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View Poll Results: Which is a better 357 magnum revolver?
Colt Python 87 23.77%
SW 686 138 37.70%
Ruger GP100 89 24.32%
Tough call. They are at par with each other. 52 14.21%
Voters: 366. You may not vote on this poll

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Old February 5, 2013, 04:52 PM   #26
brnmw
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Quote:
Define "better".
I can see comparing and contrasting a S&W 686 and a Ruger GP100.....but a Colt Python is a whole different level of refinement.
Agreed....

Choosing between the S&W and Ruger: The Smith wins.
Comparing it to a "Python" heck just spelling the moniker with a lower case "p" will land you in hot water.....
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:21 PM   #27
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If you were to lay the 586, GP-100 and Python on a table in front of me and I could have one of them for free to keep forever, I still wouldn't pick the Python. Throw a nice model 19 and 27 or the aforementioned custom GP down there and the Colt slips further back. Throw down an earlier model 24, 29, 1950 Target .44Spl, Registered Magnum, or Triple-Lock and the Colt is not even worth mentioning. Not everybody drinks the Python Kool Aid and not everybody chooses differently due to cost. I agree that on average the snake is a better made sixgun than just about any post-war S&W but I still like Smith's better.

Between those three, the only way I'd choose the Python is if the other two were stainless steel and/or the Smith had an internal lock.
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Old February 5, 2013, 08:52 PM   #28
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They are all nice guns, but for me out of the three, I chose the Python. And before the Python, a model 19-4 was my 357 of choice.

I have no issues with throwing this in a holster, carrying it, or shooting it at the range. If I were going to roll around on the ground under my pickup truck in the dirt, I'd leave this one home, but otherwise, I don't mind using it at all.




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Old February 5, 2013, 09:07 PM   #29
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If I were headed in harm's way, To the sound of gunfire I'd pick the S&W 686. Going to a Texas barbecue I'd grab the Colt Python.
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Old February 5, 2013, 09:35 PM   #30
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I voted "on par" because 1) you don't say better in what way and 2) the vast majority of non-revolver aficionados among couldn't tell them apart if we shot them blindfolded. I could not.
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Old February 5, 2013, 09:49 PM   #31
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Forget the collectibility of any of the three and $ value. Does the python still stack up? If put head to head full house loads, hard use, wear and tear?
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:22 PM   #32
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Three years ago I would of picked a pre-lock S&W 686. But today I would go with the GP100. In my opinion Ruger has slowly improved this revolver and its now the better choice new than the S&W 686.

But I still prefer my Ruger Police Service Six 357 over any of them. I have owned 686s and GP100s. I like Colts but only to look at.
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Old February 5, 2013, 11:34 PM   #33
el Godfather
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I never thought of Python as a big deal until I pulled the trigger on it. The best double action pull period. Too bad I dint have them in every config for collection. GP100 I like for rougher use- not that wont use my Python.
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Old February 5, 2013, 11:48 PM   #34
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Got to go with the GP100 for best BANG for the buck, not because I don't think the Smith or Colt wouldn't perform as well, but I know the Ruger will perform and at a price point the others can't touch. I recently bought mine well used for $400 and I've put 300 rounds through it without issue. It's certainly no beauty queen, the nicks and rub areas don't show in this photo. I just replaced the grips with new Hogues as the stock ones were pretty worn, but not that happy with the fit as seen in the photo. This gun just keeps on shooting.

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Old February 5, 2013, 11:58 PM   #35
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7 round 4" 686+ for the win.

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Old February 6, 2013, 11:43 AM   #36
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Quote:
If you were to lay the 586, GP-100 and Python on a table in front of me and I could have one of them for free to keep forever, I still wouldn't pick the Python.
Well if that were the case I'd absolutely go with the Python. I could then sell the Python and get one of each of the other two. Though, I've only ever been able to talk about selling a gun. Never have been able to actually go through with it.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:29 PM   #37
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Obviously if money were an object then anyone would say they'd take the Python and sell it, myself included but that's not really relevant. It's why I stipulated:

"If you were to lay the 586, GP-100 and Python on a table in front of me and I could have one of them for free to keep forever, I still wouldn't pick the Python."
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Old February 6, 2013, 01:34 PM   #38
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I've shot a bunch of them other than the Colt.

