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Old February 24, 2008, 09:16 PM   #1
Glen J
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S&W 686 or Ruger GP100

I've heard good things about both. Some say with the S&W, you're just paying for the name. Others say, it really makes a difference. Had one dealer tell me, if you had a Ruger Stainless GP100, you'de have kick butt weapon that you'de almost never have to clean, that's how slick they are. Any opinions?
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:23 PM   #2
MLeake
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S&W vs Ruger

The 686 has always been known for a very smooth trigger. Ruger often has a reputation for a tank-like build, but a less refined trigger. However, the GP100 I owned was very accurate. Trigger may not have felt buttery smooth, but it certainly allowed tight groups.
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:36 PM   #3
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Flip a coin and figure out out which one is more comfortable to you.

That being said the Ruger is the more technologically advanced of the two in a few ways and probably is the better revolver, technically speaking.

For the real world there probably isn't enough difference in the durability, longevity or overall usefulness of the two to make you regret your decision to purchase either.

If it was me, and me personally I would either go for a new Ruger GP100 or a used pre lock 686+ seven shot.
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:39 PM   #4
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Pro 686:
*It's more refined (IMHO) and the trigger pull will generally be better.
*You have the choice of a 7-shot cylinder (the "Plus" variant), a 2.5" barrel, and a ported 6" barrel, none of which are available on the Ruger.
*You can buy a slicked-up Performance Center "SSR" version, albeit for a significant premium.
*It will probably have better long-term resale value, especially with the short barrels. (S&W revolvers have a well-established community of collectors, whereas Ruger DA revolvers largely don't... however, one could develop!)

Pro GP-100:
*It costs less.
*It's available in blued finish.
*It lacks the Dreaded Feature Thou Shalt Not Speak Of, initials "ILS". (Let's NOT turn this into another internal lock thread! OK, guys? Please??)

It may sound like I'm trying to promote the 686 since I wrote more about it, but I'm really not. It just has more options. Both are tough, reliable, accurate guns that should give you decades of good service. I would make the choice based on which one feels better, assuming you can afford the 686.
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:41 PM   #5
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If I were going to shoot max loads all the time it's the Ruger for sure.

If I was going to shoot max loads sparingly it would be the Smith.

But the Ruger is availible everywhere cheaper then the Smith.

Then it just comes down to what feels better in your hand.

I still miss my Ruger Security Six 6-inch 357 magnum.
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:41 PM   #6
cslinger
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Quote:
*It's available in blued finish.
Technically so is the 686 in the guise of the 586.
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Old February 24, 2008, 10:56 PM   #7
Ala Dan
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I've got a 6" S&W 686-5. six-shot .357 magnum that I really like.
Changed the springs out, to a WOLFF 13 lb spring and have never even
looked back~! The DA is as "slick as a new babys butt"~!
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Old February 24, 2008, 11:47 PM   #8
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The Smith has the better trigger. For me the most important thing in shooting accurately and fast is a good trigger. If it's for defense I'd say the Smith. If you're going to shoot insanely loaded rounds trying to drop an elk with it... get the ruger. At least then if you blow it up you're not out much cash.
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Old February 25, 2008, 01:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
The Smith has the better trigger.
Rugers can be cleaned up very nicely. I own a 686+. I carry a GP100.

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Old February 25, 2008, 01:15 AM   #10
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As others have noted, an inexpensive spring job on the Ruger solves its only 'problem.' Don't own any Smiths, so I cannot comment on them. My 4" SS GP100 is a gun I would never sell.
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Old February 25, 2008, 02:30 AM   #11
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686! Better yet a 586 so you have a blued gun ... like they are supposed to be.
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Old February 25, 2008, 02:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Rugers can be cleaned up very nicely. I own a 686+. I carry a GP100.
Yeah I know. people keep saying that. Keep in mind you can also do a trigger job on a Smith as well. Understand that the Smith is not perfect out of the box either. Look at it this way... if a Ruger out of the box has a trigger that you could rate a 6 out of 10 and the Smith 7 out of 10, after a trigger job the Ruger would rate about 8 out of 10 and the Smith 9 out of 10. The Smith is still just gonna have a better trigger. I'm not bashing Ruger. I'ver heard a lot of people say they love them. And Rugers Rep for a tank like gun is well deserved. But so is S&W's rep for having a wonderful trigger. Doesn't mean the Ruger can have a good trigger too. But it's not going to be better.
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Old February 25, 2008, 11:07 AM   #13
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The trigger on my GP100 is better than the trigger on my 686. The trigger on my 22-4 is the best of all of them.

They have all had trigger jobs done on them. I think it's a fallacy that Smith&Wesson has a "better trigger".
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Old February 25, 2008, 11:22 AM   #14
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I don't know, BikerRN. I just think it was an argument that was valid "way back when." I've handled a recently-made PC 686. and found that the bone-stock GP-100 I sold last year had a MUCH better trigger. However, neither one compares to the trigger on my 1981 586 "dash nothing".
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Old February 25, 2008, 11:24 AM   #15
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As has been mentioned above the 686 and GP100 are both great guns and either one would/should serve you well for your entire life.

Wolff sells/has $15 "reduced power" spring kits to lighten up the trigger pull for either revolver. I've put these spring kits in 3 different GP100's and 2 different SP101's - if the trigger pull is horrible it can make a huge improvement but if the trigger/action is already pretty good the difference will be noticeable but may not be significant.

I personally like the way the GP utilizes component groups - - IMO it makes detail cleaning and any modifications quicker and easier.
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Old February 25, 2008, 11:34 AM   #16
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I'll say this right up front. I own a Smith 686 and think it's an outstanding revolver. I am a Smith & Wesson guy above all else.

