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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All right, I've danced around this long enough......:(

I'd like to own one revolver (that's how it starts), since I don't have one.
I had a S&W 642 years ago I tried for pocket carry, but the LCP won that spot.
Didn't care much for running +P thru the 642, but then again, the LCP is no range gun either..:shock:
I've done a lot of Googling and reading researching this purchase, as I always do.
I'm almost to the point of obsession..:roll:
Already selling my WG P220 to help finance the revolver..:oops:

What I'd like out of it;
a good sized round butt frame (bigger than a j-frame)
357mag, probably run more 38sp than 357mag
2.5 to 3 inch barrel, might end up carrying it sometime
Stainless finish preferred, but not a deal breaker
A covered (shrouded?) ejector rod
I don't care about S&W locks, had one on my 642 without issue
I'd like to keep it under a grand

I think I've narrowed it down to 2 basic choices, the S&W 686 or a Ruger GP100.

I handled the GP100 at an LGS and liked it.
They had a blued Wiley Clapp I liked a lot, it ran $769.
Anyone know what the Wiley Clap Ruger upgrade consists of other than the grip and the sights?



They also had a standard GP100 for about $569.
So I am I paying an extra $200 for a wood/rubber grip and dovetailed sights with the WC version?

I can't find a 686 anywhere to handle it, LGS says S&W revolver's availability has been scare since Sandy Hook, except for the smaller J-frames..
LGS girl (Pat, I like her and she knows her stuff) says she prefers the S&W stock trigger over the Ruger.
She also likes the S&W cylinder release latch over the Ruger.
I like that the 686 I want is a 7 shot over Ruger 6 shot.
I've yet to read about anyone that didn't like their 686..

Including this guy...:mrgreen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn2XX81_kPU

I'm seriously contemplating this 686..
I runs close to my $$ limit, but it is a S&W performance center gun, dovetailed sights, and an unfluted cylinder..
If I'm only buying one revolver, I might as well go all out...:p

http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson2/upload/other/PS/2014/M686_170346.pdf



As much as I like my LGS, I'll probably buy whatever gun I want from Gunbroker.
Even with shipping and the $20 FFL transfer, it will be cheaper than buying locally and paying sales tax..
My LGS salespeople don't work on commission and besides I've bought over 12 guns from them since 2006.
Buds had this gun last week at $864, looked today and it is $966.
BASTARDS...............
Anyway, I can get it on GB for right at $900.

But I'm not dead set on the gun above.
I see plenty of GP100 and 686 pistols on GB.
I want input from the revolver owners about their GP100 and 686 pistols and their knowledge of the differences between the two...

Few questions;
Is the S&W performance center work going to make that much difference over a stock S&W?
Will the difference in barrel length between say a 2.5, 3, or 4 barrel going to make much difference in recoil?
Any preference in stainless or blued with a revolver?

Sorry for the long read.
But thank you for the input....:mrgreen:
1LL
 

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I won't touch up on everything mentioned but I own a 6 inch gp100 in stainless and owned 2 686s before I fell out of love with wheel guns.
My gp100 is a joy to shoot. Feels sturdy in my hands and has nice cylinder fit. So you definitely wouldn't regret the purchase. With that being said, the Smith is going to give you probably the best wheel gun trigger you've ever squeezed. Always smooth as silk, clean break, and just about perfect. The Ruger is not terrible, but the 686 is way better in the trigger department. I had a smith polish up the internals of the GP, but it still didn't come close. I sold my Smiths simply because they were worth more, so I could fund more purchases to my 1911 addiction.

High 500s is too much for the gp100. I got mine new in box, 6 inch stainless, and adjustable rear sight for 500 out the door. The standard grips SUCK. So depending on your preference I'd recommend some Hogue grips, or some nice wood ones.
 

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I currently own both of the guns you are looking at, but in the 4" variety. My Smith is the "plus" version and about 20 years old. My Ruger is from 2-3 years ago.

The Smith is an incredible piece of workmanship. It has the best trigger of all my revolvers. I just got a new trigger gage and it measured 8.25 pounds DA and 2.75 in SA. Very clean pull and crisp break. My Smith did have the internals polished, lightly some years ago. In accuracy, it is nearly a toss up, but I can see maybe a very slight edge to the Smith. Both are tack drivers if I do my part. The L frame is not quite as strongly built as the Ruger, but with the ammo choices that you mentioned, it will last you a lifetime. I love my 686P.

The Ruger is a fine looking weapon but not quite as polished as my 686P. It looks like a well crafted, large hammer. While attractive, it just doesn't have quite the look that Smith gives to their wheelguns. The trigger on my Ruger is not far behind the 686. I measured it at 9.25 in DA and 3.25 SA. It is completely stock and doesn't have as many rounds through it. If I had someone polish the action, it may become as smooth as my L frame. Strength? You bet. The GP100 is incredible. It still feels quite comfortable in the hand however. I love my GP.

If I had to choose which to give up? Probably the Ruger as this Smith has sentimental value to me. It would still be a tough choice.

