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#4625446 - 01/05/18 10:03 PM S&W Model 60
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41758
Loc: New Jersey
Anyone know the model 60 real well? Essentially J-frame, chief's special in stainless...

At some point in time, they "upgraded" it to a "Magnum J-frame". Past that point are they all .357/.38 capable?

I think there's a .357 model at or after the 60-9. Apparently there was still a .38 model as of the 60-11 or so... But at some point did they all converge? At some point are all model 60s capable of both?

What gives?

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#4625449 - 01/05/18 10:10 PM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
bigj_16 Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 1267
Loc: Douglas County, Colorado
It is both. There is Model 60 .38 and a Model 60 .357.
https://www.galleryofguns.com/genie/default.aspx?pg=list&mfg=Smith+%26+Wesson&mdl=60&cat=All&type=Revolver%3a+Double+Action&cal=All&fin=&sit=&zipcode=80104

I am not a big fan of the lockwork on the J-Frame. The coil spring set up gives a different feel to the DA.

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#4625451 - 01/05/18 10:14 PM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
bigj_16 Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 1267
Loc: Douglas County, Colorado
If I was to get a Smith snubby, this is a new one...

https://www.galleryofguns.com/genie/Default.aspx?item=10061&&mfg=Smith+%26+Wesson&mdl=66&cat=All&type=Revolver%3a+Double+Action&cal=All&fin=&sit=&zipcode=80104

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#4625457 - 01/05/18 10:27 PM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41758
Loc: New Jersey
Not shopping a new snubby, but thanks for the link. Trying to understand how they differentiate, and if there's a difference between builds for the .38 and .357, after some dash number...

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#4625478 - 01/05/18 11:03 PM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: bigj_16]
JohnnyJohnson Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2731
Loc: Wet side WA
Originally Posted By: bigj_16
If I was to get a Smith snubby, this is a new one...

https://www.galleryofguns.com/genie/Default.aspx?item=10061&&mfg=Smith+%26+Wesson&mdl=66&cat=All&type=Revolver%3a+Double+Action&cal=All&fin=&sit=&zipcode=80104


Have one just like that with a 3" barrel it's a Lew Horton. With colored laminate custom grips and ported.


Edited by JohnnyJohnson (01/05/18 11:03 PM)
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#4625492 - 01/05/18 11:27 PM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41758
Loc: New Jersey
That's great, but aim more than certain that K frames can take .357, and as was not asking about k frame guns. I was asking about the j frame model 60.

It surprises me that they kept making .38 spl only versions after they upgraded the j frame for .357. Or are they really all .357 capable guns beyond a point?

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#4625496 - 01/05/18 11:39 PM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
bigj_16 Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 1267
Loc: Douglas County, Colorado
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
That's great, but aim more than certain that K frames can take .357, and as was not asking about k frame guns. I was asking about the j frame model 60.

It surprises me that they kept making .38 spl only versions after they upgraded the j frame for .357. Or are they really all .357 capable guns beyond a point?


I don't know. The .38 60 is not showing on Smith's site, although Davidson's has it. The two .357 60's are showing a 1/4" longer OAL on Davidson's than the .38, but that could be due to grip size. I'd call S&W up and ask. They will talk to you.

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#4625503 - 01/06/18 12:21 AM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
90crvtec Offline


Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 114
Loc: Kansas City
It's not unusual for S&W to continue to use the larger windowed frame and still build the firearm with a 38 special chambered cylinder. This was most recently done with their 360J guns. The frame is rated for .357 but the barrel is stamped for .38 special and it is equipped with a cylinder only chambered for 38 special.

The original 60-8 and older guns had a slightly smaller frame window that would only accept a cylinder sized for 38 special. Starting with the 60-9s the frame window was increased to fit the slightly longer cylinder to accommodate 357 magnum. At this point, they also made limited runs of 38 special-only guns but, to my knowledge they always kept the larger frame window 357-spec frames and used 38 special chambered cylinders for those later guns.

