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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

I'm doing a bit of research for an article I'm writing on small frame (J) snub nosed revolvers. I'd like to know why you like them, why you carry them vs. .32 or .380 auto, and which one you carry.

Any response would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Hi there gungeek,

In spite of the fact that I already own a Kel Tec P-32 or Kel Tec P3-AT, I bought a S&W M-642 for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, revolvers tend to be very reliable under most conditions when they are properly cleaned and maintained. You can't limp wrist a revolver and cause it jam when shooting from an awkward or stressful position. Should the need arise, a revolver can be used at "contact" distance.

Secondly, I can routinely find with ease a greater selection of cartridges and loads for the .38 special as it is in its second century of use and generally in more economic rounds than the .32 or .380 ACP.

My M-642 is very lightweight and I can carry it comfortably all day without noting its presence in my pocket.

Chris
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Chubby,

I checked out your earlier post and it was great...For a young'in, you're wise beyond your years...And I'll bet you have a healthy dose of intelligence to go along with that wisdom.

Carolinaman,

When I lived in California, I always owned a S&W 442 that could rarely be carried. I did some bodyguard work and my employer was a rather influential man all up and down the state, so when the need arose, I carried my Hi Power and a 442. Now I live in a shall-issue state and I find myself 442-less, so how's that for planning. The Kel-Tec .380 has been very tempting, but I just can't shake that snubbie revolver preference. I think your idea is best, just buy them all and let time do the deciding.

Keep 'em coming guys, I like to hear your thoughts.

Kevin
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not a hard decision. Assuming we're talking S&W J frames--many, many variations but all essentially the same gun: small, light to very light, very reliable, reasonably powerful. Going further, wide range of available loads and sufficient ammo capacity for the purpose. Very easy to comply with rule #1 (have a gun).

Small semiautos are much more likely to be quirky and have reliability issues. Ammo capacity is not that much greater and only the smallest of the breed tuck away as well as a 2" J frame.

The wife has a dehorned M37 and I have a 442. Between the two they have accumulated about 39 years of CCW time. Neither one of us has ever had the slightest desire to "upgrade".
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Revolvers launch any bullet shape which will fit in the cylinders. They are generally very reliable, unless their mainsprings have been messed with.

Most importantly to me, they do not depend upon a $20 piece of cheap folded sheet metal to function properly and can be fed en bloc (speedloaders), by twos (Speed Strips or by hand) or by single rounds (by hand).

The manual of arms for revolvers is much simpler than that for autos and that is important for many people, like my wife, who simply do not want to be bothered learning the more complex manual of arms for autos-she likes to be able to pop open the cylinder, see whether the gun is loaded and render the gun safe by tipping up the barrel and actuating the ejector rod....it's simple, elegant and pretty much fool proof. You don't have to remember to remove the magazine first or check the chamber visually and manually.

They're also easier to maintain than autos, because they need not be stripped to be properly cleaned. I usually remove the cylinder and crane on my S&Ws to be more thorough, but it's not absolutely necessary. My Ruger revolvers field strip just like autos and can be thoroughly gone over...but again, not absolutely necessary to ensure proper function. Most importantly, you don't have to pull the trigger to get the weapon ready to clean or maintain.

Grips can be easily changed to suit the shooter. There are no feed ramps to polish, no extractors to bend or configure and no magic wizards to consult when the feed, fire, extract and eject gremlins come to visit the autoloaders.

Revolvers are also, for the most part, made from steel and wood, a fact which is appreciated mostly by old school farts like myself.

Am I down on autos? Nope...I own a bunch and actually entrust my life to one or two of them which have proved to my satisfaction that they are as reliable as my roundguns...but I routinely carry a revolver, mostly a S&W 649 loaded with W-W 95-grain Silvertips or a Ruger SP101 loaded with 110-grain mag JHPs, and even though ithey're only 5-shot weapons, they conceal nicely and have a good balance of size, weight and power. I don't feel undergunned with my revolvers at all...

Bob
 

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Hi there gungeek,

To be honest with you, I started the journey going down the semi-auto road and wound up with an incredible revolver.


Now I live in a shall-issue state and I find myself 442-less, so how's that for planning. The Kel-Tec .380 has been very tempting, but I just can't shake that snubbie revolver preference. I think your idea is best, just buy them all and let time do the deciding.
It has been an educational and fun journey for me!

I decided if I had any nagging doubts about the semi autos capability to function in all scenerios--I should try the revolver and finally have with complete confidence.

Sincerely,

Chris
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have a fixation on the S&W "I" frame revolvers, (discontinued in 1961) that won't seem to let me go! The "I" frame is a "smallish" thing that has a penchant for disappearing into either an IWB, ankle, or shoulder holster without carrying too much weight. These were chambered in either the .32 S&W Long, or the .38 S&W. (Not to be confused with the .38 S&W Special.) The .32's were a 6 shot revolver while the revolvers chambered for the .38 S&W were a 5-shot affair.

