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Old 10-21-2008, 08:43 AM
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Default full lug vs half or no lug?

Is there any performance differences between double action revolvers with a full lug vs. half lug vs. no lug? Is it just looks or is it all about the weight added to the barrel? Or does it have to do with adding strength to the gun somehow? Please school me on this one. I'm learning tons on this great sight! You guys are a genuine wealth of valuable information to a revolver aficionado like me! Thanks million and please keep it up!
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:43 AM
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Is there any performance differences between double action revolvers with a full lug vs. half lug vs. no lug? Is it just looks or is it all about the weight added to the barrel? Or does it have to do with adding strength to the gun somehow? Please school me on this one. I'm learning tons on this great sight! You guys are a genuine wealth of valuable information to a revolver aficionado like me! Thanks million and please keep it up!
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:02 AM
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Personal preferences,period. Some people like the looks one way or the other, others appreciate the small additional weight a full lug provides while others (like me) don't seem to find much benefit in it.

My personal preference is for the half lug - it looks "right" to me and protects the extractor rod unlike those with no lug at all.

The only full lugs I really like are on the 4" L frames. Like I said, just personal preferences and aesthetics. No doubt you'll get the full gamut of opinions from everyone on their personal preferences.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:03 AM
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The shroud protect the ejector rod from impact damage where it could get bent. The “full lug” adds weight not strength, but it can help steady the gun and reduces felt recoil. It’s probably stronger for whacking things, but I don’t recommend that at all.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:05 AM
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Personal preference period. I don't even like it's look on the Colt Python.

I've avoided the L-Frame all these years because of the lug. After reading Stephen Camps review of an L-Frame he acquired I've been warming up to the notion of acquiring a 4-inch L-Frame.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:42 AM
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For some reason I keep acquiring fully lugged Smiths and I like all of them. But, I like them because they're great shooters, and not because they're fully lugged. To be honest, when shooting I can't tell the difference between full, one-half, or no lugged revolvers. I really haven't found a benefit to a full lug aside from the protection that it offers to the ejector rod. And, in fact, a full lug isn't really necessary for that.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:46 AM
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I would like to see S&W vary their offerings in the stainless steel 6nn range revolvers.
I have a 686P 4" Bbl. and with the .357 recoil it makes sense. However, my 617 6" Bbl. with
the full underlug. it only adds unneeded weight
in a pistol with negligible recoil My 625 5" Bbl... model it'd be nice have just the ejector shroud the full underlug makes it, (& the 617)
45 oz.

Has S&W ever produced a 617 w/o the full underlug?

doesn't the fact that the ejector rod has a forward position in the ejector shroud/underlug give the cylinder two points to lock up on instead of just the rear of the cylinder?
I'm referring to the M1917 and the changes
S&W made when they dropped the Triple Lock
and mode the M1917 for the Military and then
\kept that design until just before the
start of WWII.

Randall
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:19 AM
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I shoot a lot of NRA Falling Plate, and for many years I was using my K-38 Model 14-3 from a Safariland 002 holster. I was averaging 40 plates, with maybe 38 on a bad day and 42 on a good day (iron sights).
A few years back, I rebarreled the gun with an original S&W full-lug .38 Special barrel I bought when they were still available. Instantly, my plate scores went up to 42 low-end, 44 average, and 45 to 46 (out of 48) on a good day.

I cannot practise more, because we are very limited here for ammunition and reloading -- while not exactly illegal, is something one has to do in the dead of night while wearing a mask, limiting me to about 150 rounds a week to practise with.

I attibute the increase in score to two things;

1. The new McGivern Bead front sight I installed on the Heavy Barrel. I used to use bright red/orange paint on the standard blade of the old style barrel, but the Gold Bead is a whole 'nuther thing. I DID try first a fiber-optic front sight but did not like it and removed it. The Gold Bead is flat on top, giving me a good sight index; the fiber-optic was rounded on top, and maybe good for shooting IPSC/IDPA style courses, but it sucked (at least for me) for falling plate.

