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new 357 for a new shooter?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Corndogg, Dec 28, 2006.

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  1. Corndogg

    Corndogg Member

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    hey all, new here. heres my intro post.

    im looking to get a .357 revolver to practice with and for home protection. ive done a few days of solid research, and have semi-settled on the below. looking for an easy to use and maintain gun as my first. of course i will be trying these out first before i buy, but i want to go in as ready and as informed as possible. price is the factor im least concerned about, and i will probably be buying new. looking to see if people had better suggestions, so all comments are welcome. thanks!

    my choice so far is:
    Ruger GP100 Satin Stainless KGP-141 - 4"
    with .38 Special+P 158-grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow points (LSWCHP +P)

    my questions so far are:
    1) the S&W 686P 6-shot 4" was another obvious choice. what are the objective, functional differences? sounds like the ruger is built more solidly, but the S&W trigger is better?
    2) what would i lose by getting a 4" instead of a 6"? this is not for concealed carry. accuracy and velocity? harder to control the recoil on a 4"?
    3) any comments on the stock gp100 grip? im 5'11" and have large hands, but slender-ish fingers. i know, i just gotta get one in my hands and try...

    again any comments are appreciated. ive read quite a few of the threads here so this isnt a lazy post, honest! im new to this world :D so please go easy on the acronyms. anyways, last chance to dissuade me! thanks.
     
  2. svtruth

    svtruth Member

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    GP-100 is

    a great gun. Have a blued one w 6" bbl. An excellent starting point. As a treat, keep an eye out for a used S&W Model 19, blued. Big grips, and a beauty in form and function.
    Good luck.
     
  3. cmidkiff

    cmidkiff Member

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    Nothing wrong with your choice for practice/home defense :)

    If I were purchasing a firearm strictly for home defense, I'd probably be looking at a shotgun rather than a revolver, but then I already have several revolvers (and shotguns, for that matter!)

    The Ruger is a solid, reliable wheelgun in an effective caliber. The ballistic differences between a 4" and 6" barrel are minor, and not worth worrying about. The longer tube will give you a longer sight radius, making it a bit easier to hit what you're aiming at. It makes a big difference when you get down to the little 2" tubes, but between 4" and 6" really isn't a big deal. Recoil is going to be manageable with .38 Special +p ammo out of any full size all steel revolver, you should be good there.

    Personally, I'm a fan of S&W wheelguns. My comparable gun to what you are looking at is a S&W model 620. Stainless 4" .357, holds 7 rounds instead of the more usual 6. Smith triggers are usually smoother and lighter than most rugers out of the box, but ruger triggers aren't usually too bad.

    Sounds like a good choice to me!
     
  4. ronto

    ronto Member

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    The 4" GP100 is by far the best choice for the uses you described.
     
  5. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    Welcome cordogg.

    Point one is correct, though you probably won't wear out a S&W. The Ruger trigger improves with use and dry-firing, but is a different design. The Ruger uses a spring on the trigger, the S&W a steel band. I'm sure someone will jump in and correct my terminology. I have shot both and own a 4" 686 in .357. I also own several Rugers including an SP-101 with a 2 1/8" barrel.

    A 6 inch barrel is no more accurate than a 2 inch barrel, but you get a longer sight radius which makes shooting at longer distances easier. There may be some slight ballistic advantage to the extra 2 inches, but a bad guy won't notice it. See which gun and barrel length balances and feels best for you.

    Either would be a great choice.

    Let us know waht you get. I guess they'll be outlawing revolvers next in CA. MD can't be too far behind.
     
  6. charby

    charby Member

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    GP-100 is a great all around revolver!

    .38 Specials are nothing through it.

    Really hot .357 will make you notice it
    -Charby
     
  7. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    Do bear in mind, it is extremely easy to change revolver grips.

    If you find the perfect sixgun, and the grips feel slightly off, you can buy a new/used set off of THR, eBay, or any one of hundreds of online dealers. I'm particularly fond of the Pachmayr grips, which are easily bought for very little on eBay, for all kinds of different revos.

    You really can't go wrong with either Ruger or S&W. Just fondle both side-by-side and see which one feels best in your hand.

    -MV
     
  8. Corndogg

    Corndogg Member

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    thanks all for the feedback and validation! ill definitely post when i pick it up.

    and yeah, ill definitely be getting a shotgun, probably end of next year. id like to get a few handguns first so i can join my pops on the range and shoot together.

    sounds like this is a solid choice to test out first. now on to picking #2 and #3! (a 5" .45 ACP 1911 or other, and a subcompact 3" or maybe 4" .40S&W)
     
  9. Corndogg

    Corndogg Member

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    and @ cmidkiff

    have you had any issues with the 7-shot? i read that they were stronger, but the pull or trigger reset length of time or feel seemed off? any specifics on the 7 vs 6? the "three pair and one to spare" does sound appealing, but "tried and true" seems better...

    thanks
     
  10. don95sml

    don95sml Member

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    I would add that the grips on a GP100 are nearly ideal. They don't slip in the hand if your hands are sweaty, and they provide a good cushion against recoil.
     
