Blogging to you from the Northeastern Badlands of The County of Lake, in the state currently known as Fatmanistan, DEEP DEEP DEEP DEEP DEEP inside the heartland of the Banana Republic formerly known as the USA, WELCOME TO THE NEXT CHAPTER! WARNING! ALL FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ARE ADDICTIVE; EXCESSIVE USE MAY LEAD TO MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS, REDUCED JOB PRODUCTIVITY, INSOMNIA, SOCIAL ALIENATION, GENITAL ULCERS, BLINDNESS, POLITICAL EROTICISM, AND / OR DEVIANT FUNAMBULISM. NOTICE: NO GUNS OR AMMUNITION ARE FOR SALE VIA THIS BLOG. (No, I will not trade my Colt Python for some lubricious adventures with your trophy wife and a future first-round draft pick.) CAVEAT: This blog is not suitable for viewing while at work, while inside a public library, while inside any public or private school, or while inside any public or private restroom. Do not view this blog while driving a motor vehicle or while piloting an aircraft. Viewing this blog may be illegal inside the EU, NYC, Chicago, Seattle, and other parts of the Third World. THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: This blog is a hobby, it is not a livelihood. Even though much of what I blog about relates to firearms collecting and recreational shooting, I am not an expert (by any measure) on any facet of guns, shooting, hunting, or personal defense. Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats or post hunt bourbon-fueled barroom-bluster; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be rugged-country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. All products, places, and miscellany that I review for this blog are purchased / rented / leased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, distilled spirits, recreational pharmaceuticals, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Papal Blessings, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review or blog post. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al stick tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on via one method or another, for one reason or another; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online DNA residue by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Smith & Wesson Model 640-1 .357 Magnum Pre-Lock

My guess is that the lightly used revolver in the above photo dates back to circa 2000 – 2002, as evidenced by the etched serial number on the frame just below the cylinder window, a location S&W does not commonly use (page 173, 3rd edition, Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson).  I purchased this revolver at a local gun store in mid 2013 during a weak moment.  After anguishing for many years whether to add this model to my small cache of S&W Centennial Revolvers, I finally succumbed.  The price of the used pre-internal-lock revolvers had soared and their market availability had dropped over the years since S&W started making revolvers exclusively with the locks; this revolver was over a couple of hundred dollars less than any price I had seen for a pre-lock 640-1 in a good long time.

Some snub J-Frame holsters are fine for use with the 640-1 while others do not fit well.  Compared to the .38 Special and 9mm snub-nosed J-Frame revolvers, the 640-1 cylinder and window is a bit longer and the barrel is a bit longer and thicker.  Most grips from any round butt J-Frame should fit the 640-1.   I tried smaller boot grips on the 640-1 for only one shooting session.  Mega ouch.  My hands much prefer the larger grips when using magnum loads.  While a J-Frame snub with large grips (yes, I am aware that what most of us call “grips” are correctly called “stocks”) can be pocket carried, it is barely at my limit of being practical. Over the past several months I found that an inside the waistband holster at the small of the back, or just behind either hip, to be more realistic, and quite comfortable, even when changing a tire on a cold snowy night (which included my wiggling under the van, on my back, to place a bottle jack under the axle).  The large grips do make the 640-1 uncomfortable for me to sit with when I carry in the appendix position, although my other J-Frames with boot grips are okay (.38 Special Model 442, 9mm Model 940, and .38 Special Model 640 no dash).  A custom designed holster may provide a solution that allows me to carry the S&W Centennial Models, adorned with large, hand-filling grips, in the appendix position.  Time and experimentation will tell.

The 640-1 weighs in maybe an ounce or two less than does my Ruger SP101, which hardly makes it an airweight.   Perhaps the slightly lower weight is significant; in my hand the S&W does seem a bit flippier with magnum loads than does the Ruger, but that could just be a subconscious bias; the Ruger and I go back many years and several thousand rounds of practice.  Aside from .38 Special loads, the SP101 and the 640-1 are at their most manageable (and most pleasant) for me to shoot with the 110 grain .357 Magnum Winchester semi-jacketed hollowpoint load.  The once famous full power Remington 125 grain scalloped semi-jacketed hollowpoint load, although loud, flashy, and punishing, is manageable and accurate.  With either revolver, my respective degrees of pain and flinch are off the charts when used with the magnum loads ranging from 158 grain through 180 grain; I’ll need more dedication and practice to become proficient with them.  However, heavy slugs chased by heavy charges from small concealed-carry revolvers will not be a priority for me unless we relocate to an area where savage wild hogs compete with the criminals for rule of the neighborhood streets. 

Finally, I cannot speak with authority about the merit(s) (or lack thereof) of the internal lock that S&W put into their line of revolvers.  Simply, I CHOOSE to not purchase one, ever, at any price.  If you prefer that your S&W revolver have an internal lock, your choice is your business and whatever is your business is forever cool with me.  Choice is a good thing. 


Mark said...

Hey Zack, sorry I haven't checked in recently but I've been following along on my feedly app.

Nice little review there. I've been thinking up a pocket sized pistol for after I do my ccw course. Figured you'd be a good person to ask for suggestions. If you don't mind me asking: If you had to choose one pocket pistol under $500, what would it be?

I realized a little late that carrying my g22 will not be very comfortable. I think if I have something I can just shove in a pocket I'll be much more likely to carry.

"Zack" said...

Hey there Mark! Great to see you again.

You probably would work well with most any handgun. GAT Guns may be a bit of a drive for you, but they have a wide assortment of rental guns available, a good place to try before you buy.

J-Frame S&W may seem archaic, but they work for me. I may go for that Remington 9mm R51 noted in the post below.

Take care, and thanks for stopping by!


Wilson said...

That’s a very nice S&W and post. I have a 342PD that gets used quite often. The Centennial is the best pocket gun ever!


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