New to revolvers. Need advice on .357mag snub purchase

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In the market for a .357mag revolver and, being a 1911 .45acp guy, do not know where to head in regards to brand.

Will be used for home defense and possibly carry so I am thinking a snub-nosed. Choosing .357 mag as my wife could handle it better than a .44mag. Also want to get a .357mag lever gun to match caliber in the near future.

Looking to spend around $800 for a used/great quality gun. Thinking Colt, S&W or Dan Wesson? Don't mind paying for quality. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

- Netsecsys
Semper Fi
 
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I can't offer much regarding brand / model since I have generally had more utilitarian (ie. less expensive) revolvers such as Charter Arms and Rugers. However, I have a couple of strong opinions to contribute. First, I think a 3" barrel is ideal for what you described (home defense and possible p/t carry). The really short barrels are harder to shoot well, and a 3" is just about as easy to conceal (a 5" barrel generally takes away the potential of comfortable concealment). Second, aftermarket grips such as Hogue or Pachmayer make a revolver a little bulkier but make it much easier to shoot well.
 
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You do know that .357 snubbys kick like mule, right? Especially the Airweights. Your wife likely will not enjoy it, and will probably learn to flinch if she practices it at all. .38 Special +P is manageable, and still effective. Most of the burn/blast of the .357 happens outside of the short snubby barrel and is hence a waste of powder anyway---that's why the huge fireball is seen from .357s. Ballistically, the .357 does not yeild much much more power than the .38 Special +P from a snubby barrel because there is no length for the extra powder to burn in..........................elsullo
 
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You do know that .357 snubbys kick like mule, right? Especially the Airweights. Your wife likely will not enjoy it, and will probably learn to flinch if she practices it at all. .38 Special +P is manageable, and still effective. Most of the burn/blast of the .357 happens outside of the short snubby barrel and is hence a waste of powder anyway---that's why the huge fireball is seen from .357s. Ballistically, the .357 does not yeild much much more power than the .38 Special +P from a snubby barrel because there is no length for the extra powder to burn in..........................elsullo
i was actually re-clicking the thread to say basically this... women and j-frames really dont go well together, in my experience.

i know you didn't ask for advice on what style gun to get for your wife, but i'll also add- smith and wesson revolvers are some of the most reliable handguns on earth, but really not any more so than a glock or M&P (both under your budget), both of which have basically the same manual of arms (aim, squeeze trigger, repeat), but are significantly more pleasant to shoot, significantly cheaper to shoot, significantly easier to shoot well.

i got my wife a .38 j-frame, following the old wisdom (returdation) that women are much too stupid to operate a slide and therefor should be relegated to the rear with a revolver... she couldn't put more than 50 rounds through it at a time, if that. and rapid fire? forget about it... and when they're hard to shoot well, 5 rounds of .38+P might as well be spitwads. she now carries a glock 26, and wouldn't have it any other way.

apologies for derailing.. that's all i'll say about it. ;)
 
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i got my wife a .38 j-frame, following the old wisdom (returdation) that women are much too stupid to operate a slide and therefor should be relegated to the rear with a revolver... and rapid fire? forget about it... and when they're hard to shoot well, 5 rounds of .38+P might as well be spitwads. she now carries a glock 26, and wouldn't have it any other way.
I strongly disagree with the assertion that revolvers are 2nd class weapons. I can't lay my hands on it right now, but I read a comprehensive study a while back that showed wheel guns are generally more effective in a gunfight because owners of them actually learn to aim and fire controlled shots rather than the "spray and pray" technique used by most auto users. "Accuracy through abundance" is a bunch of crap. I have shot both extensively, and I still choose to carry a revolver much of the time. I also train mostly firing single-action; it's obviously a little slower, but I'll take one well placed shot over 15 bad shots any day.
 
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Thanks to all who have posted.

I understand that the 357mag in short barrel will kick (and see that some of the current 357mag rev will fire .38sw special +p).

I am replacing my wife's P226 Elite 9mm with a wheel gun as I would rather her have 6-7 shots of point and shoot than the possibility of fumbling around with mags/racking the slide/failures to feed as she is not willing to put in the time to be very confident with an auto (I am happy that she is willing to shoot at all).
She is a great shot and she is capable of hitting center mass with 357mag. I feel that she would be much more confident with a wheel than with the slide guns she has tried (1911, H&K USP, Sig Elite, S&W M&P) in both 9mm and 40. Getting the 357mag will allow a decent lever gun in her future as well without introducing another caliber into my restricted (by numbers) ammo cache (.357mag, .45acp, .308w, 12ga and 22lr). Not to mention that I wouldn't mind a nice wheel gun in the collection... ; )

Thanks again for the input!
 
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I can't offer much regarding brand / model since I have generally had more utilitarian (ie. less expensive) revolvers such as Charter Arms and Rugers. However, I have a couple of strong opinions to contribute. First, I think a 3" barrel is ideal for what you described (home defense and possible p/t carry). The really short barrels are harder to shoot well, and a 3" is just about as easy to conceal (a 5" barrel generally takes away the potential of comfortable concealment). Second, aftermarket grips such as Hogue or Pachmayer make a revolver a little bulkier but make it much easier to shoot well.
Thanks. Do you think there is a large difference between a 2 1/2" and a 3" in regards to recoil?
 
