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Old 11-17-2010, 10:20 AM
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Smile The Best Target .38/.357 S&W revolver ?

Well here is something I wish to purchase if I can. What were/are the best .38/.357 target use revolvers made by Smith? I wish to shoot the revolver in slow, standing, bulls eye shooting. I know I may get different opinions but that is how one learns.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:27 AM
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Well I would have to say any of the model 14s for .38 and I was looking at a 19-4 the other day with a 6in barrel w/ patridge sights that I would think would be the ticket for .357
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:30 AM
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Revolvers are considered old school in Bullseye now, but my 8" Model 14 is still as accurate as ever. I use home cast 148gr wadcutters over 3gr of HP38/231.

Now that IDPA/SSR is so popular, I would be remiss not to mention the 4" Model 686 SSR for revolver target shooting of a different sort.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:31 AM
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I shot a 6" single action 14 .38spl for the first time last week, my shootin buddy picked it up at a pawn shop for $450 in great shape. The best shooting revo I've ever shot.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:35 AM
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If you're limiting your marksmanhip to .38 caliber, then the Model 14 is considered the paradigm of Smith's target revolvers. There are lots of used ones out there, and they're inherently accurate. Trigger jobs, tuning, and stocks replacement enhance the revolver's performance.

Personally, I would avoid a .357 magnum, since the extra bullet jump distance in the cylinder can contribute to inaccuracy. However, you can put .38 special loads in .357 magnum cases to avoid this.

However, you shouldn't limit yourself to only S&W. One of the best target revolvers out there is the Colt Officer's Match Model. It has a slightly larger frame, and it's the basis (I Frame) for the Colt Python.

The two revolvers have completely different lock-up styles, so you should look at both to see which suits your shooting style best.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:01 AM
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Model 14 or a 686, in that order .
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:03 AM
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If I was looking for a Bullseye revolver right now I'd probably look at one of the .38 special 6" 686s'. They are fairly heavy with their full lug and if that was too much I'd try for a nice used 14.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:51 AM
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I want to thank all who responded. I should have deliniated that If I were to go strictly .357 magnum so as to use the revolver as a non target magnum, and be able to go back and forth as I wish. THEN which model would I choose? If I went with a perfomance series edition would I then be able to forego having it tuned, etc ? Name some models in performance center revolvers and non performance center that I might lean towards. In the present and past.
Thanks ahead of time
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:35 PM
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I'm looking at several guns for my future daughter-in-law to use for training purposes and recreational shooting with a possibility of some close-range whitetail deer hunting in the future. I have narrowed my choices to a 4" 686 or 4" 66 as both are accurate well-made revolvers that can handle all the aforementioned tasks without being excessively heavy.

I shot a 4" Model 19, an 8-3/8" Model 14 and a 6" Python for bullseye shooting and the occasional PPC match back in the 1970s. All three shot well for me; the Python was a slight favorite due to its slicker double action, but as far as bang for the buck goes, any S&W K-frame or L-frame with an adjustable sight would be hard to beat.

Ed
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:43 PM
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also look at the M627 from the performance center...as others have mentioned..the M14 is hard to beat..
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:15 PM
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Model 28 Highway Patrolman with a 6 inch barrel.
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:39 PM
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6 inch model 14

/c
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:24 PM
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As proof I'm getting to be an old geezer and am stuck in the past, if I was going to target shoot with 38 Specials I would look for an Outdoorsman. Weight in the hand to make for a steady hold and the sight radius that comes with a 6.5" N-frame. (smiley face goes here)

Dave
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:28 PM
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You might want to look over this thread.

PPC Revolver Pics

Ken
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:41 PM
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My Model 14 is probably the most accurate revolver I own--over my 686+, 25-2, and K-22 five-screw (1947). Great trigger and just really satisfying to shoot, with 148-gr. wadcutters.

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Old 11-17-2010, 06:44 PM
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IMO, if you want the best accuracy, you're going to have to look for a suspended barrel. That means one of the S&W models with this feature such as the, 620, M&P R8, 386 Light Hunter, or the 327 TRR8.

If you want to look for another brand, try and locate a Dan Wesson revolver, when properly set up and in capable hands, they have a reputation for being capable of 1/2 inch groups at 50 yards. As for why a suspended barrel, in this system the barrel is restrained at two points, the frame at the rear and the end of the barrel at the end of the barrel shroud. This greatly reduces barrel whip due to a bullet transitting the barrel. One plus for the Dan Wesson as opposed to the S&W is that the lock for the cylinder on a Dan Wesson is at the crane, moving the lock point as close to the B/C gap as can be achieved. Which is why S&W has toyed with a detent in the crane on some models over the years. Unfortunately, Dan Wesson revolvers are no longer made, so all you can find is used.