In your case, wanting a shorter barrel gun, the Smith will give you adjustable sights. The shorter GP guns are all fixed (I believe), alltho that Wiley Clapp version has excellent fixed sights. One final thought is that the newer Smith revolvers that I have held don't impress me in regards to "quality" as much as my older version. The triggers are not the same either, but I'm confident that a good gunsmith could tune them back to what they were.

I wont make a suggestion for you as to which to buy. Either would serve you well. Good luck in your hunt.
 

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For a mostly fun gun, go 4".

The GP is a fine pistol, but between the two, I'd lean towards 686.

The the trigger is nicer and yeah, I prefer the push forward latch on the smith better than Ruger's push button.

A 4" will still carry as long as you use a proper holster and belt. I prefer the over all balance and versatility it offers.

A 4" of either will be easier to find.

You want a good well rounded carry gun, find a 3" SP101.

That said though, the two you have up there are freakkn sweet.
 

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You can't go wrong on either one of those IMO. I would lean toward the Ruger just because I like the way they are built, but I would buy the one I thought was the better deal.
 

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I have the 6 inch GP100 blued. I love it to death. It is probably my favorite gun right now. I concede the trigger is better on the smith, but I reject the notion that the ruger is horrible. It's not. It's just less refined. You can still shoot great with it.

I have one that is a few years old and had the older grips with the wood inserts, versus the new hogue monogrips with the finger grooves. I Like mine better than the hogue's.

As for construction, the ruger is an absolute tank. It will last generations if you do your part. The L frame is sturdy too, just not to the level of the ruger. I for one think the ruger is a great looking gun, especially in blue. I must reiterate the absolute tank part. You can feed it pretty much anything you want within reason. Full house loads are quite pleasant out of it. The full length under lug helps in the recoil department. 57K will attest that the full lug gp100 recoils a little less than a smith N frame with a short lug!

As for barrel length, mine is primarily a range gun and a hunting (open carry) sidearm, so I wanted the 6". I have no experience with the 3 inch, but I know they are quite shoot able. As another guy said, you may look into a 4 inch.

You absolutely cannot go wrong with either gun. Fire them both, then make a decision. You could buy the ruger and spend a couple hundred in ammo!

One last comment on the trigger of the ruger; I have dry fired mine several thousand times, and it has smoothed up. I have also become very good at working the double action trigger, staging it like a single action.
 

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I have a 686 six shot and love it. Know many that shoot 686 in our PPC league, mostly the 6" but we have a snubbie class which is what I use it for.

it's a handful with full house 357..unless you just shot a 629 w/ 44mag and a desert eagle 50AE then it seems like a pop gun. It's all relative!

Accurate, reliable, robust. And I got mine used for $550 2 years ago.
 

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I own both a GP100 and a 686 (as well as a 681, which is a 686 with fixed sights instead of adjustable).

Get the 686.

You like a good trigger, and the 686's walks all over the GP100's. The S&W is a constant, clean press clean through to the break in DA, where the Ruger's is gritty and stacks. Sure, the Ruger fans will tell you they can be improved--but so can a 686's.

Not that the PC 686 will need it.;)

As for the GP100 being "built like a tank"...not really. It's built like a Ruger, with a cast frame vs a forged frame like a S&W--it HAS to be heavier.

Don't get me wrong--I like my GP100; if I didn't, it would have gone away long ago.

But when it comes to the better gun...the 686 is it.
 

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I have a 3" and a 4" GP100and a 3" 686. The 3" balances as well as the 4" IMO. I'm a Ruger fan when it comes to revo's, but you can't go wrong with either. The trigger is better on a Smith but the Ruger is a flat out tank.


3" GP100



3" 686
 

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Ah yes, the age old revolver debate. I was at this exact same spot when I was making my revolver purchase. I went with a 4 inch 686. I thought the Smith had a little bit better fit and finish. I agree with the sentiments that the Smith trigger and cylinder release are better. The GP100 is a fine pistol though. I'll probably own one of those one day too.
 

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The two guns you narrowed it down to are great. Personally, I prefer.... the L frame Smith.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
First, thak you all that took the time to post.
I appreciate it.


I have a 3" and a 4" GP100and a 3" 686. The 3" balances as well as the 4" IMO. I'm a Ruger fan when it comes to revo's, but you can't go wrong with either. The trigger is better on a Smith but the Ruger is a flat out tank.


3" 686
^ THAT is exactly what I want..
Unfluted cylinder in a 3 inch gun..

Did you buy it like that Joe?
Or did you do some customizing?
 

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Anyone know what the Wiley Clap Ruger upgrade consists of other than the grip and the sights?

LL, look at the Ruger cylinders in the pics and you'll see they are slightly chamfered.

The difference between a 3" GP-100 and a 686 kinda comes down to Smith's typically having better factory triggers and the Ruger's having greater durability that would take thousands of full-house .357 Magnum loads to prove. Even when a professional gunsmith/maker on the order of Mr. 1911, Ed Brown, has written on the subject, he states that forging has no structural advantage over investment casting done right. It's pretty safe to say that Ruger's been doing it right for decades. Consider that other than slight dimensional variations, an M13 in .357 Magnum is little more than an M10 in .38 Sp. The main difference is in the heat treating. In the investment cast system where the molten alloy is dense enough to eliminate imperfections, it goes from the molten state to a very rapid quench, so the differences in heat treatment and grain structure are moot.