  11. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    @CornDog:

    If you're building up a basic collection, it's a _very_ good idea to get at least one good .22 firearm. 9mm ammo costs 12c per shot, .38 ammo costs 20c per shot, .22 ammo costs 2c per shot. You do the math...

    For semi-auto rifles, the Marlin 60 ($109) and Ruger 10/22 ($170) are hands-down favorites. Lever-action .22s include the century-old classic Marlin 39A (solid wood and steel, $400) and the modern-design Henry ($210). I've owned all of the above, and liked them. For bolt actions, the CZ452 ($250 and up) has a cult following on THR as the single best basic bolt-22.

    For semi-auto handguns, Ruger MkI/II/III ($220) and Browning Buckmark are outstanding, though the newcomer S&W 22a ($180) is a great deal. The only upscale .22 DA revolver currently made in the S&W 617 (approx $500), but if you go single-action (cowboy style) the Ruger Single Six and Bearcat ($325 ea) are outstanding .22s.

    If you intend to shoot more than a couple times a year, a .22 is indispensable. It's a great feeling to shoot a half-thousand rounds for $10 of ammo!

    -MV
     
  12. SJshooter

    SJshooter Member

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    Consider the Smith & Wesson 686 (in 6 or 7 shot versions). It's functionally the same gun, with a nicer finish and a more refined design. It is no less strong. Both guns can hammer nails and then fire dead accurate, it's just that the GP-100 kinda looks like a hammer and you probably wouldn't hit anything with your gorgeous Smith lest you scuff up that beauty.
     
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    I second the 22 suggestion as a first gun. For a new gun, it is hard to beat a Smith Model 617 revolver. They are just getting more expensive the longer you wait. The Ruger Mark II or III's are great little 22 autos. Get the heavy 5.5" barrel version if you opt for an auto. You will enjoy either one immensely.

    For 357, Smiths are smoother. But you will probably be very happy with a GP100 with 4" barrel. I like 3" a lot, but for me, I don't shoot 25 yds with it much. It is mostly a 7-15 yd gun for me. I shoot longer ranges with a 6" Colt Trooper Mark III 357 the most. Love that gun!
     
  14. Arcticfox

    Arcticfox Member

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    Ruger, Smith, Colt. There is no bad choice there. You can't go wrong with any of them! They are the finest revolvers in the world! :)
     
  15. rnovi

    rnovi Member

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    IF you are going to hunt or shoot long range steel sillouhette, get a 6".

    For anything else get the 4".

    Smith vs. Ruger? If you want to pump tens of thousands of rounds of full magnum loads through it, get the Ruger. It will hold up better and is far less likely to go out of time. If you intend to shoot mainly .38's with the occassional box of .357's, the Smith is more than strong enough. Truthfully the reliability differences are very unlikely to show themselves before the first 25,000 rounds...

    I own a GP100 6" - fantastic gun that I use for heavy hunting load development. It takes as much abuse as I can put into it and then some. After some 15,000 rounds and a set of springs the trigger is as fine as can be. Not as good as a Smith, but still a very fine trigger.

    I also own a 4" Ruger Security Six - another great gun, lousy trigger even with springs. Still, the 4" barrel is a lot more fun to work with and is very manueverable.

    The real joy in my collection is a 4" Smith 625JM in .45acp. Not a .357, but the trigger is the same. I have my DA pull down to 6.5# or so with a set of Wolf springs. SA trigger pull is stupidly light, gotta be around 1#, maybe 1.5#. I use this gun for local mini-competition. Unbelievable DA trigger. Love it.


    accuracy is a tossup. They are both exceptionally accurate weapons. Neither is better than the next.

    So here's my take: IF you want to blast away with full power .357 loads all day long and intend to shoot the dickens out of the gun, then get the Ruger. You can put 100,000 rounds through it and then pass it on to the next generation to put another 100k through it. Yeah, it's that durable.

    But if you want a smooth(er) trigger and better looks, get the Smith. The extra round in the 686 (7 shots vs. 6) is worth a bit, especially for home defense.

    The bottom line is that there IS NO WRONG CHOICE HERE.

    Hope that helps!
     
  16. fulloflead

    fulloflead Member

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    With the 4" you only lose sight radius, but it's only really an advantage if you're carrying a lot.

    You'll like shooting a 6" better. It's a better sight picture and just seems easier to shoot with the sights and recoil.

    The Rugers are sturdy but are like shooting a brick, IMHO. The S&Ws are better balanced, and more graceful and refined, IMHO.

    .
     
