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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 6/23/2005 7:41:08 PM EDT
Greetings all.

I'm looking to buy a small revolver for carrying in the warmer months.

My background is in autos, so I am trying to get up to speed with revolvers.

What I want is a 2" snubbie either in .38 or .357 that is of high quality.
A concealed hammer would be an asset for a carry piece. Something more resistant to sweat/etc. than blued steel would also be good.

While a lighter gun is good from a carry standpoint, I know that the hotter loads can be hard on the gun as well as more difficult to handle (as in follow up shots). I'm more concerned about the gun being able to take a steady diet of whatever effective round I choose to feed it without ill effect. Which effective round is something I am also trying to get up to speed on. I know that .357 has a fine reputation as a good stopper, but I've also heard that there are some pretty good hot .38 special loads.

My budget is a few hundred bucks. Aside from a history with handguns that favors autoloaders, I have had formal training in defensive handgun shooting. Even though we used autos (mostly glocks) I'm sure the skills will transfer (shot placement, etc.)

I'm also looking forward to the simplicity of a wheelgun.

What models do you folks recommend ?

I'm leaning towards S&W, but would consider quality alternatives

What's your favorite methods of carry?

Thanks for helping out.

Fred


Link Posted: 6/23/2005 8:05:51 PM EDT
I'm happy with my S&W 642. I bought it a few months ago for $380, new.
Link Posted: 6/24/2005 7:06:50 PM EDT
I am happy with my 637 and want to maybe add a 642 here soon. I bobbed the hammer a little and added the CTC grips to make up for the lack of sights.

The lighter S&W PD's are getting some really bad feed back due to brutal recoil making the pistol extremely uncorfortable to shoot with the .38 +P or .357 rounds.

You can pick up a 637/642 for a around $350.00 there abouts.

http://www.impactguns.com/store/022188630503.html

http://www.impactguns.com/store/022188638103.html

I had looked at a Taurus CIA 850 but it was heavier in the model 60 range and just didn't feel right.

http://www.impactguns.com/store/725327341093.html

Karsten
Link Posted: 6/25/2005 3:03:15 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/25/2005 3:10:03 AM EDT
I have an SP101 and it's a monster of a little revolver. It will handle loads that will be brutal to the alloy guns. The SP101 is pretty heavy but does carry well. I personally would pass on the lighter S&Ws if you plan to shoot it alot. My usual carry piece is a fullsized government model .45 so the ruger is a lighter and smaller alternative for me , your results may vary.
Link Posted: 6/25/2005 5:08:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Mr45auto:
I have an SP101 and it's a monster of a little revolver. It will handle loads that will be brutal to the alloy guns. The SP101 is pretty heavy but does carry well. I personally would pass on the lighter S&Ws if you plan to shoot it alot. My usual carry piece is a fullsized government model .45 so the ruger is a lighter and smaller alternative for me , your results may vary.



+1. Don't discount the S&W65LS either. Yes, it's a 3" barrel, but it carries great and I REALLY like a fully shrouded 3" barrel.

Rich
Link Posted: 6/25/2005 5:13:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/25/2005 3:46:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2005 3:47:32 PM EDT by dave0520]
I would go with an S&W model 640 or any other Smith J frame, or even a used model 66 .357 with 2.5 inch barrel might work.
Link Posted: 6/25/2005 4:47:45 PM EDT
Hi Fred

Well to begin with, there's not much point in shooting a .357 out of a gun with a 2" barrel. You're only going to get .38 special performance because the barrel is so short it can't even start to properly capture the kinetic energy of a standard .38 special let alone a .38 +p, a .357 magnum or a .357 magnum +p.

Generally when you see the FPS rating on a box of .38's or .357's those of the result of the round being test fired from a 6" barrel.

My primary carry gun is a stainles Kimber Ultra-Carry with NS.

My light carry is a S&W Model 37-2 with the Uncle Mikes full size grip. I can't stand boot grips. I just can't get used to shooting a handgun with my pinky finger curled up into my palm and I have found that the full size J-Frame grip give me better control and shot placement.

Mine is one of the older Model 37's. It doesn't have the internal trigger locking mechanism. The firing pin is floated on the hammer instead inside the frame and it doesn't have the trigger that has been hollowed out in the back. I usually carry it IWB with an un-tucked T-shirt or with a tucked T-shirt and a light denim cover shirt or vest so the exposed hammer is not really an issue.

