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  #1  
Old 04-14-2011, 03:14 PM
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Default 357: K vs N Frame

Ok, I'm on the hunt for my next revolver. Finding that Model 36 last month didn't kill the itch.

I'd like to add a 357 to my collection. I have 2 38's, so a 357 could share ammo with the other revolvers. One is a Model 10 with a 5" barrel and the other is a Model 36 with the snub nose barrel. I think I'll look for a 357 with a 5" barrel.

From Supica, I narrowed it down to a K-frame Model 19 or an N-frame Model 27 (or 28). I'd like to hear from people who have shot both: is there a big difference between the two in your hand? Is the K-frame 357 riskier because of the smaller frame?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:15 PM
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if you insist on a 5in barrel it'll have to be a M27
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:18 PM
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yes there is a difference in hand between the N and K

No need to worry about the 357 in the K frame.....unless you've just ran out of things to worry about.

I'd suggest you do what most everybody else on here has done........buy several of both sizes
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:47 PM
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Below is a picture of three SB frame sizes for a 357 Mag. They look very alike until the obvious differences like cylinders are compared closely.

Your best option for comparison is to go to a favorite gun shop or gun show so you can handle all three frames. Everyone has their own preferences based on their likes and needs. Ya just can't make a bad choice with S&W...



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Old 04-14-2011, 03:51 PM
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I have both K and N frame 357 magnums, model 19's, model 27's and 28's.

The only difference between the model 28 and 27 is the finish and checkered top strap and barrel rib. I like both models very well. My favorite is the 3.5 inch model 27.
If you are set on a 5 inch barrel it will have to be a model 27. I have one of those as well and it shoots and handles great.

Shooting 357 full power loads out of an N frame is not bad as the gun is rather heavy. You will notice recoil more from a K frame with full loads.
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggaffney View Post
Ok, I'm on the hunt for my next revolver. Finding that Model 36 last month didn't kill the itch.

I'd like to add a 357 to my collection. I have 2 38's, so a 357 could share ammo with the other revolvers. One is a Model 10 with a 5" barrel and the other is a Model 36 with the snub nose barrel. I think I'll look for a 357 with a 5" barrel.

From Supica, I narrowed it down to a K-frame Model 19 or an N-frame Model 27 (or 28). I'd like to hear from people who have shot both: is there a big difference between the two in your hand? Is the K-frame 357 riskier because of the smaller frame?

Thanks for your help.
I know it's not what you asked, but maybe an L Frame would be a good compromise. With the same grip frame as the K, it would probably be more comfortable for most people (including myself) than the N Frame, while providing a stronger platform.
Chris
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
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I know it's not what you asked, but maybe an L Frame would be a good compromise. With the same grip frame as the K, it would probably be more comfortable for most people (including myself) than the N Frame, while providing a stronger platform.
Chris
This.

If you are buying it to shoot magnums, naturally the N frames will be your most durable models. The L frames were designed to overcome some problems that may or may not occur from feeding a K frame a steady diet of magnums. The L frame cylinder is just about the same as the Colt Python which is more robust than a K frame (frame structure- wise) and the speedloaders for the six-shooters fit either the L frame or the Colt.

As far as grip size, the L frames utilize K frame grip dimensions and the N's are slightly larger. I am one of the few who apparently doesn't mind shooting magnums through my N frames with the standard checkered target grips. The 41's and 44's are another story, but I don't have large hands and the factory grips have always worked for me with the three five sevens.
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:32 PM
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i have all 3 sizes (k,l,n) and i must say i like the l frame the best, it just fits my hand better
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:39 PM
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I'm a big fan of the N frames for Magum rounds and the Model 28-2 in 4 inch is a great revolver and is virtually the same as the 27-2 except for the flat blue finish, no top strap checkering, and the 4 inch 27-2 is a fairly rare revolverand much more expensive.

All that said you can't go wrong with a 586/686 series as the L frame is also a great choice.
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:49 PM
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I think it comes down, in part, to what you plan to do with the gun. Punch holes in paper, concealed carry, home defense? Hunting maybe, or tackle box gun? There are just so many good reasons to have more different guns!
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:57 PM
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My advice is to try all three size frames. The K,L and N. I have all three of them. Depending on the size of your hands this will help you choose the revolver that feel good to you and you can shoot well. While the N frame is the most comfortable shooting 357s if you have small hands you might have trouble with reaching the trigger. I do because I have very small hands. The L frame does have the same grip size as the K frame but with the full underlug the revolver tends to be muzzle heavy. I shoot the K frame magnum the best. But that does not mean its the best revolver. That depends on you. Again, try them all.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:08 PM
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Good advice here.

