Ria 38 special

Ria 38 special DEFAULT

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Orders and returns

To ensure prompt, accurate service, all returns require prior authorization by MSR Distribution Customer Service Department. MSR Distribution will accept returns within 30 days of the original invoice date as long as the products are new and in original, unopened packaging (some restrictions apply). MSR distribution will not take any returns without a Return Authorization number.

Return process steps:

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  • Please ensure that the RMA # is clearly marked on the package to be returned, and the invoice is inside the box.
  • Our return specialists will issue credit for the return following an inspection, and you will be notified via email if there are any issues or if we are unable to apply credit for the return.  

Firearms Returns:
MSR Distribution will not take back any firearms or ammunition. All firearms that are defective must be taken up with the Manufacturer.

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Defective Merchandise:
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Restocking Fees:

There will be no restocking fee if an item is returned as a result of our error.

All other returns are subject to a 20% restocking fee.

See our Shipping & Returns page for more information on returns.

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Original and return shipping charges will not be refunded unless the return is the result of our error. Shipping labels will be provided if the item shipped was a result of our error.
See our Shipping information page for details on our shipping policies.

International Orders: We do not ship any international orders or orders to Guam, APOs and FPOs. 

Payment Options:  No minimum order requirements. MSR Distribution accepts E-Checks/ACH, Terms on approval, COD and all major credit cards.

NSF Check:  $75 penalty and a 2.5% interest charge if payment is not made good by the next day. If check isn’t cleared within 30 days, the account will be sent to the State of Nevada’s Attorney General for prosecution under NRS 205.134 section 597.960.

Modifications of Firearms:
MSR Distribution is a firearms distributor and, as such, makes no modifications to any firearm sold to its dealers. All firearms sold by MSR Distribution are sold to the dealer in the same configuration they were purchased from the manufacturer. As such, MSR Distribution is not responsible for any products which a manufacturer represents are compliant with any specific state’s regulations. Further, the modification by any third party of any firearm to make it “California Compliant” or compliant with any other state’s specific firearms regulations may void any manufacturer warranty and MSR Distribution SHALL NOT be held liable for such modifications or alterations.

California Consumers

WARNING: There are a number of products sold on this website which can expose you to chemicals, including lead, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov or visit the product manufacturer website. 

Sours: https://www.msrdistribution.com/rock-island-armory-m206-6-shot-38-special-revolver-with-201-in-barrel
This Rugged .38 Special Utility
Revolver Is Accurate And Dependable

By Will Dabbs, MD

Guns are simply tools not altogether unlike claw hammers, electric drills or iPads. Like guns, each of these examples possesses the capacity for misuse, but the world would be a bleak place without them. In the right applications these tools will build houses, bore holes and bring you a literal world of information. In the wrong ones they will smash your fingers, reliably extract sensitive information, or ruin someone’s reputation. Likewise, firearms are multifunction contrivances used to obtain food, dissuade ne’er-do-wells, and (in my case) rid my rural farm of venomous serpents. For a gun to be effective, however, it must also be handy.

I have a few weapons in my personal collection I don’t like to fondle without an oily cloth diaper between them and me. There are others I might otherwise willingly employ as doorstops. In between these two extremes are the working guns. These are the weapons I use to defend my home, person and family as well as address whatever vile pests I might encounter on my sojourn through life. Among this amalgam there exists a niche for a reliable, reasonably priced utility gun tough enough you don’t cringe when it gets knocked around a bit. The alpha predator among my practical guns is the Armscor M200 .38 Special revolver, and one rated for +P ammo.

The Armscor M200 is comparably at home in the glove box of your car or the bottom of your tackle box.
When stoked with shotshells, it will discourage any inquisitive water moccasins with sufficiently poor
judgment to violate your personal space.

Family Tree

Armscor does business as Rock Island Armory on this side of the pond, and they are the world’s most prolific manufacturer of 1911 pistols. Based in the Philippines, Armscor is a family-owned company with a storied history reaching back to well before WWII. While John Moses Browning’s 1911 remains the mainstay of their product line, I have for years been taken with their simple and unadorned wheelguns.

The basic design is more than a century old. The M200 is a no-frills 6-shot .38 Special revolver built along the classic Colt lines. This means the cylinder release must be pulled backwards to free the cylinder for reloading. The hammer operates via a transfer bar for safety, and the 4-inch semi-shrouded barrel is plenty heavy for harsh use. The front sight is fixed as is the rear, but mine shot over the sights right out of the box.

The M200 comes standard with a dark military-style Parkerized finish and nice rubber stocks. The gun runs either single or double action, and the trigger is comparable to the more expensive wheelguns in my collection. The double-action pull hovers around 12 pounds, while the nice, crisp single-action version is about 4-1/2. Fit and finish are not quite up to a classic Colt, but with a retail of $275 you could buy plenty of M200’s for what a used pony pistol might set you back.

I didn’t grow up shooting wheelguns, so the long double-action trigger common to all revolvers of this sort never seemed quite comfortable to me. As a result, I would grade myself as a solid “Decent” when shooting in this mode. The single-action trigger, however, really lends itself to proper marksmanship. The frame-cut rear sight produces a nice usable sight picture, even in a hurry. Lockup is rock solid.

I have owned my M200 for several years now, and this inexpensive imported gun shoots almost unnaturally well. I have high-end autoloading target guns costing many multiples of what the M200 set me back with which I can’t group as well. Reloads are slow, but a speedloader would spunk this up a bit. However, for the places I use the gun, 6 rounds are more than enough.

The Armscor M200 .38 Special delivers its shots right over the fixed sights. This group was fired at
14 yards with Armscor ammunition.

An Urban War Story

A friend was traversing downtown Memphis, Tennessee, several years ago en route to a doctor’s appointment. While paused at a stoplight a scruffy-looking scoundrel opened his passenger-side door and jumped into his vehicle unannounced. The man carried a bulky sack and announced nonchalantly, “You’re taking me across town.”

My buddy produced the .38 revolver he kept underneath the seat for just such eventualities and uttered the most timeless, manly comeback line in all of human history. He said simply, “I’ll show you six reasons why I won’t.” The miscreant leapt out of the car in the midst of rush hour traffic and was nearly run over making his escape.

No one was hurt. The police were not even notified. But my buddy might very well not have survived the day had he not been armed. It is for such as this the Armscor M200 really shines.

Will’s son Wyatt takes aim with his M200 revolver.

Hard-Use Handgun

The M200 is the gun you can leave in the bottom of your tackle box without feeling guilty. When stoked with shot shells this classic revolver will put “paid” to any errant water moccasins showing the poor grace to try and climb into the boat with you. If this seems an unfamiliar scenario, you clearly didn’t grow up where I did.

Having come of age in the Deep South, I have literally lost count of the number of times I have tripped over these horrible creatures while otherwise minding my own business. I once discovered one the size of my arm lurking underneath the seat of my aluminum johnboat as I prepared for an otherwise pleasant afternoon of drowning crickets. Another arm-sized monster made its presence known only after I inadvertently stepped on the thing leading my three young children on an exploratory outing around our rural farm.