I don't think that S&W is making two types of frames, one rated for .38 special, and one for .357 magnum. However, only S&W would know for sure and I doubt they'd give that information away. There's a lot of information regarding the conversion of 38 special only guns which share a platform with their .357 rated guns (such as that 360J mentioned above) to use a 357 magnum chambered titanium cylinder, and the results have been okay. Would I personally try it? No, but there seems to be a lot of indication that S&W just sells 357 rated frames and equips them with 38 special cylinders from time to time.

Edited to add that this would only apply on models that have a crossover, such as a Model 60, or 640, or 360/340 series. Their traditional alloy frames (442/642) are not rated for 357 magnum.


Edited by 90crvtec (01/06/18 12:26 AM)

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#4625541 - 01/06/18 04:51 AM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
billt460 Online   content


Registered: 03/30/15
Posts: 4373
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
The .357 Magnum cartridge is pushing the J-Frame pretty much to it's limit. I don't imagine one would stay tight very long with full house loads. I've had well over 1,000 rounds downrange with this L-Frame. And it's as tight now as when it came from the box. I carried it until I switched to my Glock's.


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#4625680 - 01/06/18 09:24 AM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
bigj_16 Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 1267
Loc: Douglas County, Colorado
They make so many J-frame .357 variations, I don't know why someone would want to convert a .38 to .357. There are 15 variations on Davidson's.

That said, and this is just my opinion, I don't why someone would want a .357 J-Frame any way. I am not recoil sensitive at all, but it is a lot of work to shoot one rapidly and accurately, and for what reason? The .357 out of a 1.875" barrel loses a lot. The longer barrels over 2" are a little better, but again, to what end?

Now the ultimate extension of this train of thought is the 329. I wonder how many people fire anything close to full power loads out of one of those on a regular basis?


Edited by bigj_16 (01/06/18 09:27 AM)

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#4626342 - 01/06/18 08:03 PM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41758
Loc: New Jersey
No idea about conversion. It was really a question of strength. Whatever they did to the 60 to allow it to take .357/ .38 +P loads would be of benefit to a shooter who ran only .38 spl loads.

Somewhere I read that the S&W factory stance is that all numbered (vs named, or models that carried a number and a name, from the late 50s onward) can run +P loads. The 60 beyond some point had a magnum version with features that may or may not carry through on all models.

If I had a model 60, I'd not be inclined to run .357 mag. That's just me. If ai needed more power, I'd want to move up to a larger revolver.

But I'm curious about j frames and their build characteristics. Anything else is not salient to the question.

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#4626432 - 01/06/18 09:28 PM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
bigj_16 Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 1267
Loc: Douglas County, Colorado
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
No idea about conversion. It was really a question of strength. Whatever they did to the 60 to allow it to take .357/ .38 +P loads would be of benefit to a shooter who ran only .38 spl loads.

Somewhere I read that the S&W factory stance is that all numbered (vs named, or models that carried a number and a name, from the late 50s onward) can run +P loads. The 60 beyond some point had a magnum version with features that may or may not carry through on all models.

If I had a model 60, I'd not be inclined to run .357 mag. That's just me. If ai needed more power, I'd want to move up to a larger revolver.

But I'm curious about j frames and their build characteristics. Anything else is not salient to the question.

Understood. I still think you ought to call S&W and ask. I have talked to them before.

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#4626516 - 01/06/18 11:34 PM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
90crvtec Offline


Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 114
Loc: Kansas City
Hopefully some of this will be more salient. The Model 60 and 640 had their frame window lengthened to allow the longer cylinder which would chamber 357 magnum starting with the -9 in the 60 and the -1 in the 640. However, the original steel framed guns (the Model 36, and pre-9 Model 60s, pre-1 640s) were still plenty strong when just using 38 special. If the concern is about durability on a pre-9 and a post-9 Model 60 gun, you'd have to shoot both of them an exhausting amount to begin to fatigue either of those steel frames. I have an original Model 60 no-dash (non-magnum and small window frame) and a magnum chambered Model 640-1. The 640 is larger and heavier, but neither of these features is much of a benefit on a carry gun, and when shooting 38 specials both are plenty strong enough.

I had a 442 Magna ported gun that had over 3000 rounds through it before I sold it off and it stayed very tight, for what it's worth. This included regular practice with Gold Dot 135 +P carry ammo, as well as lots of range-grade ammo. This was a traditional alloy framed gun that was not rated for 357 magnum (38+P only).

