Good revolver for a newbie?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Paladin_Hammer, Dec 3, 2008.

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  1. Paladin_Hammer

    Paladin_Hammer Member

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    I asked in the general handguns section and they directed me to you guys.

    So, I'm moving up from an old .22 revolver. Whats a cheap, easy to maintain and accurate model? If its a .38 something, should I look for one that can shoot both .38s and .357s?
     
  2. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    A good .38spl revolver would be great, but getting a .357 would be nice. They don't cost much more (sometimes they cost the same), and you can shoot either .38spl or .357 out of the same gun then.

    I would NOT usually recommend a snubnose revolver for a newbie, but if you want to carry it, you might consider a snubnose revolver like a Smith & Wesson J-frame model. S&W J-frames come in many different model numbers. All J-frames are generally the same size, but they differ in hammer configuration and weight.

    You can get three basic hammer configurations:

    1. "Chief's Special" models have a standard exposed spur hammer. You can cock the hammer for single action shots, or you can fire the revolver just by pulling the trigger for double action shots.

    2. "Bodyguard" models have a shrouded hammer that keeps the hammer from being snagged on your holster or clothing, but you can still access the hammer to cock it for single action shots.

    3. "Centennial" models have a fully enclosed hammer that can not be cocked for single action shots, which makes these revolvers double action only.

    These guns are available with steel frames (heaviest), or two different lightweight alloy frames. The Airweight frames are light. The Airlight frames are even lighter.

    Mine is a S&W 637, which is a .38spl Airweight Chief's Special. It's got an exposed hammer, but I've never had it snag when drawing. It's not as light as an Airlight, but the Airweights are so light that you can forget you're wearing a gun anyway.

    If you do not plan to carry this gun, then forget getting a snubnose revolver, especially a lightweight one. All of their advantages are related to concealed carry, really. If you're using it at the range or for home defense, then you'd be better off with a larger revolver that is easier to control and shoot well. The Ruger GP100 is a very good, reliable choice. It's a medium-frame revolver, but it's probably cheaper than a new medium-frame (K-frame) S&W.
     
  3. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    Ill just add that the above info is spot on. A good .38 or .357 is a great revolver.

    I would suggest a .357 if you can but if you find a good .38 that you like and is affordable, buy it. The .38 special is a good self defense round and many people with .357s actually carry .38s because of the lighter recoil and faster follow-up shots. The only reason you would really need the .357 over the .38 is if you are planning on hunting with it.
     
  4. SJ78

    SJ78 Member

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    The Ruger sp 101 is a good choice.
     
  5. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    You don't spell out your uses for the gun. Assuming a gun primarily for range, plinking and home defense a 4 inch mid-sized revolver like the Smith and Wesson model 10 or its stainless twin the model 64 will do. if you want adjustable sights there is the model 15/model 67. These guns are 38 special only and while a gun chambered in 357 is theoretically more versatile most people wind up using 38s only. Much less blast, recoil and noise. There are also excellent revolvers made by Ruger, usually chambered in 357.
     
  6. Dday

    Dday Member

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    Look for a medium frame S&W or Colt wheel gun with a four, five, or six inch tube. You should be able to pick up a nice used S&W Mod 19 ("K frame) without breaking the bank and it will help you to develop good skills while transitioning to more powerful loads. The Mod 19 is a 357 so it will eat 38 special too. When loaded with .357, it will be a good home defense weapon too. Enjoy!
     
  7. BigBlock

    BigBlock member

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    Ruger GP100. The best .357 you can buy. Also, one of the cheapest, AND most reliable, AND most accurate. Lifetime warranty, even if you buy used. Used they'll cost about $300-450, new they are about 500 bucks.

    [​IMG]

    Smith and Wesson should be totally out of the question when you say "cheap, easy to maintain and accurate". Ruger will do you good in all those categories...for a very reasonable price. Don't fall for the S&W koolaid.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008
  8. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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    Dont overlook Rugers "Six" series (speed, security and police). If you can find one ruger speed or secuity sixes came in 2.75" barrels...GREAT gus for CCW. I would try to find a .357 since you can practice with cheap .38 reloads and eventually load in with .357's for serious stuff!
     
  9. ghostsix

    ghostsix Member

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    You can have ,357 at no extra price, or weight.
    Why not?
    BBL. length is not much of a factor in compatibility. The grip matters.
     
