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I have heard there can be a problem with model 66 forcing cone. Any truth to that? I'm thinking of buying one, a 66-2,
 

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Rob,

I've said it before and I'll say it again....



You have more to worry about from Alien Invasion that you do that the forcing cone on your 66-2 will crack.

I have several 66's here. Three of them are PD trade ins. Two I gave to my boys, one I kept for myself. Mine was the Chief's personal gun, he was a shooter and it had a documented 10,000 rounds (mostly Federal 125 grn JHP Magnums) through it when I got it. Subsequently, I have put likely another 2-3,000 rounds downrange. It needed a cylinder stop and hand, but the barrel is fine. So are all the others.

Here's the gun today....

 

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There was a problem with the
66-1 with a fairly thin forcing
cone. Rapid fire heat would
expand the gas ring and cause
the cylinder to lock. They
changed the gas ring from the
yoke to the cylinder in 1977 to
correct the problem. Your 66-2
started in 1982, so you should
be ok with that problem. Others
said .357 ammo would shake the
Model 19/66 apart. I, and many
others, have never had a problem.
Bill Jordan advised us to "practice with .38 and carry .357 ammo".
 

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Here's my 66-2 from the Oklahoma P&P DOC. These were retired in the late 80's for semi's. She's still going strong!!!!

 

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I'll have to qualify that. The 66's that were used with the 125gr "hot" ammo did have a problem with forcing cone wear. That's why S&W designed the 686. If you use 158 gr medium velocity ammo in a 66, you should have no problems......as many here have said. Bob
 

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I traded for this M66-2 and honestly don't know how many rounds were through it when I got it. I load it with 158 gr LSWC's at about 1000 - 1100 fps for general range and woods, and 145 gr Silver Tips for defense. Lockup, accuracy, and general action are all good. These are great little K frames, and as comforting now as they always have been.

 

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Bob K said:
I'll have to qualify that. The 66's that were used with the 125gr "hot" ammo did have a problem with forcing cone wear. That's why S&W designed the 686.....
Bob, I know we've all heard this before, and with all deference to you as you repeat it, I think that idea is sheep dip.

When I had my shop, I took in 28 Model 66-2's from a small PD in Rhode Island that had converted over to SiG 226's. Many of these guns had been in holsters for over 10 years and had seen extensive use with Federal 125 Grn JHP's, the hottest magnum load going at the time. This PD trained rigorously and I sold them alot of ammo. None of the 28 units traded had a cracked forcing cone.

In fact in many years as a dealer, gunsmith, PD armorer, and unrepentant gun trader, I've never personally seen a 66 or 19 with a busted barrel due to using SAAMI Spec factory ammo.

With regard to the 586, 686, 581, 681, speaking with the LEO Sales Reps at the time, I was left with the impression that S&W's intent was to design a SMALLER, LIGHTER gun than the N & NT-357's. These bulky, heavy guns had fallen out of favor with the large Federal Services and State Police Agencies (the USBP and NYSP come immediately to mind) that had issued the Model 28 and were considering the 520.

The K-Mags in their various configurations were (and are) winners that were (and are) in demand by cops and citizens from the late 50's when they were first introduced until their almost complete demise just a few years ago. I would think that if these guns were so terrible, then they wouldn't have been in continuous production for 50 years.
 

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Well, Drew. it has been repeated by alot of people, and S&W did design the 686 as a replacement. (They must've gotten a slew of them returned by Government Contract Agencies, to design a new gun!!!)

But, my friend, I will bow to your advanced knowledge, and your greater experience with K frames. Afterall, I owe you, and many of the other experts on this forum, a great deal of respect for taking me under your collective wings 8 years ago, when I was just a rookie! (I consider myself an advanced rookie at this stage of the game.) Bob
 

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I don't know about "Sheep Dip"--never been around MUTTON too much--but I DO KNOW a retired GBI Agent--that's Georgia Bureau of Investigation, for those of you who might not know--who was a Firearms Instructor for his agency when they ISSUED the Model 66...

He had TWO (2) Model 66 barrels split on him--at the Forcing Cone--and he witnessed a coupla' others over about two years' time...keep in mind that once a GBI Agent was thru with their initial training, in those days they did much of their practicing and qualification with full-power .357's--in the 125-gr. bullet weight...FWIW....mikey357
 

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Undoubtedly, the Government agencies continued to use the hot 125 Gr. load in their M-66's. The common wisdom is to use heavier bullets.....158+gr.. Perhaps, the "civilian" owners, and the FBI, did heed this warning from S&W, and shot the 158's.

I have a M-66-1, shoot a limited amount of medium velocity 158 grs., and have never had a problem. Perhaps, some guns were good ones.....and others were not. This is sometimes a problem with manufactering. I do not know!!! :?

