Picking a 357


December 27, 2002, 10:43 AM
Hi all, I'm interested in buying a 357 revolver. Does any one Have an opinion? (sure someone does) I'm thinking a s+w or colt used. Was there a thread on inspecting a used revolver back on TFL? I am looking at 22 revolvers also.
Thanks pete

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December 27, 2002, 10:58 AM
I have had a Taurus 22lr revo for many many years & it has served me well.
As for a 357 magnum, you would be hard pressed to beat a vintage S&W 357 magnum...ie 66 or 686 w/ 4" barrel.

December 27, 2002, 12:03 PM

Jim March's article contains a lot of good info.
I'm a big fan of buying used revolvers, 80% of the revolvers I've purchased have been used. A bit of care and knowledge are necessary to avoid picking up a junker, but the value of the deal you can get makes it well worth the effort.

December 27, 2002, 12:07 PM
Have had a lot, but my current one is a S&W mod. 28 with a four inch barrel.

Mike Irwin
December 27, 2002, 12:32 PM
A used Smith & Wesson.

My first choice.

My last choice.

My only choice.

December 27, 2002, 12:49 PM
Welcome to the High Road.

Above linked thread by Jim March is excellant for checking out new or used revolvers.

There are so many choices of .357 revolvers in an assortment of sizes.

Having an idea of your intended use would help narrow it down a bit.

Personal preference.......Pre 1982 Smith & Wesson.
I have little ones for deep conceal, medium ones for regular conceal and big ones for target, fun and bad days.


December 27, 2002, 01:23 PM
Used Smith would be lots easier on the ole pocketbook, aside from much easier to find than Colts. I'm kinda partial to Rugers, but that doesn't keep me from liking my Smiths.

On the .22's, I have a Smith 617 that my gf loves. It is pretty heavy, though. Ruger single six is a great little single action revolver. Dad always said if he could only have one gun, that would be the most versatile.

December 27, 2002, 03:01 PM
Opinions on .357mag revolvers? No way, what's a .357mag?:D

Seriously, there really isn't one out right now that I don't like.

I especially like the S&Ws but Rugers and Taurus are good too and both cost less than S&W. S&W is more sophisticated with a better trigger and action. The Ruger is stronger. The Taurus is a little more simple inside and much less money. All are reliable, durable, decent guns.

My preference is for K-frame and L-frame and equivelent revolvers (more handy). For target and HD work a longer barreled L is better, for carry a 2 1/2-4" K-frame or equivelent is better. However, a shorter barreled L frame is just fine for most carry and a longer barreled K is just fine for most target/HD work. If you plan to shoot a lot of .38 out of it (most of us do) a K is fine, if you plan to shoot only (or mostly) magnums and you plan to shoot it a lot an L or equivelent is better (it is stronger).

A J-frame or equivelent chambered in .357 is just too small for the caliber. If you will end up shooting mostly or all .38 then you are better off getting a dedicated .38 snub since it will be a bit lighter.

A N-frame or equivelent is too big and heavy. Nice as something different, but for day to day use something smaller would be better.

Jason Demond
December 27, 2002, 05:24 PM
I love the S&W model 27, so that's what I would suggest.

December 27, 2002, 05:54 PM
Used S&W 686 with a 4" barrel

Search done. ;)

December 27, 2002, 08:38 PM
I'd get either a Ruger GP100 or the S&W 686. If you intend it as a carry gun, get the four inch barrel. If you want a field gun only, get a six inch. Right now, I have a 686, and I'm thinking of switching over to the GP. I think the sights on the GP are much better.

December 27, 2002, 09:28 PM
Target Shooting - in order of preference:

S&W Model 27
S&W Model 28
Ruger GP-100
S&W 686 or 586

If you find one you can afford a Colt Python. They are out of my price range usually.

If you intend to carry the gun get one with a 4" barrel or shorter maybe 3".

S&W 19 or 66
GP 100
Ruger SP101
Ruger Security Six or Service Six

I have a 27 which is great. I also have an old Dan Wesson Pistol Pac. This might be an option too, since you get several barrels. I am very happy with my Dan Wesson and they can sometimes be found pretty cheap. There are lots of great choices in a .357 revolver. Read the article on how to check out used guns and as Sam says - carry cash and be on the lookout for a great deal. Taurus revolvers should not be discounted in the budget category either. It all depends on how much you want to spend.

