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Old 03-06-2013, 08:31   #26
CBennett
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I will go off the beaten path and say look for a Dan Wesson revolver well within your range you MAY be able to find a whole Pistol pack for $700 with the 2"/4" and 6" barrels in it(would be close though) Great shooters, heavy duty built, can get them full or 1/2 lug...vent barrels..lots of different styles/options. I also love the Blackhawks. I came VERY close to getting one B4 I found the Dan Wesson revolver.

Both of those guns cost me $500 meaning together one was $225 the other $270(with the wrenches and barrel shim included in the $270)

best part is i can take the barrel off one and swap it to the other I can make it into a snubby..I can buy a heavy 12-15" barrel for it...lots of versatility to be had.

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Old 03-06-2013, 08:35   #27
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Are there any other brands I should consider?
If you don't rule out used, DW 15-2s can certainly do the job filling that void, just to name an alternate mfg.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:38   #28
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Nobody mentioned the Coonan, it is .357. But it is not a revolver, and it is out of your price range too so it is just as well it wasn't brought up till now.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:43   #29
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Thanks for the advice guys, I appreciate it. And Bac, thanks for the pics. I go hiking up in the Bob Marshall in Montana and there are grizzlies up there so I'd like the gun to be able to take some of the Buffalo Bore heavy loads. I'm not at all opposed to the older Smith K guns if I can get something in stainless that can handle the newest 357 loads well. I don't mind half-lug either as long as it looks nice. What Smith models should I be searching for? There is quite a bit out there that seems like it would do the job, the trick is finding it right now.

My uncle has the Dan Wesson mentioned and it's a great gun. He only has the 6" barrel and I've only fired 38 special out of his. I've not seen any of them around for sale though.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:50   #30
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My uncle has the Dan Wesson mentioned and it's a great gun. He only has the 6" barrel and I've only fired 38 special out of his. I've not seen any of them around for sale though.
Dan Wesson does build a great revolver as well. This one is a SuperMag chambered in 357 Maximum. It also shoots 357 Mag and 38 Special.

They are cool revolvers


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Old 03-06-2013, 10:36   #31
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Nobody mentioned the Coonan, it is .357. But it is not a revolver, and it is out of your price range too so it is just as well it wasn't brought up till now.
Ya I'd love a Coonan haha. I'm kind of interested in a revolver though since I'd like to learn to shoot them really well and already have quite a few semi-autos.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:44   #32
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Ya I'd love a Coonan haha. I'm kind of interested in a revolver though since I'd like to learn to shoot them really well and already have quite a few semi-autos.
The Coonan is an awesome pistol though.


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Old 03-06-2013, 10:58   #33
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Thanks for the advice guys, I appreciate it. And Bac, thanks for the pics. I go hiking up in the Bob Marshall in Montana and there are grizzlies up there so I'd like the gun to be able to take some of the Buffalo Bore heavy loads. I'm not at all opposed to the older Smith K guns if I can get something in stainless that can handle the newest 357 loads well. I don't mind half-lug either as long as it looks nice. What Smith models should I be searching for? There is quite a bit out there that seems like it would do the job, the trick is finding it right now.

My uncle has the Dan Wesson mentioned and it's a great gun. He only has the 6" barrel and I've only fired 38 special out of his. I've not seen any of them around for sale though.
If you're going to feed it a steady diet of full power magnum loads, the K frame probably shouldn't be your first choice.

I find the L frame 686 the best all around compromise for strength and the ability to lug it around. If you're going up to the Bob and only taking a sidearm, I'd give serious consideration to a .44 mag or hot .45 Colt.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:01   #34
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The Coonan is an awesome pistol though.


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I agree, I love the uniqueness of it also. Aren't they around $1100 or something though? Way out of my price range.

Can any of you guys give me an idea of how much easier it is to shoot a 6" compared to 4" compared to a 3" for accuracy? I'm still somewhat undecided on which barrel length to go with. It may be worth packing around a 6" gun if it isn't too bad if the accuracy gains are large enough. If it isn't that much easier to shoot well with, I'd rather get a shorter length.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:06   #35
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If you're going to feed it a steady diet of full power magnum loads, the K frame probably shouldn't be your first choice.

