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revolver quality

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by p89cajun, Jul 25, 2006.

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  1. p89cajun

    p89cajun Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    Lafayette, LA.
    All I hear about revolvers is how simplistic the design is and how there aren't many parts on it. Does this mean that a S&W revolver realy isn't better quality than a rossi even though there is a big price jump. I can't tell the difference between the two so should I front the money for the S&W or would I be o.k. with the rossi.
  2. ARTiger

    ARTiger Member

    Mar 6, 2006
    Most folks who are into revolvers would profess a belief that there is a significant difference in quality from one manufacturer to another. The general concensus IMO seems to be something like this as far as ranking the manufacturers . . .

    1. Korth
    2. S&W Perf. Ctr.
    3. Colt
    4. S&W
    5. Ruger
    6. Taurus
    7. Rossi

    Now in another scale - all of the above are more than likely to go bang whenever you ask them to; they're manufactured well enough to have a certain assumed reliability and reputation for the same. Whether you are comfortable with and shoot well with a $250 Rossi or a $6,000 Korth is a matter of personal preference.
  3. New_geezer

    New_geezer Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    High Desert, California
    I have a S&W mod 10-6 heavy barrel 38 spl, and a Rossi 971, 4" 357 mag, I bought new about 2 years ago. Honestly the Mod 10 feels a bit more solid, but I've put about 1000 rounds thru the Rossi without a hicup. The Rossi was dead on accurate out of the box and still is. The Rossi is basic, no frills, and a good value but I haven't found any alternative to the standard grips. Luckily I find it one of the most comfortable guns I own to shoot as is. The Mod-10 I find myself cocking my pinky finger under the grip bottom as I find the trigger pull more comfrotable that way. I have medium sized hands that will fit on the whole grip but I don't like the pull angle it gives me.

    In any event - I can't speak for new S&Ws or old Rossis but I have no problem recommending either of the guns I have and they ran about the same price.
  4. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Central WA
    'Pends on what you want it for. A Rossi will shoot, if you just want a gun that shoots factory ammo at normal handgun ranges in normal quantities, probly. Lots of us who shoot revolvers, however, want our guns to do more than shoot factory-standard ammo at normal handgun ranges in normal quantities.

    Some of us shoot ammo that rides or exceeds the edge of factory ammo; Rugers are popular among these folks for their well-known robustness.

    Some of us shoot little silhouette targets at silly ranges; either S&W's or Rugers, or Freedom Arms if you've got the dough, are popular with such folk.

    Some of us shoot thousands and thousands of rounds in the quest to master the fine art of the competitive wheelgun; these folks are very aware of the quality of the double-action trigger, and almost universally shoot S&W's.

    If you think there's a good chance you're going to become a wheelgun enthusiast, a Rossi will probably not endure in your collection, and you'll be better served by waiting to get the S&W. If you just want to have a wheelgun, well, a Rossi is a wheelgun.
  5. longtooth

    longtooth Member

    Feb 22, 2005
    Lufkin, Texas
    Whether competing or just want accuracy at target ranges, I believe the quality arms are worth the difference. Especially right out of the box. Lock up & trigger pull are the 2 most noticable features right out of the box. Both of these effect accuracy. A Rossi may, might, maybe shoot as accurate as a Ruger, Smith, Freedom if the trigger was as light & smooth out of the box.
    If it is going to be a closte personal defense gun, or range only for guests then go w/ the least expensive. My house gun that is in the closet for the wife is a .38 sp old Charter Arms Bulldog. I have a Charles Daly 1911 for range & company that want to shoot a 1911. My (our, she shoots it too) Range target revolver is a S&W 686. There is a DIFFERENCE in the triggers & accuracy. Both really about the same age. If you are going to carry it & shoot it regularly, get the best quality arm you can afford. It will make practice more enjoyable & therefore more often.
  6. Steve C

    Steve C Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Take $300 and buy a new or used S&W and take $200 and buy a new Rossi. In 5 years of shooting and taking reasonable care of both pistols you decide to sell one of them you can almost be guaranteed getting $350 or more for the S&W but you’ll be lucky to get $150 for the Rossi. This is the difference between buying a firearm with a history of consistent quality vs. one with a sketchy reputation.
  7. asknight

    asknight Member

    Dec 29, 2005
    Steve C, I see your point and while it is a common belief that you have, I want to pose a little challenge.

