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Old December 4, 2012, 03:48 AM   #1
LAKE713
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S&W 65-3, Ruger Security Six, or Ruger Speed Six for carry?

I'm looking to get a carry revolver for concealed or occasional open carry here in TN and am having to choose between:

1-S&W 65-3 with a 3" barrel for $500 in Nashville.

2-Ruger Security Six blued 4" barrel with holsters, speedloaders, a trigger job, and a half-bobbed hammer (hammer is still there but 1/3 of it was removed to accommodate competition shooting) for $425 about 1.5 hours' drive away.

3-Ruger Speed Six stainless 4" barrel probably for around the same price as the other two and at least an hour's drive away.

I'd like to keep it to these three revolvers. I have a S&W 629-4 Mountain Gun and a S&W 5906 that are both a bit large for concealed carry and a Chiappa Rhino 200DS (2" barrel D/SA model) that I like but am letting a friend use.

I applied for a carry license yesterday so I have some time to decide. Which one do you guys recommend based on knowledge and experience? Also, any holster recommendations?
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Old December 4, 2012, 07:47 AM   #2
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For carry, a 3" is always better, and the 3" S&W 65 is a sought after revolver. $500 is a good price for one if it is in very nice condition. A scuffed up one should be high $300. They're not the best for shooting lots of .357, though, and the Rugers you mentioned were built for .357 so fire away. I've owned many S&W k frames but am down to only one, a 4" 13. On several occasions, I have called and emailed S&W and asked about shooting magnum rounds in the K frame .357's. Every time, I was advised to shoot only 158 grain .357 and limit those to familiararity only, while practicing with .38. The do not make barrels anymore for K frame magnums, so if you split a forcing cone, you're out of luck.

On the other hand, the Six series is no longer made, so you won't be able to get parts for those, either. But the Six series are renowned for strength and the odds are very small you will ever need repairs on one. Good news is that if you DO need reapirs and Ruger can't do it, they offer you a new GP or SP101 below cost. A guy on here sent in one of his Six revolvers and they couldn't repair it, so they sold him a new SP101 shippd right to his door for like $340. S&W won't do that for you.

Bottom line, if the 65 is in good shape and you don't intend to shoot lots of 110 or 125 grain .357 mag rounds, that is the one to get.
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Old December 4, 2012, 07:52 AM   #3
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Awesome, thank you, Homerboy.

The 65 looks to be in good shape. I've heard about the ruggedness of the Sixes. I like to shoot magnums but it's cheaper with .38s. So if I'm shooting heavier grain .357s then it's not a problem? I'm surprised that it's the lower grain bullets that cause problems as opposed to the higher grain ones.
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Old December 4, 2012, 10:15 AM   #4
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Yeah, the 125 grain mags are the worst offenders. The .357 was born from a K frame .38 Before then, cops who wanted a .357 carried a big N frame. So Bill Jordan designs the K frame model 19 with S&W. They took a K frame .38, slightly lengthed the cylinder to accomodate .357 rounds, and used a different heat treating to withstand the higher pressure .357. Jordan used to refer to it as a ".38 that can shoot .357 for business". The forcing cone on a K frame .357 has a flat spot on the six o'clock position to allow the cylinder to close. That's the weak spot on them and where the forcing cone will crack. PD's used to qualify with .38 and carry 158 grain .357 for duty. Time went on and lawsuits came about that mandated cops qualify with what they carry. That was also around the same time the 158 grain went out of style in favor of the 125 grain .357. That's when problems began. some guys have shot nothing but .357 through their guns and they have held up. others have cracked forcing cones relatively early. The lighter bullets are faster moving and are more liable to cause problems. So if you are gonna shoot magnums, stick with 158, and don't shoot them exclusively. Gun might be Ok with them all the time, but if you crack the cone, you're out of luck. The gun was designed around a 158 grain round anyway.

I know I would not hesitate to shoot whatver .357 I wanted through my Service Six. My S&W 13 gets maybe 18 rounds a year of .357, and then only 158 grain. Also, modern 125 or 110 ammo isn't as hot as it was in the 70's, so maybe the problem isn't as big a deal anymore, but I wouldn't chance it. Finally, keep the gun clean, ESPECIALLY the forcing cone. Many believe it was the combo of a dirty forcing cone and the lighter rounds that cracked them. If you don't already have one, every revolver owner NEEDS a Lewis Lead Remover. Brownells sells them exclusively. They get ALL the lead out with one pass, and have a special forcing cone attachment to really get that clean, too.

