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View Full Version : S&W 357 Mag as first gun?


Snoopy47
11-21-2012, 5:08 PM
It will be primarily home defense and shot very little, and to be used by both husband and wife.

This is my cousinís purchase decision and heís at the point where heís made up his mind and about to make a purchase. I was kind of surprised, but as I think about it more it perhaps makes sense.

1) Minimal maintenance
2) Can use cheap 38 ammo for practice
3) Manual of arms will be simpler and no need for clearing drills, and keep in mind they will likely only use this thing minimally (Iím thinking like once a year during the holidays I will take him shooting).
4) Likely going to be the only gun purchase he does for a long time unless he gets into the hobby like I do.

So I guess I can see it would make sense, other than the high price point of the revolver heís wanting.

Remember. The guy gets ONE GUN, and it's a husband/wife combined decision.

huckberry668
11-21-2012, 5:22 PM
I vote yes but I'm partial to revolvers, at least they won't have the 'limp wrist' syndrome to worry about like Glock guys do.

S&W revolvers are always a good choice. Years ago folks used to argue over 'auto vs revolver' for HD. Personally I think revolver is a good choice for HD and all the points you listed are still valid. BUT, training is a must for whatever kind of handgun they choose. Don't think training and practice isn't necessary because it's easier to operate.

geedavell
11-21-2012, 5:25 PM
I would buy 38 personal defense rounds also. 357 will go through walls and possible hit an unintended target

pyromensch
11-21-2012, 5:28 PM
good choice, depending on which one. you don't want a compact snubbie, that is difficult to shoot, and a pain, to practice with. and you don't want an "N" frame, that is too large for smaller hands, and heavier.
i would think that a M19/66, w/4" bbl would be an optimum. you could get the 586/686, but it is a little heavier.

BTW, where are you located?
river city gun exchange, in sacto, has "rossi", (agency trade in's), in 357 mag, for $289.

not a S&W, but patterned after it, and seems to fit the bill.

Snoopy47
11-21-2012, 5:56 PM
Im in central CA. He'll probably get the gun through Markley's in Watsonville, and they have a large rent inventory.

Yes, yes, practice, practice. I'm not the one to tell that too. I just bought myself another Les Baer in September and have over 1500 rounds through it. :D

nrgcruizer
11-21-2012, 6:05 PM
It's a good choice for a first. But then the addiction starts to kick in.

ewarmour
11-21-2012, 6:15 PM
It's a good choice for a first. But then the addiction starts to kick in.

Yep.

Roland Deschain
11-21-2012, 6:19 PM
I think a .357 revolver is the best choice for a first weapon purchase, especially for home defense. My first was a Ruger GP-100 4" and I love the thing. Bought it less than a year ago and now I need a larger safe ;). Hard not to get addicted.

anothergunnut
11-21-2012, 7:10 PM
I have a theory that if you have to ask what kind of gun to buy, the answer is always a medium frame, 4 or 6 inch, 38/357 mag revolver. People who are into guns and are willing to learn about them will be able to evaluate the different options and make a (possibly) different choice.

It also happens that a medium frame, 4 or 6 inch 357 mag is a great gun for the range. 38s are reasonably priced and 357 mags are readily available and a blast (pun intended) to shoot. A Smith and Wesson will cost more than others but you will get that great trigger.

not-fishing
11-21-2012, 7:29 PM
Get a 6", my son and I shoot both in competition but I've found teaching others to shoot with a 6" works better, less recoil and longer sight radius.

It's better if they learn to thumb cock the hammer so the trigger works on singe action for their initial shooting. Many beginners don't like the long trigger pull.

jeffrice6
11-21-2012, 7:38 PM
river city gun exchange, in sacto, has "rossi", (agency trade in's), in 357 mag, for $289.

What agency was using Rossi's?

beerman
11-21-2012, 7:41 PM
I think a .357 revolver is the best choice for a first weapon purchase, especially for home defense. My first was a Ruger GP-100 4" and I love the thing. Bought it less than a year ago and now I need a larger safe ;). Hard not to get addicted.

Good advice....my 1st was a colt trooper...still have one ( along with many brothers and sisters)

Kurus214
11-21-2012, 7:43 PM
Agree with what's been said here - a '686' type or Rossi or Ruger 4-6" barrel - see if they can rent a few different ones that are being considered to see what fits the hand of the smallest shooter.

BamBam-31
11-21-2012, 7:46 PM
Yes, for all the reasons you mentioned. Most "buy one just in case" types are opposed to six-shooters. Fortunately, your friend is not conditioned yet to think he absolutely needs a semi-auto. Steer him towards a nice 4" Smith or Ruger, and when the bug bites, let him try the Baer. :)

scarville
11-21-2012, 8:16 PM
A 38/357 revolver is a very good choice for a home defense gun. My third handgun was a Ruger Security Six and served as my bedside gun for over 20 years . The first two (a 1911 and a Glock 17) have long since been sold off but the Ruger is still with me. While I think the S&W 686+ is still the best 357 designed so far, I still intend to add a GP-100 (3" I hope) to my armory. The SP-101 is also a good choice -- especially for folks with small hands -- and the ejector rod is just that little bit extra longer to positively eject cases even in the 2.25" bbl. Another possibility is a used K-frame S&W but most of then are in 38 spl.

