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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a little bummed out. Got a call from my gunsmith. He said he was not recommending adding the rail to my S&W 19-3 revolver. Now I'm thinking about selling it and getting another handgun.

I love my 19-3 because it is a revolver and therefore shoots reliably. And because it's fairly accurate, especially after getting a trigger job. And after putting a red dot sight on my air pistol, I decided I've got to have one on my 19-3. So I did some research and found the Warne single-piece mount for S&W K frames - https://warnescopemounts.com/product/m629m-1-pc-smith-wesson-matte/. Yes, it came with the caveat that only the later model 19's came with pre-drilled holes that the Warne lined up with. But my gunsmith can drill and tap holes in his sleep so I thought this should be no problem.

It's a problem. As my smith explained to me, when S&W began the -3's they had just finished figuring out the best steel strength for the top strap for this 357 Mag K frame revolver. Drilling extra holes in the top strap may weaken the frame a little too much for magnum loads. Then there was an additional problem. One of the holes in the Warne rail lined up too close to the hole for the front screw for the rear sight. So close, in fact, that there was a slight overlap — not good.

Now I have to go pick up my 19-3 from my gunsmith without giving him any money. That means neither one of us is happy.

I'm probably going to sell my 19-3 and buy another handgun. I really like the Colt Python, but they are hard to find. Maybe harder to find than my S&W Model 19 was. And I would have to find out first if I can mount a rail on it.

But maybe there is another handgun that I would like instead. I'm looking for recommendations from anyone reading this. Here are my requirements:
- If it is not a revolver, it has to be as reliable as one. No jams, no misfires. Your usual semi-automatic pistol is probably not going to satisfy me.
- It needs the accuracy of a revolver. I was able to get under 3.5 MOA mean radius groupings at 24 yards with my 19-3. It takes a lot of expensive accurizing of a semi-automatic pistol to achieve that kind of grouping. This includes polishing the barrel, replacing the barrel bushing with something slightly tighter, and doing some expert rail tightening to reduce slide wobbling. I don't really want to get into that.
- It must either have a picatinny or weaver rail, have dovetail grooves, or have the beef to accept new drilled and tapped holes so that a rail can be mounted. I'm sorry, red dot sights have spoiled me. I do not want to go back to iron sights again.
- I would prefer 357 Magnum as I reload and already have the dies. But if I have to buy new dies to reload for what I want, then so be it. In any case, I want to stay in the .38/9mm range. 40 cal stuff and larger, or .30 cal and smaller, is another ball game.
- It must hold at least 6 rounds.

I think there are semi-automatic pistols that do not involve a moving slide with a barrel bushing, e.g. toggle bolts. I suspect there is no way to mount a rail on the top. But if any of you know of such a handgun, please reply.
 

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I don't know for sure, but I think Weigand makes mounts to fit darned near any revolver. I bought a rail for my Ruger SuperRedHawk that utilizes the factory scope ring mounts that the Rugers come with. I don't see a problem with drilling and tapping a few tiny screw holes in your S&W revolver to add a rail, maybe Goofy or another gunsmith on the forum can comment on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't know for sure, but I think Weigand makes mounts to fit darned near any revolver.
Just like the Warne rail I bought, the Weigand rail is made for model 19's built after 1992. Those 19's had holes pre-drilled and tapped in the top strap. They also moved the front screw for the rear sight. Thus, those 19's were built strong enough for magnum rounds with two extra holes (total 3) in the top strap. Putting the Weigand on my 19-3 will run into the same problem of the front hole on the Weigand not lining up with the front hole of my rear sight, but overlapping it slightly.

This makes me think I should look for another 19 made after 1992. I think that would be a 19-7 according to my Standard Catalog of S&W.
 

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If you step up to a new "L" frame S&W it may already have the drilled and tapped holes for a scope rail. You could also just pick up a later "K" framed gun with the drilled and tapped holes. In general a revolver is easier to fit a scope rail to than a semi auto. But newer semi-auto's may have a way to mount a small red dot in the place of the rear sight. Your research starts now.

Th accuraizing you suggest is for 1911's with their loose fits for total reliability even when covered in mud. There are newer 1911's that come tight from the factory to give excellent accuracy. One example I have is my Kimber 1911 Tartget 2. It was so tight new it took a break-in period before it fed ammo normally (this is spelled out in the owners manual). The reward was a tight gun, good trigger, and excellent accuracy. There are other semi-autos that will take a rail or have one. But the fit of the slide to the frame must be tight. The barrel hood fit to the slide must be tight as well. And the trigger pull must have minimum creep and adjustable overtravel. The weight of pull can usually be reduced with a spring change.

You need to do some hands-on shopping at your local guns store. Find one that will do the job. There are MANY possibilities !!

LDBennett
 
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