3" .357s


August 6, 2008, 11:30 PM
So I've decided I NEED a 3" .357. Now I just have to narrow it down to which one. This may see some CCW/woods use plus it just looks like a nice revolver.

I've been thinking about a:

3" J-frame
3" SP101
3" K-frame

I've about eleminated the J-frame due to recoil and not handling the stouter loads as well.

The K frame holds an extra round but the SP101 can be found new for about the same cost.


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August 6, 2008, 11:36 PM
Why not a 3" GP100? 6 rounds in a revolver that will last 2 lifetimes. :cool:


August 6, 2008, 11:39 PM
I thought about the GP100 but kinda leaned toward it being abit bulkier than I want to hump around.

This isn't set in stone just my initial feelings.

August 7, 2008, 12:53 AM
I think a new-production 3" Model 60 would handle whatever you threw it at it. However, the SP-101 is a perennial favorite for all-purpose use, and folks have nothing but good things to say about it.

But... if you can find a nice S&W Model 65 with a 3" barrel... I don't think you'll be disappointed. :uhoh:

August 7, 2008, 03:29 AM
The lines of a S&W 65 with a 3" barrel are much sleeker and nicer looking than the GP100. I've seen 'em side by side and I went for the S&W.

August 7, 2008, 03:37 AM
S&W 386 Mountain Lite 7 shot .357 makes a nice carry gun plus an easy on the hip woods bumming revolver.


August 7, 2008, 04:02 AM
I love my SP101. Has a superb trigger on it too.

August 7, 2008, 05:36 AM
+1 on the Model 65.
I also might look at a Night Guard.

August 7, 2008, 09:01 AM
I just traded in my S&W Airweight model 360 3"barrel .357 mag. revolver yesterday (.357 3" discontinued 2-3 years ago) for a Ruger SP101 .357 3"barrel.

I hated to give up the 12oz. for 25oz. weight, however, after firing some fullhouse loads and experiencing bullet pull because of the low weight of the gun, I found it to be unreliable as my woods gun.

I have a Ruger Security Six SS .357mag. with 6" barrel but this gun is just to heavy for me to hike with, so, based on my readings the Ruger SP101 fit right in the middle of the heavy security six and the airweight.

I will post my range report next week.

IMO the lighter S&W aluminum/scandium .357 mag. revolver's with .357 125 gr. med velocity golden saber bullets are a great match for self defense,however, I don't think it's a good choice with a fullhouse loaded woods gun.

Good Luck


August 7, 2008, 09:26 AM
J-frames are fine as long as you go for the stainless steel ones. I have a model 60 2" that has no trouble with the .357's. So don't count out a great gun with an impossible to beat trigger.

August 7, 2008, 09:26 AM
Compare a Ruger Speed Six to a K frame 3". They are not much different in size....

Here's my favorite 3" Model 66.....



August 7, 2008, 09:32 AM
the night guard is a good choice and as far as the big loads the rubber grips do a great job of absorbing recoil. You won't mistake it for a 22 but very manageable. FYI I have a 386 night guard

August 7, 2008, 09:33 AM
As a 155# guy, I went with the 3" SP101 for the kind of CCW/woods application you describe. IWB for CCW, and Blade-Tech OWB kydex for woods. Wouldn't change a thing....

August 7, 2008, 09:36 AM
I've about eleminated the J-frame due to recoil and not handling the stouter loads as well.

BTW, "stout loads" in a 3-inch will get you a lot of fire & brimstone, but not a lot in terms of performance. There will be gains, but not in proportion to the extra punishment you'll get from your short-barrel.

August 7, 2008, 09:41 AM
I'd go for a speed six 3". In fact, I want one very badly to keep my 3" SP101 company!!!

August 7, 2008, 09:58 AM
I'd go for a speed six 3". Link, if Fugate hasn't finalized the deal. (I'd go for a speed six 3".)

August 7, 2008, 10:02 AM
+1 on the 2.75" Ruger "six". I have a security six and its on my side most days!

