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Old April 18, 2013, 08:01 AM   #1
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Just started shooting last July at local range & LOVE it. I own a Glock 19. The range has a pretty good selection of guns for rental. My goal is to eventually try all of them. I would like to try a .357 but am not sure where to start. My choices are as follows: Ruger SP101, Ruger GP161, Glock 32, & S&W 686. Any recommendations?
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Old April 18, 2013, 09:22 AM   #2
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hey glockmom! first of all, congratulations on having GREAT taste in handguns, hard to beat a glock. Another of my personal faves is the versatile, simple reliable .357 revolver. if first starting out shooting one, i would pick either the ruger gp100 or s&w 686. you will want to shoot something w a 3in barrel minimum for sight radius/ recoil reduction. the ruger is heavy and will soak up the recoil well. the smith and wesson 686 imho is the more accurate of the two. finally, dont start out shooting full power .357 loads. start w a light 158gr .38 target load, and then finish the session w two, maybe three cylinders of the hot .357 stuff, just to get the feel. ENJOY!!
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Old April 18, 2013, 09:28 AM   #3
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Old April 18, 2013, 09:29 AM   #4
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You might want to note that the Glock 32 is chambered for .357 Sig while the revolvers you list are in the more common .357 magnum. The .357 Sig round was developed to mimic one particular load of the .357 magnum to work well in semi-auto handguns. It is not nearly as versatile as the .357 magnum round in revolvers. I do not mean to sound condescending but I don't want to presume you have this level of knowledge.

Either the Ruger GP161 (a variation of the GP 100) or the SW 686 would be excellent choices. I'm more of a SW person when it comes to revolvers but that's more of a personal preference.
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Old April 18, 2013, 09:33 AM   #5
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Sometimes if you look around you can find a place to rent guns so you can get a good feel for them.

My personal preference is S&W revolvers.
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Old April 18, 2013, 09:45 AM   #6
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All else being equal, a heavier gun will recoil less, or so Isaac newton tells me.....

KyJim beat me to the .357SIG/.357Mag difference .....

The SIG should have been labeled the .355 SIG...... but that did not have the Marketing cachet of ".357" ......
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Old April 18, 2013, 09:57 AM   #7
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The .357 Mag is a great choice and very versatile. I would stick to a Ruger GP100 series, but if you want smaller their SP101 is very nice too. I like S&W, but they're pricier and not as tough as the Rugers, but either way you can't go wrong.
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Old April 18, 2013, 11:49 AM   #8
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Model 28 Smith, but then I'm bias since mine was my constant companion for 20 years while I was in LE.
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Old April 18, 2013, 12:37 PM   #9
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The GP100 and 686 are top revolvers and you'll like either of them. Depending on what you want it for an SP101 is a great gun too. The sights are pretty good and the grip is awesome. Built like a tank you can shoot it forever.
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Old April 18, 2013, 04:07 PM   #10
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Here's my take on the .357: First, you need to determine what the purpose of said gun is going to be. There are .357's suitable for consealed carry, then there are larger ones suitable for open carry, then there are even bigger ones that are not comfortable for normal carry but are carried for hunting,etc, then the biggest ones that are really only used for target work or perhaps tolerated for hunting work.

Figure out what you want to do with it and you'll get some more specific answers as to which model best fits your need.
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Old April 18, 2013, 06:04 PM   #11
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welcome to the forum, glad to see y9u here and compliments on your taste in handguns once again. My first choice in pistols was first a nine then a 357 in that order same as yours. I bought a beretta and then a gp100. I advise you go with the heaviest revolver you can come up with which also has a 4 or 6" barrel. They are a pleasure to shoot. Sp101 will produce more felt recoil. Smaller gun=more recoil, bigger gun=less recoil in the same caliber generally. 357s are also fun to reload and work up loads for btw.
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Old April 18, 2013, 06:07 PM   #12
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My choice would be a Colt or S&W in .357 Magnum. The exceptionally high quality is expensive, but worthwhile.
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Old April 19, 2013, 08:29 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the great responses! Everyone offered such great information and I really appreciate it. Heading to the range this afternoon. Plan to rent the Ruger GP161, start with some .38 loads & then move up to .357! Will let you know how it goes.
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Old April 19, 2013, 01:10 PM   #14
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If you get a chance, give the SP101 a shot (no pun intended) as well if you plan to carry with it. .38s are fun, .357s are RUDE but controllable with the stock grip, I feel that a larger aftermarket grip would render them quite enjoyable.

