.357 magnum revolver recommendations?


March 4, 2009, 02:48 AM
I'm moving to Ohio from the UK soon, and will thus be purchasing my first handgun.

Initially I will have more pressing things to spend my money on, so my first handgun will have to be something of a jack of all trades so to speak.

Although I'm a huge fan of the 1911, I have had to concede that a .357 magnum revolver will make a more sensible choice for my first gun.
My reasoning for this is:
A) When I buy my first 1911, I want it to be a good one, and my first gun needs to be inexpensive.
B) Although I am well versed in the theoretical side of things, I am from the UK and therefore have very little practical experience. A revolver seems to make more sense initially.
C) A .357 magnum will allow me to cut my teeth on .38 special yet still give me 'growing room'
D) One required role for the gun will be home defense. I'd be happy with a 1911, but I am a gun nut who is prepared to practice. My wife is not.
E) .38 special is relatively cheap and readily available, so I'll be able to afford to put plenty of practice in.

Ok, so my first question is, is my reasoning sound?
If so, I need some recommendations based on the following criteria:

1) The gun needs to be inexpensive (not 'cheap') I don't want to buy crap, but my firearms budget will initially be low until I have all my ducks in a row. I need a basic no frills .357 magnum revolver.
2) I will only buy a stainless steel revolver. I know they are marginally more expensive, but I really don't want a blued one.
3) I would prefer a medium frame six shot revolver.
4) The gun will be used for target shooting, general plinking, home defense and possibly concealed carry.
5) For the same money, I would rather buy a higher quality used gun than a lower quality new one.
6) The revolver must be all steel. I want this gun to be capable of digesting .357 magnum ammunition on a regular not occasional basis.

I've been looking at guns from S&W, Ruger and Taurus. I like S&W a lot, but they tend to be on the more spendy side. Taurus seem to be S&W clones but I have read mixed reports about their quality.

I also need advice on barrel length. Obviously a 6" barrel would be better for target shooting/home defense, and a 2" barrel would be better for concealment, but I don't have the luxury of buying both just yet. What would be a good compromise for an all rounder? 3" maybe?

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March 4, 2009, 03:02 AM
A Ruger GP100 with a four inch barrel sounds like it should fit the bill. Or, you can go with a smaller frame and get a Ruger SP101 with a three inch barrel. But you will lose one round in the SP101, bringing you to a total of five rounds.
Both of these pistols are great in most every way. They're built like tanks and I love mine!
Cheers! :D

March 4, 2009, 03:17 AM
Ill chime in my little piece, I had a rossi that broke a firing pin after 200 rounds. I sent it back, they replaced it and then it broke it again in another 125 rounds. I know a Taurus is not a rossi, but tecnically speaking they are pretty close. Just thought Id put that out there for you. Im not trying to bash anyone, but if its going to be your only gun, I would buy decent quality.

March 4, 2009, 04:19 AM
Ok, the GP100 is now on my shortlist. I did look at the SP101, but I think I want a medium frame and six rounds.
This is the problem I seem to be having, revolvers mostly seem to have model numbers rather than names, and there is a bewildering number of them!

I've read that Taurus used to have quality control issues but that they have cleaned up their act somewhat in recent years.
I'd be interested in a Taurus as a less costly version of a S&W, but only if it's not going to fall apart in my hands.
Any opinions from Taurus owners?

JimJD, on what basis do you think a 4" barrel would be best? I was kinda hoping I could get away with a 3" for ease of concealment, but if a 4" would be more versatile for the pretty unfair variety of tasks that I'm expecting this gun to perform, I'll go for one.

I know that I would gain extra sight radius, less muzzle blast/flash and slightly higher velocity, but I'm concerned about concealing that extra inch.

March 4, 2009, 04:34 AM
You just described a S&W model 66. Such would certainly be my first choice. It is out of production but there are plenty of them around.

March 4, 2009, 04:45 AM
Yup, looks like I did :D

If I can get one at a reasonable price, that would be perfect.
What's the difference between the 66 and the 686? Is it just the full length shroud on the 686 that's different?
I think I'd like a full length shroud to put a bit more weight near the muzzle for when I'm shooting 357, but I guess it doesn't matter too much.
The 66 is certainly a handsome revolver.

Another question that I forgot to add above, fixed or adjustable sights?
I'm not going to be doing any long distance target work, and adjustable target sights worry me on a carry gun.
Sorry for all the questions, but I'm pretty new to all of this :rolleyes:

March 4, 2009, 05:03 AM
The model 19 & 66 have a small section cut out of the bottom of the forcing cone. The 686, apart from a full length underlug, has a slightly deeper window for the cylinder, allowing a non cut forcing cone, which means longer life when fired with .357 magnums.

Read the link here:

If you are planning to CCW then forget about the adjustable sights, but also forget about a full sized revolver. You will end up wanting an alloy frame j frame. Carrying a full sized gun seems cool until you do it. Then you realize just how heavy they are.

Adjustables are great for training at the range, a black rear sight and red insert front is better than a silver channel.

If you are not carrying it then a new or used 686 or even a new 620 would do fine.

When you actually get to the USA go to a range and hire a few guns and familarize yourself with them before buying. Coolgunitis is a bad disease, I've had it 24 times.

March 4, 2009, 07:02 AM
I just bought a 4" GP-100 as my first gun. Mine's blued, I wanted a stainless gun but my local shop didn't have a stainless GP in stock and gave me a discount on the blued gun. for $475 I settled for blued and I'm not disappointed.

