help me decide 686 or gp100


July 31, 2005, 09:56 PM
I'm looking for a .357 to carry around out in the field for taking care of snakes and other vermin. I've got a Python, but I'm sort of looking for something that isn't so pretty that I can kind of beat the hell out of and not worry about too much.

After doing some reading here I'm probably going to get either a 686 or a gp100. I'll most likely be buying a used one, and my only real requirement is that it goes bang and is fairly willing to take abuse.

So without getting into too much of a heated discussion, could you please let me know the pros and cons of these guns when compared to each other? I'd be especially interesting in hearing from anyone who owns or has owned both.

Also, if you have any other recomendations please let me know; the only revolvers I own are the python and a ruger .22 so I'm pretty open to anything.

If you enjoyed reading about "help me decide 686 or gp100" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 31, 2005, 10:15 PM
I have 686 and also SP-101 - which is not GP-100 of course but - on balance the Smith will cost you more than the Ruger. My son has a 6" GP-100 which I have shot.

If 3" barrel acceptable then an SP-101 could suit well - quite compact and Ruger guns while maybe not quite so ''sweet'' in trigger area are tough as nails. Be a pity to beat up a 686 if you want to use as described, unless you hit lucky with a fair used one.

The GP in 4" is one of the fave' purchases for many folks and possibly could be your ideal choice. Thing is - lotta folks tend to keep their 686's and GP's - but scout around - Gunbroker, Guns America etc and you could well find.

So for your purpose my vote is overall - 4" GP-100.

July 31, 2005, 10:29 PM
I think the Ruger will be a little heavier. That is a selling point with me, but most would prefer a lighter "hiking" gun. Good luck finding an used. I've been all over Dallas searching pawn shops and used gun shops looking for a gp100. I've had no luck. I will be buying new soon.

July 31, 2005, 10:32 PM
"I'm looking for a .357 to carry around out in the field for taking care of snakes and other vermin."

The GP-100 makes a better club to hit the snakes over the head with. For shooting, the 686 is superior.

July 31, 2005, 10:34 PM
This is one of those AK vs. AR or 9mm vs. .45 or Ginger vs. Maryann......ok wrong forum on that one but you get the point.

Both are basically spectacular firearms.

The Smith may well have a better trigger out of the box and offers a 7 shot variant. It is tough and proven.

The Ruger will be rougher out of the box but in my very amateur and uneducated opinion the double action trigger pull on the current Rugers eventually smooth out to be spectacular and even better than the Smith pulls. Rugers are stronger guns. They are used as test beds for various ammo manufactures. This strength comes at the cost of weight and bulkiness vs. the Smith.

Politically both have screwed us on some level.

Basically flip a coin or pick the one that is most comfortable. They are both great guns. I am a Ruger GP100 guy but I have nothing negative to say about the 686.


July 31, 2005, 11:40 PM
For a horse this beaten to death, everyone ought to be able to read the entrails by now.

Apples to apples, i.e. 4" to 4", 6 to 6, the two weapons weigh in at an ounce or so of one another.

The Ruger looks bulkier. Truth is they share leather and speedloaders just fine.

One has a lock, the other a safety billboard rollmarked into the barrel.

The S&W's refinement used to be a point of sale, but that refinement has been getting cheapened out by the factory. The Ruger has been benefitted immensely by the internet in that Ruger owners now can easily home gunsmith their revolvers into becoming some spectacular shooting iron.

Wolff 10 pound main and 10 pound trigger return springs and a lot of dryfiring or a little judicious polishing and the Ruger is easily a match for the 686 and will probably last longer too thanks to its more robust lockwork.

Some judicious sanding of the left side of the barrel doesn't hurt either. :D

July 31, 2005, 11:42 PM
A 4" in either revolver would be great. I don't have a 686 nor have I shot one. But I do have a number of Model 57's which I like a lot. Triggers are better initially with the Smith. I have a 3" GP100 (blue) that is a nice little gun that I like a lot. I would prefer adjustable sights on mine, but for my intended use, it is just fine. The GP100 3" to me feels like a heavy 4" Diamondback. It points real nicely and feels good in my hand. So, if price is a factor, go with the Ruger. If you like Smiths, go with the 686. Prior to buying the GP100, I heard so many good things about them that I wanted to try one out and I have not been let down. So, I agree 100% with cslinger above!

If you are looking for variety and something smaller, you might consider a
S&W 32 mag revolver. They are a small game gun with mild recoil-very similar to a 38spl. The folks that have them love them. I have been looking at them at the old gun shop.

August 1, 2005, 12:00 AM
The 686 or the GP-100 is fine, but there are also the Colt Trooper (and the MkIIIs), S&W 19 and 66, Ruger Service or Security Six, and the Dan Wesson 14 and 15 for solid revolvers that can be found for decent prices.

August 1, 2005, 12:08 AM
Pick one up, pull the trigger six times...
Pick the other one up, pull the trigger six times...
Buy the one that felt better for you because mechanically, there is not one ounce of real difference if you are looking for a good tool.

