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How to choose my first (carry)revolver???

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by JPG1911, Oct 16, 2010.

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  1. JPG1911

    JPG1911 Member

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    Greetings!

    This is my first post here, I've been searching this forum for info on many topics over the last several months and finally decided to register and become part of the discussions here. It is truly rare in today's vastly diverse internet culture to find a forum where most of what a casual browser reads is accurate, and comes from a heartfelt desire to help. That is what i believe i have found at THR

    I recently sent off my application to BATFE for my C&R FFL, and have been pacing by the mailbox like a nervous expectant father for the last week and a half. That being said, I am ready with check in hand to order a Nagant revolver as soon as the license gets here. My main reason for posting is to gather opinions of experienced six(and seven) gunners to make an educated choice for my first carry revolver. I own a few semiauto pistols, rifles, and shotguns, but I've never owned a revolver. I have been doing some reading that leads me to the conclusion that I would rather carry a medium/large DA revolver for myself and leave the hi-cap sigs at home for my wife. To that end, I beseech you all to help me make a decision as to make and caliber.

    I have read endless posts (here, and elsewhere) singing the praises and telling the horrors of Taurus revolvers, and I am not opposed to them, rather; I am drawn to them by the lower price and lifetime garauntee. I would prefer a S&W for a variety of reasons but due to current budgetary constraints, an new model is out of reach for me right now. I have a very competent gunsmith on speed dial, so i am not opposed to buying a gently or severely used gun either.

    So far I have not been able to make a decision between 357 and 44magnums. I have read the many pros and cons of each and would like to own many examples of both someday. The main question I have for you all is which one should I buy as my FIRST DA revolver and why?

    I do not reload, but am actively shopping for a press and accessories. I am a relatively large framed person, being 5'11" and 230# i do not think managing recoil of either caliber will be a problem for me. I have shot both cartriges at limited sessions and managed decent accuracy out of both.

    My goals are many. Primarily self defense and defense of others, but also i wish to develop a very high skill level with a DA revolver in terms of speed and accuracy. I am currently reading Ed McGivern's Fast and Fancy Revolver shooting.

    I thank you all in advance for your time and consideration of these matters. I tried to give enough information to allow you to provide relative feedback. If there is any other info you need to or wish to know about me, just ask

    - J
     
  2. soloban

    soloban Member

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    Ruger has a .357 Magnum version of their LCR now, that would make a good CCW revolver. The SP101 is another choice, albeit a bit of a heavy one. If you want a target gun, get a 4" or 6" S&W 686
     
  3. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    As you are not far enough into your choice to make specific recomendations I will speak generally.

    There is no reason to carry if you can't shoot well so first off, head to a range and shoot their rental guns.

    Note that there is no perfect solution. You might have a couple or three depending on the weather (jacket?) and how you have to dress.

    Full size guns are a pain to carry. I usually carry a 38 revolver and the other day decided to cart my current wife's 3 inch 686. Woof, that was a job!

    Also note that how you carry, inside the waistband, outside the waistband, boot, pocket,etc will also change the choice.

    Personally I LOATH IWB. I pocket carrry a Kahr PM9 when I am wearing cargos in a SeSantis pocket holster. As I shoot steel framed guns better than super light guns (also a consideration) I have a D Frame Colt on my belt right now.

    Speaking of belts, you need a dedicated gun belt. I wear a 5.11 reinforced instructors belt and it has made my carry life wonderful.

    Hope this starts you in the right direction.
     
  4. Lar1911

    Lar1911 Member

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    The 44 magnum is a bad self defense gun. Too much recoil, sure if you hit them they will really go down, but not an ideal choice.
    The 44 special can be fired through the 44 magnum gun. The 44 special is a great self defense round, but it is very expensive to shoot.

