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Revolver newbie

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jacob2745, Sep 29, 2012.

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  1. jacob2745

    jacob2745 Member

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    I have never owned a revolver, and have only shot them a hand full of times. I am thinking about purchasing a j frame smith or something else of similar size. It could possibly become another ccw. I know they are a completely different world from what im used to, but i would like to give it a whirl.

    I just wanted to get some opinions on a few things from people with a lot more knowledge than me.

    1. caliber (im leaning towards .38 over .357. It seems follow up shots would be tough with the .357)

    2. Internal hammer/external/shrouded (probably never pocket carry)

    3. What brand/model would you guys recommend? (I know its impossible to not be biased. I just want some options)
     
  2. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Colt D frame...Agent, Cobra, Detective Special or Diamondback...6 shots compared to the other guy's 513t.
     
  3. JRWhit

    JRWhit Member

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    you must keep in mind you can shoot 38s in the .357.
    I have a sp101,stub nose carry gun, I always carry 38s in it, but love the occasional palm brusing from the .357. If it's between the 38 and .357 get the .357 and you have both.
     
  4. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Member

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    what he said ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Ruger SP101 - most of 'em are 357 mag.
    But that way you have a choice of either 38spl or 357.

    That's my CCW.
     
  5. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    J-Frame Smith
    5 shots
    mediocre trigger
    lots of options (no hammer, shrouded hammer, external hammer)
    pre 1998 were built okay, after then, pretty much crap. 50s and 60s yielded the best.
    parts and "smiths" everywhere

    Colt Detective Special
    6 shots
    usually a nice trigger
    not cheap
    qualified gunsmiths scarce
    many call it the finest concealed carry revolver made

    SP101
    5 shots
    .357 option
    heavy
    reasonably priced
    trigger needs work to become acceptable
    ugly "billboard" on barrel
    Ruger has a reputation for building tough guns that offer value

    Colt Cobra
    mechanically the same as Detective Special with the same advantages and issues
    allow frame makes it very light
     
  6. DocRx

    DocRx Member

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    Check out the Ruger KLCR .357mag/.38spl. Excellent smooth trigger, innovative design, multiple caliber selection, concealable, lightweight, manageable recoil, and fairly priced.
     
  7. Hapworth

    Hapworth Member

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    1) Caliber: for a self defense CCW small frame revolver, .38 is all you need if you pick your ammo intelligently. .357 poses a variety of problems in this platform with minimal gain.

    2) Hammer: internal. No snag, no lint, rarely a need or opportunity to go single-action in a fast self-defense scenario.

    3) Brand/model: S&W 442 Moon Clip. Light, reliable, carryable, concealable, tunable and shootable. The moon clips are fast reloading and easy to carry.
     
  8. skidder

    skidder Member

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    All good advice so far. :)

    My advice is limited to the SP101 2.25". The only snub I've ever owned. I guess I've never had a reason to try another? A super tough 357, and like others have stated you can shoot 38s. My wife takes it huckleberry picking every year with my hot 357 loads (lots of bears in them there huckleberry patches). Even though it sees 38s 95% of the time, it's nice to have the 357 option.
     
  9. Naybor

    Naybor Member

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    What JRWhit and the above said.
    SP101 in .357. That's what the wife got. She likes that she can use .38 Sp, .38+P, and .357 Magnum in it. .357 is the best of all .38 worlds.

    Note how often the word "Ruger" is used.
     
  10. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Certainly ain't nothing wrong with the SP. I bought one 15+ years ago when they first came out in .357....I carry it in a pancake nearly every day that I am not working.
     
  11. CDR_Glock

    CDR_Glock Member

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    1. 38+P but having a 357 let's you shoot both. Follow up shots aren't bad.
    2. Internal hammer. Less likely to snag when drawing or be grabbed from you.
    3. S&W for size. Ruger SP-101 or LCR. However, it's easier to shoot a 357 when the gun is closer to 24 oz. LCR 357 is only 17 oz.

    With that being said, a snubby is not exactly an easy shooter. The require work.
     
  12. mauiglide

    mauiglide Member

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    I just received my new S&W Model 638 yesterday and I'm just loving it. I was looking at the 357 magnum version (Model 349) but decided that I would not be using magnum rounds in a lightweight and small frame revolver. I'll shoot magnum rounds through my large frame Model 686+ revolver.

