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Budget Revolver

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Rocketmedic, Jan 19, 2011.

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  1. Rocketmedic

    Rocketmedic Member

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    I'm looking to build my collection up a little with a 1st wheelgun. In keeping with the 'cheap' factor, I'm looking for a decent revolver in .357 Magnum. I plan on running mostly 38 Specials through it, but I do want the Magnum capacity. I do have a few questions.

    1. Will running 38 Special in a 357 do any damage? I don't reload yet, generally shoot generic WWB or Federal or PMC. Looking at ball, SWC, and hollowpoints for defense.
    2. What sort of durability difference is there between 38 and 357 if I'm only running 38 +P?
    3. How accurate are snubbies? I'm looking at a barrel length of 4 inches or less, but I want to be able to shoot relatively well (man-size target at 50 meters).
    4. How are the Charter Arms pistols, or the Rossis? I'm looking to do all of this for under $400 if possible. Taurus and a used domestic are options too, I suppose.
    5. This is going to be mostly for CCW...any advice?
    6. Also, finally, I'm looking for something with six rounds. Five is workable, but I'd prefer six.

    Thanks y'all!
     
  2. Granth3w

    Granth3w Member

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    A great gun, especially for a CCW and from what I've read would be a step above a Rossi, Charter, or Taurus would be the Ruger LCR .357. If it can handle .357, it can definitely handle .38 special, I would imagine.

    Out of those choices, I would personally go for Taurus over the Charter Arms or Rossi. Just my opinion though.
     
  3. Granth3w

    Granth3w Member

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    But it does only hold five rounds, but is VERY small and light weight and better for recoil than most small frame revolvers chambered in .357 and can be found for just over 400 dollars.
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    All the answers below are just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth and good luck finding something you like...

    1. Will running 38 Special in a 357 do any damage? I don't reload yet, generally shoot generic WWB or Federal or PMC. Looking at ball, SWC, and hollowpoints for defense.
    No, you will not damage a .357 Magnum shooting .38 Special ammo.

    2. What sort of durability difference is there between 38 and 357 if I'm only running 38 +P?
    A good revolver will last you a lifetime. If the revolver is rated for +P ammo you can shoot all the +P ammo you want and the revolver will be fine. I'm sure a .357 Magnum is a little stronger and will have less a change of getting shot loose but I doubt either will.

    3. How accurate are snubbies? I'm looking at a barrel length of 4 inches or less, but I want to be able to shoot relatively well (man-size target at 50 meters).
    Snub nose revolvers are VERY accurte but are more difficult to shoot well. They require more practice to shoot well and good trigger control but they are accurate revolvers.

    4. How are the Charter Arms pistols, or the Rossis? I'm looking to do all of this for under $400 if possible. Taurus and a used domestic are options too, I suppose.
    Charter Arms has gone through several incarnations over the past years. The current company is making GREAT revolvers and they have a wide variety of revolvers in their current line.

    5. This is going to be mostly for CCW...any advice?
    In the price range you're shopping I would buy Charter Arms over Taurus and especially over Rossi.

    6. Also, finally, I'm looking for something with six rounds. Five is workable, but I'd prefer six.
    Again, Charter Arms has a 6 round snub nose J frame size revolver in it's line. It's called the Police Undercover. I'm going to buy one for my oldest son because he also wants a small 6 shooter! BUT, that revolver is a .38 Special +P, not a .357 Magnum. IMO .357 Magnum revolvers that small are way too much to handle on a regular basis and no fun to shoot. I carry a .38 Special daily, not a .357 Magnum. (a S&W M642)
     
  5. Geezer Glide

    Geezer Glide Member

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    Any of your choices listed would be good and do what you want. Just see what's available and pick the one that you like. I do like the Charter Arms, though.
     
  6. adaptandovercome

    adaptandovercome Member

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    Ruger sp101 just picked on up for 400.00
     
  7. hAkron

    hAkron Member

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    I have a Ruger GP-100 .357 that I love, it would be a bit big for CC, but it's a great all around revolver. I would think the SP-101 would fit your bill. Go to a range where you can rent one and see if you like the way it feels.

    Also, you said you don't reload 'yet'. If you ever think you might start now would be the time to start collecting your fired brass. This is MUCH easier with a revolver. I bring a ziplock freezer bag with me to the range and throw all my spent brass into it.
     
