Why are 3" revolvers rare?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by rs525, Apr 14, 2022.

  1. WVsig

    WVsig Member

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  2. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Cheating? No way! Made me stop dead in my tracks! Man, that is a sweet model 27. Very nice. :thumbup:
     
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  3. Blkhrt13

    Blkhrt13 Member

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    I think the deal is 4 inch was a standard size for duty weapons. So for a while there was more on the market prior to the rise of automatics. 3 inch barrels were more for concealed carry. Also I think many collect three inch so there is a supply and demand condition on what’s left.
     
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  4. Don Van Winkle

    Don Van Winkle Member

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    I just received a Taurus 856 Defender with a 3" barrel from my lovely Wife and I love it. Easy to carry in the holster I repurposed from one I made for a glock years ago. Just cased it and then put my new revolver in and sun dried it for an afternoon. Hocus-Pocus it looks made for the gun. I will post pics as soon as I take them. One question I have is: Can I darken the SS matte finish on it with something? I know that perma blue does not work on ss so I am wondering how to do this as I do not favor the ss matte finish. I have broken it down to parade rest, as revolvers are basically the same from one to the next so that job is checked off. If anybody out there has a remedy for me I would appreciate the help. Thank you.
     
  5. Trailryder59

    Trailryder59 Member

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    My three" 36 seems like a great revolver. Would have loved to bought a 2 inch also,thinking of the "shrouded hammer" 49, I think it was. Never shot a 2"er but took mine to a concealed carry course, the instructor liked it. Since we are in Ontario must people showed up with 4 1/2- 6' semi's Only us old farts "grandfathered to own 4" and under".
     
  6. Hikingman

    Hikingman Member

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    Around 2 and 4 inch have been preferred by most manufacturers. Three is fun if you can find it. As much as four is extremely popular, that extra inch is not as concealable. At the range, enjoy a long barrel, and go shorter if you must.
     
  7. rs525

    rs525 Member

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    32 REVOLVERS?!?! No wonder they're so hard to find these days!
     
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  8. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    Don't worry, the majority of those were "catch-and-release" and are back in circulation.

    I did a lot of horse trading. If something came along a local buy/sell board at below market value and I was even mildly interested in it, I'd pick it up, try it out and if I didn't love it, move it on down the road for the next thing.

    A byproduct of that is that I now know what I like, want and need. That, and the ones I kept are keepers, maybe not all are rare variants, but particularly nice executions nonetheless.

    I think my grand total of firearms is somewhere in the low 70's. I'll have to check my notes.

    Update: after checking my notes, it's been an even 80.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2022
  9. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    It's not that they're rare, so much as they were never in high demand. The 2" & 2 1/2" were more popular snub offerings in the medium frame models. (2 3/4" for Ruger in their original Security series.) The 3" K-frame models became attractive to LE for plainclothes at one point, and ditto the J-frame models, and S&W did some periodic production runs, and in those days they usually included some overruns. The overruns made it easy for an agency to decide to subsequently add some additional units to a previous order, and could also make their way to one of the company's major distributors or vendors.

    I ended up with my 3" nickel M36 because the shorter barreled 36/60's were in high demand and disappeared off display shelves virtually as quickly as they'd arrive. I spent months browsing the usual cop and retail shops in those days (early 80's), waiting for a 36/60 to show up, and finally stumbled upon the 3" nickel J, which I grabbed as a last resort. Glad I did, as that RB 3" J handled and shot almost as well as my issued K-frame and Rugers. Just enough extra barrel length to hopefully offer some more potential for the soft LSWCHP's of the day to expand, compared to the slightly lower velocities realized in the inch shorter snub barrels. Still seemed like a coin toss for the jacketed JHPs of the day.


    I later found and bought a nifty 649 Bodyguard .38SPL, which had an appeal of its own.

    I still occasionally carry that 3" nickel 36, in an original black basketweave paddle holster.
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    Wish I still had an older 2 1/2" K, and a couple of the older Ruger snub Security & Speed-Sixes, too. I let too many find revolvers slip through my hands as a younger cop, not stopping to realize that they may not remain in production forever. Sigh.

    However, my M65 3" is a fine example of the short concealment 6-shot snubs of yesteryear, too. ;)
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  10. Dframe

    Dframe Member

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    Most of mine are colts but I also have several N frame smiths with 3 inch barrels. All are superbly balanced and shoot great.
     
