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What is the ultimate end all be all revolver in 38/357 ?


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I have my semi-autos , and now I want the "end all be all" revolver in 38/357mag ?  I have searched for this a lot and for me it seems to be the Ruger SP101 and GP100 . Those revolvers seem to be very easily detailed stripped for any problem that may arise or parts replacement. I like Glock for the reason that they use very few parts. Any information is appreciated. 

Edited by tercel89
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I don't think there is an end all, be all revolver. But I don't think there is a end all, be all semi-auto either.

Whatever revolver that feels and shoots the best for you is what you should get.  Personally, I find the SP101 too heavy for carry, with only a five shot capacity. True, it's built like a tank, and it may have the fewest working parts, but I would hazard a guess that 99% of us have zero need to every take a revolver apart to work on one. I'm 59 years old and I never have. 

My first revolver was a S&W Model 13 with a 4" barrel. It was a good accurate revolver. So was Model 10 that was a TDOC trade-in. So was the Ruger GP100 6" in SS and the several SP101s I've owned over the years. Along with the S&W Model 36 and 38. Really loved the little Colt Agent, but I traded it away for Mossberg 590 shotgun. Also had a little S&W Model 32 that was an accurate little snubbie. The last two are the ones I most regret trading away.

Right now I have a S&W 442 and a Taurus 627 Tracker.  Love both of those and am perfectly happy.  But I hazard another guess and will say that both of those are very libel to be traded away on something else, at some point. But I'd be happy with any of those that I listed above.

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IMHO it would be the older pre-lock S&W L-frame 586/686. This gun was designed specifically for the .357 Cartridge. The older K-frame was nice to carry, but proved to be a bit light in both strength and weight for continuous use of Magnum ammo. The N-frame was plenty strong enough for whatever ammo you wanted to use. However, it is a big, heavy gun. S&W designed the L-frame to be beefy enough for any magnum ammo and still be readily carried.  its the perfect .357 revolver. 👍

Just for the record, I'm also a big fan of the old Ruger Security Six line. But Ruger stupidly quit making them a long time ago. ☹️  Never cared much for the GP-100 or the SP-101. They just feel clunky to me. 🙄

But then if you truly want the best of the best and can afford the price Korth! 😉

Edited by Grayfox54
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You'll see the SP/P10X vs 686 be at the top of everyone list, subject to individual preferences. The Ruger crowd will talk about how overbuilt and more durable it is overemphasizing ceased up locks on Smiths. The Smith guys will taught smoother actions and feel. End of the day both are good and the detractors have their own reasons for how they see it.

I'm sure you plan to get hands on. But dont go in with a preconceived notion based on the interwebs or opinions.

First thing I'd say is pick your barrel length based on which you find balances well for you and preferences. IMO barrel length / lug design. Then find the comparable models in that length to see what you think. Both will shoot great, no worries on longevity or accuracy.

With regard to S&W. The old timers who bought them when they were pre-lock arent wrong. Any older smith is better than a modern, lock or no. But I personally wouldn't pay the extra premium for the bragging rights of a pre-locker over an older post lock. The lock can easily be removed and blocked. The main downside with modern S&W wheel guns is their build quality is all over the place and they no longer support them to the factory spec. Overclocked barrels and asymmetric forcing cone (or out of spec) gaps happen now more than they use to. They are most likely to tell you to pound sand versus fix it, even with pics of feeler gauges in the gaps. So inspecting long and close is required with them.

Ruger has superior CS from my limited experience. I even had one of their gunsmiths call me!

I've shot them back to back in my preferred 4" length. I ended up keeping the 686-7. My own subjective reasons, but the main thing was I simply shot it better than the Ruger.

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I am wanting a 3 inch barrel and something in a .357 so I can shoot 38 when I want to. The old Security Six models sure seem nice. Ruger owners seems to talk about how they dont use screws to secure their revolvers and how S&W's use of screws is their weakness. Is there any truth to this ? 

Edited by tercel89
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We have had them all,your choice is pretty limited to the Rugers but they will need Wolff springs because they are afraid of liability. Ruger will take the pounding. The only other choice is stock pre lock S&W 686 but get ready to sell a kidney.

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I think I've shared it before, but this was my grandfather's duty gun when he was a police officer back in the 60's.  Smith & Wesson Model 19.

He left it to my dad and I inherited it when my dad passed away.  This is one of those guns that my kids will inherit one day, and hopefully their kids as well.




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Some of the Sp101's that i have been seeing lately , new and used , have the barrels tilted left or right. As if they are not screwed on properly . A few that I saw were new ones at gun shops. looking at the crane or main part of the revolver , the barrel wasn't straight and lined up. 

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Under or overclocking of barrels is unfortunately not unusual in modern manufacturing. It can be addressed by a warranty, but like I said earlier, Smith does not seem to address it if it still goes bang. But Ruger will. My Single 10 was overclocked and they got it pretty much dead on. 

Best to avoid them if you are buying at a retail store to avoid the hassle. Online you take your chances. I personally will not buy a revolver online anymore. The build quality just isnt there.

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