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Thread: Revolver advice

  1. #1
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    Revolver advice

    I know pretty much nothing about revolvers, so help me out. I'm thinking of getting a 4inch 357 revolver for a car gun, but I'm not sure what models I should be looking at or how to tell if one is mechanically sound if I buy a used one. I saw a used S&W 686 stainless going for $475 and thought it was a reasonable price, am I correct?

    So I guess my questions are these:
    What models of 4 inch 357 revolvers should I investigate?
    What makes or models should I avoid?
    How do I know a used revolver is in proper working order?
    Assuming my price range is going to be less than $600, can I get a quality new revolver?

    Anything I'm not thinking of feel free to add.

  2. #2
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    A 686 is a fine gun, so is a Ruger Security Six or GP 100 for a truck gun. Taurus is basically a S&W clone.

    Here is a check out procedure written by Jim March, a frequent contributor over at www.thefiringline.com . Print it out, take it with you and start checking out the wheel guns. Everybody should have 10 0r 12 wheelguns to round out their collection.

    So you're buying a revolver. New, used, doesn't matter, you want a good one, right?

    How do check one over without firing it, right at the dealer's counter or gun show table?

    This is how. All of this works with DA or SA wheelguns..."close the action" on most DAs means swing the cylinder in, on SA types, close the loading gate, on breakopens, close 'em. UNLOADED.

    WARNING: most of these tests require violation of the "finger off trigger" rule. Therefore, be extremely careful about safe muzzle direction and making sure the gun is unloaded ahead of time, PERSONALLY, as you begin handling it.

    Note: bring a small flashlight, something small and concentrated. A Photon or similar high-powered LED light is perfect. You also want feeler gauges if you're not used to eyeballing cylinder gaps; at a minimum, bring a .002", .004" and .006".

    Note2: no dry firing is required or desired at any point. It just pisses off the gun's current owner.

    Cylinder play.

    1) With the gun UNLOADED (check for yourself!), close the action.

    2) Thumb the hammer back, and while pulling the trigger, gently lower the hammer all the way down while keeping the trigger back - and KEEP holding the trigger once the hammer is down. (You've now put the gun in "full lockup" - keep it there for this and most other tests.)

    3) With the trigger still back all the way, check for cylinder wiggle. Front/back is particularly undesirable; a bit of side to side is OK but it's a bad thing if you can wiggle it one way, let go, and then spin it the other way a fraction of an inch and it stays there too. At the very least, it should "want" to stop in just one place (later, we'll see if that place is any good). The ultimate is a "welded to the frame" feeling.

    Cylinder gap

    4) Still holding the trigger at full lockup, look sideways through the barrel/cylinder gap. If you can get a credit card in there, that ain't good...velocity drops rapidly as the gap increases. Too tight isn't good either, because burnt powder crud will "fill the gap" and start making the cylinder spin funky. My personal .38snubbie is set at .002, usually considered the minimum...after about 40 shots at the range, I have to give the front of the cylinder a quick wipe so it spins free again. I consider that a reasonable tradeoff for the increased velocity because in a real fight, I ain't gonna crank 40 rounds out of a 5-shot snub .

    If you're eyeballing it, you'll have to hold it up sideways against an overhead light source.

    SAFETY WARNING: This step in particular is where you MUST watch your muzzle direction. Look, part of what's happening here is that you're convincing the seller you know your poop . It helps the haggling process. If you do anything unsafe, that impression comes completely unglued.

    Timing

    5) You really, REALLY want an unloaded gun for this one. This is where the light comes in. With the gun STILL held in full lockup, trigger back after lowering the hammer by thumb, you want to shine a light right into the area at the rear of the cylinder near the firing pin. You then look down the barrel . You're looking to make sure the cylinder bore lines up with the barrel. Check every cylinder - that means putting the gun in full lockup for each cylinder before lighting it up.

    You're looking for the cylinder and barrel holes to line up perfectly, it's easy to eyeball if there's even a faint light source at the very rear of both bores. And with no rounds present, it's generally easy to get some light in past where the rims would be.

