Long & Short Of It

So what was left to do with these two sixguns? The answer of course was to turn them into perfect packin’ pocket pistols — for large pockets, of course. This is exactly what Smith & Wesson has done with both of these Combat Magnums, now offering them with 23/4″ barrels.

Test-firing began with the Model 66 and I was soon surprised by the accuracy exhibited at a self-defense distance of 7 yards. I was also surprised at the relative mildness of the felt recoil as well as the very respectable velocities obtained with this relatively short barrel length. The Black Hills 158-gr. JHP clocked out at just under 1,100 fps with 5 shots in an astounding, for me, 1/2″ group at 7 yards followed by the Buffalo Bore 158-gr. JHP that grouped in 5/8″ with a sizzling reading on the LabRadar of 1,375 fps. Lighter bullet weight factory loads applicable for self-defense also performed exceptionally well. Hornady’s 140-gr. XTP-JHP registered 1,225 fps with a 11/4″ group; Speer’s 125-gr. Gold Dot JHP, 1,220 fps and 7/8″; and the Winchester 145-gr. SilverTip HP produced a 3/4″ group of 5 shots at 1,215 fps.

I was also quite pleased with the results with two of my handloads using Rim Rock cast bullets. The 158-gr. SWC JHP over 15.5 grains of #4227 is just under 1,100 fps with a 11/8″ group while the 180-gr. LBT WFN heavyweight gas checked bullet with 14.0 grains of the same powder is just over 1,100 fps and a 1″ group.