Defensive Carry banner
1 - 20 of 68 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36,326 Posts
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.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,030 Posts
...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...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,523 Posts
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.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,523 Posts
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36,326 Posts
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?? :frown:

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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,030 Posts
...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...
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.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,523 Posts
...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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Snub44

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,030 Posts
...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!!!
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36,326 Posts
...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).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
19,267 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,071 Posts
One of my most carried guns is a S&W 442. Airweight .38 +P with internal hammer. I also have an old S&W 49 (blued steel frame .38 with shrouded hammer) and a somewhat older 649 (stainless steel frame .38 with shrouded hammer). Also got a Ruger SP101 .357 with 2.75" barrel. Rub a dub dub, I love me a snub.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
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.
Interesting. I have a 640-1 that I love to shoot. A well-known, mostly retired S&W armourer did a tune and smooth job on it for me,and I could shoot it all day.

I also had a model 60 (I think it was made in 2011?) and I never could get used to the trigger. Very uneven pull; difficult to stage or predict. The same armourer said he couldn't do much to make it better because of the design on this model. I disliked the trigger so much I got rid of the gun - I won't keep one if I don't enjoy shooting it. Any insight?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
19,267 Posts
Those Model 49 and Model 649 revolvers look like the J-Frames I ought to have.

And to think I used to hold them in contempt simply because I thought they were so odd-looking in a homely sort of way. Now they're so ugly they're cute. And they offer the very best of both worlds. Snag free yet single-action capable. What's not to like?!

I'll pick one up one of these days. It'd completely retire the Model 642 for me. My wife likes the Model 642 however.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BugDude

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,030 Posts
...now you guys are messin' wit' the old man...
...haven't held a Ruger LCR...BUT the SP101's .357 cylinder's only almost a 16th" longer than my 649 in .38, they both (with Compac grips) are within 1/2" of the same height standing on the top strap...and the barrel length is 1 7/8" on the 649 and 2 1/4" on the SP101 (where's this 2 3/4" coming from...maybe a SpeedSix?)...other than the barrel length, the SP's real close to the J...heavier...but not much...I don't have scales to weigh them...
...I'd say the SP is in the J size...it's scary how close they are...
 
1 - 20 of 68 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top