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First handgun purchase

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Old 12-15-2008, 07:06 PM   #1
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Default First handgun purchase

This is my first post here. I have read quite a bit on this and a few other boards. My lovely queen and I have decided to purchase a handgun for the first time. This gun will mostly reside in a safe hidden by a nightstand in our bedroom. We plan to go to a shooting range 6 or 7 times a year (she can't say we don't do things together!). So we won't be carrying it, no carry permit necessary in IN I believe.

Like I said, I have looked at a lot of threads and done a lot of looking on line with that nifty gun genie thing. I have also gone to 2 reputable gun shops in the area (no, not Don's Guns for those who are familiar with Indy).

Here is what we are looking for: 1. probably a .38 although might be interested in a 357. We don't want anything with too much kick for my lovely other half. 2. a revolver because I like the way the look better than the semi autos. 3. a 3 or 4 in barrel. 2in is too short for targets (I think) and 5 or 6 too long to be practical for us. 4. We want to spend 500 max for the gun, ammo, and safe.

My first thought was to find a good used S/W 10. I kept reading about how they were plentiful, reliable, and relatively cheap if used. But so far I have only found one locally and one on line. Both were over 350 used and new blows the budget. I have also looked at a Rossi 38 but I can't find any opinions on it. And looked at a Taurus model 82 but people on this board tend to be leery of Taurus of any kind. I have looked at Ruger but it doesn't fit the budget if I have to go new.

So what are your suggestions. Also any suggestions on where to get quality used handguns would be helpful.

Thanks all.
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:21 AM   #2
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I have a Taurus model 66 and I think it is pretty good. If you're looking at the Taurus revolvers, you might want to avoid the medium / large frames for your wife as the grips are kind of big. My grip is at the limits of my comfort zone.

You might consider the Taurus Tracker line with the round butts. Model 627 .357 Mag. Stainless 4 inch. Between $500 and $600.


(Oops, I didn't read your money requirements closely enough.)

Never mind.

Last edited by 741512th; 12-16-2008 at 10:45 AM. Reason: Oops
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:22 PM   #3
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Admittedly I'm new to this hobby, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

I own a Rossi 971 (4" 357 mag) and I can't say I'd buy another. Mine was inaccurate out of the box (even with the sight adjusted as far as they will go, it shoots low). Fit and finish is OK (but not great or even good for that matter) given that it is in fact cheaper than a new S&W or Ruger. However, obtaining a used model would alter that balance. Also worth noting, there are practically no accessories for Rossi revolvers, aside from a few speed loaders.

As far as shooting, it certainly goes bang every time you pull the trigger, and it does group OK. My only gripe there (outside of the sights issue) is that the DA trigger pull is a bit heavier than I'd like.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:34 PM   #4
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Go gun shopping with your wife. Tell her to lead and shop just as if you both were shopping for shoes. (the way SHE shops for shoes) Get your hands on as many guns as you can. A few of them will feel "just right". Pursue those. Do NOT be concerned with caliber. My last student was a 73 yr old lady who just giggled herself silly shooting a .357 magnum. She loved it.

Folks can learn to shoot virtually any caliber, but it's very tough to teach someone that a given handgun is really comfortable, if it's not.

If it doesn't feel good in your hands, you won't shoot it enough to become proficient with it. If you're not proficient with it, you may as well carry a ball bat.

Forgive my guesswork, but unless you're the exception, proficiency will require more range time than 6 or 7 times a year.

IC 35-47-2-1
Carrying a handgun without a license or by person convicted of domestic battery
Sec. 1. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) and section 2 of this chapter, a person shall not carry a handgun in any vehicle or on or about the person's body, except in the person's dwelling, on the person's property or fixed place of business, without a license issued under this chapter being in the person's possession.
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:16 AM   #5
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eyes just love my SW 686. It's a hell of a wheel gun.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:26 PM   #6
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I think Jay gave you some great advice, find something you both fill comfortable with. There are lots of grip options out there, one of them will fit like a glove.

About caliber, I'd go with .357. It gives you a lot of options since you can fire all kinds of .38spl and .357 rounds and find the one that works best for you both. You might want to start with .38s, and then move on to some of the +P stuff or magnums.

My home defense handguns is a S&W 686, with a 4" barrel. It's what fits my hands best and what I can shoot well.

By the way, consider spending more time at the range than 6 times a year. In fact, taking some classes with an instructor is probably a wise investment as well.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:05 AM   #7
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Search for Smith and Wesson Models 10, 13, 19, 64, 65, & 66.

My personal choice would be a 13 or 65 in either 3 or 4 inch.

I don't know enough about Taurus or Rossi to comment.
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:57 PM   #8
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I purchased a used Model 19-5 three years ago for $300. Prices might have gone up by then. Just a regular blued four inch barrel. The grips are a bit large, but you can replace them. I swapped the original grips for rubber ones, but the magnum loads still can snap. Always try out what you're looking for especially if it's for two people. You may like a gun, but if you're wife is to use it too, she needs to be comfortable with it as well. Otherwise, get a 20 gauge shotgun.
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