The best advice though.................buy,or plan on buying all three frame sizes...........you're gonna want to do it anyway!!!

Seriously, the K-Frame have a bonafied history of SOME revolvers splitting the forcing cones with use of full-house 125 grain .357 Magnum loads. BUT, a lot have not and some judicious shooters stick with 158 grain and 140 grain loads.

The L-Frames handle excellent and will handle any safe .357 Magnum load.

The N-Frames handle well also but some folks with smaller hands go for smaller sized grips. Of course the N-Frames will also handle any save .357 magnum loads as well.

Recoil of full-house .357 loads in a K-Frame revolver will be more pronounced than in the other two. But it can be learned to handle it well.

I own all three frame sizes and have yet to decide on a favorite. However for all around "field" use I do lean towards the L-Frames.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:44 PM
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A 581 is a nice package.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:08 PM
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Presently, I own four .357s, two Ns and two Ks (4" 27, 6" 28, 4" 66, and 2 1/2" 19). In my opinion there are very significant differences between the Ns and the Ks. The Ns are much bulkier and heavier guns than the Ks. They are superior at absorbing recoil for that reason. Shooting 158gr. Magnums through my 28 is a snap, I barely notice the gun's recoil. My wife, who shies away from any gun that "hurts her hand" loves firing magnums from my 28. I find that Ns can be fired very accurately partly because recoil is not an issue. Muzzle rise is less with an N than with a lighter gun and, thus, it's easier to get an N back on target after a round is fired.

But, Ns have their disadvantages, too. Their bulk, which is a big asset when dealing with recoil, makes them ungainly and awkward to carry. Strap an N on your hip and you'll feel it quickly. Walking around with one of those all day long would be quite wearing. I've carried my 4" 27 for short periods. An hour or two is all I can take before the discomfort associated with lugging that mass becomes unpleasant. Another disadvantage with the Ns is that the trigger is, in my opinion, inherently heavier on an N than on a lighter gun. Stands to reason, rotating the cylinder while the trigger is drawn back requires much greater inertia to overcome due to the mass of the N-frame cylinder.

My Ks are relatively light and, because they are light, they constitute true carry options. As I type this I'm wearing my 19. I can carry that gun all day long without discomfort. My Ks have better triggers than my Ns, for the reason that I discussed (less mass in the cylinder).

But, they also have their disadvantages. One definitely feels the recoil associated with firing magnums through a K. 15-20 rounds is the maximum my hand and wrist will take from firing either my 66 or my 19. One problem associatedwith firing magnums through a K is that the muzzle flip produced by the round makes it difficult to quickly reacquire the target. I can shoot my Ns for accuracy, using magnums, much more rapidly than I can my Ks, also shooting magnums.

I've had to make a compromise in order to carry one of these revolvers. My primary carry piece is my 19. I carry strictly .38 Special with this gun. Yes, it has the potential for firing magnums. But, it wouldn't be practical for me to carry magnum rounds in this gun for defense. First, the 2 1/2" barrel isn't going to allow magnums to acquire nearly their peak velocity. Much energy will be dissapated as a consequence of the short barrel. Second, the recoil is so much that reacquiring the target firing magnums would be difficult.

What you choose ultimately depends on how you intend to use the gun. For range work and, perhaps, hunting, I'd go with the N. For carry, a K, hands down.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:16 PM
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To carry alot, a K-frame. Best bang for the buck, M-28!
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:10 PM
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For packing a K frame is best.

For shooting the N frame is best.