    The 357 is a great round and managable. And you can shoot 38 specials through it. 38's are cheap to shoot. Also there are many great self defense rounds in 38 +p

    Since it is your first gun you want to shoot alot and get good, shot placement is key. The 38's are going to be more accurate and follow up shots are going to be better. The 357/38 is a great round and you will not be dissapointed with it.

    I own a 44 mag, three 357's, two 1911 45 acp auto, an SR9 9mm, 380, two 45 colt single actions. And I just bought a ruger 41 magnum.

    (you have many members here with much bigger collections)

    Size is your next consideration. a 2.5 inch barrel is concealable, but harder to control than a 4 inch barrel. And the 44 out of a small barrel is alot. I dress for carrying, my primary carry gun is a 5 inch 1911, I have a 3 inch one but i prefer the bigger one for accuracy. So I carry in the wait band (IWB), I wear my shirts untucked and have no problems. I am 5'10" 200 lbs.
    I have found the 2.5 inch barrel in 38' to be pretty accurate, Ruger makes a 3 inch revolver and you can carry a 4 inch as long as you dress for it.
    I shoot often so I am very comfortable with the 2.5 inch Rossi 357, Rossi is owned by Taurus and I am very happy with it.

    If you do go with a shorter barrel, go 357/38 over the 44 magnum. Look at the Thunder Ranch S&W, here is what they consider a great fighting gun, 4 inch barrel.

    Gun Belt.
    I shot for years without one. I finally bought two this year, i dont know how I got along without one. I have the Wilderness instructor belt ( http://www.thewilderness.com/storepinnacle/index.php?p=product&id=2309&parent=142 )
    Spend the $40 and get one, it supports your gun like you wouldnt believe, its super comfortable and it adjust by far better than a typical belt.

    I did a review here http://forums.wvcdl.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1671
     
  5. JPG1911

    JPG1911 Member

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    First off, thanks for the speedy replies. Allow me to clarify. I am NOT new to guns, or to carrying them. I carry either of my Sigs daily and am very familiar with both open and concealed carry. I live in North Carolina which thankfully is an anomalous open carry state with no loaded laws on the books. I prefer open carry, not because I think it makes me look cool or because I'm trying to invite danger etc, etc. But simply because most people have no idea that its legal for anyone besides an LEO to open carry. I get stopped at the grocery store a lot and asked if im off duty/under cover. Its a chance to educate people who are curious enough to ask. I believe that Free Men do not ask permission to bear arms. I am also NOT new to shooting, and shooting well. I regularly shoot large quantities of rounds at small targets at long distances and usually do very well. I can post pics of some of my targets if you'd like

    What I am trying to do here is expand and broaden my already formidable skill set, to that end, I have decided that i want to learn to shoot DA revolvers EXTREMELY well and VERY fast. I am simply having trouble deciding on which DA revolver with which to embark on this mission.

    - J
     
  6. mbogo

    mbogo Member

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    I'm 6' 4", 230lbs, so a 4" S&W Model 66 is not too big; if you're anywhere near my size, consider that revolver.

    mbogo
     
  7. Tachardiapsyche

    Tachardiapsyche Member

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    Size first then caliber.

    Consider clothing, holster, cost and environment as well, but later. Don't be put off a good gun by just 1 thing.
     
  8. Lar1911

    Lar1911 Member

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    Sorry, that changes my answer.

    44 would be cool, and 44 special would be a great round for defense.
     
  9. missouri dave

    missouri dave Member

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  10. m500'92

    m500'92 Member

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    I'd say a S&W model 10 or something similar is a good compromise between accuracy and weight. The 38 special still has plenty enough power for most situations, or the 357 mag version if you want a little extra.
     
