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Which Is A Better .357? Colt, Ruger, Smith?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Confederate, Jul 22, 2014.

?

Which .357 Is Best? (If You Could Only Have One)

Poll closed Aug 21, 2014.
  1. Colt Python

    39 vote(s)
    14.3%
  2. Smith & Wesson 66/65/19/13

    30 vote(s)
    11.0%
  3. Ruger Security-Six/Speed-Six/Service-Six

    31 vote(s)
    11.4%
  4. Smith & Wesson 686

    64 vote(s)
    23.4%
  5. Ruger GP-100

    52 vote(s)
    19.0%
  6. Dan Wesson Pistol Pac

    13 vote(s)
    4.8%
  7. Taurus/Rossi (Mine Is Great!)

    5 vote(s)
    1.8%
  8. Tough Call...Lot of Good Ones

    39 vote(s)
    14.3%
Thread Status:
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  1. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Actually, I didn't think of the larger Smiths, the Colt Trooper III, Mark V, the Korth, the one that looks like a Ruger but has a sideplate, though I intentionally omitted the single-actions because they're a completely different animal, as are specialty revolvers like the Ruger LCR and SP-101, Smith 60 Pro and other small magnums. I know there are some who liked the Trooper III, and I should have included those (tho they didn't receive particularly good reviews at the time they were produced), but the Mark Vs got some stellar reviews. The Trooper and the Python both had grips that were skinny where the fingers are longer and fatter where the fingers are shorter (one reviewer said they were designed for orangutans rather than humans). The Mark V, however, had outstanding grips.

    As for the Korths, I've never known anyone who had one and only a couple of people who had ever seen one. In fact, I think more people have seen Bigfoots than Korths! There's one of these for sale at one of these gun seller sites for more than $11,000!

    .
     
  2. g_one

    g_one Member

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    Of the current production revolvers, I'll take a ruger any day of the week. But an old hand-tuned colt would trump that in a heartbeat
     
  3. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    I recommend you consider a Ruger Speed-Six. Not only do they have a rund butt, their fixed sights are outstanding. I have one with a 3-inch barrel. If you really want adjustable sights, the grips on the Security-Six can be ground down to fit Pachmayr Compacts round butt grips.

    Rugers_357.jpg

    Ruger SP-101 (top) and 3-incher Speed-Six.


    RugerSecurity-Six3_inch_RB.jpg

    Security-Six with round-butt grips.


    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  4. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Member

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    Security-Six is similar to the Redhawk.
    GP100 is similar to the Super Redhawk.
     
  5. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Member

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    A 3-inch (aren't they 2.75-inch?) Speed Six with fixed sights would be just the ticket. Every so often I run across a 3-inch GP100 with fixed sights, and those are pretty nice, but I'm holding out for the older model.
     
  6. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    The best way to tune a Ruger to where it will equal a hand-tuned Colt is the famed "Popcorn Tuneup." To do this, replace the mainspring of the Ruger. Next, serve up some of your favorite popcorn with lots of butter, but no salt. Next, find a two-hour movie and watch it, eating your popcorn as you go. As you eat the popcorn, repeatedly dry fire the gun as fast as possible, pausing every now and then to handle the gun and wipe it with a fine rag. The butter will bring out the beauty and shine of the gun's finish while dry firing aids greatly in smoothing out the action. By the end of the movie you should have a slick action and a gun that looks like it's been handled a little. I recently did this with a brand new Security-Six that I gave to a friend. It started out a bit clunky and stiff, but ended up feeling like it had been tuned. I now have an SP-101, but haven't tried the dry firing. Perhaps this weekend.

    I have a friend with a Colt Police .38 model that belonged to his dad. It has a long, skinny 6-inch barrel that has only fixed sights and a smallish wood grip, and it's been kept in an oily t-shirt. Don't know how much it's worth, but the action is terrible. He wants to trade it for my 6-inch Security-Six, but I'm torn. I like the gun's looks, especially the barrel. I wish Ruger would put out a skinny-barrel .357 with a lighter topstrap, but I think the days of lightweight 6-shot .357s is officially over.

    Don't blame you. Although most Ruger shorties have 2.75-inch barrels, you can eventually find 3-inch models. Mine was a .38 Spc that I converted to a ,357.


    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  7. caz223

    caz223 Member

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    I would guess if we were comparing NEW production guns in their current trim, then Ruger would win it by a nose.
    My 686s with no dashes are so good, it would really be a tough act to follow, even S&W can't follow up their older 686 models.
     
  8. Bullseye

    Bullseye Member

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    That popcorn tuneup was hysterical, but I bet it works.
    :evil: I would watch a couple episodes of "The View" instead and practice my aim as well.
     
