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S&W 66 question ref. 125 gr.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Barker45, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Barker45

    Barker45 New Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Howdy all!
    I recently purchased a 66-1 4" and really like the it! I have read numerous posts ref. shooting 125gr .357 is a bad idea. I have , however, a good number of 125gr 38spl +p rounds. Is is ok to shoot these or will it have the same problems as the 125gr .357?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would also like to hear about anybodys personal opinions about the 66 and what ammo they choose for personal defense/carry. Anybody here carry a 4" 66 and if so what kind or rig/gear do you like (holsters, grips, speed loaders, speed strips etc.) ?

    Thanks again,
  2. Steve C

    Steve C Senior Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Cracking the forcing cone on the K frame .357's came from shooting full power 125gr JHP's (1,450 fps). .38's in 125gr will not cause an problems at their lower velocity and pressures.

    Now I personally have shot quite a few full power 125gr reloads through my 66 and haven't had any forcing cone damage yet. I keep it loaded with factory .357 mag 125gr Speer Gold Dots currently but also have loaded it with 125gr Remington GS's for potential SD situations.

    The only time the 66 gets carried its generally when camping or fishing and then it rides in a Bianchi cross draw. For CCW my Glock 19 is generally my first choice.
  3. JCMAG

    JCMAG Member

    Mar 1, 2008

    Your 66 is known to be "vulnerable" to the light-and-screaming .357 loads not because of a failure in engineering, but because the size of the frame was built-to-purpose for .38 special.

    Therefore, anything within the realm of the .38 that is safe to fire, everything from snake shot to Buffalo Bore should shoot fine.

    It was, before the heavy barrel, extended cylinder, and ejector rod shroud, a .38. Your pistol will take the heat.
  4. deputy tom

    deputy tom Active Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    The problems with 125gr .357 mag ammo fired in the 66s were forcing cone cracks and flame cutting the top strap.I've owned 66s with flame cuts but haven't run into a damaged forcing cone,(yet).YMMV.tom.:cool:
  5. Checkman

    Checkman member

    Sep 23, 2003
    You should be fine with the +P 125 grain 38 special load. The original idea behind the Model 19/66 was that it would carry .357 magnums for duty but mostly shot with 38 specials for training.That's what Bill Jordan said at least and a K frame .357 magnum was his idea. S&W finally obliged him and the rest is history.

    However that was in 1955 and by the seventies training theory had changed. Cops and private citizens were shooting their 19/66 all the time with magnums. Especially with the 125 grain SJHP .357magnum load. Remington's load (back in the seventies) was supposedly very hot.

    The 125 grain .357 magnum had become the flavor of the month and the forcing cone wasn't designed for that type of hard use. There were cracked forcing cones.

    This was one of the biggest reasons why S&W came out with the Model 585 L frame in 1980. The forcing cone was beefed up, the frame was heavier and the full barrel lug was added. But the grip was still a K frame size for those smaller handed shooters.

    However I've never had any problems with the 158 grain .357 magnum load in my father's Model 65 (like the 66 only with fixed sights and no ejector rod lug) and he's owned his since 1979 so it's had alot of magnums fired through it.
  6. Barker45

    Barker45 New Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Thanks for the info guys! What load do y'all recommend for carry? 158grs .357? 158gr 38spl +P LSWCHP? 125gr +P NYCLAD?

    I have an old Ruger Police Service Six that I like a lot. It's very close in size to the 66 but not as smooth in the trigger pull and a little rougher in the fit/finish. The good news is that they both use the same speed loaders and holster:). I'll carry the Police Service six for the heavy loads and foul weather and the 66 for everything else.

    If there is already a slight cut in the top strap is the gun still going to hold-up/last?
  7. orionengnr

    orionengnr Mentor

    Jan 3, 2005
    I would (and do) practice with the .38s, shoot an occasional cylinder full of full-power 125s and carry with the 125 gr 357s.

    Occasional use with the 125 gr 357s will not destroy your M-66. Constant use of that ammo will accelerate it's demise.

    Do a search--lots of folks more knowledgeable than I have weighed in on this exact issue (and I have listened to them) :)
  8. machinisttx

    machinisttx Active Member

    Jun 5, 2008
    North of Dallas, south of the Red
    If you want to shoot magnums, anything 140 grains or heavier is fine. Keep in mind though that the K frame was not originally designed to handle magnum pressures--nor were the K frame magnums intended to be fired exclusively with magnum loads. The idea was 38's for practice and .357's for carry.

    Personally, I keep all of my defense use revolvers loaded with the 125 grain SJHP magnums and only shoot a cylinder or two now and then to verify zero. Anything else that gets run through my K frame magnums is either 158 grain magnums or .38 specials.

    If you want to use specials, the 158 grain LSWCHP in +P flavor used to be the load of choice. If I were going to carry .38's, this is(and was) my choice.

    As far as the flame cut in the top strap, it will erode to a certain point and then stop. It's not really of much concern other than as an indicator of usage on a used revolver.
  9. Old 112

    Old 112 New Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    Capital, Dakota Territory
    It is my understanding that S&W no longer has barrells
    for replacement of damaged forcing cones on the 19/66

    I do not use ANY 125gr. 357mag. FACTORY ammo in, or RELOAD any 125gr. 357 ammo for my 19 K frames.

    The 38SPL. and +P 125gr. factory loadings are ok.
    I do use those on Occasion.

    I also have some 158gr. 357 factory ammo on hand
    for carry purposes.

    The heavier bullets have a better reputation for use in the 19/66s.

    Most of my 357 ammo is My reloaded 158gr. LSWC, and some
    158gr. Rem. SJHP
    My 357 loads for my Smiths are midrange; about 1050 to 1100fps tops,

    My Service Sixes use this same stuff.

    My GP100 can go some hotter, if I want.

    Old 112

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