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Old April 17, 2013, 11:05 PM   #1
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Join Date: April 1, 2013
Location: Midwest, USA
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S&W 686 | Ruger GP 100 | S&W 60 | Ruger SP101 - on the range comparison

I know these 4 model are probably most popular contemporary revolvers. A lot of newbies (like me) are interested in them, but can not try them all. I am a shooter with some (fair?) experience, I am new to revolvers though. So, hopefully my notes can help those who can not get their hands on these guns. Also I hope more experienced revolver crowd will reply with some suggestions or thoughts on the subject.

I finally made it to the range that had all 4 models listed above which I could try. I also talked them into selling me 3 boxes of 38 Spl ammo (normally they do not sell more than 2 due to shortage). I took each gun to the range and fired 3 full cylinders SA and 3 full cylinders DA each. I used different targets for each gun and wrote notes right on the targets to make sure I will not forget anything.

1. S&W 686 - they had only 6" model which looked pretty intimidating due to the size of the barrel. However it felt fine during shooting. I shot 4" models before and I can not say that 6" felt much different. Very good accuracy from about 20 yards. 90% in the back with a few bulls eye hits. SA and DA accuracy was almost the same. In general this size feels a little big to me, but it is comfortable gun to shoot.

2. Ruger GP 100 - 4" barrel. I did not find this gun much different from 686. To my surprise trigger and hammer felt even more smooth than 686. I saw a lot of posts about Ruger not having as smooth trigger. Not this one! And I loved the white outline on the rear sights. Very easy to aim. For some reason first few rounds all went in white. I think I was still thinking about action more than about the aim. The rest of rounds went mostly in black. Accuracy is about the same as with 686.

3. Ruger SP101 - 3" barrel. I liked the size of this gun! I am not a big guy and previous two guns felt a little big, although comfortable. This size felt great... until I started shooting. For some reason the hammer on this gun felt very tight (hard to pull) in SA almost to the point that my finger got tired after about 15 rounds. DA shooting was fine though. I did not like the grips (not sculptured for fingers and kind of small) and this gun had a fixed rear sight which I did not care for either. It seems to be easier to aim with adjustable sights. Or may be it's just a matter of getting use to. Accuracy was ok, but not as good as with the guns above.

4. S&W 60-15 - 3" barrel. When I first put this gun in my hand I loved it. It had sculptured grips, smaller than on 686, but almost as comfortable. It also had an adjustable sights. The hammer was a little tight. Not as bad as on SP101, but harder to pull than on bot 686 and GP100 for some reason. In general I liked this gun, but for some reason the accuracy was terrible. More than have of my shots went into white and I suspect a few did not even hit the target. Perhaps I was a little tired by then, but still this was unusual for me to be "that bad".

Conclusion. All 4 guns felt ok in general. I assume that less-then-stellar accuracy of S&W 60 is due to my tiredness and perhaps badly adjusted sights. Both smaller frame revolvers had a tighter (harder to pull) hammer which I didn't like as much as the hummer on the larger ones. And smaller revolvers only had 5 shots vs. 6 shots in larger ones. Since I am looking for the gun mostly to shoot targets and not carry I think I am leaning toward the larger ones. I can't tell if I like S&W or Ruger better at this point.

I have to go to the range I visited before. They have S&W 66, which is K frame. I think I may like it the best. It has grips like 686 which I liked a lot, adjustable sights and from what I understand it's a little smaller and lighter than 686, yet larger than 60. This may be the best combination. But any thoughts or suggestions from more experiences members are welcomed, as I already stated above. Thanks.
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