  11. Radagast
    • Contributing Member

    Radagast Moderator

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    I would watch these videos by Jerry Miculek, he's arguably the worlds best revolver shooter:
    http://www.myoutdoortv.com/shooting/shooting-usa/jerry-miculek-stance
    http://www.myoutdoortv.com/shooting/shooting-usa/jerry-miculek-target-acquisition
    http://www.myoutdoortv.com/shooting/shooting-usa/jerry-miculek-reloading
    http://www.myoutdoortv.com/shooting/shooting-usa/jerry-miculek-trigger-control
    http://www.myoutdoortv.com/shooting/shooting-usa/jerry-miculek-revolver-grip
    http://www.myoutdoortv.com/shooting/shooting-usa/jerry-miculek-the-draw

    As for my choice of gun for open carry, I would go with the 686 SSR. This has a four inch light weight barrel, I find it balances better than the Model 66 which was my favourite for years, but with the added strength of the slightly larger 686 frame.
     
  12. TexasBill

    TexasBill Member

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    Ruger's LCR in .357 Magnum would not be a good carry piece. Smith & Wesson's Scandium J-Frames in .357 Magnum are not good carry pieces, either. It's too much round for the gun. If you want to carry .357 Magnum, get a revolver that is designed to allow both it and you to handle the cartridge.

    I have a simple rule of thumb for every handgun I carry: I have to be able to fire 50 rounds of my chosen carry ammo through the gun every trip to the range. Then I have pick up another handgun and do the same.
     
  13. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    how you are going to carry controls the size of the gun.

    I carry on the belt, outside and can conceal anything (usually) but hate lugging around a lot of weight all day. A full size gun usually resides in the bug out bag in the car but not on my person. (A XD 45 or Python).

    All I feel like toting is a steel framed snubby most days (Diamondback or Detective Special)
     
  14. JPG1911

    JPG1911 Member

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    TexasBill, You may want to do a little research on the LCR before you bash it. I personally have not fired one, and do not intend to buy one. I am not promoting ruger in any way, however, Ruger claims(as do some gun writers who have actually fired the thing - Eric R. Poole from Shooting Times is one) that the unique properties of the polymer fire control housing, along with the shock absorbing Hogue grips, dampen the perceived recoil by around 50% compared to its all metal counterparts. This is apparently true in both .38 and .357 versions, it is said that firing a .357 LCR, you might think someone had slipped .38s into the gun. I thought the same thing as you Tex, when i heard that they were making a tiny little plastic revolver chambered for .357mag but after reading a few articles on the gun, it is an interesting concept to say the least. I would not buy one simply because it would not be accurate enough at distances over 50yds with the snubby sub 2" bbl. I am looking for a gun that shoots well not just one that carries well. As Clint smith says "carrying a handgun is not supposed to be comfortable, its supposed to be comforting" I've not had a problem carrying full size autos and full size revolvers should be no different. I'm not looking to sacrifice accuracy for the sake of being able to hide the thing. I really want something with a 4-6" bbl. I am leaning more and more towards the taurus model 66 with blued finish. One of my local gun stores has one for $360 NIB. I DO NOT want a raging bull for a carry gun, not b/c its too big but b/c of the double lock up cylinder, I think it would be too difficult to manipulate under stress. Of course that is all relative to how much one practices, I learned this concept by repeatedly field stripping my SigPro SP2022 until I could do it consistently in under 3.5 seconds(had a friend time me).
    I like that particular model 66, but not sure what to think of the tracker series, I have never seen one with a blued finish(locally) and do not want a stainless gun. I do like the fuller underlug on the tracker series but HATE HATE HATE the feel of the ribber grips. I know I can just swap them out or possibly order one from the factory that way. At this point it seems clear that I will be buying a Taurus, unless I happen upon a GREAT deal on a used S&W somewhere, so now i guess the choice is model 66B6 with 7rds or .357 or Tracker in .44
    - J
     
  15. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Member

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    Amen. This is why the SP101 exists.
     
  16. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    that is what I would carry if I wanted to carry a small 357
     
  17. Sig88

    Sig88 Member

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    Look at the Ruger LCR or a nice S&W J-Frame, like 642 or 442. Or for the .357 option maybe a 640 or the LCR.
     