If the goal is to SHOOT the darn thing a lot with full power loads then the answer is simple. A S&W 27 or 28. The added mass of the big N frame soaks up the kick from the .357's nicely.

I prefer the S&W over the Ruger because the Ruger's action has a little "click" in the trigger travel when the cylinder bolt snaps free to lock the cylinder. I find that disconcerting and it disturbs my concentration in performing the best smooth DA pull.

And I know that for some odd reason a lot of folks avoid the DA mode with revolvers. That's fine. But even there the S&W SA mode trigger is head and shoulders better than the Ruger SA mode trigger pull. The S&W action breaks with zero detectable creep where the Ruger action has a noticable creep before release. Give me the "breaking glass" S&W action any day of the week.

By all accounts the Colt are great guns. But not only are parts probably harder to get but finding gunsmiths that know how to install and tune any replacement parts is becoming more rare. So strictly on that count I'd tend to pass by the Colt option.
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Old February 6, 2013, 02:40 PM   #39
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Can't argue with that. Everything is a compromise of sorts and there are no free lunches. The fun part is that we get to try them all and find what we like best. As is usually the case, the journey is more important than the destination.
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Old February 6, 2013, 05:11 PM   #40
cgerace19
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Pull the trigger on a python and then comment. Smoothest double action trigger pull. It is just down right wonderful. To those that have never pull the trigger on one, find someone with a shooter and feel that trigger.

But this is similar to comparing Ford vs Chevy vs BMW.

Some ppl will want nothing but the best. Others will want something that goes bang. To each his own.
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Old February 6, 2013, 05:18 PM   #41
CraigC
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By the same token, a professionally tuned S&W gives up very little to the Python, if any. Not to mention being easier to find someone to professionally tune a S&W compared to those who work on Colt DA's. More evidence that there really is no "best", or free lunches.
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Old February 6, 2013, 05:24 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
By the same token, a professionally tuned S&W gives up very little to the Python, if any. Not to mention being easier to find someone to professionally tune a S&W compared to those who work on Colt DA's. More evidence that there really is no "best", or free lunches.
Agreed. The nicest revolver trigger I shot was a tuned Smith.

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Old February 6, 2013, 06:27 PM   #43
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I had to vote GP100 - 'cause that's what I have. Other than that - I think it's time to wit back and grab some popcorn. This is bound to be on par with 9mm vs 40 vs 45
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:01 PM   #44
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A lot of people say the Pythons are more fragile, but I have one that is ancient, obviously a daily holster gun for a LEO. Don't know how many rounds have been through it. Judging by the finish wear from being tightly gripped, a lot. I have fired about 1500 handloads and it is as tight and accurate as ever. Tough? I think so.
I'm a big fan of the GP100, too. When not being used for shooting it can serve as a bludgeon on medium-sized dinosaurs. Mine had a 4" barrel and we knocked golf balls around out to 30 yards, easily. Gave it to a friend who lets me visit it on occasion.
The 686+ with 5" slab-sided barrel, well, here's what happened. Our oldest son is professional military. When he was home one time I had a ".357 Magnum" day at the range, featuring the Python, GP100 and 686+. As he fired the Python I waited with chest puffed out for him to proclaim it the best. Instead, he said the 686 trigger was best, hands down.
On another occasion I took a Python to a gunsmith friend ONLY because I wanted to brag about the fine trigger. He fired one shot and said "OH, I can fix THAT!" I watched in shock as he hurried to his bench, opened the gun and fiddled with stuff inside - - - and made the trigger better. *sigh*
I guess a lot of that is subjective. Once I got the 686+ the Python became a safe queen. They are simply different guns and the 686+ suited my use better.
THEN I got a S&W 627-5 Performance Center “.357 MAG - 8 TIMES. *I* think there ain't nothin' better in .357 Mag. I've had to fight my Charming Children to keep it. The professional military one then stole the 686+. BUT, I know where to find it. Him. Them.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:14 PM   #45
Jim K
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".....but a Colt Python is a whole different level of refinement."

Nope. Same 1909 lockwork, just shinier.