But for the grace of God and my quick reflexes my precious daughter would have stepped on one barefoot at age 7 while out chasing lizards around the lake serving as our backyard. I shot one of these snakes from between my feet one day just as it prepared to strike. A good short-range maneuverable boom stick can be great medicine when you wander about where the wild things roam.

If your kid situation allows it, maintaining an Armscor M200 stoked with antipersonnel loads in the glove box of each of your vehicles means not having to go without a gun otherwise. Such a piece remains easily accessible and represents the classic point-and-click defensive interface. While there are indeed more powerful options, the century-old .38 Special remains the most popular revolver cartridge on the planet. Countless real-world shootings have shown the round to be effective for its intended purposes.

Final Ruminations

There is a certainly a place for the engraved Colt 1851 revolver known to have been carried by Moses himself on his trek out of Egypt. The place is not in my gun collection, but somebody out there keeps dropping the equivalent of a king’s ransom on classic firearms with a verifiable historical provenance. On the other end of the spectrum there resides a spot for an inexpensive reliable working gun you can knock around with impunity, comfortable in the fact it will work every single time you squeeze the trigger.

The Armscor M200 will never occupy the place of honor within the expansive weapons collection at the Smithsonian Institution. However, it does ride around in my glove box and keeps me safe while I am out fishing. At the end of the day, this is what really makes the gun more valuable to me.

M200

Maker: Armscor USA
150 North Smart Way
Pahrump, NV 89060
(775) 537-1444
https://gunsmagazine.com/company/armscor-precision-usa/

Action type: Double-action revolver
Caliber: .38 Special +P
Capacity: 6
Barrel length: 4 inches
Overall length: 8.75 inches
Weight: 28.1 ounces
Finish: Parkerized
Sights: Fixed
Grips: Combat-style rubber
Price: $275

Read More Out Of The Box Articles

Purchase A PDF Download Of The October 2017 Issue Now!

Sours: https://gunsmagazine.com/out-of-the-box/the-armscor-m200/
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Rock Island Armory Model 206 51289 38 Special, $320

There is that old expression: You get what you pay for. We did not pay a lot for the three snubnose revolvers tested below; in fact, we wanted to see what new revolvers were available for about $400 because we feel protection should fit in everyone’s budget. We found the Charter Arms Off Duty, Rossi Model R35102, and Rock Island Armory (RIA) Model 206 as not inexpensive choices, but not horribly spendy either. Note that we did not use the word “cheap,” since cheap implies lack of quality.

We felt all of these were well made, and we believe these revolvers will perform their designed task of self defense. They are also safe to carry fully loaded and concealed, since they are equipped with internal safety systems that require the trigger to be pulled fully to the rear to fire a round. If accidentally dropped, none of them will fire.

Snubnose revolvers like these three offer the user simplicity since there are no manual safeties, magazine-release buttons, slide stops or any other controls on the revolver other that the cycler latch. There is no magazine to lose since the revolver feeds off an attached cylinder. The double-action trigger pull on all three revolvers provided enough resistance — some were easier to press than others — so that in a high-stress situation, we felt they would be quite adequate and be less likely to be accidentally discharged.

All were metal-frame revolvers chambered in 38 Special and sported 2-inch barrels. The Rossi and Charter Arms models have 5-round capacities, while the RIA can carry 6 rounds. Because we also wanted to carry these revolvers, we looked at spurless and concealed-hammer models, which were the RIA and Charter Arms, respectively. The Rossi was a traditional SA/DA revolver with an exposed hammer with spur.

After running these revolvers, we found we liked a lot about all of them, but, as always, we noted some specific details about them we did not like. Our biggest gripes were the trigger pulls and grips, as we note below. Accuracy with some of these short-barrel protectors was a pleasant surprise.

All three were marked 38 Special, and we read the manuals to see if the guns were safe to use +P ammo. The Rossi manual stated it was compatible with +P ammo, but not to use +P frequently. We decided to test with 38 Special regular-pressure ammunition only, and acquired some Federal Champion 158-grain lead roundnose (LRN) cartridges, some Armscor 158-grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) rounds, and Hornady Custom fodder loaded with 158-grain XTP hollowpoints. Felt recoil with this ammunition varied widely.

A $400 revolver will exhibit some characteristics, such as fit and finish, that are not going to be nearly as nice as a revolver costing twice as much because finishing a firearm can be labor intensive and costly. What we concentrated on were the functional aspects: triggers, sights, grips, accuracy, concealability, and ease of use. Here is what we discovered:

GUN TESTS GRADE: B-

The Model 206 gave good accuracy for a DAO revolver;the grip was dated.

Rock Island Armory Model 206 51289 38 Special
ACTION TYPERevolver, double action only
OVERALL LENGTH9.25 in.
BARREL LENGTH2 in.
SIGHT RADIUS4 in.
OVERALL HEIGHT5.45 in.
MAX WIDTH1.4 in.
WEIGHT UNLOADED24 oz.
WEIGHT LOADED29 oz.
CYLINDER GAP.007 in.
CAPACITY6
FRAME FINISHMatte nickel
BARREL/CYLINDER FINISHMatte nickel
FRAME FRONT STRAP HEIGHT2.9 in.
FRAME BACK STRAP HEIGHT2.7 in.
GRIPCheckered wood
GRIP THICKNESS1.3 in.
GRIP CIRCUMFERENCE5.12 in.
FRONT SIGHTRamped blade
REAR SIGHTFixed groove
TRIGGER PULL WEIGHT (DA)14 lbs.
SAFETYInternal transfer bar
WARRANTYLimited lifetime
TELEPHONE(775) 537-1444
WEBSITEArmscor.com
MADE INPhilippines

The RIA, imported by Armscor, is a traditional steel-frame snubnose with a look that seemed frozen in time. The Model 206 is similar to a Colt DA revolver design with a cylinder latch that is pulled rearward to swing open the cylinder. The cylinder also rotates clockwise like a Colt. In fact, the action reminded us of a Colt Mark III J-series action with a coiled mainspring, such as that found on the Colt Official Police first produced in 1969. The RIA was equipped with a crowned 2-inch barrel with a full underlug that houses the knurled ejector rod. The front ramp sight was machined into the top of the barrel. The ramp was not serrated, so there was some glare when aiming in direct sunlight.

This Model 206 is the spurless model. The hammer sits flush with the rear of the frame, and it is DAO only. The fit of the side plate and crane to the frame showed slight gaps, something a more expensive revolver would likely not display. The 6-shot cylinder slightly wiggled when in battery, but not as much as the Rossi. The Charter Arms had the best lock up, in our opinion. Tooling marks were evident on the exterior, though the satin nickel finish was evenly applied.

