.357 Magnum suggestions


December 9, 2012, 10:10 PM
I am in the market for a .357 Magnum and have been doing some searching to see what is out there. I know that S&W and Ruger are typically quality. Are there any other manufacturers that I should look at? Or stay away from. I know with semi auto pistols I have heard mixed reviews on Taurus. How are their revolvers?

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December 9, 2012, 10:15 PM
And here comes the Taurus bashing...

I had a Taurus Tracker in .357. It shaved lead so I sent it back. It still did the same thing after it came back so I sent it back again. When it came back the last time it seemed to be a little better with .38's. I sold it. And I know they sent it back again.

I now have a Ruger GP100 4". This gun is twice the gun the Taurus was. Lockup is tight and the trigger is great. I changed the springs and put a fiberoptic front sight on it. I know many like the Smiths too, and some day I'll own one. They are more expensive than the rugers.

December 9, 2012, 10:23 PM
I have an older S&W 686, a fine gun. It's available in six or seven round versions.

December 9, 2012, 10:25 PM
I have an older S&W 686, a fine gun. It's available in six or seven round versions.

+1 I have a S&W 686-4 7 shot, really great gun. I also like Colts ;)

Deaf Smith
December 9, 2012, 10:28 PM

To be honest Taurus and Rossi make serviceable sixguns... but they are NOT S&Ws or Rugers (or even Colts.)

Right now, if I was to pick a NEW in-the-box revolver it would be the Rugers. GP-100s to be exact.

But if one looks for the older Smiths and Rugers (the Security Six series) made 10 to 50 years ago you will find the best, and I do mean the best, made revolvers that can stand alot of punishment.

Of those I'd look for the L frame S&Ws and N frames for ability to handle lots of shooting with full powered loads in the .357 (N frame .44 magnums made 30 years ago should be shot alot with 'midrange' rounds and little with full powered .44 magnums.) And then the Security Six Ruger revolvers.


December 9, 2012, 10:34 PM
Thanks, yeah I was considering hunting through some used ones. I checked out the thread on picking out a good used revolver definitely some good things to know.

I don't consider it bashing when its a first hand experience. ;)

December 9, 2012, 11:25 PM
I prefer Smiths, but that is likely because I grew up shooting one. I have an old but cared for Model 28 that is THE most accurate handgun I've ever shot. The later model 686 I got is a somewhat different animal in appearance as well as function. Firing pin arrangement off the top of my head is different plus the whole lock thing. That is the limit of my first hand experience. I have heard good things about Rugers from a co-worker.

December 9, 2012, 11:51 PM
Spend a few bucks more and get what has been said to be the strongest mid-framed DA .357 made, a Colt King Cobra.

December 10, 2012, 12:15 AM
I have a bunch of .357 Magnum handguns and I'm a fan of the .357 Magnum. Probably my favorite is a S&W M686-2, it's never left home. I also have a pair of Ruger New Vaqueros in 38/357, those are great shooters.

If you're considering using it for hunting you might want a single action revolver, the Ruger Blackhawk is a good choice.

It's so hard to recommend a handgun for someone else because everyone is different but if I were you, I would stick with Ruger, S&W, Magnum Research BFR, Dan Wesson and Colt. I don't like to list companies not to buy but with all the good options available Taurus would not be on top of my buy list. Older Charter Arms revolvers were very poor after the original owners sold but the Ecker family is back at Charter Arms and the company and their guns are again very good.

All just in my opinion of course...

December 10, 2012, 12:15 AM
rookorami - I just recently bought a 4" GP100 as well. I'm still trying out different ammo, testing for accuracy.
I had looked at Rossi (trigger guard pressed uncomfortably on "bird-finger knuckle), S&W, EAA, and Colt. Ruger gave the best midpoint of price, comfort, and quality.
Don't forget to look at used guns too! I got this one from a pawn shop and saved over $100 on a 1 year old gun compared to new.

December 10, 2012, 12:31 AM
I would go with a Smith & Wesson or Ruger. Love my Model 27. :D No Berettas, I have an SSA in 357 and it's a POS. The gun and Berettas warranty and CS. I can't say anything about Colt. I could never justify the extra $'s for the name so the only Colt I have is a 22 Mag SSA that I bought in the 1950's.

December 10, 2012, 12:42 AM
Model 13
Model 65

Nothing else better.

