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Old 01-21-2011, 10:43 PM
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Default The 'unofficial' 58 Club

Okay guys, here is your chance....post your photos, stories, and favorite loads for the unloved beast that is the Smith & Wesson Model 58.

I have been a fan since I held one the first time...many months later I finally came to own 2, now I am totally sold on them...how about y'all?

Here are my two, both are first year of production. The blue one gets carried while riding the fence lines, the nickel one is on BBQ detail



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Old 01-21-2011, 11:03 PM
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Thumbs up Count me in!







I've got alot of these guns, some in perfect condition, but this beat up, blue worn old S frame with the wrong stocks is my favorite....



Note the caliber....



It loves 8.2 grns of Unique in a .44 Magnum case under a 242 grn. cast lead round nosed flat point.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:19 PM
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I only have one, but I like it and will not be sold by me:

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Old 01-21-2011, 11:33 PM
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The gun that serves no real purpose. Too big and heavy with excessive recoil for police work. The fixed sights make it less attractive for sporting use than the 57. There is nothing the 41 Magnum can do the 44 can't do better. The 41 is a caliber that demands reloading for economy and to make sure you have some as not every store will have it on hand.

Yet the 58 has developed a cult following. I described the 58 as "a Model 10 on steroids" many years ago. Back around 1988 when I had an FFL I saw a wholesaler offering 58s as police trade ins for $189. I bought one as a curiosity. Came with the usual (and abominable) Pachmayrs so I dug through my big box of parts and found that somewhere along the way I had acquired two sets of correct 58 Stocks (without even looking for them) so I slapped on a set.

No matter how hard I tried I never could figure out a specific purpose for this gun. The closest I came was as a "woods" or backpacking gun where one might want a lot of power for dangerous animals is the most compact package possible. But this was reaching. I am not in the least bit surprised that the 58 was a failure in the marketplace.

I have kept this gun for 23 years just so I can say I have one... I guess. I shoot it now and then. I must confess that I don't understand the fascination with this revolver.

But, I do have one. I lettered it back when it cost $20 and it was shipped to Philadelphia in 1977. I have never been able to ID any police agency in PA that used the 58 so I don't know which (if any) department used this gun. The serial suggests a 1974 date so it appears this pistol set in inventory three years before being shipped. They were not fast sellers.


Last edited by SaxonPig; 01-22-2011 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:54 PM
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Default Here's Mine

I purchased this one last April or May. I've wanted one for a while now and finally found one. I started hand loading the .41 Magnum about 25 years ago. It was the first cartridge I hand loaded. I still love it! I've had a .41 Magnum of one model/manufacturer or another in my collection for the past 25 years. This one's Magna-Ported and it shoots just fine.


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Old 01-21-2011, 11:58 PM
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Your overwhelming enthusiasm is blinding Saxonpig....ok, I'll take it, just so you don't feel so bad. Honestly, the attraction is the same as for the Model 10. This is a straight forward, purpose built gun. One reason for it to exist, and that is self defense at a short range. The problem was that Smith didn't market the ammunition properly. Everyone started using magnum loads instead of the lighter defense load, and LEO's who weren't used to the recoil couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it. Too bad, 'cause they came out with the .40 S&W which did exactly what this one was supposed to, only in a semi.
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:15 AM
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I bought mine back in the mid 1970's with the intention of probably never even shooting it. I was going to cut it up into something else.

Back then, if you wanted a new double action .44 Special or .45 Colt, you made your own. While N frame .357's were the top choice for the .44 Special, the longer cylinder of the .41 and .44 Magnums was desirable for the longer .45 Colt. My gunsmith, the late Robert Ballard, did a fantastic job on my M-28/.44 Special conversion and when I picked it up, he showed me a .45 Colt he was just finishing, using a Model 58 for the doner gun. I decided I needed one.

I bought a new 1955 Target barrel from J&G Rifle Ranch, then in Turner, Montana. I bought a new rear sight assembly from a display of blister-packed S&W parts at a sporting goods store and then found a brand new Model 58 at another store, priced at retail, about $160.00. I sat them aside and then began saving the gunsmithing fee.

Curiosity got the best of me, and I shot a couple of boxes of both the full charge JSP and law enforcement-oriented lead bullet loads through it.

Word then leaked out that S&W was about to produce a target grade revolver in .45 Colt, which turned out to be the 125th Anniversary Model 25-3. Eventually, I got a couple of them when they were introduced.

