Need recommendations for first [and last (hah!)] revolver...


July 1, 2010, 08:39 PM
The reason I'm asking for the be-all, end-all revolver is just because they seem too damn expensive. But I want one, and I want THE ONE that's a perfect fit for me.

Now, why am I asking you all?? Because you guys helped me discover the Bersa line of autoloaders (which I adore)... so I'm wondering if there's anything out there like that for revolvers. S&W and Ruger seems to be about my only options as far as I can tell... so that's where you guys come in.

Just wanna mention that one of the two guns in this video will most likely fit me best --

From the video blurb...
Demonstration of possibly the most popular little .38 Special revolver, the Model 642 Airweight from Smith & Wesson. Also, the S&W Model 65 .357 Magnum.

I didn't make it clear in the video, but I ground off the hammer spur on the .357 magnum Model 65 I'm demonstrating.

- 1.5" to 3" barrel
- .38 or .357 (leaning toward .357 for versatility)
- DAO or DA (but I'll more than likely grind off the hammer spur, just like the guy did in the video above)
- less than $700

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July 1, 2010, 09:30 PM
With your requirements the best option would be the ruger SP101 357 with three inch smoke stack.

Robert Wilson
July 1, 2010, 09:32 PM
The 642 is hard to beat given the requirements you've laid out. I would not grind off the spur if I were you. If you are going DAO you might as well buy a gun with an internal hammer, as they are less susceptible to dirt, pocket lint, etc.

Guy de Loimbard
July 1, 2010, 09:47 PM
If you think revolvers are expensive, you aren't looking in the right places. I paid $350, $300 and $250 for two Rugers and a Pietta.

July 1, 2010, 10:29 PM
If I had to pick just one revolver and it had to be 3" or less, it would be a Ruger GP100 with some custom compact wood grips. This would be packable in a pinch, but still very shootable.

Small, light guns like the Smith 642 and Ruger SP101/LCR are great for packing, but are uncomfortable for shooting. Most people who like revolvers own at least two: one steel, long-barreled one for shooting, and one compact & light one for daily carry.

July 1, 2010, 10:46 PM
If I were to be limited to only one (reasonably priced) revolver, it would be the 3 inch SP101. Fantastic all-around gun. I don't "get" the Airweight craze, and my bigger revolvers, while great guns, don't spend much time on my hip. The SP101 is one of those guns that I always felt I got my money's worth with, because I used it so often at the range, at home and for carry.

Note: I traded my SP101 for a Sig P220 (because how often does that deal come along?) but I'll have another by summer's end. I feel lost without that little gun!

EDIT: I strongly disagree with the above poster. The SP101 is in a different class than the 642/LCR when it comes to shooting comfort. I shot heavy .357 loads out of it all the time and enjoyed it very much. So did my wife, for that matter. It is the perfect compromise between the little revolvers and the big ones IMO.

July 1, 2010, 11:38 PM
Check out the new Smith and Wesson J Frames with the Shrouded Hammers. A friend of mine recently purchased one and is very happy with it.

July 1, 2010, 11:45 PM
I agree with buckeye8; I think the SP's handle .357 Mags almost like a GP100.
I would go with a new 3" SP101 or a pre-lock 4" S&W 686.

July 2, 2010, 12:48 AM
3" SP101 seems to be in the lead.

There's a 3" GP100 that looks good as well, but would prolly be harder to find.

What say ye about frame sizes and composite metals (alloys, titanium, stainless steel, etc.)?? I've heard that shooting a ton of .357 out of the K-frames isn't that great... which is why they stopped making the S&W Model 65, right? .... moving to the L-frame? Or something like that...

And is stainless the obvious way to go? If titanium = more expensive *and* lighter weight... then I'd think so. Lighter weigh gun = more recoil that I don't need.

July 2, 2010, 01:40 AM
S&W Model 65 3" barrel. Stainless steel k-frame goodness. 6 shots rather than 5. Heavy enough to shoot decently & excellent fixed sights. There is little real world difference in concealing a 3" or 4" barrel but you requested 3" so you can get a 3" barrel for the extra coin they bring.

