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.357 & .44 magnum revolvers

Anybody with some feedback on 4" barrel wheelies? Not interested in dropping python money, but s&w vs ruger vs taurus? Others i should consider? Is reliability really an issue with wheelguns? This could probably have been titled "could someone talk me out of a Taurus revolver" since s&w vs ruger seems to be a preference thing...

Tia
 
I have a model 19 s&w 6". It can handle some pretty hot loads but why push it. Love the design! My father owns the 38 detective, 357, and 44 in the same model. Come to think, he might have a 45 too. Smith has great customer service as does ruger. I have shot a Taurus but never owned one. I disliked the craftsmanship of the Taurus. IMHO the Taurus felt and looked of lesser quality.

good luck.
 
Why not go between ,a S&W .41 magnum ,model 58 or 57.....big punch,but a much straighter trajectory than the .44,and better shock than a .357...Elmer Keiths favorite 4" pistol.
 
I have a model 28 S&W .357 4". Carried it for years as a LEO, until they finally forced semi-autos on us. But I still love my old revolver better than any gun I owned.
 
I have had a Ruger .357 4" for many, many years. I foolishly sold it once and after a couple years bought it back. My favorite gun I own.
Never, ever had a misfire with any wheelgun I have owned or shot. I had a ported 4" Taurus for a few years, I did not feel the need to chase after it when I sold it....
 
My vote is Ruger. If you're patient, you can find a nice used Ruger for the cost of a Taurus.

With that being said, it's what YOU want. For the price point of buying new, Taurus is a nice revolver. If you're not opposed to used and know what to look for, deals can be had.

I'm still kicking myself in the butt for not picking up a used Dan Wesson that was going for $175.

When buying used, as long as the cylinder locks up tight and end shake is minimal, it's still good to go.
 
I would attempt to talk anyone out of a Taurus revolver if he desires reliability and a gratifying experience in revolver ownership. Never owned one but have been around several shooting acquaintances who have and they are uniformly unsatisfactory in my view. We're talking metallurgical problems, poor heat-treating or some similar issue.

One fellow's Taurus Model 66 suffered from the bottom portion of the hammer just breaking off inside the revolver. The entire single-action sear broken away. The gun would still function double-action but this break was both unusual and dramatic.

Another persisted in purchasing Taurus revolvers, claiming that they were better values than similar Smith & Wesson models. I had a close association with these revolvers, shooting them on occasion. The actions all felt heavy, rough, and gritty almost as if they were binding. These included both .22s and .357 Magnum models. Then he tried a .44 Special snub, the Model 445. Brand new, it lasted for two cylinders-full of shooting and then bound up. A close examination of the revolver, detail stripped, revealed that the hand had bent. It was straightened and shooting was continued. A couple more cylinders-full of ammo later and it had bent again.

I've owned Smith & Wesson revolvers for many years, it being 38 years since acquiring the first one. More shots have been fired through Smith & Wesson revolvers than any other handgun owned. None has given one minute of trouble including several which have been heavily used and even abused with experimental handloading. Classic Smith & Wessons of traditional design (read that pre-lock and pre-MIM parts) wear in, not out, are smooth when they are new and only get better with time. Double-action triggers are slick and pleasing and no better single-action trigger may be had. I've always been enthused about the Smith & Wesson guns. I know nothing about their current quality or durability. The last new Smith & Wesson acquired was in 1998.

I have a nice Python but its vaunted trigger doesn't do it for me like a good, worn-in Smith & Wesson K-Frame or N-Frame revolver. Several Colt double-action revolvers live around here and Colt is a valued second choice behind Smith & Wesson for me. Unfortunately, Colt has seen fit to discontinue all of their classic double-action revolver models. They are worth seeking out as used revolvers if they are in good condition.

Some Smith & Wesson revolvers that live in the menagerie here.
Top to bottom: Smith & Wessons in .357 Magnum: 6-inch Model 27, built on the large N-Frame, 4-inch Model 586, built on the intermediate L-Frame, 4-inch Model 19, built on the medium K-Frame, and stainless steel 2 1/2-inch Model 66, also built on the K-Frame round butt variant.
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A long-snouted N-frame Model 29 .44 Magnum with 8 3/8-inch barrel. This is one of the Smith & Wessons that has seen heavy shooting use from hunter pistol silhouette competition. It has held up to the high volume of shooting with heavy loads without a bobble. These are also common in 4-inch barrel.
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Splitting the difference as was suggested above, here's an N-Frame 6-inch Model 57 in .41 Magnum. Of course these could be had in 4-inch guise as well.
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I have a S&W 686, and my brother has a Ruger GP100. Both are excellent revolvers, and I would recommend either one, however, the Smith does have a significantly smoother trigger. When I was shopping for a revolver, someone explained to me that the Ruger has a stronger frame, and can handle more abuse over time, but the Smith's are more precision crafted and will run smoother. Comparing our revolvers side by side, this seems to be the case.
Honestly...you should probably just buy one of each. :) Since my brother got his GP100, I've been tempted to pick one up myself. They are really sweet. Like others have said, stay away from Taurus. They seem more interested in copying the iconic look of other classic revolvers, while keeping the price low by sacrificing quality.
 