2. The additional front-end weight on the barrel. This, beyond all doubt, makes the biggest difference. The reduced recoil (or perhaps I should say, the recoil being "soaked up" by the increased front-end weight) means less time reacquiring my front sight, and more time to concentrate on sight-alignment within the fixed NRA Action time-limits.

My vote; The Full Lug barrel just ******* works for me. All else being equal.

We are now working on building an 8 3/8 inch K-38 (standard barrel) to test. We believe the increased length and barrel weight -- although less weight than a 6-inch full lug -- will still be enough to improve sight-picture acquisition and when combined with the increased sight radius might greatly improve things as well.

I do NOT believe there is a significant difference in "draw speed" from competition holsters between a 6 or an 8 inch barrel.

When I find out how this all worked out for me, I will write it up and let you know.

P.S. - I personally believe that a good 'smith could take take the .22 Heavy Barrel, in either 4 inch or 6 inch length, and sleeve it to .38 special to make a ".38 H.B. rebirth". I might someday make myself a 4 inch K-38 heavy barrel, since I am somewhat stuck with that caliber anyways.

My loads are a 158 gr. Cast SWC and 3.5 grains of Bullseye or a 148 grain Cast Wadcutter and about 3.0 to 3.1 grains of Bullseye. They will meet the NRA 120 power factor. (Mexican Aguila factory 130 grain ammunition will NOT!)

Photo; My homemade K-38 H.B. . The cylinder is moonclipped. Guts are Model 64.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:12 AM
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Target shooters seem to prefer heavier barrels.

For defensive purposes I prefer a lighter barrel. Lighter barrels are better for point shooting and lighter guns are better for fast draws from a holster.

Also for defensive purposes I prefer a non shrouded barrel because the extractor rods have been known to back out at the worst possible times.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:16 AM
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Great post Calmex!!!!!
Nice home brewed gun as well!
Can't wait to hear about your 8 3/8" experiment!
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:50 AM
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I tend to favor the full lug for looks and competition.
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Old 10-21-2008, 02:15 PM
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A bunch of us always suspected S&W introduced the 686 in the full lug design to put the hurt on Colt(we all know it was a PIP for the K Magnum too). Don't KNOW that that was their intent but they sure did do it!
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by NFrameFred:
My personal preference is for the half lug - it looks "right" to me and protects the extractor rod unlike those with no lug at all.
+1

My best looking revolver, in many ways.

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Old 10-21-2008, 08:11 PM
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That is a looker, Wyatt. I do like those stocks!

Jerry
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calmex View Post
I shoot a lot of NRA Falling Plate, and for many years I was using my K-38 Model 14-3 from a Safariland 002 holster. I was averaging 40 plates, with maybe 38 on a bad day and 42 on a good day (iron sights).
A few years back, I rebarreled the gun with an original S&W full-lug .38 Special barrel I bought when they were still available. Instantly, my plate scores went up to 42 low-end, 44 average, and 45 to 46 (out of 48) on a good day.

I cannot practise more, because we are very limited here for ammunition and reloading -- while not exactly illegal, is something one has to do in the dead of night while wearing a mask, limiting me to about 150 rounds a week to practise with.

I attibute the increase in score to two things;

1. The new McGivern Bead front sight I installed on the Heavy Barrel. I used to use bright red/orange paint on the standard blade of the old style barrel, but the Gold Bead is a whole 'nuther thing. I DID try first a fiber-optic front sight but did not like it and removed it. The Gold Bead is flat on top, giving me a good sight index; the fiber-optic was rounded on top, and maybe good for shooting IPSC/IDPA style courses, but it sucked (at least for me) for falling plate.

2. The additional front-end weight on the barrel. This, beyond all doubt, makes the biggest difference. The reduced recoil (or perhaps I should say, the recoil being "soaked up" by the increased front-end weight) means less time reacquiring my front sight, and more time to concentrate on sight-alignment within the fixed NRA Action time-limits.

My vote; The Full Lug barrel just ******* works for me. All else being equal.

We are now working on building an 8 3/8 inch K-38 (standard barrel) to test. We believe the increased length and barrel weight -- although less weight than a 6-inch full lug -- will still be enough to improve sight-picture acquisition and when combined with the increased sight radius might greatly improve things as well.

