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When I wrapped my hands around the diminutive Smith & Wesson Model 60, my first thought was “Honey, I Shrunk The 686!” As I turned it over in my hands, I started to  wonder if Rick Moranis had accidentally pointed his shrink-ray at a real gun, because the Model 60 looks and feels like a 2/3 scale model of my favorite .357 Magnum. But trust me: it’s a real gun. In fact it’s a fire-breathing fistful of ballistic fury, and you’ll use two fists if you know what’s good for you . . .


The Model 60 is an all-steel .357 Magnum version of Smith & Wesson’s pocket-sized ‘J’ frame revolver. Unlike the Model 36 Chief’s Special or the hammerless Model 640, the Model 60 is not designed for deep concealment. It features precision adjustable sights,  slender but full-length grips, a 3″ barrel (on our test gun), a smooth narrow trigger, and a petite exposed hammer. It feels in hand like a miniature Model 686, holding only five shots instead of six or seven.

This photo isn’t staged or Photoshopped; it’s an unintentional double-exposure from an iPhone camera (don’t ask me how). It shows the sharp, quick recoil that this gun delivers with .357 Magnum defensive ammunition.


With the exception of the snappy recoil, the Model 60 handles and operates more like a full-sized revolver than a pocket snubnose. I’ve always been a fan of 3-inch revolver barrels; I’ve found them to provide a decent compromise between accuracy, ballistics, concealability and recoil. The Model 60’s 3-inch tube only confirms my opinion.

The double-action trigger is heavy but smooth; I’d estimate it at around twelve pounds. This sounds awfully heavy, but the smoothness makes it feel much lighter, and it delivered some very accurate double-action groups.

This double-action group shows what this gun will do at seven yards when you have the luxury of taking your time between shots. When you’re in a hurry, groups open up fast; but I’m skipping ahead to the ‘Accuracy’ section. Back to ergonomics . . .

In single-action mode, the trigger is an absolute jewel.  No, it’s not actually a Jewell Trigger, and it’s not actually jeweled, either, but you’ll treasure it because it’s fine and smooth and it breaks like a crystal rod at exactly four pounds. While useless for defensive use, such a fine S/A trigger is ideal for recreational shooting and could make this pistol a viable option for small game hunting. The narrow, low-profile hammer is adequately checkered for secure cocking, but S&W lightly de-horns the edges and rounds off the rear so it’s not egregiously snaggy on clothing.

I couldn’t fully evaluate the carry ergonomics of this gun, because I lacked a proper holster to carry it in. If you’ve got a yen for the Model 60, however, rest assured that a proper holster (or several of them) will be easy to find. It will fit any J-frame holster with an open muzzle, although you’ll want to be sure that the Model 60’s tall front sight won’t get hung up in your holster of choice.


The fully-adjustable target sights are very precise–a real bonus on a surprisingly accurate gun like this–but they’re small and difficult to acquire in many lighting conditions. If this were my gun I’d dab them with fluorescent Sight Bright for a quick and cheap fix. If I were ordering a new Model 60 I’d consider the factory Crimson Trace laser grips or fiber-optic front sights. Either (or both) would be excellent choices, although the Crimson Trace grips are pricey.

Even these dark target sights are worlds better than the godawful ‘ramp and groove’ sights that most snubbies have.

Size and Weight

Some alloy-framed snubbies (like the Model 642) weigh just under a pound. The all-steel Model 60 weighs in at just under 1.5 pounds empty. I wouldn’t complain; this is pretty svelte for a pistol in this ballistic class, and it doesn’t beat the stuffing out of you the way most 2-inch J-frame .357s do. It’s a full pound lighter than its big brother, the 4-inch Model 686, and you’ll love not having to carry that extra pound on your hip.

But if you drop the hammer on full-powered .357 loads (remember that double-exposure photo?) you might wish you had it back.

The hammer is small and narrow and lightly de-horned, but it will still snag in your pocket. Don’t bother to test for yourself: at over seven inches long, the Model 60 is not a pocket gun. It’s more than 1.5 inches longer than most subcompact 9mms, twelve ounces heavier, an inch taller, and half an inch thicker around the cylinder. Even with a shorter 2-inch barrel, the Model 60’s comfortable but bulky grips would wedge the gun in your pocket tighter than [insert risque simile here] and you’ve still got the sharp-edged rear sight and the hammer to think about. So just, don’t, m’kay?

It may not be a true pocket gun like a Model 640, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good CCW pistol. Like all J-frames, the Model 60 carries discreetly and comfortably in an IWB or OWB holster, and its slim 5-round cylinder won’t dig painfully into your kidney. The bulky (yet comfortable) grips might be a drawback, depending on your size and build, but you can swap them for shorter, non-rubbery grips cheaply and easily. Any J-frame grips will fit.


I already let slip that the Model 60 is exceptionally accurate for a gun of its size and weight. Offhand two-inch groups at seven yards were no problem in slow D/A shooting, and I’m pretty sure that the slight vertical stringing was caused by the heavy D/A trigger. Single-action accuracy was only a little bit better at close ranges.

At 15 yards, our D/A groups opened up to 4-6 inches, while S/A accuracy stayed sub-minute of beer can. Loaded with mild .38 loads (to avoid meat destruction) this pistol is a viable small-game hunter out to beyond 50 feet.

It’s a pretty mild shooter with .38 Specials, but quick double-action firing with defensive .357 loads is an exhilarating endeavor. At barroom fighting distances, Wayne and I consistently emptied our meager cylinder-full of Winchester .357 PDX ammo inside a six- to eight-inch circle, firing as quickly as we could bring the gun back on target. According to the Rabbi, that’s acceptable combat accuracy for a handgun.

Wayne’s no wuss: even with moderate-recoil defensive ammunition, this gun really jumps. It pounds your hand solidly, in a way that’s less painful than most subcompact 9mms, but produces more muzzle flip and a slower recovery time between shots.

With defensive-grade .38+P ammo, you get less recoil, quicker recovery time, and most, but not all, of the ballistic devastation on target. We shot a handful of standard-pressure .38s through the Model 60, and it was a pussycat.

Fit And Finish

Like just about all classic Smith & Wesson revolvers, the fit and finish on this Model 60 is extremely good. The external finish of the gun is marvelous, and the stainless steel is polished to a gorgeous sheen. The only flaws I could notice were very minor ones: a very slight looseness in the grip panels which persisted even when tightened fully down, and a slight mismatch of the external contours of the front face of the cylinder crane and frame.  The crane and frame are starting to show signs of wear, and their external surfaces don’t quite match up anymore.


Wayne and I were both surprised by the good ballistics it produced, compared to two other Smith & Wesson .357 revolvers. The 3-inch barrel doesn’t carry the same velocity penalty that shorter snubby barrels impose; it behaves more like a full-size 4-inch revolver. I’ll reprint the ballistics numbers from our Performance Center 686 review here:

Bullet/Gun    60-3 (this gun)″         686-4″        686-6

125-gr JHP        1140                              1244            1187

158-gr JHP        1015                              1090            1031

If these numbers seem a bit slower than the hotrod velocities some .357s can generate, it’s because we were shooting defensive .357s designed for minimal muzzle flash and controllable recoil. I’m still surprised that this little 3-inch Model 60 spit out its slugs only a nudge slower than the Performance Center 686 with twice the barrel length.

