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DA vs SA - I know, same old questions...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Fat Boy, Feb 19, 2010.

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  1. Fat Boy

    Fat Boy Member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Kansas Plains
    I am looking to make a trade in the near future and am trying to decide between a single action (Ruger blackhawk- .45 Colt or .357 mag) and a Smith & Wesson "Highway Patrolman" in .357 mag - 4" barrel

    All three guns are priced in the same range- I like them all, but can't decide which one to go after....and before anyone says it, I can't afford more than one!

    The Smith has some serious blue wear, likely from carry. There is a bit of end shake and lateral play, which doesn't surprise me on this old N-frame. Most concerning is the pin at the rear of the barrel; the frame has marks where it looks like someone tried to drive the pin out. The pin itself actually protrudes farther from the other side of the frame, as if someone tried to move it out, got it a bit of the way, and left it. Kind of frightening, not knowing what happened here; I could speculate all day and not get any closer to what really took place. I am not afraid of the blue wear as this gun will be a shooter (I don't have any safe queens... :) I really, really like these old guns; in all other respects it checks out, excepting the frame/barrel pin and end shake/lateral play.

    The Ruger's are in good to excellent condition- the drawback to the .45 is the cost of shells, since I don't reload and .45's have gone right through the ceiling on price. The .357 is a better deal on ammo cost, since I can shoot .38 spec, etc. in it.

    I really can't decide; a beat-up old Smith vs. one of a pair of nice, clean Ruger's...SA vs DA

    Usage of the gun would be range, possible hunting, and home defense. I am not afraid to use a SA for home defense, by the way as any handgun used for home defense is basically intended as a transition gun to a long gun so I don't envision needing more than 6 rounds in almost all situations...

    Boy, this got long....I would appreciate hearing your ideas...You may decide from reading this that I really want the Smith, (probably right) but the practical/cost side of me says go with the safe deal and get one of the Ruger's....

    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  2. gunnie

    gunnie Member

    Mar 23, 2007
    i used to work at a gun store back in the day. the (deceased) owner had a saying about buying/trading/selling firearms that has stuck with me through the years, "if you don't know, don't go"

    many of these for sale at:


    punch in S&W model 28 in the search function.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    I think the first thing is to decide on the type of gun you want, then look around until you find what you like. It takes a lot of shooting to wear out a Model 28, so I think you might be overly concerned about normal cylinder play. For what you describe, I would take the S&W, but then I am partial to DA revolvers for anything but pure sporting use.

  4. Mr. Whimsy

    Mr. Whimsy member

    Dec 19, 2009
    Trade somewhere else where you have better choices for defense. I dearly love SA's, but they are 19th century technology for a 21st century problem if defense is your concern. Imagine being attacked by 3 or more armed people and I think you'll appreciate speedy firing. Find a way to get a good DA.
  5. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    I have multiple examples of both. I have different uses for 'em. My defense guns are DA except for my NAA mini. It is a back up/last ditch.
  6. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Johnson City, TN
    To correct these problems will eat up any savings you made on the original purchase.
  7. jmortimer

    jmortimer Member

    Jan 9, 2010
    South West Riverside County California
    I like single action guns. With practice the SA can be a viable defense gun. For exmple if you are a SASS junkie and you practice hour after hour shooting SA you would be better off than most anyone regardless of what handgun they used with a SA. Because practice makes perfect. If you shoot, especially, .45 Colt, then get some reloading equipment.
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