August 7, 2008, 05:56 PM
Although they are hard to find, the S&W stainless K frame .357s with 3 inch barrels may be the best alternative from the standpoint of trigger feel and overall appearance. Earlier this year I happened to find a model 66 with 3 inch barrel, and it is a wonderful shooter but small enough to be carried concealed.


August 7, 2008, 06:24 PM
The '80s Colt Lawman Mk III 2" is a favorite of mine. Recently acquired but the heavier frame and tank like build are working well in a reasonably concealable package. Buffalo Bore heavy .38 spl short barrel 158 grain are advertised at;

158 gr. L.S.W.C.H.P.--G.C. (1,000fps/M.E. 351 ft.lbs.):)

these were comfortable to shoot and I did not notice any excessive flash.

Also Speer Gold Dot 135 grain short barrels in both .38 spl and .357 offered good results so far. Standard .357 loadings didn't produce an unmanageable recoil but noise and muzzle flash are off the charts:what:. It's damn sure a good stable platform for modern juiced up .38 spl and the shorter cases eject for combat reloading with much more speed.

I'm very happy with it but don't know of a true equivalent in current manufacture.:( It has a rather good Colt Mk III trigger which means very few better revolver triggers to be found anywhere.

August 7, 2008, 06:27 PM
Beautiful 66, pogo2.

If this were my decision, my choices would narrow down to the aforementioned 3" Model 65 or a 3" Speed/Security/Service Six. (Well, 2 3/4".) The final determining factor would be price. In my case, I saw both at local shops. The 65-5 was way overpriced at $550. The Speed Six, although .38, was priced right at $250. So I chose the Speed Six. The price would have to be a lot lower for me to choose the Smith & Wesson.

But... if I had the expendable cash... I'd be holding that 65-5 Ladysmith right now. I guess it boils down to how much you want to spend. I don't think you're going to see a lot of old Ruger Sixes for my kind of prices anymore.

August 7, 2008, 06:34 PM
I recommend you get the Speed Six...my idea of a "perfect" carry weapon.

Me...I like the GP100...but I could afford to modify it to my requirements...and it really is the perfect 3 inch .357 mag which fires hot rounds very comfortably, accurately and is augmented for moon clip fast reloads.


August 11, 2008, 12:20 AM
Go with the 3" K frame.

I did (Model 66) and I love it.

August 11, 2008, 12:40 AM
Go with a stainless 5 shot J frame smith...not a lightweight or airweight, but a solid stainless frame version. Then get a hammer shroud from W.W Waller & Son. Then lasergrips.

August 11, 2008, 07:10 AM
Isn't a K-frame like a GP100 by size of frame? "Medium frame"

August 11, 2008, 08:27 AM
Isn't a K-frame like a GP100 by size of frame? "Medium frame"

'Like' is about it. Both are 'medium frame', but the Ruger is larger and chunkier with a more blocky look than a 3" 'K' frame. I have a S&W 65-6 on layaway. It was in a display case right next to a GP100 and the differences in size, shape and overall appearance was startling. I had walked in too purchase the GP100, but when I saw the 65-6 I changed my mind. The 65-6 was so much more elegant, smaller and better balanced than the Ruger while being just about 4 oz. lighter. I'm sure the GP100 is a great gun, but somehow those S&W three inchers are just classier in look to me.

August 11, 2008, 11:27 AM
A "K" frame S&W will never hold up to a steady diet of 357 mag loads and on the other hand, you will never wear out the GP100...

Seven For Sure
August 11, 2008, 12:35 PM
A 3" 686+ will hold up to a steady diet of heavy 357's and look good doing it. Plus you get and extra rd. or two over the other options.

August 12, 2008, 02:47 AM
I've about eliminated the J-frame due to recoil and not handling the stouter loads as well.
The recoil is very hard to handle when firing a 12oz Airlite but not when firing a 23oz Stainless J frame. As a matter of fact the 3" M60 (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=11101&langId=-1&productId=14755&tabselected=tech&isFirearm=Y&parent_category_rn=15704) weighs 24oz and is fairly easy to shoot even with Magnum rounds. I own a M640-1 which weighs 24oz and can shoot as many .357 Magnum rounds through it as I want without undue discomfort.

