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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 02-27-2024, 07:17 AM
ELR ELR is offline
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Default Organized Shooting Question

I am not into organized shooting but do like target shooting. I am thinking about purchasing another revolver for my collection. I am looking at the S&W Performance Center's model 686 with a 4 in. barrel or the S&W Performance Center's model 686 Plus with a 5 in. barrel. They both cost the same and from what I can see, the only difference is 1 in. in barrel length and 1 more cartridge in the cylinder. I am 84 years old and do have some numbness in my hands, that is why I am moving from 9mm to 38/357. My question is which gun do you organized shooters think I should purchase, or do you have a different revolver you think I should purchase.
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Old 02-27-2024, 07:50 AM
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Given your described numbness in your hands and your age, you might find that a .38 Special revolver might be a better fit for your needs. Usually, the best advised choice would be a model 14, aka the K-38 Target Masterpiece. But, for your specific needs, maybe another choice is better.

I’ve got a few questions that you should consider.
1) Is weight an issue? If so, a .38 Special built on the S&W “K” frame might be better.
2) How is your eyesight? If you are planning on using the open “iron” sights, then barrel length choice will be most critical as it affects sight radius, the distance between the front and rear sights. A 6” barrel is usually recommended for target shooting. But, if you have any vision issues related to depth of field you might find a 4” barrel to be the better choice. You’ll find it easier to focus on the front sight and keep it clearly centered in the rear sight notch. The mechanical intrinsic accuracy of either length is negligible to nil.
3) How steady are your hands? If you have any weakness caused by age-related muscle mass loss, a lighter revolver with a shorter sight radius will not only be easier to hold steady, but will give you a better perceived stability of sight alignment.

So, with this being said, if any of the above criteria is applicable, I think the ideal choice for you would be a S&W model 15. This is a “K” frame revolver in .38 Special with a 4” barrel and target sights.
The stainless steel equivalent is the model 67.

If you just gotta have a .357 for some reason, then you might go with the model 19 (blue steel) or 66 (stainless steel). But, if a 9mm gives you trouble, you’ll really be in a pickle with a .357 magnum!

Best wishes with your new shooting endeavor!

Last edited by 6string; 02-27-2024 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 02-27-2024, 09:29 AM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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I think a longer sigh radius help me see and shoot better/more easily.

By the way: The model 14 is no longer made, but a 6" model 15 is the same thing.

Ivan
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Old 02-27-2024, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan the Butcher View Post
I think a longer sigh radius help me see and shoot better/more easily.

By the way: The model 14 is no longer made, but a 6" model 15 is the same thing.

Ivan
As someone who usually shoots a Hämmerli free pistol with an 11" barrel and an even longer sight radius, I can understand and concur with your experience.
But with really old eyes, myopia vs. presbyopia, among other problems, can cause focal issues that may favor the shorter radius. I hope ELR follows up with this thread and offers his thoughts as more replies (hopefully) continue.

By the way, there are a couple of revolvers that would perfectly fit the bill being offered right now in the forum classified section!!

Last edited by 6string; 02-27-2024 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 02-27-2024, 11:18 AM
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Default So many questions to self answer first...aging out stinks!

I am a tad younger than you at 79 years old, and I developed that medical problem where the fingers start curling along with a touch of arthritis. It got bad enough a few years ago that the doc recommended that I stop shooting Magnum ammo so I sold the 357's, and the 44 Mag's and stepped down to my 9mm's and 38's and didn't really miss the full load maggies.

What a difference 4 years + makes!

In June of 2019 at 10 yards I could still put the 9mm's where I wanted even with crummy sights, but now at late 2023 I hardly get them on the paper. Eyesight is a little worse, shooting off hand standing a little harder to control weapon shake, etc. et. al. ad infinitum.

So....what to do? Give it up, turn in my range pass, sell them all and retire to the rocking chair on the back porch?

