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Which revolver?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Shadowangel, Sep 7, 2007.

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  1. Shadowangel

    Shadowangel Member

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    Needing some help deciding on a revolver to buy, as it'll be my first wheel gun. I don't know whether I should get one in 45 ACP, or 357 Mag. I already have a couple of 1911's, so the 45 would be nice in the respect that I don't have to start reloading a new caliber. I don't know, however, how 357 matches up against 45acp ballistics wise.Which would you all recommend? This gun will be used for home defense, backpacking, and the occassional concealed carry.
     
  2. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    Either 'll be a good choice. You already keep .45acp in stock, so you are good to go on ammo. The .45acp is a good round, perhaps not the best hunting cartridge in the world, but more than adequate for home defense. The .357 allows you to shoot .38s, so you not only have a choice of .357 ammo, you have the lower power range of the .38 special (and slightly lower cost). It's reputation as a stopper is pretty well documented.

    I say flip a coin - you're a winner either way.

    Q
     
  3. CommanderPoopyduX

    CommanderPoopyduX Member

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    I for one, and I am sure this will get argued heavily, feel automatic cartridges should stay in automatics....I have never seen the reason to put the slow 45 acp in a wheel gun. .357, while making a smaller diameter hole, will shoot much faster, plus it was made for a wheel gun. I could be wrong but I thought you had to use those special clips (moon clips i think) on the back of the cartridges for shooting auto calibers in wheel guns......making it cumbersome and annoying IMHO.

    My vote, stick to .357, .44 mag, 45 LC for the wheel. Stick to your 1911 for the .45.
     
  4. pogo2

    pogo2 Member

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    Old school, but it works...

    I also think the .357 would fit your requirements very well, and give you the versatility of practicing with cheaper .38s most of the time. The .357 six shooter also has a smaller cylinder than the .45 six shooter, so it conceals better in the carry mode you mentioned.

    I like an all stainless gun for its corrosion and rust resistance, as well as its weight for handling recoil. I would recommend the S&W model 66 snubby, which is out of production but widely available in used format in the $400 range. I have one that I often carry in an OWB holster, and it conceals quite easily. The gun weighs 32 ounces empty, so it handles .357 recoil easily.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. stormspotter

    stormspotter Member

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    Which revolver

    I'd go with the 357. Even though I love my Glock 19 & 21, I just bought a S&W 19 2 1/2" and love it. With a set of Hogue Bantams and 135 gr. Gold Dot short barrel 357's, I find myself carrying it more and more.

    Now I need to get something a little larger to go with the Browning 92 357 I just bought.:D
     
  6. shooter429

    shooter429 Member

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    .357 Magnum - no doubt

    I think the .357 will be much more versatile in a good medium frame wheelgun than the .45. The power can go from .38 target loads that make the 1911 seem like a monster to 200 grain hunting loads that make the 1911s seem like a pussycat. You can buy or load .38 Specials for less than half the cost of the .45 and .357s for about the same amount. And the variety of .357 Magnum chambered wheelguns by Smith or Ruger is astounding, while .45s are very limited. Oh and add to that the fact that the .357 wont require moon clips unlike the .45 and the choice becomes even clearer.

    the .357 is the revolvers what the .45acp is to 1911s.

    Shooter429
     
  7. shooter429

    shooter429 Member

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    Pogo2, Nice Smith

    It looks like new. How long have you had her?

    Shooter429
     
  8. crebralfix

    crebralfix member

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    I'm partial to the S&W 327 TRR8. It's a Performance Center gun with all the goodies.

    If you want something a bit more basic, look at the S&W 620, 621, 686, 686+, and the Ruger GP100.
     