That said (and if I am asked), I do recommend a 4" bbl for a first revolver. It strikes a balance between the better ballistic performance of the 6" and the "quickness" of a 3".

I also recommend you use a good quality 38 spl ammo for defense. The 357 is one of the most flexible handgun rounds ever designed but at close range SD, the 38 spl will serve as well and you might have some hearing left :)

Good luck and good shooting.

Snoopy47
11-21-2012, 10:49 PM
glad I asked. I wont stear him away if that's what he wants.

I just never liked revolvers with the blast coming our the cylinder and it never occured to me. If I was to get a revolver it would be a Colt 1917

Dont_Shoot_im_Chinese
11-21-2012, 11:38 PM
Revolvers has many sexy curves like that of a beautiful woman

Dont_Shoot_im_Chinese
11-21-2012, 11:40 PM
GP100 or any L frame S&W would be a great gun. I only have two revolvers and they are SWEET

Bug Splat
11-21-2012, 11:50 PM
The simplicity of 357 revolver make it a good first choice for beginners..... BUT, 357 is louder then anything I have heard indoors. I have shot 357, 9mm, 40s&W and 45ACP indoors without ear protection (don't ask) and none were even close to being as loud as a 357. I still have damage in my left ear from one 357 shot. It was one of the most unpleasant things I ever experienced. I could not hear for hours afterwards and I had a splitting headache for days. That same day I demoted the 357 as one of my nightstand guns to the safe and went with a 45acp. I know hearing is not an issue when your life is on the line but I feel just as safe with a 9mm and 45 and I get to keep my hearing after. Not a deal breaker but something to consider.

Dont_Shoot_im_Chinese
11-21-2012, 11:54 PM
^are you sure you didn't compare the others after going def? Lol I've not my M1a rifle without ear protection in the open desert once and will NEVER do something like that ever again. I can't imaging someone picking up that trifle in war without hearing protection and using it

JTROKS
11-22-2012, 1:25 AM
A 357 Revolver is the perfect first gun IMHO. 38 special ammo will be easy to shoot and lconducive to lshortening learning curve to marksmanship. Then if you need power the 357 magnum loads are there and very much fun to shoot.

lilro
11-22-2012, 2:03 AM
If they aren't going to practice, then tell them to get a Louisville Slugger. Harder to miss. With a revolver you only get 6 chances to stop the bad guy. If your shot placement sucks, that probably won't be enough.

They need to familiarize themselves with the firearm to be safe. Otherwise they become this guy: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=635534

den888
11-22-2012, 7:23 AM
Excellent choice for one gun.

VAReact
11-22-2012, 8:30 AM
Excellent choice for one gun.
Agreed. I do have a snubby (Ruger Sp101 2.25" bbl.), but it is for carry, primarily. Have an 870 next to the nightstand for home defense (with the SP101 in the nightstand drawer). Want to get another revolver soon -prolly a GP100 with a 6" bbl.

checkenbach
11-22-2012, 11:52 AM
Please recommend AGAINST a small frame(S&W model 60, Ladysmith, etc...).
I know a few people have got these as first guns, shot a few hot loads in them,
& gave up shooting. Or make sure they rent before buying...

pyromensch
11-22-2012, 1:47 PM
What agency was using Rossi's?

that would be my question also, but that is what the ad says, and they apparently have alot of them

Bobby Ricigliano
11-22-2012, 1:54 PM
It will be primarily home defense and shot very little, and to be used by both husband and wife.

Any firearm that is going to be a designated HD gun and just gather dust in a drawer is a liability. Unfamiliarity with the weapon and confusion will be magnified in a crisis situation with a BG trying to get in the house. Motor skills and hand eye coordination go all to hell. It is possible that the gun will probably get taken away by a determined BG; otherwise the panicked homeowner will just start screaming and dumping rounds through walls and doors. That's very bad for kids sleeping next door and your neighbors.

If someone wants a gun for home defense and isn't committed to becoming 'one with the gun', then they are better off with a baseball bat.

CAL.BAR
11-22-2012, 1:56 PM
That was my first gun (when I was 12). Not my first choice today if HD is to be considered or if your wife is to be shooting it.

Gryff
11-22-2012, 3:05 PM
I think a .357 is a good choice with a couple of caveats.

#1 - get a steel-framed, medium sized model. Don't get a small pocket revolver because their recoil can be brutal and they are notoriously hard to be effective with unless you have trained extensively with them.