December 10, 2012, 12:59 AM
I've had zero problems with my Taurus 7-shot model 66. Many people joke a bit, both because it's a Taurus and a Revolver, but many of them have been pretty impressed with it after shooting it.

December 10, 2012, 01:09 AM
if you have to buy new, buy a Ruger.

They use, effectively, cost cutting measures but deliver the best new revolver value on the market.

Avoid Smiths newer than 1998 (they started creating guns with the same methods as Taurus at a MUCH higher price)

Colts can be great but maintenance can be an issue.

So in short, New or used Ruger or used Smith.

December 10, 2012, 03:16 AM
Cool, I am not married to the idea of it being new. I am mainly concerned with Quality, How I feel after handling it and a reasonable price.

December 10, 2012, 03:35 AM
if its intended for self defense i would not recommend a gun with a built in lock, but if its not for self defense there are plenty of options, S&W and Ruger being my top picks.

December 10, 2012, 03:53 AM
Were it I, I'd probably find one of the three listed below, two of which could be fairly pricey and scarce. Searching for nice used guns is part of the enjoyment, for me. Dan Wesson is rarely a mistake. The FA and the Ruger RH in .357 are absolute tanks. FA will likely outrun the cartridge. But the last two are heavy and the DW in say, 15-2 might be a good option.

Is weight and heft a consideration :)


FA 353


Deus Machina
December 10, 2012, 04:08 AM
I'm a fan of all of Ruger's offerings. A friend has a SP101 and Security Six that are just about the nicest things for the price.

I had a S&W 586 for a while that I can't recommend enough. <[i]deleted[/]>

December 10, 2012, 05:51 AM
I would go with Guillermos suggestion and look at new or used Ruger (I'm a big fan of the older Security and Service Six series), and used S&W (a Model 19, Model 27, or a Model 686 are all great choices). Used Colts are also very well made but are rather pricey, and parts and service can be a problem if they have to be worked on.

December 10, 2012, 08:30 AM

I would respectfully suggest that you not look for "the best" revolver but rather one that you really like.

Find a friend with a Ruger GP-100 and shoot it. How does it handle? The balance feel?
We don't need to argue whether it is better than a pre-98 686 (another fine revolver).
If you are going to shoot mainly 38's and sometimes .357 a Model 19 is a great gun. We all have opinions but it is only your's that matters.

Whatever you decide, Ruger or pre-lock Smith, you will have a fine weapon that will last a lifetime or two.

Be sure to check out the "how to check out a revolver" sticky at the top of the revolver forum.

(BTW, I am a huge Colt fan, but parts are an issue in the unlikely scenario that you need them)

December 10, 2012, 08:36 AM
But if one looks for the older Smiths and Rugers (the Security Six series) made 10 to 50 years ago you will find the best, and I do mean the best, made revolvers that can stand alot of punishment.

^^^^^ Best advice.

December 10, 2012, 08:41 AM
Colt "Trooper" / "Python".

December 10, 2012, 08:44 AM
stick with ruger or smith

December 10, 2012, 09:15 AM
Find yourself a nice S&W 586. I can promise you you will not be sorry if you get one. My only problem with the 586 is I only have one of them and I hope to fix that problem sooner than later.

Peter M. Eick
December 10, 2012, 09:27 AM
I handled a nice 586 and chose a pre-27 instead.

In retrospect, I should have bought both. My suggestion is get a 586 or 686 as a good 357.

Cocked & Locked
December 10, 2012, 09:38 AM
S&W K & N .357's...never had a L-frame S&W

December 10, 2012, 10:45 AM
I wouldn't completely rule out Taurus. Their model 65 is definitely one to check out especially if found for under $300. I found a 3" for $250 and it is very solid with a super smooth trigger, just as nice as any Smith I've held at a fraction of the cost. Also Dan Wessons are great, kind of difficult to conceal if thats the purpose you are looking for, but other than that they are pretty tough to beat. Another plus to the DW is CZ took them over and their CS is probably the best in the business. If new is what you want then probably Ruger is the way to go, again not paying the crazy prices of a Smith.

December 10, 2012, 10:58 AM
Dan Wessons are great

Yes, but new ones are currently not available. According to Keith Lawton, operations manager, they were having some issues with a supplier and suspended production. (add a fire at their offices and they are at a disadvantage right now)

They fully intend to continue as soon as they work the kinks out.

That said, there are few better values than a used DW Model 15.