If the funds are available it's my opinion there is no finer 3" J frame .357 Magnum revolver than the 3" Model 60 Pro (http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson/upload/other/ps/178013.pdf). All of what you would want done by a good gunsmith to make your carry revolver the best has already been done to this M60. I like a good K frame but I also like this 3" M60 Pro.

August 12, 2008, 03:00 AM
I'll put in my vote for the 65.
Substantial, yet not overweight.

A steady diet of .357 mag isn't necessary
any more than a steady diet of prime rib.

Model 60 is a fine choice, also.

August 13, 2008, 03:54 PM
S&W 640. Have your gunsmith put a 3" barrel on it. S&W makes one for its 60-15. If you can have a gun made this way I think it would be about perfect, able to handle .357 loads yet lighter than the SP-101. Oh yeah, get it magna-ported.

August 13, 2008, 04:04 PM
Of the choices given I would pick the SP-101 but I suggest the GP-100.

August 13, 2008, 08:41 PM
I've had a 4 " gp-100 carried well in a shoulder holster, accurate etc. Also had a Speed six snub-accurate, my 6 yr old daughter could shoot it with full mag loads. I now have a sp101 3" it carries the best in a IWB from Ken Null and woods carry with an uncle Mikes or Miltec. I kind of wish I'd got the 2inch 101 for ease of carry.

August 13, 2008, 09:03 PM
Here's mine. It's a Taurus, works great for me. I like the SP101, though, and of your choices, I'd go with a SP101. I sold my 2.3" version, prefer the Taurus 3" 66, shoots better and carries about as easily, plus an extra round. I got it used in a sea of 400 dollar used 4" K frames for $180. It's a tack driver. It's only an inch shorter than my 4" gun, but is amazingly easier to tote and draw IWB. I do recommend a 3"er for carry IWB. The K frame, if you could find a good deal on one (good luck on a 3"), would be about as light and easy to tote as the SP101, but the SP101 has a little more compact grip and is a whole lot better deal, very strong gun. K frames are a little fragile.


August 13, 2008, 09:13 PM
Any K frame Smith in 3 inch is the perfect carry weapon, imho.

August 13, 2008, 09:21 PM
Has the model 13 been mentioned? No safe queen here.;)


John Fugate
August 13, 2008, 09:24 PM
Thats right your tell'em ladder. I traded the 66 2.5 inch I bought from you in on a 681 PC 3 incher that is house gun. I like the 3 over the 2.5 hands down. I have a 3 inch 19 PC and 686 csi and 66-4. I am a sucker for the 3inch Combat,,, I have a 3 inch Python and I am Smith and Wesson Guy.

John Fugate fugatefirearms.com

John Fugate
August 13, 2008, 09:34 PM
I saw that 13 on dragnet lastnight about 1 a.m. on cable. Get a tyler t and some patton leather black shoes and walk the beat. I like guns with character.

August 13, 2008, 10:01 PM
That model 13 is absolutely beautiful. It is the pinnacle of six-shooters, imo.

That said, I also like the model 65. And the J-frame bodyguard. And the colt super cobra, and the colt...

Ok, there's lots of "pinnacles".

The s&W round butts are especially nice though.

August 13, 2008, 11:11 PM
I just picked up this Colt Python for a short barrel .357. I never fired a Python with a 2.5" barrel, but if anyone has, I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts.


August 13, 2008, 11:19 PM
That Python snub...Can't be beat...I've had several,and shot one...they are MIRACULOUS.
If hat gun is not a TRUE 100% NEW UNFIRED GUN...Shoot it...You can't do better for a CCW...If You can bring Yourself to pack and fire it...
You only live once.
It's like a Rolex in Your hand that shoots .357.

August 14, 2008, 02:39 AM
I am quite fond of my S&W 66 3". It's a keeper :D

August 14, 2008, 03:56 AM
Ah, we've turned this into a pic thread.