My first handgun was a revolver and for reasons that I really know I always got into the habit of cocking a revovler for the first shot when indexing. When I do quick draw drills my thumb automaticly goes over the hammer.

To be honest I don't even know if S&W offers the Model 37 anymore. They still list it on their web site but that is meaningless. If I were ever to have to replace it or, if I were buying a light CCW Snubby today I my first pick would be the S&W Model 638 Airweight. That is the one with the shrouded hammer. Second would be the 637 and third would be the 642, I don't like DAO's.

Personally I would stay not recomend any of the Scandium/Titanium Airlight models that S&W offers. Yes they are lighter but IMHO they are not $200 lighter and shooting them with .38 or .357 loads is quite literally a painful experience.

The stainless steel models (60, 649, 640 and the 66) that have been mentioned, while good are still rather heavy, IMHO too heavy, their weight is comparable to most Glocks. I have four Model 60's, one 3" and three Snubby's but three of them are house guns and my wife carries the fourth one. They are all loaded with .38 +p.

Oh, and the long discontinued S&W Model 36 Nickle .38 are one of my favorites too but I don't carry any of the four in my collection. They are all tucked away in the safe in their orginal boxes or cozy gun rugs.

Regards,
Chris
Link Posted: 6/25/2005 5:46:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sysop:


Well to begin with, there's not much point in shooting a .357 out of a gun with a 2" barrel. You're only going to get .38 special performance because the barrel is so short it can't even start to properly capture the kinetic energy of a standard .38 special let alone a .38 +p, a .357 magnum or a .357 magnum +p.




I've seen this false information given out a few too many times. That is a common misconception about snub-nosed revolvers that just isn't true. I've tested both .38 Spl rounds and .357 Mag rounds out of my Ruger SP101 with a 2 1/4" barrel and there is a large velocity difference.

Here are the numbers:

.38 Spl 125 gr JHP Average velocity of 886 fps
.357 Magnum 125 gr JHP Average velocity of 1370 fps


That's a difference of 484 fps. Clearly, the extra powder is not wasted. Both loads were handloads loaded near the maximum load for each caliber. The factory loads that I tested yielded similar results.

I hope that this helps to clear up any confusion.
Link Posted: 6/25/2005 7:41:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2005 7:42:00 PM EDT by sysop]

Originally Posted By tonysoprano150:

Originally Posted By sysop:


Well to begin with, there's not much point in shooting a .357 out of a gun with a 2" barrel. You're only going to get .38 special performance because the barrel is so short it can't even start to properly capture the kinetic energy of a standard .38 special let alone a .38 +p, a .357 magnum or a .357 magnum +p.




I've seen this false information given out a few too many times. That is a common misconception about snub-nosed revolvers that just isn't true. I've tested both .38 Spl rounds and .357 Mag rounds out of my Ruger SP101 with a 2 1/4" barrel and there is a large velocity difference.

Here are the numbers:

.38 Spl 125 gr JHP Average velocity of 886 fps
.357 Magnum 125 gr JHP Average velocity of 1370 fps


That's a difference of 484 fps. Clearly, the extra powder is not wasted. Both loads were handloads loaded near the maximum load for each caliber. The factory loads that I tested yielded similar results.

I hope that this helps to clear up any confusion.



In light of the evidence you have presented I must apparently stand corrected.

I am assuming you used a chronograph but I don't know at what the distance was.

If so I am personally curiouse to know about the differences you found between a .38 and a .38 +p and the difference between a .357 and a .357+p from the same gun.

I have always considered how the violence of the initial explosion would affect the velocity all powder and primers being equal but it is still true that much of the kinetic energy is lost when shooting a 38/357 round from a relatively short 2&1/4" or 2&5/8" barrel.

Indeed due to relatively recent technology some powders do burn faster but unless I see actual numbers from a controlled test I will not be lieve that a 125gr .357 Special round leaves the end of a 2.*" barrel signifigantly faster than a 125 .38 Special round using the same powder.

