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Old 09-25-2017, 10:58 PM
t3hgruu t3hgruu is offline
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I got my first "classic" revolver the other day. I picked up a model 66-3. I may have over paid a little, 525 plus a gen 1 ruger LCP. However, I really like it! Haven't had a chance to shoot it yet though. Finish is pretty good and it has original magna grips I believe. Timing is good. I had some a couple of questions though and would appreciate any help ya'll can offer.

I didn't notice any endshake when I was getting it. However, when I got home and started messing with it a little I noticed if I press backwards on the cylinder that it will move backwards towards the recoil shield just a hair. It then returns forward on its own. I own a 686 and a governor and the cylinders don't move backwards at all. Is this normal or something to worry about?

Also, I have been reading up on the forcing cones cracking when using the 125 gr. magnums. Should I only shoot .38 and .38 +p? Or will I be ok if I shoot 158 gr. magnums? Since they aren't made anymore I am paranoid about breaking it now. Please pardon my newbie questions. This is my first classic smith and I want to enjoy shooting it but I don't want to break it and have an expensive paper weight. I would post a photo but photobucket was what I used in the past to post photos.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:30 PM
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Not an expert so don't bet the farm on this but because the 158 grain is a heavier bullet it will be better for your M66 than the 125 grain.

I shoot 158 grain Aguila .357 magnum all day in my Model 19-2.

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Last edited by Targets Guy; 09-26-2017 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:53 PM
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From what I understand, the forcing cone issue with K-frames involves 125gr and lighter full-power loads, i.e. 125gr SJHP at ~1450fps. Stick with heavier bullets or lower-powered, mid-range ammo, like WWB 110gr SJHP or Remington 125gr Golden Sabers, and you should be fine. When I had a 3" 65, one of my favorite loads to shoot was the WWB 110gr SJHP. Of course, there's nothing wrong with shooting .38 Special, standard pressure or +P, if you want. Only caveat would be to clean the chambers regularly if you plan to shoot both .357 Magnum and .38 Special.
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Old 09-26-2017, 12:35 AM
SeamasterSig SeamasterSig is offline
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Not an expert so don't bet the farm on this but because the 158 grain is a heavier bullet it will be better for your M66 than the 125 grain.
I second this opinion. You can shoot all the 38+p your heart desires as well as some light-for-caliber magnum ammo on occasion if you so desire, but as a rule stick with 158 grains and up . It's what the K-frame was designed to shoot. Too many of the lighter, shorter (and inevitably hotter) bullets and you risk cracking the forcing cone. Nobody knows for sure how many it will take for any given gun, so why risk it? The controversy is well-documented. However, don't think of it as an inherent "weakness" in the K-frame, but rather as the price to pay for the excellent power/weight compromise that a K-frame magnum revolver represents. If you plan on shooting 38 and 357 in the same session, it may seem logical to "warm up" with the 38 spl and then move on to the 357, but 38 spl will leave a dirty ring near the end of the cylinder; start with the 357 and the cases will be easier to eject.

Last edited by SeamasterSig; 09-26-2017 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 09-26-2017, 12:27 PM
t3hgruu t3hgruu is offline
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Thanks for the replies on ammo guys. I feel a little better. Is the slight rearward movement on the cylinder ok or do I need to get a shim?
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Old 09-26-2017, 12:34 PM
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The slight rearward movement is perfectly normal. It only needs to be shimmed if it is excessive head-space, which it is not.
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Old 09-26-2017, 12:39 PM
t3hgruu t3hgruu is offline
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The slight rearward movement is perfectly normal. It only needs to be shimmed if it is excessive head-space, which it is not.
Thank you. I'm going to get to shooting it soon.
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Old 09-26-2017, 06:19 PM
Bill In Texas Bill In Texas is offline
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Congratulations on a wonderful k frame!
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Targets Guy View Post
Not an expert so don't bet the farm on this but because the 158 grain is a heavier bullet it will be better for your M66 than the 125 grain.

I shoot 158 grain Aguila .357 magnum all day in my Model 19-2.

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Originally Posted by ContinentalOp View Post
From what I understand, the forcing cone issue with K-frames involves 125gr and lighter full-power loads, i.e. 125gr SJHP at ~1450fps. Stick with heavier bullets or lower-powered, mid-range ammo, like WWB 110gr SJHP or Remington 125gr Golden Sabers, and you should be fine. When I had a 3" 65, one of my favorite loads to shoot was the WWB 110gr SJHP. Of course, there's nothing wrong with shooting .38 Special, standard pressure or +P, if you want. Only caveat would be to clean the chambers regularly if you plan to shoot both .357 Magnum and .38 Special.
The second quote is closer to the truth. Physics, via Sir Newton, dictates that for every action, there is a separate but equal reaction. Which means the force generated to cause a bullet leave the barrel, creates an reaction called recoil. You must determine the speed and weight of the bullet to determine the amount of recoil. Given the wide variances between manufacturers, you can't arbitrarily state that a 158 grain bullet will have lower recoil than a 125 bullet unless you know each bullet's velocity and do the appropriate math calculations. There are also other mitigating factors with hand guns, such as powder burn rate, case capacity and primer type but I'll leave those as relatively unimportant and just stick with the basics bullet weight and velocity.