    A new S&W .357 is going to cost $650-750, and a new Rossi .357 will run you about $325. In your five years of shooting, you're looking at a ~50% depreciation should you decide to sell. In your example, the Rossi only depreciated $50 in value, while the S&W appreciated $50(?). You cannot be guaranteed any noticable appreciation in value for any S&W unless it's a special edition, rare, antique, or otherwise highly sought after.

    Anyway, in my example the S&W depreciated $300+, while the Rossi has only depreciated ~$150.

    While I am a S&W fan, I also own more than one Rossi. I do ask that you research "sketchy reputations" a good bit before alluding that S&W has had a pristine reputation over the years (especially the recent batches of revolvers.)
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2006
  8. chip leader

    chip leader Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Senior Member

    Join Date: Jan 2003
    Location: Central WA
    Posts: 1,186

    This is a great post and answers the question in a excellent manner:)
  9. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Central WA
    Thank you, chip, and welcome to THR!
  10. Husker1911

    Husker1911 Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    Omaha, NE. Alright, Lincoln on Game day Saturdays.
    Smith and Wesson has long and rightfully been regarded among revolver afficianados as the absolute best evolution of the American revolver. Sometimes, American technology achieves a best of, and the evolution simply doesnt' evolve far past that example. Consider John Deere tractors (I'm a life-long Nebraskan), consider Harley Davidson V-Twin motorcycles, and include Smith and Wesson revolvers in that elite mix.

    I'm 52, I've owned revolvers since 1977. I've managed three gun stores full time the past fifteen years. I own a Rossi .38snubbie (I sold 15 Rossi Revolvers in 1995, and won one from Interarms, the now defunct importer), and while I appreciate it, have long relegated it to an also-ran amongst my stable of handguns. While the quality is fair, it's certainly nowhere near the quality of a S&W, or a Ruger, or a Colt revolver.

    While I'm pissing off THR posters, Taurus is in the same category as Rossi. Yes, 10 years ago Taurus purchased Rossi, but the two are remarkably similar in quality. Perhaps one can purchase a decent quality Taurus as a consumer. As a gun retailer, I sent far too many Taurus firearms back to the factory because they were unsellable as new in box firearms from the factory. As a retailer, I was essentially the final inspector for Taurus, and I'm highly offended by their cavalier attitude toward quality inspection.

    I suppose that the Taurus/Rossi firearms I offered in the shops I managed, if they made the sales floor and past our professional inspection, were sufficiently high enough quality firearms to be sold, yet personally, I'd never trust my life, nor those of my loved ones, to a lesser firearm. If you want a quality revolver, no question you must first consider a S&W. Ruger, and to a lesser degree these days, Colt, are worthy of consideration. But unless money considerations override all other concerns, only then consider the South American manufactured handguns. Smith & Wesson revolvers are the industry standard, and will always be more than worth the money spent on them.
  11. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    To ride Husker1911s coat tails, I must re-state XavierBreath's eloquent assesment, something to the extent of 'due the sheer volume they were produced in the S&W M&P revolvers will always cost less than the quality of firearm you're getting'. If you want a good first wheelgun go find a old M&P or older Model 10 (the M&P became the model 10 when S&W switched from names to numbers). For about $200 you'll get a nice 38 Special - plenty for delf defense IMO - that's ultra reliable. The fact that the old guns are the pinnacle of American firearms craftsmanship, look beautiful, and have the sweetest DA trigger ever doesn't hurt; load it with 158gr. LSWCs and it will be inheritly more accurate than the majority of folks pulling the trigger. If you decide you don't like revolvers you can always sell it to an individual and not lose money. Those old S&W duty pistols are a steal, get one while the prices are what they are now.
  12. lawson

    lawson Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Chandler, AZ
    a cheaper revolver is typically going to be more reliable than a cheaper auto, due to the design.

    i've owned lots of revolvers, including Colt, S&W, Ruger, Taurus, and Rossi. I currently own revolvers from S&W and Ruger. My daily carry is a S&W.

    the Rossi i had was a great shooter, but i wouldn't run +P rounds through it, mostly just .38 LRN. i didn't exactly trust the barrel, it seemed a little thin and heated up pretty quickly when firing the whole cylinder rapidly. it was more of a family heirloom, so when it was stolen i considered it an irreplaceable loss and never bought another Rossi. I wouldn't mind having one again, as they would be nice for plinking and backwoods carry, since i wouldn't feel bad about beating them up.

    i'd buy another Taurus 66 in a second, great gun, pretty close in quality to my Smiths. i've heard multiple stories about their quality control, but the one i had was top-notch. it seems like they need to be hand selected and inspected.
  13. TonyB