OK, I'll play.

Here are Batman (65) & Robin (642).


August 14, 2008, 04:02 AM
A "K" frame S&W will never hold up to a steady diet of 357 mag loads and on the other hand, you will never wear out the GP100...
As long as you stay away from light bullets at full house magnum velocities the K frame's forcing cone will be just fine.

If I couldn't find a good 3" 65 on the used market a 3" GP 100 would be my choice new because of certain "features" that are on current production S&W wheel guns.

August 14, 2008, 04:41 AM
One factor to consider is whether you want adjustable or fixed sights. I don't think either of the Ruger 3" SP101 or GP100, or the J-frames, have adj. sights; whereas the S&W K and L frames at least come in both.

Another factor is the trigger. I have found Rugers with very smooth triggers and Smiths, mostly L-frames, with gritty monsters. I would check out specific examples and tend toward whichever ones had the best trigger for me.

I would lean toward the SP101 having owned it and J-frames and K-frames. I just like the compact robustness of it. But the Smiths are fine guns too. You really can't go wrong with any of them in my opinion.

Gary A
August 14, 2008, 08:48 AM
I believe Smith and Wesson is still making a 3 inch J-frame with adjustable sights in stainless steel. I'm an SP lover myself.

August 14, 2008, 09:07 AM
Folks who recommend the 3" GP100, where are you finding them (new with full lug bbl) reliably and not overpriced?

August 14, 2008, 09:39 AM
All the above are great firearms. I hunted down and traded for a M65, 3" and I have not touched it since. :banghead::banghead::banghead: The only times I see it is when my wife pulls it out. :banghead::banghead::banghead:

I keep it loaded with 38+P and she loves it.

What I would like is a nice M13 unless I can find another M65.

All this to say. K-FRAME

K-Frame, K-FRAME

guess I kinda like the K-frame

August 14, 2008, 10:00 AM
A "K" frame S&W will never hold up to a steady diet of 357 mag loads and on the other hand, you will never wear out the GP100...

True enough, but then the GP100 might wear YOU out trying to carry that lump all day. The SP101 is the superior carry piece, still much stronger than a K frame and only 28 ounces. It's the Ruger of choice IMHO. If the extra round is that important to you, you probably ought to be carrying an auto.

August 14, 2008, 10:00 AM
Try Budsgunshop.com...
They have them in stock...good prices.
I have a 3" GP100...Wonderful gun...Best value in a 3" 6 shot .357...

August 14, 2008, 10:03 AM
In the week since I first posted on this thread I got some new Badger corian white grips for my S&W 66 3 incher. So I'll post a picture wearing the new grips:


August 14, 2008, 10:10 AM
Gary A said:
I believe Smith and Wesson is still making a 3 inch J-frame with adjustable sights in stainless steel. I'm an SP lover myself.

I just bought a S&W Pro-60 a couple of months ago (3" J-frame .357, tritium front sight and wood grips standard). At 23 ounces, it's very controllable with factory .357 loads, but I'm not going to make a steady diet of it. In fact, for HD use, I'm just keeping it loaded with .38 +P hollow points (have a couple of speed-loaders with .357 rounds however).

August 14, 2008, 05:15 PM
If I didn't own the 65, I'd own a model 60. I like them a lot.
Of course, I like the extra rnd w/ my 65, too.

Pogo, that's a beautiful revolver.
Those white grips are elegant on it.

August 14, 2008, 08:44 PM
Just picked up this one today, it a 3" .357 model 60. Gotta get some classier grips for it soon. :D


And my old model 13.


John Fugate
August 15, 2008, 12:12 AM
What do you know about Colts and Rolexes ? I thought you were some Big Bad Country and Western Biker dude from St Louis ? I bet you carry a Blackhawk .44 or a Tommy Hawk like ole Kaliga. Last I heard you were in Durango Colorado fixin to hop a train with some hot brunette. I guess that beats hiding in Detroit in the dark room. Made you look . :neener:

August 15, 2008, 08:56 AM
Gator said:
Just picked up this one today, it a 3" .357 model 60. Gotta get some classier grips for it soon. :D

Nice pick-up, with a nice photo to go with it! :)

I don't know if I'd replace that Hogue grip...It just has a nice, "functional" look to it...

