What .357


October 29, 2006, 02:27 AM
I've never owned a revolver before, but I have decided my next firearm must be a wheelgun. For the simple cost of shooting I think a .357 is the best idea, .38spcl aint too expensive and I do plan to get into reloading down the road.

I have five hundred bucks(if I stretch it), and I'm not afraid of buying used. This will likely take on a role as my hunting companion, maybe winter carry(doubtful). I'm not expecting anything uber nice here, just something to get into the game.

Just the same, I wont purchase a Ruger new or used due to their politics.

Do I need another caliber? Feel free to suggest something besides a .357, and please dont spare the pics!

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October 29, 2006, 02:40 AM
.357 is a great starting point. As I just said in another post, you would do well to get a .22 and everytime you shoot it for pennies, put the $10-20 you would have spent on a box or two of .38 ammo into a jar and you will have the money for your second gun in no time.

But if you really want a .357, I would personally recommend the 686/586 from S&W, which for my money is the best mass production .357 ever made. You can do 620 (half lug) or a 66 (slightly smaller frame), but the L-frame is a great first gun because the .38s are so smushy soft and you can still get some major league bang out of it with full-house .357s.

Just don't make the mistake of picking your gun online or from any piece of advice you read online. Go out and hold them (a lot) and shoot them when you can. It wont take long for you to find one that feels real nice in your hand, and has a noticeably better balance than others you have held/shot.

Good luck!

Pics of my fav .357:

October 29, 2006, 03:32 AM
Let's face it, the addiction grows stronger.

Lots of great Smiths to chose from in .357. Try a K frame model 19. Try it, you'll like it. K lover.

Of course N frames are way cool.

Try the 629 in .44 mag. I've had several over the years, and like it as much as .357. Don't try a 329 pd, because you will definetly become addicted.

Both pick up much greater energies with increase in barrell length.

I was a wheel fan only until I tried Sigs and Maks. Now I must have both.:)

October 29, 2006, 04:51 AM
If I knew then what I know now, my first revolver would've been a S&W 686 with 6" barrel (unless it was going to be carried on occasion, then the 4" would be the cat's meow).

I can't argue against the N frame either. A S&W 629 would be a dream for the reloader as well, as there are plenty of slug options out there for the .44special/magnum.

October 29, 2006, 05:04 AM
I think the 619/620 is gonna be the ticket after doing some research.

Why are some barrels full lug, and others only partial? Why isnt S&W blueing their guns anymore?

October 29, 2006, 05:35 AM
That's a question I've been meaning to ask for ages it seems. The S&W 586 is among those on my wish-list, but besides a few at gunshows demanding insane premiums, they're nearly impossible to find for reasonable sums.

October 29, 2006, 07:30 AM
You won't go wrong with either choice. You see the 586-L? 3" Blue 357 looks pretty darn sharp! If I were buying a new one right now and could find one of these, I would probably bite. The 3" barrel is sure to be a long term favorite.

My first centerfire caliber revolver was a Colt Python. Shot it for a while at first and then it pretty much got retired to the safe. Shot my 22's mostly due to ammunition cost and convenience. Later, I acquired a Model 57 (41 mag) Smith and started shooting that gun. It has become my favorite. I also shoot a 6" Colt Trooper Mark III in 357 which shoots really well. You might consider trying to find a Mark III, has the same "look" as a Smith. You can sometimes find these in the $400 price range in 357 in essentially as-new condition. Great revolver.

October 29, 2006, 08:07 AM
I'm going to go with klover on this one. Particularly because you stated exactly what you had to spend.. most of these other replys didnt seem to take that into account.
So I'm going to recommend an S&W Model 66 k frame , or a Model 19 k frame. Why ? because they're exellent guns that won't break the bank. You can probably find a Model 66 in Very good condition for $350 or so, leaving you with a nice chunk of change left over for ammo.

October 29, 2006, 08:27 AM
why has the high road became a smith and wesson forum lately? At least look at a Ruger (GP100, mine is a stainless steel 4 in barrel that was $450 new.) and it does everything a smith will, plus it fits me better.

October 29, 2006, 09:04 AM
Before I spent the money on a Smith (and what's wrong with Ruger's politics, when S&W was the first to cave to the Clinton anti's in the first place? Remember who introduced us to manufacturer-supplied gunlocks?), I'd buy a Taurus...Way more bang for the buck, but then, my first choice woulda been a used Ruger security six with the medium size grip...

