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  1. #1
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    First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    While waiting for my permit to come through, I'm doing research for my first purchase. Have narrowed it down to a .357 mag revolver and the medium frame because my wife will also being shooting it and for her a large frame feels too big to be comfortable. Now I'm down to the choice between the Model 65 and Model 66. I think I've decided on the 4" barrel but keep looking at the 6" version. I plan to use it primarily for range shooting and as a trail gun (with at least the first two or three chambers loaded with CCI shotshells for snakes). Not planning to use it for concealed carry. I do plan to get the SS model.

    I'm leaning toward the Model 66 for the adjustable sights, but would be interested in opinions on how useful they are in the "real world".

    Thanks for any advice.
    CAPT, USNR(ret)
    Mechanical Engineer (retired)
    Ex-Hunter, current Target Shooter

    "Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it."-- Doug Larson,American newspaper columnist

  2. #2
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    Re: First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    I can't speak for everyone, just myself. In regard to adjustable sights, I have a number of revolvers with such. Once set, I have never fiddled with most of them. IF you are changing loads and want to re-zero for the new POA/POI changes, they are of value. Now if you are doing metallic shilouette over 100 yards, and you change ammo, there will be the need for changing sight settings. Also, if you are shooting a bullseye course outdooor, there is a 50-yard stage of fire where known adjustments can be of value. Those are the only times I have found them to be more usable. Most of my revolvers are "set 'em and forget 'em".

    But most folks don't actually USE a revolver for much over 7 or 15 yards, where there is relatively little difference betweeen POI when changing loads, even betweeen 158 gr 38SPL loads and same bullet at 357 velocities. Beyond 15 yards, the difference may become more aparrent.

    It all depends on what you are doing with it and what you expect. And how much fiddling you are prepared to do to get there.

    Flash
    You must be careful what you pretend to be, because in the end, you are what you pretend to be.

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  3. #3
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    Re: First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    Generally speaking, I like fixed sights for guns that are likely to be carried or concealed and drawn into action and adjustable sights for everything else. The pros to adjustable sights are that you can adjust them to your eyes, distance, and loads, whereas the fixed sights are a compromise, albeit much tougher in the sense that there's nothing to break on them, should the gun fall and/or bump something (and they're less likely to snag on clothing, etc.).

    If you're using it more at the shooting range than on a trail, you're probably better off with the adjustable sights. The same goes for barrel length; if mainly on the shooting range, I personally like the longer sight radius and weight up front, but if for the trail, you're probably better off with the shorter 4" barrel length. Either way, you and your wife should at the very least handle both guns before buying, as the weight could be an issue for either of you.

    HTH

    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides..From "Commonplace Book" by Thomas Jefferson.

  4. #4
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    Re: First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    Thank you both for the advice. I understand the idea that once I sight in adjustable sights to my normal use I probably would not change them very often. I guess the question I was not smart enough to ask the first time is - How good are the fixed sights on the Model 65? Are they set for a mid range distance and a mid range load and so there is not much mental adjustment required for other distances/loads? Or is the quality control such that you don't know how good they are until you shot the gun the first time.

    Again, thanks for the advice.
    CAPT, USNR(ret)
    Mechanical Engineer (retired)
    Ex-Hunter, current Target Shooter

    "Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it."-- Doug Larson,American newspaper columnist

  5. #5
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    Re: First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    After set, you might only want to adjust once you change distance and/or load (nice if you're going from .357Mag to .38spl). Your wife, however, may need to adjust it for her even with the same distance/load that they're spot on for.

    Correct, they're set for a common .357 Mag load and distance, though I can't tell you what that is. Occasionally, it happens that the front sight is canted to one side or the other, regardless of make, be it Taurus, S&W, Ruger, etc., and in that case, I guess you can somewhat compensate with the adjustable rear sight.

    ETA, some people paint the front ramp with a couple of different colors to make adjusting for elevation on a fixed sight gun easier. Can't do anything about windage, though.

    I'd go with a stainless model, adjustable sight. The 4" barrel will probably balance a little better, while the 6" gives you greater velocity and sight radius. Make sure the grips fit both of you also; that makes a big difference in comfort and handling.

    HTH

    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides..From "Commonplace Book" by Thomas Jefferson.

  6. #6
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    Re: First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    Quote Originally Posted by Skinnedknuckles
    Thank you both for the advice. I understand the idea that once I sight in adjustable sights to my normal use I probably would not change them very often. I guess the question I was not smart enough to ask the first time is - How good are the fixed sights on the Model 65? Are they set for a mid range distance and a mid range load and so there is not much mental adjustment required for other distances/loads? Or is the quality control such that you don't know how good they are until you shot the gun the first time.

