I'm looking for a .357 revolver. Suggestions?


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MushroomxSpider
April 10, 2011, 07:33 PM
Edit: Shoot, I just realized this should have gone in the Revolver board. Sorry, I'm new here and don't know any mods to PM about moving it. Please forgive me!

I keep changing my mind when it comes to gun purchases, but at the moment I think I want to invest in a .357 revolver. I just don't know enough about revolvers and brands to know what I should go for.

Wants:
1) Not too expensive, under $500 if possible. Willing to go higher for the right gun (and I expect I probably will).
2) Used is alright, as long as the model is proven reliable.
3) Barrel from 4.5" to 6". Not interested in snub nose.
4) I think I want a single action.

This is my first revolver purchase. My only other handgun at the moment is an FN Fiveseven, which I really love, but I want something in a more common caliber. I'm also looking to get a lever action in the future, and I love the concept of a revolver/repeater combo that use the same caliber.

Any suggestions?

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W.E.G.
April 10, 2011, 07:39 PM
What is the intended use?

MushroomxSpider
April 10, 2011, 07:53 PM
Intended use would mostly be shooting for fun, but trail gun and open carry are also distinct possibilities. I have my WA state conceal carry license, but mostly just so I can legally wear a decent coat while open carrying :) If I wanted a conceal carry, I'd probably go for a compact 9mm.

GRIZ22
April 10, 2011, 08:12 PM
A 4" 357 revolver is about the best all around do anything handgun made. You should be able to find a new Ruger GP100 for about your price range. Slightly used L frame S&W would be my second choice.

BullRunBear
April 10, 2011, 08:20 PM
I like Ruger single actions in 357 and prefer the 50th Anniversary style to the New Model versions. Mine has the 4 5/8" barrel and it sits very comfortably in the hand. Fortunately it likes 38 special 148 grain WC reloads, which is good for my budget.

If you prefer fixed sights, the New Vaquero might suit you. It doesn't handle the "Ruger Blackhawk" only loads in reloading manuals but the one I have in 45 Colt is accurate and comfortable. I imagine the 357 version is as well.

For open carry I would not hesitate to use either of these but I happen to like single actions. As always, if you can try or at least handle the revolvers it will help.

Have fun with the search and let us know what you chose.

Jeff

Bearhands
April 10, 2011, 08:22 PM
4) I think I want a single action.

Simple........ Ruger Blackhawk, get a grip on a few different barrel lengths and you'll be able to decide by the feel.

Kendal Black
April 10, 2011, 08:25 PM
I'm impressed with the toughness and reliability of Ruger Blackhawks.

InkEd
April 10, 2011, 08:26 PM
You need to get a Ruger with a barrel between 4-6" in length. SA get a new vaquero. DA get a GP.

oldfool
April 10, 2011, 08:27 PM
thinking SA revolver, good quality, your price range
sounds like a Ruger Blackhawk to me, might have to shop around some on price

if persuaded to go SA/DA, a lot more choices
a Ruger GP100 well worth looking at
also Used but very good condition S&W k-frames and/or Ruger Speed/Security Six series revolvers, very good, versatile

franconialocal
April 10, 2011, 08:40 PM
I've been very happy with the Taurus Tracker line of .357's
Taurus often gets a bad rap but it's one of my favorite sidearms.....auto or revolver.

wow6599
April 10, 2011, 09:11 PM
Here's what I'd go for - http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=9976116
5" GP100s are hard to come by.

W.E.G.
April 10, 2011, 09:13 PM
Nothing makes an open-carry statement better than a classic hogleg.

+1 the Blackhawk

TonyT
April 10, 2011, 09:54 PM
You should be able to find a used but not abuse S&W 586 or 686 with either a 4 or 6 inch barrel.

winchester1886
April 10, 2011, 09:57 PM
I would go with the Ruger I bought one used and it was really mistreated by the ex owner.I sent it to Ruger they changed the grip frame,New wood grips,a new cylinder,and some new internal parts. When it arrived it looked almost new and at no cost to me wow!.

Deaf Smith
April 10, 2011, 10:21 PM
GP100 if you want both a fun gun and to double as a self defense gun.

Blackhawk if just a fun gun.