The amount of and type of powder is a factor but the length of the barrel is a factor as well. I have read that it is estimated that the standard .223 55gr round fired from a 20" 1/9 AR is 300fps slower when the same round with the same powder is fired form a 1/9 16" barrel.

It must indeed be a large discrepency to account for a 484 fps difference between a .38 and a .357 from the same 2.*" barrel.
Link Posted: 6/27/2005 8:18:26 PM EDT
I'm currently looking for a 640 Smith, the grip fits my small hands (with long fingershinking.gif) and I'll carry it with hot 38's or light magnums. I only shoot my revolvers DA, so the low axis of the bore makes a good gun even better! Now if I could find one that I could afford.....Papajohn
Link Posted: 6/28/2005 1:33:43 PM EDT
Personally, I like the S&W 442. It is aluminum frame with a carbon steel cylinder. It sells roughly around $350. S&W 442

S&W also makes the their Ti/Sc line for 357Mag, but I find shooting 357Mag thru a lightweight gun is pretty punishing, and of course it cost you big bucks. If you insist on shooting 357Mag, I would advise you to get the solid SS guns, as the recoil is not so brutal as in the 640. The is gun is more expensive than the 442.
Link Posted: 6/28/2005 1:36:20 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/29/2005 6:15:01 AM EDT
I like the S&W 649 "Bodyguard" or the similar one from Taurus.

These styles allow the use of single action if necessary, but shrouds most of the hammer to minimize catching on clothing when drawing.

If you prefer the standard configuration, S&W, Ruger, Taurus, or Colt would probably be best.
Link Posted: 6/29/2005 6:22:54 AM EDT
I have carried and shot an 85 Taurus stainless for years. Get a solid steel or stainless gun, no lightweight crap. If you are new to revolvers, plan to shoot it a lot. Trust me, you will not shoot a lightweight gun a lot, nor will you become accurate with it.
Link Posted: 7/3/2005 3:04:42 AM EDT
My personal "always" gun is a S&W Model 38 Bodyguard. Mine was made in 1959 and is a reliable little pocket rocket. I would like to get a S&W Model 638 in stainless for my pocket to better shoot the +P ammo. I have owned many S&W "J's" and can reccomend them highly. This little Bodyguard has been in and out of my hands for about 12 years and I do not see it going any where but to my son when I no longer can carry it. :)

A Uncle Mikes pocket holster size 3 is the most common carry method. When wearing larger pocket BDU trousers or shorts I carry it in a DeSantis pocket holster for the stiffer, larger bottom.

It is in my pocket as I type right now. :)
Link Posted: 7/3/2005 3:36:55 AM EDT
Carter Arms "Off Duty". I haven't fired one yet, but they are only 12 oz-ish. Very interesting.

www.charterfirearms.com/offduty.php

The FFL price is around $240 bucks or so, so the retail should be..what...$290-325? If you're on a budget, it might be worth a look.

As for carry, I had a 342 (.38 concealled hammer ti) for quite a while and really liked it. Foolishly I sold it to a co-worker intending on purchasing the new .357 version but ended up buying another AR instead. I installed the ClipDraw and would just jam it into my waistband. It was VEEEERY comfortable. Heck, it was light enuf you could clip it into the wasitband of sweatpants and they wouldn't pull down. For more secure carry, I used a SafariLand pancake style holster.

Personally, I think the titanium is worth the $. The difference bet a 16-17 oz and 11-12 oz gun when you carry everyday, all day is quite noticible IMHO. I've found weight the #1 issue impacting carry considerations (all things being equal).....I've been carrying for 10+ years everyday, all day.....

There you go.....my opinion...worth what you paid for it!

Cheers!

Link Posted: 7/3/2005 6:29:59 AM EDT
I've carried a 642 for years with no problems. With practice, recoil management using 158 +P isn't any more difficult than shooting +P+ through a Kahr...I've also had great luck with 638s - sometimes having the ability to take a deliberate, single action shot comes in handy.

I had a 340 (Scandium) for about three days. Never worked up the guts to shoot it; too scary. Recoil with the 15 ounce 642 is manageable with practice and patience; can't imagine shooting a .357 round through something that weighs 50% less...

I've got a 640 as well, it never comes out of the safe, due to the weight of the gun. Too heavy for the pocket or ankle, IMHO, and too harsh with .357 to make the extra weight worth while.

