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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 02-02-2020, 08:18 AM
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Hi,
I'd like your opinions please.
One of my favorite guns is my 6" 686+ -4. I've been thinking about a carry revolver so naturally I've been looking at the smaller 686's.
I've also been looking at the 60 and the 66. So I guess I'm asking you what would be the best revolver for carry purposes. I understand it's all subjective. I'm leaning towards a S&W 686 deluxe 3" barrel. Still the 60 and 66 have their appeal.
Thanks in advance
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:36 AM
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:45 AM
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The 60 will be the smallest and easiest to carry day-in, day-out. The 686 will be the heaviest/bulkiest to carry, but will be significantly more comfortable to shoot than the J-frame Model 60. And the K-frame Model 66 will fall right in the middle.

So, take your pick.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:45 AM
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Model 686 Plus Deluxe | Smith & Wesson
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:46 AM
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I have the 640 (2.25'), 66-8 (2.75") and a 686+ (4"). For EDC the 640 is king for me. Even though is is rated for 357 Mag, I carry it with Buffalo Bore 38 Spec. 158 grain SWCHP +P. I would like to carry the 66-8, but it is just to big, and only gives a one round advantage, while being so much more cumbersome and inconvenient to carry.
Not being a LEO or involved with security services; 5 rounds on tap, with 10 more in hot standby, places me very comfortable in my decision.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:53 AM
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Go with the S&W 66 and don't look back.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:55 AM
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66 for the win! K frame is the king of carry... super shootable, very concealable (with boot grips, good holster/belt) and.... looks don't hurt!
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
The 60 will be the smallest and easiest to carry day-in, day-out. The 686 will be the heaviest/bulkiest to carry, but will be significantly more comfortable to shoot than the J-frame Model 60. And the K-frame Model 66 will fall right in the middle.

So, take your pick.
Ah, I did not know the 66 was a K frame. Is the 686 an L frame?
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:00 AM
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3” model 60, 357 in whatever dash variation you find one in would get my nod for EDC.
2.5” 66 would be my second choice.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongo1958 View Post
Ah, I did not know the 66 was a K frame. Is the 686 an L frame?
60 = J frame, 5 shot
66 = K frame, 6 shot
686 = L frame, 6 or 7 shot

The 686 is heavier, but it is a favorite of mine. I usually carry my guns in an OWB holster with a good heavy leather belt so the weight is not an issue.

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Old 02-02-2020, 09:12 AM
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My daily carry is a 2" Model 37 airweight,
Alternate carry is a 2.5" Model 66-1.
Looked at a 3" Model 60 (dash 10?) a few years ago as something in between the two,
Problem was it fealt as heavy as the 66 and carried one less round.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:32 AM
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I love my 686-4 4", but for carry, the Model 60 hands down ( and much better choice than a "J" frame Airweight ).
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:43 AM
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I own all three. I carry 2 J frames. Before I retired I carried a K frame then an L frame, then an auto as primary after most law enforcement went to autos.

I still carried a J frame as backup. If you are picking up the consistency, your right, J frames win.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:02 AM
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You should purchase one of each, then you can rotate your daily carry. :-)

Have a blessed day,

Leon
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:44 AM
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I've had all three at the same time...... so I had my choice ........ 95% of the time it was a 3" 65 or 66*........as a trail gun at the cabin it's often been a 3" 60-10 (think micro 686) as I often have a CZ .22 mag rifle with me when I out in Penn's Woods

The 3" 586 I had got traded ..... if I was going with an L-frame I'd grab my 4" 686 (no dash) round butt...... IMO the 4" 686 is the best utility/duty/general purpose .357 you can own. But a 3" K or J frame is a lot easier to carry all day for "just in case" I need a gun.

* Footnote; I have 2 1/2 and 4" 19s and 66s in the safe but I tend to favor the 3" stainless guns for IWB or cross-draw carry.

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Old 02-02-2020, 10:56 AM
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I am as much a fan of the 686 as anyone, but for every day civilian carry, the j frame is King. I can put a J frame in my packet and carry it all day without any discomfort, movement or weight issues, and I am an old man. I did buy a 4" 686+ in case I wanted to carry it, but do not do so very often.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:58 AM
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I own and have carried the following, in order of weight:


- 2 1/8" Model 60
- 3" Model 60;
- 3" SP 101;
- 2 1/2" Model 66;
- 3" Model 13;
- 2 3/4" Speed Six;
- 2 3/4" Security Six;
- 2 1/2" Model 686+; and
- 3" Model 686+.







Here's my take on them.

The Model 60

The Model 60s are clearly the smallest and lightest, as J- magnum frame revolvers they are slightly heavier than the J-frame. (I also own a 1 7/8" Model 36 and a 2" Model 10, but i'm limiting the comparisons mostly to the .357 Mag revolvers.) However, while they win the prize for lightest and smallest to carry they are not pleasant to shoot with full power .357 Magnum loads. Even with a cushy grip like the Hogue Monogrip, they will not be a revolver you want to take to the range and put 50 rounds through. The recoil is significant, and most shooters will probably start to develop a healthy flinch after 3-4 cylinders worth in a range session. The end result is that few people shoot them enough with .357 Magnum loads to become proficient with them and few of those who do, shoot them regulatory enough to maintain an adequate degree of proficiency. That goes double for any alloy frame .357 Magnum revolvers.

If you are debating the 2 1/8" versus 3" barrel just get the 3". 3" ballistic efficiency is better when shooting the .357 Mag, the extra weight helps tame the recoil and in an IWB holster you'll never notice the longer length.

The 3" barrel also offers very useful longer ejector rod, which is very nice as full power .357 Magnum loads have a tendency to produce cases that stick in the cylinders. It's "very nice", however it's also not all that important as reloads are rare in any armed citizen self defense shoot where 95% plus percent are over and done with in 5 shots or less and in 5 seconds or less.

Short story - the Model 60 is nice to carry and a great choice if you really never plan to have to actually shoot it.

There's some merit in that as most defensive handgun uses - probably around 90%, but it's hard to quantify as most are not reported - don't involve actually firing the handgun. In most instances where it is fired, the assailant receiving fire is enough to end the assault without the assailant actually being hit, because most criminals see getting shot as a bad thing. And finally, in about half the instances where an assailant is shot, you'll get a psychological stop where the assailant stops or runs, because getting shot sucks they stop doing whatever is causing them to get shot.