  8. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    Just a suggestion EEA makes a 6 shot 357 as does Taurus - both around 300 or less
     
  9. Rocketmedic

    Rocketmedic Member

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    I've seen the Windicator but wasn't too impressed...might give it a shot though. What's this Taurus?
     
  10. blackrussian

    blackrussian Member

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    A S&W 586 can be found for $400 in great shape. Its even possible to score a model 28 for that same amount. Both maybe a bit large for CC duty, but have plenty of redeeming qualities.
     
  11. Murcielago

    Murcielago Member

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    I bought a used S&W Model 65 with a 3" barrel for $400 last year. It's everything you're asking for and quality is top notch. You can get K frames (if the sixth shot is that important to you) with 2" barrels too.
     
  12. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    If I were you, I'd skip the .357 completely and just look for a 38 special. You get a lot more gun for your money and the 38 will do most anything you want to do with a handgun. I used to buy .357's "in case" I ever wanted to shoot them, but I almost never did. I'll bet I haven't fired a box of magnum ammo in my life.

    I didn't pay $400.00 for any of these.

    Smith & Wesson Model 15, and Colt Official Police

    [​IMG]

    Smith & Wesson Model 10-5 with a 5" barrel, and a 10-7 with a 4" (Ok, I will admit the 10-7 was a bit more than $400, but it was in like new condition with box and papers).

    [​IMG]

    Personally I'd rather have a Smith & Wesson, Colt, or Ruger in 38 special, than something else in .357.
     
  13. Murcielago

    Murcielago Member

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    Same here. In particular if you're looking for a snubbie. In the way of snubbies, I've owned an SP101, a S&W Model 60 and recently bought a 340. One cylinder of .357 out of each was enough for me.
     
  14. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    It's hard to beat a GP100 or SP101 and can find them used in the 400 buck range pretty easily since they don't cost much more than that brand new. They are great revolvers and about as strong as they get. Between the two, you have to ask yourself what you are gonna do with it. The SP is more of a carrying gun and less of a shooting gun. The GP is just the opposite. 50 meters with a 2 1/4" SP101? I guess you might hit the paper...LOL.

    If you decide you want a .38 for CCW, search for a Colt Agent, Cobra, or Detective Special. They are six shooters and basically the same gun. The Agent and Cobra have aluminum frames. The DS has a steel frame. The good thing is they are 6 shooters about the same size package as everybody eles's 5 shot. The great thing about them is that they are better than money in the bank. There is not a better investment out there right now than Colt DA wheelguns.

    You could also stumble upon a Colt MK III Lawman in 2". It is a full sized .357 snub. I bought this one recently NIB even though it was 30+ years old. I paid not much outta your price range for it.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  15. Murcielago

    Murcielago Member

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    Truth. Though because of that, good luck finding one in decent shape for under $400.
     
  16. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Sub 400 buck Colts are out there. You just gotta keep your eyes open. I've picked up 3 recently for under $400.
     
  17. dogngun

    dogngun Member

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    OK, here is my experience-I have been shooting handguns

    since around 1970, revolvers and autos both. Of those on your list, I recommend Rossis-I owned an old Rossi .357 Magnum 4" about 17 years ago, and bought it mainly because it was cheap. Turned out it was very good as well. Last week, I bought a Rossi 462, which is a stainless steel 2" snubbie in .357 magnum. It is very solid, 26 oz empty, very well made locks up tight. Carries very well. I like heavier (steel) guns especially for .38Spl +P or occasional magnum shooting which is what this is loaded with Remingtom 125 grain JHP's in .38 Spl +P. I got theMagnum for versatility.
    Using Special loads in a Magnum is no problem at all-the .357 Mag is a slightly longer version of the same thing-it can't be loaded into most .38 Spl revolvers as it is too long. I have owned Smith, Ruger and Colt revolvers, and I really like this Rossi- it is a 6 shot rather than 5, all coil springs and very comfortable, tight and accurate. Sells for around $350 new. You can find used revolvers for that price, but not many, and I like this little gun so much I am thinking about a second one later this year.

    Snubbies can be very accurate if you practice with them and get you basics consistant-grip, sight picture, trigger control. Practice dry firing at a light switch or similar object and it will really help you on the range.

