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Old 08-23-2011, 12:04 PM
dwpmusic dwpmusic is offline
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Default Model 19 Kframe.357 Combat Masterpiece

I've read that a number of people think the Model 19 K frame .357 Combat Masterpiece is the best revolver that Smith ever built. Anybody of the same opinion? Can one be purchased at a reasonable price? And just for my own education, what would come closest to it in a revolver that Smith is making today in .357?
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:16 PM
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It's a Combat Magnum, and the trouble with these guns is that a constant diet of magnums is really hard on them. That is why they went to the "L" frame for a little more beef. A great duty gun, my stepson carried one on the Border Patrol for well over 20 years. Big Larry
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:20 PM
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So what would your pick be for a present day manufactured Smith in .357 be?
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:20 PM
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I don't think it's the best they ever made. But for what it was designed to do it was one of the best. A powerful chambering in a package much lighter than the N frame. Handy for those who carried a lot and fire a little.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:27 PM
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In current mfg., the L Frame (Mod. 686) is probably one of the most versatile, and well built guns S&W makes. It's strong enough for a steady diet of magnum loads, all stainless for least showing of wear, and ease of cleaning and maintenance. It is also available in 6 shot, or 7 shot versions in 2", 4", 6", and 8 3/8" barrels to accommodate most needs.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:30 PM
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They're so sweet. Just feel like a natural extension of your hand. And made during a time where gots got a little more finishing touches. They should not be used to fire alot of .357, though. S&W says they're safe to shoot nothing but magnums, but they don't make the gun anymore, so good luck getting them fixed if you split a forcing cone. I used to have an email answering that question from S&W. They emphatically told me to "only shoot 158 grain .357", and then do so sparingly.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:40 PM
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Whoa!! Are you and H Richard talking about the same model?
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennlineman View Post
I don't think it's the best they ever made. But for what it was designed to do it was one of the best. A powerful chambering in a package much lighter than the N frame. Handy for those who carried a lot and fire a little.
I'd agree with that. I think you will probably shoot a LOT of 38s before the gun is going to need much attention. Since the gun was originally designed and produced in the era where practicing with 38s and carrying .357s was considered normal, it was great for that purpose. I still think it one of S&W's niftiest guns.

To answer the OP's other question, yes, you can find Model 19s at reasonable prices. Lots of guys have read too many stories on the internet and are scared of them. A decent one can sometimes be found in the $300+ range - if you get lucky. (Beaters correspondingly less.) Just look around and keep your money ready.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:24 PM
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I began my law enforcement career with the model 19 and it is a fine weapon. The problem with .357 magnum ammo seems to be with the hyper-velocity 125gn rounds. Use 140-158gn and you should'nt have any problems. I currently load .357 ammo to about 950-1000 fps for general use in my guns but when I carry my model 19 I load 158gn factory loads. The model 66, which is the stainless steel version of the model 19 is also an excellent gun and both come in a 2 1/2" bbl for more concealable carry. Others have mentioned the L frame 686 and that is also an excellent choice. You can still find model 586s which are blue steel L frame guns and, like the 686s, they are fine guns also. Take your pick and as long as you exercise due care you should have no problems with model 19s, 66s or the L frame 986-586 series.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:05 PM
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Interesting responses. Sounds as if you couldn't go wrong with a Model 686 even if you were going to shoot nothing but .357s in it. Although, that's not necessarily what I'd do, it would be nice to know that you weren't harming the pistol. I want one more Smith in .357 before I quit. Doesn't have to be a Model 19. Just an interesting thought.
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:59 PM
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From what I understand, I can shoot 357 mags all day in them but only the 158 gn.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus88 View Post
From what I understand, I can shoot 357 mags all day in them but only the 158 gn.
Actually you can fire those Magnums until your hand loses all feeling. BTW, unless you've played Pro Baseball as a catcher that may not take as long as you think. The model 19 is rather light for the 357 Magnum and a bit punishing to shoot in quantity. There is reason why most shoot 38 spl. in the model 19 and about 100 rounds of 357 Magnum will probably have you understanding that.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:11 PM
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I carried a Model 19, either 4Ē or 2 ĹĒ to work daily for 27 years, and I donít believe there is a finer revolver made that will do what the M-19 was designed for. Itís a carry a lot shoot a little revolver.
I no longer feel the need to shoot HOT .357 Magnum ammo in mine thatís what the L & N frames is for. I do though load my 19 with full strength .357 ammo for self-defense.
So if you want a strong shoot a lot revolver go with the M-586/686, if you want a classic top of the line workhorse find yourself a nice M-19.