THEN... I acquired my first 5" S&W revolver, about a year ago. A 1921 HE in 32-20 WCF. Sheesh...this gun had a balance point that was better for my average, medium sized hands, just a natural pointer for me. Only problem was the ammo is just not anywhere to be found.

I was given 3 boxes of 32-20 ammo last Christmas, and then just happened to find a Model 10 no dash (1959) also with a 5" barrel!

Found a place to shoot lead ammo (banned from indoor ranges around here), took them both out just the other day and the minimum is 15 yards and I thought well...heck...I'll probably do a job on the support frames and get kicked out, but lo and behold..........these 5 inchers made me look 10 years younger!

In my opinion you need to answer some questions for yourself:

Do you reload and can you shoot lead at your range? If not then 38 Special will maybe your best choice for availability.

Can you rent, or does a friend have a 5" revolver that you can at least try and put a few rounds through to see about balance, POI/POA and feel in your numb hands?

What distance to target do you enjoy the most? Can you hold a 6" revolver steady in off-hand, standing for several cylinders (30-50) of shooting?

I have heard that prolonged shooting of 38's in a 357 may result in a build up occurring in the cylinder, don't know for a fact, but my 2002 Model 66-6 just nowdays sits in the safe unless my daughter is home and she likes the magnum rounds.

Do you shoot indoor or outdoor ranges or both. Outdoor for me because of lead ammo) means now wind and other (bright light/low light) sighting factors that I hadn't had to deal with in years.

I guess the moral is we all have issues to consider but anything that may help you keep doing what you enjoy with this shooting hobby is usually appreciable.

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide that works for you and please let us know how you proceed...age wise I'm headed your way so maybe some things you find may help me someday.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Browning Hi-Power full size 2.jpg (68.5 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg BHP-1.jpg (83.8 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg M10 N-2.jpg (37.8 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg 38 Spl LRN target.jpg (34.0 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Model 66-6 a.jpg (45.0 KB, 16 views)
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Old 02-27-2024, 12:26 PM
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This style may work out for you. 686-6 Pro Series, 7 shot, 5" barrel. I just shoot .38 Specials in it but can shoot Magnum when I want to. It has a good out of box trigger. Bob
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File Type: jpg 686-6 001.jpg (62.3 KB, 10 views)
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Old 02-27-2024, 02:02 PM
teletech teletech is offline
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+1 on the model 14. I'd go with a vintage Smith over a new one, for the history if nothing else, but also the idea there was human craftsmanship rather than the whole thing being CNC produced.
My eyes are such that running a diopter I can benefit from additional sight radius, but without one I don't have the depth of field and a adjustable sight snubby shots as well as a 6" bbl gun.
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Old 02-27-2024, 02:44 PM
ELR ELR is offline
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First, I would like to thank everyone for your replies. When I first posted I mentioned 357, I actually would be only shooting 38 specials as I want the lowest recoil as possible with factory ammo. I only shoot indoor as there are 6 indoor ranges around Tampa Florida. I have only shoot factory full metal jacket bullets, so I do not know if any of the ranges allow lead bullets. Up to now I normally have been shooting 9mm through semi-autos but would like to reduce the recoil. I mentioned the two 686's because I liked the looks, and they have a better trigger. I have always said if you can't shoot good you might as well look good. I am going to look at a barely used S&W Performance Center's model 686 Plus with a 5 in. barrel which was manufactured in August 2023, the owner does not want to sell the gun but needs the money because of health issues. Like several people have said that their eyesight is not as good as it used to be, you can add me to that group. Again thanks for your responses.
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Old 02-27-2024, 04:46 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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At 78 I could still get around the IDPA field with a 9mm or such.
If it doesn't rain Saturday I will find out if I still can at 79.

Although I compete with a 9mm, sometimes a .38 or .45 revolver, I usually take a .22 to practice and shoot it for half or 2/3 of the session.

So do not miss out on an opportunity to get a sound K22.
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