The grip was the first characteristic noted by team members that looked dated and vaguely resembled a revolver grip design from a century ago. The grip was constructed of fairly nicely checkered wood, and the wood-to-metal fit was okay, with some overlap of the wood. At the butt, the grip bulged out; toward the top of the back grip strap, it was very narrow. That space just behind the trigger guard, which revolver manufacturers have been filling with grip for decades, was open. In hand, it was hard to get a solid and firm grip because of this space. Because the 206 resembled a Colt, we would check to see if a pair of Colt aftermarket grips would work with the RIA.

A transfer-bar safety system was employed with the RIA along with the firing pin located in the frame, like the Charter Arms. The Rossi had the firing pin located on the hammer. The trigger needs to be pulled all the way rearward for the revolver to fire.

On the plus side, the sights were large and easy to acquire. We found the trigger was the second smoothest of the three, with minimal stacking in the final press. It measured 14 pounds at the break, but felt less. The trigger was wide and smooth.

The RIA was the largest of the three guns tested but was not that much heavier that the 5-shot Rossi. We liked that it held six rounds and was only 0.1 inch fatter than the other two revolvers, which makes a difference in IWB carry.

At the range, we were pleasantly surprised to see the RIA was accurate. In fact, it was the most accurate of the three tested. Some team members were able to shoot six shots into one ragged hole. With the Federal and Armscor ammo, five-shot groups using a rest at 15 yards were a half-inch or less. They grew to 0.6 inches with the Hornady ammo. During recoil, that narrow portion of the backstrap slapped the webbing of our hand as severely as the lightweight Charter Arms, even though the RIA was the largest and heaviest of the guns tested. As such, we had a hard time finding a holster to fit it. We improvised with a Galco holster and found the larger RIA was not as comfortable to carry as either the Rossi or Charter Arms, in our view.

Our Team Said: The Model 206 was not as nicely manufactured as the other two, and the grip needs to be updated, but it was accurate. Also, the trigger was the second best of the three tested, and it held six rounds for a 20 percent edge in capacity over the 5-shooters.

GUN TESTS GRADE: B

The R35102 had the best trigger and the most comfortable and largest grip; the spurred hammer could get hung upin a draw from concealment.

Rossi Model R35102 38 Special +P
ACTION TYPERevolver, double action
OVERALL LENGTH6.5 in.
BARREL LENGTH2 in.
SIGHT RADIUS3.7 in.
OVERALL HEIGHT4.7 in.
MAX WIDTH1.3 in.
WEIGHT UNLOADED24 oz.
WEIGHT LOADED28.1 oz.
CYLINDER GAP.006 in.
CAPACITY5
FRAME FINISHBlued steel
BARREL/CYLINDER FINISHBlued steel
FRAME FRONT STRAP HEIGHT2.4 in.
FRAME BACK STRAP HEIGHT3.2 in.
GRIPCheckered rubber, finger grooves
GRIP THICKNESS1.1 in.
GRIP CIRCUMFERENCE5.12 in.
FRONT SIGHTRamped blade
REAR SIGHTFixed groove
TRIGGER PULL WEIGHT (SA)3.2 lbs.
TRIGGER PULL WEIGHT (DA)12.2 lbs.
SAFETYInternal hammer block, security lock
WARRANTYLimited
TELEPHONE(305) 474-0401
WEBSITERossiUSA.com
MADE INBrazil

The Rossi is manufactured in Brazil by the same company that manufactures Taurus revolvers. The resemblance to a Taurus and a Smith & Wesson J-frame revolver was obvious. The Rossi had a nice blued finish and a full rubber grip that made the small revolver feel like a full-size unit. The metal-to-metal fit was better than the RIA, with no gaps. The barrel was 2 inches in length with a full shrouded ejector rod, and the front ramp sight was milled into the top of the barrel. The ramp was serrated so there was not glare when aiming in direct sunlight.

Unlike the RIA and Charter Arms handguns, the Rossi is a SA/DA with a hammer spur nicely checkered and offering a good grip. The hammer was a bit old school with the firing pin attached. The hammer is a rebounding type so the firing pin does not rest on a live cartridge primer, except when the trigger is pulled fully rearward. There was also a hammer-block system similar to those found on S&W revolvers, which is activated when the hammer is cocked in single action. Accordingly, the Rossi is safe to carry with all five chambers loaded. It also included a security lock (like all Taurus revolvers) that requires a key to inactivate and activate the mechanism.

Our initial examination saw a slight bit of wiggle in the cylinder. We ran a range rod down the barrel just to check the chamber-to-barrel alignment and found it was good. All revolvers were within spec, in fact. At the top of the crane was a detent that locked the front of the cylinder to the frame.

The Rossi had a double-action trigger-pull weight of about 12 pounds, and our shooters felt it had the best trigger of all three revolvers — smooth and consistent. We also felt the grip played a part in the trigger pull, providing plenty of leverage for the hand to work against. The trigger itself was smooth and wide, so the pull actually felt less. In double-action operation, there was a perceptible amount of additional finger press needed to fire the revolver due to stacking.

The cylinder latch slid forward to open the cylinder. The grip and the latch allowed unfettered access to the cylinder with a speed loader. A ring appeared around the cylinder shortly after dry firing and testing the Rossi. A ring and marks on both the Charter Arms and RIA also appeared.

At the range the Rossi was very pleasant to shoot due the grip. Cartridges that stung our hands in the other revolvers did not have the same effect in the Rossi. We fired the Rossi for accuracy in single action and were surprised at the accuracy. It particularly liked the Federal ammo, giving us a best 5-shot group of 0.4 inch. Average accuracy was 1.5 inches for 5 shots across the board. The sights, we thought, were good, slightly smaller than the RIA and Charter Arms sights. We would have liked the rear-sight groove to be notched just above the top of the hammer to relieve glare and provide more contrast.

We used a few holsters designed for a S&W J-frame to tote the Rossi and found the size and weight comfortable to bear. The grip was the largest of the three tested, and if we were to daily carry this revolver, we would opt for smaller grips. No doubt our comfort shooting would diminish as the grips shrunk.

Our Team Said: The Model R35102 was the most comfortable revolver to shoot and it had the best trigger out of the box. The cylinder had play in it, and the grip was a bit too large for deep carry.

GUN TESTS GRADE: A

The Off Duty started off with a gritty trigger but soon slicked up; it was the lightest and most compact in this test.

