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Old September 1, 2012, 08:37 PM   #1
Billy Shears
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357 dilemma...opinions please.

Hi guys. Got a question for you. A shop near me has two as-new-in-box revolvers, both are chambered in 357 and both have 4" barrels. I can only afford one.

Whichever one I get, it will be primarily a recreational shooter. Not a safe queen collector edition. And it will probably see between 1500--2000 mid-level loads per year. No hot stuff. I save that for my old GP-100.

So, here goes:

Revolver #1 is a Smith & Wesson Model 19-7. Looks unfired. Comes with box and papers. Seller wants $700.

Revolver #2 is a Colt Trooper MK-III. Also looks unfired. Comes with box and papers. Seller is asking $900.

As both guns are discontinued models I know I should probably leave them for a real collector to buy and squirrel away somewhere, but I want to shoot them.

Assuming price is not a factor, which one would you prefer?

Thanks for sharing your opinions.
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Old September 1, 2012, 08:44 PM   #2
freebird72
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Those prices are way to high, very high. Look somewhere else.

However, a S&W 19 is a great handling gun.
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Old September 1, 2012, 09:02 PM   #3
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Seems pretty expensive to me. Love my K frame. In fact it's sitting right here on my desk. 66-7.
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Old September 1, 2012, 10:28 PM   #4
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They were both marketed about the same time period. The 3 most popular carry guns for Cops, during that time, were the Colt 1911, the S&W M66 and the S&W M19. (The M19 was the regular steel gun the M66 was stainless). I carried a 1911 but I think that 80% of the guys I worked with carried the M19.
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Old September 1, 2012, 11:15 PM   #5
RJay
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The Model 19 is the way to go. Less delicate, easier to find a gunsmith for it, parts and goodies up the wazoo. JMO. Both overpriced but the with the Colt you are paying for the name for a discontinued gun that most gunsmiths don't like to work on.
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Old September 1, 2012, 11:25 PM   #6
DunRanull
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Stainless

IF youre gonna pack and shoot it, look for a model 66 S&W. Nothing beats good stainless in the brush and it doesnt cause heart attacks when it gets bumped. Experience here. JME, YMMV. I recently sold my 66 (I didnt really need it etc). While that was true, I have serious seller's remorse.

Last edited by DunRanull; September 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM.
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Old September 2, 2012, 12:52 AM   #7
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You already have a beater, right, GP100

The M19 can cover more bases than the Trooper except one. A fast Bullseye match like PPC or Bianchi Cup where shooting has a par time.

M19 is better at IPSC & IDPA, police or security work, better at CCW..thinner & lighter, more people are looking to buy a M19 than a Trooper, M19 is eaiser to find speed loaders & holsters and it's about 100X eaiser to locate spare parts for any K frame vs Colt Revolver. Whoops...dropped it and now I need a new hammer & front sight. More gunsmiths can work on a S&W successfully vs a Colt. The M19 will handle faster.

So why the Colt?

Becaused you asked.

You are hooked on Revolver shooting. Admit it. And if you think you will stop wanting a M19 afterwards...forget it. You will and that's okay. Either way you can't go wrong. Phony-up and enjoy.
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Old September 2, 2012, 12:57 AM   #8
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If you didn't already have a beater revolver plus money isn't the issue I'd say phony-up.

I'd like to know where everyone else is getting such great deals on popular revolvers of yesteryear.
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Old September 2, 2012, 02:29 AM   #9
4V50 Gary
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The Colt MK III Trooper has a modernized action that works very much like the S&W action.

I would prefer the S&W though. I know sintered metal (mim) was introduced by Colt in their modernized Trooper models.
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Old September 2, 2012, 05:23 AM   #10
357 Terms
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If you are limiting yourself to just those two options; I would go with the Smith.

$900 for a Trooper is waaaay too high.. like close to Python prices. A MK III is not a Python!
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Old September 2, 2012, 05:59 AM   #11
madcratebuilder
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Quote:
Smith & Wesson Model 19-7. Looks unfired. Comes with box and papers. Seller wants $700.
That seems awfully high for what it is. Maybe if was a 19-no dash. I haven't been watching revolver prices much, maybe I'm behind the times.
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Old September 2, 2012, 07:35 AM   #12
freebird72
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I would say these prices are way to high, even with boxes. Look on gunbroker.com and places like that, as you are very likely to save a couple hundred after all the fees and shipping. $900 for a Colt Trooper MIII? That is good Python money. I would hate to see what they would charge for a Colt Python in the box.
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Old September 2, 2012, 08:11 AM   #13
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I would say those prices are high too. But that's what they're bringing in that condition these days around here. LNIB is something I, at least, don't see every day. People who have them know what they have, and they know if "you" don't buy it the next person will. There is no incentive to drop the price.

So, I ask myself, "When was the last time you saw one in that condition for less?" And "When do you think you will again?" Yes, I'll "overpay" for something I want, if I really want it. I don't plan to sell it, but if I ever do, and I can't get what I paid for it, well, I'll just count that as the cost of owning it for a while. Find one cheaper on Gunbroker? Maybe, but I don't consider that as an option. I want to see it, and hold it before I say "I'll take it." Pictures just aren't good enough for me.