The SP101

The SP101 is much more robust than the Model 60, and at around 30 oz loaded, it's about 5 oz heavier in the same barrel lengths. That extra weight isn't enough to affect concealed carry but it does make it more tolerable to shoot with full power .357 Magnum loads, but again a cushy Hogue Monogrip is a very useful addition.

The frame and forcing cone are more robust and I suspect it'll hold up to full power loads much better than the Model 60. I'm fairly certain that S&Ws engineers are relying on the the pain factor to minimize failures and excessive wear in the Model 60 that would be caused by a steady diet and high round count of full power .357 Magnum ammo.

The number and percentage of shooters who will shoot an SP101 enough to obtain and maintain proficiency is higher than it is for the Model 60.



The Model 66 and Model 13

This is the sweet spot for a concealed carry .357 Magnum where the shooter really intend to carry full power .357 Magnum loads rather than .38 +P loads.

At around 36 oz loaded, each of these revolvers is heavy enough to make .357 Magnum loads more or less comfortable to shoot. Comfort aside, they are also heavy enough to significantly improve the time needed to get back on target for the next shot. I have never met anyone who shot all of the above revolvers well, who shot one of the smaller revolvers better than a K frame, assuming their hand fit the K frame well.

That's the caveat here. The J-Magnum and SP101 are small enough and have a short enough trigger reach that they work well with small hands. The K-frame however has a long enough trigger reach that a shooter with smaller than average hands will need a grip that leaves the back strap exposed and is small enough in diameter to allow the shooter to get his or her trigger finger on the trigger all the way up to the crease behind the finger pad. That's necessary to get enough leverage on the trigger for an effective double action trigger pull. The Pachmayr Compact grips - the version with the exposed back strap - work well.

If you can't find a grip that lets you have adequate trigger reach, then you are better off with an SP101.

The same barrel length arguments apply here as well. You won't notice the slightly greater weight or length of a 3" Model 13 or 3" Model 66 over a 2 1/2" Model 65 or 66, but you will get about 50 fps more velocity. The difference in ejector rods is significant, as the 2 1/2" K frame ejector rods are shorter than the Model 60 ejector rods, while the 3" Model K frames have full length (by .38 Special standards) ejector rods.

The Speed Six and Security Six

These are also in the sweet spot for a concealed carry .357 Magnum where the shooter will be shooting actual full power .357 Magnum loads. The form factor is very slightly larger than the K frame, but close enough that leather K frame holsters usually fit, and they weigh in around 37 to 38 ounces loaded.

They have heavier forcing cones and will tolerate a steady diet of full power loads without the rare issue of a forcing cone crack that can occur in a K frame. Trigger reach is nearly identical to the K frame. The round butt fixed sight Speed Six has some debatable advantages for concealed carry, while the square butt adjustable sight Security Six will let you regulate your sights to your preferred load.

There is a clear advantage to being able to put shots exactly where you want them during practice as it encourages, rather than discourages good marksmanship - and good bullet placement is essential in a self defense shoot. It's worth your time to learn to shoot a revolver using the DA trigger pull slowly and accurately, developing the ingrained habit and grip that ensures the sights are always aligned, while also always ensuring the front sight is on the spot you want to bleed. Once you develop (and maintain) the muscle memory needed to align the sights consistently with extensive practice, it'll take care of itself in a self defense shoot. Similarly, if you've practiced extensively always placing the front sight on target as the revolver comes up into your line of sight during the draw, you'll also effective reference the front sight in a self defense shoot.

Right now, your head is echoing all the times you've heard "police officers hardly ever use their sights". That's true, but only about 10% of police officers have any real interest in guns. The vast majority only learned what they know in a police academy, and and the vast majority only shoot enough each year to meet a minimal qualification standard. Under extreme stress they devolve to a very low level of mastery - pointing the handgun in the general direction of the assailant, pulling the trigger as fast a s they can, and missing about 80% of the time. They have their department covering the damage and liability from their misses, you don't. Don't be like them.

The Model 686+

Weight wise a 686+ is around 39-40 oz loaded and it's arguably a bit above the sweet spot. However, I'll argue that an extra 4 oz or so is a total non issue if you are using a well designed carry belt and IWB holster. I comfortably carry a 3" 686+ from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.

The extra weight again imparts a slight edge to the speed of a follow up shot and putting 100-150 rounds through one in a range session is something you can do without pain at the time or stiffness in your hand the next morning. They shoot really well with full power .357 Magnum loads and they are enjoyable to shoot. With the "+" models you have an extra shot and it's just a little extra insurance that you'll never actually need to reload in a self defense shoot. As noted above 5 shots will cover it about 95% of the time. That percentage increases with the 6 shot revolvers and increases again with the 7 shot 686+.

Some myth busting at no extra charge

Myth number 1: "In a short barrel, .357 Magnum loads are not much more effective than .38 +P loads."

There's a rumor out there I hear from time to time that .357 Mag doesn't offer much more power in a 2 1/2" or 3" revolver than .38 +P loads. I've had chronographs and used them extensively with both factory and handloaded ammo and my data does not support that rumor.

In general with a 125 gr bullet you can expect velocities in the 1050-1100 fps range in a .38+P load. With a 125 gr .357 Magnum load you can expect velocities in the 1250 to 1300 fps range. There's a caveat here that velocities between revolvers fo the same model can vary by 50 fps to even 100 fps given differences in chamber dimensions, cylinder gaps and bore diameters, but on average, .357 Magnum loads will be about 150 to 200 fps faster than .38 +P loads. With most .357" self defense bullets that 150-200 fps velocity difference is significant. Most .357 Magnum bullets are designed to expand reliably at .357 Magnum velocities, and most of them will not expand reliably when launched 150-200 fps slower in a .38 +P load. That's a significant difference.


Myth Number 2: "In a short barrel revolver you'll get the maximum velocity from the same slow burning powders that produce maximum velocity in longer barrels"

I also hear the rumor from time to time that you'll get maximum velocity in a short 2 1/2" to 3" .357 Magnum from the same heavy charges of slow burning powders that give maximum performance in 4" to 8" .357 Magnums. That's sometimes actually true, but the increase in velocity is minimal while the increase in recoil is not. Thus it is an accurate but very misleading statement at best.

