New revolvers: Smith vs. Ruger. Which do you prefer?


harmon rabb
December 2, 2010, 06:37 AM
For a NEW production revolver, which do you prefer, Smith or Ruger? And why?

Me, I'll take Ruger over Smith any day of the week. Why? Well, first, price. Looking at Bud's, a new GP100 is about $470, a new 686 is about $660, so the Smith's are about $200 more. Second, the Rugers don't have locks, and don't have MIM components. Third, the Rugers are more durable.

I can't see a single advantage the Smiths have, other than perhaps a slight increase in prettyness. What's that, you say? Trigger? Yeah, old school Smiths had nice triggers. The new ones? Not so much. I've played with a few 686's at the store, and the trigger really isn't any better than the trigger of my GP100. It's perhaps a bit smoother, but just as heavy, if not heavier. And on the topic of Smith triggers... uh, have you tried the trigger of a new production j-frame? What in the world are they modeling that trigger after, that of a Nagant revolver? They must average around 18lbs.

Now, I have fired some old school Smiths. A buddy's grandfather left him some classic Smiths in .357 and .44mag. Both are gorgeous and were a joy to shoot. Too bad the new ones aren't like that... and I think the reason I see guys in here prefer Smiths is nostalgia for those old models, and not an objective look at the new models.

So, yeah. At best, I think new Smiths are on par with new Rugers. For a couple hundred bucks more.


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December 2, 2010, 07:22 AM
I grew up shooting my dads Smiths, awsome pistols, but in todays world, Rugers have a more diverse line, making it easier to buy the exact revolver for any given purpose, and have comprable quality for less money. Paying for a name stamped into metal just isnt my thing.

December 2, 2010, 12:02 PM
I've always preferred S&W's for double actions and Ruger for single actions. However, in new guns, Ruger has it all over S&W. I simply do not care for the way the new S&W's are made and the internal lock is only a small part of it. Rugers are still the affordable working man's gun and S&W is just bloated.

So for me, it's Rugers for SA's and S&W for DA's. But only the older, pre-lock, pre-MIM, pre-two piece barrel, pre-jacked-up-prices-for-underwhelming-junk ones. ;)

December 2, 2010, 12:12 PM
I started out on revolvers with S&W 27's. I liked it a lot, but when it came to buying my own revolvers, I didn't have the capital to buy S&W (plus at that time S&W had signed that horrible agreement with the government). I have a Ruger GP100 and an SP101. I love Rugers. They are built to last and to take a beating.

All that being said, I've really been thinking about my next revolver being a S&W R8 or something else with 8 chambers. However, if Ruger made an 8 shot .357, I'd buy it instead.

December 2, 2010, 12:16 PM
In new guns, I too, prefer the Rugers. I hate the locks, especially the prominence of it. When they went to MIM handfitting seemed to go by the wayside so may as well get the Ruger as it is cheaper and more durable. Interestingly, I have both a tuned 686-5 MIM/no-lock Smith gun and a GP-100 and both the DA and SA are about the same on each. The Smith does have a faster locktime, though. If Ruger were to come out with a 7 shot .357 GP and offer a few more configurations (eg., lighter barrel and top strap with adjustable sights) I think they would offer about all one would want in a medium frame. Same with the SP. As small guns go had a Colt Magnum Carry and liked the trigger on the SP better after both were tuned.

December 2, 2010, 12:27 PM
I have both and like both, but for hunting I prefer the Blackhawks. The older S&W that I have are fine guns, but has been noted the New rugers , I think are cheaper and a better gun than the new S&W for the money and stonger.

December 2, 2010, 12:30 PM
Aside from the new plastic revolvers, which I have not yet tried out, I prefer the new Rugers to the new Smiths. S&W has added too many bells and whistles. I understand their desire to make wheelguns more "cool", but I'm not going to buy a working revolver that has those funky sights on it, and I don't need 7 or 8 or 9 or however many rounds they're stuffing in them these days. Plus, the new ones I've handled have felt more like toys than revolvers. I don't trust them to last, though that may be my prejudice against their lighter weight.