I have an unreqited longing for a revival of the "I" frame revolvers in the .32 S&W Long that can handle the .32 H&R Magnum pressures. This is not impossible, as current .32 S&W Long brass can easily contain at least 14,500 Copper Units of Pressure (CUP.) The .32 H&R Magnum revolver has a Maximum CUP rating of 21,000!

This revival could include a Scandium frame revolver that is about 15% smaller than the current "J" frames currently produced by S&W. A titanium cylinder would round out the package, resulting in a 6-shot revolver packing the punch of a .38 S&W Special that weighs about 8 ounces!

This idea should appeal to the undercover narcotics agent, small-framed individuals, and women desiring a maximum amount of power in a minimal, concealable revolver!

Does that clarify things?

Scott
 

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Hi gunfan,

I recently aquired a circa 1948-1952 S&W Terrier in .38 S&W in about 98% condition. They are very intriguing and small revolvers built on the I frame. I have posted the picture on my thread regarding the diminutive Terrier.

Small frame guns have alway's been S&W bread and butter and will continue to be so hopefully into a long and successful future for them. They are often imitated, yet never copied.

Chris
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
"Often imtated, but never duplicated!" I'll agree with you on that one! That Terrier is great! It's unusual bullet diameter (.361") can make it a difficult handgun for which to load, but I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar that you can load that 146-grain bullets to a respectable level (read: 725 fps.) That could yield 170 fpe from that 2" tube and put the "hurts" on a bad guy in a heartbeat!

Just something to think about!

Scott
 

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I have an Airweight Bodyguard, a .32 ACP, and a .380. I tend to carry the Bodyguard more. There are several reasons. First, throw-weight (as the nuke people say.) I like heavier bullets. Second, the Airweight is the 2nd lightest gun I own -- only the Kel-Tec .32 is lighter. Third, history. I just love Smith revolvers, especially those made between, say, 1950 and 1985, when metallurgy was up to modern standards but they were still being handfitted. (Not that I would turn down a first-model Hand Ejector!) There is a place for the .32 and .38 semi-autos, which is why I have them, but carry them rarely.
 

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First rule of gunfighting: Have a gun.

Where I live we have weather that ranges from hot to insanely hot, then back to just moderately hot, for eight or nine months of the year. I can carry my Bodyguard every single day of the year, and I can't say that about a full size auto. True, I do carry a Hi Power under a loose shirt sometimes, but for concealability combined with function, you just can't beat the little 638.
 

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Hello. I want to thank each poster in the thread so far for expressing their own observations based on their own "life filters" and doing so in an intelligent and courteous manner. From another thread, I'm aware of folks preferring this version or that of the Kahr 9mm semiauto for the same niche as those of us going with the small-frame snubs. Who is right assuming reliability in both type handguns? That part is subjective and depends upon the user's experiences, concerns, and preferences, I believe. Anyway, it is precisely this type and manner of discussion that is sought here. Thank you all again.

Best.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
First of all, I'd like to thank you, Stephen. Secondly, I want everyone here to know that us "experienced shooters" (read: over 30, and/or with at least fifteen years of shooting experience) appreciate what is learned here. As "experienced shooters," the combined information provided by these individuals have a profound effect upon the sport and defense aspects of these "tools."


The manufacturers would do well to listen to the members of this Forum.

Scott
 

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Hello. For me, the snub is 2 1/2" or less, but 2 1/2" seems to be the cut off between the snub and the service revolver. I fully admit that on paper the extra half-inch barrel on the 3" guns doesn't seem significant, but speaking only for myself, it seems to make a pretty big difference in that the gun handles/shoots about like the 4" service revolvers; at least I cannot tell any difference.

Best.

PS: I suspect that this is one reason why I am so enamored of the SP101 w/3 1/16" bbl. It's but a tad larger than a J-frame compact, but provides very good practical accuracy.
 

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At present the snub revolver I trust is my Taurus 85 litewt 38 special. I have friends that shoot .357magnums at our centerfire events, these are "real men"!!
In fact, the last event was won by an oldtimer with a Colt .357mag, 6"barrel. Beat all of us with our 1911 45's.

I'm looking at a S&W snub in .22magnum, holds 7 rounds. (.22mag is an overlooked load for handguns, very little data anywhere.)
If I get the S&W I plan a wetpack test to compare with the 38 and other small pocket pistols.

The NAA minimag .22mag I have just don't cut it, have to disassemble the thing to reload, and only 5 rounds of SA, very poor accuracy, it will be traded. Hardly qualifies as a revolver.

Let you know later if I do get the S&W, but in the meantime don't anybody assume I think .22mag is better than 38special. I like to tinker and that's all for now.
I also thank Stephen for his great review and pictures.
og
 
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