Honestly, though, the S&W Model 64 4" .38 Special is, to me, an even better choice but the 65 fits your requirements to a "T".


July 2, 2010, 03:29 AM
Sp-101 or gp-100, if your want to grind the spur off, then you are looking at pocket carry which means the SP-101 would be the best choice of all. grinding the spur off a GP-100 just ruins the medium frame design use, if you get a med fram 357 magnum then you would be not carrying in a pocket and you would enjoy single actions hooting.

July 2, 2010, 05:12 AM
I respectfully disagree with Wolfeye--I have a 2.25" SP101 and it is a breeze to shoot. Even 357s in this gun aren't that big of a deal.

The only beef I have with SP101s is there are too many sharp edges on them by the time they reach the counter. They don't get much hand polishing attention, but then again they are dirt cheap. If you do get an SP101 find a good gunsmith to work it over for you and your index finger will be much happier at the end of a shooting session.

July 2, 2010, 05:34 AM
I have the S&W M&P 340 CT (i.e. a snubby with Crimson Trace laser). For me, it's a perfect pocket gun though mousegun fans would claim it's too large. It is very well made and I enjoy shooting it though there is a lot of recoil. After about 50 rounds of 38 special or as few as 5 rounds of 357 magnum, I find it has rubbed the skin off the side of my thumb. Cleaning this gun involves removing my blood from it after an extensive range session! I accept this trade-off but it is something to be aware of if you are thinking about a snubby.

July 2, 2010, 06:02 AM
I recently bought a 3" GP100 and it's a great revolver. I have a 4" GP100 but prefer the 3" version.


July 2, 2010, 06:38 AM
Also check out the S&W 638 with 2.5" barrel. It's .38 spl +P and a great balance between a lot of the considerations in snubnose-class revolvers. You can still cock it, but it's snag-free. The extra barrel length aids in cartridge ejection and accuracy. Unlike some firearms that make compromises, this design just solves problems.

The real issue with a carry revolver is weight. You can go too light, but you can go too heavy, too. I was very interested in the SP101, given all the great reviews I've read and seen. Then I handled one at the gun shop. Only needed to hold it for 5 seconds to realize that 6 months or a year down the road, I'd be wanting something more around the 15-22 oz. range.

Far as I can tell, there's revolvers built for comfortable shooting, and revolvers for comfortable carry.

July 2, 2010, 07:53 AM
+1 on the 2.5-inch S&W 638. Though, for some reason, it seems to get little love on the High Road. Unlike some firearms that make compromises, this design just solves problems. Well put.

Have a 3-inch SP101, love it, but it is a little heavy for pocket carry.

July 2, 2010, 12:06 PM
shockwave, the only time the SP101 carries differently than the 642s/638s of the world is when it comes to pocket carry. The SP101 is heavy enough to "swing" in a pants pocket. But, on the hip, I forget about them all just the same.

July 2, 2010, 12:18 PM
Which would you think has more recoil?

2" & .38 Airweight 638/642


3" & .357 GP101


I'm thinking the Airweight.

July 2, 2010, 12:23 PM
whatever model you decide to go with do your best to get some rounds through it first.

I'd hate for you to have your one and only revolver to be a regret cause of recoil/grip feel/sights/concealability... I just really like revolvers- they're fun to shoot and fun to carry.

Hope you get the right one!!

July 2, 2010, 12:38 PM
ignore the guns in the new case. Smiths have gone WAY downhill and new Rugers are arguably as good or better but much more expensive.

Unless you want some something with the weight of styrofoam the new case holds nothing worthy.

I might look for a 3 inch j frame or a 3 inch SP101. The shrouded hammer J frame, bodyguard, is also a cool gun.

