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advice on target pistol

7469 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DavieT
I am interested in getting a 357 mag revolver for target shooting. I had a S&W about 18 years ago in 6" st. and unfortuneatly sold it to get a 9mm beretta. I still have the beretta and wish I had the S&W. i have read several posts both for and against the S&W as a good target gun, I only used that gun about 10 times and did not get proficient with it so I do not recall its accuracy. Anyway, I am looking to get another similar revolver but do not really have the money for what a new 686 runs. My interest to use the gun range from target shooting at my range to shooting in NRA style matches they have at the club with both slow and rapid 25 yd shooting.
Any suggestions from this forum would be greatly appreciated
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I think that the 686 is probably the best buy in a 38/357 new gun. Its highly unlikely you will find any Colt Pythons or Colt Troopers in the used market, in fact the whole hand gun market is on the short side of supply. My wife has wanted to take up shooting, and I ordered a 686 4" for her in Nov. no luck as of today. You may want to consider the 44 sp for target shooting, as thats what I use.
In comparing the S&W 686 in 6" barrell with a list of $850, the Ruger GP100 is around $680. How do the two compare for target shooting?
The first thing I would recomend is how does it fit you to your grip. All else being equal it would be your choice. I own one S&W revolver and 3 Ruger's. I would never buy a Ruger in 44 cal or above. The S&W is a great gun but even it's rep in a 44 mag is not up to a Ruger for heavy loads. I can attest the Ruger SBH and RH in 44 mag the barrel will twist(turn ccw). They will fix it after some conversation, but the shipping is really expensive on you going in. I have had a SBH returned to them 6 weeks later its back, (repaired) the barrel has turned again. It is a quality mfg, but it will not address it weakness's in production and QC, and that is a sell out to there customers. Sorry for the rant but I am done with Ruger in handguns.
I apologize as i got off the message by volpecg. The S&W DA is a piece of work, I own one in a 617 which plus 2 more will go to my grandsons. A S&W 686 6" would be very comportable to a Colt Python. and a Colt Trooper.
Hi Jim,
THanks for your advice. Just to make sure that I understand you, in 357 mag, for target shooting, all other things being considered, either the Ruger or S&W would be a good choice and I should see which one fits better in my hand?
Thanks for all of your advice.
I bought two pistols in the last two weeks and have just started learning them in hopes to start some competitive shooting. One was the Beretta PX4 .40 and the other was a used S&W 686 357 6". I took both to the range today and started with the PX4. Out of 100 shots at 10' I may have had 10 go dead center. To be honest I was all over the bottom. I then fired 35 rounds out of the 686. My last 10 rounds I just made the 8 and 7 dissappear. The other 25 had taken out the center circle so there was nothing there to shoot at. Long story short, the 686 was deadly accurate and very easy to learn right off the bat. And just so you know, I have very little experience shooting pistols.
Hi Bee,
Thanks for your advice. It seems like I can't go wrong with the 686. How much did you pay for the 686 if you don't mind me asking?
Before you put your money down, let me give you some more insight.
I own and operate a very busy indoor range and am the first to have a rental program for my customers.
The one thing that the rental program will do is sortout the weak and timid among handguns in particular as they get a LOT and I mean a LOT of use.

I do not mean nor want to step on any toes and that is not the intent of this reply so for those who have purchased any gun, no matter what or who, congrats and I sincerely hope you never have a problem with any of your purchases.
I too own some S&Ws but all of mine are the older mod 19 or 66s and not a single one is third generation (British) or later.

Here is why:

I have tried for years to use the third gen of S&W revolvers in the rental counter and they simply will not hold together long enough to keep them there.It is not an issue of accuracy or looks as they are as accurate as any of them and their looks are the best, IMHO.
But their mechanical reliability leaves something to be desired. Everything from timing issues, lock-up to the barrels twisting.
Remember though that these guns are used more than any gun owned and used by normal gun owners. But still one would expect that these guns would be better quality being as they are the most expensive of all the revolvers.
Going back to the pinned barreled guns such as the model 66 and 19 or 10 etc. you cannot go wrong and they will last forever as long as you do not use a steady diet of magnum ammo through them. Use it only on occasion. Practice and or use regularly, 38 spcl and as I said, you will never have a problem with these older models and you can find them at very good prices.

I am actually having better luck and less trouble with the Taurus revolvers in 357 or 38 spcl and even the bigger ones for those infrequent renters than those of the S&Ws.

The best and by far the most reliable and least problems are the Rugers in either the SP or the GP series and even the older Security Six models and they are much, much cheaper to own than any of the newer S&W.

This is only food for thought, and is not meant as a personal endorsement of any specific revolver. It is based solely upon the use I get from these guns on a yearly basis, but it is and has been a very good barometer for how well any specific or particular firearm will stand up to rigorous use.

If you have a chance, go to a range with a rental program and shoot as many as you can get your hands on before you put your money down. Find the ones that fit you best and ask a lot of questions, and "listen".

Good luck and stay safe.

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I just picked up a 686 4" for my wife (ordered in Oct.) It is a piece of work. I have a S&W 617 (22) that is as good a 22 target pistol gets, this has the same quality. It does cost more than the Ruger, I think it is worth every penny of it.
If you do not have to worry about a big power factor, look for a used model 10 or 14 in 38 cal. I use a mod 14 with a 6" barrel for NRA type matches. As I load my own ammo, it is very cheap to shoot. It may take some time and effort to find one, but it will work well for you.
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