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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to purchase a new 38 Special with a 4” barrel and the choices are somewhat limited. It seems everyone that makes a wheel gun in .38 offers snubbies but nothing longer than 3”. Ruger has discontinued their GP100 in a 38 , S&W model 10 and 67 are just too pricy for what you get and I can’t bring myself to buy a Charter Arms or Comanche. That leaves the choices with the Taurus 82 or the Rossi 851. Truth is I think the Rossi is a better looking weapon but would hate to buy anything on looks alone. So is there anyone out there with experience with either of these guns?
 

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Sorry, not on that one, but my snubby 461/357 has been great! I had a 6.5" barreled JUDGE, so did not need another long revolver.
If it is anything like mine, you will like it.
 

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I've owned 7 Rossis and have a M68 now, old gun bought in 1981 and a nice looking and shooting 3" five shot revolver. It's quite accurate and good lockin' IMHO and well made. It has no tooling marks or other finish flaws that a few of the Rossis I bought in the late 80s/early 90s had. Their fit and finish seems to have returned with the Taurus purchase. You'll likely get a better DA trigger in a Taurus NIB, but the Rossi is a good shooter. Just up to you. If you prefer its looks, it's a damned good revolver and especially for the money IMHO. I do own a Smith and Wesson M10, early 60s built, still in great condition. It's a fine revolver, but for what they're going for used now days, I think the Rossi is a good alternative. If you can find a used one, they're really a bargain.

Old Smiths are high down here, big demand. I understand that in some parts of the country, like the midwest, they can be had for under 300 bucks. They'd better be in great shape for that, though, or I won't mess with 'em. I do enjoy my Smith, though, very good shooting gun and built they way Smith used to crank 'em out. I don't know if I'll ever buy a new production Smith for what they cost. Taurus is as high quality IMHO and a much better bargain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
NativeTexan said:
I've owned 7 Rossis and have a M68 now, old gun bought in 1981 and a nice looking and shooting 3" five shot revolver. It's quite accurate and good lockin' IMHO and well made. It has no tooling marks or other finish flaws that a few of the Rossis I bought in the late 80s/early 90s had. Their fit and finish seems to have returned with the Taurus purchase. You'll likely get a better DA trigger in a Taurus NIB, but the Rossi is a good shooter. Just up to you. If you prefer its looks, it's a damned good revolver and especially for the money IMHO. I do own a Smith and Wesson M10, early 60s built, still in great condition. It's a fine revolver, but for what they're going for used now days, I think the Rossi is a good alternative. If you can find a used one, they're really a bargain.

Old Smiths are high down here, big demand. I understand that in some parts of the country, like the midwest, they can be had for under 300 bucks. They'd better be in great shape for that, though, or I won't mess with 'em. I do enjoy my Smith, though, very good shooting gun and built they way Smith used to crank 'em out. I don't know if I'll ever buy a new production Smith for what they cost. Taurus is as high quality IMHO and a much better bargain.
NativeTexan, used S&W's, even here in the Midwest, aren't bargins. Your comments are well taken and, as of now, I'm leaning towards the Rossi. One thing I really like are the Rossi's adjustable sights....one thing I don't like is that the 851is only offered in a blue finish.
 

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Can't say that I have any experience with the Rossi 851. However there have been several articles in recent years on that very revolver. Wiley Clapp and Gene Gangarossa were the various writers.

Trigger pulls, both DA and SA were measured and were lighter than on S&W model 19s,619s and 620's.Not by much, but they were. Smooth trigger pulls,too.

Fit and finish were considered very good for a revolver that has a budget moniker on it.

The two samples tested had accuracy in the 2.5 in.-3 in. zone at twenty five yards.
Most of the testing mirrors what Native Texan has said.

Nothing wrong with the 82 either except it has the fixed sights. For some that's a negative and others figure most 158gr. loads for the .38 Special will hit at or about to point of aim. There's a lot of truth in that.As always there are exceptions.