I keep mine in the nightstand for home defense and take it camping with me for plinking or self defense.

Initially I wanted a S&W 686 because I thought they looked much more elegant than the Rugers. The GP-100 is heavier looking and generally strikes me as more utilitarian. I chose the Ruger over the S&W though because I believe it's just as much gun for a lot less money; As I shopped more I grew to like the heavy-barreled look and feel of the GP-100, which also makes it easy for an amateur like me to shoot magnum loads.

March 4, 2009, 10:51 AM
Try a 3" barrelled Ruger GP100.You can get one used reasonably priced,and they are among the least likely firearms to suffer damage from abuse because they are overbuilt.They are utterly reliable and accurate enough.You can shoot any load you want in them and not have to worry about forcing cone damage or flame cutting like with a an S&W 19/66.
The S&W "L" frames are ok,but the Ruger is just as good for less money.

March 4, 2009, 10:56 AM
Though it will mean people will jump on top of me and cry "foul!" I feel I really must put in a plug for the ubiquitous Rossi.

The Rossi 462 is a good, easy-to-conceal revolver and most Rossis these days have next to no reliability issues -- not any more than any other particular brand. They're also pretty inexpensive. Mine has had several hundreds of rounds through it within the last two-and-a-half months and is doing just great so far.

March 4, 2009, 10:58 AM
Used guns can be had for a song. Ruger Service/security 6, SW model 19 (as noted above check for cracked forcing cone and top strap flame cutting, or 686, 27, 28 and many more. The Ruger GP, or SP are also fine guns.

March 4, 2009, 10:58 AM
Dan Wesson!

You can find them for less than $300. When you've got some more cash to spend, you can upgrade your barrels to 2", 6" or 8" for less then you'd spend on a whole new gun.

Be sure to get a model 15, not a 14, though.

March 4, 2009, 11:18 AM
If you are planning on shooting a lot of magnums, then I put in another vote for either the GP100 or the 686. New 686 revolvers are pretty expensive, and IMO, the older ones are nicer anyway. So, I'd look for a used 686 or a new or used GP100.

Its kind of putting the cart before the horse, but should you decide to handload in the future (which is almost a necessity these days if you want to shoot a lot), the .38 Special/.357 Magnum are joys to handload for.

Brian Williams
March 4, 2009, 11:22 AM
S&W 66/19, S&W 586/686, Ruger GP100 series or the Speed/Service-Six series, Any Dan Wesson.
Look for Adjustable sights and a 4" barrel.

March 4, 2009, 11:25 AM
4" GP100 would be my choice also, we have 3 in the family and they are just great handguns. Don't worry about adjustable sights either, all my carry guns except 1 have adjustable sights and is not a problem.

March 4, 2009, 11:28 AM
The gun needs to be inexpensive (not 'cheap') I don't want to buy crap,

Then you don't want a Taurus or a Rossi. Might as well not learn the "you get what you pay for" lesson on your first pistol. Buy a Ruger or a Smith (or Dan Wesson). I really like the way the GP100 looks and feels. I don't mind the weight on my hip, and would recommend a 3" or 4" barrel. I held a S&W 686 the other day as well, sweet with hogue grips. For your requirements I would think fixed sight would be fine, but I'll always take adjustable if I can help it. You may decide you want the adjustable sight later, and they really don't get in the way.

March 4, 2009, 11:33 AM
Another in favor of the GP-100 4". I enjoy shooting mine even though it hasn't seen the light of day for a couple of years. Kinda just sits in the safe and gets wiped down ever so often.

Does anyone have any feedback on the Taurus model 608? A local shop has one for $575.00 NIB. It has a 6" barrel ported and is in stainless. Seems to feel good and sight well. I can't afford it right now just wondering.

March 4, 2009, 11:37 AM
I actually looked at a GP100 4" yesterday, very nice gun. I'm contemplating buyine one for my first to, but i want to conceal carry it so maybe I need to find something else :D Around here they can be found for 500 dollars or so, not sure if that falls in your budget or not.

March 4, 2009, 11:44 AM
Why the Taurus bashing? Have 3 Tauri and 1 Rossi with nary a complaint. Chevy or Ford?


March 4, 2009, 11:50 AM
I don't think you can go wrong with either a gp100 or a S&W. From your criteria I would go with a 3" or 4" barrel. But please do let us know just what price range exactly you are looking at, so we can better recommend a product.

Take a good look at the S&W 620, it is the L frame version of the 66 and you get an extra shot in that cylinder. That is unless you have an aversion to a 7 shooter and a 2 piece barrel. Both of those things I consider an improvement (blasphemy, I know). I can and do conceal carry this service size revolver; IWB, with a simply rugged sourdough pancake holster. Don't worry to much about the adjustable sights, this holster covers them up and protects them.

By the way, welcome to the USA.

March 4, 2009, 11:56 AM
Why the Taurus bashing? Have 3 Tauri and 1 Rossi with nary a complaint. Chevy or Ford?


Nothing wrong with them at all. The ones that I have seen and shot were all great (3 of them). The only problem I have with Taurus is that they seem to have very terrible customer service.

Add that to Ruger and S&W both being made in America and being a higher quality product and I have no reason to own a Taurus at this time. As always that's just my two pennies. Though I wouldn't turn down a Raging Bull if I had some extra cash and found a good price on it.

Oh, and welcome to THR.

Marvin KNox
March 4, 2009, 12:02 PM
I live in the U.S. and I've found lately that 66 models are getting pretty scarce and the prices are climbing steadily. You mentioned a steady diet of all kinds of .357 mags. That lets the 66 and 19 out of the running IMO.

