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Old June 16, 2018, 08:20   #1
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Colt Police or Colt Officer?

I've long been interested in a 38spl plinker revolver. Just happened to be in a pawnshop the other day and spotted a couple Colt revolvers in 38spl with 6" barrels.
One was a Colt Police that had been parked. Totally beautiful flat black park job made it look brand new, no wear visible. They are asking $499 for that.
Then there was a Colt Officers with original blue finish. This one has the long-ass front sight ramp. They are asking $799 for that.
I know squat about Colt revolvers. I checked bores and cylinder lockup but did not dry fire them. Both appeared to be in good shootable condition.
I'm guessing the Officers is going to be the more accurate plinker as the sights are more elaborate but would like your thoughts. I'm not a collector, just want a reasonably priced accurate 6" 38spl chambered plinker so I can dedicate my 686 to .357 only. I would be handloading cast for this. Perhaps there is a Smith or a Ruger I should consider also?
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Old June 16, 2018, 09:11   #2
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Colts lock up on the hand and the bolt which means if shot a lot the hand will wear out first. Puting in a new hand take a Smith that knows how to fit the part as its not just a drop in deal. Parts are getting hard to come by and good smith's that know how to fit them are hard to find. It relegated Colts to collectors and not shooters. While they are some of the finest guns out there you can't get them repaired easily.
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Old June 16, 2018, 09:50   #3
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Ok, thank you. I've just started looking into this. Maybe a nice S&W Model 14 then?
Does Ruger make a 38spl only double action target revolver? Can't say I know of one but I am knowledgeable about this subject. I would prefer a double action revolver. Nice sights would be a plus.

Edit--meant to say UN-knowledgeable! Doh!
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Old June 16, 2018, 10:09   #4
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Ruger made the Security Six that was a fine revolver but couldn't take the pounding of 357 mags. They will run forever on 38 specials and shoot plenty straight. Came in three barrel lengths and both blue and stainless. Parts are hard to come by but shooting 38s it will last you a long time. Great guns but no longer made.

Older Smiths its getting harder to find parts but there are a lot of them out there. I love the model 14, with lead full wad cutters the gun just puts them where you want them every time. I have had one I shoot regular and with light target loads it won't wear out, if it ever does then I have another to take its place.
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Old June 16, 2018, 10:18   #5
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I've long been interested in a 38spl plinker revolver. Just happened to be in a pawnshop the other day and spotted a couple Colt revolvers in 38spl with 6" barrels.
One was a Colt Police that had been parked. Totally beautiful flat black park job made it look brand new, no wear visible. They are asking $499 for that.
Then there was a Colt Officers with original blue finish. This one has the long-ass front sight ramp. They are asking $799 for that.
I know squat about Colt revolvers. I checked bores and cylinder lockup but did not dry fire them. Both appeared to be in good shootable condition.
I'm guessing the Officers is going to be the more accurate plinker as the sights are more elaborate but would like your thoughts. I'm not a collector, just want a reasonably priced accurate 6" 38spl chambered plinker so I can dedicate my 686 to .357 only. I would be handloading cast for this. Perhaps there is a Smith or a Ruger I should consider also?
something like these are what you want

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=428770
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Old June 16, 2018, 10:29   #6
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Ok, thank you. I've just started looking into this. Maybe a nice S&W Model 14 then?
This is your answer...K38 Masterpiece.

I like Colt, but totally biased toward S&W revolvers.
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Old June 16, 2018, 10:45   #7
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something like these are what you want

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=428770
Great guns at a fair price, if he lived here I would buy them.
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Old June 16, 2018, 11:02   #8
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Great guns at a fair price, if he lived here I would buy them.
as would i
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Old June 16, 2018, 11:15   #9
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something like these are what you want

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=428770

Those look like a good deal to me too but wouldn't a 6" barrel give just a bit longer sight radius and maybe help me with my poor shooting skills?

