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  #1  
Old 04-05-2004, 11:08 AM
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Help Picking a Revolver; GP100 vs. S&W 686


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I would like advice from people that have shot/own either, and preferably had experience with both, the Ruger GP100 and S&W 686. What do you like dislike about each and your preference.

I am looking to get a .357 Magnum with a 4" barrel and adjustable sights as a good all around gun to be my primary large caliber pistol. I will use this gun for target shooting, home defense (including both my house and RV) and backpacking. Most of what this gun will see is .38 Special since I will primarily use that for target shooting and home defense (w/ a speedloader of .357 at the ready). I want a .357 Magnum for the 2-3 backpacking trips I take here in the Northwest (Washington State). This will be my first pistol in a caliber larger than a .22LR.

I should also mention that I have settled on a revolver for several reasons, the most important is that my wife is new to guns but is willing to learn for home defense purposes and a revolver (IMHO) is a much simpler gun to operate.

Although I have narrowed the set down to the GP100 and S&W 686, I have also looked at the S&W 66 and the Taurus 627 and any opinions on these guns are welcome as well.

Also, there is a S&W 686P (7-shot) but my concern on this model is that there may be less speedloaders available. Anyone find a good speedloader for this gun?
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2004, 01:03 PM
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You're bound to get more than a few replies on this one. I'm a big time Ruger fan. Either one of these,(686/GP), will serve you well. I would lean toward the stainless version, with a full under-lug barrel. The Smith will have a lighter trigger, the Ruger can be fitted with a spring kit at minimal cost. If you see any extended use of full magnum load usage in your future, you can PLAN on leaving the GP-100 to your grandson. They are a very durable design. "Good Shooting"
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  #3  
Old 04-06-2004, 12:37 AM
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I own a 15 year old S&W 686 with a 6 inch barrel. Excellent all the way, accurate, never a misfire, and perhaps 1000+ rounds on it. I shoot mostly 38 specials thru it.
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  #4  
Old 04-06-2004, 04:54 AM
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Proud owner of the S&W 686. Not a Ruger revolver fan, but I do like the feel of the Ruger grips. I think the Smith has a crisp, cleaner trigger pull compared to the GP. Both are quality and it could come down to which feels better in "your" hand.
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  #5  
Old 04-06-2004, 05:22 AM
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I have or, have had, just about every S&W revolver from .22 to .44. Still have 2 model 686's. 6" and 2 1/2". Nice guns for sure. Have never been a fan of Ruger mid-size revolvers for no real reason. Am sure either will suit you well. If you decide on the S&W, make sure it is of recent production or if it's a used unit, make sure it's had the factory midifcation (serial number should be suffixed by an "M"). They had a little problem with some full power loads binding the cylinder. My first, the 6" barrel had this problem and was recalled. Took less than 2 weeks to fix and have never had a problem since. By the way, does anybody know if S&W will still do the midifcation for free on any old units that are still in circulation?? I checked thier web site and nothing mentioned on the issue.
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  #6  
Old 04-06-2004, 03:55 PM
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I own a 586 which has a 4" barrel, and I have shot Ruger GPs a few times. I prefer the Smith, but the Ruger is a good gun too. The GP is beefier, no doubt about it. I cannot conceive of a scenario where the strength difference between those two models would ever realistically be an issue though. Face it: how much are really going to fire full house 357s in either gun. Even if you were a glutton for punishment and wanted to put 500 rounds of 158 grainers@1250fps through your gun every month, the 586/686 would still be up to the task...even though the Ruger is stronger. My point is I doubt you could wear a 686 out. So what if the Ruger is stronger? I am not knocking Ruger at all. I think people make too much of the strength differences between Rugers and Smiths. For 99.9% of us, it would never be an issue. They are both good guns and either would serve you well. I think Smiths have better triggers and I tend to shoot better when using S&Ws, but that's just me.
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  #7  
Old 04-06-2004, 07:38 PM
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Ruger: Big, beefy, sturdy, and makes a reasonably good club if you run out of ammo.

Smith: Lighter, smoother, much better triggers; the better trigger alone will likely help a bunch with accuracy.