Thaddeus Jones
December 2, 2010, 12:32 PM
Ruger. The S&W IL makes their revolvers unsuitable for serious purposes.

December 2, 2010, 12:40 PM
For me, price vs overall quality is the biggest factor and Ruger has S&W beat by a long shot.

S&Ws will be fitted and finished better for similar models. S&W aesthetic designs are better too.
I like how short the travel on DA S&W triggers are compared to Rugers. However, my two Rugers are smoother and don't stack as much as almost every S&W I've tried and all I did was a little bit of stoning (nothing that dry firing wouldn't have accomplished).

If I was filthy rich I'd own more S&W revolvers.
Actually, if I was filthy rich I'd own a lot of both makes just because I appreciate the strengths that each brand has.

December 2, 2010, 12:54 PM
I like both and have several of both. I feel the Smiths are a little easier to work on and have easier access to spare parts that allows me to make the minor changes to get them exactly the way I want them.

Both can be very accurate, have nice triggers, etc. It is mostly a matter of personal preference.

December 2, 2010, 01:22 PM
I own both S&W and Ruger revolvers and like them both. IMO you could have added another choice to the Poll, "Both".

December 2, 2010, 01:23 PM
I voted Ruger, but it depends......

Small frame, the SP101 wins hands down. Between a GP100 and a 686, there are positives and negatives for both. I have had a 4" GP100 and a 4" 686 Pro. I sold the GP100 because of problems that Ruger couldn't, or didn't want, to fix. I traded the 686 because I couldn't get passed that hole on the side of the gun. The fit and finish of the 686 was 10x what the Ruger had, and the 686 had a way better trigger. The large frame guns from Ruger (Super Redhawk) just look odd to me, but are said to be much stronger than a 629.
If S&W would come down on their pricing, and remove the IL, the only Ruger I would own/want would be a SP101 and Redhawk (with Hogue grips).
I have a 3" SP101 and can't ever find a new 5.5" Redhawk (not a Super Redhawk).

December 2, 2010, 01:28 PM
For a NEW production revolver, which do you prefer, Smith or Ruger? And why?

On new ones:

Better Price
Better Trigger
Same great accuracy.

December 2, 2010, 01:33 PM
The P7 is my favorite revolver of all time.

December 2, 2010, 02:09 PM
I own lots of older Smiths and prefer them to any of my Rugers, but...

Me no likey new S&W higher price, crush fit/one-piece barrels, MIM, or IL (lock).

For a new revolver...gotta go with Ruger.

December 2, 2010, 04:08 PM
talking new--------ruger.........price point, quality, ......but this is on comparing similar models such as GP100 vs 686....

smith has the advantage of a larger line with more models and offerings that ruger can not compete with such as the model 625 and 638. in such cases talking new production smith wins by default. But this is based off of my interests.

December 2, 2010, 04:19 PM
I was just recently in a position of whether to buy the Ruger GP-100 or the S&W 686P. After literally weeks of research, I went with the S&W and I'm very glad I did. There were a few things I wasn't happy about with Ruger, and the Smith had superior aesthetics. Therefore, my choice became clear.

My father has shot a Ruger Security Six for probably over 30 years now, and it's never failed him, so I know Ruger has got it down as well. I know my S&W will do the same.

December 2, 2010, 04:41 PM
S&W for DA, Ruger for SA revolvers! Dennis

Ala Dan
December 2, 2010, 05:17 PM
And with that, I will take a Smith & Wesson any day of the week~!

December 2, 2010, 06:05 PM
Nowsdays I vote for Ruger. I like Smiths but only pre-lock pin and recessed models.


December 2, 2010, 06:09 PM
I vote Ruger, better customer service and i like the Ruger Redhawk Alaskan!

the new LCR that is in .357 mag caliber is nice, u can use both .38 +p and .357 mag bullets in one gun!

December 2, 2010, 07:48 PM
I have a Ruger SS Security Six ( bought new around 1982) and a SP101 and love them both.