Last edited by Homerboy; December 4, 2012 at 10:46 AM.
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Old December 4, 2012, 10:26 AM   #5
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I like stainless guns for carry, less chance of sweet rusting it, plus no bluing to wear off. Barrel length is not a big deal to a CCW gun especial the difference between 3 or 4 in. I would pic the stl Ruger.
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Old December 4, 2012, 10:43 AM   #6
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And by the way, neither of the Rugers are worth the same as a 3" 65. That 4" Speed Six is worth MAYBE $350, and that's if it's in nice shape. If it was a 2.5 inch, still less than $400. The blued Security Six is worth less than $400 as well. I was going to suggest a new Ruger GP100 3" but it's heavy like your 5906. You can get a nice SP101 for less than $500 brand new, and you can shoot .357 in that all day. But the SP has 5 rounds, not 6.
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Old December 4, 2012, 02:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
So Bill Jordan designs the K frame model 19 with S&W. They took a K frame .38, slightly lengthed the cylinder to accomodate .357 rounds, and used a different heat treating to withstand the higher pressure .357. Jordan used to refer to it as a ".38 that can shoot .357 for business".
Since Bill Jordan hailed from the USBP, the USBP bought thousands of Smith model 19's. Many of those same model 19's were still in service into the 1990's and shot just as well as when they were new. Do NOT believe everything you hear about the K frame being "weak", many of those revolvers had 10's of thousands of magnums through them.
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Old December 4, 2012, 04:36 PM   #8
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nanuk, the USBP also used Ruger Sixes later on, and they held up much better. I have read countless articles on the K frame .357. They were .38's on steroids and not intended for full .357 use. And when they WERE being used with .357, it was a 158 grain bullet, not the newer 125 grain screamers. I love a K frame .357, but they are NOT up to par with a Ruger Six as far as durability. Sexiness and smoothness? S&W beats Ruger any day.
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Old December 4, 2012, 04:40 PM   #9
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I have a 3" 65; fantastic shooter. The sights are regulated for 158, so that's what I shoot from it (in .357 or .38).

If I want to shoot heavy magnum loads, I prefer a bigger revolver anyway. The velocity loss from a 6" to a 3" is huge.
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Old December 4, 2012, 08:30 PM   #10
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The S&W M 65 is an easier carrying gun. I have carried a gun for over 35 years, everything from a 1911 to a Glock to a S&W M10 snub nose....' you name it. I can carry anything I want to now, I carry a 4" M 65.
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Old December 4, 2012, 10:49 PM   #11
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Thank you!

I'm surprised at the low price tag for the Ruger Security/Speed Sixes. I saw a Speed Six in good shape listed locally but no price attached. I guess offering $350 wouldn't be insulting? I REALLY wish that S&W 65-3 was capable of a steady diet of .357. I like having a gun that is more powerful than what I need because I don't believe in spending what money I have on something with limited capabilities, even if I'm not going to use it to its fullest extent that much (like my STG-58 FAL, which is easily capable of digesting .308 but I tend to feed it 7.62 NATO due to cost). I love the look of the 65-3 and the 3" barrel but I guess it'll either be the Speed or Security Six since they're so robust.

Also, thank you for recommending the GP100. I'm not opposed to toting a heavier piece if it means more reliability. Honestly, the only reason I haven't committed to carrying the 5906 is b/c I'm 5'7" 165 lbs and I think it would be hard to conceal carry the 5906. I would trust that gun about as much as any revolver ever made, by the way. It is the only pistol I have ever fired that has never EVER jammed in any way. Truly an outstanding firearm, especially for the money. If I could a way to conceal carry it, I probably wouldn't even worry about getting a conceal carry revolver. If I can find a GP100 for a decent price, I'd jump on it.

The only thing that bugs me about the Security and Speed Sixes is that on the off chance that something DOES break Ruger probably won't be able to fix it. I see parts for them listed on Brownells (thank you for the recommend on Lewis Lead Remover, by the way. I will get some of that for my 629-4 Mountain Gun) but the slightly bobbed hammer on the blued Security Six bums me out. I like a nice fat hammer to be able to "Play" with it in my down time and get used to the gun. The Security Six also looks pretty cool. Nice and high like an old Webley or something. Still, the barrel profile on that S&W 65 is very robust looking. Sleek and sexy. Small wood grips though. I like the Hogues on my 629 and would probably replace.

