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Thread: S&W Night Guard

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    So, I'm going to purchase a personal defense/carry gun with my tax return. I'm a big fan of revolvers, and have been looking at the S&W Night Guard series. Does anyone have experience with these? I'm torn between the .44sp and a .357mag. I've always been a .357 fan, but I kinda like the low and slow big chunk o' lead feel of a .44. Any thought or opinions?

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    I'd go with a .357 magnum because the energy is so much higher than the 44 special and it's a proven man-stopper. If you like the NightGuard line, I'd go for a model 327 8 round or a 386 7 round.

    If you like the idea of big heavy lead, then I'd go for a .44 mag over a .44 SP since you can always load the mag down if you want. The mag is bigger than the specialin the NightGuard line, since it's a 6 shot cylinder instead of a 5-shot cylinder.

    If you wanted concealment and that's why you were thinking of a .44 special nightguard, you could go with a 5-round model 60 in the J-frame or a model 340PD 5-round in the scandium alloy j-frame both chambered in .357 mag.

    It all comes down to what you want and whether or not you intend to conceal it.

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    Yeah, I was thinking somewhere between power and concealment. The .44mag is a beast in a scandium alloy. The .357 scandium guns kick pretty hard as it is. I figured the .44sp was an L frame as opposed to the N frame magnum, so it would be a little more concealable, but the little J frame .357's are so light that the recoil is awful. I want a balance of size, weight, and power. I do appreciate the comment though.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    Squid13 wrote:
    Yeah, I was thinking somewhere between power and concealment. The .44mag is a beast in a scandium alloy. The .357 scandium guns kick pretty hard as it is. I figured the .44sp was an L frame as opposed to the N frame magnum, so it would be a little more concealable, but the little J frame .357's are so light that the recoil is awful. I want a balance of size, weight, and power. I do appreciate the comment though.
    OK that helps narrow down what you're looking for then. I have a model 60 J-Frame with a 3" barrel and adjustable sights. It's not scandium, but in normal steel that is chambered in .357 Magnum. It does have significant snappiness when I fire the 158 grain JHP's, but it's controllable. I could always shoot .38 Special +P instead.

    If you're trying to balance size, weight, and power, I'd consider the model 60 j-frame (stainless steel not scandium) in .357 magnum or the new Ruger SP101 in .327 Federal Magnum. It's supposed to have the same terminal ballistics as the .357 magnum but 10-20% less perceived recoil. (Putting it somewhere around .38 Special +P). They have 6 rounds in a 5 round cylinder profile and they're also considerably less expensive than Smiths.

    It's something to consider. I still think I'd prefer a .357 over a .44 special unless Iwas going toget the 44 mag and just shoot handloads somewhere between special and magnum velocities.

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    Why do you prefer revolver's over semi-auto?

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    Squid13 wrote:
    SNIP Any thought or opinions?
    I'd go .357 mag 2-3" bbl over the .44sp for a sometimes-concealed carry gun. Especially if it was my first carry-gun purchase. Mainly because of the variety of available ammunition.

    Of course, if I had my 'druthers, I'd go with a semi-auto. But, we're talking about you, not me. So, we'll assume you've already decided on a revolver for your own reasons.

    There are a number of .357mag premium defense cartridges available, many nickel-plated.

    Plus, they can be had in quite a few bullet weights and velocities, meaning you can try a number of cartridges to see which gives the max. recoil you personally can control.

    For example,full-power 125gr-158 gr.357magsmight kick like the dickens out a steel snubbie, where they would be comfy in a 4-6" all-steel gun. These cartridges might yield anywhere from, say 490-615ftlbs muzzle energy. Yet, there are 110gr cartridges available that yield "only" 410-460ftlbs, which is right in the early range of the .45ACP muzzle energy (taking into account all the bullet weights and velocities available in 45ACP including the +P's.)

    The 110gr 357mag are quite comfy to shoot out of a snubby, except one Corbon load--110gr @ 1500 fps yielding 540-ish ftlbs muzzle energy. Ouch!

    The main point is that with a .357mag, there are a lot of options for defense ammo. And those options include quite a fewweights and velocities.

    Plus, you can always load it with less expensive 38spl for range practice, or 38spl +P in your later years or if you leave it at home for your wife or...etc.
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    I have an EAA Windicator in .357 Mag with a 2". It's not an S&W, but it's small, inexpensive, heavy enough to absorb the kick and very accurate, or at least mine is. I think it cost $200 or $220 new, so it's a huge savings over any S&W. I carry it with 125g Golden Sabers producing 413 ft. lbs. and the gun really doesn't kick that badly. The cylinder walls are thick enough to handle the biggest loads you'd want to shoot.

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    I'm not sure how well the .357 does with a two inch barrel. I really like the nightguard .45. That is a nice revolver.
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    T Dubya wrote:
    I'm not sure how well the .357 does with a two inch barrel. I really like the nightguard .45. That is a nice revolver.
    Easily discovered.

