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View Full Version : Revolver that's like a CZ built semi?


rivviepop
11-03-2007, 10:14 AM
I know that reads strange, lemme explain. I'm interested in getting a wheel gun (my first) but am not sure about the playing field. I've read the forums, visited shops, etc. to at least get a feel for what the grips are like and such. I've found some I like (grips) and some that drive me nuts.

It seems like Ruger and S&W revolvers enjoy the reputation for reliability and dependability that the CZ does in the semi world. So, what revolver(s) should I be looking at for:

- great accuracy out of the box, no mods needed
- rugged, durable wheelgun parts that aren't going to wear down for 5K to 10K rounds
- relatively inexpensive ($600 range? I don't know what these things cost)
- adequate caliber for home defense and range plinking (cheaper ammo is good but like a .40 in semi is what I'm thinking? open to ideas)
- relatively normal barrel (4"? 5"?) length, not a snub or cannon
- generally easy to keep clean and in shape, no strange takedown methods needed
- generally well known (easy to find parts for, etc. - non-exotic or specialized)
- something that doesn't kick like a mule :) (haha...dude at the range had a .44mag and his girl shot it, I swear that wheelgun almost when flying out of her hand. she put it down after one shot and said no more)

Honestly when I go and look at revolvers at shops I'm not too sure what parts of the gun I should be paying attention to for their workmanship (i.e. when I pull open semis I look at the locking lugs, extractor and stuff). If I'm looking at a used revolver, what parts are you keeping an eye on for wear and tear?

Thanks all. Make me a wheelgun owner.

buffybuster
11-03-2007, 10:20 AM
Get a:

S&W L-Frame 357 Mag

or

Ruger GP100 in 357 Mag

As for finish and barrel length, go handle them and get what feels best for you. 4" works best for me. They are both very nice.

You will NEVER regret buying anyone of these.


If you can find a S&W M19/M66 or Ruger Security-Six, they are a little lighter and also very fine. But they are only available on the used market.

rivviepop
11-03-2007, 10:33 AM
Get a:
S&W L-Frame 357 Mag
or
Ruger GP100 in 357 Mag


Thanks for such a quick followup. The S&W 686 is one of the ones I had been looking at, good to know I sorta had the right idea and was in the right ballpark. Besides barrel length, the main difference I see in the line is 6-shot and 7-shot; which one is the more preferred and/or more reliable of the two, any known problems with either capacity?

moulton
11-03-2007, 10:35 AM
Ruger Gp-100 4 inch stainless in 357 magnum with adjustable sights. The only thing I have done to it is paint the front ramp sight orange and buy two speed loaders.... simple works. If you really want to spend your money Crimsion trace came out with some laser grips recently for it.
I had the choice between the smith and the ruger, I went with the ruger ecause of the grip and the looks:D

railroader
11-03-2007, 11:17 AM
I'll second a 686. I have a 6" and shoots great but I think the 4" balance a little better. Mark

anothergunnut
11-03-2007, 11:39 AM
Hard to go wrong with a S&W 686. Very commonly available, well made, easy to sell if you want to get rid of it down the road. 6 or 7 shots is your preference.

maxicon
11-03-2007, 11:57 AM
I'll also recommend a 686. I'm a big Ruger fan, and have several Ruger revolvers, but my old 586 (blued version of the 686) is far and away my favorite revolver.

I love the 6", but for defense use, I'd suggest the 4". You can practice with .38 and .357 both to keep the costs down, and there are plenty of various grips available if you want. I like rubber grips for range and home defense revolvers, as they help tame the recoil more.

A DA revolver trigger pull will usually be heavier than a semi-auto after the first shot (and in a defense situation, you might not be able to cock the hammer each time), so you'll likely want to have the trigger smoothed and lightened. Older S&Ws tend to have better triggers, but new ones can have the triggers smoothed up by a 'smith or by S&W.

Here are a couple of short and simple links on buying a used revolver:
http://www.recguns.com/Sources/IIIB3.html
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57816&pp=25

mike100
11-03-2007, 12:02 PM
I have a 586 blued Smith and a modern day 686-7 shot. The revolver I have been shooting lately is the less rugged k-frame model 66. It draws and points a good bit faster than the heavy K frame 586/686.

You might want to look for a $475 used example and then go from there. I sent my model 66 back to S&W for an package job and it came out great ($130 plus shipping one way).

rivviepop
11-03-2007, 12:09 PM
Here are a couple of short and simple links on buying a used revolver:
http://www.recguns.com/Sources/IIIB3.html
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57816&pp=25

fantastic stuff, thanks. after reading both of those and not understanding some of it (due to my ignorance), I think my best bet is to buy my first one new. Then once I understand all these tolerances and gaps and such I'll be better equipped to purchase a used revolver next time. :)

I don't even understand the question "Look at the topstrap above the forcing cone. Is it flame cut excessively?" yet, oops. I never knew a revolver had something called a topstrap or forcing cone.

movie zombie
11-03-2007, 12:25 PM
if you're like me and have a smaller hand, check out the s&w model 60 as well as the ruger sp-101.

movie zombie

ps i have the s&w model 60 as a snubbie and i absolutely LOVE this gun....so much so in fact that as crazy as it sounds i'm thinking of getting the same model but with one of the longer barrels.

buffybuster
11-04-2007, 8:14 AM
fantastic stuff, thanks. after reading both of those and not understanding some of it (due to my ignorance), I think my best bet is to buy my first one new. Then once I understand all these tolerances and gaps and such I'll be better equipped to purchase a used revolver next time. :)

I don't even understand the question "Look at the topstrap above the forcing cone. Is it flame cut excessively?" yet, oops. I never knew a revolver had something called a topstrap or forcing cone.

Generally speaking, the L-frame S&W and Ruger GP100 are nearly immune to shooting loose with any factory 38Special or 357Mag ammunition. That's the reason they were designed. All bets off with handloaded ammo.

The K-frame S&W (M19/M66) and Ruger Security-Six/Speed-Six are built on a smaller framer and thinner forcing cone. These can shoot loose with ALOT of 357magnum shooting (esp 125gr loads). These models were orginally designed to practice with 38Special and carry with 357Mag. If that is done, they will last lifetimes. It unusual to see one actually shoot loose, but since these revolvers are available only in the used market it is something you have to watch out for.

BillCA
11-04-2007, 8:37 AM
- great accuracy out of the box, no mods needed

Any factory gun may need some trigger work straight from the factory. Gone are the days of craftsmen carefully fitting the parts together for a smooth, consistent trigger. CNC machines do a better job of making consistent parts, but the fitting is less precise than 30 to 50 years ago. Stiff "lawyer-resistant" triggers will "wear in" after about 300 rounds and the triggers usually smooth up a bit. A good gunsmith can make the trigger much better for as little as $40.

- rugged, durable wheelgun parts that aren't going to wear down for 5K to 10K rounds

S&W and Rugers can go tens of thousands of rounds before parts wear out. Any part can break, but both companies have good reputations for durability. Plus S&W has a lifetime warranty.

- relatively inexpensive ($600 range? I don't know what these things cost)
That's about right. You'll pay more for guns made from Titanium or "Scandium" lightweight alloys. Stick with the steel guns. They're more durable and easier to shoot.

- adequate caliber for home defense and range plinking (cheaper ammo is good but like a .40 in semi is what I'm thinking? open to ideas)

The .38/.357 revolver is the bread & butter of defensive revolvers. The .38 Special is adequate for SD/HD and has been for more than 100 years. The +P rounds are excellent performers. The .357 Magnum may be overkill indoors due to the muzzle flash and blast, but it rates highly in effectiveness.

Larger framed revolvers chambering the .41, .44 and .45 caliber cartridges can also be had. The S&W Model 625 shoots the .45 ACP cartridge with modest recoil for such a big slug. The .45 Colt may be an old cartridge, but that 250-grain slug hits like a sledgehammer too.

- generally easy to keep clean and in shape, no strange takedown methods needed
Revolvers are not typically "field stripped" for cleaning. Unless you do a lot of firing, most cleaning can be done without parts removal. A single screw will allow release of the cylinder from the frame for cleaning, but it's not necessary.

- something that doesn't kick like a mule :) (haha...dude at the range had a .44mag and his girl shot it, I swear that wheelgun almost when flying out of her hand. she put it down after one shot and said no more)
[/QUOTE]

Go to a range that rents guns and try out both a S&W 686 and a Ruger GP-100 with both .38 Special and .357 Magnum. For .357 Mag, run a 158-grain JHP/JSP load through each gun to see if they "kick like a mule" for you.

