Help me with my revolver choice


July 2, 2013, 12:50 PM
I have been looking at getting another revolver for shooting paper and maybe going deer hunting with on occasion. I have narrowed it down to either a ruger super blackhawk hunter, a smith and wesson 629 6.5", or a talo edition 686 7" 357. Which one would you choose and why? thanks

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July 2, 2013, 12:53 PM
I would encourage you to look at the Ruger GP100 as well. I was not a ruger fan at all until I picked one of those up. I was basically all but set on the 686 until I found the GP100. It also comes in a 5" limited edition barrel.

July 2, 2013, 12:57 PM
I'd rather have the 629. I prefer the balance of a Smith with the smooth trigger, and a 44 mag is a bigger hole than 357. I used to be an opponent of the 44 mag/spcl but have seen the light so to speak.

If your the type that likes to punish yourself with hot loads I'd get the Ruger. I don't like how I can feel the trigger 'stage', I had a really nice 41 Mag SRH for a while.

July 2, 2013, 01:05 PM
For hunting, I really like my Ruger Blackhawks. I have a Hunter Model in 41 Mag that I adore.

If the DA is more your style, go for the 629 or look at a Redhawk.

I prefer bigger holes for hunting. Depending on where you are and what you hunt, 357 may or may not be adequate.

July 2, 2013, 02:31 PM
Of the choices you listed I would go with the S&W 629. I carry one almost every day but it is a 3" 44. For deer hunting or virtually any thing else I prefer the 44. The exception is CC but then I use a 1911.

July 2, 2013, 02:41 PM
For deer, either bigbore you listed. A load adequate for deer in a pistol will be punishing on your hand and wallet and still limit you to about a hundred yards for a small deer, less for a thick bodied mulie or such. A 41, 44 or 45 will give you that extra bit of punch to extend your range and ensure a ethical harvest. Less walking too. Of the pistols you listed, I'd tend toward the Ruger SBH Hunter. Tough as nails and a fool proof recoil proof scope mount included with the purchase price.

July 2, 2013, 03:01 PM
Being different, of those listed I'd go with the Talo 686 .357. It'll allow the most shooting for your dollars invested and will be plenty adequate for deer. I'd prioritize my most frequent use over a "maybe" use that it will still be be able to handle.

July 2, 2013, 03:02 PM
I have really considered the SBH hunter I just worry about the chambers having to be opened up. I reload and will almost always shoot cast bullets.

July 2, 2013, 03:30 PM
Question for the OP.

What wild game will you be hunting?


July 2, 2013, 04:30 PM
Whitetail deer

July 2, 2013, 04:50 PM
At what range?

July 2, 2013, 05:02 PM
I figure 60yds max that's about all I am comfortable shooting.

Hondo 60
July 2, 2013, 05:05 PM
I'm with Schwing.

If you're looking for a .357, I would very seriously look at a GP 100.
They're built like tanks, to last until your great-great grandchildren fight over who gets it.

July 2, 2013, 05:11 PM
I personally think the 686 is built like a tank too

July 2, 2013, 05:14 PM
The 686 is, IMHO, absolutely one of the finest revolvers ever produced. I leaned towards the GP100 but will own a 686 as well in the future... You do need at least one for each hand.

July 2, 2013, 05:33 PM
true lol I have a 4" 686 that I love.

July 2, 2013, 07:02 PM
Does the super Blackhawk hunter soak up recoil better than the 629?

July 2, 2013, 07:44 PM
629 will increase take down power and thus versatility for hunting. 357 is more fun and cheaper to shoot.

I like the 686 TALOs, but I don't care for the 7" version. It seems a bit off balace to me when I handled one, but I realize you want the long pipe for hunting.

I wanted one I could shoot a deer with, and slap targets with out a ways. I just picked this one up a few weeks ago.

S&W 686 Performance Center Competitor

Just throwing it out there as another option.

July 2, 2013, 07:56 PM
After taking maybe a dozen deer or more with a .357.........I would suggest looking at .44mag or .45 Colt for deer. (you asked)

.......That SBH Hunter sounds good to me.

July 2, 2013, 08:02 PM
Since hunting is an issue, I prefer the 629 but I enjoy shooting my 686 more.

July 2, 2013, 08:04 PM
That's a nice revolver 460.

