Advice needed about snubbies

This is a discussion on Advice needed about snubbies within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a S&W 638 as a carry gun, but I am considering adding a new snubbie to the mix. The 638 is great, but ...

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Thread: Advice needed about snubbies

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    Senior Member Array Skeeter64's Avatar
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    Advice needed about snubbies

    I have a S&W 638 as a carry gun, but I am considering adding a new snubbie to the mix. The 638 is great, but it kicks like a mule with my current carry ammo, Buffalo Bore 158gr +P lswchp. The only thing more brutal that I have shot lately was a scandium .357 and my hand hurt for a week after the scandium adventure.

    How much will felt recoil be lessened when shot out of a heavier gun? I am considering either a 3" model 60 or a 3" sp101. The sp101 is a few ounces heaver than the model 60, but both of them are a lot heavier than the 638. I would love to shoot both guns to decide, but it is hard to find those in rental guns. The gun range that is closest to me only has a 2" sp101 and no Smith snubbies as range guns.

    I appreciate any light my fellow forum members can shed on this.

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    Why don't you just get some standard pressure rounds in a lighter grain? Practice with the easy stuff and carry the good stuff.
    Rollo, bps3040, 357and40 and 1 others like this.
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    Senior Member Array Skeeter64's Avatar
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    That is a good idea atctimmy, and it is what I normally do. I was just wondering if the extra weight would make that much difference. Part two is I really think I want a .357.

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    The heavier gun will make a lot of difference. Bigger grips will make a lot of difference too. .357 will erase any gains made by giving up lightweight and short grips.
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    I have a S&W 442 which is an airweight .38 and a 2" Ruger SP101 in .357 Mag. The heavier SP101 seems to kick about the same a with full house .357 Mag as my 442 does with full house .38+P. I do not find either one of them unpleasant to shoot one handed or two. I would think a 3" SP101 would be slightly better handling recoil than the 2". In short, yes, the extra weight of the SP101 handles the recoil better.
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    Holy cats - you start off by saying the recoil from a +P .38 is pretty brutal, but you really want a .357???

    If you want a .357 snub, the SP101 is a good starting place but it's not as concealable as a J-frame. And with just a tad less concealability than the SP101 you can get a K-frame (M19, M66) with 6 shots instead of 5.

    Bottom line from a physics perspective is that a heavier gun will have less perceived recoil than a lighter gun.
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    Senior Member Array Skeeter64's Avatar
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    Wimp that I am, I thought a heavier gun might make my BB carry ammo a little more pleasant to shoot. :-)

    Gasmitty, have you carried a K frame concealed? I am just wondering how easy that would be to do, and if it would be possible iwb?

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    You don't need a different sidearm you need better preforming ammo with less felt recoil ............ Speer Gold Dot 135gr +P or 110gr DPX

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    The only .357 snubby I have is a Smith Model 19 with a 2-” barrel and even with 158gr .357s the recoil is not bad. I do not currently use it as a carry gun but when I was active duty I carried either a Smith 10 or 15 in a 1980s Safariland model 19 shoulder holster with no problems.
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    I agree with SIXTO, weight and grips make a huge difference. I have no desire to carry ultra-light or scandium alloy snubbies.

    I have a 2.25 inch SP-101 in 357 mag and it does a pretty good job taming magnum loads even with the factory grips which IMO are pretty decent. No doubt I would get even better performance with some other grips, but haven't seen the need to change them.

    I like the heft of the Ruger in my hand, on my hip, and it's not uncomfortable in my pocket. You have the comfort of knowing it's built a tank and won't have pieces falling off if you drop it on concrete like the feeling I have with the Ruger LCR.

    Other people feel the weight of the SP-101 is just agonizing and think they are carrying a Buick in their pocket... I think that's a little melodramatic, but to each their own, eh?
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    Ex Member Array hamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skeeter64 View Post
    I have a S&W 638 as a carry gun, but I am considering adding a new snubbie to the mix. The 638 is great, but it kicks like a mule with my current carry ammo, Buffalo Bore 158gr +P lswchp. The only thing more brutal that I have shot lately was a scandium .357 and my hand hurt for a week after the scandium adventure.