I wish I could find my feeler gauges to prove it, but these velocity numbers indicate that the Model 60’s cylinder gap is properly tight. Unfortunately, the cylinder lockup is not so tight. When you press (not too hard) on the side of the cylinder with the hammer cocked, the crane already shows more flex and wobble than my quarter-century-old Model 686.

Durability, or, A Short Lesson In Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum History

This brings us to one of the unavoidable disadvantages of most small-frame .357 revolvers: durability. The classic Model 27, introduced in 1935, was built on Smith & Wesson’s large N-frame. That first .357 was much stronger than the cartridge required, and as a result they basically never wore out no matter how much they were shot, or with what ammo.

The Model 27 was large and very expensive to manufacture. After 20 years, the immense popularity of the .357 cartridge led Smith & Wesson to engineer smaller and less-expensive handguns for it. The medium-sized K frame (used by the classic .38 Special Model 10) was the basis for the also-classic Model 19 and Model 66 revolvers, introduced in 1955 and 1957.

They were smaller and lighter than the Model 27. A 4-inch Model 19 weighed in at 36 ounces. The K-frame .357s were designed and marketed for police use. The po-po complained that their wheelguns wore out fairly quickly on a diet of heavy .357 Magnum loads. In particular, the frames would stretch slightly and the cylinder crane (swingarm) would loosen until the cylinder didn’t index properly.

For the last half-century, conventional wisdom has held that you shouldn’t shoot too many .357 Magnums through your K-frame Smith & Wesson. While they don’t mind an occasional box of full-power .357s, they’ll shoot themselves loose after a few thousand rounds of them. For decades Smith & Wesson ignored this problem and told shooters to buy the expensive Model 27 if they wanted something more rugged.

In the meantime, an upstart gunmaker named Bill Ruger started selling millions of ridiculously strong, competitively-priced .357 revolvers that never seemed to wear out or break down, and Smith & Wesson finally got the message.

Smith & Wesson’s answer to the Ruger Security Six was a long time in coming, but it stands as one of the finest revolvers ever made: the medium-large L-frame Model 586 and 686 in 1980. They beefed up the K-frame with an extra quarter-pound of forged steel around the frame, cylinder and crane. The result was a nearly indestructible heavy-duty revolver. It may not be as elegant as a bright-blue Model 19, but my own beloved 686 has fired many thousands of rounds of .357 Magnum over the last quarter-century. If anything, it shoots better now than the day it was born.

The Model 60 and other J-frame .357s move against this trend of larger and more rugged .357 revolvers. The result is a very trim and handsome gun, but it asks a lot from modern metallurgy to expect that a small-frame pistol to tolerate a steady diet of heavy .357 loads when medium-frame revolvers couldn’t.

…And Back To Our Review

I don’t know the history of this particular sample gun. For all I know other writers may have already put a few thousand rounds of .357 through it. This would be more .357s than any non-masochistic shooter would want to fire through any gun so small and jumpy. In any case, it’s not valid to judge an entire design based on the unknown use and abuse of a single pistol. But…

Our sample Model 60 is already starting to show signs of crane wear. Its eventual owner would be well advised to shoot it primarily with .38 Specials. Full-power .357 Magnum ammo shoots well (if violently) but it’s just not for everyday use in a gun like this. Like steak dinners and single-malt scotch, they’re best saved for special occasions.

I would treat any *new* Model 60 as though it were a sturdy .38 Special revolver, with the added bonus that it can also fire any SAAMI-standard .357 ammo you’ve got the minerals to load it with once in a while. If you plan to shoot industrial quantities of .357 Magnums each year, you’ll want a bigger gun. Both it and your wrists will thank you.


Revolvers are supposed to be 100% reliable, and our sample hasn’t lived up to expectations. Farago experienced a trigger failure with this very pistol a few months ago:

His problem was caused by extreme crud buildup in/on the gun after 400 rounds of firing without cleaning. It disappeared after a vigorous cleaning, so I’m thinking that it was caused by a bit of crud jamming up the hammer safety lock mechanism. I’m calling it a maintenance-caused failure, since 400 rounds is a hell of a lot of shooting for a gun like this.

OTOH, I’ve never experienced a S&W revolver FTF of any kind before (besides a few squib loads). The Model 60 gave me my first. While firing single-action, I cocked the gun and pulled the trigger. We heard a ‘click’ instead of a ‘bang’ and discovered that the cylinder had failed to advance. Instead of indexing the next chamber and firing a fresh round, the gun had dropped the hammer on the same spent case that had just been fired.  The one spent cartridge had its primer nearly caved in (from two solid firing pin hits) while the other four rounds were untouched.

This particular malfunction isn’t necessarily fatal (all I had to do was pull the trigger again and the gun fired as normal) but it shouldn’t happen. Ever. Without a gunsmith’s advice, it’s my suspicion that the cylinder crane rattle is starting to cause indexing problems.

The Model 60, in its original .38 Special chambering, is a dependable revolver that has passed the test of time. The recent ‘Internal Safety Lock’ unfortunately has not. If this were my revolver I’d schlep it to a gunsmith immediately to have the safety lock mechanism removed and melted into slag. Gunsmiths do it all the time (the removal, not the slagging) and I’d also look into replacing the crane. That’s not a cheap job, unless it’s under warranty.


The Model 60 represents something nearly unheard-of in today’s highly segmented handgun market: an ideal general-purpose handgun. It’s surprisingly accurate and easy to shoot, especially with .38 Specials. It also gives more experienced handgunners the option of sometimes firing full-power .357 Magnums. Even the most experienced shooters won’t want to shoot .357 Hydra-Shocks all day long (and neither will the gun). But the Model 60 isn’t about ballistics, or firepower, or pinpoint accuracy: it’s about amazing versatility.

The Model 60 is a pistol you can carry discreetly on the street as a capable defensive handgun, or carry openly in the field as a small but powerful tool for hunting and survival. Shooting mild .38 Specials, it’s outstanding for recreational shooting, introducing new shooters to the sport, and even small-game hunting. Smaller-handed and beginning shooters will have no quarrel with its weight and grip size, and with .38s they’ll have no problems with its recoil either. Loaded with heavy .357 Magnums, it punches well above its weight and delivers terminal ballistics that no other concealable handgun can touch. (Except a compact .45 ACP, that is.)

It ain’t perfect: it’s heavy for a snubnose, and five rounds of anything isn’t a lot of firepower for a defensive handgun. But these are reasonable tradeoffs for a gun that serves well in so many roles.


Action: DA/SA Revolver
Capacity: 5 rounds
Caliber: .38/.357
Material: Stainless Steel
Barrel Length: 3 inches
Overall Length: 7.5 inches
Weight Unloaded: 24 ounces
Price: $475 street, plus shipping and transfer fees

Ratings (out of five)

Accuracy *  * * 1/2
I wouldn’t normally rate an almost-snubnose for accuracy, but this one is accurate enough for small-game hunting.

Styling * * *  **
The world’s most elegant revolver.  Only smaller.

