The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

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    Tennessee Jed
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    The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:48 pm

    So happy Doc opened a new forum. I can't believe I'm the first to post something in the wheelgun section, so I take this honor seriously, and thought I'd start with something that's been on my mind a lot lately.

    I've always wanted an S&W 66. What's always held me back is the concept of owning a revolver that says 357 Magnum on the barrel, and not being able to regularly fire 357 magnum ammo. I'm a fan of the 125 grain JHP at blistering speed. Always will be.

    I heard an S&W rep interviewed on GunTalk during SHOT this year, and he said their two-piece barrel system allows shooters to shoot magnum ammo more freely. Of course, this was a sales rep, and I always take anything any sales rep says with a grain of salt.

    I do know that the infamous flat section on the bottom of the forcing cone, which has been listed as the bane of the k-frame magnum durability, appears not to be present on the new Model 66's.

    So, what do you think? Do you think the new 66 would be able to handle a regular diet of 125 grain high-velocity, fire-breathing goodness?

    Parenthetically, I already have an N-frame and GP100 for shooting high velocity magnum ammo at will. My interest in the 66 is to also have a revolver with adjustable sights, and a slightly smaller stature than a GP100, L-frame or N-frame.
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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:57 pm

    So maybe I went too deep into revolver specifics with this post. How about this instead: I think the 66 is awesome because that is the gun Clint Eastwood in "The Gauntlet" pointed in the face of a motorcycle outlaw and said he had the right to bust him because he had "this gun, this badge, and the love of Jesus right here in my pretty green eyes."
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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by LHUSBY on Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:54 pm

    I love shooting 44 special. I remember shooting this caliber for hours. I don't recall having extended sessions of 44 magnum. But I always appreciate a good 357 magnum as a SD gun. 44 magnum is a nice option when in the woods. Well it doesn't hurt having options. There is always a place for one more gun.
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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Cornmastah on Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:48 pm

    So Jed... you gonna get one? As for me, as much as I love a shiny classic, I have been pretty intrigued by some of the newer model M&P revolvers. I was holding a Smith Thunder Ranch model 325 chambered in .45 acp this weekend at the local gun shop. I must say, the trigger was very nice--smooth double action pull. It does requires the use of moon clips, but I don't really mind it that much. I already load plenty of .45 acp for some of my other guns, so I would have plenty of ammo to put through it. Have any of you played around with some of the new M&P revolvers?
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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:51 pm

    I'm still on the fence about the new 66. If I knew that it was ok to shoot the 125 jhp's, I'd buy it tomorrow. But if I bought a new 66 and later learned that 125's are as bad for it as they are for prior models, I'd be pretty annoyed. Between then and now, I guess I'll just wait and see if someone else will figure it out for me.

    I've not shot the newer M&P revolvers, but they sure are cool! I'd love to have a wheel gun with a rail for a light on it. A guy I know at my IDPA club occasionally shoots a 625 with moon clips. It's a neat revolver, and the moon clips do seem to reduce reloading time quite a bit. Not to mention it's a heck of a lot easier to collect your empties afterwards.

    If I had that M&P 325, I'd be very tempted to move into the 45 +p range of ammo with it. It wouldn't take much until that ammo would be approaching the ballistics I carry now in a 44 mag.

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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:57 am

    I love listening to you wheelies. I like a good SA, and I have a S&W Model 19 and an Airweight. But if I'm going in the woods with a .44 Mag, it won't be a wheelie; it will be a Dessert Eagle. Easier to carry ammo, to reload, and WAY easier to shoot. (Although I do admit that the Blackhawk .44 Mag I have with the rubber grips is pretty nice to shoot, too. But it's a SA.)
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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:15 am

    Devereaux wrote:I love listening to you wheelies. I like a good SA, and I have a S&W Model 19 and an Airweight. But if I'm going in the woods with a .44 Mag, it won't be a wheelie; it will be a Dessert Eagle. Easier to carry ammo, to reload, and WAY easier to shoot. (Although I do admit that the Blackhawk .44 Mag I have with the rubber grips is pretty nice to shoot, too. But it's a SA.)

    Dang. If you're taking a Desert Eagle into the woods, I hope its got a burro that comes with it, or maybe a sherpa attached to the holster. That's a lot of steel to carry.

    I prefer to think of the 44 mag revolver as more of an urban gun than a woods gun, with the caveat that the ammo I carry is not full house bear-slaying ammo. It's more like a light magnum or a pretty hot special.

    I consider it more of an urban gun because if I ever have to fire it due to reasonable and imminent fear of death or serious bodily injury, I want to fire as few times as absolutely necessary to stop the threat, especially in an urban environment. The more shots fired, the more likely that one might go wild and do damage where unintended.

    And the ammo I use, in 4 layer denim gel tests I've seen, tends to open up very wide after a reasonable amount of penetration.

    So, contrary to popular thought and general consensus, for these reasons, I think it's more responsible to carry a 44 mag in the city than another, lesser, caliber which is reliant on the multiple shot philosophy of defense.

