First revolver?


May 19, 2013, 01:27 PM
Right now I only own a shotgun (and shoot trap with it weekly), but I've been thinking about getting a handgun for camping, a second weapon for home security, and because I think it would be fun to shoot. I'm more drawn to revolvers than pistols because of the mechanical simplicity and the reliability. I had some questions though.

In terms of brand, I know of Taurus, Ruger, S&W, and Colt, and even these brands offer a dizzying selection of models. Are there other brands I should think about as well, or is this a good place to start?

I probably wouldn't try to conceal-carry with this weapon in work attire, so it doesn't need to be tiny, but I'm a small framed person. A Ruger GP100 is the very limit to what I can comfortably get my hands around. On the other hand, I didn't like how the Ruger SP101 didn't have a place for my pinkie (though maybe that doesn't matter?). What models should I be focusing on?

Can I use 38 special ammo on anything labeled as firing 357 magnum? I'm a big believer in range time with any weapon I own, and I thought 38 special was far cheaper. About how much is each going for "per bang" nowadays?

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Texan Scott
May 19, 2013, 01:48 PM
Look at the Taurus 65.

This is a very basic 6-shot medium frame .357 at a modest price point. You can safely shoot any .38 special out of it (as is true of all .357s). Taurus experiments with a lot of new ideas, and I'm never first in line to buy their new stuff (I'd say the same of most companies), but this is a tried and proven design you can buy with confidence. I've never had a problem with a Taurus revolver that wasn't my own blamed fault- and even then, their customer service has never let me down.

May 19, 2013, 02:11 PM
SP101, for a smaller frame. If it is "pinkie-challenged" for you, get a $26 Hogue grip for it (improves accuracy and reduces felt recoil). I have large hands and the Hogue is a definite improvement.
GP100, for a medium frame.
Either one is phenominally rugged, and will hold its value more than anything other than a Smith, or a Colt (no longer in production).
If not a carry gun, I cannot recommend anything under 4" barrel length. If you got a 6" GP100, you would be constantly amazed at its accuracy (I am, a "Distinguished Expert" rating).

May 19, 2013, 07:14 PM
Mitlov - Yes, any handgun designed to fire .357 mag will shoot .38 specials. It is an excellent first revolver caliber choice, as you can practice away with .38 specials and load the .357 mag when needed.

Ruger and S&W are always my first choice in a quality revolver, but that is my opinion and you will get plenty here. The SP101 is a good choice that will last a lifetime as mentioned early. I have a S&W model 60 Pro that is a fun revolver, and carry a Ruger LCR every day.

May 19, 2013, 07:16 PM
Ruger GP100, 4" barrel. You can shoot .38's out of a .357 magnum, all you will have to do is look out for the carbon rings that will build up in the cylinder. Not knowing what your build is but when I took my mom shooting the first time she fell in love with my GP100 and loved the .357's she shot out of it. I think the size would be more than adequate for range and camping, even if you carried on you while camping. You can find different grips for almost any revolver that will make it more comfortable.

In terms of ammo prices it is still inflated but I have seen some prices coming down. A quick search shows .38 special at 45 cents a round where .357 is varying from as low a 60 cents a round to a dollar a round. This was pulled from ammoseek, so not a very in depth search.

May 19, 2013, 07:41 PM
another vote for a ruger gp100. the 4" would serve you nicely and will handle anything from .38spl to the heaviest .357mag loads. grips are a personal matter and there are plenty of options out there to suit almost any hand.

May 19, 2013, 09:46 PM
Most any decent revolver would do pretty well. It seems that the older the revolver i get, the better the build quality is though.

OH, and i have had excellent luck with taurus as well.

May 19, 2013, 09:58 PM
There are some good S&W Model 10 Police trade-ins available online. They will handle 38spl+p ammo and if you handload are not that expensive to practice at the range. Also will be a good HD revolver.IMO

Steve CT
May 19, 2013, 11:16 PM
Within your parameters, a 4" .357 Magnum revolver would be a best choice. You can shoot .38 spl for practice, and will still be very appropriate and controllable for home defense. In addition, a 4" .357 can be very suitable for most CCW uses.

May 19, 2013, 11:19 PM
+1 to what EddieG54 said.

This is your first revolver. In the 'old days', when you could find ammo - many would suggest getting a .22. I don't know about your area, but where I'm at its easier to find centerfire ammo than rimfire. I'd suggest getting a .38 Special police trade-in S&W Model 10 with round butt. A person can find a grip that will fit just about any hand, from small to large for these guns. You can get this kinda S&W M10 for under $300 today. The finish may have a little 'character' to it, but generally they were 'shot little, carried alot' kinda guns. With their 4" barrels they were the service revolvers used for a very long time by most of the police in the USA (and many other places around the world). You will be well served by such a first revolver. The applications you mentioned, - - fun target shooting, camping, and house gun are perfect for a used M10. (The old ones are better than the new ones. Mine have butter smooth triggers.) Good luck

May 19, 2013, 11:28 PM
Another vote for a S&W Model 10, everyone should have one. I am partial to the older tapered barrels myself, but whatever floats your boat. Of course a .357 would give you the option of shooting either .38s or .357s, but everyone needs a model 10.

May 19, 2013, 11:36 PM
very helpful thread thanks all!