    Bore

    (We're finally done with that "full lockup" crap, so rest your trigger finger. )

    6) Swing the cylinder open, or with most SAs pull the cylinder. Use the small flashlight to scope the bore out. This part's easy - you want to avoid pitting, worn-out rifling, bulges of any sort. You want more light on the subject than just what creeps in from the rear of the cylinder on the timing check.

    You also want to check each cylinder bore, in this case with the light coming in from the FRONT of each hole, you looking in from the back where the primers would be. You're looking for wear at the "restrictions" at the front of each cylinder bore. That's the "forcing cone" area and it can wear rapidly with some Magnum loads. (Special thanks to Salvo below for this bit!)

    Trigger

    7) To test a trigger without dry-firing it, use a plastic pen in front of the hammer to "catch" it with the off hand, especially if it's a "firing pin on the hammer" type. Or see if the seller has any snap-caps, that's the best solution. Flat-faced hammers as found in transfer-bar guns (Ruger, etc) can be caught with the off-hand without too much pain .

    SA triggers (or of course a DA with the hammer cocked) should feel "like a glass rod breaking". A tiny amount of take-up slack is tolerable, and is common on anything with a transfer bar or hammerblock safety.

    DA triggers are subjective. Some people like a dead-smooth feel from beginning of stroke to the end, with no "warning" that it's about to fire. Others (myself included) actually prefer a slight "hitch" right at the end, so we know when it's about to go. With that sort of trigger, you can actually "hold it" right at the "about to fire" point and do a short light stroke from there that rivals an SA shot for accuracy. Takes a lot of practice though. Either way, you don't want "grinding" through the length of the stroke, and the final stack-up at the end (if any) shouldn't be overly pronounced.

    Detecting Bad Gunsmithing:

    8) OK, so it's got a rock-solid cylinder, a .002" or .003" gap, and the trigger feels great. Odds are vastly in favor of it being tuned after leaving the factory.

    So was the gunsmith any good?

    First, **** it, then grab the hammer and "wiggle it around" a bit. Not too hard, don't bang on it, but give it a bit of up/down, left/right and circular action with finger off trigger and WATCH your muzzle direction.

    You don't want that hammer slipping off an overly polished sear. You REALLY don't want that . It can be fixed by installing factory parts but that'll take modest money (more for installation than hardware costs) and it'll be bigtime unsafe until you do.

    The other thing that commonly goes wrong is somebody will trim the spring, especially coil springs. You can spot that if you pull the grip panels, see if the spring was trimmed with wire cutters. If they get too wild with it, you'll get ignition failures on harder primers. But the good news is, replacement factory or Wolf springs are cheap both to buy and have installed.

    There's also the legal problems Ayoob frequently describes regarding light triggers. If that's a concern, you can either swap back to stock springs, or since you bought it used there's no way to prove you knew it was modified at all .

    In perspective:

    Timing (test #5) is very critical...if that's off, the gun may not even be safe to test-fire. And naturally, a crappy barrel means a relatively pricey fix.

    Cylinder gap is particularly critical on short-barreled and/or marginal caliber guns. If you need every possible ounce of energy, a tight gap helps. Some factory gaps will run as high as .006"; Taurus considers .007" "still in spec" (sigh). You'll be hard-pressed to find any new pieces under .004" - probably because the makers realize some people don't clean 'em often (or very well) and might complain about the cylinder binding up if they sell 'em at .002".

    The guns in a dealer's "used pile" are often of unknown origin, from estate sales or whatever. Dealers don't have time to check every piece, and often don't know their history. These tests, especially cyliner gap and play, can spot a gun that's been sent off for professional tuning...like my snubbie, the best $180 I ever spent .

    As long as the gun is otherwise sound (no cracks, etc) a gunsmith can fix any of this. So these tests can help you pick a particularly good new specimen, or find a good used gun, or help haggle the price down on something that'll need a bit of work.

    Hope this helps.

    Jim
    As far as revolver selection, it is just what you are comfortable with and are willing to pay.

    bob

  3. #3
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    There is extensive information available on the web about how to evaluate the condition of a revolver before purchase.

    You can check prices on websites, too. Also, you can skim the S & W forum.

    Google is your friend.

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    Regular Member TechnoWeenie's Avatar
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    y a revolver? (just curious)

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    Why a revolver?

