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.357 Snub Poll for n00b: Taurus, S&W, or Ruger?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Green Lantern, Sep 2, 2008.


Which .357 snub would you reccomend for a budget-minded newbie to the revolver?

  1. Taurus

    38 vote(s)
  2. Smith

    79 vote(s)
  3. Ruger

    137 vote(s)
  1. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Senior Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    As I see them, all based on "heresay" unless I specify otherwise:

    Taurus: -Low cost, locking mechanism that will NOT render gun useless if it fails (as far as I know). Lifetime warranty, but "spotty" customer service sometimes. DA trigger in my Model 94 (around 2000) left MUCH to be desired...

    Smith - Logic wants to say better quality for higher price. But they have their own @#$! internal lock that WILL render the gun useless should it fail. Have a very lightweight offering in the M&P 340 - but probably not best for a revolver novice like me.

    And from what I hear, BOTH of them are not recommended for EXTENSIVE shooting with full-power loads. That's a negative in my view. Not that I'd engage in a daily 100-round practice session with Magnums (it would be good for my skills, but I can't AFFORD to)...but who needs a gun where they might think "well, I'd go practice a bit, but don't want to cause wear on the gun that I'll be carrying for defense..."

    Which brings me to Ruger. From what I hear, this is a gun that you can shoot to your heart's content with whatever kind of ammo, and not worry about wearing it out. Sounds like a definite PLUS to me. Let me go ahead and get it out of the way, I despised Bill Ruger for his elitist stance on firearms ownership (civvies don't need "hi-caps," ad nauseum)...

    But the old man is gone now, and while the company hasn't "disavowed" his past statements in words, they seem to be doing so in action...maybe...

    At any point...if I was heading out TODAY to buy one, I'd likely get the Ruger.

    Anyhow, that's how *I* see it, but this place is filled with folks more edu-macated than I am in the school of revolver, so I eagerly await sage advice! :)

    ETA: Might ought to add, budget is a factor. It'll probably be at least a YEAR before I can actually buy the gun - NO MORE PLASTIC PURCHASES for me, I'm paying that thing off and reserving it for EMERGENCIES.

    Also - which configuration do you think is best? It'll be a CCW gun naturally, so I was thinking a "hammerless" model like the Taurus CIA for less chance of snag - and one less place to collect LINT in my pocket! No such option on the Ruger, not sure if I should get the spur-less model or not if that's what I get...
  2. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Apr 13, 2007
    Based on what you've written, my only piece of advice is to make your final decision after you've held (and hopefully shot) each one. All the data and pros&cons in the world won't matter much if, in the end, the gun doesn't feel good in your hand and/or you don't shoot it well.
  3. DougDubya

    DougDubya Senior Member

    Jan 25, 2008
    The People's Republic of Cook County.
    For a n00b, no matter how much you hate Bill Ruger, you want an SP101. The Taurus titanium and the Smith Scanadium's will only make you feel as if Rosie O'Donnel strapped your hand to the floor and engaged in a pogo-stick session for the Guinness Book of World Records.

    Barring that, get a Model 60 - a STEEL model 60, preferably the 3 inch kit gun version.
  4. BikerRN

    BikerRN member

    Aug 27, 2007
    "State of Discombobulation"
    I'd go with the Ruger.

    They are really easy to "smith" and clean up so that you have a nice action on them. Also, they last forever and handle the recoil of the .357 Magnum very well.

    I used to have a J-Frame .357 Magnum, but it hurt to shoot it and since I couldn't see putting 38 Specials in it, I bought it because it was chambered for the .357 Magnum, I sold it. My only J-Frame is an Airweight 38 Special.

    The SP101 comes with either a traditional Hammer or a "spurless" DAO, your choice. :) I really like my SP101 and it makes a good companion gun to my 3" GP100 that I already carry off duty. The Rugers are heavy enough that belt carry would be better than in the pocket, IMHO.

    Ruger has changed a bit over the years, and I have no "beef" with them. If you want to criticize a company for policies why not criticize S & W for putting the ILS on their Revolvers? I myself won't buy a new S & W for anything except hunting, as I don't trust the ILS lock they have. Yes, I've had one fail on me.

  5. Gator

    Gator Senior Member

    Jul 23, 2003
    Stuck in Crook Co., IL
    For a self described newbie, I'd also recommend a Ruger because of the weight. .357 in any small gun is a handful and may be so unpleasant you will not shoot it much. Have you considered a .38 Spl snub?
  6. lee n. field

    lee n. field Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2002

    (Any will do. I picked up a Taurus 605 .357 snub a couple months back. Works fine, 500+ shots through it.

