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  #1  
Old 10-07-2018, 01:07 PM
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I have a Smith 642, double action only .38. It has been a chore involving lots of ammunition, but I am finally learning to shoot double action. I liken it to the first time I shot a 1911 .45. It took time, but one day, I could shoot it.

I have read the thread about the 9mm, and had thought of getting one for a while, but I want a DAO, and they are rare in S&W.

I am considering a .357. again, DAO. The Ruger 101 seems to be a real, shootable (small) .357 and available in the dao configuration. I checked out an LCR ,357 dao. It's action was lighter and smoother than the same gun with a hammer. Is this your findings, or was it just a good individual gun. Is the same true for the 101? Do you really shoot .357 in the J-frame S&W dao .357 (with stainless frame)? Is this a viable solution, or should I just forget it, and stick with my 642? I am not particularly recoil shy as I shoot a 9mm Double Tap derringer on a regular basis.

My Smith 686 (2 1/2" ) may be my most accurate handgun. I seldom flinch with it, but it is heavy. (I don't have access to many of the guns in question, so it is good to know before placing an order.)
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:10 PM
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Logically, stick with the 642. It'll do everything that really needs doing. I don't particularly think a small-frame .357 is the answer to ".38 Spl isn't enough".

But if you're looking for an excuse to buy a gun, go ahead.
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Old 10-07-2018, 04:24 PM
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I'm not a fan of the air weights. The hammer pin broke on my 642 broke shooting it at the range. It was four years old and only had a couple thousand rounds through it. Sent it back to S&W. They said it was due to normal wear and tear. Wouldn't cover the replacement under the extended service policy. Appealed - no go.

With that as context, two things...
1) If you're going to shoot it a lot, and you really want an air weight, buy two. One to shoot and one to carry. Maybe I just got a bad one, but in my experience, the one you shoot a lot won't last. There's a number of gun forum threads where others have had the problem with either broken hammer pins or broken trigger pins on air weights. From what I've read, it looks like if the revolver is under a couple years old, S&W will cover it. Older than that they might not. Either way, no way I'd depend on an air weight any more if I didn't have to.

2) Better yet, go steel. S&W 60, 640, etc. or Ruger LCR (steel, not polymer) or SP101. That gets you into either a .357, 9mm, or .327 by default.

Just my 2 cents. YMMV.
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:26 PM
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The queations I have for the OP are:

1) what is lacking in the 642 that has you thinking about another gun/caliber?

2) are you willing to carry significantly more weight than the 642? And if so, how much more?

3) out of a snubbie, is the gain in recoil worth the additional power over the 642 38+p?

If you want to stay around the same weight as the 642. Then the LCR in 357 or in 327 federal mag. The 327 mag gets substantially more power and penetration than 38+p, and adds 6th round to boot!

If you can stand higher weight, then the 640, 640 pro or the Kimber K6s come to mind. The Kimber has a 6th round of 357. It is also more expensive.

Last edited by Flyingfool; 10-07-2018 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:32 PM
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The SP-101 is a tank. If I was planning on shooting some heavy .357s out of a snubbie that's what I would choose. Actually I had two 2.5" 357s. The first one wouldn't hit paper at 25yds so I sent it back, the one they sent me in return was amazingly accurate. I had no complaints about the gun but eventually I traded it off towards a S&W something or other. The gun is a little bulky but would be okay for woods carry.

Now the only SP-101 I have is a 3" .327 federal but I haven't shot it yet. For EDC the 640-1 gets the nod.
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:53 PM
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1. Ruger LCRs have the lightest stock revolver triggers, but they are differrent from S&W so some folks don't like them. I have the LCR327 and it's a brilliant gun. That said, the LCR357 will be not fun to shoot loaded with actual magnums. The SP101 will be a much better range gun even if the trigger is heavier.

2. Another option is sending your 642 or future SP101 to a good gunsmith and getting a trigger job.

3. They do make a LCR and SP101 in 9mm. You could also buy a 357 S&W and get it converted to 9mm.

4. Finally, I have a Chiappa Rhino that I am blown away by. It's a 25oz snubbie that I can comfortably shoot full tilt 357 out of one handed with no discomfort.