Personally, I'm a Smith & Wesson guy, but I think, since I'm spending your money, I'd get the Colt. I see a lot more S&W's than I do Colts especially with the box. I'd look for a Smith & Wesson next (and I'd look for a -4 or earlier.) No the Colt isn't a Python, but the people who want a Python and can't afford/fine them are buying the Troopers and Offical Police revolvers, and driving the prices on those up too.
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Old September 2, 2012, 06:23 PM   #14
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I would agree with the post here in saying the prices are a little higher than expected.
I have a Colt Lawman (The Snub nose .357 MKIII) and I love it, IMO it's just as sturdy as the Smith but it is a little bulkier. CC is very possible but it depends on your comfort.
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Old September 2, 2012, 08:12 PM   #15
old bear
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Both prices are to high by at least $150.00.
Three things can be said about the M-19/66:

It's everything you need in a revolver and nothing you don't need.

The M-19/66 is a carry a lot shoot a little revolver.

The M-19/66 is one of the best combat handguns ever produced.

So when you find one at a decent price get it if you can...
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Old September 2, 2012, 08:28 PM   #16
vytoland
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those prices arent even in the ball park....walk on by.........

if your looking for a "shooter" grade, you dont need something like new with the box. S&W model 19's sell for $450 - $500 on GB
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Old September 2, 2012, 08:29 PM   #17
Billy Shears
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Old Bear. That was your 1,000th post. Thanks for doing it on my thread!

Quote:
The M-19/66 is a carry a lot shoot a little revolver.
By "shoot a little" do you mean it isn't suitable for the 2,000 or so rounds per year I have planned for it? That's a disappointment. I love the size, but I definitely need sturdy.
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Old September 2, 2012, 08:46 PM   #18
freebird72
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People say the 19 can not handle a steady diet of .357s, others say it can handle all you can throw as long as they are 158 grain. I am not sure which is actually true, but it can handle .38spc all day everyday no problem. The magnum rounds are up to you.
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Old September 2, 2012, 11:02 PM   #19
gunluver
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I have a S&W model 19-7, 4" barrel that I payed $425 for about 2 years ago. I run predominately .38 special through it with the occasional cylinder of .357. I would say you would be fine at 1500-2000 mid-level loads per year.

The cracked forcing cone issues you hear about with the model 19 is due to the lightweight, high velocity .357 loads. Stick to 158 gr, mid-level loads and you should be fine.
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Old September 2, 2012, 11:14 PM   #20
Billy Shears
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Thanks, gunluvr. That's what I was thinking but it's good to hear it from someone with experience.

I appreciate all the responses so far. Thanks everyone.
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Old September 3, 2012, 07:39 AM   #21
Webleymkv
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Both guns have strong and weak points. The Colt is the stronger of the two guns and can shoot any .357 Magnum ammunition you like in it, but Colt no longer makes DA revolvers so factory support and gunsmiths familiar with them is getting scarce. Also, the Trooper Mk. III should not be dry fired without snap caps as the firing pins are prone to breakage when dry fired and replacement is a factory-only job.

The M19, on the other hand, is such a popular revolver that, while no longer made, most repairs can be done by any competent gunsmith and parts are usually not problematic to find. The drawback to the M19 is that it's not very tolerant of full-power magnums with lightweight (<140gr) bullets. Lightweight magnums are prone to cause erosion and eventually cracking of the forcing cone in S&W K-Frames and S&W's stock of K-Frame magnum barrels ran out long ago. If you stick to .38 Specials or .357 Magnums with 140gr or heavier bullets, however, a M19 will likely give you several lifetimes of reliable service.

As to the prices, both revolvers would be high in my area unless they had a particularly uncommon barrel length, finish, or other feature. That being said, prices of used guns can vary substantially from one area to another and I do not know what said guns would normally go for in your area.
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Old September 3, 2012, 12:18 PM   #22
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I would go for the Model 19, nothing beats a K-Frame for what you want to use it for. It's a better gun than the retro's that S&W is putting out now. A used gun will go for much less and as soon as you shoot it it is a used gun. If I wanted new and planed on keeping the gun forever and there is nothing like getting a new gun, I could see me paying the price.
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Old September 3, 2012, 12:27 PM   #23
freebird72
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If you plan on shooting these guns up to 2000 times a year, I would not buy new. I would only buy the two guns you mentioned new if I was going to keep them unfired. So, since you plan on shooting them, I would look for a gently used one that should be $200-300 cheaper than the prices you quoted.

I can not tell you how many 19s/66s I have seen, used but in good shooting condition that looked they have seen less than 200 rounds, for $500 or less; though I can not say the same thing for the Colt.
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Old September 3, 2012, 12:54 PM   #24
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Heck, I'd buy a Ruger GP100 or S&W 686 over either of these guns.
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Old September 3, 2012, 01:06 PM   #25
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Prices seem to have gone up considerably since I bought my Trooper ($325 LNIB- box had some wear but the gun sure did not.) a decade ago.... I was looking to pick up a Ruger GP100 that I had been eyeing for months .... and there was that ponygun for $25 less!

The only issue I can see with the Colt is that there are not a lot of parts or qualified 'smiths to work on them ..... the trigger, in both DA and SA, is superior to all the stock Smiffs and every Ruger I've pulled..... I have certainly run quite a lot of lead down the pipe of that gun...... Bowling Pin, IDPA, plinkin' with the kiddoes, even a little deer hunting. I don't regret it all. Plus, you can't swing a short tailed cat at a range without hitting three guys with Rugers and a couple of Smith owners. Not very many people shoot a Colt, if they are fortunate enough to have found one!
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