decent inexpensive .357?


May 4, 2007, 12:29 PM
Recently my fiance has joined me at the range. She's having a blast shooting all sorts of pistols, including a friends .38 5 shot airweight S&W hammerless CCW pistol.

She wants a revolver, and so do I. The thing is that I don't have a clue as to what is good and inexpensive. My friends recommend a Smith or a Ruger gp100, but I'd like to have something in .357 for carry use. I prefer an external hammer.

Also, it should be fairly easy to shoot at close range. She's strong, but not that strong. ;)

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May 4, 2007, 12:42 PM
Revolvers that are ideal for carry use and range use are not often the same revolvers. Ideal range revolvers will often make great bed-side/home defense revolvers, or woods carry revolvers--but the factors that make tham good for the range (adequate weight to comfortably shoot a powerful cartridge like the .357 magnum; long enough barrel for good velocity and precise sighting) make them uncomfortable or at least potentially inconvenient to carry (assuming you mean concealed, with a permit).

If you try to split the difference, you will probably end up looking at something like a 3 or 4 inch mid-size steel-framed revolver, and the most common and suitable examples are the ones you mention--the GP100 and the S&W's, say the 619 or 620. Shopping used, you would be able to look at a S&W 65 or 66 (those are stainless; their blued counterparts are the 13 and 19), which lean a little more toward the carry end of the spectrum by being a tad smaller/lighter.

A little farther toward the carry end of the scale, you could get a 3" S&W model 60--a steel version of the 'j-frame' 5-shot you've already experienced, in .357--or a Ruger SP101--another 5-shot steel .357 'snub', but a little heavier and stouter than the S&W.

Best course of action would be to get out to where you can shoot (at a rental range) or at least handle (at a gunshop) examples of these various revolvers to see how they feel--and how you imagine carrying them.

As for expense: the Rugers will probably cost a little less than the S&W's, and are fine guns if that difference is critical. Used should be cheaper than new, and you can get a good idea of the market value of different models by extended study at an auction site like

May 4, 2007, 01:16 PM
If you don't mind buying "Previously Owned", Ruger's earlier series of .38Spl/.357Mag revolvers are excellent buys.

The Speed/Service/Security Six lines had varying butt configurations, fixed or adjustable sights and barrel lenghts, but you should be able to find exactly what want with a bit of searching.

For current production models, the 6-shot GP-100 is available in 3", 4" & 6" barrels. The SP101 is a 5-shooter.

Nothing against the Smith & Wesson models listed by other posters; I'm just not up to speed on the Smiths.

May 4, 2007, 01:58 PM
Good point; those Security Sixes and Speed Sixes from Ruger are a good value for a fine revolver. It gives up a little to a S&W in refinement and trigger quality, IME, but is a fine gun nevertheless.

May 4, 2007, 02:11 PM
It seems a lot of people carry Ruger SP101. S&W are more expensive, but lighter. Either way, be sure you rent and shoot exactly what you are considering, before buying. You might find out a snubby is not nearly as controllable in your/her hands as the longer-barrel version.

May 4, 2007, 02:20 PM
For the best price quality combo look at Taurus , their guns have come up significantly in recent years in quality to match the others yet the prices are still $100 or more less than their counterparts .

I have a Stainless 4 inch barreled 669 that I picked up used last year for $250 and it is perfect both in appearances and function , accuracy is great also .

Here are a few that are offered on GunBroker .

If you look at for ammo you will see they make some reduced power 357 loads that rate at 1,200-1,300 fps that would recoil less yet make excellent defensive rounds , those and 38 special +Ps are the best choice in snubby magnums for carry/defense .

May 4, 2007, 02:27 PM
Used GP-100s regularly sell for $300 on gunbroker. Ruger also has an incredible warranty, don't hesitate to buy a used model.

May 4, 2007, 02:29 PM
thanks fellas.

May 4, 2007, 03:21 PM
You can find LE trade-in revolvers.

Externally, they are apt to look like what they are, that is kinda scruffy from being carried a lot.

I bought one a couple of years ago and it looked terrible, but the bore was 'clean', the rifling 'sharp' and it worked just dandy. I won't get my drawers in a wad if it gets dinged up or rained on.

I've had it messed with a bit internally since then...wasn't necessary for the purpose that I had intended, but just couldn't resist the temptation I guess.

Now, its kinda like a flat track racer...looks like a bunch of dents on four wheels, but runs like a scalded bat outta Austin.


Ala Dan
May 5, 2007, 07:50 AM
For carry- a Taurus 605 (blue steel) 'bout $269.88

For Home D'/Target Shooting- Smith & Wesson 4" 686, or 66. You might
even consider a Ruger Security-Six. Many times, these three can be had
slightly used at a great savings. The ideal .357 magnum for carrying on
the person has always been a 2-1/2" barrel S&W model 19 or 66; but you
just don't run across these everyday~! :( :scrutiny: ;)

May 5, 2007, 12:51 PM
check out gunbroker! Taurus M65 SS .357 and Ruger Police service six .357 both @ $200!

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