need a good straight-up defensive wheelgun.


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AcceptableUserName
July 16, 2010, 01:58 AM
I'm looking for a strictly defensive wheelgun, and not necessarily for concealed carry. I want something sub-600, something iron-tough, reliable, fast (relatively), the higher capacity the better., something smoothe and liveable out of the box as far as trigger pull and accuracy. I'm not looking for a racegun but I want something decent in those arenas.

I'm pretty sure it's either going to be a Ruger or a Smith. Pretty sure it's going to be a .357.

Right now the GP100 4" has my eye. Your turn...

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sgt127
July 16, 2010, 02:29 AM
http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/smith-wesson/revolver/p/smith-wesson-model-64-38spl-stainless-steel%2C-bobbed-hammer-very-good-condition/cPath/16_211_431/products_id/2441

Its "only" a .38 Special..but, thats about as straight up as a revolver can get...and, it will serve you well for the rest of your life.

PT1911
July 16, 2010, 02:41 AM
if you are looking at a GP.. I say go for it... I just picked one up yesterday...Fits all of your listed criteria QUITE well...

BigNYMini
July 16, 2010, 02:50 AM
Ruger SP101.

Youngster
July 16, 2010, 05:27 AM
Rugers are great guns but they're let down somewhat by their lunky triggers, which are not as smooth nor as positive in return as their S&W counterparts, to me shooting a S&W after shooting a Ruger feels almost like cheating.

Powerglide
July 16, 2010, 05:52 AM
model 19 3 inch.

19-3Ben
July 16, 2010, 07:19 AM
I'd find a Ruger Service Six, or Speed six.

Those are about as straight forward of a defensive wheelgun as it gets.

cprher
July 16, 2010, 07:57 AM
Since I'm a S&W fan my advice is obviously biased: Get a 586 or 686. I struck a balance by getting a 686 with a factory black finish. The grips are Spegel Extended Boot Grips. It has a Performance Center Master Action Job and nothing else done to it. Balance is perfect and its very accurate. It's also fast out of a holster and relatively easy to conceal.

http://i568.photobucket.com/albums/ss127/cprher/Spegel%20Grips/Black686004.jpg
http://i568.photobucket.com/albums/ss127/cprher/Spegel%20Grips/Black686003.jpg
http://i568.photobucket.com/albums/ss127/cprher/Spegel%20Grips/Black686002.jpg
http://i568.photobucket.com/albums/ss127/cprher/Spegel%20Grips/Black686001.jpg

WC145
July 16, 2010, 08:58 AM
GP100 or a 686, either would suit your needs.

Lar1911
July 16, 2010, 09:34 AM
Clint Smith with Thunder Ranch has a video that talks about learning to shoot what you have, he even does a demo on a single shot shotgun. (Its also on youtube)

Once you own the gun practice with it, dry fire. The Ruger is a great gun, every one that has one or reviews them say they are built like tanks. If the trigger is not smooth you can have a trigger job done on it, or more likely shoot it enough and you wont notice.
I have a Vaquero and am very happy with it.

Buy a pellet trap, or make one, buy a pellet gun that is similar to the gun you buy, and practice drawing and bringing the sights up.

Since its for home defense, learn how to pie a door and move around the home and practice.

bannockburn
July 16, 2010, 10:58 AM
S&W Model 13

S&W Model 19

S&W Model 686

Ruger Security-Six

Ruger Service-Six

Ruger GP-100

kbbailey
July 16, 2010, 11:11 AM
I have a Taurus 627 Tracker, It would fit your criteria.
7 shot
good trigger
accurate
modest price
.357 mag
----can't go wrong with a Ruger tho--

wlewisiii
July 16, 2010, 11:32 AM
S&W 64 4". For a basic combat revolver, you'll do no better until you spend a lot more money. Load it with Buffalo Bore 158gr. LSWCHP +P and you're set. IMHO & all that, but look around a bit & I think you'll agree.

brabham78
July 16, 2010, 04:15 PM
If it's not for concealed carry, then +2 on The Ruger GP100 and the Smith 686. I think they're equal guns, so the less expensive Ruger is probably a better value, but I'd be happy to have either. Both are fairly heavy stainless guns, so even with magnums, they're real easy shooters.