Ergonomics (Carry) * * * *
You’ll hardly notice it’s there, but it’s not quite perfect: subtract a star for the weight, exposed hammer and longer barrel.

Ergonomics (Firing) * *  **
Mild .38 recoil is a delight; good grips make snappy .357 recoil more comfortable than expected.  Kudos for the smooth (if heavy) D/A trigger and superb S/A trigger.

Reliability *  * * 1/2
Remove the Infernal Safety Lock for four stars, but revolvers should be perfectly reliable and this one wasn’t.

Customize This * * *
Smaller grips and better sights are about the only options you’ve got.

Overall Rating *  * * *
An elegant and well-made pistol of amazing versatility.

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  1. Nice to see another revolver review. As to the .38/.357 thing, there’s a factor I would call “redundant utility” that has crept into a lot of products sold in the US. “Redundant utility” is where a product is given a capability that isn’t really needed, but is used to help distinguish the product from its competitors. A good example from the car world would be an all-wheel drive car that is marketed in the sun belt. The AWD capability isn’t really needed, but a customer might convince himself that he is getting “more for his money” by buying the AWD car over the FWD version – and the fact that he doesn’t really need it is irrelevant to his buying decision.

    Similarly, by making this gun in .357, S&W is doing two things: Distinguishing it from their less-expensive .38 only models, and matching the beefier competition (i.e., Ruger), by offering a .357 capability (which Ruger does as well with its SP101 snubbies.)

    The .38 doesn’t get much respect from the gun world, but most of the horror stories you hear about felons hit with multiple rounds are from the days when a 158gr Round-nose lead bullet or a FMJ was considered state-of-the-art. With modern advances in bullet design (hydro-shok, silvertip, SXT, etc), there’s no reason the .38 should be less effective than the 9mm, especially in +p form which any modern revolver can shoot.

  2. As a dyed-in-the-wool Smith & Wesson weenie, I’ve always wanted to love the Model 60, but never could. It’s too large and heavy when compared to the 642 and 638 Airweights that I’ve carried over the years, and too small when compared to the incomparable 686 or (be still my foolish heart) the 686+. Concealment of the Model 60 is possible but not easy. Likewise, shooting .357Mags is possible but not easy. The entire package is a compromise between high power and smallish size, but the Model 60 doesn’t truly accomplish either one with aplomb.

    Well, one man’s bad compromise is another man’s ideal general-purpose handgun, and a lot of people seem to find that this revolver suits their needs. For a revolver that doesn’t know what it wants to be, that’s saying a lot.

  3. Martin:

    Your point about ‘redundant utility’ is well made. The marketing concept is similar to the ‘maximum utility imperative’ that motivates exurban truck buyers to spend thousands (or tens of thousands) of extra dollars on ‘Heavy-Duty’ trucks that even most construction foremen don’t need and couldn’t afford. Diesel engines, heavy towing transmissions and 1-ton chassis are *not* required for hauling the occasional load of bark chips from Home Depot.

    The same goes for guns or any type of theoretically useful tool. How much is enough, and how much is too much?

    For the suburban shooter whose pistol will live in an IWB holster and on the nightstand, there’s no reason to pay the weight or price penalty for the Model 60 over a .38 Special Airweight. He won’t need the extra power, and the extra blast and recoil will reduce instead of increase his defensive shooting proficiency.

    The .357 option is a more worthwhile consideration for the outdoorsman who carries a pistol for defense against bears, wolves or mountain lions. With heavy hard-cast solid bullets from Buffalo Bore or Grizzly, the .357 is effective (but not optimal) against even big game at close range. The muzzle blast and recoil are severe, but the muzzle blast is probably an advantage for deterring wild animals.

    Since I personally tend toward the ‘outdoorsman’ side of the spectrum (and I’ve already got ample quantities of .357s sitting around already for my 686 and Marlin carbine) the extra $150 and the extra 8 ounces would be a good choice for me.

    Take the ‘outdoors’ and the ‘already have the ammo’ factors out of the equation, and the .357 offers little marginal utility to many shooters. For the purely defensive CCW shooter, the Airweight .38 is a better choice. As a nightstand gun, a police trade-in Model 10 in .38 Special is very, very hard to beat.

    • I have a 686 and a model 19. The Model 19 I bought new when I was working security in the 80’s and it’s still gorgeous, apart from some holster wear.

      The 686 I bought a few years ago and it’s my “knockabout” gun. It goes with me when I travel, and I feel OK shooting full-power mag loads in it. The 19 will shoot mag loads but I don’t like to do it, so for my purposes, it’s just a beefy .38.

      I honestly think the L frame is a little too big and heavy to feel “natural.” It’s a honkin’ big hogleg that will shoot a powerful round, but I’m not as emoitionally attached to it as I am to my K frame 19.

      • The 19 is the Jedi lightsaber to the 686’s laser blaster: “A more elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.”

  4. I do like the small frame, longer barrel (3-4″) revolvers for use a field guns. Carrying something like a 686 or a GP100 gets very heavy, very quickly. The model 60 is a great gun, but I have to say I like the 3″ SP101 just a tad better. The 60 has a much better trigger, but the additional few ouces of the SP101 and the larger grip (both in length and width) soak up recoil better.

    On a side note, I have always carried guns like these loaded with 38 special +P and kept a speedloader of .357 near by just in case.

  5. I have an S&W scandium .357 “Kit Gun” with a 3″ barrel, fiber optic front sight and V-notch adjustable rear sight. Weighs about 12 oz empty, which makes it a great ATV- dirt bike carry gun.

    It isn’t bad with .38+P ammo, but shooting it with .357 loads is – shall we say – fairly painful. It has zero muzzle flip – all of the recoil comes straight back into the base of your thumb. If you want to know what it feels like without buying one, have a friend take a 2-lb ball-peen hammer and give you a good swift smack on the base of your thumb, as if you were holding the revolver.

    Best holster I have found for it is one made for that model by Milt Sparks, of Boise, ID. Well worth the 6-month wait.

  6. Usable with today’s reduced pressure SAAMI spec ammunition. (See <.38-44 level ballistics in article)
    Reliable after surgical removal of the rube goldberg Internal Lock.
    What's not to like?

  7. Unfortunately, the Mdl. 60 is one of many downsized .357 revolvers that led to downloading the cartridge. The current 35,000 psi standard is significantly lower than the former 45,000 cup rating.

  8. I do accept as true with all the ideas you have presented in your post.
    They are very convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are too quick for novices.
    May just you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

  9. The 3″ Model 60’s are fantastic little guns. You have the ability to use the very hottest .357 Magnun defensive loads – ideal for home defense or camping in drunk Indian and bear country – or, any of the excellent +P .38 spc loads like Hornady Critical Defense – or, cheap and light recoiling .38 wadcutters for plinking and small game. You add a Crimson Trace laser grip and a good concealment holster, you have a deadly CCW rig that leaves no brass at the scene. I also recommend a “super-tune” and spring set to lighten-up that double action pull, but otherwise, it’s 2 thumbs way up.

  10. The review is very good to point out the flaws of the J-Frame in 357 Magnum – something you don’t often see in reviews where the gun is supplied by the manufacturer. While the S&W J-Frame design is fine for standard 38 Special loads, in 357 Magnum, everything the S&W Model 60 does, the 357 Magnum Ruger SP101 (in 2.25,” 3,” and 4″ barrels) does much better.