I do NOT believe there is a significant difference in "draw speed" from competition holsters between a 6 or an 8 inch barrel.

When I find out how this all worked out for me, I will write it up and let you know.

P.S. - I personally believe that a good 'smith could take take the .22 Heavy Barrel, in either 4 inch or 6 inch length, and sleeve it to .38 special to make a ".38 H.B. rebirth". I might someday make myself a 4 inch K-38 heavy barrel, since I am somewhat stuck with that caliber anyways.

My loads are a 158 gr. Cast SWC and 3.5 grains of Bullseye or a 148 grain Cast Wadcutter and about 3.0 to 3.1 grains of Bullseye. They will meet the NRA 120 power factor. (Mexican Aguila factory 130 grain ammunition will NOT!)

Photo; My homemade K-38 H.B. . The cylinder is moonclipped. Guts are Model 64.
Great info, and beauty of gun! Thanks.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revolver_King View Post
I tend to favor the full lug for looks and competition.
I like 'em too, great collection! Thanks.
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:31 PM
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I have a few full lugs and a model 10 that is half 64 to .



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Old 09-15-2010, 11:54 PM
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I prefer the half lug, or even better, the slender tapered barrel with a simple front latch. I think the finest balancing 4 inch revolver that has ever been made is one of the tapered barrel 38 spl. K frames, be it model 10, 15, or 67. They put the point of balance just a tick forward of the trigger and are very easy to bring on target quickly. I also think that it's no accident that the tapered barrel M&P defined the ideal Police service weapon for about 80 years, when you need a double action revolver that's a superb tool for a gunfight, you want something that makes it easy to hit your target quickly and well.

Fact is that when shooting rapid fire DA drills the gun that I group best with is my old model 67. With my 620, which does feature a half lug profile but also has noticebaly more mass in the barrel my groups run about 30% larger unless I slow down my rate of fire. As for why, take a 24 ounce hammer and try to stop it quicly mid swing, then take an 8 ounce tack hammer and do the same think. All that mass out in front may reduce muzzle flip but it also adds a lot of inertia way out front that has to be overcome.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:10 AM
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Randall,
S&W made 116 standard 6 inch barreled model 617s in 1991.
Larry
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  #20  
Old 09-16-2010, 12:26 AM
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I have never owned a full lugged S&W.

But I have shot some of them.

I have owned a few Colt Pythons, one that I used for PPC Service Pistol Matches.

Today, I would consider a full lugged S&W 44 Mag with a 6" or longer barrel for a Primary Hunting Handgun...

Or for a gun I was using in some kind of competion...

But for "carry", I would not want one.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:29 AM
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I like the look of full lug on any barrel length and half lug on 4 inch barrels or less.
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:54 AM
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I like the looks and balance of the half lug barrels the best.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:45 AM
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Hi,

If I were in a gun shop and the salesman showed me a 4 inch 686 and a 4 inch M28 and price was the same I would take the M28. I don't like the balance of the L frames except for the 686 SSR. I prefer half lug revolvers. My K frames are more balanced and I am more accurate with them.

Howard
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:47 AM
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Largely about the looks for me. The full lug is far and away the best looking option.

There's always plenty of talk about feel and point-ability and those things definitely are different for me. However, there's always a lot of talk about recoil, and for me, I can't tell much difference at all in recoil.

I recently shot a 4" and 6" full lug 686s side by side and I really don't think I could tell any difference after the trigger was pulled. The felt recoil was the same to me. I was very surprised by this.

Before the trigger is pulled there is a very obvious difference. It's not necessarily a huge difference, but it is certainly noticable before the trigger is pulled.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:14 PM
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There might be a little more to consider than just the "look" of the gun.

If you were shooting a lot of heavy 357 mags with bullets with longer nose portions or heavier bullets - they would possibly not fit into the N frames because of short cylinder length. They also might not do well in the K frames because they might be a little heavy in the pressure area. That makes the L frame your best choice and that pretty much means full lug.

