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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm on the verge of acquiring my first revolvers and I hoping that some of you might be able to give me some insight on them. First off I plan on getting a K-38, there was one on the table when I took my course, and I just fell head over heels for it. After that, I'm looking at a .357, and a .44, which are more the relevant subject matter. I'm looking for guns with half lugs, the full lug doesn't appeal to me aesthetically, and I don't really like the way the full lug affects the balance. For the .44 I'm interested the Model 29, and for the .357 the Model 27. The .44 would primarily see a diet of cast 240 grain bullets loaded to "Special" type velocities, with some magnums, though likely less than 1000 over the course of my life. The .357 would primarily see magnum level loads, mostly with cast 158 grain lead bullets, but some jacketed too.

Revolvers are a new ball game to me, my knowledge on shotguns and rifles is fairly extensive, but to handguns I'm about as green as can be. I keep remembering reading things about revolvers like this deteriorating fairly quickly with heavy loads, but having no practical knowledge base to work off of, I'm completely in the dark when it comes to knowing what is and isn't excessive for these guns. I'm no Elmer Kieth, I have no plans on serious hot-rodding, I want them to last, I want to take care of them, but I want to be able to use magnum loads to my satisfaction without damaging them. I know all revolvers wear in time, but it's one thing for a gun to need servicing after a few thousand rounds, and quite another after a few dozen.

I see "Classic" brand reproductions for these guns online. If the old models won't hold up, would the newer ones be a better choice? Are there any significant differences between the originals and these "Classic" brand reproductions? Are there models out there better suited to my needs? Really all Smiths are attractive to me, but I'm dead set on a half lug.
 

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Well that is alot to answer. We who are purest don't like the new Smith Wesson that have the Hillary Hole ( Trigger Lock) Most of us look for the pinned barrel and recessed cylinder models. the Model K-38 s are really great guns. Handle and shoot really nice. Model 66s and 67s are nice and stainless steel can't be beat. Anything in the model 27 0r 28 s are great .357's I prefer the .41 magnums over the .44.. As far as reloading to extend you revolver life keep the pressure down. Reload carefully. I have had many revolvers for many years and they still shoot great. But you can shoot them loose or put them out of timing with lots of drastic heavy loads. Lastly anything from the Smith Wesson Performance center is really well made. You can't go wrong spending the extra money for one of their guns.

Just my thought,, welcome to the forum Layne 12 gun
 

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The older N frame models like the 28, 27 etc. will shoot 357 mags all day. The L 686 is a workhorse on 357 mag. If I want to go really hot usually my old style Ruger Blackhawk, Vaquero, or Redhawk will shoot about anything. The Smiths are great guns and as mentioned the older ones are amazing at the range and in quality. My newer Performance center 627-5 has the lock in it but is 8 shot 357 mag and does well with any 158 grain 357 mag I feed it. Good Luck in your search.
 

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Hey H,

Welcome to S&W.

I see a: K 22, K 38, M 28, M 27, M 25, M 25-2, 625, M 29..........and a few more in your future!

Later, Mark
 

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The K 38 is a great gun made for accuracy, not hot loads. Keep the ammo 900 fps or below & it should last indefinitely... & outshoot almost anything. The 27 should eat quite thousand .357's in the 1,000-1,100 fps range. A 29 should handle a few thousand 1,000-1,100 fps loads. Of course hotter loads do wear things out faster than milder ones but truth be told I have J frame .357's that have handled a lot of 1,000+ fps loads & are still going strong. Keep it clean & lubed & a S&W will last several generations. In the 30+ years I owned a gunsmithing business I can't recall ever having to rebuild a S&W that wasn't a lot older than me unless it was broken by abuse.
Re: the Classic line: They're good guns that are made to tighter tolerances than the old ones thus requiring less of the hand fitting & polishing we love. I've polished up a couple & love everything about them except the internal lock (I call it the "infernal lock"), that is a failed abortion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The K-38 seems to be quite exceptional in every respect. There's a video someplace of a guy shooting a 6" group at 100 yards with one using factory wad cutters. Accuracy is what I'll be aiming for with that one, I mentioned it so as to indirectly explain why the 357 will primarily see magnums. I should note that my prejudice towards full under lugs is the result of spending some time with the GP100 that was beside the K-38 when I took my course. My opinion of that gun is that it ought to be marketed as a heavyweight framing hammer.

I hear things about guns going out of time faster from double action use, especially rapid fire double action use. Is that true?
 

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Well my dad has a 29 2 screw and shot the heck out if it and when he passed in 1969, I got it and I've shot it plenty with some pretty darn hot hand loads and FMJ's and it's till just fine. I was a bit concerned using Varget because I've read about top strap (at the forcing cone erosion) but I have none on a steady diet of Varget with some Unique thrown in when fiddling around. It's taken it's share of Michigan deer with 240 Sierra Spotsmasters. I've kind of mothballed it now I have the 460 XVR though. Don't want to 'use up' my dad's revolver not that I could.

Welcome to the forum, Lots of good folks on here.
 
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I should note that my prejudice towards full under lugs is the result of spending some time with the GP100 that was beside the K-38 when I took my course. My opinion of that gun is that it ought to be marketed as a heavyweight framing hammer.

