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Old 01-14-2011, 04:01 PM   #1
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Default Learning about revolvers.

I recently bought my first civilian long gun (Ruger 10/22), and am on my way to rounding out my collection with both a revolver, and a shotgun.
I have 0 experience with handguns. I've only ever fired machine guns, assault rifles, and rockets. Only docs and officers carried handguns in the Marines. I was neither.

I'd like to have a revolver for home defense and open carry (legal in Maine). This revolver will also be carried by my wife.
She'd prefer to have a revolver, so semiauto magazine-fed pistols are right out.
From what I have been reading, I'm likely looking for a .38 revolver. I'm aiming more towards a used law enforcement wheelgun. Any opinions on the Police Positive? There are a few used ones in my area for reasonable prices.

What is the difference between the 38 Special, 38 Colt, and 38 S&W rounds? Are they freely interchangable, or no?

I'd like to keep the barrel at a 4" max, as anything more is a looong draw for the wife.

I'm not looking to spend a ton, maybe capping out in the $350 range, as this weapon won't be fired a whole lot beyond training and marksmanship time.

Any other suggestions of a similar model that might be lighter and handlable by my wife? She's a slim thing, and doesn't have a ton of upper body strength.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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Old 01-14-2011, 04:35 PM   #2
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This is strictly my opinion, and has worked in many years of firearms training, and for men and ladies alike. Buy a handgun just like you would buy a pair of shoes. If Ol' Joe over here says he likes Charlie China tennis shoes, and you're looking for a new pair of shoes, do you run out and buy Joe's pick, just because HE likes 'em? Probably not. If a new shooter is asking what to buy for a carry gun, it doesn't matter what works for me, or anyone else. I suggest telling that new shooter to go to many gun shops, and/or gun shows, and handle all the guns they can get hold of. Just like they would try on shoes. Before long they'll be able to make a list of guns that feel ok, pretty good, real good, and "that really feels great in my hands". The last two are the ones to pursue, and here's why I say that....
If a given handgun doesn't feel "right" in your hands, you'll not shoot it enough to become proficient with it, because it's not comfortable, and you won't like shooting it. Just like you rarely wear shoes that are UNcomfortable. If you're not gonna become proficient with it, save your money, and buy a ball bat to carry. With proper fundamentals, he/she can learn to shoot almost any handgun, or any caliber. Very few folks can re-train their hands to make just any handgun feel comfortable. The last suggestion.........proper shooting techinques, practiced slowly, but proficiently, will breed speed. Do it slowly, and do it the right way, every time.......If you practice speed first, and introduce less efficient techniques into your training, you'll have to do it all over again to get it right.

By the way..... anyone who introduces a new shooter to our pastime by having them start with a large-caliber handgun, makes a very poor decision. Yes, some folks do ok starting out with large calibers, but the vast majority will not continue to shoot if their very 1st experience is with .50 S&W. Start with a .22 caliber something, and as your technique/accuracy improves, work up from there.

Again, just my ramblings.... but they work for me...

Shoot Safely....

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Old 01-14-2011, 04:59 PM   #3
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Most LE agencies got away from wheel guns long ago so I'm not sure you'll find many like that. A good 4" revolver is probably the best all around handgun there is - especially in .357 Magnum. Gives you the option to shoot powerful magnum loads or lighter .38 Special loads. The Colt you reference is a fine revolver as long as it's mechanically sound. Older revolvers, especially if they've been abused, can have lots of mechanical problems such as timing issues and endshake. If you're looking at a used revolver, make sure to check it out thoroughly and bring an expert if you know one.

As far as the .38 Special, .38 Colt, and .38 S&W - they are not the same and the .38 Special is the most modern of the 3 rounds...

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Old 01-14-2011, 05:04 PM   #4
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Re: check it out thoroughly....

Absolutely... this link might help in that regard.

http://personal.swayzee.com/jayb/Buying a used handgun.doc

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Old 01-15-2011, 01:16 PM   #5
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If you you're getting a revolver, get a 357.

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Old 01-15-2011, 10:59 PM   #6
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What Jay said. There are acouple of gun shops around here that have ranges and will rent you gun to shoot. Find a place like that in your area and try a couple. I also think Scott hit the nail on the head. You can fire .38`s in a 357 so you don`t have to buy the higher priced ammo for practice, although it will shoot alittle different and you will need to practice with some of it also.

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Old 01-17-2011, 07:45 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the very helpful responses, everyone.
I'm still working on the research, and will have to look up and see if there are any ranges near here that rent out handguns. Ranges around here are few, and often private, so I'll have to do some searching.

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