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Smith and Ruger: Startling Revelation

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by StrikeEagle, Jul 26, 2004.

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  1. StrikeEagle

    StrikeEagle Member

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    I own a Smith and Wesson 66 and a Ruger Security Six, both with 4 inch barrels. I enjoy both but typically think of the Smith as being... well, better and finer. Like the Smith was made by Elves but the Ruger was made by Dwarves. (I think the Orcs made Webley's but that's another matter)

    But today I shocked myself when I realized that well... the Ruger is just a better gun! :what:

    The Ruger has a better triggerpull than the Smith. The Ruger is STRONGER than the Smith... that's the one I use to develop my handloads. As I approach max, I know the Ruger will bring me home safe. Ruger has extra beef every which way... chamber walls, top strap, recoil shield, etc. And... the Ruger is MORE ACCURATE than the Smith! By a considerable margin. The Ruger will still be ticking long after the Smith has been retired. I doubt that a this revolver can EVER wear out from simple use. As I think about it, I dunno why I ever thought the Smith was 'better'... I guess because when I bought it new years ago, it was a LOT more money than the Ruger, and wicked-hard to find one for sale. And backordered out the wazoo, too. So it was quite a coup just getting one into my happy homestead.

    What do you think? When the last shot is fired and the smoke has cleared... which is the better revolver?

    best,
    StrikeEagle
     
  2. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    If Ruger still MADE the "six" line of revolvers i wouldnt even bother looking at S&Ws.

    But, i think the GP100 line gives up a bit to both the old sixes and the K-frames, unfortunatly.
     
  3. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    "What do you think? When the last shot is fired and the smoke has cleared... which is the better revolver?"

    The better revolver (at least to you) is the one which serves YOU best.

    I have never had or held a Ruger which had a better trigger pull than a similar S&W. And from what I have seen, on the average, S&W's are slightly more accurate than Ruger revolvers. When was the last time you saw a Ruger revolver used in Bullseye competition?

    This is not to say that Rugers are worse than S&W. They are darn good revolvers and will serve the average shooter quite well.

    But in the end, it's the one that serves you best that is the better revolver.
     
  4. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I do believe that the Ruger is stronger than a K-frame Smith. In fact, since M19/M66 S&W's were getting battered by constant diets of .357 ammo, S&W eventually brought out their "L" frame guns.

    As far as things like trigger pull and accuracy are concerned, it sounds like you got a Ruger at one end of the bell curve, and a Smith from the other end of the bell curve. This is unusual, since it's been my observation and experience that S&W's are "usually" better in both regards than Rugers. (Though there have been periods in Smith's not-so-distant past where an awful lot of [email protected] left their factory in Springfield.)

    So . . . it sounds like you got lucky with your Ruger. Good for you!
     
  5. JoeHatley

    JoeHatley Member

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    Well... since you asked. I'm glad you are enjoying your Ruger, but I think the S&W is a better gun. I've always felt the "beef" in Ruger's cast parts vs S&W forged steel was a detriment, not a sign of strength.

    Opinions vary...

    Joe
     
  6. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

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    Or, for that matter, action competition? Not to suggest that competitors aren't at all susceptible to fashion and preconceptions--but if a Ruger could run with a Smith, I'd expect to see one show up once in a while at IDPA or IPSC (where most guns are moonclipped, yes--but some folks do use guns that require speedloaders). I'm sure Rugers appear in such competition somewhere, sometimes; but I've never seen it.

    The Rugers I've handled had a very confidence inspiring heft; but for smooth, I've not handled one that came terribly close to a good S&W.
     
  7. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    Which brand did cops overwhelmingly carry? Even if Rugers were authorized, they were perceived as second best, or "economy" guns. Look at the finish difference alone, especially in the cylinder window and on the crane...

    They do stand up well, but I've never seen a Ruger that I could shoot QUITE as well as a Smith.

    I've owned probably 20 S&W .357's, had a Security-Six and have owned two GP-100's, one of which I just bought. I like it very much. But I still want a Smith M686, although I have an M66 for lighter duty.

    Lone Star
     
  8. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    Statistical aberration.