My daily carry is a 2.5 inch Colt Diamondback. Not a 357 but otherwise fits your criteria. That said, if you took a hacksaw to it I would think that you life might be in danger from the Colt Kool-Aid drinkers :D

I agree that it is better to buy a j frame with the internal hammer than saw an external hammer off. You can hold the gun higher and control the recoil better

July 2, 2010, 02:21 PM
Hmm.... Now I'm going outside of my requirements. I think that the S&W Model 317 "Kit Gun" is the one for me. :)

I'm very fond of .22s.

Even lighter than the Airweights. So light, it's called the Airlite!! Well... I think the snubbie is called the Airlite, and the 3" barrel is the "Kit Gun".

And the only other difference is the fixed (airlite) -vs- adjustable sights (kit gun).

Shouldn't the kit gun have the fixed sights, since it'd get tossed around a lot?? :scrutiny:

Think I'll get a .357 later on down the line, so this won't be my last. ;)

July 2, 2010, 10:43 PM
Good for you! Always, always, always it is best to learn to master handguns using .22LR versions!!! There's virtually no kick or muzzle blast to make people flinch and turn them into horrible flinchers that shoot really bad.

Best of all . . . .22 ammo is cheap so you can practice hundreds of times more for less money! You'll see very few S&W .22 revolvers for sale used. This is because no one ever sells 'em . . . unless their owner finally dies and no one in the family shoots!!!

As far as "Kit" guns, they were designed to fit in the sportsman's old tackle box or "kit" to take with them into the woods and wild. The adjustable sights and the longer barrels (3" or so) made them ideal little hunting revolvers, and also gave their owners hundreds of hours of plinking fun through their lifetimes!

I'd recommend you also begin lurking on the good ol' "" site and start learning about revolvers there. You'll start learning what to look for in quality used revolvers which will be just as good, cheaper AND more valuable in the long run!

The money you'll save in a few months of active shooting of your .22 will PAY for your first quality centerfire revolver!!! By then, you'll know which revolvers are truly the best for YOU.

July 3, 2010, 12:50 PM
I would say to find a k or l framed S&W. You can't go wrong with eather one.

July 3, 2010, 03:54 PM
Is this for concealed carry?

The 642 is a great carry piece, but it's not a super fun gun to shoot (stout recoil and the sights aren't very good). If it's for CCW, I'd recommend the 642. If it's just something to enjoy at the range, I'd get something bigger, like a 686p with a 4" barrel.

July 3, 2010, 04:21 PM
Ruger LCR.. Try the trigger..

Buck Snort
July 3, 2010, 05:05 PM
If Obama and gang told me I could have only ONE revolver it'd be my 4" S@W 629 complete with CT laser grips.

July 3, 2010, 10:56 PM
If I had to pick only one, it'd have to be that 3" Model 65 "Kit Gun". Dunno if you can ever beat that.

But a 3" 22LR "Kit Gun" won't be so bad.

I know that any gun of mine certainly wouldn't have any CT laser grips on it, tho!! (Use the Force, Luke!)

Do any revolvers have attachments for small flashlights, tho? That could be a huge deciding factor for me, but I haven't come across such a question.

July 3, 2010, 11:24 PM
You know, I've been mulling this over and I think the biggest requirement here for a fun weapon is ... where did you get the inspiration.
For instance, were you sitting there watching a Dirty Harry movie and said ... "I really do want a revolver. In that case it's clear you need a .44 magnum.
Or did your kid recently discover he wanted to be a cowboy ... you want a nice SA ...
Or did you read that steamy and gritty noir book and say "Man, that is epic." ... you need a snubbie.

There's few things quite as iconosized as a revolver here. And you need to figure out which Icon you want.

*le nod*

July 3, 2010, 11:28 PM
If Obama and gang told me I could have only ONE revolver

I would say "come and take them"

July 4, 2010, 12:43 AM

I believe two of Smith & Wesson's model 327 revolvers have rails for adding a light. Both guns are quite spendy... I also recently saw an add for a cheap attachment for j-frames that lets you do the same thing, but I don't recall where. It may have been Cheaper than Dirt or Midway.