    The 4″ SP101 has adjustable sights like the 3″ Model 60, and a gunsmith can add adjustable sights to the 2.25″ and 3″ if desired. The SP101 design is simply stronger than the Model 60 side-plate design, and the gun will not wear out in the average owner’s lifetime of shooting 38 +P or factory .357 Magnum.
    Any mechanical engineer or technician will tell you that the S&W side-plate revolver design is simply weaker than Ruger’s double action revolver design (SP101 & GP100) – unless is is beefed up substantially with more metal in the stress areas as on the larger frame S&W revolvers. There isn’t any informed debate about this. The J-Frame just isn’t up to the 357 Magnum task. S&W really shouldn’t have ever chambered the J-Frame for 357 Magnum. It just isn’t strong enough for the thousands of 357 rounds a regular “every-other-month” range shooter might put through the gun over many years. It’s fine for 38 Special and perhaps Special +P, but no more than that. And while the SP101 is stronger, it only weighs an ounce or two more than the same barrel sized Model 60.

    Any handy person can also take apart the SP101 to the three subassemblies for complete cleaning and lubrication with the instructions in the Ruger own’er’s manual. With the Model 60, owner disassembly is not advised.

    For $20 total, an easy-to-install Wolff or Wilson Combat 10-lb hammer spring (from Midway, Brownells, and others) and a shim set (sold by a gunsmith on eBay) can be purchased to make the SP101 trigger as good as the Model 60. And a very light polishing of the internal parts with metal polishing compound (without removing any significant metal) makes things even better. Easy instructions for this are available on the Net or any decent gunsmith can do the whole business even better for about $50 total.

    Ruger also used to make 2.25″ (and I think 3″) short barrel six-shot 22LR versions of the SP101, which were great for low-cost practice and training new shooters. I have one of those as well as a 357 Magnum SP101. I believe the newer 22LR SP101 is eight-shot and has a 4″ barrel. I wish they still made the 22LR snub nose too.

    Some people may like the feel of the Model 60 over the SP101. I’d advise trying them both in the store with snap caps and even at a store range if possible. They do feel different in the hand even when similar four-finger decent grips are installed. But be advised that you should should stick to 38 Special and 38 +P to avoid future problems. For most self defense applications 38 +P is fine. However, If you really want to be able to shoot 357 Magnum in a small frame revolver (like for a hiking gun in black bear territory), the SP101 is the only rational choice currently available.

    • Are you a Ruger salesman? The snub model 60 is my knock around gun, and the SP101 is my father’s gun. He likes his; I like mine. I shoot full house .357 rounds all the time, all day sometimes through my model 60, and it is holding up just fine. The great great grandkids might agree with you, but I seriously doubt Ill be able to shoot this revolver loose in this lifetime. SP101 for end of the world, never going to find a gunsmith in the apocalyptic wastelands? Yeah, alright, it probably is more durable way down the road. The smith is more elegant, has a better trigger, and isn’t as heavy. Its about tradeoffs. Some folks complain about snappy recoil with this gun, but it seems like a pea shooter to me. All steel and rubber grips seem more than enough to mitigate recoil to me. When you say things like ‘If you want to be able to shoot 357 in a small frame revolver…the SP101 is the only RATIONAL choice currently available’ you are quite mistaken.

      • The point is that the a Model 60 will (eventually) have wear problems earlier than an SP101 when shooting thousands of rounds of 357 Magnum (38 Special +P is fine in both guns). The wear mechanisms of the Smith & Wesson revolvers are well known by gunsmiths. Try a search on : Smith & Wesson + revolvers + problem. They will just eventually occur in this size S&W frame when only shooting mostly 357 Magnum. Most of them are repairable. The Ruger one-piece frame and cylinder lockup are just stronger, so that repairs due to wear are rare. It is just physics, material science, and engineering (rational stuff).

        • I would add a few things. There are advantages and disadvantages to all Ruger revolvers compared to the comparable Smith & Wesson revolvers. S&W revolvers generally have the advantage of much smoother double action trigger pulls. The Ruger GP100 has improved in this regard in recent years, but new SP101s I’ve tried still feel like they always have – somewhat stiff and with long travel; and they require a full release forward before they will cycle again (making two audible clicks). However, S&W revolvers generally have a very light single action “target style” trigger pull, which some people may find unsafe. The Ruger revolvers’ single action pull is smooth but it requires a more deliberate pull (which is safer).

          You can improve the Ruger trigger with a $10 lighter spring kit (from Wilson Combat or Wolff) , but it still won’t be as smooth without some gunsmith polishing of the internal parts, which might cost another $50. So if you don’t want to mess with this, I’d take the Model 60 and just use it mostly with 38 Special, and +P; and occasional 357 Magnum. If you want to shoot a lot of 357 Mag, you might as well step up to a 4″ Ruger GP100 or S&W 686 – and be A LOT more comfortable (less recoil and less muzzle blast).

          The S&W Model 60 and Ruger SP101 also feel quite different in the hand, even when they have similar grips installed. Most men find the stock SP101 grips too small, and swap them out for Pachmayrs (small, but wider and more rounded) or the larger Hogues (rubber or hard nylon). The current stock Model 60 grips look very much like the Hogue SP101 rubber grips. Trying both guns in a store is best (using safe handling practices of course.) If possible, take some snap caps into the store with you to try the single- and double-action trigger pulls – of course ask permission and let them inspect the snap caps first. Or better yet, buy a pack from the store, and they will feel better. Don’t dry fire the guns, i.e. without snap caps, even though it may be safe do do so. Gun stores don’t like this.

          There is no free lunch. With the SP101 you get a very high strength gun, but a stiff double action trigger pull that needs a spring swap and gunsmith work to smooth out. The Model 60 is not as strong, but has a much smoother double action pull (but also a lighter single action pull).

    • Comments on comparing the Model 60 and the Ruger SP101–

      Dave R. wrote:
      >>For $20 total, an easy-to-install Wolff or Wilson Combat 10-lb hammer spring (from Midway, Brownells, and others) and a shim set (sold by a gunsmith on eBay) can be purchased to make the SP101 trigger as good as the Model 60.

      You can make the SP101 double action pull similar to the Model 60 for under $10 with a replacement hammer spring and some dry firing. Wolff gunsprings (at gunsprings dot com) is now selling an 11 pound hammer spring that I don’t believe is part of their standard Ruger revolver spring kits, which usually include three springs designated something like 8, 10, and 12 pound. This 11 pound spring seems to be a good compromise to me for primer strike reliablity, safety, and improving the pull to be more like the Model 60. Wilson Combat uses three similar springs in their kits, but I’m not sure if they are also offering a separate 11 pound spring.

