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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just put money down on a 651B at the LGS. I already have the 617B and while I'm satisfied with it, I'm thinking the slimmer, smaller 5rd cylinder of the 651, plus the shrouded hammer should make for a all around better concealed carry. At least for me. I'm thinking of dialing down the savagery by firing .38+P rather than .357. My 617 is heavier and handles the .357 well enough.
Maybe some Hornaday Critical Defense, will work fine.

I ran a search, seems like there is very little chatter about the 651, why is that?
 

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I think your money will be well-spent.

I have a 605 .357 and am a huge fan of the caliber and the gun, itself.



If you are going to use your new 651B for concealed carry, I'd continue to carry .357 Magnum rounds for the additional knock down factor.

When you take it to the range, shoot .38 Specials to your heart's content. :D
 

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I'm thinking of dialing down the savagery by firing .38+P rather than .357.
I'm a fan of the .38 Special 135 grain +P CCI Gold Dot.
 

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I have a 605 and a 617 and shoot primarily 38 special. Nothing wrong with 38 special. I love the Magnum kaboom and all that but I can put five or seven consistent rounds of 38 special exactly where I want them. I also live in an apartment complex and god willing if a situation ever occurs I do not want to discharge a hot .357 round and miss only to hit a neighbor eight units down. In a defensive situation you are still liable for every bullet that leaves that gun. If they do not hit their intended target whatever they hit is on you. Train with what you are most comfortable and accurate with. The 651 is excellent for carry and it is a snub nosed revolver which is designed for close quarters so you don't need a 1200 fps projectile at 7 yards unless there are two guys standing behind each other and you are trying to take them both out simultaneously. The only reason I buy Magnum rated snubbies is becuase they are built for higher pressure loads. If you shoot primarily standard pressure it should extend the life of the wearable parts and every once in a while you can make it go Kaboom with the Magnum;) In other words Good Choice!
 

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My 650 & 605 revolvers are tops IMHO. Definitely interested in the 651 and, like you, I think the concealed hammer increases its utility over my DAO variants. Let us know how it runs for you.
 

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I am not sure -- it's a fine revolver. The only reason I didn't keep my 851 is because I needed a 405 just a little bit more! Now a 651/851 style revolver in .40 would be something to shout about!
 

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The only thing I have against them is the lint trap the design suffers from. Anything that gets in that cavity could stop the hammer during travel or prevent it from moving back far enough. I don't think it's as big a deal as I'm making of it, but it's enough to keep me from liking the design S&W or Taurus. What I do miss is Colt's bobbed hammer design that still allowed you to draw back the hammer for single action firing while having nothing that could snag at all. But the most serious design IMHO is the fully enclosed hammer model.
 

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I have a 605 and a 617 and shoot primarily 38 special. Nothing wrong with 38 special. I love the Magnum kaboom and all that but I can put five or seven consistent rounds of 38 special exactly where I want them. I also live in an apartment complex and god willing if a situation ever occurs I do not want to discharge a hot .357 round and miss only to hit a neighbor eight units down. In a defensive situation you are still liable for every bullet that leaves that gun. If they do not hit their intended target whatever they hit is on you. Train with what you are most comfortable and accurate with. The 651 is excellent for carry and it is a snub nosed revolver which is designed for close quarters so you don't need a 1200 fps projectile at 7 yards unless there are two guys standing behind each other and you are trying to take them both out simultaneously. The only reason I buy Magnum rated snubbies is becuase they are built for higher pressure loads. If you shoot primarily standard pressure it should extend the life of the wearable parts and every once in a while you can make it go Kaboom with the Magnum;) In other words Good Choice!
I agree 100%. I have a 605 2" .357 and shoot mostly .38 special at the range. If I wanna hurt myself I'll light off 5 .357's then back to the .38's. I really like that little gun. Mine is the shiny blue and it shines like a diamond in a goats butt.

The .357 is my favorite round. I would bet it has more stopping / knock down power than a .45.
 

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Anytime itchy! That's why we're here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just got my 651 a few hours ago... already taken it to the range, and burnt that new gun smell off it! :D

 

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I'm not too sure how much better the .357mag would fare in a 2" barrel as compared to the right .38spl ammo, however I know for a fact I can control the .38spl a lot better, regardless of gun size (and that allows for faster follow-up shots). More and more I'm practicing to shoot my snubnoses, all in .38spl, in double action only, and keeping the rounds in the center of the targets isn't that hard at all in ranges out to 10yds.