  11. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I find the 3” revolver a happy point for revolvers between shootability, concealability and controlability.

    Theyre not the best for everything, but they’re good for so many things that they rate very highly with me.
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    Stay safe.
     

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  12. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    While I feel 3” revolvers are not as numerous as shorter lengths, they are not super rare in my opinion. I have a S&W 36, 60, and a 317 J-frames, a GP100 (44 Special) and a Lew Horton 3” Model 624.

    I have a 6th if you count a 3-1/4” Model 51 22 Mag.

    I find the 2” to 3” J-frame guns a useful barrel size, the K to N frame short barrel guns not so much.

    I much prefer 4” and longer barrels in the mid to large frame revolvers.

    But, I understand if one wants a large frame 3” barrel revolver.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2022
  13. Archie

    Archie Member

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    Background. For a double action revolver, my preference is one of the Smith & Wesson ilk, of the pinned barrel era. I learned some years ago to shoot a revolver double action. (Which mandates an S&W revolver.)

    I am a fan of three inch revolvers. Primarily for concealed carry, but I carried a three inch 685 for several years in the early 1990s as a uniform gun. It served well.

    Three inch is the minimum barrel length for a positive ejection of spend cartridges from the cylinder. Neither a J or K frame revolver has even close to a full extractor throw. (I've never seen a two inch N frame, but I'm young yet.) I do not feel any difficulty with accuracy under twenty-five yards, and in reality, longer distances are quite rare.
     
  14. WVsig

    WVsig Member

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    I forgot about this one.... S&W 66-4 3"

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  15. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    Apparently they work well for storing your red lip stick tubes…. LOL. Nice powder coated bullets.
     
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  16. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Gotta love ACME bullets ;).

    Stay safe.
     
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  17. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    Yep. And they were definitely preferred by woman officers. I can only recall one male officer I worked with who had a 3” revolver. Guys used to bust his chops about it.

    Now, they’re wanted by collectors, and gun manufacturers aren’t going to make guns for the very small collector niche that exists today. No profit in it. Revolvers themselves aren’t big sellers anymore, other than the small snubbies and the big boy magnums.

    I only owned one, and I was extremely stupid to have sold it. A 3” Model 65.
     
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  18. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

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    I’m a big fan of my 3” GP100 357mag. Shoots great, carry’s easily, and fast out of the holster. And contrary to internet lore, it has a great trigger, both DA and SA…easily comparable to my well used S&W Model 15. 131C919A-5054-4C1F-A211-6F5D3948BF37.jpeg
     
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  19. KevininPa

    KevininPa Member

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    We have 2 Rugers with 2 3/4 barrels. A Security Six and a Speed Six. Love them! A great barrel length. And as much as I polish my barrels, they just won't grow that extra 1/4 inch.




    I'm here all week.
     
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  20. GunBroke

    GunBroke Member

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    Because everybody is buying their wives a pistol for protection. High demand = Hard to find.
     
  21. stonebuster

    stonebuster Member

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    When I questioned why NYCPD wanted special contract 3" Ruger Speed Sixes made when 2 3/4" were already available I was told NYCPD would allow 3" as a service weapon provided you could qualify with it. It makes sense, not sure if it's true.
     
  22. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    It is true. There is a poster on youtube named JPI. He is a retired sergeant from the NYPD. His first duty weapon was a 3" Service Six, because he figured it would double as a good off duty. He soon realized it was too big for that and he didn't like the loss of velocity in a 3" barrel, so he bought a S&W 64 NY1 in 4".
     
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  23. stonebuster

    stonebuster Member

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    You continue to be a wealth of information on the NYCPD revolvers. Thanks for the confirmation on what I read somewhere. It may have been one of your posts.
     
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  24. GoWolfpack

    GoWolfpack Member

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    Fixed it.

    At one time in the past, lots of people carried guns illegally and were most concerned with concealability so that they wouldn't be discovered. A few of my great uncles would never go anywhere without a 38 revolver in their pockets, but it wasn't legal at the time so they all chose 2" barrels to keep them hidden.
     
  25. GerryER

    GerryER Member

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    You can get Stainless Steel Blackener 370 from Caswell Plating (www.caswellplating.com) which does a nice job. I've used it to touch up several pistols for customers and used it to create a "three-tone" 1911 for myself. (https://caswellplating.com/stainless-steel-blackener-1-pint.html)
     
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