August 15, 2008, 11:27 AM
Thanks Jframe! The tupperware on it is comfortable, but sooooo ugly. Maybe I'll get some nice grips just for pics. :)

August 16, 2008, 09:55 PM
Quote Gator August 14th, 2008, 07:44 PM
Just picked up this one today, it a 3" .357 model 60. Gotta get some classier grips for it soon.

I got one of these a year ago and these grips work great.

August 17, 2008, 12:07 AM
What do you know about Colts and Rolexes ? I thought you were some Big Bad Country and Western Biker dude from St Louis ? I bet you carry a Blackhawk .44 or a Tommy Hawk like ole Kaliga. Last I heard you were in Durango Colorado fixin to hop a train with some hot brunette. I guess that beats hiding in Detroit in the dark room. Made you look .

So, you got somethin' against bikers, Blackhawks, and Waylen and Willy?:fire:

John Fugate
August 17, 2008, 03:30 AM
No Sir,
I live for Waylon and Willie, Johnny Cash and Shovelheads. I drink Pearl in a can and Jack Daniels Black,,chew tobbacco from a mail pouch sack. I'm big and hard and battled scarred and getting long in the tooth desperate and hungry and nothing to lose, I can tell you every word that ever rolled off of Ronnie Van Zant's silver tongue. I drive a 1971 Chevrolet stepside with peace signs mags wheels and four on the floor "some bondo". You spell Waylon with a O , show the boy from Littlefield some respect. I got his first album live a JD's 1964. They can say what they want to about Bob Wills,,, but Waylon is the king. He never was the same inside after Buddy died, remember what he told Buddy before he got on the plane ? Had to live with that for the rest of his life.

I got nothing against Blackhawks either,, I have several in my collection. I am a Pre Warning kinda guy,,,,,,, I am a Willie Nelson fan as well. Willie spelled with a I.E. that is. Free Willy spells his name Willy with a Y. McGunner,, you have the wrong man in custody,,, " I have been wrongly accused counsler " The guy you are looking for does not have Robert E. Lee tatooed on his left shoulder holding Mr Sam Colts shiny new invention. Just like Young Skynyrd once said,,, "I aint the one"

Two Step to that cowboy,,,, :neener:

Johnny " I Rode The Bull at Gilleys " Fugate

August 17, 2008, 03:44 AM
Well, I drink PBR,
and listen mostly to hiphop, cliqhop,
progressive jazz, and deep house,
but I still love 3" 357s.


John Fugate
August 17, 2008, 04:08 AM
The PBR saved you ,,, Your just got a pass.:D Keep on riding my brother.

August 17, 2008, 04:12 AM


John Fugate
August 17, 2008, 04:45 AM
My personal carry is a slightly modified highly tuned Smith and Wesson 681 PC 7 shooter 3 inch with Custom Jim Akers fingergrooved grips from the forrest of the big timber.Chambered in the greatest caliber known to man or beast alike the beloved .357 magnum. Balanced and blueprinted, polished and ported ,chopped and channeled, Blown and most recently fuel injected ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 4:11 gears consistantly deliver 1800 FPS to the Retro Mickey Thomspon slicks. Last but not least that vintage chrome Tyler T you see,,, thats not just for looks no Sir. That actually doubles as a traction bar. We dynoed it last week at 486 H.P.and 512 FT LBS torgue. That was using 115 grain wadcutters and 89 octane pump gas. I had a jinks letter on it but that went up in flames during lift off.
:o John

August 17, 2008, 10:13 AM
Lets not leave out the CS-1 (686 made for the US Customs service) and the 686-4, both of these were made in 3" flavor!

Oh Yeah, I drink German wheat beer, and listen to ZEP!!!!!!!!!