ACTION TYPEDouble action only
OVERALL LENGTH6.25 in.
BARREL LENGTH2 in.
SIGHT RADIUS3.8 in.
OVERALL HEIGHT4.9 in.
MAX WIDTH1.3 in.
WEIGHT UNLOADED12 oz.
WEIGHT LOADED16.1 oz.
CYLINDER GAP.006 in.
CAPACITY5
FRAME FINISHMatte aluminum
BARREL/CYLINDER FINISHMatte stainless
FRAME FRONT STRAP HEIGHT1.6 in.
FRAME BACK STRAP HEIGHT3 in.
GRIPRibbed rubber, finger grooves
GRIP THICKNESS1.2 in.
GRIP CIRCUMFERENCE5 in.
FRONT SIGHTRamped blade
REAR SIGHTTop groove
TRIGGER PULL WEIGHT (DA)12 lbs.
SAFETYInternal transfer bar
WARRANTYLimited lifetime
TELEPHONE(203) 922-1652
WEBSITECharterArms.com
MADE INUSA
Charter Arms Off Duty 53811 38 Special

The Off Duty was the smallest and lightest as well as the most expensive revolver tested. It had a hammerless design, meaning the hammer was enclosed within the frame, making the Off Duty smooth and snag free. The frame is made of aluminum and left in a matte finish. The barrel, crane, and cylinder are made of stainless steel with a complementary matte finish. As a result, the gun had a subtle two-tone look that some testers liked.

The black rubber grip was minimalist, with finger grooves that positioned our hand in a high, comfortable spot. The sides of the grips also had a slight palm swell and were ribbed for a better grasp. In addition, the grips filled that space behind the trigger guard that the RIA left vacant. In fact, our grip hold was the highest on the Charter Arms, which helped control muzzle flip and perform a fast second shot. We did note that the rubber grip fit to the backstrap overlapped. Not the best fit by any means. We would remove the extra rubber that overlaps the rear back strap. When shooting the Off Duty, we needed to curl the small finger under the grip.

The Charter’s cylinder lock up was the tightest of all three with no wiggle, which gave us more confidence in the design. The Off Duty, like the Rossi, locks the cylinder in the front and rear. The Charter Arms uses the ejector rod, which is nested and in two pieces that telescope to snap back into the frame. The cylinder latch was well serrated and large. It is pushed forward to swing out the five-shot cylinder. Both the grips and latch are speedloader friendly. The front edge of the cylinder had a slight chamfer, which aided reholstering.

The Off Duty revolver employs a one-piece frame, while the Rossi and RIA use a side plate on the frame. The one-piece frame makes the small revolver strong while allowing it to be slightly smaller than the two-piece design of the Rossi and RIA.

The 2-inch barrel used a full lug that enclosed the ejector rod. The lug was tapered like the Rossi so reholstering was easier. The ramp front sight was milled into the top of the barrel and serrated to minimize glare. The rear sight was a groove along the top. It was also notched so the aluminum rear sight contrasted nicely with the stainless front sight. These were the best sights, in our opinion. Out of the box, the trigger was gritty, but it soon smoothed out with dry-fire practice and range testing. The trigger was serrated in the middle, allowing users to keep the position of their trigger finger the same, even during recoil.

Due to the compact size and light weight of the Off Duty, recoil was most noticeable, whacking the web of our hand at the top position of the grip. The rear of the rubber grips were squared off, and we also felt those edges slap our palms. If the rear edges of the grips were rounded, we believe felt recoil would be less. Though the Off Duty scored lowest in accuracy among the three, we felt 2.0 inches for five shots was acceptable for a close-in defense weapon. We were able to coax it to under an inch with the Federal ammo, and our smallest groups with the Armscor and Hornady ammos hovered around 1.5 inches. The smallish grip and stacking on the last bit of trigger press no doubt hindered accuracy. Empty cases ejected smartly out of the Charter Arms, as they did with the other two.

In concealed carry, the Off Duty shined. It could be carried in a holster designed for a S&W J-frame or dropped in a pants or cargo-pants pocket.

Our Team Said: The Off Duty was the lightest and most compact revolver tested. The trigger was initially gritty, but it smoothed out after use. We would not hesitate to carry this revolver.

Federal Champion 38 Sp. 158-gr. LRNRossi Model R35 102Charter Arms Off DutyRock Island Armory M206
Average velocity649 fps658 fps613 fps
Muzzle energy148 ft.-lbs.152 ft.-lbs.132 ft.-lbs.
Smallest group0.4 in.0.9 in.0.5 in.
Average group0.6 in.1.6 in.1.6 in.
Armscor 38 Sp. 158-gr. FMJ
Average velocity826 fps826 fps784 fps
Muzzle energy239 ft.-lbs.239 ft.-lbs.216 ft.-lbs.
Smallest group1.3 in.1.2 in.0.4 in.
Average group1.6 in.2.2 in.0.7 in.
Hornady Custom 38 Sp. 158-gr. XTP
Average velocity682 fps620 fps722 fps
Muzzle energy163 ft.-lbs.135 ft.-lbs.183 ft.-lbs.
Smallest group0.7 in.1.7 in.0.6 in.
Average group1.7 in.2.5 in.1.2 in.

To collect accuracy data, we fired five-shot groups from a bench using a rest. We fired the Rossi single action and the Charter Arms and RIA double action. Distance: 15 yards. We recorded velocities using a ProChrono digital chronograph with the first screen 15 feet from the muzzle.

Written and photographed by Bob Campbell, using evaluations from Gun Tests team testers.

Sours: https://www.gun-tests.com/handguns/revolvers38/400-snubnose-revolvers-rossi-ria-and-charter-arms-2/

The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum > Thoughts on RIA M206 snub nose .38special


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Hdonly

February 27, 2020, 10:20 AM

I am thinking about a RIA M206. Just looking for a small revolver to carry while working around my 10 acres.


lee n. field

February 27, 2020, 11:47 AM

Every Armscor revolver I've handled or seen in the flesh has seemed very rough.


Aguila Blanca

February 27, 2020, 12:14 PM

https://ezine.m1911.org/showthread.php?140-Armscor-M200-Series-Revolver-Review

What I have learned is that the speed loader works for the snubby if it's wearing the factory wood grips, but not if you install the Pachmayr grips the review suggests. I much prefer the Pachmayr grips on mine, so I live without the speed loader.


TruthTellers

February 28, 2020, 01:20 AM

They're fine, just make sure you look yours over real good. They may not look like quality and the cylinder release is VERY stiff out of box and also it's clunky to close the cylinder and something you have to learn and get use to, but once the cylinder is in, the trigger is excellent.


Cheapshooter

February 28, 2020, 01:52 AM

Happy with mine, for what it is. A low priced 38 snubbie to just use for a range toy. I think for your knock around use it would be a perfect fit. The design is pretty cool, Colt Detective looking. But it isn't going to impress anybody at tye range with a finely finished look.
They fit the "good gun for the money" category perfectly.


Hdonly

February 28, 2020, 08:37 AM

Sounds like it is just what I need. It will get beat up a little bit while I'm working around the place. Hate to treat a real expensive gun to that. I have already destroyed a couple of cellphones like that. Thanks for the feedback.


Hdonly

February 28, 2020, 10:22 AM

That's what got me looking at an RIA. I have an RIA M1911A1-CS .45 that I really like. Never gives me a bit of trouble.