I have the 620 which is fitted with a J Point reflex and from a sandbag rest I've shot a 1.75 inch group at 35 yards with Speer Lawman 125 grain 38 spl. TMJ. This group featured a vertical deviation of 3/8 inch and a horizontal spread of 1.75 inch. I have no doubt that if my release skills were better I could have grouped it under an inch, probably in the range of 5/8 to 7/8 inch. Point is, even with 38 spl. with the right ammo this gun can shoot. BTW, with cheap Federal American Eagle it'll group at 2.25 inch at 35 yards with the spread being mainly vertical. It's a darned shame that Speer stopped making the 125 grain TMJ, I shot my last box getting that 1.75 inch group so now it's back to looking for something else as good. Next up to try is the current Lawman TMJ, a 158 grain in 38 +P.

Now, if you want to use one of the more common models, such as a 686, I would suggest that you go a bit against the common wisdom. From an Engineering standpoint a SHORTER barrel will have less "whip" due to the bullet transitting the barrel. Since optical sights are now permitted in bullseye shooting, there really isn't any advantage to a longer barrel. Reflex sights produce a projected image at a distance equivalent to 40 to 75 yards, so in practice the sight radius equivalent to the distance to the target. So, if you're shooting at 50 yards, you have an effective sight radius of 50 yards. That pretty much negates the advantage a long barrel provides and allows you to use a shorter barrel that is effectively much stiffer. For a 686, my recomendation would be the 3 inch version simply because it will insure a full ejection stroke, however for a pure bullseye gun the 2.5 inch would have a slight advantage in terms of barrel whip.

As for the "bullet jump" when using a 38 spl. in a 357 Magnum chamber, my own experience is that the effect on accuracy is not measurable unless you've got the gun bolted into a machine rest. For me, the 38 spl. is far more accurate because I can't afford to shoot enough 357 Magnum to get my recoil control to the point where I can shoot it well enough for precision. At 35 yards my group sizes nearly triple with the Magnum and it's all due to somewhat poor follow through. I also can't group well at 50 yards because these old eyes don't see the target well enough at that range, however I do have some fun at ranges where I can still see the bullseye.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:24 PM
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They all have their good points. While I could get my 14 to do pretty good, current favorite is the 627 4". Can do 357 or 38, as good a trigger as any Smith out there.

I really like the 8 shot cylinder for other non-bullseye matches.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:04 AM
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A long-action transitional .38/44 Outdoorsman or Model 14SA are my choices !

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Old 11-18-2010, 01:37 AM
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I have a Model 627 (Model of 1989) that is very accurate. It has a 5.5" full lug barrel and round butt finger groove wood grips. The Performance Center still makes this model. I'm sure the PC ones are just as nice, if not nicer, then the one I have.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:24 AM
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I have a K38 with a 6" barrel made in 1952, the same as Model 14 today that is the most accurate hand gun I own.
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Old 11-18-2010, 05:35 PM
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and don't overlook the magnificent 3 5/8" 610!
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:04 PM
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Conventional wisdom says the Model 14, and who can argue with that? Most of them are really accurate with the right load. Mine is.

However ... I have this heavy barrel Model 64, and that gun often outshoots my 6" Model 14, within limits. The limit is about 25 yards. I don't know why, it just does. I used to have fun with it at the range trying to obliterate 5/8" stick on dots at 15 yards. Most of the time it only takes a cylinder full.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:26 PM
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They didn't call it the K-38 Masterpiece fer nutin'!




But then again , my Colt's Officers Model Match and Python are just as accurate
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:15 PM
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I shoot bullseye and have used several guns like models 14,66,686/586 and a Colt Pyhton...all they are very accurate ,just find a good load.....I wish I can find a model 14 full lug.
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Old 11-20-2010, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye Smith View Post
Model 14 or a 686, in that order .
There is nothing to be added to this but that I wholeheartedly agree. My old 14-2 has all target features including the old trigger stop and has won quite a few matches in its day.
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:53 AM
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Lots of great comments on this topic. I would vote for my 15-3 and my 27-2.
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Old 11-20-2010, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
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They didn't call it the K-38 Masterpiece fer nutin'!




But then again , my Colt's Officers Model Match and Python are just as accurate
I'll play, this is my 14-2 and I prefer it over my Python and Colt OMM - it shoots as well as my Korth, better than my K-22, and beats my M19s and for precision even that phantastic 686.