    Impressions: .357 is not pleasant to shoot through it, with the biggest rubber grip I found for it. It's not intended to be a fun gun to shoot, it's intended to fill a particular niche -- to be there when a bigger gun might not be.

    It's not an easy gun to shoot well. Practice, practice, practice.

    I was afraid DA was going to be hard and nasty, so I got a standard hammered gun. DA trigger turned out nice enough that if I had it to do over, I might go hammerless.

    And yes, I know I'm taking a chance on Taurus customer service. Been there, done that, still bought this one.)
  7. SR_

    SR_ Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    You have not given us enough information:

    If you want for concealed carry, you might want the lightest possible revolver. These are a handful with .38 +P and really not fun with .357. While both are very good for personal protection, none are the type of handgun you'd want to spend an hour (heck even 15 minutes if you're shooting .357) with on the range. (see the post right above this one) (I've shot Revolvers in IDPA competitions - I carry a .38+P hammerless it's all you need my wife can handle it if she needs to borrow it.)

    Still small but a little heavier are the Ruger SP-101 and the steel frame smiths. (I don't have anything against Taurus, just don't know anything about them.) The extra weight makes a big difference on the range (less recoil) and everyone (including my teen age daughters) enjoyed shooting the SP-101 with the hogue grips. (I use to carry the SP-101 - it's hard to believe the extra few ounces makes that big a difference - it does. You'll see similar postings if you search here and on other forums.) If you don't plan to carry the gun for personal protection (or will not carry it often), the steel frame smiths or the SP-101 may be the way to go if your heart is set on a snub nose.

    Let me mention there are also 3 inch barreled SP-101s and j-frames. I've never heard anyone that had one say they didn't like them.

    If you will not carry a revolver for personal protection and want a great shooting range gun, go a 4" or longer. K-frames are great (if you don't shoot a lot of .357s). Otherwise go with a L-frame or a Ruger GP-100. These are great for carrying in the woods (a heavy .357mag will work for whitetail deer) and you move up to 6 shots. (Check state laws - many have minimum barrel lengths for hunting.)

    You can often find deals on used 4" revolvers.
  8. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Senior Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    Well, I do intend it for CCW...was HOPING for a pocket gun, just something I can easily "gear up" with as either a backup for my main gun (Glock 19), or just something to carry on it's own.

    Now, I own a Kel-Tec P3AT as a gun that I can carry regardless of clothing, it's so small and light. But I figure if I'm gonna carry a small gun that also has a small capacity - having one that has a much more solid reputation of RELIABILITY would be of some comfort. The bigger round don't hurt either. ;) I know that NO .38/.357 revolver will ever match the diminutive P3AT in terms of "concealability" - the P3AT will always have the edge in weight, flatness, and overall size. But since the former comes up at least as often, if not MORE often, than the latter, I figure it must be pretty manageable.

    As for just getting a .38 - well, I figure if I find out there's just no way I can handle magnum loads in such a gun, I can just use .38s. ;)
  9. wnycollector

    wnycollector Senior Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Western NY
    I voted Ruger, but I would suggest trying to find a 2.75" Ruger "six". I have tried lots of J frame .357's and could never shoot them rapidly worth a damn! With the added weight of my snub security six, rapid followups are very manageable even with full bore 125gr doubletap gold dots.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
  10. ACORN

    ACORN Member

    Oct 24, 2003
    "The shining city on a hill"
    I bought a LNIB SP101 for $250. If you can find one for that buy it! Its a bit heavy but built like a tank. If you decide to sell it you can recoup your money and then some!
  11. Daizee

    Daizee Member

    Aug 19, 2008
    oops, I forgot it said .357.

    For a budget-minded snub in .38spl, I think the taurus 85 variations are surprisingly nice. I even shot an aluminum framed one last week and was really impressed. Those taurus snubbie grips are fantastic. The D/A was nice, and I made 5 shots in 3" at 7yds (standing, D/A) no problem.

    For a .357, Ruger all the way. Also if the budget is big enough I'd go Ruger regardless.

  12. machinisttx

    machinisttx Member

    Jun 5, 2008
    North of Dallas, south of the Red
    I own a *few* S&W's, but my carry gun is a SP101. I prefer it for two reasons. The first is that it's strong enough for a steady diet of magnum loads, and the second is that it's not uncomfortable to shoot. Mine, after some work, has a better trigger than any J frame I've ever felt.
  13. RandomMan

    RandomMan Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    Keep Austin Weird, The Republic of Texas
    Smith or Ruger, skip the Taurus.

  14. Marvin KNox

    Marvin KNox Member

    Feb 13, 2008
    S&w 340 M&p

    I like the 340 M&P.

    Great Tritium sights. Easy to clean cylinder. CT 405 grips to cut recoil.

