A friend was out of town for a few months, came back and his guns were stolen. They were not in a safe, so it is partly his fault.
So, he is looking for a replacement revolver in .357 magnum. Price is not a factor, he just wants quality. Stainless would probably be preferred. He does not need light weight, so no scandium. He is probably looking for a 4" - 6" barrel length. What does the SF brain trust recommend?
I am personally quite fond of the Kimber K6s in 3 inch version. Very nice for a modern revolver, no lock, recessed chambers, very well fitted and finished, and accurate.
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Ruger GP100 or S&W 686 are pretty hard to beat. The each have their own pros and cons, but both pretty much equal out in the end. Most people find a 4" gun to be a good balance of barrel length vs velocity. 6" barrels usually make more sense for hunting or serious target work.
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another vote for S & W 686
^^ This ^^
Yep. But my preferred setup would be a 3" round butt. The OPs friend might want more of a target setup.
For a full size option, 4” GP100 without a doubt or hesitation. I carried both early in my career, and the GP beats the 586/686 hands down in almost every category.
If a small frame is desired, the SP101. It is the only .357 snub I have ever fired that I wanted to keep firing all day.
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If I were getting a new 357 mag, I'd get that SW 8 shot performance center one.
That is the model my friend was thinking of, I will send him these recommendations.
And thanks for the M70 trigger, it came today!
Interesting. Might you elaborate?
I have an older, no-dash 4" 586, but have been contemplating a 4" GP100, so I'm curious.
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I really enjoy my GP100 in 4” stainless. The 6” is a great shooter but a little long for carry, for me.
My favorite ever was an old 8 3/8” S&W 586. That was a soft accurate shooter!
I’d go with the GP100 4” for your friend.
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I love K frames, like a model 66, but if you are going to shoot lots of high power loads, the 686 is much more durable.
Or a Ruger - the GP100 is a very rugged gun, if not quite as refined as the Smith.This message has been edited. Last edited by: jhe888,
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Ruger's GP100 is built like a tank, and should last a few lifetimes.
I'm quite fond of mine.
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Grew up a Smith guy. As I get older I will take a Ruger over a Smith all day. To elaborate, Smith’s used to have phenomenal triggers compared to Ruger. That gap has narrowed significantly and on a case by case basis could go Ruger’s way. Price, Rugers are cheaper. Design. The Ruger is built in an amazingly brilliant way. No side plate alone is enough to send me to Ruger. If you own a Smith long enough the side plate screws will probably show wear. No matter how careful you are. Got my first, model 67,when I was 15 (over 50 now). The Ruger design is definitely stronger and any time you can eliminate screws that is a good thing.
My favorite revolver I have is a Wiley Clapp 3 inch GP100. Changed out Rugers ridiculously heavy mainspring and swapped to compact grips. Best revolver I own. Not most expensive but the best.
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If he is interested in an 8-shot revolver, he might also look at the new 8-shot offering from Ruger.
I'm a big fan of the S&W 686, which I shoot in IDPA, but I recently tried a GP100 Match Champion and it's action was much nicer than a stock 686 or GP100...very close to what you'd get from the S&W PC
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I'm a Smith guy, and it's hard to beat their prelock K or L frames. Which you choose depends in part on how your friend will use the gun. If he intends to carry it, then the 4" bbl is the way to go...the 6" is just too long for comfortable belt carry...sticks up in your ribs when you sit in any modern conveyance, don't cha know?
With my guns, both model 19's, the six inch is only more accurate if I REALLY spend some extra time on the hold and trigger press. In DA mode, there's no difference, and that's out to 35 yds.
Weight is a big factor for me...and the difference between a 586/686 vs. the M19 or M66 is just enough that I won't carry all day with the former, but find that the latter is ok.
I've no experience with the Ruger DA's, (but mucho with their SA Blackhawks), but do find their "looks" a bit "blocky" when compared to the sleek lines of most any Smith revolver...but beauty is in the eyes of the beholder & YMMV.
Accuracy with any of the Smith's is the rule and not the exception...and no changing out springs to get a good trigger let off. They're all good or Smith will make 'em right, and in 50+ years of owning them, I've never had to send one back for trigger work. There are a dozen of more Smith's in the house at this moment, and every one of them will produce 2" or less groups at 25 yds on demand with the issue iron sights.
Strength, Smiths will do the job, and that includes the earlier ones accused of being subject to forcing cone cracks. If you're planning on shooting full house magnums of the 110 gr or 125 gr persuasion to the tune of 200 per weekend for years, then you might have an issue. But for any other scenario that I can imagine, they'll do fine. My first M19, a 6" bbl'd gun, bought new in '73 has conservatively had 15,000 rounds through it...50/50 158 gr JHP's or 158 gr LSWC GC's, at fairly substantial velocities (1000-1250 fps) and it will still hold sub-2"gps at 25.
So...if I were buying nowadays, I'd still go with a Smith, used if I could find one in good shape cosmetically, or new, and I'd be happy with the choice. One last remark on the new guns...I've 4 that sport the cursed lock, and all are superbly accurate...and after a week's shooting with them I no longer even notice the Lock. I wish they were "lock-less", but any gun that's that accurate, is a keeper in my book. Finally, you might take a long look at their new models 66 or 69; the ones with the sleeved bbls. My 69, (at 37 oz.) is one heck of a gun. Carries well with .44 Spl velocity loads, or with full house magnums...I suspect the .357 version would be equally good.
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The Ruger is stronger, beefier at not as much of a giveaway in weight as to be noticed.
It has an additional locking point on the cylinder to add strength as well as a way to preserve timing with long term usage (this was especially noticeable on the line- the 686’s of other officers spit lead and hit me).
I find the coiled mainspring lends itself to a more even, predictable DA trigger pull. Dry firing gave mine an unbelievably butter smooth pull. The top strap is thicker than the Smith; I doubt that it would ever stretch even with a lifetime of heavy loads.
It is easier to disassemble for cleaning.
These are the things that spring immediatly to mind.
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If looking for a .357 Magnum revolver, don't overlook anything in .327 Federal. You'd miss out on a lot of options.
My other Sig is a Steyr...
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I owned and was issued S&W revolvers. You can't beat a Model 19, 66 or 686 (6 rds, no lock). I also had a few blued and stainless Pythons but they're priced into another league now.
Opinions will vary on the manufacturer but the KIMBER K6S in 2" (and now a 3") might be something to consider. No exposed hammer, absolutely butter smooth DAO trigger and all stainless construction. The stainless can be ordered in brushed, polished or black DLC coating. Six rounds and not that much wider than a RUGER SP101 or S&W J-frame. I just got a 2" DC version and was amazed at how well it shoots even with full load .357magnum rounds.
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