If you think that this gun might someday work it's way in the role of being your carry gun, then something more compact might be in order. Rugers SP101 or S&W's 640 are worth a look. These are 23 to 25 oz guns, so recoil is still within reason, even with some hot ammo.

SDiver40
July 16, 2010, 04:21 PM
Hammerless Ruger SP101 .357 with a trigger spring kit. You will love it!

AcceptableUserName
July 16, 2010, 04:23 PM
Does Smith make anything comparable to Ruger's SP101 in size that has 6 shots?

PT1911
July 16, 2010, 04:27 PM
why would someone opt for snubbie or hammerless if cc is not a concern? The only reason to get a small gun (barrel under say... 4 inches) is for cc, once that is out of the picture, get a full sized gun for better balance, greater accuracy, softer recoil... need I go on?

If you like the GP100, get the GP100
A Smith 686 would be a great option as well
A Smith 64 is one hell of a gun to fall back on also..

I own all three and cannot find anything bad to say about any of them...

PT1911
July 16, 2010, 04:33 PM
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757767_-1_757751_757751_image

Deanimator
July 16, 2010, 04:45 PM
Any K or L frame S&W without the lock.

The 3" S&W Model 65 is an excellent all around self-defense revolver.

It's a .357 and will shoot .357 or .38 Special.
It's got a long enough sight radius to be easier to shoot.
It's still small enough to easily carry IWB.

I would have preferred a 3" Model 13 because I don't like stainless, but I hadn't seen on of those for sale locally for years.

The gun below is virtually identical to mine, down to the grips:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_OIq3D0aFsJM/RlYFINWIv-I/AAAAAAAAAGc/2BrP7NuuaBg/s400/Smith+and+Wesson+model+65-3+007.jpg

Nico Testosteros
July 16, 2010, 05:55 PM
I'm rather fond of my Model 681. It's basically a 686 with fixed sights. It's very accurate and fun to shoot. I've got nothing against Rugers, I think an SP101 is in my future.

Youngster
July 16, 2010, 05:57 PM
Both the GP100 and the 686 are noticably more comfortable to shoot full powered .357s out of compared to K frames and smaller guns.

The only thing is for me personally is that if I'm going to deal with a revolver in that size and weight class I'd rather step it up slightly and go with a larger frame in a bigger caliber.

I don't find my 629 any harder to control when reasonably loaded than my 686 is with full house 125 or 158 grainers, and the .44 actually seems nicer to shoot overall because the bark and blast is quite a bit less intense.

roaddog28
July 16, 2010, 06:24 PM
Hi,
Most of the others have great suggestions. Here is my take. If you want a all around 357 4 inch revolver that a person can carry and handles good without being too heavy this would be my picks.

1. S&W model 13 4 inch ( I have one)

2. S&W model 66 4 inch ( I have one)

3. S&W model 19

5. S&W model 65

6. Ruger Police Service Six 4 inch ( I have one)

All of the above fit my hands the best and I am very accurate with them. Now if you want a 357 that can take the pounding of shooting 357s all the time then here is a good list.

1. S&W 686 4 inch ( I have one)

2. S&W 28 4 inch or 27 (I have a 28)

3. Ruger GP100 4 inch ( I have one).

The above three will shoot large amounts of 357s with no problems. The disadvantage to these three is they are heavy and not easy to carry. If you are going to use the revolver just for the range then the above three are great. But if you want a revolver that is light enough to carry and handles and is extremely accurate then the S&W M13,19,65 and 66 series are the ones to consider. By far the K frame magnums handle, feel and shoot the best. But that's my opinion,
Good luck,
roaddog28

casual
July 16, 2010, 07:38 PM
im with deanimator - my preference is a 3" S&W 65 (fixed sights) with practical pachmayr grips

simple, solid, versatile gun

runner up is the sp101

ironvic
July 16, 2010, 08:11 PM
I like the S&W Model 10 with a 4" barrel. We keep one handy at home at all times. In .357, a S&W 686 or 686 Plus in 4" is a great gun.

