Steel "J" Frame?

This is a discussion on Steel "J" Frame? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm new to the revolver scene and am a bit lost here. I'm interested in a J frame sized steel .38. Preferably Ruger or S&W. ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array johnbergsing's Avatar
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    Steel "J" Frame?

    I'm new to the revolver scene and am a bit lost here. I'm interested in a J frame sized steel .38. Preferably Ruger or S&W. Are there any available and which models are they?

    Thanks, John
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    On the S&W web site, under the "J-frame" portion of the "Revolvers" section, look for guns in the ~21-23oz range. Those are them.

    Though, I'm sure some of the "framers" will come onboard to tell you about their "steelies." (Can't recall which ones, offhand.)
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...most likely in the used market:
    ...the M36...blued
    ...the M60...stainless
    (the Model 10 snub's a 6-shot K but about the size/weight of the SP101)
    ...the SP101...blue or stainless
    ...there are more Smiths, like the 649(stainless humpback with shrouded hammer)some nickel Smiths but scarce...
    ....the used ones are more affordable than the new ones around here
    ...also, you might find a Colt Det Spl...6 shot blue or nickel...
    ...those are the three brands I'd be confident with

    ...steel or stainless(stainless for me because of the weather/sweat)...better balance...easier to shoot well...more pleasant to practice with...

  5. #4
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    J-frames are Smith & Wesson, a size designation. There are other 5-shooter's out there, but I'm partial to S&W.

    For new revolvers, go to Smith-Wesson.com and search for revolvers, then j-frame. The "Airweights" are aluminum framed and the "scandium" are scandium alloy frames that are lighter than the aluminum. All the others are steel.

    For new or used, you are looking at Model 36, 49, 60, 640, and 649.

    The 60, 640 and 649 are now offered in .357/38, but many of the older ones are in .38 only. The difference is a beefier frame in the new ones, and a slightly longer barrel (2 1/8 on the .357 v. 1 7/8 on the .38's).

    You should be able to find a used model 36, 60 or 640 for a reasonable price. In my neck of the woods 36's and 60' range from 300 - 500 used, the higher end being in very "Good" to "Excellent" shape, and with box & docs.

    I prefer to 60 or the 640. The 60 has the exposed hammer and the 640 has an enclosed hammer, so it's double action only.

    Poke around on the SW page and you'll quickly get an idea of what's what.
    -PEF, a Framer with a Steelie...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    On the S&W web site, under the "J-frame" portion of the "Revolvers" section, look for guns in the ~21-23oz range. Those are them.

    Though, I'm sure some of the "framers" will come onboard to tell you about their "steelies." (Can't recall which ones, offhand.)
    Cool. I'm a Framer with a Steelie. I like that so much I put it in my sig. See:

    Thanks!
    -PEF, a Framer with a Steelie...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    Cool. I'm a Framer with a Steelie. I like that so much I put it in my sig. See:

    Thanks!
    Thought y'all would like that.

    Me, I'm a "former Lightweight" (Airweight). Don't like that so much, in more ways than one. Where, O! where, has my 442 gone??

    Back to the program: OP, make sense yet? Still clear as mud? Look for the "shiny" ones, first, that'll get you halfway there; 21-23oz, more or less, should get you the rest of the way. Focus on the model numbers others have posted, first. The 640's a peach.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  8. #7
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    OP, here's a link to the J-frame page for new SW offerings (the 649 is currently not offered, it appears): Small Frame (J) - Smith & Wesson
    -PEF, a Framer with a Steelie...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...how's the trigger on the 640...never held one...I shoot the 649 DAO so I could lose the hump and the lint-trap with a 640...
    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    J-frames are Smith & Wesson, a size designation. There are other 5-shooter's out there, but I'm partial to S&W.

    For new revolvers, go to Smith-Wesson.com and search for revolvers, then j-frame. The "Airweights" are aluminum framed and the "scandium" are scandium alloy frames that are lighter than the aluminum. All the others are steel.

    For new or used, you are looking at Model 36, 49, 60, 640, and 649.

    The 60, 640 and 649 are now offered in .357/38, but many of the older ones are in .38 only. The difference is a beefier frame in the new ones, and a slightly longer barrel (2 1/8 on the .357 v. 1 7/8 on the .38's).

    You should be able to find a used model 36, 60 or 640 for a reasonable price. In my neck of the woods 36's and 60' range from 300 - 500 used, the higher end being in very "Good" to "Excellent" shape, and with box & docs.

    I prefer to 60 or the 640. The 60 has the exposed hammer and the 640 has an enclosed hammer, so it's double action only.

    Poke around on the SW page and you'll quickly get an idea of what's what.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snub44 View Post
    ...how's the trigger on the 640...never held one...I shoot the 649 DAO so I could lose the hump and the lint-trap with a 640...
    The same - SRS - "small revolver stiff." I have 60's and 640's, and have stripped both down to the frames. Aside from the exposed hammer the contact surfaces in the actions are nigh identical (trigger, cylinder stop, hand and rebound slide). All but one has been smooth, and on that one I just needed to stone part of the trigger that engaged the cylinder stop.

    I use wolf springs now to light the trigger - no ignition problems either.
    Snub44 likes this.
    -PEF, a Framer with a Steelie...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...I had an old smoothie gunsmith go over my 649 and then applied Gun Butter...it's REAL smooth now...but the guy's eyes went on him and I don't know another GOOD smith nearby...I've never messed with changing springs or the spring tension...never touched the screw on my Smiths for the leaf spring...scared of a "Snap"...think I'll be looking for a 640 AND a good smith...thanks!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    The same - SRS - "small revolver stiff." I have 60's and 640's, and have stripped both down to the frames. Aside from the exposed hammer the contact surfaces in the actions are nigh identical (trigger, cylinder stop, hand and rebound slide). All but one has been smooth, and on that one I just needed to stone part of the trigger that engaged the cylinder stop.

    I use wolf springs now to light the trigger - no ignition problems either.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snub44 View Post
    ...I had an old smoothie gunsmith go over my 649 and then applied Gun Butter...it's REAL smooth now...but the guy's eyes went on him and I don't know another GOOD smith nearby...
    A Google search for "best wesson gunsmiths" found a thread on TheHighRoad: Who are the best S&W gunmsmiths?.

    The S&W Performance Center might be an option, as well. They know the guns, they've got a few old-timers around, and they've got tons of parts (usually).
    Snub44 likes this.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...thanks for diggin' that up for us!!!

  14. #13
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    The J-Frame Smith & Wesson is best done in steel rather than the lightweight alloys. Steel is definitely the way to go. Of course that is only an opinion.

    Here's the granddaddy of all subsequent J-Frame variants, a very early Smith & Wesson Chief's Special with a serial number only just a whisker over 2000 and now over 60 years old. This model became the Model 36 in 1957.


    Only a few thousand were produced with the half-moon front sight. Other early features include the small trigger guard, shorter grip frame, flat latch, and "5-screw" frame.



    Still sees occasional concealed carry duty.
    Snub44, PEF, MrsHB and 1 others like this.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Mark at Gemini Custom is very good. You would be very satisfied with the SP101 or SW Mod 60 I use one or the other every day image.jpg

  16. #15
    Member Array johnbergsing's Avatar
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    Thank you all! You've been very helpful!
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