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There is reason why most shoot 38 spl. in the model 19 and about 100 rounds of 357 Magnum will probably have you understanding that.
At my slightly advanced age my limit is about 50 rounds of .357 Magnum ammo, the ole left arm and shoulder are not what they used to be.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:29 PM
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Actually you can fire those Magnums until your hand loses all feeling. BTW, unless you've played Pro Baseball as a catcher that may not take as long as you think. The model 19 is rather light for the 357 Magnum and a bit punishing to shoot in quantity. There is reason why most shoot 38 spl. in the model 19 and about 100 rounds of 357 Magnum will probably have you understanding that.
I've never got why people feel that way about the 19. I can shoot 357s all day long with that thing and don't grow tired of the kick. I actually enjoy the kick of it myself.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:06 AM
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A Model 19 was my first handgun. Being young and foolish, it was also the first one I traded off to get something "bigger and better." Eventually I came to my senses and replaced it. Everything you need in a handgun and nothing you don't.

I don't know about anybody else, maybe there are a lot of people who shoot more than I do, but I'd like to have the opportunity to shoot a Model 19 or most any other gun really, to worry about wearing it out. I'm sure it can be done, but I'll bet it ain't easy.

I admit that seldom if ever fire magnum ammo in mine. But I can say the same thing for my "N" frame .357's too. 38's are so much less expensive and just as much fun IMHO. I guess I fell into the habit years ago, when 38 brass was free/cheap.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:23 AM
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I'm glad I don't have to choose just one additional S&W .357 Magnum, as they are all great guns in their own right. The Model 19/66 have sleek proportions that look and feel "right". I wouldn't want to hammer a constant diet of hot magnum loads through mine. Why wear them unnecessarily when the L frame 586 and 686 exist. My 6 inch 586 is my favorite .357. Gorgeous, accurate and durable, though for daily carry or hunting I would choose a 686.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:15 AM
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I guess I'm some kind of freak. I far and beyond prefer .357 in my N frame than ANY K frame S&W has ever made. I down load my magnums in K's no hotter than 1,100 to 1,200 fps and still think they are stout in recoil. Granted we aren't all built the same. But I can go full house 158 gr 1,500 fps loads in my Model 28 and run out of them before my arm goes numb. I love my 19's and my 65, but for fun shooting with magnums they are no fun. But like all things firearms related, this is all very subjective to each of us.

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Old 08-24-2011, 09:30 AM
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Such great responses from you guys. I love it. Now, rather than starting another thread, let me ask another question. What are the advantages of having a, say, 6" barrel over a 4" barrel in a revolver? Is the longer barrel more comfortable to shoot, can you expect greater accuracy from the longer barrel, is there more fps at the muzzle? Just wondering. When I do purchase upon a S&W .357 it won't be a carry weapon. So I just thought I'd throw this out to all you experts, one of which I'm certainly not. Again, thanks for making me feel welcome.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:53 AM
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So I just thought I'd throw this out to all you experts...
Sounds like a set-up to me.

I have heard guys arguing about this since I was a little boy. A lot depends on the shooter, except the velocity thing. A 6-inch gun will probably average 50-150 FPS faster than a 4-inch gun, with similar loads. That depends on the individual guns. Once in a while a "fast" 4-inch gun can actually outrun a 6-incher, but that is not usual.

I have also seen guys who do not handle a 6-inch gun as well as they do a 4-incher. They actually shoot better with the short barrel. It seems odd, but it does happen. Intrinsically, both guns should be the same in terms of accuracy. Differences should relate to the ability of the shooter to handle them, and a lot of factors come into play there.