I left the .41 Magnum Model 58 alone.

While it may have been the best factory-produced law enforcement revolver and ammunition combination made to that point in time, I still think the gun went wide of the mark of what was really intended. As great a gun as the Model 58 is, I think it would have been better for most of us had it been chambered instead in .45 Colt and .44 Magnum.
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:31 AM
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For many years I though the 58 was the prettiest revolver made, until I discovered the fixed sight N frame 38's and 357.
I have 4 58's, 2 blue and 2 nickel.
Only one gets shot, a well worn nickel one that came down from Alaska.
It's load is a 250gr. HC-WFN over a lot of Lil-Gun.
If it ever wears out i'll just grab another.
Living proof that S&W once knew how to make a gun!
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:57 AM
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"... As great a gun as the Model 58 is, I think it would have been better for most of us had it been chambered instead in .45 Colt and .44 Magnum."
Agreed.

I think that had S&W chambered the 58 in an array of cartridges it would have survived another 25 years in the catalog and may still be with us today in some form or another.

My personal preference for a Police Revolver would have been for a .45 ACP version of the Model 58.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:49 AM
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In a SHOOTING TIMES magazine article published in the late 1960's or early 1970's, Skeeter Skelton wrote up a discussion of single action versus double action revolvers. There was a photograph included that had the data sheet for a Model 58 with a lineup of cartridges on it. The caption said, "Double-action .41 Mag. S&W M58 is ideal officer's and hunter's handgun. Good calibers for this gun are - left to right - .41 Mag., .45 ACP & AR, .44 Spl., .45 Colt, .38-40 and .44-40."

I always assumed Skeeter took the photo and wrote the caption, as it looks like the other pictures in the article were provided by him, most including him in them holding some of his favorites.

The Model 58 is a very business-looking sixgun, to be sure.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:02 AM
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I think that had S&W chambered the 58 in an array of cartridges it would have survived another 25 years in the catalog and may still be with us today in some form or another.
You mean, "is still with us", right?

Product: Model 58 - S&W Classics - 4" .41 Mag Bright Blue
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:49 AM
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A10- Overly powerful ammo was not the only problem with the 58. Go back and read my first post again. The 58 is too big and too heavy. Many cops (including just about all the women officers) find the N frame too large to handle effectively. The trigger reach requires long fingers as does getting a good grip on the gun. The majority of cops packing a gun this size complain about the weight. Yes, the 58 was a single purpose item, but it was not a good design for that intended purpose regardless of caliber. The slow sales and lack of enthusiasm for this model prove this fact.

Given the choice between a Model 10 and a Model 58 for uniform carry I would take a 10 without hesitation. Most would agree with me. The late Tom Ferguson wrote of ditching his issue 58 for the lighter K frame when he had to walk a beat.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:20 PM
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I just knew some stickler was gonna call me out on that....
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:21 AM
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Default Here is a slightly different twist...

Courtesy of Mr. Hamilton Bowen and Craig Spegel. As you probably already guessed, I like shrouded barrels.


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Old 01-23-2011, 04:57 PM
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Default 'Fightin 58'

Not long ago I headed up a thread in The Lounge as to my finding a 58 at a local gun show in Collisville Il. It had a bad case of "pushoff" and was sent to my gunsmith to be fixed, where it also got refinished in electroless nickle. "He" came home yesterday and is now serving as primary house cannon and sometime carried in the backyard in a Galco hip holster.
He's a handsome beast that looks like a no-frills badass business gun!
Yes he's heavy, barks like a Rottwielier on crack, recoils like mule (except with Win. 175gr Silvertips), and does tend to get noticed at the local indoor range where he effeciently silences the auto pistol crowd as he belches fire and brimstone sending 210 grains of lead downrange with a pleaseing SMACK on the backstop!
I tend to like old, outdated technology, and big, heavy caliber service type revolvers have always been my first loves! Would I carry one today? Sure! Just give me enough speedloaders and a pair of suspenders!
What these guns do is inspire confidence, and that large maw tends to meek those who look upon it. They are revolvers designed with one purpose in mind...to save your bacon and take a beating in a rough and tumble world! To qoute something I once read somewhere;" I haven't seen their kind in a long time, and I don't expect we'll ever see their kind again."
The 'Fightin 58' was the last of a dying breed, the big bore fightin revolver! Cherish these beasts as they still do their jobs like none other! Dale
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:24 AM
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I found mine at Greentop guns near Richmond, Va about '91 or '92 when stationed @ Quantico.
Was a SFPD revolver, so interesting how it ended up on the east coast only to make it back to Socal with me since '93 and now central TX and maybe home state of MT in near future.
A travelin' 58 I call Buford.
Think it cost me $168 or $188.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:29 AM
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Now that is one tough looking sixgun. Very business like and assertive. A perfect fighting revolver... I like it! .45 ACP or .45 Colt?