May 19, 2013, 11:48 PM
I think S&W will completely redo the Model 10 i.e refurbish it with new blue and replace parts for less than $400. I could be wrong, but you might want to check that out yourself.

I was going to suggest a S&W 586. I don't like the GP100 now that they changed the grip. Which is kinda hypocritical since I put the Hogue Mono Grip on my .44 Mag SBH, but I needed more grip to handle the 3# beast.

.357 would be a good first revolver. Especially since .22 LR doesn't exist anymore. If you wanted to get a single action .22 LR the Heritage is a lower cost option. I have one,and some hate them, but I have shot more vermin and pests with that 6.5" SA .22 LR revolver than any other gun I own. It works great, and is very accurate. At least mine is.

To bad .22 LR doesn't exist any longer, or you could try out the new DA .22 that Ruger has started manufacturing.
Compare a Ruger GP100 and S&W 586 for your .357 fix.

May 20, 2013, 12:06 AM
Eb1 - - - what did they do to the GP100 grip ? Ive got a 686, never shot a GP 100 yet.

May 20, 2013, 12:22 AM
Somewhere back about two years ago they had a nice looking wood grip with a soft rubber wrapped around it. Looked nice and felt better. Now it is just....I just don't like the way it feels or looks now.

Old Style:,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.46751780,d.dmQ&biw=1241&bih=580&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=rKSZUeuyDarV0gHw0IFI

But grips are easy enough to change out.

Texan Scott
May 20, 2013, 12:53 AM
Old style gp-100 grips are still available from Altamont, fyi.

May 20, 2013, 01:00 AM
Thanks EB1 - I wondered if they had changed the grip stud itself.

Field Tester
May 20, 2013, 01:51 AM
I'm in love with my S&W 686+ 6inch barrel. I was surprised by how accurate it is, more so than some of my rifles at 50 yards. Very little recoil too. I have a full lug. As said, you can shoot .38 Special but they also failed to mention you can shoot .38 Special +P, to help you work up to .357.

May 20, 2013, 04:57 AM
I have a taurus 65, a taurus 605 (2" brl) and a ruger sp101 3". I put houge grips on the latter 2, and my pinky has a good rest. A 6" 357 is in the future. The fit and finish of the taurus guns isnt up to par of the ruger, but no problems with performance. My only problem is the safariland 6rnd speedloaders wont work for my 65. Enjoy whatever you get. Although old school, I have a blast shooting them.

May 20, 2013, 09:33 AM
As to other brands, I have a Rossi that is a J frame clone. Shoots great and was reasonably priced. I like it a lot

The Bushmaster
May 20, 2013, 10:06 AM
S&W, Colt or Ruger. Stay away from Taurus or Rossi (to many problems).

S&W Mod 10 is an excellent choice. I have three and flat enjoy them.

As was stated above...If you reload. The Mod 10's are a blast to reload for.

May 20, 2013, 10:27 AM
Yep another vote for S&W Model 10 .38 Special.....though if you can find one at a decent price, a Model 15 (basically the same gun with adjustable sights) or a Model 19 which is basically a Model 15 set up for .357 magnum.

Four inch barrels are the most "flexible" as to use and carry balance in K frames in my opinion.

I have found that with the small grips about any one from 12 up can handle these and the K frame series has about a bigillion after market grips available.

-kBob (no that K is no relation to K Frame)

May 20, 2013, 10:43 AM
Mostly all good advice here. All I can add is pick up, handle, and try the triggers in both double/single action on as many revolvers as you can. Find grip, sites, caliber, finish, and style that you like the most. Stick with Ruger, S&W, and a well checked out Taurus and you'll be fine. I would certainly add Colt as well but they are little harder to find.

Remember that larger caliber size vs. weight of the gun are trade offs for recoil and LOUDNESS.

Looking is a great part of the enjoyment, so take your time and get what YOU want.

May 20, 2013, 11:09 AM
1) S&W K or L frame
2) Ruger Security/Service Six
3) Ruger GP100

A 4" barrel with any of these models will probably offer you the most versatility and carrying comfort (you mentioned camping and home defense), in a .357 Magnum revolver.

May 20, 2013, 11:20 AM
Another vote for the S&W Model 10. Good used ones can be found for $200-300 range and they're really hard to beat... at any price. The later "dash" model ones will handle +P for your HD needs. I really enjoy shooting mine, it's got the taper 4" barrel and the square grips.

May 20, 2013, 12:02 PM
My first-ever firearm was a revolver: Taurus Model 66, 4" blue .357 magnum.

Of course that was in the days of gun stores in malls, and a sticker price of $159.

May 20, 2013, 01:50 PM
If you get a Taurus, get a newer one. They've been improving over the years. The reverse is true for S&W. Anything with a pin in the barrel is good to go, provided it's in semi-decent shape. Their new stuff has not impressed me at all. The phrase "fun gun" comes to mind handling them. Cheapo sights, poor manufacturing standards and bad quality control.

Ruger still makes serious revolvers. They do tend to be beefier though and a few oz heavier than Smiths.

Personally I'd stay clear of Colts to start because some of the old ones have timing issues and they tend to be $$$. Plus service can be next to impossible to get. Many smiths refuse to work on them.

May 20, 2013, 02:39 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice! Good feedback and a pleasant community here. I'm leaning toward the Ruger GP100 with a 4" barrel. It was solid but not uncomfortably heavy for me, and the reputation seems unimpeachable.

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