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Posted: 6/11/2009 10:32:03 PM EST
I'd like to add a .357 or .44 magnum revolver to my firearm collection. I don't really know much about revolvers as I'm a semi-auto guy.

Any particular reason I should go .357 over .44 or vice versa? I'm leaning toward .357 right now.

The budget is under $500, new or used. It will just be a range toy.

Which revolvers should I be looking at?
Link Posted: 6/11/2009 11:12:48 PM EST
I'm no expert, but I would think it all depends on what you mean to do with it. I suppose if you were gonna do some hiking, the .44 would be best as a bear deterrent and all. For Home defense, I would think a .357 would do fine. In both you can use other ammo, either .44 Special or .38 special respectively. Also, I think .38 special is a lot cheaper. If you can find a nice Smith and Wesson used model, that would be nice. Maybe a nice used, pre-lock 686 or a Model 19 would be nice.
Link Posted: 6/11/2009 11:14:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By Firearms09:
I'd like to add a .357 or .44 magnum revolver to my firearm collection. I don't really know much about revolvers as I'm a semi-auto guy.

Any particular reason I should go .357 over .44 or vice versa? I'm leaning toward .357 right now.

The budget is under $500, new or used. It will just be a range toy.

Which revolvers should I be looking at?


calber is up to you. if the 44 gets you warm and fuzzy, the go for the 44. same for the 357.

for 357s,

there are handfull to choose from. if you are open to used, then it will open up alot of other choices.

Ruger GP100s are nice and built like a tank. I have one for CCW eventho i dont carry it much. i did use it for my IPDA training/cert for our local combat course.

Ruger SP101. more of a ccw revolver. it really barks too.



S&W x81/x86. these are really nice revolvers. they have the full lug alal python. im not sure about the price tho since they are getting up there especially the Pre IL (internal lock) versions. i have a cherry one with the 6" tube. its also blue. i was wanting stainless steel, but this one was cherry and a really good buy. it was also pre IL too.

Tarurs makes some revolvers, but dont know much about them.

im not sure of any NIB 44s in your price range.

Taurus may have some





Link Posted: 6/12/2009 3:37:39 AM EST
Go for the .357magnum. Such a versatile cartridge. .44mag is fun, but the .357 is much more enjoyable after a few cylinders full, and can pack a pretty good punch with good loads.


I'd say S&W 586/686. I just got a 6" 586-4, which is the same thing as a 686, but is blued instead of Stainless, for $450 used in excellent shape (95%) with box and papers. Comes with nice, comfy houge rubber grips, but wood grips are avaliable from $20-$200. The full underlug barrel and adjustable sights are very nice too.

I'd look for rugers too, but only if you cannot find a better deal on a smith. I'd skip the .357 SP101 given your intended use, as that is more of a CCW gun than anything. I'd get something with adjustable sights instead of trench sights, and at least a 4" barrel. If you find anything with a 5" barrel, GET IT. 5" is usually a special order, same with 3"

If you happen to see a nice Colt, don't pass it up either if the price is right, but the 586/686 is probably the safest bet.


A note about the "dash" numbers next to the model. These are basically the revision numbers. with the 586/686, the -2 through -4 are considered the best. -1 has some collector value, but they did not have some longevity feature that the -2 and up have iirc. The -5 has a MIM trigger and hammer assembly (basically cast metal, but not considered to be a terrible thing, as the cast parts are smoother than a stripper's legs. The -6 has the dreaded internal lock. (which isn't a bad thing either) but for a shooter with some collector value the guns w/o cast parts are the most favored.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 3:46:13 AM EST
For a range gun I'd go with the 357 - you can use 38's as well in it for help in the $$$ dept. as well. I'd go with a 4 or 6 inch K frame if you are not going to be shooting full loads all the time. If you are then I would step up to a 686 or even an N frame. If you opt for the N frame a 5" 27 would be pretty sweet if you could find one.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 3:53:21 AM EST
S&W Model 619 or the 620 (with adjustable sights)... solid guns, GREAT trigger, and should be within your price range NIB.

Good luck
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 4:22:25 AM EST
Originally Posted By DanTSX:
.44mag is fun, but the .357 is much more enjoyable after a few cylinders full, and can pack a pretty good punch with good loads.


I disagree...