  9. cherryriver

    cherryriver Member

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    I'm a Colt guy and I prefer my cylinders turning around to the right. I don't seem to care for stainless guns since blue, not white, is the color I'm comfortable with.
    I'm a big-bore sort, too, and pretty much always was ready to produce the old incantation "I got a .45 because they don't make a .46."
    So, I'd say, go out and buy a four-inch Smith 686.
    Here's why- the 625 is pretty much the whole ball game for practical .45 revolvers. I guess I don't see moonclips as a disadvantage, except that it's really easy to overheat a gun when you're using them, if you have a benchful of loaded moonies and just keep throwing them into those big holes.
    But I'm not as fond of 625s as I should be. They have some issues, if not notoriety, for being light-strikers and therefore fussy about ammo. I had a 625 for a few years until I sold it this past summer. I actually failed to fire a few times with WWB ammo while using OEM springs. With my otherwise-useful reloads, it was sometimes a very quiet gun.
    I'm buying a Model 25 to replace it.
    What's more, the 625 kicks hard enough to be more tiring that it ought to be. I'll touch off a couple of hundred .357s in a Python at one stretch, but I never felt like it with the 625. Maybe if I'd used the Hogues, but I didn't, so there it was.
    The N-frame is a bit large for some things, and some hands, too. The trigger is a long reach and pull. It may not suit you.
    But you won't say that about the 686. The action is simple, almost crude, and easy to slick. It balances well and you won't bend it up shooting tons of hard stuff. Feeding it is indeed cheaper than .45 if you reload (but I think .45 WWB at Wal-Mart is cheaper than similar .38 or .357).
    The wide range of possiblities with .38/.357 ammunition is unmatched: wadcutters to 200gr silhouette smashers and a thousand other loads in between.
    About the only way you'd tend towards the .45 is for action pistol competition- the 625 pretty much rules that roost nowadays. I love my Colts and Webleys, but the 625 is without question the fastest-reloading wheelgun in existence.
    Go for a four-inch tube, unless you're going hunting. Sixes are better, except for carrying and IDPA (with its four-inch maximum). The shorties are fun but the sight radius loss is significant. Again, I'm inordinately fond of my Detective Specials, but in IDPA, if the shots get longish, I pine for my Government Model. Maybe it's not real life, but under pressure, it's pretty hard to hit well and fast with a snub. I keep trying, but it's a disadvantage.
    Meanwhile, you might as well ask about picking a significant other, or a car.
    But like competing with a snubbie, it can be entertaining.
    Bill

    Oh, yeah, I've never owned a 686 and have only shot one a couple of times.
    I just don't want guys buying up King Cobras and .357 Models.
     
  10. gbran

    gbran Member

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    Every man really needs to own a .357. Someday you'll realize this.
     
  11. AtticusThraxx

    AtticusThraxx Member

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    Excatly what I was thinking gbran.
     
  12. BigBlock

    BigBlock member

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    You say you'll take it backpacking...its that for protection from animals? .357 would be a lot better against bears/cougars/etc. I've recently been deciding between .45 and .357 myself...I decided to compromise and go with .44 magnum. :evil:
     
  13. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    I have both .45 ACP and .357 in revolver platforms, see my sig below.

    .357 Magnum vs .45 ACP, traditionally the former in a wheelgun and the
    latter in a 1911 debate started around 70 years ago and it hasn't and won't stop until the cows come in.

    But prejudices aside, you stated to simplify things you might want to consider going with .45 ACP in a wheelgun because you already have the ammo and reloading capability . and learn about shooting the wheelgun. It's
    easier to compare the recoil felt when you know it is the same cartridge and load just a different platform.

    Yes, the .45 ACP revolvers need half-moon which contain 3 cartridges each or a full moon clip which contain 6 cartridges. It is so much faster for
    reloading a wheelgun now we find the rimmed .357 magnum in competition to
    have cut cylinders and they had to convert from speedloaders and now have
    suppliers with full moon clips. 8 shot for the 627 PC and 7 cap. for the 686 Plus and they also still work with without the moon clips. The .45 ACP revolvers also WILL work without the moon clips if you use .45 Auto RIm. The .45 AR was introduced in 1920 for WWI surplus wheelguns so the
    big revolvers from S & W could be used without the full moon clips. THe source for .45 AR brass is Starline. All you need to reload the .45 AR is
    ACP dies which you already have and use a .45 Colt shell holder.

    CUrrent offerings for the .45 wheelguns by S & W include

    625 w/5 inch barrel at 45 oz.
    25 w/3 inch barrel at 40 oz
    22 w/4 inch barrel at 37 oz it has a tapered bbl.
    325 w/5 inch Bbl. in scandium at 26 oz.

    The .357 S & W 8 shot PC is almost as heavy as the 625
    the 686P 7 shooter is 38 oz.

    Ballistically - the .357 relies on high velocity to match the heavier
    bullets deliovered by the .45 ACP. and the heavier the bullets are
    in .357 the less velocity advantage they have. ALso the .357 burns slower
    burning powder which you also aren't currently working with, and they
    always quote or almost always use the volocities out of
    a 6 inch BBl. on paper. when the bbl. len. is cut down you lose volocity
    because the slower burning powder of some loades is not yet
    burned and that's why the muzzle flash

    Oh also if you want to carry a few shot shells the bigger bore of the
    .45 will have more shot to deliover. period.

    Let's see what other criteria ?

    CCW kinda rules out the N frame unless you're a large Human

    Home defense - you already have 1911s ???