October 29, 2006, 11:05 AM
I think the best choice for a first revolver for most people would be a DA .357 w/ 4" barrel in a med/large frame. This size and barrel length offers the best combo of everything and likely to be with you for a lifetime and then some. I'd recommend a serious look at a SS Taurus 608 - which falls into your budget.

hornsmoker -

October 29, 2006, 11:13 AM
If politics bother you then add S&W and Taurus to your list as both have added locks to their firearms. That doesn't leave much as far as double action revolvers unless you hit the used market. A Colt Trooper MkIII or a Dan Wesson M15/715 will fill the bill for you. You can always go with a single action revolver.

October 29, 2006, 12:13 PM
Why are some barrels full lug, and others only partial? Why isnt S&W blueing their guns anymore?

Kace, the lugs affect balance and asthetics. Basically the guns will balance a little deifferently depending barrel thickness, barrel length, and no/partial/full under lug. The reason most S&Ws are stainless now is a combination of consumer demand and lower cost to finish.

On the 619/620 if thats what you really want go for it. Personally, I'd look at older S&Ws with pinned barrels and recessed cylinders; the P&R guns. It's not a colectability thing for me. I've found that the older guns are built better and have a much higher quality fit and finish. For a hunting sidearm an older pinned bbl. 586 or 686 would be great. I also think the earlier mentioned model 19, or it's stainless counterpart the Model 66 are great revolvers. After that, the Model 27 and 28 are big heavy duty guns, but they're very nice. Leaving my S&W preference I still think Ruger makes a fine revolver and the GP-100, Speed/Service/Security Six models, or SP-101 would also be excellent choices. Many folks are fans of Taurus products, and I think they're definetly worth taking a look at. There are tons of good options out there, so find what fits you. Enjoy the revolver hunt.

October 29, 2006, 01:01 PM
Particularly because you stated exactly what you had to spend.. most of these other replys didnt seem to take that into account.

Good point about the 586-L. Certainly won't fit in the budget.

October 29, 2006, 02:10 PM
I would look at a M-64 or M-10. I know they are "only" .38 Specials, but you can get one for around $275 pretty easy. I bought a 10-6 and 64-5 this year and they are both extremly good guns (I bought the 10-6 from a guy off the S&W board and the 64-5 from Gunbroker.) I loaded some Wadcutters and shot some of my best groups ever.

October 29, 2006, 02:18 PM
The 620 is a sweet, sweet gun. 7 shots, balances perfectly, comfortable grips from the factory, very easy to shoot full-house .357, a dream for .38, very awesome trigger, adjustible sights, stainless=sweet (at least on mine). I don't see how you can go wrong with one, unless you want blued. Very, very sweet gun. I mean, the cylinder is only a hair larger than a 6-shot, but you get another shot "for free". I love mine. :D

The Sentinel
October 29, 2006, 05:56 PM
I'm new to the world of guns. What are the politics that would deter one from buying a Ruger? It just happened to be the first hand gun I purchased. Did I support a company who isn't exactly on the side of Patriotic Americans or something?:uhoh:

October 29, 2006, 06:24 PM
My first handgun was a .357 Ruger Security-Six with a 6" barrel. I bought it when I didn't know a thing about handguns. After the fact, I discovered I made a good choice. I put Hogue Monogrips on it and now I'll never part with it...A firearm worth your consideration.

October 29, 2006, 06:28 PM
There are quite a few good used .357s that work well. I traded for this 2 1/2" M66 and it is a favorite. A four inch version is just as good.


Tom C.
October 29, 2006, 06:52 PM
My first handgun was a 6" S&W Model 27-2 .357 mag. My most recent is a 4" Ruger GP100. For the money, the GP100 is the best buy.
If politics is going to determine your purchase decisions, you are going to run out of options very quickly.