      According to Wolff the spring poundage numbers don’t correspond to the double action trigger pull you get, they are just nominal load designations for some spring compression distance. I’ve found that all three springs produce a lighter pull than the stock spring, with the one designated 12 pound being just a bit under stock. The stock DA pull on my older SP101 is definately lighter than 12 pounds when measured with a spring gage (more like 10.5 lb.). When I installed the Wolf “11 pound” spring it lightened up to around 9.5lb, and I haven’t had any light primer strikes. You definitely can get light strikes and no ignition on certain primers with the lightest 8 lb spring in the kits. Also, most people do not use the single light trigger return spring that is included in the kits since it may cause problems (you can search info on-line about this.) So you can just buy a couple of the 11 pound hammer springs for under $10 including shipping and have a spare.

      They are fairly easy to change out on the hammer spring strut with instructions on the net (check Wilson & Wolff websites maybe also). You just need to wear safety glasses and have block of wood with an indentation to compress the spring against. (Ruger revolvers are much easier for the non-gunsmith to work on that Smith & Wesson revolvers – though there are books on the S&Ws if you want to learn).

      I don’t think that installation of trigger and hammers shim kits are necessary, though it can smooth out the pull a little bit more. (They also obviously add more parts that you have to keep track of in disassembly.) And for most people, after installing the 11 pound spring, you can just do some dry firing practice with snap caps to smooth out the pull. There are instructions from gunsmiths on-line to do internals polishing, but it is possible to really screw this up and make the gun unsafe if you don’t know what you are doing. I’d leave any internals polishing to a gunsmith unlesss you’ve done similar work on guns before. For most people, just doing the hammer spring swap and the dry firing is fine. It probably won’t be quite as good as the DA pull of the Smith & Wesson, but it wil be close. The stock single action pull is fine at around 4.5 lb on the SP101s, and in my opinion, a little safer than the pulls on some Smiths, which can be quite light.

      Obviously, if possible you want to be be able to try both the S&W Model 60 and the Ruger SP101 at a range. There are some ranges now that have guns to rent for that purpose. Some gunshops even have a small indoor range to try out guns. I agree that that the SP101 and Model 60 feel somewhat different in the hand, so you may prefer one over the other just from the balance and feel. Most people do change out the small SP101 stock grips for the larger Pachmayr (bit larger) or Hogues (larger still, with finger grooves), unless they have very small hands. The stock rubber Model 60 grips are usually fine as is, though there are lots of larger J-frame grips available.

      Note that the SP101 only has adjustable sights in the new 4″ barrel version, and I think that 4″ gun is too nose heavy compared to the 3″ SP101 or 3″ Model 60. Yes, you can have adjustable sights installed by a gunsmith on the 3″ SP101, but it involves some milling machine work, drilling & tapping holes, etc., so is not cheap. It also takes a good gunsmith or the gun can obviously be damaged. So if accurate target shooting is important, the advantage of the stock adjustable sights on the Model 60 is considerable, especially making adjustments for different types of ammo and bullet weights from different manufacturers. If you are going to be shooting mostly 38 Special or 38 Special +P, the Model 60 is an advantage in that regard. On the other hand, fixed sights are obviously more durable and are better for concealed carry in fanny pack or purse, where the adjustable rear signt could snag on fabric. However, for concealed carry, the shorter barrelled versions of both guns are obviously preferable to the 3″ versions.

      • As far as comparing the the similar S&W and Ruger guns 357 / 38 Special guns…
        With the S&W Model 60 you can get get it in the Model 60 in:

        1. 3″ barrel with adjustable sights and black rubber grip
        2. 3″ barrel Pro Series, with angled barrel shroud/slab sided, with adjustable sights and wood grip (about $50 more than #1)
        3. 2-1/8″ barrel with fixed sights and black rubber grip
        4. 2-1/8″ barrel Model 60LS, Lady Smith engraved model with wood grip

        S&W also makes the similar Models 64 and 640 with 2-1/8″ barrel and rubber grips, with either a shroud on covering the sides of the hammer (single & double action) or the hammer covered (double action only). They are also all stainless steel like the Model 60s.

        For the SP101s in 357/38 (all stainless steel with black rubber grip, with plastic or wood grip inserts):
        1. 3-1/8″ barrel with fixed sights
        2. 2-1/4″ barrel with fixed sights
        3. 2-1/4″ barrel with fixed sights, double action only
        3. 4.2″ barrel with adjustable sights

        They are obviously both fine guns, and there really isn’t much reason to shoot 357 Magnum out of them unless needed for protection from large animals. The 38 Special +P loads are just fine for self defense, as are regular 38 Special for those who want less recoil. The Smith & Wesson guns are just a few ounces lighter than the Rugers for the similar barrel lengths, so there might be a slight difference in perceived recoil. If you want a good trigger “out of the box” without having to do the Ruger spring swap or having a gunsmith tune it for $60 or so, then go with the Smith & Wessons. The Smith & Wessons will probably be about $50 more in price.

        There is too much hype encouraging people to buy semi-autos. The S&W Model 60 and Ruber SP101 small frame revolvers are probably what the average person should get for home defense, so they don’t have to worry about the complications of a semi-auto. Revolvers are much simpler to use. The larger revolvers from Smith & Wesson and Ruger may actually be too heavy for some people to hold steady at arm’s length for any length of time.

        You can look at all the specs on the Ruger and Smith & Wesson websites. (On S&W, its under the J Frame section.) The actual retail prices at gun stores are about 80% (or less) of the suggested retail prices in the on-line catalogs (MSRP). I a gun shop is charging near MSRP, I’d go to a different shop.

        • The stainless steel hammer shrouded Smith & Wesson models are the Models 649 and 640, not Models 64 and 640 . The Model 64 is a larger K Frame 38 Special revolver. The guns with a shroud on the hammer like this, or with the hammer just bobbed – trimmed off like on the the double action only Ruger SP101 – are made to avoid any snagging of the hammer spur on clothing or if you are drawing from a pack or shoulder bag.

          The 2 1/8 inch barrel Lady Smith model also has fixed sights like the regular Model 60 in that same barrel length. I think it is identical except for the engraved Lady Smith logo, fancy maroon colored wood grips and special Lady Smith box. Of course you can save the fancy grips and put on a set of the rubber grips which would feel better for a lot of target shooting. The Lady Smith is about $30 bucks more than the standard model.

          I’d say Ruger quality and customer service has been a little better than Smith & Wesson in recent years.
          There are lots of reviews of these small frame steel revolvers online, you can just search on the model number plus review.