  17. kmrcstintn

    kmrcstintn Member

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    1) .38 spl +p 158 gr lswchp...Winchester will foul the gun less due to being harder due to added antimony; Remington is softer and will expand more reliably (and foul the gun more) if you ever venture into getting a snubby for CCW

    2) if you stick with factory loads, both the Ruger GP-100 & Smith & Wesson 686 will do you fine; the screws that hold the sideplate & tension the mainspring in the S&W may work loose from time to time and need to be tightened

    3) a 6" tube comes more into play if you get into hunting or long distance silhouette competitions

    4) there's only a few ounces difference between the 4" and 6" model in both models; the exception is that S&W does make a variant of the 686 that has an integral compensator built into 6" barrel and this may help with recoil control

    5) grip selection is subjective to the individual shooter, but I find that the stock ruger grips fit my hands better than the Hogue monogrips on the S&W

    6) I don't like 7 shot cylinders since reloading is a bit more tedious because the bullets sit closer together and there is less room to wiggle the cartridges into the cylinders

    later
     
  18. fulloflead

    fulloflead Member

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    That's interesting. I'd never considered that before.
    I've seen a million "686 or 686+" threads and never heard that.
    I believe it. I found my 686+ to be not too speedy with speed
    loaders, but I can jam with any of my 6-shot models.

    .
     
  19. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    1.) I have owned both revolvers and I think that the Ruger has the better DA pull.

    2.) A few nice things about 4" are: its legal for competiton use should you wish (IDPA/IPSC), its lighter, its easier to pack for hiking/camping, and it's legal for hunting where I live (WI). The 6" will have marginally more accuracy and velocity, but not enough to warrant the longer tube, IMHO. (I just shot a 4" group at 50 yards today with my GP100 4 incher!)

    3.) The stock Ruger grip fits both me (6') and my wife (5') better than the Hogue grips on S&W. Also, there is no exposed metal on the back of a Ruger, which is very nice for magnums.

    I installed Meprolight night sights on my GP100, and I am very happy with the results. To put similar sights on a S&W would be far more involved, and would probably require a gunsmith.

    Another thing to consider is that a Ruger is very easily field stripped and cleaned, and it's simple to replace/swap springs. To do the same on S&W requires special tools.

    One last thing is that Ruger doesn't have an internal lock or MIM parts.

    And the Ruger is cheaper!

    The choice is clear to me. :)
     
  20. Corndogg

    Corndogg Member

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    thanks again for all the info, lots of great information in this thread. :D and so many other posts to read after coming back from NYE vacation, i love it!

    i think ill stick to my guns :neener: and go with my first choice, the Ruger GP100 Satin Stainless KGP-141 - 4". will let you know how it goes!

    _____

    for any other researchers reading up here, here are some other threads in the Revolver forum i found useful re: this subject -

    .357 Choice, Part II
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=243743

    Ruger vs. S&W?
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=243882

    Ruger or Smith and Wesson?
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=28535

    One Revolver
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=239954

    Sticky: Revolver checkout: how to tell if a particular specimen is any good
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=1430

    Ruger GP100 used revolver questions
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=241912

    Supplemental Ruger DA Owner's Guide
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=244831
     
  21. jeepman77cj5

    jeepman77cj5 Member

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    Stupid question here I know. Flame On!! lol

    Waywatcher.... "MIM parts" <----huh?

    I've seen this "term" on many threads here, just never asked before.
     
  22. Baphomet

    Baphomet Member

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    Not a stupid question at all. MIM = Metal Injection Molding. That link explains in detail what the process is.

    Some people have a "problem" with MIM parts and avoid buying guns, or gun parts, that are MIM. Others have no problem with MIM parts. It's one of them personal decision type things.
     
  23. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    The 6" offers more velocity and about 150 ft lbs more energy. It's definitely the choice for hunting, though a 3" or more is fine IMHO for self defense. I don't care much for anything shorter than 3" in a .357, would rather shoot 9mm in small guns. The .357 is quite barrel length sensative. Out of a rifle, you can REALLY do some damage with it. :D If you don't intend to carry the gun, just shoot at the range or home defense, the 6" will tame the .357 considerably, make it easier to shoot. It would be my choice here.
     
  24. honkeoki

    honkeoki Member

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    Wow, I remember when I posted the very same thing!

    I wound up with a 4" Ruger Security Six I found on GunBroker (for only $125!!). But to recap the advice I got:

    Ruger (big, heavy, but solid and long-lasting)
    S&W (lighter, better triggers)
    Colt (expensive)
    Dan Wesson (the oddball choice (the DWs I've tried have gritty, bad triggers?))

    Charter Arms, Rossi and Taurus are Tier 2 manufacturers (though Taurus may be moving up :confused: )

    Make sure to do The Checkout on any used revolvers you're thinking about purchasing.

    IMO, revolvers are TONS more fun to shoot at the range than semi-auto pistols! Not only do your 50 rounds last a lot longer, you can embarass the guy in the lane next to you (who's likely firing a $800 Sig) by putting 6 rounds in a 1" or less circle. It's a blast!

    Check Jim March's posts if you have any Qs, and good hunting!
     
  25. Jkwas

    Jkwas Member

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    66B4.jpg
    Taurus Model 66. 7 shots at about $300 plus shipping and transfer at Budsgunshop.com
     
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