So $500 for an excellent condition 65-3 is a decent price?
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Old December 4, 2012, 11:27 PM   #12
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carry all 3 on your belt and buy some heavy duty suspenders to go along with that.
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Old December 5, 2012, 02:00 AM   #13
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Ha, I've considered it! The blued 4" security six with the partially bobbed hammer comes with two speedloaders and 3 holsters, so I could accommodate ridiculous carry options in the future.
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Old December 5, 2012, 06:55 AM   #14
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I'm surprised at the low price tag for the Ruger Security/Speed Sixes. I saw a Speed Six in good shape listed locally but no price attached. I guess offering $350 wouldn't be insulting? I REALLY wish that S&W 65-3 was capable of a steady diet of .357. I like having a gun that is more powerful than what I need because I don't believe in spending what money I have on something with limited capabilities, even if I'm not going to use it to its fullest extent that much (like my STG-58 FAL, which is easily capable of digesting .308 but I tend to feed it 7.62 NATO due to cost). I love the look of the 65-3 and the 3" barrel but I guess it'll either be the Speed or Security Six since they're so robust.

Also, thank you for recommending the GP100. I'm not opposed to toting a heavier piece if it means more reliability. Honestly, the only reason I haven't committed to carrying the 5906 is b/c I'm 5'7" 165 lbs and I think it would be hard to conceal carry the 5906. I would trust that gun about as much as any revolver ever made, by the way. It is the only pistol I have ever fired that has never EVER jammed in any way. Truly an outstanding firearm, especially for the money. If I could a way to conceal carry it, I probably wouldn't even worry about getting a conceal carry revolver. If I can find a GP100 for a decent price, I'd jump on it.

The only thing that bugs me about the Security and Speed Sixes is that on the off chance that something DOES break Ruger probably won't be able to fix it. I see parts for them listed on Brownells (thank you for the recommend on Lewis Lead Remover, by the way. I will get some of that for my 629-4 Mountain Gun) but the slightly bobbed hammer on the blued Security Six bums me out. I like a nice fat hammer to be able to "Play" with it in my down time and get used to the gun. The Security Six also looks pretty cool. Nice and high like an old Webley or something. Still, the barrel profile on that S&W 65 is very robust looking. Sleek and sexy. Small wood grips though. I like the Hogues on my 629 and would probably replace.

So $500 for an excellent condition 65-3 is a decent price?

I'm not trying to talk you out of the 65. Depends on your intended use. For me, even with my Ruger that will shoot anything, I shoot mostly .38 due to cost. If you're gonna be shooting more .357 and don't want to be limited to 158 grain, the 65 should be fine. And the 65 is no longer made, either, and S&W has no more barrels for them in case you do split the cone, which is unlikely, but it HAS happened. The reason I trust the Ruger is that even if something goes wrong, Ruger will keep the gun and sell me a new GP for nearly half the cost. If weight is not an issue, I would get a 3" GP100. They already come with Houge's and are hailed as the toughest .357 out there.

If you can get an excellent 65 for $500, I would say that is a good deal.
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Old December 5, 2012, 06:57 AM   #15
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I'm not trying to talk you out of the 65. Depends on your intended use. For me, even with my Ruger that will shoot anything, I shoot mostly .38 due to cost. If you're gonna be shooting more .357 and don't want to be limited to 158 grain, the 65 might not be the way to go. if you reload, you can load some very mild .357 that will never hurt a 65.. And the 65 is no longer made, either, and S&W has no more barrels for them in case you do split the cone, which is unlikely, but it HAS happened. The reason I trust the Ruger is that even if something goes wrong, Ruger will keep the gun and sell me a new GP for nearly half the cost. If weight is not an issue, I would get a 3" GP100. They already come with Houge's and are hailed as the toughest .357 out there.

If you can get an excellent 65 for $500, I would say that is a good deal.
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Old December 5, 2012, 07:36 AM   #16
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I really appreciate the heads up and feedback on the relationship of .357s to the 65-3. I REALLY like the look of the 65-3 and the price is manageable but I don't like having to limit myself in calibers when it comes to practice...or at the very least not being to enjoy shooting a steady diet of .357s (which I did with my Rhino pretty consistently when I first got it) because I'm worried in the back of my mind about breaking an irreplaceable forcing cone.