    CCW - how about a 686P 3 inch Bbl. or the above mentioned
    325 4 inch Bbl. They both would pack well. and defend home and hearth
    or if you're out on the open hwy, whatever.

    If you go with a .45 ACP wheelgun of whatever flavor, it's pretty easy to retrieve the spent brass from the full moon clips to reload for another day
    and if you like the wheelgun platform then go for a .357 magnum

    I like both.... each has their own application besides crossing over
    to answer sometimes the same problem.

    My carry load in the .45 is a 200 gr. hardcast Leadhead bullet
    in Starline brass in both ACP and AR loaded to 1,025 FPS. It'll become
    the practice load as soon as the Hornady 200 gr. XTP bullets show
    up to be loaded to 1,000 FPS again in both ACP and AR.

    Carry load for the 686 P is a 140 gr. Hornady XTP @ 1,300 FPS - 4" bbl.
    but I also have 168 gr. and 180 gr. XTPs for backcountry stuff.

    You won't go very far off the x-ring with either.
     
  14. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    Oh, forgot to mention

    If you go with a 6 shot wheelgun in .45 and try the Auto RIm
    the only Speedloader avail. AFAIK is the 25M

    If you go with a S & W 686P 7 shooter then it's the
    H & K 587

    FWIW - the .45 Auto RIm is the first cartridge with a rim
    designed for smokeless powder - 1920 all the rest were
    converted from blackpowder or johnnie come latelys

    so nuh yah....putting Magnum on the end of a cartridge doesn't
    make it magic....

    :evil:
     
  15. pogo2

    pogo2 Member

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    15 year old gun

    Thank you. I bought the gun used about 2 years ago from a retired police detective who had used it as his duty gun. It is a model 66-3, and was manufactured about 15 years ago. The previous owner had polished the gun, so it is fairly shiny. It is quite tight and works very well. The Hogue Bantam grips are new - I bought them on Ebay.

    I also have some fancy wood Badger grips for it, but for carry I prefer the smaller Bantams.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    Actually... the 1898 .38 S&W 'Special' and the 1907 .44 S&W 'Special' were designed for smokeless - but could still be made with bp, thus their 'Special' nature. Their longer cases than their predecessors, the .38 S&W and the .44 Russian, prevented the possibly higher pressure rounds being inserted in the older caliber (bp) designed firearms.

    Historically, the 1911's .45 ACP round has been used in revolvers since 1917 - nearly two decades before the .357 Magnum was developed.

    I would look at the .45 ACP in a revolver as a great way to get a big bore that is frugal, both in cost and recoil. Sure, my 2.5+yr old 625JM is finicky about brass - use range droppings and you'll likely get ftf's. Buy 500 or 1,000 Starline .45 ACP brass (1,000 are $130 delivered from Starline) and use them with your revolver. I used Fed primers - and have reduced Wolff spings in mine - and no ftf's. I have a bunch of loaded range sweepings to shoot when I want to play primer roulette. Buy plenty of moonclips - toss them if they get bent. Keep the under-the-ejector-star area clean.

    I load .45 AR's, too - you'll need a thick rimmed acceptable shellholder designed for the .45 AR's - not a .45 Colt. Speaking of .45 Colts, keep those bullets handy... the 625 couldn't care less about relative power level (within reason), bullet type/style,or OAL. I load 255gr LSWC to above SAAMI spc's for .45 Colt - in both short cases. Remember, the revolver has no action to work - or feedramp to match... it'll digest anything. Also, expect a bit more bump in the hand, as their is no mechanism to absorb your recoil energy. BTW, I've never had a ftf with a .45 AR round. Neat looking little rounds, too - and the HKS #25 fits those AR's. If you can, use a separate crimper with a sizing die as your last step - like the Lee FCD - for either ACP or AR. If a 4" barrel is legal to hunt with, Bambi & Thumper can be harvested easily - at closer ranges.

    Now, if you want a .38/.357M, look at the 4" 66's replacement - the 620. It has the same partially lugged barrel as the 66 - with the 686+'s L-frame and 7-shot cylinder - and better balance, to me, than the full lug 686+ (Not all 686+'s are full lugged - I have a 5" partially lugged keeper from a few years back!). While the 625JM now is nearing $700 new locally, the 620 is about $100 less - and, at 38 oz, about 5 oz less in weight. The HKS #587 fits the 620 (& 686+) cylinder.

    You can't go wrong either way. Buying new gets you the 800# to a pre-paid mailer for ANY service, too - and a free range bag, if you check out 'Shooting USA'.