    How much will felt recoil be lessened when shot out of a heavier gun? I am considering either a 3" model 60 or a 3" sp101. The sp101 is a few ounces heaver than the model 60, but both of them are a lot heavier than the 638. I would love to shoot both guns to decide, but it is hard to find those in rental guns. The gun range that is closest to me only has a 2" sp101 and no Smith snubbies as range guns.

    I appreciate any light my fellow forum members can shed on this.
    Quite a bit in my experience. I have two Colt snubs from the early 60s: A Detective Special .38spl - which some consider the epitome of snubs. Shoots 6. Steel. Weight 21 Oz. The other is the Colt Cobra .38 Spl - the exact twin of the Detective except it has an alloy frame (Jack Ruby shot Oswald with a Cobra). It's weight is 15 Oz. For both I also use Buffalo Bore, same one as you, but in .38 standard.

    The difference in recoil is significantly less in the Detective, which is why i carry it more than the Cobra. The 21 Oz (plus ammo weight) is still very comfortable. So, yes I think you'll notice significant difference - though it's an opinion, I don't know your revolvers well.

    One thing I suggest: skip the +P in the Buffalo Bore. You don't need it. Really. Those rounds are so potent for SD - look at the speeds for standard, not that far from +P I believe - and look at the penetration data for the standard: either 14" or 16". That's plenty, plus the rounds are engineered specifically so standard .38 is wickedly lethal - (as well as +P of course). 6 of those are PLENTY - or even one well-placed.

    Here are the specs on it (and notice it states it has much less recoil than +P):

    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol & Handgun Ammunition

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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Just my opinion, but "hamlet" nailed it. Just use the standard pressure BB Short barrel stuff. That's all I carry in my snubs. IMO, the heavier round is the way to go for better penetration, especially in .38 special. The +p stuff IMO isn't necessary with the 158gr round. There's plenty of horse power to push that round beyond the 12" FBI recommended depth.

    As far as the SP101 goes. There's one at my local GS with my name on it and I'll make the move on it soon enough. I want one to add to my revolver collection, not as a replacement.
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    Lightbulb 38 snub nose...

    I have the S&W 642 airweight revolver, which is the perfect size and weight for a carry snubby. These revolvers were designed for concealment, and to be a close-up defensive weapon, and do not "require" such a high pressure load to be effective.
    I've found the best ammo for this little revolver to be the Hornady Critical Defense .38 SPCL 110 gr. FTX. It is very accurate, and has minimal recoil for a .38 snub. A large % out there today worry too much about size and using +P ammo , but if that be the case ......... carry a .45

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    Hi Skeeter. I have a three inch SP101 in .357 and I think it's a bear to shoot with full power 125 grain loads. I can't imaging what your "scandium adventure" must have been like. If it were me, I would practice with what I carry. I'm sure you already know this, but follow-up shots could be necessary in a defensive situation and with the full power leads out of a small revolver, that can be a challenge. What I've settled on in my SP101 are the Remington medium velocity Golden Saber 125 grain loads. Much more manageable.

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    Member Array SC Tiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skeeter64 View Post
    I have a S&W 638 as a carry gun, but I am considering adding a new snubbie to the mix. The 638 is great, but it kicks like a mule with my current carry ammo, Buffalo Bore 158gr +P lswchp. The only thing more brutal that I have shot lately was a scandium .357 and my hand hurt for a week after the scandium adventure.

    How much will felt recoil be lessened when shot out of a heavier gun? I am considering either a 3" model 60 or a 3" sp101. The sp101 is a few ounces heaver than the model 60, but both of them are a lot heavier than the 638. I would love to shoot both guns to decide, but it is hard to find those in rental guns. The gun range that is closest to me only has a 2" sp101 and no Smith snubbies as range guns.

    I appreciate any light my fellow forum members can shed on this.
    Stop shooting bullets the size of freight trains! Just kidding but something to think about - that heavy load is going to lead to a premature demise of your carry gun if you shoot it a lot. I'm not saying it will KB on you but it will likely shoot loose more quickly. I have a 2-1/2" Smith 60 that is a good carry gun and is okay (not great) with .357 magnum rounds.

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