Clear choice seems to be 686 or GP100. 686 can also be had in a 7 shot in exactly the same size. A little harder to find, however.

Price and everything concidered - the GP100 seems like the way to go for you. (I like 686+, but money isn't, fortunately, a big factor for me right now.)

Don't forget the Ruger can be had in 3" barrel and that seems the way to go to me. However, the 3" may be quite hard to find used. If you buy new - you should go 3" Ruger GP100 IMO.

Covers all your bases nicely IMO.

March 4, 2009, 12:02 PM
I would say if you have your heart set on a 1911, go for it. in my experience, you will be happy you got a gun and upset that you didnt get THE gun you wanted. I recommend the Taurus PT1911, a great gun for a reasonable price. there is a variety of dependable revolvers to be had as well... I like taurus revolvers as well(I have a model 608 that is an 8 shot 357!!!!), but maybe I am partial.

March 4, 2009, 12:13 PM
I too am tiring of the Taurus bashing.

I have Rugers, Colts, Sig's, and Taurus'.

Bought three Taurus' this year. The one that is most pertinent to this thread is the 357 Mag Ultra-Lite I originally purchased for my wife as her carry weapon. This only holds five so it's probably not the model your looking for, this is just my experience with Taurus handguns.

I love this little revolver, and I have personally put over 2000 rounds through it, all Mag's 124 gr. No problems whatsoever and it is a hoot to shoot, and for a two incher very accurate. No problems with any of the other pistols either, with 1000's of rounds through then too.

Taurus today is a quality handgun, that does not mean that any other handgun mentioned is not (except the Rossi), I will continue to buy the Ruger Revolvers, and Colt's and many other brands, but Taurus is certainly not out of the picture of a quality handgun.

David E
March 4, 2009, 12:28 PM
S&W: Model 66, or 686.

Ruger: GP100 or the older Security Six.

Get adjustable sights and a 4" barrel for an "all-around."

the S&W's have a better, smoother action than the Rugers, but the Rugers can be improved.

March 4, 2009, 12:47 PM
The GP-100 is a great gun but it's also a heavy tank of a gun.
It's built like an anvil. That's a good thing for me but it might be a bad thing for some (weight).

For my own uses, I absolutely love the 3" SP-101. It's as close to a "do-all" handgun as I can imagine. But it does have fixed sights. So far, that hasn't really made much difference though - After I got the sights adjusted they seem to put just about every round I've tried to the same POI regardless of what weight it is or how fast it's going.

March 4, 2009, 12:56 PM
Ditto the "get what you pay for".

I personally am not a fan of short barreled magnums, but to each his own.

I would rather have a snubbie carry in .38 and and a full sized .357 then one inbetween, but I realize that we are now talking about 2 revolvers.


That is S&W's .357 offering, new for $600 plus shipping and registration. 7-shot is bonus. 4 inch barrel. All specs available at www.smith-wesson.com

I won't knock the other brands. But from hearsay, I won't buy one of them either.

March 4, 2009, 01:47 PM
double post

March 4, 2009, 01:59 PM
Ok, so my first question is, is my reasoning sound?

It is right on. Based on your requirement for a quality, inexpensive, stainless, general purpose, durable (able to digest 357mag regularly), reliable, accurate medium frame 357 revolver, I can recommend only one.

GP100 w/4 inch barrel. Best do it all revolver ever made. If your primary intent is CC, well that is the subject of another thread.

I love my S&W L frames, too much to feed them regular doses of full power 357mag. We also have 2 S&W 65s (built on K frames-smaller than L)) in the family, but they see only 38 spl +p at the most because they are not designed for a regular diet of 357mag.

No experience with Rossi or other brands.

Although I'm a huge fan of the 1911, I have had to concede that a .357 magnum revolver will make a more sensible choice for my first gun.
My reasoning for this is:
A) When I buy my first 1911, I want it to be a good one, and my first gun needs to be inexpensive.

You can buy a good inexpensive 1911, search the Handgun-Autoloader thread for info. I'd personally go for the Rock Island Armory Tactical for about the same price as the GP100.

W Turner
March 4, 2009, 02:00 PM
Looking at your criteria, a used K frame S&W would fit the bill nicely. Smith did make some fixed sight, .357 k frames with a 3" barrel. These are sought after and farily hard to find. They make great carry guns and S&W used to make a stainless version call the Ladysmith, not sure if they still do or not, but it's worth a look.

An L frame size gun (including the Ruger GP100) is only a few ounces heavier. 4" barrels can be easily concealed IWB if you're interested.


March 4, 2009, 02:11 PM
Ruger GP-100 4" stainless

March 4, 2009, 02:19 PM
A feature not mentioned (unless I missed it) is a transfer-type mechanism or similar that makes the gun safer with a round in the chamber. Maybe they are all like that now.

March 4, 2009, 02:22 PM
.357 magnum..............quality, dependability, accuracy

smith & wesson 686
smith & wesson 686p
smith & wesson 686pp

Big Bill
March 4, 2009, 02:35 PM
What David E said!


I love my Ruger SP101 3" with Hogue monogrip...

March 4, 2009, 03:26 PM
I am about as happy as a tornado in a trailer park with my Model 66.

Sorry about the enuendo but I just watched "CARS" with my 5 year old.


March 4, 2009, 04:52 PM
Let me jump on the Ruger GP100 3" bandwagon, that was my backwoods gun for years and served me very well.
I did decide that I wanted a 44 magnum so the GP100 was traded towards my new Alaskan and I love the Alaskan but I do have a feeling that I am going to regret letting the GP go as much as I miss my Colt King Cobra I traded about 15 years ago.

