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Old October 19, 2013, 07:20 AM   #1
EFDE1983
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First wheel gun! .357 What to buy?

Hi Everyone.
I'm pricing out a few of the, I guess you would call them, budget wheel guns in .357 magnum.
I'm between a Taurus 66 4", an EAA Windicator and a Rossi 971 4", all blued. Right now I'm leaning toward the Taurus.

Now, I know the purists out there are going to have an aneurism 'cause I'm not going for a Smith or Ruger etc but I'm trying to keep this around a $400 price tag and can't find any of the big names in that price range.

I will probably only put 1k or so rounds a year out of it and I never sell\trade anything so I plan on keeping it for the long haul. From those who have owned these and shot a few thousand rounds, any thoughts on those models? Pros, Cons? Finish durability? How's the cylinder lockup? What wears out often? How easy is it to find parts?

Thanks!
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Old October 19, 2013, 07:37 AM   #2
PatientWolf
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You can get a Ruger SP101 for close to $400.

You could also get a used Ruger or S&W in excellent shape, but you have to watch for those and be patient.
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Old October 19, 2013, 07:45 AM   #3
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Look at used

You might want to look at used guns at gun- and pawnshops before giving up of the quality brands. I was in same boat buying my first centerfire handgun (except I only had $300). I bummed around all the local shops until I stumbled on a 686+ for $275. It is alittle rough on the finish and shows some signs on throat erosion, but it hasn't had any lead spitting or mechanical problems for more than 1500 rounds and is still more accurate than me. As the current gun rush (hopefully?) subsides, more and more used guns should find the market and some fair deals will be out there.

That being said, if your set on the three you mentioned, I only have second hand experience with a Rossi. According my my buddy who bought one who loved my 686 but couldn't afford one, its been a good revolver.

Best of luck, and enjoy what you buy
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Old October 19, 2013, 07:54 AM   #4
EFDE1983
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Hi,
I've been looking around the pawn shops for a few months, unfortunately there are very few in my area.
As far a S&W there are soooo many different models. What would be the "good" models that are in the full size category that I should keep an eye out for? I'm a pretty big guy so the smaller ones just aren't comfortable.

It does seem the gun rush is starting to tone down a bit now. I'm seeing ammo especially come back in. The local shop finally had 5.56 reliably back in stock as of a few weeks ago!
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:04 AM   #5
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For $400-500 range, I resist Tauri and go with good used S&Ws (or Ruger)... but that's just me. Good used ones come up on armslist.com in my area a lot.
(But if I was on a desert island and forced to choose between an EAA and a Taurus/Rossi, I'd go EAA.)
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:51 AM   #6
Sevens
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Quote:
Now, I know the purists out there are going to have an aneurism 'cause I'm not going for a Smith or Ruger etc but I'm trying to keep this around a $400 price tag and can't find any of the big names in that price range.
You're slipping in to a common pit that so many fans of the less expensive brands constantly fall in to. You want to take the years and years of experience of others and simply water it down in to a "brand bashing" and you attempt to set yourself up in a defensive position, by lobbing the first offensive shot toward the folks with more established, highly regarded guns.

So fans of S&W and/or Colt and/or Ruger revolvers get painted right off as "purists" who may have an "aneurism."

With that out of the way, a lot of genuine hands-on experience and tens of thousands of rounds on target tell me that if it were -ME- in your spot, I would be looking for a used Smith & Wesson K or L frame, or even a Model 28 N-frame for around exactly that money, or a bit more or a bit less. And failing that, I'd be looking for a used Security/Speed/Service Six from Ruger, most likely for a few bucks less.

Or you can go out and buy the lowest priced thing you can find and begin at the very start, to develop your own experience.
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Old October 19, 2013, 10:48 AM   #7
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At the local pawn shop here in town there is an old model Ruger Blackhawk in .357 with a price tag of $425 on it. so good quality "Name Brand" Revolvers can be had at good prices if your willing to do a little digging.
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Old October 19, 2013, 10:51 AM   #8
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I recently picked up a LNIB Ruger SP101 .357 mag at my LGS for $400. The deals are out there. Just be patient and keep looking. Check Armslist and Gunbroker as well.
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Old October 19, 2013, 05:08 PM   #9
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A couple of years ago I picked up a used Ruger Security Six in great shape for $300 out the door. I think they're a bit more these days, but you can still find them for under $400. They're the size of a S&W K-frame and much more robust.

I highly recommend it for a first gun.
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Old October 19, 2013, 05:40 PM   #10
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I second the used gun approach.