As to recoil, some people react differently, and there will always be the "Black Knight" folks ( ) who claim recoil is no hardship for them. That's great, and more power to them. In my own case, I see a pronounced difference between a 4-inch and a 6.5-inch Model 29, the 4-inch gun being nearly intolerable and the 6.5-incher being almost sedate, by comparison. I do not have that same impression with a Model 19. With factory stocks, both are a little uncomfortable for me, the 4-inch being the worse. But not by a lot. The cure for me, with the Model 19, has not been changing to the longer barrel length, but rather changing to a set of stocks that keeps the knuckle of my middle finger well and truly clear of that trigger guard!
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:51 PM
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You can count me in that number.

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I've read that a number of people think the Model 19 K frame .357 Combat Masterpiece is the best revolver that Smith ever built. Anybody of the same opinion? Can one be purchased at a reasonable price? And just for my own education, what would come closest to it in a revolver that Smith is making today in .357?
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:00 PM
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I don't think Smith & Wesson makes anything that comes close to it in terms of fit, finish and over all quality.
If your looking for a carry gun like that style, I would get my hands on a model 19 thru 19-4 in 2 1/2 inch or an older model 66 (stainless)
The modern S&Ws are...........ah forget it, i'll be nice.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:10 PM
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I'd look for a really clean M-66 with four-inch barrel. If I could have only one revolver, that'd probably be it. You can do most of what a handgun needs to do with varying .38 ammo, reserving .357's for when they're really needed. The gun is quite a bit handier and more concealable than the M-686.

I do fire some .357 ammo in mine, to stay familiar with it, and I'd load that in open country or where large animals are a threat.

But I use a Ruger GP-100 for most .357 use. The M-66 is lighter on the belt for daily wear. I use Federal's 158 grain Hydra-Shok ammo when I want magnum power.

I once published an entire magazine article on the need to avoid 125 grain and lighter bullets. That was the universal opinion of the S&W personnel whom I interviewed, as well as that of engineers at three ammo companies to whom I had access as a writer. It is not just Internet rumor!

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Old 08-24-2011, 07:33 PM
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I thought my 4" 686+ was the perfect revolver until I got a 4" 19.
The weight/balance/recoil of the two are completely different. Also the craftsmanship (fit, finish, trigger) of the 19 is from a different time in manufacturing pride.

I am not a fan of 125gr loads and 158gr magnums out of either (4") is not bad at all.

My 19 (one of my favorites):
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:50 PM
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Personally, if I could have only one centerfire revolver, it would be my M65 (M13), 3" over my M66 (M19) 4"...

M65-3 3" ($425) M640-1 ($350)


M66-2 4" ($350)


Thankfully o don't have to choose!

Rhino

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Old 08-28-2011, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H Richard View Post
In current mfg., the L Frame (Mod. 686) is probably one of the most versatile, and well built guns S&W makes. It's strong enough for a steady diet of magnum loads, all stainless for least showing of wear, and ease of cleaning and maintenance. It is also available in 6 shot, or 7 shot versions in 2", 4", 6", and 8 3/8" barrels to accommodate most needs.
I agree with H Richard. The shortest version is a 2 1/2 incher. I have a snubby 7 shooter and a 686+ (7 shot) Mountain Gun. Both will punch one ragged hole groups @ 50' off the bench. I think that the MG is the most eye pleasing and versatile of the lot. My Mountain Gun is pictured below......
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:35 PM
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I own a 4" 1957 pre-19 Combat Magnum and a 6" 19-3 both with checkered factory wood grips. I don't have any problem with recoil out of either Smith (big hands), but my 6" Ruger GP100 with full-length underlug barrel is the real recoil-tamer. I have been shooting a mix of 38 SP and .357 from the Smiths and mostly .357 from the Ruger. I also have some beefy Ruger .44's, a Super Redhawk and Super Blackhawk Bisley Hunter with a scope... now, those have some recoil! But still manageable.
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwpmusic View Post
I've read that a number of people think the Model 19 K frame .357 Combat Masterpiece is the best revolver that Smith ever built. Anybody of the same opinion? Can one be purchased at a reasonable price? And just for my own education, what would come closest to it in a revolver that Smith is making today in .357?
Your answer to question one is yes. I along with a lot of others feel the
Model 19 Combat Magnum is the finest all around revolver S&W ever built. I have two of them. Answer to question two is yes again. Plan on paying about $400 or more for a good one. Answer to question three is the L frame series 586/686. The 686 is still made and sold new. The grip size is the same as the model 19. The 686 series was designed to eventually replace the model 19/66. The 686 series can handle the steady diet of 357 magnums espically the 125 gr high velocity rounds. This round is what most people say wore the model 19 out.
Personally, I still like my model 19s better than my 686.
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:02 PM
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So what would your pick be for a present day manufactured Smith in .357 be?
A mdl. 686 mountain gun would be very close in size and configuration to a 19 and a stronger gun too.
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:05 PM
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A brief history of the M19 and 125 grain ammo