I hear things about guns going out of time faster from double action use, especially rapid fire double action use. Is that true?


I like full-lug guns since it gives the muzzle a bit more weight & I'm back on target slightly quicker. However you should buy what you want, you're the one using it. Yes, rapid fire double action will wear out a gun faster than single action... a new S&W might need rebuilding in 2 lifetimes instead of 3... keep it clean & lubed & it should be around a very long time.
 

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The real Classics are the old breeds. The new ones are Classic only by dint of marketing. I think either will suffice for shooting pleasure but I'm sure you can fine a nice older model 14 at a very competitive price compared with the newer models.

John
 

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Welcome aboard H8.
I recently bought 2 older model N frames.
A 29-3 from about 1985. With a 6.5 barrel.
A 29-2 from 1977. With a 8 3/8 barrel.
They both shoot great. I just shot -2 today. I like it better.
I could have bought the new classic models.
But, I thought the pre lock and assembly by hand by a person that cares and took pride in "their" work was worth something.
Just my opinion there.
Here's a pic of the girls,
20180328_174118.jpg

I must have read some of the same info you have on the K38.
I pick up my 1960 model 14 K38 masterpiece on tuesday. I already loaded up some food for it.

I enjoy the fact that these guns are old, and made with pride. After all, I'm only a caretaker of them for now.

I hope to live long enough to shoot the barrel out, lol.
 

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Welcome to the forum from Texas!

You'll just never know what it is you like until you've shot a few. Rather than rent, I just buy what I like...turns out I liked pretty much everything that didn't break my wrist with recoil. A 629 with full-on .44 magnums did, and a .38 M36 AIRWEIGHT did. They've found happier homes.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the warm welcome gentlemen. I can't deny the appeal of hand work, it gives things "soul", in fact I refused to pursue a profession that I would have most definitely excelled in on the grounds that it has almost entirely become computer controlled. That said, if the tolerances and uniformity in manufacture are tighter now than they were then, would parts be more difficult to replace on older guns, requiring more fitting than their modern counterparts?
 

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I have often said if you manage to wear out a Smith & Wesson revolver (or semi, or any other brand really) shooting factory level ammo, you should brag about it, not complain. You've done something not a lot of people do in their lifetime. It means you've shot a lot of ammo and spent a lot of time shooting it. Sure the "old timers" did it once in a while, but they were likely to be "one gun" shooters. Back even when I was young, most people didn't own multiple guns, or if they did it was along the lines of shotgun, rifle, handgun, rather than Model 10, 14, 15, 19...and so on. Our shooting tends to get spread out.

Yes, silhouette shooters did wear out a lot of Model 29's back in the day, but they were shooting some crazy heavy loads then to take down those heavy targets way down range. I have read of revolvers, especially "N" frames going out of time when doing a lot of FAST D/A shooting. That big cylinder is a pretty good sized hunk of steel to get moving and stop quickly, over and over, and over. Parts are going to wear. However even those conditions are extreme.

Good choice on the half lug barrels. I don't care for full lugs myself. I've heard it said you can tell a lot about a man's intelligence by how often he agrees with you. We're off to a good start. ;)

Welcome to the forum. Pull up a chair, sit on the floor and let us help you spend your money.
 

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Welcome from Northern Illinois!
These members all have a wealth of knowledge, they probably forgot more than I could ever learn.
But be warned they are enablers and will put a hurt on your wallet and savings.
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! There are lots of options when it comes to S&W revolvers. Full under lug, shrouded ejector rod, and no shroud. I have examples of all of those and enjoy all of them. I prefer the N frame guns because the grip fits my hand very well particularly in the larger calibers. I also have found myself preferring the model 1917 which is a 45 ACP caliber. The 45 caliber cartridges have excellent accuracy. And they have plenty of power out of a revolver since there's no slide and ejector mechanism to activate. Also the older models are relatively cheap compared to more modern model such as the classics, although you can buy a model 1917 in the classics.

The the older models were all forged and hand fitted. The more modern revolvers are both forged and MIM parts. The MIM parts should wear better than the older forged because the metal is harder. But, practically speaking, forged Hammers and triggers will likely outlive the shooter given reasonable maintenance.

Read through some of the post in the forums and you'll get a lot of information on these guns. If you have a shooting club, ask the members if they if you can shoot their guns and I think you'll find that most will be happy to have you try their handguns. Stick around and we'll spend your money for you

Guy
 

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This one is from about 1882. I bought it as a parts gun. When I got it it barely functioned. Did a good soaking and it is as tight as the day it left the factory. Looks a little worse for wear at 136 IMG_20171227_235648_hdr.jpg this one is about 5 years older IMG_20180330_180358_hdr.jpg buy
what you like. The modern Smiths are well made reasonably priced guns on most all levels except when you get to really fine collectables, and they can be repaired by decent gun smiths. I find Colts seem to be just higher prices all around because they stopped making wheel guns
 

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Welcome from Northern Illinois!
These members all have a wealth of knowledge, they probably forgot more than I could ever learn.
But be warned they are enablers and will put a hurt on your wallet and savings.
I can attest to the enabling part.
I've read quite a few old threads already. I've never read " nah, dont get it ".
 
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