Chiappa Rhino = WOW
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  #7  
Old 10-07-2018, 06:31 PM
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I have shot my brothers LCR in 357 mag. We would randomly insert 38 and 357 spin the cylinder and hand it to the other to shoot. Personally other than a lot more noise, the felt recoil was not all that much different. I guess I am no too recoil sensitive.

I would like to hear people’s experience that have shot both 357 and 327 mag from an LCR and tell me the felt recoil difference. I have read that the 327 mag is noticeably less. In which case having a 6th round with more power than 38+P would seem to be pretty ideal. But availability and cost of 327 mag could be an issue.

Last edited by Flyingfool; 10-07-2018 at 06:33 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-07-2018, 06:56 PM
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I have not shot the LCR357, but my LCR327 loaded with the hot stuff is comparable to my S&W 637 loaded with 38 SPL +P. The blast and sound are quite a bit more intense with the 327, though. I think the blast and noise might even exceed 357. It's very impressive.

That said, I have wondered whether the polymer frame and awesome Hogue grip on the LCR have a significant impact on recoil. At some point I will certainly own a LCR357 so a Pepsi Challenge can be arranged.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:07 PM
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An LCR .327 Fed seems about the ideal carry revolver. Very, very slick setup.

I’ve asked CCI why they don’t offer .32 H&R/.327 Fed Mag shotshells. They said not enough demand, which is a real shame.
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  #10  
Old 10-07-2018, 09:16 PM
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I have carried a 2.25" SP-101 for over 10 years. It is one of my favorite guns. Shooting .357 in it is no problem, I've fired probably over 5,000 rounds of .357 thru mine and it's still going strong. Mine is loaded with .357 Golden Saber. I own over a half dozen SP-101's, so I'm obviously fond of them. You can't go wrong with the SP-101.

If you like the Centennial style revolver, but want to shoot .357, you can also look at the 340 M&P. It's not as pleasant as the SP-101 to shoot .357 ammo from, but it's not as heavy either. You can easily carry the 340 in a pocket, the SP-101 not so much. I often carry my 340 as a back up to my SP-101 since they use the same speedloaders and ammo.
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  #11  
Old 10-07-2018, 10:49 PM
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The LCR in 357 ain’t no range gun but better if it drops in the Ocean than a Smith.
I did not enjoy the 100 handloads I fired with the last 50/158grs going downrange rapidly.
My hand was a bit sore the next day but with a wider back to that rubber grip it would’ve been fine.
Would still have it but obtaining a nice Colt DS was the result of the LCR going to a young friend who works on boats.
The LCR was originally purchased buy my Boy and the 357 factory loads had him parting with it that very day.
These days my SON has a 629.
The old Security Six Snub is our primary revolver.
Sweet shooter at 100 yds or so.

If I didn’t need a “steel is real” Colt 45 I’d buy a 7 shot Smith yesterday as long as it’s DA/SA.

Last edited by Imissedagain; 10-07-2018 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:06 PM
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A good trigger/action job that is aimed at DA fire will help to "index" DA shooting. If you have already "trained up" on an out the box gun, you should be deadly with one that has the above. It would be how I could run after wearing "work boots" all Winter when the Old Man handed me that pair of P.F. Flyers, or U.S. Keds in the Spring time.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:29 PM
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I'm another who says I'd stick with the 642. Snub revolvers are close range, minute-of-miscreant defensive guns. For that, I think a good .38 Special +P load is effective and much easier to control for a second shot than a light .357 Magnum. You're already becoming proficient with the 642. Shooting .357 stuff would add more factors to consider.

But then I'm not a fan of Airweights, Airlights or Gnatweights. I like steel for its heft, recoil damping and durability. If you're set on a .357 snubby, the 640-1 would give you the option of what an awful lot of people do: carry it loaded with +P .38 Special, with the choice of .357 if you feel the need.

You know what they say about opinions, but that's mine.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingflapjack View Post
A good trigger/action job that is aimed at DA fire will help to "index" DA shooting.
Are you talking about staging the trigger--pulling most of the way, stopping, and then squeezing the rest of the way?