    I've talked to techs at ammo companies before. They have some rule of thumb about how much energy you lose per inch of barrel counting down from the test barrel length.

    A couple phone calls would clear it up.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    T Dubya wrote:
    I'm not sure how well the .357 does with a two inch barrel.
    Easily discovered.

    I've talked to techs at ammo companies before.
    This is from the guys I get my ammo from.
    a .357magnum 158gr jhp

    velocity from a 6" bbl is: 1520fps!
    velocity from a 4" Ruger GP-100 is: 1400fps
    velocity from a 1 7/8" S&W is:1245fps

    then there's .38spl+p

    Velocity:
    1175fps / 4" Ruger GP-100
    1100fps /1.875" bbl S&W


    Muzzle Energy:
    383 ft. lbs. 4"
    336 ft. lbs. 1.875"


    Some companies have the info on their websites, Double tap and Buffalo Bore.

    I have chrono'd my carry load (different caliber) it is usually slightly higher than what the site says (I have a longer bbl) than the gun they use.

    Their .357 mag 125gr jhpload is comfortable in my SP101 but not my SW 340pd
    Velocity:
    1750fps / 6"bbl S&W 686
    1600fps / 4" Ruger GP-100
    1425fps / 1 7/8" S&W


    Might consider getting a 3" bbl K frame S&W (M65/66) good balance of power, weight and controllability.


    My wife has no trouble shooting winchester's 110gr jhp in the white box from the 340pd.

    Happy shopping.

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    Squid13 wrote:
    So, I'm going to purchase a personal defense/carry gun with my tax return. I'm a big fan of revolvers, and have been looking at the S&W Night Guard series. Does anyone have experience with these? I'm torn between the .44sp and a .357mag. I've always been a .357 fan, but I kinda like the low and slow big chunk o' lead feel of a .44. Any thought or opinions?

    To be honest you could go with either caliber. They both are good defensive rounds. The .357 mag does have one advantage over the .44 sp in the fact that there are a few more choics in defensive rounds. Otherwise if you have a hard time making a decision flip a coin. Heads it's a .357 mag-Tails it's a .44 sp.

    I have a S&W 696 .44sp 5-shot revolver for concealed carry mainly because I have a .44.mag marlin cowboy II rifle and 3 .44mag revolvers. The 696 I have has been a good revolver but they don't make that model anymore. But they do make other .44sp models and there are other gun companies that do make .44 sp revolvers.




    Ons thing to remeber if youdecide to get theS&W Night Guard in one of the .44 calibers. Get the one in .44 sp because the recoil of a .44 mag from avery light gun with a 2.5" barrel will be viscious, and the term viscious here is an understatement.



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    Tumbleweeds wrote:


    ┬*

    Ons thing to remeber if you┬*decide to get the┬*S&W Night Guard in one of the .44 calibers.┬* Get the one in .44 sp because the recoil of a .44 mag from a┬*very light gun with a 2.5" barrel will be viscious, and the term viscious here is an understatement.
    ┬*

    [/quote]

    He could always buy the .44 Mag gun and have the option of choosing between the Mag and Special.

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    smash29 wrote:
    Tumbleweeds wrote:




    Ons thing to remeber if youdecide to get theS&W Night Guard in one of the .44 calibers. Get the one in .44 sp because the recoil of a .44 mag from avery light gun with a 2.5" barrel will be viscious, and the term viscious here is an understatement.


    He could always buy the .44 Mag gun and have the option of choosing between the Mag and Special.[/quote]


    That's true, and the following is just my opinion which he is not obliged to take if he doesn't want to, but why get the .44 mag if all you shoot .44sp in it in an urban area. Now if he wanted it to doubleas a backup emergency weapon in the woods on occasional camping trips then get the .44 mag and use .44 mag rounds when he's in the Woods. I'm just used to having a larger heavier (8" barrel and 4lbs.)gun for a .44 mag in the woods because I've shot heavy loads in .44 mag and some of those heavy loaded .44 mag rounds plant the front sight in your forehead even from those larger heavier (8" barrel and 4lbs.) guns.

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    IMHO, you should always get the magnum even if you never intend to shoot magnum loads.

    Reasoning they are rated for the hotter standard and +p,+p+ loadings.

    I'm not a fan of one shot stops but I'd thought I'd provide this as info for you.
    http://www.handloads.org/misc/stoppi....asp?Caliber=0
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    Unless you handload, there are not enough defensive loads comercially available to make the .44 special worth getting. I would opt for the .357 version.

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    Agent19 wrote:
    IMHO, you should always get the magnum even if you never intend to shoot magnum loads.

    Reasoning they are rated for the hotter standard and +p,+p+ loadings.