+another for the S+W
I have a Model 60 Pro. Stock springs and the shorter barrel made it really snappy when shooting hot loads. Swapped out the springs and it made a huge difference.
 
Unless you decide to split the difference with the Model 57 41 mag, I would go with the Ruger in a 4 inch and stainless. It is heavier to help control recoil and built like a tank. The right set of grips for your hand will make it easy to handle and a joy to shoot. You may also use 44 Special in the 44 Mag which gives you much more versatility and approaches the ballistics of the 41 Mag.
 
I have both a S&W, and a Taurus albeit in .38spl. The Taurus went back for warranty repair, the cylinder wasn't timing and locking up correctly. Repair was prompt, the area of repair was definitely rough looking (center of the ejector star wheel), but this is not an area normally observed anyway. The Taurus functions just fine, but the overall function, fit and finish of the gun is not in the same class as S&W. Just don't compare it with a S&W and you will like it just fine.
 
I have not owned a Ruger double action revolver in Stainless that was not first rate and they are easy to strip and maintain.
 
I own a Ruger SP101 in .357 with a 3 1/16" barrel. It is basically the smaller version of the GP100. It looks and shoots like it is indestructible.

I like what xjrob85 posted about the S&W 686 and GP100. Both great guns but different. My brother swears by his 686, and his range targets back it up.

I would like to own a .44 Magnum one day. I really like shooting .44 Special loads out of it. My .44 pick would be a S&W vintage model 29 Mountain gun, or the newer Model 629.
 

mswofford

Rest in Peace
I've had tables at a few gun shows. I have never owned a Taurus handgun. Resale of Taurus handguns is not good. I know they have improved their quality control a bunch in recent years but the resale value is way below Ruger and Smith & Wesson. That said, if you check out a used Taurus and it seems good, you can get a bargain. Just don't expect an easy re-sell. I carried Smith & Wesson revolvers early in my career as a State Trooper, I used them in competition and know how excellent they are (they were all pre-lock). I've carried Ruger revolvers in rimfire and centerfire for plinking and hunting with entire satisfaction. Mike
 
I have a S&W 686, and my brother has a Ruger GP100. Both are excellent revolvers, and I would recommend either one, however, the Smith does have a significantly smoother trigger. When I was shopping for a revolver, someone explained to me that the Ruger has a stronger frame, and can handle more abuse over time, but the Smith's are more precision crafted and will run smoother. Comparing our revolvers side by side, this seems to be the case.
Honestly...you should probably just buy one of each. :) Since my brother got his GP100, I've been tempted to pick one up myself. They are really sweet. Like others have said, stay away from Taurus. They seem more interested in copying the iconic look of other classic revolvers, while keeping the price low by sacrificing quality.

+1 on everything stated here.

I have an older S&W 19 and a Ruger GP-100 bought in 2012. The Smith has the smoothest trigger of any pistol I've ever fired. The Ruger simply feels like I have a tank in my hand. It is tremendously strong, however, if I water to carry it for "social" purposes, I'd need to get it a trigger job.

Both makers produce fine revolvers though.
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
I would attempt to talk anyone out of a Taurus revolver if he desires reliability and a gratifying experience in revolver ownership. Never owned one but have been around several shooting acquaintances who have and they are uniformly unsatisfactory in my view. We're talking metallurgical problems, poor heat-treating or some similar issue.

One fellow's Taurus Model 66 suffered from the bottom portion of the hammer just breaking off inside the revolver. The entire single-action sear broken away. The gun would still function double-action but this break was both unusual and dramatic.

Another persisted in purchasing Taurus revolvers, claiming that they were better values than similar Smith & Wesson models. I had a close association with these revolvers, shooting them on occasion. The actions all felt heavy, rough, and gritty almost as if they were binding. These included both .22s and .357 Magnum models. Then he tried a .44 Special snub, the Model 445. Brand new, it lasted for two cylinders-full of shooting and then bound up. A close examination of the revolver, detail stripped, revealed that the hand had bent. It was straightened and shooting was continued. A couple more cylinders-full of ammo later and it had bent again.

