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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the market for a 6" revolver, probably .357 mag, plink and deer hunt, and have read nearly all the old postings here about these two species. Then, I went to several different gun stores in the last year or so and got my hands on each of the guns, comparing them on the counter top, side by side. Both the Ruger and SW revolvers are finely made, minimal machine marks, good fit, tight cylinders, and the triggers are quite good, with a slight, and I mean slight edge, to the S&W. Seems metalurgy for new guns is about a wash.........as a hunter ed instructor I can get a great discount on both guns, with about $150 more to get the S&W. I understand the Ruger is easier to take apart and clean...........how about current customer service between the two? Thanks. I don't post much but read a lot here, pretty civil group as internet gun sites go!

Pete
 

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Pete

My passion is S&Ws N frame revolvers, with the single Colt Python. Ruger make a stout revolver, when you are not shooting it you can use it for a pry bar, sledge hammer. S&Ws L frames are basically N frames with a smaller grip for the folks with short fingers.
I worked over a Ruger for a friend a number of years ago, slicked up the trigger and lapped the barrel and he wouldn't trade it for anything.
My suggestion is buy both, use them for 5 or 10 years and see whick you like best.
I think the answer is which ever fits best, have the trigger worked over and enjoy. Both are quality handguns.

Jim
 

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I can't imagine that you could really go wrong with either one. Since price does not seem to be a factor I would suggest going back and double checking the ergonomics of how they fit your hand and how the sights look again. Better yet, if you currently have shooting buddies who have these guns or a range that has them for rent, go fire them to make certain. I wish I had such an agonizing decision to make!
 

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As stated this is a win/win situation - so you can't lose. I have read many threads like this and even though I would get the Ruger most people who have owned both generally prefer the S&W.
 

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S&Ws L frames are basically N frames with a smaller grip for the folks with short fingers.
Actually, the 686's were and are beefed up K frames, to handle a continuous diet of full house .357 stuff. And they will.

I like and use Ruger handguns and rifles, and have a total of seven in my collection. That said, the GP100 is not in the same class as a 686 out of the box. The upside, is that it will respond to polishing and deburring by a practiced home gunsmith, and maintenance is much easier and accessable. In terms of accuracy, very few shooters are good enough to tell the difference, and it usually takes a scope to find it at 50-100yds. Probably the best choice is the one that best fits your hand.
 

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I wrote a fairly lengthy reply to this and I must have screwed up when I was previewing it.

A 686 is larger than a K frame. The grip is the same, but the cylinder is larger, and the gap in the frame, for the cylinder is larger. The trigger parts are the same. I've heard that a 686 will not last as long as a 66...don't know. Back when I was toting a 66, it never shot loose, but I saw some guys come on after me, and their 686s did get sent back for work. I didn't look at their guns, and at the time, I wouldn't have know what to look for. One of those gun owners said that he didn't think that the 686 lasted as long as my 66 (which had been on the job for 4 years when they got there...btw, 4 qualifications a year, and 18 magnums per Q, and the other 56 rds were wadcutters).

Now, a Ruger and a S"&W are the same to clean. You should not be disassembling your revolver to clean it. Swing the cylinder out (or possibly remove it) run a brush through there and the bore and brush the **** off of the frame (about the cylinder gap and other places) and go from there. In the olden days, most cops were never allowed to disassemble their guns. Theoretically, it can get dirt down inside of it, but it doesn't. You can use the red straw on a can of lube to flush it out.

Now, based on my sp101, I'd say that a Ruger is much harder to disassemble. A Smith is no big deal to take apart...or put back together. But, again, it is not really necessary.

How much are you going to shoot it? Over 1000 rds of magnums, get the Ruger. The S&Ws will loosen up on magnums, if shot a lot, and I do mean alot. I don't think that a Ruger will ever loosen up. Back in the Security Six days, they were much stronger/better than the 686s. Now, on .38s, it will never loosen up (well, it will take 25,000 rds or more before it needs work) and a 100 is supposed to be much stronger than a Security Six.

In SA, the trigger pull is the same. In DA, smiths are regarded as having the better trigger, but I've seen some Rugers that had excellent triggers. That brings us to the next item....Does the S&W have a hammer nose on it, that sticks through a hole in the frame and then hits the primer, or is it flat, and hits a firing pin, in the frame, which hits the primer? IT IS IMPORTANT!!!

A few years ago, S&W switched to mim parts. The guns w/a hammer nose are the old ones. I think it stands for metal-injected-molding. They take pwdered metal and compress it in a mold, and heat it and it forms a part (BTW, they also make frangeable bullets the same way). The parts are very uniform...BUT, I say again, BUT, they can only be hardened on the surface and the action you have is the action you are getting, w/the exception of changing out a few springs. If you touch em w/a file or a stone, the hardness is gone and they will wear out almost immediately. (they also wear out quicker if untouched...I wore out a 9mm sear in about 2 years of competitive shooting).

