Who makes the best 357 revolver?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by colbysdad, Apr 16, 2012.

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  1. colbysdad

    colbysdad Member

    Nov 29, 2011
    Grand Rapids, Mich
    I just got home from a local gun shop and find myself more confused than ever. I walked in looking for a good 357 in a four inch barrel. Mainly for my personal carry . I have shot shorter barrels and just don't like the feel, sight plain, or that extra kick. After looking at most of their brands and listening to the salesperson, I'm more confused than ever. So , I'm asking for your advice again. Thanks
  2. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

    Mar 27, 2009
    nc mountains
    Dan wesson 15-2 series. But you may really want a ruger sp101 for carry. Enought weight for control build like a tank.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    In alphabetical order:
    Astra, Charter Arms, Colt, Dan Wesson, Korth, Rossi, Ruger, & S&W.

    It depends on who you ask.

    Of the old line makers, nobody can argue that Colt & S&W made the finest .357 revolvers ever made in the USA for many many years.
    Years ago.

    Quality is a crap shoot from everyone that still makes revolvers.

    But was it me, there are only two brands I would even consider buying.

    That would be S&W, or Ruger.

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  4. wrs840

    wrs840 Member

    Oct 18, 2008
    Brushy Mts, NC, growing feed-crops.
    One man's "built like a Tank" is another man's "heavy and clunky".

    I like a lot of Ruger products, and I've tried hard to like Ruger DA Revolvers, even a Security Six, but just can't.
  5. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Wichita, KS
    For carry, you can get a S&W Model 60 with a 3" barrel in .357mag (then you get the small J Frame with a little longer barrel).

    I have a Dan Wesson 14-2 (same as the 15-2 only without the adjustible rear sight) in 2-1/2" barrel that carries and shoots nicely.

    Another option for a small 3" revolver is a Ruger SP101.

    If you really want a 4", you can find a K or L frame S&W with round butt and a 4" barrel and it should carry nicely enough.

    K frame would be a Model 13, 19, 65 or 66 and an L frame would be a 586 or 686 (just realised that not everyone has their S&W frame sizes memorised :p )

    Of course if you can handle the size, the N Frame 8-shot .357 would make a bitchin (but giant and heavy) carry piece. Not sure I'd recommend going IWB with that.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  6. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    If I were going to buy a .357, it would be a 3" SP-101, compact and built like a tank.
  7. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    northern california
    If I were starting out again, but I had the knowledge I've gained over the years about carrying a revolver for defensive purposes, here is how I would rank them...in the 4" barrel lenght:

    1. Ruger Speed-Six
    2. Dan Wesson 15-2
    3. S&W M-66
    4. S&W M-65

    I've carried a 4" Colt Python as a off-duty gun and don't recommend it as it is a bit bulky...the same would apply to the S&W 686
  8. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    If I could only have one .357, it would be a Colt King Cobra. One famous gunsmith has been quoted as saying it was/is the strongest mid-frame DA revolver made.


    Attached Files:

  9. Byrd666

    Byrd666 Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    Hill County, Texas
    I agree with rcmodel, Ruger or Smith. I have owned both and still own a Smith 66 2.5" rnd butt .357 mag. and consider it to be my "always and forever" weapon.

    I will say though, for a more inexpensive 4", you might look at the Taurus 66 series. I have a 66B4 .357 7rnd and have been nothing but pleased with it. I really guess I just got lucky with this one.

    But, overall I'd still say Ruger first and Smith second with Taurus a Very distant third.
  10. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    Somewhere between the Eastern Block states and Flo
    For me, a 4" .357 revolver isn't hard to carry at all with a good holster and gun belt. As for the revolver, I'd look for a medium frame version, specifically a S&W K Frame or Ruger Six Series. Neither are in production these days, so you'll have to search Pawn Shops, Gun Shows, Gunbroker, classifieds, etc. These guns are ideal for carry because they have full sized grip frames and 4" barrels without the bloated flabiness of today's models like the S&W L Frame and Ruger GP.

    Good suggestion as well. Unlike some Taurus models that seem to be more problematic, their 66 (and older 669s) are generally very highly regarded. I regret selling my 6" 66 5 years ago. If it passes inspection, a 4" Taurus 66 or 669 would be a good option.

    Here are some viable candidates with 4" barrels in .357 Magnum:


    Security Six: Adj sights, square butt frame
    Police Service Six: fixed sights, square butt
    Speed Six: fixed sights, round butt (actually not sure if these came in 4" or not)

    S&W K Frames

    Model 13: blued, fixed sights
    Model 19: blued, adj sights
    Model 65: stainless, fixed sights
    Model 66: stainless, adj sights

    The S&Ws will generally be a bit more refined with slicker triggers, while the Rugers are more durable (a good choice for shooting a lot of .357). The K Frames will do fine with 158 grain magnums, but stay away from hot mags under about 135 grains.

    Here's a few pics to give you some ideas:

    Ruger Police Service Six


    S&W Model 13, 3" (also made in 4")


    S&W Model 19


    S&W Model 66 (2.5", also made in 4")

  11. dusty14u

    dusty14u Member

    May 20, 2009
    Eastern NC
    For carry I like these two. The Chiappa Rhino has replaced the SP101 for the most part because of it concealabilty , faster followup shots and 1 more round than the SP101. The SP101 is a very good carry gun also and will handle the toughest magnum rounds if you can. The Rhino feels like you are shooting powder puff 38SP target loads with the stiffest magnum rounds and I shoot it more accurately out of the two.