At this point I was thinking 6" only but maybe there will not be much difference between that and a four? I had a 7" Blackhawk in .30 carbine long ago and it was the most accurate revolver I have ever shot (in my limited experience) I was thinking the long sight radius helped.
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Old June 16, 2018, 11:45   #10
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You are right. The majority of target revolvers have traditionally been six inch, due to sight radius and balance characteristics.
If you decide to try a 4 inch, it would be hard to beat a Model 15 Combat Masterpiece.
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Old June 16, 2018, 12:18   #11
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You are right. The majority of target revolvers have traditionally been six inch, due to sight radius and balance characteristics.
If you decide to try a 4 inch, it would be hard to beat a Model 15 Combat Masterpiece.
Ok so now looking at the S&W's, a quick search locates a 2010 manufactured S&W 14-8 38spl, 6", nickel finish, adjustable rear sight, box and papers, little use (so they say) and they want $575 for it.

Is there a sweet spot in the year range of manufacture to look for or any problem years to avoid?
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Old June 16, 2018, 12:31   #12
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Ok so now looking at the S&W's, a quick search locates a 2010 manufactured S&W 14-8 38spl, 6", nickel finish, adjustable rear sight, box and papers, little use (so they say) and they want $575 for it.

Is there a sweet spot in the year range of manufacture to look for or any problem years to avoid?
Id say anything with out the Hillary hole
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Old June 16, 2018, 15:37   #13
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FYI the Hillary Hole!

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Old June 16, 2018, 16:04   #14
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Colt's are alright, but a member here just posted two S&W .38's in the MP. Personally, I've owner over 60 Colt's and hundreds of S&W's (they're my choice). I would buy one of the ones in the MP today if I were looking for a decent .38.

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=428770



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Old June 16, 2018, 18:33   #15
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I like Colt, but totally biased toward S&W revolvers.
^^^^^^
This.

My problem with Colt revolvers is that the cylinder rotates the wrong way.

The Almighty Himself declared that a revolver's cylinder must rotate counter-clockwise.

If you only have time to put one round in your cylinder while reloading under fire, you'd better know which way your cylinder rotates.

Did Dirty Harry shoot a Colt Anaconda? No, his gun was a Model 29 S&W.

Now, if we're talking ARs or M1911s, well than there is nothing I like more than the Rampant Stallion.
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Old June 16, 2018, 21:16   #16
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Many years ago I recall reading of an incident involving a Colt DA revolver.

A man who was known to play fake Russian roulette at parties always used a S&W DA revolver for his stupid stunt. So one night at a party he borrowed a Colt and loaded a round in the cylinder. He apparently didn't know that Colt cylinders rotates clock wise. He put the muzzle to his temple and pulled the trigger and blew his brains out.

Play stupid games and win stupid prizes as the old saying goes....

I own and have owned my fair share of Colt DA revolvers over a 50 year period. But my preference has always been S&W. I learned to shoot double action using a Model 17 K-22 Masterpiece. I have a Model 14 K-38 with a butter smooth action that is a joy to shoot with standard pressure LSWC hand loads. No other revolver make ever came close to the S&W double action trigger pull IMHO.

And so it goes.


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Old June 17, 2018, 06:31   #17
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FYI the Hillary Hole!

I had no idea----can't believe they did that. Yeah the 2010 model has the hole but I'm thinking maybe less wear than a 1970 model. Generally speaking, exceptions excluded of course. But since it would be a plinker and not defensive I could remove the lock and not worry about legal blowback, I think.

Standard pressure is the idea, I have my 686 for when I need slapping by blast wavefronts. It is pretty sweet as is my 17 with the tight chambers.
Well ok then, that was settled quickly! Thanks all for your comments!
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Old June 17, 2018, 07:04   #18
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I had no idea----can't believe they did that. Yeah the 2010 model has the hole but I'm thinking maybe less wear than a 1970 model. Generally speaking, exceptions excluded of course. But since it would be a plinker and not defensive I could remove the lock and not worry about legal blowback, I think.

Standard pressure is the idea, I have my 686 for when I need slapping by blast wavefronts. It is pretty sweet as is my 17 with the tight chambers.
Well ok then, that was settled quickly! Thanks all for your comments!
S and W also changed to MIM hammers and triggers, I would stick with the ones, over 20 years old myself
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Old June 17, 2018, 10:50   #19
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s&w model 10 is a strong built, excellent shooter
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Old June 17, 2018, 11:48   #20
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S and W also changed to MIM hammers and triggers, I would stick with the ones, over 20 years old myself
Thanks for the heads up. I will look into that. Is the deal with MIM parts increased possibility of breakage?