Now that my confession is out of the way, a buddy of mine has a Ruger GP and after putting several rounds down range with his, I'll admit that Ruger is every bit the revolver my Smith is. The trigger is just as nice and gun shoots just as well. Now I can't say that Ruger equals S&W on every model, the Ruger SP model doesn't compare to any S&W offerings and I own a SP, but as far as the GP vs. the 686, they are right on the money.

With the difference in price between a GP and a 686, I can tell you that if my 686 was stolen, I'd replace it with a GP. I don't think that the difference in price between the two (with the GP being much cheaper) justifies buying a 686 over a GP.
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Old February 25, 2008, 11:35 AM   #17
KimberDen
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I owned both of these. In my opinion, GP-100 design is more robust. Three point locking design is good. No side plates. No stupid ILS. And for what it's worth, Ayoob Massad has done pretty well competing in a few national championships, operating the "lousy" GP100 trigger so it's probably not that bad
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Old February 25, 2008, 11:54 AM   #18
Mike_In_MD
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Since the 4" version from both S&W and Ruger are the same weight, 40oz, and the 6" version from both S&W and Ruger are 44oz, can someone explain what makes the Ruger more robust than the S&W as stated above? Thanks.
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Old February 25, 2008, 12:22 PM   #19
carguychris
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Quote:
Since the 4" version from both S&W and Ruger are the same weight, 40oz, and the 6" version from both S&W and Ruger are 44oz, can someone explain what makes the Ruger more robust than the S&W as stated above? Thanks.
FWIW I'm not convinced that the GP-100 is really any more robust than the 686. The GP-100 is more robust than the previous generation of S&W K-frame .357's, the 13/19/65/66, which had some well-documented problems with durability when used with hot loads and lighter bullets; however, the heavier-duty L-frame was designed to correct these problems.

The GP-100 does have more locking lugs, but that doesn't seem to make it substantially more accurate than a 686.
Quote:
Technically so is the 686 in the guise of the 586.
Yeah, but they don't sell the 586 any more, except in a slicked-up expensive Performance Center version. I was thinking primarily of new guns, but now that I look back, the OP didn't really say he was shopping one way or the other.

If the OP is willing to look for used ones, sure, you have your choice of blued or SS and lock or pre-lock, although in general the 686 is a more common gun than the 586; in my experience, the 686 seems to outnumber the 586 by about a 3:1 ratio on dealers' shelves, but as with all used guns, YMMV.
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Old February 25, 2008, 12:24 PM   #20
KimberDen
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quote
"can someone explain what makes the Ruger more robust than the S&W as stated above?"

As I wrote in my earlier post "Three point locking design is good. No side plates. No ... ILS."

That's not to say I've heard of anyone complain about breaking their L-frame Smith. Far from saying that Smith is damage prone, I simply mention some features of the Ruger design that, IMO make it a sturdier weapon.

I think debating which one of these 40oz monsters is more suited to handle standard .357 mag loads is a moot point. Either one will do the job just fine, it all comes down to personal preferences with respect to the dreaded lock, what kind of main spring is the gun is equipped with, maintenance, grips, carbon steel vs. stainless, brand name, etc.
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Old February 25, 2008, 02:11 PM   #21
Tom C.
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I have a S&W 686SSR, 627PC and a Ruger GP100. I took the 686 and GP100 out to shoot side by side on Saturday. As they currently stand, there really isn’t much to choose between them. The double action triggers on all of them are very good. The single action triggers are also very good. The GP100 feels like it has a heavier hammer and more disturbing hammer fall, but I don’t think that makes much difference.

They didn’t all start this way. The 627 started with the best trigger and got better as it broke in. The 686 had a rough trigger, but a Wolff spring kit and internal smoothing eventually took care of it. The GP100 had an industrial grade trigger, but Wolff springs and internal smoothing made it equal to the Smiths.

The bottom line: the triggers, after work and breaking in are all very good. The accuracy is also very good, with no gun showing any distinct advantage. What you choose will be based on your personal preference.
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Old February 25, 2008, 02:48 PM   #22
Bill Siegle
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I would agree that the choice really should come down to which one fits YOUR hand better. I would also add though that if you are a tinkerer the GP100 a bit easier to take down than the Smith. Also the GP100 has a front sight that is very easy to swap out vs the Smith needing a smith to do the work. Either way though it is hardly like you would end up with a revolver that was lacking.
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Old February 25, 2008, 03:56 PM   #23
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After considerable on-line research and plenty of window shopping, I finally invested in a Ruger GP100 as my home defense handgun of choice. I have been more than satisfied with its accuracy and reliability.

I didn't compare the S&W revolvers specifically, but like many others I am troubled by the thought that the internal locking system MIGHT malfunction. My principal reason for selecting a wheel gun over a pistol to begin with was to avoid jamming, failure to fire and other potential malfunctions that CAN occur with a semi-automatic.
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Old February 25, 2008, 04:20 PM   #24
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I've got the SW 686+ and a couple of 586's; both 6". I carried a Ruger Security Six, 2 3/4", for several years on the job. Both are excellent guns but if I were forced to make a choice, it would have to be the Smith.
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Old February 25, 2008, 05:01 PM   #25
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Gp100

I really liked the one I had. Traded it for a 1911 when I went into the Navy, thinking it would be better to practice with a service arm. Of course, at about that time, the service pistol changed...

The only problem I ever encountered with my GP100, of all things, was a breakage of one of my front sights during a range session with some hot 158gr magnum loads. As I recall, it was the yellow one... it snapped right above the little anchor piece that inserts in the barrel. Luckily, I had the red one in my case, and popped that in to finish the day.

Those sights do allow very quick interchangeability, which is good, but they can break...

Good argument for practicing point shooting, I guess.
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