.357 Revolvers


February 4, 2011, 09:52 AM
Hi guys im looking for a good .357 Magnum revolver that can have a steady diet of high pressure loading. I prefer double action. Any input from you guys regarding what would be a very strong and durable revolver. I plan on taking it with me to protect myself against the small black bears and cougars in my area. It gets pretty cold out here during the winter and hot during the summer. (If this can help you, help me decide on a good revolver) During the fall it can be quite muddy. Any input would really be appreciated. My budget though only goes to $1,250.

If you enjoyed reading about ".357 Revolvers" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
February 4, 2011, 10:05 AM
I would think a Ruger Security Six or GP100 or S&W 686 would fit the bill nicely and have a lot left over for ammo.

February 4, 2011, 10:10 AM
LCR is easy to carry, light.

February 4, 2011, 10:20 AM
To meet your criteria, a Ruger GP100 would be "the" choice. I'd prefer a 6 inch barrel.

Another "just because it's cool" option would be to look for a used Ruger Redhawk in .357Magnum, but they are rare.

If you want something lighter, Smith and Taurus would be worth a look or maybe a used Dan Wesson (thought I think they just started making revolvers again!). I could see a Taurus tracker fitting the bill.

February 4, 2011, 10:21 AM
I have had a S&W Model 66 for years. Great revolver.

February 4, 2011, 10:25 AM
One of my Colt King Cobras has seen thousands and thousands of mid to full power .357 rounds over the past 20 years. It is still as tight as it was brand new and is about as accurate as a .357 can get. I have seen the statement that Master Gunsmith Jerry Kuhnhausen's opinion was they may be the strongest mid-framed revolver ever made.

Yeah, they don't make them anymore....But, your $1250 budget would score you a brand new in the box one. There are still plenty around.

February 4, 2011, 10:28 AM
a good .357 Magnum revolver that can have a steady diet of high pressure loading. I prefer double action
Redhawk, Dan Weson M-15, GP-100, Trooper Mk III, King Cobra, M-27/28, 586/686

February 4, 2011, 11:44 AM
Smith & Wesson Model 28. $650.00 for this one a few days ago. The Model 27 is the same gun with a nicer finish. Higher price.



February 4, 2011, 11:56 AM
S&W 686 or Ruger GP100 with 6" barrel and high ride holster. Loaded with 158 gr JHP or if in bear country a 158 or 180 JSP. If you are short waisted, go with the 4" barrel. Might want to take a look at the Ruger Redhawk in .44 mag.

February 4, 2011, 12:32 PM
1st Ruger GP100

2nd S&W 686

3rd NIKE

February 4, 2011, 01:53 PM
I have two S&W 686s. Both are over a dozen years old. Between the two of them, they have approximately 8000 rounds thru them. They are both very accurate with great triggers, and a pleasure to shoot, even with hunting type loads. Altho they are not my primary deer hunting handguns anymore, I have taken several whitetails with them. Neither has ever given me a problem except for the occasional ejector rod loosening up. Both are worth more now used than I paid for them new. Can't ask for much more than that.

I should have said I USED to have two 686's. I gave one of them to my youngest son a month ago for his eighteenth birthday.

February 4, 2011, 03:27 PM
I would go GP100 with a 4" barrel. They are very tough revolvers.

With that said a S&W 686 or 620 or other L Frame revolver are fine choices as well.

February 4, 2011, 03:36 PM

The Magnum J-Frame is as strong as the older larger frames. Actually, frames don't go unless the cylinder goes first, and the five-hole cylinder has the advantage of having the stop slots offset from the thinnest part of the chamber walls.

I don't know that it will take a heavy diet forever. Nothing will stay tight forever, but they can all be rebuilt cheaply if they do loosen up.

This thing plus some decent 158 to 200 grain handloads or Buffalo Bore Heavies will carry well and put out some major power. But even in SS it is NOT something one wants to shoot a lot with those full loads.

Just got this one barely used for $500 specifically for backpacking here in lion country. Waiting for an EP Saddlery Yaqui Slide holster.