That's the kind of info I was looking for kb. I have killed one deer with a 357 and it was at about 12 yards. I am assuming you had problems with the 357 getting the job done.

July 2, 2013, 11:20 PM
I like the N frames a lot, but the SBH Hunter can handle a steady diet of real .44 Mag loads.
Not the watered down, glorified .44 Specials the ammo companies currently make in deference to the weakness of the N frame (when it comes to shooting full power mag ammo)
N frames are damned nice guns. No question. But, they can not handle a steady diet of full power mag ammo.

July 3, 2013, 06:49 AM
I have to agree with Jaymo, that of the three revolvers listed the Super Blackhawk is best suited for the full house loads you would use when deer hunting. The Model 686 (or a Ruger GP-100), would be a great choice if used more for target shooting or for the occasional deer.

July 3, 2013, 08:19 AM
I am assuming you had problems with the 357 getting the job done.

I never lost a deer that I shot with a .357. My tracking skills have been put to the test though. I suggest premium hp or sp bullets if you are taking deer with a .357. If you dont get any expansion or energy dump, a .357 punches a pretty small hole. Don't get me wrong...I like my .357s, and have several. My SD, CCW, are .357s, but I bought a .45Colt to hunt deer with.
Illinois had a "handgun only" season for antlerless deer for several years before it became "late season" and any legal firearm was allowed.....and I just like hunting with a handgun.

July 3, 2013, 02:56 PM
get the 629 44 magnum. the other two are heavier. you already have a 686 for 357mag deer hunting.

44 special loads for punching paper and a 240 gn xtp at about 1300 fps for the deer.


July 3, 2013, 03:05 PM
I would encourage you to look at the Ruger GP100 as well. I was not a ruger fan at all until I picked one of those up. I was basically all but set on the 686 until I found the GP100. It also comes in a 5" limited edition barrel.
The person is on right track with choices he provided. The caliber of the weapon you suggest isn't really suitable for deer hunting.

Mauser lover
July 3, 2013, 05:25 PM
Why double action S&Ws, but a single action Ruger?

Of the ones you listed, I would go with the Ruger Super Blackhawk, but I do like the Ruger Super Redhawk as well.

As some have suggested, you may want a little bit more than .357 for a deer. .357 is adequate, if you are an assured hunter, but I prefer the extra energy, just in case.

July 4, 2013, 11:00 PM
I'd also go with the .357, unless you reload.

July 4, 2013, 11:28 PM
I am still up in the air. I am a reloaded I haven't bought pistol ammo for probably 10 years.

red rick
July 4, 2013, 11:46 PM
You already have a 357, I would get the Super Blackhawk or Standard Redhawk.

July 5, 2013, 07:27 PM
The 357 mag will kill a deer but unless you don't like to eat deer I would relegate the pistol to a side arm, no matter what caliber. I have taken a couple deer with a pistol but in both occasions I was away from my long gun.

July 5, 2013, 07:34 PM
I would go with a .44 mag or a hopped up .45 Colt. Single-action revolvers are easier on your hand and less cumbersome for the most part. A Bisley gripped .44 mag with adj sights and 7.5" barrel is best in my opinion.

July 6, 2013, 09:53 AM
I would pick the 629 6" it never came in 6 1/2 ".
The .44 mag is a better choice for deer.

July 6, 2013, 10:02 AM
My two cents:

Penny number one says to avoid the .44 unless you reload. You'll shoot, and enjoy, a .38/.357 a lot more.

Penny number two says that the best way to decide is to handle them, and get the one that best suits your hands and your eyes. Like shoes, the ones that fits best are the ones you'll like best.

July 6, 2013, 01:58 PM
Ruger SBH Bisley Hunter 44 mag. non better.

Mat, not doormat
July 9, 2013, 02:26 AM
How sure are you that you want to deer hunt with this gun? The answer to that will determine whether you should get the .357 or .44.

If you get the .44, I'd go for the Ruger. Smiths are nice guns, but Ruger makes a better (read: stronger) big bore magnum. Ruger also makes Redhawks and Super Redhawks, if you prefer double action. I don't, but then, as an active CAS shooter, I have a couple of hundred thousand times the experience with single actions that I do with doubles. Also, I'm fussy about triggers, and don't believe in making guns more difficult to shoot than they need to be.