BillCA
11-04-2007, 8:51 AM
There is an excellent thread on inspecting a used revolver on TFL, by Jim March. It can be found by following this link. (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57816)

Some quick S&W references;

I-Frame - obsolete; smallest .32/.38 frame (disc. 1960)
J-Frame - 5-shot .38 snubby frame
J-Magnum Frame - 5-shot .357 Magnum frame (current prod.)
K-Frame - 6 Shot .38/.357 Frame up to the 1990's
L-Frame - 6/7 Shot .38/.357 Frame (current prod.)
N-Frame - 6-shot .40-.45 caliber Frame
X-Frame - Largest frame, used for .500 & .460 caliber guns

Visual example of the difference between the S&W N-Frame (top) and J-Frame (bottom)
http://dragon.hematite.com/LionMouseProfile.jpg
S&W Model 57 - .41 Magnum and S&W Model 31 - .32 Long

Turbinator
11-04-2007, 9:03 AM
Here are a couple of short and simple links on buying a used revolver:
http://www.recguns.com/Sources/IIIB3.html


Nice that someone still remembers rec.guns! Anyway, I vote for the Ruger GP100, extremely durable, well built, and will last quite a few rounds. However, I don't think you could go wrong at all with either the 686 or the GP100.

Turby

rivviepop
11-04-2007, 10:20 AM
It was a beautiful day in Norcal yesterday (and looking like it today) so I drove around to all the different shops within range. I manhandled a 686 in 4" and 6", 627 and 620 in 4", a model 60 and 66 in what looked like a 4", two different GP100's and a bunch of Colts (cowboy wheelguns, just playing around :) ). I also played with some hand cannons (.44 mags and even a .45 ACP wheelgun they had at City Arms) just for kicks.

I like 4" better than 6", definitely. I think I like the 686 full-lug style better than the 620/627/60 style that has a half-lug; the heavier nose weight really makes a difference (to me) that I like in my semis, so I'm sure I'll prefer it in revolver as well. Strangely, though, I like the hammer and DA of the 627 better than the 686, the 686 seems really heavy. Could just be my imagination, though. One thing I do not like at all is the stock grips on those Rugers, ugh.

There's an *unfired* yet 'used' (PPT) S&W 10-14 .38 Special 4", blued on consignment for $350 which I could probably make a deal for even less (maybe) -- what's the opinion on a 10-14? that sucker any good? (Google's not helping me out much here... is $350 a good price?)

BillCA
11-04-2007, 3:15 PM
The 10-14 is a recent manufactured Model 10 which is why the price is $350. If the gun comes with the box, papers (warranty card, manual, etc.) and the key for the lock, then it's a decent price for an "unfired" gun. Not a great price, but it's "reasonable".

The specimen you looked at should have had a "heavy" barrel on it, not the pencil thin tapered barrel of the 1950's. Everyone should own at least one Model 10. They're no frills and boringly reliable guns that will digest +P ammo just fine.

I'd like to find a nice, older "pencil barrel" Model 10 in nearly new condition, personally. They're a bit lighter and quicker, but give you a little more recoil. It's just the aesthetics are better, IMO. :)

maxicon
11-04-2007, 5:03 PM
The Model 10's a great gun, but it's no substitute for a good .357. I like the flexibility of being able to shoot both rounds.

For a first defense revolver, I'd go with a .357, and get .38s after the revolver bug has its teeth firmly in you.

rivviepop
11-04-2007, 7:02 PM
For a first defense revolver, I'd go with a .357, and get .38s after the revolver bug has its teeth firmly in you.

haha, spoken like a true gun owner. :) thanks for the info on the 10-14 all, I'll just stick to the 686 search then.

that and waiting on my current 30 days to hurry up and pass. :)

elsolo
11-05-2007, 6:47 AM
Any revolover that I own must be set up for moonclips

lazuris
11-05-2007, 7:07 AM
GP 100 is the way to go with the 4". Built like a tank and you'll have it forever. A trigger job will turn it into a whole new gun. Also as a reloader i have no qualms about stuffing hot hot loads through it all day long. I have other wheel guns and it only the rugers that i feel comfortable shooting the hot stuff all day long. Also look at the super blackhawk if you want more boom.

rivviepop
11-14-2007, 7:56 PM
Quick question for you revolver guys - how do you get a rod down the barrel properly since there's no rear clearance? Sure I have a boresnake and understand that, but what about running patches, how's it done? I was cleaning one of the semi's tonight and started wondering on how revolver people did the barrel/bore.

