Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Question for snubnose shooters.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by SomeDude, Jul 26, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. SomeDude

    SomeDude Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    St. Louis Metro
    Howdy
    I'm thinking about getting a snubnose hammerless in .38 or .357. Just wondering what kind of accuracy you guys (and gals) get while shooting factory loads. It's for conceled carry so it doesn't need to be a tack driver but how does it do at 20 feet? Thanks.
    Also, if anyone has a recommendations for a wheelgun please let me know.
     
  2. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    24,041
    Location:
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    I've never owned a Smith & Wesson or Colt snub-nosed revolver that wouldn't hold a two-inch or tighter five-shot group at twenty feet. I can't hold groups that size any more unless I shoot from a rest, but the guns do just fine.

    The accuracy limitations have very little to do with the guns qua guns and everything to do with fixed and/or poorly designed sights, small stocks or grips, and lawyer triggers.
     
  3. nicholst55

    nicholst55 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    37*55'N, 127*04'E
    All that's required for that range is pie-plate accuracy. That said, all of my snubbies will shoot 2-3" in S-L-O-W double action mode at that distance. Some significantly better.

    Interestingly, my older Taurus 85CH shoots the smallest groups of the bunch - 2 Colts and 2 Smiths included.

    I'd recommend buying the best quality gun that you can afford. If you plan to carry concealed, then weight can quickly become a factor and an Airweight or lightweight gun is definitely something to consider. The S&W M642 seems to be very popular. I'd suggest handling (and shooting) as many different guns as you can, and basing your decision on that and your wallet.
     
  4. mavracer

    mavracer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Messages:
    4,393
    Location:
    wichita
    the guns themselves are capable of one jagged hole at 20 feet,the ability of the shooter is taxed greatly by the short sight radius and the heavy D/A trigger.
     
  5. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,211
    Location:
    S.W.Michigan
    Not me.

    Hey there
    Try before you buy. I have been shooting all my life. Well atleast after 5 years old .
    I can not hit anything with any snubby.
    My 3" Kmber Ultra Carry ? Yes I can. The 1911 style is easy. That subby will jump pretty hard. Follow up shots are extremely slow. Compared to an auto.

    I had a .44 Bull Dog. Glad I never had to use it. 5 Shots from that thing and I was done. No control over the gun . I no longer wish to carry any small revolver.
     
  6. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    18,694
    Location:
    northern california
    20' is less than 7 yards, so i would expect all 5 rounds to be touching each other at that range. shooting at speed, i can usually keep all shots well inside a 3"x5" card

    if you get back to 25 yards, i would think paper plate size groups would be about average.

    the small snubbies really are the hardest wheelguns to shoot...but it's mostly because you think it is
     
  7. SomeDude

    SomeDude Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    St. Louis Metro
    Thank you for your input.
     
  8. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,791
    Location:
    Phoenix Az
    I recently went up in size with my carry revolver and went to a hammer. I couldnt shoot my little SW442 worth a darn. It definitelt wasnt the gun. It was really accurate...like all rounds touching at 7 yards. BUT... the heavy long trigger pull was hard. Plus the light weight made the recoil uncomfortable. So I recently got rid of it and got a Ruger SP101 3 inch.

    As for a carry gun the SW was hands down awesome. Its small, light, good caliber and reliable. For defensive situations it is one of the best carry guns.

    BUT... if I wanted to carry it back up to my duty weapon, I would have to qualify with it and that wasnt going to happen. Plus, if I had somehow managed to squeeze by the qualification, the thought of me possibly having to make an accurate shot with it at range was unsettling. If I had bought the hammer model, it probably would be different.
     
  9. greener

    greener Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Messages:
    353
    Location:
    Glen Allen, Virginia
    I recently bought an S&W 442. In a pocket holster it is great for CC, especially in the summer. I have no doubt that it will do touching hole accuracy at 7 yards and pie-plate accuracy at 25 yards in the hands of a good, experienced shooter. However, the light weight and heavy trigger will certainly amplify any shooting flaws. If you get one, plan on firing it regularly to ensure that you can fire it with reasonable accuracy. The 442 is the one handgun I fire every time I go to the range because I carry it more than anything else and I can shoot everything else more accurately.
     
  10. MADDOG

    MADDOG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    472
    Location:
    Where the west begins
    I recently bought a S&W 642 and I am impressed. It is very easy to carry and the first cylinder I put all 5 in a 3" circle, at 7 yards. It even got better as I continued to shoot. I have been carrying a mod.60 and that is equal to the 642 but heavier.
     
  11. btg3

    btg3 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    1,921
    I think "fit" is a factor. I'm a newbie with a 642 and this gun just feels great. At 21ft, natural point (not using sights), I can draw and empty the gun with 5 shots staying in a 10" diameter. With practice I expect to improve on this. (Of course, the group is tighter if I aim each shot.)

    In shopping for my 642, I came across a number of folks who said it did NOT fit their hand. So if possible, try before you buy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  12. XR400R

    XR400R Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Madison, Alabama
    I've concealed-carried & practiced with a Charter Arms .38 spl snubbie for about a year. While the CA is no where near the quality of a S&W, it will readily place shots within a 2" group at 20' from a rest (at least for me).