I've owned Smith & Wesson revolvers for many years, it being 38 years since acquiring the first one. More shots have been fired through Smith & Wesson revolvers than any other handgun owned. None has given one minute of trouble including several which have been heavily used and even abused with experimental handloading. Classic Smith & Wessons of traditional design (read that pre-lock and pre-MIM parts) wear in, not out, are smooth when they are new and only get better with time. Double-action triggers are slick and pleasing and no better single-action trigger may be had. I've always been enthused about the Smith & Wesson guns. I know nothing about their current quality or durability. The last new Smith & Wesson acquired was in 1998.

I have a nice Python but its vaunted trigger doesn't do it for me like a good, worn-in Smith & Wesson K-Frame or N-Frame revolver. Several Colt double-action revolvers live around here and Colt is a valued second choice behind Smith & Wesson for me. Unfortunately, Colt has seen fit to discontinue all of their classic double-action revolver models. They are worth seeking out as used revolvers if they are in good condition.

Some Smith & Wesson revolvers that live in the menagerie here.
Top to bottom: Smith & Wessons in .357 Magnum: 6-inch Model 27, built on the large N-Frame, 4-inch Model 586, built on the intermediate L-Frame, 4-inch Model 19, built on the medium K-Frame, and stainless steel 2 1/2-inch Model 66, also built on the K-Frame round butt variant.
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A long-snouted N-frame Model 29 .44 Magnum with 8 3/8-inch barrel. This is one of the Smith & Wessons that has seen heavy shooting use from hunter pistol silhouette competition. It has held up to the high volume of shooting with heavy loads without a bobble. These are also common in 4-inch barrel.
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Splitting the difference as was suggested above, here's an N-Frame 6-inch Model 57 in .41 Magnum. Of course these could be had in 4-inch guise as well.
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Wowee what a collection!!
 
I own and carry the Ruger SP-101 chambered in .357 Magnum and would (and have) recommend this revolver to anyone considering a wheel gun for carry or home defense.

For close to 15 years now, the SP-101 has been in my carry rotation and I rely on it to protect my life as well as the lives of my family. It is a little heavier than other revolvers but, I believe that if you are going to load and carry +P or Magnum rounds you will appreciate the extra heft for mitigating recoil for follow up shots.

Sure, lightweight revolvers are easy on your overall "payload" weight when you carry but, I want to know that I am carrying a gun when I carry and I want a heavy barreled pistol for Magnum rounds.

Best of luck to the OP.

Frank
 
Jason,

The biggest thing you haven't mentioned, at least that I've seen, is what you intend to do with the revolver? It is hard to give an accurate answer of what is 'right' for you without an intended use. Since you mentioned Taurus I'm going to assume your looking at double action revolvers. I've never owned a Taurus revolver so my opinion on them isn't worth much, I didn't have good experiences with the semi-auto that I owned so I tend to shy away.

It sounds like this is your first revolver so we can keep it practical. If your intended use is just as a range toy then I would let ammo cost dictate my decision making more so than say a hunting revolver. I own a couple 357's, a few 44 special only guns, and a few 44 mags. While I also have a 41 Mag I wouldn't recommend it do to the ammo costs unless you want to hand load for the cartridge.

There are so many good options available you really can't pick a 'bad' one. While I don't own one if I could only have one revolver it would be a 686+ (7 shot) in a 3" barrel length.

The 3" N-frame Smith is my favorite shooter. I have them in 44 Mag, Special, and 41 Mag.



These gems are 3" L-frame 696's, which are 5 shot 44 specials. I love the balance and way these guns carry which is why I have 2.



This is a personal favorite shooter. 2.5" 629-6 44 Mag, the ports do an excellent job of taming the recoil.



The 4" Model 57 41 Mag is a bit more pleasant to shoot than the 3", but I just prefer the 44's.



For a nice carry piece it is just really hard to beat a nice 357 snub. This is a model 66 but there are many, many options.

 
Appreciate all the input - at this point I'm definitely leaning toward the Ruger GP100 - my daily carry is a Wesson CBOB or a Colt Defender, both of which are wonderful, so I don't anticipate the need for a wheelgun as a carry option (though a snub .357 might make its way into my lineup one day), so this would pretty much be an occasional range/bedside gun rather than a daily driver. I may have to take a ride and feel out the S&W vs. the Ruger first to get a feel for the trigger on the Ruger, but that's my inclination right now. Thanks to all for talking me out of the Taurus - it's essentially what I suspected, but it was nice to hear about how good the Ruger reviews were.
 
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