March 4, 2009, 08:03 PM
I had a similar situation: my wife was ardently anti-gun before my firearm purchase and I thought, perhaps, I may only be able to negotiate one. It turned out to be a misunderstanding of what shooting sports were that was broken after two cylinders. Anyhow, I would lean towards the 357, smith or Ruger. A new GP100 in SS/4" will run, at least around here, a little cheaper than the S&W and several people here have made comments around the S&W/Ruger.

There are several things I have come across while shooting with my wife that made me happy with my 357 purchase, particularly since she isn't too hot on practicing:
1) She has not been able to pull the slide back on several semiautomatic pistols.
2) She is very comfortable with 38sp at 7-10 yards and has some pretty consistent groups.
3) Single action with 357 scares her, but several other firearms she has fired (including a Beretta 92 in .40) have really made her uncomfortable.
4) She can load the cylinders, even after some practice, more consistently than she can load magazines.
5) My dad has an SP101 he keeps loaded with 38s. My mom hates firearms, doesn't like to shoot, BUT she keeps that in close reach when he is out of town.

March 4, 2009, 08:52 PM
GP100 4" Stainless

March 4, 2009, 08:57 PM
rossi, taurus tracker, or ruger gp100, or blackhawk convertible

March 4, 2009, 09:06 PM
686 or the GP100. Both are rock solid performers and available in many guises. Good luck and welcome.

March 4, 2009, 10:08 PM
S&W model 620.

Stainless .357 with 7 rounds and 4" barrel.

Unbelievable trigger right out of the box both SA and DA.

Great gun. Deadly accurate!:cool:

March 4, 2009, 10:35 PM
I'm moving to Ohio from the UK soon, and will thus be purchasing my first handgun.

Initially I will have more pressing things to spend my money on, so my first handgun will have to be something of a jack of all trades so to speak.

It seems that you have done your homework, and I agree with JimJD the Ruger GP100 is probably the best revolver value available. Good luck with your move.

March 4, 2009, 10:45 PM
I'll give another vote for the GP-100 in 4". Good choice for a do-everything revolver to meet your requirements. You can shoot everything from top to bottom with it.

Although, I myself, would go for a Model 66 Smith.

March 5, 2009, 12:39 AM
I'm diggin my 4" GP100 stainless. I have no problem carrying it either. I'm used to the weight. It is a tank, but in a good way!


March 5, 2009, 03:45 AM
It's a pity that you're dead set against a blued gun or I'd recomend a good condition used S&W Model 28. This is a .357 in an N frame so it's big and burly. The exact same frame and cylinder was later made into the .44 Magnum so you KNOW it'll take a big gulp of .357 Magnums and grin back at you.

My own Mod28 tonight put in a nice performance with groupings of from 1.5 to .75 inches for three shot groups at 10 yards shooting single action with .38Spl Fiocchi ammo. And this was with old man 55 year old eyes and nerves. I'm more than happy with both the gun's and my own performance overall.

It's also a rather intimidating looking beast. Much like the GP100 in the picture above but with a 6 inch barrel.

But you already decided that you're not interested in blued options so I guess this was a waste of bandwidth.....

March 5, 2009, 04:24 AM
Used 2-3/4" Ruger Speed Six in stainless is a good choice.

Six shot, medium frame, same size as 65/66 but without barrel cutout. These guns were very well made, they don't have [in]famous roughness of the current production GP100 and they carry better than GP. Speed Six are less popular than S&W K frames and can be had for under $400 in like-new condition.



March 5, 2009, 04:46 AM
Welcome to the Socialist States of America. GP-100 or the Smith 686 in .357 mag. Either will be a great choice for you for a "if had to have 1 gun" scenario. The .357 chambering will allow you to shoot 38 specials for practice and 357 mags for when you need that little extra umph. I personally like revolvers better than pistols because I am a reloader and revolvers allow you to greatly vary the load/power to the task at hand, but man would I love to have a quality 1911 as well.

March 5, 2009, 04:53 AM
Wow! Thanks for all the replies....

It looks like I'm going to try to find a 686 at a reasonable price, or go for a SP100.
I also really like the look of the Speed Six, I'm a little concerned about barrel length, but it's the nicest looking Ruger I've seen so far.
I'd prefer the Smith simply because I don't like the looks of the Ruger as much, but I am well aware of the reputation Rugers have for ruggedness so I'll be happy with either.

I don't particularly have a set budget, but I'll be coming to the US with a fixed amount of money and that has to last me until my work permit is processed and I can find employment. I do have a reasonable amount of money, but I don't know for sure how long I need it to last.

Good news is that my friend seems to think he can get me a job at his dad's place, and he says the money is good, so I may end up with a surplus :D

PT1911, I hear you on the 1911 thing, but I have to be pragmatic about my choice for my first gun.
It's not that I don't want a .357 revolver, it would be a gun I would purchase anyway. I have compiled a mental list of the pistols I want, and the 357 makes the most sense for my first gun.
The way I see it, I should be able to get a decent used 357 revolver for around $400ish, but I will not get the 1911 of my dreams for that amount of money. I'd rather wait and get a REALLY nice one. After all, it's going to be my first 1911* :D
The strict budget was one of several reasons why the revolver moved to the top of the list when selecting my first gun.

