Ruger vs. S&W?


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eastwood44mag
December 28, 2006, 06:37 PM
I'm debating between the two above in a .357, 4 or 6 inch barrel.

Here's the problem: I prefer the Smith trigger, but I've always heard the Rugers were more reliable. Today, I was told the Smith will last longer, because the Ruger has a weaker frame (cast, not forged). I can't shoot worth a snot, so I'm not especially concerned with shootability so much as reliability.

That being said, should I go with the Smith or the Ruger?

Thanks.

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charby
December 28, 2006, 06:46 PM
they are equally good

pick the one you like the best.

don95sml
December 28, 2006, 06:49 PM
+1 on charby's post. Pick whichever feels best in your hand.

Miamitiger
December 28, 2006, 06:50 PM
S&W without a doubt!!!
Buy the Stainless Steel!!!

.41Dave
December 28, 2006, 07:36 PM
It's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. I own both rugers and S&Ws, and they are all accurate, reliable, durable guns. Ruger and S&W both make well-made, reliable revolvers that will last for generations if they are maintained properly.

I prefer S&W, but that is only my personal preference. Try the guns you are considering, rent and shoot them if you can, then buy the gun that feels best to you.

azredhawk44
December 28, 2006, 07:50 PM
Smith = forged, Ruger = investment cast.

The ruger process is a lot better than just a mold that holds a puddle of cooling steel. I'm not a metalworker or engineer, but investment casting is done under pressure, IIRC. It results in a high strength product that when done properly can match the strength of an equally proportioned forged product.

Where Ruger is stronger is in the solid frame. Not due to cast vs. forged, but due to the removeable side plate on S&W guns. Ruger guns come apart from the bottom if service is required.

I believe (not certain) that the smith cylinder is a 2-point lockup (indexing notch and pawl), whereas the Ruger cylinder has a 3-point lockup (indexing notch, pawl and crane latch) to align the cylinder with the bore.

Stinger1
December 28, 2006, 08:39 PM
IMHO they're equally reliable pistols. If you want more bang for your buck then Ruger is the choice. You can buy two or three for one good S&W. I have a GP100 in 4" and carried it profesionally, only things I did to it was an action job and grips.

RC

MCgunner
December 28, 2006, 09:11 PM
S&W = locks and MIM parts...if that matters to you. I'm not sure it's as big a deal as it's made out to be here on this board, but there are lock/MIM haters about. :D

Personally, I like and have liked and likely will always like Ruger's design over the equal Smith model, but Ruger has NOTHING, but the GP100, the Redhawk, and the SP101 in variations. Smith has TONS of options. If you want a 10mm revolver, you can't get it from Ruger, but you can from Smith. If you want a moon clip fed .45ACP revolver made of light weight titanium, you can get it from Smith, don't even ask Ruger. Ruger needs more diversity of models IMHO. They should AT THE VERY LEAST bring back the Security/Service Six models, maybe add a crane latch to the design.

The Real Hawkeye
December 28, 2006, 09:15 PM
Always go with a Smith over a Ruger, but make it an older one. Certainly pre-key hole frame. Better yet, pre-foating firing pin. If you can find one that's pinned and recessed, even better. These alterations in design were all consessions to either cost or lawyers. Consessions to these almost always reduce the worth of anything. That said, even the modern S&Ws are better revolvers than the modern Rugers.

461
December 28, 2006, 11:16 PM
Ruger without reservation. The new Smiths are questionable in a few areas and the Ruger has no detractions at all. I have both but the Ruger will get the call before any Smith I've ever owned (a Lot).

FPrice
December 28, 2006, 11:22 PM
I just picked up this Ruger fixed-sight GP100. My dealer has sold about a dozen of them in the last two months. Everyone who shoots one wants one. It has the best out-of-the box trigger I have ever felt on a DA Ruger. If your dealer has any you should consider one even though it has a 3" barrel.