This one went the other way...



A 58-29-20 (Frame, Cylinder, Barrel respectively) in .44 Magnum that we used to refer to affectionately as "The Hybrid".... By Karl Sokol.



Easy to carry, tough to shoot. The Target Stocks helped... During my search for the perfect "belt gun", it passed through my hands for a while in between other Forum Friends... I think half a dozen guys here have owned at one time or another...
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:26 PM
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Mikeruns, I too have on of the S.F.P.D. guns, my only .41 Mag. Serial number on my gun is S259897. Grips don't match so its now wearing a set of Exacutioner's stag grips.
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:08 PM
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Default 58s...where to begin....

Bought the first one about 1974...a nickel that didn't shoot to POA so it ended up with a Bushnell Phantom scope on it.....so if someone out there has a nickel 58 with two counter sunk holes in it the gun was probably mine...

Had two more while I was with Dallas PD...a stock blue and a gun someone had had bright chromed...not nickel. Both were sold back in the 1980s...

Didn't have another one till I picked up two "butchered" ones on AuctionArms a few years ago. One was a mint S prefix first year of production...that someone thoughtfully had parkerized. The Target grips had some bad chips but for $430 I didn't think that for a shooter it was a bad deal....

This as it arrived...day one of shooting...18 rounds at 10 yards...the one out of the group was round one and my fault....



With a standard set of Magnas on.....



The original Targets shortened and refinished by a very talented friend...







It now wears a set of Cokes....






..more to come.....
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:20 PM
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Default ...and...

..the other butchered gun is a 70s vintage what "was" like new blue...until someone did what I always wanted to do to a 58....



Gun was like new when a guy in Idaho brought the gun in for "modifications" in about 2001. He brought it back to the shop in 2005 and sold it for Christmas money...and he had never fired it...





Bobbed and serrated hammer....



Polished and narrowed trigger with a great DA trigger job...



Mag-Na-Port Quad-Porting



Oversize cylinder release...



Just a GREAT gun to shoot....

Found a parts set on GunBroker, everything but the frame, so any time I want I can restore the gun to "original"....

Those are the two I have kept out of the ten or so I have owned...

As to loads, 8.0 grains of Unique duplicates the original factory Police Load of 950 fps. The above groups were shot using Berry's plated 210 grain bullets....

Of all the 58s I've owned only two didn't shoot to POA. One shot very low and one very left....other than those two the others were spot on...

Bob
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeruns View Post
I found mine at Greentop guns near Richmond, Va about '91 or '92 when stationed @ Quantico.
Was a SFPD revolver, so interesting how it ended up on the east coast only to make it back to Socal with me since '93 and now central TX and maybe home state of MT in near future.
A travelin' 58 I call Buford.
Think it cost me $168 or $188.
greentops is still alive and well...i was there a cpl.weeks ago...they thrive despite having a bass pro shop and gander mountain very close by..i have bought a many a gun from greentops...
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:34 PM
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Mikeruns, I too have on of the S.F.P.D. guns, my only .41 Mag. Serial number on my gun is S259897. Grips don't match so its now wearing a set of Exacutioner's stag grips.
Hi Delta,
I like stag magnas a lot. I do have matching # pc's on mine and the serial is S314148 for comparison.
Good to see so many nice hammers in one place gang

kennyb- it's good to hear that a home grown shop like Greentops' is still humming along. I used to go there and buy stuff and talk to other shooting enthusiasts. Was on the rifle team at Quantico and seemed to always bump into Va state shooters all over the place. The employees there were super good folks.
Best, Mike

Last edited by mikeruns; 01-24-2011 at 06:48 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:48 PM
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Greentop was one of my go to shops when we lived in Woodbridge VA. It always had stuff for the shooter. We also did a lot of shooting at the NRA range in Fairfax, a really world class shooting facility.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:34 PM
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Good start guys....I know there are more potential members out there!
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:13 PM
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The 58 is on my short list to buy. One day.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:14 PM
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The 58 is on my short list to buy. One day.
I know how it is....I looked around for a long time before I found my first one, but the second was close behind....I have to hold off buying any more 58's or my wife will think that I have some sort of disorder and we all end up on an episode of ***arders'

