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designated pessimist
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There are probably hundred of threads like this out there, but I'm having trouble finding good information.

I'm 18 years old, and my very kind mom has agreed to purchase a wheel gun for me on my behalf. I know that Smith and Wesson revolvers are generally made to a higher standard than the much cheaper Taurus revolvers, but is the price difference worth it?

I was wondering if I could hear some opinions of gun owners wiser than I on the issue of quality and preference between the companies.

Also some recommendations on specific models would be welcome.

The purpose of the gun would be for target shooting and home defense, it doesn't have to be concealable.

-side note: Ruger and other manufacturers aren't out of the question, I just haven't done as much research into them as I have these two, if anyone leans towards other brands, I'd love to hear about that.
 

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Taurus has come a long way in the past decade or so. The 605 is 5 shot the size of a J frame. The 617/627 is a 7 shot K frame. The 65 is a 6 shot and the 66 is a 7 shot L frame and the 608 is an 8 shot N frame. You can also look at the Rossi revolvers. They are 6 shot J&K frame size. What I like about them are they have the firing pin in the hammer like the old Smiths. Rugers are fine revolvers also. Built like a tank and will last forever. But value for the buck you can't beat a Taurus/Rossi. Don't let the haters sway you.
 

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Making chips
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Taurus model 66 with a 4" barrel is what I would get if you are looking at Taurus. I had one and loved it. They have to be one of Taurus's best models. They are both accurate and reliable. But don't buy one online and don't just pic one without careful inspection. Like I said before I loved mine but it magically turned into a Glock 23 last week. My next .357 will be a Ruger GP100 though.
 

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Corpsman Up
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I have had both Taurus revolvers and autoloaders throughout my shooting life. I've never had trouble with either. My son carries a Taurus Poly Protector .357 with a 2 inch barrel. My wife carries a Ruger LCR in .38 Special. I have an S&W M686 with a three inch barrel and must say it is very accurate, fun to shoot and beautiful to look at. Is it worth the cost question must be answered by the buyer but between the three firearms I mentioned, the Taurus is the least expensive but performs as well as the others. My son, a U.S. Marine, carries it with confidence.
 

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I would say 'none of the above'...

The S&W, while nice guns, are very expensive and probably not what you want as a beginning shooter.

The Taurus guns, while more affordable, still have some issues in the QC department, especially with revolvers. They used to have a horrible reputation, now it's just spotty. And while they do have a lifetime warranty, it's expensive to ship it back to them.

If you go the Taurus route, bring snap caps with you and work the actual gun you are looking at as hard and fast as you can. If there's any binding at all, ask to look at another one as it will only get worse with time. If you find a good one though, it should be rock-solid for life.

I would suggest a couple of alternatives.

A couple of other posters mentioned the Ruger GP-100, and I would say this is the best, all-around revolver when it comes to bang-for-the-buck. Get one of the stainless versions, and ditch the crappy Houge grips for the originals. Heavy duty, lifetime warranty, good aftermarket support, extremely reliable.

The other one I'd recommend is the Ruger SP-101. Not quite as heavy-duty as the GP, but a lot lighter to pack around. Plus you can get it in .22 LR as a trainer.
 

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If you were my son, nephew etc, we'd go to the store and you'd hold several of them and see what "clicks" best for your hand and your preferences. My advice would be about my opinions regarding construction quality, weight, barrel length and price, but what fits your hand and what you like would be the main thing we'd be looking for.

Since we can't do that, I'll tell you my GUESS at what the best fit would be, and that is a choice between whichever you like better between the Ruger GP-100 and SP-101.

Smith & Wesson makes great revolvers with very fine materials and workmanship. Ruger's revolvers may not have quite as fine a finish, and sometimes the materials are one notch less premium (not always), but they compensate for that by building them like tanks. Both Smith and Ruger are made in America and they are both quality guns that I completely trust.

Taurus makes some good stuff also, but to me, Ruger is most likely to fit the "sweet spot" of what you are looking for. Good luck, and be sure to thank your mom three or four times.
 

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American fearmaker
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Go with a Ruger. They are built like tanks and will last you a lifetime. S&W and Taurus pistols are not as sturdy as the Rugers. And the Rugers will probably cost less than S&W pistols too.
 

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All good choices. If you can swing the cost of the S&W you'll be happy with it. It has the best of the triggers among revolvers currently available. They are however proud of them these days.

Ruger, as mentioned is, well, almost overbuilt. They'e as tough as they come. I'm not crazy about their triggers on most out of the box. One good thing is, they all get better with time and use.

I like Taurus and I'm surprised none of the usual gun snobs have shown up to tell you they're junk. I bought my first Taurus revolver over 20 years ago and I've never had one I didn't like. Again, the trigger is not great out of the box on them, a little stagy and heavier than the other two, but not bad. The price is right on them so I'm sure I'll own more as time goes on. I'm a sucker for a bargain.
 

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Maximus
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Each company puts out some lemons... some puts out more than others.

