Shooting My Old Model 10 Snub .38...
Hello. A few years ago, I bought a like new Model 10-5 2" at a very good price. The revolver was like new all over except for a couple of things. The hammer spur had been bobbed and on the right side of the frame near the hammer, there was a tiny bit of surface rust. I would have preferred the round butt version as well.
Countering all of this was the price, the tiny-bit-heavy double-action trigger pull but very smooth and with perfect timing. The factory grips also had very nice grain and appearance...at least to my eye.
Checking the gun over, it was clear that it had been fired very, very little so I bought it.
Since buying this old revolver, I did have it reblued as I cannot abide rust, but left the bobbed hammer as is; whoever did it did a good job. I added the Tyler grip adapter and refinished the factory stocks.
The 2" Model 10 is my least favorite of the series. I much prefer the 3" and 4" bbl's, but this one is sort of an "affection", I guess. When I began police work in the early '70's, these 2" Model 10's were in lots of detectives' holsters as well as supervisors', often in the configuration shown above. I just wanted it.
I'd shot this one enough to know that it worked fine and that the sights were well-regulated for most .38 Special loads. It is also a recent enough K-frame that it can handle +P, though I doubt that this one will get much since I don't use it for anything serious. That should not be construed to mean that I consider it a poor choice for that, only that this one was not bought for such. It is a reminder of a different time in policing for me and one more gun to shoot and enjoy.
This Galco paddle holster is made for a 3" K-frame but works fine with the 2" gun. The Speed Strip Carrier was bought from Dillon Precision and is a convenient way to carry extra ammunition unobtrusively for the 38/357 revolver...if that is of importance to the reader. Cost is about $25 or so. I do not find these as quick as Speedloaders, but they are convenient. The ammuntion shown is Speer's 135-gr. +P Gold Dot "Short Barrel Load." This Model 10 handles it fine and shoots it accurately...if I do my part. Perhaps not the most "effective" defense handgun, this one would probably serve many a private citizen fine; that includes me.
All shooting was done standing, using either a one-hand or two-hand hold and was done double-action only.
This group was fired in slow-fire, standing and w/2-hand hold. I don't shoot the Model 10 much better than the smaller J-frame AirWeights, but the recovery between shots and felt recoil is very greatly reduced. Loads that some might find objectionable in the smaller & lighter aluminum frame J-frame are cream puffs in the all steel K-frame Model 10. Ammunition used was Winchester USA 130-gr. FMJ.
I suspect that the sight radius on the Model 10 2" is just not quite enough for me to get the groups I like to see. Speaking only for myself, I find it much easier to shoot them with the 3" Model 10 or its cousins. That extra inch of sight radius means a lot, at least to my eyes and it also kicks up the velocity nicely. The 2" Model 10 should deliver about the same .38 Special ballistics as the 1 7/8" J-frames...but with less felt recoil and greater controllability.
Several sets of "Failure to Stop" drills were fired with the Model 10 using Federal 130-gr. FMJ ammunition. Distance was 12 yards and firing was done standing, using a 2-hand hold, and firing as quickly as I could get a "flash sight picture" on the torso with a little longer for the head shot. The revolver handled nicely.
Altogether I fired 200 rounds today. The Model 10 had no issues. It just worked fine.
If you happen to have one of these, they can be surprisingly fun to shoot in my opinion. The Model 10 is a very proven design and assuming a properly built example, should last a lifetime or two with but adequate cleaning, etc.
For concealed carry purposes, I find it to be a belt gun proposition as it's just a bit big & heavy for pocket carry and there might be better choices for serious defensive work, but this is not saying that I count the M&P snub out. I do believe that it can make a very viable defensive revolver, but kindly suggest that the 3" or even 4" version would be my choice(s) over it.
That definitely does not mean that they're not fun to shoot...at to least to me and probably millions of other "old guys" who like these old things...and "fun" is way at the top of my list of things to do when given a choice.
For a gun that one might already own, the Model 10's extra weight and size compared to the lightweight J-frames can be an advantage for a "house gun." Besides the extra shot over the J's, already mentioned has been the reduced felt recoil and increased control most find present in this S&W medium frame, medium power, revolver. Shown loaded with Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P, this old "wheel gun" can do a respectable job as a protection tool.
I am especially fond of the Model 10 family of revolvers and while the snub 2" is my least favorite, it emphatically doesn't mean that I don't like it! I do enjoy shooting the longer bbl'd M10's, but will still be giving this one a workout now and again.
If you happen to have one, I'd shoot it. I find them loads of fun.
Nice gun, great review (as usual!).
A K-frame S&W is hardly ever a bad choice -- for darn near anything.
Originally Posted by DJ Niner
"bing bang boom! hair out...hamburger time" - William Murderface
Fantastic write up and pictures Mr Camp!!! Thankyou
The old K/models are my favorite S&Ws. The prices at last weekends gun show were crazy. I guess everybody wants them. I know I would like a few more but I am not going to pay as much for a 30yr old gun as I can buy new.
Very good article Mr.Camp and may you have good luck with your gun. I always enjoy your articles, Thank you.
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