And if you really look hard, a Security Six is another option.

Deaf

ColtPythonElite
April 10, 2011, 11:10 PM
My vote is for a Colt King Cobra or one of the earlier MK guns. The KC has been said to be one, if not the, strongest mid-sized .357's made. A little bit more than $500 will get you one. The good thing about buying one is that it is a great investment. The price of used ones has doubled over the past 5-10 years.

MushroomxSpider
April 10, 2011, 11:28 PM
Thanks for all the responses guys! I think I'll rent a blackhawk at the range to try it out, but I'm really liking the look of the GP100. I like the swing-out cylinder on the GP100 better than the way the blackhawk loads. My brother has a .22mag Ruger that loads like the blackhawk and I'm not sure I like it.

Water-Man
April 10, 2011, 11:37 PM
The Ruger GP-100 4" barrel.

S&Wfan
April 10, 2011, 11:58 PM
Rent any 4" S&W .357 alongside the Ruger and see what a better trigger will do for your accuracy.

Kendal Black
April 11, 2011, 12:20 AM
Thanks for all the responses guys! I think I'll rent a blackhawk at the range to try it out, but I'm really liking the look of the GP100. I like the swing-out cylinder on the GP100 better than the way the blackhawk loads. My brother has a .22mag Ruger that loads like the blackhawk and I'm not sure I like it.

I prefer a DA revolver myself. The single action's rigmarole to load, unload, reload, check if loaded, etc. is something left over from the century before last. It's a system the Blackhawk adopted from the 1873 Colt.

Yep. It's unnecessarily slow and awkward, but it's traditional! A good point is the Blackhawk's lack of a swing-out cylinder crane eliminates a possible point of wear and damage.

The Blackhawk is an incredibly sturdy and capable gun, but if you don't like the way it operates, that probably won't matter. Some very commendable DA's are the Smith 586 and 686, and the Ruger GP100. IMHO, YMMV, ETC.

Spec ops Grunt
April 11, 2011, 01:45 AM
Any Ruger revolver will serve for generations.

knighthawk-72
April 11, 2011, 08:52 AM
Any Ruger Six gun or a S&W in .357 cal. Then get yourself a Henry lever in .357 cal. That is the way I would go. I love my Ruger Security Six now I need to get the Henry Rifle. But everybody will tell you what they like you need to try and find what fits you the best. Best of luck to you and the main thing is having fun shooting.

357 Terms
April 11, 2011, 03:30 PM
Everyone should own a 4in 357 revolver. 686, gp 100, six series Ruger, a Colt if you can find one for under 500$. Shop around.

Sevenfaces
April 11, 2011, 05:52 PM
Save up and buy a used king cobra for 600-700, or get a ruger gp-100 for 400-500. I prefer 4" barrels. either of those guns will out live you and your children.

Deaf Smith
April 11, 2011, 08:20 PM
Mushroom,

More on the GP100.

The GP you can break down into parts with just a screw driver for the grips and a small pin for the hammer spring. That way if you drop it in water or mud you can detail strip the gun and give it a good cleaning. NO OTHER REVOLVER CAN DO THAT (Except other Rugers like the Redhawk!)

The GP is also capable of taking magnum loads for ever. It's a real sturdy gun.

Now if you like a muzzle heavy gun the GP with the full underlug barrel is the way to go, but if you don't then the half lug barrel does make a lighter gun.

The 3 inch gun is a handy one for Defense first, hunting secondary. The 6 inch is a hunting first, defense secondary gun. The 4 incher sort of splits the difference.

Oh, and I have both 3 and 4 inchers myself.

Deaf

DWFan
April 11, 2011, 08:50 PM
Grab a Dan Wesson M15-2 while you can. Present prices for excellent condition used models are still under $500 but new models are retailing for $1100 and more and it's the same firearm. The prices for the used ones are going to increase, sure as shootin'. The multi-barrel Pistol Pacs are probably going thru the roof. They've already increased by 25+% in the past year.