I had a 686 before my 629. Shooting .38 Specials, it was a tack-driver. But when you put in .357 Magnums, it didn't have the same accuracy (and I'll be honest, I did not see any real benefit with using Magnums through it). When I bought my J-frame, I had a nice .357 Magnum for a decent price. Remembering my 686, I kept looking and found a 642 no-lock in .38. Less headache to just use one type of ammo.

With my 629, I am more accurate with Magnums than Specials (Specials shoot about four inches too low). Kick, people make it out to be worse than it is. I've shot that pistol since I was 14, and within the past year I only started to use Specials (I have two cases of them through it). But if you look at the .44 Magnum to Special, and then compare it to the .357 Magnum to .38 Special, you see a big jump in energy. At the muzzle, a .357 has roughly twice the energy as a .38 Special. A .44 Magnum compared to its Special... almost three times the energy at that point.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 5:32:07 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/12/2009 5:33:41 AM EST by nhsport]
What in the hell is wrong with you guys?

Get both!

S&W is the way to go. Best triggers and actions. I like the 686 for the 357 and the 629 comes in about 25 different flavors

357 and 44 is apples and oranges- both are good at what they do but can't begin to do what the other does best.

To keep the budget happy get the 357 first and then the 44 after you save for a while.

It's kind of funny , if you were asking about 9mm there would be about 20 different guns to consider but in 357 the 686 is really the best answer.

Yeah some will tell you to look at a blackhawk or a Python or a 66 but they are really not in the running for all around general purpose 357"s, not when you put them alongside the 686.

Not that I need to tell you after the past year or so but although a revolver with factory ammo is cool they really shine when you reload . There is so much you can do with reloads to tailor you ammo to your shooting needs from dirt cheap blasting ammo to high power hunting rounds.

Don't be afraid of buying a good used revolver, not hard to check the action for abuse and a little cosmetic wear can save you a pile of money to put towards ammo or reloading supply
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 5:57:50 AM EST
Ditto, the versatility of the .357 is really, as a "toy" gun, much more appealing than the .44 magnum. I have one .44 magnum, but five or six .357's.

The best bang/buck value is a 4" 686 (or 586 as mentioned). Nice trigger, smooth action, solid and strong. Get a pre-1997 model without the lock or MIM internal parts - most desirable and collectible. Another substitute for is is a 4" S&W model 28. A real classic and about as good as the 686 in the hand. The K frames like the 19 and 66 are great, too, but their smaller size make them less pleasant to shoot magnums with. If you plan on shooting mostly .38, then they are fine. Anyone of those guns should be relatively easy to find in excellent condition used for $500 or less, though you may need to do some shopping and bide your time to find the best one.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 6:57:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By AgHistGrad02:
I'm no expert, but I would think it all depends on what you mean to do with it. I suppose if you were gonna do some hiking, the .44 would be best as a bear deterrent and all. For Home defense, I would think a .357 would do fine. In both you can use other ammo, either .44 Special or .38 special respectively. Also, I think .38 special is a lot cheaper. If you can find a nice Smith and Wesson used model, that would be nice. Maybe a nice used, pre-lock 686 or a Model 19 would be nice.


Right in my post, it says range toy
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 7:11:48 AM EST
I am a pragmatist, so I went with .44, but I really like the .357 and would go that route if in the lower 48.

Link Posted: 6/12/2009 7:20:56 AM EST
For just a "Range toy", I would probably choose the .357 and just shoot .38's out of it....a lot cheaper that the .44 magnum. As for make, you really can't beat anything Ruger makes in either their single action or double action models.....
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 11:29:03 AM EST
Long time reader, first time poster!!

I love my 686. Ive owned 2 of them. a 686-6 in 4" (sold it and wish i hadn't) and 686-2 + (love the extra round) in 2 1/2".

I paid 475 for my first one two years ago and basically traded one for the other. 686's are great guns. you will not be disappointed. 38 spl or 357 give you options and will stop anything you need to.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:54:24 PM EST
and 686-2 + (love the extra round) in 2 1/2".


Really? I didn't think the "plus" model was around during the -2 engineering run. it's really a 7-shot 686-2 snub-nosed?
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 3:06:36 PM EST
Well, for my part, I'm about to PPT-purchase a Smith & Wesson 28-2 with 6" barrel.
N-frame, .357, 6 shots, blued.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 6:08:45 PM EST
If you don't reload, I'd suggest looking around for a 4 inch S&W Model 28 or a 5 inch Model 27, if you can find one. I shoot my Model 27 a lot, and with some pretty stiff loads. The 5 inch N frame has the very best balance of any revolver I've ever held, and is plenty strong. I'd also second the recomendation for an L frame S&W, but it takes a back seat to the N frame.