And this is from a guy who prefers S&W revolvers over all others.


http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a56/FPrice/RugerGP100.jpg

The Real Hawkeye
December 28, 2006, 11:24 PM
What you have yourself there is what was once called the Speed Six.

Confederate
December 28, 2006, 11:53 PM
Today, I was told the Smith will last longer, because the Ruger has a weaker frame (cast, not forged).
Don't believe it for a second. The Ruger has a solid frame while the Smith has a side plate. Both are admirable pistols, however, and I wouldn't necessarily pick a .357 on durability alone. That said, if it were me, I'd take a look around and see if I couldn't get ahold of an older, unfired or primo, Smith 686. The new ones I don't care for much, but the older ones were beauties. I'm also a big fan of the old Ruger Security-Six in stainless. Lighter and easier to carry in the field, it is as stout as anything Smith produces. It (and the GP100) has a solid frame, robust cylinder with the cylinder stops between chambers (not over them), a massive top strap and coil springs rather than leaf springs. These are still available here and there in new condition.

You might also wish to look into some of Smith's 7-shot revolvers, though I've never seen or handled one. I'd stay away from Taurus and Charter Arms, though, just because I think you'd like any of the others better.

The Rugers are made like brick outhouses and I think are the strongest currently made. Their triggers also get much better when they've been dry fired a lot. Whatever you decide on will probably be a winner.

eastwood44mag
December 29, 2006, 12:01 AM
I just can't forgive the Taurus trigger. Ruger's aren't great (my SRH isn't great either), but the Taurus was just awful.

I figure I'd be able to use the same grips between the SRH and the GP, and since CT grips are $250 a pop, that's about the difference between the two revolvers. I figure that amounts to $500 extra in my pocket, to spend on other "kids".

Uh-oh....I think I need another safe.:banghead:

10-Ring
December 29, 2006, 12:11 AM
If I were going w/ a new wheelgun, it would be a Ruger SP101. I have not met anyone who has shot out Ruger & I'm not enamoured w/ those silly locks on the new Smiths

Jim March
December 29, 2006, 12:25 AM
Ruger metallurgy is quite good. Their designs are close to bulletproof.

A GP100 lacks side-plates, as mentioned. The frame is fundamentally stronger as a result.

Six-shot Rugers manage to put the cylinder bolt notches between cylinders on both their SA and DA models. That means there's no "weak spot" where an overcharge can begin blowing the cylinder. You CAN grenade a Ruger but you really have to try. Six-shot S&Ws have the notches on top of the cylinder bores, seven-shots don't. If you must buy an S&W, get a 7-shot :).

The hammer, trigger and other action parts are quality metal all the way through. Older S&W parts in the same area are surface-hardened; modify them and you can ruin them in short order. Newer are MIM which is nowhere NEAR as tough as Ruger bits.

The cylinder is held at three points on the GP100/SP101/Redhawk/SRH. Taurus does the same thing on the "raging" series but they need a second hand-operated latch at the crane...on the Ruger DAs the act of pushing the one release button at the rear triggers a linkage that trips both the rear and front latches, something no other company has accomplished that I'm aware of.

GP100s are commonly used for ammo development test mules. Cor-Bon is reputed to have some that have survived tens of thousands of loads ranging from "hot" to "borderline nuts". I believe it's the strongest .357 you can buy for less than a grand-plus, stronger than the L-frame S&Ws and rivalled only by the S&W N-frame 8-shot guns...and the GP100 lockwork is probably stronger if we're going to discuss round counts without going out of time.

Of current production revolvers, only the insane Freedom Arms 5-shot 357Mag built on a 454Casull-sized frame trounces it for strength, at triple the cost and double the weight.

You can disassemble a GP100 without tools except for a screwdriver on the grip panels. Under the panels is a take-down tool (just a small steel pin) that can be replaced with a paperclip in a pinch. The ability to do a total strip'n'clean in the field this easily affects reliability, esp. in a blue gun. If you drop a GP100 into salt water and recover it reasonably quickly you're not screwed so long as you have at least fresh water and dry cloth available...in a similar S&W you're in danger of having so much rust inside by the time you get home and detail strip it that at a minimum you'll lose some springs.