Ala Dan
October 29, 2006, 06:55 PM
has become my all time favoite magnum wheel gun caliber~!:D

I use to think the same thing a'bout the .41 magnum, but around these
parts .41 magnum ammunition seems too be a thing of the past; as NO
one stocks the stuff. I handload, but adding another caliber to all the
others isn't an option; as I don't have the time to dedicate the time
required to do a masterful job~!:uhoh: And, keep in mind that the .41
magnum was the original caliber that got me started handloading; but
I didn't have sense enough to hold onto the gun (4" S&W model 57, or
the equipment).:eek: I guess I thought that caliber would be around for

October 29, 2006, 07:15 PM
I love my 4" 686 no dash.

October 30, 2006, 12:00 AM
Actually another reason S&W stopped blueing guns was that the process left quite a bit of hazardous waste and harmful emissions and they could no longer get them in line with EPA codes.

That said, S&W's newest blueing process is pretty good and they have been releasing a LOT of blue guns lately. My 586-7 from two years ago is just one. There is a new 29, a new 29 Mountain Gun out now and the 21 (.44 spcl) just came out in blue in a non-TR version that is gorgeous. More blue guns are planned. Stay tuned.

October 30, 2006, 08:23 AM
For someone on a budget and if you donít mind buying used I would look for a Dan Wesson 15 or 715 if you want stainless. They are built like tanks and you can pick them up very cheap in the $250 to $350 range. Another positive note is you can change barrel lengths from 2" to 10" barrels in about a minute. You can find the barrels used or buy new ones still from CZ-USA, The current owners of Dan Wesson. Dan Wesson revolvers are considered some of the most accurate revolvers ever made. I know I was surprised when I shot my first one. I currently own colts, rugers, smiths, and others in 357 and I think my Dan is my favorite. Take the extra money and put it towards ammo or reloading equipment.

October 30, 2006, 02:12 PM
Aside from a good used "6 Series" Ruger which are no longer in production, I also recommend the currently produced Ruger GP100 which is built like a tank and has NO internal trigger lock like the new S&W's. One of many advantages of a revolver is it's simplicity, and hence greater reliability. ...an internal trigger lock is just one more thing to possibly malfunction...and there have been instances where they have.

P.S. "Politics" greatly limit your choices. S&W trigger locks had something to do with "Politics",Taurus is made in Brazil...and on and on. However, go with what you feel comfortable with. My only criteria is: If It's "MADE IN THE USA" It's O.K. With Me.

October 30, 2006, 04:49 PM
I dont mind trigger locks. I wont buy from a company that doesnt supply hicaps however. Simply will not hapen.

October 30, 2006, 08:44 PM
I dont mind trigger locks.

I don't mind the locks on my new Smiths too much, but I'd definitely buy used if I could find good used revolvers in my area.

Honestly, it is very hard to go wrong buying a .38/.357 Magnum. IMO, they are the best all around guns ever made. I may own a S&W 686 and a 642, but I've got nothing against other makes (I'm no S&W snob). I nearly bought a GP100 over my 686, but decided on the 686 because it simply balanced a little better in my hands. And for pocket carrying a revolver, it is pretty tough to beat a little J Frame. Lately, I've been leaning towards a Ruger SP101 3" for IWB.

Though deals at gunshows are nearly a thing of the past, they are a good place to go to look around and maybe handle a few to see how you like them. I'm sure you'll enjoy whatever you purchase, but remember, one will NEVER be enough ;)!

October 30, 2006, 09:01 PM
for the 420 bucks at my local guy, I'm gonna save up a touch more and purchase a 620 and some comfortable leather I think.

October 30, 2006, 09:04 PM
If you're considering buying used, your objections to Ruger go away. Your purchase of a second-hand GP100 doesn't benefit the company. I'm not a fan of Ruger's politics, either, but I'm quite fond of my second-hand GP100 and SP101.

October 30, 2006, 10:15 PM
Bill ruger ran the company when those models were produced didnt he?

October 30, 2006, 10:17 PM
IMO, if you don't like Ruger, go w/ either vintage S&W's or vintage Colts :D Lots of pre-owned wheelguns out there begging for a good home!

Brian Williams
October 30, 2006, 10:25 PM
I tend to like S&W K and L frames...

October 30, 2006, 10:45 PM
Bill ruger ran the company when those models were produced didnt he?Yes, but they are still producing them post-Bill. And if you're wanting to be careful about political eras, S&W's history isn't the cleanest, since they signed their deal during the Clinton administration. Company is in different hands now, but still ... And I don't like S&W's internal locks.