These days I carry an M&P340 if I want to pack a J frame around (Scandium Frame, Steel cylinder). I haven't shot the M&P340 as much but it has had 200 rounds of 357 magnum 158 grn, 20 rounds of 357 magnum 142 grain (hot Fiocchi), and by my last count around 1500 rounds of 38 special ammo (both new and my reloads). The gun is still very tight and the PVD finish on the cylinder is wearing very nicely and does not show a silver turn line. It is NOT enjoyable to shoot 357s in this gun. Speer makes a 357 135grn Gold Dot specifically for short barrels (same bullet as their 38+P loading), this is loaded to mid-range 357 levels, its more tolerable but I'd still prefer 38 special +P.

Regarding the build characteristics, this is why I mentioned the 38 to 357 conversions. The newer J frames are plenty strong. I don't consider them enjoyable to shoot with 357s however, they stay very tight even with regular doses of magnum ammo. I would never recommend converting a factory-equipped 38 special J frame to 357 magnum, nor were you asking about it, but the fact that other people do and the guns continue to sustain this process seems to indicate that they are quite resilient. The only consistent thing that I have seen is that the new-production Steel and Scandium framed J frames chambered in 38 special still have the same 357 magnum-windowed frame. All reports on various forums seem to indicate that these Steel and Scandium frames are identical, regardless of which cylinder they are equipped with. Both should prove to quite durable.

One more tidbit on build characteristics/durability. S&W made a short run of small-windowed 442 alloy framed guns with alloy cylinders (not the steel that they normally use). These fired 5000 rounds of +P ammo without a failure. Starting in 1996, S&W changed the 442 to the magnum window frame and also rated them all as "+P" guns. Even though the older guns have proven durable, S&W added the larger sized frame to the entire J-frame lineup, seemingly a shift to save production costs as much as a potential gain for durability. As long as you're sticking to a steel framed gun (such as a Model 60 or Model 640), I would not be concerned with durability, even if you plan to occasionally practice with +P ammunition.

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#4626676 - 01/07/18 08:29 AM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41758
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks! Lots of good info!

What got me wondering about this was a 60-16, which IIRC was still marked as .38spl, not .357.

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#4626799 - 01/07/18 11:07 AM Re: S&W Model 60 [Re: JHZR2]
90crvtec Offline


Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 114
Loc: Kansas City
From what I can tell based on the revisions, after the -9 guns it looks like S&W is just using a 38 special cylinder while still retaining all of the features of the magnum guns. This can also been seen on some S&W 640 models. The NYPD ordered a run of S&W 640s that were chambered in 38 special only, these are identical to the magnum framed guns and they use the larger magnum windowed frame, just with a 38-special-only cylinder. This is usually done at the specific request of a department that doesn't want their officers running a non-standard ammunition.

Not that this matters much but, I would actually prefer a 38 special chambered gun in a J frame. That's primarily what I shoot and carry, and the 38 special performs best when using the smaller, dedicated 38 special chamber. As you're probably aware, 357 magnum is physically longer than 38 special to avoid being able to chamber a 357 magnum cartridge in a 38 special gun. Because of this additional length, 38 special loses a little bit when fired out of a 357 magnum chamber. For guns larger than the J frame, it still makes sense to go with a 357/38 capable gun. But for these tiny J frames, 38 special can still be enough of a handful, especially in +P with a good defense load like the 135grn Gold Dot Short Barrel, designed specifically for snub nose guns. This is just my 2c of course but I think 357 magnum out of a snub nose is largely a novelty feature, and serves little practical purpose. The 38 special-only guns also seem to sell at lesser prices, because most folks prefer the dual cartridge capability of a 357/38, so sometimes you can pick up a great deal on a 38-special-only version of the same gun.

This is a cut/paste from the Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson, 3rd edition. This is specifically for the Model 60. If you're at all interested in S&Ws, I would highly recommend getting a copy of this book, it's now on the 4th edition so there may have been another revision or two that is not mentioned here. https://www.amazon.com/Standard-Catalog-...mith+and+wesson

[removed copyrighted material removed]


Edited by wwillson (01/11/18 09:17 PM)

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