I also thought I'd belatedly clarify my first post. :) I did say the SP101 was "uncomfortable" to shoot, but it's still manageable; in fact, I usually get tighter groupings when I load it with magnums vs. specials. I'm comparing its relative comfort to a larger-framed .357 revolver, like a Python or model 686.

To answer your later question, my SP101 will kick less than my 642 if loaded with the same ammo, but if I compare the SP101 loaded with magnums vs. the 642 loaded with .38+p's, the Ruger will kick "harder" while the Smith will feel "snappier", if that makes sense. Both of my guns wear rubber grips that cover the backstrap, which helps with recoil.

Have fun shooting that .22 kit gun if that's what you go with. My father has steel kit gun that his father gave him, and it's a nice little gem to shoot.

July 4, 2010, 01:22 AM
Member -grndslm doesn't know what he wants. He started out wanting .357 Magnum, and within a single day he decided he wants .22lr with a flash light on it !! - all within the same thread.

July 4, 2010, 09:03 AM
grndslm doesn't know what he wants

maybe that is why he named the thread what he did

July 4, 2010, 10:39 AM

- 1.5" to 3" barrel
- .38 or .357 (leaning toward .357 for versatility)
- DAO or DA (but I'll more than likely grind off the hammer spur, just like the guy did in the video above)
- less than $700

July 4, 2010, 11:25 AM
3" 686 if you can find one, if not the 4" is just as well balanced.

If I could only have a single revolver it would be that hands down.

Luckily I can have all the revolvers.

July 4, 2010, 12:27 PM
I saw a Rossi Model 462 (i think) at a pawn shop near me yesterday.

It looks like a perfect chrome-plated job... but everything on the net says it's stainless.

2", stainless, 6 shot, .357, perfect grip, & no more than 25 oz... but they're asking $400!!!

Everything about it felt smoother than the other revolvers they had -- the S&W 642, and the similar Taurus Ultralite, or whatever they call it, and another classic Colt that they wanted $800 for.

I was impressed with the Rossi, but it looks like I can get it at Bud's Gun Shop ( brand new for cheaper. :cool:

I'm pretty sure that the grips were much better at the one in the pawn shop... but not 100% on that.

I'd rather pay $350 on this Rossi (357) than $600+ on a S&W 317 (22LR).

.... If only the Rossi came with a 3" barrel, I wouldn't even be thinking about it. :(

July 4, 2010, 12:46 PM
Member -grndslm doesn't know what he wants. He started out wanting .357 Magnum, and within a single day he decided he wants .22lr with a flash light on it !! - all within the same thread.I'm picky, what can I say.

I'd prefer a Magnum w/ 3" barrel or more. Can't find one easily.
I'd prefer a light snub-nose... but if I'm going after the lightest, then an 8-shot Model 317 is it, ain't it?
I'd prefer a flashlight rail on any and all of my handguns.

I'd prefer many things that are hard to find. I'm an extremist, and I'll take as long as I need until I find something that fits me.

That Rossi really does fit me... but, again, I'd prefer a slightly longer barrel. :(

July 4, 2010, 01:08 PM
Hmm.... Now I'm going outside of my requirements. I think that the S&W Model 317 "Kit Gun" is the one for me.

I'm very fond of .22s.

Me too. Take a look at the Smith Model 63 also. I want a Smith 317 but some other hopeful purchase always gets in the way and they keep getting more expensive in the mean time. What is getting into the way this time? ... new Smith 657 snubbie..... yeah!!!

I think just about everyone needs a 4" Smith 617. Great revolver to learn on. But it is no training piece for a snubbie. You might actually hit what you're aiming at and that makes you want to shoot more. That is not to say that you can't shoot well with a snubbie 22 revolver. It just takes more practice.

