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Stupid question of the week: difference between K and L frame Smiths?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by 1KPerDay, Apr 15, 2009.

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  1. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The L has a larger frame window, to allow a larger cylinder diameter.
    That makes the distance from the center pin to the bore longer.

    This allows a full diameter barrel where it protrudes through the frame and cures the cracked forcing cone problem with the K-frame magnums. They had to have a flat milled off the bottom of the barrel to clear the cylinder gas ring which weakened them.

    Also the top strap is slightly heavier on the L to resist flame cutting.

    rc
     
  3. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    L frames are larger than K frames. Because of this they are stronger. L frames came out in the 80s so S&W would have a revolver smaller than a N frame (used for large 357s like the M27 and 41/44 maguns) capable of dealing with a steady diet of full power 357s. The K frame wouldn't handle full 357s for a long time and has issues with the forcing cone splitting with lightweight (110s and 125s) magnums.

    Traditionally 38/357 caliber a J frame is always a 5 shot and K, L, and N frames a 6 shot, although there are 7 and 8 shot 357s made by S&W in L and N frame I believe.
     
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    K=Baby Bear, L=Mama Bear, N=Papa Bear....

    Whatever frame the .500 is = Pro Wrestler....

    First two posters got it for ya....Oh, and some L Frames are 5 shots..(.44 Spl goodness)
     
  5. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    So the model 19 is a K frame, right? Any problems with flame cutting on those?

    The grip frames of the K and L are identical, right? (if what I read on the grip sites is correct....)

    Thanks to all for the info.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, the Model 19 is a K-frame.

    Yes, if you shoot enough mag ammo, almost any revolver will exibit flame cutting to some extent.

    It is not a deal breaker.

    It slows down or stops after it gets so far.

    The big issue with Model 19's was forcing cones cracking after a lot of 125 grain Magnum loads.

    I have one I bought in 1970.
    It is still going strong.

    rc
     
  7. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    Full length underlug on the barrel ala Python.
     
  8. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    never mind
     
  9. bflobill_69

    bflobill_69 Member

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    Hmm define ALOT of magnum ammo...

    I have fired what I consider to be ALOT of magnum ammo through my 19 and she still performs exceptionally!

    K Frames are tough... but if you KNOW you intend to shoot primarily .357, perhaps you should consider an L or N frame.

    Bflobill69
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Sorry, I can't define "a lot".
    My 1970 19 has had what I consider a fair amount through it, with no problems. I shoot nothing but 140 grain JHP handloads at probably mid-level Magnum velocity.

    My personal feeling is this:

    Back in the day, cops shot a ton of LRN or LWC .38 Special ammo in practice.

    Then they would switch to 125 grain JHP Magnum screamers to finish off the range session.
    Without cleaning the leading out of the forcing cone first.

    The packed on leading reduced the size of the forcing cone, and the 125 grain jacketed ammo made them big enough to go through, one way or another!

    Cracked forcing cones were the result.

    rc
     
  11. Racinbob

    Racinbob Member

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    Nice, rcmodel. Someone else realizes that. My 82 vintage with an uncountable number of rounds is still going strong.
     
  12. harmonic

    harmonic member

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    From my files:

     
  13. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    The problem with the K frames Magnums is often a bit overblown. There are a good many of these which have seen many thousands of rounds of 125 gr. loads which have never cracked nor seen much flame cutting beyond the norm.

    The M19 was the first of the K frame Magnums and was introduced in the 1950s at the request of Bill Jordan who envisioned a lighter weight .357 than the N frames which were available. The concept was to make a strong daily carry gun for cops which was lighter and handier than the N frame. At that time common practice was for leos to practice with the lrn .38 Spl. and carry .357 on duty. The stated idea of the gun was a steady diet of .38 Spl., which the M19 handled rather easily, and limited use of the .357. The most common loading of the latter was with a 158 gr. lead bullet.

    About the time the hotter jacketed 125 gr. loads showed up problems began to crop up with the forcing cones of the M19s. This was particularly true for guns where the lead from the .38s was allowed to build up in the area of the forcing cone. When the hot 125 gr. loads went through a gun with lead build up in this relatively weak area to begin with, the pressures rose much higher than normal and stressed this area, promoting cracks.

    Last year Brian Pearce wrote an interesting article in Reloader magazine where he reported on his several years of shooting nothing but hot 125 gr. loads through an M19 and kept track of it. IIRC he was up to about 10,000 rounds or so. He'd had the gun tuned up a couple of times but no sign of a cracked cone.

    There area good many decades old Combat Magnums around still strong and running. Keep them clean and properly tuned and the lead out, be mindful of what they were built for and they will last a good long time.

    tipoc
     
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