I'm not in any rush to buy, now know a little better what to look for so will be casting the net wide to see what comes up.
Questions for the board--- Is a 14-4 basically new in the box worth $900? And is a pre 14 K38 freshly refinished by Robar going to have a clean bill of shooting health? I'm not familiar with them but I would think they would at least function check it right?
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Old June 17, 2018, 19:57   #21
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Mim started in 1989, not sure when it went into all production.
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Old June 18, 2018, 14:26   #22
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Ruger made the Security Six that was a fine revolver but couldn't take the pounding of 357 mags. They will run forever on 38 specials and shoot plenty straight. Came in three barrel lengths and both blue and stainless. Parts are hard to come by but shooting 38s it will last you a long time. Great guns but no longer made.

Older Smiths its getting harder to find parts but there are a lot of them out there. I love the model 14, with lead full wad cutters the gun just puts them where you want them every time. I have had one I shoot regular and with light target loads it won't wear out, if it ever does then I have another to take its place.
I have several Ruger "Six" models and they seem a lot heavier duty that the S&W K frame - it was my understanding that Ruger came out with the simplified GP-100 because they were losing money making the "Six" series.
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Old June 18, 2018, 16:43   #23
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I have several Ruger "Six" models and they seem a lot heavier duty that the S&W K frame - it was my understanding that Ruger came out with the simplified GP-100 because they were losing money making the "Six" series.
Six is an excellent gun, they last a long time and shoot really straight. Only problem with them now is Ruger doesn't make parts for them. I would keep the loads light in one because once they break new parts would be hell to find. Same goes for Smiths too, no new parts for the old guns.
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Old June 18, 2018, 18:03   #24
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S and W also changed to MIM hammers and triggers, I would stick with the ones, over 20 years old myself
The MIM process has a lot of details to keep track of that could result in problems with the final part. When MIM was a newer technology, some companies did get it wrong. It doesn't produce the crystal structure of a hammer-forged part but it can produce excellent parts.

While I understand the sentiment about older revolvers, I have to say that I have fired slightly north of 20k rounds from a Smith that was made with MIM parts. I think they have a good understanding about MIM for their product.

I would be careful about revolvers made in the past ten years or so due to the number of QA issues related to parts fitting and assembly. Smith was (well, to be fair everyone was) trying to produce guns probably faster than they reasonably could, and a number of revolvers got shipped even though they simply were not made properly.
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Old June 18, 2018, 21:06   #25
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FYI the Hillary Hole!

They copied Taurus!
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Old June 20, 2018, 09:08   #26
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I have several Ruger "Six" models and they seem a lot heavier duty that the S&W K frame - it was my understanding that Ruger came out with the simplified GP-100 because they were losing money making the "Six" series.
Ever see one chambered in 38spl only? I'd buy a Ruger if I could find one like that. Even a single action Blackhawk.
There is a reason why Linebaugh uses them for his full house stuff!

Well I've answered some of my own questions, yes a Robar refinished revolver is checked by two gunsmiths and worth is defined by the individual.
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Old June 20, 2018, 09:25   #27
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Six is an excellent gun, they last a long time and shoot really straight. Only problem with them now is Ruger doesn't make parts for them. I would keep the loads light in one because once they break new parts would be hell to find. Same goes for Smiths too, no new parts for the old guns.
So I need to buy two, keep one for parts!
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Old June 20, 2018, 09:54   #28
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So I need to buy two, keep one for parts!
good to have a spare. I have a spare Smith 14 just in case. Ruger made a great gun in the Security Six but they just don't have the trigger a Smith does. As a young man the Sixes we real cheap, like $87 for a blue 4 inch. It was my first centerfire revolver in double action. Great guns.
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Old June 21, 2018, 10:22   #29
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Well casting the radar out and about has turned up a bunch of Rugers chambered for 38spl only but mostly LCR's. A couple GP's and a couple Security Six's. Almost all with shorter barrels than I would like.
Damn I'm pretty ignorant about revolver's but I'm working on it. I think all this is gonna get me in trouble, I can see not just one but several purchases happening.
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Old June 21, 2018, 11:05   #30
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With revolvers it's the combination of ammo and gun for what you are wanting to do with it. I shoot a K 38 with 148 grain full wad cutters over 3.2 grains of 231 for targets. If I wanted a gun and bullet combo for hunting small game this works really good.

