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Discussion Starter #1
Re: Me ‘n’ My J-frame


This is just a bit of fluff. But maybe you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

So, let’s start with the J-frame....



I got this in the mid-to-late ‘60’s, so I guess you could say it has been a companion (more or less) for well over 40 years. And I guess it shows it - a bit of wear.

Unfortunately, over the recent past the S&W Model 36 Chief’s Special got relegated, for one reason or another, to a shelf in the gun safe and did not see the light of day for some time.

This past winter I had the opportunity for some unfettered use of a Ruger LCR. So I had a brilliant idea (oh yeah?) - I’d resurrect the J-frame and run it against the Ruger and see how they stacked up to each other.

Well, it didn’t take long for me to reach several conclusions:

1) I think the Ruger has a better trigger.

2) I think the Ruger is lighter and is designed better for CCW.

3) I think the Ruger is better stocked. I found that it didn’t take too long for that Model 36 to actually start hurting my hand. Now we need to recognize that my hand is as old as the rest of me, that my hand has lost some muscle tone (again, as the rest of me), and that probably Arthur-itis is beginning to find a new home. Whatever the reason, I soon set the Model 36 aside and finished my time at the range that day playing around mostly with the LCR.

4) The only advantage that I feel the Model 36 has over the Ruger LCR is that the S&W can be shot SA. And, in my opinion, that choice (that is, to shoot SA) has some definite advantages and some specific applications.

Following that trial I thought about doing something to make the J-frame more user friendly; at least more user friendly for this operator. Did a little reading and research finally deciding to try the Pachmayr Decelerator handgun grip.

This is the end result....



OK, I’m first to agree that the Pachmayr grip has lessened significantly the CCW utility of the J-frame.

However, shootability has greatly improved. Was out to the range this morning and ran through a box of .38’s. It didn’t hurt the hand. The gun is much easier to shoot.

I have no sample targets to show (I never have alleged that I’m a good shot). Maybe I’ll shoot for record and post a picture assuming I do not embarrass myself too badly.

In summary I’m glad I have made the change to the J-frame albeit it’s not much of a CCW now. It is more pleasant to shoot and I’ll take it out again.
 

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Love your 36, I think she's a beauty. Good, honest wear. You can always try the middle ground...rubber instead of wood, but something smaller than the fingergrip "combat" stocks.

By the way, if anyone has a model 36 they don't want, let me know. I promise to give it a good home.
 

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I Love the older wheel guns, nothing like a workhorse that has proven to be reliable for decades!

If the rubber tends to hand on clothing, might try some finger grove badgers...got some on my 642, well it's my sisters now lol...but they worked well for me.
 

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I've got some finger groove grips that I would gladly trade for those wood grips! (considering they fit.) I am appreciating the j-frames more and more as I carry and shoot mine.
 

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Good story. I've got a J frame, bought it a bit beat up and then had it completely reworked, with an action job and a slight bob to the hammer:



Never use the thing, but it shore is purty!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
slabsides45 said:
Good story. I've got a J frame, bought it a bit beat up and then had it completely reworked, with an action job and a slight bob to the hammer:



Never use the thing, but it shore is purty!
Very nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
While on the subject of J-frames, the May/June, 2010, issue of American Handgunner (you can access the digital version at: http://fmgpublications.ipaperus.com/FMGPublications/AmericanHandgunner/AHMJ10/)
has an article by Massad Ayoob on the S&W J-frame – history, background, and perhaps some things coming down the road. He writes, “...the single most popular handgun Smith & Wesson makes today is the J-frame revolver.”

Seeing as you’re in this J-frame forum, you may find that of interest.

In the same issue there is another article on the .38 Special. Seems appropriate.
 

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Those are beautiful pieces ya'll got there....I loved the original woods soooo much more over those big blacks......lol Very nice thanks for sharing...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
6/30/10


In the July, 2010, issue of Guns and Ammo, Steve Gash had a review article on the S&W 638, .38 Special, both the 1 7/8 and 2 ½ inch barreled models.

I was boiling along, reading what he had to say, when I came upon this: “The testing protocol was to shoot three five-shot groups from a sandbag rest at 10 yards, a realistic distance considering the guns' purpose...The average size of all groups from both guns was 1.84 inches...”.

He continued, “No .38 Special test is complete without including the accuracy 'gold standard', Federal’s No. 38A 148-grain Wadcutter Match.” For the 1 7/8” barreled 638, that ammo produced a 1.26” group.

However, keep in mind that the spread for the 1 7/8” barreled 638, within the ammo selections, was from 3.14” (Federal +P HydraShok) to the aforementioned 1.26”.

“Hmmmmph”, I thought looking at the results for the 1 7/8” barreled 638, “Wonder if my J frame could do that?” (That sounds an awful lot like what I wrote in my post to My New Mousegun, 6/23. Devil must be making me do these things.)

So, while out to the range yesterday morning (man it got hot quick) I set up the ‘protocol’ to replicate as close as I could to what Mr Gash described. Target set at 10 yards (measured) and, as I don’t own a sandbag, I used my range bag. Mr Gash was silent on whether he shot his CofF SA or DA. However he did write, “...a small exposed tab to permit cocking the hammer and single-action shooting”. So I’m going to assume he did, take advantage of that, and shoot my CofF SA.

