Recommend an accurate, reliable handgun I can add a rail to?

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I'm a little bummed out. Got a call from my gunsmith. He said he was not recommending adding the rail to my S&W 19-3 revolver. Now I'm thinking about selling it and getting another handgun.

I love my 19-3 because it is a revolver and therefore shoots reliably. And because it's fairly accurate, especially after getting a trigger job. And after putting a red dot sight on my air pistol, I decided I've got to have one on my 19-3. So I did some research and found the Warne single-piece mount for S&W K frames - M629M 1 PC Smith & Wesson Matte -. Yes, it came with the caveat that only the later model 19's came with pre-drilled holes that the Warne lined up with. But my gunsmith can drill and tap holes in his sleep so I thought this should be no problem.

It's a problem. As my smith explained to me, when S&W began the -3's they had just finished figuring out the best steel strength for the top strap for this 357 Mag K frame revolver. Drilling extra holes in the top strap may weaken the frame a little too much for magnum loads. Then there was an additional problem. One of the holes in the Warne rail lined up too close to the hole for the front screw for the rear sight. So close, in fact, that there was a slight overlap — not good.

Now I have to go pick up my 19-3 from my gunsmith without giving him any money. That means neither one of us is happy.

I'm probably going to sell my 19-3 and buy another handgun. I really like the Colt Python, but they are hard to find. Maybe harder to find than my S&W Model 19 was. And I would have to find out first if I can mount a rail on it.

But maybe there is another handgun that I would like instead. I'm looking for recommendations from anyone reading this. Here are my requirements:
- If it is not a revolver, it has to be as reliable as one. No jams, no misfires. Your usual semi-automatic pistol is probably not going to satisfy me.
- It needs the accuracy of a revolver. I was able to get under 3.5 MOA mean radius groupings at 24 yards with my 19-3. It takes a lot of expensive accurizing of a semi-automatic pistol to achieve that kind of grouping. This includes polishing the barrel, replacing the barrel bushing with something slightly tighter, and doing some expert rail tightening to reduce slide wobbling. I don't really want to get into that.
- It must either have a picatinny or weaver rail, have dovetail grooves, or have the beef to accept new drilled and tapped holes so that a rail can be mounted. I'm sorry, red dot sights have spoiled me. I do not want to go back to iron sights again.
- I would prefer 357 Magnum as I reload and already have the dies. But if I have to buy new dies to reload for what I want, then so be it. In any case, I want to stay in the .38/9mm range. 40 cal stuff and larger, or .30 cal and smaller, is another ball game.
- It must hold at least 6 rounds.

I think there are semi-automatic pistols that do not involve a moving slide with a barrel bushing, e.g. toggle bolts. I suspect there is no way to mount a rail on the top. But if any of you know of such a handgun, please reply.
 

uberguy

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PERFORMANCE CENTER® Model M&P® R8
PERFORMANCE CENTER® Model M&P® R8 | Smith & Wesson
Features
• PC Trigger with Trigger Stop
• PC Tuned Action
• Scandium Frame
• Cylinder cut for moon clips (Moon Clips Included)
170292_01_lg_1.jpg

PERFORMANCE CENTER® Model 327 TRR8
PERFORMANCE CENTER® Model 327 TRR8
PERFORMANCE CENTER® Model 327 TRR8 | Smith & Wesson

• PC Trigger with Trigger Stop
• PC Tuned Action
• Scandium Frame
• Equipment rails included
• Cylinder cut for moon clips (Moon Clips Included)
170269_01a_lg.jpg
 
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If you just have to have a wheel gun the Smith you are using should be able to tell you which models he can drill and tap the top strap on for you.
If you can get over the fear if autos there is a ton of them that are just as reliable as any wheel gun. There is now optics that will work with the rear site dovetail that have come a LONG way in the last few years and prices have dropped a lot as the tech improves.
If you have to have a wheel gun one of my first choices would be the Ruger GP100 line. VERY nice, have a nice flat rail along to top now. If the Smith is not comfortable doing a D&T on that frame ask about doing so along the rail on the barrel. With a dot optic this would be dandy. They even offer a "Match version" of these now if you want to spend a little more money. Not a wheel gun fan personally but these make me want one when I see them :)
 

uberguy

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BTW, I own a Model 327 TRR8 and it's one of the best in my Smith Collection (most are more valuable, older pre-lock models);

You didn't precisely mention the intended purpose, but 3.5 MOA at 24 yds. is not typically defense requirement, although achievable with many better semi-autos.

If a defense gun, get a M.O.S Glock, save a bundle, they are reliable as hell with decent accuracy.

If for target shooting - get one of the Smiths I listed above or a 5" Perf. Center M&P CORE.
 

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