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Thread: S&W Revolvers, anybody a revolver guru?

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    S&W Revolvers, anybody a revolver guru?

    I'm not much of a revolver guy and a few days ago I saw a S&W lady smith model 60 and I liked it. I liked it enough, that I'm contemplating a small revolver in 357.

    I was wondering if there is a regular model 60 or is it just the lady smith that has the nicer wood grip with a place for my pinky? I think it's a j frame, so if I found another j frame, would the lady smith grips fit properly? How tough is the transition from mostly single action semi autos to a double action revolver? Would I be better of sticking to a pocket auto in 9mm or similar instead of going through the work of learning a double action revolver?

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    Regular Member j2l3's Avatar
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    Can't answer your question on the specific gun, but the learning curve for a revolver is very short. You shouldn't have any trouble adjusting to it at all.

    Enjoy!
    CZ 75B 9mm, Ruger P94 .40 S&W, Bersa Thunder .380, AR-15 Homebuild

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    I'm not familiar with all the permutations of revolvers, but the pinky finger issue is only one angle. There are tons of aftermarket grips for S&W revolvers. I cannot imagine you wouldn't be able to find something.

    However, the .357 angle is something you should think about. J-frames are light because of their small size. Launching a .357 out of them can be a bit punishing. In fact, some small revolvers come with labels warning that the recoil can unseat the remaining the bullets from their cases, listing bullet weights and/or velocity limits.

    I would say revolvers are different, not harder. Definitely, they require a hefty trigger pull in double-action mode. You can shave a bit off the trigger pull weight by replacing some springs (Wolff sells kits; Brownells has them), but its still heavier than striker-fired semi-autos that I've tried.

    So, if you are not familiar with double-action revolvers, you will have to spend some time learning how to pull the trigger differently. The short sight radius issue is probably the same for both types of guns, and besides, perfectly aligned sights is not really the thing you are looking for in an up-close gun.

    If you decide you might like a semi-auto after all, I noticed the Kel-Tec single-stack 9mm has a trigger pull weight in the 5lb range. You might check out that one.

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    I have a regular Model 60-3". It came with a full rubber grip. A nice wood grip can be found in many places without too much searching.
    I feel taking the time with this revolver helped me to shoot my pistols better.
    ymmv
    They're over there with their guns!

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    Irish,
    My wife carries a S&W mod 49 Bodyguard. Very clos to the lady smith. If you do not have an opportunity to rent a J frame for tryout, let me know and maybe the wife will let you shoot hers to see how you like it. On the 357, that is really more than most people can handle in a J frame. 38 Spec +p would work better. Remember it is not caliber, but bullet placement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky_Dog View Post
    I have a regular Model 60-3". It came with a full rubber grip. A nice wood grip can be found in many places without too much searching.
    I feel taking the time with this revolver helped me to shoot my pistols better.
    ymmv
    This is a good point. I have experienced the same.

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    I would add that I have shot about 70% .38 Special through it.
    It's nice to be able to practice with .357 also.
    They're over there with their guns!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky_Dog View Post
    I have a regular Model 60-3". It came with a full rubber grip. A nice wood grip can be found in many places without too much searching.
    I feel taking the time with this revolver helped me to shoot my pistols better.
    ymmv
    I also have a model 60 with rubber grip, only mine is a 2 inch. I like the rubber grip myself. I noticed the first time I shot it that it goes bang differently than my 9 or .45. It seems to push back rather than do a muzzle flip. It feels good and solid when I shoot it. Got to paint that blade sight though, can hardly see it against the barrel and rear sight.
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    I'm not much of a revolver guy and a few days ago I saw a S&W lady smith model 60 and I liked it. I liked it enough, that I'm contemplating a small revolver in 357.

    I was wondering if there is a regular model 60 or is it just the lady smith that has the nicer wood grip with a place for my pinky? I think it's a j frame, so if I found another j frame, would the lady smith grips fit properly? How tough is the transition from mostly single action semi autos to a double action revolver? Would I be better of sticking to a pocket auto in 9mm or similar instead of going through the work of learning a double action revolver?
    Revolvers have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. for me, a revolver is too "thick", holds too few rounds, and doesn't balance as well in my hand as my choice of "semi".

    On the other hand, a revolver is as basic as they get. Most revolvers today are double action. Draw, pull trigger, and it goes off. One revolver works pretty much like all others and no special "Safety" configuration to learn.

    Small revolvers are the perfect pocket weapon if there is the chance one might have to fire it while still in the pocket. You can carry one in your jacket pocket, firmly gripped in your hand, and fire it 5-6 times with little chance of it jamming. A semi will more likely than not jam due to ejected brass not clearing the port. This could be a lifesaver if you need to carry totally concealed yet might need your firearm immediately. It gives you the ability to actually point a weapon at a possible threat while not actually displaying it. Good for a situation where the perceived threat actually turned out to be a non-threat.

    Revolvers are great for "mechanically challenged women" like my wife. She has trouble setting time on a wind-up watch as well as changing a light bulb but she can shoot a revolver like a pro.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    True, and my wife is like that as well. She also has weak hands and can't rack a slide on an auto, but can pull thru a DA trigger.
    I was shooting wheelguns before I even went in the service to adopt a .45, so I have always had an affinity for revolvers. At one time I was NEVER without a 19-2 round butt snubby. High capacity may have won me over now, but I still like the feel of a good DA wheelgun pull. Why, my Redhawk even has a decent DA trigger, tho not the silk of a worked-over S&W....