*it will actually be my second 1911, as I already own one that has been deactivated to make it legal in the UK. It's an Ithaca GI model and is heavily pitted all over and has been very poorly refinished. I paid the equivalent of $900 for it.
That may seem like a lot of money for a rattly old pos 1911, but it has allowed me to familiarise myself with handling a 1911 and practice dry firing.

March 5, 2009, 05:00 AM
I just did a double take on that Speed-Six. I have had a blued version of that same gun for about 17 years. It stays loaded and is my "take everywhere" in the truck gun as well as my night stand gun and sitting in my Lazyboy gun. I also use at as my carry gun when needed. Since it's blued and older, the finish is getting a little worn holster marks etc. I would to run across a stainless version like yours one day. They are great guns. I have a GP-100 as well and wouldn't take anything for either them, but that Speed-Six has a special place in my heart. My son who is 17 now is already looking around wishing they were more available. He's seen it with me for so long he's convinced it's the only gun to have.

March 5, 2009, 09:17 AM
James: What part of Ohio are you coming to?

March 5, 2009, 06:21 PM
Cincinnati. We're looking for a place in the Northside area.
Where are you?

March 5, 2009, 06:33 PM
Trooper Mark III. Just because I really like them. GP-100 or Security Six for most bang for your buck. Great guns. 4" though, not 6". GP & SS (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=79563&d=1212843080)


March 5, 2009, 08:28 PM
Under_dawg, glad you like it. Speed Six is Jerry Mikulec's truck gun too :)

Jamesbeat, just a word of warning. Coming from UK on a permit you may need an alien CCP. It's easier to get in some states than in others. Not sure about Ohio; you may want to look into it.


March 5, 2009, 10:27 PM
My name says it all. You can't beat it.

March 8, 2009, 06:58 PM
I would suggest the Ruger 4" GP-100.

March 8, 2009, 10:31 PM
GP-100. I have the 6" full-lugged barrel, and it's pretty front-heavy, but very stable. You may want the 4" for better balance.

Hogue makes a grip for it called "Tamer," with a sorbothane insert (squishy stuff) right at the web of your thumb. I've put one on mine, but haven't had the chance to test it yet. I also equipped it with a fiber-optic front sight, which shows up really well.

March 8, 2009, 10:42 PM
Another vote for the 686; better trigger than the Ruger, 7 shot, hogue factory rubber grips. Most accurate revolver I own, and I am not anti-Ruger biased--(7.5" blackhawk .44, 4.625" New Model Vaquero, 1.875" S&W 340 .357, 2" S&W 19, 7.5" Redhawk .44)

March 9, 2009, 10:38 AM
S&W686 stainless steel, 6 inch barrel, replace factory hammer spring and trigger return spring with Wilson Combat or Wolf spring kit from MidwayUSA.

Ruger GP100 stainless steel, good trigger from the factory.


March 9, 2009, 10:43 AM
You have some excellent choices out there:

I own a 686 4 inch barreled round butt revolver. This has got to be one of the smoothest triggers I have ever had. I'd recommend one of these.

However, I have also shot the Ruger GP100, and a Security Six. I must say that either one is good.

I think it all comes down to what you want to shoot and how each fits in the hand as I believe the 686 and the GP100 can be interchanged for reliability, quality, etc.

Stay away from the Taurus Revolvers, while cheaper, you definitely get what you pay for.

Hoot Gibson
March 9, 2009, 10:55 AM
Love all my S&W(all 3 are .38)...old and new. I also love my Taurus, it's a snubbie 2" .38...Model 85 Ultra Lite...great for Conceal and Carry, and you can find a new one in box for less than $350.

Get one you can afford and then save for what you want...1 is never enough.

And don't buy the "Taurus" are bad inferior guns, line, it's pure biased BS. Are S&W better? Yep{probably}, are they far superior? Not in my opinion.

and b-t-w Welcome to The Peoples Republic of Ohio....Ted Strickland, Fuhrer

March 9, 2009, 11:01 AM
jamesbeat- I live in Chicago now but was raised in the Cincinnati area. Northside huh? You should enjoy the college scene in Clifton and the parks in Mt. Airy. Local live music scene is vibrant and the arts like that area of town. The indoor range will probably be Target World on Kemper Road near Sharonville. IMHO the best club is Fairfield Sportsmans Assn. though it is a bit of a hike to the Nothwest in the country near Ross.

Ala Dan
March 9, 2009, 11:53 AM
A used but not abused Smith & Wesson model 19 or 66 with a 4" barrel.
Either has adjustable sights, and can be had with target grips, trigger,
and hammer~! ;) :D

Thaddeus Jones
March 9, 2009, 11:59 AM
Yes, a nice model 19, or pre lock 66. It does not get any better than that.

March 9, 2009, 07:43 PM
I have a Ruger Sp-101 with a 3" barrel. It i a nice gun, easy to conceal, and the extra heft helps tame some of the magnum recoil. I also have a Taurus 605, which is the best .357 mag snubbie for the money hand down. You can find them for $350 new, they are accurate and reliable, and can be carried in a pocket if you want. I carry my Sp-101 in a pocket as well and Im not that big.

March 9, 2009, 09:33 PM
I just gotta chime in.

Colt Python - you pick the barrel length - expensive, hard to find piece of art that really shoots well.

S&W 686 Combat Masterpiece - The name says it all

Ruger 3 Screw

I would recommend a H&R Handi or Ultra rifle in .357 as a sidekick - Cheap, accurate, and powerful. If you get tired of the 357 barrel, you can send it back and get any rifle cal from .22 Hornet to 45-70 for about a hundred bucks.