Had a S&W model 637 Airweight but didn't like the trigger so I traded it for the SP101 and never looked back. I bought a Ruger LCR a few months ago and like it a lot, nice trigger and accurate with the crimson laser grips.


357 Terms
December 2, 2010, 08:07 PM
I LOVE BOTH!! Smiths line is more versitle soo many choices. on the other hand I shoot my revolvers hard, I now own 4 Rugers and 1 Smith. No real prefernce just think both have their own distinct advantages. Comes down to persanal preference. I have never owned a Tauras (revolver),Rossi, Charter arms I have no complaints.

December 2, 2010, 09:41 PM
S&W. You get what you pay for. They're more expensive for good reason. Every match revolver shooters at my club shoot S&W exclusively--lock or no lock, MIM or no MIM. Have never even seen a Ruger, except once. Gunblast said S&W's action is inherently smoother. Nothing wrong with Ruger's. S&W is just better.

December 2, 2010, 10:37 PM
What's "MIM" ???

December 3, 2010, 02:31 AM
What's "MIM" ???
MIM = Metal Injection Molding

December 3, 2010, 07:21 AM
Metal Injection Molding, a modern technique to make precision parts.

December 3, 2010, 07:59 AM
I am pleased that both Ruger and S&W are making great revolvers. We need more gun manufacturers competing for our business, because the end products will always be better.

Be thankful for competition.


December 3, 2010, 08:13 AM
I voted S&W, but mostly ditto post #28

face it, every poll that comes along, it's always the same, there is S&W and Ruger competing for top spot (I own both, and others), and nobody in 3rd place
unless the subject is SA only, like Freedom Arms

and that's a downright dirty shame

Old Shooter
December 3, 2010, 09:09 AM
I love the older blued Smiths and I even have a couple of the stainless models, but that hole in the side of the frame makes me sick every time I look at a new one. Between that "feature" and the higher price (S&W sure is proud of them aren't they?). I believe for a new one I'd have to go Ruger. The Rugers I've had in the past were built solid and reliable to a boring degree.

Now if they had a nice looking used Smith in the case for the same price as the new Ruger, different story.

December 3, 2010, 09:14 AM
pre MIM Smiths are superior to Rugers

post MIM Smiths with the lock...I would rather have a Ruger...or a Taurus...or a Rossi...or a Llama...or a Dan Wesson...etc

didn't vote

December 3, 2010, 09:26 AM
An out of the box trigger of either, a S&W or a Ruger will not be what I expect from my guns. Neither did I find S&W triggers on the past 35 years to be so much better than today's.

I do extensive work on the actions of my revolvers and S&W can be tuned to a much nicer trigger than any of the current Ruger D/A revolvers. The best D/A on Rugers could be achieved on the old Six Series but it is still far from a good S&W and a lifetime away from a Korth.

December 3, 2010, 10:02 AM
I like them both.

I use Redhawks for Hunting. Smiths for carry. Range gun only, Smith.

December 4, 2010, 12:47 AM
I just went with a new Ruger SP-101. As far as MIM parts go the Ruger's do have some MIM parts now days. I emailed Ruger about this like 2 months ago and they replied that the GP-100 now has MIM parts in it. Which parts well I can't say because I got rid of the email and I just don't remember the parts they said were MIM. I do remember it was only 3 parts. I believe S&W uses more MIM parts then Ruger. I really don't think it matters.

December 4, 2010, 01:02 AM
I'm a Ruger man. But I also prefer Dodge over Ford.

December 4, 2010, 01:18 AM
double tap

Gary A
December 4, 2010, 10:26 AM
While I'm pretty much a Ruger guy, I find it hard to compare the two across the board because Smith and Wesson makes so many different and more models of DA revolvers than Ruger does. There are many models in the Smith and Wesson line for which there is no comparable Ruger. Among those models there are comparisons, I tend to prefer the Ruger, e.g. the GP100 that was mentioned. I think they are both fine revolvers but really dislike the design of the Smith lock.

In the end, I mostly prefer single-action revolvers so that put's me solidly in the Ruger camp, LOL.

