help picking out a .357 magnum


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William Lee
June 23, 2010, 02:01 PM
Sorry if this has been done before, but I was hoping someone could give me advice while I'm purchasing my first revolver. I've settled upon a .357 with a 4" barrel for versatility and all around dependability. Of course I've been paying attention to the Ruger v S&W debate as well, but I was hoping someone could share their experience with other models, perhaps a Comanche III or a Taurus? I've heard Charter arms magnum pugs are shoddy compared to the other calibers so I have ruled that one out. Basically I'm curious if the money I'd save on the Comanche or Taurus would be worth it compared to a S&W. The saved money could go a long way toward some solid reloading equipment for .38 special / .357 magnum cartridges. Or is it just a better bet to get the higher quality gun and save for reloading in the future?

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rcmodel
June 23, 2010, 02:10 PM
Shop around some and you should be able to buy a fine used older S&W .357 for around what a new Tarui costs.

We won't even discuss Comanches.

You would be much better served by getting the highest quality gun you can afford right up front, instead of wishing you had later.

rc

squarles67
June 23, 2010, 02:25 PM
I picked up this 4" M66 .357 the other day for $299 in the used case at the local Gander Mtn
http://i421.photobucket.com/albums/pp293/squarles67/IMG_3797.jpg
So I'll repeat what rc advised above, keep looking for a good used S&W or Ruger, you'll be happier in the long run.

William Lee
June 23, 2010, 02:38 PM
Thanks guys, I appreciate the input. Been thinking and reading a bit, and I think I'll just scratch the itch with a S&W. Nothing like owning a piece of history.

md7
June 23, 2010, 04:34 PM
william lee,

a well made 4" .357 is NEVER a bad choice imho. you got started on the right foot man.
ruger and s&w make it a habit of producing well made and reliable revolvers. if you don't mind buying used, there are many examples of both brands available at decent prices. a couple of models worth mentioning are:

SW 686, 586, 19, 66, 619, 620

Ruger Speed Six, Service Six, Security Six, and GP100


squarles67, NICE!

Friendly, Don't Fire!
June 23, 2010, 04:50 PM
When I first started "handgunning" around 1981, I had a Ruger SA 357 Revolver (blued). Then I got another Ruger.

They were nice guns, then I bought my first S&W stainless 686 (6" barrel) and it was like going from a volkswagen to a cadillac. Trying to compare the two would be like comparing apples to oranges, there simply was NO comparison!

I believe you buy a Smith once and you can always have it, forever, and pass it down to younger generations, which will really be appreciated by them to know that YOU had owned it!

I always buy Stainless.
It's more money, but there is never blueing to wear off.

On those guns, I always put on Pachmayr grips - - I believe the Presentation (without finger notches).

Guillermo
June 23, 2010, 04:51 PM
any 4 inch Smith or Ruger will fit the bill

badbart
June 23, 2010, 05:57 PM
Rent and shoot both to see what you like better. I have a 686 and a GP 100 and the GP 100 seems tougher and the lock up is very tight, the S&W 686 has a better trigger. I think its personal preference. I think of the 686 as a great self defense and target gun and the GP 100 as a gun to my shoot .357 hot loads out of. I've shoot hot loads out of my Super Redhawk for 25 years and its still as tight as the day I bought it.

veprjack
June 23, 2010, 07:22 PM
I own a S&W 340PD, and several 642, 442, etc. I have two Ruger SP101s. I love them all - you can't go wrong. It depends on what you're going to mostly be using them for. If you want a really light gun, the S&W is the way to go. The GP100, Security Six, etc. are great for home defense or target.

finfanatic
June 23, 2010, 07:38 PM
Find a gunshow and you should be able to find what you are looking for.

I saw several good deals at a local gunshow on Saturday. 2" Stainless Ruger Security Six for $369. A Pre-Model 27 Smith&Wesson 3.5" for $525. I should have bought both of them and have been regretting not doing so ever since. :(

fireside44
June 23, 2010, 07:40 PM
Basically I'm curious if the money I'd save on the Comanche or Taurus would be worth it compared to a S&W.

