Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special

This is a discussion on Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special within the Wheel Guns forums, part of the Other Firearms category; I am trying to decide on whether to purchase a light weight aluminum frame 38 special, or a polymer frame 38 special. What are your ...

Thread: Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special

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  1. #1 Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special 
    Super Member Sassi's Avatar
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    I am trying to decide on whether to purchase a light weight aluminum frame 38 special, or a polymer frame 38 special. What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of each?
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  2. #2 Re: Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special 
    Full Member hestersu's Avatar
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    What length barrel? I am absolutely no expert but I was told the lighter weight J frame S&W have more felt recoil than the heavier steel versions and heavier still stainless versions. I have a SS .38 snubbie and I do feel it. I changed to a Hogue grip and it's better.

    The .357 SP101 had about the same felt recoil to me when shooting .38 ammo. I did a side by side comparison.

    If you can do a rental or try out someone's gun first, I would suggest it.
    Susan Hester

    Springfield Armory XD 9mm Sub-compact
    Sig Sauer P238 Nitron w/Rosewood grips
    Ruger Mark III 22/45 4"
    S&W Model 60 .38 SPL Stainless snubbie w/Hogue Bantam grip
    Marlin Mod 990 .22LR w/Bushnell scope
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  3. #3 Re: Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special 
    Jr. Member nativeson's Avatar
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    I have the S & W 642 J-frame light weight and the Ruger LCR polymer frame. Both are chambered for the 38 special +P. IMHO the S & W has a slightly sharper recoil than the polymer framed Ruger. Both are equipped with the CTC laser grips. The S & W seems to have a heavier trigger pull but seems to conceal in as pocket easier than the Ruger due to the way the grips are shaped.
    My personal preference is the Ruger due to the smoother trigger pull.
    Do what you can, with what you have, where you are at.
    T. Roosevelt.
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  4. #4 Re: Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special 
    Hero Member ljutic's Avatar
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    I've never had a an aluminum framed snubbie, but can tell you that the LCR and S&W Bodyguard are both very nice pocket revolvers. Neither are very much fun to shoot with full house .38 Special +Ps, but that's not why you buy them. LCR with factory CT fully loaded with 125 grain ammo weighs the same as an empty Bodyguard .38, so if weight is your number 1 criteria you should go with the LCR. Prior to my foray into poly snubbies, I only had S&W stainless snubs so for me the S&W grip feels better since it's more "traditional". The LCR grip is a bit different and not really to my liking. Your mileage may vary.

    Sorry I can't help with any info on the aluminum or scandium framed guns. Would love to get a scandium some day, but for now it's a luxury I'm not willing to spend my money on.
    Avid Mouse Gunner and author of the Pocket Guns and Gear blog. Stop by for a peek at http://mousegunaddict.blogspot.com
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  5. #5 Re: Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special 
    Super Member Sassi's Avatar
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    I went on and bought a S&W Model 642. I am a little old fashioned I suppose (among the over 60 age group) and like metal guns, even aluminum frame, over polymer. Plus I needed a new carry gun that I could load the first two holes with snake shot. I spend a lot of time outside now that I am retired, working in the garden, and flower beds.

    The first thing I did was replace the stock grips with a nice set of banana grips. Went out and fired 77 rounds of ammo, mostly plus P stuff. I was amazed at how tame the recoil was with the banana grips. I think these grips changed the recoil dynamics some.
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  6. #6 Re: Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special 
    Super Member Yogi 117's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassi
    I went on and bought a S&W Model 642. I am a little old fashioned I suppose (among the over 60 age group) and like metal guns, even aluminum frame, over polymer. Plus I needed a new carry gun that I could load the first two holes with snake shot. I spend a lot of time outside now that I am retired, working in the garden, and flower beds.

    The first thing I did was replace the stock grips with a nice set of banana grips. Went out and fired 77 rounds of ammo, mostly plus P stuff. I was amazed at how tame the recoil was with the banana grips. I think these grips changed the recoil dynamics some.
    Congrats & Enjoy, as I know you will. A little old-fashioned is also good!!! Yogi
    Virtues are learned at Mother's Knee

    Vices are learned at some other Joint
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  7. #7 Re: Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special 
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    I didn't try bigger grips on my 642 ,my Charter U/C Lite is 4 oz lighter , but the felt recoil is managable compared to my departed 642 . I guess I won't know ,unless I buy a new no-lock version . They are only $40 more ,for a BNIB one ,than what I sold a used 642 for .
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  8. #8 Re: Aluminum Frame or Polymer Frame 38 Special 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassi
    I went on and bought a S&W Model 642. I am a little old fashioned I suppose (among the over 60 age group) and like metal guns, even aluminum frame, over polymer. Plus I needed a new carry gun that I could load the first two holes with snake shot. I spend a lot of time outside now that I am retired, working in the garden, and flower beds.

    The first thing I did was replace the stock grips with a nice set of banana grips. Went out and fired 77 rounds of ammo, mostly plus P stuff. I was amazed at how tame the recoil was with the banana grips. I think these grips changed the recoil dynamics some.
    Me too even though I am a bit younger. I was torn between the LCR and 642, but the 642 just felt right for a revolver. Both are great guns.

    I put larger grips on mine but went back to the stock boot grips as they are so small conceal easier in the pocket. It's amazing how a j-frame disapears in th epocket for it's size.
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