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I'm heading to a gun show this weekend. One of the items on my wish list is a .357 mag. I would appreciate any suggestions and personal likes and dislikes to help me decide what to get. I'd like to keep it under $400.00.
 

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90/10 headed for 95/5
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I have two S&W's...one's a 6" 586 (blued-steel, no longer manufactured) and a 6" 686 (stainless)...and I love them! Mine are both 6-round revolvers, but you can get the 686 with a 7-round cylinder as well, the 686-plus. I'd be shocked if you could get them under $400 though. :(
 
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I'm heading to a gun show this weekend. One of the items on my wish list is a .357 mag. I would appreciate any suggestions and personal likes and dislikes to help me decide what to get. I'd like to keep it under $400.00.
I was hell-bent on getting one in the $400 range but I couldn't find one to fit my hand and it clearly would not carry well. So I went with the airweight 36 special concealed hammer. With P+ ammo it has the same stopping power.
 

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Taurus is good. I have owned several over the years, currently have a .41mag Tracker and love it. You can find them ususally under 400 or right at it.
The Ruger GP100 or GP101 are also great.
 

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You should be able to get a used Ruger GP100 for under $400 if not for under $300. I have one and like it a lot. If you are wanting it for concealed carry, look for an SP101 (they might be a little more). Obviously, pick it up, hold it, squeeze the trigger and make sure that you like it and you can handle the grip and trigger pull.
 

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Happiness is 2 at low 8
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My 3" S&W model 66 K-frame will probably be the last handgun I ever sell, should that ever be necessary.

The J-frame .357's (small size 5 shot guns) are punishing with fullhouse .357 loads (Ruger SP101 the exception.) The K and L-frame guns (mid-size 6-shots) are sweethearts with .38's and heavy with .357's. I haven't shot the big N-Frame or X-frame guns, but in .357 I'm sure they're fairly easy to shoot.

Recent Taurus guns (last 10 years) have been a good value, very similar to the S&W guns. Charter Arms is a crapshoot, depending on when they were made, some are good others are not so good. Ruger is solid, stem to stern, from the SP101 to the big GP100 to the Blackhawk Single Action guns you can't go wrong. I had a bad experience with a Rossi lever action carbine years ago and have steered away from Rossi ever since (to be truthful I never gave Rossi a chance to make it right.) I've heard many good reports about the Rossi handguns, but cannot confirm...

Allan
 

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Stear away from S&W K frame .357s.

Talking as Smith fan stay away from the K frame .357 magnums for they suffer lossening and pressure cracks in the forcing cone. Smith and Wesson even has an advisory discuraging the use of mangnum rounds in K frames, this includes models 13/65 and 19/66. Now J frame snubs and of course the L frames 581/586, 681/686, 619/620 and N frame model 27 and 627 are fine for full house magnum rounds.

I also started getting rugers and recommend their GP-100 and SP-101 are fine weapons and would hesitate a second to use one for duty. Don't forget the olds Security Six and Speed Six models.

Rifleman 336
 

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Elitist Gun Snob
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The Charter Arms revolver I had was a piece of crap.

Smith & Wesson, Ruger are dependable names.
Charter are always less than $400 though. They aren't the best guns in the world, but they're not the worst either. I'd rather have a Ruger, but I have a hard time finding those within his budget...therefore the recommendation to CA.
 

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A good 357 is a KEEPER!

1. Ruger GP 100- heavy duty reputation
2. Smith and Wesson 686 - excellent reputation
3. any used no paper trail 357

You may find that used 357's hold there value much better than 38's. What ever you spend it will be worth it. Buy a keeper first, so you will not be constantly thinking about trading up.

I would not turn down a paper less trail 38, at a GOOD price, as a throw away gun or trade. Things are tight now. There will be many deals between now and Christmas; even though fear of the elections. People are selling.

As time goes by I have drifted away from revolvers but keep coming back. If ever used, there will be no shell casings to be found. Lead bullets leave little evidence. That could be helpful.
 

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I have found you can't go wrong with a Ruger revolver, they are the strongest made. If you can find an old Security-Six or Service-Six or best of all a Speed-Six, good on ya!, You'll probably find lots of GP-100 and GP101 and SP-101's in the shows. Also consider Smith & Wesson K- and L-Frames, which are very good. N-frames are really good, but I doubt you'll find one within your budget. Taurus revolvers are consistently good also. Charter Arms makes some good guns, but not always, as with Rossi, I'd use caution with these brands. All make 21/2" up to 6" barrels, so whatever you want to do. Hope that helps.
 

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Any used revolver may need to have the timing checked unless you stay in the J, L, and N frame Smiths or the Ruger line. The reason being that firing .357 magnum rounds can stretch the forcing cone of some revolvers.

Unless you understand frames or know the Smiths which are usually expensive you are best looking for a Ruger Security Six or GP-100 type weapon which is built like a tank.
 
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