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Trying a Ruger LCR in .38 Special

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Kendahl, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. Kendahl

    Kendahl Member

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    This morning, I scratched an itch to try out a Ruger LCR in .38 Special by renting one from the indoor range I frequent. I was curious to see
    1. How well it fit my hand.
    2. Whether the trigger is as smooth as claimed.
    3. How sharp was the recoil given the gun's light weight.
    The range insists that you use their ammunition in rentals. (They don't overcharge for it.) The lightest load they had was standard pressure 158 grain lead semiwadcutters.
    1. The LCR fits my small hand very well. For reference, my Colt Diamondback also fits well, my S&W Model 19 is a bit too big, and I shoot my S&W M&P 9 with the smallest backstrap.
    2. The trigger is excellent. Heavy but very smooth with no stacking. The Diamondback is lighter but stacks. The Model 19 is at least as heavy and nowhere near as smooth.
    3. With the ammunition I shot, recoil is nasty. It's at least as sharp as my Model 19 with commercial, 158 grain, .357 loads. I don't want to think about shooting .357 in an LCR. I expect I would need the services of an orthopedic surgeon afterward. Anyone contemplating the purchase of an LCR in .38 or .357 should try one out first. Under no circumstances should it be used to introduce a new shooter to revolvers. I would like to try one in .327 but not with .327 magnum cartridges. .32 H&R magnum at most or .32 S&W long. An LCR in .22 LR would be okay for a beginner. With eight shots, instead of five or six, it's not a bad choice for carry, either.
     
  2. Boarhunter

    Boarhunter Member

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    The LCR 22 is good for us "seasoned" shooters, too!

    BOARHUNTER
     
  3. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    The 357 version is about four ounces heavier, which makes it much easier to shoot. My friend has one, and I shot it during a few sessions. I had no trouble shooting it, so I snatched up a 38 version when I found a good deal on a used one.

    The 38 was much harder for me to shoot. I was surprised how big a difference the four ounces made. I put a set of the slightly larger LCRx grips on it and now can shoot it just fine. It's my most common EDC.
     
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  4. SteadyD

    SteadyD Member

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    I always find 158 grain ammo the most unpleasant to shoot. Even the target 158s punish me. It’s a handful no matter what, but much more pleasant with 125 or 130 grain offerings.

    The 327 weighs an additional 3.5 oz, and with 32 H&R Magnum it’s a pleasure to shoot.
     
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  5. Livin_Cincy

    Livin_Cincy Member

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    I have an LCR and prefer heavier all steel revolvers.
     
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  6. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    My wife has the LCR 38 and I have the 9x19. I agree that lighter bullets make a big difference in the 38. The 9 is decent with the recoil. Same steel frame as the 357. I'm curious how 357 would do.

    That said, I like the DA trigger pull in the LCR more than the j-frames.
     
  7. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    The .357 model is very manageable with .38s. It's more recoil than I could enjoy with .357s, though. (#understatement)
     
  8. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    I tried that a couple of years ago. Regarding the nature of the recoil , here is an apt analogy :

    - Open hood of pick up truck
    - Place shooting hand on frame , near the hood latch
    - Slam hood

    I apologize to the writer I stole this from , whoever that is.
     
  9. Admiral_Ken

    Admiral_Ken Member

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    I have the .38 "Navy" model, which means it's gray instead of all black. The trigger is much smoother than factory J frame triggers. Shooting 125grn +P is snappy, but not bad. I shoot 158 grn SWC and find them very manageable.

    A guy I know bought the .357 model LCR, and hated it, I thought he was a wimp and bought it from him at a good price. Came with a box of 158grn .357, only 10 missing. I took it to the range, shot it 10 times, it HURTS. Felt like a cherry bomb went off in my hand. My whole hand was "vibrating". I traded it for a Gen3 G19, was happy to see it go.
    There just isn't enough mass to handle the recoil of .357 loads, IMHO.
     
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  10. Cump

    Cump Member

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    I agree with the idea of trying 130 grain ammo. I also think it is worth noting that these threads on felt recoil in light revolvers often become hyperbolic -- though there is truth in the internet wisdom.

