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I need small frame .38 recommendations.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Kymasabe, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Kymasabe

    Kymasabe Well-Known Member

    I have a snub .38, an NOT looking for another. What I am looking for is a 3 or 4 inch barreled .38 but on a small frame. For example, I have a S&W model 36 and I have some Charter Arms Undercover .38's. This weekend I went to the gunshow looking for a 3 or 4 inch barrelled .38. I tried Ruger Security Six and Taurus model 82's and found that they're huge and weigh a ton. Too big. Medium framed is not what I want so, been trying to find a long barrelled small frame and here's what I've come up with, let me know if I'm missing anything.
    S&W 36-3
    Charter Arms Bulldog .38 from the 70's and 80's.
    Rossi 33 and later model 68
    Taurus 85. Yes, they made a 3 inch barrelled 5 shot 85, I just wish I knew the rest of the model number (if there is more to it).

    Did I miss anyone?
  2. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Well-Known Member

    S&W Model 60. Only comes in a .357 now, but only the cylnder is a tad longer. Adustable sights, 3" barrel, and in a J-Frame. My wife has a 38 special Mod 60 I bought her some years ago. Very nice 5-shot stainless revolver.
  3. allin

    allin Well-Known Member

    J Frames


    I have a few revolvers and the J Frame Taurus 38 is great. 3" barrel, dead on accurate, no probs at all. Shoots better (for me) than my 2" snub J frame 38, not as good as my 4" k frame 357. It's my preferred ccw.
    I found a used stainless, looked to have about 50 rounds through it for 190.00 excellent shape continues to shoot very well
  4. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Well-Known Member

    I have the S&W Model 60 3" Bbl. .357 Mag.
    The 3" Bbl. model is the only one of the 60's
    that has the adjustable W&E rear sight.
    It's all stainless steel, and has a full length
    underlug on the barrel - also with this length
    Bbl. it has a full length extracttor rod to get
    empty cases out easily. It is 24 oz empty.

    Though it's chambered for .357 Mag I seldom
    shooot .357 and mostly shoot .38 Special. for
    an HD/SD load, Double Tap +P 125 gr. GDJHP

    Another option slightly larger/heavier than the 60
    would be the Ruger SP101

  5. lowercase

    lowercase Well-Known Member

    I have a S&W 36 3" (Model 36-1) round-butt revolver.

    Sweet little gun. However, they can be a bit pricey when you find them.

    I'd go for either the Charter Undercover 3" or Taurus 85 3" you mentioned, as well.

    I don't know enough about the Rossis to comment on them.
  6. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Well-Known Member

    I want to get a S&W Model 63 3" Bbl. / W&E Adj Rear sight. to go
    with my model 60 3" bbl. - the 63 was re-introduced a couple of
    years ago, the "Kit" gun. .22 LR 8 shot cylinder The original 63
    was a 6 shot cylinder. The 63 will be a good starter for my grand
    kids. - oldest is 5 yrs so I've got time to find one.

  7. GP100man

    GP100man Well-Known Member

    3" SP101 38spc.

  8. skoro

    skoro Well-Known Member

    My personal experience with a 3" compact 38 revolver is a S&W Model 36-1. It's a fine little shooter. I'd recommend it.
  9. hovercat

    hovercat Well-Known Member

    Colt police positive, if you do not mind used.
  10. Kymasabe

    Kymasabe Well-Known Member

    I discovered this morning that Charter Arms makes a .357 mag pug that I can shoot .38's with, 4 inch barrel, but I prefer my guns blued, not stainless finish.
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member

    I have always had a special fondness for the S&W Model 36 with a 3" barrel and round butt configuration. I felt it just balanced better and gave me a slightly longer sight radius to work with. Fitted with a Tyler T-Grip adapter I thought it was a great set-up for taking along for while hiking through the woods.

    I also had an older Rossi Model 88 with a 3" barrel that was very well made, though I believe it only came in stainless steel. A couple of years ago I bought a S&W Model 638 for a friend of mine that had a 3" barrel but it has an aluminum frame and stainless steel barrel and cylinder.
  12. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Well-Known Member

    That would be my recommendation as well.

    BADUNAME2 Well-Known Member

    I'd go with a 3" Smith Model 13 round butt. Or possibly an SP101.
  14. flyingfeathers

    flyingfeathers Well-Known Member

    I'll third that opinion, Colt PPS is a fine revolver.
  15. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    Just in the past couple of years Ruger has begun to offer their SP101 with adjustable sights and a four inch barrel. Pretty nice gun.
  16. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Well-Known Member

    Another owner of the 3" 36-1 RB chief's special heavy barrel (reportedly produced at the request of NYPD's Frank McGee) here. As others have said, it's great. Fun little shooter.

    I've seen the 3" Taurus 85, and talked directly to more than one owner who loves them, but never shot the 3" bull myself. I did have a 2" model 85, and it worked great, so I'm sure the 3" is an even better shooter.
  17. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    The S&W Model 60 would be my suggestion.
  18. CajunBass

    CajunBass Well-Known Member

    I used to have an old Charter Arms Undercover with a 3" barrel. I never fired it, and don't believe it had ever been fired, but it was a nice little gun. The tiny grips were about worthless, but that's easy to fix with a set of the neoprene grips that Charter puts on their new guns. It's a five shooter by the way.

    However IMHO, it's pretty hard to find a 4", 38 much more compact and lighter than a Smith & Wesson Model 10/M&P with a tapered barrel. This one is an M&P from 1955. The slender tapered barrel makes a big difference from say even a Model 10/64 with a heavy barrel, or a Model 15, or a any of the medium frame .357's.


    But a Colt Police Positive would have a slightly smaller frame, I admit.
  19. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    I have both a 4" SP101 and a 3" Model 60. I prefer the Model 60, but the SP101 isn't a bad gun at all and I'd buy another if I needed and could find one. I just prefer the J frames.
  20. oldbear

    oldbear Well-Known Member

    Small frame 3" 38 special. Smith and Wesson did produce the M-37 with a 3" barrel, I don't know if they still produce these. If you can find one it may meet your needs.

    Best of luck..

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