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Newbie needs help choosing a new gun

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by DGrneo, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. DGrneo

    DGrneo New Member

    Hello all,
    I am new to the world of revolvers and I have narrowed my first one down to 2 choices, a .38 or a .357. The .38 would be the Taurus 851SSULT and the .357 would be a Taurus 651SHC. The gun would probably be used as my concealed carry. I have honestly never shot a .357 snubby so I don’t know what they shoot like. I am interested in the .357 for stopping power and its ability to also shoot .38 bullets. I have shot a few different .38's and I am confident with them. I was just looking for some other opinions as to what I should get.
    Thanks in advance for your help!!
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I suggest the .38 +P snub because you gain very little advantage from a short barrel snub shooting .357 Mag rounds. Out of a 4" barrel you get twice the energy from a .357 Mag over a .38 Spl where as out of a short barrel you get only 25% more energy. IMO it's not worth the small additional power.

    First check out the numbers on the "normal" .38 Spl and .357 Mag rounds then check out the Short Barrel]/b] numbers for both the 135 gr .38 Spl +P and 135 gr .357 Mag Short Barrel rounds from Speer. You will see what I mean. http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics/ammo.aspx

    I have a S&W Model 638 in .38 Spl +P (1.875" barrel) and a S&W Model 619 in .357 Mag (4" barrel) and love to shoot them both.

    Of those 2 I would buy the Taurus 851SSULT but that's just my choice. My M-638 is close to that model and also has the bodyguard frame. The S&W M-638 lists for less than the Taurus 851SSULT so you might want to look as some of the S&W models.
  3. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Well-Known Member

    Besides the chambering differences betwen the two models you mention there are slight ergonomic and significant price differences .

    Although the weight is about the same ,and the lighter guns are much better for pocket carry , (almost necessary as a matter of fact for pocket carry) although some will disagree.

    The model 851 is a shrouded hammer model while the 651 is an exposed hammer model. The 651 Ti also being around $200 more in cost . If those features and costs are of no significance to you than I would likely go with the .357 as it will always allow you to shoot .38 Spl in it while the opposite isn't true.

    You may also look at the model 850 inclosed hammer .

    In light weight guns you will find the .357 recoil to be a bit brutal - the 2 you mention are about 17 oz guns. For that reason you may not want or need to spend the extra money above the cost of the .38 Spl gun as you are likely to be using mostly .38Spl's in these guns anyway.

    My 2 cents worth.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2006
  4. Even in an all steel revolver, the magnum makes a lot of recoil, but in a lightweight, it is really unmanageable, and if you are talking about a snubby barrel, the increased energy to the target is only slight. If you want a lightweight, go with the .38 Special. Cor Bon makes some very hot loaded .38 Special +p that will let you take full advantage of the power potential there. With a snubby magnum, a good bit of the powder burn is happening outside the barrel, where it will not impart forward energy to the bullet, but it still kicks so hard you will not want to practice with it.

    Also, might I suggest you look into a slightly used Colt Detective Special in .38 Special, or an older version of the S&W Model 60, i.e., one without a key hole. You can get these for bargain prices on www.gunsamerica. You can also find them in pawn shops and gun stores in the used gun sections. You'd have a much better gun than a Taurus that way.
  5. ronto