    I can think of two reasons:
    1) reliability
    2) brass containment

    Nice write-up BobR - thanks for the timely advice!

    @the OP - a S&W 686 is (as noted) a fine piece. At that price, I'd buy it after checking it out IAW Bob's advice.
    Mostly, I check movement and forcing cone area for the cylinder, and look down the bore for pitting, then check trigger feel. Most S&W have had a very nice SA trigger, in my recent searches.

    I know where there's a 629 at a decent price, new... (4" .44 mag)

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    If you can get a S&W 686 4" .357 magnum that is nice and tight, in good condition go for it. It is a fine revolver. If you take good care of it and decide to sell it in the future you will find that it has retained much of it's value and you won't take a bath on the sale.

    Yess there are others but the S&W is a good revolver. Fits most people's hand, usually have good trigger action (or can be tuned well by an expert) and will hold up well over many range sessions.

    I used to have a 686 with a 6" bbl. A little long to carry but it had a great feel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tony d tiger View Post
    I can think of two reasons:
    1) reliability
    2) brass containment

    Nice write-up BobR - thanks for the timely advice!

    @the OP - a S&W 686 is (as noted) a fine piece. At that price, I'd buy it after checking it out IAW Bob's advice.
    Mostly, I check movement and forcing cone area for the cylinder, and look down the bore for pitting, then check trigger feel. Most S&W have had a very nice SA trigger, in my recent searches.

    I know where there's a 629 at a decent price, new... (4" .44 mag)
    Let me add one more. While not a common practice, a revolver can be shot from inside a pocket and not jam as easy as an automatic. Nothing like walking "through the valley of the shadow of death" with your hand on your J-frame carried inside your jacket pocket. You can fill in the rest of the scenario.

    It is a little hard on the "wardrobe" though but probably acceptable considering the alternative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Let me add one more. While not a common practice, a revolver can be shot from inside a pocket and not jam as easy as an automatic. Nothing like walking "through the valley of the shadow of death" with your hand on your J-frame carried inside your jacket pocket. You can fill in the rest of the scenario.

    It is a little hard on the "wardrobe" though but probably acceptable considering the alternative.
    A hammerless one works real well for this situation.

    I actually like Taurus revolvers. They are made very well and are less expensive than a S&W. I have a Taurus 82 heavy barrel and picked it up a few years back for just over $150.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeroket View Post
    A hammerless one works real well for this situation.

    I actually like Taurus revolvers. They are made very well and are less expensive than a S&W. I have a Taurus 82 heavy barrel and picked it up a few years back for just over $150.
    Taurus makes some real fine handguns. One does need to beware of any of their products made between 1970 and 1974. They were controlled by the same "Group" that screwed up S&W during that period. Since 1980 they have been a source of "Improved Beretta's) under their name.

    Only thing I have noticed about Taurus and the Rossi pistols they make is the attention to fine details. Lots of machine marks still present on "polished" parts. They do work great though and prices are OK too.

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    Regular Member Batousaii's Avatar
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    Check out the Rugers ?

    I am a big fan of the Ruger GP/SP Series. Rock Solid mechanics, well balanced sturdy firearm. Stainless Steel makes them easy to maintain and pretty too. They can also handle the strongest of loads.
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    BobR, thank you for the information on checking out used revolvers. That info was exactly what I was hoping to find.


    The reason I'm looking at a revolver for a car/truck gun is due to reliability of magazine springs in a semi-auto. Revolvers are unaffected by being kept ready to fire, where as magazine springs fatigue at a quicker rate.

    I have a friend with a stainless ruger gp100, I think that's the model. It's a 6 inch model and I was really impressed with it's quality and accuracy. I'll keep my eyes open for a good deal.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    The reason I'm looking at a revolver for a car/truck gun is due to reliability of magazine springs in a semi-auto. Revolvers are unaffected by being kept ready to fire, where as magazine springs fatigue at a quicker rate.
    This is an overrated myth that springs fatigue at a quicker rate when magazines are kept loaded.

    Fatigue is caused by repeated flexing. If a piece of metal is bent less than it's elastic limit it will not loose it's elasticity anytime in several human lifetimes.

