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model 19 2.5 inch Keep it?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Slimjim, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. Slimjim

    Slimjim Well-Known Member

    I just picked up a S&W 2.5 inch model 19, New in the box from 1973, blued. I really want to shoot this gun, but all the reports of cracked forcing cones etc have me worried if i should just keep it in the box, or try and find a 2.5 inch L frame to trade it for. The gun is beautiful, and i'd love to shoot it, but am thinking i should find a revolver where i dont have to worry about the load im feeding it.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Much ado about nothing.

    Factory .357 mag ammo is lower pressure now then it was when the gun was made.

    My old 19 is still going strong after god knows how many rounds of ammo through it in the last 40 years.

  3. Chindo18Z

    Chindo18Z Well-Known Member

    You have a classic and extremely desirable revolver. If it is truly unfired, new-in-the-box (and came with box and accessories), you might want to NOT shoot it. It will continue to appreciate in value over the next few years. They don't make them anymore. The moment you shoot it (if it is unfired), you depreciate the collectible value by a good bit.

    Or...just shoot it.

    You really don't have to worry about loads. Any standard factory .357 load will work fine. Extended use of hot 110 & 125 grain loads will eventually accelerate wear on the weapon faster than heavier 158s. As far as firing .38 Special? Any load you like for damn near forever. You'll wear out long before the revolver.

    Much of the worry about K-frame wear and tear is overblown. Can it happen? Yes. Likely? Not even. The .38/.357 K-frames (Models 15, 10, 67, 64, 65, 66, 19) I've owned over the last 35+ years never developed cracked forcing cones. Nor have I ever seen/heard of it happening to anyone else in my shooting circles. I have experienced a little bit of flame cutting to the topstrap of an occasional .357 or .41 revolver.

    Cracked forcing cone? Not saying never...just very rare...and usually after a significant diet (several thousands of rounds) of hot .357.

    By all means, buy a comparable L-frame. You'll really like that one too.

    As described, your NIB weapon would easily fetch ~ $600+ in some parts of the country. In another year or three...more. It's rapidly becoming one of them thar collectible type firearms.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  4. Rexster

    Rexster Well-Known Member

    Avoid the 125-grain JHP loads listed at 1400-1450 FPS, and you will be OK for many tens of thousands of magnums. Data is published by the ammo companies. Pay attention, and you will be fine.

    You really don't want to be shooting those full-pressure 125s, anyway, unless you really love acting like the god of thunder and lightning. Winchester 145-grain Silvertips are good loads for short-barreled magnum snubbies, and to go milder, there is the Remington 125-grain Golden Saber, and even milder, the Speer 135-grain Gold Dot Short Barrel load. NYPD officers who have used this latter load at .38 +P velocity have gotten good results against real-life criminals, and the .357 version pushes the same bullet just a bit faster. My wrists are getting old, and especially my right wrist does not like recoil much any more, so I plan to try some of this Short Barrel stuff.

    BTW, it is not so much cracked forcing cones, as eroded forcing cones. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, it is certain of the lighter-bullet loads, loaded at the higher end of the pressure scale, that blowtorch the forcing cones so mercilessly.

    I just picked up a very minty 4" 19-5, to replace the 19-3 and the 19-6 (or 19-7, perhaps) I let get away from me in the 1990's. I like L-frames and GP100s, too, but the K-frames have a lower bore axis, and kick upward less, in spite of their lesser weight. The Model 19 is a truly serious fightin' sixgun.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  5. robctwo

    robctwo Well-Known Member

    I recently bought a nib 19-3 4" for shooting. I reload. Very nice gun, a few thousand through it at this point.
  6. Slimjim

    Slimjim Well-Known Member

    What are the reasons that S&W replaced the K frame with the L frame?
  7. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Well-Known Member

    S&W still hasn't quite replaced the K frame, but the motivation behind the L-frame was to provide a slightly larger cylinder window which could accomodate a beefier forcing cone for those 110-125 gr loads. Of course, the "real" reason for the L-frame may have been to bring something sex and new to the market at a time when wheelguns were just starting to fall out of favor for LEOs.

    And to the OP--I'd keep the Model 19!
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

  9. amd6547

    amd6547 Well-Known Member

    I own a nickle Model 19-4 2.5", which is one of my favorite HD and CCW revolvers...It came from a dealer who sells LEO seized firearms, and has a case number electropenciled on it in several places.
    It wasn't till I had it for a month that I realized the barrel had been replaced with a stainless Model 66 barrel...Victim of cracked forcing cone? I will never know.
    I have shot a limited amount of DoubleTap 125gn Bonded Core 357 mag ammo through it...My preferred carry load. I dont find the recoil or blast to be excessive at all. A never sell for me.
    It is a GREAT shooting revolver.
  10. Rexster

    Rexster Well-Known Member

    amd, I like your "calico" sixgun! :)
  11. Rexster

    Rexster Well-Known Member

    "You really don't want to be shooting those full-pressure 125s, anyway, unless you really love acting like the god of thunder and lightning."

    Quoting myself here, I did not mean to disparage those who like and/or use the "King of the Street" 125-grain full-velocity JHPS. I was loaded with these when I had to use my duty GP100 in the gravest extreme, to borrow a term from Mas Ayoob, and I continued to use this load in my duty/carry Models 19 and 66 until 1997, when I entered an all-1911 phase. In 2000, I got the GP100 out of the safe, and resumed using big .357 sixguns for various purposes, which I use to this day. If that purpose is close-range SD/HD, there are likely to be 125-grain JHPs in the cylinder. Nothing wrong with throwing lightning bolts like Zeus, if one has trained for it.

    Just don't run too many lightning bolts through your K-frame .357 sixguns.

    BTW, I did not need to read anything by Mas Ayoob of Evan Marshall or Ed Sanow to know the 125-grain JHP at 1400-1450 FPS will change someone's channel. Texas peace officers knew this from the beginning, from dumping real live felons. The Winchester 145-grain Silvertip earned a good reputation the same way, in the same place.
  12. amd6547

    amd6547 Well-Known Member

    I would love to try the Winchester 145gn silvertrip...I simply cant find any for sale!
    I passed on one box I found at a local dealer a few months ago, buying two boxes of 38spl instead...when I went back a month later, that one box of silvertip was gone, and they have not had any since.

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