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Revolver newbie

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jacob2745, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. jacob2745

    jacob2745 Well-Known Member

    I have never owned a revolver, and have only shot them a hand full of times. I am thinking about purchasing a j frame smith or something else of similar size. It could possibly become another ccw. I know they are a completely different world from what im used to, but i would like to give it a whirl.

    I just wanted to get some opinions on a few things from people with a lot more knowledge than me.

    1. caliber (im leaning towards .38 over .357. It seems follow up shots would be tough with the .357)

    2. Internal hammer/external/shrouded (probably never pocket carry)

    3. What brand/model would you guys recommend? (I know its impossible to not be biased. I just want some options)
  2. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    Colt D frame...Agent, Cobra, Detective Special or Diamondback...6 shots compared to the other guy's 513t.
  3. JRWhit

    JRWhit Well-Known Member

    you must keep in mind you can shoot 38s in the .357.
    I have a sp101,stub nose carry gun, I always carry 38s in it, but love the occasional palm brusing from the .357. If it's between the 38 and .357 get the .357 and you have both.
  4. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Well-Known Member

    what he said ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Ruger SP101 - most of 'em are 357 mag.
    But that way you have a choice of either 38spl or 357.

    That's my CCW.
  5. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    J-Frame Smith
    5 shots
    mediocre trigger
    lots of options (no hammer, shrouded hammer, external hammer)
    pre 1998 were built okay, after then, pretty much crap. 50s and 60s yielded the best.
    parts and "smiths" everywhere

    Colt Detective Special
    6 shots
    usually a nice trigger
    not cheap
    qualified gunsmiths scarce
    many call it the finest concealed carry revolver made

    5 shots
    .357 option
    reasonably priced
    trigger needs work to become acceptable
    ugly "billboard" on barrel
    Ruger has a reputation for building tough guns that offer value

    Colt Cobra
    mechanically the same as Detective Special with the same advantages and issues
    allow frame makes it very light
  6. DocRx

    DocRx Well-Known Member

    Check out the Ruger KLCR .357mag/.38spl. Excellent smooth trigger, innovative design, multiple caliber selection, concealable, lightweight, manageable recoil, and fairly priced.
  7. Hapworth

    Hapworth Well-Known Member

    1) Caliber: for a self defense CCW small frame revolver, .38 is all you need if you pick your ammo intelligently. .357 poses a variety of problems in this platform with minimal gain.

    2) Hammer: internal. No snag, no lint, rarely a need or opportunity to go single-action in a fast self-defense scenario.

    3) Brand/model: S&W 442 Moon Clip. Light, reliable, carryable, concealable, tunable and shootable. The moon clips are fast reloading and easy to carry.
  8. skidder

    skidder Well-Known Member

    All good advice so far. :)

    My advice is limited to the SP101 2.25". The only snub I've ever owned. I guess I've never had a reason to try another? A super tough 357, and like others have stated you can shoot 38s. My wife takes it huckleberry picking every year with my hot 357 loads (lots of bears in them there huckleberry patches). Even though it sees 38s 95% of the time, it's nice to have the 357 option.
  9. Naybor

    Naybor Well-Known Member

    What JRWhit and the above said.
    SP101 in .357. That's what the wife got. She likes that she can use .38 Sp, .38+P, and .357 Magnum in it. .357 is the best of all .38 worlds.

    Note how often the word "Ruger" is used.
  10. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    Certainly ain't nothing wrong with the SP. I bought one 15+ years ago when they first came out in .357....I carry it in a pancake nearly every day that I am not working.
  11. CDR_Glock

    CDR_Glock Well-Known Member

    1. 38+P but having a 357 let's you shoot both. Follow up shots aren't bad.
    2. Internal hammer. Less likely to snag when drawing or be grabbed from you.
    3. S&W for size. Ruger SP-101 or LCR. However, it's easier to shoot a 357 when the gun is closer to 24 oz. LCR 357 is only 17 oz.

    With that being said, a snubby is not exactly an easy shooter. The require work.
  12. mauiglide

    mauiglide Well-Known Member

    I just received my new S&W Model 638 yesterday and I'm just loving it. I was looking at the 357 magnum version (Model 349) but decided that I would not be using magnum rounds in a lightweight and small frame revolver. I'll shoot magnum rounds through my large frame Model 686+ revolver.

    The J frame revolver will be used as my BUG home defense weapon. I always wanted a small lightweight revolver to compliment my large frame Model 686+ and now I've got it. I'm not too concerned about the ILS as I've shot my Model 686+ revolver for years and hundreds of magnum rounds with no lock ups or ill effects.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX using Tapatalk 2
  13. Crowman

    Crowman Well-Known Member

    Guillermo, you are spot-on with your assessment of the revolvers.