Ammunition used was Win Super Match 148gr lead Mid Range wadcutters. I didn’t repeat his “shoot three five-shot groups”; rather, I spent a few rounds getting my sight picture fixed, and then went for ‘the record’.

Here’s the result, 5 rounds - yes, they’re in there. I think the J frame held its own. That’s a one-inch grid on the target. If you’re measuring center-to-center, it’s right at 1 3/8 inches.

PIC

COUNTERPOINT

Oh how I must love to burst my balloons. One day I’m gonna learn when to quit.

So, sitting back, puffing out my chest over what the wadcutters had done, I decided to go one step further (that came out to be pretty dumb!)

Once upon a time, long, long ago (in a galaxy far far away – whoops no, that’s another story) I was deep into reloading. For my .38 Special, I was loading, what I called a Keith-style (as in Elmer) semi-wadcutter. I’ve looked through some books and I’m of the opinion that it may well have been the Lyman 358477 bullet, cast from used wheel weights (see An Aside below). If my memory serves me right, I believe I was using 3.5gr Bullseye. (See the picture inset on the target picture below)

An Aside: I was always of the opinion that these wheel weights had a higher relative percent of antimony and resulted in a harder lead bullet. The problem, as I recall, was to avoid excess antimony. Someone out there probably knows more about this than I do and can set me straight.

It just so happened that I had a couple boxes of some of my old – old – reloads. The idea was to shoot a group of them and see what I could do (oh yeah).

Here’s the result (gloom and doom!)



Well, don’t ask me to explain it. I was all over the place (pout, pout). Guess I need to really work on it.
 

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Enjoyed the posts. Have you tried the rounds that you carry in it? Just curious is all.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Leopardcurdog said:
Enjoyed the posts. Have you tried the rounds that you carry in it? Just curious is all.
In a word, "No". I'm too cheap? Maybe.

But you make a valid point.

Will have to steel myself and pop-off some of that high-price stuff.

When the time comes, I'll post the results.

Ed

PS: I am glad you enjoy the posts. I really have a ball both at the range and, later, posting my foibles and failings in this forum.
 

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No "fluff" in any of this topic section. Good stuff all around. I believe I may take my S&W638 out for a run today. Don't believe I'll use any of the Critical Defense I have in stock for it though (maybe 5 so I'll know). I'll work some Anderson Munitions SWC and 148g WC range ammo from the old Gunsight Range. Should have bought every box of the old Winchester 158g LSWC-HP +P I had a chance on years ago. Had a set of Pachmayr's on a Rossi once. She surprised me how she could shoot. P.S. I've never seen an ugly J-frame S&W.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
[quote, in part="Docs150"] I believe I may take my S&W638 out for a run today. Don't believe I'll use any of the Critical Defense I have in stock for it though (maybe 5 so I'll know)...etc”. [/quote]

Please let us know how it goes. Pictures, too.

Leopardcurdog had asked earlier “Have you tried the rounds that you carry in it?” Need to clarify that the J frame isn’t my carry gun. It’s my housegun. As I wrote back 5/11, “...the Pachmayr grip has lessened significantly the CCW utility of the J-frame.”

But getting back to the subject of loadings, I did take a look in the drawer. What I’m loading is W-Super-W 38 Spl +P.

I hate to pop holes in paper with them but I guess I really ought to. Just too cheap? You guys have made me feel guilty!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I need to make a retraction and clarificatioon. I do not want to put some information out there that might prove harmful.

In a dialogue with Leopardcurdog a couple of days ago (6/30-7/1) he had asked “Have you tried the rounds that you carry in it?”

And I replied, “...getting back to the subject of loadings, I did take a look in the drawer. What I’m loading is W-Super-W 38 Spl +P”.

That was accurate up to a point.

Now, some background.

In the original post that got this thread going (5/11) I wrote, “I got this in the mid-to-late ‘60’s, so I guess you could say it has been a companion (more or less) for well over 40 years.” So that pistol is not a newbie.

The .38+P’s that I have were recently given to me by a kindly soul. At the time I just stuffed a few in the J-frame and put the extras to the side. Never shot them.

Subsequent to my dialogue with Leopardcurdog I got to thinking that I may have made a presumption that could be a mistake. Maybe running +P’s through an old J-frame was not a good idea.

This morning I consulted with a gunsmith and was advised that it might not be a good idea to run the +P’s through that J-frame. While there may be some disagreement with this, I have opted for the prudent course and have removed the +P’s from the J-frame and will substitute something else. I’ll start that search now and let you know what I end up with. The is the housegun.

.
 

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I've got a 640 for sale that would make a dandy housegunn!!!!

But seriously, I would have to consider the Hornady Critical Defense Ammo for any SD ammo if I was wanting to change.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
jbpmidas said:
...I would have to consider the Hornady Critical Defense Ammo for any SD ammo if I was wanting to change.
That's what I would lean to.

Have it in the Mousegun and from what I've read the Hornady Critical Defense is at the top of the list.

PS - Ran the "fired from 10 yards, standing, two-handed" protocol this morning. Now I gotta figure out how to present it so I don't look too bad!!!
 
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