Difference between S&W snubbies?

Difference between S&W snubbies?

This is a discussion on Difference between S&W snubbies? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Bit of a newbie question here, but what is the difference between the SW snubbies like the 637, 642, and 442 (but not limited to ...

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Thread: Difference between S&W snubbies?

  1. #1
    Member Array Barrett4x4's Avatar
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    Difference between S&W snubbies?

    Bit of a newbie question here, but what is the difference between the SW snubbies like the 637, 642, and 442 (but not limited to these)? From the SW website they all come in Airweight Aluminum frames and can be shrouded, hammerless and hammered. They all look the same to me, even in the store.

  2. #2
    EW3 is offline
    Senior Member Array EW3's Avatar
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    There are many different configurations, but just to give you an example; I have a 642 and a 442. They are the same gun, except one is silver (642) and one is black (442). Both are "Centennial" DAO.

    This site has a lot of good information:

    The Snubnose Files
    "Naked and Starving as They are We Cannot Enough Admire the Incomparable Patience and Fidelity of the Soldiery" – George Washington, Valley Forge, 1777.

  3. #3
    Member Array edw8ri's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    The Old North State
    If you ever read the James Bond novels, as opposed to watching the movies, you will see that in Dr. No, Bond was given an Airweight Centennial and a Walther PPK to use. He ended up choosing the PPK, and a legend was born. Interestingly, that PPK was in .32acp, while the Smith was a .38. Most members of this forum would have taken the .38. What might have happened to sales of the Airweight Centennial if he had chosen differently?
    Dieu et les Dames

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Array mojust's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    637 is an airweight. I don't recommend it. I'm getting rid of mine. I've also got a 60, which absorbs recoil much better and conceals just as well. I just don't think the airweights are worth the unmanageable recoil.

  6. #5
    Member Array Gatorfarmer's Avatar
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    The 637 features an alum. alloy frame, stainless cylinder and barrel, and has the frame nickeled to match the cylinder. It features an exposed hammer that can be cocked if you want to fire it single action.

    The 442 is double action only. There is no hammer exposed. There is still the alum alloy frame, but the cylinder and barrel are carbon steel. The frame features a dark coat of something or another to match the carbon steel cylinder.

    The 642 is basically a 442, but has the stainless cylinder and barrel and the frame coated to more or less match.

  7. #6
    Member Array hayley's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    [whimsy ALERT!] In any case, you won't be able to use the really cool expression "six-shooter". Sorry...watching the Western Channel last night, I heard some Black Hat use the term and thought "five-shooter" just wouldn't work.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    The wife carried a 638 (airweight with +P rating). On top of being butt ugly it is a real handfull to shoot with the +Ps'. I didnt like it when she bought it and I still dont, but it was her carry piece until I came home with the J frame .32.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array Steve48's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    St. John, Kansas
    I have a 642 and a M60 in 357. I carry the 642 mainly but occasionally the 60 in an outside waistband. Steve48

  10. #9
    Member Array Piglet's Avatar
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    Here and There

    A quick outline:

    Most S&W small-frame, or "J-frame", revolvers are divided into three broad weight categories depending on the materials used in their construction:

    1) Steel - Stainless construction for all main components. Weight about 24 oz. depending on model. Finish is "satin", which is to say quite bright and reflective. Most currently manufactured steel J-frames are chambered for .357 Magnum and have 2 1/8" barrels. Three models are the mainstays of this line:

    60 - "Chief's Special" frame, or traditional double action/single action. In other words, fully exposed, spurred hammer for manual cocking if desired.

    640 - "Centennial", or hammerless, frame, with fully enclosed hammer to eliminate snagging on an exposed hammer spur. Double action only.

    649 - "Bodyguard", or shrouded hammer, frame to preserve single action capability while eliminating snags from an exposed spur. The only visible part of the hammer is a little serrated tab that rides in a slot in a radiused part of the frame above the backstrap.

    2) Airweight - Aluminum frame and stainless cylinder, barrel and yoke. Weight about 15 oz. give or take. With one exception, the finish is a fairly uniform silver/gray (there is a slight difference between the appearance of the aluminum and that of the stainless steel). To my knowledge, all currently manufactured Airweights (labeled such, that is), are chambered for .38 Special +P. They have 1 7/8" barrels. As with the steel models, there are three (four, actually) models that comprise this line:

    637 - Chief's Special frame

    642 - Centennial frame
    442 - Centennial frame, black finish

    638 - Bodyguard frame

    3) AirLite - Scandium/aluminum alloy frame and titanium cylinder. Weight about 12 oz. Current offerings are chambered for .357 Magnum (there were .38 +Ps made in the past). Frame color can be light gray or black depending on whether the gun belongs to the "PD" series or not, but the titanium cylinder is always gray with a kind of bronzy lustre to it. Barrels are 1 7/8". Note the absence of the Bodyguard frame option in this class of J-frames.

    360PD: Chief's Special frame

    340/340PD: Centennial frame

    There's also the "M&P" line of J-frames, which are basically "Airweight Magnums" chambered in .357. They have scandium/aluminum alloy frames with stainless steel cylinders. Color is uniformly black.

    M&P 360 - Chief's Special

    M&P 340 - Centennial

    Anyway, those are the most common currently made J-frames. There are many limited runs and special series, such as the recently introduced "Classics" series that replicates some long-discontinued models.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array adaman04's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    The best way to see this is go to gunbroker and look the models up. The difference will be shown in the pics. A 642 is a stainless version of the 442. Both airweight guns.

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