What those slow burning powder loads do is produce a lot more recoil with little or no significant increase in velocity in a 2 1/2" or 3" barrel. For the non chronograph equipped shooter they feel the much heavier recoil of the slow burning powder loads and then say or think something along the lines of "Whoa baby! That's a lot more powerful!" when it really isn't.

What happens is that the heaver charge of slow burning powder, usually weighing over twice as much as a medium burn rate powder charge exits the barrel at about 3 times the velocity of the bullet. That extra 10 or so grains of powder then has the same effect on recoil as launching a 30 grain heavier bullet at the same lighter bullet velocity. Lots more recoil and muzzle flash, with very increase in velocity.

Consider the following loads giving the same velocity in a 3" Model 66 weighing 1.25 pounds:

The first is using a 9 gr charge of a medium burn rate powder.

Charge Weight: 9.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1300.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr

Recoil Velocity: 13.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 5.9 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 0.9 lb•s


Now consider a traditional slow burning powder load producing the same velocity using 21 grains of a slow burning powder:

Charge Weight: 21.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1300.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr

Recoil Velocity: 16.6 ft/s Recoil Energy: 9.6 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 1.2 lb•s


The slow burning load produces:

- 28% more recoil velocity;
- 33 % more recoil impulse;
- 63% more recoil energy.

For arguments sake, let's say the slow burning powder load does indeed produce 50 fps more velocity:

Charge Weight: 21.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1350.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr

Recoil Velocity: 17.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 10.1 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 1.2 lb•s

That's 31% more recoil velocity than the medium burn rate load, and 70% more recoil energy - for a 50 fps increase in velocity that in most cases won't be significant in terms of terminal ballistic performance.

An additional fifty feet per second adds nothing on top of already effective and reliable expansion and penetration. All you're doing with "more" is just slowing down your follow up shots and making your revolver harder to shoot really well.

In short, there is no upside to using those loads in a short barrel .357 Magnum, but there is a sharp downside, especially in the lighter SP101 and J Magnum frame .357 Magnum revolvers.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:22 AM
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The 3" 686 with a boot grip is a great revolver for carry. Yes, it is a little heavy but compared to the K-Frame, It is nice knowing you have the 7th shot and it is just a few ounces heavier. For everyday and appendix carry, I go between a 340PD and a 640 Pro. 5 shots, small and light weight. The J-frames are really hard to beat. I only Appendix carry with J-Frames. Any other gun, I carry at the 3:00 position.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:47 AM
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The OP never said it had to be a 357. With that in mind I would choose a .38 Special M-60 or a newer M-637 bob the hammer on both and call it a day!
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:54 AM
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337 loaded with 148gr HP
Case closed
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongo1958 View Post
Hi,
I'd like your opinions please.
One of my favorite guns is my 6" 686+ -4. I've been thinking about a carry revolver so naturally I've been looking at the smaller 686's.
I've also been looking at the 60 and the 66. So I guess I'm asking you what would be the best revolver for carry purposes. I understand it's all subjective. I'm leaning towards a S&W 686 deluxe 3" barrel. Still the 60 and 66 have their appeal.
Thanks in advance
Well the 686 is a .357 (except for a few .38s sold to RR Police or for expert)......... maybe we are assuming to much but reading his post having a .357 option seems to fit with his desires.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:05 PM
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The OP doesn't mention where they live. That said, if cold weather & gloves are a necessity, the J frame can be an issue. There just isn't room in the trigger guard for anything thicker than Isotoner or cape skin gloves for most folks. .

Carefully chosen cold weather coats will allow pocket (still need a holster) carry for the K frame, never tried an L frame for that.

The use of .357 ammo for self defense also has downsides: heavy recoil, possibly poor accuracy (if you don't practice enough, maybe even if you do) and, with unprotected ears, definite hearing loss. Severity may be variable, but it is going to happen. (When I was diagnosed, I asked for hard copy so I could prove to my wife I wasn't ignoring here, I couldn't hear her.) Hearing loss may be preferable to the downside, but most folks do much better with +P 38's.

After considerable use of revolvers as issue firearms, I've realized the importance of keeping a hammer spur: a hearty yank on one is the immediate action drill for several revolver malfunctions.

Last edited by WR Moore; 02-02-2020 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:18 PM
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Assuming you want to carry .357 Magnum, I would probably go with the 66, especially if you can get the 2.5-3" barrel length.

The 60 would be easier to carry, but more difficult to shoot with magnum ammo. Of course, that depends on your skill and experience with shooting small magnums. Some people can do it all day long, some can't.

The 686 would be the easiest to shoot, but more difficult to carry and effectively conceal (I'm presuming you meant concealed carry). It can be done, no doubt, but you'll definitely have to pay more attention to your belt, holster, wardrobe, and body type/shape to find a combo that'll work.

The 66 is "just right." Easier to shoot than the 60, easier to carry than the 686.

I carried a 3" 65 IWB for a while, sometimes for 12+ hours, without a problem in terms of concealability and comfort. Easy to shoot, especially since I typically carried it with either mid-range magnum ammo or .38 Special FBI loads.

My only experience carrying a 686 was as an armed guard in an exposed duty holster on a heavy Sam Browne duty belt. Not bad at all when carrying for a full shift, which could run from 8-16 hours. I wouldn't want to try that with a concealed carry rig, though.

Now, if you want to stick with .38 Special, I might be tempted to go with the 60 (well, the 640 or 649 as I prefer either concealed or shrouded hammer J-frames) for better concealment but can still be shot well.

Just my opinion.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by WR Moore View Post
The OP doesn't mention where they live. That said, if cold weather & gloves are a necessity, the J frame can be an issue. There just isn't room in the trigger guard for anything thicker than Isotoner or cape skin gloves for most folks.
This is one of the reasons I went to a PX4 Compact as my primary EDC from my 642. I found that even lightweight gloves had a tendency to turn my 642 into a single-shot pistol.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:27 PM
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This is one of the reasons I went to a PX4 Compact as my primary EDC from my 642. I found that even lightweight gloves had a tendency to turn my 642 into a single-shot pistol.
That's one of the issues a hammer spur can (usually) remedy-if you've got one. But, better to avoid.
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:48 PM
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My rotation.

I carry a Model 60 in polite company, a 640-1 most of the time going east. When I'm heading west (into the hills) I carry either a 60-15 with 38/44 BB hard casts or a 3" 686+ with 180gr. hard cast depending on how active the black bears are.