    The J frame revolver will be used as my BUG home defense weapon. I always wanted a small lightweight revolver to compliment my large frame Model 686+ and now I've got it. I'm not too concerned about the ILS as I've shot my Model 686+ revolver for years and hundreds of magnum rounds with no lock ups or ill effects.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX using Tapatalk 2
     
  13. Crowman

    Crowman Member

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    Guillermo, you are spot-on with your assessment of the revolvers.

    I have a Ruger SP101 in .327 Federal. Great cartridge (gives magnum performance at 20% less recoil than .357); however, the Ruger's double action trigger sucks and it is a bulky and heavy revolver for its size. However, it will still be around when everything except cockroaches disappear.

    The pick of the litter is either a Colt Agent or Detective Special. Both are now out of production for a looooong while. If you see one of the later ones, snatch it up. It will be worth sending to Colt for a tune-up. I sent my Agent back To Colt for it's usual 1000 round tune-up a couple of years ago and they did a bang-up job on it.

    F.Y.I. The factory only has parts for the most recent Colts. They sold off their old gun parts inventories to third party suppliers years ago.

    The lighter alloy S&W J-Frames are absolutely brutal to shoot with .357 magnum loads. Period. Translation: It is hard to hit consistently with them and they are an expert's gun requiring lots of instruction and practice to truly master.

    I routinely pack an S&W 386 Night Guard (24 ounce 7-shot alloy .357 Magnum) as my main CCW. This weapon really impressed me. It is easy to wear all day and it has chamfered charging holes in the cylinder to facilitate speed loaders and it comes equipped with tritium night sights that glow in the dark. They are really easy to see and fast to acquire. Plus the fixed rear Cylinder & Slide combat rear sight is regulated for 158 grain bullets pushed at magnum velocities and will shoot to point of aim with those loads. It will not get knocked out of adjustment either.

    I also carry a speed loader or two loaded with 125 grain JHP anti-personnel loads. The compact factory supplied rubber grips aid in controllability greatly, and though it is a hand-full with magnums, I passed a Police qualifications course with mine right out of the box with heavy 158 grain JSP loads (I carry them for small black bear and hawgs around where I live). Like I said, this particular revolver really impressed me.

    It is equally important to get a quality holster and belt to carry your future gun. Being able to comfortably wear your weapon means you actually have it handy when you need it. Stay away from the cheap floppy nylon abominations that are out there. Look at Galco or DeSantis or El Paso Saddlery for the good stuff or you will be picking your gun up off the floor at Wal-Mart with the security guy eye-balling you after it fell out. Rudy Lozano at Black Hills Leather (www.blackhillsleather.com) has made several rigs and ammo slides for me over the years. He does excellent work.

    Tim Sundles over at Buffalo Bore (https://www.buffalobore.com/) can fix you up with some quality .38 Special ammo for whatever revolver you finally choose.
     
  14. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    thank you Crowman

    BTW

    I failed to mention that a K-Frame Smith, an older snubby, is a great gun.

    To me the K-Frame Smith and D-Frame Colt are great.

    The K frame is slightly larger but parts are available and gunsmiths are plentiful

    Finding one from the 50s is not difficult and may be the perfect compromise (if there is such a thing)

    best of luck Jacob
     
  15. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    Ruger LCR .38+P.
     
  16. skt239

    skt239 Member

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    If I was buying my first revolver, I'd go over to buds and get a used model ten 3 inch .38 special. They are under $300, so the price is right and the size is perfect for concealed carry and the range.

    If you really and a gun that's easy to carry and, with practice, just as easy to shoot, you should look at the Airweight line from S&W. Since you won't be pocket carrying, I assume you'll be carrying OWB or IWB? Either method with any of the Airweights is IMO the most comfortable way to CC a gun. I prefer to carry my 637 OWB in leather pancake holster and have no problems, even with just a normal sized t-shirt.

    [​IMG]

    I've owned and carried more guns than I can remember of the years and the Airweights I've owned have always been the best.
     
  17. F-111 John

    F-111 John Member

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    There is nothing wrong with getting a .357 and shooting .38 in it. I do it all the time with my Dan Wesson 715 and my S&W 19. In my twisted way of thinking, if a revolver is rated for .357 magnum, then you know it's safe to digest .38 +P all day long.

    That being said, my carry gun is a S&W Model 60 in .38 special.
     
  18. kdave21

    kdave21 Member

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    This.
     
  19. JRWhit

    JRWhit Member

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    Forgot to mention, If it's for ccw, Ruger has the LCR hammerless revolver in .357 now. Like I was saying, you can carry with 38 special and on occasion have a little tee-hee moment when cracking out a .357 magnum.
    It's a five shot, no guess work, light,concealable, point and shoot gun. Just keep in mind it's duty purpose. It is not a gun, like all light frame revolvers, thats going to hold up to the abuse of the heavier ones. If you are planning on doing a lot of recreation shooting get something heavier.