    Based on my experience, I have to agree with Clint Smith who said a snubbie is truly an "experts" gun. It is very difficult to shoot on target, off hand. I've been working on it for a year, & still not great. I can drive nails at 25 yds with my 7 1/4" Buckmark one-handed without a rest, but I'm real lucky to land one round out of 6-7 into a 3" target at 25 yds with the CA snubbie.

    Guess I'm just not a real great shot anyways. But the CA Undercover is a fine pocket gun & I carry it just about all the time. It's so much more convenient than my Ruger P93D to carry. And I believe in the advice that the gun you're carrying is 1000% superior to the canon at home in the drawer.

    Good luck.
     
  13. doc540

    doc540 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,546
    Location:
    Southeast Texas
    lightweight frames and I can't shoot worth squat

    steel frames and I can group'em DED dead at 20'
     
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    18,694
    Location:
    northern california
    it has been my experience that the models with hammers really aren't any easier to shoot...you should be shooting all shot DA anyway.

    i started with a M-60 (spur hammer), went to a M-38 (shielded hammer) and finally ended up with a M-642 (internal hammer)

    the 642 has been my most accurate J-frame. i did eventually have the action tuned
     
  15. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,717
    Location:
    Johnson City, TN
    Agreed. We are really talking about two different concepts here. The guns are not inherently or in and of themselves inaccurate. What they are, is harder to hit with.

    With a Colt Agent and a Ruger SP101, cocked to single-action and slow fire, I could shoot into 2-4 inches, the edge going to the Colt. A DAO S&W 640-1 was all over the place. Rapid fire double-action - as the guns would actually be used "for real" - was worse. Except for the Ruger, .38 Spl. +P also had some bite and bark to them.

    The one edge of a "hammerless" snubnose revolver is its more streamlined and rounded contours for drawing from a tighter pocket. Otherwise I prefer the Kahr PM9 for this role, and no longer own any of the above revolvers.
     
  16. skoro

    skoro Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    2,058
    Location:
    Texas
    Snubby Accuracy

    I'm an average pistol shot, not a tack-driving range rat.

    I can shoot my full-size revolvers pretty well even out to 50 yards, though. But my S&W 642 is a challenge. I've gotten to the point where I can get all 5 shots into a 6" circle rapid fire at 10 feet. That's probably good enough for its intended purpose. But it's required a good amount of practice. Carrying a snub means changing your shooting habits, for sure. They're a different little beast, but one that isn't too hard to tame if you're willing to practice. Just make sure you're using standard 38 rounds for practice. The +P will leave the web of your shooting hand with a stiff reminder for several days afterward. ;)
     
  17. Frizzman

    Frizzman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Coastal Virginia
    Are you asking about inherent accuracy or practical accuracy? The first is how small a grouping a firearm can make at a given range under ideal conditions. Most all short barreled revolvers are capable of very good to fine accuracy. Practical accuracy is how well the gun can perform when YOU shoot it in real shooting conditions. Short barreled, small framed revolvers in .38 spl or better are not easy to shoot in the mode that is required for self defense. That is double action shooting. I think it takes more time and practice to learn to operate a "snub nosed' revolver with any degree of skill than to learn to operate most autos or bigger revolvers. Most revolvers of that type have small grip frames, small sights, short sight radius and many have a stiff DA trigger as they come from the factory. I learned to shoot for defense with a DA .38 revolver back in the ancient days when I became a police officer. I like and carry a short revolver most of the time...The advice about going to a range and trying some is good advice. To learn the DA trigger, you may need some help from someone who is competent at doing that...Good Luck
     
  18. kcshooter

    kcshooter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,274
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    At 7 yards, being able to keep all 5 rounds at minute-of-person shouldn't be to much of a task at all, even under rapid fire. That's good enough for any carry weapon.
     
  19. SAWBONES

    SAWBONES Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    520
    Location:
    The third dimension
    Just recently shot my 2.25" barrel Ruger SP101 loaded with Buffalo bore 158gr JHC .357 Magnum at seven yards into a single .357" hole, before witnesses, slow fire.
    "No brag, just fact", as dear ol' Walter Brennan used to say on The Guns of Will Sonnet. (Boy, I'm dating myself!)

    OK, maybe it was a .359" hole. ;) The point is, it was one hole made by five individual rounds, not a "cloverleaf". I can do the same with certain of my .38 Special S&Ws too, with certain loads, eg, a particular 649 shooting Remington 158gr+P LSWCHP.
    Some of the guns are certainly capable of excellent precision. Finding or making an accurate one (that shoots to point of aim, that is) can be a bit of a trial, though, and I've got a few that have good precision but poor accuracy.

    As others said, adequate accuracy, quickly, is the raison d'etre of these little guns. Phrases like "three rounds in three inches in three seconds at three yards" apply (or supply the integer of your choosing if you don't like three :)).
     
  20. spwenger

    spwenger Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    391
    Location:
    Show Low AZ
    The Biggest Issue...

