Saturday, August 16, 2008

The amazing, wonderful .38 Special

I do love the .38 Smith & Wesson Special cartridge. Everyone agrees that it is one of the most accurate cartridges ever developed, sharing those honors with the .44 Smith & Wesson Special. I have several .38 Special revolvers, but next to my S&W K-38 this one is my favorite. It's an early Model 67, Combat Masterpiece. Those familiar with this model may notice that it wears black rear sights. I changed out the all-stainless originals because of visibility issues. Purists shouldn't worry: they are safely put away for restoration if that is ever needed.

Never having been afflicted with magnumitis I have always found the .38 Special a useful and admirable cartridge. Even my .357s digest far more .38 loadings than magnums. Where handguns have any usefulness at all in "varmint control"— and they certainly do— the .38 will accomplish just about anything that needs to be done. The trick is knowing what it's good at. As a self-defense cartridge it has been much derided, but with modern +P loadings it can more than hold its own. There's also much to be said for a pistol that can be emptied into a playing card at seven yards in less than two seconds by a reasonably adept practitioner. There's spray-and-pray and there's control. With enough practice, the .38 definitely lends itself to precision and control.

My favorite .38s are the Smith K-frames. They are just...beautiful. No other word does them complete justice. Elegant, pristinely designed, and with a great feel in the hand, nothing beats them in my opinion in this caliber. This particular M-67 wears a pair of factory Magna-style grips with a Tyler T-grip insert. Believe me when I say I have tried just about every grip design ever created for a Smith and this is the best combination I have found. The Magna grip without the T-grip is terrible, in my opinion, but with that Tyler in place it is perfection. That's just me. It might not work so well for someone else, of course. This revolver also has had an action job and the double-action on it is butter smooth. I almost never shoot it single action.

I will no doubt never need to buy another .38 Special case, since I have literally thousands of the little beauties waiting to be run through a press. And that's a very good thing if you love the .38 as much as I do.


Anonymous said...

I have several S&W Model 10 revolvers in that chambering. They are old, but nice pistols.

Tmagnum62 said...

When I first became a Police Officer, I was issued a Smith Model 10. I considered it an "old" man's weapon and coveted a 9mm semi-auto like so many of the other PDs had. The armorer for my department told me the .38 Special was everything I needed.
Now that I'm older and somewhat wiser, he may have been right.

Rio Arriba said...

I have a fascination and love for the cartridge. No powerhouse, but nevertheless, well— elegant. I love to play with reloads for my Specials. They are such fun to shoot.

Xavier said...

I agree whole heartedly. A peerless cartridge and a wonderful gun to shoot it in.

theotherryan said...

I was given a S&W Model 10 and it just might be my favorite pistol, definitely my favorite all around wheel gun. A little .38 snubby is the gun that finds itself on my waistline the most often.

If you can't get it done with a 4" .38 the issue is behind the gun, not with the gun.

Brigid said...

I'd happily buy another. They are great guns in every respect,