Range Report: S&W Model 64-2 w/2″ Bbl

| April 22, 2009 | 6 Comments

Hello. Yesterday, after arriving home from an out-of-town trip, I was checking various gun boards and at the Texas CHL Forum ( http://www.texaschlforum.com/ ), I noticed that one of the moderators (“HighVelocity”) had a very clean Model 64 snub for sale. The revolver was from the California Department of Corrections and had “CDC” followed by numerals on the frame beneath the cylinder on the same side as the cylinder release. HighVelocity reported that the gun had been bead blasted and it was pictured with a set of Pachmayr “Professional Compac” grips on it.

He wanted to sell face-to-face in the DFW area…which is where I was. Cutting to the chase, I met him at a location in Ft. Worth, examined the gun and it was just exactly as he described. The matte finish was very clean and the action was smooth with very good cylinder timing and lock-up. This very nice young man furnished a flashlight so that I could more easily examine the bore…which was just fine.

I bought the revolver and the accompanying belt holster and got three HKS Speedloaders as part of the deal. I thought I liked the gun but that’s really not known until it is shot.

Today I was able to get to the range with it and fired at distances varying from 15 to 7 yards.
Here is the Model 64-2 I bought. It is wearing a set of inexpensive nylon “Hideout” grips that I bought through Brownells. I don’t normally use smooth handgun stocks but these seem “textured” enough to provide a secure grip. (I’ve tried them on several K-frames and they were always slightly loose. Not so on this particular K-frame, so I thought I’d give them a try.) I’ve had very good luck with their J-frame grip, but have to relieve the left side grip for speedloader use.

The K-frame Hideout grips work fine with speedloaders w/o the need for any alteration to the stock itself.

I fired 12 shots in double and single-action to make sure that the gun was functioning properly. No problems.

Shooting: Initial shots were fired in slow-fire at 15 yards. I was seated with my wrists braced and using a two-hand hold. This was just to see how well the sights were regulated. In other words, would POA match POI. Point-of-aim was the center of the bullseye. The first group was fired single-action with the second in double.
Twelve shots were fired at each target. The ammunition was a handload consisting of a Redline 158-gr. CSWC over 4.8 grains Unique if once-fired R-P cases ignited by a Winchester Small Pistol primer. As is evident, the POA nicely matched POI with this load.

Next I fired 5 shots (short on ammo) of Remington’s 158-gr. LSWCHP +P. This was done standing and using a two-hand hold at 10 yards. Firing was not rushed but not nearly so slow as when firing at 15 yards.
POA also closely matched POI using my preferred “carry load”. The shot that is outside the black bullseye was my fault and I felt myself throw the shot when it happened. It was the third shot of the group.

A snub load that is really popular is Speer’s 135-gr. Gold Dot +P. It is specifically designed for snubnose and shorter barreled revolvers. As with the Remington, only 5 shots were fired. I noticed after I shot that I was about two paces behind where I’d been when I fired the Remingtons so I marked the distance as being 12 yards.

(For those who might be interested, here is a report on three loads often recommended for snubs:
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/3…mmo%20Test.htm )
This was the best group fired. I suspect that it is luck as I do not shoot that well, but it is obvious that any of the three loads fired have more than enough accuracy for most of us. A nice surprise was POI is very close between these three loads. I really expected the Speer bullet to strike slightly lower than the Remington or the handload. I noted no significant horizontal variation between any of the three loads.

At 7 yards I fired three groups of six shots each from a standing position and using a two-hand hold. I started from a low ready and fired a slight variation of drill thought up by firearm instructor, Jim Higginbotham. Part of this requires that 5 shots be fired at 5 yards in no more than 2 seconds using a two-hand hold and starting from a low-ready. I opted to see if I could do six shots in 2 seconds at 7 yards. Mr. Higginbotham’s hit-or-miss approach is a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2″ target. Only hits count. I used my usual hand-drawn “Gort Target” with an area about the size of a large coffee saucer. The ammunition used was the previously mentioned handload.
I wasn’t able to get all six shots fired in 2 seconds. I averaged 2.19 seconds for the three runs shown here.

Chronography: Average velocities are based on 10-shots fired 10′ from the chronograph screens.