The DA's great advantage, speed and ease of reloading, is a non issue for a deer pistol. If you somehow use all six shooting at a deer, I'm not sure seven through twelve are going to help.

To be fair to DAs, though, I've heard the argument made that they are quieter, and less likely to spook the deer than cocking an SA.

So, I'd get the Ruger Super Blackhawk. But it's your money, not mine.

July 9, 2013, 05:48 AM
Does Ruger seem to have there tight cylinder throats problem fixed?

July 9, 2013, 01:30 PM
Here is my, still current production, eight year old 6" 629-6 in 'hunting attire'. I never have hunted with it but I can put six 240gr LSWC .44 Specials on a paper plate at 75yd handheld - pretty good for my now shakey hands. The .500 Magnum grips aren't needed for the 'Specials' - but they help with real Magnums, too. Don't let anyone fool you - a maximum SAAMI spec .44 Magnum load - commercial ammo - is fine for any modern, 629-3 or later, S&W .44 Magnum revolver. My 12 & 14 yr old grandsons have shot Magnums from this revolver. It normally doesn't sport the Weaver H2 2X28 handgun scope - that was prep for hunting season years ago... I didn't even buy a license!

That combo should take nearly anything in the states, with the right ammo. I make my own ammo, so it's easy to make almost affordable plinking ammo. If you want a dedicated plinker - that could serve as a hunting revolver, check your hunting laws re the 4" barrel, - get a 4" S&W .357 Magnum - a 627 Pro if you can find and afford one. Super revolver - eight shooter that will take moonclipped ammo - even .38 Specials. Here it is, top-below, with a 617, a ten-shooter in .22 LR - a fantastic plinker. Probably, however, suitable for close-in tree rats at most, hunting-wise.


July 9, 2013, 02:48 PM
What Murph said.

July 9, 2013, 03:32 PM
Don't forget that the Redhawk comes in the "hunter" model also.

July 9, 2013, 08:35 PM
I realize you did not include the Redhawk in your OP, but your choices are so dissimilar that I also suggest a 5.5" Redhawk in .44 or .45. Restricted to your three originals I would choose .44 caliber in the 6" 629. The 629 seems like more of an all around gun than your other two choices.

July 9, 2013, 08:58 PM
I realize I didn't list the redhawk. I have always liked rugers and realize they are build like a tank. I just personally never liked the looks of them at all. I really wish I did because I know they are well made, I just don't have that I gotta have that feeling with them like I do the smiths. I have just noticed it seems a lot of people shy away from smiths when considering a hunting revolver.

I am not sure if this is because of less recoil from a heavier gun, built stronger to take more stout loads (which I think this claim is a little over rated, I don't know of anyone who goes to the range weekly and blast hundreds of full house 44 through there revolver, if nothing else from a cost standpoint), or that they like the ruger rings for scope mounting.

Mat, not doormat
July 9, 2013, 09:08 PM
Which guns give you the warm and fuzzies and which do not is not really something we can help you with. :neener:

Mat, not doormat
July 9, 2013, 09:30 PM
However, Buffalo Bore says:

This new load is designed ONLY for certain firearms. They are as follows; Ruger Red Hawk, Ruger Super Red Hawk, Ruger Super Blackhawk or Vaquero, Freedom Arms Model 83, Taurus Raging Bull, Colt Anaconda and Dan Wesson Revolvers. Suitable rifles include T/C Encore, "modified" Marlin 1894 (see next paragraph), Winchester 1894, any rifle with a falling block action and the Handi Rifle. *We get hundreds of emails asking if this load can be fired in S&W revolvers or some firearm other than what is in the above list. The answer is NO. The above list is all inclusive. If some shooters continue to irresponsibly use this product, we may have to discontinue it and that would be unfortunate as it is our best selling 44 mag. load and it gives great performance for those that use it responsibly however, as is always the case, irresponsible use of any product ends up penalizing responsible users. It would also be wise to read our “Technical Article” on “Dangerous Pure Lead Cowboy Bullets”, before using this (ITEM 4D) product.*

It's not only a durability issue with standard factory loads. It's also a really effing bad idea to shoot heavy .44s in S&Ws. There is a widespread feeling that these heavy loads are what a .44 Mag is for, and that standard factory stuff is weaker to accommodate S&W.