Personal choice, really..... good luck.
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  #8  
Old 04-07-2004, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeG
Ruger: Big, beefy, sturdy, and makes a reasonably good club if you run out of ammo.
MikeG, you always have something great to add to every post! love seeing your responces!

i personally perfer the a S&W over any ruger. unless you REALLY want a single action revolver i'd go with the smith.
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  #9  
Old 04-07-2004, 06:58 PM
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Never fired a Ruger, but have owned a 686, 6" for years and never had a problem. The biggest plus about it is the trigger; it's one of the best out-of-the box triggers you can buy, and the most accurate handgun I've ever fired. The Rugers may be stronger, but for me that's a relative issue. If I ever shoot enough to wear the 686 out, I'll use that to justify buying one of each just to compare them...
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  #10  
Old 04-08-2004, 07:51 AM
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Re:

Quote:
Originally Posted by roryb
I would like advice from people that have shot/own either, and preferably had experience with both, the Ruger GP100 and S&W 686. What do you like dislike about each and your preference.

I am looking to get a .357 Magnum with a 4" barrel and adjustable sights as a good all around gun to be my primary large caliber pistol. I will use this gun for target shooting, home defense (including both my house and RV) and backpacking. Most of what this gun will see is .38 Special since I will primarily use that for target shooting and home defense (w/ a speedloader of .357 at the ready). I want a .357 Magnum for the 2-3 backpacking trips I take here in the Northwest (Washington State). This will be my first pistol in a caliber larger than a .22LR.

I should also mention that I have settled on a revolver for several reasons, the most important is that my wife is new to guns but is willing to learn for home defense purposes and a revolver (IMHO) is a much simpler gun to operate.

Although I have narrowed the set down to the GP100 and S&W 686, I have also looked at the S&W 66 and the Taurus 627 and any opinions on these guns are welcome as well.

Also, there is a S&W 686P (7-shot) but my concern on this model is that there may be less speedloaders available. Anyone find a good speedloader for this gun?
Rory, I just picked up a Ruger KGP141 357 mag Stainless over the weekend. It is the 4 inch full lug barrel and it is indeed a hefty handgun, MikeG is correct in saying makes a good club if ya run out of ammo I handled a few of the 6 inchers but felt it a bit too much for me, tho I am also finding that if I intend to use the KGP141 alot I will need to do some upper body and arm work to build up my stregnth.
The GP100 is a very nice looking and feeling handgun, the main reason I went with it over the S&W was $$$$. Good luck let us know what you go with.... mack
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  #11  
Old 04-12-2004, 04:13 PM
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I've owned both, shot both plenty, and yes, Mobius, you can wear out a 686, I've done it. It took about 40,000 rounds, roughly half of which were magnum class, the rest still 357's, though not at full maximum. I shot the 686 both as my duty gun and in competition, and when I was loading my own, I loaded them hot.
Mike G, as usual, hit the nail on the head. The Ruger is tougher, but the Smith clearly has the better trigger, and is easier to smooth out yourself. I recently traded a 6" GP-100 that I've had since 1990, and while it never saw as many rounds as the 686 did, every one was a full-house magnum, no 38's allowed. It was also every bit as tight as the day I bought it, compared to the 686, which had to be retimed more than once. Both were good shooters, the edge to the Smith, which preferred lighter bullets. The Ruger seemed to prefer the 158's and up.
The funny thing is, I'm considering another 4 inch 357, and haven't made up my mind which one I prefer!
PJ
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  #12  
Old 04-12-2004, 06:59 PM
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I hear you, Papa John. The average shooter isn't going to put anywhere near that number of rounds through a gun. Forgetting 586/686s for a moment, no S&W firearm will sustain the kind of shooting you describe...not even the N frame 357s. S&Ws lockwork isn't designed for that type of heavy use. 40,000 rounds is pretty extreme. I shoot just about every weekend and I doubt if I would put even half that through a particular gun in a lifetime of shooting. You can wear out a 586/686. My point was that probably 95% of the shooting public would never do enough shooting to appreciate the difference between a GP-100 and 686 in terms of strength. A competition shooter might, but not the typical go-to-the-range-on-a-weekend sort.
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  #13  
Old 04-17-2004, 10:09 AM
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Thanks everyone!!