Regard less of whether the L frames were designed to replace the K frame, or the too bulky N frame, they could stand up against the hot 125's, just like it's major competitor......the Ruger .357 DA. In any event, in doing so.....they corrected a major shortcoming of the K frame, and deleted the M-66 from their line up.

If you remove material from the forcing cone area, you do weaken the design. That's what I learned in Materials class, long ago, on my way to a BSME! S&W chose to under cut the forcing cone area, and it did have some problems. :roll: Bob
 

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In S&W's sales literature for the L-Frame Models 619 & 620 They referred to them as
"heavy duty" replacements for K-Frame Models 65 & 66. They also mention "enhanced performance and greater durability". Obviously, there must have
been a durability problem, or a strong perception in the public's mind of a durability problem, or why use the term "greater durability"?
 

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The 619 & 620 were introduced in 2005. The "L" frame was rolled out, TWENTY FIVE YEARS earlier in 1980 with the 586 / 686 / 581 / 681.

The 619 & 620 were attempts to consolidate the then declining Police Revolver Market into one frame size.

Again, I ask if the K-Mags were such an issue, where are the bone yards filled with broken guns and why did S&W continue to produce the 19 / 13 / 66 / 65 for the twenty five years of overlap with the L-Mags?

And how do you explain the discontinuance of both the 581 (1988) & 681 (1992) while the 65 outlived them until 2004 and the 13 until 1999?

This is a ridiculous conversation chocked full of oft repeated gun magazine hokum and anecdotal, third hand observation that doesn't stand up to logic or fact. But don't let that stop you.... you boys go right ahead.

Meanwhile S&W K-Mags are still hot sellers on the used market long after they've been out of production, and I stand by my statement above.... "I've never personally seen a 66 or 19 with a busted barrel due to using SAAMI Spec factory ammo".

I would be interested in seeing photographs taken by anyone on this forum of their personally owned, or even one in their own hands that is owned by others, a S&W K-Mag of any model with a blown or cracked barrel known to a certainty to have been ruined by extensive use of factory magnum ammo.
 

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Drew, With all due respect for a veteran gun collecter and user, then why did S&W advise the owners of 66's to shoot .357 mags a limited amount, and shoot mostly .38's? It's not rediculous, to ask these questions. They are valid concerns, for someone who intends to shoot alot. Like for IDPA competition.

I just shoot, maybe, 100 rds/year, in my M-66. (Hardly enough to be concerned.) I shoot only 158 gr. Med. Vel. factory loads in mine. The +P .38's are reserved for .38 revolvers......for practice, and carry. I bought a .357 revolver...........so I darned well intend to shoot the more powerful .357 loads........not .38's!!!! So far....so good. Bob
 

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Bob, Your guns are going to last a long time...

I've had several 66's and always ran 357 full bore loads in 'em. Even some 180 gr jhps. I can't give a life expectancy of them though because I always sold them off... :? I prefer the balance and feel of a 4" L frame for the 357 even over my 3.5" 27's...

I'm not a fan of the light 125's but when loaded hot they sure do get your attention with noise and muzzle blast. The water jugs I was shooting sure popped nicely too. :cool:
 

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Bob K said:
Drew, With all due respect for a veteran gun collecter and user, then why did S&W advise the owners of 66's to shoot .357 mags a limited amount, and shoot mostly .38's? It's not rediculous, to ask these questions. They are valid concerns, for someone who intends to shoot alot. Like for IDPA competition. Bob
Bob,

I've never seen a S&W Authorized Original Communication that advised their customers who bought Model 13's, 65's or 66's to "shoot .357 mags a limited amount, and shoot mostly .38's".

Drew
 

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Drew, Not to beat a dead horse, but, the Customer Service Advisers say that. But, you're right.....I've never seen an official statement from S&W, either.....but that don't mean that it might exist!!!! (I'm not consulted very often!!!! :roll: ) :lol: Bob
 

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Here's my two Lincolns. mytwocents When I asked my uncle about the strength of the 66,(he's got an early no dash 66 with the stainless sights, one of his favorites), he said- "If a 66 can't handle magnum loads, what about .357 J-frames?" :eek: He's got a point. if a J-frame is rated to use .357, then the 66 should be just fine. I shoot the 146-158 grain in my 66-2, just to be on the safe side. I like the gun waaaaaaaay too much to push the envelope.
 

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This is one of the afore mentioned Model 66's I took in trade so many years ago.



It was the Chief's gun from before he was the Chief. He was a gun guy and shot his entire issue of Federal 125 JHP Magnums every month. I got the brass back. This gun had easily 10,000 round through it before I got it. Alot more since.



These days it sees regular range use, mostly with a 172 Grain Bullet under a stiff charge of Unique for about 1100 FPS, depending upon which manual you read. Said load was reccomended by Elmer Keith, and we all know how shy he was.

None the worse for the wear... The barrel's just fine thank you very much.

 
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