Differences between different model snubbys?

Discussion in 'GSSF' started by Cheseldine, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. Cheseldine

    Cheseldine Texan

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    I am interested in getting a small snubby, and was wondering what the differences were between model numbers, and what you guys recommend.

    I am mainly looking at S&W, but there are so many different models they produce that I really don't know what I should get.

    I see they make the 642, 442, 637, the model 10, and the model 60. I think there may be more that I don't remember right now.

    Anyway aside from this, they all seem to each come in three hammer configurations as well, some with a completely enclosed hammer, some with the standard hammer, and some with the tip of the hammer almost fully enclosed but not quite.

    The gun will be used primarily for a CCW, but I would kind of like the option to fire single action when I am out in the woods with my friends shooting cans and paper. Are they very accurate shooting DA, or even SA for that matter? I have a Colt, which I have gotten pretty decent with shooting DA, and was wondering how the Smith's triggers compared.

    Thanks for any help,

    Nathan
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  2. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie

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    They are probably every bit as accurate as their longer barreled brothers but for the loss of some velocity and of course, there's always the operator behind the gun to mess with any accuracy claims the little guys are capable of providing.
    Not really fun to shoot with full charge loads, but they are fun to plink with to a point. Some people can do some amazing things with enough practice. (look up Bob Munden some time)
    I've got a 442 and a 60 but only shoot the 60 in DA mode, having gotten away from shooting DAs in SA mode years ago.

    You left out the round backed 38 Bodyguard series which does let you shoot either DA or SA. The 442/642 are DA only. The 36 and 37 series, with exposed hammer obviously allows both DA and SA.

    Here's the S&W J frame link
    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...1&parent_category_rn=15703&top_category=15703

    As to trigger action, the J frames use a coil spring which is a tad bit different than the larger K, L & N frames spring system, so they typically don't have that S&W magical trigger action, but can be worked up pretty smooth with enough use (dry fire is good).

    I personally think everyone should have one or two of the little guys, and a Colt Detective Special or two as well.
     

  3. Berto

    Berto woo woo

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    Generally, the models starting with a '6' are all stainless steel, or stainless cylinder/alloy frame. Models of the '300' range are titainium/scandium guns.
    Guns like the 37, 10, 49, 442 are blued steel or blued cylinder/alloy framed guns.

    The S@W J frames (small frame snubby) came in three types:

    The Chief's Special- five shot .38sp, exposed hammer, steel or alloy frame.
    The model 36 (blued) and 60 (stainless) 37 and 637.

    THe Centennial- five shot .38sp, "hammerless" (there actually IS a hammer, but internal), these have a completely concealed hammer, DAO. Steel or alloy frame. Model 40 or model 640, 442, 642.

    The Bodyguard- five shot .38sp, shrouded hammer (humpbacked) DA/SA.
    Model 49. 38, 638 and 438

    Any of these guns will shoot as well as any other, but they require dedicated practice to achieve the skill that otherwise might come easier with larger handguns.

    [​IMG]

    25yrds

    [​IMG]
     
  4. ElevatedThreat

    ElevatedThreat NRA Member

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    Ignore the model numbers, and sort it out this way.

    Pick a caliber -- .38 Special, .38 Special +P, or .357 Magnum.

    Pick a hammer system -- fully exposed hammer, shrouded exposed hammer (Bodyguard type), or enclosed hammer (Centennial type).

    Pick your preferred finish or color -- blued (black) or stainless (silver).

    Pick a weight -- steel (stainless or carbon steel) frame (regular weight frame), aluminum frame (lighter weight frame), Scandium or Titanium frame (ultra-lightweight frames).

    Then find the model that offers the combination of caliber, hammer, finish, and weight that you want.

    -ET
     
  5. ede

    ede Bama's Friend

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  6. GreyEclipse

    GreyEclipse TheGreyEclipse

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    +1 Great post. I'll actually use this formula for my next snub purchase. :supergrin:
     
  7. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Good post.
    I was going to say about the same thing but would have taken at least five times as many words.:supergrin:


    The Black and White target is my S&W J Frame plinking target, 52 yards.
    The J Frame will easily keep all shots on the target but I miss about 2 in 50 shots.
    So Yes the S&W J Frame is very accurate DA and SA.:)
    [​IMG]
     
  8. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

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    I have an old school flat latch model 36 J frame, 3" barrel. I bought a 36-1 for my daughter, and am hunting another. The steel frames shoot better than you'ld expect with sturdy .38 loads...and 3" doesn't conceal nearly as well as the 2", or carry as easily as the airweights..

    The steel frame makes it weigh 24oz, the extra inch adds about 50fps, about 10% to the ME, makes it a hair more accurate... all good things if concealment isn't critical. Properly set up, steel J frames are sturdy little guns, and plenty powerful. Just don't try to combine max power and minimum weight.

    I can't wait to get my hands on a 3" J frame in .327 magnum. A natural combination..
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  9. ElevatedThreat

    ElevatedThreat NRA Member

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    For CCW, I prefer the Centennial design -- fully enclosed hammer, double-action-only.

    I have the S&W 640, an all-stainless .357 Magnum Centennial, and the 642, an aluminum-framed and stainless steel cylinder and barrel Centennial.

    These are older pre-lock S&W revolvers that wear the discontinued Uncle Mike's checkered rubber Craig Speigel-designed Boot Grips.

    I also have an all-stainless steel Centennial chambered in .38 Special +P, but that one is a safe queen right now -- really sort of neither fish nor fowl.