I tried both guns in both a 4" and 6" length and shot best with the S&W 686 6", however I did not want a gun that long.

So I chose a gun that happened to be in-stock at the gun shop at the range I visited had a limited edition 686 in a 5" barrel (1/2 lug and wood grips). I ordered it from another local shop that didn't have it in stock but was $200 cheaper! So now I am waiting.

Here is the gun:
http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/sto...sw_activeTab=1

I will have to see how I like the wood grips, but that is easily changed.

Thanks everyone
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2004, 01:12 PM
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RoryB, you are absolutely gonna LOVE that 686. The four inch is a great all-around length for most people, but there is something inherently beautiful about the S&W 5-inchers. It also sounds like you found a really good deal, dontcha just love it when the gun gods smile upon you?
As for grips, I used to change mine as often as my socks, (well, almost) until I found the one my hand liked the best. Some folks like finger grooves, or open backstraps, or palmswells, the important thing is not to decide until you've tried every style you can (literally!) get your hands on. If your hand doesn't like the grip, you simply won't shoot it as well, period.
Once I found the grip that felt the best, I put it on all of my revolvers, and my scores went up with each.
I am also not a fan of grooved triggers, but twenty careful minutes with a Dremel will take care of that! I also tend to smooth out the checkering on the hammer spur, some guns have such sharp checkering (Rugers come to mind) that shooting single-action can get painful quickly.
PJ
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  #15  
Old 04-18-2004, 01:01 AM
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I own and shoot both S&Ws and Rugers. The others have all accurately stated the differences between the two.

This is a real Ford vs. Chevy debate. Both are great guns. Just decide which you like and feels best in your hand.

I would suggest that you consider a used Ruger Security Six in your quest. Although this revolver has been out of production for many years they are really great guns and are comparable to the S&W Model 19s...except stronger. They are available on the used market.

I think that you will find a considerable dollar savings with one of these over either the S&W or GP. Mine are definately NOT for sale. They are lighter that the GP100 so the will carry easier. Since you plan to shoot mostly .38 loads the lighter gun won't be of a concern. I personally like the Security Six better than the GP100.

Just my $.02. Something else for you to consider!

Regards,

Steve Cass
Tucson
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  #16  
Old 06-23-2004, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roryb
Also, there is a S&W 686P (7-shot) but my concern on this model is that there may be less speedloaders available. Anyone find a good speedloader for this gun?
This is an old thread, but I noticed no one has answered this question. Since I am looking at the S&W686p also I thought I would show you this link
http://www.aspitactical.com/hks/deta...ODUCT_ID=82001

if you look at part number 587A, it is a speed loader for the 7 shot 686.

Thought this might help.

-9r
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  #17  
Old 06-23-2004, 08:28 PM
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I own a 686-5 which is a 7 shot revolver and it's accurate as anything,the ruger is going to be cheaper,if I were going to get a ruger it would be the 3" in 357,but if it's a 4" i'd go with the smith.ruger = rugged.smith = class
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  #18  
Old 06-24-2004, 07:40 PM
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Anyone remember the old magazine adds for S&W from
maybe 15 - 20 years ago...
They had a thick juicy hamburger in the shape of a revolver,
which was wearing an obvious set of GP100 grips.

The caption was something like:
"meatier is better for some things".

I grew up with it pounded into my head that the heavier
something is built, the longer it will last.
Don't buy a Yugo, if you can get a Bonneville.
S&W sold me on Ruger revolvers right then.

Dave
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  #19  
Old 06-24-2004, 08:04 PM
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Cadillac vs. three-quarter ton Ford pickup

There, you've got brand, style, and payload comparisons all in one short sentence, pretty much sums up the revolver comparison also!!!
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  #20  
Old 06-25-2004, 02:00 AM
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That's why we keep buying more guns.......yesterday I shot my Chevy Blazer, tomorrow I'll shoot my Ferrari, and the next day it'll be a '32 Ford!

Are you the same every day? Why should your gun have to be the same?

PJ the Flexible
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