Found a Little Jewel....

Renown Browning Hi Power Expert - Stephen A. Camp

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Found a Little Jewel....

Postby Stephen A. Camp » Thu Jul 14, 2005 10:38 pm

...at a good price, I think.

Hello. It is no secret that I'm prone to tote an S&W J-frame .38 snub 24/7, sometimes as my primary and sometimes as a BUG.

I also prefer the "traditional" Smith & Wesson look and despise the lock they incorporate on their new revolvers as well as the new contour to the frame in the area of the hammer on guns having external hammers. As importance goes, it probably isn't as this just concerns looks.

Anyway, checking around a few places I ran across a Model 642, not what we normally call a "642" when it is actually a 642-1.

The price was $225 out the door but the gun had no box or papers. It was wearing a set of Eagle Secret Service stocks that fit nicely and IF it had been fired other than at the factory, it couldn't have been much at all. No markings were visible at the plate surrounding the firing pin and the outside of the forcing cone was nearly clean. The barrel was quite clean as well and the gun looked NIB with no dings.

Timing was fine and the trigger pull smooth...though not as smooth as it will be if the sights are properly regulated for me.

These little things built on the slightly shorter frame before S&W incorporated the .357 into its J-frame line remain favorites of mine.

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The little revolver uses a lateral pin to retain the internal firing pin which is not the case on the 642-1 as well as the old style cylinder release latch. Finish is polished rather than matte but the revolver is new enough that it has the wider front sight common on today's version this model. The trigger and internals have no MIM parts as well.

The gun is not marked as being rated for +P and it won't get a steady diet of it. If it shoots tightly enough with POI matching POA, it will get some practice time with standard pressure loads and will be shot a few times with my preferred +P carry load.

I'll post how it does when I get a chance to wring it out.

Best.
Stephen A. Camp
 

Postby stevie_d_64 » Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:45 am

sweeeeetttt...

I'm jealous...

That would be a perfect carry piece for the wife...
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Postby Paladin » Fri Jul 15, 2005 9:46 am

I've got one that looks just like it. Speedloader and all.

Of course I paid about twice as much for it...

Congrads on a sweet deal!
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Shot it Today...

Postby Stephen A. Camp » Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:27 pm

I was able to get in a quick (for me) range session today with the little gun.
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The first order of business was to fire five rounds and check primer strikes. These seem reasonably well centered and impact is sufficient for reliable ignition. As this gun as the original mainspring, light primer strikes were really never a concern.

I then fired 10 shots at a slow pace to get "the feel" of this particular revolver. There was nothing remarkable or different so I began shooting to see how well this example of the Model 642 performed and whether or not it would remain in my collection.

Firing was done no farther than 15 yards today and that was done seated, using a two-hand hold, and in slow-fire. My wrists were supported. It is understood that this genre of revolver is not intended for precise target work but it is important to me that my personal handguns have their sights regulated such that POA is at least close to POI at the ranges that the weapon is envisioned being used at.

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The size of this group is due more to human error than either mechanical error or the combination of ammunition and gun.


The rest of the shooting was done at 10 yards and was done standing with a two-hand hold. I did not have time to chronograph ammunition from this particular gun today and did not do any one-handed shooting even though that is normally part of my regular "work out" with the J-frame snub.

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These shots were fired mostly in controlled pairs with a few "failure to stop" drills thrown in. Distance was ten yards and the little gun did its part when I did mine.

For those interested, here is a related article on practicing with the snub .38 for self-protection:

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Maki ... 20Work.htm

I only used three different factory loads for this initial run with the Model 641:

Remington 130-gr. FMJ

Federal 125-gr. Nyclad Hollow Point (standard pressure)

Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P

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These are the three loads tried in the Model 642. All are factory with one being +P.

Average velocities for these rounds is normally around 800 ft/sec for the first, 850 to about 890 ft/sec for the second, depending upon the ammunition/gun combination in this barrel length, and 800 to about 830 ft/sec for the last load, again depending on how the particular lot of ammo works in a specific snub. In the future I'll obtain chronograph data from this particular snub.

At ten yards I fired several sets of controlled pairs at COM, working on a smooth double-action pull as soon as I could get it without jerking the trigger and as quickly as I could obtain a flash sight picture.

At fifteen yards I fired for group using the Remington 125-gr. FMJ and then fired a group at the same distance using some Federal 125-gr. Nyclads and shot the same target with the 158-gr. LSWCHP +P ammunition to see any divergence in points of impact.

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The Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P and the 125-gr. Nyclads hit had roughly the same POI but the former were a bit more spread out than the latter and seemed to hit just a bit higher. For all practical purposes that most snubs will be used for it can be said that the groups overlap.

I also fired a 5 falling plates as fast as I could make the shot and repeated it five times.

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A row of 5 falling plates was shot with the little revolver. I believe that reactive targets help us maintain sight picture when we really want to see what the target is doing.

There were no failures to fire and the trigger pull remained constant, first shot to last. It is smooth but just a bit heavy. I will shoot this gun considerably more before having any possible trigger work done. The cylinder did not bind and case ejection was not "sticky." As is the case on any of these shorties, the ejector rod is not long enough to allow for full length ejection but it worked smoothly enough; a quick, sharp press or smack kicked the fired cases out nicely.

It should come as no surprise that it is hot in Texas in the summer. My hands were pretty sweaty within a few minutes but the smooth Eagle Secret Service stocks did not slip. I had really wondered if they might and such concerns are why my "serious" handguns almost always have checkered stocks at the least. I admit being surprised that such was not the case in this instance.

The most pleasant surprise of the day was that the POA almost exactly matches POI at least with the ammo used today out to about 15 yards. In fact, it is closer than on my 24/7 gun, a Model 642-1. (That one hits just a bit to the right.)

In short, the gun worked fine and it will be a keeper.

Best.
Stephen A. Camp
 

Postby ElGato » Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:49 am

Definitely a keeper, and good buy.
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Postby stevie_d_64 » Sat Jul 16, 2005 7:22 am

Mr. Camp...

You need to go write articles for Guns and Ammo or something...I felt like that was what I was reading looking at your post...

I wish I was that good at graphics and prose... :)

I was actually hoping you didn't like the pistol... :lol:

I could've come in and made you an offer you couldn't refuse... :)

Looks like I'll have to keep an eye out for one now...

Glad it worked for you...I figured it would...
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Postby Tom » Sat Jul 16, 2005 9:00 am

Steve Camp,

It appears that it would be difficult to improve the results of your find.

I have two of the Centennial style, a 640-1 (.357Mag) and a 940 (9mm)
and my experience is much the same as yours as both are decent
shooters at close ranges.

But I have found that adding Uncle Mike's Combat Grips (3 finger) does
improve control significantly. In my case it was necessary due to a
old thumb joint injury that makes shooting these light guns just a tad
uncomfortable. That "extra" finger helps me quite a bit.

Great find, great price, and thanks for the detailed range report.

Best Regards,

Tom
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Postby Stephen A. Camp » Sat Jul 16, 2005 9:30 am

Hello and thank you all for the kind words. I'm glad the article was of interest.

Best.
Stephen A. Camp
 

Re: Found a Little Jewel....

Postby roman3667 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:10 pm

This could be published. Very well done.
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Re: Found a Little Jewel....

Postby roberts » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:24 pm

Talk about thread necromancy! :shock:
THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS NOT ABOUT DUCK HUNTING
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Re: Found a Little Jewel....

Postby DoubleJ » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:54 pm

Image

Image
FWIW, IIRC, AFAIK, FTMP, IANAL. YMMV.
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