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Smith & Wesson Model 65 a good buy?

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Old 03-10-2010, 03:02 PM   #1
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Default Smith & Wesson Model 65 a good buy?

I am looking for a good, used .357 Magnum and have narrowed my choices down to either Ruger or S&W. I have found a used S&W 65, but have not had a chance to handle it yet, and may not before buying it, since it would come from out of state. I have no idea how many rounds it has through it in its life although pictures look pretty good.

I have read on several forums that while the S&W .357s are usually considered to have better fit and finish than the Rugers, they are a little more "delicate" in that they can't tolerate a steady diet of .357 rounds like the Rugers can. My concern is that if this particular gun has been fed a lot of full .357 rounds, it might be at the end of it's useful lifespan. Perhpas I might be better off to wait for a used Ruger or a new S&W?

Is the S&W model 65 being "worn out" something I should even be concerned about? The price, by the way, seems right at around $300 since newer S&W's are going for around $650 in this area.
Thanks for any input
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:17 PM   #2
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If I have my models right, a 65 is a fixed sight variant of the 19/66 K frame. If so, these guns were sensitive to a steady diet of hot light magnum rounds - particularly the 125 gr variety. These rounds could cause flame cutting of the top strap and damage to the forcing cone.

While they are great guns, I wouldn't buy one unless I could examine it close up...
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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That's a decent price. But like NGIB said, they don't stand up well to a steady diet of magnum ammo.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:14 PM   #4
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I have a couple of 65s and like them a lot. I seldom shoot full magnum loads for the reasons stated by NGIB. I also have a few Ruger Speed and Service Sixes which are rugged revolvers, IMO more rugged than S&W. Even thought the Rugers are fine revolvers, the 65s, to me, just feel more comfortable.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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While the 65 shares the frame dimensions with the 66, the 65 has a heavy barrel. Recoil wise it is a bit less sensitive to wear. Flame cutting is another issue. All K-frame Smiths can suffer from this condition, but I feel the problem is over blown. It will take thousands of rounds of hot Magnum ammo to leave any mark at all.

Look at the top strap of the frame immediately above the forcing come (the breech end of the barrel. Flame cutting appears here. It will look like a small line about 50% of the width of the top strap. A very small mark is no big deal.

The issue you want to really look at with a K-frame is end shake cylinder. With the hammer at rest and cylinder closed, push the cylinder front to back. You should have a barely perceptable amount of movement, BARELY. Any significant movement will require some attention, but is easy to fix.
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:07 PM   #6
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I'd be surprised if there was excessive wear. I've looked at, shot and own many Smiths of the 66/65/64 types and have not seen one that showed enough wear to discourage purchase. (it gives barter leverage though) That is too bad you can't see it first. Try calling and asking specific questions as to the condition of the forcing cone, top strap, etc. It'll at least give you an idea of its use. $350 is really cheap so it's hard to lose on that. Good luck!
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