December 4, 2010, 01:29 PM
I prefer Smiths because of their looks, their triggers and the way they fit my hand. Ruger makes a fine gun and I own a few of them also. Altho I prefer the Smiths, I see no reason to bash Rugers or those that prefer them. To each their own. As for the IL, I own two revolvers with the lock. Both are models/calibers that were unavailable before the lock and unavailable from Ruger. I don't notice the lock hole on my Smiths, like I don't notice the billboards on my Rugers. Like was said before, there are a ton of options out there..........pick your favorite and enjoy. Save the bashing for the antis.

Nomad, 2nd
December 4, 2010, 02:21 PM
I think the reason I see guys in here prefer Smiths is nostalgia for those old models, and not an objective look at the new models.

No, it's Quality.

You've got 'older models' which look (Leaving off pins etc) very much like the new models...

Older ones are better.

I'll grant you... the Prewar Blue.... (Insert picture of me drooling here) etc...

But I owned a Ruger before I owned a Smith.

ANYWAY... what I MENT to say was this:

Baring things like my .44 S&W mountain gun... mosto f my 'larger revolvers' are single action.

In that: Ruger

All else:

December 4, 2010, 03:33 PM
I started out with a ruger security six in 1981, 6 inch 357. Great gun.
Sold it to my brother and bought a ruger gp100, Not nearly as nice as the ss.
Traded the gp100 for a S&W 586, and then there were 9 S&W revolvers in the gun safe.
Rugers are great guns, Beat the hell out of them and they just keep working.
Kinda like a f250. Gets the job done. You just wont brag about the way it looks.
But a S&W is like a fancy race car, Better triggers, better finish.
Just better. I have never seen or fired a ruger with a great trigger. You can have work done and you have a OK trigger, but never great.
On a S&W you can have a fantastic trigger, single and double action.
I would buy another ruger revolver. I own 2 auto loaders and a couple of long guns. love them.
But when it comes to revolvers S&W for me.:neener:

Coal Dragger
December 4, 2010, 04:09 PM
My preference in double actions runs to Smith and Wesson. I don't really care about the lock in the side, or the MIM parts. I have a Kimber Super Match II that uses MIM parts for some of the components, not a single one has failed in over 20K rounds (round count determined roughly by weighing spent primers). So to me the MIM parts are a non-issue, for those that despise them so much and favor Rugers (which also use a few), you do all realize that Rugers are all made from cast parts which 20-30 years ago would have been considered unacceptably cheap and shoddy for a quality firearm.

I prefer the wide array of options S&W offers in frame sizes, barrel lengths, round counts, and materials (not that I would buy a scandium frame, but some people would). I like the S&W triggers better than the Ruger out of the box, even if the newer Smiths don't feel like they have triggers as nice as older ones (which I believe to be an inaccurate perception since triggers smooth out with use as they wear in).

Lastly I appreciate the fact that Smith & Wesson have a "custom shop" in their Performance Center. So, if you want some bit of work done to your new revolver like a trigger job, or replacing MIM parts with machined replacements, and a whole host of other options you can have them done at the factory and maintain your warranty. Even better you can buy a revolver strait from the Performance Center that is already tuned up, which you can't do from Ruger at all.

Sturm Ruger's idea of a trigger job is to make sure and reverse any improvements made by the owner to said trigger if the revolver goes in for service. Which they did to my father's Single Six that had some nice trigger work done on it, they did this "free of charge" like they were doing us all a favor by returning the little revolver to a 6lb mushy trigger pull. Yuck.

Do Smith's cost more, sure they do, do the Performance Center revolvers cost even more than that? Yes. However, I am lucky enough to be able to afford them if I want one and that does factor into my decision.

Hondo 60
December 4, 2010, 05:04 PM
For new guns, the Rugers win hands down.
The new Smiths just don't have a quality feel to them.

Now if we're talking 1960's guns, the Smiths are the bomb!