    I'm not a fan of one shot stops but I'd thought I'd provide this as info for you.
    http://www.handloads.org/misc/stoppi....asp?Caliber=0
    That is a valid opinion he can consider.

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    longwatch wrote:
    Unless you handload, there are not enough defensive loads comercially available to make the .44 special worth getting. I would opt for the .357 version.
    The .357 mag is a good choice for a defensive load if he wants to opt for the .357 mag. The number of people that use it proves that.

    Just because there is not a plethora of defensive loads doesn't mean it is the .44 sp is a bad choice. If more peopel found they liked the .44 sp the ammo makers would be making more defensive loads. Getting into handloading in the long rung may be cheaper and you could work up your own loads but not knowing if this is his first gun I don't know if the investment in a gun and reloading equipment would be worth the effort.

    By the way we are geting off the track of the original question asked even though it's a good discusion.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    Properly loaded the .44 special is a good cartridge for personal defense. But really is it much of a great leap over the .357magnum? I think not. Compounded with the problem of good defense rounds being hard to find,and even practice ammo is hard to find and expensive. I think a .357 Nightguard with the additional 2 or 3 shot capacity and cheaper, more plentiful, and a much wider selection of loads, is a no brainer for me.

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    True .357 mag is cheaper. get .44sp from CCI buy the case from midwayusa.comor grafs.com and it works out to about 53 cents to 55 cent a round depending on which website you get it from. .357 mags out to about 35 cents a round from CCI. Even at the prices fpr .357 magctice ammo is expensive.

    If you are worried about the price of practice ammo anybody should have a .22lr to most of your practicing with since it works out to about a nickle a around if you buy bulk ammo by the case. The same shooting skills used in shooting .22lr are the same ones used in shooting .357 mag, .44sp/mag or any other caliber handgun.


    As far as the extra 2 or 3 rounds is not that much of a concern for 2 reason that I can see:

    1) most gunfights that most of us would get into would last 2 or 3 shots. If you really think you need the extra ammo then get a semiauto with amagazine that goes from 15 to34 rounds.

    2) a speed loader and some practice reloading with it will solve the problem of not having an extra 2 or 3 rounds. You'll have to admit that even with the .357 mag you should have to pracitce reloading with a speed loader.

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    You need a matched set, one for winter and one for summer, so get both.

    I have a 3" 629 that I use around the property for a variety of purposes. The magnum recoil is not as bad as people would have you believe and at least in the civilized world of Northern Virginia I have no problem finding a variety of ammo for it in magnum or specials. That includes many downloaded "magnum" rounds with reasonable defense bullets. It also shoots shot loads that are useful at close range for dispatching small critters that you might not like to have around.

    At least in my case I bought the 629 to overcome the limitations of the 4" .357 I already had for the same purposes. There is no comparison between the .357 and the .44 in the shot shell area, the .44 wins hands down.

    Clearly there is more energy in a .44 mag, but there are loadings available that bring the .44 below the level of a hot .357 load. As others have said there is a far greater selection of ammo for the .357, but the fact is you only need to find one loading and bullet that meets your confidence level.

    For my money, if I HAD to pick one. I would pick the .44 mag. You can shoot downloaded mag, specials, and shot. If you ever need a lot of power in a pocket sized package, you won't do better than a .44 mag. While the .357 offers magnums, specials, and shot, it is limited at the top end for power. So what you are really considering here is trading off the top end power available in the .44 against the broader number of loadings available for the .357.
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    Ok, first off thanks for all of the replies. Now, I'm less concerned about the price of ammo as this will be a carry gun more so than a range gun. Right now I'm interested in experiences with the Night Guard series. The main reason I'd consider the .38 instead of the .357 is that it's a K frame and thus slightly smaller than the L frame .357 or .44sp. Everything is a compromise, and I'm aware that S&W makes several lighter guns for concealed carry. Having read magazine reviews, the NG series seems like a good compromise between size, weight, and power. I'd just like to hear real personal reviews as opposed to magazine reviews.



    I'm sure I'll just go try out as many as I can and make the decision then. Thanks again for the input though.

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    Squid13 wrote:
    The main reason I'd consider the .38 instead of the .357 is that it's a K frame and thus slightly smaller than the L frame .357 or .44sp.
    S&Wchambers several .357magnums in their K- Frames.

    The M65/66 come to mind both have been offered in a variety of bbl lengths.
    I have twoM65's one 4' (my first handgun)and the other a 3" M65 that iscustomized w/boobed hammer, trigger job and a set of Jordan grips.

    I don't like revlovers w/ bbl's shorter than 3".

    The Night Guard series is nice looking but are they worth the money?
    I could buy almost3 maybe4 used M65's for the price.
    Or you could buy two M65's and have them tuned to your needs.

    Or you could look for a Colt Agent, Trooper or a Ruger SP101.
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
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