    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. At least this morning, until sometime around lunch or so. Maybe.

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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:38 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:
    Devereaux wrote:I love listening to you wheelies. I like a good SA, and I have a S&W Model 19 and an Airweight. But if I'm going in the woods with a .44 Mag, it won't be a wheelie; it will be a Dessert Eagle. Easier to carry ammo, to reload, and WAY easier to shoot. (Although I do admit that the Blackhawk .44 Mag I have with the rubber grips is pretty nice to shoot, too. But it's a SA.)

    Dang.  If you're taking a Desert Eagle into the woods, I hope its got a burro that comes with it, or maybe a sherpa attached to the holster.  That's a lot of steel to carry.  

    I prefer to think of the 44 mag revolver as more of an urban gun than a woods gun, with the caveat that the ammo I carry is not full house bear-slaying ammo.  It's more like a light magnum or a pretty hot special.

    I consider it more of an urban gun because if I ever have to fire it due to reasonable and imminent fear of death or serious bodily injury, I want to fire as few times as absolutely necessary to stop the threat, especially in an urban environment.  The more shots fired, the more likely that one might go wild and do damage where unintended.

    And the ammo I use, in 4 layer denim gel tests I've seen, tends to open up very wide after a reasonable amount of penetration.

    So, contrary to popular thought and general consensus, for these reasons, I think it's more responsible to carry a 44 mag in the city than another, lesser, caliber which is reliant on the multiple shot philosophy of defense.  

    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  At least this morning, until sometime around lunch or so.  Maybe.


    I have this neat "shoulder holster" made by a guy up in Alaska. It really carries the weapon on your front chest, and is designed to fit over outer garmets. It has a pouch for an extra magazine on the strap. Really neat - and practical.

    I dunno. I hate calibre wars. I am of the opinion, forged in ER's the nation over, that handguns just suck for serious "stopping power". So I'm for hitting the guy more often than less often. Don't much matter what all you hit him with as long as it goes through the outer skin and expends its energy within the torso. You can look at some of the beasties you shoot with a .17 Remington or .20 Tactical and you find the insides all buzz sawed as that little bullet just zings all over the place. So one could even make a case for .17 HMR - just punch a bunch of holes in him, preferably in the head. Makes soup of the insides. Although I haven't seen humans hit with a .17 HMR, and the other cartridges (.17 Remington & .20 Tactical) ARE rifle cartridges.
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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:32 pm

    I have thought about getting a .44 mag barrel and mags for my D.E. some day. About the time when I had the money to do so, I couldn't find them any where... Now I think they are available, but my money is tied up in a few other projects. Mine is chambered in .50ae, which is fun, but is a significantly more expensive to shoot (even with reloads). Dev, do you shoot lead in yours or stick to jacketed?

    As for shooting .44mag for self defense in urban environments Jed, what kind of loads are you talking about?
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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:14 pm

    Cornmastah wrote:I have thought about getting a .44 mag barrel and mags for my D.E. some day.  About the time when I had the money to do so, I couldn't find them any where... Now I think they are available, but my money is tied up in a few other projects.  Mine is chambered in .50ae, which is fun, but is a significantly more expensive to shoot (even with reloads).  Dev, do you shoot lead in yours or stick to jacketed?

    As for shooting .44mag for self defense in urban environments Jed, what kind of loads are you talking about?

    I just shoot factory stuff. I have some hunting loads that I carry in it when I go deer hunting. NOT, mind you, that I expect to see any bear in the wilds of Wisconsin 25 miles from Madison. But it's fun. And I might consider even shooting a deer with it, although lately I've been on Jack's farm, where the distance is a bit long for a handgun.
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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:20 am

    Corn --- The load I carry is by Underwood, a 200 grain Gold Dot, travelling at about 1100 fps. Pretty much identical to the Speer 44 mag short barrell load, except it says "44 Special" on the case, which I think is just a tiny bit nicer sounding in case I'm ever required to explain my choice of ammunition.

    Dev --- Is that holster the "Chesty" model by Simply Rugged? It has always intrigued me. And honestly, I agree about caliber wars and defer to your experience. You know a ton more about what really happens in a shooting than I ever will. However, that won't change my need to rant like a fool from time to time about magnum revolver calibers.
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    Re: The New S&W 66 --- MAGNUM!!!....or just "Special"?

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:40 am

    TJ - I believe the holster is made by some guy named David Johnston (907-688-0366). It cost me $225 including shipping. It sits kind of over your left chest so you can pull it with your right hand. Bought it in 09. Took him 1 month to make it. I had seen a review in American Handgunner and it looked neat. I guess it would be a custom holster as I don't think he makes them up beforehand.

    I have Jackass shoulder holsters, which I used back in the service. They carried my 1911 transversely and fit under my survival vest. This is a different idea. It is for carry out in the woods, where you are wearing a jacket/coat so it's kind of larger, and it hangs differently.

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