AcceptableUserName
July 16, 2010, 08:20 PM
i want a strictly .38 and the s+w's being recommended so much is definitely going to be it.

but for my first revolver purchase I want it to shoot .357. I'm really tempted by the Sp101 w/ Crimson Trace. Yes, it's not necessarily a carry gun, but for defensive use this particular package seems hard to beat...not terribly expensive either for what you get.


Are the Crimson Trace grips durable and the laser reliable?


does the smaller size of the Sp101 shorten its lifepsan any when shooting .357?


i have to say if i wasnt on somewhat of a budget id go for a 686 plus 4" (7 shots!)

336A
July 16, 2010, 08:45 PM
There is no need whatsoever to turn a blind eye to the S&W M10/M64 service revolver. They are a very rugged and time tested gun for being as some like to say ONLY a .38 SPL. They are very accurte and the sights are very well regulated. They are very responsive in ones hand as well. As has been said already go out and get some Buffalo Bore .38 SPL +P with the 158gr SWCHP load and you will have a very very good defensive revolver. Check here for some real world chrono results from various barrel lengths with this loading.
http://smith-wessonforum.com/ammo/144598-some-38-special-chronograph-tests.html

roaddog28
July 16, 2010, 09:17 PM
i want a strictly .38 and the s+w's being recommended so much is definitely going to be it.

but for my first revolver purchase I want it to shoot .357. I'm really tempted by the Sp101 w/ Crimson Trace. Yes, it's not necessarily a carry gun, but for defensive use this particular package seems hard to beat...not terribly expensive either for what you get.


Are the Crimson Trace grips durable and the laser reliable?


does the smaller size of the Sp101 shorten its lifepsan any when shooting .357?


i have to say if i wasnt on somewhat of a budget id go for a 686 plus 4" (7 shots!)
AcceptableUserName is offline

The answer to your question on the Ruger SP101 I doubt that shooting a diet of 357s would shorten the life of this revolver. A lot of people think the SP101 is stronger than the Smith K frame magnum. I tend to agree.
A 3 inch SP101 is a great revolver. The only thing I have notice on the SP101 is the double action trigger pull is heavy. A lot heavier than a Smith and Wesson model 13, 19, 65 or 66. But the SP101 does smooths out the more you use the revolver. They are a good value in a revolver that a person can carry. The bottom line is buy the revolver that feels the best and handles the best. I would try and find a way to try some of the revolvers that have been suggested.
Regards,
roaddog28

MR.G
July 16, 2010, 10:35 PM
I recommend a S&W 686 Plus.

oldbanjo
July 16, 2010, 11:13 PM
I don't think any gun in 38cal can beat a md 36 S&W Chief Special, and a shoulder holster. In 357cal I perfer Ruger sp101 and gp100.

Old Ranger
July 16, 2010, 11:29 PM
Defense against what? And like was previously said - - - could it work into a carry piece? I have different revolvers, but my first choice for general house defense and carry is a Taurus 817 Ultralite seven shot snubbie with a Crimson Trace grip.

If I needed more, I have a 1911A1 with either hard ball or Golden Sabres.

wow6599
July 16, 2010, 11:51 PM
Another vote for a 3 1/16" SP101.
Easily my favorite revolver and I have had a few.....even like it better than the Pro Series 686 I had.
YMMV

SDiver40
July 17, 2010, 12:13 AM
I carry my sp101 all the time, It's my main carry gun. Nothing against the S&W in the least, it is a great gun. I just prefer the ruger. As for the crimson trace lasers, I love them too. They work great and never had a problem of any kind.
Hope this answers your questions

Gary in Pennsylvania
July 17, 2010, 11:44 AM
3" GP-100.

A tank that will eat .357mag endlessly
Good home defense choice.
That can also double as a GREAT carry choice.

Nuff said.