CajunBass

February 28, 2020, 01:46 PM

I bought a couple of the RIA's with the four inch barrels. Good little guns. Nothing fancy for sure, but I was surprised how good the triggers were. One was a little better, but neither was bad. I only shot one of them. I shot it just as poorly as I do any other 4", fixed sight revolver. The grips aren't bad, but mine needed a couple minutes work with a dull pocket knife to scrape some flashing off the joints. Nothing major.

Pretty good for the money I thought.


Carl the Floor Walker

February 29, 2020, 05:05 PM

I plan to get one, especially after shooting one. Range buddy let me try his out. Nice shooter and trigger. As I said on another tread, Not a polished beauty, but functions nice and you sure can't beat the price.


kymasabe

March 1, 2020, 06:00 PM

My first opinion was they were roughly finished and heavy as all heck, but...if they work well, are reliable and are affordable, I'd certainly consider one for a truck gun, farm gun, etc.


Onward Allusion

March 1, 2020, 09:18 PM

The rough finish is Parkerizing... Functions fine. Swapped out the wood grips for Pachmayr. Accuracy is that of a snub. For me, COM at 7 to 10 yards. I picked mine up for $196 about 5 years ago. To date, I've put probably between 500 to 700 rounds through mine, including handloads. Never a problem.


Hdonly

March 2, 2020, 10:52 AM

Going to pick mine up tomorrow. Got bullets and targets ready and waiting.


unclenunzie

March 2, 2020, 12:06 PM

My understanding is these are not rated for +P loads if that matters. The Taurus 85 series (now 856 with 6 rounds and +P rated) is well regarded and available in stainless or non-stainless steels. I do not think the price difference is significant.

I see you have chosen. Enjoy it in good health.


Aguila Blanca

March 2, 2020, 12:22 PM

What does "rated for" +P mean? Rock Island says their revolvers are safe to fire +P ammunition through but they caution that a steady diet of +P will accelerate wear and tear on the firearm. I'm pretty certain that even S&W says the same thing, and it would surprise me greatly if Taurus doesn't say the same thing. In fact:

Taurus: https://www.taurususa.com/wp-content/uploads/manuals/Taurus_Manual_856_856ul.pdf

“+P” ammunition can be dangerous. There is a detailed discussion about “+P” and “+P+” ammunition on page 18 of this manual. Until you have read that information, do not fire any ammunition marked “+P” in your revolver.

Even if your Taurus® firearm is rated for Plus-P (“+P”) ammunition, such ammunition generates pressures significantly in excess of the pressures associated with standard ammunition. Such pressures may affect the useful life of the firearm or exceed the margin of safety built into many firearms. Unless you need +P ammunition, do not use it, particularly for practice.


TruthTellers

March 2, 2020, 12:45 PM

The way I've looked at +P in the Rock Island .38's is shoot standard pressure at the range, maybe a few rounds of your preferred +P ammo to get an idea for recoil and POI, then when using it for defense to keep it loaded with +P.

IDK about others, but when I shoot .38 at the range, 95% of it is with standard pressure cheap stuff or my handloads that are near max powder charges.


unclenunzie

March 2, 2020, 02:24 PM

From the Taurus manual as above, but with more context, as Taurus themselves makes a distinction between +P rated and not +P rated models:

Only fire SAAMI rated Plus P (“+P”) ammunition in Taurus® models designated by Taurus for +P use as
below. Firing +P ammunition in other Taurus products may be dangerous and can result in serious
bodily injury or death.
Model 85 small-frame revolver in 38 Special.
Model 856 revolvers in 38 Special.
Model 850 small-frame revolver in 38 Special.
Model 851 small-frame revolver in 38 Special.
Model 85 Polymer small-frame revolver in 38 Special.
Model 82 medium-frame revolver in 38 Special.
Model 817 compact frame (tracker) revolver in 38 Special.
All firearms chambered in 38 Super Automatic.
All firearms chambered in 45 Automatic (ACP).
All firearms chambered in 9mm Luger.


Even if your Taurus® firearm is rated for Plus-P (“+P”) ammunition, such ammunition generates pressures
significantly in excess of the pressures associated with standard ammunition. Such pressures may affect
the useful life of the firearm or exceed the margin of safety built into many firearms. Unless you need +P
ammunition, do not use it, particularly for practice.

For Armscor/.RI, I can find only this from their FAQ page:

CAN ARMSCOR GUNS HANDLE +P AMMO?
Yes all of our guns are +p ammo ready, but please use only when necessary.

So this says they are also rated for +P just not quite as verbosely as Taurus does. But even so, I would not turn one of these revolvers away, as they are well regarded by those who have them.


Hdonly

March 2, 2020, 03:41 PM

Plus P is a waste of money and hard on equipment. I use standard hollow-points on the range and for SD. Practice a lot so you can hit what your aiming at. Standard .38special will do the job.


OneFreeTexan

March 2, 2020, 06:00 PM

What Hdonly said,!!!!


JERRYS.

March 2, 2020, 09:30 PM

post #18 says a lot with few words.


silvermane_1

March 3, 2020, 02:00 AM

Plus P is a waste of money and hard on equipment. I use standard hollow-points on the range and for SD. Practice a lot so you can hit what your aiming at. Standard .38special will do the job.
I dunno know about that, I remember some years back a woman defended her home with standard 38 Spl. shooting the perp in the head/face 5 or 6 times, and he still kept coming.


Hdonly

March 3, 2020, 08:53 AM

You knew this personally or did you just hear about this?

I suspect that there is a survivor from being shot by just about every caliber made. A headshot is not always the most lethal depending on placement, angle, etc. You can get shot in the leg with a .22 short and die on the spot depending on where the bullet hits. An individual incident means very little.


Cheapshooter

March 3, 2020, 12:42 PM

You knew this personally or did you just hear about this?
Without doing a lot of searching I do remember reading that story somewhere. Where the bullet hits is more important than how powerful it is. But a little more can be helpfull.
If you would want more punch, the EAA Windicator comes in a 357 Magnum snubbie. Rock solid with a better finish than the Rock Island. Still pretty reasonably priced at about $100 over the RIA.


Hdonly

March 3, 2020, 01:54 PM

I'm perfectly happy with .38 Special HP. I just got back from picking the RIA up. The trigger pull is nicer than I expected and the finish is fine. Cylinder rotation is smooth and lock-up is tight. I'm happy with it. May get a chance to shoot it here in a little bit.

https://thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=110844&stc=1&d=1583261353

https://thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=110845&stc=1&d=1583261574


shoebox1.1

March 3, 2020, 02:26 PM

Looks good!


Cheapshooter

March 3, 2020, 03:56 PM

Do they still include the rubber grips? They do provide a better feel, but mine being nothing more than a range toy I prefer the vintage look of the small wood grips.
I have read of some people having a problem with "hammer bite" using the smaller grips. Switching to the larger rubber grips eliminate th e problem.
I say "some people" because I have never had an issue with the hammer pinching my hand.


Hdonly

March 3, 2020, 04:48 PM

Yes, you still get the 2nd set of gripsl. I'm like you. I much prefer wood grips.