From my perspective, there are 686's I would avoid. Smith's under 3" will not have a full-length ejector rod and 7-shooters can have extraction issues with full power loads. That question can be answered by putting rounds you're gonna carry through the 686+ at the range. I'd still go with a 6-shooter and to be totally honest, for what you describe as your need, a 3" M65 might be a better option as far as carry with full power loads and practice with .38 Sp. If you run across a stainless Ruger Speed-Six with a 2 3/4" (3" models are hard to find) barrel, they were made for sustained firing of .357 Magnum ammunition. Ruger has always used a full-length extraction system and the "Six" series have better factory triggers than the GP's.

So, 3" combat revolver? Advantage S&W's stock trigger, slight advantage in Ruger's durability and since the trigger system is modular, it's pretty easy to improve a GP's trigger by polishing the internals and adding Wolff springs. Then again, I'd do the same and have with my wife's M65 LadySmith that has had an internal polishing and no monkeying around with that leaf-spring tension screw on the grip frame. ;)
 

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My wife has a Smith 686+ circa 2008 and a Ruger GP100 bought in 2011. While the trigger on the Smith was smoother it had a much higher pull weight (11lb 6oz vs 10lb 6 oz) than the stock Ruger. I changed the trigger rebound spring and did some polishing to get the DA pull down to 10lb 1oz. A fellow who works part time at a local gun store is also a shooter on Smith's team. He affirmed that the DA pull on stock Smiths (at least the 686 series) is high often getting near 12 lb. Maybe a lawyer thing.

My wife has the 686+ in 2.5 inch and I will testify to 57k's observation that ejecting 357 cartridges is not a smooth operation. Another thing to note is that I like the Safariland speed loaders, and they DON'T make them for the 7 round model. We use the HKS for the Smith, Safariland for the 6 round GP100.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You're my hero...
I gotta sell that P220 first, but that auction doesn't end for 9 days..

LL, look at the Ruger cylinders in the pics and you'll see they are slightly chamfered.

The difference between a 3" GP-100 and a 686 kinda comes down to Smith's typically having better factory triggers and the Ruger's having greater durability that would take thousands of full-house .357 Magnum loads to prove. Even when a professional gunsmith/maker on the order of Mr. 1911, Ed Brown, has written on the subject, he states that forging has no structural advantage over investment casting done right. It's pretty safe to say that Ruger's been doing it right for decades. Consider that other than slight dimensional variations, an M13 in .357 Magnum is little more than an M10 in .38 Sp. The main difference is in the heat treating. In the investment cast system where the molten alloy is dense enough to eliminate imperfections, it goes from the molten state to a very rapid quench, so the differences in heat treatment and grain structure are moot.

From my perspective, there are 686's I would avoid. Smith's under 3" will not have a full-length ejector rod and 7-shooters can have extraction issues with full power loads. That question can be answered by putting rounds you're gonna carry through the 686+ at the range. I'd still go with a 6-shooter and to be totally honest, for what you describe as your need, a 3" M65 might be a better option as far as carry with full power loads and practice with .38 Sp. If you run across a stainless Ruger Speed-Six with a 2 3/4" (3" models are hard to find) barrel, they were made for sustained firing of .357 Magnum ammunition. Ruger has always used a full-length extraction system and the "Six" series have better factory triggers than the GP's.

So, 3" combat revolver? Advantage S&W's stock trigger, slight advantage in Ruger's durability and since the trigger system is modular, it's pretty easy to improve a GP's trigger by polishing the internals and adding Wolff springs. Then again, I'd do the same and have with my wife's M65 LadySmith that has had an internal polishing and no monkeying around with that leaf-spring tension screw on the grip frame. ;)
Thank you for some very informative input..
Since reading all the input in this thread, pretty sure it is going to be a S&W.
Pretty sure a 626 of some kind.
Decided I want at least a 3 inch barrel and nothing shorter.

Are revolvers hard to work on?
I've done several Sig DA/SA DAK conversions, took the LCP apart, total strips of XD pistols and Glocks, did an LEM conversion on a USPc.
So I'm no stranger to taking guns apart, but I've never worked on a revolver.
I only owned the 642 for a few months.

Even though I'm saying I only want one revolver, I gotta feeling I'm about to open a box that cannot be closed.
I feel have every semi pistol I really want, so I guess revolvers are the next step.
I'd love to to have a nice 44mag to run 44sp through, I also like the idea or a 9mm or 45ACP revolver.
I actually bid on a S&W 940, but I'm sure it is going to go higher than I want to pay.
Another thing, as I research these guns and look them on on GB, seems everything I like is a rarity and/or costs over grand...
So my upcoming revolver addiction is going to cost more to feed...
I would bet I'll end up with both a GP100 and a 686 before it is all over with..

I'm about to go to a local gun range.
They have a GP100, and 2 686 guns, a 4 inch and a 2.5 inch.
Going to rent all three and run both 38sp and 357mag load thru them.
We will see how it goes....:mrgreen:
 

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