So it looks like I'm either a J Frame or an L. I do own a 2 3/4" 66/19, but its a bunch of extra weight for an extra round over the J and not much lighter than the L with proper holster and belt.

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Old 02-02-2020, 03:01 PM
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I carry IWB so that little extra cylinder width on the L frame..... is just a little too much for me vs the K frame for comfort.


Weight is just a good holster and belt issue...... full size steel 1911 and Beretta 92 Centurions aren't an issue.

Last edited by BAM-BAM; 02-02-2020 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 02-02-2020, 03:42 PM
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YouTube

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awesome video. Thanks.
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Old 02-02-2020, 03:47 PM
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This is one of the reasons I went to a PX4 Compact as my primary EDC from my 642. I found that even lightweight gloves had a tendency to turn my 642 into a single-shot pistol.
Oops, I live in GA south of Atlanta.
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Old 02-02-2020, 03:53 PM
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awesome video. Thanks.
He has great content. He has another one describing how the .32 caliber is the greatest revolver cartridge ever, if only it was more available.

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Old 02-02-2020, 04:01 PM
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I pocket carry so the early M60 gets the nod.

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Old 02-02-2020, 04:05 PM
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Of the three models mentioned, the Model 66 (which is a stainless Model 19) is the one that was developed as the purpose built design for uniform duty carry. The Model 60 (which is a stainless Model 36) is called the Chiefs Special because it was designed for easier carry (and concealment) in plain clothes situations. OP, what kind of carry are you planning for?

Froggie
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Old 02-02-2020, 04:22 PM
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I used to have a 686+ and liked it except I always felt that it might not be concealing as well as I would like it to. I currently have a 327 PC, a 642, and my 66-8 that has had some Performance Center work done on it. The 327 would be best if it wasn't so bulky and if you could easily shoot magnum loads. They aren't bad but magnum loads out of my 66-8 2.75" are much better. The 642 carries best but I don't shoot it nearly as well as the 66-8. I carry AIWB and the 66-8 carries really well in that position. I would highly recommend the 66-8 (2.75") as your best bet.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:07 PM
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I own and have carried the following, in order of weight:


- 2 1/8" Model 60
- 3" Model 60;
- 3" SP 101;
- 2 1/2" Model 66;
- 3" Model 13;
- 2 3/4" Speed Six;
- 2 3/4" Security Six;
- 2 1/2" Model 686+; and
- 3" Model 686+.







Here's my take on them.

The Model 60

The Model 60s are clearly the smallest and lightest, as J- magnum frame revolvers they are slightly heavier than the J-frame. (I also own a 1 7/8" Model 36 and a 2" Model 10, but i'm limiting the comparisons mostly to the .357 Mag revolvers.) However, while they win the prize for lightest and smallest to carry they are not pleasant to shoot with full power .357 Magnum loads. Even with a cushy grip like the Hogue Monogrip, they will not be a revolver you want to take to the range and put 50 rounds through. The recoil is significant, and most shooters will probably start to develop a healthy flinch after 3-4 cylinders worth in a range session. The end result is that few people shoot them enough with .357 Magnum loads to become proficient with them and few of those who do, shoot them regulatory enough to maintain an adequate degree of proficiency. That goes double for any alloy frame .357 Magnum revolvers.

If you are debating the 2 1/8" versus 3" barrel just get the 3". 3" ballistic efficiency is better when shooting the .357 Mag, the extra weight helps tame the recoil and in an IWB holster you'll never notice the longer length.

The 3" barrel also offers very useful longer ejector rod, which is very nice as full power .357 Magnum loads have a tendency to produce cases that stick in the cylinders. It's "very nice", however it's also not all that important as reloads are rare in any armed citizen self defense shoot where 95% plus percent are over and done with in 5 shots or less and in 5 seconds or less.

Short story - the Model 60 is nice to carry and a great choice if you really never plan to have to actually shoot it.

There's some merit in that as most defensive handgun uses - probably around 90%, but it's hard to quantify as most are not reported - don't involve actually firing the handgun. In most instances where it is fired, the assailant receiving fire is enough to end the assault without the assailant actually being hit, because most criminals see getting shot as a bad thing. And finally, in about half the instances where an assailant is shot, you'll get a psychological stop where the assailant stops or runs, because getting shot sucks they stop doing whatever is causing them to get shot.


The SP101

The SP101 is much more robust than the Model 60, and at around 30 oz loaded, it's about 5 oz heavier in the same barrel lengths. That extra weight isn't enough to affect concealed carry but it does make it more tolerable to shoot with full power .357 Magnum loads, but again a cushy Hogue Monogrip is a very useful addition.

The frame and forcing cone are more robust and I suspect it'll hold up to full power loads much better than the Model 60. I'm fairly certain that S&Ws engineers are relying on the the pain factor to minimize failures and excessive wear in the Model 60 that would be caused by a steady diet and high round count of full power .357 Magnum ammo.

The number and percentage of shooters who will shoot an SP101 enough to obtain and maintain proficiency is higher than it is for the Model 60.



The Model 66 and Model 13

This is the sweet spot for a concealed carry .357 Magnum where the shooter really intend to carry full power .357 Magnum loads rather than .38 +P loads.

At around 36 oz loaded, each of these revolvers is heavy enough to make .357 Magnum loads more or less comfortable to shoot. Comfort aside, they are also heavy enough to significantly improve the time needed to get back on target for the next shot. I have never met anyone who shot all of the above revolvers well, who shot one of the smaller revolvers better than a K frame, assuming their hand fit the K frame well.

That's the caveat here. The J-Magnum and SP101 are small enough and have a short enough trigger reach that they work well with small hands. The K-frame however has a long enough trigger reach that a shooter with smaller than average hands will need a grip that leaves the back strap exposed and is small enough in diameter to allow the shooter to get his or her trigger finger on the trigger all the way up to the crease behind the finger pad. That's necessary to get enough leverage on the trigger for an effective double action trigger pull. The Pachmayr Compact grips - the version with the exposed back strap - work well.

If you can't find a grip that lets you have adequate trigger reach, then you are better off with an SP101.

The same barrel length arguments apply here as well. You won't notice the slightly greater weight or length of a 3" Model 13 or 3" Model 66 over a 2 1/2" Model 65 or 66, but you will get about 50 fps more velocity. The difference in ejector rods is significant, as the 2 1/2" K frame ejector rods are shorter than the Model 60 ejector rods, while the 3" Model K frames have full length (by .38 Special standards) ejector rods.

