Question for you guys


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OldBrownDog
April 6, 2013, 02:19 AM
Hey guys, I have a question, and I'd really like some advice from the resident revolver gurus here. Unfortunately the background is a bit long winded, so please bear with me.

Here is the situation: I've been getting into hiking and backpacking recently, usually on 2-3 day hikes, sometimes longer. Occasionally I feel like it might be comforting to bring a handgun along. This is the point where I should mention I do most of my hiking outside of NJ, so a non-resident CCW permit from a state with reciprocity in Pennsylvania, WV, Virgina, and NC is already in the works.

Now on to my question. I own a S&W Model 65-3 4". I love it and would consider carrying it on these hikes. But....I have read all about the issues with shooting hot 125gr .357s and the cracking of K-frame forcing cones. So, my question is: Besides recoil, will I have issues shooting a heavy load, say Buffalo Bore 180gr LFNGCs through my M65? I don't plan on shooting a ton of them, but certainly enough for familiarity. I don't want to abuse my gun, and my alternatives would be buying a Ruger GP-100 3" or carrying my Colt Gov't 1911 in .45. My only other handgun is a Browning Buckmark .22.

I have been reading through the "What do you carry when you are actually hiking" thread, and I realize I may decide to lose the weight of a steel revolver and extra ammo for a .22 or even nothing at all. But I would like to give it a shot, as I think I would feel more comfortable sometimes.

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bigtubby
April 6, 2013, 09:29 AM
From what I know the K frame cracking of the forcing cones was from the lighter 110gr and 125 gr bullets. I am no expert but I think the heavier bullet would be OK.

I think the cracked forcing cone story is overplayed I know there are some that cracked but it is rather rare.

19-3Ben
April 6, 2013, 10:14 AM
It seems to me that the issue with cracked forcing cones was more on the Model 19. I don't know if the fact that the model 65 is stainless is what makes the difference or what. I could also be mistaken. I'm sure Old Fuff or Guillermo will be able to give a better answer.

As for those super nuclear loads, my big question would be, why?
If you're looking at BB, take a look at their .38+p outdoorsman. It's a Semi Wadcutter load that has ballistics on the low end of .357magnums, and ought to have great penetration. It's not like you have major scary huge beasts in the woods you're describing. 2 legged predators are probably more of a concern.
I don't think a few loads of that 180gr BB load would hurt the K frame, but why push it?

Sam1911
April 6, 2013, 10:27 AM
I'll agree that the light & blazing fast loads were the big problem with killing K-frames, but the heavier the load the rougher it will be on the gun, of course. A few rounds through one won't do any real damage, but what does "enough for familiarity" mean to you? :) 10K rounds?

I'll also agree that there's not much, if anything, in the woods around you that requires a serious thumper to engage. Black bears are about it, and they're pretty mild-mannered if you're smart, and not terribly thick-skinned.

You're more likely to have trouble with fellow man.

Vern Humphrey
April 6, 2013, 10:47 AM
Why use heavy loads? Why not throttle back, accept a slightly lower muzzle velocity, and keep your gun from developing problems?

BullRunBear
April 6, 2013, 11:01 AM
If you're concerned about defense for two-legged beasties, your S&W 65 loaded with 38 specials (regular or +P) should do the job. It should handle several generations worth of 38 specials and you are already familiar with it. They would work against other dangers like feral dogs. Same with the 1911, although I prefer the simplicity of revolvers. If you are just thinking of survival situations, I would think of the Browning and more ammo.

Having said that, any excuse to buy a GP100 is a good one. :D

I know backpackers like to keep down the weight of their gear but for 2 - 3day trips I wouldn't think the extra weight of gun and ammo would matter.

Let us know what you end up deciding.

Jeff

MedWheeler
April 6, 2013, 11:34 AM
I was just about to say the same thing as BullRunBear did about the GP-100...

buck460XVR
April 6, 2013, 12:24 PM
Why use heavy loads? Why not throttle back, accept a slightly lower muzzle velocity, and keep your gun from developing problems?


I agree with Vern. There certainly is no legitimate reason to run hot .357 loads for the scenario you present.

OldBrownDog
April 6, 2013, 03:42 PM
Guys, thanks for all the help. I realize that heavy .357s would be overkill, given fellow human beings are more of a concern than any bear or other nasty creature. However, I figured it would be better to be over gunned than vice versa if the weight was similar.

19-3Ben - I hadn't looked at the BB .38 Special +P Outdoorsman. But I ordered 2 boxes today, and I expect to carry that load, assuming it shoots well in my gun.

BullRunBear - The GP-100 is still on my radar. I'll get one sooner or later.

Thanks again guys.

Hondo 60
April 6, 2013, 05:21 PM
It seems to me that the issue with cracked forcing cones was more on the Model 19.

Not really. The issue was K-frame .357's
Not sure why anyone would think it was just one model.
The frame & barrel were all consistent across all models.

OldBrownDog - My 65 & 66 see a heavy burden of my own reloads.
125 gr JHP over 16.0 gr of 2400.
That's a stout load and I've seen no evidence of any cracking.

19-3Ben
April 6, 2013, 11:26 PM
Not really. The issue was K-frame .357's
Not sure why anyone would think it was just one model.
The frame & barrel were all consistent across all models.


They absolutely are, and they all have the thinner flat spot at the 6 o'clock position where the forcing cone would crack. I had heard at one point that the stainless models were less prone to cracking than the carbon steel models due to something about the comparative metallurgy of the steels. It sounded dubious to me which is why i posted this info more as a question asking for clarification, but still wanted to offer it in case someone could shed light.

Radagast
April 7, 2013, 02:10 AM
An interesting write up here:
http://www.gunblast.com/Butch_MagnumLoads.htm

Bottom line? No Model 65/66 cracks, some model 19 cracks.
That having been said, I had a couple of Model 66s that needed a tune up after a small number of magnum loads. That's why I now have a Model 28.

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