That One Go-to .357

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Archangel14, Nov 14, 2021.

  1. Archangel14

    Archangel14 Member

    Mar 16, 2012
    Hi everyone. I present a question to this highly knowledgeable community. And it is this: if you could have that one go-to .357 revolver, which one would it be? Now, in processing the answer to this question, allow me to add some context. What .357 would it be if you found yourself having to absolutely rely upon it, likely in a harsh environment, without the possibility of being able to clean it after every use, or frequently? It has to work, it has to go bang, it has to be rugged. Now I know that some of us may be tempted to direct this poster toward a different type of handgun or a different caliber. Or you may want to talk about different firearms for different environs and uses. But let's just keep it simple; the .357 for all uses when one finds him or herself in difficult, possibly prolonged situations. Your thoughts supporting your conclusion will be well considered.

    I love you guys (and gals)!
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

    Mar 17, 2015
    Nostramo (in absentia), Segmentum Ultima
    686, 'nuff said.
    Thomasss, ms6852, jag1954 and 20 others like this.
  3. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

    Oct 6, 2012
    New Mexico
    ms6852, Mr. Mosin, ECVMatt and 6 others like this.
  4. P Flados

    P Flados Member

    Feb 21, 2021
    Wilmington NC
    The Op did not mention concealed carry, or the number of legs applicable to any potential threats. As such this will be treated as a general purpose gun.

    I bought a really nice condition used 4" GP-100 a couple of years ago and the cost was very reasonable. Getting anything like the deal I got would be near impossible today. Although not used in a rugged environment, the gun gets shot a lot and has seen absolutely minimal care.

    For reliable in a "rugged environment", if anything is better than a stainless 4" to 6" Ruger GP-100 with rubber grips, it is not better by much. The same can probably be said for the L frame stainless S&W gun, the 686. S&W call their K frame revolvers medium frames, but S&W does not say they are ok for continuous full power 357 magnums. As such I do not call them "full sized" guns when specifically talking 357s.

    Note that rubber grips are a little more rugged than wood grips, but this is probably an insignificant difference.

    In the context of the OP, it is easy to say a stainless gun is more reliable than a blued gun. Harsh includes wet and he said minimal care. A GP-100 or L frame sized gun is also easy to say is more rugged than a smaller / lighter revolver. With the 357 in the general purpose role, there is really no need to go any bigger. Also based on the general purpose role, the barrel should probably be in the 4" to 6" range.

    Throw any revolver in mud or sand and some cleaning (grit removal) really is needed if you want to retain reliable trouble free operation. As long as you are not introducing grit, the full sized stainless revolvers are pretty darned reliable.

    Similar guns from other makers may actually work just as well, but they typically would not be a first choice recommendation for this type of service. The Smiths and the Rugers just have the large user bases and track records that make them the obvious choices.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
    mistermills357, roval, webrx and 5 others like this.
  5. ontarget

    ontarget Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    Michigan (Gods country)
    Hard to go wrong with a 4 inch 686.
    Depending on intended use a SAA or clone would be great too.
  6. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Member

    Oct 3, 2009
    A pre-lock S&W 681. Fixed sights would maybe survive better in truly hard use, or at least one less thing to have an issue with. What type of harsh environment are we talking?
    DR505, Dragonfly, Homerboy and 4 others like this.
  7. entropy

    entropy Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    G_d's Country, WI
    I would choose a Trooper MkIII.

    I would recommend a 586 or 686 to most anyone else.

    The GP100 is built like a tank. A T34. Solid. More so than it needs to be.
  8. Zebraranger

    Zebraranger Member

    Sep 26, 2007
    Outdoors in a harsh environment, with no way to clean it. For me it would have to be my 2005 6" GP100. If I didn't have that one, it would be my 1986 6" Colt King Cobra, but either would do because both have proven their stoutness.
  9. Tinman357

    Tinman357 Member

    Jan 2, 2006
    Puget Sound
    I too would opt for the older, blued, half lug GP100 6". I have other, arguably "better" revolvers, but in the OP scenario, the GP edges out if only for the longer tube. The others are 3" and less.
    mistermills357 likes this.
  10. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Hard to beat a 4" 686 for an all around .357 Mag. I'd nominate the Model 66 as well - especially the new one, which supposedly will handle the hot jacketed loads which occasionally troubled the older versions.
  11. westernrover

    westernrover Member

    May 4, 2018
    It has to work? Work for what? A lot of revolvers will work if all it has to do is make noise. If by "work" it is meant that I have to be able to hit game with it at 100 yards, then I don't want a blade on the front with a gutter sight over the cylinder no matter how rugged that is. Give me a longer barrel, a steady grip, and a red dot sight. It might be 'fragile' but it will 'work' for me by delivering hits instead of misses. For "defensive" use, it could just be a piece of junk snubbie if we go by "probabilities." On the other hand, so long as I don't need to use it to hammer tent stakes or anchor a fish trap, why not use the one that 'works' to make hits better than any other regardless of how tough it is? If its a harsh environment and it has to work in a difficult and prolonged situation, it's worth taking good care of it. If it's well taken care of, it will work.
  12. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    Tampa Bay area