-

MCgunner
July 17, 2010, 12:04 PM
From the OP description, primary (regard to the toughness) would be the GP100. I'd say SP101, but for the "firepower" stipulation. For me, though, five shots is plenty and the size and weight of the SP101 assures that I'll have it when I need it.

jhvaughan2
July 17, 2010, 12:17 PM
S&W 64 4". For a basic combat revolver, you'll do no better until you spend a lot more money. Load it with Buffalo Bore 158gr. LSWCHP +P and you're set. IMHO & all that, but look around a bit & I think you'll agree.
+1
Many will try to over-analize and tell you that modern criminals cannot be stopped by cartridge designed 100 years ago.
They will all tell you about their favorite revolvers, and there are many great ones.
But a stainless 64 is a bargain, and one in the nightstand will always be ready to go -- tomorrow or 10 years from now.

If you find later that you want "more" gun for fun, then you have not over spent on your "first".

Taurus 617 CCW
July 17, 2010, 01:06 PM
Many will try to over-analize and tell you that modern criminals cannot be stopped by cartridge designed 100 years ago.

I guess that's the same logic as a train made 100 years ago won't kill you if you get hit by it. :rolleyes:

One thing to note on Ruger vs. S&W. The Rugers are built like a tank but are not as smooth as the S&W's with trigger pull and action smoothness. If you don't care how smooth the trigger pull is, go for the Ruger. If you prefer a more refined action, go for the S&W. You can't go wrong either way.

Rexster
July 17, 2010, 07:57 PM
The GP100 is my choice. I have managed to cherry-pick several with good triggers, out of the box, that get better with wearing-in, or pre-owned, with no apparent trigger work.

461
July 17, 2010, 08:27 PM
Smith doesn't make any bad .357's and neither does Ruger. Get the one you like best and be happy that you made a great decision.

ugaarguy
July 17, 2010, 08:56 PM
Do some reading on the S&W K Frame forcing cone. If you plan to shoot light projectile weight, full magnum .357 loads like the very popular 125gr JHP you'll do best with a S&W L frame, or any of the Rugers. If you're okay with the slower but heavier full magnum loads, like the also very popular 158gr JHP & SJHP, you'll be fine with a K Frame.

Those bobbed hammer model 64s at J&G are a heck of a good deal, and, other than being .38 instead of .357, fit your stated purpose perfectly. With a good holster they're not even that hard to CCW. If I was just starting out, yet knowing what I know now, I'd get one (it'll be under $300 OTD even with shipping & FFL transfer fee), and put the other $300 & change into a good holster, a couple speed loaders, lots of practice ammo, and range time. There isn't much a Model 64 with with 158gr +P LSWCs wont do in a SD role.



PS - Don't get overwhelmed by all the the S&W K & L Frame model numbers: they just represent things like caliber, metal (SS or Blued Steel), and fixed or adjustable sights - ex: a model 19 is a 357 Mag, K frame, blued, adjustable sights; 13 same gun with fixed sights; 66 & 65 same guns, respectively, just SS. Ruger just uses a catalog number like KGP-141 for a stainless (K) 4" bbl adj. sight GP-100, or, another example KGPF-331 for stainless, fixed sight (F), 3" bbl. Why the first digit changes from a 1 to a 3 on the 3" fixed sight model, I couldn't tell you.

br549arkie
July 17, 2010, 09:07 PM
S&W k frame 38 special,357 mag or the same in a Ruger security six/speed six/service six.

ohwell
July 17, 2010, 10:20 PM
I have the Sp101 with the 2 1/4 barrel, its a very nice gun for concealing. The crimson trace grips really help with recoil and control I think, but get the rubber overmolded ones not the cheaper hard ones. The laser works great at night to.

okdee
July 17, 2010, 11:56 PM
I had a Taurus 45LC, which I liked quite abit. But have moved to a S&W Model 66 with the SS 2.5" barrel (357 Mag). I seem to be a a cycle of 6-12 months with one that I carry and have by the bed, then change out for a different one. Kinda keeps it fresh, and always on the look out to tweak something.

roaddog28
July 18, 2010, 12:52 AM
Hi again,

Well as you can see there lots of good choices suggested. Any one will do the job for HD. Try as many as possible. That's the best way to choose the right one. Or you can be like me and others here and collect revolvers. I suggested the Smith K frame magnum 13,19, 65 and 66 because they can shoot 357s and I feel they handle the best. I have all of these except for the 65. But I don't use them for HD. I don't believe a person needs a 357 for HD. I am like others. I have my HD revolver loaded with the 158 gr 38+P LSWCHP round. Buffalo bore makes the most powerful round but Winchester has a very good round too.

