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S&W 617, Ruger SP101, or Taurus 94 .22's For Wife

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by sigbear, Nov 6, 2011.


S&W 617, Ruger SP101 .22, Taurus or Other "New 22"

Poll closed Dec 6, 2011.
  1. S&W 617 .22

    46 vote(s)
  2. Ruger SP101 .22

    57 vote(s)
  3. Taurus 94

    4 vote(s)
  4. Other

    7 vote(s)
Thread Status:
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  1. sigbear

    sigbear Member

    Jul 21, 2007
    My wife has gone shooting with me and friends several times and is recoil/blast sensitive. She wants a .22 revolver to get comfortable with before moving up to a larger caliber.

    She likes revolvers better and I currently have a .357 Ruger Security Six 6" barrel, .357 SP101 3" barrel and a LCR.

    I am thinking of getting her the S&W 617 because I believe it o be the better "target" pick of the 3. I would love to have her try them all and pic what she wants but that's very difficult because the gun stores I go to don't have any of them and would have to order.

    S&W 617
    Ruger SP101 .22
    Taurus 94

    What' your opinion?


    BADUNAME37 Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Personally, I would go with the SP101;)
  3. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

    Mar 4, 2008
  4. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    SW NH
    If a S&W is in the options, pick it. Never a bad choice.

    Me, I'd go with a 4" barrel to help keep the weight down and the balance back toward the frame and grip. The issue I have with all of the newer S&Ws (and most "modern" revolvers in general) is the universal heavy barrel and heavy shroud. I can deal with it on a short barrel, but it gets heavy at the 6" mark IMO.

    Now if you read through the revolver Quick Check guide at the top of the forum and are comfortable checking out used, I'd highly recommend something like a S&W M-18 (4") or an older lighter-barreled M-17 (6" common). This little gem ran me 5 bills out the door, but I don't think I could be convinced to part with it. It gets fired easily 4-5 times as much as it's .357 counterpart.


    ETA: Drat, I typed too slow and the Ruger fans snuck in! ;)
  5. rikman

    rikman Member

    Jan 3, 2004
    People's Republic of IL
    My S&W is awesome
  6. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Apr 13, 2007
    Tough call.

    The Ruger's a good design, but the ergonomics of the SP101 have never agreed with me. The trigger, in particular, is very squared off, and nearly cuts into my finger. That's easily fixable, though.

    Though expensive, my 4" 10-shot 617 was one of my wiser purchases, as it's my most-shot gun. And it's a tack driver to boot.

    Since you already have a few revolver, another option would be to spend the money on some really low-power .38 loads. It's little-appreaciated that .357s can also shoot .38 Short Colt and .38 Long Colt. Some .38 Short Colt from your Security Six wouldn't have much more recoil than a .22, I suspect.

    You could also buy some 100gr wadcutter .38s from Mastercast. They, too, shouldn't have much recoil, and with brass exchange, are reasonably priced.

  7. GP100man

    GP100man Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Tabor City, NC.
    Start with what she`s comfortable with !!!!

    I`ve found that if a person (female or male) is`nt comfortable or enjoys shooting a certain caliber or firearm they usually don`t shoot !!!!

    Go rent some revolvers or autos & let her shoot em , you may be surprised what she picks !!!!
  8. ultramag44

    ultramag44 Member

    Aug 15, 2008
    Lubbock, Texas
    I have a S&W 18-2, a 17-3 and a new Ruger SP101 8-shot.

    All are uber-accurate.

    The Ruger needs the edges of the hammer spur smoothed off, a minor thing.

    The new S&W's are quite a bit more expensive. Even a used S&W will run the price of a new-in-box SP101 8-shot. New 18's are available right now (w/ Patriger front sight).

    I think she should hold them all and see which one fits her hand best.


    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  9. Hoppes Love Potion

    Hoppes Love Potion Member

    May 11, 2010
    I think you should also include the 3" S&W Model 63. It's a steel J-frame with adjustable sights. It is smaller and lighter than the model 617 and might fit her hand better. It's also a bit cheaper.

    I also recently handled the new SP-101 and it looked and felt very nice, excellent quality and a nice balance.

    I did not test any triggers, though. The general consensus is that the S&Ws have the best triggers out of the box.