    I have had magazines loaded for over 30 years that I finally got around to "shooting to empty them". Absolutly no issues at all. Unless the mags are allowed to get wet and rust they'll be just fine.

    BTW, Revolvers have springs too.

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    This is an overrated myth that springs fatigue at a quicker rate when magazines are kept loaded.

    Fatigue is caused by repeated flexing. If a piece of metal is bent less than it's elastic limit it will not loose it's elasticity anytime in several human lifetimes.

    I have had magazines loaded for over 30 years that I finally got around to "shooting to empty them". Absolutly no issues at all. Unless the mags are allowed to get wet and rust they'll be just fine.

    BTW, Revolvers have springs too.
    Concur. BTW (although I know your comment wasn't directed @ me) when I said reliability, I was referring to the action. Many semi-auto's are also reliable, but with a greater possibility of failure (fail to feed, fail to extract/eject) so they can be more "finicky" to to the interaction of many functions. Revolvers fail too - but nowhere's near as much chance of it happening.

    Good luck OP - plenty of 4" .357's around!

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    Regular Member Batousaii's Avatar
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    Spring-n-auto's-n-revolvers too...

    I have a CZ-74B that i have had for something close to 20 years. I have shoti... and shot it... and shot it... For long lengths (sometimes a couple years) the mags would remain loaded wit the same ammo. And always, it would fire and cycle smoothly. It wasn't until i got some really (i mean uber) cheap walmart ammo that it had a short period jams. I changed out the ammo, and wallah! reliable again. It was the only ammo it doesn't like, it eats everything else with glee. I recently changed out all the springs with wolf springs, it cost me around 30 buck to change all of them, mags included with slightly better spring rates. Results? Now even smoother and.. well... I'd say more reliable, but it was never "not reliable". So Springs tend to last a long time if they are good quality.
    - For revolvers, i too rather agree that if i was going to toss a gun in a tool box (so to speak) and forget about it, then a SS Revolver would probably be my choice. Not because of springs, but because of grunge, funk, lint, dust-n-oils, dirt and other grime that tends to float around in a work environment. Revolvers are inherently more reliable when subjected to these conditions. To end, i have seen revolvers fail, lock up (jam) or break parts. It does happen, guns in and of them selves are nothing less than little machines, and if not kept to some semblance of operable conditions... will fail... and at the worst time possible.

    Bat
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    A 4" 357 will serve you well. Especially for what you want it to do.

    Then again, I've never had a malfunction in a Glock, and they tend to carry 2-3 times the ammunition. Keeping mags loaded does nothing to the springs. A couple of 'beater' G17's are a wonderful thing to have around the house...

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    The loading and unloading of a magazine will reduce the reliability of a magazine more quickly. To say that leaving a magazine loaded for long periods of time will not affect the performance of the spring is a bit ridiculous if I 'm to be honest. Any spring kept under constant tension can begin to form a "memory" and lose it's ability to exert the proper force necessary to reliably feed new rounds. The probability of a spring being made that is flawed and therefore more likely to fail then an opposing system that doesn't rely on a spring is what I'm actually concerned with. Introducing an extra component to the machine to perform essentially the same desired action increases the chances of a failure.
    I realize the probability of a quality modern magazine failing me in the situation I want to keep it in is very low, however, it is a risk I'd prefer not to take. Simplicity of the system is what I'm after here, no machine is 100% reliable and I fully understand this.
    Last edited by irish52084; 08-30-2010 at 01:16 AM.

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    Regular Member TechnoWeenie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Let me add one more. While not a common practice, a revolver can be shot from inside a pocket and not jam as easy as an automatic. Nothing like walking "through the valley of the shadow of death" with your hand on your J-frame carried inside your jacket pocket. You can fill in the rest of the scenario.

    It is a little hard on the "wardrobe" though but probably acceptable considering the alternative.


    Good call. Didn't think of that.

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    After carrying a 4 inch barrel revolver for a while, i'm thinking about a Ruger sp101.
    Shot a S&W airweight .38 snub this weekend, hammer-less, and it was awesome. I also tried out the coat-pocket feel (Dickies mechanics jacket) and it fit perfectly. Might be my next purchase.
    Then again, got to play with the S&W 460 snub. Its like a freakin' clown gun, 900 bucks!