  9. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    Model 28 smith. What else is there?:D
     
  10. allin

    allin Member

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    I voted for the Dan Wesson pistol pac because I've owned one and they are great. I also have two Taurus 357s a 4" stainless old one and a 6" blue new one. They are great guns.
     
  11. wrdwrght

    wrdwrght Member

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    As in the other poll, I voted Tough Call. As long as any of these guns don't get in their own way putting rounds down range and on target, I can't see how any one is better than another. My 6" 686-4, my 3" GP and my 6"/4"/2.5" Dan Wesson 15-1 don't get in their own way...
     
  12. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    The Old v. The New

    That's a question I've often pondered. When S&W first produced the 686, it did so for two reasons. First, it had to. People were shooting too many full throttle .357s through its K-frame 13/65 and 19/66 models. Under constant shooting, the guns just wouldn't hold up. The forcing cones would crack on some and there was frame stretching/warping on others. So Smith had to come up with a beefier model.

    The second reason is because S&W wanted to produce a Colt Python that would out perform a...well...Colt Python. The gun writers couldn't wait to put the two guns through their paces. Guns were strapped in to Ransom Rests, then tested by actual shooters at various distances. When the results came in, the 686s had succeeded in what Smith had set out for them to do. By painstakingly checking the tolerances and fitting parts, the first 686s cleaned Colt's clock. Not only could they match the Python's legendary accuracy, they handled thousands of rounds more than the Python without any parts replacements.

    One thing I liked about them is that they handled light weight bullets as well as heavier bullets. The Ruger Security-Sixes I saw tested tended to do better with 158 gr JHPs/JSPs than 125gr jacketed bullets. I was told the reason for this was that the lighter bullets tended to be used for self defense closer in, while the heavier bullets were generally used by hunters and competitors. I remember having a 4-inch 686 that gave me astounding accuracy. Being a complete idiot, I sold that gun and have kicked myself ever since. One of the coolest things about the first generation guns is that they came with polished wood grips that was the last touch of class the company offered in its products. I had one and I let it go, confident I could get another. That's why I tell people, don't sell your guns...you'll regret it if you do!

    I still have my old 6-inch...never been fired. And a newer model.

    f91c68a2-e6f8-4d9c-89c1-17d38d299ecf.jpg

    sW686_1a-2.jpg

    686.jpg

    The Old and the New and the Old.
     
  13. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    I voted the DW pistol pack for the versatility. You did leave off a very heavy Redhawk in 357 magnum. I would have a hard time trading mine for the pistol pack, but probably would.
     
  14. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Yeah, well, I can't really think that if a person could only have one .357 mag, that it would be a Redhawk, or even an N-frame Smith, though I could see the latter over the former.

    Please tell me you wouldn't have picked the Redhawk! I had a .41 Redhawk and the weight made me get rid of it. I had no love or use for that gun. But no one but you have mentioned it as a viable choice.
     
  15. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    I'd love to have a nickel-plated 28 in my collection (who wouldn't?), but I wouldn't pick it if I could have but one .357 revolver. Still, opinions vary. :cool:

    The 4-inch 686 is, to me, the ultimate .357. Every time I remember selling my old no-dash model, I get ill. But I love the caliber.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  16. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    I mentioned it for the above max reloads one can do. I would consider a trade for a DW with different barrels, which was what I was originally looking for when I bumped into it.

    Anyway, it is heavy, I'd agree. I carry it on an actual gunbelt with SP10 Raider Bowie to balance it out. It works for me.
     
  17. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    I think you split the Smith vote in this poll. The 686 is better in many ways but I picked the 66/65/19/13 because of what I think "better" means. The L frame 686 is going to hold up under heavy shooting better than the K frame revolvers but to me a gun is a tool to carry for protection more than anything. A .357 is a man shooter primarily. If we were talking .44 mag Smiths I prefer the 629-2 or 629-3 because they stand up to heavy loads better. Those are guns designed for a different purpose IMO. They are designed to stop dangerous game the way I see things. They aren't nearly as easy to fire multiple times as the .357's are but they aren't gun battle type weapons. Smith doesn't even offer lighter frame guns in that caliber. But for every day carrying for SD I have to go with the lighter models. My dad kept 686 Smiths but he never got to carry one on his person legally. Plus I think the qualiy of the current 686 guns isn't as high as the older models. I think the same thing about the 629/29's too BTW.