Of course, there's always another side to a story, and it's often been maintained that if you're taking a shot marginal enough that the difference between a Buffalo Bore or Garrett Super Magnum load and a standard Remington or Winchester load is going to be the difference between a dead deer and an injured one, maybe you should think twice about the ethics of that shot to begin with.

Still another side would point out that the Super Magnums are sort of wasted on whitetails, which aren't the hardest animals in the world to kill, and are instead meant for bigger animals, like elk or bears. After all, 340 grains of bullet travelling 1500 feet per second out of a three pound pistol is going to be smacking the palm of your hand with the same 42 ft/lbs of recoil with which a .300 Weatherby Magnum hunting rifle abuses the shoulder of its firer. Can you do your best shooting in such conditions? I, for one, cannot.

July 9, 2013, 10:01 PM
I am with you on that I personally know for a fact that brutal recoil really makes my shooting go down hill. Personally in the 44 mags I've shot I feel comfortable with a 240gr bullet around 1200-1250 fps which I feel is gonna do the job on a deer out to 50-75yds.

July 10, 2013, 02:25 PM
Don't know what's best but I own a gp161 and love it. My favorite 357 is sp101 3". Nice guns for the money. If your in the woods with a 6" barrel, a good holster is important.middle chest shoulder is nice. Happy shooting.

Arkansas Paul
July 10, 2013, 03:39 PM
I would definitely go with one of the .44s since deer hunting is on your agenda. Prolly the Smith.

July 11, 2013, 01:26 PM
357 is an excellent caliber choice, and now a personal favorite. I went with a 6" GP 100 because the budget was still uh on target, and I guess due to my entirely unfounded opinion that it's "tougher" than a S&W and Taurus. I felt in the looks department it was comparable to the S&W and Python, but good people here will disagree. Found a used Bianchi leather holster that works really well, and added a couple of speed loaders to the kit.

Now that I've shot ~1000 rounds of almost all 357 both mine and factory, I like the gun more. It goes deer hunting, but as a side arm, not my primary. Someday I plan to shoot a pig with it, and when the Mrs and I go camping, it lives in the tent with us.

Of the guns you listed in your OP, I would probably go with the Blackhawk and then spend the difference on a high quality holster and lots of practice ammo or reloading components (good luck with the primers).

July 12, 2013, 12:37 AM
I ENTHUSIASTICALLY recommend the 629. Not only is it a beautiful gun, the balance is great and it's fairly easy to carry in the field. Expensive to shoot if you buy your own ammo. The Ruger single-actions are also fabulous guns, but they're best shot with one hand. I never liked the plow-handled pistols. ( ( (

This 629 was never fired while I owned it. I liked it because it
had a stamped sideplate, counter-bored chambers and a pinned
barrel. It also had plated non-MIM parts. (

This Astra .44 mag was one of the best kept secrets of the
early 80s. This one had a crisp trigger, exceptional fit and finish
and counterbored chambers. It was gorgeous.

July 12, 2013, 08:56 AM
I vote with the 629 crowd. Mine is as accurate as a rifle out to 100 yards and has been one of my favorite revolvers since I got it.

629-4 Classic DX

July 12, 2013, 09:44 PM
I've deer hunted with all three. I like the Hunter best. In fact, I traded my 6" 686 for a second one. Kept my 5" 629, love to shoot it, but I don't hunt with it any more. Though I appreciate a S&W aesthetics, the Ruger Hunter is a deer harvesting machine. And, since it's setup with optics, I shoot it as a just-for-fun range gun and as a test-new-loads gun quit a bit.

Still have a 3" 686 but couldn't use it for deer hunting in the States I hunt in, even if I wanted to. A barrel 4" or longer is required.

July 12, 2013, 10:39 PM
I just took delivery of the 629 Performance Center V-comp in .44 mag/special from S&W and it gets my vote. 4" barrel which makes it easier to carry and stabilize when aiming. Counterweighted for better follow-up (not critical in the deer hunting case) and an amazingly well-tuned piece of machinery. Despite the 4" barrel, it's mass will take the hit out of the mag cartridge.
And if Darth Vader traveled the West on a robot horse, it would be the gun he carried.

July 13, 2013, 04:55 PM
I've always been partial to the 629 mountain gun.

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