        • Then why buy a 357 revolver if there “isnt any reason” to shoot them? I disagree with your comment 100%. There is a reason to shoot the 357. Extra power and better ballistics, which in real world means more chance of incapacitating the threat. There is no 38+p round on earth that matches or bests the ballistics of a 357 round, even out of a short barrel or snub nose. Ive seen people make comments like this for years and it simply is untrue. If you lose velocity with a 357 round out of a snub nose, guess what, the same applies for a 38+p. Simply having a shorter barrel does not in any way put the 38+p on the same or level playing field as the 357. In fact with hollow point self defense ammo having the extra velocity in the 357 makes the bullet perform better. Studies have shown that the lower velocities of the 38 or 38+p in a snub nose can drop the bullet velocity enough to cause reliability and expansion issues with a hollow point. If a bullet is moving too slow it will cause the hollow point to not expand or perform the way it should. And in most cases even out of snubbies there is still a good 200-300 ft per second velocity difference from most modern 357 self defense rounds vs 38+p rounds. Again, which equates to more power and better ballistics and more reliability with hollow points. So if there is an instance where you WANT 357 over 38, its in a snub nose, because of the drop off in velocities. Now granted you deal with more muzzle blast, recoil, ect. but as far as performance the 357 still is well above the 38+p

  11. I own both a Ruger SP101 2.25 inch and a Smith Model 60 2 inch. Both in .357. My take is the same as the gentleman above. With some minor adjustments and a trigger job, the Ruger SP101 is the better gun. If you want refinement on the SP101, get some Mothers and learn how to wet sand and take the edges off and polish the SP101. I did. And it look everybit as good as my Model 60. But the biggest and most important reason I always prefer the SP101 is the recoil difference. It is pretty substantial. I still have yet to find a set of grips to really negate the recoil with 357 in the Model 60. It sucks to shoot with 357. The Pachmyer grips prob work the best, but it still is not a fun gun to shoot. The SP101 on the other hand is fun and has much less recoil. Houge grips make the gun a blast to shoot and i can shoot it all day with 357. The Model 60 is def a looker for sure, but as a shooter it is on high end of whats comfortable to shoot. My Model 29 44 mag 4 inch is less painful to shoot to put it in perspective. I love and cherish both my 60 and SP101, but for pure shooting ill take the SP101 all day long

    • I have a 60-18. That 5″ barrel must do a lot, because I have not found even 1400 FPS chronographed 158s (300MP all the way!) to be unbearable. It has worn the Pachmayrs, the stupid demon horn factory grips, Hogues, and the Altamont Altai (outstanding grip). At 10-12 oz less than an all-steel K or L frame 357 with a 4″ barrel, I’ll take the 60 any day. Every Ruger SP101 I’ve looked at, like most Ruger revolvers, is an overbuilt turd. I also think the whole strength thing is misguided. The reason why Rugers have so much extra steel is because they are cast, not forged. The metallurgical control of a forging is much better than a casting so Ruger just uses a whole lot more steel to ensure adequate strength, which you will need to carry around. And sure you can polish your Ruger all you want to bring it up to Smith finish (and I’ve seen many inexpert polish jobs on them), but that wont make it lighter (well, it will make a tiny bit lighter). You can rework the trigger to make it nearly as good as a Smith’s out-of-the-box, but you can’t make its cylinder gap any tighter, can’t make its throats all the same size…or aligned correctly…and when you send the thing back to Ruger you will get it back with the factory turd trigger, springs and everything else. I’ve had a Blackhawk in 44, messed with a Redhawk in 44, and a GP100 and Security Six. All had major defects of one kind or another. I’ve had a N-28 (an economy revolver), a K-38, a J-38, and a J-357. All outstanding with only minor quibbles and Smith has a real warranty. Lifetime, transferable, and when it comes back it isn’t all screwed up.

      • OK Anthony, I see you are biased against the Rugers. The little model 60 3 inch with adjustable sights, as I have said about is about the finest little trail gun I have found.
        Mine will shoot 158 grain bullets to 1,200 fps, which is about 500 foot pounds, literally twice the power of my model 637 with 38 plus P ammo. That extra power is only needed, when you really, really need it. Duh? I once got surrounded by 2 huge sow hogs and about 20 wild pigs, Was able to scare them away, but that is one reason I prefer the 357 over 38, you get the idea. I also have the 2.5 inch model 66, just do not like the extra weight for most places I go.

        I have owned maybe 20 SW revolvers from 22-44 mag, over the last 50 years and loved them all. I carried 6 different SWs in law enforcement and still carry for self defense, hiking, fishing etc. But when I hunt, I carry the big Rugers in 44, 45, etc. I think you may be too harsh on the little SP 101. I know lots of cops who prefer them over the SWs, FWIW

  12. I started carrying SW wheel guns in law enforcement since about 1972 and own(ed) maybe 2 dozen including a half dozen J Frames. I carried a model 640 for backup and while hunting for 20 years and have finished at least 20 deer with that gun in 357. I made the mistake of trying to finish a few mule deer with 38+P and had very bad results. A 357 to the neck requires only 1 shot, ever, a 38+P takes several and really shows you the difference. I have chronographed these rounds, the 38+P never tops about 925 fps whereas the 357 will be about 1,150….this is a big difference….I hike in hog country often and hike/camp in black bear country several times per year… can double your energy level with the 357. That being said, I have a dozen large guns to carry, but while hiking, hunting with a rifle, or fishing, there is no better choice that the model 60 3 inch. And with the adjustable shots it is EZ to hit a yards should that need arise…and as a survival gun choice you could even harvest a deer or hog if that need should arise.

  13. Emphasis: I am not “against” S&W by any means nor am I against revolvers by any means (or definition). I want to make that clear because of my actual experience with S&W and magnum pistols in general. I bought a S&W Mod. 58 P&M- .41 Magnum in 1968 and had a Ruger Super Blackhawk (.44 Magnum) at the same time.

    I learned a lot by having that working comparison. #1 was that the S&W had a handgrip which was way too small. Heavy recoil caused “hammer rebound” in spades – so bad that, inevitably, the web between thumb and hand got a nasty, bloody “bite” from the hammer unless the Mod. 58 was gripped too hard for accurate shooting. I’m an average size man and all the same size or larger men who accepted my offer to shoot that gun shot that gun only once before saying “No more!” I bought a set of custom grips (Herret’s Shooting Star) and that solved the problem.

    2. But the gun was built & designed too light to really handle the .41 Mag. It wasn’t long before the cylinder failed to index properly and started sending “peels” of bullet jacket metal right back into the faces of anyone who fired that gun. Sending it to S&W resulted in a no-charge repair. (Thanks, S&W). But at that time I had already fired many hundreds of full-power rounds through my Ruger Super Blackhawk – which had a much better grip design and never had a problem with shooting 50-100 rounds time after time after time.

    3. Overall I just wish that S&W had read the writing on the wall that Ruger had written for all gun makers. S&W stuck with undersize grips and too light frames for longer than was necessary. That’s all water under the bridge though.

  14. in the review of the S&W M60 357 mag revolver I noticed the writer said the gun is showing signs of wear. all that is needed is to end it back to the S&W factory. they would be happy to bring one of their creations back up to spec. also shooting 38 specials would be better for self defense since it offers a good combination of power and control ( and your hand will be happier). also their are now a number of good NON plus-p loads now that give you the plus-p power without the added pressure.

  15. Well, I commented in February and after reading all these new comments my thoughts have not changed. If you have never shot anything in self defense, then fine use the 38 but don’t preach about how it will do everything from a 2 or 3 inch barrel. If you hike or travel in pit bull neighborhoods, or hog country, or where a bear or cougar may snatch your little dog, then buy a few boxes of the cheap Tullamo 357 mags and learn to shoot the thing. It is not that bad and even with arthritus and carpel tunnel in both wrists, I can manage a few cylinders of 357 ammo. I own many S W 357 handguns including a 2 inch model 66, but cutting that size down to 24 ounces is a big deal when you dont expect trouble and just want to hike or fish or walk the dog….the energy is double from the 357 over the 38 in these short barrels…it matters….I have a 2 inch 44 mag as well, just dont want the weight and size….best little gun I ever owned.