Bear in mind that all L frames are post P&R if this matters to you.
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
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A 581 is a nice package.
DW
That one's on my list!
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:47 PM
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The 19 and 27's are both classic S&W's. I am partial to the 27 but you might want to "feel" both in your hands. If you like the 19 and will settle for a 4" barrel, try to find one with a pinned barrel and recessed cylinder. (sometime after 19-2 they were no longer available but don't have the book in front of me). Similarly for a 27. Some would say every loyal S&W enthusiast should have an example of Bill Jordan's gun in his/her collection. Kind of a toss up best resolved by your personal shooting preference. Ed
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:39 PM
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Since you already have a J-frame Model 36, and a K-frame Model 10 in .38 S&W Special caliber, your next acquisition ought to be an N-frame in .38/.357 as well. I'd go with nicest Model 27 you can afford, unless you happen upon a Model 28 in like new condition. Both the 27 and 28 are true classics and you cannot go wrong with either one.
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:16 PM
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Damn ya'll make a fella want to spend some money. Here I was happy with my K frame.
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Old 04-15-2011, 05:25 PM
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IMO N frames are great guns, K frames are great guns, and the L frame is probably the best compromise possible between the two. They will handle heavy use at the range like a N and carry closer to a K, get the one that feels best in your hand and don't look back, I promise you will end up getting more. Welcome to the addiction
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Old 04-19-2011, 06:53 PM
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Well, this sure has generated a lot of interest. I set it up so that I got a digest in my mail box, and the messages just kept flooding in! Thanks for all the input, you guys.

Yes, it's true that the best solution would be to buy one each of the different 357 frames: K, L and N. However, money is not water and I have to limit my choice to one. I already have a K-frame, so I think I'll settle on the N-frame. Either a Mod 27 or 28. I have largish hands so the larger grips will work for me.

This is just a target gun. I don't carry and I don't hunt. But, I certainly appreciate a well-made wheel gun!
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:50 PM
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I have both. My K frame is an old pinned & recessed model 19 blue 4". My N frame is an old pinned & recessed model 27-2 blue with the 8 & 3/8 inch barrel. It is the most accurate revolver I have ever fired. It makes my old long barreled Colt Python look bad. In my humble opinion the Smith & Wesson model 27 is the finest .357 mag. revolver ever made ! I am talking about the 27-2 models and older.
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:56 PM
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Since you decided on a N frame 357 and money is not water I would opt for an Model 28-2 with pinned barrel and recessed cylinders and the reason is they are about $200 to $250 cheaper in the same condition and barrel length. The 27-2 is drop dead beautiful so only you can decide but the 28-2 is a real work horse. Be advised the 6 inch 28-2 is slighter cheaper then the 4 inch 28-2 but in the model 27 -2 the 3.5 inch and 4 inch are both very costly revolvers and the 4 inch is rarer then the 3.5 inch.

27-2 6 inch

28-2 6 inch

Last edited by fyimo; 04-19-2011 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:03 PM
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Do you plan to shoot single action or double action? Might consider that the trigger in the 28-2 is typically a narrow grooved trigger, the trigger in the 27 is often the wider grooved target trigger (I don't care for that myself), and the trigger in at least my 686-3 is the smooth narrow trigger (I like that one the best). I am sure there are exceptions and variations and if this is important to you, others can advise better.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:01 PM
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Lightbulb KT-357 vs NT-357

One thing to consider that hasn't been brought up... The 19/66 has a longer cylinder than the 27/28. This fact will allow you a certain amount of additional flexibility when loading heavier, longer bullets such as the Keith / Lyman 358429.

I wouldn't worry about longevity. The KT-357 will likely out last you.

This PD trade in 66 has a documented round count of over 10,000 rnds of Federal 125 Grn. JHP's.



I knew the Officer that carried it, and that it was above average in accuracy so I held it back for myself when it came in for trade against SiG226s.



I replaced the hand and cylinder stop when I round butted it, and have shot another 1,000 or so rounds through it since...

Drew
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  #27  
Old 04-20-2011, 11:04 AM
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Since you have decided on N Frame, your choice is looks vs. $$ on the 27 or 28. If you are really set on the 5" barrel you have only the 27 (or a cut 28) you will also pay a premium for the 5". Check some of the completed auctions for "going" prices. You will love the trigger of an older N frame. 27's are works of art IMHO.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Yes, it's true that the best solution would be to buy one each of the different 357 frames: K, L and N. However, money is not water and I have to limit my choice to one. I already have a K-frame, so I think I'll settle on the N-frame. Either a Mod 27 or 28. I have largish hands so the larger grips will work for me.

This is just a target gun. I don't carry and I don't hunt. But, I certainly appreciate a well-made wheel gun!
sounds like a 6 inch Model 28 would fit the bill very well...
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:01 PM
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That settles it. I'm on the hunt for a Model 28. I'll research the 4" vs. 6" question.