    ronto Well-Known Member

  6. weregunner

    weregunner Well-Known Member

    Hi Big D and welcome to the forum. The Taurus and Ruger posts are excellent ideas. As sources to educate the mind here are a few sites where the owners are: www.rugerforum.com, www.unitedforums.com and click on the Taurus Forum.com symbol or name. www.msn.communities.com/Taurustalk/settings. These should allow you to peruse recent posts or do a search of the archives of these sites. One could ask questions at any of these places and get a well informed answer to any questions. As a owner of Taurus and Ruger products I can recommend what ever fits you and your criterea. Taurus has models 817,617,651,650,851, 850, and 85s to consider. Ruger's SP101 in 38 or 357 is also a good choice. Depends on what fits you, price,and personal needs. Try all the makes and models you can before plunking down your cash. Range or club shooters, reading books(Gun Digest books as well as others), or knowledgeable gun store personnel would be good sources of info. Educate yourself on this as much as possible. Have Taurus models 65,66,85CH, and 94. All have given sterling service and continu to do so. Ruger SP101 can take a steady diet of +P or magnum ammo and will not have to worry about revolver dureability. Small magnum revolvers are nice for the power. However, there is recoil to deal with. A lot of carriers use a .38 Special +P decent real world fight stopper instead of .357magnums. There are 110grain and 125 grain Light Loads put out by Federal and Remington if you want and can handle the magnum kick in the small revolvers. Stay away from the titanium and scandium models. They are just too light. Possible nerve damage to the wrist , hand, and arm can happen. Recoil in the magnum guise is downright vicious though there are people who carry these anyway. Training and technique can limit this problem somewhat. Since a lot of this is subjective it is all open to further scrutiny and criticism. Good luck and keep us posted on developements.
  7. Crimp

    Crimp Well-Known Member

    If that's the type of handgun you are determined to carry, I would recommend you upgrade to perhaps a Ruger SP-101 or Smith J-frame. Before you decide on a light-weight scandium model, you need to fire one. Depending on how you intend to carry, you couldn't go wrong with either of the above revolvers. My carry is a S&W 60LS .357 in a Don Hume IWB. IMHO, they are not a pocket gun. I practice with it most every week and believe it's one of my nastier recoil handguns, but still really love the little lady!
  8. Confederate

    Confederate Well-Known Member

    See if you can find a premium used Ruger Security- or Speed-Six. The latter is an excellent revolver and superbly accurate.
  9. jad0110

    jad0110 Well-Known Member

    I assume this means you've shot a .357 out of a standard service size revolver though? If not, I'd suggest you rent one and try it out first. It'd be even better if ranges rented snubbies, 38 or 357 to try out but I've never seen any in my area that do.

    The recoil of a 357 mag in a 4 or 6" barrel steel revolver is certainly brisk, but its not really bad IMO. My 15 oz S&W 642 is fairly snappy when shooting 38 +P, but again it is not bad. But I can't imagine the recoil of a 357 Mag in a sub 20 oz gun. If I were to CCW a 357 regularly, it would be along the lines of a Ruger SP101, or sub 3" S&W K Frame or Ruger Security Six.

    Here on THR, the recoil of a light weight 357 is most commonly described as follows (and I'll embellish it a little :p ):

    If you can't rent/borrow a light weight 357, just find some good 'ole detroit iron, raise the hood as far as it will go, then get your biggest friend to jump off the roof onto the hood (maybe screaming "BANZAI!" just to make it interesting) while your hand is sitting right where the hood latch goes :what: :evil: :mad: :cuss: :eek: !!!

    That'd probably give you a good idea!
  10. nelson133

    nelson133 Well-Known Member

    I carry an SP101 with full power loads, whether I'd recommend it to someone else depends on their recoil sensitivity. I like at least some recoil, it's why I don't take my .22 pistol to the range, it's boring. A friend has the Taurus .357 snubbie you mention and he won't shoot it with full power loads, I've tried it and I don't like it either. Shooting +p .38 specials in a .357 is a good idea in that case, the .357 revolver wil be a sturdier gun. I really recommend that anyone new to the pistol try before you buy, go someplace where you can rent one or find someone who will let you shoot theirs. If a gun isn't comfortable or at least bearable to shoot, you won't practice and that makes any gun near to useless IMHO.
  11. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Well-Known Member

    Mine is a Ruger SP-101, stainless, 3" barrel, 357 mag. I have had longer and shorter barreled revolvers this one is my favorite. It is accurate, shoots 38 spl, 38 spl +P and 357 mag. A little heavier than some but it helps with recoil and I like the weight.
  12. ronto

    ronto Well-Known Member

    What Revolver Should I Buy?

    The answer is provided by a well respected gunsmith whose business is specializing in revolvers. Scroll down to find the answer when you get to this site:

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