Here is a quick breakdown for you on the differences of the 3 companies you mentioned...

Smith and Wesson. Generally well built nicer trigger over the ruger and the taurus. It has good re-sale and shoots fine. But they are more expensive. Has great "eye appeal".

Ruger. Built like a tank. No frills but built to last. Trigger is not as good compared to Smith and Wesson. Shoots fine but the grips can be a bit on the large size for the GP100.

Taurus. Worst triggers of the group. Fairly dependable but there tend to be slightly more problems than smith and wesson or rugers. But the price is the lowest of the 3. So you can by two! I personally had 2 tauruses and they shot fine but the triggers really are bad.

My vote... since you are a beginer in the world of revolvers, I would say go for the GP100. Middle of the line costs. Dependable with a fair trigger.
 

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Smith has a better trigger and better fit and finish, at least that has been my experience. Taurus, the ones that I have shot or owned have been good solid guns. I am not crazy about Taurus though, not being a gun snob, I just don't like the way that they feel.

I will jump on the Ruger bandwagon and recommend looking at them. They are, exactly like jknova said "more likely to fit in the sweet spot." I own 2 Ruger wheelguns, oddly enough neither are a GP-100 or SP-101, but I would easily make room in my safe for either one.

Best way is to just out your hand around the grips and see how they all feel.
 

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I would buy a ruger or a used smith. I would also look for a used Colt or dan wesson before I would buy a new Taurus. I have read good and bad about taurus. The others mostly just good. I own Smith and Wesson.
 

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I would listen to the people who actually OWN the weapons you are considering, and ignore the haters and gun snobs that read something somewhere, or their brother in-laws cousins sisters boyfriend said it is a pos so it has to be true.

My 4" Taurus 65 did everything I asked it to do, and did it very well. Accurate and it had enough heft to tame full house 357, but not to heavy to carry. I would still have it today were it not for a tragic car fire. I will have another one when I find the right deal.
 

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Maximus
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I would listen to the people who actually OWN the weapons you are considering, and ignore the haters and gun snobs that read something somewhere, or their brother in-laws cousins sisters boyfriend said it is a pos so it has to be true.

My 4" Taurus 65 did everything I asked it to do, and did it very well. Accurate and it had enough heft to tame full house 357, but not to heavy to carry. I would still have it today were it not for a tragic car fire. I will have another one when I find the right deal.
According to your own advice, are you going to honestly say that the Taurus trigger pull is as good as Smith and Wesson trigger.

I own all 3 and have no skin in the game. I like each for their own merits. What it comes down to is the posters preference on what is more important. But I can say that a better trigger pull usually leads to a more accurate firearm.
 

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According to your own advice, are you going to honestly say that the Taurus trigger pull is as good as Smith and Wesson trigger.

I own all 3 and have no skin in the game. I like each for their own merits. What it comes down to is the posters preference on what is more important. But I can say that a better trigger pull usually leads to a more accurate firearm.
Nope, I did not say that. I said EXACTLY what I said about the Taurus I owned for a good while. I never commented on the S&W as either good or bad. Please reread my previous post and show me where I said anything about S&W.
 

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I think most people who have replied in this thread have owned two or more of these brands, and aren't giving advice to justify a spending decision they made themselves. There is nothing wrong with Taurus.
 

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The Taurus is a good firearm, well constructed
As well as the Ruger GP 100
Either of those would do what your wanting.
Taurus is no where near as good a gun as a Smith or Ruger I have a friend that sent his back to the factory 3or 4 times to get it right Taurus is hit or miss, I shot one fo the k-frame sized ones and with mag loads it would jump time, and it was brand new. Good used Rugers and Smiths can be had for about the same price as a Taurus and are much better guns.
 

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I am not going to trash Taurus as I have owned a couple of models and they will do the job when not at the repair shop. Plus, with the lifetime warranty you have some piece of mind. When I was shopping for my wheel gun I considered long and hard about the nagging price of those higher echelon revolvers. Man, I tell you I was set on saving the money and settling for that taurus 66. But when I gripped that Ruger GP 100, I knew instantly I had to have it. It was a pure rock solid steel design in the pawn of my hand. It made the Taurus look like a toy gun. I paid the extra money and don't have single regret. If you can get the GP 100... Get it. You won't need a lifetime warranty. With a 6 inch barrel I can still hit the target at 75 yards. Can't do that with any of my other hand guns.

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/...g+3"+Satin+Stainless,+Fixed+Sights+(KGPF-331)
 

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Michigan Gun Nut
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Get a Ruger GP100, 3" or 4" Barrel. They are tanks, durable, well made, with decent triggers. Great for creative hand loaders. And a good smith can tune up the action pretty easily. And even made in USA.
Second choice- S&W L or N frame. 581, 586, 681, 686 or 28(Highway Patrolman) Workhorses all of them.

NO Taurus arms. Junk. I've seen brand new examples that were un-shootable at work
 
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