TruthTellers

March 4, 2020, 12:36 AM

The other grips are plastic, not rubber. Same grips that come on the 4 inch RIA .38


Aguila Blanca

March 4, 2020, 01:42 AM

I found the OEM wood grips to be too small to hold the gun properly ... and I don't have big hands. The Armscor molded plastic grips feel better, but they're so big that they look completely out of place on a snubnose. I put Pachmayr grips (for a Colt Detective Special) on mine. They fit almost perfectly, and they are a nice compromise in size between the Armscor wood grips and the Armscor plastic grips.


TruthTellers

March 4, 2020, 09:50 AM

I found the OEM wood grips to be too small to hold the gun properly ... and I don't have big hands. The Armscor molded plastic grips feel better, but they're so big that they look completely out of place on a snubnose. I put Pachmayr grips (for a Colt Detective Special) on mine. They fit almost perfectly, and they are a nice compromise in size between the Armscor wood grips and the Armscor plastic grips.
I found the wood grips too small as well and they caused me to pull shots to the left every time. I thought that the crown was bad or the sights were way off and was about to call Rock Island, but decided I'd try the black grips first and sure enough the gun shot to POA.

I don't have an issue with the big grips, they may look weird on the gun and wouldn't be good for CCW, but the primary purpose of this for me was a home defense gun stashed in a secret place or maybe a vehicle gun.

Can't say I'd really want to carry the RIA anyway, it's quite heavy for that role and the cylinder is much wider than 5 shot snubs like the LCR.


Onward Allusion

March 4, 2020, 05:38 PM

The grips aren't wood. Damn fine imitations, however. :)


Aguila Blanca

March 4, 2020, 07:10 PM

The grips aren't wood.
Armscor seems to think they are. What do you know that they don't know?


Onward Allusion

March 4, 2020, 11:53 PM

I guess they are wood now. The one I have came with wood-like hard plastic. Really good looking but not wood.


Cheapshooter

March 5, 2020, 01:44 AM

I guess they are wood now. The one I have came with wood-like hard plastic. Really good looking but not wood.
Well, I might have been wrong when I said rubber, just thought it was a hard "ruber" like material. But I'm sure my "wood" grips are indeed wood.


m&p45acp10+1

March 5, 2020, 06:21 AM

Cheapshooter. Mine came with 2 sets of grips. One was similar to a Paachmyer, The other was a set of wood grips that were on it. I have never installed the plastic ones, as they are too bulky. My wife carries the gun daily. She likes the way the grip fits her hand.


arquebus357

March 5, 2020, 11:14 AM

EEEK... that revolver is LOADED !!!

(Arquebus faints)


Hdonly

March 6, 2020, 12:27 AM

"EEEK... that revolver is LOADED !!!

(Arquebus faints) "

Well it ain't much good if it's empty


Carl the Floor Walker

March 7, 2020, 12:33 AM

RIA? Yes, I want one, but trying to decide which one. Check out this video made just yesterday on the Brand and quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL5y5O3oSCU


Aguila Blanca

March 7, 2020, 01:29 AM

RIA? Yes, I want one, but trying to decide which one. Check out this video made just yesterday on the Brand and quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL5y5O3oSCU

Heh, heh.

Ol' Hickock 45 was trying awfully hard there to make it sound like the Kimber might actually be worth more than four times what the RIA costs. I picked up on how he kept mentioning MIM parts when talking about the Rock Island, while conveniently overlooking the fact that Kimber uses MIM parts, too.

Shame on you, Hickock 45. If you can't do a fair, unbiased comparison ... don't do a comparison.


Disclaimer: My M200 was bought in 2008, before Kimber even thought about making revolvers. It's not a daily carry gun, I use it as a range gun. It's fine. No problems.


Carl the Floor Walker

March 7, 2020, 06:00 AM

Very fair comparison by Hickcock. If anything he seemed to have a bias for the RIA. He is a longtime Revolver shooter love's them from everything I have seen and as far as anyone not being bias to a degree is rare find. The Kimber is a beautiful gun, would love to own one, but cannot justify the cost. At least according to my wallet and budget. The RIA seems like a good work horse.


Hdonly

March 7, 2020, 12:18 PM

Hickok can be quite biased. I watched him review a High-Point. It shot well. It functioned well. Even when he said something positive about it, he tried to beat the gun down. The few problems he actually had appeared unique. I have owned and fire many, many rounds through my HP.380 and had none of the problems he had. He just doesn't like High-Points and you can tell it. I lost some respect that I held for his opinion.


osbornk

March 7, 2020, 12:19 PM

I considered the RIA but when I looked at them beside the Taurus 856, I bought the Taurus because the fit and finish was so much better. I paid about $40 more but I felt it was well worth the difference.


Carl the Floor Walker

March 7, 2020, 12:51 PM

I considered the RIA but when I looked at them beside the Taurus 856, I bought the Taurus because the fit and finish was so much better. I paid about $40 more but I felt it was well worth the difference.
I have been considering the 856 as well. I have never owned a Taurus, but know many range club members over the years that love the 85. I would like to see Ruger come out with one in the LCR model that I love.
Would appreciate more post on the 856 as time goes on. Thanks for posting.


Cheapshooter

March 7, 2020, 01:07 PM

Might want to watch Hickokagain, ane reassess your comments. He seemed quite fair, apologized for using he term "cheap", made fun of status symbol guns, and said the whole MIM topic may be way over done. He actually complimented tye RIA on function. He basically pointed out differences you would expect in two guns on opposite ends of the price range, and made a point that the RIA is actually better than he expected.
Being a connoisseur of "cheap guns" mysrlf, I wasn't insulted in the least.


TruthTellers

March 7, 2020, 03:24 PM

Watched the video, Hickok was pretty balanced, but when he mentioned MIM and it being overblown, I'll say that the only MIM part that's ever busted on me is the transfer bar in the Charter Professional. The transfer bar in the Rock Island isn't MIM as I've shot and dry fired it a lot more than that Charter and it's held up.

It's likely that the Kimber has a lot more MIM parts in it than the Rock Island does.

Hickok did a better job than other Youtubers would have. Had it been YankeeMarshall, he would have outright lied about the Rock Island being junk because with him the only thing that matters about revolvers is how they look, how much they cost, and if they're in .357 Magnum.


Aguila Blanca

March 7, 2020, 08:16 PM

Lauer Weaponry has a new Duracoat product called (IIRC) Durablue, which is supposed to replicate in a spray-on finish the appearance of a traditional, hot blue gun finish. I am periodically tempted to try it on my RIA revolver to see if I can make it look like a Colt Detective Special. The RIA parkerized finish should be an ideal base for a Duracoat application.


silvermane_1

March 8, 2020, 04:33 AM

You knew this personally or did you just hear about this?