Provided you know what to look for (and there is an excellent guide on TFL for inspecting revolvers), you will get a used gun as capable of meeting your every need as a new gun from a different brand.

If I have learnt one thing about buying guns used on TFL it is that just because it is used it doesn't mean it is worn, nor that you won't get years upon years of performance that can out-shoot one's own skills.

I'd say GP100.
No it won't be a new gun, but it will take everything you throw at it and shrug it off...

Good luck
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Old October 19, 2013, 07:32 PM   #11
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I have several Taurus, Rossi, Smith and Ruger revolvers. I am not a Taurus or Rossi basher but IMO you should avoid buying either of those. A Smith or Ruger are so much better.

Be patient and buy used. My Ruger GP100 was used but in like new condition and I got it for $400. My Smith 686 wasn't in like new condition but I would rate it an 8 out of 10 and it cost $400.
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:53 PM   #12
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Taurus and Rossi (especially the Rossi guns imported by Interarms) CAN be good guns, but I wouldn't say they are ideal as a first revolver. Find a S&W model 10 or a Ruger GP-100, or similar. Once you know how a good revolver works, you can try your luck with something that may or may not prove to be a good gun.
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Old October 20, 2013, 01:29 AM   #13
mmb713
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I'd rather have a used Smith or Ruger over a new Brazilian gun. I saw some decent used ones at my LGS today in your price range.
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Old October 20, 2013, 01:16 PM   #14
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I've heard lots of negatives on the Windicator

Rossi's good, but there are occasional quality control issues. They don't hold onto their value like a Smith or Ruger will.
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Old October 20, 2013, 01:33 PM   #15
tomrkba
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Quote:
Hi Everyone.
I'm pricing out a few of the, I guess you would call them, budget wheel guns in .357 magnum.
I'm between a Taurus 66 4", an EAA Windicator and a Rossi 971 4", all blued. Right now I'm leaning toward the Taurus.

Now, I know the purists out there are going to have an aneurism 'cause I'm not going for a Smith or Ruger etc but I'm trying to keep this around a $400 price tag and can't find any of the big names in that price range.

I will probably only put 1k or so rounds a year out of it and I never sell\trade anything so I plan on keeping it for the long haul. From those who have owned these and shot a few thousand rounds, any thoughts on those models? Pros, Cons? Finish durability? How's the cylinder lockup? What wears out often? How easy is it to find parts?
Buy quality. The gun will hold up to sustained use and practice better. I know people try to save money on guns, but you'll end up paying twice--every time. You do not know if you'll get a good one until after you have shot it for awhile.

This means S&W or Ruger. Of the two, I find Ruger to be better overall. It certainly holds up to dry fire better than S&W (I keep breaking the internal firing pin despite using snap caps). The prices is also much lower and you should be able to find a used GP100 in the $400 price range.
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Old October 20, 2013, 02:18 PM   #16
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Saw a 686-4 in excellent shape for 499.00 the other day. That would certainly fill the bill. I've also purchased good condition 19's for $425-450.
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Old October 20, 2013, 03:25 PM   #17
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If the choices are Rossi and Taurus, I would choose Taurus in a heartbeat. I might shy away from a Taurus semi-auto but not their revolvers.
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Old October 20, 2013, 03:54 PM   #18
jabba21
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Like the other posters stated, I would hold out for a deal on a Ruger or possibly a Smith. If you absolutely have to get a Taurus, Rossi, etc or something a little cheaper, make sure you check the timing, if it locks up tight, etc. If everything looks good to go, then just get whichever feels better to you.
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Old October 20, 2013, 04:03 PM   #19
Bezoar
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Lets be realistic, for the original poster.

Perhaps he doesnt have the option of waiting 12-15 months for a local pawnshop to have a gun that you feel is superior arrive. and perhaps the op has the same issue i do


Used guns are not priced the same way in every store, geographic location. Since the rush started, EVERYTHING went up in price in most areas, even for used guns. The one place that HAS any revolvers on the shelf wants 10% OVER msrp for them.
example online places sell a 642 for 525 plus tax and shipping and transfer. not bad. but this place wants 700 plus tax , and its USED.
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Old October 20, 2013, 06:21 PM   #20
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One other lower cost option for you to look into is a Charter Arms 357 Mag-Pug Target" 4" model. They can be had for about $380. I have heard very good things about Charter Arms and all the people who did post about having any trouble with their new gun, had great customer service to take care of it. All USA made too. Only thing is, it is a 5-shot, so that might be a deal breaker for some.

http://www.charterfirearms.com/produ..._Pug_73540.asp


Out of the ones you listed.....

