Revolver noob - What’s an accurate DA .357 with a good trigger?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by benEzra, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    I am an absolute noob when it comes to revolvers, but I shot a 6” S&W 686 in .357 a bit, and loved it; I’ve also shot a .44 Magnum (S&W N-frame, I think). I think I might like to get one of my own.

    I have shot semiautos for 30+ years in 9mm/.40/.45 and even some local USPSA, so I am not new to handguns in general, just to centerfire revolvers.

    My question is....what DA .357 revolvers would be...
    • Really accurate with the best loads and an optic (I’ll probably run a Matchdot or possibly a micro red dot, not irons). I’d want it to shoot significantly better than a full-sized semiauto.
    • Have a good, smooth trigger that’s not ridiculously hard on DA.
    • 100% reliable, no light strikes....I’ve read that with some makes, you can have a decent trigger, or 100% ignition, but not both at the same time.
    • 7-shot cylinder would be a bonus, but not a requirement.
    This would be a range toy for paper punching or steel out to 100 yards, with maybe a little USPSA for fun, but could also see occasional use as a bedside or camping gun (though a semiauto would normally fill that role).

    What say ye? 686 Competitor? (I like the looks, and it has a low-profile optics rail and can be had with a 7-shot cylinder.) A new-production Python? Are there other options out there? Would an N-frame be a better choice?

    Seeking enlightenment. Thanks!
     
  2. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    My experience may not resonate with some others. I have a 6" GP100, which outshoots every other handheld firearm (used by others) whenever I go to my indoor range (75 feet). Doesn't matter what they are using, semi's or DA/SA, but I ALWAYS have better targets than anyone else. I did the "Poor Boy's Trigger Job", right after I got it, and installed the Wolff slightly weaker trigger spring, and slightly weaker return spring. I guess I should add that I shoot anyone else's handgun better than the owner's, whenever I am offered to do so. So, Ruger it is for me, including both my SP101 2", and SP101 4". My first accurate handgun was (is) a 1972 Mark 1, still going strong at 50,000 rounds +. Ruger rules in my household. I have shot S+W's and SIG's, and they are quite OK. Even Walther and Colt. All are fine, but I prefer Ruger.
     
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  3. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Some might say a S&W K-frame.

    Most would say a S&W L or N frame.

    The Ruger GP100 has its fans, but a typical Smith will have a better trigger than a typical Ruger.

    I haven't handled or shot any of the new Dan Wessons or Colts.

    Korth and Manhurin are outstanding, if you have thousands of dollars to spend.

    My best-shooting 357 DA revolver is my S&W Model 28 (N frame). It's from the 1970's, IIRC. The trigger is amazing. It's my second-best shooter of all my revolvers, after my S&W K22 Masterpiece.

    Ironically, my third most accurate revolver is an old and inexpensive Taurus Model 66 (357). Go figure.

    If you haven't shot a SA revolver yet, you might want to give it a whirl before you plunk down the cash for a DA one. Lots of us like the SA ones even better than DA. :)

     
  4. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

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    upload_2021-2-22_15-54-58.jpeg

    Go find an old PPC revolver (or, have one built) and stick with .38’s for the best accuracy.

    Curren crop? I’d likely go with the Smith L frame.
     
  5. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    My Smith 629-4 was the most accurate revolver I have ever shot. I mainly shot American Eagle flat nose soft points and it was nuts @25 yds. With an optic I am sure it would have shot 3 or less inches at 50.
     
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  6. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    Trigger pull is a crap shoot. You've got a better chance of getting a slick trigger with a S&W but you also could get a lemon with a crooked barrel and a goofed up frame.
    I appreciate customer service , ruger is the best bet. You may get a less refined revolver but you can have a gunsmith smooth the action or shoot it until it's to your liking. My gp100 is a heavily used range gun, the trigger is excellent after about 6 years of use (took a couple thousand until it was smoothed out and has only gotten better over the years). If I were you I'd go for the big guy- the redhawk
    Screenshot_20210222-182445~2.png

    8 shots and will easily digest a couple lifetimes worth of the hottest (or lightest) loads you can feed it. That's my choice if it'll be mostly a range gun, it's big.

    I had a bad run with S&W and don't buy them anymore. A lot of guys love them and think the rugers a pile of junk. It's all up to you for what you want. I wouldn't get a vintage gun as it sounds like you'll be shooting a lot and old guns will have breakage . so good quality, durable , serviceable and accurate from a company with good CS- yes, I'm a ruger nut.
     