Keep your eyes open, they are out there!
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:55 PM
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That 58 looks real familiar , cept now it has a Tyler.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:59 PM
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That 58 looks real familiar , cept now it has a Tyler.
Actually Mike,

Since the nickle brother found some period correct PC magnas, the 'Rough & Tumble Ranch Rider' now sports those Stags that Patrick so kindly whittled up for me....maybe another photo shoot is in order
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:41 PM
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This is my 3rd 58, ended up trading them off the last one I had was just 204 numbers off this one. This one also had a LEO flyer in the box I have never seen before. The grips are numbered but not to the gun.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:07 PM
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I too was botten by the 58 bug. Both of mine came from south Fl but were never lettered. Both are blue and one acually wears the original grips.
I must disagree ref the weapons potential as a duty weapon. For my last four years I carried a S&W 625 .45 acp as we were not authorized to carry Glocks at that time or that would have been my choice of carry. The N frame isn't too heavy for officers as a rule or difficult to shoot if properly trained. That may be the issue. Training is money and cities and counties dont have it. The other issue with the .41 mag was the ammunition. When it came out you did not have the array of usefull choices you have today.
Times have changed and if I were not retired I doubt I would carry a revolver as a primary duty sidearm for acouple of reasons. Multiple actors, the proliferation of semiautomatic weapons in the hands of said actors, speed of the reload, and of course magazine capacity. Yes, it does matter. I will work on pictures fellas and gals.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:34 PM
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I am a proud member as well. My 58 has been posted in a lot of threads, but I have to say that I do enjoy carrying my 58 on the job, with it's grip adapter and Grashorn stag stocks...makes a great carry piece for a Georgia Sheriff
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:25 PM
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S prefix 58 with Herretts Jordan Troopers. I've never been a fan of fixed sight full sized guns...fine on snubbies but always liked adjustable sights. This was THE gun that broke that tradition.

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Old 02-15-2011, 11:53 PM
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This is my S-series blue Model 58. The diamond targets were on it when I bought it. It is now wearing a set of diamond Magna grips with a polished Tyler T-grip. Yup...just a totally useless "cult gun" (according to at least one regular here) but I like it anyway.

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Old 02-16-2011, 08:33 AM
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I'll join the "club". I bought this one day while I was in between dental appointments and just killing time by hitting a few pawnshops. I only had about thirty minutes left and decided that was plenty of time to hit that pawnshop I've never found anything worthwhile in before. And there on the bottom shelf, the most dirty 58 you've ever saw was piled up with some model 10's.Being pushed for time I just did a quick function check and started the paperwork.When I got home I started cleaning it up and looking closely at the nickel. So far ,so good. Then I took off the grips and my heart got broke, perfect finish everywhere except under here. Anyway, it's a great shooter and I really like it.It now sports a gold Tyler T with the original grips.
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:07 PM
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Back in the day had several 58's, went to therapy and now am down to 5 One converted to 44mag and one converted to 45ACP of which are the most accurate revolvers i have shot. have 2 SAPD (San Antonio, TX)
Pic of one SAPD. one of which is armoloyed finish.
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:39 AM
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I will be re-applying for membership shortly. I got kicked out when I sold mine. Should be here in a few days....
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:43 AM
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Some people always want to argue with me when I suggest the 58 didn't work well for its intended purpose.

I guess I'm wrong. The 58 was the perfect law enforcement weapon. Most officers found its weight a dream to pack. They also found the reach to the trigger to be quite manageable, even by cops with small hands. The recoil was but a mere slap on the palm. That's why it was a raging success, adopted by many, many departments and proved to be the biggest seller in S&W history as it is so versatile as a sporting pistol.

Oh, wait...
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
Some people always want to argue with me when I suggest the 58 didn't work well for its intended purpose.

I guess I'm wrong. The 58 was the perfect law enforcement weapon. Most officers found its weight a dream to pack. They also found the reach to the trigger to be quite manageable, even by cops with small hands. The recoil was but a mere slap on the palm. That's why it was a raging success, adopted by many, many departments and proved to be the biggest seller in S&W history as it is so versatile as a sporting pistol.

