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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've only fired a Glock 19 (9MM), and found the recoil very manageable. In thinking about first handgun purchase, I'm considering a Smith & Wesson revolver for HD/range shooting. CCW is not an issue here.

The virtue of the revolver seems to be:

1. Reliability. There just seems to be less to go wrong. Using a shotgun analogy, revolvers seem to be analogous to pumps in that what they lack in rapid fire ability (for us mere mortals), they make up in reliability because there's not as much to go wrong as in semi-automatics. In the HD context, this seems very important.

2. Maintenance. Again, because there's less to go wrong, there's less to maintain. Also, I understand revolvers are easier to clean.

3. Accuracy. Seems to be good.

Any comments you have on these points are welcome.

Couple of questions.

4. Recoil. Is it true that, given the same load and handgun weight, the revolver will have more felt recoil than a SA? Put another way, does the SA's recoil mechanism attenuate recoil like a SA shotgun v. a fixed breech shotgun?

5. Caliber. How much difference in recoil is there generally between these .38 special v. .357 calibers (I realize there are lighter loads in both; I'm talking about generally)? If the primary intent is to shoot .38 special for practice and range, is there a downside in shooting .38 special in a .357 revolver?

6. As to brands, is S&W the "class act" in revolvers (given reasonable price), or should I be looking elsewhere, too?

7. Finally, I'm a lefty. How unwieldy is unloading/reloading a revolver for a lefty. (I'm assuming that firing the revolver is the same for a lefty as for one not so fortunate [i.e., a right-hander]).

Thanks for all your insight.
 

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volgunner said:
1. Reliability. There just seems to be less to go wrong. Using a shotgun analogy, revolvers seem to be analogous to pumps in that what they lack in rapid fire ability (for us mere mortals), they make up in reliability because there's not as much to go wrong as in semi-automatics. In the HD context, this seems very important.
Revolvers are very reliable. You don't really lose any rapid fire ability. You can get 6 (or 7 or 8 ) shots off from a revolver as fast or faster than a semi. You will lose time on the reloads.


3. Accuracy. Seems to be good.
Revolvers will be as (more likely, more) accurate than a semi.

4. Recoil. Is it true that, given the same load and handgun weight, the revolver will have more felt recoil than a SA? Put another way, does the SA's recoil mechanism attenuate recoil like a SA shotgun v. a fixed breech shotgun?
Most revolvers are chambered for more powerful ammo than a semi. Assuming an equal weight, recoil should be very similar between a semi and a revolver.

6. As to brands, is S&W the "class act" in revolvers (given reasonable price), or should I be looking elsewhere, too?
Smith makes very nice guns. Personally, I prefer Rugers. Rugers will hold up to shooting more full house rounds than anyone would want to shoot. Rumor has it that smiths will run into trouble shooting a steady diet of full house rounds. I can't say this is true or not, I have limited experience with Smiths.

Taurus makes some fine looking revolvers. Some people consider them junk, others swear by them. Again, no personal experience. I've considered buying one, but the horror stories keep me from it.

I've seen pictures of beautiful Colts. Never seen one in a gun shop around here. People that own them, generally love them.

Try as many as you can before plunking down your change.

Hopes this helps a little.
 

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I like revolvers, so my opinion is a bit biased. A good .357 Magnum revolver is the way to go. You can always down load to a .38 Special load for less recoil and expense. Smith and Wesson revolvers tend to have better triggers and are plenty strong. A normal person won't wear one out. Rugers are hell for strong. The transfer bar system doesn't allow as nice a trigger pull as can be achieved on a Smith. Older Smiths have a much nicer trigger than current models. You can blame that on the lawyers. A K frame Smith or a Ruger GP-100 will serve you well.
 

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If the primary intent is to shoot .38 special for practice and range, is there a downside in shooting .38 special in a .357 revolver?
In heavier revolvers, i.e., .44 Mag/.44 Special, .454 Casull/.45 Colt, it's better not to shoot the longer cartridges after the shorter ones without cleaning the cylinder. Powder residue from the shorter cartridges increases pressure when shooting the shorter ones. I don't know if that might cause problems in .357 Magnum/.38 Special, but generally try to shoot up the .357 cartridges before the .38s when I go to the range.

You might want to think about getting a single action revolver, e.g. a Ruger Blackhawk, instead of a double action. With a single action, As a lefty, you wouldn't even have to change hands to reload. Single actions might not, however, be as good in some HD situations because reloading is slower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies, guys. I intend to get to the range to try out some revolvers. Do you have any sense about comparative recoil in .9mm v. .38 special v. .357 magnum?

Appreciate any help you can give me, and this forum is a great resource.
 

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Assuming approximately equal weight, the 9x19 and the .38 Spl will have very nearly the same recoil. The .357 will have noticeable greater recoil, though it it still very manageable, even in a small-frame like the Ruger SP-101.
 

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You've got three times the power in a .357 than you do with a .38, so sure, the recoil is going to be greater, but it is by no means unmanageable.

That, of course, is the beauty of a .357. You have three power levels to choose from: .38 Special, .38+P, and the magnum loads.

I have Rugers and S&Ws. The Rugers are tanks, strongly overbuilt. Crappy triggers however. You will have to have a trigger job. S&Ws are the class act as you stated. Smooth, great triggers, faster trigger return, too. There is a reason why competition shooter use S&W, including the world's fastest revolver shooter, Jerry Michelik. Single action goes to Ruger. Double action belongs to S&W. (I know, I just ticked off a gazillion GP100 owners. Sorry. If Colt still made an affordable Python it would be the first place winner.)

Let us know what you decide.
 

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Go with a Ruger Security Six, out of production but the best. Being a lefty should'nt be a problem with this gun. My brother is a southpaw and he has no problems with it.

Downside to shooting .38's in the Maggie? A little more more soot in the cylinder, but easily scrubbed out before you shoot Magnums.

Hope this helps. 8)
 
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Re: re: .38 special/.357 magnum Revolver

TexNekkid said:
In heavier revolvers, i.e., .44 Mag/.44 Special, .454 Casull/.45 Colt, it's better not to shoot the longer cartridges after the shorter ones without cleaning the cylinder. Powder residue from the shorter cartridges increases pressure when shooting the shorter ones. I don't know if that might cause problems in .357 Magnum/.38 Special, but generally try to shoot up the .357 cartridges before the .38s when I go to the range.
Personal experience, you need to clean the cylinders of a 357, if you've been shooting 38s any length of time and want to go back to shooting 357s.

Nothing wrong with shooting 38s for practise but I think it better to practise with what you intend to shoot when you expect to need it. 357s are a stronger round with greater recoil. If you're not prepared for it, the difference can surprise you and throw you off. Won't matter if you're just plinking, but might for competition or HD.

The 357 is a more versatile handgun but 38s are good for most situations. A good deal for a 38 is a S&W model 10. Very smooth trigger in either SA or DA. These are usually used ex-police revolvers and often in great shape, mabe a little holster wear. I have a model 10-6 and it is a very solid, accurate piece. Got mine for $250. I also have a Rossi 357 (model 971), a perfectly decent no-frills handgun, accurate and reliable, Good SA, moderate DA. I really like my Rossi (bought new) but the S&W is definitely the smoother, more solid feeling gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks again for all the comments and insight.

I decided on a Smith & Wesson 686 Plus w/4" barrel. Got it Tuesday night and taking it to the range this weekend.

I'll let you know how it works out.

Russell
 
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