    In any case, I would go for top quality of Ruger or S&W. Taurus revolvers have been known to have quality problems, and the 94 models often have heavy, gritty triggers. Their customer service department has a poor reputation, too. That's not to say that you cannot find a wonderful $300 Taurus (or Rossi or Charter), just that there may be a greater risk of having issues and less chance of satisfaction if you do.
  10. oldfool

    oldfool Member

    Jul 18, 2009
    Thomasville, Georgia
    of those listed, the 617, which is an L-frame gun, full underlug

    but I also think a k-frame is likelier the better choice, k-22/17/18
    if she has real small hands, a j-63, but preferably in a 4" barrel
    a lot of people have had bad luck with Taurus 94s, and the DA trigger really is very poor, no kidding; just because they look like S&W kit guns, doesn't mean they are same
    But if you run across an older 6" Taurus 96, it is a very good substitute for a K-22/17

    You said recoil sensitive, but didn't say how so, re: on what loads fired out of your own guns. If she has not yet tried target wadcutter 38s in your SS & SP Rugers, you really ought give it a whirl, as MrB said.
    typical target wadcutters not oft found at wallyworld, but not hard found, even though not dirt cheap (one box ought demonstrate if worth further pursuit)
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  11. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    Other...I'd go Colt.:D

  12. DTesch357

    DTesch357 Member

    Sep 6, 2010
    The Taurus 94 has a DA trigger pull of about 200 pounds out of the box - I'd steer clear of it.

    I really, really love the new 22LR Sp101. I also have an old Colt Diamondback, 6" bbl 22LR revolver... That is one sweet shooter!
  13. weregunner

    weregunner Member

    Aug 12, 2006
    First of all if this is to be her gun how about letting her try out the models everone is touting? The gun has to fit her and her needs and no one elses.

    Let her take begininning basic women only or one on one accredited class. The NRA and NSSF have these and should be accessible through local gun stores, gun ranges, or gun clubs. This way she get a well rounded basic education on this and is able to make a more informed decision.

    Here's some things she might want to look at.
    http://corneredcat.com http://babeswithbullets.com

    One overlooked gun is the Charter Arms Patriot .22lrf revolvers. I saw one at the LGS and gave it a thorough going over. Oh,yes. It has a 4 inch barrel.

    It was a bit hefty, but light enough for anyone to be able to hold it well.

    The trigger pull was light,crisp, and smooth compared to many other brands of .22lrf revolver.

    If that doesn't float her boat then there are the Taurus 970 and 990 series revolvers to look at. These have better triggers than the Taurus 94 right off the bat. How do I know. I own a 990 and two 94s.

    I lightened and smoothed the triggers up a bit on my Taurus 94s and 941 (.22 WRM) by using .22lrf snap caps or spent .22 WRM cases. Many repetitions (practice as well) dry firing over a few days took care of thos problems.

    All the Taurus revolvers in .22lrf and .22WRM are accurate,durable, and reliable.

    The 94 is my understudy gun to my larger centerfire brethren.

    It's also possible that something like a Bersa 10 shot .22lrf pistol might be something to consider.

    It's her decision and no one elses. Let her try as many as possible and then let her make the pick.
  14. weregunner

    weregunner Member

    Aug 12, 2006
    Guess what I am saying is that if a vote had to be placed it would be all the above after careful consideration by her as to what works and what does not.:)
  15. Manny

    Manny Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    NE Ohio
    I had a 6" S&W 617 and didn't ever warm to it, too big and heavy for a .22 sidearm IMHO. It's long gone and was the last S&W in my collection and I really don't expect to ever buy another with the possible exception of an M&P AR. I'm an unabashed Ruger fan and it's nearly always my first choice. I would love to have the new SP OR the new Single Ten which would be a very good choice as well.
  16. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

    Jun 11, 2005
    If seeing stuff in person is a problem, I would probably go with a 4" S&W M617 as you can't go wrong with them.

    I would look at the new SP-101 in 22 and consider it. If she likes that, go with it.

    An alternative is the Colt Trooper Mark III in 22LR. PythonElite posted a picture of one. They are around. I have this revolver in 22LR, 22WMR, and 357 mag. I love the 357 mag version and its my regular shooter 357 mag. Since there is collector interest, I shy away from shooting the 22's, and shoot either a Smith M17 or M18. Finding an older M17 or M18 would be a good choice as well.

    Smith makes the M63 now with a 3" barrel. It was previously made with a 5" barrel and if she has smaller hands, the stock grips may work real well for her. It's a 8-shot 22 in the smaller J-frame size. It won't have as good of a factory trigger as the M617, but it still isn't bad. It's a real nice little 22 revolver.

    Lots of choices. Most of the good choices are fairly expensive.
  17. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

    Nov 28, 2010
    I have always felt the S&W Model 17 or 617 are the best 22s available right out of the box. They have always had an excellent reputation for accuracy and trigger pull. They also maintain their value very well.
  18. powwowell

    powwowell Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    Eastern NC
    The S&W 617 is big and it's heavy. That is for old men and women. I'm an old man and I never did warm up to my 617. Sold it.