P.S. I live in a cold place too, and have found it difficult to use J-Frames with gloves on. The N-Frames have much bigger trigger guards that do work pretty well with medium-weight gloves, though the N-Frames also weigh twice as much and take up a lot more room. If I weren't planning on carrying it around all the time, a bigger revolver would be easier to shoot well. But I got this one because I've carried big, heavy handguns around all my life and just didn't want to do that anymore, especially when backpacking where extra weight costs a premium.

451 Detonics
February 4, 2011, 03:42 PM
S&W 627, 8 round N frame


February 4, 2011, 03:48 PM
+1 GP100 or 686

February 4, 2011, 03:51 PM
I have an S&W 640...Love it...

February 4, 2011, 04:05 PM
Given your penchant for full house loads I recommend an S&W L-frame 586/686. The frame is strong and the full lug barrel does dampen recoil. K-frame Smiths are not intended for regular use of heavy .357s. The N-frame was the original platform of the .357 - plenty strong but the slender barrels on the 27/28 are more bouncy than the L-frames.

Go have a blast!

February 4, 2011, 04:41 PM
Just get one and get after it! :)

My wifes 60 Pro will eat full house .357's all day long. I love shooting mag rounds out of it. Does not beat me up at all. And once the wife learned to grip her pistol right and get her body into it. It does not beat her bad either.

My 686P does great with full house loads, and begs for more.

February 4, 2011, 05:06 PM
Lots of good idea's here. I have a 60 pro and love it, the 28 was the first one that came to mind, a 686 is almost the standard by which other 357's are judged (IMO)...

But with that king of budget why not look at a Smith 327? There are several versions to choose from, it's light weight for easy carry, runs moon clips for faster reloads, made of satinless material if you need to rinse mud off in a pinch and best yet carries 8 rounds of full house 357.

I have the performance center snub nose and the thing is a breeze to carry and very manageable recoil for a lightweight revo. It's the most expensive of the 327's and usually street price around $1100, used they are a little less. If I were to buy it again I would get the #327 Night Guard, put in a Wilson standard mainspring and a Cylinder & Slide firing pin and call it a day for under $850.

February 4, 2011, 05:17 PM
There are certainly better guns out there but I love my rossi 4 incher. It's as accurate as my moms gp100 but way lighter and has a much better grip profile, and less expensive.

February 4, 2011, 06:27 PM
Model 60 for CCW works for me.

February 4, 2011, 07:28 PM
Hi. Your indicating you can spend up to $1200. That would mean you can go new or used. The best new revolver in my opinion is the Ruger GP100. Strong, accurate and their double action trigger is better than it used to me. The S&W 686 new is way overpriced. About $200 higher than a GP100.

Now for used. Again a Ruger GP100, S&W 686 (prelock), Ruger Security Six, Dan Wesson and finally a S&W 27/28. All of these I mentioned can take a steady diet of 357 magnum ammo. For shear strengh I would go with the GP100. I have a GP100, 686 and did have a S&W model 28. Can't go wrong with any of these.
Good luck,

February 4, 2011, 07:47 PM
Yet another vote for the GP100, or ANY Ruger that fits you if you're looking for a magnum revolver that you can't wear out.

P.S.: I promise I'm not trying to change the subject, but have you considered moving up to .44mag in a similar-sized frame? IMHO, in a sturdy wheelgun, the recoil of a .44 is more pleasant than that of a .357. Granted, it is magnum recoil, but not as abrupt and snappy as the .357. If I were looking at hiking among bears and cougars, I'd be looking at a shortish Super Redhawk. With a budget of 1000+, you can have just about anything your heart desires, with $ left over for practice and carry ammo.

Marlin 45 carbine
February 4, 2011, 07:52 PM
you'll loosen the fillings in your teeth before you will loosen up a GP100 with any loads by manual's data.

February 4, 2011, 08:02 PM
S&W Model 28.

February 4, 2011, 08:39 PM
If i had $1250. to spend on a 357 Mag revolver, i'd get the "origional" because it's still the best! The older S&W M-27's are the best built revolvers ever turned out, with the fine checkered top straps,


Beautiful deep finish,


And precision actions, that are as smooth as they get!


They will take years and years of a steady diet full power loads, and just keep on keeping on! There are no factory 357's that compare to the quality of the old M-27's!

Is you want go go one notch down in fine finish and workmanship, get a S&W M-28, it's still better than most others out there, and still every bit as strong as the M-27's.

There are lots of decent 357's, but nothing made today compares to the old M-27's, and they are absolutely worth paying more, to get one!


February 4, 2011, 08:47 PM
You just cannot go wrong with a 686P--as other posts here suggest. Durable, accurate, well-balanced, good trigger out of the box.

I love mine. It nicely complements my 617 10-shot. I would never sell it.


February 5, 2011, 12:44 AM
Ruger GP-100 and Buffalo Bore ammunition.

February 5, 2011, 04:13 AM
There are so many great choices. For the application you're talking about I would get one of the following: Ruger GP100; Ruger Security Six; Colt King Cobra; S&W 686. No preference in the order. Stainless is easier to keep nice if it's going to be out in the weather.

February 5, 2011, 08:53 AM
All great choices. Go to a gun store and handle each of them and find the one that fits your hands best. Which one feels the best? Which one has the sight you like better.

Just stay away from Taurus.

February 5, 2011, 03:34 PM
S&W M686 or M686P with a 3 or 4 inch barrel gets my vote.

February 5, 2011, 03:40 PM
Another vote for the Ruger security six. I got 3. The oldest a 150 series, the newest from the last year of production.
Smiths are good also my model 19 is great.

And contrary to popular belief taurus 605 work very well.

February 5, 2011, 04:23 PM
I've never had a single problem with the over dozen Taurus handguns I've owned.
I new a guy who shot loads from his 669 that I wouldn't shoot through a Redhawk, much less anything Smith makes. He ruined his hearing with them. His ears started bleeding once while shooting it. I watched from a safe distance with eye and double ear protection.

GP100 is hell for stout. So is the Security/Speed/Police Service Six. I've owned both. I wish I still had the Speed Six. The previous owner had a trigger job done on it and it was fantastic. It was exceedingly smooth and light, yet it never misfired. I wish I knew who did the trigger work on it. I'd love to get a trigger that good on my GP and Redhawk.

A friend of mine has a Smith Highway Patrolman .357. It's nice, but I was not impressed with the trigger.
The only Smith I've ever shot that didn't disappoint me with a piss poor trigger pull was a 610 with a trigger job.
You can get an absolutely fantastic pull on a Smith, but they should have it from the factory for what they cost.
My Taurus 44 mag has a factory hand fitted action and is slick as snot on a doorknob.

If I had a $1,250.00 budget, I'd be looking for a Colt Python. Smiths can't touch the Python trigger.

February 5, 2011, 05:13 PM
I take this for hiking,
If I were buying new I get a 3 or 4" GP 100

February 5, 2011, 06:14 PM
lots of good candidates, but any L/N frame or GP will do just fine, no worries

February 6, 2011, 11:35 AM
If I had a $1,250.00 budget, I'd be looking for a Colt Python. Smiths can't touch the Python trigger.

That hasn't been my experience, but i've only had 3 or 4 Pythons... Perhaps i got bad ones? They are now long gone, and i don't miss them one bit.


February 6, 2011, 11:07 PM
I must have gotten the good ones. Every Python I have owned or shot has had a very good trigger.

February 6, 2011, 11:38 PM
For that much money, you can get a new gun, some ammo, and maybe some reloading gear and carry leather. Get a GP100 or a 586/686, 4" or 6" barrel.

I hear Dan Wessons will take whatever you can dish out, too, but I've never seen one, much less shot one. An L-frame S&W, and the GP100, are designed to do exactly what you're talking about.

February 6, 2011, 11:43 PM
I must have gotten the good ones. Every Python I have owned or shot has had a very good trigger.

I have to confess that, for that money, I'd be looking for a Python, too. In fact, that's what I first typed out. But, will they take a steady diet of high intensity loads? Maybe. You hear conflicting reports on that.

If it doesn't, he can't send it back to the factory for repair anymore, and unless he finds a revolver smith who can work on it and has a stockpile of parts, he may not be able to get it fixed.