March 9, 2009, 10:28 PM
S&W is the brand..........the only question is which model. Since you are wanting stainless, I'd pick the 686. You will never wear it out, and your grandchildren will be impressed that you had such wisdom in picking such a fine revolver as your first choice.

Rugers are dependable but they look like they were designed in East Germany before the breakup of the Soviet Union.........:D

March 9, 2009, 11:59 PM
Rugers are dependable but they look like they were designed in East Germany before the breakup of the Soviet Union New production Rugers (and S&W's BTW) do. Older guns which were intended as sidearms for military and police were very nicely made.


March 10, 2009, 01:00 AM

After I spent so much for my SIG semi-auto, I went for the thrifty but reputable Taurus 66 over a costly S&W. It still serves me well hundreds of Magnums and Specials later. My confidence is such that the Taurus is my primary home defense gun over the SIG.

March 10, 2009, 09:25 AM
You can't go wrong with either the Ruger GP100 or Taurus M66.
Even an older Ruger Security Six would serve you well if you can find one second-hand in good condition.

March 10, 2009, 05:00 PM
The Ruger SP-101 is a fine weapon.

Travis Bickle
March 10, 2009, 05:12 PM
I also really like the look of the Speed Six, I'm a little concerned about barrel length, but it's the nicest looking Ruger I've seen so far.

I have a Speed Six and am very satisfied with it.

If you decide not to go with that, I'd advise you to go with a different Ruger. Rugers are very affordable, but not at all cheap. They're the best value on the gun market, IMO.

March 10, 2009, 05:56 PM
I also really like the look of the Speed Six, I'm a little concerned about barrel length, but it's the nicest looking Ruger I've seen so far.
The Security Six usually has adjustable sights and longer barrel offerings. Otherwise they are very similar except for the "butt". I like them aesthetically more than the newer Ruger revolvers.

March 11, 2009, 03:49 PM
hey James hey good luck to you moving to Ohio from the UK. i done the same thing nearly seven years ago, and yes i love the guns they have here i actually got my gunsmithing diploma last year. hey feel free to contact me.

March 11, 2009, 03:54 PM
Another vote for the Ruger SP-101..........

the thing is tough as nails!

but there's a ton of good stuff out there........

March 14, 2009, 06:24 AM
i hate to admit it but of all my 30+ handguns.. including single action revolvers and autos and double action revolvers and autos,
if i had to live the rest of my life with only 1 handgun, it would probly be a 4 inch GP100 or 686, with 4 inch security/service six or S&W 19/66 taking 2nd choice. but for the time being there is still some freedom left in america, so get your self a 3 inch S&W 13 or 65 for CCW!

March 14, 2009, 07:01 AM
If you are looking for the one weapon to be all things forget it. It not out there i know i looked for a long time it is a tool like my hammers I have several to match the job at hand. But for now those saying the s&w 65 or the ruger service six or speed six all the 2.75-3" barrels is as close as you can get to a weapon that will do all you are asking. And as time goes on you may fine for you that type of weapon is as close as you can get to the one handgun to do all jobs kinda like the finishing hammer not the best for all jobs but can get them all done.

be safe

March 14, 2009, 09:19 AM
Don't know if your still reading replies, so I'll chime in for what its worth. I am more of a autoloader shooter, so I had a good friend steer me in the right direction for a revolver. He is a big wheelgun shooter.
I ended up getting a S&W 649 in 357 - it is only a 5 shot, but I did notice you mentioned you may CCW. Personally, a six rounder, 4" barrel will not CCW as well. It is not blued. Very accurate for a 2" barrel and has a shrouded hammer with a open top so you can manually cock the hammer as well.

March 14, 2009, 12:21 PM
I've had to stop shooting my stainless steel Rugers at ranges because people keep asking me if I want to sell them.

Taurus revolvers are okay, but in this day and age and the uncertainties the future holds, decisions like this are far more crucial than they were two years ago. I suspect many of the new folks in Washington these days are just waiting for an event to happen so they can clamp down on guns or ammunition.

I love the S&W 686s, but I have to say that going with a gun that can be serviced by the user, one that has a modular design, etc., would be a better choice than one where a gunsmith is required.

I love the old Security-Six line, but they've really dried up and your best bet is to buy a stainless Ruger magnum that is available. I'm in a rush now, but here are some photos of my Rugers.






Best of luck. The Rugers are the strongest magnums out there. They're a great choice.

Owen Sparks
March 14, 2009, 04:30 PM
By the time you buy a revolver and enough ammo to get in a lot of practice, you could have bought a decent used 1911.

March 14, 2009, 08:30 PM
Yeah, but what advantage would a 1911 have over a .357? The .357 is far more capable, more reliable, has far more power, can be loaded way down or loaded to take on bear or white tails. Okay, it may not be the ultimate, but the .45 isn't the manstopper a .357 is, plus it can't be used hunting mid-size game with any reliability. Many 1911s out of the box also need work to achieve the reliability that many modern pistols have designed into them.

The .357 also can be had in stainless steel, which offers all sorts of advantages over a 1911 (and I like 1911s). Even so, the Ruger .357s have the advantage in strength and the S&W's have the advantage of accuracy and trigger pull. A good magnum can shoot out to 100 yards all day long, but a .45 just isn't there.

March 15, 2009, 07:00 PM
Ruger GP100 4 inch in SS. I have one and love it!

March 15, 2009, 07:44 PM
I think the correct name for the Medium (K) frame S&W Model
19 in blued carbon and the 66 in stainless steel is
Combat Magnum - it was based on the Model 15 .38 Special Combat
Masterpiece and the 19 was introduced late 1950s, the 66
in the late 60s. WHen S&W beefed up the K-frame and created the
family of L-frames, the 686 is titled the Distinguished Combat Magnum.

