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S&W lite or regular .357 mag

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by yy, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. yy

    yy Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Question: do you consider light weight .357 mag worth their money?

    I'd like to get a .357 mag revolver. Probably new because I do not know where to go in so. cal. to find used weapons.

    The flood of info I find at S&W did more to confuse me. The amount of possible selections overwhelmed me without adding used gun option to the mix. I am confused. :what:

    1. what is reasonable price for a .357 magnum in small to medium frame? (J, K frames from S&W) Used? New regular? New light weight?

    2. One store here in Los Angeles quoted me some $600 for a J-frame .357 mag Airlite SC (scandium frame, Aluminum or steel cylinder). Is this price premium worth its weight?

    3. Doesn't lighter weight (12-18 oz vs. 35-40 oz) allow more recoil to reach the hand? I am afraid this will make the gun unpleasant to shoot, esp. for my 105 lbs wife.

    I sure appreciate all your comments.
  2. tomkatz

    tomkatz Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    auburn washington
    the scandium guns have titanium cylinders. Seattle area price is $550 for 340 scandium, so I guess $600 is not too outrageous considering what I've heard about california. I had a 386 scandium L frame, 17.5oz 2.5 in barrel. I'm not recoil sensitive but I didn't feel the gun came back on target well after a shot, so I traded for a mdl 66 steel 2.5in gun plus cash. I'll put up with more weight to get my shots off effectively. I've shot my friends 340 j frame and it's worse, IMO. Alot of people here like these lightweight 357 guns so I'm sure not gonna say there is no place for them, they just weren't right for me. I bought a 342 38spl lightweight after that. My wife doesn't like to shoot that one, she doesn't really like shooting any gun in a major caliber under 20 oz, but I would say she is pretty recoil sensitive. She carries a kahr k9 and shoots it well....tom
  3. Kahr carrier

    Kahr carrier Senior Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Are you buying the 357 for CCW or Paper Punching??:confused:
  4. Poohgyrr

    Poohgyrr Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Sutter's Fort
    Lightweight guns kick a lot more than normal weight guns.
    Smaller guns kick a lot more than regular and larger guns.
    Medium frame guns usually work the best. For revolvers, the grips may need to be changed (easy to do).

    The women I have personally helped with picking guns and shooting guns have all done much better (and been much happier) when they handled and shot different guns to see what they liked the best.

    My wife prefers the grip of a 1911, and is working on a 3" S&W 65LS.

    My Mother absolutely hates autos. She does not like to see the slide coming back at her face. She was happy with a medium frame 3" revolver loaded with .38 Special +P's. She eventually went to a Mini-14 and is very happy with that as a house gun. She also does much better.

    A close family old girlfriend loves her Marlin Camp Carbine in .45 ACP with a C-More type sight. She does very well with that.

    Another friend is from Berlin, and had Polio as a kid. Her left side is very weak. She is happy with a Hi Power in 9mm.

    An old friend in her 50's, about 5' 120 pounds, with a very weak grip ended up with a Detective Special, which she shoots single action.

    A cousin has an old family S&W model 39 that works for her.

    None of them were happy with any lightweight gun as a primary, once they shot one for themselves. A medium frame revolver or auto works well.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2003
  5. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Participating Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Lost Angeles
    not .357

    But LA Guns over in West Hollywood has a NIB S&W 442 that's pre-hammer lock for sale at $449. The 442 is alloy, weighs 15oz and is rated for .38+P. I was there yesterday getting my 2" M&P when I saw it.

    I got a used NIB M36 from them a few months back for $359. They had a 4" M19 that was mechanically good, but finish worn back in November for $269.
    If you're in LA and looking for a revolver, they are a good shop to visit and keep tabs on. They get a lot of consignment in and their new prices are reasonable.

    Your $600 price makes me think you were over at Martin B. Rettings in Culver City... :banghead:

    As for weight issues, and the fact that you're in the PRK so I assume you don't have a CCW, I think you'd be better served with something a little heavier. It makes shooting a little more pleasant IMHO and you're wife might think so as well.

    I know my wife is much happier shooting my M28 and my friends M15 then my M36.

    Just something to ponder.

  6. yy

    yy Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thank you for the information, Tom, John, and Jeff.

    To answer your question, KarhCarrier, the revolver will be a house gun. The weight consideration is for my wife's comfort. She'll have to decide for herself if she wants a lighter gun that kicks more or a heavier gun that kicks less. But the .357 mag is more for me so I can access a second gun with bigger caliber. My first gun is a G27 sub-compact .40 cal. (I'm working on narrowing the 4 inch groups)

    Seems to me a used medium frame S&W will get us the best combination. Now off to trigger pull comparison. :)
  7. Jim March

    Jim March Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    SF Bay Area
    My personal rule is this:

    I will not buy a 357 that weighs less than 22oz.

    I will not buy a 38 (with +P capability) that weighs less than 15 ounces.


    First, there's the matter of recoil. Far more seriously, too many people have caught their "unobtainium ultralights" yanking the bullets clean out of the shells while they're in the non-firing cylinders, just out of recoil. As the rounds slide out of the shells, eventually the gun ties up by around shot 4 or 5.

    Doesn't happen with all ammo of course, but the net result is you've got to do extensive reliability testing with your prospective carry load.


    Insert the profanity of your choice here.

    Look, I buy revolvers 'cuz I know they can eat anything I can feed 'em. Congrats, S&W and to a lesser degree Taurus, y'all have managed to produce super-expensive revolvers that are less reliable than most semi-autos.

    Oh no. HELL no. You gotta be kiddin'. I don't care what kinda exotic former commie-Russian metallurgy ya got.


    Here's what you do:

    1) Buy an honest-to-God steel gun. Stainless, blue, whatever floats yer boat.

    2) With the enormous savings, buy a good gunbelt and IWB holster.

    3) Get thee to a range and shoot the heck out of it, with no fear it'll friggin' shatter.

    4) CARRY and be done with it.

    My $.02
  8. saki302

    saki302 New Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    As a lightweight backup/carry gun, the scandiums are beautiful...

    If you intend to use it as a house gun, forget it- go buy yuorself a good 7-shot L-frame with a 4" full underlug barrel- thank me later :)

    I like my scandium for what it is, but shooting it feels like.. well.. the first time I shot a 158gr load, I thought the gun blew up.. I looked down in amazement to find it, and my hand, intact!

    Th ebest way to describe firing it in .357 is to get an M-80, hold it in your hand, and light the fuse. I've shot many things in my life- .50AE, .44mag, even a short barreled 12 ga. with 3" mags once, and NOTHING, I mean NOTHING, felt as painful as a 12 oz. scandium with 160gr loads... except maybe if I ever try 180gr. loads!

    That said, it makes a nifty backup piece with 125gr HP loads- they still hurt, but I *can* fire them quickly. Rapid fire w/ 158gr? Forget it!

  9. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    For strictly carry, I'd go w/ the light weight guns. But, for a house gun or for anything that might see a good amount of use (like practice), you can't beat the ALL STEEL 357 mag.
  10. tbeb

    tbeb Active Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Northwest Indiana
    Try to find a nice used Smith and Wesson model 19 or 66 with a 4" barrel. Empty weight is about 35 ounces. 19 is blue, 66 is stainless. Both have adjustable sights. This is a K frame. If you don't want adjustable sights then cousins of above are model 13 (blue) and 65 (stainless).

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