Oh, wait...
C'mon now....we have heard your complaints before, but I think that you are merely jealous because you don't have one yet ....as a gesture of loving acceptance, I will kindly offer you the ability to try one or two before you whine about all that you don't like....Come on down, and I will ensure that you have the opportunity to run 1-200 rounds through and see if you still want to whine
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:25 AM
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I will be re-applying for membership shortly. I got kicked out when I sold mine. Should be here in a few days....
Welcome back into the fold brother....can't wait to see the photos when you get her home....and a range report will solidify your position here Did you get the one that was listed in the classifieds?
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:49 AM
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I'll soon be joining the club I just purchased this 58. I haven't received it yet. It seems to be factory nickel. It is stamped with a large "N" on the rear of the cylinder. I like guns with a little character. Even more if they've earned it on my own hip.

I've always liked 58's. I just wish they were .44's, either special or magnum. I have to add another caliber to my handloading supplies now.

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Old 02-19-2011, 01:14 PM
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I love my 58, I have coveted one for years. I like the weight, the heft, and the clean lines. However, I would be VERY UNLIKELY to issue them to everyone who works for me...while no handgun is a one size fits all solution, many others are better in that application for LEO duty use than the 58
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:47 PM
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SAFireman- Please refer to post #4. I've had a 58 for 22 years and I am quite familiar with this model.

I offer no complaints only opinions and fact. In my opinion the 58 is not particularly well suited for any particular purpose. There is nothing it can do that another gun can't do better. It is a fact that as a LE weapon it was a failure.

Its short production run and low popularity causing small numbers to be manufactured makes it interesting to collectors. Many like it because it was a failure. Hence the cult label.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:10 PM
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Well, I'll add my 2 cents worth: like SaxonPig, I really can't figure out a serious use for the 58. That said, after playing with my Dad's for a few years, I bought a very nice one off a table at a San Antonio show a few years back for $300 OTD. That, after searching for a reasonably priced sample for quite some time. It needed the proper stocks, which were acquired locally. It simply has an aura of business, sort of like a 1917. I reload for both 58s and they shoot much better than they should. In fact, I recently bought a few NIP Safariland speedloaders for N-framed .41s while rooting through the back room of an Edmonton, AB gunshop while on a layover. No doubt--I'm keeping mine, mainly because it's cool!

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Old 02-19-2011, 06:31 PM
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....this one is going through the adoption process now.....

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y25...rambler/_4.jpg
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:36 PM
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A serious use for a S&W #58? This one goes with me when I pick black berries in the north Georgia mountains.

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Old 02-19-2011, 08:29 PM
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Perhaps I should have clarified for those that like to argue that an N frame/Model 58 is not suiteable for a lawmans work tool. It isn't for real policemen anyhow.
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:49 AM
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No photo but last year, I picked up a S.F.P.D. Model 58 revolver from a retired S.F.P.D. officer. He was also selling his off-duty handgun, a S & W Model 39-2 9mm L. I didn't want to break up the set up so both of them came home with me. They will have a place on honor in my collection and I won't be selling them off..... The one strange thing was that they also came with an extra set of N frame Target Grips that are still marked with the SFPD tag on them......
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAFireman View Post
Welcome back into the fold brother....can't wait to see the photos when you get her home....and a range report will solidify your position here Did you get the one that was listed in the classifieds?
Yes....that's the one
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:00 PM
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Default My one and only

This is the only one I have picke it up 7 years ago for a good price. The load I finally worked out for it 215 gr. swc 7.5 gr. unique.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:30 AM
charlie sherrill charlie sherrill is offline
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I went to a show a few weeks ago intending to buy a "S" series 58 that I had talked to the seller about a few days before the show. I had seen the gun before and he had come down to $650. I intended to buy the gun when I got there but he had just sold it even though I told him I was coming to get it. "I didn't know if you were gonna show up" was his excuse. He also had a nice T-series High Power for $600 that I bought instead. I took this to show to my friend and fellow forum member Hoot and he said "Did you bring this to trade for the nickel 58?" Huh? "What nickel 58?" I showed him the High Power and he showed me the 95% plus nickel 58 and I gave him $50 and the High Power and took the nickel 58 home. Stranger things have happened. I still have my old SAPD 58 also. I just wish I hadn't sold the 58 I carried back in the late 60's and early seventies when I walked the beat. Weight didn't matter back then.
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