    S&W 681 the Ultimate 357MAG
  13. UncleEd

    UncleEd Member

    Feb 28, 2015
    N. Georgia
    Stainless 4-inch GP100 standard

    Stock, the Hogue rubber model
    with or without grooves.
  14. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

    May 21, 2015
    Southern California
    My S&W 327 Night Guard

  15. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    I have both 686 and the old versions of Colt King Cobras. I could flip a coin and be happy with either.
  16. UncleEd

    UncleEd Member

    Feb 28, 2015
    N. Georgia
    Pat Riot, I liked your choice for
    two specific reasons: Light weight
    and fire power. But I'm dubious
    about ultimate ruggedness or
    durability. (Please, not looking
    for a debate and I do think it's
    a good and unique choice.)
    Pat Riot likes this.
  17. stonebuster

    stonebuster Member

    Jun 8, 2016
    Stainless GP100 5" barrel with a slight edge over S&W 686 because the GP's trigger group can be removed easily and cleaned if need be.
  18. Tallball

    Tallball Member

    Oct 2, 2014
    I don't have a stainless one anymore, but that would obviously be the correct choice of finish. That being said...

    This Blackhawk is from 1977 or so. It's had a lot of rounds through it, but it is rugged and still functions perfectly. If you think about it, a Blackhawk is a beefed-up version of a 45colt revolver. The 357 version has smaller holes drilled through the barrel and cylinder. Their walls are very thick. The 45colt models can shoot heavy "Ruger only" loads. My guess is that this one has been fed mostly 38 specials. It is absurdly over-engineered for 38 target loads. No wonder the mechanical parts are in such good condition. A brand-new one in stainless would last a VERY long time.

    I think it would keep on working after all of my DA revolvers finally bit the dust.

    It's not an "urban survival" piece, but in rural areas the the barrel would be very useful for hunting.

    I would not feel unarmed at night if I had it next to my bedroll.

    My S&W Model 28 is similarly over-engineered for 357 magnum. It's an N frame, suitable for various 44's and 45's, including 44 magnum. It's already withstood a bazillion rounds since the 1970's and seems mostly unaffected. The mechanism is a bit more complicated, though, and it might give up the ghost before the Blackhawk. Is there a stainless version, like a 628 or something?

    In an urban situation where it had to serve for both CC and HD, a Ruger SP101, or maybe a K frame with 3" barrel and boot grips (in stainless) would be a reasonable compromise..

    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
    jag1954, ECVMatt, Haywood and 5 others like this.
  19. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

    Jun 14, 2008
    SouthEastern FL
    My dad's old Police Service Six is likely as robust as they come. I imagine it would fill any bill for me.

    The Taylor's Smoke Wagon Deluxe (a Taylor-tuned Uberti SAA clone) I just took delivery of appears up to the task as well, but I have not shot it yet.

    As has been mentioned above, though, possible definitions of the word "work" in the phrase "has to work" are yet to be determined.
    stonebuster and NIGHTLORD40K like this.
  20. NeroM

    NeroM Member

    Oct 31, 2019
    Corner of Know and Where
    If one was limited to 357 mag; FA-97, fixed sight, 5 1/2 barrel
    Otherwise a S&W M10 or M64 (38SPL, I know).
    357M/38SPL are easy and economical to reload,
    Which presumably might be a needed part of OP's scenario.
    Mr. Mosin and UncleEd like this.
  21. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

    Sep 6, 2021
    The only .357 I still have.

    Ruger Blackhawk. Stainless 4.6"

    You don't get any more rugged. Easy to carry and it works, every time.

    Alternatives, .41Mag, .44M, .45C in a Blackhawk. Oops, I have those, too.

    Guess I am "ultimately" prepared.

    I would be comfortable with a 4" or 5" barrel on a 686, M27, GP100, Service Six or Trooper, also.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
    tominboise likes this.
  22. Rio Laxas

    Rio Laxas Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    I would choose a Manurhin MR73. Durability and reliability were its primary design parameters.
    Mr. Mosin, THEWELSHM and entropy like this.
  23. mcb

    mcb Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    North Alabama
    Double acton S&W revolver, fixed sights, 4-inch, round butt, in any cartridge other than 357 Magnum. :D
    Mr. Mosin likes this.
  24. v8stang289

    v8stang289 Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    Eastern NC
    Would have to be my 686-4

    Toros, e rex, EMC45 and 7 others like this.
  25. Haywood

    Haywood Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    N. Ohio
    This reminds me of my first gun purchase after I was married. I wanted a gun for the Range and house. Ohio didn’t have CCW then. A 4” 357 was it. Here we are 44 years latter and many 357 have come and gone. I like my 627 Tracker and my 617 2” . I carry the 2” and the Tracker makes a great Range, Camp and House Gun. If I could only have One, I guess it would be the 2” for carry but it would be a tuff decision. 885C0F22-6EC9-4D12-9B15-3DF7BB7BFF95.jpeg
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice