noob revolver question...

This is a discussion on noob revolver question... within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm new to the world of revolvers (semi auto kinda guy) and was wondering what is meant by - j-frame l-frame and any other A-Z ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array JustInCase's Avatar
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    Question noob revolver question...

    I'm new to the world of revolvers (semi auto kinda guy) and was wondering what is meant by -

    j-frame
    l-frame
    and any other A-Z frame. pics would be a great help...

    and i have a s&w 442. what frame is that?

    thank you in advance for curing me of my revolver ignorance...
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    Senior Member Array BamaSteve's Avatar
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    all I know is the 442 is a J-frame....I'm interested to hear about this as well
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    Here ya' go...

    The letters are just designations for different size frames of revolvers; they do not bear resemblance to the shape of the letters.

    J Frame: .38 Special and 9mm. This is the smallest frame. Early models may have a square butt or a round butt but all later models have round butts.

    K/L Frame: .38 Special and .357 Magnum. This is the medium frame revolver which may have a square butt or a round butt, but all later models (since mid 1990's) have round butts.

    N Frame: .41 and .44 Magnum. This is the large frame revolver which may have a square butt or a round butt, but all later models (since mid 1990's) have round butts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Here ya' go...

    The letters are just designations for different size frames of revolvers; they do not bear resemblance to the shape of the letters.

    J Frame: .38 Special and 9mm. This is the smallest frame. Early models may have a square butt or a round butt but all later models have round butts.

    K/L Frame: .38 Special and .357 Magnum. This is the medium frame revolver which may have a square butt or a round butt, but all later models (since mid 1990's) have round butts.

    N Frame: .41 and .44 Magnum. This is the large frame revolver which may have a square butt or a round butt, but all later models (since mid 1990's) have round butts.

    This sums it up nicely.

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    Member Array JustInCase's Avatar
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    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Here ya' go...

    The letters are just designations for different size frames of revolvers; they do not bear resemblance to the shape of the letters.

    J Frame: .38 Special and 9mm. This is the smallest frame. Early models may have a square butt or a round butt but all later models have round butts.

    K/L Frame: .38 Special and .357 Magnum. This is the medium frame revolver which may have a square butt or a round butt, but all later models (since mid 1990's) have round butts.

    N Frame: .41 and .44 Magnum. This is the large frame revolver which may have a square butt or a round butt, but all later models (since mid 1990's) have round butts.


    thanks for clearing that up...
    Last edited by JustInCase; June 30th, 2009 at 11:27 AM. Reason: add
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    X frame S&W .500

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    Most Colt revolvers are not made anymore, unfortunately, but some others:

    Python.....I frame
    Anaconda.....MM frame
    King Cobra.....AA frame
    Detective Special/Police Positive Special.....D frame
    Single Action Army.....P frame
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    Member Array Pioneer's Avatar
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    New one: X frame includes monster .500 magnum.
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    Great pics

    Thanks for the pics QKShooter, that helps a bunch.

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    Picture is worth a thousand words...good info...I'm, admittedly, a revolver noob too.

    Of all the revolvers I've shot, I gotta say I've enjoyed them all...maybe shot 4 or 5 of them (can't recall make/model).

    A revolver is definitely on my 'someday' list...
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    Not much differance in the L & K frames just my observation. Close
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogdaddy View Post
    Not much differance in the L & K frames just my observation. Close
    Correct. The L frame is a little beefier; it was strengthened when the K frame .357s (which were intended to be carried a lot, fired a little with full-house loads) were fired a lot by their owners and started to develop problems such as cracked forcing cones, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Here ya' go...

    The letters are just designations for different size frames of revolvers; they do not bear resemblance to the shape of the letters.

    J Frame: .38 Special and 9mm. This is the smallest frame. Early models may have a square butt or a round butt but all later models have round butts.

    K/L Frame: .38 Special and .357 Magnum. This is the medium frame revolver which may have a square butt or a round butt, but all later models (since mid 1990's) have round butts.

    N Frame: .41 and .44 Magnum. This is the large frame revolver which may have a square butt or a round butt, but all later models (since mid 1990's) have round butts.
    Basic, but incomplete.

    S&W frame sizes:

    M frame: Early Ladysmiths, discontinued before model numbering.

    I frame: Predecessor to the J frame with leaf mainspring.

    Improved I frame: Successor to the I frame with coil main spring.

    J frame.

    JAS frame: Shrouded hammer with alloy frame.

    JS frame: Shrouded hammer with carbon steel frame.

    JA frame: Alloy frame w/fixed sights.

    JAT frame: Alloy frame w/target sights.

    JC frame: Fully concealed hammer.

    JAC frame: Fully concealed hammer w/alloy frame.

    JR frame: Carbon steel J frame for .38 S&W cartridge.

    JT frame: Carbon steel frame w/target sights.

    JTM frame: Carbon steel frame w/target sights for .22 Magnum cartridge.

    J Magnum frame: For .357 cartridge, alloy or steel, w/fixed or target sights.

    C frame: Between J & K frame size, used only for the non-cataloged Model 73 in carbon steel.

    K frame: Carbon steel frame w/fixed sights.

    KA frame: Alloy frame w/fixed sights.

    KAT frame: Alloy frame w/target sights.

    KR frame: Carbon steel frame for the Model 11.

    KT frame: Carbon steel frame w/target sights.

    KTC frame: Carbon steel frame for the Model 53.

    KTM frame: Carbon steel frame for the Model 48.

    L frame: Carbon steel frame w/fixed sights.

    LT frame: Carbon steel frame w/target sights.

    N frame: Carbon steel frame w/fixed sights.

    NAT frame: Alloy frame w/target sights.

    NA frame: Alloy frame w/ fixed sights.

    NT frame: Carbon steel frame w/target sights.

    NTM frame: Carbon steel frame w/target sights for the Model 28.

    E frame: Stainless steel for the Model 60.

    ET frame: Stainless steel frame w/ target sights.

    F frame: Stainless steel K frame for the Model 64.

    FT frame: Stainless steel frame w/target sights.

    H frame: Stainless steel L frame for the Model 681.

    HT frame: Stainless steel L frame w/target sights for the Model 686.

    G frame: Stainless steel N frame.

    X frame: Stainless steel for the .460 & .500 S&W Magnums.

    Source: Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 3rd Edition, by Supica & Nahas.


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    Quote Originally Posted by hogdaddy View Post
    Not much differance in the L & K frames just my observation. Close
    The grip portion of K and L frames is the same size, indeed. As already noted, for greater strength, the rest of the frame was made a bit larger. The reality is that most folks' hands do not allow them to handle N-frames well, but most can handle a K, so it was a no-brainer for S&W to keep the L-frames' grips in the K size range.

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