I have shot a GP100 and it's a fine revolver - example I shot was a 6" Bbl.model which helps to get a more complete burn on the slow but higher
pressure magnum powder in a .357 Mag. The GP100 is also considered a
medium frame however, it is physically slightly larger than an L-frame. Ruger uses cast investment process for their steel revolvers and they make them hella strong.

So, with either a GP100 or an L-frame 686 you will have a quallity handgun - a 4" Bbl. is a best all all-around, It's not the extra inch of BBl. len. that makes it harder to conceal it's the cylinder bulge.
Both RUger and S&W have excellent customerservice and warranty I've read
too many stories about issues with Taurus Cust. service.

All that said I have a S&W 686P 4" Bbl. Len. the "P" suffix is
for the 7 shot capacity cylinder model. I have a Milt Sparks #200AW
with FBI cant - muzzle rearward at approx. 10 degrees - I also
have a full size 1911 with the MIlt SParks #Axiom holster. THey BOTH
hang down below the belt about the same, and with my multi-pocket
vest on I can carry either concealed equally well. 3 seasons.

I think there wouldn't be a problem finding a nice used 686 6 shot 4" Bbl.
on the used market for around $425 a like condition Ruger GP100 would be a little less.

FWIW - I also have a MOdel 60 3" Bbl. in .357 Mag. and weight empty is 24 oz. which is probably 12 or more ounces less than my 686P, and with a like load the recoil is noticeably more. so for home defense I use .38 Special +P As a first handgun I'd recommend the medium frame 4" Bbl. for a better experience learning to shoot at the range and you'll have longer sessions with less fatigue.

If I had bought the 60 first with it's 3" Bbl. I'd have shopped for a 686 with a 5" Bbl. - S&W has produced some in that Bbl. Len. and I'd like the longer barrel for the better ballistics and less muzzle blast with mag rounds.


March 15, 2009, 10:29 PM
Good advice already given. Smith or Ruger, it's all about what fits you best and the price you're willing to pay.

Taurus and Rossi owners: I love you guys, but I gotta give the nod to the American made guns for no other reason than resale value. I've owned both and could never get what I thought was a good trade-in value for any of them.

March 15, 2009, 11:20 PM
The way the Security-Six was put together really was what made me go that direction:


Anyone can strip this gun in the field.


This is a beautiful Speed-Six. Wonderful balance.


The cylinder of the Rugers always were a bit beefier
than the K-frame Smiths.

March 16, 2009, 12:17 AM
If I didn't have a pre-lock 686+ in 4' bbl, then a GP 100 would be my first choice. But I also have an SP 101 in 3" bbl so I'm biased.

I carry either IWB with no problems, even in the mainly shorts and t-shirt weather we have here in Texas. Great guns, and you wouldn't evert regret picking up a GP 100 or SP 101 or a 686+ if you could find one pre-lock.

March 16, 2009, 05:37 AM
The 'massive looking' 4" Ruger GP-100 weighs 41 oz, while the six-shot 686 weighs 1.3 oz less. Put a seventh hole in the 686 to make it a plus (7-shooter) and you pare away an additional 0.8 oz. The extra 'mass' in the GP-100 is easily found - look at that shroud vs S&W's full lug. I'll take the S&W's hammer forged and heat-treated frame, etc, over the Ruger's cast steel, too. One time the GP-100 QC was horrible - it seems far better now. Still, buy as 'much' revolver as you can afford.

In S&W's current standard production offerings in the 4" barrel, they start at the 620 and end with the 627 Pro at about $120 more at a fair dealer. That buys you a lot more revolver, too, as I found out when I went to my dealer's last spring to buy a 4" .357M 7-shooter 620 and came home with the 627 Pro 8-shooter N-frame. I now rate that as one of my two best-ever S&W 'buys'.

Get the 4" .357M first - it will help you develop your shooting skills as a great plinker, while doing double duty as a home defender. Add a 642 Airweight in .38 Special +P and you'll have a great CCW - a totally different 'animal'. The right tool for the right job. Don't let anyone fool you - .38 Specials - especially +P rated like the venerable 'FBI load', the 158gr LSWC(HP), or the short-barrel-designed Speer 135gr Gold Dots - are perfect protection, in the home or car or on your person.


PS A new S&W connects you, via an 800# call, to a lifetime warranty, too, should you ever need it.

Gary in Pennsylvania
August 28, 2009, 06:19 AM
Beautiful Ruger pics!


August 28, 2009, 06:39 AM
current production are they still good?:)

August 28, 2009, 07:10 AM
Ruger or Smith enough said.

Gunner Mike
February 13, 2010, 09:43 PM
I've owned a 1911 for 10 years. I love it. But, I recently purchased my first revolver (a Smith 686 with 4" bbl).

Why it's better? When the gun is at rest, there are no springs under and losing tension. The girlfriend can use it. And the chances of running into a protracted gunfight have gone down significantly, since I quit frequenting bars and running with the wrong crowd. This gun can sit for 50 years and still do its job. But it won't, because it's so damned fun to shoot!

I assume that, since this is an old thread, you've arrived here. I hope that you enjoy the U.S. and will get to experience what WE call freedom. Maybe you can translate to your friends, back home.

Welcome to the U.S. You'll find out what our ancestors found out. This is the best place to live on Earth.


