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Monday, November 5, 2018

Boot Grips on the Smith & Wesson 640-1 .357 Magnum

Above left is the 640-1 .357 Magnum.  Above right is the 640 no-dash .38 Special.
Both now have the new S&W branded boot grips.
This is the third set of stocks (grips) that I have tried on the 640-1.





Photo above shows the set of grips (stocks) that came with the revolver ... I believe they are Sile's.  Firing magnum loads were manageable with those big honking grips ... heh, I'll even go as far as to say those "great-balls-of-fire" loads were sometimes even fun to shoot.  Insofar as concealed carry, well ... even with well-thought-out covering garments and bespoke holsters, those grips still left impolite telltale bulges.  ("PRINTING" is not illegal in Illinois ... just as long as the handgun is concealed AND I am licensed, no problem legally ... but if someone guesses correctly that the bulge is a gun and decides to make a scene and call in the gendarmes ... or smash my brains in from behind in order to steal the gun, life could get unpredictable)





Above left shows the second set of grips I tried on the 640-1.  My accuracy was better with the fugly Sile's grips but I did get used to shooting with these after a while.  They do look "cooler" than the Sile's but do not conceal any better.   In pants pocket carry the bulges caused by these grips could be mistaken for some sort of a mutant boner; in this day of #HIMTOO! ... well ... such misidentification could be a bad thing.





So now this .357 looks and carries pretty much like any other boot-gripped S&W J Frame.  Pocket carry is just fine.





Any position of belt carry, inside or outside the waistband, is just fine.





Carry with any shoulder holster is just fine.
So only one issue remained rattling around the voids inside my brain; 
"Howzit feel chootin' MAGAnumbs wearin' doze bootz?"





(Target above set at 21-feet (7-yards))
Even with what I consider to be the low end of .357 magnum power, the 110-grain semi-jacketed hollowpoints, the extra noise and recoil (above that of a regular boot-gripped Model 640 shooting .38 Special +P 158-grain LSWCHP) proved distracting (to me).  My initial slow-fire effort was telling.  My first two rounds were high of point-of-aim into the nine-ring, and then I tossed the third round high and to the left into the eight-ring;  obviously, I flinched.  I put the revolver down and repeated the gentle advice my parents and teachers gave me throughout my early life ,"Get yer shit together, ya DUMBASS!"  I then picked up the revolver and tossed the next two rounds below point of aim; I was anticipating the blast and recoil ... not a good thing.  I decided to suspend the use of magnum loads until I have the time and mental focus to work through the nuances.  Hey, maybe .357 Magnums in booted steel J frames isn't gonna work for me ... I found magnums to be ridiculous (for me) in the ultra-lightweight scandium J frames ... your mileage may vary.

Moving on to more of a rapid fire mode with "Eagle red-box" 130-grain FMJ .38 Special loads (somewhat hotter than many / most other brands of 130-grain range fodder but still seeming to have less snort than 158-grain +P carry loads), my second target (not shown) was 5-rounds each at 5-yards, 7-yards, and 10-yards.  Every round was "on paper and in the numbers" but that's the best that I can say about it; distance amplified my suckiness.  I then decided to do some work at my threshold of suckiness, 21-feet (7-yards).





(Target above set at 21-feet (7-yards))
My first couple of cylinders or so were a frustrating spray of wasted ammo and effort.  Out of a sarcastic moment when I targeted the X and dry-fired a dozen times while uttering "Come on you degenerate old man, it's as easy as THAT!" came an epiphany ...  a voice from beyond ... "Hey, dude!  Remember way back when you were doing all of THOSE DRYFIRE DRILLS?  That's when you did your best shooting ..."

Sooooooo I started to shoot five, click five, reload.  Shoot five, click a dozen, reload 3 chambers, empty brass in 2, spin cylinder ... bang, click, click, bang, bang, click etc. 

Golly, it is amazing how soon a basic drill can bring back the joy of tearing ragged holes into the center of a target.  

Anyhoo, tuning myself up into using magnum loads with this revolver looks to be a slow road; perhaps it is destined to be just another .357 that will be eternally stoked with .38 +P loads.  Does it make a difference in the real world?  IMHO, if magnum loads offer any functional defensive edge in these short barreled spin-guns, it is marginal.  If being louder and flashier when fired is an edge, then this gun has it.





A Tip of the Hat to 5 Star Firearms in Zion, Illinois.  Thank you for having Senior Discount Mondays for all of the gunslinging old men and women.  It means a lot to us.  





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