    I have a bias with the ruger, but S&W also makes a hammerless that I hear good things about. Shop around and see what you like.
     
  20. jacob2745

    jacob2745 Member

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    Is there much size difference between a .357 and a .38 in similar models?
     
  21. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    When using compact revolvers for defense or concealed carry, one consideration is often overlooked. It can be difficult to quickly and efficiently eject spent casings when practicing reload under duress. If the chamber/ammo combination proves the least bit sticky, then the shortened ejector rods often found on 2" revolvers could add up to trouble. Carrying a .357 and loading .38 spl. is the best medicine for this kind of problem and .357 hideouts firing .38 defense loads may provide a more stable and controllable shooting experience for you.

    Food for thought.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  22. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    yes and no

    they have beefed up newer small revolvers (J frames and LCR) to handle .357

    SP101 was always a .357 (don't even know why they make a .38)

    Back in the old days, it took some convincing to get S&W to shoot .357 out of a K frame

    Of course, the real question is not if your gun can take it...but can you.

    When the gun gets light enough, it is beyond uncomfortable...it hurts.

    If it hurts you won't practice with it (unless you are into masochism). Even then, follow up shots are more difficult (and arguably less necessary)

    Of course they have guys that claim they can pop the pimple on the butt of a hummingbird in flight (without harming the bird) at 1000 yards with a .500 S&W made of styrofoam clenched in their butt cheeks while doing a handstand on the deck of an unlimited offshore boat during a typhoon and singing "tiptoe through the tulips".

    I am not one of those guys and have never seen those feats. I would STRONGLY encourage you to shoot before you buy.

    Many ranges have rental guns. Lots of guys would love to show off their toys. There are lots of opportunities to shoot a gun before you buy it.
     
  23. Crowman

    Crowman Member

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    I agree with Guillermo. You need to try different revolvers, both J-frame, K-Frame and L-frame as well as other manufacturers offerings.

    Shoot the light alloy models as well as the all-steel ones to establish a baseline as to what your abilities are. Also try different calibers to find what you can control, and what you can hit with.

    Manufacturers have upped the ante on small alloy and steel frame revolvers, more for market share and a perceived need for power that is waaaay past what most people need, can tolerate or master. The small frame revolvers are easy to carry but are difficult to hit with. If you doubt this, take a police qualification course with one and shoot a timed event, double action only, from 3 yards, 7 yards, 15 yards and finally 25 yards. This will show any weaknesses in your ability and weapon/cartridge selection.

    You can upscale from J-Frames, LCR's and SP101's to K-frame and L-frame S&W snubbies, both in light alloy or heavier steel for more controllability. Try these for comparison. The J-frames and S&W clones are 5-shooters. The K-frames are 6-shooters and some of the L-Frames are 7-shooters.

    Another point not often considered is the sights supplied on most small frame guns are pretty difficult to pick-up in a hurry. Night sights are the bomb and S&W provides them on selected platforms, especially the Night Guard series and their M632 Pro Series century frame snubbie.

    There is a six-shot K-frame Night Guard, Model 315NG, that is slightly smaller than the 7-shot L-Frame 386NG that I carry, and it is chambered for .38 Special +P. This is a tricked-out light alloy version of the old .38 Special model 15. Barrel is 2-1/2", has night sights, synthetic compact grips, and other goodies. There is enough mass in these revolvers to make precise repeat shots viable and controllable. These guns are actually worth the price. You won't have to do any thing to them to make them CCW-worthy, except get a decent belt/holster system.

    They also make the series in .44 Magnum, .45 ACP and .41 Magnum for the Big Bore Club. These are ouchers! I've shot some of them (I also own a 325PD). The .41 and .44 magnums are all but useless. Way too much horse power in too light a package. You will develop carpal tunnel if you try to shoot these brutes on a regular basis; however, there is that peculiar group who feels that if the gun doesn't knock you to your knees when you fire it, then it is not potent enough on the sending end. NOTE: A lot of smart lawmen killed a lot of desperadoes with .32-20 revolvers back in the day. Just saying...precise shot placement trumps uncontrolled power every time.
     
  24. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    +1 Crowman, good post.

    Guillermo,

    Your ego doesn't need my feeding.:neener:
     
  25. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    (stamping foot with hand on hips)

    BUT I"M HUNGRY!!!

    :neener:
     
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