Saturday, July 05, 2008

Model 19: Still the best all-round all-round?

I’m a big fan of 38/357 revolvers in general and the S&W Model 19 in particular. Lately, though, I’ve had some second thoughts.

I’ve been reading up on the durability issue and that appears to be a glaring weakness. I’ve always known that a diet of full-house magnum loads was discouraged. The bigger concern is the cracked barrel problem.

Handloader had good write up in issue 248 and Gun Blast also looked at the problem.

It seems that the 125 JHP loads are a risk. That is, the most effective round has to be avoided.

For reloaders, there are plenty of work-arounds. (Handloader lists a bunch of effective loads that are well below max pressures.) When it comes to commercial ammo, though, cautious shooters are left with .38 +P. In other words, the model 19 becomes a model 10.

I still like the 19 for a host of reasons. A 158 LSW @1100 fps is nothing to sneeze at and will do fine as a general purpose load. It still wins the overall sweepstakes for “hits hard/ shoots flat” compared to the 9mm and .45 ACP.
But I’m a reloader so I don’t mind cranking a lifetime supply.

I also have to admit that there are some 40 S&W loads that stack up pretty well against the less-than-max .357 loads.