45Fan
April 11, 2011, 09:20 PM
I would seriously consider the gp 100s also. I went with the Blackhawk for my woods gun, but my caliber choice was .44, and the Redhawk was too big for my tastes.
I kinda like the loading of a single action, and with practice can be done fairly quickly. And there are fewer things to break on it.
For a .357, a smaller than redhawk DA revolver would be sweet.

robctwo
April 11, 2011, 09:32 PM
I have the .357 Blackhawk convertible. 6.5" barrel is too front end heavy for me. My 4 5/8" .45 Colt has better balance for me, as does the 5" Stainless Steel .45 Colt.

I do not have a Ruger double action. I do have some S&Ws. I bought a great used model 19-3 4" on Gun Broker for just over $500. Love it. Also got the 6", very nice but the 4" is "handier". I also bought the S&W 620 4", but that's over your budget.

My .357s shoot 98% .38 Special target loads, so will outlive me by two lifetimes.

MrSpiffy
April 11, 2011, 09:41 PM
I picked up the Ruger GP100 6" with a full lug as my first (and only, so far) revolver. I have to say, I'm extremely satisfied with it. The weight makes it handle .357's nicely, and .38's are pretty gentle in it. Highly recommended! If you really want SA, then I'd go with the Ruger Blackhawk.

kilo729
April 11, 2011, 09:49 PM
Check out the sticky in the forums here -

Revolver checkout: how to tell if a particular specimen is any good. (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=1430) By JimMarch.

jbr
April 11, 2011, 10:01 PM
I'm torn between the Taurus 66 6" SS and the GP 100. Like the price better on the Taurus. Both seem to have pretty good triggers. The first of either I can find for under $400.00 will probably do!

Bob N. Weave
April 11, 2011, 10:17 PM
Try a gun shop!:evil:

NMGonzo
April 11, 2011, 10:21 PM
GP100 for the win.

bushmaster1313
April 11, 2011, 10:41 PM
Smith & Wesson Pre-27:
http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww6/bushmaster1313/CIMG0015_0006.jpg

http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww6/bushmaster1313/CIMG0014_0009.jpg

Smith & Wesson 27-2:

http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww6/bushmaster1313/27-2openleft.jpg

http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww6/bushmaster1313/27-2magnaleft.jpg

Hondo 60
April 11, 2011, 11:02 PM
MushroomxSpider:

I noticed most of the suggestions here are double action. You said a single action:

A Ruger Blackhawk is a great option, especially if you're looking for a gun with adjustable sights.
But be aware, the Blackhawk, while a great gun, was too big for me because I have smaller hands.
So I sold it.

A Ruger Vaquero would be a good option for fixed sights, but then for $100 less you could get a Uberti. I have 2 Ubertis & just love 'em.
Their as accurate as can be. But I reload my own, so I have the ammo tailor-made for my guns.

MushroomxSpider
April 12, 2011, 04:00 AM
After doing some more looking around and reading some really good stuff about the GP-100, I think I've decided to find one in 4". Is there any functional difference whether it is blued or stainless steel, or is it just eye-of-the-beholder?
I like the looks of both, but I definitely want to find one with the rosewood grips (or find them aftermarket). That bit of color really makes it shine, IMHO. Although if I find a quality used for a great price I won't pass it up on account of the grips.

NoirFan
April 12, 2011, 04:34 AM
After doing some more looking around and reading some really good stuff about the GP-100, I think I've decided to find one in 4". Is there any functional difference whether it is blued or stainless steel, or is it just eye-of-the-beholder?
I like the looks of both, but I definitely want to find one with the rosewood grips (or find them aftermarket). That bit of color really makes it shine, IMHO. Although if I find a quality used for a great price I won't pass it up on account of the grips.

Mushroomxspider, if you are going the Ruger route I would suggest a 4" Security Six instead. You original post mentioned carry and I find the GP100 to be too heavy to haul around. Your choice though.

The stainless will better resist rusting and won't show scratches as badly. Also, the turn line on the cylinder will be more evident with bluing. There isn't really that much functional difference so just go with the one that looks better to you.

intercooler
April 12, 2011, 10:52 AM
I bought a Stainless over a blued gun and glad I did. You have to be careful with the blued gun when cleaning and you can't use a lead removal cloth on the blued. No doubt Stainless! Pretty too :)

The 5" barrel would be neat but I opted for a 4" and glad I did. The 6" has just to long of barrel for a nightstand and such. Also have to look who may handle it. My Fiance shoots the 4" fine but the added weight of the 6" may have been too much. CT Grip it with a HiViz front and you have one mean piece of metal defense!