    An extra 1&1/3 oz. makes it kick less than the regular 340. Still very light and very snag proof for pocket carry. I carry on the belt or in a belly-band. Don't even think about it being there half the time.

    .357's are stout. I've shot the Double Tap 125's at over 1400 fps from the 1&7/8" barrel. I like them for fun. But I settled on the DPX 125's at around 1100 fps. for carry because they are quicker on the 2nd shot.

    I practice with cheap Mastercast reloads which match the velocity of the DPX's awfully close. I only have to buy a small amount of expensive carry ammo so that's not a factor with the expensive DPX. The reloads are around than 1/5 or less when compared to the price of the DPX. I also shoot light .38's for practice. It works out to around 2/3 .38's and 1/3 .357's for practice.

    A little more info than you asked for, I know.

    I'm very sure that the Ruger would be a good choice if you don't want to ever carry in the pocket or in a belly band. But I'm real pleased with the 340 M&P for all around use. With a wise choice of ammo- you really can get used to the lighter weight of the Smith & Wesson.
  15. 911Boss

    911Boss New Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    Lake Stevens WA.
    If weight and pocket carry isn't an issue, go with the Ruger. I can shoot .357mag all day long in my wife's SP101. No worries about wear on me or the gun.

    If weight or pocket carry is an issue, go with the S&W. I love my M&P340, it is in my front pants pocket pretty much at all times. Not really comfortable with .357mag, tolerable with .38. I have no worries on wearing out given the SS cylinder and barrel. Even if it does, S&W lifetime warranty means it will be made right if something should happen.

    I voted S&W because I give light weight and the Centennial design the advantage over absorbing recoil. Ruger would be my #2 pick. In most cases, the price difference between S&W or Ruger and a Taurus aren't going to be that much. If I found a Taurus in good shape for $100 less than comparable S&W, I mught consider it, but my experience is the difference is usually less than $50.

    New no-lock 642's can be had for $375, no lock 442's are on the way and will be about the same prices.
  16. weregunner

    weregunner Senior Member

    Aug 12, 2006
    Do recommend Taurus and Rossi revolvers.

    On the other hand have to admit to owning a Ruger SP101,tried the GP100 series and have shot many of them, and recommend them,too. The Ruger SP101 was fine revolver. I sold it off to get another Ruger product.

    S&W make very good revolvers.

    Hard to beat any of the above as a selection. All have very good track records. So I could recommend any of the above brands and do at this forum.

    Granted,most of my experience has been with Taurus for the most part.

    Have the ability to shoot others' S&W revolvers freqently enough to appreciate them.

    I've just had excellent performance from my 20+ year Taurus model 65,66,85CH. Also have the same excellent perfrmance from newly aquired model 66 in ss, 82 in ss, and the Rossi 462 in ss.

    Haven't had a need to go to the Rugers or S&Ws. There always on the current to possible purchase in the future though.

    Here's the scoop on the Taurus/Rossi line.

    I figure that providing the facts and then trusting the person who made the query to pick what's right for them is the way to go. That's regardless of any other factors.
  17. crebralfix

    crebralfix member

    Mar 7, 2004
    Get a USED S&W revolver without a lock. You will appreciate it more because you can see how well the gun is made.

    Any 38 Special J-Frame revolver will perform just fine. You can even load them hot (within the parameters of 38 Special NON-plus pee). Check out what you can do with hardcast semi-wad cutter bullets...there's quite a bit!

    You also may find that a S&W K-Frame in 357 Magnum with 3" barrel is very versatile. The Ruger GP100s are a bit large for my tastes, but you should handle one in the store.
  18. machinisttx

    machinisttx Member

    Jun 5, 2008
    North of Dallas, south of the Red
    A hard cast bullet is about the last choice I would make for self defense. You'll have plenty of penetration, and(with the right bullet design) a full caliber hole, but a pretty ineffective stopper with anything other than a CNS hit.

    The 3" K frame magnums are overpriced and won't stand up to constant use with full on magnum loads(like all K frames). 125 grain and lighter bullets damage the gun.
  19. Legionnaire

    Legionnaire Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    My order of preference:


    The Ruger SP101 is a tank, and it will take all you run through it and more. It is heavy, and soaks up recoil better than a Smith. Of course, that weight is the downside when it comes to concealed carry. But on balance, I still prefer the Ruger.
  20. GaryP

    GaryP Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    Go with the Ruger SP101 2.25" or 3" in .357 Mag. I own both the Ruger SP101 .357 Mag 2.25" and a S&W Mod. 60 3". Both are excellent revolvers, but the Ruger is the heavy weight of the two. :)

    Neither have locks!


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