    Sam
     
  9. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    Even the Ruger Security-Six series had problems with the hot .357 loads so that Ruger went to the GP100, just as Smith went to the L-frame.

    While I think the world of the GP100 and Security-Six, they still are not equal to an L-frame in the trigger. Ruger did however produce the best grip on a DA revolver with the small grip found on the 3" GP100.
     
  10. Majic

    Majic Member

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    The "S"- Six series Rugers are stronger than the K-frame S&W, but also larger.
    Accuracy is something unique to each and every revolver depending upon the total sum of many varibles built into it. Potential accuracy goes to the S&W as it generally has a better trigger than the Ruger.
    Asthetically the S&W has a more classic design and appeal.

    At the end of the day which is the better? That's a personal choice based on the factors that suit's your tastes. I would take the S&W over the Ruger. If I require more power I go up in frame size or go to a larger caliber. Ruger's extra strength doesn't outweigh the qualities that a S&W offers me.
     
  11. Erich

    Erich Member

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    Ruger went to the GP to save $$ in construction, not to make a stronger gun.
     
  12. Boats

    Boats member

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    Well you will note that far more, "What's wrong with my revolver?" threads contain S&Ws than Rugers.

    I put another flawless 200 through my GP-100 yesterday. With some polishing and Wolff springs, mine doesn't feel any worse than my friend's 686, just different.

    Oh yeah, in 1200 rounds so far, mine has never fired a .38 and it is still locking up as tight as the day I bought it.
     
  13. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    Frosty and Majic explained it pretty well, I agree with them 100%.


    I had a Police Service Six 4", have a Service Six 4", and several incarnations of 38 and 357 Smith K-frames. The situation was that a guy I know needed a defensive handgun, he has only ever owned one handgun and it was a Ruger Mark I that jams constantly. He had shot handguns maybe 3 or 4 times in his 50+ years. I had the Rugers laying around and don't shoot them anymore so I take him to the range and hand him both (after some 'classroom' type stuff) to give a try. He shoots and ends up liking the grips on the PSS better and picks it. We shoot some more with him shooting the PSS VERY well and I handed him a M19 4" S&W, bone stock and nearly new condition. He shot two shots, looked at me and said "this gun is SOOOO much nicer and easier to shoot than the other ones it is amazing!!! Can I buy this one from you?" I declined the sale, and asked him how often he would shoot the gun if he had it. He acknowledged that maybe once per year and even that was a little stretch, so that it really didn't matter. The PSS at hallway distances was a very nice gun for his uses, stainless for limited maintenance needs and the cost was right: free. I gave it to him. He still tells me if I see a Smith cheap enough to grab it for him, he'll give the PSS back and pay for the Smith.

    That is just one case, but pretty normal from what I have seen. The Rugers are VERY good guns for the money, I paid less than $200 for mine used in very good condition. They don't equal a Smith though in my book.
     
  14. Majic

    Majic Member

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    That's true, but there are far more S&W's in the world than Rugers. As any mechanical device can and will break with usage, the more units there are the higher the breakage number.
     
  15. jc2

    jc2 member

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    Just a slight overstatement, for sure. Ruger was giving S&W a run for the money in terms of LE sales when the autoloader craze hit. Chances are pretty good, Ruger would have taken the number one spot from S&W if LE had stuck with revolvers.

    As far as accuracy and trigger pull goes. I've seen good and bad examples from each side of the house. Rugers break-in very well--i. e., become much smoother with use to a great extent than S&Ws do (because they start out smoother). Bottom line--I'd take a vintage Smith over a current offerings in either brand, and I'd take a current production Ruger over a current production Smith.
     
  16. Boats

    Boats member

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    Ruger DA revolvers ain't exactly rare or something. More Smiths break, and for more reasons, than any Ruger DA revolver. True, some of that is that there are a lot of ancient Smiths, and there are some very fragile cutting edge Smiths, but my personal experience is that Rugers will take punishment to a far greater degree than a Smith and keep on going. It seems to me to be a mild case of AK v. AR. The Ruger is a little unrefined but next to impossible to stop, the SW is the beneficiary of mucho development, but can be a little more finicky than the "crude" Ruger.