Cop Bob
April 12, 2011, 10:58 AM
My personal preference is a double action.. If you are going double action, any revolver made by Smith is a good place to start. Minimum .38/357 for CCW

Single action, can't beat a Ruger.. .41 or 45... cause bigger is better... IF YOU CAN HIT WITH IT......... If the bigger bores are not your cup of tea, again 38/357..

RidgwayCO
April 12, 2011, 11:41 AM
For a first gun, it's hard to beat a 4" S&W M686. The mid-sized L-frame will handle just about any load, you can get it in "Plus" configuration (7 rounds instead of just 6), single-action accuracy or double-action trigger practice (your choice),it's easy to find accessories, and many (most?) were built without the internal lock. Also, it seems there are quite a few listed on GunBroker for less than $600.

txhoghunter
April 12, 2011, 11:51 AM
You have some great options here so I will address the open carry situation.

I would not open (or conceal) carry a single action revolver, as that just takes too much time to manipulate the hammer and fire if you would actually need it.

MCgunner
April 12, 2011, 12:01 PM
I've a 6.5" Blackhawk, too.


You might think it "front heavy", but it shoots like a laser and is strong as a tank....:D I really prefer it to my DA guns for outdoor carry BECAUSE they're strong and quick is not needed, accurate is. Besides, I can get off a pretty quick first shot, usually cock the hammer instinctively on the draw even with DA guns. I've worked to get out of that habit for self defense, but it really doesn't seem to affect me with the autos I'm usually totin'. The Blackhawk is a bit heavy, but I've carried it all day in the field a lot.

There is not the need for speed in the field. Accuracy at distance is what gets it done. I never fire DA in the field at game, wouldn't at an attacking animal or whatever your scenario is. Once shot a wounded hog attacking from 20 yards. Shot him with a DA gun, but fired SA.

MushroomxSpider
April 12, 2011, 02:05 PM
When I posted last night, I didn't notice the responses had already spilled over into page two :D

I'm going to check out the Washington Arms Collectors' May gun show with my brothers, so I think I'll make a list of all your guys' suggestions and try to get my hands on some. I'm not gonna lie, a large part of my consideration has to do with how the firearm looks.

As for single action v. double action, I think as long as I have the option for single action firing I'll be fine. Of the points I listed as 'wants', wanting a SA was the point I was least sure about. After thinking more about it, I guess it should read like "I'm not opposed to single-action-only". Having the swing open cylinder is more important to me than being single action (so no blackhawk). It's just not a detail I thought to mention in the OP.

As far as other calibers go, I'm dead-set on .357. :D I don't want a large frame revolver (too big and shiny for my tastes), and I like the option to use .38spc for target practice in the same gun. Yup.

So anyways, further suggestions are always welcome! As I said, I'm building up a list to check out at the next gun show. Thanks for everything guys! I'm so glad I finally joined THR :D

BrocLuno
April 12, 2011, 02:09 PM
Hand feel is SO important. Go to an indoor range that rents and try them all. Borrow your buddies and take him to the range and try his. Try DA and SA. Do a LOT of homework. Mechanically, they almost all work. there are issues with mechanical tune-ups on some of them, but it's not a deal breaker. You have plenty of competent gun smiths in WA.

Shoot everything from 32 Mag to 44 Mag and see what you like when it actually goes bang. 32 is very underated. Most will shoot 32 S&W, 32 Long, and 32 Mag which ain't no slouch. When you get the right one in hand, it will be obvious. When you get a good fit, it just feels right. When you get the right bang and feel, it's magic :)

Single action is fun, but so is double. Uberti up to real honest antique Colts are all out there. You need to see what works for you.

Deaf Smith
April 12, 2011, 08:08 PM
Mushroom,

When hiking in snake infested places I keep the first round in my GP100 a bird shot. Rest are slugs. Now if I see something I need to shoot that is not a snake I simple cycle the action by cocking with my thumb and decocking, and then I'm set. That's something my simi-autos can't do so well.

Yes .38s for lots of fun practice and +P .38s for most critters. Then hot magnums when you need some serious power (like I say, Buffalo Bore is the way to go with them.)