    Good luck what ever you decide.

    mark
    http://www.rossiusa.com/product-details.cfm?id=139&category=1&toggle=rv&breadcrumbseries=R357#
    ADDED Link to Rossi 462 pic...
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  18. birddog

    birddog Member

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    I have hundreds and hundreds of rounds through my Taurus 651 (5-shot, .357). Has a zero profile hammer, is great to conceal, very accurate, and 100% dependable. Buy new, and don't listen to the Taurus haters who "had a bad one back in '72."
     
  19. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    As Cajunbass noted, if you broaden your search to .38 specials out to 4" you will have a wide array of police surplus revolvers available for bargain prices. These are high quality firearms.

    If you're really wanting a magnum for carry, look for a used SP-101, Speed Six or a S&W K frame magnum.
     
  20. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Thanks for asking our advice.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of wheelguns.

    My favorite is Ruger
    No damage, but you will have to be more diligent in cleaning your chambers. There is a little extra space in front of the end of the 38 Special cartridge that is usually filled with the longer .357 cartridge. That allows buildup of crud and powder residue. Especially when shooting lead bullets because the lubrication can combine with powder fouling and cake up.
    I don't know. Rugers don't care.
    Practice, practice, practice. 2" barrels are perfectly capable of stabilizing a bullet. But the difference in grouping if you have a sight radius of 4" vs 8" (2" barreled vs 6" barreled gun) is dramatic. So you have to practice more to even get close. I read an article many years ago wherein they reported putting a telescopic sight on a 2" Colt revolver (of course, 'scopes have no sight radius at all, or, conceptually, an infinite sight radius) and compared accuracy with a 6" Colt revolver with the same scope mounted. Grouping was very close to being the same size.
    Can't say about the Rossi or Taurus, but I think to get a .357 strong, 6 shot, concealable, revolver you are looking for a Ruger Speed Six. Not much larger than the 5-shot SP101, and stronger than anything else of comparable size and weight. (You will hear arguments from S&W owners, so I will allow that there is room for debate.)
    You're welcome. I hope my thoughts have helped.

    Lost Sheep
     
  21. StayonTarget

    StayonTarget Member

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    I've just recently purchased my first revolver, a Rossi 851, mainly due to price and user reviews. I would consider the 357 model, but as CajunBass had mentioned, most people I know don't interchange ammo for their guns.
     
  22. waidmann

    waidmann Member

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    There are still retired police guns at or near your number. I recently bought a S&W 2 1/2" 66-2 for little more. I have seen 4" 66 and 681's as well on either side of $400.

    I don't believe you will fire many .357's out of a gun that lacks some mass.

    Years ago, on a budget I owned a 4" Rossi 971, stainless and unfluted. It was an accurate, servicable weapon.

    As far as durability a number of revolvers will not stand up a heavy diet of magnums. The same is true of older M&P's and +P's, but most of use will not consume those quantities. Most older guns even police surplus were carried much; fired little. Having said that make sure you don't buy an education in an older gun, get a little help.

    Be patient and shop, there are deals to be found!
     
  23. Rocketmedic

    Rocketmedic Member

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    Is there much of a difference in 38+p and 357magnum?
     
  24. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    YES. The Magnum has more velocity, more energy and more flash plus noise.

    Common factory 125gr .38 Special +P (Winchester Silvertip)
    Under 20,000 PSI and a velocity of ~945 fps with 248 ft/lbs of energy.

    Common factory 145gr .357 Magnum ammo (Winchester Silvertio)
    Under 35,000 PSI and a velocity of ~1290 fps with 535 ft/lbs of energy.

    Buffalo Bore: (BIG difference!)
    Heavy .38 Special +P Ammo - 125 gr. L.V. Jacketed Hollow Point (1,050fps/M.E. 306 ft. lbs.)
    Heavy 357 Magnum Ammo - 125 gr. J.H.C. (1,700fps/M.E. 802 ft. lbs.)
     
  25. BigEasy

    BigEasy Member

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    Great Budget Revolver

    Hi Rocketmedic:

    There is a 2" barrel Smith & Wesson Model 10 for sale at Summit Gun
    Broker for $325. This revolver holds 6 rounds and handles +P.
    The Model 10 is an outstanding American firearm.

    Also, they have a few 4" barrel Colt Police Positive and Colt Official
    Police duty guns available for $230-$300.

    The website is www.summitgunbroker.com.

    Hope this helps.

    Dan
     
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