In the 1950s, Bill Jordan, US Border Patrol, was asked what his ideal police revolver would be. He stated that a K frame chambered in .357, with the enclosed ejector rod, a heavy barrel, and adjustable sights, would be perfect. Previous double action .357 revolvers were built on the heavy N frame (S&W) and the New Service (Colt). Bill wanted cops to have .357 power in a lighter package. Thus was born the .357 Combat Magnum.

The theory was to practice with .38 specials and then to carry it with .357s. The standard .357 cartridge at that time carried a 158 grain lead semiwadcutter bullet. All was good.

Then, in the 1970s, lighter, jacketed hollow point bullets became available. This ammo gave excellent stopping power, especially the 125 grain JHP. A number of police deptments decided that their officers should qualify with their carry ammo. In short order, M19s, and their stainless brothers, the M66s, begin having problems. The lighter than standard 125 bullets released hotter gases that eroded the barrels and throats. K frame barrels are very thin at the forcing cone and they started cracking. Other revolvers, such as the Colt Python and Trooper, as well as the Ruger Six series revolvers, didn't have this problem, due to having thicker barrels.

Smith & Wesson brought out the L frame revolvers, M581, M586, M681, and M686, and recommended that PDs replace their M19s and M66s with these beefer wheelguns. These revolvers ate the 125 grain ammo like candy. All was good again.

Then, the Glock appeared......
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:10 PM
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The 19/66 is the best looking S&W and it feels just right.
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  #31  
Old 08-29-2011, 09:08 AM
dwpmusic dwpmusic is offline
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Would one day like to have a M19. Time will tell.
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  #32  
Old 08-29-2011, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xray 99 View Post
The 19/66 is the best looking S&W and it feels just right.
You neglected to preface your remark with, ''IMHO''. (Of course that's IMHO.)
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  #33  
Old 08-29-2011, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
A brief history of the M19 and 125 grain ammo ...
.
.
.
Then, the Glock appeared......
That sums it up nicely!
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  #34  
Old 09-06-2017, 04:38 PM
stlenz0 stlenz0 is offline
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Default Model 19 Kframe.357 Combat Masterpiece

I can still remember my first military pistol instructor booming out, "Gentlemen, this is the Smith & Wesson 357 Combat Masterpiece. It can save your life if you learn how to use it." At this point he declared the range hot, turned to a target 25 yards down-range, and put 5 shots in a 3-inch group, in less than 5 seconds. Then he declared, "Questions about the accuracy of this weapon will not be entertained." The man was USAF Combat Arms Instructor, and USAF Large Bore Pistol Champion, MSgt Bobby J Tiner.
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  #35  
Old 09-06-2017, 05:11 PM
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s&w mdl.19 are nice
Dick

mdl.66 are pretty nice too.

Last edited by vrichard; 09-06-2017 at 05:13 PM.
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  #36  
Old 09-06-2017, 05:57 PM
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Default Panache......

I think it is the panache that Bill Jordan is the man to whom we owe the debt of gratitude for the Model 19. I think the popularity of the 1911 owes a debt to Col Jeff Cooper but the Colonel didn't invent the 1911; the Model 19 was created because of Bill Jordan.

I think they are gorgeous. I have a 2.5", a 4" (replacing my first ever revolver that I blew up long ago) and I have a 2" coming!

I have a favorite memory of my first 4" Model 19. Several good memories, actually, but my favorite is when I showed it to my mother and she said it was "beautiful". I hated it when I blew it up but it has been replaced, much to my great joy.