The L-frames and the GP100 don't have those shortcomings, and they're lots less money.

Black Butte
February 7, 2011, 12:39 AM
The request was for "a very strong and durable [.357] revolver" that could digest "a steady diet of high pressure loading[s]." The strongest production .357 ever made was the Ruger Redhawk, which is no longer being produced in .357. Unless you're willing to buy used, this leaves the GP-100, the second strongest .357.

February 7, 2011, 01:53 AM
Although there are a lot of great suggestions already I have a feeling most are too heavy for you to carry all day in the heat hiking. A good hiking gun is one you have with you ALL THE TIME and heavy guns sometimes get left at camp when you are just going down to the water or other quick stuff.

Since you have a good size budget I would suggest buying something lighter like the S&W Model 386 Night Guard (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_765949_-1_757773_757767_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y). That revolver has a 2.5" barrel, holds 7 rounds of .357 Magnum but weighs only 24.5 oz. IMO it makes a great packing revolver... The M327 NG is also a nice gun but it's built on the larger N frame and is wider because the cylinder holds 8 rounds. Even it might be too much to carry all day hiking.

The M386 NG has a List Price of $979 so it can probably be had for under $750 real prices.

February 7, 2011, 04:43 AM

Actually, you can send a Python back to Colt for repairs. The Custom Shop will repair them.

February 7, 2011, 11:48 AM
I gotta be honest, I am not convinced (after a ton of research on the matter) that the scandium revolvers are anywhere near as durable as stainless steel. Do some reading, you may be surprised. Now the weight saving sure is nice. That seven shot unloaded weighs the same as the SP101 I carry every day.

My opinion is, for a steady diet, the GP100 takes the cake and if you think the weight is too much the SP101 is next best. To me the Rugers are quickly becoming my favorites because they are much more easily disassembled and worked on and I am a do it yourself kind of guy.

February 7, 2011, 11:54 AM
Colt "Python" I got one and never looked back!

February 7, 2011, 12:13 PM
I purchased a S&W model 60 J frame a couple months ago, I love it. Only put a couple hundred rounds through it though, can't vouch for how long it will hold up yet.

I've only shot a Colt lawman, its trigger was not on par with S&W, but as I said I only shot one.

Lovesbeer99 whats wrong with taurus? just curious, I've never shot a taurus revolver, they did feel kind if flimsy to me when I held one though

February 7, 2011, 12:38 PM
I'd go with the Python also! I've got a 629 6" that I thought had a smooth trigger, not anymore. I've also got a 6" Python, now talk about a smooth trigger, especially in DA, Smith can't touch it in DA mode!

sixgunner, I don't know if I'd just give my Python to just any "pistol-smith" to work on, regardless of how big of a stockpile of parts he had. I've read about and seen jobs some pistol-smiths have worked on, most look like his biggest assortment of tools are hammers and chisels! If my Colt ever needs work, and Colt firearms can't fix it, it'll just sit in the safe, I don't want anything to do with Mattel looking firearms now that I can afford good ones! JMHO

February 8, 2011, 12:31 AM
I gotta be honest, I am not convinced (after a ton of research on the matter) that the scandium revolvers are anywhere near as durable as stainless steel.

Does that really matter? Most of the pressure is being handled by the stainless (or Ti on some models) cylinder and stainless barrel insert. If the frame ever cracks it's covered by an excellent warranty. I've personally got a scandium 357 that I've put well over 1000+ full house factory loads plus another 1500+ various reloads through and it's as tight as the day it was born.

Any time anyone (including S&W) tells me one steel or alloy is "stronger" than another my BS flags go up. There are several factors that can attribute strength to a steel or alloy. How important that strength is depends on the application.

Any gun can experience failures but I have yet to see a catastrophic failure on any Smith frame that wasn't attributable to double charges, hot loads, over seated bullets, poor crimps etc..

Just my experience and opinion.