Prior to mim parts, each hammer, trigger, and etc was just a little bit different, and they had to all be fitted to the gun by a gunsmith. Mim parts, for the most part, do not recquire gunsmithing, just assembly...this one move possibly kept S&W in business as it saved hours of assembly time on the guns, due to the unifomity of the sizes of the parts (remember, they also make bullets that way).

So, if you are talking about a new mim 686, get the Ruger. Again, on the Smith, if better have a hammer nose ( or a beak like a bird) on it, if it flat on the front of the hammer, don't get it.
 

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Oh yeah, the bbls on the L frames will not screw onto a K frame as they are beefier and the threaded portion is bigger....So, they are not the same gun. They have the same grip, and a few other parts, but the L frame is bigger.
 

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Spin it any way you want, the Ruger owns in dependability. Both companies have excellent service departments if you ever need them.

I own both S&W and Ruger, so I like them both, but the Ruger is hands down the stronger, more reliable gun. Buying a Ruger and a Wilson spring kit for $8 is still $150 cheaper than the S&W, which is more ammo or reloading components which means a lot more shooting!
 

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You might even take a look at a Ruger Security Six. The predecesor of the GP100. They switched because the Six series took more hand fitting and the GP was less expensive to build. They are as stout as the GP 100 but some guys say they are smoother than a GP. Ive got both types and Im very happy with them all. I even bought my wife a Security Six 4" stainless .357 because she liked my GP100 so much, just not the 6" barrel on it.
 

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I wrote a fairly lengthy reply to this and I must have screwed up when I was previewing it.

A 686 is larger than a K frame. The grip is the same, but the cylinder is larger, and the gap in the frame, for the cylinder is larger. The trigger parts are the same. I've heard that a 686 will not last as long as a 66...don't know.
I've owned a couple K frame Smiths and a 686. The extra steel was width. The cylinder and cylinder cutout is slightly larger, depending on the specific unit.

The 19/66's will never keep up with the 686 for durability. With any given barrel length, the difference in weight tells all.
 

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GP 100 All The Way

I would go for the Ruger. You can fire hot rounds out of it that would fry a Smith. If you are hunting with this revolver, the Ruger is also more durable. It is a "work gun." The Smith is a fun gun, if you ask me. I know a lot of people out there will disagree but that's what makes life grand. Everyone has their own opinion.

I own a .44 Ruger Redhawk and it is a splendid fire arm. Accurate, brutal, and powerful. Personally, I like the .44 over the .357. I own a 3" barreled SP 101, and it is just great as a carry anywhere in the woods type of gun. The GP 100 or the Redhawk get heavy when you are just hiking, etc. Although the SP 101 is not a hunting gun, it is a great BUG to carry along with your rifle when you are hunting, just in case something big gives you trouble and the rifle jams. That's the beauty of a Ruger: you can shoot just about anything out of it but the kitchen sink. It chews on lead, burps, and asks for more. Not so with a Smith. Smiths are more finicky eaters. They need TLC. I save my TLC for my wife, and carry a Ruger. The only complaint that I have about my little SP 101 is that the rear sights are unacceptable for a 3" barrel. I could understand a little slit on a shorter barrel, but if I'm going to bother carrying a 3", it should have a decent rear sight on it. Shame on Ruger for that. I don't think a 3" .357 is a "belly gun." With a 3" barrel, it should be capable of more than Ruger thinks. With a little more intelligent designing, they would have a wonderful little monster of a gun. Right now, they have a so-so little monster. I painted up my rear sights with black and white paint and I'm going to put a Meprolight front sight on it. That's the best I can do, with what Ruger has given me. Kind of like making a Porsche 911 body and engine with the suspension of a Yugo. Oh well.

Hope you find the right revolver for your needs, buddy!
 

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Please use the search feature;

this topic has been done numerous times, all with the same results.

both are great 6" .357's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the input.............so for more money S&W completes the manufacturing process with a great out of box trigger, with ruger you live with it, tinker, or pay a gunsmith.

I like to tinker, and can use the $150 or more for holster, speed loaders, etc. It's great to have such choices to make!

Pete
 

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New Smiths sure don't come with a trigger I'd rave about, and I've never met a S&W revolver that didn't need a little cleaning up or a S&W shooter (more than casual shooting) that didn't have their gun's trigger cleaned up. Owning both, I'd say they are pretty much equal with the reliability and strength going to the Ruger.
 

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About five years ago I bought a brand new 686 w/6 inch barrel. Finest six shooter I ever held. I loved the grip, trigger, the way it held, sights, action... Great combat accuracy but I couldn't shoot @ 50 yards. It wouldn't group. I believe the cylinder gap was to wide. I hated to part with it but I did. I purchased a used GP100 w/6 inch barrel and never looked back. It's built like a tank, great accuracy, and I never worry about shooting too many magnums out of it. The used price of a Ruger was awesome. If the 686 shot better I never would have given it up. Probably one in a thousand on the 686, but it's my experience.
 
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