OP, you picked a nice gun, but I'm pretty sure you'll be doing most of your shooting in double action.
 

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If it would have been available when I bought my 650 I would have gone with the 651 instead. Would probably never shoot it SA but it would be nice knowing that I could
 

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Congratulations on your new firearm.
 

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I'm not too sure how much better the .357mag would fare in a 2" barrel as compared to the right .38spl ammo, however I know for a fact I can control the .38spl a lot better, regardless of gun size (and that allows for faster follow-up shots). More and more I'm practicing to shoot my snubnoses, all in .38spl, in double action only, and keeping the rounds in the center of the targets isn't that hard at all in ranges out to 10yds.

OP, you picked a nice gun, but I'm pretty sure you'll be doing most of your shooting in double action.
SOURCE: New Page 1

.38 Snub Vs. .357 Snub

For as long as I can remember, the question of whether or not the .38 Special snub is as potent as the .357 magnum in a snub-nose revolver has been debated again and again. This is not an extensive article, but I think the answer becomes pretty clear.

I didn't have a .357 with a barrel as short as the 1 7/8" barrel on my snub thirty-eight's so I just fired the .38 Specials out of a 2 1/2" Model 19. The magnums were fired from the same revolver. It is true that .38 Specials will lose a little velocity when fired from a revolver chambered for the slightly longer .357 Magnum. The figures are slight, but later on, we'll "give" another 50 ft/sec (which is a generous amount) to the measured thirty-eight special velocities.


A stock S&W Model 19 2 1/2" revolver, except for the stocks, was used for the chronograph results shown below.

Velocities are based on 10-shot strings of fire about 10' from the chronograph screens.

Ammunition Average Velocity (ft/sec)

Federal .38 Special 129-grain Hydrashok +P 846

Winchester .38 Special 158-grain LSWCHP +P 858

Remington .357 Magnum 125-grain SJHP (Full-house load) 1243

Handload: Rucker 158-grain CSWC 1100
7.0 grains Unique
Winchester Small Pistol Primer
Starline Case

At this point, I'll have to ask you to accept that the 129-grain .38 bullet is approximately the same as the 125-grain .357 and that the 4 grains would not make any real difference. Also, the handloaded .357 round was used simply because I had no data on any factory magnums in that bullet weight. Note that this is not a "hot" handload in that caliber and bullet weight.

Now add the 50 ft/sec we spoke of earlier to each of the .38 average velocities and we get an "adjusted average velocity" of 896 ft/sec for the Hydrashok and 908 ft/sec for the LSWCHP. Compared to the 125-grain .357, we see that the magnum bests the .38 by 347 ft/sec. I find this a significant gain. With the heavier .38 Special bullet compared to the same weight slug from a .357 handload, we find a difference of 192 ft/sec in favor of the magnum and a medium handload.


The data provided was not extensive, but based on it and what I've seen on more than one occasion in the past, the little .38's main advantage as a carry gun or BUG is that it's light, small, and easy to conceal. Its ballistic payload is not equivalent to the .357's in most cases. While it is true that both S&W and Taurus offer .357's in very nearly the same size package, it's been my experience that they border on being uncontrollable when shot in rapid-fire. Others may have had better luck. I'll take my .357 magnums in a K, L, or N frame.

Little in this world is a hard and true fact and the same applies here. I note that out of a 1 7/8" barrel S&W Model 642, Corbon's 115-grain +P+ JHP averages an amazing 1188 ft/sec. This is in the .357 range of velocities and might be thought of as a "quasi-magnum" load. A Ruger SP-101 averages 1278 ft/sec with Triton 125-grain Quik Shok +P ammo, so we see the magnum winning again, but the .38 load does surprisingly well. Sadly, both of these loads are discontinued, as Corbon no longer uses and Triton's out of business. Out of the 2 1/2" Model 19, Winchester's 110-grain .357 JHP averaged 1166 ft/sec so the Corbon .38 Special load beat it slightly in both velocity and bullet weight. These are exception to the rule. FWIW, with the thin forcing cone in the J-frame S&W, I've quit using the 115-grain load for fear of cracking it.

The notion that the .357 is so inefficient in the two-inch guns that it's no more effective than a hot .38 Special just doesn't seem to be true. While neither is at its best in the snub, the magnum is the more potent of the two with most ammo.

Best.
 
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Thanks for adding some info that gives us more clarification on the issue. It just goes to show that you should choose the best load you can, but always make sure that it's the one that works for you....
 
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