February 8, 2011, 06:39 AM
Last autumn, I sold an old friend - and decided a 327NG might join last year's 2 5/8" PC627 UDR. While fondling the 327NG I noticed it is not moonclip ready - and the UDR is - and at only a couple of dollars more at the pusher's. I bought my second UDR - great trigger right out of the box. Another FEDEX Ground pickup for the ill-fitting Eagle boots, just like the one from April. This time - properly fitting grips... and I finally found ot they are too small for my medium+ sized hands. Reasoning that it wouldn't be a pocket gun anyway, larger grips were found to be far more comfortable. The best combination seems to be the $50 S&W Accessory grips #414170000 shown below, although the non-fg rounded Ahrends, bottom, below, are a close second.


Sure, at 37.6 oz, it is 10 oz heftier than the 327NG - but it is moonclip ready - and the bright orange ramp front sight is far easier to pick up in any light than the Tritium NS on my 60 Pro. It is uncannily accurate - more soo than it's short sight radii would suggest.That weight would be a comfort when launching real Magnums, too. You could certainly buy one new, add the grips and a holster, and have money left over from your $1200 limit to buy an assortment of ammo.


February 8, 2011, 06:18 PM
GP-100, the most comfortable 357 magnum to shoot.

February 8, 2011, 08:45 PM
+1 GP100 or 686

For $1250, you can get a GP100 and a 686.

February 8, 2011, 08:55 PM
No love for the Taurus Tracker 7 shot .357 out there?? I adore mine!! Very accurate, rock solid performance, cleans up easily. Perfect for the applications you described. Great "truck gun".


February 10, 2011, 03:02 AM
So far i've read alot about the Ruger GP-100, S&W's, and a little about the Colt Python. How does the Python hold up to high pressure compared to the Ruger and Smiths? Also which one has more spare parts and easier to fix?

February 10, 2011, 03:30 AM
I love Colts. I love Pythons. With that said, I doubt if you will find a stronger revolver currently made than GP100. (As far as Colt guns goes, the King Cobra is just as stout.) I doubt if you could wear a GP out....Personally, I don't care to find out. (That is not a bash on a Ruger, I have several including a SP101 that I really like) I prefer a Python for it's fit, finish, and beauty. They have great triggers. They shoot about as tight of groups as one can shoot. I shoot my Colts regularly and don't fret over repairs. Colt still works on them........I wouldn't worry at all about buying a good Python and shooting it as much as I wanted. Colt only made the guns 40 years. They wouldn't have made them that long, especially at the premium price they always costed, if they were as problematic as some will lead you to believe.

February 10, 2011, 01:26 PM
For an all around .357 I've put my older 686 through heavy use including taking several deer with it. It's my "go to" .357.

February 10, 2011, 01:58 PM
Hi Spcl,
Gemini Customs has a Ruger GP100 that I think you might like. Here is the link, http://www.geminicustoms.com/Ruger/RugerServices.htm I had Marc do some work on my 3 inch GP100 and it is my favorite handgun, he does great work.


February 10, 2011, 05:36 PM
Get a 6" GP100 for around $550 and a 3" SP101 for about $475.......then you will have a winter gun and a summer gun; plus you'll have about $225 left for holsters and ammo.

February 10, 2011, 05:47 PM
I have a Ruger Redhawk in 357. I think they only made 2 yrs in the 357. Stainless with 5-1/2 in barell heavy pistol but I love it.

February 10, 2011, 06:45 PM
Gp100 with 6" and sp101 3". My personal favorites

February 10, 2011, 08:30 PM
To answer your question its the GP100. Other than the Ruger Redhawk 357 (not made anymore) the GP100 is the strongest out there. It will take any factory load and for the reloaders I would say its at the top of their list. Plus they are easy to take apart, parts are availiable and you can tune the trigger yourself or have a gunsmith do it. Over a year ago I bought a used GP100 4 inch and had the gunsmith at the store do a action trigger job. I paid a total of $470 out the door for the revolver. I also have a 686-2 4 inch which is a fine revolver. But my new GP100 has a better trigger and is just as accurate as my 686. There are a lot of Colt Python fans on this site. While I think they are fine revolvers, for the money there are better choices. You did not say whether your going to buy a revolver to collect and hopefully go up in value. If that is what your looking for then by all means go with the Colt Python.

Good luck,
My GP100 4 inch
My 686-2 4 inch

If you enjoyed reading about ".357 Revolvers" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!