    There are some videos that can help too with what to look for. This one is short, but to the point.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xjoU...eature=related

    Good luck, and let us know what you decide on. Especially if you pass on the S&W.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    The loading and unloading of a magazine will reduce the reliability of a magazine more quickly. To say that leaving a magazine loaded for long periods of time will not affect the performance of the spring is a bit ridiculous if I 'm to be honest. Any spring kept under constant tension can begin to form a "memory" and lose it's ability to exert the proper force necessary to reliably feed new rounds. .
    Using this logic we should all be jacking up our cars and leaving them on blocks when we aren't using them. After all, aren't they loaded all the time?

    Again, if the limit of elasticity (modulus) has not been exceeded there will be no damage to the spring. The effect you describe migh occur but you will never live long enough to see it. It will take many, many, years before any loss of spring pressure occurs.

    Dirty magazines cause far more malfunctions than springs in magazines left loaded.
    Last edited by amlevin; 08-31-2010 at 11:12 AM.

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    I see you're in Puyallup. Go to the Marksman indoor range. They have plenty of guns to rent for $ 10.00. I personally like the Ruger LCR 38 Spl. although I haven't bought one yet, (they now make a 357 version), I did rent one and liked the way it performed.

    That way you can test fire and inspect guns that have had lots of rounds thru them and see how they hold up. Run the tests mentioned above and chose what you like.

    The Marksman has gotten some bad reviews in the distant past, but I'm there at least twice a month shooting my reloads, and I have no complaints. Their prices are fair, the people are knowledgeable, and they have most everything I need all in one place.

    Good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by G20-IWB24/7 View Post
    A couple of 'beater' G17's are a wonderful thing to have around the house...
    That would be my dad. I had to be different so I have a beater XD's for a truck guns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Using this logic we should all be jacking up our cars and leaving them on blocks when we aren't using them. After all, aren't they loaded all the time?

    Again, if the limit of elasticity (modulus) has not been exceeded there will be no damage to the spring. The effect you describe migh occur but you will never live long enough to see it. It will take many, many, years before any loss of spring pressure occurs.

    Dirty magazines cause far more malfunctions than springs in magazines left loaded.
    The probability of a spring being made that is flawed is my concern, as I stated. If a spring is not required, ie a revolver, it simplifies the system and therefore tends to increase reliability. The act of manufacturing springs opens them up to the potential of being flawed, and therefore failing before their peers. This is my reasoning for a revolver in the circumstances I am likely to have it in.
    As far as jacking up our cars to save springs and leaving them on blocks, that wouldn't help your springs at all because the same force is still exerted on them to hold the weight of the car up. I have a crappy civic, that I've driven for years and have never exceeded the maximum load in it, yet it sits with a slight lean from my fat butt sitting in the drivers seat for years on end. I could go on and on with examples of vehicular springs showing a loss in their ability to do what they originally were designed, simply by a constant load being placed on them for years. anybody who has had an fj40 land cruiser can testify to the "land cruiser lean", lol. Don't take this part too seriously, just having some fun at your example.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    The probability of a spring being made that is flawed is my concern, as I stated. If a spring is not required, ie a revolver, it simplifies the system and therefore tends to increase reliability. The act of manufacturing springs opens them up to the potential of being flawed, and therefore failing before their peers. This is my reasoning for a revolver in the circumstances I am likely to have it in.
    As far as jacking up our cars to save springs and leaving them on blocks, that wouldn't help your springs at all because the same force is still exerted on them to hold the weight of the car up. I have a crappy civic, that I've driven for years and have never exceeded the maximum load in it, yet it sits with a slight lean from my fat butt sitting in the drivers seat for years on end. I could go on and on with examples of vehicular springs showing a loss in their ability to do what they originally were designed, simply by a constant load being placed on them for years. anybody who has had an fj40 land cruiser can testify to the "land cruiser lean", lol. Don't take this part too seriously, just having some fun at your example.
    Back to revolvers. Take any revolver apart and count the number of springs in it. Looking at an S&W Model 36 parts list there are 8 different springs. Also, Ruger GP100 7 springs.

