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Is a 7-shot .357 revolver more dangerous?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by KJS, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. KJS

    KJS Well-Known Member

    When I bought my GP100 back in 2008 I looked at the competition from S&W and Taurus and saw they both offered a 7th round, while Ruger stops at 6.

    I always questioned the prudence of putting an extra hole in a cylinder, leaving thinner cylinder walls, which would seem to allow for a greater risk (even if still VERY low) of a gun blowing up.

    Saw this post on a Ruger forum that shows what can happen to the built-like-a-tank GP even when one is using factory ammo.


    How many of you would avoid 7-shot revolvers on the basis that they're not as strong?

    S&W even has an 8-shot .357. So is 8-shots a good idea, a bad idea, or a bit of both?
  2. earplug

    earplug Well-Known Member

    Not more dangerous

    One can't always plan for the unexpected and unexplained.
    If a reputable maker sells a firearm you should remain calm and relaxed while using it.
  3. WC145

    WC145 Well-Known Member

    It's only dangerous for the mope that thinks you ran out after six!

    I trust my 7 shot S&W 586 L-Comp completely, I've never given the extra chamber a thought beyond having one more round if I need it.
  4. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    I Concur

    Exactly, what my friend earplug said~! ;) :)
  5. ms6852

    ms6852 Well-Known Member

    I would purchase the 8 round version. Metallurgy today can handle the pressure of the explosion that occurs within the cylinder. Any the walls are that much thinner, the cylinder is a lot larger than the 6 or 7 round version.
  6. Malamute

    Malamute Well-Known Member

    My first comment was going to be "Of course they're more dangerous, more bullets is always more dangerous!!!"

    One point not mentioned, cylinders with odd numbers of chambers have the locking bolt cut between rather than over the chamber, tho Ruger offsets theirs somewhat so that wouldn't be much of a difference either way on them. The locking bolt cuts are always where cylinders start to let go. I think the 7 shot L frames are fine for strength. The 8 shooters are on the N frame, which is larger still. I seriously doubt they would have sent them out without seeing what they would take. I've not heard of any letting go so far. They've been out for quite a while now.
  7. WAID

    WAID Well-Known Member

    If you put enough powder in any firearm it won't fare well. I wouldn't worry about 7 rd revolvers. they actually use the same cylinder diameter or is it a larger cylinder? The 8-shot revolvers are N-frames to my knowledge so they should have lots of cylinder to work with. That link seems to provide evidence for 6 rd revolvers being dangerous. Even numbers of holes leave the cylinder notches lined up with the chamber making a thin area. Odd numbers put the notches in between. I'm not sure how big of a difference that makes but S&W uses it as a selling point for the 5 shot j-frames.
  8. winchester1886

    winchester1886 Well-Known Member

    I have a Taurus Mod.66 with a 7 shot cylinder and have had no problems.I don't feed it a steady diet of hot loads,but I do shoot 158gr XTPHP with a stout load of H-110.
  9. General Geoff

    General Geoff Well-Known Member

    The gunmakers will put as many chambers in the cylinder as is safely possible. The Smith 627/327 has 8 chambers because the cylinder has a larger diameter than that of smaller framed .357 wheelguns.
  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    The 7-shot S&W L-frame is actually less likely to have a failure as the bolt notches are in a meatier portion of the cylinder. The strength of a cylinder isn't the steel between the chambers, it is the steel between the wall of a chamber and the nearest bolt notch.

    The 8-shot S&W is the much larger N-frame, which is the same frame/cylinder that they use to chamber the .41 and .44 Magnum. The .357Mag N-frame is very strong indeed
  11. pyth0n

    pyth0n Active Member

    Check this out on this Ruger forum. There is a new poster there with a GP100 with a cracked cylinder. Good thing it didn't have holes for seven. If there's enough metal like the larger S&W then there shouldn't be a problem. Using a cylinder made for a six shot med frame could be a bit touchy.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  12. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Just a little information on that "built like a tank" thing everyone keeps saying. Ruger revolvers are larger than S&W, Taurus and most other but not because they are tanks but because they have to be. Instead of being made from a solid piece of steel they are made buy a process called "Investment Casting." Because of this method the frame has to be that large just to equal the strength of the smaller S&W frame.

    You may not like what I'm saying but it's fact, not fiction...
  13. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Is there something that you are trying to point out, in the link you posted, that isn't in the OP's link...after all, they are the same pictures
  14. Stainz

    Stainz Well-Known Member

    If you compare the S&W 4" 6-shot 686 with the Ruger 4" GP100, you'll find less than an ounce difference in mass. The cast steel Ruger vs the hammer-forged and heat-treated S&W. Sure, the Ruger has a solid frame and a relatively easily removed trigger group - any more service there, and it had best be in a ziplock bag. S&W's have a removable sideplate - and similar internal construction in all sizes - even the X-frame (.500 Magnum) - it works. Both will exhibit a long life with SAAMI spec'd ammo - or less. Some go overboard with Rugers - tempting fate, if you ask me. If you need more than a standardized and accepted load, you need a different caliber revolver.

    My favorite example is meeting 'major' classification for competition - a PF of 165 (PF is the product of bullet mass in grains and the muzzle velocity in thousands of fps.). A 125gr bullet must go over 1320 fps - a 158gr must make over 1,045 fps. Both are loud, flashy, and generally, produce a bit snappy recoil. Now, let's get a smaller/lighter revolver - a 3" 696 - and load it with some 'cute' .44 Russians, made up of a 240gr LSWC over 3.5 gr Titegroup. That 'poof' load will make a good muffled boom - little push - yet make a whopping 692 fps - for a PF of 166 - and it's an all day shooting combo. Larger caliber - bigger/heavier bullet moving slower - less chamber pressur - longer lasting revolver. Pegs the 'fun-o-meter', too. Go to the .45 Colt or higher pressure ACP - even more fun - and you can get .45 ACPs reasonably anywhere.

    Now, a properly made and rated 7-shot S&W - or, as I prefer, a larger framed 8-shooter, is totally 'safe' to the user - and will exhibit no more wear than a six shooter at 10k, 20k, etc rounds. Just stay within SAAMI spec's! Or, in my case, shoot your own loads - .38 Special level in .357 Magnum cases = even longer life!

  15. mes227

    mes227 Well-Known Member

    Everything made by humans has flaws and statistically are prone to failure. There's no evidence that the 7- or 8-shot revolvers are failing at a higher rate than the 6-shots and there is evidence to the contrary. Any of us can find examples of failures of any handgun configuration - and that's mostly irrelevant in the question of "which is safer."
  16. pyth0n

    pyth0n Active Member

    Nothing in particular. When I clicked on the op's link I got nothing. But i did see those pics in both forums.
  17. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    Very dangerous.

    Makes you question the adequacy of your 6-shot guns, and causes you to spend more money on guns.
  18. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Well-Known Member

    You insensitive b*stards. My five shot 642 is sitting in the corner crying. Gonna have to go reassure her now.
  19. 340PD

    340PD Well-Known Member

    Wonderful firearm. 586-Lcomp 7 shot

  20. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    No, if you avoid using certain brands of ammo that are loaded for LOCO performance. If I was was to buy new centerfire combat revolver it would have EIGHT chambers.

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