Finally, quality on the latest shipping Rugers has been very, very good. My 2005 vintage Ruger New Vaquero is an exceptionally tight and well-built gun and late specimens across the product line have gotten similar reports.

I'd like to see Ruger expand their line too. They have a lot of experience with Titanium in their golf club line and a TI-framed GP100 would just freakin' rock. BUT if having a small set of products is what has allowed them to exterminate bugginess then hey, that counts first.

22-rimfire
December 29, 2006, 12:40 AM
Buy what feels best. If price is not a significant factor, buy a 4" Smith 686. If price is a major factor, get a Ruger GP100 in 3 or 4". Both are great revolvers although the trigger will be much better on the Smith out of the box. The Ruger trigger will gradually smooth out a bit. But it still won't be a Smith.

Another alternative is a Colt Trooper Mark III or a Mark V series in 4" (357). They shoot good and I put one up against a Smith anytime. If you want to spend something in the order of $1000, a Colt Python is the ticket!! Premium Revolver!

StrikeEagle
December 29, 2006, 02:44 AM
I'd go for a clean, used Security-Six if you can find one.

Stainz
December 29, 2006, 06:59 AM
Compare the Ruger KGP-141 GP-100 with the S&W SKU #164222 686, as they are nearly identical full-lug 4" .357 Magnums. The 'massive' Ruger weighs in at one ounce more, probably in it's full-shrouded barrel. Having had great luck with my SRH .454, my first ever DA revolver, I naturally wanted a GP-100, as it has the same lockwork. Oddly, I liked the SRH's 'look' far better than that full shroud, but partially lugged GP's are quite rare. As I was to find out, nicely finished Rugers are also rare, all of the GP-100's I've seen new having obvious tool marks.

My tastes changed 4.5 years back with my first S&W, a .45 Colt 625MG. My first .357M, actually never intended to be a .357M here, was my partially-lugged 6" 66. I eventually added the 5" half lug 686+ (7-shot) and PC 627 V-Comp. To be blunt, if it is double action here, it probably is a S&W. The L-frame is certainly SAAMI-spec strong, and the trigger really is better 'out of the box' - and improves with use/break-in.

If I were to want a .357 Magnum 4 incher, my choice would be the S&W 66's replacement - the 620. This partially lugged 7-shooter shares the L-frame and 7-shot cylinder with the 686+ and the partially lugged new two piece barrel with the last batch of 4" 66's. I liked the Uncle Mike's Combat grips on the K-frames better than the usual L-frame open back Hogues that come stock on the 686/620's... but, they are interchangeable. The MSRP's of the GP-100, 620, and 686 run $615, $703, and $728. My preference would be the 620 - but YOU need to try the feel out yourself - and pick the one YOU like. They are all great... you can't make a bad choice.

Stainz

Z_Infidel
December 29, 2006, 09:48 AM
The only things I don't like about the GP-100 are the trigger and the rear sight on the adjustable models. But install some reduced-power springs and a Bowen Rough Country rear sight and it is a fantastic gun.

I have a 4" GP-100 and a 4" S&W 586, which are about equivalent. I prefer the classic looks of the 586 (pre-lock, firing pin on hammer, square butt, no MIM, etc...) but they are both fine revolvers.

cmidkiff
December 29, 2006, 02:12 PM
I'm a Smith fan... the main thing I have against rugers is the 3 or 4 line safety billboard they print on their barrels. Can't fault them for quality or reliability! Still, I'll stick with my S&W's :)

http://www.midkiff.us/gunpics/sw620.jpg

MCgunner
December 29, 2006, 02:27 PM
Of current production revolvers, only the insane Freedom Arms 5-shot 357Mag built on a 454Casull-sized frame trounces it for strength, at triple the cost and double the weight.