  12. beeenbag
    • Contributing Member

    beeenbag Contributing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Grayson, Ky
    I would have to say a smith and wesson 686 is top notch in the .357 world. I have a Colt trooper I like awful well that I would throw in the ring.
  13. jungle

    jungle Member

    Oct 7, 2003
    Current production? Ruger GP100 or SP101 depending on the size you want to carry. Still lots of nice old Smiths out there though.

    A lot of it depends on whether you really want to shoot a lot of .357 ammo or not and the exact size of your hand.
  14. Josh45

    Josh45 Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    I have to say that I like and enjoy my Ruger GP-100 3' .357 Mag.
    It can handle all sorts of loads quite. I don't care much for the DA trigger on it but the SA trigger is pretty good IMO.

    I never got to shoot a S&W but I did dry fire one as the salesperson allowed it and I have to say they do have some sweet smooth triggers on them. That being said, I don't think you can go wrong with a Ruger or a S&W really.
  15. MrDig

    MrDig Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Where all the women are strong, the men are good l
    Current production I would say Smith and Wesson and Ruger
  16. Tony_the_tiger

    Tony_the_tiger Member

    Jan 3, 2011

    I'd buy another Gp100 or an Sp101 in a heartbeat.

    If I wanted a S&W, I'd likely buy a vintage combat magnum model 19 or model 66 on gunbroker.
  17. FMF Doc

    FMF Doc Member

    Sep 9, 2011
    I find 4" a little large for personal carry other than the woods, but if it must be 4", then the ruger service 6 is hard to beat. If you really want to go big, the 686P comes in a 4" with 7 shots! Personally, I find the 3" Model 60 or Ruger SP101 in 3" barrel to be the best size. Small enough to carry, big enough to shoot.
  18. Confederate

    Confederate Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    Arlington, VA
    Based on what you stated as a criteria, you're looking for a Ruger SP-101. It's a peach to carry and doesn't break your wrist when you're shooting full throttle magnum rounds. For general home use, I recommend a S&W 13/65, 19/66 or Speed-, Service- or Security-Six. The modern "medium frame" revolvers are too heavy in my view, especially the Rugers. The Smith 686, though, is a great gun, probably the best made. It's just heavy. The modern guns are good range guns, but lousy camping/hiking guns.


    The SP-101 (top) and Speed-Six are both outstanding guns,
    but the SP-101 is clearly smaller.
  19. rikman

    rikman Member

    Jan 3, 2004
    People's Republic of IL
    Quality these days crap shoot. I love S&W & Ruger. They are tools and do break. As a matter of fact I had a very expensive S&W break within days...but, herein lies the difference....S&W to their credit, fixed it and turned it back to me inside of a week, and my cost was zero.That's service. If budget is a big consideration I'd go with a S&W 686 or Ruger Gp100 in 4" ....great guns!

    shoot safe
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  20. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

    Feb 26, 2011
    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
    make sure they have a minimum of 6 shot capability
  21. gym

    gym member

    Dec 9, 2007
    I like the S&W model 19, the older ones. Or for 38's I started with a Detective special. in 1972, and shot that gun very well, also the model 60 carried for 20 years. I haven't kept up with revolvers the last 7 or 8 years. So these new Rhinos look interesting also, but since I never fired one I don't know. I sold my last 38+p titanium alloy Taurus, and ended my revolver career. there really is no place for them in my life other for nostalgia, and they are geat looking older guns. If you hunt Those large Rugers are the way to go with a scope, or I have become friends with a secretive 30's young guy who buys and sells large caliber high powered revolvers,He was friends with another friend who has a gun store in town. He gave me his number if I ever wanted something out of the ordinary.He had a 460 with a scope at least a 2,500 dollar setup, and I have seen several 50's set up with top of the line glass, but it's not my thing.He's in FL though.
  22. miles1

    miles1 Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Based on my limited knowledge I would go either Ruger GP100 or SW 686.
  23. bikemutt

    bikemutt Member

    Dec 24, 2010
    Vancouver, WA
    Since your OP title says "who makes" I'll assume you mean who is still making them today. For a 4" .357 magnum that probably boils it down to S&W and Ruger in the "best" category. If you decide you don't want a gun with a lock that pretty much rules out S&W.

    In any event, both of these are the staple of most gun ranges at the rental counter. You can find out for yourself which one you like best for a nominal fee before you buy.

    If it were I going to buy only one current production 4" .357 magnum tomorrow it would be a S&W 686 because the only thing I like less about the S&W compared to the Ruger is the lock; I've gotten over the lock.

    Now if you are willing to look at yesteryear's guns, that opens up a whole "new" world. I'd vote for a S&W N-frame, preferably a 28-2 so there's money left to make the action feel like Darigold butter :)
  24. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

    Jun 11, 2005
    I stay confused. I would buy a 357 mag revolver that fits with your purpose. Small and light for carry; larger and heavier or range shooting or hunting, or simply get one of each. I personally would not carry a 4" medium frame 357 unless I was a LEO.
  25. 1894

    1894 Member

    Oct 1, 2009
    My Ruger SP101 (2¼) is one of my favorite guns. Shot great right out of the box. But, when I got it, it was sharp as all get out. After a lot of work on the bench, it's a lot easier to shoot.
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