  18. savit260

    savit260 Member

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    This is the key line of your post IMO.

    To me, this would suggest to suit your goals the revolver would be relatively easy to shoot, yet compact enough to carry. This screams used K frame S&Wor similarly sized Ruger (six series) to me, or even a 3" SP-101 or possibly (if a little extra bulk doesn't bother you) a 3" Ruger GP 100. On a tighter budget the old Taurus 66's are decent. Most people find this size revolver to be a natural "fit" in hand.

    These ALL will be very good guns to learn how to shoot a double action revolver well, yet are compact enough where you can still carry them with relative ease. NO, they aren't "pocket guns" but you'll have a much better platform to learn revolver basics on IMO.

    After you get good with one of these , THEN you may want to try a lightweight .357 or .38 Special.
     
  19. MIL-DOT

    MIL-DOT member

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    I have to go along with the SP101 3" recomendations. I've been carrying one for several weeks now in a Don Hume JIT holster, and really like them both. The larger guns ( 686,GP100) are great, but as has been stated above, they'd be an un-necessarily heavy,bulky, PITA to hump around,IMO. I also like what you get with that extra inch-plus over a snubbie, while not significantly detracting from the comfort or concealability, and the weight doesn't feel much more than my fully loaded G26 did. I was also surprised that I could pocket carry the 3" Ruger as easily as I did my little Glock.
     
  20. Lar1911

    Lar1911 Member

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    Let us know, when do you think you will pick it up?
     
  21. branshew

    branshew Member

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    Contrary to what's been said, the LCR and Scandium J-Frame are good carry options. A good carry gun is going to be the gun that you actually feel comfortable carrying and one that you will carry. If it is too heavy and too large, you will end up leaving it behind more than carrying it

    The SP101 starts to cross the line in weight and size for a good carry option for me. I can easily slip my J-frame in my front pocket and roll out the door. The SP101 and other larger guns are going to require a good holster and weigh significantly more.

    Granted, I wouldn't want to shoot off 100 rounds of .357 in the lightweights in a range session, but I can shoot 100 rounds of .38 in my M&P 340 with no adverse effects. Recoil is snappy and they aren't that much fun to shoot compared to a full size revolver, but they are easy to carry and that's what matters. You can also carry a good .38 +P round in lieu of a .357 in either of those for a more manageable load.
     
  22. content

    content Member

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    Hello friends and neighbors // I have .357s from S&W, Dan Wesson and Ruger with barrels rangeing from 2"-15" but my EDC is a S&W prelock 442 .38, 1 7/8", 5 shot.

    The 442 can be easily concealed, is light weight and reliable as EDC or BUG to the larger .357 when I am able to carry a larger handgun.

    Rent or borrow as many as you can to find as natural a match as possible.
    Good luck finding what works for you as every day carry.
     
  23. savit260

    savit260 Member

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    Very true, but the aren't IMO, a good first revolver to learn revolver basics on.
    True again, but virtually worthless if you can't hit anything with it.
    True again, but if if it's too small and too light, and is uncomfortable to shoot, or frustrating to the shooter because it's difficult to learn and master for a beginner, then that isn't a good thing either.

    IMO, and that's a BIG IMO, a new revolver shooter would be better served learning the basics of double action revolver shooting on a mid frame size gun ... THEN moving on to learning to master a lightweight pocket snub after they've become proficient with something a little more manageable.
     
  24. 357 Terms

    357 Terms Member

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    If your goal is to develop a high skill level with a DA revolver your gonna need to shoot/practice alot. I would stay away from the lightweights. An sp101 (I have one in 357 with a spurless hammer) or a 2.5 686,a 3in gp100 would be a better start.
     
  25. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    I am not a good shot with a hyper-light gun.

    Oh sure, my first shot is great...but follow up shots suffer.

    With this in mind I cart around steel framed guns (mostly)

    If I am not proficient it is irresponsible to carry it.
     
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