    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Revolvers are great for "mechanically challenged women" like my wife. She has trouble setting time on a wind-up watch as well as changing a light bulb but she can shoot a revolver like a pro.

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    I'm going to give this revolver idea some serious consideration over the next 3 months. I've considered a few before, but mainly in the 4" variety. I'd like to have one to serve as my grab and go gun for short trips to the store and things like that. More of a throw it in my pocket and go kind of thing. That and to serve as my weapon of choice when I have to truly conceal a gun. I don't usually give a damn about my gun printing a little when I CC, but sometimes I'd like to be more discreet.

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    I'm not sure how bad 357's in j frames are as far as recoil is concerned. I'm not recoil shy, but if I can't handle practicing with 357 loads for at least 20 rounds at a time I'd probably be better off with just a 38.

    How much of an issue is a hammer when fired from inside a pocket or coat? I see hammerless or shrouded hammer revolvers and I wonder if I should get one instead of the standard hammer version.

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    J-frame fan

    My love affair with J-frames goes back about 40 years so for what that is worth I will share my experience.

    I prefer 3 inch versions over the 2 inchers. My favorite is a 3" full lug #60 with adjustable sights and Hogue rubber grips. It is large enough to shoot well, still small enough to conceal well. I mostly belt carry, but occasionally ankle or shoulder holster carry. This version is a little too big for good pocket carry plus it would have the hammer snag issue to deal with.

    The beautiful smooth rosewood grips found on the Lady Smith versions are too slick to allow you to maintain your grip. They allow the gun to squirm a lot.

    Full house .357 mag. rounds are quite a hand full but doable with rubber grips, a tight fisted grip and strong wrist.

    I do not care for the Air Lite versions. I have shot one - 5 rounds- in .357 brought to class by one of my students. I have declined subquent offers. I would rather shoot my S&W 29 .44 mag thank you!

    If you are going to pocket carry only occasionally, a 2" hammerless 640 version would be the way to go. If you are going to mostly pocket carry, perhaps you would need to compromise weight and go with the aluminum Airweight frame 642 and .38 +P. That is a personal decision. I would stay away from the Air Lites in any case.

    As you can see, choosing one gun to fit a variety of uses is an exercise in compromises.

    Best wishes.

  14. #14
    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post

    How much of an issue is a hammer when fired from inside a pocket or coat? I see hammerless or shrouded hammer revolvers and I wonder if I should get one instead of the standard hammer version.
    It will fire well from inside a pocket because your hand and the cylinder form a space between the layers. The shroud was added or the spur was bobbed to make sure it didn't snag when drawing it from a pocket. The hammerless or shrouded models are best if you are going to pocket carry as you may want to remove it in a hurry too.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    i have a S&W j-frame, and if you can handle the painful recoil, then this gun may be for you. Some love 'em, some hate 'em, and if my j-frame wasn't for my wife I'd have gotten rid of it on day one. I much prefer a subcompact 9mm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6-shooter View Post
    My love affair with J-frames goes back about 40 years so for what that is worth I will share my experience.

    I prefer 3 inch versions over the 2 inchers. My favorite is a 3" full lug #60 with adjustable sights and Hogue rubber grips. It is large enough to shoot well, still small enough to conceal well. I mostly belt carry, but occasionally ankle or shoulder holster carry. This version is a little too big for good pocket carry plus it would have the hammer snag issue to deal with.

    The beautiful smooth rosewood grips found on the Lady Smith versions are too slick to allow you to maintain your grip. They allow the gun to squirm a lot.

    Full house .357 mag. rounds are quite a hand full but doable with rubber grips, a tight fisted grip and strong wrist.

    I do not care for the Air Lite versions. I have shot one - 5 rounds- in .357 brought to class by one of my students. I have declined subquent offers. I would rather shoot my S&W 29 .44 mag thank you!

    If you are going to pocket carry only occasionally, a 2" hammerless 640 version would be the way to go. If you are going to mostly pocket carry, perhaps you would need to compromise weight and go with the aluminum Airweight frame 642 and .38 +P. That is a personal decision. I would stay away from the Air Lites in any case.

    As you can see, choosing one gun to fit a variety of uses is an exercise in compromises.

    Best wishes.
    +100

    I agree with everything you said here.

    I also carry a 3" J-Frame with full lug and adjustable sites. (Mine's magna-ported from the S&W custom shop with some tweaking done on the timing/springs to make it smoother too.)

    It's a bear to shoot more than 50 rounds of full-house 125 or 158 gr .357 magnum loads, but in a defensive situation it's ideal.

    My only complaint with the J-Frames is that the HKS style speedloaders don't work well to reload them at all because of the tight tolerances with the grip/cylinder. Safariland makes some that you don't twist, they're like a hybrid between a spring loaded competition loader and an HKS twist style. They're a bit easier to use because they're lower profile and you don't have to twist them. (They activate and release the rounds into the cylinder when the star ejector hits a nipple in between the 5 rounds in the loader.)

    Anyhow, love the J frame!

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    Consider the Ruger LCR too. The .38 special +P gun comes with Houge Grip Tamer which really helps with the recoil. I tried both the S&W J-frame and the LCR and preferred the LCR. They are both available in .357 mag as well but you do pick up some weight, and I'm sure they must be a handful shooting that caliber, although you can shoot .38 special in the .357 guns for practice.

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