Respectfully, staging a DA trigger takes as long as making a single-action shot. Pulling straight through is the only way to fly.
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:01 AM
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I'm a Ruger fan, so take that in mind - I had a .357 LCR with the CT grips. That was a beast, and the recoil raised blisters and drew blood.
I was fortunately able to sell it for what I had in it.

The SP-101 is a much nicer handling pistol.
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:49 AM
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Like many of those above I don't care for alloy framed/fly weight firearms. About the only times they've had any appeal was post surgery while shuffling around in elastic waist track/sweat pants and I found other ways to deal with that. You simply pay too great a penalty in service life, recoil and shootability.

OP, you can work on your double action skills with dry fire. Done safely (double verify unloaded, no ammo in the room, do something completely different right afterward), it costs nothing. Also, if you're using two hands, remember your support hand/arm is supposed to be pulling the gun toward you while the gun hand/arm is resisting.

Last edited by WR Moore; 10-08-2018 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:41 AM
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In my experience, you can offset the weight of a heavier pistol or revolver by getting a good belt and a well made IWB holster. You can never offset the disadvantages of trying to shoot a .357 Magnum self defense load in an air weight J Magnum frame pistol. Even the steel frame revolvers like the Model 60, are too light and too small to be comfortable to shoot with .357 Magnum loads.

If you absolutely insist on a J frame sized pistol, get a 3" SP 101. It weighs about 5 oz more than a 3" Model 60, which isn't a deal breaker for concealed carry but does help a bit with the recoil. It splits the difference weight wise between a steel J frame revolver and a K frame revolver with comparable barrel length.

That said, another 6 oz or so and you can carry a 2 1/2" K frame revolver and shoot .357 Mag loads with reasonable comfort, which means you'll shoot them more often and have much more potential to practice enough to get really good with the revolver.

Below are some comparative options. The lower right side is a 3" Model 60, and above it is a 3" SP 101. On the lower left side is a 2 1/2" Model 66 (the sweet spot for concealed carry .357 revolvers in my opinion), above it is a 2 3/4" Ruger Speed Six, and on the upper left is a 2 1/2" 686+. Weight wise, the SP 101 is 30 oz, the Model 66 is 36 oz, the Speed 6 is 37.5 oz and the 686 is 40 oz.

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Old 10-08-2018, 12:36 PM
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The only LCR I have ever shot was a stock 38 & probably the worst trigger ever. The sp101 is pretty decent. I am not sure why you think you need a DA only but why not.
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wise_A View Post
Are you talking about staging the trigger--pulling most of the way, stopping, and then squeezing the rest of the way?

Respectfully, staging a DA trigger takes as long as making a single-action shot. Pulling straight through is the only way to fly.
S&W's master revolver package will enhance anything in the double action realm. A smoothed, rounded trigger can also be a help.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:16 PM
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A 642 weighs 15 ounces. A 649 weighs a bit more than 22 ounces. In your pocket or on your belt you will never notice the extra seven ounces. But the two guns are night and day on the range using similar ammunition. You can and will be more accurate with less "work" with the all steel model.

I retired my 642 and replaced it with my 649. There are days when I carry a 2" K frame, which makes a big difference but, if one sticks to J frames, the Model 649 is my pick for the way to go. YMMV as always.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB57 View Post
Weight wise, the SP 101 is 30 oz, the Model 66 is 36 oz, the Speed 6 is 37.5 oz and the 686 is 40 oz.

686+ PC

Smith or Ruger, or maybe nothing-686-weight-jpg

629 Deluxe

Smith or Ruger, or maybe nothing-629-weight-jpg

This is why I smile when people talk about how heavy an N frame is - yep, it's 4 oz heavier than a L frame.
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Smith or Ruger, or maybe nothing-686-weight-jpg   Smith or Ruger, or maybe nothing-629-weight-jpg  