December 27, 2002, 09:35 PM
I had an older S&W model 19 that had as good a trigger as any revolver that I've ever fired. You can find them for around the $200.00 mark.

December 27, 2002, 10:01 PM
Not sure what your wanting so I'll just comment on what I've owned. All S/W's

6" 586, very accurate light recoil with about any load, hard to carry much though. Long barrell just got in the way sold it (wish I'd kept it though). Very nice range gun.

6" 19, again very accurate, just don't like to carry long barrels around even while woods bumming (gotta sit down sometime). ALmost a contradiction in that it's a "Light" target gun.

4" 19, Can be carried concealed but takes a bit of work to do so. Love this gun, it will never go anywhere.

3" 65, My everyday carry gun. Great for self defense. Small enough to carry concealed, big enough for house gun. Rugged fixed sights, great gun.

2" 640, My CCW for a couple of years. Having no hammer makes a lot more difference than I would have ever expected for concealed carry. I would literally "find" the gun still on my waist as I was going to bed, I would forget it was even on. Drawing from cover was great because you didn't have to sweep your cover garment back or even subconciously worry about the gun catching on anything coming out. Maybe best CCW out there IMHO. Was not fun for me to shoot full bore 357's out of.

2 1/2" 19, Havent got to shoot it yet :mad:

December 27, 2002, 10:53 PM
I would suggest a used 4" S&W, either a "K" frame or "L" frame. There is nothing wrong with the "N" frame either, but it is a little bigger & may not handlke quite as nimble as the other 2.

December 27, 2002, 10:59 PM
One of the used S&W M28's w/ 4" are hard to beat. There's something about the way their actions smooth out with use. And you can't go wrong with a 4" Ruger GP100.

December 27, 2002, 11:04 PM
I've had the python, trooperIII, 686, 66, 65, 28, 19, GP with 3, 4, and 6 inch barrels. There is no question that the GP100 with a 4 inch barrel is *the* midisze revolver for me. All the rest, but a single 686 have gone by the way side. The 686 is next. Gonna turn it into a second GP-141.
I also get a fair amount of trigger time with a Taurus 94 4 inch. Lots of fun to shoot once you bring down the trigger pull a bit.

December 27, 2002, 11:42 PM
What do you want to use your .357 revolver for?

December 28, 2002, 02:30 AM
Ruger GP-100.

Ala Dan
December 28, 2002, 05:45 AM
So many I like a lot; mostly older Smith's and Colt Python's
but currently shooting a 6" barrel Smith L-frame 686-5. And
it too, is out-standing.

*FootNote- Kind'a miss the 4" stainless steel Ruger Security
Six. Too bad, Ruger didn't keep 'em in the line-up!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

December 28, 2002, 06:00 AM
For carry I use either a Ruger KGP-141 or a Ruger SP-101. I would like to pick up a 3" model 65 or GP.

December 28, 2002, 12:04 PM
Ruger- GP100 and SP-101. SS.

December 28, 2002, 04:49 PM
Depends on what you are going to use it for. I have two 3" S&W mod 65's and a S&W 27-2 with 8 3/8" barrel. They are completely different pistols for completely different things.

My .22 revolver is a S&W K-22 (pre mod 17). Find one rather than buy a new one.

December 28, 2002, 05:02 PM
Hate to sound like a broken record, a used S&W is a great pick. My first revolver was a nice model 66 with a 4" barrel. Fun to shoot and cheap to shoot with .38's. Great "nightstand" piece also. Could also be used as a carry piece with right holster.

December 28, 2002, 11:45 PM
Many prefer S&W, but I've found my Ruger GP100 to be the equal of the S&W guns...

December 29, 2002, 10:56 AM
Thanks for all the replies, There is a ton of info here and I'm still a little confused. K, J, N are frame sizes and specific models are subsets from each frame? Are 66 and 686 models related?
It seems S+W is the favorite but I know a guy who swears by his anaconda(44 mag I think) and Have heard good things about Pythons.
I'm just looking for a general purpose gun, one that is adaptable to many uses. I can"t justify the huge dollar amounts that some people feel is neccesary to buy a "good" gun. The 4 inch barrel seems like what I'm looking for.
Thanks again pete

December 29, 2002, 10:59 AM
You should be able to find a used 4" Model 19 (K-frame .357) for a very reasonable sum.