  10. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator In Memoriam

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    ruger is my choice, stay away from the lightweight alloys made of knucklehedium or whatever- they hurt to shot
     
  11. johnnylaw53

    johnnylaw53 Member

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    Since you didn't mention what you want it for which may be that you really don't know all the roles it will play. I always felt if I was only going to have one revolver I would look hard at the ruger sp 101 in 3" barrel. It have some weight to it so you can shoot it a lot at the range with .38's also takes .357 when you ready for the additional power. Can also be concealed fairly easy if you decide to carry it. That said for a very long time a med frame 4" .357/38 was a standard recomedation for a first center fire revolver and it still a very good choice

    Be Safe
     
  12. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    You cannot beat a S&W revolver in .38 Special or .357M for shooting enjoyment. If you can afford a new one, you'll have a lifelong friend which will make a great part of your legacy. Used, of course, as is true of anything in such condition, you may be buying someone else's troubles. I may have started with a few Rugers, but I'd rather have the fewer I have now with S&W on them than more Rugers. Additionally, new S&Ws have far, far fewer QC issues as delivered. My many Rugers, all but one bought new, were 'diamonds in the rough' as new.

    As to service 'after the sale', besides needing it more often, Rugers will be more expensive. The call and the return is on you. S&W has an 800# that will get you a pre-paid return label. While most of my Rugers were repairable on my bench, one obvious problem child Redhawk went back within days, only to be kept for most of a month. The only S&W I've sent back, a 4" 625 in .45 ACP that was loose from competition shooting, took ten days from the phone call - to be back in my hands as new - gratis.

    Now, if you want a great current model, the 4" 67, simply a SS 10 with adjustable sights, is a great handling .38. With a new MSRP of $751, expect a $559-$589 decent dealer price. At 36 oz with a no lug heavy barrel, it points quite well. It's fixed sight version, the SS 64 or venerable blued 10, are similar. I bought a recent (5/05) production LNIB, actually new and unissued by a security guard company, 64 from my local pusher earlier this year for $309 - super piece. Check local availability of such bargains - lots of guard companies are trading in their revolvers.

    Now, at the .357M level, the 620, 686, & 686+ are the first choices. They are all built on the same L-frame. The 620 & 686+ have a 7-round cylinder, with MSRP of $814-$853. I like the partially lugged 620 over the full-lugged 686/686+. Expect $579-$659 at a decent dealer. I went in my pusher to buy a 620 last spring - and came home with an N-frame 8-shooter - a 627 Pro - at $719 there - it was only 'plastic', not real money. I went home and boxed up and sold a trio of Rugers - and paid off the 627 and bought the 64, as well. Love my new S&Ws.

    Yes they are dear in cost. But you buy them once. Sure, I took a screwdriver to them when I got home... I like wood grips! I finished my 'conversion' later - my Ruger MKII was sold to help fund a new 617 (.22LR) this autumn. As to 'new vs old' - new is super. Forget the infamous Infernal Lock, which most of mine have. It's better to have fewer great firearms than a larger collection that you just aren't pleased with.

    One caveat... the latest 4" SS Ruger GP-100s (KGP-141) I've seen had better QC evidenced by no glaringly obvious imperfections, like previous examples I saw had. Additionally, they each, and I looked at three different ones at different dealers, had the best 'new Ruger' triggers I've seen - still not S&W-ish, but not bad. The store price ran from $509-$559, if memory serves me. To be honest, that is likely a buy it, take it home, and likely never be displeased with it revolver, especially if you aren't familiar with S&Ws - and got a 'good' one.

    I suggest SS revolvers due to the ease of cleaning - and the less obvious 'character marks' they'll gain with use. YMMV.

    Stainz
     
  13. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    I would suggest a 4" Smith and Wesson 686+ for general use and as a home defense sidearm.

    Now if you are talking a ccw gun then the 642, or the ruger sp101 would be good choices. The Sp101 is going to be your IWB holster gun, while the 642 would be good in a pocket holster as well as IWB.

    The SP101 will handle magnum ammo, as well as .38 +P where the 642 will be limited to .38 +P.

    I carry a 642 on a daily basis, I have an sp101 but I dont carry it due to the size/ weight.
     
  14. Paladin_Hammer

    Paladin_Hammer Member

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    The guns primary purpose: To shoot tight groups at 10-15 yards and to be fun to shoot (no hassle cleaning and maintenance). Price is a big factor though. I can't spend $400 dollars on a gun at the moment. But I'm not worried about ammo.
     
  15. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    Ruger Blackhawk, adj sights, 38/357, 4 5/8th inch barrel. You should be able to find one of the newer smaller frame models USED for the price range you want.
     
  16. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    Maybe you could upgrade the old 22 revolver to a better 22 revolver?

    My choice would be a 4" revolver in 357 mag. I would probably look at both the Smith 686 and Ruger GP100 and decide based on your own personal feelings about fit and feel, and cost of course.
     
  17. ruger4d4

    ruger4d4 Member

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    Another vote for the Ruger SP101 in .357 magnum.
     
  18. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    Based on what you said you want to use it for, I'd definitely say you want at least a medium frame (not a small frame) revolver, and you want one with a decent barrel length (not a 2''). I own a S&W snubnose. I love it for concealed carry. It's not awful to shoot at the range, but it's not EASY to shoot well without lots and lots and lots of practice.