I find handloaded .357 that get 1100 fps or so with a 180 gr JHP is plenty for most things. I'd only use the BB stuff if I was deer hunting.

Deaf

Deaf Smith
April 12, 2011, 08:11 PM
Here is what my field rig looks like Mushroom.

The pouches in the back have a) survival kit, and b) first aid kit (including a quickclot bandage.)

The knife is an old SOG Government blade (old.. made in japan!) The ammo is Federal Castcore 180 gr. flat point lead slugs. The gun is a GP100 4 incher!

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=140353&d=1302653484

Deaf

Waywatcher
April 12, 2011, 10:05 PM
Blued resists surface scratching better than stainless, due to the passivation. Surface scratches on stainless look bad to my eye, and they occur easier.

Stainless resists rust better due to chrome in the steel alloy. I have seen stainless guns rust, keep in mind they are not maintenance free.

Blue has a certain heirloom quality to it; stainless seem more utilitarian. There's nothing like a wood-gripped blued revolver shooting lead bullets--they go together like it's meant to be.

I have had stainless revolvers, but I kept my blued ones. Have fun!

ColtPythonElite
April 12, 2011, 10:20 PM
I love nice blue, but I also love polished stainless, which you won't get in a factory GP...However, they can be polished. I have polished out more than one stainless gun...The good thing about stainless is that if you do scratch it or heavily wear it, you can fix it with the proper technique. Once blue is scratched or worn, it's there for good.

Mac2
April 12, 2011, 10:27 PM
Mushroom, after all the posts I have read here, I think you thought you wanted a single action. In that case the Blackhawk would be best. After reading you did not like the way they load and the absence of a swing out cylinder, I would say the GP100 is gonna be your best bet. More affordable than a Colt or S&W, built like a tank, can be fired SA or DA, and can fire .38's or the full power .357's. Combine that with it is a fine looking revolver. Consider the 4" for all around purpose. I'm a Colt guy, but love and highly recommend the Rugers. Good luck and be safe.

Rail Driver
April 12, 2011, 10:31 PM
I'd recommend a S&W Model 19 (I prefer the 19-4) just from my experience. The 686 is also a fantastic gun and both are rock solid.

Almond27
April 13, 2011, 09:22 AM
Ruger Old model Vaquero, Ruger Blackhawk, GP100 stainless. I would decide between these three. That's coming from a guy who only has Smith and Wesson six guns atm.

DTesch357
April 13, 2011, 10:54 AM
In the words of my best friend: "A single action revolver is like a woman with one breast. Why willingly go with one, when two is double the fun?"

As far as your lever action carbine goes, I would HIGHLY recommend a Marlin 1894C or 1894CSS. Marlin is to lever actions what Ruger is to revolvers. Tough as nails, built rock solid, and you don't have to worry about the Henry's aluminum receiver.

MCgunner
April 13, 2011, 11:05 AM
I have a 4" DA Taurus M66 I bought used that's awesome accurate and in great condition. It's a nickeled gun, would prefer the stainless, but the deal was so good i couldn't pass it up. It's now an outdoor carry option and I carried it last month in a fanny pack in Big Bend NP. It's just as accurate as my Blackhawk and a few ounces lighter and compact enough to fit in that fanny pack and my Blackhawk wasn't.

Say what you will, and I'm sure some will, but the Taurus is more accurate than either my Ruger Security Six or my Smith M19 were and just as reliable. Fit and finish are just fine, thanks.

psyshack
April 13, 2011, 04:18 PM
Single action Ruger. Double action a Smith.

MCgunner
April 13, 2011, 06:54 PM
Did someone mention carbines? I'll pit my 26 year old Rossi 92 carbine against your average 94 Marlin. I don't like scopes on lever guns, so that's not a consideration. The 92 is pretty awesome right out of the box, but needs a rear sight. There is where the Marlin might have an edge. I put an aperture sight on my 92.

mr_goodbomb
April 13, 2011, 07:31 PM
In the words of my best friend: "A single action revolver is like a woman with one breast. Why willingly go with one, when two is double the fun?"

