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Entry-level .38 special?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by 9mmguy, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. 9mmguy

    9mmguy Portland, OR Member

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    I apologize for opening yet another recommend-the-bestest-gun thread, but your input in my 9mm thread was so good that I have to ask again.

    So, I bought my first own gun a few weeks ago (a Glock 17 in 9mm) and couldn't be happier with my choice. However, when I was at the local gun store the other day to buy a cleaning kit, I realized that what I really need is a .38 special revolver (and a .22 rifle and a 1911...). Long story short, what would be a decent entry-level choice? Here are my requirements:

    - affordable (under $500 new; cheaper is better)
    - fun to shoot
    - smooth shooter
    - hammer (I just don't like the look of the hammer-less things)

    Long barrel, short barrel, either is good. Please note that I am not interested in a .357. Thanks for your input!
     
  2. taroman

    taroman Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Right now, there are some great deals on police trade-ins.
    Scored this 4" S&W model 10-11 from Bud's for $269.
    Free shipping, so with the Oregon $10 gun tax, I'm still in for <300 bucks.
    And, its the smoothest and slickest 38 I've ever shot (and thats a lot of 'em)
    10-11.jpg
    Thw deals are out there if you look for them.

    10-11.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
    keystir and (deleted member) like this.
  3. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    The s&w model 10, From buds guns shop. The Model 10 is classic rated as one of the busy.
     
  4. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    And I apologize for recomending a .357.........

    A Ruger GP100 with a 4" barrel, or S&W 686. Or, find a good condition S&W mod 66. A S&W trigger is pretty darned good straight from the factioy too. They just work good, are stainless, look great and are accurate.

    After all, a .357 is just a beefier .38 special. If you ever wanted to shoot the magnum rounds you could.

    Mike
     
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  5. AMT

    AMT Vancouver, WA. Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    I was going to do this same thing..... suggesting a .357 it the Ruger GP100 flavor.

    It'll shoot all your 38's (standard 38, +P rounds, etc.) and if you ever do want to "step it up some" you can run .357 through it too. They are usually right around $500.
     
  6. sheepman

    sheepman Las Vegas NV Member

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    Other than 2" carry guns there are few 38sp being made. Most 38sp can be also made in 357 and not require much additional size, just heat treating. Most just go with a 357 and shoot 38s in it, or hand load 357 down to 38 sp loads. There are a lot of good 38specials on the used market and they can be very serviceable, like a 22lr there is not a lot of ware and tare on a revolver shooting these mild loads. I like the old S&W k frames (M14, 15,19,64 66 etc) or the Ruger DA revolvers. There are others but these are the ones I like and trust.
     
  7. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    find a model 10, or a colt official police. the colt will generally be more pricey than the smith. Actually any K frame smith will do.
     
  8. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I found a S&W .38 Chief's Special on Craigslist of all places for $200.00. Took off the original wood grips and replaced them with Pachmayrs "Decelerator" style grips.
    My wife now has it for her personal house pistol.
     
  9. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Charter Arms Undercover 38+P and they come in a dozen different models and finishes. Cost under $400.00 I got mine for $329.00 Small light compact easyt o carry easy to conceal (not like that Glock or 1911) I can carry it in my front jeans pocket.

    I can shoot 3" groups with it at 10 yards and hit the center of mass at 50 yards. Shoots best with lower velocity rounds and 125gr HP slugs the shot barrel doesn't give high velocity rounds a chance to burn all the powder and the accuarcy suffers for it.
     
  10. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the topic, I've been doing alot of thinking about revolvers lately and would appreciate people's feed back. As of now, I've sold off all my 6 and 7 shot revolvers. I have 2 5-shot snub nosed Ruger LCRs, a bobbed hammer SP101 2", and a 4" Sp101 w/hammer. I realized that that 5-shot revolvers are the only type that I can reload quickly with speed loaders, anymore and it's a clown-show fumble scene. I practice reloads whenever I shoot revolver. Also, snubbies, and especially light ones like the Ruger LCR are great pocket carry guns. As much as I loved my other wheel guns, if I was going to pack that much weight, why not a Glock or some other semi?
    I think the role of the revolver might be as a contact back up weapon, useful in a H2H situation. That and back packing with a .357 mag.
    My recommendation (for what it's worth) would be look at the Ruger LCR, great trigger, manageable recoil, or the SP101 if you go .357 mag. (still not too heavy for good concealed carry).
     
