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Strength of a Model 65 ? - 125 grain 357's

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by sjcslk, Jan 23, 2011.

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  1. sjcslk

    sjcslk Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    I couldn't reply to this old thread I was reading because of it's age. So I will ask the question here. The old thread said that 125 grain 357's will chew up a Model 65. I didn't know this. I've shot about 20 rounds of Remington 125 grain JKTD SP's out of mine. Should I give the rest to my brother-in-law to shoot out of his 586? Have I done damage? Other than the above 357's I've only shot 158 grain 38 special wadcutters. (I'm new to this site, hope this isn't a dumb question).
  2. bamabiker

    bamabiker Member

    Apr 6, 2010
    Birmingham, Al.
    I'm no expert on this and may get a little of it wrong but, the K frame S&Ws have had some problems with shooting light (125 gr.) 357s. It has in some cases cracked the forcing cone. Seems the small bullet lets excess gases damage the flat area of the forcing cone. The flat area is at the 6 o'clock position of the forcing cone.
    How many is too many? Heaven only knows. Most people that know of this problem just avoid the light bullets. Hope this helps. If I have any of it wrong someone will correct me.
  3. Archie

    Archie Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Hastings, Nebraska - the Heartland!
    Sort of...

    As the biker said, the damage is done to the barrel in the flat part at the bottom of the forcing cone. It cracks. However, the culprit seems to be the full charge .357 Magnum 125 grain factory loads, and only in K frame revolvers - as is your model 65. About the only thing anyone can tell you is to shoot it until it cracks, then stop one round before that. Not much help, huh?

    125 grain .38 Special +p loads do not have this reputation. Full charge .357 Magnum 158 grain loads do not cause this, but can cause the top strap to stretch over time.

    My normal plinking and general purpose (except for defense) loads is .38
    Special wadcutters. No problems reported from excessive use.

    If you use the revolver for self-defense, limited use of the 125 Magnum loads will probably not cause you grief. But there's no hard definition of 'limited'.
  4. roaddog28

    roaddog28 Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Escondido, CA
    Too answer your question. Most likely you have not damaged your model 65 shooting a few 125 gr magnums. I have a model 13 which is the blued brother of your 65 and have shot 125 gr magnums from time to time with no issues. Now I keep my model 13, 19 and 66 all clean around the forcing cone area. Does shooting a lot of the full power 125 gr magnums in a S&W model 65 or any of the K frame magnums going to crack the forcing cone? Maybe. I would limit shooting the 125 gr to maybe 20 to 25 rounds a year. Keep your revolver clean. Any finally don't worry about it. Your S&W model 65 will probably outlast you!
  5. Flint Ridge

    Flint Ridge Member

    Dec 21, 2009
    Flint Ridge, Missouri
    Here is the best single read on this that I have wandered into. I too think the risk is overstated, but yours will be 100% it won't crack or 100% it will. Me on my old 66 K frames, I'm not shooting must .357 and what I do will be of the 158 gr variety, and kept clean.

  6. PapaG

    PapaG Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    The K frame Smith chambered in .357 is safe with any factory load you want to put through it. It is not, nor was it ever, intended to be used with a steady diet of .357 ammo. Smith used to verify this. It was built as a 38, intended to be used as a 38 and carried with 357 ammo for police/military/social purposes. They will shoot loose, they will crack forcing cones, but they won't blow up. Same with the 29, or at least the originals. Smith, years ago, suggested an 80/20 rule. Eighty percent with specials, twenty with magnums...of course by upping the quantities, you can still damage one.
    Get an L frame if you want to shoot big quantities of maggies. Or an N. That is what they were designed for.
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