December 10, 2012, 11:05 AM
Two of the best DA .357s I've ever owned and the ones I've kept are Taurus M66s, a 3" and a 4". I like my Blackhawk and I figure to maybe get another SP101 sometime, this time with a 3" barrel.

December 10, 2012, 12:28 PM
I've had a 4 inch 686 for several years that was REALLY the result of a DUMB trade.
The pistol was property of a local Police Dept. so consecuently it was fired very little.
I shoot the gun about twice a month with .38 Special reloads and it is very accurate.
The pistol shares nite-stand drawer duties with a Ruger P95 or a Smith 638.
Stick with the Smiths or Rugers especially if you plan to shoot extensively!

December 10, 2012, 05:11 PM
There are many choices. Depends on what purpose you are going to use the revolver for. For a range revolver S&W and Ruger make great revolvers. If you are going to shoot nothing but 357 magnums then Smith makes the L frame and used to make the N frame. These are good choices. Ruger makes the GP100 and makes several single action revolvers. For a hunting revolver I like single actions like the Ruger Blackhawk.
Sounds like you need to handle as many as possible.
Good luck,

December 10, 2012, 05:50 PM
Ruger SP 101 three inch. or Smith Model 65 three inch. or Smith Model 19. Three of the best IMHO.

December 10, 2012, 06:17 PM
http://www.coonaninc.com/index.php/cPath,5 try that on for size

December 10, 2012, 07:13 PM
I'd look at an older Smith, perhaps a Model 27 if you have the funds. Pretty firearms.

December 10, 2012, 11:17 PM
http://www.coonaninc.com/index.php/cPath,5 try that on for size
That looks pretty cool, I have a couple semis and thought I would round it out with a revolver. It would be used mainly as a range gun and SD/HD. This will be used mainly by my wife, She fired my friends 6inch 357 at the range and loved it. I don't know how she would feel about a shorter barrel so I am going to take her to a range out here that rents guns out and see what she thinks.

December 10, 2012, 11:24 PM
Go here www.smith-wessonforum.com and you can find a nice used .357 mag. that will serve you well.

Ky Larry
December 11, 2012, 12:40 PM
Older S&W, Colt, Ruger, or Dan Wesson are all good. I mostly have Colts and S&Ws in wheel guns. For the money, the older Rossi revolvers are hard to beat.

December 11, 2012, 05:29 PM
Add another vote for a used S&W 586 or 686. A Ruger GP-100 would work as well in the same size-class.

S&W M-19s and Ruger -Six series revolvers are smaller, lighter options while still being full-sized service revolvers. I like my S&W 19 but must say the 586 has really grown on me since I picked it up.

Here's a picture, mostly because I love showing off the maple stocks from Ahrend's.


Basically follow the revolver check-out stickied at the top of the forum and keep your eyes open and you should be able to find something suitable. Don't necessarily get stuck on having to have a specific brand and model if you just want "a .357". And if in doubt, come ask us, we'll be happy to offer opinions. ;)

December 11, 2012, 05:34 PM
I would avoid charter arms from my experience.
My wheel guns as of now are all Rugers.

what size gun are you looking for? carry, hunting, HD?

December 11, 2012, 05:45 PM
The wife likes the 6inch but I would like to be able to use it as a ccw as well and that seems like it would be a bit large. I have to have her try some shorter barrels and see how she feels.

December 11, 2012, 05:56 PM
If - or when - I want to carry a revolver....its a K frame S&W in 4" ( either a model 19 or 66 )....they're essentially the same gun - the model 19's are the older version and came either blued or in Nickel...the model 66's are all stainless. There are some subtle differences - but no big deal. You should be able to find a lot of them around in your area.

686 is an L frame ...in 4" it might still be ok - but you're getting heavier / and then the N frames the model 27's or 28's are a little heavier yet...but the N frames are very nice guns - and either model is around in 4" as well as 6" / but most of us find a 6" revolver is too long to carry comfortably on our belt ....its ok for a woods-gun or trail gun....but not CCW in general.

December 11, 2012, 06:04 PM
Kinda what I figured. We shall see what I can find.

December 11, 2012, 06:14 PM
I've read good things about the unique Chiappa Rhino in it's smallest form, but also that its had issues in the larger versions. I don't own one, but it is a unique concept.

December 11, 2012, 07:12 PM
Love my Ruger Security Six.
Great trigger, awesome shooter!