Jim
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:38 PM   #46
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I hate to be a know-it-all, but I KNOW the answer to this one. I've had all three. The Python is the most accurate of the three. The 686 has the best trigger pull of the three. And I think both are "prettier" than the GP100.

But the GP100 is the only one of the three that won't go out of time with heavy use of hot loads. To me, that means the best.

That's why I only kept the Rugers, and let the others go. Heck, I believe the GP100's little brother, the SP101 is less likely to go out of time with 125 grain full magnum loads than the 686 or Python.

This, of course, is my version of things. But I believe it 1000%.
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Old February 6, 2013, 11:47 PM   #47
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My Model 586 makes it on almost every trip to the range. It's trigger is a pure joy to shoot at a good price point. Mine has a little holster wear - so it's a user not a collectible which is how I like it. It's sentimental & practical at the same time. I can't open the safe with out admiring it. I often wonder about the various unknown folks who owned it in the 30 years before it came to me. To me, it is a treasured family heirloom that will be passed down to my son.




I've never owned a python...and likely I'll never even get to shoot one. But I own a few and have shoot my fair share of Rugers - and for me, they are probably the best current mass-produced revolver. However, my contemporary Rugers can't touch my 586 for accuracy when I'm shooting them.
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Old February 7, 2013, 12:19 AM   #48
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Kinda like comparing a sports car to an SUV to a Pickup.

Seriously, the only gun I own that can keep up with my Python in terms of accuracy is my S&W 28. Those two guns are both amazing shooters. Both have 6" tubes and will just plain gut the 10 ring. They shoot way better than anything I'm capable of.

Never owned a 686 so can't comment on that one. I'll have to let the 28 stand in for it.

My 4" GP100 is a great gun in it's own right. Solidly built, above average shooter, reliable as they come. Nice trigger after a little work on the springs. It's the one I choose to use last time I qualified for my CCW.

The Python gives the feeling it's a bit more delicate, while the 28 and GP100 are both tough and beefy.

If I had to choose best of class, the Python wins for both accuracy and beauty. But of the three, it would also be the 1st I'd part with. Go figure.
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Old February 7, 2013, 12:35 AM   #49
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The Colt Pythons built back when Colt was tops in revolvers is a thing of awe.

The problem is that was a long time ago and the prices that they command nowadays are crazy. I buy guns solely for utility so high prices are a turn off. There is also the factor of it's getting harder and harder to find someone who will work on them plus spare parts are becoming more limited...I also do not favor pulling the cylinder release to the rear...doesn't make logical sense in the way Smith's push forward or Ruger's button does.

The S&W's are definitely more common. Solid guns. Turn off is some have the safey lock on them plus newer S&Ws are not as finely fitted or exude craftsmanship like the ye old days of S&W (pre Bangor Punta era). That said, the current S&Ws have good quality and Smiths have always had pleasing lines. Very classic stuff.

Ruger makes a solid modern revolver. Not as pretty as a Smith or Colt, but solid and built with a modern design that can be field stripped easily...as opposed to S&W's which harkens back many years and has a bunch of small parts. No, the Rugers are robust, logically designed revolvers. The tradeoff is they tend to be harsher than S&W or Colt revolvers. The trigger is rougher, it's got prominent safety information engraved on it, the lines don't flow quite as nicely...but it's a hell of a weapon when it comes down to it.


Personally I favor Ruger revolvers. I've had exceptionally good luck with them and they can be turned into pretty nice pieces (see Gemini Custom, for example). I carried a Security Six for a long time and like it a lot. I buy my guns with an eye towards defensive use, and I'd much rather put my trust into a good Ruger than anything else.
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Old February 7, 2013, 12:49 AM   #50
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If you plan on using the gun I would go with the ruger. Parts for the python can hard to find. The S&W while being a better shooter out of the box is not as durable as the Ruger and it is more prone to jamming due to debris in the action. I have slid down to the bottom of a snow covered ravine with a Ruger Blackhawk. I just whacked the gun on the bottom of my boot a few times and never gave it another thought. I killed a deer later in the day with the gun. When I fired the gun mud and snow flew out of it. I had to wash my glasses before I could field dress the deer.
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