Lastly, the best revolver and ammo won't work if the person can't hit where there aiming at. And this has to be done under stress. That means a person has to practice a lot and practice with their HD round not target ammo. If the person can't do this then it really does not matter does it?

Regards,
roaddog28
PS: Here is my HD revolver. Others have suggested this revolver in either blued or stainless. The revolver is basic and shoots accurately as long as the shooters does his part.

S&W model 10 4 inch heavy barrel
http://i656.photobucket.com/albums/uu283/HPitt74985/model10-14c.jpg

dogngun
July 18, 2010, 08:11 PM
Always works, probably around $350 in very clean condition.

mark

Ichiro
July 19, 2010, 08:20 PM
does the smaller size of the Sp101 shorten its lifepsan any when shooting .357?

I don't know, but I can't imagine it would be an issue. I probably fired only 700 magnums out of mine in the 5 years that I owned it. By the time I compiled a round count of 8,327 rounds (mostly .38 handloads), I was tired of the gun and replaced it with something else as my daily carry weapon.

My old GP-100 was a much sweeter gun to shoot in all respects, but I got rid of it as well. My primary purpose for handguns is defense, and the GP-100 is just too large and heavy to hold only 6 rounds of even the best defensive ammo.

I loaded both of these with .38 +P simply because I could shoot accurate followups so much faster.

For a "straight-up defensive gun," I wouldn't choose a revolver at all.

Justin Holder
July 20, 2010, 12:01 PM
I know it doesn't fit your specifications, but this is my pick.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson2/upload/images/firearms/detail_md/150500_01_md.jpg

S&W model 58 41 magnum.

With different grips of course.

harmon rabb
July 20, 2010, 12:48 PM
since you want .357 and care about capacity, get a S&W 686+ because it holds 7 rounds.

joe_security
July 20, 2010, 01:21 PM
Go with whatever points the best, and feels best in the hand. Dont forget about the Model 10/64 pencil barrel version. Once you pick one up, everything else feels muzzle heavy. No doubt Ruger and S&W both have excellent customer service, you will be in good hands either way. Lots of good advice in this thread. If you do go with a K frame, try the Safariland comp 2 speedloaders. They are super fast and smooth with a little practice.

toycruiser71
July 21, 2010, 01:58 AM
Go to a range that rents different models and shoot the ones you are considering. I personally favor the 686, but the SP101 is an awesome gun. Seriously though, if you are really budget minded, there is nothing wrong at all with a .38. I carried an old Colt Cobra for years. It will get the job done.

gglass
July 21, 2010, 02:42 AM
When I was faced with the exact same decision as you, I chose the 3" version of the SP-101 in .357 Magnum. I could not be happier with this little tank. I did some modifications to get the perfect trigger and even went so far as to remove the offending lawyer marks on the left side of the barrel and a complete shine job.

My SD ammo of choice for this little beast is Buffalo Bore's Heavy .357 Magnum HP ammunition. From a 3" barrel, these hot projectiles offer an amazing 1,398 fps and 685 ft/lbs of energy... Now that's smokin!

http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/5161/sp101shine.jpg

Rob S. Pierre
July 21, 2010, 04:53 AM
If you can find a five screw highway patrolman...

evan price
July 21, 2010, 07:39 AM
Ruger KGP-100 Under $500 new.
Ruger Sixes (Security, Police, Service, Speed): Under $500 used.
Colt Mark III Trooper/Lawman/King Cobra: Under $600 used.
S&W K-frame 13, 19, 65, 66: Under $500 used.
S&W L-frame 586: Under $600 used.


The 686 is going to be over $600. Same goes for Pythons.

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