Regards,

Kevin
Link Posted: 7/3/2005 1:24:42 PM EDT

I had the same question as you a year or so ago and ended up with the Smith & Wesson 340PD. I added a Crimson Trace laser grip. I believe it to be the best all around carry gun.

My considerations when researching:

1. Weight - The 340pd is Scandium, and is a 1 7/8 barrel that holds five rounds. It is as lite as it gets.

2. Concealability - Very small, very lite, very concealable

3. Functionality - Revolver (no slide to hang), Hammerless (no hammer to snag on clothing, can fire inside a jacket or purse), quality (S&W has been making quality firearms since Moses)

4. Accessories - Plenty of holsters and grip styles are available. The factory grips are great, but I liked the CTI laser grips, which allow for the use of standard holster. The laser grip is a great design, grab the grip and they come on. Good addition for night time situations.

5. Caliber - As small as possible, yet with proven stopping power. The 340pd shoots .357 or .38 spl. This is really nice because you can practice with the cheaper .38's and carry the .357 high dollar rounds for self defense. One word of warning - this little gun kicks like an Army mule when you shoot .357's. .38 are not bad at all. The kick doesn't seem to affect my target re-aquisition, but when you pop off five real quick your hand will tingle!

Here is a shot with the laser grips:





Here is a shot with the factory grips:





I have fired it several hundred rounds and find it to be a remarkable little revolver. I love to carry this one best of all my pistols. I have carried HK P7's, Colt 1911, Glock 30, even a HK tactical on occassion, but none come close to being such an overall perfect package.

Link Posted: 7/3/2005 6:32:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/3/2005 6:35:28 PM EDT by SelectFire]
Take a look at a Taurus M85 .38 in the ultralite titainium config.
It comes with factory porting and won't beat your hand up
like the non ported S&W scandium series. Plus they are
atleast $100 bucks cheaper. With the money you save over a
Smith you can apply that cash to lasergrips or holster/ammo.
Just my .02 worth
Link Posted: 7/3/2005 11:02:07 PM EDT
I fondled a little S&W snubbie in .38 today at the funstore while I was waiting for the background check on my new Marlin 917VS. It was LIGHT and SLENDER. I liked it very much, but the pricetag caused a little shock! They wanted like $600 for it! But hey, my life is worth that much, or more. I didn't dry fire it, but I felt it in hand and pointed it... it was very natural pointing for me and felt good in my hand. I think I'll pick one up someday!
Link Posted: 7/3/2005 11:08:43 PM EDT
I shot my friends DA only SP101 in .357 and it was the first time I kept every round in the black (8") at more than 15 yards with a snubbie.
Link Posted: 7/3/2005 11:26:41 PM EDT
I carried my Smith Airweight hammerless in an ankle holster for years. Finally switched back to a full-size pistol (P220) because the difference in weight & bulk didn't compensate for the lower hit probability and punishment I suffered every time I shot the J-frame. My P220 carries the CTC LaserGrips too.
Link Posted: 7/4/2005 6:23:43 AM EDT
I help my GF get her CCW, we chose a SS Taurus 650 CIA(or was it an 850?) .357 concealed hammer. It is fairly light and easy to conceal. As for power a 2" .357 definitely stomps all over a .38 special. I chrono a near max handload out of the snubbie, I got 1360fps with a 124gr XTP. That is over 500FtLbs of energy, there isn't a .38 special that will even come close to half of that.
But still I wouldn't feel undergunned with a snubbie .38, just get something you are comfortable with and will carry. A really kewl gun that sits on the dresser is worthless when you are out on the town.
Link Posted: 7/5/2005 9:45:19 AM EDT
You will get faster follow up shots with the .38 Special round than with the .357 Magnum rounds. As for stopping power, that comes with shot placement.

Quite frankly, the .357 Magnum is a poor chambering for the small snubbie revolvers. There is too much flash & blast out of that muzzle. You will have a slow recovery time between shots and you could loose your night vision when shooting at night.
Link Posted: 7/5/2005 7:31:26 PM EDT
The reason for a .38 snubbie as opposed to a .357 is control.

When comparing to the .357, yeah, terminally, it doesn't perform as well, but if you can't get off a second shot if you REALLY REALLY need to quick enough, then you could be throwing a .50BMG, and it won't matter.

