J-frame shootability and accuracy

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    1. #1
      Junior Member azmark's Avatar
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      Question J-frame shootability and accuracy

      S&W's J-frames appeal to me, but I've read and heard that they're hard to control and generally can't hit much of anything beyond home defense distance. Can somebody with some actual experience tell me what's what? It would be nice to plink or shoot targets at 25 yds or more.

    2. #2
      Senior Member Mike Barham's Avatar
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      J-frames are generally difficult to shoot well, because they are light and normally short of barrel. The trigger action on J-frames is usually inferior to the larger Smiths, too.

      With a few exceptions in the S&W line, the J-frames are intended as defense guns, which are normally used at ranges measured in feet rather than yards. I've seen people make good hits with them at long range, but these are very skilled shooters working very hard to get the hits. For simple pleasure shooting, I'd choose something else, but for a "pocket rocket" J-frames are good guns.
      Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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      All opinions, particularly those involving politics and Glocks, are mine and not Galco's.

    3. #3
      Senior Member Baldy's Avatar
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      I have shot them for over 45yrs and I can tell you that 25yds is be on the range of the J-frame. You have to practice a bunch to get any good with one at 10yds let a lone 25yds. They are pure defense tool for a close range fire fight. To be any good with one there's three thing you need to know and they are practice,practice, and more practice. The 4" and 6" barrel do the job at 25yds. Good luck.

    4. #4
      Senior Member Baldy's Avatar
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      The J-frame is a pure defense gun with in 10yds. It's not made for the long shots. To be any good with one there is three things you got to know. They are pratice,pratice, and pratice. It's fun to do trick shots at 25yds but under preasure for get it. Good luck.

    5. #5
      Senior Member Bob Wright's Avatar
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      J-Frames

      Hold on, here!

      Which J-Frame are you talking about? And what caliber?

      The little .22/32 Kit gun is a fine little plinking gun. Also, the old .22/32 Target makes a dandy addition to a picnic basket.

      But, up in the .38/.357 class, these are not built to stand up to heavy usage as are the L-Frames and N-Frames.

      If you have one of the older 3" HB Chiefs Specials, load it with .38 Short Colt or .38 Special wadcutters and enjoy an afternoon of plinking.

      Bob Wright

    6. #6
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      Thumbs up

      Their not that bad, I have a modle 60 3" (all stainless) and with .38 sp +p I can shoot some pretty good groups at 25 yards off the bench. The modle 60 with the 3" barrel is a little bit heavyer and I'v had this gun magna ported. It's actually pretty fun to shot !!

    7. #7
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      I have a 642 and added Lasermax laser grips. I have found the gun much easier to shoot accurately with the laser. The real limiting factors to the 642 is that it's DAO and has very minimal sights with virtually no sight radius. The all bright aluminum top does not help either. The gun itself needs practice to shoot well.I'd recommend adding laser grips to any snub,they make for a whole new experience. Chuck

    8. #8
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      638

      azmark: Sir; they are appealing little slug shooters Not anything else in this class; when you consider weight, size, comfort.
      Sir; they were intended to be close up units. That being said, one Gentleman suggest 25yds. Sir; I agree. I have messed around at the 100yd markers; enjoyed some surprising results. Quote: offhand.
      Sir; I chose the 638 because it give an additional features. [double action, single action] obviously my shoot was a result of single action; I make no excuses for my miss'es, I shoot "Single Action too"
      You buy a 638 for your pocket; it will never be a 'looker'; ugly is a better description unless it hiding in your pocket. You want the gun to improve; Sir; practice=practice-practice,

    9. #9
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      I shot my Model 60 (357) today. It has a 2 1/8 barrel. Firing 125 grain 357 Remington JSPs, I kept the first 5 shots all within 2 inches, double action at 15 yards. The second set of five wasn't as good, and by the time I shot the third set... Well, let's talk about the first five some more...

      Plinker? Nope, but accurate. I'm pretty sure I could hit a soda can at 25 yards. As long as I shot at it in the first five shots, or was shooting 38 Special loads.

      BTW, a snubbie 357 shooting 125s with short Hogue Bantam grips hurts like heck after a while. 15 shots, and I was back on my comparably mild XD-45.

    10. #10
      Senior Member 2400's Avatar
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      I just got through shooting my new to me J frame (4" 631), it's a sweet shooting, accurate gun.

    11. #11
      Senior Member Baldy's Avatar
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      The M-631 is as scarce as hens teeth in these parts. I had forgot about them to be honest with you. Yep they make a fine shooter for circus rats.

    12. #12
      Senior Member Bob Wright's Avatar
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      All of this palaver about the J-Frame brought to mind a target revolver featured in the American Rifleman magazine in the summer of 1954, and it was pictured on the front cover.

      This gun was a .22/32 Target model in .32 S&W Long originally. Built up for a lady shooter, the gun was chambered for .38 Special and the barrel of a .38 Spl. Colt Officers Model Match was fitted. A pair of Herrett's target stocks (May have been Cloyce's stocks) finished out the package.

      The lady did right well with it, as I recall.

      Bob Wright

      (And, after further thought, I believe she referred to it as her "Coltson", or some similar pet name.)
      Last edited by Bob Wright; 11-13-2007 at 10:10 AM. Reason: After thought

    13. #13
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      model 36 3inch

      Having come to this forum recently after purchaseing my first autoloader,
      I have carried and used a model36 3inch for almost 25years as my ccgun.
      This gun is best used for close range defence 10 yards or so. I have on occasion carried shot shells in it for trout fishing back in the bush it works well for dispatch snakes and other bothersome critters.
      Bob

    14. #14
      Senior Member 2400's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Baldy View Post
      The M-631 is as scarce as hens teeth in these parts. I had forgot about them to be honest with you. Yep they make a fine shooter for circus rats.

      I got to shoot a few squirrels before I had surgery in Nov.

    15. #15
      Junior Member Big_Jim's Avatar
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      I have, on more than one occasion put all five shots in the 8" center of an IDPA target at 20 yds (off hand). I also find it not too difficult to hit pop cans or other similar sized objects at similar distances. My J-frame is a standard 642. It's no 1911 but a great little gun.

    16. #16
      Junior Member KNUCKLEHEAD's Avatar
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      At 100 yards shooting at B-27 silhouette targets i get hits about 40% of the time with mine.Somebody that knows how to shoot could do better i am sure.At close quarter range they are deadly fast to empty into target.I have had several and would never be without at least one of them.

    17. #17
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      I qualified with 2 and 3 " j frames for years. Hitting a target at 25 yards double action is not a real problem.

    18. #18
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      J frame

      For what they are designed for they work well. I conceal carry a J frame airweight with Crimson Trace Model 405 padded back strap laser grips. For shooting at the range in bright sunlight with the laser I stick a piece of reflective tape on the target and the laser dot shows up bright. The laser really helps with accuracy and most likely if you pull it out when carrying. It will be be in lowlight conditions when you cannot see the open sights but the laser will be there.

    19. #19
      P97
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      On the little J-Frames the grips make a whole lot of difference, and there are quite a selection to choose from. I got a S&W 642 Airweight and had trouble shooting it because I have big hands and it seemed too small for them. I got a set of grips that extends about an inch below the handle and it makes a big difference in the way I can shoot it and the recoil don't bother near as much.

    20. #20
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      which one-
      s&w 642 or glock 33?

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