If you are a big shooter of 44 mags, the earlier guns had "issues" - various sizes of cylinder throats, unlocking problems, shooting loose, etc. Some of the best working Smith & Wesson 44's started with the guns with the endurance packages and many of those came with the full lug barrel. So again you might find yourself shooting a full lug gun simply because it is the one that shoots the best!

Ward
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye Smith View Post
I have a few full lugs and a model 10 that is half 64 to .



Wow! Great collection. Thanks for the pics.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:08 PM
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Calmex, I really like the revolver you put together.

Ken
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:18 AM
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Me and a friend here in Sweden make´s heavy underlug´s for 686 / 629 Smith & Wesson revolver´s. Make´s a wonderful difference when you shoot with the revolver. Most people takes about full or half underlug and so and compare when the are holding the revolver. Shooting with half or full underlug and then put on the SCORE barrelweight in 2400 grams stainless 2333 steel make´s a big difference hitting targets on larger distance. And when you are shooting fast it helps staying on the target.
No drilling in the gun is needed. Aesy to put on and take of without damaging your gun!

Last edited by haklin; 06-10-2011 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:33 AM
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I have a 4" 686 (full lug), but I think I would rather have a 6" barrel. I don't want a 6" full lug - a buddy let me shoot his 6" 686, and it was heavier than I want. I liked his 6" M27 was much better.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellybean View Post
Target shooters seem to prefer heavier barrels.

For defensive purposes I prefer a lighter barrel. Lighter barrels are better for point shooting and lighter guns are better for fast draws from a holster.

Also for defensive purposes I prefer a non shrouded barrel because the extractor rods have been known to back out at the worst possible times.
I agree with Jellybean. For defensive use the non shrouded barrel is better, as the British found out in WWI trench warfare.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:13 AM
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Its all personal preference and it doesnt seem to make that much of a difference atleast to me, the barrel length itself however does and that's what you should be looking at not the Lug under the barrel.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:44 AM
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As far as preference, I like the barrels with the shrouded ejector rods, as opposed to the full underlug. I mostly shoot large calibers, so I guess the added weight wouldn't be a problem, but I don't see it as necessary. Yeah, to my eye, tho' I like the look on a Python, I don't see it needed on a Smith, at least not on all of them. (I'd like to see the IL go away with the full underlug barrels. Not likely, am I wrong?)
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:40 AM
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The K-38 was produced with a full lug barrel for a while in the early 90's, as evidenced by this model 14-5.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
I agree with Jellybean. For defensive use the non shrouded barrel is better, as the British found out in WWI trench warfare.
Just to point out historical fact, the Brits went with HE's in non shrouded ejectors as a cost cutting measure, not due to some percieved "better" factors regarding combat. Triple Locks were much more expensive but Smith could produce the 2nd model for a whole lot less. Drop the crane lock, delete the shround, rechamber to .455 or .455 Eley and voila, cheaper handgun for government service. (don't forget to throw in about a bazillion weird proof marks too ). The 1917 kept the no shroud system as it was already in production for the Brits by 1917 and was readily rechambered for .45 acp. Simple ecomomics at play here, not some perceived deficiency.

Additionally, the previous post wherein it was claimed that non lugged barrels are somehow "better" for combat is subjective at best. The last US Gov sanctioned revolvers, the Mod 686 used by Border Patrol were chosen due to their durability on a steady diet of .357's vs the previously half lugged K's. Certainly this has to do more with frame/cylinder size than with lug v 1/2 lug but at least check your history as to who found out what and why.

Imo it's personal preference, pure and simple. And add a GIGANTIC dose of training with a particular model and I'll bet anyone's combat or self defense capabilities will improve. Each system has pros and cons, but the more you train with one, the better you'll get on that one.

Just my .02 and just some history fact, not .02.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:04 PM
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Calmex, that is one cool looking revolver!

WHO CARES wrote something about cylinder length on L frames versus N frames. I don't have an L frame, so I cannot measure it. Are L frame cylinders longer?

I had heard the "mud in the trenches" explanation for the elimination of the shrouded ejector rod, but realistically that was probably 20th hand at that point. The cost explanation makes more sense given how governments often work.
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