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  17. The 110 grain Winchester USA white box 357 ammo is not as obnoxious to the shooter as the other loads I have tried. It seems to be a good match to my model 60. I think the ability to have a couple of shot loads available is a big advantage of wheelguns. I am glad to have a 3″ model 60 and think it is an excellent all around revolver. This was a good review with one exception: The author acted like the 637 was not a bad recoiling gun with 38 specials. Mine just is not fun to shoot with the basic 125-130 grain plated cheapies much less +p’s.

    • Good point Felix. I also have both the 637 and 3 inch model 60 and have chronographed them both. The most I can get out of 38 +P is about 950 fps. The 3 inch 357 is a whole different animal. I get 1,250 fps with 158 grain bullets which translates to about 500 foot pounds in the model 60 and only about 250 in the 38. So regardless of what you are shooting it is a big deal. One other comment, most small light 357s have a warning not to use the 110 grain bullets because they might pull a bullet under recoil. I actually had it happen in the model 60 recently. The 5th round backed out and locked up the gun….wow, never saw that before. My solution was just to buy a box of federal 158 grain soft points which seem to work ok. Yes they do have a kick, but if I need the 357 power in a tiny package, it is worth the trade off. Again, I like the cheap Tulllamo for practice, they are 158 grain, test 1,250 fps and are about $19.00 at Academy. Just my 2 cents, cannot believe this thread is still alive. Shoot well.

      • The warnings I have seen were to avoid the heavier magnum loads because the recoil and bullet weight are what causes bullet pull. A reload I found to give a real roar out of a 357 with very little recoil was a 95 (IIRC) grain JHP over 8 grains of Unique. This load would knock a soda can farther than any thing else I tried and was based on the minimum load in an old Speer manual for 110 JHP’s.

        • I reload also, about 15 calibers, the 357 since 1972 and I use Unique 90% of the time in handgun loads. That being said, I own 3, 357 rifles and a dozen handguns. I also own 45 rugers and 44 mags, so I don’t really have much reason to hot load the 357. The model 60 is just the one I like for a second gun while hunting or fishing. But, I go to areas with hogs, dogs, cats and bears If I am in Colorado or New Mexico, I will carry a bigger gun, but when in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas or Louisiana, I like the little model 60 because it conceals so well. And with full power 158 grain loads, I feel pretty confident. I am retired from law enforcement and grew up believing the hot 125 grain bullets were the best man stopper there was. And in most cases, I still believe it. Now in the city, I carry a little Glock 43, because it will fit in the front pocket, a 357 it is not, it is about 300 foot pounds, the model 60 is 500.

        • I carry my model 60 in a nylon holster shoved in the back pocket of my jeans. I have forgotten it was there even when I was sitting down. When I grab the grip and pull the gun the holster stays in the pocket and the gun is easily reholstered. Try it, works with a 637 also.

  18. buffalo bore makes ammo in 38 special that will send a 110, 125, and 158 grain hollow point out of a 2′ at over 1000 fps ( in fact they come out like 357 mags) . and that is there plus-p line. but recoil out of a lightweight snubby is well ….not fun. while some like the hard bucking loads some do not.. the old fbi/chicargo police load ( 158 lswhp) did do well for them as does the speer 135 gold in 38 special for the nypd officers who still opted to keep using revolvers. I have a 3″ s&w m65 357mag that I like, although I fire a lot of 38 specs through it. and I have a colt detective spec that I like to use also as well as an agent.( which cannot use plus-ps. so I like buffalo bores standard pressure high vel loads). buffalo bores 357 mag ammo is full throttle , not like the loaded down stuff other companies make.

    • As I commented earlier today, I had my first ever bullet slip the crimp in my model 60 3 inch. It was the 5th round, a 110 grain hollow point, forgot the brand but they were loaded hot. Smith and Wesson does not recommend shooting 110 grain ammo out of their J frame 357s and now I know why. The bullet came forward just enough to lock the cylinder. I was able to pry it back with a pocket knife then removed the bullet. I have been shooting and reloading 357 since 1972 and never had this happen. Apparently the light weight of the guns allows the recoil to jerk them lose. SW says anything 125 grains of bigger is OK, but also as I posted, if I am carrying this gun, it will have the 158 grain bullets in it. When I have hiked in bear country with my model 66, I carry the hot 180 grain bullets. I love Buffalo Bore, but 1,000 fps is really only about 300 foot pounds. My factory loads are 158 grains and chrono about 1,250 for about 500 foot pounds. I am 68, have degenerative disc disease an carpal tunnel issues in both wrists, so I only shoot a few cylinders of these at a time. I do own 44s and 45s that both put out 1,000 foot lbs and more with Buffalo Bore ammo, just don’t wanna carry those big guns.

      • This has got me thinking which can be dangerous in itself. The 95 grain bullets I have have a deep hollow base. I am guessing that this isto give these bullets more legnth for the case to hold onto. I doubt that as many companies make the 110’s any more since it was the bullet of the treasury load and those boys and girls gave up their wheelies long ago. I think I will look askanse at short bullets in magnums.

      • Hey Phil, have you ever tried the Hornady 140 gr yet, and I am not sure but I think you could still find Winchester 145 gr. I was wondering what they are like. I think they are both full throttle loads ( although I think Winchester likes to sneakingly load these down somewhat). I got , well we will just say a few 357mag revolvers , like a old colt trooper and a few k frames ( which includes a m66 2.5 inch and a 4.2 inch m19), I tend to stick with the 125 gr because you are right about them being good for self defense ( although they too are also being loaded down by some companies) but I plan to go camping again ( I used to do that a lot when I was younger). a couple of times I was raided by black bear and figured the 357 would be good back up to my 12 gauge.a good solid point 158gr semi wadcutter would be good but as you know but not everything in the woods that is dangerous walks on 4 legs.

        • I have not tried either of those loads, but like most Hornadys a lot. I camp at least once a year at the NRA Whittingon Center near Raton, NM each year. A couple years ago, I stumbled onto a really big bear, maybe 450 pounds, but he just ran off. Another time, the camp host had a cougar grab their small dog as they sat 20 feet away, so I always have a 357 or larger on the hip. I have a toy snauzer and a shitzu. We have watched coyotes there try to sneak up on the camper. I only had one bad bear encounter a long time ago in Colorado. I was hunting alone and killed a B and C mule deer which was packed in my truck as I slept in a tent, temperature was about 13 degrees and snow on the ground. Damn bear tried to get into my truck about 3 am. I had a 44 mag in the tent and as I tried to unzip the bear kept slapping at the tent as he would see me move. Eventually, I scared him away without shooting him, but he did tear up one side of my tent. Scared the krap out of me. Now, I will have a 12 gauge, 45-70 or something in the tent, if I ever do that again and at least a 357. We do hike in that area and I carry a model 66 2.5 inch. I used Federal 180 grain ammo in that gun just for the penetration. Now that I have the model 60 in 3 inch, I will probably carry it as a second handgun, lol. Now, for a good read on bears, look up the Buffalo Bore website and read Tim Sundles philosophy on killing bears. He says any heavy 9mm on up will work on a head shot and he is not afraid of a bear with a 357 heavy loaded. However, he says he carries a standard 45 Colt with standard pressure hard cast bullets, I think 270 grains. He says velocity does not help. Anyway, it’s a great read based on killing hundreds of bears, he says.