February 13, 2010, 11:25 PM
Ruger SP 101 and buy the Hogue Monogrip with it. Load her up with Remington Golden Sabers and you are fine! Spend another $200 and get yourself a Mossberg 500 with a short Bbl from Wal Mart. 2 people in the house and 2 guns, do the math! Welcome to the Free World BTW!

February 14, 2010, 11:25 AM
To the 1911 crowd, not saying there is anything wrong with it but it sounds like he wants his wife to try the gun.

The revolver has two significant advantages over a 1911 .45 for that purpose. For the revolver, you can easily change grips and make them significantly smaller for her if she has small hands. The other is you can shoot really light .38 specials and the gun will work. Really light .45 loads and a soft grip is a no-no for the 1911.

Not that I am saying you should get the gun I am bring up, but a totally different recommendation than a 686/gp100 is this:


You can actually take your time learning .357s by graduating from .38sp to 9mm to .357...In addition, the wife may like it because it is SA, so the odds of someone pulling the trigger and causing an accident would go down. Having said that, probably wouldn't want to carry it though.

Like I said, I wouldn't recommend this as I don't even own it, but you have gotten enough of the same recommendations, and here in America, we like to have freedom to choose, and freedom to have a billion options so that the choice is as hard as possible. Freedom is hard earned, I tell ya.

February 14, 2010, 11:34 AM
I carry an older Taurus blued M66 a lot. It comes in handy in the field now and then, too. :D I have a pair of Taurus 66s. I've owned a Smith 19, a Ruger Security Six, both sold or traded. I now own these two Tauri and a Ruger 6.5" Blackhawk in the caliber. All three have found a home here.

February 14, 2010, 03:45 PM
I'd get a Ruger Security Six if you can find one (they are just as good as the newer GP100 series, and they tend to be plenty cheaper), or a S&W 686 if not.

adjustable sights are good if you can find them.

4" barrel or 6" barrel is the best way to go on length

February 14, 2010, 04:49 PM
what are those yellow disks in the back side of the cylinder on that photo conferate posted above?

Brian Williams
February 14, 2010, 08:39 PM
what are those yellow disks in the back side of the cylinder on that photo conferate posted above?
They are a shipping disc that Ruger and sometimes Taurus puts in the space between the cylinder and the recoil shield.

February 15, 2010, 12:40 PM
I have a Ruger speed six for many years It is affordable and tough as you will find, mine is stainless steel you would not be disapointed

February 15, 2010, 01:41 PM
I recently got a re-finished (non-collectable) 4" S&W Highway Patrolman for $375. I know, it's a blue gun with adjustable sights, but it's like one I sold many years ago and I honestly never thought I'd see another one that I could afford. I had it to the range in the snow last week and it really shoots!

Oh, yeah - I do carry it - in an old pancake holster.


February 15, 2010, 03:20 PM
Old/used or new Ruger or S&W....you won't go wrong.......

February 15, 2010, 05:18 PM
4" Ruger Security Six Stainless.

Or if too hard to find a GP100.

February 15, 2010, 05:24 PM
I have a 4" Stainless Steel GP100 manufactured in 1989, it shoots like a dream. I have shot everything from Blazer .38's to Buffalo Bore 125gr JHP's with no issues. I would say a new or used GP100 will take care of your needs. Take it from the guy who bought a 20 year old one. Also, the trigger is hella smooth on mine.

February 15, 2010, 07:31 PM
My first was a cheap .38 but then I got a S&w 686p and I love it. Not really the most practical wheel gun but its plenty cool

February 15, 2010, 08:57 PM
This is contrary to the advice you've received so far. Frankly, you don't know what you don't know.

Go to training first.

First attend NRA Basic Pistol or Home Firearms Safety. Those should be readily available at most commercial ranges.

Ohio has concealed carry, so acquire that permit ASAP. Make sure to attend the Level 1 self-defense course prior to actually carrying outside your home. The NRA courses are SAFETY courses and do not provide an adequate level of training for fighting. If you doubt this, the NRA won't even use the word "weapon" in their courses.

Then go to Level 1 of any self-defense oriented training. You will learn to shoot, proper mindset, legal requirements for self-defense and so forth. Various instructors travel there and there should be some schools around. Some links:


Buckeye Firearms Association's forum should be able to recommend some Ohio gun schools.

You should be able to rent a gun from the school and they will be able to make recommendations. A Glock 19 or equivalent semi-automatic is the way to go. The reason is the cost of ammunition is reasonable and semi-automatics are the common weapons used in self-defense. The self-defense course will teach you how to run the gun.

After the course and about 600-800 rounds, you'll have a better understanding of what is needed and desirable in a self-defense handgun.

If you have no idea what to get, purchase a Glock 19*, six magazines, holster, belt and dual mag holder. You will have no trouble selling the gun if you decide you do not like it.

Since books have yet to be banned in Formerly Great Britain, you should do some reading. Take a look at books by John Farnam, Mas Ayoob, Clint Smith and others. Revolver oriented books include Bill Jordan's No Second Place Winner and Ed McGivern's Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting. McGivern's book will take a bit of deciphering, but the shooting method for revolvers is quite sound. Acquire Tactical Reality by Louis Awerbuck and Guns, Bullets, and Gunfights by Jim Cirillo. If you can only afford one book, buy Cirillo's book.

* Substitutions include: S&W M&P 9mm, Springfield XD, CZ 75, SIG P-Series and a variety of other guns. They should be all in the $450-$650 range except the SIG. However, the Glock 19 is an exceptionally popular 9mm pistol and is very easy to sell.

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