The Speed Six and Security Six

These are also in the sweet spot for a concealed carry .357 Magnum where the shooter will be shooting actual full power .357 Magnum loads. The form factor is very slightly larger than the K frame, but close enough that leather K frame holsters usually fit, and they weigh in around 37 to 38 ounces loaded.

They have heavier forcing cones and will tolerate a steady diet of full power loads without the rare issue of a forcing cone crack that can occur in a K frame. Trigger reach is nearly identical to the K frame. The round butt fixed sight Speed Six has some debatable advantages for concealed carry, while the square butt adjustable sight Security Six will let you regulate your sights to your preferred load.

There is a clear advantage to being able to put shots exactly where you want them during practice as it encourages, rather than discourages good marksmanship - and good bullet placement is essential in a self defense shoot. It's worth your time to learn to shoot a revolver using the DA trigger pull slowly and accurately, developing the ingrained habit and grip that ensures the sights are always aligned, while also always ensuring the front sight is on the spot you want to bleed. Once you develop (and maintain) the muscle memory needed to align the sights consistently with extensive practice, it'll take care of itself in a self defense shoot. Similarly, if you've practiced extensively always placing the front sight on target as the revolver comes up into your line of sight during the draw, you'll also effective reference the front sight in a self defense shoot.

Right now, your head is echoing all the times you've heard "police officers hardly ever use their sights". That's true, but only about 10% of police officers have any real interest in guns. The vast majority only learned what they know in a police academy, and and the vast majority only shoot enough each year to meet a minimal qualification standard. Under extreme stress they devolve to a very low level of mastery - pointing the handgun in the general direction of the assailant, pulling the trigger as fast a s they can, and missing about 80% of the time. They have their department covering the damage and liability from their misses, you don't. Don't be like them.

The Model 686+

Weight wise a 686+ is around 39-40 oz loaded and it's arguably a bit above the sweet spot. However, I'll argue that an extra 4 oz or so is a total non issue if you are using a well designed carry belt and IWB holster. I comfortably carry a 3" 686+ from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.

The extra weight again imparts a slight edge to the speed of a follow up shot and putting 100-150 rounds through one in a range session is something you can do without pain at the time or stiffness in your hand the next morning. They shoot really well with full power .357 Magnum loads and they are enjoyable to shoot. With the "+" models you have an extra shot and it's just a little extra insurance that you'll never actually need to reload in a self defense shoot. As noted above 5 shots will cover it about 95% of the time. That percentage increases with the 6 shot revolvers and increases again with the 7 shot 686+.

Some myth busting at no extra charge

Myth number 1: "In a short barrel, .357 Magnum loads are not much more effective than .38 +P loads."

There's a rumor out there I hear from time to time that .357 Mag doesn't offer much more power in a 2 1/2" or 3" revolver than .38 +P loads. I've had chronographs and used them extensively with both factory and handloaded ammo and my data does not support that rumor.

In general with a 125 gr bullet you can expect velocities in the 1050-1100 fps range in a .38+P load. With a 125 gr .357 Magnum load you can expect velocities in the 1250 to 1300 fps range. There's a caveat here that velocities between revolvers fo the same model can vary by 50 fps to even 100 fps given differences in chamber dimensions, cylinder gaps and bore diameters, but on average, .357 Magnum loads will be about 150 to 200 fps faster than .38 +P loads. With most .357" self defense bullets that 150-200 fps velocity difference is significant. Most .357 Magnum bullets are designed to expand reliably at .357 Magnum velocities, and most of them will not expand reliably when launched 150-200 fps slower in a .38 +P load. That's a significant difference.


Myth Number 2: "In a short barrel revolver you'll get the maximum velocity from the same slow burning powders that produce maximum velocity in longer barrels"

I also hear the rumor from time to time that you'll get maximum velocity in a short 2 1/2" to 3" .357 Magnum from the same heavy charges of slow burning powders that give maximum performance in 4" to 8" .357 Magnums. That's sometimes actually true, but the increase in velocity is minimal while the increase in recoil is not. Thus it is an accurate but very misleading statement at best.

What those slow burning powder loads do is produce a lot more recoil with little or no significant increase in velocity in a 2 1/2" or 3" barrel. For the non chronograph equipped shooter they feel the much heavier recoil of the slow burning powder loads and then say or think something along the lines of "Whoa baby! That's a lot more powerful!" when it really isn't.

What happens is that the heaver charge of slow burning powder, usually weighing over twice as much as a medium burn rate powder charge exits the barrel at about 3 times the velocity of the bullet. That extra 10 or so grains of powder then has the same effect on recoil as launching a 30 grain heavier bullet at the same lighter bullet velocity. Lots more recoil and muzzle flash, with very increase in velocity.

Consider the following loads giving the same velocity in a 3" Model 66 weighing 1.25 pounds:

The first is using a 9 gr charge of a medium burn rate powder.

Charge Weight: 9.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1300.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr

Recoil Velocity: 13.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 5.9 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 0.9 lb•s


Now consider a traditional slow burning powder load producing the same velocity using 21 grains of a slow burning powder:

Charge Weight: 21.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1300.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr

Recoil Velocity: 16.6 ft/s Recoil Energy: 9.6 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 1.2 lb•s


The slow burning load produces:

- 28% more recoil velocity;
- 33 % more recoil impulse;
- 63% more recoil energy.

For arguments sake, let's say the slow burning powder load does indeed produce 50 fps more velocity:

Charge Weight: 21.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1350.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr

Recoil Velocity: 17.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 10.1 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 1.2 lb•s

That's 31% more recoil velocity than the medium burn rate load, and 70% more recoil energy - for a 50 fps increase in velocity that in most cases won't be significant in terms of terminal ballistic performance.

An additional fifty feet per second adds nothing on top of already effective and reliable expansion and penetration. All you're doing with "more" is just slowing down your follow up shots and making your revolver harder to shoot really well.

In short, there is no upside to using those loads in a short barrel .357 Magnum, but there is a sharp downside, especially in the lighter SP101 and J Magnum frame .357 Magnum revolvers.
Awesome write up. Thanks
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:17 PM
ltj9296 ltj9296 is offline
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I used to carry a model 60, and it was easy to carry and conceal. I recently switched to a k frame 2"( 64). It is heavier, but I got used to the extra weight quickly. I just shoot it better than a j frame.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB57 View Post
I own and have carried the following, in order of weight:





- 2 1/8" Model 60

- 3" Model 60;

- 3" SP 101;

- 2 1/2" Model 66;

- 3" Model 13;

- 2 3/4" Speed Six;

- 2 3/4" Security Six;

- 2 1/2" Model 686+; and

- 3" Model 686+.