December 11, 2012, 07:31 PM
If you enter the used market you might also consider Dan Wessons manufactured in Monson, Mass. "Monson" Dan Wessons are manufactured to the old Colt, S&W, Ruger quality level or thereabouts.

The unique thing about the "pistol pack" models sold by them is the interchangable barrel system. 1 frame and you could have 2 ", 4", 6" and even 8" interchangable barrels. A "barrel nut" on the muzzle end of the barrel shroud makes changing the barrels simple and quick. You need a barrel nut tool and feeler guages for cylinder gap spacing, an instructional video and about 1/2 hour practice to master the art. Then you can change barrels in a very few minutes.

The cylinder release mechanism is different that the Big Three and it contributes to the reputation for strength (full house magnums all the time? OK with a DW) and the potential for excellent accuracy (I'm talking as good as it gets in a production revolver excellent). They should still be relatively affordable by comparison with other "classics". They have developed a devoted cult following over the years and I have yet to hear of them being really trashed. I own a 15-2 with full underlug barrel that I grow to love more and more as I use it.

Worth a little investigation.

December 11, 2012, 10:37 PM
the new 4 inch sp101 would be a good compromise for you and your wife thin for carry with some heft that would make it easier to shoot for her. http://www.gunblast.com/images/Ruger-SP101-357/DSC02552.JPG pic stolen from gunblast

December 11, 2012, 11:05 PM
I agree with the 4" SP101. A great compromise between handiness, strength to handle the 357 for a lifetime (or two), and weight to tame the recoil. Everytime I pick up I don't want to set it down.

December 11, 2012, 11:13 PM
Hard to beat a smith 686 or Ruger GP100... or sp101...

December 12, 2012, 12:49 AM
or a DW 15-2. The equal of the GP-100 at least.

December 12, 2012, 01:14 AM
DW 15-2. The equal of the GP-100 at least


"at least"?

THAT is an understatement

December 12, 2012, 01:28 AM
Kinda what I figured. We shall see what I can find.
For conceal carry if you're not going to carry a 2" J frame there's noting like a 3" frame. A 4" K/L frame while just a little longer it makes a big difference when carrying concealed.

December 12, 2012, 02:38 AM
Just remember that .357 man-stopping reputation was established when cops carried 40oz six-shot "boulders" on their duty belts. Think S&W 28, Colt 'Troopers',.....

December 12, 2012, 11:36 AM
Colt Trooper or Lawman OR a S&W 686, I have the Lawman in the Colt, very nice, easy to conceal (it's a snuby) crisp trigger pull very smooth, the Smith is a smith, tried and true.

I have no experience with the Ruger 101 but I have fired a security six.

Out of all of them I prefer My Colt.

December 12, 2012, 02:26 PM
"It would be used mainly as a range gun and SD/HD. This will be used mainly by my wife,"

I'd suggest a S&W or Ruger. Heavier revolvers generally have better recoil. The right grips can also make a huge difference in recoil. Shorter barrels have more blast.

And 38's work as well in 357's.


December 12, 2012, 07:21 PM
This will be used mainly by my wife,"

We chose a 4(.2)" Ruger Sp101. My wife is not attracted to recoil at all so when she is shooting it's all 158gr 38s. Yeah it's only a 5 shot but it was the only sidearm I ever saw her actually enjoy. The smaller grip fits her just right and since I have small hands too it works good enough for me.

The heavy factory trigger is designed to fire in about any possible situation but frankly it sucked. Armed with a Youtube video I changed out the springs and promptly burned 300 rounds without fail. It is a joy to shoot now.

She who must be obeyed has this for a night stand guardian. She does not carry.


December 13, 2012, 10:50 AM
For a revolver I'm going to rely on for self-defence, I would only choose a S&W or Ruger. Perhaps there are good Taurus, Rossi, Charter, etc. revolvers out there but I just won't trust them with my life. YMMV.

For home defence or open carry, my choice would be either:

S&W Model 686 with 4 inch barrel
Ruger GP100 with 4 inch barrel

For concealed carry, my choice would be either:

S&W Model 60 with 3 inch barrel
Ruger SP101 with 3 inch barrel

I don't get too caught up in the pre-lock, pre-MIM issues some people have with Smith. While I would agree that I'd rather have a "pre" gun, I still think Smith is producing some great revolvers today. Also, some people like the new Ruger LCR in .357 and while its a breeze to carry, its just too light for shooting full power .357 ammo, at least IMO. :eek:

Kyle M.
December 13, 2012, 10:59 AM
Personally I really like my 4.62" stainless ruger blackhawk. If I was gonna buy another .357 I'd either get another ruger or an S&W 27.