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Old 10-08-2018, 03:38 PM
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only a couple thousand rounds?? Dude......... :-)
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingflapjack View Post
S&W's master revolver package will enhance anything in the double action realm. A smoothed, rounded trigger can also be a help.
Ah, you're talking about indexing your finger. Not that stage-y Colt nonsense.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:24 PM
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I had a Ruger SP101 3" .327 magnum but not for long. The double action trigger is way to heavy and that was one big reason I sold it when a guy asked if I had anything else I wanted to sell.
When I got it I could only find .32 ammo to shoot and I thought this is one sweet little gun to shoot as far as weight and recoil went. It is an attractive gun and is built like a brick outhouse. Well then I got some 327 mag ammo for it. I shot it three times and I said the heck with this. It like to pulverized my fingers. I put up the gun and ordered some Hogue tamers for it. The Hogues made a huge difference in felt recoil over the stock plastic grips.

The 327 mag ammo cost around $28 for a box of 50 rounds. To rich for my cheap ways. Even .32 ammo is around $20 for 50 rounds. Anyway I sold it and have had no regrets either. Many have installed trigger kits in them and said that made a world of difference. I don't do trigger jobs, if the trigger needs a tow truck then I sell it. I have read where people said there wasn't much difference between shooting 357 and 327. If the 357 is even harsher recoil, which I believe it possibly would be, then I dang straight wouldn't want an SP101 in 357 either.

I also have a Ruger LCR 357 which I seldom shoot other than 38 spl in it. It used to be my main carry which was loaded with 38 +p. I used to have fun with people shooting the gun. I would stagger 38 spl with 357 mag in the cylinder. I would just tell them to hold with a good grip. They fired a 38 spl and then came a 357. I would laugh and they would also. Yeah there is a really big difference in recoil beside the KABOOM of the 357. Personally the recoil of the stock LCR 357 wasn't near as bad as the stock grip SP101 327.
The LCR has the best DA only trigger of any revolvers I ever shot. It is fairly light and smooth and can even be brought right up to and held at the break over point. I wouldn't want to shoot a box of 50 357 mags through it but then again I am a recoil whimp. Still I could do it if I had to. The LCR 357 at 17 oz. empty is a handful but I almost bet the lighter LCR 38+P @ 14 oz. is a handful even if it wasn't as bad as the 357 heavier gun. The LCR +P is about like holding a feather. I am glad I didn't buy the +P model. I figured the heavier built 357 would surely last longer.

The LCR 357 only weighs around 19 oz. loaded which makes it a comfortable and easy to conceal daily carry. I also have a S&W 640-1 357 which is a noticeable heavier gun. The trigger is good but the LCR trigger is better in my opinion. I am sure the recoil is a bit better to handle than the LCR. Because of the added weight I never did carry the 640. I daily carried the LCR loaded with 38+P for maybe 5 years before I switched out with the Charter Bulldog 44 spl.

I really suggest shooting all of them before buying any of them. These guns aren't cheap and having spent a bunch on a gun only to find out it just doesn't get it for you can be costly. I believe I paid around $580 for the SP101 and also the same for the LCR about 7 years ago.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:03 AM
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I would recommend you find a range with some rental pistols and shoot them to find out what you might be interested in ..

If you haven't shot 357 magnums .. they will deliver quite a kick for the unsuspecting .. especially in a small frame ..

If your use to shooting autos with a SRT (Short Release Trigger)
revolvers might be much harder to shoot due to short stroking the trigger in a revolver ..
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:23 AM
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If you are considering a Ruger sp, I put a spring kit in mine. The trigger difference was literally night and day
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:57 PM
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Wonderful, informative comments. Thanks all. I do think I am looking for an excuse to buy another gun. The airweight S&W .38 actually kicks worse than my 2 1/2 inch 357 686+, but is a wonderful, light carry gun. I have changed hammer and trigger return springs on my 642, and it did improve the trigger pull, but I have to carry it with Federal, Remington, or other "soft primer" ctgs otherwise, I occasionally have a failure to fire. I really like the Federal 130 gr. HST micro. They look like a hbwc loaded backwards, but with a copper jacket. They don't kick much although +p loads. Thanks again.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:06 PM
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Default You need a Shield...

The Shield is a compact DAO pistol. It is comfortable in 9mm and easy to shoot. The DAO trigger is very easy to operate and is closer to a single action than any DAO I've felt.
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