Here's my take on them.



The Model 60



The Model 60s are clearly the smallest and lightest, as J- magnum frame revolvers they are slightly heavier than the J-frame. (I also own a 1 7/8" Model 36 and a 2" Model 10, but i'm limiting the comparisons mostly to the .357 Mag revolvers.) However, while they win the prize for lightest and smallest to carry they are not pleasant to shoot with full power .357 Magnum loads. Even with a cushy grip like the Hogue Monogrip, they will not be a revolver you want to take to the range and put 50 rounds through. The recoil is significant, and most shooters will probably start to develop a healthy flinch after 3-4 cylinders worth in a range session. The end result is that few people shoot them enough with .357 Magnum loads to become proficient with them and few of those who do, shoot them regulatory enough to maintain an adequate degree of proficiency. That goes double for any alloy frame .357 Magnum revolvers.



If you are debating the 2 1/8" versus 3" barrel just get the 3". 3" ballistic efficiency is better when shooting the .357 Mag, the extra weight helps tame the recoil and in an IWB holster you'll never notice the longer length.



The 3" barrel also offers very useful longer ejector rod, which is very nice as full power .357 Magnum loads have a tendency to produce cases that stick in the cylinders. It's "very nice", however it's also not all that important as reloads are rare in any armed citizen self defense shoot where 95% plus percent are over and done with in 5 shots or less and in 5 seconds or less.



Short story - the Model 60 is nice to carry and a great choice if you really never plan to have to actually shoot it.



There's some merit in that as most defensive handgun uses - probably around 90%, but it's hard to quantify as most are not reported - don't involve actually firing the handgun. In most instances where it is fired, the assailant receiving fire is enough to end the assault without the assailant actually being hit, because most criminals see getting shot as a bad thing. And finally, in about half the instances where an assailant is shot, you'll get a psychological stop where the assailant stops or runs, because getting shot sucks they stop doing whatever is causing them to get shot.




The SP101



The SP101 is much more robust than the Model 60, and at around 30 oz loaded, it's about 5 oz heavier in the same barrel lengths. That extra weight isn't enough to affect concealed carry but it does make it more tolerable to shoot with full power .357 Magnum loads, but again a cushy Hogue Monogrip is a very useful addition.



The frame and forcing cone are more robust and I suspect it'll hold up to full power loads much better than the Model 60. I'm fairly certain that S&Ws engineers are relying on the the pain factor to minimize failures and excessive wear in the Model 60 that would be caused by a steady diet and high round count of full power .357 Magnum ammo.



The number and percentage of shooters who will shoot an SP101 enough to obtain and maintain proficiency is higher than it is for the Model 60.







The Model 66 and Model 13



This is the sweet spot for a concealed carry .357 Magnum where the shooter really intend to carry full power .357 Magnum loads rather than .38 +P loads.



At around 36 oz loaded, each of these revolvers is heavy enough to make .357 Magnum loads more or less comfortable to shoot. Comfort aside, they are also heavy enough to significantly improve the time needed to get back on target for the next shot. I have never met anyone who shot all of the above revolvers well, who shot one of the smaller revolvers better than a K frame, assuming their hand fit the K frame well.



That's the caveat here. The J-Magnum and SP101 are small enough and have a short enough trigger reach that they work well with small hands. The K-frame however has a long enough trigger reach that a shooter with smaller than average hands will need a grip that leaves the back strap exposed and is small enough in diameter to allow the shooter to get his or her trigger finger on the trigger all the way up to the crease behind the finger pad. That's necessary to get enough leverage on the trigger for an effective double action trigger pull. The Pachmayr Compact grips - the version with the exposed back strap - work well.



If you can't find a grip that lets you have adequate trigger reach, then you are better off with an SP101.



The same barrel length arguments apply here as well. You won't notice the slightly greater weight or length of a 3" Model 13 or 3" Model 66 over a 2 1/2" Model 65 or 66, but you will get about 50 fps more velocity. The difference in ejector rods is significant, as the 2 1/2" K frame ejector rods are shorter than the Model 60 ejector rods, while the 3" Model K frames have full length (by .38 Special standards) ejector rods.



The Speed Six and Security Six



These are also in the sweet spot for a concealed carry .357 Magnum where the shooter will be shooting actual full power .357 Magnum loads. The form factor is very slightly larger than the K frame, but close enough that leather K frame holsters usually fit, and they weigh in around 37 to 38 ounces loaded.



They have heavier forcing cones and will tolerate a steady diet of full power loads without the rare issue of a forcing cone crack that can occur in a K frame. Trigger reach is nearly identical to the K frame. The round butt fixed sight Speed Six has some debatable advantages for concealed carry, while the square butt adjustable sight Security Six will let you regulate your sights to your preferred load.



There is a clear advantage to being able to put shots exactly where you want them during practice as it encourages, rather than discourages good marksmanship - and good bullet placement is essential in a self defense shoot. It's worth your time to learn to shoot a revolver using the DA trigger pull slowly and accurately, developing the ingrained habit and grip that ensures the sights are always aligned, while also always ensuring the front sight is on the spot you want to bleed. Once you develop (and maintain) the muscle memory needed to align the sights consistently with extensive practice, it'll take care of itself in a self defense shoot. Similarly, if you've practiced extensively always placing the front sight on target as the revolver comes up into your line of sight during the draw, you'll also effective reference the front sight in a self defense shoot.



Right now, your head is echoing all the times you've heard "police officers hardly ever use their sights". That's true, but only about 10% of police officers have any real interest in guns. The vast majority only learned what they know in a police academy, and and the vast majority only shoot enough each year to meet a minimal qualification standard. Under extreme stress they devolve to a very low level of mastery - pointing the handgun in the general direction of the assailant, pulling the trigger as fast a s they can, and missing about 80% of the time. They have their department covering the damage and liability from their misses, you don't. Don't be like them.