The rifling is in general made to shoot one bullet weight the best but other weights work fine if you adjust velocity.

Have fun, revolvers are great.
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Old June 21, 2018, 11:18   #31
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Thread needs a pic or two.

I don't want to look at that Hillary Hole a fourth time!



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Old June 21, 2018, 13:49   #32
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Ever see one chambered in 38spl only? I'd buy a Ruger if I could find one like that. Even a single action Blackhawk.
There is a reason why Linebaugh uses them for his full house stuff!

Well I've answered some of my own questions, yes a Robar refinished revolver is checked by two gunsmiths and worth is defined by the individual.
I had one but traded it off - think Ruger made them for police agencies that didn't allow 357 mag.
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Old June 22, 2018, 19:02   #33
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Well I did it. S&W Model 14-3 8" is coming my way soon. Will post a pic when it arrives.
Thanks everyone for all the help!
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Old June 22, 2018, 19:54   #34
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great gun, you will love it.
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Old June 30, 2018, 08:17   #35
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Have had to endure a shipping delay. God willing should have it next week.

Been scrambling around looking for supplies. Got squat for loaded factory ammo in this caliber. But was pleased to find some 1000 estate sale hard cast 158g LRN boolits, quite a few mixed headstamp range pick up nice 38spl brass, plenty SP primers, some 2400, Unique and WST powders and even a Lee TL358-158-SWC mold. And then I discovered-----no die set. .357 dies set yes but no .38spl! Guess you know what I'll be ordering soon.
Looking at load data is always interesting (for me anyways as I am kinda a weenie like that) and I found a bunch of reference to some 200g boolit 38spl loads. Seems like back in the day there was a factory police load sporting the 200 grainer. So in addition to dies I'll be looking at some molds too.
ok now back to waiting on delivery.....
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Old June 30, 2018, 11:32   #36
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--no die set. .357 dies set yes but no .38spl! Guess you know what I'll be ordering soon.
....
Usually, 357 Magnum dies are appropriate for loading 38 Special.
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Old June 30, 2018, 18:54   #37
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My set of RCBS .357 Magnum dies won't work with the shorter .38 Special case. The expander/decapping die punch is too long and the seating/roll crimp die also. So I have a set of RCBS .38 Special dies for that round. Both of these die sets were produced in the early 1970's. Current production dies can be used for both cartridges AFAIK.

And so it goes.


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Old June 30, 2018, 22:07   #38
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My square deal runs 38 and 357 through the same die set, just takes adjustment for length.
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Old July 01, 2018, 13:45   #39
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Well I did it. S&W Model 14-3 8" is coming my way soon. Will post a pic when it arrives.
Thanks everyone for all the help!
I have an 8" 14-4 that was made available to me from an estate sale.

It came with a scope in place of the rear sight. The optic didn't interest me at all. I asked a local gunsmith to source a proper rear sight.
The gun appeared to have been shot some but it hadn't bee run very hard.

Nice shooter and the 8" barrel seems to attract some fascination too.
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Old July 02, 2018, 13:47   #40
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Originally Posted by Retired Bum View Post
My set of RCBS .357 Magnum dies won't work with the shorter .38 Special case. The expander/decapping die punch is too long and the seating/roll crimp die also. So I have a set of RCBS .38 Special dies for that round. Both of these die sets were produced in the early 1970's. Current production dies can be used for both cartridges AFAIK.

And so it goes.


The Retired One
I have the exact same rcbs 357 mag die set. I went ahead and popped for a set of Redding double ring carbide dies in 38 SPL.
Should be picking up the revolver this afternoon.
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Old July 02, 2018, 13:58   #41
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I have the exact same rcbs 357 mag die set. I went ahead and popped for a set of Redding double ring carbide dies in 38 SPL.
Should be picking up the revolver this afternoon.
w00t!
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Old July 02, 2018, 20:23   #42
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My expectations are exceeded. I'm liking the condition very much. It does feel kinda light to me, was expecting more beef. Barrel does not seem to be un naturally long either.