#2 - get a 4" barreled model. Shorter barrel models don't get you anything other than concealability (which you don't need), and longer-barreled models don't provide much benefit in an indoor environment.

#3 - both husband and wife need to shoot the crap out of it in practice if they are going to trust their life to it. Revolvers are harder to fight with than semi-autos because of the long, heavy trigger pull. If you don't develop the grip strength and muscle memory, it is easy to be all over the target when trying to shoot fast.

#3a - only practice with the double-action. Don't get lazy and use single-action (i.e. cock the hammer) because that isn't what you are going to do when you defend yourself.

DrLecter
11-22-2012, 3:22 PM
Wouldn't be my first pick, I think a 9mm would be perfect for what you describe. Let us know how he feels about it in 3 months.

slicknickns
11-22-2012, 11:29 PM
For a man; an excellent choice. For the potential of a woman shooting it; I'd keep the .38's close.

Ron-Solo
11-22-2012, 11:44 PM
A S&W "K" or "L" frame revolver is an excellent choice for a home defense gun. I have both a Model 15 (.38spcl) and a Model 66 (.357) with 4" barrels. They were both duty guns for me during my career. A good JHP load in .38 is a good round for the .357 frame. Good stopping power, without over penetration.

One of my on duty shootings was with my Model 66 using 110gr Federal JHP and one hit just off the belly button from 43 feet away put him down and he didn't get up. They don't make that load anymore, but I keep Speer Gold Dots in them now. Total confidence.

My wife prefers the revolver too.

The S&W 686 is also a great gun.

Fishslayer
11-23-2012, 3:44 PM
The simplicity of 357 revolver make it a good first choice for beginners..... BUT, 357 is louder then anything I have heard indoors.

That's why my bedside M66 is loaded with .38 +P. It actually sleeps next to a KP90... ;)

I've not my M1a rifle without ear protection in the open desert once and will NEVER do something like that ever again.

Try being next to a Socom indoors. :eek: Even with plugs + muffs... not so much the noise but the concussion... I decided to take a break & just watch...:o

westcoast362
11-23-2012, 5:23 PM
I agree that a double action revolver is a good choice for a novice. I also think that any gun owner has a responsibility to practice enough to stay proficient. Over penetration is a serious problem .357mag, especially in a thin walled apartment. I would suggest a pre-lock S&W M-65 with a four inch barrel. If not that another pre-lock S&W K or L frame in stainless.

AJD
11-23-2012, 6:01 PM
#3 - both husband and wife need to shoot the crap out of it in practice if they are going to trust their life to it. Revolvers are harder to fight with than semi-autos because of the long, heavy trigger pull. If you don't develop the grip strength and muscle memory, it is easy to be all over the target when trying to shoot fast.

#3a - only practice with the double-action. Don't get lazy and use single-action (i.e. cock the hammer) because that isn't what you are going to do when you defend yourself.

Outstanding points, and I couldn't agree more. Bobby Ricigliano also makes some great points as well.

I often hear the argument recommending revolvers because they're simple to use and operate mechanically, especially over an auto. IMO, if you're not going to take the time to learn how to operate an auto and become familiar with it, then chances are you're not going to take the time to master the double action trigger pull of a revolver. Revolvers can be an outstanding choice, but if someone isn't going to practice with it, then it's not really a better choice over any other type of firearm and I don't care how simple people think they are to operate.

XVIga_Rob
11-23-2012, 6:16 PM
It's a good choice for a first. But then the addiction starts to kick in.

I think a .357 revolver is the best choice for a first weapon purchase, especially for home defense. My first was a Ruger GP-100 4" and I love the thing. Bought it less than a year ago and now I need a larger safe ;). Hard not to get addicted.


There it is.....

I have a pre-lock 686-4 and love it!

Mr. Gillious
11-23-2012, 6:23 PM
If it's just for home defense and going to be shot very little get a shotgun. I was thinking the same route and got a 1911 but ended up shooting more than I "should" afford. I got a mossberg 500 thinking I'd shoot it a lot and also mainly for home defense, but in reality I barely ever shoot it however it is my go to firearm for home defense along with the loaded bandoleer I have right next to it.

If i were to use a handgun in a fight I'd better be proficient with it and be confident with my shot placement and it better have more than just 6 rounds in it. Can you imagine shooting 6 rounds at a threat and then being deaf trying to reload a revolver slowly? You can run and shoot and reload with a shotgun better than a revolver

w55
11-23-2012, 6:55 PM
For a man; an excellent choice. For the potential of a woman shooting it; I'd keep the .38's close.