The purpose of a snubbie is to be small and concealable, so it should be compared to rounds intended for small, concealable firearms. The .357 Mag is just not a round intended for that. When compared to .32 and .380, the .38 snubbie just makes more sense. And modern snubbies can handle +P loads which give you a little more oomph.

Link Posted: 7/14/2005 10:49:24 AM EDT
I just picked up a Model 60, in immaculate shape for 250 bucks. It's a stainless .357 with rubber grips and a 2" barrel. It does have a thumb spur on the hammer which I would like to have bobbed to keep it out of the way, I only intend to use it DA anyway. I haven't fired it yet, but I did dry fire it and it seemed very smoothe. I think the gun may have never been fired, the bore looks untouched.
Link Posted: 7/14/2005 2:24:40 PM EDT
I almost bought a model 60 yesterday, in fact the reason I didn't is there were 2 to chose from in the shop and I couldn't decide. I went with the "stay out of spousal trouble" option. I will be back in there soon, and one of them WILL come home.

I like the airweights but I just don't shoot them that well. I think the extra couple ounces of weight makes a bigger difference on target than in the holster, but clearly the airweights work for a LOT of people (I have shot a bunch of rounds through a 442 and was almost convinced).

shooter
Link Posted: 7/14/2005 7:20:06 PM EDT
I checked at Academy a week ago looking for magazines for my new Marlin 917VS (WalMart had some), and saw that they had a S&W 637 and I think a 642. I like the 637! I think I'm going to see if I can get rid of my Colt Mustang (too damn picky about ammo = unreliable) and pick up the 637... and then get off my ass and get my CHL!
Link Posted: 7/15/2005 4:28:16 AM EDT
I really like the 637, but play with every one of them they have in inventory. The triggers are NOT consistent among them and they are good candidates for a trigger job (in my limited experience). If you make that swap you will have done good, tough to imagine a more carry-able gun than a 637.

Shooter
Link Posted: 7/15/2005 12:45:52 PM EDT
I like my S&W .357 Model 649, the Bodyguard model with the shrouded, cockable hammer, quite a bit. With .38+P ammo, it's pretty much a pussycat and is pretty accurate. With .357 ammo, it's a handful but doable if you have the inclination. Mine has Uncle Mike's Boot Grips on it, which probably don't help matters any when it comes to recoil. With .357, the recoil is very sharp and almost straight back, almost as if the bullet isn't in the barrel long enough to generate the muzzle flip you'd think it should have. The gun torques to the left, too, making it necessary to re-grip the butt almost every shot. The muzzle blast and flash are incredible to behold and, if you reloaded the ammo with slower-burning powder, I honestly believe it could do double duty as a flamethrower. I put a Wolffe (sp?) spring kit in it and have dry-fired it enough that the trigger pull is good and smooth, which helps a lot. I've got a few hundred rounds through it and it still locks up tight.

I decided to carry this snubbie over a G26 because of concealability. Sure, the Glock has double the capacity and faster reloads. But, when carried concealed on my somewhat slim frame, it prints pretty badly. Because the snubbie is more rounded and curved instead of flat and blocky like the Glock, I can conceal it under anything I wear. I'll take 5 rds of .38+P that no one knows I have rather than 11 rds of 9mm and have everyone that knows to look knowing that I have a gun on me.

Bottom line: Get the Smith, preferably a stainless one. Myself, I really like having the hammer shrouded but still able to be cocked, if necessary. You said you wanted a shrouded hammer, this is the best of both worlds. Being .357, it should also last a LONG time shooting primarily .38 ammo, too. They may cost more but you won't regret it! If you look around a bit you can probably find a used Smith snubbie reasonably priced, too.

Bub
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 6:15:10 AM EDT
Thanks for all the responses, folks!

I picked up a new G26 and love it, but am still looking for a good, used snubbie.

I got a lot of ideas and info from this thread.

Cheers--Fred
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 12:30:30 AM EDT
S&W 642 or 340PD.....both as light as it gets, concealed hammer, and with a clip draw you can stick it in your waist band or pocket and go.
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 9:13:21 PM EDT
Smith and Wesson model 642 loaded with Speer Gold Dot 135gr. +P GDHP
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