Depends on the gun. I'd have no problem throwing down $300 on an Interarms Rossi that I could examine before I purchased. In proper mechanical condition they are equivalent or superior to your average S&W outside of fit and finish and the name. Sweet DA triggers. 2 1/2 inch, 4 inch, 6 inch, or cyclops models. $250-$400 depending on model. Stick with the stainless and INTERARMS only models from the late 80's and 90's.

MCgunner
June 23, 2010, 08:06 PM
I have a pair of .357 magnum M66 Taurus revolvers, older guns I bought used at gun shows. I looked 'em over, did my usual revolver check outs. The 4" is an awesome revolver, early 90s, pre-lock, pre-MIM parts, 6 shot. I got it for just under 200 bucks. It shoots 1" groups with either 140 Speer JHP or a Lee cast 148 WC in .38 brass over 2.7 grains Bullseye. It's a friggin' tack driver, 1/2 more accurate than my Smith M10 at 25 yards and as accurate as my 6.5" Ruger Blackhawk. It beats the HECK out of my old Security Six. It's a keeper. It only had one little thin spot in the nickle finish on the cylinder when I got it, what looks like probably a little holster wear.

The 3" I got is a late 80s, hammer block action vs the 4"'s transfer bar action. The newer action is better. The 3" gun isn't quite as smooth in DA. Both guns are fine in SA. The 4" newer gun is as slick as any K frame, though. The 3" gun is easier to carry, had lots of holster wear and wear on the back of the pachmayr it came with. It'd been fired a LOT. It's still tight, though, and times perfectly. I put a Hogue grip on it and carry it. I picked it up for $180. One thing that all the Smith and Wesson koolaid drinker/Taurus bashers have done, it seems, is drive down the price of a used Taurus and I really do appreciate that, guys. I got two great shooting medium frame guns, guns that compare well to my K frames, for the price of one M19 in worn condition. :D

I particularly prefer the forcing cone, it's round, to a K frame's flat forcing cone. I've had a Smith forcing cone split on me before. Good thing about Smiths, parts are everywhere, just picked up another 4" barrel, a heavy barrel this time, and had it installed. No need for a 6 week trip to Miami. One thing that p's me off about Taurus, they won't sell ya parts, insist you send the gun to 'em for repair. I've never had to do that, just sayin'.

I also have a little M85SSUL 2" alloy frame .38 snubby I bought new in 96. It is part of my carry battery to this day. It's an accurate, reliable snubby with a SWEET DA trigger, best I've yet owned for an out of the box DA trigger. Yes, I've been quite happy with Taurus.

No, I had a Charter Arms .38 once, 20 years ago. I didn't care much for it, sold it. I've owned some decent Rossis. I'd buy a Rossi before a Charter just on my experience. I had a neat little Interarms Rossi 971 .357 magnum 4" 20 years ago. I used it on a trade for one of my Ruger Blackhawks. It snapped a firing pin. I sent it back to Interarms and they fixed it, came back, snapped on the second round. I had a gun smith fit a K frame firing pin and it worked like a champ until the day I traded it. They seem to still have that reputation for firiing pin problems, but they are quite well made little guns now days. They went through a spell in the early 90s where fit and finish were lacking a bit, but they've improved in that regard lately. I feally prefer Taurus revolvers to Rossis, though. Taurus tends to have a nice trigger, is more accurate on the average.

Just my experiences with 'em. I've got no experience with the Comanche, but I've never heard much favorable about 'em and have always just ignored 'em.

Now, let the bashers call me a liar and run my guns down if they want. I've out shot a lot of Smiths in the club matches with my 4" 66. My Smith M10 used to be my favorite revolver for club matches, until I got this Taurus.

joed
June 23, 2010, 08:07 PM
Buy quality and you won't regret it. My father used to have a saying that basically went "If you want nice clean oats you must pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse those come a lot cheaper".