  7. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    The 686 Competitor would probably be one of the better ones out there for you. Any of the newer S&W 627’s or 686”s can have a rail added to attach optics. The Ruger GP100 is also a good option and the trigger can be pretty darn good with a little work. Right now there aren’t a ton of options out there for sale so it kind of comes down to what you can find.

    If I’m wanting the best accuracy at 100 yards I grab my S&W 929 with a vortex venom on top. It’s a 8 shot N frame in 9mm.
     
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  8. Japle

    Japle Member

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    I have 10 S&W wheelguns now and have had a bunch of Rugers over the last 50+years. I sold all the Rugers. They're super strong and have been quite accurate (except for the fixed-sight GP100 with the over-tightened barrel that shot off to the side), but I could always get a much better DA trigger on Smiths. I currently have 3 686s and don't think you can go wrong with one, so my vote is for the 686.
     
  9. LightninST

    LightninST Member

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    726401A0-BE86-4A57-916C-DD7FB957A046.jpeg
    686 plus pro 7 rounds 5” barrel cut for moon clips .
    Good guns for the money if you can find one .
     
  10. DR505

    DR505 Member

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    Rugers are fine, they make a decent revolver. For DA shooting I prefer my older 627-0, my 27-3, or my 686. They have wonderful triggers the likes of which I have yet to feel in a Ruger. I don't care much for Colt, but I hear they can have good triggers as well.

    My suggestion is to try before you buy.
     
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  11. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    Can't go wrong with a 686. But I agree with the others to try before you buy if possible.
    I can't imagine buying a gun with the intention of sending it to a gunsmith for an action job. Not unless it was at a give away price.
     
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  12. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    My two most accurate centerfire revolvers are my S&W 686 and Dan Wesson M15. I dunno how easy it is to mount optics on a DW, but they are tough to beat for a paper-puncher.
    IMG_20200309_222608_9.jpg
    IMG_20200319_200342_6.jpg

    Both have excellent triggers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  13. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

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    And, I think it’s cute you wanna shoot at 100 yards.. :)

    Step up and play with the big boys:




    (please note, his holdover for that shot was 75-80 YARDS!).

    I’m old and out of shape, if I had to make that shot, I’d take my chances jogging 975 yards before pulling the trigger!!!
     
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  14. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    TqNbjbt.jpg

    There's not many off the shelf revolvers out there that can go toe to toe with the 686 competitor. Quality trigger, decent accuracy and optics ready. I run mine with irons, a burris fastfire III & a burris x7 scope. Typical 6-shot groups @ 50ft with nothing more than mixed range brass/blammo ammo.
    AL4WBux.jpg

    I know a little bit about custom revolvers, been running this ppc revolver (s&w model 10) for too many years now.
    awPGBBb.jpg

    Or these dw 15-2's that I sent in and had the triggers done along with buying custom 1 in 10 twist bbl's and the heavy bbl shoruds & muzzle braks.
    lwCejE1.jpg

    The dw's get a steady dies of hot 357mags.
    The ppc revolver 38spl's.
    The competitor both and can keep up with with those custom revolvers.
     
  15. BWS

    BWS Member

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    Smith is probably gonna be your best bet. I like the round butt frames.

    Screenshot_20210128-061327_Gallery.jpg
     
  16. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I will also go with the 686+ 7-shot .357. You can take the rear sight off and it’s drilled and tapped for a rail or scope mounts already.

    614BAEA3-4160-42C6-8547-CE8A21C286F9.jpeg F980A132-5A2A-4F2D-9427-7F5DF54FF07D.jpeg

    Mine is a 4”, I personally think that’s the best give and take balance of carry-ability, conceal-ability, controll-ability, sight radius and performance.

    I also like S&W K frame .357’s like these Model 66’es...

    690BCF48-2A45-4DF0-84C9-E828134ACB10.jpeg 42215953-6312-4B40-9B5E-1E5A5D66C6AE.jpeg

    And Dan Wesson 15-2’s as well (bottom gun is a .22)
    BE8A2D1B-98A6-4974-A658-3B95A421892E.jpeg

    But the L frames, IMHO, are the pinnacle of .357 Mag development; tough, affordable, accurate and easy to maintain... with the GP 100 close on its heels. (My only GP is a .44 Spl.)

    Stay safe.
     