  11. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    You can't go wrong with any of the recommendations in this thread. As others have said, you will be hard pressed to find a .38 spl. only pistol, but keep in mind that the .357 mag pistols cylinder is only about .25" longer than a .38 spl. revolver cylinder.

    As a compromise between a 2" and 4" revolver, I am really fond of 3" concealed carry revolvers. They aren't really any harder to conceal than a 2" revolver and the extra inch in sighting plane makes more difference than you think it would. The only down side to 3" revolvers is you might have to search for a holster for one.

    I really like the Ruger SP101 in 3". It's my go to carry piece in Fall or Winter if I'm wearing a decent cover garment and don't want to carry my full size 1911.

    DSCN0758-1-1.jpg
     
  12. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Nice!
     
  13. sneakboxer

    sneakboxer NW OR Active Member

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    I'm very happy with my 357 SP101 2in. Its beefy because its stainless steel but soaks up recoil for the misses. Being a 357 you can shoot 38spl, 38+P and the mags with out worrying about it falling to pieces.

    Oh yea its pretty accurate too!
     
  14. 9mmguy

    9mmguy Portland, OR Member

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    Wow, thanks for all your replies! I like all the recommendations in this thread - seems like I can't go wrong with any of those, but it's not making my choice easier. Couple of random comments:

    1. I am definitely considering a used gun. The police trade-ins look like a fantastic deal.

    2. This is not going to be a carry piece, so conceal-ability, weight, etc. are not important. It's actually not even going to be a HD gun; just something to have fun with at the range.

    3. Which part of "Not interested in 357s didn't you guys understand"? ;) Seriously, I appreciate the recommendations. I understand that there are factually only advantages to getting a 357 over getting a 38 special, but the thing is...I want a 38 special and not a 357. I'm not even quite sure why. I probably just watched too many 70s action movies.

    4. Sweet gun, cougfan2!
     
  15. samuelm16

    samuelm16 se pdx Well-Known Member

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    everybody hates on taurus but theres nothing wrong with a 85 under 400.00 bucks
     
  16. jordanvraptor

    jordanvraptor Oregon City, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    If you are considering a K frame Smith and Wesson, I would suggest you look for an older thin barreled version like the model 10. I like the thinner barrel because the gun is lighter and even with plus P ammo it is still pleasant to shoot.

    This is mine, I have since put Hogue grips on it and it is a great little revolver.
    May019.jpg
     
  17. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    A lot of the .38s I see, like the one above, have small grips. Seems that's the way with the older S&Ws. So, the gun above would be a great shooter, but if you've got standard "Man Hands" you're going to feel better with larger grips, and you'd need to replace those then. You did say fun to shoot right? In my limited experience a nice hand full is going to be funner to shoot than those pretty little factory grips. This is why the recomendation for the GP100 or 686. And a 4" barrel is plenty accurate and well balanced, not too short to aim well, and not too front heavy.

    I've got and old S&W 6" .38sp from 1951 with stock grips, and a S&W mod 66-7 4", I leave the old one in the safe as a collector item for the most part, and shoot the heck out of the 66!

    Mike
     
  18. Barone20

    Barone20 Damascus, Or Active Member

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    I like that old model 10 style, what would I expect to pay for something like that in decent shape
     
  19. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I was going to mention that choice but you beat me to it,
     
  20. GuyBMeredith

    GuyBMeredith Salem, Oregon Active Member

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    MikeE,

    Not to get away from the main topic, but you can have the LCR and others set up for moonclips to reduce/eliminate speedloader fumbling.