    I have a Ruger SP101 in .327 Federal. Great cartridge (gives magnum performance at 20% less recoil than .357); however, the Ruger's double action trigger sucks and it is a bulky and heavy revolver for its size. However, it will still be around when everything except cockroaches disappear.

    The pick of the litter is either a Colt Agent or Detective Special. Both are now out of production for a looooong while. If you see one of the later ones, snatch it up. It will be worth sending to Colt for a tune-up. I sent my Agent back To Colt for it's usual 1000 round tune-up a couple of years ago and they did a bang-up job on it.

    F.Y.I. The factory only has parts for the most recent Colts. They sold off their old gun parts inventories to third party suppliers years ago.

    The lighter alloy S&W J-Frames are absolutely brutal to shoot with .357 magnum loads. Period. Translation: It is hard to hit consistently with them and they are an expert's gun requiring lots of instruction and practice to truly master.

    I routinely pack an S&W 386 Night Guard (24 ounce 7-shot alloy .357 Magnum) as my main CCW. This weapon really impressed me. It is easy to wear all day and it has chamfered charging holes in the cylinder to facilitate speed loaders and it comes equipped with tritium night sights that glow in the dark. They are really easy to see and fast to acquire. Plus the fixed rear Cylinder & Slide combat rear sight is regulated for 158 grain bullets pushed at magnum velocities and will shoot to point of aim with those loads. It will not get knocked out of adjustment either.

    I also carry a speed loader or two loaded with 125 grain JHP anti-personnel loads. The compact factory supplied rubber grips aid in controllability greatly, and though it is a hand-full with magnums, I passed a Police qualifications course with mine right out of the box with heavy 158 grain JSP loads (I carry them for small black bear and hawgs around where I live). Like I said, this particular revolver really impressed me.

    It is equally important to get a quality holster and belt to carry your future gun. Being able to comfortably wear your weapon means you actually have it handy when you need it. Stay away from the cheap floppy nylon abominations that are out there. Look at Galco or DeSantis or El Paso Saddlery for the good stuff or you will be picking your gun up off the floor at Wal-Mart with the security guy eye-balling you after it fell out. Rudy Lozano at Black Hills Leather (www.blackhillsleather.com) has made several rigs and ammo slides for me over the years. He does excellent work.

    Tim Sundles over at Buffalo Bore (https://www.buffalobore.com/) can fix you up with some quality .38 Special ammo for whatever revolver you finally choose.
  14. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    thank you Crowman


    I failed to mention that a K-Frame Smith, an older snubby, is a great gun.

    To me the K-Frame Smith and D-Frame Colt are great.

    The K frame is slightly larger but parts are available and gunsmiths are plentiful

    Finding one from the 50s is not difficult and may be the perfect compromise (if there is such a thing)

    best of luck Jacob
  15. Water-Man

    Water-Man Well-Known Member

    Ruger LCR .38+P.
  16. skt239

    skt239 Well-Known Member

    If I was buying my first revolver, I'd go over to buds and get a used model ten 3 inch .38 special. They are under $300, so the price is right and the size is perfect for concealed carry and the range.

    If you really and a gun that's easy to carry and, with practice, just as easy to shoot, you should look at the Airweight line from S&W. Since you won't be pocket carrying, I assume you'll be carrying OWB or IWB? Either method with any of the Airweights is IMO the most comfortable way to CC a gun. I prefer to carry my 637 OWB in leather pancake holster and have no problems, even with just a normal sized t-shirt.


    I've owned and carried more guns than I can remember of the years and the Airweights I've owned have always been the best.
  17. F-111 John

    F-111 John Well-Known Member

    There is nothing wrong with getting a .357 and shooting .38 in it. I do it all the time with my Dan Wesson 715 and my S&W 19. In my twisted way of thinking, if a revolver is rated for .357 magnum, then you know it's safe to digest .38 +P all day long.

    That being said, my carry gun is a S&W Model 60 in .38 special.
  18. kdave21

    kdave21 Well-Known Member

  19. JRWhit

    JRWhit Well-Known Member

    Forgot to mention, If it's for ccw, Ruger has the LCR hammerless revolver in .357 now. Like I was saying, you can carry with 38 special and on occasion have a little tee-hee moment when cracking out a .357 magnum.
    It's a five shot, no guess work, light,concealable, point and shoot gun. Just keep in mind it's duty purpose. It is not a gun, like all light frame revolvers, thats going to hold up to the abuse of the heavier ones. If you are planning on doing a lot of recreation shooting get something heavier.

    I have a bias with the ruger, but S&W also makes a hammerless that I hear good things about. Shop around and see what you like.
  20. jacob2745

    jacob2745 Well-Known Member

    Is there much size difference between a .357 and a .38 in similar models?

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