Entry Level Revolver


October 18, 2010, 08:17 PM

I am in the market for a new or used revolver. I am looking for a .357 magnum with a 4" or 6" barrel. This is not for concealed carry or home defense, but something to use at the range, and something that my girlfriend can handle comfortably (she has smaller hands making most semi-autos difficult). My price range is between $300 and $550. As it stands I am most interested in a Ruger GP100, but I would be really interested to learn about other options and their strengths and weaknesses.

Thanks in advance!

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October 18, 2010, 09:33 PM
A 4" GP100 with compact grips is what my girls (ages 9&11) shoot 38 & 38+p loads in comfortably & will shoot as much ammo as I`ll give em !!!!

The 11 yr. old can load her own & will follow safe handling of lead the 9yr. not so much , therefore loadin there own at this time is somewhat limited.

October 18, 2010, 10:42 PM
If you don't mind used get a Dan Wesson 15-2. Built well, shoots .38/.357 with little to no recoil from the .38's, interchangeable barrels and very accurate. And the best part you can find them rather easily on Gunbroker between $300 and $400.

October 18, 2010, 10:58 PM
If you like the old west and want something that is accurate and handles recoil well get a Ruger Single action with either the 4 5/8" Barrel or the 6 1/2" barrel. The shorter one makes a good trail gun ,is light and can handle 180 or 200 grain bone crusher loads. So can a GP 100 but it is heaver and has less Panache IMHO. The K & larger S&W Magnums WERE all good IMHO.When I started my sons it was with Ruger Security Sixes. They still have them 15 years later a very maintainable gun and light sleek and strong!

October 18, 2010, 11:06 PM
I helped a young woman pick out a revolver a while back, for SD (in a purse) and target shooting. She is tiny with delicate hands but found the 4" GP100 very comfortable to hold and shoot with 38 specials. Also, that particular gun had a very smooth trigger.

As another possibility, have you considered a single action like a Blackhawk in 357? Just a thought. Mine does very well with standard 38 special 158 grain loads and wadcutters for target work.


October 19, 2010, 01:37 AM
May want her to try the ol' model 10 S&W heavy barrel. These guns can still be had for around $300 and under and in great shape. Triggers on the older smiths can be excellent and can be very accurate. +P ammo can reach lower 357 ammo, like the 110 grain. As you can tell they are one of my favorites, I own 3 and always looking for more. .02

October 19, 2010, 07:38 PM
I don't believe you can find a better gun today than a GP-100, if it already interests you then there's no need to consider anything else. It will do all you ever need a .357 to do which is just about anything you'll ever need a handgun to do. A GP will also last beyond a lifetime. What's not to love?

October 19, 2010, 07:41 PM
You cannot go wrong with the gp 100

Arkansas Paul
October 19, 2010, 07:48 PM
Nother vote for the GP100.
I had a 4" model and wish I still did.

357 Terms
October 19, 2010, 08:23 PM
Picked up a stainless police service six with a 4in heavy barrel for 350$ a few months back. Great gun for the price. Balances great,shoots great, I recamend one if you can find one

Lucky Derby
October 19, 2010, 08:57 PM
The GP100 is the best general purpose revolver made TODAY.
If you go used the K and L frame S&Ws are good as well. The new versions cost way to much, and are not as nice as the older ones.
Older Colts can be found as well at reasonable prices. Look for any of the Trooper models or the King Cobra. The Pythons are nice but are spendy.

October 19, 2010, 09:36 PM
GP100 or 686....'nuff said.

October 20, 2010, 03:46 PM
A 4" GP100 with compact grips ...Ditto.

October 20, 2010, 03:57 PM
GP100s are nice but you can get a descent S&W from J&G sales dot com for $249. My only advice is rent several and let her chose.

Old krow
October 20, 2010, 04:59 PM
GP100 or 686....'nuff said.

Uh huh. I'd probably go with the 4" barrel instead of the 6" though instead of the 6". That's only because the g/f doesn't like the extra weight. The gun is a little large for her as well. Obviously it isn't her favorite, but she can shoot it effectively.

My only advice is rent several and let her chose.

If she intends on shooting it a lot this would help.

October 20, 2010, 05:09 PM
You'll have more fun, at less cost, with easier acceptance by female shooters, if you buy a 22LR revolver first. Maybe 4" with good adjustable sights that you could use for competition.

October 20, 2010, 06:33 PM
welcome to the High Road.

I recommend that you take her to a range and let her shoot several "loaner" guns and see what she likes.

October 20, 2010, 06:58 PM
Any of the aboved mentioned revolvers will work. Most women are recoil shy so I tend to say a 38 special or 357 and she uses 38 special. The S&W 10 would be hard to beat.


WNC Seabee
October 20, 2010, 07:05 PM
How about an SP101?

Same mechanics as the GP, but scaled down a bit. Might fit her hands better.
I have both, GP and SP, and love them!

Ole Coot
October 20, 2010, 10:14 PM
Just stick with a Ruger or Smith, can't go wrong with either and either will give you more accuracy than a person is capable of. Handle both and decide which feels & looks better, both are quality handguns.

evan price
October 21, 2010, 06:17 AM
Ruger, Smith, Colt, all of them are good choice. Avoid the "j" frames at first, they can be tricky to a new shooter because of the smaller size. A nice 4" 38/357 will be great. I would say to anyone who asks- a S&W Model 10/64 in 4" barrel, put some Pachmayr grips on it, and they will be good to go. 38 special, not 357, but a new shooter will be more comfortable shooting 38 special first before the mags come into the picture. If you insist on Magnum then go for a Mod 13/65 or 19/66.

October 21, 2010, 08:04 AM
The GP100 is a great choice. An older Smith or Colt would be good as well. As long as you can take a look at one to determine it has not been "improved".

One comment. RUN from any of the 5 shot "J" frame type revolvers. Fun to carry, no real fun to shot with hot loads and no gun to learn on. YMMV....

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