That One Go-to .357

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

  1. Archangel14

    Archangel14 Member

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    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)!
     
  2. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    b12.jpg
    686, 'nuff said.
     
  3. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

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  4. P Flados

    P Flados Member

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    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
  5. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    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

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    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?
     
  7. entropy

    entropy Member

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    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

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    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.
    dual6.jpg
     
  9. Tinman357

    Tinman357 Member

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    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.
     
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  10. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    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

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    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

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    S&W 681 the Ultimate 357MAG
     
  13. UncleEd

    UncleEd Member

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    Stainless 4-inch GP100 standard
    model.

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

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    My S&W 327 Night Guard

    33B53156-6277-4406-AE59-E633ABE32163.jpeg
     
  15. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    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

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    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.)
     
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  17. stonebuster

    stonebuster Member

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    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

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    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
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  19. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    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.
     
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  20. NeroM

    NeroM Member

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    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.
     
  21. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    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
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  22. Rio Laxas

    Rio Laxas Member

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    I would choose a Manurhin MR73. Durability and reliability were its primary design parameters.
     
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  23. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Double acton S&W revolver, fixed sights, 4-inch, round butt, in any cartridge other than 357 Magnum. :D
     
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  24. v8stang289

    v8stang289 Member

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    Would have to be my 686-4

    [​IMG]
     
  25. Haywood

    Haywood Member

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    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
     
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