The L frame guns are what I shoot when I want to play long term with .357 Magnum loads. I won't abuse my Model 19s with incessant magnums. But they are fun short term and the recoil is nothing special to write home about. If you want to discuss recoil shoot a J frame .357. (Why you would do that is a personal decision!)
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  #37  
Old 09-06-2017, 07:04 PM
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Mine won't be going anywhere soon......
.....and with it's Model 17 little brother.

Sent from my SM-J320P using Tapatalk
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  #38  
Old 09-06-2017, 10:45 PM
JohnRippert JohnRippert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightrider03m View Post
I've never got why people feel that way about the 19. I can shoot 357s all day long with that thing and don't grow tired of the kick. I actually enjoy the kick of it myself.

I agree, and I am not a big guy. Though it would not surprise me if we are younger than the gents who do not enjoy it like we do.
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  #39  
Old 09-06-2017, 11:21 PM
usmc2427765 usmc2427765 is offline
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I started my LEO career with a 19-2 that I still have to this very day. It was more comfortable to carry than an N frame and was very accurate and strong, with a limited amount of magnum ammo. I stayed with it until transitioning to a 1911 in the early '80's.
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  #40  
Old 09-06-2017, 11:57 PM
Joe Kent Joe Kent is offline
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I started with a 4" blued Model19 in 1969 and it quickly became my favorite revolver. It still is today. If I were to once again put on a Sam Brown Belt and carried a revolver today it would be a Model 686 7 shot 4" Mt. Gun. For me the balance and weight is virtually the same as the 19 and you have the benefit of a stronger revolver for the modern ammo.
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  #41  
Old 09-07-2017, 02:50 AM
sbowenjr sbowenjr is offline
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I love collecting model 19's. But when I shoot 357 I prefer to shoot them in a model 27!
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  #42  
Old 09-07-2017, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlenz0 View Post
I can still remember my first military pistol instructor booming out, "Gentlemen, this is the Smith & Wesson 357 Combat Masterpiece. It can save your life if you learn how to use it." At this point he declared the range hot, turned to a target 25 yards down-range, and put 5 shots in a 3-inch group, in less than 5 seconds. Then he declared, "Questions about the accuracy of this weapon will not be entertained." The man was USAF Combat Arms Instructor, and USAF Large Bore Pistol Champion, MSgt Bobby J Tiner.
WELCOME TO THE FORUM, stlenz0. THAT'S A GREAT FIRST POST ! ! !
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  #43  
Old 09-10-2017, 11:26 PM
Birdgun Birdgun is offline
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I shoot my Model 19 better than any other handgun I've ever shot. I shoot .38 Specials out of it the vast majority of time but I keep familiar with .357 Magnum loads since that's what's loaded in my 19 for home defense. Now if, God forbid, I had to make just one or two shots count with a handgun to protect my loved ones, I'd want my Combat Magnum in my hands.

S&W Model 19 "Combat Magnum"




Thanks for looking at my favorite handgun. The one I consider as the best revolver ever made.

God bless,
Birdgun
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  #44  
Old 09-10-2017, 11:35 PM
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No doubt about it the model 19 is a classic. It's revived a 6 year old thread!
I like it more than any other .357 Smith I own. I shoot .38s out of it for the most part, but won't hesitate to put .357 158gr. through it.
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  #45  
Old 09-11-2017, 03:24 AM
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THE MODEL 19 CERTAINLY IS A CLASSIC---BUT---I WOULD HAVE TO VOTE FOR THE MODEL 686 AS THE BEST OF THE MODERN S&W REVOLVERS......

I BELIEVE THAT THE 686+ MOUNTAIN GUN IS THE MOST VERSATILE ITERATION OF THAT MODEL. ITS EASILY CARRIED CONCEALED, AND EXCELS AT SD/HD, IN THE FIELD, OR ON THE RANGE. IMHO, ITS THE TOTAL PACKAGE.....

THE 686+ MOUNTAIN GUN IS ON THE EXTREME LEFT IN THE PIC BELOW.......
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Last edited by one eye joe; 09-11-2017 at 03:26 AM.
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357 magnum, 586, 686, cartridge, colt, combat masterpiece, ejector, glock, hydra-shok, jordan, k frame, l frame, m13, m19, m686, masterpiece, model 19, model 29, model 66, model 686, mountain gun, ruger, snubby, trooper, universal

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