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Used Highway Patrolman vs. new S&W 586/686 or Ruger SP100

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by netsew, Mar 17, 2017.

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  1. straightshooterjake

    straightshooterjake Member

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    There is some discussion in this thread about double action being tough on N-frame .357s. I have been taught that rapid double action in N-frames will beat up the cylinder stop, the frame around the cylinder stop window, and the notches in the cylinder. Rapid double action will wear all revolvers in these areas, but the cylinders on 6-shot N-frame .357s are exceptionally heavy and have a lot of inertia. The extra inertia means the cylinder stop gets hit hard if the cylinder is moving fast. Apparently, a 44 caliber cylinder or an 8-shot .357 cylinder is enough lighter that the problem is less severe.

    This issue is somewhat ironic since you pretty much can't wear out a model 28 by shooting heavy loads, which is the traditional way to wear out magnum revolvers.

    This issue is mentioned briefly at the bottom of page 8 in Jim March's revolver checkout document.

    Revolver Checkout PDF
     
  2. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    Here's how I look at it: no new Model 28s will ever be made, and their prices will not be going down. You can buy a new 686 or GP 100 anytime you want one right off the shelf. You can only buy a 28 when someone makes the mistake of selling one.

    Go for the limited commodity. I sold one 27 years ago and still regret it.
     
  3. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    +1 to straightshooterjakes post. Many years ago I came upon a Model 23 .38-44 Outdoorsman with badly beat up stop notches. I passed because the cylinder play was too great for safe / accurate shooting. A pity, as I later found there were only 200 made.
    That said, unless shooting a lot of IDPA or IPSC, I can't see the average shooter giving a model 28 that hard a hammering. OP has arthritis, so I doubt constant rapid fire double action is on the cards. I've shot and handled a number of Model 28s, none had the issues that the Model 23 had. Additionally, the Model 23 is a .38 special and may not be as well treat heated as the Model 28.
     
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  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I would buy the M28 without much thought. I will hopefully get one sometime soon if I can find one with a price I can live with. I'm a big fan of the M686 and I have one w/4" barrel but for soft felt recoil range shooting the M28 is a great choice.
     
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  5. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Found that one used locally a few years ago. It is the only Ruger Double Action revolver I own. I have lots of their Single Actions, but that is the only Double Action.
     
  6. Vernon1

    Vernon1 Member

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    I had a very similar opportunity. It was a pistol belonging to a retired Highway Patrolman. I bought it in the blink of an eye. It is fantastic!
     
  7. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    Op has arthritis and is only going out plinking with light .357's. The N frame will make those light .357's feel like light 38's compared to a GP or 686 (considering it fits his hands well of course) As far as the guys talking about fast da fire, Op has arthritis so I really doubt he'll by doing much of that. All good guns, but like the other fellow here said, the 2 on the list can be bought new any time. A mint 28 highway patrolman cannot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  8. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    Post 25 did a good job of explaining my comments about the problems with N frames and DA shooting.

    When the L frames came out in 1980-81 much was made about the improvements to the DA trigger compared to earlier Smiths. There was an article in the American Rifleman about the then new L frame in 1981 and the improved trigger pull was discussed. I have an early 686 and a 586-4. They most definitely have the best DA trigger pulls of all my Smiths which are primarily well broken in K frames.

    If you are going to shoot lots of magnum loads SA then consider the model 28. As has been pointed out, they don't make them anymore.
     
  9. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    One of my Holy Grail guns.

    My 2 cents on the OP's question. The Model 28 certainly has the most character of those you list. A new 686 or GP100 come with a warranty. Between the 686 and GP100 I think the GP100 is stronger. I've seen both 686s and GP100s that failed after someone was trying out a load designed to launch into outer space. The top strap along with the cylinder blew on the 686. I never saw a top strap give on the Ruger. Not saying there isn't one. Just saying I've never seen one.

    To sum it up for character and durability I'd pick the 28. For durability and a warranty the GP100. The 686 has a slightly better trigger than the Ruger and a warranty.

    I'd still like a 3 1/2" 27 like Dog Soldier.
     
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  10. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    Who wouldn't?
     
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  11. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Nah! For me it would feel like a boat anchor and unnecessary for 357. A gun that heavy should have more barrel length for balance and for acknowledging that it is basically a range gun. It's nice that it makes some people happy.
     
  12. Rio Laxas

    Rio Laxas Member

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    I mostly agree with this, though I do think a 5" N frame makes a great carry revolver. My favorite barrel length is 6.5" followed very closely by 5". I'm ok with the 4" barrel, but I have never cared for the aesthetics of the 3.5" barrel, especially when combined with a target trigger, hammer, and stocks. The only exception is the 3.5" Registered Magnum (& non-registered magnum & post war transitional magnum). That one looks right. Don't get me wrong, I'd snap up a 3.5" N frame in a heart beat if it was good deal, but I don't seek them out. It's a foturnate thing for my pocketbook. Most people don't agree with me,and they seem to be the most desireable to collectors.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  13. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Anything over 4" and I carry it cross-draw, if at all. The thing with under 4" and top heavy is that it doesn't hug the body when carried OWB. I find the longer barrel has leverage to keep the grip in closer. This gun in question might be great open-carried, which, I believe, was the original intent.
     