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  17. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I've yet to find a GP100 that can't be vastly improved with a little kitchen table gunsmithing. A trigger job, maybe some shims, and lighter springs can make a big difference. I've had one that had an unusually long DA trigger, and another that was unusually (pleasantly) short. Though really the differences is only felt, not seen. All could be made smooth if the time was taken to do so.

    However, some I just dry fired at the TV a few thousand times and they smoothed out from that alone. New out of the box, the typical GP100 feels terrible in comparison to those that have been worked on a little or dry fired a lot.

    Just my two cents.
     
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  18. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I believe the author's criteria cannot be met by an off-the-shelf revolver, except possibly by luck.

    As I have often written, I budget for a trigger job whenever I buy a new revolver. It sometimes is possible to find a good single action trigger, but I'm not sure I have ever found a good DA trigger on a stock revolver.

    The accuracy demand is even tougher. Guaranteeing exceptional accuracy from a DA revolver essentially requires an exceptional gunsmith and a fat wad of cash. Last I checked, Alan Tanaka - who is well known for his PPC revolvers - requires more than a thousand dollars to produce a top-notch DA revolver, and you have to supply the gun.

    The suggestions for a used PPC revolver are very good. The only trouble is that most of them are built on K frame .38s, which might not be ideal for higher pressure rounds meant for long range artillery use.

    In all honesty, unless the author is truly gifted, it's unlikely that he can take advantage of an especially accurate gun. In his shoes, I would buy an S&W in L or N frame, immediately have a trigger job done, and then take it into the field. If it worked for Elmer, it almost certainly will work for the rest of us.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
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  19. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

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    Lots of great replies here. Personally, I have larger hands so I landed up with a S&W N-Frame 627 "pro"...which isn't very "pro"...but did give me a great base to work with.

    I did have a trigger job done on it and yes, it will not reliable ignite 357 magnum...but I'll never run magnum through it again. I load (and shoot) a ton of 38 special and this is a target gun only.

    I did land up mounting a Burris FFIII on mine, it has been superb...although I'll say that back when I did shoot magnum loads, the Burris would get knocked off zero on occasion, not 100% sure why it would do that.

    Either way, this is useless without pics, so here you go:

    7C4GNl1h.jpg
    UFSfo88h.jpg
     
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  20. Beach Bum

    Beach Bum Member

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    I tend to favor the round butts too.......just seems to feel more natural ...
    sure some nice revolver fotos in this thread ....
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
  21. Beach Bum

    Beach Bum Member

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    I sure like the look of the competitor I always wondered about the weight though ,
    I wonder what the minimum , Max weight , is .....it really is a neat gun .... Thanks for all the good info forrest...
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
  22. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    If i didnt have a .357 at all......
    I would search gunbroker for a dan wesson pistol pack with full assortment of barrel lengths.
    You can get your money back if you dont like it.
     
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  23. P Flados

    P Flados Member

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    I agree with a Dan Wesson for shooting steel at long for handgun distances.

    However, since my game is IHMSA and the 200 meter Rams were tough to knock down with a 357 magnum, I went with the 357 Maximum.

    With the model 40, the DA trigger stinks, but the single action trigger was an absolute dream straight from the factory. And forget light strikes, the gun was made to set off rifle primers.

    Okay, I know the above is not even close to what the OP wants. It is just my answer to accurate long range shooting from a wheel gun. Of the more typical guns I shoot on a regular basis, the GP-100 trigger feels as good to me as the DW 15 and both shoot great.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
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  24. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    Dan wessons are top quality and the barrel options are great. I had one I let get a away a few years ago. The trouble was, it was a fixed sight model and the 8" barrel had been over tightened , which pulled the threads some- as the cylinder gap was changed the poi would rotate around and the frame had some pitting from sitting in a soft case for many years. The snub barrel was good but on such a large frame it was awkward.
    Sadly I sold it for $200... That was dumb
     
  25. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    IME if you're talking about full size revolvers with a decent trigger most are more accurate than 99% of trigger pullers have the skills to shoot. And to be honest even smaller compact guns. There is video of Bob Munden breaking balloons at 200 yards with a J frame Smith 38. There are more than a few shooters who can shoot better than a lot of rifles, but when it comes to handguns the skill of the person holding the gun is probably more important.

    That said, certain features do make it easier to shoot some handguns better. A good trigger, good sights, enough weight too hold it steady and proper balance make it easier.
     
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