158-gr. Redline CSWC
4.8-gr. Unique (This is the “old” Unique.)
Once-fired R-P cases
WSP Primer
Average Velocity: 824 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 49
Std Deviation: 15

Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P:
Average Velocity: 885 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 50
Std. Deviation: 14

Speer 135-gr. Gold Dot +P:
Average Velocity: 942 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 56
Std. Deviation: 15

I was very surprised at the Remington’s velocity from this Model 64’s two-inch bbl. This is essentially the same velocity I get from a different Model 64 with a 3″ bbl! I am not necessarily convinced that this particular snub has a “fast” barrel. I believe that this particular lot of Remington ammo is a tad hotter than some. The reason is that almost always, I get about 800 to 820 ft/sec with this stuff from a 1 7/8″ J-frame, but the last time I fired my Model 642 with it, I got an average velocity of 844 ft/sec. The 3″ gun’s average velocity was taken with a different lot of ammo, one that normally averaged about 800 ft/sec from the J-frame snub. If I get the chance (and remember), I’ll chronograph some of this lot through the 3″ revolver and see what it does.

Felt recoil is a subjective quantity, but to me, the Remington load had the most, followed by the Speer and finally, the handload. While the Remington seemed to “shove” more than the Speer, the latter felt “sharper”…at least to me.

Conclusion and Observations: These will be no real surprise to anyone. There were no hang ups, failures to fire, sticky extraction or malfunctions of any kind.

I was very relieved to see that the gun pretty well shoots to its sights and that very little if any “Kentucky Windage” will be needed …except is playing around at longer distances.

The Hideout grips were quite comfortable, remained tight throughout today’s shooting and I noticed no loss of control in rapid-fire.

When I’d previously shot Mr. Higginbotham’s drill using a 4″ Model 64, I was able to shoot an average time that was quicker than 2.19 seconds, but only by about 0.07 seconds! I did notice that the rapid-fire groups from the 2″ gun were a bit more spread out than with the 4″.

After running these semi-formal “tests”, I fired another 150 rounds of handloaded ammo through the gun. Again, no surprises. Primer strikes were nicely centered and the gun showed no signs of the cylinder trying to bind against the forcing cone as more and more shots were fired.

Now that I have fired and tested the gun, I can say w/o question that I like it. This one will probably be toted quite a bit.


This post was authorized by Stephen A. Camp. You can read more of Stephen’s reviews Here

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6 Comments on "Range Report: S&W Model 64-2 w/2″ Bbl"

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  1. Jeb says:

    Great report, and as always, excelling shooting. Looks like you have a real winner with that handgun. I have a 3 ‘ Model 64 that is my normal carry piece. Those shorter barrel k frame are hard to find but well worth the hunt.

  2. Thank you very much.

    Best to you and yours.

  3. gary ueda says:

    Good report. I use one for back up duty. It also has a 2″ bbl., and it also shoots small groups.

  4. I also have a S&W 64 2 with CDC and a 5 digit number stamped on both sides of the gun. I wonder how these got into circulation? Mine came from a gun show in Dallas. Mine is very clean and Iwas was wonderind what it might be worth. Thanks

  5. Philip Hardin says:

    I just purchased today a “CDC” 64-2, by bartering even-Steven a third generation Colt Detective Special. Stainless is easier to keep up with. For several years, I had been looking for a 2″ model 64. And, I just function better with Smiths. This one isn’t sand-blasted, yet. But, it looks like a fine idea. First, I’m cleaning her up inside and out, then taking her out to see how she shoots. Mechanicals seem tight; trigger smooth. It’s been carried around, though. Marked up here and there. More later……

  6. Tony Bonds says:

    Like you I too really enjoyed the S&W K frame over the years I have own a model 10 4 inch Square Butt, a model 13 4 inch Round Butt. The model 15 2 inch Square Butt is still in my collection along with my model 64 2 inch Round Butt. The 64 2 inch is a Police turn in for the Detroit Police Department. Your right about these revolvers being regulated for the 158 Gr loads, man they will just destroy the x ring. The 64 is carried all year round in a IWB, the K frames gives me more of a grip than the J frames. Now I do like the looks of the Eagle Secret Service Stocks, I just may give them a try.

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