It's pretty much the very definition of "general purpose gun". Target shooting, CCW, home defense, snakeshot when hiking, even hunting in a pinch; it's as "do everything" as they come.

December 29, 2002, 02:10 PM
J frame, the small snubbies. A model 60 or 36 would be two examples.

K frame, the original medium frame. In .357 it is a good gun but meant for mainly .38s and occasional magnum use (the way most people use their .357s). A 66 and a 65 are two examples.

L frame, a slightly beefed up medium frame. Made for those who will use predominatly magnums in their .357s. For the rest of us it will probably last forever (then again so will a properly cared for K-frame). A bit heavier and beefer than the K-frame so not as good for carry (and for range use some like the balance of the K better) but for some it is better for the range, for most it is decent for carry, and it also makes a great woods gun. The 686 and (discontinued) 586 are two examples.

N frame, this is the big .44magnum frame- this was the frame the first .357mag was built on (long before anyone thought up the .44). Extremely strong, also very heavy. Not so good for carry, but it will probably live forever. Good for extended mag use at the range or as a woods gun (it will easily take extended use of even the strongest .357 reloads). I'm pretty sure there aren't any .357s in this frame in S&W's regular production (maybe some Performance Center guns). Used a M27 or 28 are good examples, the Taurus 608 is similar in size and the S&W .44magnums are the same size (if you want a quick and easy size comparison).

For your stated purpose (a "general purpose gun") a K-frame would probably be best (either a 66 or 65 if new, a 13 or a 19 should be added to the list if used) but an L-frame 686 or 586 (the 586 is only available used) would be great as well.

December 29, 2002, 05:09 PM
Recently saw a very nice used S&W 66 4" in a shop for $295.

December 30, 2002, 03:47 PM
My experience has been mostly with S&W revolvers, both models 66 and 686 and I have never been sorry for having bought them. The trigger on Smiths is so much better OOTB compared to a Ruger, and can be made even better with very little work. The Rugers are by and large stronger than the Smiths and of a simpler design. If money is no object then get an older Colt Python, you cant go wrong.

December 30, 2002, 04:08 PM
Get a used S&W and don't look back.

As I like my revolvers blue, I'd go with:


I think any of the above would suit you fine.


December 31, 2002, 07:59 PM
I recommend a used Smith and Wesson model 19 or 66, with a 4" barrel. These are K frames which more or less fit all hand sizes.

19 is blue steel, 66 is stainless steel. The both have adjustable rear sights.

December 31, 2002, 09:39 PM
I've got to say that of all the guns I've fired, and it hasn't been nearly as many as most people here, the GP-100 4" is still my favorite. Every time I shoot it, I just feel all warm and fuzzy. Could be that I'm overdressed and have an excessive body hair problem, but I still like shooting it.

December 31, 2002, 10:40 PM
Well,I'll probably be branded a heretic for this.I have never cared for S&W handguns.Oh,they are more than nice enough and selection is great.Actions can be smooth as glass and accuracy exceptional.But I'll take a Ruger or Colt any day.Please...no flames.Just my personal preference.It leaves that many more S&W's out there for S&W lovers to buy.:) Is it O.K. for me to be different?:eek:

December 31, 2002, 11:05 PM
You really can't go wrong with any of the models that have been mentioned. I went through this not too long ago. I finally chose a Smith 66 4", as it has to fit in IDPA. Then I bought a Ruger GP100 3" barrel (used). Now I have the best of both worlds; Ruger "strong like bull", S&W= crisp trigger, refined lines.:cool:

December 31, 2002, 11:07 PM
And the Ruger, scratched but still very serviceable:D

January 1, 2003, 12:00 AM
Buy a Mod 27 in 3.5" or 5", or buy a Mod 19 in 2.5" or 6" or buy a Colt Python in 4" or 6" or a Colt mod P in any barrel length.:)

January 1, 2003, 01:50 AM
That's fine...