August 17, 2008, 12:16 PM

John Fugate
August 27, 2008, 02:26 AM
Why are 3 inch guns the rage ? Dirty Harry did'nt carry a 3 inch ? Is three the magic number ? Do they just look cool ? What makes this the beast to behold ? Three inch guns are just special,, Why ? !!!!!!!! mmmmmmmm

What makes these guns Rock,,, post up what you find so great about a 3 inch gun,, I think this will be very interesting ? Stand up and testify ,,,,:D

PRO's and CON's ?

Likes and Dislikes ?

Your favorite 3 inch of all time ?

August 27, 2008, 02:44 AM
What makes these guns Rock,,, post up what you find so great about a 3 inch gunI've tried 2" and 4".

If find the 2" great for CCW/SD.
(Really like my snub; on my side now.)

The 4" offers greater accuracy and velocity,
but doesn't point as quickly and easily.

For me, the 3" is a perfect balance.


August 27, 2008, 10:38 PM
Couple times in the thread.

3 inch 686 L Frame.

Permutation CS-1 US Customs Service Issue for the "suits".
Beadblasted finish standard.


Flying Dog
Dogfish Head
Sierra Nevada

Dim Lights Thick Smoke and Loud, Loud Music.

August 28, 2008, 12:59 AM
3 inch 686 L FrameOh, man ...

Someday, I tell myself. Someday.

August 28, 2008, 02:09 AM
The model 60 Pro... does anyone know if it comes with chromed hammer & trigger? Smith's website seems to indicate it does by the pictures, but owners' pics don't have them.

August 28, 2008, 06:59 AM
That 60 Pro comes with some nice features for just a few bucks over the other two 3" 60s ($782 vs $758 MSRP). The hammer & trigger do look hard chromed, a la my 625JM. I've handled, er, fondled, one in the pusher's lair - very tempting. It was ~$40-$50 cheaper than my next target - a 4" 10-shot 617. Decisions, decisions...


August 28, 2008, 09:05 AM
For me, the 3" is a perfect balance.

That is it. Plus versatility.

I have a 3" Taurus 605 I like a lot. So I am in the market for a SP101.

They make great "kit" guns.

August 28, 2008, 11:12 AM
3 inch Performance Center..681,NIB with quad ports on the sides of the barrel...
Things that make a big boom...
Did I mention it is NIB,Pure as a new born baby?
Where,You might ask,did I get it??
Well...I got that somebitch somewhere,somewhere...
"That's a good one"
3 inch is the perfect balance of concealability,Sir John,and offers up a bit more length for that added velocity from the good ole .357 round...
As for Clint...He didn't need to follow ANY trends...he set them.
And,as was all other things "Back in the day" A big 6 inch N frame .44 Mag...Alot like the 4,000 lb Plymouths and Road Runners,LTD's,Lincolns and El Dorado Broughams that all the Gator McCluskys drove back then...500 Cubic inch...400 HP..
There's only 2 things I'm scared of Sherriff..."Women and the Po-Lice"

John Fugate
August 28, 2008, 06:17 PM
How bout some banjo lessons ? If You ever need a nice Smith or some Banjo lessons call me. I can pick and grin with the best of them,,,
John Fugate :D

August 28, 2008, 07:37 PM
I shot one back in the '90s and loved it, but I missed getting one, and I have wanted a 3" Taurus Model 605 357 ever since. I just recently got one of the re-issue ones. I have been having a blast with it. I am bagging pop cans and clay pigeons (not flying) at 20 to 25 yards really well. Not really fun with full house 158 gr. or especially 170 gr. 357 Magnums, but 140s and 125s are very controllable. I tried the fire and brimstone just to see how they would do, and now I can just enjoy plinking with 38s for practice.
I alternate this gun with a Taurus 431 4" in 44 Special for carry. I have had about every gun mentioned except the Colt snubbies thru the years, and while the Rugers and Smiths, especially the 65, are fine guns, I just like the heck out of these two. Both have been flawless from the get go. I prefer fixed sights on a carry gun, but that is just personal preference. I have plenty of adjustable sighted guns if I want to see what I can do at the range, but lately I'd just as soon have the fixed sights so I have a good excuse too.