    Aren't you worried that any of these springs might be "flawed". Try firing a Revolver with a broken mainspring sometime. How about a broken cylinder lock spring? Shoot once and the cylinder pops open. That could be fun. Biggest problem with revolvers is that they are difficult to disassemble and get to all the springs they DO use. Therefore people just ignore them. They rust or get gummed up with dirt and lube. ANY gun that is neglected will be unreliable which by simple definition means that you can't rely on it in an emergency.

    On that note, I have a friend who thought revolvers needed no maintenance. He just put it in his holster and every once in a while he'd wipe it down with oil. One night while working (he repossesed cars) he was attacked by a boyfriend of a car owner. He pulled his pistol, it was taken away, put to his head, and the trigger pulled. It failed to fire so he jumped out a front room window and ran for his life. In this case the failure played in his favor.
    He is no longer a Repo Man, he is an exterminator. Takes out his wrath on termites.

    BTW, when you jack up a car for storage, the traditional method is to place jackstands under the frame and let the suspension hang. The axles and control arms are then supported by the shock/strut and the spring has little or no tension/compression on it. Most people don't bother as the springs today don't benefit much and tires continue to rot from air polution anyway.
    Last edited by amlevin; 08-31-2010 at 04:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoupeDevil View Post
    Shot a S&W airweight .38 snub this weekend, hammer-less, and it was awesome. I also tried out the coat-pocket feel (Dickies mechanics jacket) and it fit perfectly. Might be my next purchase.
    This might be my next one too. Don't know why the .357M costs twice as much.

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    irish,

    Worrying about springs is kinda silly. Modern guns and modern magazines should be just fine. Just do your maintenance checks, practice frequently and all will be well. Stick any of your proven carry guns in the car and carry with confidence.

    If a gun does happen to break, just pull out your spare and keep going. You do have multiple guns, right? If you use it defensively, there is a very high probability the gun will be confiscated as evidence. Furthermore, you will be prevented by the system from purchasing another gun, so be prepared.

    Do you intend to train with it?

    You will find that revolvers are much more difficult to run at speed than semi-automatics. I highly recommend that you develop some practice regimens and do them frequently. I also believe that revolver shooters should shoot very frequently in order to maintain proficiency.

    Here's a little article that I wrote recently regarding revolvers.

    Mindset is the single most important aspect to successful self-defense. There was a recent article on Keep and Bear Arms where a young girl (age 10-13 or so) pointed her 22 rifle at a home invader. That's mindset!

    However, I want to differentiate between mindset and mastering the tool.

    I put my money where my mouth was. I took revolvers to FPF Training's "Concealed Carry for Self-Defense" course. This is a two day course about mindset, tactics, and shooting. I attend this course annually as part of my "Back to Basics Refresher" because it includes a four hour multimedia presentation and covers running the gun.

    I attended the course with an S&W 625 (6 shot 45 ACP), S&W 627 TRR8 (8 shot 357 Magnum) and a new S&W Model 27 (8 shot 357 Magnum). I had two modes of reloading: moonclips and eight shot speedloaders (both for the 357s, moonclips only for the 625). The 625 had the best trigger: S&W did very nice trigger work on it.


    625 with hacked Hogues...seems to work fairly well too.

    I spent quite a bit of time preparing for this course. Over the course of a year, I dry fired for many hours...tens of thousands of television crimes were stopped by my 625 and Model 27! I used my 22 revolver to learn how to do fairly rapid fire (using Ed McGivern's book, of all things...but it worked). I practiced reloading my guns with moonclips and speedloaders. I did some movement drills (not many though) and figured out point shooting (sub-1/2" groups with the 22 at 20 feet!). This was at the height of the Obama Ammo Panic, so I did NOT fire many 45 ACP and 357 Magnum rounds...probably 500 total.

    Repairs over that year or so had to be made. I went through two S&W firing pins, which shattered during firing. Bullets jumped crimp and I lodged one round in the barrel of my 625 (bad reload, totally my fault).

    Walking into that course, I was fairly confident shooting this course would not be too difficult. I felt that I would just be polishing my skills on running the gun. I was very, very wrong!