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Old 11-20-2010, 11:51 AM
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I'd vote for a model 14 over just about anything else-and they are usually easier to find cheaper than the magnum models, at least in my neck of the woods. I find it interesting you can find a good used revovler that is bullseye accurate at 50 yards easily for under 500 dollars but to get an auto with equivalent accuracy will cost over a grand
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:43 PM
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Model 14 Target Masterpiece! My friend has a Model 14 no dash that I shot about a year ago. At 20 yards I put the first round dead center in the bullseye. Most accurate revolver I've ever shot. Very highly recommended.
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:21 PM
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Who needs adjustable sights? It's just more complication added to the gun, if S&W did their job at the factory the fixed sight guns are already dead-on.

I won a local "Ham shoot" shooting playing cards at 25 yards with my 64-7, outshot some guys with semi-auto pistols with target sights....granted there were only about 7 people shooting for the ham in that round and I don't think any of them were shooting with any seriousness to actually win........ but my "inaccurate fixed sight" lowly .38 came through for me. Hey the guy with the wheelgun with the broken off rear sight won! hahaha

I have a 10-5 6" that will shoot circles around pretty much anything I've got with adjustable sights.......and yes, it even hangs in there with my 8 3/8" Model 14. Not many would believe how truly tight this gun shoots with plain ole' 158 gr. LRN unless I let them shoot it themselves, but this gun was built right back in '74! It's the gun I use to prove the "fixed sights are no good for accuracy" people wrong, DEAD wrong! Many have eaten these words with tabasco on top after I posted pics and videos of what this 10-5 can do at 50-100 yards. I set it up for SA shooting because frankly none of my other iron-sight revolvers can touch it for accuracy. The only revolvers that shoot better are those with scopes on them.......

I just got back from shooting my 10-14 with 130 gr. +P at 50 yards out in the backyard, put a group on a silhouette target that most would swear came out of a 6" 586 or something like that.

Last edited by stantheman86; 11-20-2010 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:31 PM
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I shot a lot of bullseye and PPC back in the 70's and I'd agree that between the 6" K-38, the Colt OMM or Python...One would have a hard time being able to shoot as well as they were capable.


FN in MT
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steady View Post
What were/are the best .38/.357 target use revolvers made by Smith?..I know I may get different opinions but that is how one learns.
There probably aren't any bad answers here. My personal favorite is the Performance Center 627.
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:13 PM
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My first 2 guns 30 years ago were a 6" Model 14 and a 6" Model 17. When my wife and I split she kept those and I kept the 7 1/4" Hi Standard Trophy Citation and the Model 52-2. A couple of years later I bought a 6" 617 and a 6" 686, which I still have. The 686 has the best trigger that I have ever felt on a revolver. I load 3.5 gr of Bullseye behind a 158 gr SWC in a 357 case for the 686 as well as the 148 gr DEWC in 38 Spl cases. I have recently begun thinking that I need to find an old Model 14 again. IMO you can't go wrong with either for Bullseye, but the 686 might prove to be a bit more versatile if you have any thoughts about any other kind of shooting in the future.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:14 PM
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Most anyone that knows me well knows I like the Model 14 over the rest for tack driving. However, you mentioned the .357 magnum.

One person mentioned the 28 Highway Patrolman and one mentioned the 27-2.......hopefully 6" versions(or whatever your personal preference). Both are hard to beat. I like older guns from that era.

That said, the 686 has made a name for itself.

Whatever you get used to and have confidence in .....
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:34 PM
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It's hard to beat this one though.......30 yards after a pot of coffee and a 3 mile jog, I decided to shoot some 158 gr. .38's through my 6" 28-2 with a 1.5x vintage Redfield mounted on a Buehler mount. On other days this gun can shoot a ragged hole at 25 and I can make head shots on a silhouette at 100 yards with ease. The scope is no spring chicken and the revolver is tight as a tick and I want it to stay that way, so I don't run any .357 through this. It's basically a 25 yard .38 Bullseye gun for my purposes. I expect both to last pretty much forever.
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AveragEd View Post
I'm looking at several guns for my future daughter-in-law to use for training purposes and recreational shooting with a possibility of some close-range whitetail deer hunting in the future. I have narrowed my choices to a 4" 686 or 4" 66 as both are accurate well-made revolvers that can handle all the aforementioned tasks without being excessively heavy.
Ed
As a woman, these are two of the target revolvers I'm looking at acquiring next to add to my small collection. I have my plinking Ruger Six Shooter and my CCW Bodyguard .38 sp (not a fun gun to shoot but does what I need it to do). I'm also looking at the 4" 19 S & W or a 4" Colt Python. Any thoughts on generation models you'd favor over another in the 686, 66 or 19?
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:42 PM
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If you are on the north side of 40,you should give consideration to a 4" version of any of the above-mentioned pistols. Sooner or later your arms become too short.
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