What caliber?
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:28 AM   #1
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Default What caliber?

Hello,

You might of seen my other posts in general handgun discussion. I have been looking at Walthers.

I am a beginner with guns and was told that a revolver is a good gun to start with. I defiantly want to go with a Smith and Wesson, just because right now they are kinda of paired with Walther and I am a big fan of Walther.

I was looking at them on the S&W website.

So for a begginner, what caliber or kind of bullet do you recomend for me.

I want something good enough for home defense and good for practicing at the range. I also will be carrying this gun sometimes, so I would like something fairly concealable.

So first, what type of caliber should I get? I presume .357 Magnum is too powerful for a beginner Second, out of all the S&W revolvers, which one would you recommend me?

I am still considering the Walther PPS, but I thought maybe I will add a nice revolver to that consideration.

Thanks,
John

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Old 02-12-2009, 12:53 AM   #2
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if you are unaware all 357 magnums will shoot the much milder 38 specials so dont be afraid of the 357.its a matter of choice and usage. i would always suggest 4"to 6" barrel unless your only goal is ultra cocealability and 10 yard or less defense. adjustable sight are a great bonus. smith makes 3 frame sizes of 357's. the J frame is a small frame 5 shot model for concealabilty, then the L frame is the middle of the road sized frame( my 5' tall wife shoots one well as do i at 6'-4"). then they have the large N frame. this sometimes gives problems with smaller handed shooters. weight is also a factor as the small ones are light and the large ones are heavy. the mid sized L frame is a popular choice.

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Old 02-12-2009, 01:05 AM   #3
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I think you should go with a .357 with a 4" barrel. It's a good all around gun, you can shoot .38 rounds for target practice and slowly get used to full house magnum loads.

Something like this: Product: Model 686 Revolver - 4", 6-Shot



Concealment will depend on your size and the kind of clothes you wear. With the right holster you can carry a full sized S&W 686.

I know you like Smith & Wesson, I love their wheelguns too, but you should take a good look at Ruger's SP101 with a 3" barrel if concealment is one of your main concerns. It's one of the best carry .357's out there. IMHO, 3" is the minimum barrel length you want in a .357 (I prefer 4"). If you can find a model 66 S&W with a 3" barrel in good shape, that would be a great choice as well.

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Old 02-12-2009, 01:16 AM   #4
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A Model 19 or Model 66 with a 4" barrel, or a Model 15 (.38 Spl) will suit your needs well. These are K-frame revolvers; larger than the J-frame but lighter than the L-frame and N-frame guns. A good compromise for a carry gun.

You can save quite a bit with a Model 15, which being a non-magnum has fallen out of favor with some shooters.

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Old 02-12-2009, 11:39 PM   #5
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Would a 7 round be too much for concealed carry?

I suppose 6 round is better for that?

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Old 02-13-2009, 01:20 AM   #6
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Default .357 Models?

Quote:
Originally Posted by laxexquis View Post
Would a 7 round be too much for concealed carry?

I suppose 6 round is better for that?
Go to GunBroker.com. Hit the revolver link, enter S&W 357. you'll see a great selection and get an idea of the price range. A decent used S&W 357 will run you $400+ but you get what you pay for. I've heard of some problems with the newer models (with the hammer lock), so you might avoid them. Just a thought. I would stay with the 6 shot models. More tried/true IMO. Good Luck!
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:14 AM   #7
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The 7 shot .357's will be N-frame guns. Much larger than the "traditional" K-frame. If you plan on shooting .38's and occasionally magnums, go with the K-frame. More concealable than either the L or N-frames but do not hold up well to high volume .357's. 100/year is fine.

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Old 02-13-2009, 01:22 PM   #8
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The late legendary Bill Jordan would disagree with K frames being good for only 100 rounds per year. True they will go out of time quicker, especially using nothing but full power loads, but they are good for 10s of thousands of rounds of mixed ammo velocity levels. Since most practice will assume be done with 38 specials, they should last more than any of us would be able to shoot-if we're not exhibition shooters or the like. Bottom line is the K frames such as models 19, or 66, or especially L frames will stand up to a lifetime of shooting.

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Old 02-13-2009, 04:42 PM   #9
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The 7-shot 686 is an L-Frame gun. It is the same size as the 6-shot model, with chambers cut closer together in the cylinder to add the extra shot. The N-frame .357s are 8-shot models.

I agree with previous posts that if you want to carry the gun the K-frame would be a better choice, but Smith & Wesson only new K-frame guns coming out of Smith & Wesson are .38 Specials. Bill Jordan's beloved Model 19, and its stainless cousin the Model 66 Combat Magnum have been replaced in the Smith lineup by the L-frame Models 619/620.

I think the .357 Magnum is a good choice for your revolver, and if you are considering carrying it then I would suggest you try to find a used Model 13 or its stainless cousin the Model 65 in either three or four inch barrel configuration. The Model 13 with a 3-inch barrel was the issue piece of the FBI before they transitioned to semi-autos. Other good choices would be the above mentioned Models 19/66, but I would replace the adjustable Smith & Wesson sights with Cylinder & Slides Extreme Duty sights.

I don't want to seem like I am discounting the L-Frame guns because they are excellent, but they are large, heavy guns. If the gun is mostly for range time and home protection I think you will find L-Frame & N-Frame guns an excellent choice. If you want to carry these guns as CCW you will need to consider their size & weight.

Good Luck

PS: I recently shot the PPS 9mm and found it an excellent piece.

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Old 02-13-2009, 08:50 PM   #10
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The K-frames will not self destruct if you shoot more than 100 rds of .357 a year. They will begin to show some relatively minor problems after only a few years of repeated use of Magnums. End shake cylinder WILL become readily apparent relatively quickly (after about 500-750 rounds of magnums). This condition is not a huge issue until it gets severe. It will eventually cause misfires with hard primers (CCI magnum primers). It is fairly easy to correct, I have "fixed" several dozen 66's with end shake cylinder.

My point was the 686 will remain relatively maintenance free for thousands of rounds of Magnums. The 19/66 will need some maintenance but will not be "shot out". I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Jordan prior to his death. THAT was a real man!

The L-frame is definately NOT the same as the K-frame. Cylinder has larger diameter, hammer is different, cylinder window is larger, space between the barrel and top strap is larger on the L-Frame. The 686 cylinder will not even fit inside the 66 cylinder window. The only real similarity is the grip frame. They are the same.

Saying the K-frame is the same as the L-frame is like saying the L-frame is the same as the N-frame. Holsters are different, Speed loaders are different.
I guess it is the fact that the grips are EXACTLY the same can cause some confusion.

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