All I'm saying is that I think you're turning down some pretty fine firearms that need not be discounted. However, it's your decision and yours alone. I don't like Bill Ruger's politics, but I do like his revolvers ... and where revolvers are concerned, whether the company sells hi-cap mags or not seems irrelevant.

Regardless, let us know what you finally decide.

October 31, 2006, 12:34 AM
I dont mind trigger locks. I wont buy from a company that doesnt supply hicaps however. Simply will not hapen.

:scrutiny: :scrutiny: :scrutiny: :scrutiny: :scrutiny: :scrutiny:

October 31, 2006, 12:56 AM
I have a S&W 4" 686, 6" 686, 5" 627 and 6-1/2" 629 ported classic. I suspect that, since carry is not an issue, unless you can find a 627 for $500, that the 6" 686 would be the better choice. At $500, it will be used. At that point it will be setting for blued, or stainless, full lug, or not, 6, or 7 shots.

When you get into reloading, then the full value of .44 magnum opens. I suspect you will eventually get one of those. However starting with the 686 in 6" is not a bad idea.

October 31, 2006, 03:17 AM
I'm gonna save up a touch more and purchase a 620 and some comfortable leather I think.Good call. Nice to know there's another 620 convert :D

Jim Reaves
October 31, 2006, 08:35 AM
I have most of the S&Ws models, and I would highly recommend the S&W 686 or 686+. You would be will armed in any situation with either the 4" or the 6" model. Go to the range and shoot with someone that has one.

Last week a gentleman called and wanted me to tell him what to buy. I met him at the range, let him shoot a Kimber, a XD45, a Glock and several S&W models. He fired them for accuracy and the 686 shot just as accurate as anything I had. He and his wife purchased 686s the next day.

October 31, 2006, 10:28 AM
just to make an ass of myself...


pick the gun that is comfortable and has a good trigger for you. The politics of the maker won't help you hit the target. Choose what works for you and give money to the gun rights organization of choice and spend less time worrying about what we think of it. :p

I have owned a Ruger, and Taurus and a Smith. Liked them all for different reasons. For me the smith had the better trigger so I am keeping the smith.

October 31, 2006, 10:33 AM
I have been a revolver shooter, mainly, for almost 35 years. I'd go with a Smith, either a Model 19 or an L frame 586/686, 4" barrel. All have adjustable sights, and can be used for hunting as well as defence. I love the K-frames, but recently got a 586 L-frame and saw the light. They are by far the best .357 magnum revolvers I have ever shot, including several Rugers of the Six family.
I strongly recommend a S&W L frame 4" as your first revolver.


November 2, 2006, 06:50 PM
S&W L frame 4"620 fits this bill. Ain't an L frame .357 sweet stuff?

November 2, 2006, 09:07 PM
A 620 sure is nice. But a 640 is SWEEEEETTTT!!!! Add some rosewood grips and a Kramer pocket holster and U R in business.

November 2, 2006, 11:09 PM
So you probably know about the frame sizes, but just in case here they are in increasing size and how many rounds of .38/.357 they shoot:

J - 5 shot
K - 6 shot
L - 6 or 7 shot
N - 6 or 8 shot


The Js use a coil spring trigger, and most people find they aren't as smooth as the leaf spring triggers in the other frame sizes. The sights on the fixed-sight J-frames are very tiny and hard to see. They are really light, though, if that's important. The snubnoses like the 60 and 640 are great CCW guns, but that isn't really what you're looking for.

The K or L frame are the mid-size, and are probably your best bet for one gun that does everything. The 65 and 66 were Ks. The 681, 686, 619, 620, and 520 are Ls. The 65 and 681 have fixed sights, those others are adjustable.

Four inches is a good all-around barrel length. Three inch guns are pretty sweet, too, but they generally carry a premium price because there aren't very many of them. Six inches is very pleasant at the range, but sort of unwieldy. (Unlike autos, revolver barrel lengths don't include the chamber/cylinder. So a revolver with a six inch barrel is roughly equivalent to an automatic with a seven inch barrel. It's a very big gun.)