    I'd happily live with either, but since my trigger is smooth enough for any serious use, I'll take smooth and tough. I really like how I can strip down the GP-100 compared to the Smith takedown. Maybe it's my autoloader background that makes me appreciate the modularity of the GP more than the traditional build of the Smith.
     
  17. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Comparing stock to stock, I've never felt a Ruger that had a good clean trigger pull. YMMV
     
  18. Majic

    Majic Member

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    I'm not saying that Rugers are rare or even mentioning any S&W model made before Ruger came on the market. In DA revolvers Ruger has one small frame, one medium frame, and two large frames. Then look at how many J-frames, K-frames, L-frames, N-frames, and now the X-frame S&W has to offer. Ruger is a quality gun, but S&W has always out sold it.
    There are reports of both brands having functioning problems. Neither maker has closed up it's repair shop due to lack of work.
    As mentioned earlier, choice is a personal issue as both brands are comparable.
     
  19. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    Not really a valid method of comparison. Police agencies select duty weapons based upon...well, any of a number of factors, with "what is the best gun" being merely numbered among them- if the cops are lucky. If they aren't, the beancounters will be saying "listen, what meets our bare minimum requirements for the least $$$?" Anything from political pressure, contract deals to salesmanship of a particular company can and will influence the decisions. Often the purchasing decisions are made by people who known nothing about guns.

    Mike
     
  20. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I've owned several S&W revolvers over the years but never held on to them. The Rugers and (gasp!) the old Colts I've had have been far more interesting and useful. The S&W trigger, so lauded by competitors, does nothing for me. I find it more difficult to fire in DA than the Colt's trigger and far too light to be trusted in rough conditions.

    I'd say for competition the S&W is superior because of its amazing speed, but for practical field work the Ruger is better. If you run out of cartridges you can just beat the criminal/deer/bear with it.
     
  21. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    My buddy has a GP 100 he loves. He shoots it well, but it was the gun that really turned me off revolvers for a loong time. I've shot it many times, and I still can't hit squat with it. It wasn't until I bought a S&W M-28 that I learned that I DO like revolvers and that I can shoot them well.

    I don't know what it was about that GP 100, but it never felt right in my hand and I never did well with it.
     
  22. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    I handled a shooting-range rental GP100 once, 6" half-lug barrel that I swear to God had one of the best DA trigger pulls I've ever felt on ANY gun, period, end of discussion. It was still 100% reliable despite some probable spring wear and locked up solid, good rifling, nothing even close to "wore out".

    It was just unreal. DEAD smooth, no stacking, it was like swinging opening a high-end Mercedes car door. That had been oiled daily.

    :eek:
     
  23. bountyhunter

    bountyhunter member

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    Maybe, but I own old smiths and several new smiths and I am constantly fondling SW's. There are a lot of new SW's that aren't better than ANYBODY'S gun.
     
  24. Atticus

    Atticus Member

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    I like em both...for different reasons. The Redhawk I used to have had the best DA trigger I ever felt. My model's 19 and 625 have the best SA trigger I've ever felt. The 19 is beautiful ...the GP100 I owned was a plain Jane,
    but a good shooter and it could be used as a hammer in a pinch. If you plan on shooting a lot and keeping the gun forever...a Ruger is an excellent choice. If you plan on selling it someday...the S&W has far more resale value. Notice I speaking in past tense when speaking of the Rugers. They are great guns but they depreciate like a car. :(
     
  25. MJRW

    MJRW Member

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    I've got to agree. I prefer everything about my GP-100 over my 686-5. I prefer SP-101s over J-frames. I prefer the way they shoot, the way they operate, the way they look. I prefer the hammers and triggers on Rugers are the same color as the rest of the gun. I prefer the cylinder release being a push button that is smoothly integrated into the recoil shield to a sliding cylinder release stuck on the side of the gun with a thin little recoil shield also stuck there. It is fine if other people prefer S&Ws. They aren't bad guns. But here is something that will piss people off: I even prefer the current Taurus guns to the current S&Ws.
     
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