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SW 357 Air Lite

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Bullfrog1, Feb 7, 2012.

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  1. Bullfrog1

    Bullfrog1 TS Member

    Joined:
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    I have been looking at one for carry. Is the gun worth the money? How about the recoil.Thanks
     
  2. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Recoil of 357 in any small frame lightweight gun is pretty stout.
     
  3. Steve W

    Steve W Well-Known Member

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    Los Angeles
    This is how I tested the AirLite.

    Try the AirLite with full power .38 Spl first. If you can get all five rounds into a 6" circle at 7 years distance in ten seconds without feeling pain, then this might work for two shots of .357 Mag when you need it.

    My experience with the AirLite wasn't good, as far as actual shooting is concerned. I can't fire the second shot efficiently enough to justify the weight it saved.
     
  4. WGB

    WGB Member

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    Jan 29, 1998
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    191
    I have the 324PD Air-Light (S&W's lightest J-frame). Excellent to carry but brutal in 38+P.
    For the modest difference in weight an Air-Weight is a whole lot better buy, price wise.
    I would not want to shoot either one much with 357. Carry it a lot, shoot it a little.
     
  5. AL in MI

    AL in MI TS Member

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    I have a 360 and she is brutal with 357 loads 38+p's aren't real bad but you know she went off.
     
  6. jim brown

    jim brown Well-Known Member

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    Before you carry a J frame with 357's in it shoot a few at night.


    jim brown
     
  7. SirMissalott

    SirMissalott Active Member

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    I had one I bravely shot it 5 times PERIOD. LOL
     
  8. chipking

    chipking TS Member

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    I carried a 340 or 360 for a couple years. Recoil was unpleasant (to say the least) with anything over 38 special wadcutter loads. For me it was in the form of Knuckle rapping that got worse as you went up in power. Once you went into 357 mag loads it was very violent and felt more like a M80 went off in your hand than pistol recoil. But it was still capable of excellent accuracy and the recoil was over so quickly that it actually stayed on target better than some of my heavier 357 short barreled guns. The real issues with both these guns was bullet pull due to the sharp fast recoil and severe throat erosion on the lead in the chambers of the Titanium Cylinders. On my 360 it started in less than 500 rounds (mostly 38 spl 125gr+P) when it started again after the cylinder was replaced by S&W I got it fixed again and traded it for a 340 which did the same thing in about 1100 rounds once again off to S&W and a new cylinder. After the second cylinder in that gun I traded it for a 640. A little heavier but far more pleasant to shoot and no more cylinder throat erosion.

    As a side note I have had the Titanium Cylinder 396 44 special revolver do exactly the same thing with throat erosion. All the Titanium cylinder 357s I had did it to some degree as well so in my mind at least the Titanium cylinders had issues. The erosion on all was in the form of pits not the "normal" cracking like a dry lake bed that comes from lots of rounds fired.

    --- Chip King ---
     
  9. rdf59

    rdf59 Member

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    Jan 29, 1998
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    353
    Before you shoot the AirLite I suggest you find a handgrenade and pull the pin, lef go of the detonation lever and hold on to the body of the grenade as though you were holding the grip of an AirLite. If that doesn't affect you too much, then go ahead with the Airlite in .357
     
  10. Unsingle

    Unsingle Member

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    I carry a S&W 638 Airweight all the time and practice with it almost every week. I practice with .38 Specials and it is not a problem. I do keep it loaded with .38+P Buffalo Bores. You can really tell the difference when you move up to the +Ps. I also have a S&W Model 60 J frame, and shoot .357s in it. It is no fun at all, and it is an all steel gun. I would not want to shoot .357s in any Airweight, and certainly not in a AirLite. With that said, you don't have to shoot .357s in a .357 gun.
     
  11. mike campbell

    mike campbell Active Member

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    "I have the 324PD Air-Light (S&W's lightest J-frame)."

    I've never heard of a 324PD. And I thought the lightest J-frame is a 340PD (38+P)at 11.4 oz.

    I just bought a M&P340; the .357 at 13.4 oz with the stainless cylinder. It will be the third J sized .357 in my current battery.
     
  12. WGB

    WGB Member

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    Jan 29, 1998
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    My FUPA above, mine is a 342PD (not 324PD) bad fingers, small keys. At 10.8 oz it's the lightest.

    Regardless, it's still not pleasant to shoot with anything but wadcutters. But I like to carry it.
     
  13. Texshooter

    Texshooter Member

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    Jan 29, 1998
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    710
    I had to have one. After shooting it I cannot find where I put it; but I don't care! It wasn't worth it. AJ
     
  14. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    I may be wrong but in my opinion a light weight j frame revolver loaded with 5 357 magnums is basically a single shot weapon. After the first round you have a minimal chance of a successful follow up shot if their are multiple assailants.

    I carry a 317 airlite with 8 rds of 22 lr Aquilla Hypermax --this rd has the same ft lbs as a 38 spl & the gun is totally controllable.

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  15. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    6,266
    I have shot a standard weight J frame with .357 ammo and it just plain hurt. That gun had a decent set of rubber grips on it too. One round was enough for me to conclude this wasn't a viable combination for any use that I might have.

    I do regularly shoot standard vel .38 specials and target wadcutters out of my own J frame. These are no problem and easy to keep on target even when fired radily. Save the .357s for full size guns.
     
  16. Claydotter

    Claydotter Active Member

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    Location:
    Rainier , Wa.
    I`m with the other posters. Shooting .357`s in these small guns is a pipe dream.
    The recoil, blast ,flash, and noise is unGodly.

    The practical limit is .38+P. Take a look at the S&W 442 & 642.

    Regards, Pete
     
  17. gotbass

    gotbass Member

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    I too have a 342PD and anyone that wants to fire off more than five 357 loads is just in love with pain. Nice to carry, hell to shoot. Even 38s are not really fun. Got my wife the new Ruger lite weight 38, much more friendly to shoot. Give the price of the Smith, I would not do it again. Mike
     
  18. bluedevil

    bluedevil Active Member

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    Mar 8, 2008
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    Location:
    Colorado
    I shoot a 637 but added Pac grips, use 4grs Unique and 160gr lbt. Stout but not that bad, hotter would not be fun. I figure a 160gr slug going 750fps is going to do some damage if I put em where they need to go, if not I'm in trouble. Kinda like when I jumped out the C-130, if both chutes fail I'm in trouble and I'm still here, life is a gamble. Practice practice practice!
     
  19. mike campbell

    mike campbell Active Member

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    Oh my....I think I stumbled into the skeet forum.
     
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