I find the L frame 686 the best all around compromise for strength and the ability to lug it around. If you're going up to the Bob and only taking a sidearm, I'd give serious consideration to a .44 mag or hot .45 Colt.
Thanks for the K frame info, I'd definitely like to put some hotter loads through it. When we do our yearly fly fishing/camping trip up there, a few of us always have 870s with slugs in them. I just feel more comfortable also having a pistol when I'm out along the banks fishing too. Is there much of a difference in price between 357 and 44 magnum?
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:09   #36
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The 4" has better balance for me. The 6" is generally more accurate , due to the longer sight radius. It will also deliver more energy on target.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:13   #37
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As to barrel length, 6" gives you a definite advantage in sight radius, but all the long barrel revolvers have left my collection and have been replaced with shorter barrels. The 6+ inch barrels are just too cumbersome IMHO. You don't hike in circles or anything, but for me, the trade off is worth it. 4 - 4-1/2" barrels are a good compromise for me.

As far as price between .357 and .44 mag... I can't tell you what the spread is. I bought a bunch of brass long ago, and I'm casting my own boolits. Suffice it to say the difference will be significant.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:21   #38
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Im a SW 686+ fan! Very accurate, sweet triggers an awesome revolver!
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:41   #39
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Ya I'm thinking I should stick with the 357 also because I've got a lot of 38 special ammo too.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:45   #40
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You've got a lot of good advice and as you see opinions will vary. I had not given Dan Wesson any play because you had not mentioned it.

My very first handgun was a DW .357. I
bought it the day I turned of legal age. I shot mainly reloads through it and it served me very well (sold it for diapers when JR came along-He was worth it). A good used one would be a good option. Please let us know what you get and how it turns out.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:13   #41
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You've got a lot of good advice and as you see opinions will vary. I had not given Dan Wesson any play because you had not mentioned it.

My very first handgun was a DW .357. I
bought it the day I turned of legal age. I shot mainly reloads through it and it served me very well (sold it for diapers when JR came along-He was worth it). A good used one would be a good option. Please let us know what you get and how it turns out.
I looked into the Dan Wesson guns, but they are going for over $600 around here.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:44   #42
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How do you figure that?
Popularity.

Were I asked what would be the classic .357, I suspect I would answer the S&W Combat Magnum (model 19 I believe).
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:20   #43
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And there again I would most likely tend to disagree with you. Certainly the 19 was a popular revolver, but when I think classic I think of the first one, the Model 27, even before it was called the model 27. In that time it was called the Registered Magnum.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:40   #44
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Re: OP. The .357 Mag. is can be a handful. If one is used to sharp recoil/muzzle blast in a light weight revolver, it likely will not be a problem. However in any common 4" revolver firing full-house .357 loads will be more of a challenge than firing a standard 5" 1911 using 230 gr. ball ammo.

For many folks a 4" revolver is an outstanding choice as it is both easily portable and powerful. Shooting full-power magnum loads a 4" revolver will be more demanding than a 6" revolver simply due to the increased recoil and muzzle blast/flash. For an experienced shooter this will not be so much a factor. But for extended shooting it will be a consideration regardless of how experienced one might be.

As to materials, carbon steel and nice wood grips are beautiful. But for use in all sorts of conditions and weather, it is really hard to beat a stainless steel revolver with Pachmayer grips. I have used S&W 686's and Ruger Redhawk's for hunting in all sorts of weather. I would not consider anything other than stainless steel for such purposes.

Beyond cosmetics, the lugged barrels common to the S&W 686, Ruger SP-101, Colt Python serve a useful function, i.e., shifting the point of balance toward the muzzle, which improved "pointability," moderating recoil and improving practical accuracy (by virtue of reducing shooter fatigue due to the cumulative effects of recoil, etc.

When it comes to grips, there are a plethora of options available especially for the S&W 686 that allow one to suit any particularities of taste, preferences, etc. Regarding the middle/trigger finger position, on a small frame revolver one might have an issue simply because of the small grip frame available. On a S&W L-Frame or any other common service sized revolver, it is not likely one will have such a problem.

Any of the common double-action revolver are available with good adjustable sights. Typically one simply zeros the revolver with the particular choice of ammo that best suits ones own needs/preferences. Differences in POI from POA with other loads will not normally be significant at typical distances at which one will use a handgun.

