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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, my first post here.

So, I've been around guns my whole life. I grew up shooting my dads S&W .38 special. My only handgun is an old and rapidly wearing out Browning Challenger III that I've had for the last 10 years, which I bought used from a close friend of my dads. I recently bought my first house, I'm married, starting a family soon, and frequent the mountains of Montana.

I don't have a huge budget, but I think I'm ready to put some $$ towards a fairly serious center fire pistol. I don't really have a rental range around these parts, and don't really know any serious shooters, so the try before you buy is going to be tough.

I don't plan on doing concealed carry, its prohibited at my job, besides I've got the serious ninja skills....or something like that. Anyway, I really don't want a super small gun or a major hand canon. I want something I can have at home or on the trail, can shoot comfortably, has some decent power, it reliable and safe, and maybe even comfortable for my wife to shoot once in a while. I'm comfortable with both revolvers and auto loaders, but I don't really know what direction to go.

Anyone have any help to offer?

Brian
 

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A 4" barrel on a DA .357 revolver is about as versatile and reliable as you can get. The .357 has a wide range of ammo available - including some real boomers from Cor-Bon or Buffalo Bore, and you have the option of going as light as .38 Spl or .38 Spl +P in the same handgun.

Take a hard look at a Ruger GP-100, a used Colt Trooper, or, for something a little lighter and better for packing, a K-frame Smith (an older pinned and recessed Model 19 or Model 66 would be my recommendation). One of the Ruger "Six" series revolvers (Security Six or Service Six) used to be pretty good deals, but the price on them has gone up in the last couple years... they are just a whisker heavier than the K-frame Smith, but lighter than the GP-100 or the Colt Trooper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I've done some shopping around. I've narrowed my search to two different guns, both of which I suppose I'd someday own either way, so which ever I get first doesn't matter. There is a local gun show in just a few weeks, so I'll shop for the best deal now and pick up the other at the summer gun show.

I've decided on either the Springfield XDm in .40 or the Ruger GP100 in .357 mag, both offered new for around $600 at local gun stores. As far as ammo prices around here, the .40 is right in between the .38 and the .357 so I figure the ammo cost is mostly a wash, maybe a touch cheaper if I were to shoot more .38 than .357. I really like the feel of both of these guns in my hand, and I'm comfortable with both the revolver and the auto loader. Should be fun.
 

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Without an ability to gain experience with the plastic guns, and based upon your past experience, the GP100 is my recommendation. You'll never regret it. .38spl ammo is relatively cheap and the boomers in .357 will bring down a deer or man, instantly.
 

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If you want a DA revolver the GP-100 is a great choice and will last for generations even with a steady diet of magnum loads. If you are open to other options I suggest a .357 in a Ruger Blackhawk, especially the convertible model that has two cylinders and can shoot .38, .357 and 9mm with the second cylinder. You can do the same thing in a larger caliber if you get a Blackhawk in 45 Colt/45acp. I have both and they are very versatile and you can take advantage of cheaper ammo in several calibers.
 

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Hey Brian, welcome aboard.

I agree with the .357 suggestions. A revolver will be easier for your wife to learn on. No magazines to load, or mess up. No slide. Before you get any automatic make sure she can work the slide. I've seen many frustrated men fuss at their wives because they didn't have the arm strength to operate the slide of the gun they wanted their wife to have. The grip is usually more comfortable (no magazine running through the middle of it), and can be changed from wood, to rubber, smooth, checkered, finger grooved, etc. Mild .38 target loads, to tooth rattling hunting loads for plinking, self/home defense, hunting. I have several .357s and they are the most versatile handguns out there.

I just bought an excellent used 4" S&W K-frame for $379 ($427 with tax and background check) from Robertson Trading Post at GunsAmerica.com. You can never go wrong with either a Smith or a Ruger.

Meeteetse had a good idea, too. I've got two of the Ruger Convertibles (both barrel lengths). Bought them for CAS with the idea of practicing with the cheap Russian Wolf 9mm ammo. They are both tack drivers and fun to shoot.
 
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