I suspect that there is a survivor from being shot by just about every caliber made. A headshot is not always the most lethal depending on placement, angle, etc. You can get shot in the leg with a .22 short and die on the spot depending on where the bullet hits. An individual incident means very little.
IIRC it was in one of the gun mags/"rags" it might have even been a yarn by Massad Ayoob.


Carl the Floor Walker

March 8, 2020, 06:23 AM

I'm perfectly happy with .38 Special HP. I just got back from picking the RIA up. The trigger pull is nicer than I expected and the finish is fine. Cylinder rotation is smooth and lock-up is tight. I'm happy with it. May get a chance to shoot it here in a little bit.

https://thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=110844&stc=1&d=1583261353

https://thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=110845&stc=1&d=1583261574
Nice close up Pic Hdonly. Thanks


ThomasT

March 9, 2020, 02:08 PM

I wonder if a Tyler T-Grip or a BK grip adapter for a Colt would fin on the wood grip version? I have sort of considered getting one of these but have never seen one in person. I would probably lean more towards the 4" version.


Aguila Blanca

March 9, 2020, 10:06 PM

I wonder if a Tyler T-Grip or a BK grip adapter for a Colt would fin on the wood grip version? I have sort of considered getting one of these but have never seen one in person. I would probably lean more towards the 4" version.
As was mentioned (I think) in the review to which I posted a link several posts above, Pachmayr rubber grips for the Colt Detective Special fit the Rock Island almost perfectly. I put a set of the Pachmayrs on mine, and I think it makes a YUUUGE difference. It's just much more comfortable and secure to hold with the Pachmayrs.

So if those grips fit, I would guess that other grips made for the Detective Special should also fit -- possibly with some minor fitting, although the Pachmayrs didn't require any tweaking on mine.


CajunBass

March 10, 2020, 03:52 AM

I’d try a BK. I wouldn’t be surprised if it fit “close enough” anyway. If not I’d break out the sandpaper. Nothing to lose really. The BK’s aren’t real expensive.


ThomasT

March 10, 2020, 02:34 PM

As was mentioned (I think) in the review to which I posted a link several posts above, Pachmayr rubber grips for the Colt Detective Special fit the Rock Island almost perfectly. I put a set of the Pachmayrs on mine, and I think it makes a YUUUGE difference. It's just much more comfortable and secure to hold with the Pachmayrs.

Yes I remember you posting that but I'm like a lot of others who are sort of tired of rubber grips. And I do have several mounted on guns.


Aguila Blanca

March 10, 2020, 02:42 PM

Yes I remember you posting that but I'm like a lot of others who are sort of tired of rubber grips. And I do have several mounted on guns.
Understood. The reason I mentioned it again was to point out that the Pachmayrs fit with NO modifications. I think there was maybe a hairline gap between the two halves, but I didn't have to do any carving or drilling or anything. Which leads me to think there's a high probability that any grip for a Detective Special should also fit the Armscor.


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Sours: https://thefiringline.com/forums/archive/index.php?t-605886.html

38 special ria

Gun Review: Rock Island Armory M200 Revolver in .38 Special

m200.1

Rock Island Armory M200 revolver in .38 Special. (Photo: Nate Parker)

Rock Island Armory is best known for their budget oriented 1911s. It is hard to go in any gun store and not see an RIA 1911 for sale. There also happens to be a few other RIA guns out there, including two versions of essentially the same .38 caliber revolver, the M200 which is the 4” barreled “service” model and a 2” version specifically geared towards concealed carry.

RIA_M200_Internals

Detail of RIA M200 internals. (Photo: Nate Parker)

The M200 and its smaller sibling the M206 are both six round revolvers and share functional similarities with Colt’s revolver offerings with the cylinder latch that retracts to the rear to open and internal components that function similar to some of Colt’s later revolver designs with a transfer bar safety and coil main spring. There are rumors that Colt sold the tooling and design to RIA to build these revolvers, but as far as I can tell, those are just rumors.

Rock Island Armory has been in the revolver business for quite some time actually, dating back to the 1970’s with their 100 series of revolvers. In the mid 80’s RIA began producing the 200 series of revolvers, so they have been around for a while, just not very well known in the United States.

m200.3

Length on the RIA M200 is 8.75 inches. (Photo: Nate Parker)

Other than the barrel length and different grips, the M200 and the M206 are the same gun. Not being someone afraid to carry a full size gun, I opted for the M200 with its 4” barrel and larger grips. Like the RIA 1911s, the M200 is also budget priced. It can be snagged for a touch over $200, or if you do your shopping around, it might be possible to find one for just under $200. The price point is evident in the gun as well.

The finish is very similar to most of the RIA 1911’s with the dull, parkerized olive drab sort of color. It’s far from the classic bluing or stainless finishes on most other revolvers, but it seems durable, albeit maybe a little less attractive. There are machining marks and mold lines visible on certain parts of the firearm — nothing that affects function, but certainly affects the form. The sights are very basic, about as basic as I expect from RIA guns, with a fixed front sight and fixed rear sight notch in the top strap. Even though the sights are rudimentary, I did not have as much trouble as I anticipated tracking the sights at speed or under recoil. The grips, or stocks, are made of a hard plastic and functional, my only issue being that the left grip panel impeded the use of a speed loader.

Upon further inspection of the M200, I found it locked up fairly tight and had barely acceptable timing from the factory. The trigger was a little “hitchy” on the return stroke, but that smoothed over time. On two of the chambers the M200 was barely locking up prior to the hammer dropping when using a very slow and deliberate DA trigger press. I felt the timing was not so deficient to cause an unsafe firing condition, but certainly warranted careful observation over time. The firearm came enclosed in a hard plastic box with foam lining, similar to the RIA 1911s, and all the usual manuals and promotional materials. About what one would expect for a $200 revolver.

m200.4

RIA M200 in IWB holster. (Photo: Nate Parker)

On the range, the RIA M200 performed well enough for what it is. The accuracy was not spectacular, but not horrible either. I could routinely get hits on a large steel popper target at 50 yards, from the holster. On paper, the gun groups better with some loads than others. With Monarch 158gr SJHP it shoots high and to the left. With Magtech 158gr FMJ it shoots closer to point of aim at extended ranges. I also tried 110gr Hornady Critical Defense and it also shot close to point of aim out to 50 yards. Rock Island Armory says that the M200 can hand a “limited” diet of +p .38 Special, but I erred on the side of caution and did not cross that bridge. I am satisfied using non +p loads, but others may not be.

The Monarch 158gr SJHP also had issues with fired cases sticking in the chambers of the cylinder when I would go to eject them. Initially I thought this might be a fault of the revolver, the chambers appeared fairly rough inside, but when I switched to Magtech ammunition the issue resolved itself. Revolvers are not generally thought of as “ammunition sensitive”, but overall I was getting better performance both in terms of accuracy and function during the reload with the Magtech ammunition.