I like the Smith 642/442. It is my carry gun, but I don't particularly like to shoot it. I typically rip off a cylinder full or two at 10 yards for fun and tell myself.. yep, I could use it for self defense. Shooting 38's out of a steel frame 357 is a lot more enjoyable and that is where the SP-101 and GP-100 come into play. They are very good revolvers and the price is certainly not going to come down anytime soon. The old Model 10's (Smiths) are good too and sometimes you can find one pretty cheap at shows.

July 4, 2010, 01:41 PM
Grndslm, I'm picky too, and I understand that you're wanting to buy the right gun. I've followed this thread, and have been tempted to add recommendations, but I'm having trouble trying to get a feel for what you're really looking for. It ranges from .357 Magnum down to .22 caliber, - two completely different kinds of guns, with different purposes.

If I might inquire:

What is your intended purpose for this gun? Do you just want a revolver, any revolver with the right length barrel? If so, you've got a ton of guns to choose from. Or is it for backyard plinking? Range shooting? Home defense? Concealed carry?

You mentioned that you'd even grind the hammer spur off a revolver to make it a DAO gun. Fair enough, and that seems to indicate concealed carry as a primary purpose? But, then again, your shift to .22 caliber seems to indicate the opposite?

A desire to have an accessory light on your gun seems to indicate home defense as it's purpose, yet choosing a .22 as a defense gun doesn't make sense for home defense, especially if better choices are available, which they are. In a pinch, any gun will do for self defense, but since you're planning this out ahead of time, then pick the right caliber for your intended method of use.

You said that it might be a "huge deciding factor" that your revolver has a means of mounting a light. I might add this: Finding a 3" barrel (or less) .22 caliber revolver with an accessory rail (for mounting your flash light), might be a difficult task, and honestly, I can't think of a logical reason for mounting a light on a .22 snub nose, even if you could find one for sale. You say that you want that feature on every gun your have. What is your reasoning there? With a few exceptions, like one of the Taurus Judge revolvers, and the Smith & Wesson M&P R8 .357 Magnum, accessory rails are not common on revolvers. And if you're a revolver fan, and want every gun you own to have an accessory rail, which is what you've said, then you're going to be quite frustrated in your search.

In our original post, you said " I want THE ONE that's a perfect fit for me"
I respectfully ask you - How do you envision this gun being used? You say you're picky, and that's good, but answering that question accurately is the only way you're going to finally make the right pick

July 4, 2010, 02:13 PM

obviously he wants several things

thus the "first [and last (hah!)]"

But after he recognizes the fact that he is going to end up with several he can start narrowing his criteria. Until then you are correct that it is a waste of time to advise.

July 5, 2010, 01:58 AM
That's absolutely correct.

I want several things, but nothing in particular. I was just trying to narrow down the size and price for starters.

I'm only interested in hearing guns that haven't been mentioned. SP101, GP100, 65, 438, 442, Rossi 462, etc..... I've all come across. I'm looking for ALL the options that are available to me. That's all. :neener:

I want something that's accurate, something that's reliable, and something that can take a beating. Is that too much to ask? :cool:

Style is something that I don't particularly pay attention to, but subconsciously, I'd buy the S&W 317 "Kit Gun" right away if it weren't for that HiViz site. Just doesn't look right from pictures. The snub nose has better style, but poorer accuracy. :(

There's a ton of 2" .357 magnums, but not that many 3 inchers are easy to find. SP101 is really my only option for something that's (durable, reliable, accurate, etc.). Being able to take it apart is slick.

But I'd also like to spend my money on a silencer and getting my semi-auto's barrel threaded.

And I also ran across a "Micro Desert Eagle .380" at Academy today. That also looked pretty sweet. The more I look, the more I find.

Again... as for intents and purposes... to stay out of the way, whether that be in a pack, pocket, holster, or wherever (hence the size requirements)... to hide until needed. And, no, I don't need a light rail. Just with a couple guys recommending CT laser grips and what have you... I'd just mention I'm not a laser guy. No laser. Flashlight rails are acceptable, however. That is a true function, in my eyes.

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