For those who will actually shoot their guns and not just let them sit around, but do not reload, I suggest the .357. The .44 Magnum is expensive to feed, unless you roll your own. If I'd had to purchase the ammo I've fired from my .44 this year alone, I'd have spent upwards of 300 bucks or soo.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 11:15:05 PM EST
For general shooting I would go with a .357/38Rem Mag/Spl gun from any of the big 3. If money is a problem I would go with Taurus.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 3:29:49 AM EST
Originally Posted By Oro:
and 686-2 + (love the extra round) in 2 1/2".


Really? I didn't think the "plus" model was around during the -2 engineering run. it's really a 7-shot 686-2 snub-nosed?


I didn't think so either. But from what I know, you can convert them easily. Takes a little fitting, but most gunsmiths should be able to do it w/o much effort.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 4:13:52 PM EST
S & W model 29 in .44 mag and S & W 686 in .357 are my must haves in revolvers.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 10:27:59 PM EST
.357 is generally more practical and versatile.

If I had a choice, I'd go with a used Dan Wesson model 15-2 (or 715 is Stainless is your thing)

Link Posted: 6/16/2009 10:45:17 PM EST
Get teh Ruger Blackhawk 357 convertible...you can shoot 357 and 38 of course, but it comes with an extra cylinder for 9mm. It really expands your options.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 4:29:39 AM EST
Ruger Redhawk in 44 mag will be fun and cheap
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 1:42:07 PM EST
Where are you finding .44 mag ammo cheap?
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 6:02:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By shadowcop:
Where are you finding .44 mag ammo cheap?


I make my own.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 6:17:30 PM EST
I own over a dozen guns in .357 and only one .44(although I'd make it two if I could find a nice 4" P&R M29 for a decent price). I don't consider the .44 fun to shoot with standard magnum loads(assuming you don't reload) and .44 Specials are nearly impossible to find––both are pretty expensive too. If you reload, both are easy to find and won't break the bank to shoot.

Buy a .357 and enjoy shooting it. .38 special and .357 mag aren't hard to find and both are cheaper than .44 mag/special. Pretty much anyone can handle a .357 since it doesn't have tons of recoil in a K/L frame size revolver(and even less in the N frames Vanilla_Gorilla is fond of).
Link Posted: 6/18/2009 5:32:50 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/18/2009 5:37:23 AM EST by Cheesebeast]
Smith and Wessons tend to have the best trigger pulls.

A nice tight used S&W Model 66 would be a good revolver for you to cut your teeth on. It is a .357, so you can use .38 special loads in it.

Personally I prefer 4" barrels on my K frames. In order of size Smith and Wessons go:
J Frame- concealment revolvers (snubs, etc.)
K Frame- used to be the "standard" size frame for .38 caliber (.38 Special and .357 magnum loads).
L Frame- created to provide a revolver that would stand up to constant use with .357 loads).
N Frame- the original "magnum" frame.

Why K frame instead of L frame? Personally, I don't shoot as many magnum loads as I thought I would over the years. I shoot .38 special loads a great deal and .357 magnum loads on occasion. A 4" Model 66 is a great packing pistol.

If you are hell bent on a .44, then there are three that I would take a look at. The Dan Wesson would be tops on my list. It is comfortable to shoot with full power .44 loads and they are accurate. You can still find them for less than $400.00 used. You can play with changing the barrel length, but unless you intend to hunt with it exclusively I would go for a 6" barreled version.

The Ruger Redhawk is a good stout revolver. Rugers do not tend to light me on fire, but there is nothing wrong with them.

The Smith & Wesson Model 29 (or 629) is a good packing gun. It is pretty light for the power it offers. A 4" has some real snout to it in the recoil department- and some of the factory grips they came with over the years may leave you not so happy after a range session. I would get a set of grips for the Smith that don't beat up your hands too much.

I would recommend you purchase a used revolver. Take your time- none of these things are rare. Learn to recognize the signs of a revolver that has been ridden hard and put up wet- these signs are more subtle on a stainless revolver- and be CHOOSY. Personally, I shoot my revolvers in double action mode most of the time. The quality of the DA pull is really important to me, and that is why I have tended to gravitate towards S&W products. The triggers on them can be tweaked into mode.

Enjoy your new rig!
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