One other, though lesser impact of bullet weight variable exists. As stated, recoil acts upon mass, and the mass of a gun loaded with 158 grain bullets is slightly more than one loaded with 125 grain bullets, especially if talking about a semi auto high capacity magazine. Obviously, on a revolver containing only 5 or 6 rounds, the difference is relatively low and the average shooter probably won't notice it. Plus, as each round is fired, the difference in weight decreases.

After boring you with all that, due to the 66's notoriety for forcing cone issues, I would recommend sticking with either 38 Special or 38 Special +P and forgo magnums altogether except perhaps for carry duty.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom S. View Post
The second quote is closer to the truth. Physics, via Sir Newton, dictates that for every action, there is a separate but equal reaction. Which means the force generated to cause a bullet leave the barrel, creates an reaction called recoil. You must determine the speed and weight of the bullet to determine the amount of recoil. Given the wide variances between manufacturers, you can't arbitrarily state that a 158 grain bullet will have lower recoil than a 125 bullet unless you know each bullet's velocity and do the appropriate math calculations. There are also other mitigating factors with hand guns, such as powder burn rate, case capacity and primer type but I'll leave those as relatively unimportant and just stick with the basics bullet weight and velocity.

One other, though lesser impact of bullet weight variable exists. As stated, recoil acts upon mass, and the mass of a gun loaded with 158 grain bullets is slightly more than one loaded with 125 grain bullets, especially if talking about a semi auto high capacity magazine. Obviously, on a revolver containing only 5 or 6 rounds, the difference is relatively low and the average shooter probably won't notice it. Plus, as each round is fired, the difference in weight decreases.

After boring you with all that, due to the 66's notoriety for forcing cone issues, I would recommend sticking with either 38 Special or 38 Special +P and forgo magnums altogether except perhaps for carry duty.
None of that has anything to do with the K-frame forcing cone issue, and I never mentioned recoil in my post.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:32 PM
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Well, I'm going to take a different tack here. Regards the first edition of the LCP. You didn't lose anything, and they didn't gain anything. The early LCP had lousy sights, lousy trigger, and has essentially no value, in my opinion. My wife still carries hers, 'cause she's comfortable with it. She actually shoots it well! I have a later model, with far better sights, and much better trigger. They are both flawless, as regards function. NO failures at all. But, even the latest model can be had for less than 200 bucks on some online dealers. So, the early model, used, is a wash.
So, basically...good for you! Nice score!
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:33 PM
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t3hgruu,congrats on the purchase as you will love it. I acquired a 66-1 a couple weeks ago and it is a dandy. I won't take the chance with magnums so my 38spl hand loads will be all it gets.IMHO,there is no need to beat the gun up and risk a crack.Enjoy your new toy!
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:22 PM
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Congratulations on your new purchase, if your like me then now all your autos will slowly but surely be traded off and sold for S&W revolvers.

The only exception is the Colt combat commander still in my safe.

Last edited by Toblerra; 09-26-2017 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:35 PM
t3hgruu t3hgruu is offline
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Congratulations on your new purchase, if your like me then now all your autos will slowly but surely be traded off and sold for S&W revolvers.

The only exception is the Colt combat commander still in my safe.
Lol, yeah I'm not as interested in autos as I used to be. I've been gaining appreciation for revolvers, maybe it has something to do with getting a little older, I'm not sure.

I'll never part with my Colt 1911s though and wouldn't mind a rail gun at some point. My beretta 92 with some Wilson parts is pretty nice too. That being said, the last 3 handguns I have gotten have all been S&W revolvers. The next handgun I have my sights set on is one of those new 66-8s with the 2.75" barrel. I think that might make a nice carry gun.
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by t3hgruu View Post
I got my first "classic" revolver the other day. I picked up a model 66-3. I may have over paid a little, 525 plus a gen 1 ruger LCP. However, I really like it! Haven't had a chance to shoot it yet though. Finish is pretty good and it has original magna grips I believe. Timing is good. I had some a couple of questions though and would appreciate any help ya'll can offer.

Well since I am not a fan of Ruger's and especially the LCP I think you did very well!

I didn't notice any endshake when I was getting it. However, when I got home and started messing with it a little I noticed if I press backwards on the cylinder that it will move backwards towards the recoil shield just a hair. It then returns forward on its own. I own a 686 and a governor and the cylinders don't move backwards at all. Is this normal or something to worry about?

Some small amount end-shake is normal and is needed for smooth, reliable and consistent functioning.