    I think it is worth trying a variety of loads, even heavier loads, in light revolvers. Different shooters have different tolerances. Different grips can make a difference. You don't know where you can draw the line until you try.
     
  11. Pudge

    Pudge Member

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    The grips and the weight of the .357 LCR do indeed make a significant difference. .38's are not, in my opinion, sharper than in an all steel J frame, very managable. Shooting .357's, however, is an experience. I find that more than 20 and my wrist will let me know it's been working. But even with .357's it is accurate and shootable, especially for such a small and light firearm.
     
  12. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    The 9mm version is the heaviest of the LCRs :)
     
  13. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    Do I understand correctly , are you stating that recoil from the LCR in .38 is not "sharper" than that of a steel J frame in .38?
     
  14. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I have a 38 LCR, recoil is brisk but I don't find it painful or even unpleasant with standard 158's. That said, it isn't a gun I shoot huge quantities of ammo through either.
     
  15. Anchorite

    Anchorite Member

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    I’ve had a few LCRs over the years. I’d pick up one cheap and keep it for a while, then sell or trade it toward something new. My observations were that polymer is soul-less in a firearm, and shooting the LCR was like hitting the palm of my hand with a ball peen hammer. No matter how hard I tried, I could just never get used to it. Overall a good revolver, it just has never found a place in my home.
     
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  16. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    I couldn't agree more. I purchased the .357 LCR without any intention of firing .357 rounds. But I like that the option is available to me should a milder round come out. I carry mine as my EDC and frequently put .38 Spec +P 125 grain SJHP down the pipe for practice sessions with no recoil issues. The trigger gets smoother and smoother over time. It's a great shooter that conceals well.
     
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  17. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    The trigger is very smooth, better than any J-frame I've ever shot. I didn't think that shooting 357's out of my friend's gun was painful, but he is a reloader and I don't know how mild they were. 38's out of his 357 version were NBD.

    Keep in mind that mine is the 38 special version, but with the longer LCRx grips to fit my XXL hands. It is not at all painful or bothersome for me to shoot. That being said, I just shoot the cheapest target ammo I can find, or my FiL's mild reloads. I'm also not particularly sensitive to recoil.

     
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  18. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    I have the .357 model. I like it because I can shoot 38 specials and 38 special +P and not have to worry. 125gr or 110gr are the heaviest bullets I shoot in it. Recoil is not that bad in 38 loads but I don't very often go for .357 loads. Just a bit too much. Never shoot 158gr bullets in it .Too much recoil with those.
     
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  19. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    Slight deviation in topic here - My son carries a LCR in his overalls breast pocket. He favors it because it is light and rides well ; big guy who is not at all recoil sensitive.
    One thing bothers him - the slight rattle coming from the internals. That would drive me nuts.
    Recoil comparison-wise , the PPK in 380 has a reputation for being "snappy" , and it is. I am quite attached to my PPK , I consider it manageable, even fun to shoot.
    The LCR is , IMO , a well designed , well built gun. The design priority is light weight , and that criteria is met. That said , the recoil characteristics and/or the rattle factor steer me elsewhere.

    Many folks are of the opinion that a steel J frame is prohibitively heavy for edc. I happily carry a S&W 60 no dash. That is what makes the world go 'round.
     
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  20. SteadyD

    SteadyD Member

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    The rattle is likely the transfer bar, and it’s normal, just in case it concerns him.
     
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  21. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    Yes , that is understood , but annoying nonetheless.
     
  22. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    I do like my LCR357
    image.jpeg
     
  23. Zendude
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    Zendude Contributing Member

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    I found the LCR 38 far more punishing than my 16 oz Charter Undercover 38.
     
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  24. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    My LCR 357 is very very controllable , with 38spl +P , even with boot grips ... A bit lively with 357mag ;-)
     
  25. Pudge

    Pudge Member

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    I have not noticed a recoil difference between shooting .38' s in a steel framed S&W j frame and a Ruger KLCR (one in .357). It has a polymer grip frame, but is stainless elsewhere, and the factory grips (I believe they are Hogue Tamer grips) really soak up recoil. There may be a difference in felt recoil, but I don't notice it.
     
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