But the SP is nearly half the weight of the GP, if you plan to carry your .357. I wear mine daily in a cheap Ace Case while I await the arrival of my "real" holster.

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Old April 19, 2013, 01:20 PM   #15
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Start with the gun that weighs the most and start with .38 special or .38special+p

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Old April 19, 2013, 05:31 PM   #16
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Try or buy?....

You can rent & shoot any firearm you want.
If you want to purchase a .357magnum revolver you also have a lot of choices.

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Old April 19, 2013, 07:41 PM   #17
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I think the 4" S&W 686 is the route to go. It is not for carry, though I did until I got the 627PC. It is an excellent revolver to learn revolver shooting with, from .38 SPL to full house .357 magnum. After you learn it makes an excellent Home Defense hand gun. The 4" makes for more manageable recoil and better sight radius for learning accuracy. I personally think S&W has a better trigger to learn double action shooting with than a Ruger, but different strokes for different folks.

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Old April 20, 2013, 10:47 AM   #18
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Obviously, the best advice has already been given: try out as many different makes and models as you can and pick the one you like best and can afford. I have owned quite a few over the years: S&W Model 28, 586, 686, Ruger Security Six, Speed Six, GP-100, Llama Commanche (my first centerfire revolver, cut me some slack), Colt Lawman, Trooper, Python. They were all decent, some better than others. My personal favorite is the S&W Model 28 with the 4" barrel, but they are hard to find in nice shape and becoming pretty pricey. Since I didn't want to abuse my nice older one, I bought a new Ruger Stainless GP-100 a couple of weeks ago with the 6 inch barrel. Figure I can use it for the warmer loads and longer range shooting while the Model 28 handles the light loads and closer range plinking. I also have a very nice SP-101 snub for carrying when I am not packing the Glock Model 19. I heartily recommend the stainless GP-100 in either 4 or 6 inch barrels for the best buy in a new .357 Mag. Good luck finding one, and even better luck finding reasonably priced ammo for it.
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Old April 20, 2013, 03:05 PM   #19
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So, glockmom, how did you like the GP-161 (IIRC, that is the blued 6" adustable sight model, right)?

I prefer 3" or 4" revolvers, generally, for their pointing characteristics and balance, but a 6" GP is a nice shooter.

Which barrel length was your range's rental 686?
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Old April 20, 2013, 03:23 PM   #20
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Rent them all and then decide. Once you by it's yours .I wish they had rentals when I started shooting back in the 1960's . I could have saved a lot of money .
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Old April 20, 2013, 03:30 PM   #21
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If you love your Glock 19, why would you not choose the corresponding Glock in .357 Sig???

If you want to go .357 Magnum (which means you have great versatility with the option of shooting .38 Special) that's not a bad idea either.

I don't like the current offerings and if I were buying I'd get an older (pre-lock) Smith and Wesson Model 686 or 66.

The 66 is a slightly smaller frame and may fit your hand better.
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Old April 20, 2013, 04:22 PM   #22
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>>You might want to note that the Glock 32 is chambered for .357 Sig while the revolvers you list are in the more common .357 magnum.<<

Yes, take note!
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Old April 20, 2013, 04:43 PM   #23
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If I were to buy a .357 today it would be the Wiley Clapp GP100.
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Old April 20, 2013, 09:20 PM   #24
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So would I Steve!


Best I can do is my Canadian 3 inch GP-100.

Shoots dead on with 158gr LSW gas checked slugs and 8 grains of Unique.

Saw a 4 incher, also fixed sights, at a gun show for $550. But I have no tickie right now to washie.

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Old April 20, 2013, 09:22 PM   #25
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I'm a long-time, big fan of the .357. I have the utmost confidence in the stopping power of the round. And they don't have to be wide-open-throttle, full-power rounds to be effective (the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 135 grain, being an excellent example).

For me, the choice is the Smith 686. I own three: a 4", an 8 3/8", and a 7-shot 3". But there a lot of good ones out there. Taurus 66 is a fine piece too.

I have nothing against semi-autos; and I own a few myself. But if I ever have to defend myself against a bad guy, I hope I have a .357 in my hand. Sturdy, easy to use (point-n-click), reliable, and powerful.
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