(hopefully this Friday is purchase day!)

BillCA
11-14-2007, 10:48 PM
Quick question for you revolver guys - how do you get a rod down the barrel properly since there's no rear clearance?

If you really want to be "retentive" about it, you can insert the rod down the bore and screw on the brush in the cylinder window, then draw it through the barrel.

Most don't do this and there's no real advantage I've ever seen in doing it. Most wheelgun owners start the brush at the muzzle and push it through into the cylinder window, then withdraw it.

It's good practice to fold up a shoptowel or old washcloth to protect the firing pin hole from the rod/brush smacking into it when it clears the forcing cone, however.

ivanimal
11-14-2007, 10:57 PM
I have seen many used Colts in the 600 dollar price range.

They are great guns and hold their value.

JWNathan
11-16-2007, 12:32 PM
I bought an used older 4" 586 with perfect bluing and few rounds for 400 about a year ago. Its hands down my favorite gun, I do however want to get a 7 shooter 686 one of these days or better yet one of the 8 shot tactical models(love the look).
-Jesse

rivviepop
11-27-2007, 7:07 PM
A thanks to all, your posts & advice were not in vain. Here's our new family member, ready to go to the range hopefully tomorrow evening. (should I oil this thing first? it seems to be fine, not covered in factory grease or anything...)

http://i2.tinypic.com/81zmj2p.jpg

I think I'll name him Bert.

mike100
11-27-2007, 7:11 PM
I love it when people follow up on their posts. That'l be good to go for the next 30 or 40 years. stainless is so easy to keep up.

rivviepop
11-27-2007, 7:17 PM
I love it when people follow up on their posts. That'l be good to go for the next 30 or 40 years. stainless is so easy to keep up.

Will Hoppes Bench Rest mar or damage this rubber Hogue Monogrip here? I plan on getting some nice wood grips (maybe, or I might wait for the Colt Python :) ) but for now, rubber it shall be and I don't want to jack the grips up...

mike100
11-27-2007, 7:26 PM
Will Hoppes Bench Rest mar or damage this rubber Hogue Monogrip here? I plan on getting some nice wood grips (maybe, or I might wait for the Colt Python :) ) but for now, rubber it shall be and I don't want to jack the grips up...

I have that same piece (except for the 7 shot cyl) and I haven't managed to mess up the grip. I can't recall ever taking it off.

A lot of thought has gone into the design of those hogues. The old school oem S&W wood target grips were nice too, but not if you needed a slim line to hide behind a jacket. The rubber grips grab better too.

Parag
11-27-2007, 7:35 PM
If you have relatively large hands like mine, you may like the Hogue wood "conversion" grips for your S&W. I find they fit my hand very nicely. You can order custom grips directly from http://www.hoguegrips.com/. The conversion grips make a round-butt S&W look like a square-butt plus have a different overall shape than their round-butt grips.

-- Parag

rivviepop
11-27-2007, 7:45 PM
If you have relatively large hands like mine, you may like the Hogue wood "conversion" grips for your S&W. I find they fit my hand very nicely. You can order custom grips directly from http://www.hoguegrips.com/. The conversion grips make a round-butt S&W look like a square-butt plus have a different overall shape than their round-butt grips.

Thanks for the pointer - browsing around I like the look of the Pau Ferro style grips, it's something to think about. I have medium-to-small sized hands based on motorcycle gear I wear so we'll see - I'll know better once I get some range time in and have a good feel for this grip and if I want to go bigger or not. As is it feels a little small but that could be because I'm used to handling full sized double stack semiauto grips...

rivviepop
11-28-2007, 9:50 PM
BTW: nobody mentioned this revolver is accurate as hell. :) I put 100rds of Federal 147gr .38spl +P+ HST JHP and 50rds of Magtech .357 158gr FMJ (well, half-MJ? lead tips) through it tonight and was pulling 2" groupings at 10 to 15 yards over and over. Yeah a few wild shots but hey, first extended time with a revolver so I get a break.