Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My very first .38 Special snubby finally followed me home

I've been finding better alternatives to a .38 Special snubby for just about exactly two years now. Back on March 21, 2008, I wrote about my plans to buy a .38 snubby when I came home instead with an N-frame S&W Model 21 .44 Special with a 4" barrel, which is considerably removed from a J-frame .38.

That was my first .44 and since I've found reason to buy three more, a S&W 29 .44 Magnum with 4" pipe, a Charter Bulldog Stainless .44 Special with 2.5" snout, and a Hy Hunter Six Shooter .44 Magnum single-action with a 6" pole.

Also since that first abortive .38 snubby shopping expedition, I started working in a gun store and have added another Charter 2.5-incher, this one a stainless .327 Magnum, and two .357 Magnum wheelguns, both K-frame size, S&W 65 and Taurus 65, each stainless with a 3" and 2.5" pipes respectively.

But finally today I brought home my very first .38 snubby, a Charter Arms Southpaw, their version of the S&W AirWeight with a stainless 2" barrel and cylinder and the rest is alloy and polymer.

I read a review of the Southpaw in a recent issue of American Rifleman and they reported that recoil is "stout" with hot .38 loads.

Lightweight revolvers are nice for carry, but you can't repeal the laws of physics as discovered by Newton and invented by God. For every action, Newton expostulated, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Send a hot .38 load out the pipe and an equal amount of force is exerted in the other direction, otherwise known as recoil. Subtract weight from the pistol to absorb that recoil and you get "Ouch!"

But the Charter Southpaw and their other Undercover Lite revolvers have something S&W Airweights don't have, a polymer grip frame. I test-fired and wrote about the Ruger LCR, which I mistakenly said is the world's first revolver with a polymer grip frame. Wrong, I discovered when I read the American Rifleman review. Charter did it first. Now I shall find out if Charter does it as well as Ruger, because the LCR was pleasant to shoot with regular .38 Special loads and bearable if not pleasant with +P loads. If the Charter does that well, I shall be pleased.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the Charter has another first also, without a doubt the world's first production left-handed revolver. There may have been some custom wheelguns made for lefties like me, but I am not aware of any other manufacturer doing something for those of us who draw with the "off" hand. I'm looking forward to test-firing the Southpaw this weekend. I may be working Saturday, but if not ... range report to come.

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