December 13, 2012, 04:15 PM
Has the OP declared what he wants to use the 357 Revolver for?

Regardless, I'd recommend a bini. Bbl. len. of 5" but a 6" will get a
more efficient burn of the powder = less muzzle flash compared to
barrel len. of 4" or Less.


December 13, 2012, 09:18 PM
The OP has already bought the small Ruger. AFAIK a good choice! Now work on skillset/mindset and the stars will all align.

oops! Not the OP, sorry.

December 14, 2012, 01:23 AM
I own a ruger blackhawk and a security six and I can't think of a complaint. Smith 586 or 686's are also firearms i'd like to own.......I haven't so I can't comment......YET:)

I've handeled a python and a king cobra. The action is ............wonderful but i've not fired one:( I don't think I would ever USE one just because they are so pretty

December 14, 2012, 10:57 PM
Can't go wrong with a 4" GP100 & 2.5" SP101 back up.

December 17, 2012, 10:08 PM
Tell me that this bad boy is not "The Heat!"

Cluster Bomb
December 18, 2012, 01:26 AM
I have never have had problems with any of my taurus. I just ordered a Taurus poly protector held it, cycled it and love it. I have had Rugers, and colts as well both are good makers. I have had the SP101 and the Redhawk both are good strong guns, sp101 for some people is a heavy gun. I enjoyed the Taurus 85 DAO stainless. it had beef in all the right places and light gun, didnt feal cheap. I have since upgraded to the 605 poly protector. Many people are put off buy Taurus even though S&W owns them. I am a Taurus & Ruger Fan, but love my old Colts more than them. I like taurus cause their platforms are affordable, and perform well.

December 18, 2012, 01:40 AM
My favorites are the older Smith 19/66 and the Security Six. They are both of the k-frame size, the best balance of any 357 IMO. The Security Six is the stronger of the two, but they will both give you a lifetime of shooting.

December 18, 2012, 01:58 AM
Here is my Davis Co. combat tuned 586 no dash my favorite .357 and it isn't a safe queen.


Cocked & Locked
December 18, 2012, 09:38 PM
favorite .357's in no particular order...








December 19, 2012, 11:22 AM
favorite .357's in no particular order...




I really like.

December 21, 2012, 07:05 PM
So took the wife to the gun shop today and walked out with a Ruger GP100 4inch. Success! I will be posting pics when I can get them uploaded

December 25, 2012, 05:06 PM
And here it is :)

December 26, 2012, 03:15 AM
Congrats on the choice, a good solid work horse by all accounts.

I may be a bit late to the party here, but I do want to add one comment, some may disagree with it, some may agree, but I feel when it comes to .357's

There is the Colt Python, then there is everything else.

December 26, 2012, 03:35 AM
So took the wife to the gun shop today and walked out with a Ruger GP100 4inch. Success! I will be posting pics when I can get them uploaded
I'm glad you bought a GP100 instead of a SP101. While I do like the older Six-Series revolvers and the GP100 I am not a fan of the SP101.

It's hard to see if your revolver is Stainless of Blue from the picture.
Both are good revolvers but I do have a soft spot for Blue revolvers especially with Walnut or Rosewood grips! :D

I am very sure you will like the GP100 and really enjoy shooting it!

December 26, 2012, 07:53 AM
And here it is :)

That's an ugly beast you have there. If I were you, I'd keep that thing out of sight under a shirt or a jacket when you go out.:)

December 26, 2012, 09:04 AM
586L Comp 7 round

December 27, 2012, 04:42 AM
Congrats on your selection of the GP100, it is a dependable gun. The trigger will work itself smooth after a bit.
To the Python fan boy, :barf: Pythons look like they fell out of the ugly tree, and hit every branch on the way down. Triggers are nice, but that's about it.
Smiths are what every other revolvers' are compared to, especially the older ones.
Notice there's no ridiculous vented rib or unsymetrical shape.:neener:

December 28, 2012, 10:02 PM
Folks, he's made his choice in post #68.

Or, I should say that his wife made her choice.

So . . . congrats on your new Ruger!

December 28, 2012, 10:06 PM
Good choice. Was gonna post my opinion but...

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