I would probably go for the Taurus Model 66. That is a gun they have been making for quite a while now and it is one if the revolvers from Taurus that people generally have great luck with. With the adjustable rear sight and red insert front sight, I think it would be the most friendly for accuracy.

I'm not a fan of the Rossi for one reason. Now, I may be wrong, but.. I believe the 971 uses an old-school firing pin. It is my opinion that it is not as strong or as safe as a transfer bar system (like the Taurus 66 has).

I don't like the EAA Windicator because it does not have adjustable sights or removable front sight, so if it doesn't hit where your aiming, you're either adjusting your aim or filing the front sight down. Also, I don't like how thin the crane is on the EAA revolvers, I handled one once and it seamed flimsy to me. The stock grips were nice though, I will give it that (they better be, cause there are not many after market options, if at all for an EAA.. unlike Taurus or Rossi).

So, basically... out of the three, I think the Taurus gets my vote, hands down. I know a lot of people will post the deals they got or can find in their area.. but when I was looking for a .357, none of them were to be had in my area.. so I feel your pain.
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Old October 21, 2013, 02:43 AM   #21
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I have a Taurus model 605 ( 2inches , 5 rounds , .357 ) that I carried daily for 6 years . I also put more than 2,000 rounds through it ( and I still have it ) . I'm a large handed guy myself , and for this gun , I put Hogue grips on it . It has never failed to go bang and the only reason I don't still carry it is because I finally had the cash for a 1911 . My impression is that if you had the jack , you would go with a more " well known " brand that would hold it's value longer , but that at this time , it isn't practical for you . The Taurus has served me well , and at the distances a snubbie is used for , it does fine . The reply about the Charter Arms is also a good suggestion as well .
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Old October 21, 2013, 06:20 AM   #22
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just my humble opinion, but I would be looking at pawn shops, and gun stores, for used Smith&Wesson, Colt and Ruger revolvers.
There are some very good bargains in those places, on excellent, older revolvers. I picked this old heavy barrel Model 10 up for a song.
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Old October 21, 2013, 12:36 PM   #23
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We have a HUGE local gun store here in the town I live in.
(yes, not everyone has that, I know)

They bid on large government contracts for LE turn-in guns, including police departments at all levels, dept of corrections, etc etc.
(yes, not every big or small store near you has that, I know)

They get large loads of terrific former issued and duty/service firearms, including handguns, and most often, it's K-frame Smith & Wesson revolvers.

A recent large load came from the DOC and they were heavy barreled, four-inch Model 10-10's. Early to mid 1990's production. Most wearing Uncle Mikes rubber grips over a round butt frame. Most have some solid finish wear including extra stampings (in some cases...CARVINGS, poorly done) of departmental or armory numbers, excess filth, very minor surface issues and basically, just what you'd expect from revolvers that were issued, carried daily, banged in to door frames and filing cabinets, often tossed in to gun lockers, and rarely cleaned and likely, even less rarely fired or used.

When they arrive, they get advertised and the store (actually, two stores -- one in town, one just east of town) put maybe 10 or 15 of them in a glass display case, but there are literally dozens more in a crate in the back that replenish the ones in the case. Depending on how much time you have and how busy the store is, you can fish out one after another and "interview" each one to decide on the one or two you wish to buy.

Mine was $250 plus tax & 4473. After they had them for 2-3 months and still had a few left to sell, they dropped the price to $229 (IIRC).

Later, they offered some Model 64's (similar to Model 10, but stainless) and then had some Model 65's. (similar to Model 19/66, but stainless with fixed sights) IIRC, the 65's were priced at $400 and the 64's were $279.

These guns are out there and they have also affected the used market. A guy with a very nice, very clean commercial Model 10, 64 or 65 finds himself with very little interest when selling at the "proper" (former!) market price for a clean K-frame in this area, because so many former issued duty/service revolvers have hit this market.
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Old October 21, 2013, 12:59 PM   #24
Hammerhead
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As soon as you buy a cheap gun for $400, then you own a cheap, used gun.
If you buy a used Ruger or S&W for the same price, then you own a quality used gun.
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Old October 21, 2013, 03:03 PM   #25
Waspinator
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If you want to look used, but don't want to buy online, I just remembered....

Sometimes you can find sime good deals by going to Guns America site and searching the "Guns Near Me" section. Type your zip code and how far out you're willing to travel. Once the results come up, you can narrow the search to .357 magnums via the tool bar on the left side of the screen.

http://www.gunsamerica.com/GoLocal.htm

I have found some good deals that way (window shopping only, lol). There was a GP100 once in my area that was real nice for cheap, I called on it and it sold 30 minutes before and they were just updating the site
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