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Subtitle: Gunbroker is a dangerous place......

I placed a lowball max bid on a pre-lock Smith 638 two weekends ago and promptly forgot about it as I've always been outbid before. Imagine my happy surprise when I got the notification email that, not only had I won, but it was below may max bid amount!

I've never owned a J-frame Smith before that wasn't a .22, but always liked the classic Bodyguard design, so I've kept an eye out for a +p no-lock model without any luck. So when this one popped-up on a no reserve I thought I'd roll the dice.

This will be a back-up carry gun for me, or possibly the Mrs. if she bonds with it, so I wasn't concerned that the original box and paperwork was missing, especially for the price. I have to admit, I didn't expect it to be in as good shape as it is! It barely even has a turn ring on the cylinder.



I took it out and got it nice and dirty on Sunday, but forgot to take the camera along. It shoots fairly well, keeping 5 rounds in a palm-sized group at 10 yards, but the front sight will need some help in direct sunlight and the +p rounds really made me think hard about bigger grips, or at least some that will cover the backstrap.

I'm guessing we might have some serious j-frame fans on here and would love to hear any and all suggestions for grips, sights, and even holsters.
 

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We have a few of those, they are excellent firearms. Never a problem. I do favor a different grip for rapid fire.
 
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****** Viejo
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Congrats. I like it. I'm a J-frame owner and have been for over forty years. The Bodyguard and Centennial models are my favorites. I am recoil sensitive but still use the factory rubber boot grips like yours. I like a pancake style holster and use a pocket holster some times. Good luck with your new pistol. tom. :thumbsup:
 

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****** Viejo
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Oh and orange acrylic paint on the front ramp sight. tom. :cowboy:
 

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I love the shrouded hammer of the 638. My favorite design of the S&W Airweight line.
 
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I guess I could add that I own more than half a dozen J-frames, myself. Having been a long time revolver shooter (I carried an issued M66 as my first duty gun), I favor the little J's quite a bit.

I've always thought about adding a 638 of the production vintage pictured, to complement my older 649 (pre-Magnum). I have a pair of 642-1's and M&P 340's (with & without ILS) which I usually favor for my normal pocket carry chores, but my 649 lets me test my snub revolver skills out to 50-75yds now and again, because of its SA capability. That older thin front ramp needed some bright red paint for me to see it well, though, in different types of light.

I'm not nearly as fussy about the stocks as I was as a younger shooter, and I have a variety of them on my different J's. I even have some standard smooth round butt grips on a 37-2, but that gun only sees standard pressure loads, so it's controllable with the little factory grip stocks. I'm not overly sensitive to recoil - (I used to think 500-700 rounds of stout Magnum handloads in my short Blackhawk or early Security-Six was the definition of a fun afternoon) - but I typically carry +P loads in my M&P 340's.

I did my first couple of qual courses-of-fire with an assortment of Magnum loads in my first M&P 340, mostly to check for signs of bullet pull with my normal Magnum loads, but also to demonstrate to the rest of the guys that I could run the little pocket mule at speed, accurately. I can simply run the +P's faster, on a clock, which might be helpful. ;)

Congrats again. That 638 is a dandy little version of the venerable 5-shot snub.

FWIW, I use the original rubber "boot grip" stocks on my 642-1's, and they typically see 125gr +P, 130gr +P & 135gr +P loads for quals, training & practice. I used to use standard pressure 130gr ball, back when it was cheap and available as range ammo, and that's an easier load for most shooters to use for long range sessions.

Many moons ago my preferred carry load was either W-W 158gr LSWCHP +P or Rem 158gr LHP +P, with a slight preference for the Rem Express load, with its softer-swaged bullet (hoping it helped with deformation/expansion), when it was available. Accurate, but with the expected +P felt recoil ... and both "smokey" and dirty. I hate cleaning lead out of cylinder charge holes. It's still a viable "old school" choice, I'd think, but some of the newer JHP's seem to offer more potential for both expansion, great accuracy ... and cleaner guns afterward. ;)

My current stock of carry loads for the +P capable snubs includes Speer 135gr +P (Short Barrel), Rem 125gr +P HPJ/BJHP (Golden Sabre) and W-W RA38B 130gr +P (PDX1, but in 50-rd Ranger boxes). I still have some boxes of the Rem & W-W 158gr LHP +P's left over, and even some older, discontinued +P loads from some years ago, but it's the newer loads that see the bulk of normal carry/use. Once upon a time I managed to acquire a lot of the standard Speer 125gr +P GDHP, but that's mostly used for range sessions nowadays, as the 135gr Short Barrel bullet was made to work better in snub barrels.

What's in one particular gun on any given day depends pretty much on what box of which ammo was closest at hand when I was loading the gun. I have speedloaders loaded with all of them, as well as 2-3 options of standard pressure JHP's for my 37-2 ... and even some 145gr STHP Magnum loads if I decide to load Magnums in one of my M&P 340's, or my Ruger SP101DAO (which sees either 125gr Rem SJHP or W-W 145gr STHP, as those are my typical "preferred" Magnum loads, and I have a fair amount of them left over from earlier days when they were much more affordable).

J's are handy, although they DO require a better shooter skillset than larger revolvers. The very attributes that make them so handy and convenient for lawful concealed carry also tends to make them harder for most people to shoot.

Great little guns, though, and they can be amazingly accurate in the right hands.
 
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I take a black Sharpie and color up the front sight on my J frames.

As far as bigger grips go, nope. Rather defeats the concealability of the gun.
Old school.

I'd have to say that the newer models, with their much wider front ramps (and rear notches) are a lot easier and faster to see, though.
 

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When the daughter decided she wanted a self defense weapon for the home, I gave her and my son-in-
law two guns, a Rossi Circuit Judge .45 rifle/.410 ga shotgun with a bunch of Winchester PDX 1 ammo
along with a TRS 1 light mounted to it. The second gun was a S&W m38 Airweight. The matte nickle
plated version with sever boxes of Hornady 110 gr Critical Defense ammo and CT Laser Grips.
Had both of them shoot both guns with me as well a clean them for several weeks before I felt they were
ready. My daughter had shot guns with me since she was a child but hadn't cleaned them or got a working
knowledge of how they worked. SiL was a noobie but took to shooting like a duck to water. Now he comes
up to shoot every chance he gets. :patriot:
I carried that model 38 in an ankle holster on the job for at least 25 years. Chasing bad guys on foot thru
snow, streams, mud and anything else mother nature thru at me. Never had a hiccup out of it. Great choice you won't regret..
Dano
 

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Congrats. The "humpbacks" are my new favored child in J-frames. Where before I thought them ugly, now they are beautiful in their function. I keep boot grips on all my Js. The lion's share of my training is with softer loaded ammo that matches the projectile weight of my carry loads. I still carry my 638/642 quite a bit.

An excellent find. It looks clean from the pictures.
 

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I take a black Sharpie and color up the front sight on my J frames.

As far as bigger grips go, nope. Rather defeats the concealability of the gun.
I'm with fnfalman on this one. You bought a nice little revolver that will be hard to improve much on. It's PDG right out of the box. And to take advantage of such a nice little carry gun, you need a good holster. The Bianchi 152 in my avatar works very well for front pocket carry. I don't do belt holsters for every day carry, I'm around too many huggy people. Most women don't like being surprised with a hand full of gun butt. :)

Congrats on a great purchase!
 

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woo woo
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Great revolver, as good as it gets for pocket carry especially.
If I'm under attack by any opponent, I'm probably not betting on 'luck'.
 

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I carry my 638 everywhere. I have no less than 8 holsters for J-Frames...they each contribute to the extraordinary versatility of this wonderful revolver. Carried with a hi-cap auto, these little guns make an outstanding BUG. I prefer them to subcompact single-stack autos...
 

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Very nice, congratulations! I have a 642 and love it. Get you a good pocket holster and ammo and go shooting.

I got lucky awhile back and picked up pre-lock K frame much like your auction. Couldn't believe my luck, love that K frame. I pretty much stole it. Not sure how it happened but glad it did. :supergrin:
 

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Serious J frame guy here. I have carried a Jframe every single day for the last 12 years, no exceptions. It's my on duty BUG and off duty carry.

I love my 442, but if I gave it up for another J frame model it would be the 638. I like the Body guard frame guns.

I prefer the boot grips as I ankle and pocket carry mine often. I prefer to limit myself to a couple cylinder fulls of Gold Dot +P short barrel, and stick to standard pressure wad cutters for low recoil practice. Harsh recoil is just the nature of this beast. I don't shoot a lot of rounds through but I do shoot a few cylinder fulls everytime I go the range to maintain proficiency.
 

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Nicely done, congrats.
 
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