    As a S&W snubnose owner, I'm advising you NOT TO GET ONE for what you want to do. They're fine guns, and I'll never part with mine, but you'd be better served by a Ruger GP100 if what you want is an affordable range and home defense gun that you do not plan to carry.
     
  19. gun4funtime

    gun4funtime Member

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    +1 on the rugers, great revolvers for the money. GP100 is a great gun. Again I would suggest staying away from the ultralights.

    For sure, go ahead and buy a 357, that will give you more ammo to choose from.

    Taurus revolvers might also be something for you to consider. Again, a great value for you money.

    You need to go and pick up, and feel the different models available. Find what fits you best. If the salesman says don't worry, we will just change the grips to make it feel right, have them change the grips and make it feel right before you pay. that way you will have what you want .

    We all have our favorite brands, but you need to find what fits and points the best for you.
     
  20. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    From spiroxlii:
    Good advice. A used Smith K frame 38 with target sights and a 4 inch barrel, or a larger .357 would serve the OP well also.

    I have an Airweight Centennial for carry, and while I find it ideal for what I got it for, I really do not like shooting it.
     
  21. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay Member

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    4" S&W 65 or 66. 66 has adj sights. buy it now and you will not regret it. most made with target trigger and hammer. great house/range gun. bit heavy for concealed carry less you built big.
     
  22. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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    CCW: Smith 642
    Non-CCW: Ruger GP100-4
     
  23. Dday

    Dday Member

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    "Smith and Wesson should be totally out of the question when you say "cheap, easy to maintain and accurate". Ruger will do you good in all those categories...for a very reasonable price. Don't fall for the S&W koolaid."

    When I mentioned S&W and Colt, I should have prefaced that there are plenty of good condition previously owned pieces out there to choose from that can be had relatively inexpensively, because I definately meant to suggest looking for a pre-owned piece. I have a lot of experience with 1970's and earlier S&Ws and Colts and can tell you, there aren't better shooting wheel guns anywhere from anyone. That includes Ruger (and yes, I have a few of them too). Find a nice clean one, put a set of Pachmeyr or Rogues on it, and have a ball!! After you get proficient with it, take it to a good Smith for fine tuning of the trigger, etc. You'll be amazed by how accurate they are.

    Carry on!!
     
  24. easyrider604

    easyrider604 Member

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    Good to see you posted here. This is a topic worthy of at least a chapter.
    You did not mention CCW so will not cover that.

    First you need a decent quality revolver, regardless of your primary purpose. Brand wise, to me that can only mean S&W, Ruger and Colt. Among these, the S&Ws and Rugers are easier to find and reasonably priced. Quality revolvers by nature are easy to clean and maintain.

    Second, to shoot tight groups at 10 to 15 yds, most people with average skill can do this with at least a 4" barreled revolver. Skill here means the ability to see, align and hold the sights on target, plus proper trigger control.

    If you wish, you can go with a 6 incher, which is even better for sight alignment. Because of the added weight upfront, recoil should be easier to manage. Some people prefer the added weight to better steady the sights on target as well. Sight recovery between shots should be quicker too. OTOH, they would be slower to swing left/right/up/down than 4 inchers, especially if they have underlugs.

    Third, to be fun to shoot the gun should be of adequate weight to comfortably absorb recoil but not tire you out through a day at the range.
    That would mean a medium-sized steel frame. Steel would guarantee a long useful life.

    Fourth, IMO best all around caliber would be .357magnum/.38spl. Abundant, cheap (.38), powerful (.357mag), accurate, controllable, effective, versatile.

    Is $300 bucks within range? If so, and you are willing and able to haggle, then you are in luck, because there are many good "used" S&Ws and Rugers (Double and Single Action) out there. In gun shops, police department trade-ins should fall well within that range. Try asking around, friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives may have a piece to sell, or may know somebody who has. Look at classifieds, buy-sell papers, on-line auctions, etc. THR has a sub-forum for buying/selling as well.

    Very important: If you are serious about revolvers, read the excellent sticky in this sub-forum by Jim March "Revolver Checkout Procedure". It contains valuable information that will enable you to avoid most if not all the pitfalls in buying new or used revolvers.

    Realistically within the above parameters, I'd recommend a good used .357mag/.38spl medium frame, blued or stainless 4 to 6 inch barreled S&W (model 10/13/64/65) and Rugers (Security and Service Sixes, GP100).

    Good. You reload?
     
  25. Paladin_Hammer

    Paladin_Hammer Member

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    Pistol ammo in my area is cheap. I know they have/had a deal for 100 rounds of .38 at Showmeshooters for $18 dollars.

    I do reload. Only rifles and shotguns at the moment, but the guys at the Armory have a machine for sale for pistols.
     
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