The Model 686+



Weight wise a 686+ is around 39-40 oz loaded and it's arguably a bit above the sweet spot. However, I'll argue that an extra 4 oz or so is a total non issue if you are using a well designed carry belt and IWB holster. I comfortably carry a 3" 686+ from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.



The extra weight again imparts a slight edge to the speed of a follow up shot and putting 100-150 rounds through one in a range session is something you can do without pain at the time or stiffness in your hand the next morning. They shoot really well with full power .357 Magnum loads and they are enjoyable to shoot. With the "+" models you have an extra shot and it's just a little extra insurance that you'll never actually need to reload in a self defense shoot. As noted above 5 shots will cover it about 95% of the time. That percentage increases with the 6 shot revolvers and increases again with the 7 shot 686+.



Some myth busting at no extra charge



Myth number 1: "In a short barrel, .357 Magnum loads are not much more effective than .38 +P loads."



There's a rumor out there I hear from time to time that .357 Mag doesn't offer much more power in a 2 1/2" or 3" revolver than .38 +P loads. I've had chronographs and used them extensively with both factory and handloaded ammo and my data does not support that rumor.



In general with a 125 gr bullet you can expect velocities in the 1050-1100 fps range in a .38+P load. With a 125 gr .357 Magnum load you can expect velocities in the 1250 to 1300 fps range. There's a caveat here that velocities between revolvers fo the same model can vary by 50 fps to even 100 fps given differences in chamber dimensions, cylinder gaps and bore diameters, but on average, .357 Magnum loads will be about 150 to 200 fps faster than .38 +P loads. With most .357" self defense bullets that 150-200 fps velocity difference is significant. Most .357 Magnum bullets are designed to expand reliably at .357 Magnum velocities, and most of them will not expand reliably when launched 150-200 fps slower in a .38 +P load. That's a significant difference.





Myth Number 2: "In a short barrel revolver you'll get the maximum velocity from the same slow burning powders that produce maximum velocity in longer barrels"



I also hear the rumor from time to time that you'll get maximum velocity in a short 2 1/2" to 3" .357 Magnum from the same heavy charges of slow burning powders that give maximum performance in 4" to 8" .357 Magnums. That's sometimes actually true, but the increase in velocity is minimal while the increase in recoil is not. Thus it is an accurate but very misleading statement at best.



What those slow burning powder loads do is produce a lot more recoil with little or no significant increase in velocity in a 2 1/2" or 3" barrel. For the non chronograph equipped shooter they feel the much heavier recoil of the slow burning powder loads and then say or think something along the lines of "Whoa baby! That's a lot more powerful!" when it really isn't.



What happens is that the heaver charge of slow burning powder, usually weighing over twice as much as a medium burn rate powder charge exits the barrel at about 3 times the velocity of the bullet. That extra 10 or so grains of powder then has the same effect on recoil as launching a 30 grain heavier bullet at the same lighter bullet velocity. Lots more recoil and muzzle flash, with very increase in velocity.



Consider the following loads giving the same velocity in a 3" Model 66 weighing 1.25 pounds:



The first is using a 9 gr charge of a medium burn rate powder.



Charge Weight:9.0 grMuzzle Velocity:1300.0 ft/s

Firearm Weight:2.2 lbBullet Weight:125.0 gr



Recoil Velocity:13.0 ft/sRecoil Energy:5.9 ft•lbs

Recoil Impulse:0.9 lb•s




Now consider a traditional slow burning powder load producing the same velocity using 21 grains of a slow burning powder:



Charge Weight:21.0 grMuzzle Velocity:1300.0 ft/s

Firearm Weight:2.2 lbBullet Weight:125.0 gr



Recoil Velocity:16.6 ft/sRecoil Energy:9.6 ft•lbs

Recoil Impulse:1.2 lb•s




The slow burning load produces:



- 28% more recoil velocity;

- 33 % more recoil impulse;

- 63% more recoil energy.



For arguments sake, let's say the slow burning powder load does indeed produce 50 fps more velocity:



Charge Weight:21.0 grMuzzle Velocity:1350.0 ft/s

Firearm Weight:2.2 lbBullet Weight:125.0 gr



Recoil Velocity:17.0 ft/sRecoil Energy:10.1 ft•lbs

Recoil Impulse:1.2 lb•s



That's 31% more recoil velocity than the medium burn rate load, and 70% more recoil energy - for a 50 fps increase in velocity that in most cases won't be significant in terms of terminal ballistic performance.



An additional fifty feet per second adds nothing on top of already effective and reliable expansion and penetration. All you're doing with "more" is just slowing down your follow up shots and making your revolver harder to shoot really well.



In short, there is no upside to using those loads in a short barrel .357 Magnum, but there is a sharp downside, especially in the lighter SP101 and J Magnum frame .357 Magnum revolvers.
Very interesting. Actually increases my interest in the 3" SP-101 as my potential goldilocks carry revolver, maybe in 9mm.

as well as its big brother GP100. which is in my range's rental cabinet in a 3" Wiley Clapp edition.

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Old 02-02-2020, 05:29 PM
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The has evolved into an interesting dialog. Since two of the three revolvers the OP suggested are 357s, I am presuming that he is contemplating using this round, which can be used in later 60s.

I have a 36-6 which I love; however, ... I can carry only when I am traveling out of state. I prefer carrying a 1911, but for day trips out of state, I really don't want to park someplace in order to unload magazines (a loaded magazine in NJ is a felony with a mandatory prison sentence). I acquired a 3" 686+ for out of state day trips (loaded speedloaders aren't illegal). I can carry either IWB or OWB. With 125gr Magnums, the round should be comparable to 45ACP.

My personal belief is that you should practice with what you carry. That would mean a healthy diet of magnums, which leads to the forcing cone issues with the K frame 357s (13, 19, 65, & 66). Therefore, I opted for the 686+, viewing it as a bigger version of my 36-6.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:37 PM
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My personal belief is that you should practice with what you carry. That would mean a healthy diet of magnums, which leads to the forcing cone issues with the K frame 357s (13, 19, 65, & 66).
That's only an issue if you're using 125gr and lighter full-power loads (i.e., 125gr @ 1450fps). Mid-range magnum loads or heavier bullets are fine.

