Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by seventy7-7s, Jul 10, 2010.
For self defense any of the .357 mag JHP loads are good but if you want to use 125 gr I'd recommend the Remington Golden Sabers since they are loaded to mid range and should have less chance of damage to the forcing cone of your model 19 with modest use than the full power 125's that have a reputation of cracking them. Of course there are heavier JHP's in the 135 to 158 grain weights that work well too that don't cause any forcing cone problems in the K frames.
The weak spot on the K frame .357's it the flat part on the bottom of the forcing cone. This is where the K frame .357's typically fail. However it requires A LOT of shooting Full Power Magnum loads with light weight (125 grain and lighter) bullets to do so. Most people do not shoot enough of these loads to cause the problem.
Anyway, any commercial .357 or .38 load will do fine in the K-frame. Just stick to the 158-grain loads, the light 110 and 125 grain stuff at high velocity is what can do the most harm.
Handloader a few years back in which he fired 5000 .357 rounds through a 19. IIRC he noted at 2500 rounds that the gun was still tight and had slightly improved accuracy. At 5000 rounds he wrote that there was more endshake than when new but that accuracy was essentially unchanged. Since then I have not worried as much about the issue, though I still avoid jacketed bullets (and the 125 JHP in particular) in the model.
I personally use 158 cast SWC downloaded just slightly and have had no troubles.
I bought a package of .38/357 Chamber brushes from Brownell's. No fire rings.
I'm steering clear of hot 125 gr .357. If it's hot, I'll shoot it in my L or N frame.
I just bought a brand new 19-3 and plan on shooting 25-50,000through it before the kids get it.
You young fellows can knock yourselves out with the hot magnums all you want.
Get an old Combat Masterpiece .38 and just use .38 standard loads.
And put your pretty Combat Magnum up to admire.
That is what I did!
For myself I do prefer the mid weight and heavier bullets just for how they feel when shooting.
I even play what I call "Revolver Roullete" where i load 5 .38 and one .357. It sure does quickly tell you if you have a flinch or not...
From what I've read and from hearing from two serious 19 fans it is hard to bust the gun if you stick to the heavier bullet .357 options. And they TRIED HARD! Both of them still have their guns. One is down for timing issues and the other is still soldiering on with a fair amount of end shake but no other issues. And this was despite loading them to the max for powder to get more kick from them for a lot of this time. So if you don't feed it the hyper velocity light bullet rounds they would appear to be quite durable.
As for .38 Special practice ammo. my favorite is 4.0gr W231/HP-38 under a 158gr LSWC bullet.
It's the 125gr .357 loads that cause forcing cone problems. A steady diet of 158gr .357's may wear the revolver faster than just .38spl, but you are looking at thousands of rounds to see any difference.
I start beginners out with .38sp lead wadcutters. Now these are lighter loads than fmj, so if you decide to fire self defense rounds later, expect more recoil/report... I pretty much only fire 158gr .357 rounds out of the model 19. I want to shoot it for many years to come, and its just not worth the risk of damaging the forcing cone on this old beauty.
Enjoy your model 19, its one gun I think you wont sell any time soon.
I have owned maybe 6 model 19's over the last 45 years
and have never had any problem shooting ANYTHING out of them. The terrible stories are based on very early production guns and very hot loads that were used at the time - the loade were made mainly by SuperVel and their imitators, and NO ONE has used these loads for many decades - the powders they used are not even made now AFAIK. There is NO reason to limit your 19 to .38 specials only, but it you choose do do so, it it more than strong enough for any load you will buy.
These stories are like "whisper down the alley" - they get very distorted in the passing, and they get passed along a lot by people who read them elsewhere. I'm an old gun nut - I was there when it was happening.
There were also problems with the early stainless steel revolvers - the steel used was fairly brittle.They fixed that long ago, too.
The Model 19 will last for a hundred years, like any S&W revolver.
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