    I actually only have a 629 revolver. I prefer semi-auto guns for SD. But for firing a heavy round when you really need it you can't beat a revolver. So my bear hand gun is that 629. But if I did want to carry a .357 (and it is tempting because I think it's probably the best caliber for SD) I'd want a lighter gun because you have to have it with you for it to be any good. And a lighter gun doesn't make me want to leave it sitting while I go out in the world. If I wanted to target shoot or hunt I'd want the heavier frame Smith but I don't do that. BTW I think my 629 would do very well as a target gun.

    There are no bad guns in this poll. The Rugers have their good characteristics. Colt does too. But you asked us to pick one out of a set of options and I picked the lighter frame Smiths. I can certainly see picking other models under different criteria though. I know you also split the Ruger vote too. BTW for hunting large game with a .44 mag I'd probably pick a Ruger or a Taurus. They are capable of firing those really heavy loads often. But for that one shot that really needs to hit the target I want a Smith 629. The triggers are just way better IMO. YMMV.
     
  18. Fishman777

    Fishman777 Member

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    Gp100

    I prefer the modular, sturdy design of the GP100 over any other full-sized revolver. It is the least likely of the guns listed to lose timing. I think that it is the best design. The biggest flaws with Ruger's are the heavy triggers and the cosmetics. These things were addressed in the release of their match GP100. I've moved away from revolvers, but when I do buy a new handgun, eventually, it will be one of these. No question. I would take Ruger's match GP100 over any other revolver in a heart beat.
     
  19. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Which is one reason I've always been a bit ticked at Smith & Wesson for starting this whole "iron man" line of .357s. I'd love to have a pristine Model 66 with a pinned barrel, wood grips and counterbored chambers. That gun, to me, is one of the most beautiful, well balanced guns of any caliber. Gun magazines used to tout the 6-inch 66 and the 6-inch Ruger Security-Six as ideal hunting and trail guns. Photos of gun writers pointing these guns with snowy or mountainous backgrounds graced the pages of various gun rags with more photos showing the guns in customary poses with peppered targets at various distances.

    Ruger ticked me off by canceling the superb Security-Six line by chasing after Smith's target L-frame magnums with their klunky GP-100 revolvers. Like S&W, Ruger beefed up its revolvers and added underlugs to their barrels, to resemble Smith's line, which resembled the Colt Python. Unlike the 686s, however, the Rugers did not offer enhanced accuracy.
     
  20. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

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    My vote is for the GP100 as I don't think there's a better .357 out there for the money. Trigger is good (maybe not S&W good but not bad either) and it's built like a tank and doesn't cost a fortune. Very accurate too, will last many lifetimes.
     
  21. EmGeeGeorge

    EmGeeGeorge Member

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    Colt is best until you fall off your horse.
    Once you fall off your horse you'd wish you had a Smith, as now the crane is bent on the Colt and the ejector rod bowed, but if you happen to be at the top of a hill, that you then are going to roll down, you'd be best served with a Security/Service Six.
    If at the bottom of the hill is a cliff edge with a 100' drop your heirs will wish you had gotten a GP100, in stainless, especially the stainless, depending on how long it takes to find you when your skittish horse wanders home sans rider...
     
  22. B-man '06

    B-man '06 Member

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    i'm voting for the smith k-frames. they're not the most durable, and mine seizes after 35ish rounds of rapid fire. however, i can't seem to part with that 4" recessed and pinned 19-3. i still have the wood grips on it. maybe its because it was my first centerfire hand gun, but also every time i handle it i think "man, this is a nice gun"
     
  23. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Dropping a hundred feet with the GP-100, the gun would be tattered but still workable. But three days later, when the vulture that had begun feasting on my bloated carcass is spooked by a mountain lion, it flies off with my right arm (hand still gripping the gun minus the three shots I had managed to get off at the horse before I had begun my tumble down the hill). At an astonishing height the gun falls from my hand and lands on the rocks and sand below, the rubber and wood grips instantly decimated and the mainspring housing irreparably damaged. Had it been a Security-Six, however, the integral stainless grip that's part of the frame would have offered the rubber Pachmayrs enough support that they would be a little bruised, but the gun still amazingly operable.

    Thus, my heirs would get my gun only when it falls from my cold dead fingers -- my constitutional right to be "armed" shamelessly violated by the vulture as it flies off into the sunset in search of a dead horse.


    RugerGrips.jpg

    RugerGrips_2.jpg
     
  24. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    Ruger Blackhawk 357/9mm
     
  25. Longhorn 76

    Longhorn 76 Member

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    If I want to shoot really small groups, or impress people at a barbecue, the Python, without doubt. If I want to shoot thousands of rounds in IDPA/IPSC/ICORE, I want the Smith, because it is easier to get parts for than the Colt. If I am going to be stranded in the wilderness, I want the Ruger.
     
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