Given the perameters of use and price you have described, I'd buy a S&W 686. A 4" 686 will ideally meet the needs/requirements you have described. Out of the box it will not need attention to the trigger, changes in sights, etc. You can shoot it with any SAAMI rated .357 Magnum ammunition to the extent that your budget can stand the cost without any concern for undue wear. You will with any reasonable care be able to find a nice 686 for under $700.

As to differences, aestetically the S&W is superior to the Ruger SP-101. The same is true of it's trigger in both double and single action function. Ergonomically it is a better design. In fit and finish it is superior. As to durability, it is not a issue. Both revolvers are fully up to any amount of magnum shooting that anyone might care to do.

As to Pythons, I've owned three of them. They are O.K. But time after time I bought one and was underwhelmed. They were not more accurate. The single-action trigger pulls were no better than what was common to a routine S&W revolver. The double-action trigger pull was not as good. Regardless of factory or aftermarket stocks used, the grip was not as good. The lock work was more delicate. I got rid of the last Python I had and bought more S&W L and N frames.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:50   #45
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And there again I would most likely tend to disagree with you. Certainly the 19 was a popular revolver, but when I think classic I think of the first one, the Model 27, even before it was called the model 27. In that time it was called the Registered Magnum.
The 27 was always Smith's flagship revolver.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:35   #46
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:37   #47
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First off, I'm a Smith fan in a big way. Although the 686 is a good choice, I'd have to say the Model 27 and 28, although not stainless, would be a better choice. The big N frames are great for taming recoil and will handle the hot loads.

That being said, you're a few miles North of me and appear to be looking primarily for a boondocks gun. Get the Ruger! Smiths are elegant with smooth triggers, the Rugers are built to take the abuse and come out on top, even after a day in the water or on the rocks. If it gets dumped in the mud, pull the grip off, dunk it in the river, shake it out, put the grip back on, and keep on truckin'. If Buffalo Bore 180's are in the projected diet, the weight of the Ruger frame will be your friend.

As others have said, don't count out the Blackhawk. A strong single action .357 is a good thing, although I would prefer one in .41 mag or .45 LC. May I suggest, if you're going knowingly into bear country, get a good can of Bear spray. It will provide far better protection than any .357.

Good Luck in your quest.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:37   #48
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Re: OP. The .357 Mag. is can be a handful. If one is used to sharp recoil/muzzle blast in a light weight revolver, it likely will not be a problem. However in any common 4" revolver firing full-house .357 loads will be more of a challenge than firing a standard 5" 1911 using 230 gr. ball ammo.

For many folks a 4" revolver is an outstanding choice as it is both easily portable and powerful. Shooting full-power magnum loads a 4" revolver will be more demanding than a 6" revolver simply due to the increased recoil and muzzle blast/flash. For an experienced shooter this will not be so much a factor. But for extended shooting it will be a consideration regardless of how experienced one might be.

As to materials, carbon steel and nice wood grips are beautiful. But for use in all sorts of conditions and weather, it is really hard to beat a stainless steel revolver with Pachmayer grips. I have used S&W 686's and Ruger Redhawk's for hunting in all sorts of weather. I would not consider anything other than stainless steel for such purposes.

Beyond cosmetics, the lugged barrels common to the S&W 686, Ruger SP-101, Colt Python serve a useful function, i.e., shifting the point of balance toward the muzzle, which improved "pointability," moderating recoil and improving practical accuracy (by virtue of reducing shooter fatigue due to the cumulative effects of recoil, etc.

When it comes to grips, there are a plethora of options available especially for the S&W 686 that allow one to suit any particularities of taste, preferences, etc. Regarding the middle/trigger finger position, on a small frame revolver one might have an issue simply because of the small grip frame available. On a S&W L-Frame or any other common service sized revolver, it is not likely one will have such a problem.

Any of the common double-action revolver are available with good adjustable sights. Typically one simply zeros the revolver with the particular choice of ammo that best suits ones own needs/preferences. Differences in POI from POA with other loads will not normally be significant at typical distances at which one will use a handgun.

Given the perameters of use and price you have described, I'd buy a S&W 686. A 4" 686 will ideally meet the needs/requirements you have described. Out of the box it will not need attention to the trigger, changes in sights, etc. You can shoot it with any SAAMI rated .357 Magnum ammunition to the extent that your budget can stand the cost without any concern for undue wear. You will with any reasonable care be able to find a nice 686 for under $700.