Oh, did I mention that I live in the great state of California? The State maintains a list of "approved" handguns that have been submitted by (only) the mfr for certain tests. Only the newer handguns end up on this list. That's why new S&W revolvers have the locking key. If a handgun is not on the approved list, a FFL cannot sell it to a California resident unless he (the resident) is an LEO.

What this means is that I have to search for a PPT in my driving radius. The seller and I have to agree on a FFL to handle the tansfer. Usually, the seller wants to use a dealer close to him, so I end up driving. I drove 60 miles each way (twice) to pick up my Model 36. My usual search radius is 100 miles.

With the recent election of Jerry Brown as Governor and Kamala Harris, the ex-DA for San Francisco, as Atty General, firearms laws in California will only get worse. Every year in the Legislature, some member will come up with a new, hair-brained idea to limit gun ownership. I'm afraid that, if I don't find the pistol this year, I might not be able to buy one next year.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now and go back to trolling GunBroker, AuctionArms and CalGuns.net
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:34 PM
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examples of J,K,N frames:



a J is to a K, as the K is to the N size wise.... is that clear as mud?

From a J to a k is a big jump.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:50 PM
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N-Frames are perfect for open holster carry, or as range guns. LEO's seemed to love their 6" 28's. They are more durable and nearly indestructible in their .357 chamberings. It takes quite a bit to shoot a 27 or 28 loose.

K-frames are the perfect all-around utility guns, IMO they are not suited to constant use with .357 for those versions, but with .38's are the best all purpose size and last a long, long time if used reasonably. I conceal carry a 4" M10 HB with no problem, I like having that 6th shot and longer barrel for added velocity, over my Model 60 1 7/8".
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:12 PM
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My opinion only, FWIW, N frame caliber should begin with a "4". L frame is perfect for 357 Magnum, K frame is for 38 Spl, +P 38 Spl, & occasional use of 357 Mag.
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jggaffney View Post
That settles it. I'm on the hunt for a Model 28. I'll research the 4" vs. 6" question.
A couple of months ago, I purchased a 28-2 with a 4" barrel and target stocks. I probably paid a premium for it, but it's in near perfect condition, with the box and papers. Not unfired, but very good.



Last week I found another one, this one with a couple of scratches, six inch barrel, and Magna stocks. Sorry, no pictures at this time, it's still on layaway. It's a nice looking gun, and mechanically tight as a tick. No box or papers. It had a considerable lower price, but I'm sure the prices I pay here in Virginia will be of no help in California.

If I was going to pick one barrel length, I'd take the four inch. They just look "right" to me. The longer barrel gun always look muzzle heavy. They're not really, they just look it.

I don't shoot many magnum rounds. Actually none. Arthritus in my hands and wrists, so I limit my ammo choices pretty much to wadcutters and 158 gr LRN ammo these days. With any of the N frame guns, recoil doesn't seem to much more than with a 22.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:32 PM
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I've owned K, L and N frame .357's. I sold a model 28 to buy a model 19, twenty five years later I bought another model 28.

Had one L frame, the 686+ with 2" barrel if I recall.

Hands down, my favorite is the K frame. No other revolver fits my hand as well as the K frame or points so naturally to the target.

I've owned 3 model 28's, 1 model 27, 3 model 19's and 1 model 66. The 66 is staying, I won't part with it, I like it as much as I ever liked the 19.

The model 19 is a light weight gun designed to be carried all day long where the 28 gets heavy for me after awhile.

The L frame? Well, I'm not a fan after owning the K frame. It just seems bulkier than I want to carry.
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:52 PM
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..............
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:58 PM
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N frames are the best fit for my hand
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:53 PM
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I have 2 model 19's a 2 1/2 inch and a 6 inch love them both, just aquired a model 28 with a 6 inch aswell that I had to have. I consider my 19's my Sunday guns and the 28 my working 6 day a week gun if that makes sence the little Model 19 loves the Sundays.
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:17 PM
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My favorite is the K frame, but I am a novice here.
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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 Thread, 357: K vs N Frame in Smith & Wesson Revolvers; Ok, I'm on the hunt for my next revolver. Finding that Model 36 last month didn't kill the itch. I'd ...
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