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Old 01-07-2013, 04:11 AM
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Default School me on Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum models please

Greetings all,

Four or so years ago, I posted a thread saying
Information Sought re: My Daddy's .357 Magnum (6 pics)



And then later, I posted another thread asking for help learning what S&W models there were out there chambered in .32 H&R Magnum, and received great help, that lead me to purchasing a pair of 431PDs, which I love!

But all in all, I long for more revolvers. Lots of semi-auto pistols. Way too few revolvers.

And lately I've been feeling the need for a .357 Magnum.
But I can't be dragging my Dad's Combat Magnum around, a pre-model number Combat Magnum with a very early s/n.

So I need to get one of my own, but again a-l-l the model numbers!!!
Was hoping my post here might help me get my mind around the .357 Magnum model numbers, and also just hear which ones you guys really LIKE.

I think I've got an idea of the basic structure, did it go something like:

S&W's N frame was really too big for the .357 Magnum (Bill Jordan thought so anyway)
So they built a beefed up K frame in .357 Magnum, which everybody loved!
But maybe it really wasn't purely up to that load, over time anyway. (???)
So they came up with the L frame, which was in between the K and the N.

So, the history went:
Pre 55 big N frame .357 with no model number, later became the Model 27.
The Highway Patrolman was a Model 27 with less polish and cheaper grips, etc., and got the number Model 28.
Then they came out with the Combat Magnum in the new K frame.
Which later became the Model 19.
Then when they came out with the L frame, is this what the Models 581/586 and 681/686 are?


So that's about what I know. (if that's correct)
Which means I don't know what a model 66 is.
Or a model 327?
Or even if everything in the above paragraphs is correct.

So can y'all take over from here.
1- correct my errors.
2-and add what I'm missing, other .357 models?
3- AND TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE S&W .357 MODELS, AND WHY


I will add only this:
1- I don't want a snubbie in .357 For that caliber, I think I (me) would want a little more gun. A 4" barrel I'm thinking? 5" ? :-)
2- This isn't carved in stone, but I'm really "seeing" this gun in something "silver". Nickel? Or stainless steel? (which then I might polish up to a nickely shine? or... would you guys ban me if I did that????)

Thanks,

JamesD
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Last edited by JamesD; 01-07-2013 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:56 AM
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A Model 66 is a stainless combat magnum/model 19. Generally, any model number beginning with 6 will indicate a stainless gun.

Then the 327, this is a scandium frame gun. These are lightweight framed revolvers. Probably not what you want, as I think they are mostly snub nosed guns. If not all of them.

The 19 or 66 will be easy to find in 4 inch, but not so in 5 inch.

The 586 and 686 might be what you want to be looking at. In particular, the 686 is going to be the easiest to find in a 5 inch barrel. But even with this model, 4 or 6 inch are far more common. Some of the 686s have 7 shot cylinders, which is called a 686-plus.
Some people choose to polish their stainless guns. Each to their own. Just don't go out and stumble on some special ordered, factory 5 inch 66, and polish it. Too many of us would die of heart attacks if you did. Stick with a 686 or a 4 inch 66 if you want to polish it.
If you want to shoot a lot of magnum ammunition, stick to the 586 or 686. If most of your plinking will be done using 38 Special ammunition, with the magnums being reserved for carry and home defense, etc., then the 66 can fill the bill nicely. But it's probably not a good idea to do a lot of shooting using full power loads with a 66. So goes the trend.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:56 AM
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686 is stainless as noted and sounds like a great choice. There is also the 586, which you can find in nickel. Likewise there is also the Model 13's, K-Frames with fixed sights that can be found in nickel as well, in photo #1. Secondly is the Model 66, in this case a 66-1. I understand your concern for keeping Dad's Model 19 in great shape. So I would personally go with the 66. AND shoot 158 grain bullets with little to no worry. Also, for standard range work I shoot mostly .38 Specials in the 158 grain. I sent a PM to you as well on this.



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Old 01-07-2013, 08:42 AM
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The 580/680 guns are the L frames, fixed sight with a 1 at the end and adjustable (like your Combat Magnum) with a 6.

At the small end, there are .357 J frames, smaller than the K; many find these unpleasant to fire with full loads.

For a factory 5" gun, the model 27 (which can be found in nickel) or stainless 627, the J frame model 60, and a limited number of 686s.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:04 PM
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I recently picked up an older 686 (stainless) with a 4" barrel. I've put 150 rounds through it so far (38 Special, 38 Special +P and 357 Magnum). This is my first handgun but strongly feel I made the right choice for my purposes. Those purposes being home defense, shooting range fun, a car "glove-box" gun and backup while hunting. I may decide to carry it occassionally in the future but it's honestly a bit large for every day carry in my opinion.