  14. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    Over the years I have arrived at 5" as my absolute upper limit of revolver barrel length, not including single actions that I would never carry anyway. 3.5-4" is perfect for me. I no longer own any DA revolvers with longer than a 5" barrel, and I only have one of those.
     
  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    New I would probably go with a Model 686. Used, most definitely a 4" Model 28 (or a 5" Model 27!), would be my Number 1 choice.
     
  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Another vote for this order:
    1. (by a long shot) M28 Highway Patrolman
    2. 586 or 686.
    3. Ruger. Not that Rugers are bad, but a Highway Patrolman!
     
  17. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    How often do you use a .357 for shots at 100 yards? The S&W 3.5" was carried by the FBI and many law enforcement Orgs. It is a perfect length for belt carry in vehicles and horse packers.
    There is a reason they are sought after by outdoorsman and bring big dollars.:)
     
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  18. NC-Mike

    NC-Mike Member

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    Dang this thread, my LGS has 2 model 28's, both with 4 inch barrels and both in like new condition. Both are 899.00 each.

    And now I am "interested"...
     
  19. vba

    vba Member

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    I would choose the Model 28 first.

    Between a new 686 and GP100 it would be the latter. I cannot abide the stupid safety dingy on the 586/686 and don't believe new S&W's are made anywhere near as well as new GP100's.

    Oh and the GP100's I own have very good triggers.
     
  20. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Shooting at 100 yards is a strawman. Barrels longer than 3.5 make better range guns, I am betting most often fired at 50 feet. However, for me, it seems the small bores do fine at 3", perhaps because they are much lighter and smaller to grip. I think a big frame needs some barrel length to balance it out, but that's just me. No one should take it personally, if they feel differently in their own frame of reference.
     
  21. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    :D
     
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  22. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Never let it be said that on old dog can't learn new tricks. I was not aware of this. Thanks for explaining it. In my defense, the great majority of my revolver shooting is done in single action mode, whether the gun is a double action or single action revolver. So I have not done a whole lot of fast double action shooting with any of my N frame 357 Mag revolvers. And yes, I have a bunch of really old N frames that do show some peeing on the cylinder stop slots.

    Yes, almost all of my revolvers are range guns, except for my CAS revolvers. They are match revolvers, but I march to a different drummer than most other CAS shooters and shoot slow and deliberately in CAS too. Regarding being range guns, yes they are. I have no problem with that. Despite the fact that I hold a license to carry in the state where I live, I actually do not carry. That is my choice. To own a revolver where I live, I must hold a LTC, but I am not required to carry. So most of my revolvers are range guns.

    Although I have owned S&W revolvers since 1975, I never got around to buying a L frame Smith until 2015. Just was not interested. So while I bow to superior knowledge about the earlier Models 686, the one I bought brand, spanky new in 2015 most definitely does not have as good a trigger as any of my older revolvers built before MIM technology was being used in S&W revolvers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  23. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    IMHO, if the cost is the same for all three, the Ruger wouldn't make the cut. Then it would come down to primary usage and personal preference. Since the OP stated that the gun will never see anything other than low to an occasional moderate load, the minuscule difference of weight between the HP and a 686 is really a moot point. Since the OP does not mention barrel length of either model, I 'd go with my personal preference of a stainless model vs blue, plus the fact that I like the overall size of L-Frames. Along with cylinder weight, I think the concern over fast DA shooting with N-Frames is also due to the fact that the older 6 shot N frames had smaller bolt cuts and cyl bolts. Iffin' I was young, I too would consider the lifetime warranty on a new Smith as a major factor iffin' I was plannin' on doin' a lot of shootin' wih the gun. Other than that, either is a great gun and will be pleasant to shoot with the OPs intended loads, regardless of barrel length. The full lug on the L-frame may help with muzzle flip, but again that is a personal thing. I doubt if the OP would be disappointed with either.
     
  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    IMHO, the concern over an N-frame battering the notches/bolt/bolt window are really only if you're doing A LOT of fast DA shooting in the context of competition. That is, tens of thousands of rounds per year. Most people will never shoot that much.

    FWIW, a 586/686 weighs two ounces less than a 27/28 of comparable barrel length. The L-frame will be more muzzle-heavy, while the N-frame will balance closer to the hand.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  25. kBob

    kBob Member

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    I am amazed that so many thought the Model 28 was the go too gun of this choice!

    Well, amazed that so many of us that occasionally bump heads on gun stuff all agreed. I mean if you can't get a 27, ya gotta have a 28.

    Choice would have taken me about...shoot we don't measure time that small! Model 28.

    Dog Soldier's 3.5 inch is a nice un.

    I had an "ugly" nickeled 28 (I think it must have been from some bumper shop as it sure was not factory) that could sure as heck shoot pretty. Played with all sorts of grips on it and keep going back to the smaller factory wood. It was a four inch that occasionally went on a belt under a coat, but lived mainly in a glove box. It is one of the reasons I now use a little safe in my truck, yep "they" got it. I do check with that county sheriffs department every few years.... you never know.

    Replaced it with a 6 inch 27 that has NEVER been left in a glove box.

    -kBob
     
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