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 I need a 357... 
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 Post subject: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:16 pm 
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So what's a good price on a Mod. 66? I fondled one at Gunstop today. It was $399. Almost bought it. The price on the Taurus 66 (one extra chamber in the wheel?) was about $20 more (new Taurus - used S&W). Are these the guns I should be looking at for a first center-fire revolver? It has to be a 357, but I'm open to other suggestions as far as model. Point me in the right direction guys.

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:01 pm 
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Well how do the barrels and bores compare? Are the sights on one better than the other (adjustable vs. fixed)? Pull back the hammer on the Smith (on an unloaded cylinder obviously) and see if you can wiggle the cylinder. Wiggle at full cock is bad.

The Taurus will probably not have as smooth an action but a decent gunsmith can slick up the trigger pull on the Taurus to just as good or better than the Smith. Grips? Which one feels better? Aftermarket grips for revolvers are easy to install but something to figure in the price.

I think they're both good guns. Very versatile with a variety of loads. My 2 cents. Have fun shopping!

Hobie


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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:17 pm 
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There used to be a very good "how to check a used revolver" cheat sheet on firingline.com. I think it was even posted here at one time. Worth downloading a copy of and then following when reviewing a used revolver. Good instructions on how to check bore, lock-up, wiggle, etc. I'll try to find a copy of it online and post a link here.

BTW, I'd love to have a S&W 66. Now that you've posted here there's one at Gunstop for what sounds like a good price, you've probably turned a few people on to buying a new (used) gun. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:27 pm 
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onebohemian wrote:
There used to be a very good "how to check a used revolver" cheat sheet on firingline.com. I think it was even posted here at one time. Worth downloading a copy of and then following when reviewing a used revolver. Good instructions on how to check bore, lock-up, wiggle, etc. I'll try to find a copy of it online and post a link here.

BTW, I'd love to have a S&W 66. Now that you've posted here there's one at Gunstop for what sounds like a good price, you've probably turned a few people on to buying a new (used) gun. :roll:


Thanks. I've seen that post on TFL, but never needed it before. I'll find it. Also, I've seen a 686 now. I think I like the look of that gun better. Decisions, decisions.

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:46 pm 
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Be aware that there was a recall on some years of the 686. If it's new production not an issue. If it's older, might want to check it out. Sorry I don't have more info but a web search should turn something up.

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:22 pm 
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bensdad wrote:
onebohemian wrote:
There used to be a very good "how to check a used revolver" cheat sheet on firingline.com. I think it was even posted here at one time. Worth downloading a copy of and then following when reviewing a used revolver. Good instructions on how to check bore, lock-up, wiggle, etc. I'll try to find a copy of it online and post a link here.

BTW, I'd love to have a S&W 66. Now that you've posted here there's one at Gunstop for what sounds like a good price, you've probably turned a few people on to buying a new (used) gun. :roll:


Thanks. I've seen that post on TFL, but never needed it before. I'll find it. Also, I've seen a 686 now. I think I like the look of that gun better. Decisions, decisions.


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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:45 pm 
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I think you'd be happier with an 88 Magnum:

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Watch @ 30 seconds:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c_awug8EeA&feature=related


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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:57 pm 
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:lol: "I am handicapped. I'm psychotic."

The "88 magnum" line is classic.

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:12 am 
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If your looking for a carry revolver,you may want to look at a Smith 640 or 649, both all steel for a little relief from the additional recoil. The 649 has the shrouded hammer which I like.It gives you the option of single action.

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:00 am 
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Try this Gents:

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=57816

Quote:
Revolver checkout: how to tell if a particular specimen is any good

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So you're buying a revolver. New, used, doesn't matter, you want a good one, right?

How do check one over without firing it, right at the dealer's counter or gun show table?

This is how. All of this works with DA or SA wheelguns..."close the action" on most DAs means swing the cylinder in, on SA types, close the loading gate, on breakopens, close 'em. UNLOADED.

WARNING: most of these tests require violation of the "finger off trigger" rule. Therefore, be extremely careful about safe muzzle direction and making sure the gun is unloaded ahead of time, PERSONALLY, as you begin handling it.

Note: bring a small flashlight, something small and concentrated. A Photon or similar high-powered LED light is perfect. You also want feeler gauges if you're not used to eyeballing cylinder gaps; at a minimum, bring a .002", .004" and .006".

Note2: no dry firing is required or desired at any point. It just pisses off the gun's current owner.

Cylinder play.

1) With the gun UNLOADED (check for yourself!), close the action.

2) Thumb the hammer back, and while pulling the trigger, gently lower the hammer all the way down while keeping the trigger back - and KEEP holding the trigger once the hammer is down. (You've now put the gun in "full lockup" - keep it there for this and most other tests.)

3) With the trigger still back all the way, check for cylinder wiggle. Front/back is particularly undesirable; a bit of side to side is OK but it's a bad thing if you can wiggle it one way, let go, and then spin it the other way a fraction of an inch and it stays there too. At the very least, it should "want" to stop in just one place (later, we'll see if that place is any good). The ultimate is a "welded to the frame" feeling.

Cylinder gap

4) Still holding the trigger at full lockup, look sideways through the barrel/cylinder gap. If you can get a credit card in there, that ain't good...velocity drops rapidly as the gap increases. Too tight isn't good either, because burnt powder crud will "fill the gap" and start making the cylinder spin funky. My personal .38snubbie is set at .002, usually considered the minimum...after about 40 shots at the range, I have to give the front of the cylinder a quick wipe so it spins free again. I consider that a reasonable tradeoff for the increased velocity because in a real fight, I ain't gonna crank 40 rounds out of a 5-shot snub .

If you're eyeballing it, you'll have to hold it up sideways against an overhead light source.

SAFETY WARNING: This step in particular is where you MUST watch your muzzle direction. Look, part of what's happening here is that you're convincing the seller you know your poop . It helps the haggling process. If you do anything unsafe, that impression comes completely unglued.

Timing

5) You really, REALLY want an unloaded gun for this one. This is where the light comes in. With the gun STILL held in full lockup, trigger back after lowering the hammer by thumb, you want to shine a light right into the area at the rear of the cylinder near the firing pin. You then look down the barrel . You're looking to make sure the cylinder bore lines up with the barrel. Check every cylinder - that means putting the gun in full lockup for each cylinder before lighting it up.

You're looking for the cylinder and barrel holes to line up perfectly, it's easy to eyeball if there's even a faint light source at the very rear of both bores. And with no rounds present, it's generally easy to get some light in past where the rims would be.

Bore

(We're finally done with that "full lockup" crap, so rest your trigger finger. )

6) Swing the cylinder open, or with most SAs pull the cylinder. Use the small flashlight to scope the bore out. This part's easy - you want to avoid pitting, worn-out rifling, bulges of any sort. You want more light on the subject than just what creeps in from the rear of the cylinder on the timing check.

You also want to check each cylinder bore, in this case with the light coming in from the FRONT of each hole, you looking in from the back where the primers would be. You're looking for wear at the "restrictions" at the front of each cylinder bore. That's the "forcing cone" area and it can wear rapidly with some Magnum loads. (Special thanks to Salvo below for this bit!)

Trigger

7) To test a trigger without dry-firing it, use a plastic pen in front of the hammer to "catch" it with the off hand, especially if it's a "firing pin on the hammer" type. Or see if the seller has any snap-caps, that's the best solution. Flat-faced hammers as found in transfer-bar guns (Ruger, etc) can be caught with the off-hand without too much pain .

SA triggers (or of course a DA with the hammer cocked) should feel "like a glass rod breaking". A tiny amount of take-up slack is tolerable, and is common on anything with a transfer bar or hammerblock safety.

DA triggers are subjective. Some people like a dead-smooth feel from beginning of stroke to the end, with no "warning" that it's about to fire. Others (myself included) actually prefer a slight "hitch" right at the end, so we know when it's about to go. With that sort of trigger, you can actually "hold it" right at the "about to fire" point and do a short light stroke from there that rivals an SA shot for accuracy. Takes a lot of practice though. Either way, you don't want "grinding" through the length of the stroke, and the final stack-up at the end (if any) shouldn't be overly pronounced.

Detecting Bad Gunsmithing:

8) OK, so it's got a rock-solid cylinder, a .002" or .003" gap, and the trigger feels great. Odds are vastly in favor of it being tuned after leaving the factory.

So was the gunsmith any good?

First, cock it, then grab the hammer and "wiggle it around" a bit. Not too hard, don't bang on it, but give it a bit of up/down, left/right and circular action with finger off trigger and WATCH your muzzle direction.

You don't want that hammer slipping off an overly polished sear. You REALLY don't want that . It can be fixed by installing factory parts but that'll take modest money (more for installation than hardware costs) and it'll be bigtime unsafe until you do.

The other thing that commonly goes wrong is somebody will trim the spring, especially coil springs. You can spot that if you pull the grip panels, see if the spring was trimmed with wire cutters. If they get too wild with it, you'll get ignition failures on harder primers. But the good news is, replacement factory or Wolf springs are cheap both to buy and have installed.

There's also the legal problems Ayoob frequently describes regarding light triggers. If that's a concern, you can either swap back to stock springs, or since you bought it used there's no way to prove you knew it was modified at all .

In perspective:

Timing (test #5) is very critical...if that's off, the gun may not even be safe to test-fire. And naturally, a crappy barrel means a relatively pricey fix.

Cylinder gap is particularly critical on short-barreled and/or marginal caliber guns. If you need every possible ounce of energy, a tight gap helps. Some factory gaps will run as high as .006"; Taurus considers .007" "still in spec" (sigh). You'll be hard-pressed to find any new pieces under .004" - probably because the makers realize some people don't clean 'em often (or very well) and might complain about the cylinder binding up if they sell 'em at .002".

The guns in a dealer's "used pile" are often of unknown origin, from estate sales or whatever. Dealers don't have time to check every piece, and often don't know their history. These tests, especially cyliner gap and play, can spot a gun that's been sent off for professional tuning...like my snubbie, the best $180 I ever spent .

As long as the gun is otherwise sound (no cracks, etc) a gunsmith can fix any of this. So these tests can help you pick a particularly good new specimen, or find a good used gun, or help haggle the price down on something that'll need a bit of work.

Hope this helps.

Jim

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:57 am 
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Thanks, EJSG19!

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:33 pm 
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I am not so much of a revolver fan as I used to be.

Watch the new S&Ws, the external lock is an extra source of failures. Consider other manufacturers that don't have such misfeatures.

I agree that you want the weight of steel if you're actually going to shoot .357s through it. If it's a carry gun and you're going to fire .38s in it at the range mostly, the high tech metallurgy is fine, but if you're going to use it for hunting or silhouettes or something your wrists will thank you for steel.


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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:03 pm 
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Let me restate my love of the Ruger SP101 (and its big brother, the GP100)- built like a tank, shoots well, and goes bang every time I pull the trigger. In short, pretty much everything I want in a carry revolver...

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 8:07 pm 
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Those are two of the finalists in my search. I've got it down to 686, 586, 100 and 101. Leaning heavily toward the 686 and the 100.

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 Post subject: Re: I need a 357...
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:23 pm 
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Get the 686, you won't regret it.

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