Five_rounds_shot_standing_2C_unsupported_from_25_yards_in_double_action

Five round shot standing unsupported from 25 yards in double action. (Photo: Nate Parker)

Over the course of testing, I fired a total of 575 rounds through the RIA M200. I periodically checked the status of the timing throughout testing it remained unchanged. I am still curious how long it will take for the timing to degrade enough to require attention. For now, I am satisfied, but I admit to not having very high expectations for a $200 revolver. I did not experience any function or durability issues over the course of the testing period. The trigger settled in overtime and smoothed up considerably, which facilitated a higher level of shooting. The finish did wear in areas where it might be expected. On sharp edges and high points of the firearm that came into contact with the kydex holster I was using. Over the few months that I have had the gun, I did not experience any rust issues, despite living in a humid, southern environment.

So is it worth the $200? First, what do we expect from a $200 gun? For me, it essentially has to shoot relatively straight, not break, and not blow up. The RIA M200 accomplished that, at least so far. This is not a revolver that I would try to win a serious competition with — it is also not a revolver I would recommend as a carry gun unless very carefully vetted with copious amounts of reliable shooting first, in which case you might as well spend some of that ammo budget on a slightly better gun. It is a gun that I think would be good for playing around with a .38 caliber revolvers if you were new to them and wanted a cheap introduction. It is well suited to learn the basic manual of arms for a revolver, and maybe shoot casual, club level competitions. If I had to sum the RIA M200 up in a single phrase it would be, just enough and nothing more. There is enough manufacturing effort put into the gun so that it will work, but don’t expect any extra trimmings.

Sours: https://www.guns.com/news/review/gun-review-rock-island-armory-m200-revolver-in-38-special
Rock Island M200 38 Special Revolver.
Armscor M206 revolver left, Smith and Wesson 442 revolver right

I feel, among the best all-around defensive handguns for home use is the .38 Special revolver with a short barrel.

The short-barreled .38 offers a host of advantages over the autoloader and a time-tested track record second to none.

The double-action revolver is simple enough for the occasional user.

The .38 Special isn’t our most powerful cartridge, but it has all of the recoil that the occasional shooter wishes to handle.

With proper loads, it will serve for personal defense.

A double-action revolver offers plenty of leverage in the case of a struggle for the handgun if the shooter hangs onto the grip — the short barrel limits the felon’s leverage if they get their hands on your handgun.

Another advantage is that a revolver may be fired, time after time, when thrust into the adversary’s body, which isn’t true of a self-loader.

The problem is that a reliable revolver at a fair price is difficult to find.

Among the best buys on the market is the Armscor Model 206 — a two-inch barrel .38 Special revolver.

The M206 isn’t the prettiest revolver you will ever see. It is designed to sell for around $250. This means the final finish isn’t going to be satin blue.

The parkerized finish is businesslike. There are tool marks visible internally, and the overall look is that of an economically-priced revolver.

The Rock Island M206 bears a close resemblance to Colt revolvers. The cylinder release pulls to the rear in the Colt fashion.

The cylinder holds six shots and rotates to the right.

The sights are broad and easy to use well, although I added red paint to the front sight to allow proper sighting.

The matte colored front sight faded from view as issued.

The action is more similar to Smith and Wesson than Colt, but what matters is that the revolver fires with every press of the trigger.

Armscor M206 Revolver left profile

The ejector rod is shrouded under the barrel. The hammer spur is long and easily cocked for single-action fire.

But be careful in firing as the long hammer spur may butt into the web of your hand if you let the revolver slip during recoil.

The grip is adequate for all but the largest hand sizes. Overall, the Model 206 should be nearly as concealable as a five-shot small-frame revolver.

For home defense, the Model 206 .38 will give those on a budget much piece of mind.

Rock Island M206

  • Caliber: .38 Special
  • Finish: Matte Parkerized
  • Grips: Checkered Hardwood
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Width: 1.4 in
  • Barrel Length: 2.15 in
  • Overall Length: 7.75 in
  • Weight: 25 oz
  • Capacity: Six Rounds

Handling

In handling the revolver, the ejector rod stroke was positive and emptied all spent cartridge cases with a single stroke.

Trigger action was smooth enough for good double-action work. It isn’t as nice as more expensive revolvers, but it has become smoother with use.

The double-action press is tractable enough for accurate shooting at typical personal defense range, and the reset is fast enough to allow a trained shooter to fire the pistol both accurately and fast.

During the initial evaluation, I broke out a good supply of Winchester’s 158-grain RNL.

This load is affordable and burns clean, all we can ask of practice ammunition.

I began firing the revolver at seven yards and continued until I had the measure of the M206.

Placing the front sight on the X-ring of a man-sized target, I got a center hit time and again.

Aim, confirm the sight alignment and sight picture, press the trigger to the rear smoothly and you have a hit.

Allow the trigger to reset and press again and you have another hit.

Fifty rounds of Winchester .38 Special were well centered. This isn’t the revolver for a steady diet of +P loads, in my opinion.

A 25-ounce .38 might kick and buck too much for most shooters when loaded with +P ammunition and there is also wear on small parts to consider.

Next, I fired a box of Precision Delta 148-grain wadcutters. This is the classic .38 Special target load.

At 703 fps from the two-inch .38’s barrel, it was mild to fire. Accuracy in single-action fire was good for this class of handgun.

This is a good training load. The revolver fires high on the order of about three inches at 10 yards with 148 to 158-grain loads.

The revolver seems sighted for 110 to 125-grain defense loads.

Accuracy:

Fired from a Bullshooter’s Rest, 15 Yards, Five-Shot Group

LoadAverage of two groups
Winchester Train and Defend 130-grain FMJ3.55 Inches
Winchester 158-grain RNL2.95 Inches
Winchester 125-grain Silvertip +P2.5 Inches
Precision Delta 148-grain Wadcutter2.5 Inches
Bob Campbell shooting the Rock Island M206 revolver offhand

The .38 Special needs +P loads for performance and despite my warning considering wear, for occasional use the +P will be chosen by most shooters.

I selected the Winchester Silvertip +P. This load uses a light bullet at high velocity.

Average velocity was 970 fps with the 125-grain alloy jacketed hollow point. This is outstanding from a two-inch barrel.

Recoil wasn’t difficult to master and the bullet expanded well.

I fired three full cylinders through the Armscor M206 with good results.

I also fired a couple of the Silvertip hollow points into water to test expansion. Performance left little to be desired.

Managing to design a bullet that expands well at two-inch barrel .38 velocity isn’t easy. The Silvertip makes the grade.

The last test was to fire the revolver from a solid benchrest to confirm accuracy potential. I fired at 15 yards, which is a long shot for self-defense.

This tells a lot about the revolver’s quality and accuracy potential. I recorded several three-inch groups at this range.

The Armscor is clearly a suitable handgun for personal defense and one that should be on the shortlist of anyone in need of a personal defense handgun who strapped for cash.

What do you think of the Rock Island M206 revolver? Share your answers in the comment section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun

Sours: https://blog.cheaperthandirt.com/range-report-rock-island-model-206-38-special/

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