And there's nothing wrong with using lower power ammo for most of your practice, as long as you still shoot full-power loads periodically to maintain proficiency. That's what I've done with my revolvers and haven't experienced any issues with it.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:47 PM
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Well the 686 is a .357 (except for a few .38s sold to RR Police or for expert)......... maybe we are assuming to much but reading his post having a .357 option seems to fit with his desires.
Yes, my intent is to use 357 ammo.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:57 PM
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I was looking at the new 66 in the SW web site and the extractor in not held in place like my 686 and my 629. How is the extractor stability affected with out it being locked in place? Additionally, it has a 2 piece barrel. In my mind the new 66 has been cheapened too much. Am I wrong? I'm going to Academy to look at it and compare with the 686.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:03 PM
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I have a 686 2” 7 shot. A little big for carry. I prefer my 19 2”.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:30 PM
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Of the three models mentioned, the Model 66 (which is a stainless Model 19) is the one that was developed as the purpose built design for uniform duty carry. The Model 60 (which is a stainless Model 36) is called the Chiefs Special because it was designed for easier carry (and concealment) in plain clothes situations. OP, what kind of carry are you planning for?

Froggie
I usually carry a G27 and a S&W M&P Shield 2.0 9MM.
I want to add a 357 revolver into the rotation.
Recently, I spent some time investigating the new 66 and I'm still not sold on the end of the extractor not locking into place under the barrel. In addition, the barrel is 2 piece. This is pushing me to the 686 unless I can find a pre lock 66 or that I can be convinced of the reliability of the new 66.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:30 PM
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I was looking at the new 66 in the SW web site and the extractor in not held in place like my 686 and my 629. How is the extractor stability affected with out it being locked in place?
OK, instead of the itty bitty groove and tab and the location pins, the later versions use a substantial flat on the extractor shaft. In addition, the ends of 4 of the 6 legs of the extractor have opposing bevels that mate with bevels on the cylinder to lock the extractor to the cylinder.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:46 PM
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Go with the S&W 66 and don't look back.


66 all the way.

I carry a 3” K-frame, all day, every day.
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Old 02-03-2020, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
Of the three models mentioned, the Model 66 (which is a stainless Model 19) is the one that was developed as the purpose built design for uniform duty carry. The Model 60 (which is a stainless Model 36) is called the Chiefs Special because it was designed for easier carry (and concealment) in plain clothes situations. OP, what kind of carry are you planning for?

Froggie
I'm not sure yet. My S&W 9MM Shield pretty much covers inside the waistband so I may get a good quality leather holster for OWB use.
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Old 02-03-2020, 04:02 AM
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"That would mean a healthy diet of magnums, which leads to the forcing cone issues with the K frame 357s (13, 19, 65, & 66). Therefore, I opted for the 686+, viewing it as a bigger version of my 36-6."

I'm beginning to think this way as well. Still, I would like a pre lock 66 if I can find one.
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Old 02-03-2020, 05:21 AM
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As far as I know, there is no issue with the forcing cone on the 66-8. It has been redesigned to eliminate that problem.
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Old 02-03-2020, 07:06 AM
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I have and carry all three. Of the 3 you mention, I find the 66 a good compromise for size and capacity. The 7 shot 686 plus helps justify the difference in its weight and size; however, it’s hard to beat a 5 shot J Frame for ease of carry. For me it comes down to what I am wearing, mood and where I am going to be hanging out.
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Old 02-03-2020, 08:26 AM
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Model 66 Combat Magnum(R) | Smith & Wesson

Hands down.
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B_Still View Post
Very interesting. Actually increases my interest in the 3" SP-101 as my potential goldilocks carry revolver, maybe in 9mm.

as well as its big brother GP100. which is in my range's rental cabinet in a 3" Wiley Clapp edition.

Sent from my LM-G710 using Tapatalk
I recently acquired (actually re-acquired) a Taurus 905 after it was returned to the factory when it would not close with a Taurus moon clip in it. The Taurus moon clips are not very springy, and are thicker, mild steel. QA inspection with Taurus revolver is spotty and buying one is a bit of a coin toss. In this revolver, I lost the toss as the cylinder would not fit back in the frame with a loaded moon clip. I returned it to the shop for a full refund the same day I bought it and it went back to the factory. It returned to the shop 3-4 months later, shortly before I left for what amounted to an 8 month TDY to MN, and it was still in the shop about 3 months after I got back. By that time I was contemplating having my 3" SP101 cut for 9mm and moon clips, but I never got real excited about the idea. Then it disappeared
from the shop in early December, before showing up under the Christmas tree.

Part of the appeal when I bought it was that this one was new old stock that had been in the shop a couple years and still had the now discontinued lifetime warranty. I figured since it was a dealer return to the factory it probably received an actual QA inspection before being sent back to the dealer.

I found it shot fine and gave an average velocity of 1103 fps with 115 gr XTPs. This is 101 fps less than the 1204 fps average I get in a full size 4.6" CZ SP-01 Tactical semi-auto, but it's on par with the velocity you'll get with a 3.5" semi-auto like the M&P 9c. The 115 gr XTP will also still expand reliably at 1100 fps but the low end of the performance envelope is down around 1075 fps so there isn't much margin.

I did find the Taurus moon clips to be very finicky and easily bent. I had to design and turn a moon clip holder for the clips when carried in a pocket to ensure they did not get bent.



Ultimately I went with much better quality moon clips from TK Custom. These are much thinner but made from much springier stainless steel. They don't get bent in pocket carry and they hold the cartridges very well, but loose enough that they drop into the chamber easily. They are also thin enough that they would have worked in the 905 before it went back to the factory.

The Taurus 905 is J Magnum frame sized and weighs 25 oz loaded, again 5 oz lighter than a 3" SP 101.





One thing to consider with a 9mm revolver is that they don't tend to like brass fired in a semi-auto. The slight bulge in the case that forms over the feed ramp is not completely removed in the sizing process and cases with a history in a semi auto don't feed well. I load into new brass for my 905, and then keep the 905 cases separate for reloads to be used in the 905. The good news is that with moon clips it's easy to keep the brass separate on the range.

*IF* Ruger made a 3" SP 101, I'd be all over it, and I'm still slightly tempted to get my 3" SP 101 in .357 Magnum cut for 9mm and moon clips since ballistically a 9mm revolver can benefit from another inch of barrel length.

But the 905 works great for a light, J-Magnum frame sized easy to conceal revolver and in 9mm Luger gives much better performance than .38 Special and slightly better performance than .38 + loads. However, it's almost 200 fps slower than the 1300 fps I get with 125 gr XTPs in a 3" .357 Magnum revolver.
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