My new member of the family.

IMG_20180702_183156958

Sorry for the poor photos, not as nice as Tentea's, which I thought were very good.

IMG_20180702_183213789

Because we do need more photos, here is big brother 686 4"

IMG_20180702_183557149

This thing is a chunk!

IMG_20180702_183618672

And here is little brother 17-4 6"

IMG_20180702_183702156

I'm not liking the Hogue grip much, even though it fits my hand well.

IMG_20180702_183722515

Well so there you have it. I'll report back once I've had opportunity to test at the range. Thanks for all the help fellas.
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Old July 03, 2018, 20:22   #43
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Went looking thru the stash today. Forgot I had this.

IMG_20180703_194906355_HDR

A partial box of 130g FMJ 38spl Remington but some 800 rounds of some old Winchester white box .38spl wadcutters. Now I remember that when tried in the 686 the old wadcutters ripped a strange kinda vertical ragged hole in the paper so I quit after a few. Hopefully they will work better in the 14-3. At least I have a few rounds to test with. Range trip soon!
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Old July 03, 2018, 23:30   #44
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Back when Speer made 148 hbwc I had rounds that separated the lead when you shot them. Two holes for every shot
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Old July 04, 2018, 07:09   #45
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Looks great!
Those rounded bottom stocks (plain clothes) are nice and the most comfortable Magnas, imho.
For the record, the pics I posted are off the web and not mine.
I was merely attempting to inspire and was tired of looking at Hillary's hole.
Enjoy your new revolver!
Looks like you got a nice one.
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Old July 04, 2018, 09:01   #46
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Back when Speer made 148 hbwc I had rounds that separated the lead when you shot them. Two holes for every shot
I took a picture of the 686/38spl wadcutter result that day. Quite a while ago! Made me nervous, was not sure what was going on there so I never shot any more.

P1010022

Ever see anything like that?

The 130g FMJ's shot fine.

P1010028
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Old July 04, 2018, 09:22   #47
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Looks great!
Those rounded bottom stocks (plain clothes) are nice and the most comfortable Magnas, imho.
For the record, the pics I posted are off the web and not mine.
I was merely attempting to inspire and was tired of looking at Hillary's hole.
Enjoy your new revolver!
Looks like you got a nice one.
Thanks!
I was dismissing the existing grips as not suitable but will re-evaluate them. Already been looking at replacements-fancy target wood stuff but am in no rush so will give these a chance.
They were still nice photos man! Well done.
I think I was lucky on this one, I looked at quite a few with alot more wear for more money. I gave $525 for this. And of course there was some mint ones for waaaaay more money. This one looks like it was well cared for but not really ever shot much. Pretty minty actually. '70's manufacture I think, don't know exactly. Serial starts with 6k4xxxx. No box or papers but I don't care, it's a just a shooter for me.
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Old July 04, 2018, 11:04   #48
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Wad cutters are supposed to cut a perfect hole for scoring the target in a match. Your target looks like the paper is the problem and how it was placed to shoot at it. Those tares to me look like the target didn't have firm backing which as the bullet went through the target it tore the paper.

Round nose doesn't cut a perfect circle, it just rips it's way through the paper. That's why the round nose target looks better, it's ripping through and not cutting. Try different targets with something firm behind them.
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Old July 04, 2018, 12:02   #49
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Wad cutters are supposed to cut a perfect hole for scoring the target in a match. Your target looks like the paper is the problem and how it was placed to shoot at it. Those tares to me look like the target didn't have firm backing which as the bullet went through the target it tore the paper.

Round nose doesn't cut a perfect circle, it just rips it's way through the paper. That's why the round nose target looks better, it's ripping through and not cutting. Try different targets with something firm behind them.
I think you nailed it. Makes sense to me. Thanks.
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Old July 04, 2018, 20:31   #50
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I think you nailed it. Makes sense to me. Thanks.
Nah, those wadcutters are crap. Send them to me and I will shoot them up for you in my old S&W 52.
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