Your friend sound a bit like a dope that isn't willing to accept different people like different things.

roaddog28
April 13, 2011, 08:55 PM
Hi Mushroom,
There are lots of options already mention. From what you are saying you want a all around revolver. I own both of these and I feel they are some of the best all around revolvers. First one is a S&W model 66 4 inch. Second one is a Ruger Police Service Six 4 inch. The model 66 is the stainless version of the model 19. One the best handling and most accurate revolvers ever made. It can shoot 357 magnums as long as you don't overboard with the full power 125gr rounds. Its light enough to carry and options on holsters are plenty. The Ruger Police Service or Security Six is the competitor to the S&W model 66 or 19. Another very good handling and accurate revolver. Its stronger than the model 66 and will take a larger amounts of 357 magnum ammo. Both of these revolvers have half underlug barrels. They point better and are not as muzzle heavy as the GP100 and S&W 686. I have all of the above mentioned revolvers. My favorites are the model 66 or the Ruger Police Service Six.
Again, you will have to make the decision but I feel these are the best all around revolvers.
Regards,
Howard
S&W model 66 4inch
http://i656.photobucket.com/albums/uu283/HPitt74985/model66-4.jpg
Ruger Police Service Six 4 inch
http://i656.photobucket.com/albums/uu283/HPitt74985/RugerServiceSix.jpg

OrangePwrx9
April 13, 2011, 09:28 PM
4" Ruger Security Six. When you get good shooting it single action, you can work on double action.

4-5/8" Ruger Blackhawk .357/9mm Convertible. When you get bored shooting .38/.357, you can try some 9mm. Nice to have this versatility if ammo gets hard to find.

I've got both and they're both favorites.

Waywatcher
April 13, 2011, 09:38 PM
I love nice blue, but I also love polished stainless, which you won't get in a factory GP...

Ruger GP100 Royal Phoenix (http://www.ruger.com/products/gp100DE/models.html)

Gunblast Article and Pictures (http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-GP100RP.htm)

I have one; it is both gorgeous, and superbly functional. :)

MushroomxSpider
April 14, 2011, 02:38 AM
As far as your lever action carbine goes, I would HIGHLY recommend a Marlin 1894C or 1894CSS. Marlin is to lever actions what Ruger is to revolvers. Tough as nails, built rock solid, and you don't have to worry about the Henry's aluminum receiver.

Yeah, I read up a couple reviews and am really liking the Marlin 1894C. It is lighter than the Henry big boy, cheaper but still rugged, and has the option for a scope if I ever choose to go that direction (probably not, but the option is nice). Also, it's not as shiny and the wood is bog-standard, so I wouldn't feel I'm ruining art when it inevitably gets dinged and scratched out on the trail.

As far as finish goes, on either a revolver or a carbine, if it doesn't make a huge difference in function I think I'll go with blue. I like the look of blue guns more, and I think even the scratches add character to them. Like scars. They tell a story.

easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca
April 14, 2011, 04:51 AM
Ruger Old model Vaquero, Ruger Blackhawk, GP100 stainless. I would decide between these three. That's coming from a guy who only has Smith and Wesson six guns atm.

At one time, the romance of a single action lured me to a NMBH .357 in stainless. The thing bored me to death like a date who couldn't carry on a decent conversation. So the two SAs are out, AFAIC.

Now the GP100. That's a sleeper. Mine cost 300 bucks less than a comparable 686. Love my 686 and 586, BTW, for different reasons than my GP100. I don't have to repeat all that's been said in previous posts here and in other forums. They are all true.

FWIW, my GP had an issue with cylinder binding when I first got it, sent it to the Warranty Center and it was back with me in two weeks. It was just a problem with too tight tolerances, in the first place.

Anyhows, the GP is the only gun remaining among your choices, and I think it is the best all around revolver and if required to trim down my small revolver collection, the GP will be my keeper.

MCgunner
April 14, 2011, 06:39 AM
I traded a stainless Ruger 4' Security Six for my Blackhawk even up and never looked back. The SS was not NEARLY as accurate or stout. It's the accuracy I really prefer the Blackhawk for, though. It's overly strong for .357 caliber. Better overly strong than fragile like a Smith K frame, though. I've split a forcing cone on a K frame before. It's a weak spot on that gun.

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