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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for a full-size 4" .357 magnum.

Smith, Ruger or ??

Is the S&W worth the extra $100 over the Ruger? How is the pricing on used Colts?

I'll use it mostly with 38 specials for plinking, range or small game. May get a little use for deer with heavy magnum loads.
 

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John1911;

IMHO and from a uctual use standpoint, there is NO COMPARISON.
The Ruger GP series revolvers have the match down cold. There is no revolver on the market as good let alone better or more reliable for a longer, heavy use condition than the Ruger revolvers the SP for the small 5 shot and the GP for the larger 6 shot guns.

I base this on watching the people rent these guns over many years and see tens of thousands of rounds through them without a single failure of any kind.
We did a test of a SP101 two years ago and over a couple of years and after nearly 110,000 rounds the barrel was actually smooth. You could barely see the outline of the grooves and lands and it had not even a spring replaced. Using both 357 as well as 38 ammo at any given time.

As for the S&W, as good as they look they will not come close to holding up under this kind of use.

Now having said that, most people will probably not put 10,000 rounds through a gun in their lifetime. Any gun.
Keeping that in consideration, you may be able to justify owning a Smith but not if you plan to shoot it a LOT and then bet your life it will be there and whole when you need it the most for perhaps a HD situation.

This is just my opinion but it is based upon years of watching the actual use of all different types and models of handguns and giving my opinion to those who seek out info for their HD guns etc.

Hope this is of some use.

UF
 

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For punching paper, use a light load and shoot an old S&W Model 19. You just can't beat the K-frame Smith at the range.

Packing in the woods or hunting, it's the GP-100, hands down.
 

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+1 S&W 686 , i do agree with unclefudd the ruger is stronger
but like he said you are probably not going to put 10,000 rounds through it ,so either will last you your lifetime . the only trigger that i have seen better than the S&W is the colt python
but you get what you pay for most of the time the python cost
over twice as much when they were being made . maybe they are being made again , but we don't see many new colts around here anymore , i don't no why . you could save a little money and get the S&W 19 , but i got the 686 just in case i wanted to shoot 357's , its like having 2 guns in 1.
 

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Re: re: What's the best 4" .357 on the market currently

redrick said:
......... you could save a little money and get the S&W 19 , but i got the 686 just in case i wanted to shoot 357's , its like having 2 guns in 1.
The 19 is a .357, but it's built on a K frame instead of an L frame. The old 19s, with a pinned barrel, recessed cylinder, and the target trigger & hammer are far superior to the 686 for a target gun. They don't care for a steady diet of full-house loads, though.
 

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my mistake thought it was 38 only. i have a 686 it's a sweet shooter , i havn't shoot the 19 , but like most s&w i bet it's got a nice trigger. does S&W still make the 19 , if so that would be a good choice or watch for a used one .
 

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Hey guys;

I couldn't agree more with the older models especailly the 19. A great frame and overall super choice IF you can find one.

I can also tell you the 686 was the first of the third generation Smiths that I put in the rental counter and the first to fail under heavy use.
I do realize that most people will never put therir guns through what my guns do when being rented. They are used by people who have no experience to some of my instructors who definately know how to use and explain the use of firearms.
They have only factory ammo through them as we do not allow reloads in any of the rental guns. (That is also part of the rental agreement with all manuf. when we sign up for the rental programs). But it is not unusual for these guns to have in excess of 4 to 500 rounds in a day. They may go for three or four days without cleaning. I am sure you will not do this to your guns but this is what happens with mine on a regular basis no matter how hard we try to keep up and to always have them clean and ready to use.
As for the 19s, the 66s are also a great gun and are quite prevalent as so many LE agencies issued them for many years and stll do in some areas.
I know the 66 and 19s are usually pretty inexpensive and most have very little use with anything but 38 ammo throught them..

But as you guys have said the older models especially the pinned barrel models are the good choices of the S&W line of revolvers.
The models made while the Brits owned the company are the ones generally to avoid if you are going to have any kind of, or approaching heavy use.

Also good choice with the Colt Pythons again if you can find one. And as stated the older Smiths and of course the colt had the best triggers on any handgun and they could be reworked safely and to great advantage to make them even better and not affect reliability (as long as you knew/know what you are doing.

Good luck and I sincerely hope you find the one you really like and that the things here are used only to help to inform you as you asked.

Merry Xmas all.

UF
 

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Ooops.... forgot to mention another fine .357 that is often overlooked. While the Colt Python is arguably the best .357 wheelgun of all time, it's little-known cousin, the Colt Trooper, is not all that bad. The trooper came in 3 different calibers (.22 LR, .38 Spl, & .357 Mag), and several engineering changes. It was last produced in the 80s, I believe.
 

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I agree with the 1st guy...the Ruger GP-100 is, IMO, the best full size .357 magnum revolver out there. The Smith's are great, and so are the Colt's, but the Ruger is more stout...if you want to shoot a steady diet of magnums...it won't loosen up. If you're gonna mostly shoot .38's...your kids can shoot it when you wear out, and then their kids can shoot it when they wear out, and...well...you get the picture. The Ruger is cheaper; it is the most gun for the money when it comes to full size .357 magnum revolvers. You can buy some extra ammo. with the money you save, getting the Ruger over the others. I also especially like the Smith 686, and the model 13, and the Colt Python and King Cobra. Anyway...just my .02 cents...good luck with whatever you get.
 

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wwb is right; the original Colt Trooper is a very nice revolver. It has the same lockwork (and smooth trigger pull) as a Python, but the collectors haven't driven the price up too much. It was last made in 1969. After that, Colt produced Trooper Mk IIIs (which aren't nearly as nice) until 1978.

Here's a pic of my old Trooper in .357. It'll soon look better; Herrett is now is making a nice new set of Jordan Trooper stocks for it.

 

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RUGER
 

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Rugers have the strongest frame. The S&W has the smoothest trigger. You will not have to worry about shooting out either one in your lifetime. The Ruger is a fine choice as long as you get a trigger job. Personally, I'd go with the 686. It, too, has a strong frame. It may not be as strong as the Ruger, but then, it doesn't have to be. The Ruger is overbuilt. The 686, by far, has a better, smoother trigger. By the time you get the Ruger trigger to come close to the S&W you've paid the gunsmith at least as much as the difference between the two guns.
 

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686P never let me down. But I'd get the Ruger. My idea of a revolver is that it has to go off every time, stand up to getting beaten and handle whatever you might want to throw in it - from home protection to hunting loads. But that's just what I would want to get out of a revolver.

Either way, you won't be disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Since this post has been resurrected, I thought I would give an update. I bought a Colt Trooper MKIII.
 
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