Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, October 9, 2015

An Elegant Weapon

Smith & Wesson Model 66:


Smith & Wesson pioneered the use of stainless steel in firearms. Before 1965, if you bought a handgun, it was made of carbon steel. Normally blued, it might be parkerized or nickel-plated. When S&W brought out the J-frame Model 60, the first stainless-steel handgun, demand was so strong that it was almost unobtainable.

The Model 66 was the first larger revolver in stainless steel. It is, in essence a stainless Model 19. 66s were rapidly adopted by police forces as the guns were less likely to rust.[1] That's especially important, given the complete inattention a lot of cops gave their weapons.

Lore has it that the Model 66 was unofficially adopted by the Navy's SEALs in the `70s and `80s. Since they can pretty much buy what they want, it wouldn't be surprising that they would be interested in a gun that was less susceptible to corrosion.

The Model 66 was discontinued in the `00s, but recently brought back. The new model has a two-piece 4.25" barrel (and the dreaded "Hillary lock"). The barrel length makes the gun eligible to sell on the Canadian market.[2]

This particular gun is a 66-3. It has the marks of a gun that apparently was handled quite a lot. However, the timing is almost new-grade, as the cylinder locks up comfortably before the hammer is back. There is no endshake.[3] There is no flame-cutting of the top strap.[4] It came with factory wood target grips, which are now in a box, as they are no fun to shoot.

I really wasn't going to buy it; I have a Model 15 that does damn near everything that a 66 will do for me. But the price was attractive and frankly, they aren't getting any cheaper. In time, I may look at having a round-butt conversion done, which would make this a damn-near perfect carry gun.
_______________________
[1] Remember, it is "stainless", not "stainproof".
[2] It also means that if you want to buy a holster for one, a holster designed for a 4" gun won't fit.
[3] Fore-and-aft movement of the cylinder.
[4] Which means that it was rarely fired with .357 loads.

3 comments:

Old 1811 said...

I love the Model 66, and I think the K-frame is the ideal revolver size. But be careful of giving it a steady diet of .357s.
In the late 70s the Secret Service started having a lot of problems with their issue Model 19s and 66s (especially the 66s). The heavy recoil of the issue .357 ammo was beating the guns out of time and flame-cutting the top strap above the forcing cone. This resulted in two things: First, the development of the "Treasury load" aka the T-load or the Q-load, a .38+P+ that was about 80% of a .357; then the development of the S&W L-frame.
The Secret Service shot their K-frames a lot. You're probably in good shape as long as you don't shoot a whole bunch of .357s, and if you can find .38+P+ ammo, it's fun to shoot.

Murphy's Law said...

I loves me my Model 66. It was my first revolver, bought back on the last day that my FFL was valid in the 90s, and I still have it and love it. Truly a class weapon designed for and carried by the discriminating shooter.

BadTux said...

A big stainless steel revolver has the kind of authority that no number of plastic pistols will ever have.