MIM = Metal Injection Molding
The process involves combining fine metal powders with plastic binders which allow the resulting metal powder and plastic mix to be injected as a liquid into a hollow mold using equipment similar to standard plastic injection molding machines.

December 4, 2010, 05:17 PM
Side by side, for a .357, the older S&W 686 are an outstanding buy. The workmanship was incredible. If someone was going to just dump me in the wildderness with several thousand rounds of various types of ammo, I'd have to pick a Ruger because they don't break often and when they do, they're easier to repair.

For beauty and for accuracy, the early 686s were made to compete with Colt Pythons. The Pythons were great guns, and beautiful, but their pawls were so tiny that they go in and out of time frequently. S&W 686s fixed all those problems and the early models I think are most likely more accurate than the current models.

For durability, I think the Rugers are best. For price, again the award goes to Ruger. But for accuracy, the Python would win out. Finally, for price, the Ruger would win.

December 4, 2010, 05:30 PM
I love them both.

I have more Smiths than Rugers if that is any indication of which one I would pick.

December 4, 2010, 05:30 PM

I own a safe full of pre-lock Smiths.

I've never owned a Smith with the current lock and never will. That means no new Smiths for the foreseeable future. They don't want my money.

December 4, 2010, 05:37 PM
In general, Ruger for new guns. I do like certain older S&W revolvers, and not just the ancient P&R'ed revolvers. S&W went through eras of greatness, one being right before the MIM parts started. MIM itself is OK, but an MIM trigger itself is wide and blocky, and because it is hollow-backed, does not have enough "meat" to allow it to be sculpted to what I like. With the keyhole lock, plus MIM, S&W revolvers went from being works of art to mere tools, like a Dewalt drill or something like that. I like my Dewalt drills, but they are not works of art.

The trigger on Ruger DA revolvers is perfectly shaped for me. The stock SP101 grip is near-perfect for my hands. The pre-Hogue GP100 factory grip IS absolute perfection for my hands. Finding a Ruger with a smooth action does mean some shopping around, at dealers that have enough stock for comparison. It helps that I find SA to be irrelevant in most DA revolvers, so I just shop for DA smoothness.

FWIW, a snapped mainspring, in my personally-owned duty S&W Model 58, is one of several reasons I now rarely carry only one gun, but notably, Rugers use coil springs, which virtually never break. I do still trust an S&W, but not as completely as a Ruger. Anything mechanical CAN fail, but Rugers have that one point where they are less likely to fail than medium- and large-frame S&W revolvers.

December 4, 2010, 08:52 PM
Old Smiths = New Rugers, but new Smiths = Taurus and thats just sad

December 4, 2010, 08:56 PM
I like my Rugers... For the everyday working man, they just seem to have more going for them, ie, cheap, tough as nails, and accurate.

December 4, 2010, 09:11 PM
I like Smiths, but I wouldn't buy one as long as Ruger keeps making their DA and SA revolvers.

December 4, 2010, 09:23 PM
I'm all in with the new Rugers.

My .45 Redhawk has a really nice trigger, considering who made it. Granted, it's not as smooth as a Smith, but for what I paid, it's worth a bit of tinkering. I bought it as a hand cannon, and I know it will digest anything I feed it without complaint.

My 25 year old Security Six is nicely broken in now too.;)

Dave T
December 4, 2010, 10:44 PM
All of my Rugers were made before 1962. All of my S&Ws were made before 1990 and most of them were made before 1960. I won't buy a IL/MIM Smith or a new model Ruger.

I think that officially makes me an old curmudgeon. (LOL)


December 9, 2010, 05:07 PM
I like both so I didn't vote. I started off with a 6" Ruger GP100 but I've since pretty much traded that in +$200 for a used, but like new PC 5" S&W 627. I think I'll be making off pretty well after all is said and done.

December 9, 2010, 06:26 PM
Ruger all day long and twice on Sunday. :D

December 9, 2010, 06:41 PM
All my revolvers these days have to be small, snubby and capable of being carried in my pocket. I own both Ruger and Smith & Wesson and I prefer the Smith & Wesson over the Ruger in this category.

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