I've owned 44 S&W revolvers at one time or another. I'm also partial to Colts. I'm not a big fan of Ruger but wouldn't say no to one. Anything else is a crap shoot.

fireside44
June 23, 2010, 08:15 PM
Now, let the bashers call me a liar and run my guns down if they want.

I prefer Interarms Rossi to Taurus, but I will say you are always a voice of reason here. Great post.

The truth hurts and the truth is that the best Rossi and Taurus guns are superior to their American counterparts often times. Of course, their worst are probably worse, but that's off topic here...lol

ClemY
June 23, 2010, 08:33 PM
Buying a gun is a matter of personal preference, particularly a handgun. I agree you really canít go wrong with a 4Ē .357. My personal preferences are with the N frame 627Pro, the L frame 686 and the Ruger GP100. There are certainly others, but these are the ones I am most familiar with.

Publius1688
June 23, 2010, 08:47 PM
Lots of fellas have mentioned the 686 S&W, and that's a wonderful pistol, but I have to chime in for a 586, as well. Look around on gunbroker.com and check them out.

Ala Dan
June 23, 2010, 08:58 PM
I would stick with any of these S&W models: 19, 27, 28, 66, or 686. Barrel
length would be YOUR choice; but I prefer these adjustable sighted models.

greyling22
June 23, 2010, 09:02 PM
I've had the smith 686 and the ruger security 6.

Smith: better trigger (when tuned) handled recoil better, heavier, costlier

Sec. 6: fine gun, I like the cylinder release better, seemed less delicate, cheaper.

I kept the Smith, I kind of regret selling the ruger.

I hear very good things about the taurus smith clones from the guys I know who have them. I hear bad things about them online, mostly from guys who do not have them.

I like the feel of the gp100 best of all.

wanderinwalker
June 23, 2010, 10:32 PM
Any S&W model 19, 66, 586, 686, 27, 28. Or you could go fixed sighted with a 13, 65, 581 or 681. A local gunshop actually has a couple of 65s sitting in the used rack, and I believe a 581, last I looked.

Also good, Ruger Sixes and GP-100s. Colt Pythons have a good rep, but I think they're ugly as sin (and out of my price range too).

And if a Taurus or Rossi passed the "revolver check-out", I wouldn't be afraid to take it home either.

My choice was a 4" S&W M-19, very finish worn, smooth and slick with a set of Millett sights and Hogue monogrip on it. I'm a happy camper, at least until I find a nice 4" M-28/Highway Patrolman. :cool:

DrFreeman
June 23, 2010, 10:34 PM
Here is my 357 Colt Python. It's a great gun. I love the thing to death. Killed tons of stuff with it.

S&Wfan
June 23, 2010, 10:48 PM
I own both Smiths and Rugers, and I've owned and sold off other specimens of the same.

People always talk of the stoutness of the Rugers . . . and of the superiority of the Smith triggers.

I'll say this . . . all other things being equal, NOTHING is more important to your accuracy and precision shooting than the best trigger you can find. And . . . you simply cannot beat a good Smith trigger . . . and they are either very, very good or fantastic!

Additionally, I'll say this . . . additional stoutness BEYOND what is necessary only adds extra weight and bulkiness. The S&W revolvers are plenty stout for a lifetime of normal, active use already . . . and their sleek looks, outstanding pointing and handling characteristics make 'em winners in most tactical revolver matches!!!

IMHO, the Smith revolvers have perfected the classic form vs. function balance. They are like a classy, beautiful woman . . . she looks sexy and fragile . . . but she's deceptively strong!

T.

PS: Don't buy a mediocre revolver. Stick with one of the two brands you really want. In the long run, the few extra dollars you saved will be sitting in your pocket and you'll wish you'd gotten the gun you could truly be proud of . . . and the gun that you KNOW will best save your very life if the situation ever arises. YOU are WORTH it!

Good luck on your quest. In the end, you'll probably own a lot of guns through the years and own both types. That's half the fun!!! And . . . in the end, you'll develop your own reasons and preferences . . . and your ultimate guns you hang onto will not be Comanches or Taurus!!!

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