    ...is most likely to be the fit of the revolver in your hand. For myself, I find I can shoot a smaller group with my two-inch S&W 640-1 revolvers, with Big Dot front sights, than I can with a three-inch Ruger SP101, with the factory grip, because the S&W Centennials are fitted with Craig Spegel Boot Grips, which stabilize the small-frame revolvers in my hand, unlike the too-skinny-for-me factory grip on the SP101. (Since the SP101 is a teaching gun, it normally wears the factory grips. If I need to shoot it myself, I switch over to a set of boot grips from Badger Custom Pistol Grips.)

    As to the question of sight radius, I'm not the world's best shooter but, once I had the chance to see how much of the front sight I needed to hold above the top of the rear-sight groove, I used to hit man-size rocks, consistently, at about 120 yards, at the now-defunct San Gabriel Valley Gun Club, with two-inch J-frame S&W revolvers.
     
  21. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,051
    Most snubbies are mechanically more accurate than most shooters. A good action job will go a long way towards improving one's accuracy.
     
  22. eagle45

    eagle45 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Southwest Ohio
    spwenger is dead on - it's the fit that matters most.

    I've shot a number of revolvers over the years and many of them snubbies. What I shoot best right now is a Ruger SP 101 2.25" and a Taurus 851BUL that weighs in at a mere 17 oz. Both of these fit my hand better than any other revolver I own in their same category, but my S&W model 10 is close behind and an older S&W snubby is on my wish list.

    To illustrate - I recently took a friend of mine shooting who is considering getting his Ohio CCW. He had never shot a handgun of any type prior to our range trip. We went through the preliminary safety discussion and range rules, then I gave him some instruction of the following guns: XD 45, Ruger SP101, Taurus 851 BUL, S&W Model 10. I gave him about 150 rounds for each one and let him shoot whatever he liked. He liked them all, but quickly settled in on the Taurus. Shooting +p loads he was able to hit a 6" target consistently at the 7 yard range. When I asked him why he picked the Taurus, the fact that it fit better was his reason. He did not like the 357 magnum loads in the Ruger at all, so almost everything he shot was 38+p.

    He did well with the SP 101 also, but did not like the fit as well. For myself, I prefer the SP 101 over the Taurus for normal carry. The Taurus is a great pocket gun, and fits my hand better than any other lightweight revolver I have held. From an accuracy standpoint, at 7 yards I can keep all or most rounds on a paper plate in rapid fire with either gun, slow fire all or most on an index card.
     
  23. FerFAL

    FerFAL Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    I own 3 snubies. A S&W Mod 12 Airweight, a Colt Detective and a NICE customized 3” Colt Police Positive.

    If you care about accuracy, then a snubby is not your thing.
    Of course they can be accurate, but to me working on serious accuracy with a snub is like cutting a branch with a Victorinox…it can be done, but it’s not what the thing was intended for.:)

    It’s the hardest gun to master in terms of accuracy, and I’m not saying it like” Ohhh…wow! That guy is SO accurate with his snubby”.
    But more like “oh, look at that guy.. going for snail slow target practice shots with a gun that was intended for fast, VERY close self defense”

    If you want something accurate, go for a 4”, or at the very least a 3”.
    Yes, even if a 2” snubby is surprisingly accurate when shot in SA, or in extremely slow DA using a bench rest for support.
    2” is for contact shooting, pure last resort self defense when the guy is on you.


    FerFAL
     
  24. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    18,694
    Location:
    northern california
    i've never understood why folks think that a SA trigger stroke is so much more accurate than a DA one on a J-framed snubby. all the shorter trigger stroke does is give you more o a chance to jerk the trigger.

    one of the finest snubbies out there are the old Colt D-frames. the Det. Spl. has a grip about the size of a Ruger Sp-101 and yet gives you an extra shot. it's action can be tuned beyond anything you can imagine on the ruger or S&W J-frame..the longeer trigger stroke is actually an advantage in the smaller guns.

    you can become an amazing shot if you learn to shoot a 2.5" Colt Diamondback or a 2.5" S&W M-19
     
  25. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2003
    Messages:
    6,985
    Location:
    Texas
    I like the 2 inch revolvers.
    I shoot very few factory loads but my standard reload is comparable to the standard lead factory load.

    A quality 2 inch revolver, like the S&W J Frame, will shoot as accurate as anything else if the shooter does his job.

    I'm just an average decent shooter, so you can figure a good shot will do better.
    Here's a few of my targets using the little revolvers, you can get an idea of how well the short barrel guns shoot.

    I like using a timer. I'm trying to break 5 seconds with all hits inside the 3 3/4 inch black circle.
    [​IMG]

    This is a little unusual and of course I DON"T RECOMMEND this kind of shooting.:D
    [​IMG]

    This was about 10-12 yards using a S&W K Frame that I bought in 1960.
    [​IMG]

    Using a Crimson Trace laser equipped S&W J Frame. Point shooting from the hip. (I do a fair amount of laser practice).
    [​IMG]

    The inexpensive Rossi 38. Fast as I can (accurately) shoot.
    [​IMG]

    And finally the S&W Model 60 at 100 yards. No misses, but I was cheating by sitting down. (The white pasters are a Beretta Minx 22 Short)
    [​IMG]
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page