    [​IMG]

    Stainz
     
  17. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    The .38 Spcl. was based on the .38 Long Colt. Mr. Wesson wanted more power to sell it so the case was lengthened in order to up the
    black powder charge from 18.5 gr. in the .38 LC to 21.0 gr.
    of Black Powder in the .38 SPcl. In about a year S & W
    changed to smokeless powder.
     
  18. glockman19

    glockman19 Member

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    I'm a big fan of the .357mag. Get the 686. I have the 4" and love it.
     
  19. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I see a trend here. I agree you should get the .357 Magnum over a revolver chambered in .45 ACP. I have nothing against a .45 Revolver but if you are going to buy a .45, make it a .45 Colt.
     
  20. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    I stand, er, sit corrected, sir! I had the year wrong, too - 1902. Still, it was initially made longer so it wouldn't fit the 1877 introduced .38 S&W revolvers, which it would have (The .38 S&W cartridge is a few thousandths larger OD than the .38 S&W Special - which is the same diameter as the .38 Long Colt - so either would fit, if they weren't too long. Potentially disastrously, of course.).

    The first .38 or .357M I touched was just four years ago - at the ripe old age of 55! I bought new closeouts from our friends in Waco - a 2" 10 and a 6" 66 - the latter with the IL. I fitted the 66 with an Ahrends square-conversion fg cocobolo stock, lighter springs, and a HiViz front sight - and it is still a heck of a plinker. If S&W tested it with real Magnums, that's the last time it saw hot loads - it gets my wimpy magnums and .38's now. A year or so later, I added a new 5" h-l 686+ - which came similarly equipped - and also is a keeper - launching mild loads. I later added a 5" JM PC627 V-Comp - still no maggies! These revolvers love my wimpie .357's - and .38's.

    I also have my first love - .45 Colt (My first S&W, a 625MG, was chambered in that caliber.) and .45 ACP. I have to admit, a 4" .357M may just make more sense as a 'first' revolver. Plinking with .38's is just fun - heck, reloading them on my Dillon 550 is fun, although I initially bought it solely to load my all-time favorite round - the .45 Colt. Back then, I still bought .45 ACP ammo for my bottom feeders and my second S&W - a 4" 625 bought five years ago. The Colt ammo was far more expensive and hard to find - and I had six revolvers and a lever gun so chambered to keep fed. Even though 1,000 lead bullets, primers, and powder today will run you ~$135-140, less s/h, it's still a savings.

    You know, I may have just talked myself into a new 620... where is that plastic... it's not really money...

    Stainz
     
  21. BikerRN

    BikerRN member

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    My daily CCW is a 4" N-Frame 45 acp.

    If I was going to do any backpacking, no thank you, I'll ride the horse or mule first, I would want the .357 Magnum for the ammo versatility. Both calibers are great for handloaders. You already have the 45 acp set up for reloading so to me this is a "no brainer". For home defense and bipedal aggressors I prefer the 45 ACP in a wheelie because my follow up shots are faster than with the .357 Magnum.

    For animals I prefer the .357, for humans the 45 acp. The .357 is a great "manstopper" but I have found my split times to be faster with the 45 acp. Also, the 45 wheelie is the fastest reload going with moon clips.

    I have both calibers and which one I carry depends on the situation.

    Biker
     
  22. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

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    Weighs 22oz. Carries IWB or OWB. Fires with or without moonclips, or 45AR. Shoots any bullet that'll fit in the tube.
     

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  23. mnw42

    mnw42 Member

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    TRR

    I have a S&W 22-4 Thunder Ranch .45 and I love it. The recoil is managed very will in a heavy N frame. I use it as my house gun. I don't need the blast, noise, and penetration of a .357 in a confined space. Beside, .45 ACP will get the job done and and full moon clips make for an incredibly fast reload. My observation is that a .38/357 revolver generally will be more accurate than a .45 ACP revolver (due to the length of the cylinder vs. the length of the cartridge?). To be fair, most of the .45 ACP revolvers I've seen or shot are old 1917 Colts and Smiths or older M22 Smiths. My 22 is very accurate, and I've not seen a lot of the newer Smiths at the range I frequent.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2007
  24. BikerRN

    BikerRN member

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    The TRR 22-4 is my EDC Off-Duty. :)

    I've got mine "Dialed In" and find it to be very very accurate. It's a big gun, but it carries well with a good belt and holster.

    Biker
     
  25. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

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    I have a 5" 625-2 (Model of 1988) that's incredibly accurate. Most S&W 45acp revolvers are tackdrivers.
     
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