, the Mitch Rosen Workman Slim looks phenomenal. Expensive, but nice. I like Milt Sparks a lot, but not sure what they do in the way of revolver holsters, mine are both for Glocks.

I have a Bladetech I got for the 340PD recently. Not bad kydex, I didn't want a real nice one, just a quick one to throw on, but I can say it isn't nice enough that I'd want it to be my regular carry holster.

November 8, 2011, 08:40 PM
Take a look at the S&W 640; it's an all steel J-frame. It is the hammerless model. Mine has 2 1/8" barrel, but I think they also come with the shorter 1 7/8" tube. It's rated for .357 and is quite decent with .38's.

By the way you are at the dawn of a whole new aspect of your life with respect to handguns and handgun craft. Enjoy. Read magazines, forums and books.
Talk to shooters and gun people. You are gonna have fun!

November 8, 2011, 09:03 PM
Where are you guys getting 640's for $400?

Great firearms but definitely heaver and more expensive than the old 442/642.

OP there's nothing wrong with a .38 and it will be less expensive than any j-frame. 357 This will allow you to buy a nice 65 or 686 later for your .357 shooting.

The ".357" only crowd has a valid point, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying a good .38 at the range especially a nice old specimen.

November 9, 2011, 02:25 PM
If you go with S&W 642 it is very easy to change grips. One screw to change. Get a set of Pachmayr Compac grips and change them out for range practice. It will allow you to shoot that J- frame as much as you want. I leave them on for belt carry but change back for pocket carry.

The Pachmayr Compac will really settle that Airweight down with standard 38 spl. Save the 38 spl +P for carry.

November 9, 2011, 08:20 PM
The Robert Mika pocket holster is an excellent choice at a great price. I've used mine for 5 years and it looks the same as it did when new. As an added benefit, Robert is a great guy to do business with. He calls you personally to tell you he received your order, then he confirms the gun the holster will hold and advises you on the delivery time, etc. Always good to give my dollars to someone so willing and happy to serve.

November 10, 2011, 03:00 PM
If you are going to buy a car you generaly test drive it first. If you are going to buy a gun I would suggest you find someone who has one and shoot it first.

I shot both a 4 inch and a six inch gp 100 before I bought the six inch. I bought it as a range gun / home defence gun so the weight was a positive thing.It eats 357 mag like candy. For backpacking it was heavier than I wanted to lug around. The SP 101 had not come out yet so I tried a SW model 60 with the stock 1 7/8barrel. I could not hit anything at more than arms length. I tried a varity of J frames before I custom ordered mine 60-10 with a three inch barrel.

If you are paicent and frendly you will find you can shoot all most anything before you have to buy one.

I live a moderatly rural area so the people are fairly friendly. I do a lot of my shooting at a state owned range at the finger lakes /rocky ford state park. I have found that MOST people will resond to a friendly interest in thier firearms. 95% of the time I offer a chance to shoot one of mine I get to shoot one of thiers as well. Thats why I know I will never own most glocks. I just don't like the way they feel. I found out I liked the standard full size 1911's there. Inow know I have no need or desire for anything in 454 casul that doesn't come with wheels and a lanyard.

A number of people have been amazed at how little 357 mag kicks out of my six inch gp 100.

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