    Again, thanks for the advice.
    Fixed sight Taurus®357 Magnum revolvers are regulated POA/POI with 158gr ammunition. - Federal®, Magtech®, Remington®, and Winchester® 357 Magnum 158gr loads are 1235-1240fps. As for durability of fixed sights - zero problems.
    David
    CW3, U.S. Army (Ret)
    09/26/1968-05/31/1990
    Vietnam Veteran - 2 Tours

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    1. Jesus Christ.
    2. The American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & Marine.
    One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.
    1Cross + 3Nails = 4Given
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  7. #7
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    Re: First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    Fixed sights are all that most people will ever need in a self-defense weapon. Pick your ammo, hit the range, and get used to shooting your SD ammo and where it hits based on range.

    The 4" tube is the optimal length for a combo SD/Range/Home Defense weapon. Short enough to carry concealed for most people, easy to handle in the home, clearing a room, etc. and enough barrel to be accurate for small game, if needed. The 6 incher is way too long to carry concealed for 99.9% of the human race...and can present a lot of gun for a bad guy to grab if you use it for home defense.

    Adjustable sights are in my opinion, ideal for target shooters, those who change ammo frequently, hunters, etc. In any case for shots that can really benefit from a longer barrel AND adjustable sights, one might question if the better SD action might be to turn around and run! If the shot is that far off, it's not really a SD situation!

    Nothing wrong with Adj sights...some ppl love them. But for the basics of home and self protection, fixed sights are generally more than adequate. Worst case scenario: you may have to file or add metal to the sight blade if it won't hit anywhere close to point-of-aim...but I have never actually seen that happen.
    S&W 37, 13-2, 10,Taurus 82, Glock19 & 26, CZ-82, DB380 and Bersa BP9CC depending on circumstance, attire and weather

  8. #8
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    Re: First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    +1 for the M66. I have the blued 4" barrel and have to say that I really enjoy it. 4" is good for all-around use. I agree with the others - if target/hunting is the primary use, go with the 6" barrel. Either way, you won't regret it.
    M66 - 6 shot

  9. #9
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    Re: First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    I own the model 66, 7 shot, with adjustable rear site. It is S.S. and has a 6" barrel. I really like it, and it is easy and fun to shoot.
    What isn't tried, won't work

  10. #10
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    Re: First Purchase - Model 65 or Model 66

    I own the 66 (2 actually) and a 65.

    I agree with the 6 inch barrel for hunting if you're going to shoot game animals with it.

    For defense the 4 incher would get the nod normally, but the 6 incher will serve as well if not better (slim edge, but it's there) in some categories.

    As far as toting the gun in the wilds go the 4 incher gets the nod. Long barrel revolvers can dig into the body or get into the way for some chores.

    4 inchers are faster into action and easier to clear from the holster.

    The flash and noise of the magnum round is more forward than on the 4 incher.

    The bigger advantges are the extra sighting length plane and velocity gain.

    Balance of the 6 incher very well might be what you need.

    It has been observed by many, not all by any means, that 158gr. JHPs of magnum and .38 Special, hit at the same point of aim at about 25 yards. It's true for my 66s and 65. There are some staff and members where for whom that is true.

    If you want a good load for the trail that is a magnum as an all around choice is something in the 140 gr.-145 gr. bullet weight.

    158gr, rounds are fine. Just that there is less recoil with the slightly lighter rounds with all the power you will need for a majority of scenarios.

    .38 Specials are fun to shoot through these revolvers. +P 129 grain-158 grain rounds will give fine protection out in the wilds for most scenarios.

    Bears are normally not an issue, and most people do not have encounters that much (depending on where you live) with large predators or very dangerous animals.

    If the wife likes to shoot the .357 magnum or .38 Special, fine. But it her choice as to what caliber and what guns she can shoot well.

    For example, there are some .44 Special Taurus 441s or 431s at online auctions right now. Problem is that those are on a K frame, similar to the model 66/65s, and hold only 5 shots versus the 6 or the model 66. That may not be problem for some shooters.

    There are also the .327 revolvers for Taurus and Ruger that make good trail gun picks as well. The Rugers would make a bit better trail gun than the snub Taurus 327 in my opinion.

    The neat thing about the .327 Federal magnum is that even full power .327 rounds can be shot through these or the less powerful .32 H&R magnum or .32 S&W Long can be used.

    .357 magnum/.38 Special and the .327 Federal magnum/ .32 H&R magnum combos give one the versatility they need in a firearm. Either combo or both will do.

 

 
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