August 28, 2008, 11:03 PM
You sound like some kinda Kentucky Buck Owens...How's the fish bitin down in Kentucky Lake?
As far as that banjo goes...."Could Ya play some Lynyrd Skynyrd,Please?"

John Fugate
August 29, 2008, 07:45 AM
The fish are bite'n and the banjo's are tuned up down here on Ky Lake .

We've got rural scenes & magazines
We've got truckers on the CB
We've got Richard Pryor on the video


August 29, 2008, 10:00 AM
Only thing about SP101s in kit gun duty is no adjustable sights. I had one in 2.25", though, and the damned thing shot everything to POA. That's very unusual, I mean, everything from 180 magnums to wadcutter .38s. Defies the laws of physics.

August 29, 2008, 01:10 PM
Since it turned into a picture thread. Here are some of Smith & Wesson's.

model 60 3 inch, 66 2 1/2 inch, 686 2 1/2 inch, 686 4 inch

All great short carry guns


August 29, 2008, 01:26 PM
Got a big bus,with a TV and a bar..And a little room in the back for Me and My old guitar..Gotta stop and fuel and,every five hunderd miles,give a picture to the waitress,eat a late breakfast country style...

John Fugate
August 30, 2008, 01:28 PM
Thats my life and I love it,

August 31, 2008, 12:50 PM
I've been a fan of three-inch guns since the first time a buddy let me shoot his 66-3, I hit everything I aimed at and decided I needed to get that one away from him. Twenty-four years later, he still has it, and I'm still trying. (Negotiations continue....) But in the meantime, I happened across a few other three-inch guns, and made them my own. First there was this one..............
A Smith 657, which I foolishly let get away since it was too big to carry comfortably off-duty. Eventually I happened into a deal for a used Smith 65-5 three-inch, and pounced. I still have that one, and have made it my own. Re-shaped the (stainless steel :cuss:) front sight, shaved off the hammer spur, and did the best trigger job of my life. Absolutely amazing trigger. Even a few gunsmith friends have said they can't beat it, and it's dead reliable with all primers, even those damned CCI monsters.

Not long ago a guy here at work mentioned a gun he was thinking about selling, and I pounced again. I've long lusted after a Smith 696, but the used guns are close to a grand around here! :eek: This Rossi 720 three-incher cost me less than a fourth of that, shoots like it's laser-guided, and carries easily. If five rounds constitutes a handicap, you need to practice more, it doesn't phase me at all. Here's a pic of the last two, sitting by the window, asking when we're going to the range again. "Tomorrow? Pleeeeeeeease?"
So what is it about the three-inch guns that makes them so desireable.......the balance? The sexy profile? I neither know nor care. All I know is that whatever it is, I'm a complete and total sucker for it!


August 31, 2008, 04:45 PM
Hey, here is my only 3"-er... it should have been a .38/.357M... boring it out to make it a .44 Special makes the 696 a poor example of a good .44 - it has no forcing cone!


Now, you want a .44 that will take real Keith level loads? How about one that brand new will set you back less than the used 696s seem to command these days? Sure, it weighs six ounces more - but it has a bigger hammer & trigger - another inch of barrel - another round of capacity - and it really is a Magnum! Sure - a 4" 629 (SKU #163603) - like mine below, which sports the Hogue .500 Magnum grips and is shown with my 696 from above. If someone offered me the right amount, I'd have just the 4"-er. Believe me... don't spend the brat's college money on a 696... spend a bit less on a 4" 629 - send him to a community college!



September 1, 2008, 05:52 AM
For me it would depend on how much you are going to shoot it.

I've put over 1,000 "full house" rounds through my 3" GP100 in the past six months. For that amount of shooting I'd go with a Ruger. If you are only going to shoot 50 rounds/Month then I'd get a 3" K-Frame S & W.

BTW: The Ruger isn't any harder to hide than the K-Frame S &W, IMHO.

That's my $0.02 on the matter.


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