    TonyB Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Schodack NY
    Here's my personal track record..YMMV

    S and W mod 38(bodyguard)..cylinder fell out(easy fix)got $250 in trade
    Taurus 357mag 3"(not sure of the model)..no problems:got $150 in trade
    Ruger GP100 357 6"....no problems..got $250 in trade
    Dan Wesson mod 15.....this gun sucked..got it worked on a lot...got 250 in trade
    Rossi mod 461 2"(made by Taurus)....sent back to get trigger to be more consistant...shoot it in IDPA..cost $150,I bought it to be a glove box gun,but it's so accurate I baby it now.
    S and W 642....had timing problems after less than 400 rounds,sent it back,got it back in 4 days..good as new...my CCW
    Ruger SP101..no problems...my other CCW
    I may have gotten lucky with the Taurus and Rossi...but if you read and go by
    Mr. march's revo check out,and the gun checks out,I think you're good.
  14. Essex County

    Essex County Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    I'm slightly ashamed to admit this, But I've owned a boxload of Smith's ( my favorite) and my most accurate was 2' Rossi .38 that I bought for cheap. Silly Me i traded it off and would be glad to repurchase it for 1 30.00.... Essex
  15. JERRY

    JERRY Member

    Jun 5, 2003
    comparing older s&w guns to older taurus/rossi guns, the S&W will be tops.....

    however, by todays improoved Taurus and "cheaper" built S&W, the differences are becoming more of a cult following than a realistic one.

    older S&W revolvers are king, even todays S&W cant touch them with their new mim parts and built in disabling devices....
  16. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    I own a taurus tracker 357 magnum, its a great quality, tight gun. Its accurate, the ported barrel really tames the recoil, the cylinder has almost no play, its got a dual lock-up for the cylinder, and the finish is very nice. I'd put this gun up against a Ruger or Smith anytime. The tracker is the third taurus gun that I currently own, and they are all great. The other two being a 24/7 in 40 cal, and a mil-pro in 40 cal. I've had a great experience with Taurus.
  17. cyanide

    cyanide Member

    Jul 18, 2006
    I agree, in fact I have seen Taurus guns "better" than some Smith guns.

    And it makes me want to cry.
  18. Dienekes

    Dienekes Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Just finishing cleanup and checkout of a 1953-vintage S&W model 10 police trade-in. Lots of blue wear, and the grips were well and truly worn--RH one had most of the checkering worn off. I doubt the gun had 1000 rounds through it--probably a lot fewer. Mechanically it was as good if not better than current production and barrel-cylinder lineup the best I have seen in years.

    Have had it out twice now and it shoots to POA, 2" high at 20 yds. At 7 yds, testing for function, it put 4 of 6 into one hole.

    So far I have $164 into the gun, and it looks good to go for another 53 years.

  19. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

    Jul 25, 2003
    The Great Pacific NorthWet
    apples to apples

    1974 Vintage S&W Model 49 Bodyguard .38 Special, carried daily from 1978 to 1984 fired many thousand times. A lot of Super-Vel and Remington #R38S3 125gr +P duty ammo.

    2003 vintage Taurus 651 all steel, unported .357. The Taurus version of the S&W bodygyard. Over 4000 rounds so far. Estimate 1k .357, 1K .38+P and 2k aasorted .38 special of all kinds.

    Babysat a friends 2005 vintage 649 for a few weeks. Put about 300 .357 magnum, 200 +P, and 500 assorted .38 through it. (per their instructions)

    If I had to choose from those three the Taurus would be my #1 choice. It's every bit as good in fit and accuracy as my old 49. The S&W did have better blueing though.

    I really, really loved that 49. One of my most regretted trades.

    I was very happy to give the new 649 back. Nice enough gun but way over priced. Even if it was the same price as the Taurus I'd buy the Taurus.

    I carried an early 1970s vintage S&W Model 40 Centennial everyday from 1984 to 1988. Awsome revolver. I'd still have that one if it hadn't been "misplaced".

    I have fired both the Taurus 650 and the new S&W 640.
    Once again I'd choose the Taurus.

    I had a 2" Taurus 445 unported .44 Special that I really loved.
    Much better gun than my 1979 Charter arms ever though about being even though I really liked the Charter.
    Lost the Taurus while I was "incarcerated" after my fall last year. Have searched for one ever since.

    Having said that, Nothing out there compares to my S&W N-Frames.
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