        • hey Phil thanks a lot for all that. I did not know that the NRA had an area where you could camp. I wonder if they have any near my side of the country ( East Coast, unfortunately the Peoples Demokratik Republik of New York). I used to camp a lot upstate or go into Pensilvania . I think I will look into the fed 180 gr. ammo. thanks again and stay safe.

        • You are welcome, go online and type in NRA Whittington Center and you will be amazed. It is not “owned” by the NRA but was donated by a rich texas lawyer named Whittington and some sort of a trust that keeps it legally separate but still managed by the NRA. All the famous shooters and gun writers go out there. It is about 33,000 acres and is next door to the Boy Scout Philmont ranch to the west and some 200,000 acre ranch owned by Ted Turner to the north. They have about 15 shooting ranges plus a bunch of those 1,000 yards hill to hill training classes and a world class shot gun set up. They have some kind of classes going on pretty much year round and lots of shooting tournements. They have some high dollar cabins, but the are not dog friendly so we take our class c rv. They have about 150 RV sites and a bunch of tent sites. They also have some competitors rooms you can stay in, but I don’t think you have your own bathroom and my wife killed that idea. It is not a hotel or anything like that, no pool or playground for the kids or anything like that. You can shoot and hike and explore all you want. Hunting is available but very expensive and all guided hunts. I have seen 5 x 5 mule there so tame you could stop and take pictures and the would not run, so I don’t shoot tame animals and would not hunt there, unless it was for bear or cougar as they are definitely not tame there. The ranges go from handgun to a 1100 yard white buffalo that everyone wants to claim they shot. I don’t usually shoot there, we just go there for the wildlife, better than Yellowstone and deer, antelope,, elk and turkeys run thru camp every day. Bears are often a problem and cougars are as well. Only saw one, but they had to kill 3 that were a threat to campers about 4 years ago. We have been there when they removed problem bears twice who were raiding the campground and were getting to the point where they were going to hurt someone. It is only 10 minutes from Raton and there is Sugerite state park about 20 minutes away a small lake but it does have trout in it and the also have a bunch of camp sites. Then you are only about 20 miles from Trinidad Colorado where the famous Brownells is located, I think the biggest gun parts store in the world, and they now sell guns just like Cabelas or Bass Pro. Anyway, we live in hot Oklahoma and when we go anywhere west in our old trailer or now class c, we always stop there and relax. Its relaxing camping, but it also has the highest concentration of cougars in the world, and bears, and coyotes, so you just don’t go sleep on a cot in the sun. Everybody there wears a handgun, just common sense. Anyway well worth a couple days if you are anywhere in the area. Also, the have a gun museum there and lots of famous guns from bad guys of the west. Last time I was there I bumped into the guys from Gunblast. They were very nice and thought I was some gun writer or some famous person, and I never told them any different. Another time the Shootests were out there. I think they allow only 20 members and you have to have made some major contribution to the gun industry or been the fastest gun in the world or something to get invited in. One guy also mistook me for one of the “Shootests” and we had a nice chat about guns until he realized I was just some guy camping there. I guess I just look like some famous gun guru since they have made that mistake twice, lol….. Anyway, check it out.

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    • Not sure why I got this scam add. However, the Model 60 J frame concept is still alive. With the pandemic they are hard to find and about $700 if you can find one. It would be nice to see a comparison with the newer Kimber 6 shot 357 revolvers. I have not fired one, but was allowed to dry fire several, both single and double action and the triggers were wonderful, equal to my many SWs. They lock up tight and feel great in my medium hand. The come with or without adjustable sights and even longer 4 inch barrel.

      They just might be better than the SP 101 or the 3 inch Model 60. They are not cheap but more available l, about $950. The next review should include those 3. Again, having the option of 38/357 and snake shot as well make these little revolvers and option. I do not carry them in most CCWs roles, but in the boonies, I often do.

  20. The first da/sa revolver I ever owned was a S&W model 34 J frame 22 4 inch barrel. For years it was the only handgun I owned. I gave it to my son after I got a 3″ model 317. I bought 5″ model 60 and a 3″ model 60. I found the 5″ cumbersome and it really kicked. I discovered that even though longer barŕels add weight they may increase recoil due to velocity increase. I wouned up with mostly J frame S&W revolvers. I have tried some Colts, Rugers, Rock Islands, H&Rs, Iver Johnsons, Taurus, Charters, a High Standerd, one Forhand and Wadsworth, a couple of Rossis and others. When I say I tried them, I mean I bought them, shot them, carried every one of them. I managed to like most of them. Some have real sentimental value. What I really like in my hand is a 3″ J frame. I am not going to try to explaine it or defend my feelings òr try to change anybody elses.

  21. Yes Felix, like you one of my first guns was the model 63, the stainless version of the model 34, 4 inch. I bought it around 1980 and it was stolen in 1989. Luckily the cops found it in a pawn shop in Boulder, 600 miles away, in 1996, so I have it back. Scratched up but still today as accurate as a handgun can be. I too carried it many places, fishing, a handgun while hunting with a long gun and just hiking or walking. I still carry it today if I am working down on my creek where I have lots of snakes.

    I too like the size and feel of the J frames and like you have tried many. The Charter Arms 3 inch is a nice little 22, as it the 9 shot Taurus and the stainless Rossi that is a copy of the model 63. I carried a 3 inch model 36 as a federal investigator for about 4 years and got to where I shoot it very well. I could hit a gallon jug 3 out of 5 times at 100 yards, a feat few people could do. As I have said before the trick is knowing your ammo, using the same every time, and then knowing that putting the bottom of that ramp sight where it meets the groove in the top strap, makes the elevation correct. And it impresses lots of handgun shooters. We were required to shoot 12% of our qualification rounds at 50 yards, so you had to learn to hold the gun steady.

    Like you, I acquired several other brands, including the 6 shot Colt Cobra, a 2 and 3 inch Rossi, a pair of matching model 637s for my wife and I, a couple model 36s both 2 and 3 inch, and finally like you the 3 inch Model 60 which with it’s adjustable sights is the cream of the crop.

    I have other snub guns, including the 357 and 44 mag. They do not weight 24 ounces though. Perhaps it is just hand size but those little guns just fit so very well. It is not my daily carry gun, but occasionally so. But it can be and is certainly near the top of the list for a survival gun. Mine will shoot 158 grain factory ammo to 1,200 fps which is over 500 foot pounds, that will kill a deer if need be. Mine is accurate enough to easily take squirrels or rabbits at well beyond 25 yards, so it works for that. I have killed lots of snakes and skunks with the J frames, so it works for that. And of course, 500 foot pounds is a bit more than the hottest 9mm that people carry to defend their lives. I do think the new Kimber 6 shot with adjustable sights might give it a run for it’s money, but I will never know because like you, I have found what fills the bill.

    End of rant. The little model 60 is a precision instrument and it shoots any thing that needs shooting. I agree with you totally. Smith and Wesson would do well to hire the two of us for marketing these guns. LOL

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