Shooting 357 is "entertaining" but will likely stick with 38 rounds for most practice shooting as they are much cheaper and easier on the hands. I'll add that after shooting several rounds of 357 through the 686, I wouldn't want to consider shooting this round through a smaller gun...at least on a frequent basis. One last word; love the look of the stainless not to mention the more-forgiving maintenance on it. I keep my guns pretty clean but its nice to know the stainless is more resilient to the elements.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:12 PM
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There are the new 627's and 327's as well. These are N frame guns with 8 shot cylinders. The 627 can be had in 5 or 4 inch lengths the 327 I think are only 5 inch. As a bonus they use full moon clips which aid in reloading speed and keep you from needing speed loaders.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:25 PM
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Let's not forget about the model 65.

Capable of shooting magnums, but as others have suggested, I would recommend reduced load magnums or 38 specials. The beauty of reloading allows you to customize what you are shooting and not limiting yourself to either factory magnums or factory 38 specials. I like to load 38spl+p power factor rounds in 357 mag casings, eliminating that annoying carbon ring you get shooting 38spl's in 357 cylinders.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:05 PM
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The .357 Magnum is a very versatile cartridge. The revolvers were made in all four of the standard frame sizes. The fact you can shoot .38 Specials in them is another plus.
You mention the N-Frame as being too big for the .357. I disagree. Yes, it is pretty big, but not all that big. I bought an IWB N-Frame holster from LOBO and I carry a 4" M28-2 in total comfort.
If you just want a shooter the N-Frames are great. The M28 is the less expensive version of the M27, which has a better finish and checkering on the topstrap. Mechanically they are identical. They will probably outlast you.
The L-Frames are basically a stronger, slightly larger K-Frame, made to fire the .357 Magnum. The fixed sight ones are the M581 in blued and nickle and the M681 in stainless. Adjustable sight versions are the M586 and M686.
The K-Frames are no longer made in .357, but they are readily available used. The M13 and M65 are fixed sight guns and the M19 and M66 are adjustable. You should avoid a steady diet of 125 grain loads in the K-Frames, but 158 grain loads should keep it running for a long time.

There are a few I didn't mention,like the M520, a fixed sight N-Frame that was only produced for a short while and is very scarce. Also the J-Frames, but they are better for concealed carry.

Go ahead and try as many as you can. They are addictive.
Jim
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:23 PM
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Hi, James! That combat magnum is a fine gun, and I don't blame you for not wanting to use it for every day. If weight is an issue for you, you might consider a different Kframe as others have suggested. The Lframe is supposed to be the perfect balance but I honestly prefer an Nframe for shooting full magnum loads. With the proper holster they can be concealed (I carry in a Simply Rugged pancake). As far as aesthetics go, the 5" 27 is unsurpassed. If you are looking for shiney, go with a nickel one, and add a nice set of Kurac ebony grips. Just thinking about that makes me a little woozy!!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:32 AM
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Hey folks.

Thanks for all the replies.
LOTS of information which deserves proper appreciation.

But today twas a hard day for me.

Give me a day or two to cypher it all.
When I do I will return and would like to bounce my "next level of understanding" off of you.

Hope you will keep tabs on the thread for Round 2.

Best regards,

JamesD
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:22 AM
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Hi all,

I really appreciate EVERYBODY's talking with me about the Smith .357 magnums.

I began to understand a bit about the "breed" from all the comments.
I don't know that I had really decided on ONE particular model to focus on to go after.

But what I did have was enough overview to recognize something when it fell right in front of me.

Here's my new acquisition- a stainless 4" model 65-2:



It's a shooter.
I don't know if you can tell by the picture, but it's got a tiny ding here, some fine abrasion there.

But the price was right.
And a shooter was what I was after.
So I'm happy as a clam.

So many things about this revolver are just right for me and my plans for it:
- I love the stainless
- no rear sight is perfect for this gun
- my long fingers fall just perfect around the K frame

It's not my Daddy's Combat Magnum (scroll up) but this one is MINE.
Haven't shot her yet, but I will soon.

Much obliged everyone,

JamesD

P.S. On the evening I bought it, my first intent was to get me some nice wood grips (which I have always quite preferred) for it.
Probably right along the lines of Quakertown's 65-3.
And I probably will.
But, man, these Hogue's are ridiculously comfortable just to grip.
I gotta imagine for shooting they would be the cat's meow!
Decisions, decisions.

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Old 02-04-2013, 06:34 AM
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Good choice, congrats! Those hogue's do have a reputation of retaining moisture though, so take them off occasionally for a thorough cleaning.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quakertown View Post
Good choice, congrats! Those hogue's do have a reputation of retaining moisture though, so take them off occasionally for a thorough cleaning.
Quakertown,

a) Thanks for the heads up about the Hogues.
I can certainly see that, now that you mention it.
Don't know that I would have thought of it right away myself though.

b) Can't tell in your picture of your 65-3 what's the gun and what's the light and the photograph.
Is it polished up?
If so, any comments or tips?

James
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:28 AM
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Yes, it's polished. When I bought it, previous owner must have believed cleaning was an option, an option he declined. After a thorough cleaning, the light scratches and mars were a bit too obvious, so I decided to polish it bright. Mothers Mag polish and alot of elbow grease. I also finished it up with Renasaince wax to help keep it that way.
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