For those who shoot a variety of bullet types,weights, and ammo brands, adjustable sights make sense,too.

If this is to be a belt holster gun not used for CCW carry then one does not have to worry about the adjustable sights possibly hanging up on material as it's drawn.

With the Rossi's sights that may not be that much of a problem compared to Taurus revolvers adjustable sights as on the model 66.

Fit and finish were considered adequate to very good.

As far as Rossi revolvers go here's a link with a 'war story' of sorts. If the jeweler couldn't trust Rossi's he'd of never gone out and bought 11 more 351s for his store after the first shooting incident.
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=948.0
 

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I am just sold on the Rossi for a budget revolver. I think S&Ws are the best revolvers ever, but the Rossi's are calling my name from beyond the snubbie line.

To the point of the original post - I go with adjustable sights over fixed for target guns.

--jcd
 

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rainman said:
NativeTexan, used S&W's, even here in the Midwest, aren't bargins. Your comments are well taken and, as of now, I'm leaning towards the Rossi. One thing I really like are the Rossi's adjustable sights....one thing I don't like is that the 851is only offered in a blue finish.
rainman, you certainly can get a Taurus® Mdl 851 in SS, see here: http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?id=300&category=Revolver Additionally you can get an UltraLite™ SS Model which would be my choice: http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?id=301&category=Revolver Lastly you can even get one in Titanium: http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?id=302&category=Revolver
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
badge851 said:
rainman, you certainly can get a Taurus® Mdl 851 in SS, see here: http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?id=300&category=Revolver Additionally you can get an UltraLite™ SS Model which would be my choice: http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?id=301&category=Revolver Lastly you can even get one in Titanium: http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?id=302&category=Revolver
badge851, Yes the 851 is a very attractive package but not quite what I'm looking for. Adjustable sights and a 4" barrel are my main attractions. While I haven't "pulled the trigger" on either the Rossi or Taurus yet I think, everthing considered, the Rossi will make a better everyday range gun for me. However thank you for giving this your thought and research.
 

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Too bad you're not from around here - there is a gun shop the next town over that has THREE S&W model 64's. Same place I bought my model 65 - that is essentially the exact gun that Taurus copied with their model 82. 4 inch 38 special isn't in too much demand anymore, and that's too bad - the right 38 special load, coming out of a longer barrel, can be a real tackdriver - Chuck Weaver wouldn't touch a 357 magnum, he swore by his 38 special. That should tell you how accurate the 38 can be.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
texastaurusguy said:
Too bad you're not from around here - there is a gun shop the next town over that has THREE S&W model 64's. Same place I bought my model 65 - that is essentially the exact gun that Taurus copied with their model 82. 4 inch 38 special isn't in too much demand anymore, and that's too bad - the right 38 special load, coming out of a longer barrel, can be a real tackdriver - Chuck Weaver wouldn't touch a 357 magnum, he swore by his 38 special. That should tell you how accurate the 38 can be.
Trust me texastaurusguy, there's not a day that goes by that I wish I wasn't living anywhere else but Illinois!. But back to the topic on hand....I have a 608 that I really like but spend most of my range time putting light loads (148gr WC- 2.8gr Bullseye) of 38 special down range. Running these 38 specials through my .357 kind of strikes me like feeding a Porsche regular unleaded gas. So if I'm primarily going to shoot 38's I might as well have a 38 to shoot them out of. Does any of this make sense??
 

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Makes perfect sense.
Even S&W is still making .38 Special revolvers.

One can take the .357 magnum,run .38 Specials through it primarily, and run with it, or the .38 Special only.
Either way one cannot loose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Qwiks draw said:
Makes perfect sense.
Even S&W is still making .38 Special revolvers.