    Some guys like the ultra-lightweight Titanium/Scandium .357 Magnum snubbies, but I find that I can't shoot those uber-recoiling beasts without having to re-grip the gun between every shot, which really slows me down -- this despite working out regularly with a Gripmaster-type finger/hand exerciser.

    These Titanium or Scandium guns carry very light, but at some point, for me extreme light weight in a Snubby becomes too little of a good thing.

    -ET
     
  10. SIGSAREBETTER

    SIGSAREBETTER Teh Pieman

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    The snubby discussion for me begins and ends with the Bodyguard format. :D
     
  11. Cheseldine

    Cheseldine Texan

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    Thanks, you guys have helped alot. So I think I've singled it down to 38+p just because I have around $550 to spend and cannot afford 357.

    I honestly like the fully exposed hammer as single action would be really nice, but how much harder will it make it to carry concealed everyday?

    As far as the finishes go, I'm not very picky, so which holds up the best and requires the least maintenence?

    Also steel sounds heavy, and scandium sounds expensive so I guess I want an aluminium framed gun.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  12. beemerphile

    beemerphile CLM

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    The problem with the exposed hammer is if you pocket carry. It can snag the inside of the pocket and prevent completing the draw. With technique (covering the hammer with your thumb) you can usually prevent it. The question is whether you are trained well enough for muscle memory to keep you from forgetting the technique when it matters.

    My personal pocket-carry snub is the S&W 340PD with Crimson Trace grips. I have others (Model 36 etc.) but they are not my carry guns.
     
  13. Cheseldine

    Cheseldine Texan

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    I was thinking it would be carried more IWB. Would the hammer sticking out still be a problem? I'm 6' and weigh 150 lbs so I don't think the pocket carry would work very well anyway.

    The exposed hammer isn't a necessity, but I would really like the extra versatility.

    I am a college student and we can carry here on campus,(CSU) but at the same time I need something I can conceal really well. I have a G19 right now that I can get away with, but it is hard in the summer. I looked at other autos such as the, Ruger LCP, kel tec, seecamp, micro desert eagle, sig p238, kahr's, diamondbacks, and probably some I am forgeting, but I keep coming back to the J frame and I just plain want one.

    Which finish holds up better, the blued, black, or aluminum (steel colored?)?

    ETA: the 340 PD looks like a sweet shooter, but it really does not fall within my college budget.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  14. ronin.45

    ronin.45

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    Some good rundowns of the models so far. Now go buy a 642. Lightweight alloy frame for carry comfort. Stainless steel for corrosion resistance close to the body. A concealed hammer so lint and dirt can't get into the action as easily. It is almost the perfect concealed carry revolver. It would be if they made it in 9mm.:supergrin:
     
  15. Cheseldine

    Cheseldine Texan

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    I think I have it down to either the 642 or the 637. I really like the exposed hammer, I just don't know if it will get in the way too much or not.
     
  16. ronin.45

    ronin.45

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    I had a 637 and it snagged way too much on the draw out of my pocket so I started drawing with my thumb on the hammer. The hammer is carbon steel so it started to rust from me touching it a couple times a day. I upgraded to the 638 with the shouded hammer. No more snagging but the hammer still started to rust and the shroud was a lint collector. The funny thing is that I got those two models so I could shoot them single action and then never did. These guns aren't made for single action so just get the DAO 642 and be done.
     
  17. beemerphile

    beemerphile CLM

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    Good advice here. I wasn't necessarily recommending the 340PD as I know it is pricey - that's just what I carry and I like it a lot because it is even light enough to carry in dress pants. I have both enclosed and open hammer J-frames, and the open hammer models NEVER get carried. Pocket carry (in a Robert Mika or DeSantis Nemesis holster holster) or SmartCarry are the best summer concealment methods I have found and both are more reliable with an enclosed hammer. Don't worry about your size and weight if you wear normal to loose (ie: not form-fitting) clothes.

    You might also consider the Ruger LCR as a budget alternative.
     
  18. Cheseldine

    Cheseldine Texan

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    I think after hearing this I will just get the 642. The rust thing really bothers me.
     
  19. sarge83

    sarge83

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    Excellent post! I might also mention that if you can find a Colt snubby you pick up a 6th round, instead of 5 with the S&W's. I have both and alternate between a nickel bodyguard and a Colt Det. Spec.
     
  20. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin

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    One thing to keep in mind is that some of the airweight models have had an issue with the aluminum frames shedding their finish. I ditched all my airweights after this happened to one of mine (I had a m637 and a m642). Smith replaced the one with the defective finish before I sold it, but I did not want to keep it and take the chance of it happening again.

    My favorite Smith snubbie is my m640. It is all steel and has no external hammer. That makes it perfect for drawing since no hammer means no snagging and perfect for firing from inside a pocket because no hammer means no problem with fabric getting between the hammer and the firing pin.

    If you want the option of SA then I suggest the m60. All stainless construction with a hammer and it can be bought with various barrel lengths. If you want the option of "in the pocket" firing but still want the SA option look at the m638 since it has the shrouded hammer.

    As far as accuracy goes, they are very accurate from a rest. The real issue most face is the short sight radius. The shorter the distance between the front and rear sight the greater any aim related error is magnified.

    One last thing, get the .357mag version of whatever gun you get. You can always shoot .38spl in it at the range and then load .357's in it for CC. Unless you are looking at some older pre-lock models which only come in .38spl and you are comfortable with the round.

    m640 .357mag
    [​IMG]

    m638 .38spl
    [​IMG]

    m60 .357mag
    [​IMG]

    m60 .38spl
    [​IMG]

    m60 .38spl w/3" barrel
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010