Also, I have been reading up on the forcing cones cracking when using the 125 gr. magnums. Should I only shoot .38 and .38 +p? Or will I be ok if I shoot 158 gr. magnums? Since they aren't made anymore I am paranoid about breaking it now. Please pardon my newbie questions. This is my first classic smith and I want to enjoy shooting it but I don't want to break it and have an expensive paper weight. I would post a photo but photobucket was what I used in the past to post photos.

I own a M65 3" for 30+ years (essentially the same gun minus the under lug and adjustable sights) and have shot thousands of .38 specials including +P's, a few 158 grain Buffalo Bore Magnums and 180 grain Buffalo Bore Magnums with no ill effects. NOTE: SPARINGLY ON THE MAGNUM BUFFALO BORE'S!! So far all is perfect and no problems. Many of my friends have the M66 and not a one has had any problems - however none of them have had the 110 or 125 grain bullets shot through them.

Last edited by chief38; 09-27-2017 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 09-27-2017, 12:00 PM
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I would give the gun a thorough mechanical examination and make sure to assess the forcing cone condition. If the cone and face look good, I wouldn't hesitate to shoot magnums.

Some of you who forgo ANY magnum ammo to err on the side of caution is a little excessive. The amount of rounds an average person shoots won't hurt a K frame magnum. At the very least avoid hotrod loaded light bullets. Anything else would be fine, and you won't miss out on fun.

As far as the endshake, I would shim it, pending it needs it as I haven't personally checked it out. I'm of the philosophy that a revolver should have ZERO endshake. Any amount of play will allow it to exacerbate during continued shooting. Of course, if you're going to take the "cautious" route and only shoot 38spl, then I probably wouldn't worry about it.

Guns are made to be used, and if I couldn't safely shoot the ammo it was designed for, then I'd probably rather not own that gun. To each their own though.

Last edited by iPac; 09-27-2017 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 09-27-2017, 01:36 PM
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I have a few K frames and regularly shoot my handloads at magnum levels and plenty of +P but all with exclusively 158g bullets...never an issue...it's what they are made to shoot.

I also have L frames but I just don't see a reason to go to the hot 110/125g loads in any of my revolvers. A proper .357 magnum with 158g bullets will do anything I need with ballistics to spare. If I need more "bang" than a 158g .357 then I'll move up to a .44. JMHO.
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Old 09-27-2017, 08:03 PM
t3hgruu t3hgruu is offline
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This may be a dumb question but I wanted to ask anyway. Does the bullet weight of .38 special or .38 + p matter? Or are they all fairly harmless to a k frame because of the lower pressures?
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:52 PM
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No need to worry about bullet weight with .38 Special or .38 Special +P, other than how it might affect POA/POI.
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Old 09-28-2017, 01:24 AM
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Quote:
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This may be a dumb question but I wanted to ask anyway. Does the bullet weight of .38 special or .38 + p matter? Or are they all fairly harmless to a k frame because of the lower pressures?
Significantly lower pressures and faster burning powders.
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom S. View Post
The second quote is closer to the truth. Physics, via Sir Newton, dictates that for every action, there is a separate but equal reaction. Which means the force generated to cause a bullet leave the barrel, creates an reaction called recoil. You must determine the speed and weight of the bullet to determine the amount of recoil. Given the wide variances between manufacturers, you can't arbitrarily state that a 158 grain bullet will have lower recoil than a 125 bullet unless you know each bullet's velocity and do the appropriate math calculations. There are also other mitigating factors with hand guns, such as powder burn rate, case capacity and primer type but I'll leave those as relatively unimportant and just stick with the basics bullet weight and velocity.

One other, though lesser impact of bullet weight variable exists. As stated, recoil acts upon mass, and the mass of a gun loaded with 158 grain bullets is slightly more than one loaded with 125 grain bullets, especially if talking about a semi auto high capacity magazine. Obviously, on a revolver containing only 5 or 6 rounds, the difference is relatively low and the average shooter probably won't notice it. Plus, as each round is fired, the difference in weight decreases.
I have not found this to be the case. Not saying you're wrong...it just doesn't play out with me. For a given muzzle energy (ME), the heavier bullet always delivers more felt recoil than the lighter one. Overcoming inertia seems to have a lot more to do with recoil than energy or velocity. Of course, the platform will dictate how that gets transferred to your hands, shoulder, face, etc. Ergonomics, weight of the gun, action type (e.g. blowback vs. gas operated), etc.

Pressure curves being what they are, often the highest energy load in a given caliber will be one of lightest, so it's hard to compare apples to apples. But the hardest recoiling load at max pressure is going to be the heaviest bullet that fits in the case/chamber, guarantee it.
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:45 PM
t3hgruu t3hgruu is offline
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Ok so on the way home from work I stopped by Autozone and got some feeler gauges. With the cylinder pulled all the way back the largest one that would fit between the forcing cone and cylinder was .005, and that was kind of a snug fit. With the cylinder all the way forward the largest that would fit was .003. That means I have endshake of .002 correct? I am guessing that is good and no shims are needed at this time. I never have done this before and could use some input. Thanks.
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