One can take the .357 magnum,run .38 Specials through it primarily, and run with it, or the .38 Special only.
Either way one cannot loose.
Thank you Qwiks draw for reaffirming my thought process. I’m sure this only happens to me, but sometimes I’ve been know to invent a reason to purchase another handgun :eek:. At first my motivation for getting the 608 was its ability to shoot 38’s or 357’s. As you mentioned it will spit out either with superb accuracy. The problem I run into is the thick build up of powder residual from the 38 wad cutters which of course, being much shorter than a 357, are pretty far inside the cylinders. Yes, it will clean out given massive doses of bore cleaner and several hours of diligent scrubbing. My concern is the possibility that this ring of spent powder will have a debilitating effect that may cause me not being able to safely chamber a 357 sometime down the road.
 

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Rainman, you hit the nail on the head. It's just a case of being practical. There's large group even here who appreciate the benefits or a regular speed bullet in any given caliber. Many reasons to trust the regular speed bullets and cartridges.

In several magazine articles there has been testimony of big game hunters (usually when hunting the big cats) that carrying a revolver with FMJ,even in weak calibers, will stop an attack. These hunters relate how they'd have been killed outright or severely mauled if they hadn't had the revolver with them.
Granted there's a case for powerful guns.

Rifles were out of reach,been knocked out of the hunter's grasp, or the rifle malfunctioned. Back up riflemen could not shoot do to hitting the hunter being attacked.

As here and at larger gun forums there are a decent number of threads from those who have discovered or rediscovered the vast abilities and fun of the .38 Special. They realize they don't need magnumi-tis to have fun or for most applications.

Magnum capability is nice to have, but not always needed. For a lot of us it's just not needed.
 

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Qwiks draw said:
Can't say that I have any experience with the Rossi 851. However there have been several articles in recent years on that very revolver. Wiley Clapp and Gene Gangarossa were the various writers.
Hey, Qwiks. Do you have a link to these articles online? I ordered a Rossi 851 locally yesterday. And I enjoy reading someone who validates my decision!!! Thanks!
 

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Guns & Ammo Gun Directory - Rossi 971, 972Rossi 971, 972. ... America's only "where to, how to" hunting magazine devoted to ... Notes: Model 851 is .38 Special version with 4-inch barrel. ...
http://gundirectory.gunsandammomag.com/detail/gun_159/Double-ActionRevolvers_7/rossi_186 - 44k - Cached - Similar pages

Rossi Model 851 Double Action Revolver Reviews Forum and Reference ...Oct 5, 2006 ... The Rossi 851 is a great value. My dad has a S&W Model 10 and I find the Rossi .... Enter the Rossi 851. What a nice little piece this is. ...
http://www.gundirectory.com/more.asp?gid=20314&gun=Revolver - 84k - Cached - Similar pages

Catalog Of Currently Manufactured Handguns | American Handgunner ...ROSSI MODEL 851. Caliber: 38 Special. Capacity: 6 rounds. More Articles of Interest: New Lady Rossi is ideal for women on a budget - pistol · The spring ...
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_2000_Annual/ai_61620981/pg_12 - 44k - Cached - Similar pages

That's all I could find. The refrences to the Rossi were in a gun buyers annual a decade or so ago. Seems they didn't put it in Guns and Ammo archives because it's not in the official magazine. Figures. I've got hundreds of the old ones and the many I went through did not give it up to me.

What I have above are all I could find.
 

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Qwiks, thanks for the info about the 851. Mine came in yesterday and I cleaned her up last night. We will make a trip to the range tomorrow....

When I read the article about the Lady Rossi, I noticed it was written in 1996. The article mentioned Rossi's lifetime repair warranty. It also stated that Rossi was imported by Interarms. For some reason, I had it in my head that the lifetime warranty began when BrazTech got into the picture. Obviously, I was wrong!

Thanks for the enlightenment!
 

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I hate going to the gun store, asking if they have any 4 inch barrel .38's and then getting a lecture on why I really need a .357. One guy sounded down right mad that I would even ask.
 
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