...but us Smith fans'll be keepin' an eye on you! ;) :D

January 1, 2003, 08:32 AM
I'm pretty much with you. The only reason I have S&W revolvers is that no other company makes a IDPA legal .45ACP revolver.

Getting back to the topic, If the main diet of ammunition is going to be .38 then I would opt for the smaller, lighter .357. I find the .38 much more pleasant to shoot.

January 1, 2003, 04:10 PM
That's O.K. by me Tamara.;)
It gets even worse though.I never have liked the Winchester Model 70 either.Sick puppy huh?:)

Baba Louie
January 1, 2003, 07:35 PM
I like my 586 very much.

But do not overlook the Dan Wesson line as well. I've got an accurate Model 15-2 w/ interchangeable barrel. Better finish than the Smith if you like that deep dark blue.

Ruger is fine. Old Speed or Security-Six models, GP's as well.

I've shot a friends Python. Smooth.

Single Action? Ruger.


January 1, 2003, 07:44 PM
A good used S&W, Colt, or Ruger should be available for a "good price". Any one should work well. To me, a big advantage of these .357's is that I was able to start out shooting .38's and improve my shooting skills until I was confident with the .357 round. Plus they are all reliable and much more accurate than I am.

I was glad to see the reference to the old Security Six family. I still have a short barreled Speed Six and miss my 4" Security Six.

One thing to remember though: a "bigger framed" revolver will weigh only a few ounces more, but that small weight can make it kick quite a bit less than a smaller & lighter one. In any case, all three of these brands have sold a LOT of the "medium" frame .357's.

FWIW, for general use, I could be happy with any 3" to 4" barreled S&W, Ruger, or Colt.

January 1, 2003, 10:57 PM
I have a couple of recommendations. I have 2 K-frame S&W .357s. One is a 19 4incher with factory target trigger and hammer (basically just a wide spur on the hammer and a wide trigger, nothing special) of 1970's vintage. The other is a stainless 66 of 1990s vintage. Of course, the workmanship on the 19 far surpasses the 66. The 19 trigger is probably the smoothest trigger short of a custom action job (and I have one of those, BTW). The 66 has a good trigger also, but nothing to write home about. If you plan on shooting mostly .38 special with a limited, but respectable amount of .357, either of these should be good for you. If you are glutton for punishment and want to shoot exclusively .357, then you should get one of the N-frames (27 or 627). The 686s (L-frames) are good if you want shoot somewhere between the extremes. Also, I see alot of Ruger security sixes turning up only slightly used. These would make an excellent addition.

January 3, 2003, 04:40 PM
Just to be different -- you can probably find a used .357 Dan Wesson pistol pack for a pretty good price if you look around. These allow you to change barrels from 2" snubbie up to 8" hunter and even larger if you have a use.

A solid gun, short trigger pull, different barrels for different uses and solid evidence against the usefulness of a ballistic fingerprint database.

January 3, 2003, 04:45 PM
Dan Wesson pistol pack -- ain't it pretty?

January 6, 2003, 11:47 PM
If you are going used, I would recommend something like this:
(25 years old and unfired - Still used though!)


Tony Z
January 7, 2003, 07:26 PM
I like the Ruger GP-100 or a Security Six. Both are a lot of gun for very little money.



January 7, 2003, 07:39 PM
Have a Ruger GP141 and SP101...nice guns. Looking for a 3" 586.

January 7, 2003, 11:28 PM
I like the older Dan Wesson revolvers, the ones that say 'Dan Wesson' not Wesson Arms. Triggers are a bit different than S&Ws but still very good.

Used 686s can be a good value. I bought mine for about $290 but they three other used ones in stock. Last time I was at the same dealer, they had one (686+) and were asking $339 or $349.

And a used 19 or 27 would be excellent. And if you find a guy wanting to get rid of his Python for $300 or $400, that wouldn't be too bad either.

January 8, 2003, 03:08 PM
I use a 686+ snubby as a carry gun quite often. Use a FIST #1 clip holster on a very good gun belt. Makes for a confortable, concealment combo. Have attached the 686+ pic for the heck of it. Good shooting:)

January 8, 2003, 03:35 PM
The best all round .357 I own would be the 686. I recommend it highly for accuracy, smoothness of action, ruggedness, and overall appearance.

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