As to differences, aestetically the S&W is superior to the Ruger SP-101. The same is true of it's trigger in both double and single action function. Ergonomically it is a better design. In fit and finish it is superior. As to durability, it is not a issue. Both revolvers are fully up to any amount of magnum shooting that anyone might care to do.

As to Pythons, I've owned three of them. They are O.K. But time after time I bought one and was underwhelmed. They were not more accurate. The single-action trigger pulls were no better than what was common to a routine S&W revolver. The double-action trigger pull was not as good. Regardless of factory or aftermarket stocks used, the grip was not as good. The lock work was more delicate. I got rid of the last Python I had and bought more S&W L and N frames.

Thanks very much for this great info! I'm almost 24, pretty athletic, and have been shooting center fire since I was 8. Since the only handguns I own don't have much recoil, I'm almost kind of looking forward to it in the 357. The snappiness you describe sounds similar to my little 642 airweight when shooting the Buffalo Bore 38 special +p through it. While it's harder to shoot well (I can start to flinch downward after a few rounds on occasion) I enjoy the large blast and kick.

I think I've settled on the 4" from what you and other have described as the best 'balance' between carry-ability and shoot-ability.

I know some of you have suggested the Blackhawk, and eventually I'd love to get a Single Action Army high quality clone of some sort, but I'd like to get it in the original 45LC when I do. (This actually reminds me that I've also shot Buffalo Bore 45LC through my dad's gun a few times a couple of years ago, and it was pretty manageable.) For this purchase though, I know I won't be happy without a nice SA/DA revolver. I know I'm not looking at a 44, but I did enjoy Dirty Harry as a kid. It's also sort of a hole in my meager 15 handgun collection.

You made me think of something I had not thought of before though, does POI shift much from POA when changing from 357 to 38 special?

Thanks again! This has been a big help. I'm hopefully going to look at a nice 4" 686 no dash (and no lock) this weekend.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:47   #49
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First off, I'm a Smith fan in a big way. Although the 686 is a good choice, I'd have to say the Model 27 and 28, although not stainless, would be a better choice. The big N frames are great for taming recoil and will handle the hot loads.

That being said, you're a few miles North of me and appear to be looking primarily for a boondocks gun. Get the Ruger! Smiths are elegant with smooth triggers, the Rugers are built to take the abuse and come out on top, even after a day in the water or on the rocks. If it gets dumped in the mud, pull the grip off, dunk it in the river, shake it out, put the grip back on, and keep on truckin'. If Buffalo Bore 180's are in the projected diet, the weight of the Ruger frame will be your friend.

As others have said, don't count out the Blackhawk. A strong single action .357 is a good thing, although I would prefer one in .41 mag or .45 LC. May I suggest, if you're going knowingly into bear country, get a good can of Bear spray. It will provide far better protection than any .357.

Good Luck in your quest.
Thanks for the info! I've been primarily looking on Armslist around here as I prefer private sales to avoid all the dealer fees and markups. I haven't even seen a single 27 or 28 for sale around here, and checking in other states they seem to want around $900 for one in decent shape.

I'm still keeping my eye on the Rugers as well, I know that if I can dry fire it while keeping the front sight on target I would be able to shoot it somewhat decently (that's how I get the majority of my practice anyway). If the trigger on the Ruger isn't much harder to do it with that the Smith I'd be happy with one. When camping we do like to plink quite a bit also, so I'd like to learn to shoot the gun for accuracy as well.

As to the bear spray, I've got a mini can of it attached to the side of my backpack already.

Looking back through this thread, it doesn't help that Bac's pics make all the gun I'm interested in look gorgeous.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:30   #50
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A couple of notable things between the two. The GP locks up at the front and the back of the cylinder. This gives better consistency in cylinder alignment and is stronger than the Smith design which locks at the back. The ejector rod can also come unscrewed, locking up the Smith while the Ruger rod cannot. In addition, the cylinder stop notches are offset on the Ruger and not over the thinnest part of the cylinder wall, like Smith is. Again, making it stronger and able to handle hotter loads. The GP design is known for being a stronger design than the Smith, and loading manuals publish "Ruger Only" loads as proof of this statement.

The Smith is known for better aesthetics and a smoother trigger. While it isn't known to be as "rugged" as the GP, it is a very strong and worthy revolver. I prefer it slightly over the GP as I don't need to push loads to the max limits of the cartridge. You can't go wrong with either, in my opinion.
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