So tonight I hit the local funstore to look into what will likely be my next purchase later on, a 7-shot .357. They had a Model 686, full-lug barrel for just under $700... And and a model 627, half-lug, for a smidge over $700. Looking at the 627 in the case, I was counting the VISIBLE holes in the cylinder..."1, 2, 3, 4, 5...6? That can't be right can it?" I got to see it...it's an eight-shooter! I didn't know Smith was making 8-shots that weren't $1200 Performance Center guns. (Though I'm at the S&W website on another tab...the gun that I saw for $709, they have LISTED for $1003. Would this mean that one they say is $1200 would be more like $900?) And, this one looked like all stainless STEEL, not the fancypants titanium/scandium/what-have-you-um of the PC guns. I'm sure the latter are quite a bit nicer to TOTE because they'd weigh less, but they'd also come with worries about wear coming from long-term use. Thoughts: I generally prefer the half-lug barrels over full lug ones, but to be technical the 627 is more like a 3/4 lug. I was surprised that while they weren't exactly lightweight, neither one was like picking up a brick that had a pistol grip on it. So, looking at it as either a 686 vs. a 627...or IDEALLY as a 7-shooter vs. an 8-shooter - what are the thoughts from more experienced 'wheelies' than I? Of course it's a no brainer that 8 shots > 7 shots. And while the 627 was bigger, it wasn't a very huge difference between the two. (I'm looking the specs up to get specifics). I think right now speedloaders are a little more easy to get for 7-shot guns than 8-shot ones. But this can change, and I imagine it will as the 8-shooter Smiths get more popular. Saw some good looking semicustom speedloaders in American Handgunner recently - but PRICY at $60 a pop! Then there are 8-shot Tuff strips, I think.... Mind you, I'm not out to replace my handy G19 for everyday CCW. I just think you ought to have a handy means of carrying spare ammo for any gun you have! I dunno, I could honestly go either way. Mind you it'll be MONTHS before I buy, and who knows what I'll take a liking to by then.