If you're willing to buy used and you're not in a hurry you can find some nice deals online or in pawn shops, like $350 or so. In fact, there's a 4" 65 for $280 shipped in the classifieds right now.

erich w
November 3, 2006, 02:58 AM
if you would like it for hunting as well I'd recomend either a s&w 686 6" or a ruger gp100 6" both are fantastic guns in 357 and are both within your price range, I'd recomend handling both and see waht you like best plus if you any preferance to smith or ruger, both are fine guns and I'm sure you'd be happy with either one.

November 3, 2006, 03:28 AM
KaceCoyote since you have your mind on politics you should consider a new Taurus 66 . When you purchase a new Taurus they will pay for a one year membership to the NRA for you .

Add that to the fact that their guns are very nice and reliable these last 10 years or so and you're getting a great deal .

I have a PT 940 in 40 S&W and a 669 in .357 and love them both .

The way I look at it I got S&W quality without paying for the S&W name .

November 3, 2006, 08:50 AM
Pre-lock S&W 686 with a four or six inch barrel. I don't own one (yet) but have shot my Dad's a good bit and really, really like it. Very accurate with good balance.


November 3, 2006, 01:44 PM
If I were you I'd buy a Ruger GP-100 .357/.38spl or a Smith and Wesson model 520/620 7 shot .357magnum/.38spl.

The Ruger SP-101 .357magnum is a good choice too.

See www.gunsamerica.com or www.jgsales.com for prices/models.


November 3, 2006, 05:54 PM
I'd suggest a S&W Model 13 (blue) or Model 65 (stainless) fixed sight K frame .357 Magnum. Fixed sights for rugged use, and if you can find a 3", perfect for a concealed carry gun. The older used ones were made better, and the prices are still pretty reasonable.

CSA 357
November 3, 2006, 06:18 PM
:neener: :neener: any of them...........as long as it has smith&wesson on it!

November 3, 2006, 06:23 PM
I like Rugers.

November 3, 2006, 06:26 PM
You know, as much as I love .357, I have to say, it does not make a great plinking cartridge. I have three .357 revolvers and I shoot them a lot, but mainly with 38 special ammo. It is not a recoil sensitivity thing either. It is just not a great cartridge for plinking due to noise and blast. The cartridge is high intensity. You feel it on your face and hear it and feel the pressure wave. I can go through 300-500 rounds of 38 special, or 44 special, or 10mm, or 45 acp in a range session, certainly over a two-day weekend of shooting. Not so with 357. I don't often shoot more than 100 rounds at a session, most often about 50. I tend to shoot more 310-grain 44 magnum full house loads or 315-grain 45 colt loads at a whack than fullbore 357 magnum. Like I said, I love the cartridge, carry it concealed often, but if this is to be a heavy use plinking gun, .357 may not be the best choice, unless you plan to shoot a lot of 38 spl out of it.

highlander 5
November 3, 2006, 06:42 PM
Ruger GP 100 or if you can find one a Redhawk. Ruger built a limited number of Redhawks in 357 mag same frame and cylinder
as the 44 but it's a tank and a half. I have both and if you start handloading this is where the heavier RH shines.
Oh some one mentioned how loud the 357 is he's not kidding,
everytime I go to the range with my RH and pull the trigger I get the same question "what the hell are you shooting a 44?"
when I tell them it's a 357 I get that what the f*** look

November 3, 2006, 07:36 PM
I either own or have owned all the S&W’s in this thread. For your first I would go with the 686. They are plentiful and if you run an ad on the forums for a FTF in your area, you could buy a super nice 686 for $350-$400.

The nice thing about staying with the quality revolvers is that you can buy them, shoot them, sell them, and not lose any money. But beware… they are habit forming.

November 3, 2006, 08:43 PM
I trust my GP100 with my wife while I'm away on assignment to protect her and my children lives. The weapon is very honest and basic. I bought it used and it's totally apolitical. I just bought (This Week) a Dan Wesson Mod.15 Blued 4 inch barrel. I can hardly wait till I go to the range. But for home defense and carry when push comes to shove my Sig 229 .40 puts 12 rounds down range fast. My other very formidable weapon is my Remmy 870 12 ga.w/ 00 buck I'll ruin a B/G's day @ 100 yards.

Anyway that's my ramble.


PS I dig my Wheelies

November 4, 2006, 01:24 PM
I just bought a Rossi 971. Inexpensive, accurate and fun to shoot. Made by Taurus with a lifetime warranty.

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