    I've owned several SP101s, but not in .22lr. I am a big fan of SP101s with 3 1/16 " barrels, in .357.

    ALL double action .22lr revolvers will have harder trigger pulls than center fire revolvers. I bought a used Taurus 94, four inch barrel. Either Taurus got this one right from the get-go, or the previous owner sent it back enough times, for Taurus to get it right. SA trigger pull is awesome. DA is stiff, but manageble. This Taurus is more accurate than I can shoot. This 94 is the most enjoyable .22lr DA revolver, that I have ever owned.

    With S&W and Ruger you have a better chance of getting a working revolver out of the box. You still won't like the DA trigger pulls and you'll pay a lot more for them. Especially the S&W.
  19. ClemY

    ClemY Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    First, I would never buy anything from Taurus. Their quality is too variable; too great a chance of getting junk.

    Second, the K frame Smith & Wessons are big, typically over 40 oz. My Model 17 is 45 oz, and my 4” Model 617 is 42 oz. If she can take the weight, they are great. If not…

    The new 4” Ruger SP101 .22 looks great. They are not yet available where I live, so I haven’t seen one yet, but basing it on Ruger’s reputation, it should be good.

    Another viable candidate is the S&W J frame .22 My 5” Model 63 is nearly as accurate as my 617s and weighs 30 oz. The currently available 3” 63 weighs 27 oz, but I find it a little more difficult to be as accurate with the shorter sight radius. It may be different for you.
  20. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    Hayward, WI
    Well, it's heresy here in the Revolver forum, but keep an eye open for a Colt Woodsman or variation (My wife inherited a Huntsman. It's the sweetest shooting firearm I have ever shot.) It remains the gold standard in .22 pistols. Which is why I chose "other" above.

    Of the ones you've got listed, stick to the S&W. Far far far better than the others. I'd suggest finding an older K22 but a current 617 is still better than the others.
  21. roaddog28

    roaddog28 Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Escondido, CA
    For me the best SA/DA 22 revolver I have ever used is a K22 S&W model 17 or model 18. The new Ruger SP101 22 LR looks good but still unproven. I don't have experience with Colts but they are probably just as good as the S&Ws. The main thing I like about the K22 is the double action trigger. Most DA 22 revolvers have a rather heavy trigger. The model 17 I used at the range had the best double action trigger of any 22 revolvers I have ever use.
    For your wife I would try to find a model 18 in a 4 inch barrel.
  22. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

    Sep 6, 2009
    Manitowoc, WI
    If grading the new 22 revolvers, I'd give Ruger an A
    They're built like tanks & meant to be used for generations.
    And I LOVE those stock grips.

    S&W would get a B.
    They're aesthetically more pleasing to my eye, but that darn inter-lock & less than beautiful rubber grips drag it down a hair.

    Taurus might get a C-
    Their quality just doesn't compare.

    Just my 2¢ YMMV
  23. arcticap

    arcticap Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Central Connecticut
    I know an older gent who recently bought the new model Ruger SP101 .22 and he wants to sell it because the trigger pull is too hard for him. He sent it to Ruger to fix and said that they didn't do anything to help improve it and now he wants to sell it without having fired it at all. He said that they told him that the trigger was within their factory specifications.
    The short barrel S&W 63's can be hard to hit with for many but the expert shooters.
    I had an old model Ruger SP101 .22 and even though it had a correctable mechanical issue (cylinder rubbing the barrel face right from the factory), the accuracy and trigger weren't anywhere near as good as with my current S&W 617.
    I've seen a lot of ladies who like shooting the S&W 617 at weekly .22 plate shoots and some are very proficient with it.
    And there's a great speedloader made for it along with ammo loading blocks with different capacities to have lots of non-stop fun at the shooting range.
    That's right, even reloading the S&W 617 is fun! :D


    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  24. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Delaware home of tax free shopping
    The Sp101 has a Horrible way too heavy double action trigger pull, the SA trigger pull is twice as bad. Not sure if that can be fixed as I believe the SP has the 1 spring action.
    If you are getting a revolver for target shooting the trigger is Really, Really important. The Smith choices, the 617 older 17 and 18, and of course don't forget the model 63 J frame 5". All have great single action triggers, and very smooth double action triggers, the pull weight on all can be brought down by having the rebound spring changed, without affecting reliability.

    If you want a smaller gun look at the 63, if you want a full size K look at a classic 18 or a 4" 617.
  25. ClemY

    ClemY Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    The SP101 has a two spring action and responds very well to smoothing and spring replacement. My 3" 101 now has a single action trigger nearly as good as my S&W 60 and 63, with a double action trigger that matches them. They all typically take a little work.
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