I've seen some SP101s locally but no GP100s. I'll keep an eye out for those and maybe I'll get lucky. It's funny, I've seen Ruger be hit or miss but apparently when it comes to their .357s, they can't be beat. I'm surprised anyone could edge out S&W.
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Old December 5, 2012, 07:38 AM   #17
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One thing I should also add is that I'm not a collector; I'm a shooter and soon I'll be a carrier. I don't have the budget to afford show pieces and curios; everything I buy has to have an immediate and necessary use in my arsenal. I don't know if that makes a difference or not but it is a driving factor in my gun decisions.
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Old December 5, 2012, 08:47 AM   #18
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I don't have any experience with the Ruger Six series. I am curious about Speed Sixes, but have rarely seen one.

That said, I've owned quite a few revolvers. The 3" 65 is right at the top of my list of all-around revolvers. It's fairly easy to carry and conceal; it points beautifully; and it is very accurate.

I removed the factory hammer from mine, and had a bobbed hammer installed. The DA trigger is very smooth, and I have no trouble shooting the gun DA only at 25 yards. At 7 yards, it barely requires aiming. I also added some Ahrends' finger-groove wood grips. (The original hammer and grips are in the original box.)

I usually carry autos, but when I am in the mood for a medium frame revolver, the 65 is first choice.

YMMV.
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Old December 5, 2012, 02:47 PM   #19
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I think the 3" Model 65 (along with its blued twin, the Model 13) is the best medium frame, .357 Magnum, da revolver out there for self-defense carry. I toted one for years before my agency transitioned to autos and ended up giving it to my oldest daughter for Christmas many years ago. I'm still on the look-out for a Model 65 LadySmith that's "reasonably" priced...
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Old December 5, 2012, 03:38 PM   #20
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Oh yeah, I've seen people salivate over a Ladysmith. What is it about those that people like?
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Old December 5, 2012, 05:17 PM   #21
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The shrouded ejector makes the LadySmith the only gun better than a 3" M65 as an ideal all-arounder, IMO.
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Old December 5, 2012, 09:57 PM   #22
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Does the exposed ejector on the M65-3 pose a problem? Are they in danger of getting banged up or is this rare and not cause for concern?
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Old December 5, 2012, 10:17 PM   #23
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I haven't heard of a failure due to the exposed ejector, but suppose it's possible.

Most of the ejector related problems I've heard of have to do with fouling of the star, which is completely unaffected by presence or lack of shroud. I've also heard of issues with the ejector which were actually caused by alignment problems with the cylinder crane, usually due to improper screw settings.

In other words, I don't worry about the exposed ejectors on my 3" 13 or my wife's 3" 65.
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Old December 5, 2012, 11:50 PM   #24
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Quote:
I REALLY wish that S&W 65-3 was capable of a steady diet of .357. I like having a gun that is more powerful than what I need because I don't believe in spending what money I have on something with limited capabilities, even if I'm not going to use it to its fullest extent that much
As in all things in life, its a tradeoff. I love the 3" 65. Carry one quite a bit and, shoot it pretty often. I generally practice with .38 Special or, with the Bitteroot Valley .357 Magnum 158 GR SWC. Its doing about 1000 FPS. A good solid load that doesn't beat my hands up.

Think of a K frame as a nice sports sedan. Its generally quite agreeable, easy to handle, nimble and fun to own. Usually, you drive it fairly normal, but, its capable of 130 MPH and, its fun to stomp the gas every once in a while. But, if you drove it, all day everyday maxed out and regularly doing 130 on the freeway, chances are, its not going to hold up as well, or as long, until major repairs are needed.

The 3 inch 65 is a great gun, for what it is. You can buy a nice old Highway Patrolman and shoot full house Magnums until you run out of money, but, it sure ain't as easy to to tote around all day.

They are all great guns. This is the definition of a "First world problem."
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Old December 6, 2012, 01:36 AM   #25
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"First world problem" had me rolling at my desk. Very true, SGT. Very true.

Your analogy of the sports sedan is very insightful. Thank you. Trade off indeed. I really like the durability of those Ruger Sixes but they're all 4 inchers. The M65-3 is a 3" and that really sells it for me.

MLeake, thank you for the details on the exposed ejector. That puts my mind at ease.

::Sigh:: You guys know what's probably going to happen, right? :\ I 'm probably going to get the M65-3 first and then save up for the Ruger Security Six if it's still availabe. Actually, it's more of just a question of which comes first.

Although, question: anyone know of a website where I can get a replacement hammer for the Security Six? The fact that it's slightly bobbed bugs me. I know parts are hard to come by but I'm hoping they're out there, maybe as new-old stock.
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