.357 or .38?


Bill from Louisville
January 21, 2003, 06:12 PM
Ok i know this question opens a can of worms but i need some valued imput here.

I have found 2 revolvers that i like.
1) Security Six in .357 with 6" barrell
2) S&W Model 14 with 6" barrell in .38

Both are gonna be about the same price $200 and $235 respectivley.

The Ruger is in about 75% shape and i hate the old wooden grips and will spend $25-30 on new rubber ones.

The Smith has a new non-factory "Nickel" finish with rubber grips already.

Now i know that i will be spending most of my time shooting .38 just for plinking but, would the different ammo choices tip the Ruger to the positive favor.

thanks for any imput ya'll can offer me.

I had decided on the Ruger until i went into my other favorite gunshop and saw the Smith.

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Johnny Guest
January 21, 2003, 06:40 PM
You don't say what finish the Security Six has--Blue or stainless?

Regardless, if the original finish is decent, it will look better and probably retain resale value better than an out-of-factory plating job on the model 15. Yes, I know that an S&W usually commands a higher price than a Ruger, but this is cancelled, in my mind, when I don't know the quality of the plating.

A pistol which has been properly plated after engraving by a reputable craftsman - - -This is a different story.

The Ruger is an extremely heavy duty piece, and is easy to repair if something goes wrong. The versatility added by the .357 chambering adds another dimension to "normal" .38 shooting, even if seldom used.

Please read the excellent piece by member Jim March at the head of this forum page, entitled Float: Revolver checkout: how to tell if a particular specimen is any good. It is well written and provides invaluable aid to anyone contemplating such a purchase.

Whichever you choose, best of luck to you.

January 21, 2003, 09:06 PM
The .38 Special chambering will do anything you need a handgun to do.

Most people that buy .357 magnum revolver will only shoot .38 loads, so the only gain is the extra weight and bulk of a magnum revolver.

Kahr carrier
January 21, 2003, 10:31 PM
Get the Ruger 357,that way you will have your choice 38special or 357magnum.:)

January 21, 2003, 10:32 PM
The Ruger is the stronger gun, the S&W can be tuned to provide a much better action. Accuracy should be similar with both, get the one that feels best to you. If you envision using it for personal defense, there are some good .38+P loads that use can use in the Smith, but the Ruger would have the greater capability with .357's

January 21, 2003, 11:22 PM
Get the Ruger because you can shoot .38's and .357's.

January 22, 2003, 03:56 AM
If the two are in comparable mechanical cond. I guess I'd go with the ruger for the 357 capability, better yet buy em both....tom

January 22, 2003, 05:09 AM
Don't get me wrong, I like S&W's, their kinda purdy and quality seems to be okay for the most part. But the Rugers just look like really made tool to me, something that was made for business, and a lot of it.

January 22, 2003, 06:20 AM
"Now i know that i will be spending most of my time shooting .38 just for plinking but, would the different ammo choices tip the Ruger to the positive favor."

Bill, I bought a Ruger GP100 in .357 as my first revolver. It is a very strong, excellent gun. I knew I would only shoot .38 special, but i wanted the "capability" to shoot some .357 if I wanted to.

Then I bought an older SW model 10 as a "plinker" to shoot .38 specilas only. Then I bought an even older (1963) SW model 15 to shoot .38 specials in style.

Now I'm getting into reloading so I can make more accurate and softer loads.

I would not be surprised if I sold my .357 Ruger one day. The .357 magnum is a fabulous cartridge for killing purposes. I have a marksmanship hobby with guns -- no self defense here.

Yes, if I were to shoot .357, then the GP100 would be my ax. But I shoot .38 specials and the model 15 (K38 Combat Masterpiece) is now my ax.

Your model 14 was called the "Target Masterpiece" and has a slightly different front sight than my mod.15, Either way, those old S&W guns are dream machines -- astonishingly accurate with beautiful SA trigger pulls.

My opinion: get the model 14, based on what you said in your message. You will not miss the .357 capability, and the model 14 will be a better gun for plinking than the Ruger.

Of course, if you are ever going to use this gun for self defense or hunting, then get the .357 Ruger, no question about it.

Otherwise, remember the model 14 was specifically made as a target revolver and will be much better as a plinker.

Just my opinion.

January 22, 2003, 06:55 AM
Get a .357 so you can also shoot .38's out of it.

January 22, 2003, 09:50 AM
If the K-38 refinish has been done well, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Finest tartget revolver ever made, and the asking price of $235 is low.

If you don't buy it, please e-mail me the dealer's contact info.



January 22, 2003, 02:19 PM
I have .357s and .38s. The .357s are gathering dust in the safe becuase the model 64 is so much lighter and easier to shoot. I've shot a fair number of top end .357 loads. Still have some. But I reload .357s at the bottom end of the load data. Same with .38s. Adding recoil takes the fun out of it. Get the .38 and buy a box of +P+ stuff if you want. After a few, you won't care to shoot a lot of them.

Kentucky Rifle
January 23, 2003, 05:23 PM
Nice to see I'm not the only guy in Louisville freezing his "hoo-ha" off.


January 24, 2003, 06:33 AM
Just do a coin toss,heads it's the ruger.Tails it's the smith:) if it was me i'ld go with the ruger just because i would be wondering about that nickle finish,will it discolor and flake in 6 months plus the price seems too good for a 14 with a new finish.

Baron Holbach
January 24, 2003, 08:52 AM
I prefer shooting .38 special +P loads through my Ruger GP100. Would like to try some .38 special +P+ if I could find them.

January 24, 2003, 09:32 AM
These revolvers are not even in the same league. If you want accuracy and an heirloom. buy the S&W. If you want a dependable run of the mill magnum, get the Ruger. Personally, I'd grab the Smith so fast, the Ruger wouldn't know what went past it. Quantrill

January 25, 2003, 12:16 PM
Waste no more time and if the mechanicals on the K-38 check out, jump on it. Ruger dreams of making a gun that will shoot like that old Smith.

January 25, 2003, 01:51 PM
get the ruger for the 38/357 option

January 28, 2003, 02:13 PM
Get both, why settle? :D

Jim March
January 28, 2003, 03:13 PM
First of all, they're both good old guns. Do the check, and if one is significantly tighter/better, buy that one.

If they're both good: I would expect that old S&W to be more accurate and probably have a better trigger. But as stated, the finish is questionable as is any collector value due to the refinish.

If what you're buying is a "target/plinker gun that will get pressed into home defense sometimes", either will work. Good 38Spl+P defensive ammo will perform VERY well with a 6" tube in either gun. I wouldn't load 357s for indoor defense, not with the noise/eardrum factor, if I had the .38 performance available that a 6" barrel offers.

If you want something to hunt wild pigs or deer with, or defend against black bear, there are 357 loads that can do that from a 6" tube - advantage Ruger, bigtime, because .38 just ain't adequate and the 357 (in a 6" barrel with the right loads) is (barely). You don't want to shoot too many of those "monsters" in that series gun, but it can handle modest amounts.

("Monsters" = 158grain @ 1,500fps, up through 200grains at 1,200.)

Kahr carrier
January 28, 2003, 10:33 PM
Heck buy them both.:)

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