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Thanks. Do you think there is a large difference between a 2 1/2" and a 3" in regards to recoil?
I'm afraid I can't answer that. I have never shot both side-by-side. For instance, I owned two small revolvers until yesterday, but they were such different models that I never thought to make that comparison using the same ammo. One was a blued Charter Arms .38 w/ a 2" pencil barrel, and the other is a stainless Ruger SP101 .357 w/ a 3" shrouded barrel. The Charter was so light that is kicked hard with regular .38 rounds, but it has been a while since I've shot the heavier Ruger with anything other than .357 magnum.
 
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.357 Magnum in a short barrel is not just a fast .38 +P... Even from a short barrel, .357 Magnum will develop velocities and muzzle energy levels far superior to the .38, 9mm and even .45. Do some research on some gun tests where they shoot .357 Magnum loads in a short barrel gun. Take the chronographed velocity multiply by itself then multiply the grain of the bullet then divide by 450240. This will get you muzzle energy in foot pounds. The Gunblast guy tested Corbon 125 gr and American Eagle 158 gr and got 1251 fps for Corbon and 1190 fps for the American Eagle in a 386PD Night Guard. This is a 2.5 inch barrel and the muzzle energy is 434 ft/lbs for the Corbon load and 496 ft/lb for the American Eagle 158 gr load.

Even with reduced recoil loads my 386pd can push 400 ft/lbs of energy. Yes, it stings, but if you stay away from the very fast 125 gr loads from Remington then it is actually kind of fun. Mine actually stings more because I put on Crimson Trace lasergrips which do not cover the backstrap of the revolver like the standard Pachmayr grips do. With a set of Hogues on it I'm sure it would be much better. When shooting Magnums in my Night Guard I usually wear a light glove which really helps even with the vicious Remington loads. :)

1-14-11018.jpg

Here is the very first time I fired the 386PD and the load is .357 Magnum Remington 125 gr which is one of the hottest out there. With the original grips even these are probably manageable. The Rugers are fine handguns but I'm a Smith & Wesson guy and if this will be a carry gun then the lightweight Scandium frames can't be beat. The 327 does give you 8 shots vs 7 with the 386 but the frame is larger and may be a factor for your wife in as far as trigger reach goes. Trigger pull can be improved with a set of Wolff gunsprings but go too light and you get soft primer strikes and will need to use only Federal loads as they have the best primers in that regards. Which is the same advice people give if you lighten the firing pin spring on Glocks or M&P 9's... :)

 
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This M32 S&W Terrier was marketed to women in .38S&W back in the MCP days.





Then there's the M36 Chiefs Special in .38spl

smithM3601.jpg


If you absolutely have to have a .357 a S&W M640 Centennial is not to bad of recoil. CT makes a set of laser grips with a padded back strap cushion that helps take some of the bite out of .357 loads, and it's mild with .38spl's in it.

holster1.jpg

terrier-1.jpg
 
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I would say you should shop around the interwebs and first try to find yourself a Smith, model 65, round butt with a 3" barrel; next would be a P&R model 66 in 2 3/4; or, finally, a model 19 of the same configuration. These are all classic guns, and will only appreciate as long as you don't drop them or blow them up.
 
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Thanks again for all of the input. I have been swayed towards the direction of older (pinned barrel and recessed chamber) S&W Model 66 or Model 19. I like the looks and the workmanship of the older stuff. Steel frame w/o lock is the direction so far...

Thanks!
 
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In the market for a .357mag revolver and, being a 1911 .45acp guy, do not know where to head in regards to brand.

Will be used for home defense and possibly carry so I am thinking a snub-nosed. Choosing .357 mag as my wife could handle it better than a .44mag. Also want to get a .357mag lever gun to match caliber in the near future.

Hey net--.
.
Looking to spend around $800 for a used/great quality gun. Thinking Colt, S&W or Dan Wesson? Don't mind paying for quality. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

- Netsecsys
Semper Fi
I have a S&W J frame snub stainless five shot. add hogue oversized grips and it is managable for most shooters. I also have a Marlin 357 mag. carbine. compliments each other. They accompany me on most of my camping trips along with a Tarus 4" 357 mag stainless for trail walks. Keep the pistols stoked with Hornady critical defense pills and one or two snake shot rounds.

Semper Fi Mac. Greydog, out
 
Messages
496
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228
I can't offer much regarding brand / model since I have generally had more utilitarian (ie. less expensive) revolvers such as Charter Arms and Rugers. However, I have a couple of strong opinions to contribute. First, I think a 3" barrel is ideal for what you described (home defense and possible p/t carry). The really short barrels are harder to shoot well, and a 3" is just about as easy to conceal (a 5" barrel generally takes away the potential of comfortable concealment). Second, aftermarket grips such as Hogue or Pachmayer make a revolver a little bulkier but make it much easier to shoot well.
I've had two Charter arms revolvers. Absoloute Junk!! Sent both back for repairs, still problematic. Sold em both.
 

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