Yes women cant take that scary .357 :rolleyes: My kids have no problem shooting my 586, or any of the 1911's for that matter.

gorenut
11-23-2012, 7:38 PM
Agreed with the majority here. Very solid choice for first gun. Also agree that 4" would be the perfect first one for home defense. Even though I've gone through a ton of semis.. revolvers are still what I shoot the most accurately.

axhoaxho
11-23-2012, 9:27 PM
My S&W 686-2 Stainless Steel is my first gun (my wife also shoots it.) I purchased it new in the early 1980's for one hundred some dollars. I have shot countless rounds with it, and today it still shoots & looks like the first day I bought it. Love it and no regrets.

aimsports
11-23-2012, 9:33 PM
Perfect

newbee1111
11-24-2012, 4:20 PM
I bought a S&W 686+ as my first gun a few months back and its great. Shooting .38 special is relatively inexpensive thanks to bulletman911 on here and shooting .357 magnums is just plain awesome. I picked up a 5 star speed loader and loading block and I like using those at the range. I find it faster and easier to load the block up than loading the revolver by hand.

However Revolver Fever is a serious issue that should be addressed. First you are just happy with having one revolver and then a few weeks later you find yourself fondling S&W performance center models at the demo truck in front of Ammo brothers thinking, "My wife never even looks in the gun safe, how would she know how many guns are are in there?" That happened to a "friend" of mine earlier today so be warned.

the donald
11-24-2012, 10:30 PM
small thread jack.

can my .357mag shoot .38+P+? seems stupid but i am not 100% positive and this being a 30+ yr old S&W model-19 and my dads old duty gun i want to keep .357 to a minimum out of it, but don't want to shoot really light .38 loads.

scotty99
11-24-2012, 11:23 PM
small thread jack.

can my .357mag shoot .38+P+? seems stupid but i am not 100% positive and this being a 30+ yr old S&W model-19 and my dads old duty gun i want to keep .357 to a minimum out of it, but don't want to shoot really light .38 loads.

Any .38 loads will be fine, as will .357 loads. The model 19 is one of the best revolvers S&W ever built. Should have never sold mine.

cannon
11-25-2012, 6:30 AM
As has been said. Excellent choice, reliable and for the non hobby shooter it's an easy pistol to learn. Simple point and click.

A four inch barrel eases recoil and he can beat the living cr&p out of the bad guy with it too.

nikki#2
11-25-2012, 7:27 AM
Simple point and click.



And a Crimson Trace laser would make a nice Xmas present.

http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa178/surfdog_photos/CTC6172.jpg

RedFord150
11-25-2012, 6:02 PM
A S&W "K" or "L" frame revolver is an excellent choice for a home defense gun. I have both a Model 15 (.38spcl) and a Model 66 (.357) with 4" barrels. They were both duty guns for me during my career. A good JHP load in .38 is a good round for the .357 frame. Good stopping power, without over penetration.

One of my on duty shootings was with my Model 66 using 110gr Federal JHP and one hit just off the belly button from 43 feet away put him down and he didn't get up. They don't make that load anymore, but I keep Speer Gold Dots in them now. Total confidence.

My wife prefers the revolver too.

The S&W 686 is also a great gun.


^^^^ Everything this guy said.
Luckily, most of us on CG will never know the 'real world' effect of shooting a human. Ron is one of the few and has had a ton of training and experience too boot.
Only thing I would add is too consider Ruger GP100 if price is a concern and whatever he chooses should be a 4" barrel.

myk
11-25-2012, 7:34 PM
I BUT, training is a must for whatever kind of handgun they choose. Don't think training and practice isn't necessary because it's easier to operate.

This is KEY. Buying a gun and then keeping it in a closet somewhere thinking you're safe is an illusion at best. That's like those people that take weekend self-defense courses and suddenly think they can take on anyone, anywhere. The only way to guarantee your safety with a home defense weapon is to TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN. You've got to know yourself and your weapon-the good, bad, all of it. This is the only way you can increase your chance of survival. Without training your weapon is at best useless, at worst it can be just as dangerous to you as any bad guy...

23 Blast
11-26-2012, 8:17 AM
Whenever I get a question from a non-gunner about what kind of gun they should buy, (meaning one for in-home protection and perhaps general range plinking) I almost always steer them toward a double-action revolver. Specifically, either a Smith K/L or a Ruger GP100, and generally recommend a 4" barrel.

They're about the best all-around, do-everything handgun there is. Large enough for recoil to be manageable, small enough for carry (in a pinch), can fire .38s for practice and a little range fun, .357s for business and even MORE range fun :D, isn't ammo sensitive wrt bullet shape or geometry, can be fired in single action mode to teach beginners, no manual safety, no magazines that can be lost or damaged, no tap-rack-bang drills to practice, and they're just damn sexy guns!

A revolver not mentioned, but which is my current favorite, is the S&W Model 620. The 620 is a L-frame, seven-shot revolver, very similar to the 686+, except it has a half-lugged barrel like the Model 66, instead of the full-lugged barrel like the 686.