    The recoil pattern of the revolver is quite different. Combine that with the long, heavy trigger and double taps were more like shortened controlled pairs. Three round bursts were difficult to do and maintain a 4" group. Zippers chewed through an entire cylinder, forcing me into the slow reload process.

    Reloading the revolver is a complicated process. It's very easy to make a mistake operating at speed. The eight round moon clips were difficult to eject; I had to really hit the ejector rod to get the spent clip and cases to clear. The eight shot moonclips were more difficult to insert; the six shot 45 ACP clips were much easier to deal with.

    Heat was another issue. Twenty four rounds and that forcing cone was hot! At 48 rounds, the gun was toasty and I had to wear an undershirt to avoid burning myself when holstering. Gloves became a necessity in the training environment. If you ever attend a gun course with a revolver, take at least two guns! One can cool while you shoot the next relay.

    There were no jams with any of the three revolvers I used. Even though the ammunition was dirty, the guns were in top shape going into the course. My primary concern was with a bullet jumping crimp, but there were no issues with the Georgia Arms ammunition I used.


    Negative Target Drill. The single action revolver DOMINATED this target. Single shots, one through each hole.

    In the end, I ended up selling all my revolvers except for the S&W K18. The limited capacity of the cylinder does not lend itself well to double taps, "hearts-n-minds" and zippers. Rapid fire requires increased discipline on the part of the shooter. It is not something a casual shooter will be able to easily achieve. I was generally getting one to two inch pairs with a flyer or two (depending upon the size of the burst). More practice with full recoil loads would have solved this problem, of course. Finally, reloading the revolver, even with a moonclip, is difficult. Doing so on the move is even more difficult and I flubbed those frequently due to incorrect practice with Snap-Caps (Snap-Caps don't cut it for practice--use FMJ dummies. Snap-Caps are a bit small and "flow" into the cylinder too easily).


    Rapid fire was difficult. Discipline is required. You can see where I was clustering shots around the center of the circle and at the hollow of the throat.

    In the end, the basic operation of the revolver is easier. "Basic" means slow loading and unloading and firing slowly with deliberation. Operating a revolver in modern context; however, is far more difficult than operating a semi-automatic. Shooters will have to dedicate more time and money to mastering the skills required to proficiently run a revolver.


    Messing up again

    **

    If someone were to come to me to ask for advice on which revolver to get, I'd definitely tell them to get a gun chambered in 45 ACP with a four inch barrel (three inches would be the minimum). It's easier to reload than 357 Magnum and one can do so faster. If they insisted upon getting a gun in 357 Magnum or 38 Special +P, I would then recommend they get a gun with a six shot cylinder and a four inch barrel. The eight shoot moonclips can be difficult to use at speed.

    Revolver stocks are very, very important. I tried a wide variety of them. In the end, Ahrends Tactical Revolver stocks, or the old style coke bottles with a Tyler T-Grip, worked best. The rubber Hogue grips were marginal in that rounds would get caught on them when operating at speed. The reason the Ahrends grips functioned well was because 1) I dimpled the grips with a dremel and refinished them, and 2) Ahrends is cuts the stock very low to minimize the possibility of dragging while reloading. My actual preference was for checkered coke bottle grips and a Tyler T-Grip. This was the best compromise between reloading speed, grippiness, and trigger finger placement. However, the Ahrends Tactical stocks were quite good too...perhaps within 5% of the cokes/T-Grip combo. I did put hacked up Hogues onto the 625...those worked pretty well, but the T-Grip combo was better.

    I would advise nobody to get a snub-nosed revolver for (I owned two over the year and a half: Ruger SP101 and S&W Model 36). They are very susceptible to flyers when firing rapid (I'm talking 12"-18" groups at 10 yards while moving laterally). Reloading is very tough and I took half a day just to figure out how to reload the SP101 somewhat quickly on the move. The best I could do from a belt mounted speed loader was five-six steps. I would only recommend the snub nosed revolver to someone if it were to be used as a BUG.
    Last edited by 230therapy; 09-13-2010 at 09:12 PM.
    Does anyone here actually believe that the Founders were sitting around in John Adams' tavern UNARMED because they believed a bar should be a gun free zone?

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