Actually, I'd think the Blackhawk is at least a LITTLE stronger than the GP100 what with the fact that it has no latchs/crane as weak points. Maybe not, but just seems logical.

I'd like to see Ruger expand their line too. They have a lot of experience with Titanium in their golf club line and a TI-framed GP100 would just freakin' rock. BUT if having a small set of products is what has allowed them to exterminate bugginess then hey, that counts first.

Hmm, an affordable titanium Security Six? <drool> I'd go for a GP100, though. In titanium, it would be a LOT more packable. Maybe Ruger could cut the cost of titanium with investment casting or some other innovative techniques.

Hey, they're bullet proof! Time to develop another model, even if it's based on new material in an existing one!:D

Bear41mag
December 29, 2006, 03:32 PM
Chosing a revolver for ones use is a very personal choice, fit, feel, wt, comfort, pointablity for the particular shooter all play a role in that choice.
That being said....If I were to have one 357 Magnum, it would be a 4" stainless steel GP100. This statement does not come lightly, for I am a diehard S&W Nut and have many in my collection. I shoot them and shoot them alot, in so much as I have shot a few out of time over the years with consent use of full bore magnum loads.
This never happend to my GP 100 after 20,000 plus rounds.

You want elegance and fine workmanship, buy an old smith, they are the cream of the crop. You want a gun that is good quality, well made, and built like a tank that will never let you down, buy a GP 100. Only thing I did with mine was had a action job done to it and it is still going strong.

Either choice will be a good one.

Jim March
December 29, 2006, 04:14 PM
Ooops :). Yeah, I forgot about the large-frame Blackhawks in 357 :D. They beat the GP100.

Ruger did a run of 5,000 I think it was, 357Mag Redhawks. THOSE were strong.

---

Hey, you know what would be way cool? A Titanium SRH Alaskan with an 8-shot 357Mag cylinder. Whoah.

Confederate
December 29, 2006, 05:18 PM
...on the Ruger DAs the act of pushing the one release button at the rear triggers a linkage that trips both the rear and front latches, something no other company has accomplished that I'm aware of.
That this change is an improvement is debatable as there doesn't seem to be much, if anything, gained by moving the lockup from the ejector rod to below the cylinder gap.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=50124&d=1167427120

If you drop a GP100 into salt water and recover it reasonably quickly you're not screwed so long as you have at least fresh water and dry cloth available...in a similar S&W you're in danger of having so much rust inside by the time you get home and detail strip it that at a minimum you'll lose some springs.
Well, not quite. If you drop any stainless gun into salt water, all one need do is immerse it in fresh water, put it in a warm oven and add three drops of oil. Cock the unloaded gun and put one drop on the hammer, then put one drop on the ejector rod where it goes into the cylinder and the final drop under the ejector star. This is probably the best thing to do with a blue gun, too, but your risk of getting some rust increases a bit. I don't know whether Smith is still making their mainsprings out of stainless steel, but that might require a bit of oil as well.

MCgunner
December 29, 2006, 05:28 PM
Hey, you know what would be way cool? A Titanium SRH Alaskan with an 8-shot 357Mag cylinder. Whoah.

I sure hope some Ruger product planner is reading this thread...:D

Jim March
December 29, 2006, 06:02 PM
Confederate: note the part about an "oven".

I grew up along the coast. I often spent time at beaches and rocky coastline many hours away from any oven into which I could put a gun.

Under such circumstances, with a GP100 and a dry towel/undershirt/etc. alone I could probably save the gun post-dunking, stainless or blue, even without fresh water. I would have to completely detail strip it and hand-dry *everything* but it would be doable. I might end up using a bit of spit and then wipe on areas that are hard to reach. The bore would be tricky, I'd have to rip off a strip of the edge of the cloth and use it as a bore snake. But I could save that gun.

If I was 2+ hours from home with an S&W, even stainless, life would suck much more.

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