August 1, 2005, 12:41 AM
I'd go with the GP-100 myself but then i'm prejudiced :evil: :D mine just feels right and i've shot a 686.

August 1, 2005, 01:07 AM
One major advantage of the GP100 over the Smith 686 is its grip, especially the smaller grip on the 3" versions. The Ruger lends itself to an easy complete takedown due to its modular construction. The trigger of the Smith is better, but the Ruger is pretty darn good and improves dramatically with use. The fact is, you can't go wrong with either. That's what everybody else said, notice a trend? Tough choice.

August 1, 2005, 01:47 AM
I've never seen nor heard of a GP100 going out of time. Unfortunately, the same is not true of the 686.

Since you're shopping used, I wouldn't write off a Trooper Mk III or V, or a King Cobra if I ran into one.

August 1, 2005, 03:20 AM
I had just made the same decision two weeks ago. My choice was the GP100.

For me it came down to the fact that 686's trigger was not $100 better then the GP100 (I purchased new).

I have been very pleased with my new Ruger. Accuracy is just as good as the 686 I owned 10 yrs ago. Trigger is just a tad heavier but is already beginning to smooth out (been doing a lot of dry firing).

I bought mine for the same reasons you stated. I can assure you the GP100 will do what you need it to do when you need it done. You can disregard any comments about having to use it as a club against snakes. :rolleyes:

Either are very good revolvers. You will not be disappointed with either one.

Is there anyway you could rent one of each to try them out? That may be the best way to decide.

You got to love it when you can make this kind of choice. There is no wrong answer. :cool:

August 1, 2005, 04:25 AM
From experience, a GP100 will outlast a Smith X3!!! :D

August 1, 2005, 09:08 AM
Thanks for all the responses. I hadn't considered the Trooper, but used prices online seem to be pretty good so I'll have to read up on that one as well.

I don't need a really nice trigger or anything, so it sounds like I'll probably save some cash and go with the Ruger. I guess I was really trying to find out if the Smith was worth the extra money, and for my purposes it sounds like the answer is no.

Again, thanks for all the help.

August 1, 2005, 05:17 PM
And if you find a used Ruger Security Six or Speed Six, they would be a great choice too. A little lighter for carrying, but still pretty much indestructable....

P. Plainsman
August 1, 2005, 05:27 PM
I'd say GP100 -- I think the 686's heavy barrel is a little abrupt and harsh-looking. (The slightly greater bevel of the GP's underlug -- see Boats's pic -- is a cosmetic plus).

But these are such ubiquitous handguns (in the best possible way) that it shouldn't be hard to find an example of each to rent at a range near you. Especially the GP100, which ranges tend to favor as a rental "beater" due to its resilience.

August 1, 2005, 05:29 PM
Ginger vs. Maryann

August 1, 2005, 06:17 PM
My vote is for the GP 100. I just got mine and its the best gun I own. very accurate

August 1, 2005, 06:40 PM
I own both. The GP feels lighter but I hit the target every time with the 686.

August 1, 2005, 07:24 PM
Ginger vs. Maryann

Maryann.'re wierd. Ginger was alot hotter...Everybody knows that...You marry Maryann, you get stuck on an island with Ginger... :)

August 1, 2005, 08:31 PM
I have just gone through this exact ordeal this past week.

I have fired both guns, and I considered it a toss-up. I went with the 686 because I MUST have an excellent out-of-the-box trigger. Smith has it. I also like the aesthetics of the Smith better, but that's an issue of preference, not function: your tastes are your tastes.

Also, because I only pay 1% over FFL cost+shipping at the Offutt AFB Rod & Gun Club on base (I'm military and work for the club, hence why I get this so cheap,) cost really was not an issue.

This is absolutely no ding against the GP100, because I will tell you now, it's a 10-yard 10-ringer for me all day, and a very good 3-5" standing group shooter at 25 yards, and that's obviously only limited by me as the shooter. You WILL NOT be disapointed with a GP100. Fantastic value, fantastic shooter.

August 1, 2005, 10:21 PM
The GP-100 makes a better club to hit the snakes over the head with. For shooting, the 686 is superior.
LOL and true.I own both and appreciate the robustness of the GP 100 but I find the trigger to be smoother on the smith and the accuracy better. Probably attributed to the lack of an over travel screw on the trigger of the Ruger. If the GP 100 had that then it would be a hard decision for me but for me but the smith wins.

August 2, 2005, 12:28 AM
GP100 4 in barrel! Built like a tank... accurate... reliable... cost effective.

August 2, 2005, 12:43 AM
While I chose a 686, I really miss my Colt King Cobra sold off to a relative; bad move on my part.

Gary in Pennsylvania
August 2, 2005, 07:47 AM
My vote is for GP100!

I own a 3" short shroud GP100 and just yesterday, I just ordered a 3" SP101 as a little bro' to the GP!

August 2, 2005, 11:37 AM
BOATS the side of that barrel looks to plain. :evil:

August 2, 2005, 11:39 AM
Gary the 3" gp's are fantastic guns. my prefrence in .357's right now are fixed sight snubby and semi snubby revolver's.

If you enjoyed reading about "help me decide 686 or gp100" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!