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Discussion Starter #1
Years ago, I worked with the training officer of a police dept in So Calif.
My need then: Small, lightweight, idiot proof for camping and backpacking in remote locations.

This training officer came up with the Ruger SP101.

Although my need has changed some over the years, Im still interested in a .357 revolver 3" barrel model.

Question: What other makes can I look at/ compare beside Ruger? I believe in paying for quality, but I also believe in NOT paying for a name.
Any suggestions for alternatives?

ruger-sp101-3inch.jpg
 

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First of all, welcome to the forum!
welcome from New Mexico.JPG

Now, a quick bit of gunbrokering tells me the commonly available choices are Ruger, S&W, and there are two Taurii. Personally, given the things I've heard about S&W lately (quality control, customer service)... and admittedly, I have yet to forgive S&W for their actions during the Clinton administration, so I'd look at the Rugers and the Taurii. Looks like you can get an SP101 for about $500, and a six shot SP100 for about $600. The Taurus is currently at $400 with no bids and 3 days to go. If I were a much more patient man than I am, I'd wait and see how the Taurus ends and grab it if it's below $450. If I were actually itching for a 3" .357, I'd probably hop on an SP101 right away. Built like tanks and great customer service from everything you hear on forums. And actually, since the $450 figures is just 10% below the rough SP101 price, that's probably the answer, especially since you had one before - assuming you liked it!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the Welcome.

In my research, a side arm is MUCH different than (say) buying a car and all the different makes and models out there available.
S&W, Ruger, Taurus seem to be the most common and discussed.

What about other manufacturers?
Charter Arms?
Freedom Arms?
Rossi?
(or are these cheap alternatives to the genuine article(s)???

Also... views on purchasing new vs used?
 

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As an owner of several calibers of Taurus revolvers, and since this is a Taurus forum, I highly recommend a Taurus Revolver! (You didn't see that coming, did you?)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nah, never saw that one coming. (sarcasm)
I see it like the Coke Vs. Pepsi debate, or Chevrolet vs Ford. Im sure all manufacturers have their merits.

Ok... so being a Taurus owner / enthusiast... what can I look at as Taurus's equivalent/ similar to the Ruger SP101/ .357 mag/ 3 inch barrel?
I 100% open to other makes and models of similar class.
 

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I can also understand the love for a 3 inch barrel on a .357 magnum. I feel that is the Goldilocks of gun barrel length for many uses in a revolver.

With regard to Taurus, you are looking at used, either in a model 65 (fixed sights) or model 66 (adjustable sights) for a 3" barrel. I, for one, would love to see Taurus reintroduce a 3" barrel option on these revolvers. There may be others, but these two models are the ones I normally see on Gunbroker.

P.S.: A Taurus .357 magnum with a 3" barrel is somewhat hard to find. I know, I have been searching for quite a while. Good luck in your search.
 

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What about other manufacturers?
Charter Arms?
Freedom Arms?
Rossi?
(or are these cheap alternatives to the genuine article(s)???

Also... views on purchasing new vs used?
Charter Arms; the current production is generally regarded as well made, reliable revolvers. Not a good-looking as some others, maybe, but they will absolutely do the job and their customer service has an excellent reputation. One of these days I'm going to surprise my wife with one of the Charter Old Glory revolvers, if that tells you anything. There are plenty of Charter .357s around at good prices, but finding a 3" barrel is going to be a challenge. Most are 2.2" barrels, and some are 4.2". Of the 27 on Gunbroker right now, I don't see any 3".

Freedom Arms; there are 7 on Gunbroker right now. None are 3", and the cheapest is $2097. But the quality is second to none, from everything I've ever read.

Rossi; I've never had one. Lots of folks on this forum absolutely love theirs, though. I shared a table at a gun show recently, and overheard my friend discussing Rossi with someone. His take was that if you find a good one, they are a really good revolver at an excellent price. But he said they used to hang on to their tooling too long, so you can also find them that are much looser than they should be. Find a tight one and you've got a gem. Those were his comments. Personally, if I were you and found a brand new 3" Rossi 357, I'd be all over it. But again, 3" might be hard to find. There are 6 .357 Rossis on Gunbroker right now, and most are 2".

All of the above are the genuine article. I don't think anyone's selling .357s in the US today that I'd really worry about, safety wise. The differences between them are cosmetic (the best Rossi I looked at for this post was MUCH better looking IMHO than any of the Charters) and maybe whether your great grandchildren will inherit it (Freedom), grandchildren (Ruger, Taurus, Rossi) or children.

Two other brands you might not be aware of are Kimber and Chiappa.

Kimber just started making the K6 .357 magnum. Good reviews, more modern looking design than any others we've discussed.

Chiappa makes a very unconventional, ultra-modern .357 called the Rhino. The barrel is in front of the 6:00 cylinder chamber, not the 12:00 (top) cylinder chamber like other revolvers. Again, finding a 3" isn't going to be trivial, and these ain't cheap. They aren't Freedom Arms expensive, but you'll find Rugers for a lot less. Google it for lots more info.

New vs. used? Very much up to you. You can save a lot of money with used, especially if you're going to use it in ways that might produce some rub marks or (gasp) scratches, and don't mind that work being done by a previous owner. Ideally, you should check it out in person, using a checklist like this. http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/taurus-revolvers/15648-revolver-buyer-s-checklist.html Lately, I've been carrying a Colt Cobra more than anything else. Bought it used on Gunbroker based on photos and the seller's rating. It arrived with a good, square cylinder, tight gap, and tight lockup. But of course caveat emptor. So buying used is a perfectly viable option.

Hope this helps! Stick around and let us know what you end up with!
 

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I see it like the Coke Vs. Pepsi debate, or Chevrolet vs Ford. Im sure all manufacturers have their merits.
Precisely, except Pepsi has fetal tissue in it and Smith & Wesson used to support gun control. As others have suggested, it may be wise to stick with Ruger or Taurus. Quality control on S&W revolvers seems to be a real issue these days,while Taurus are economical and have a lifetime warranty, and Rugers are about as solid as they come.
 

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Personally I'm in love with the Rossi 462. Six shot and although they are tricky to find you can get one for under $400. I happen to love the stainless but you can get the 461 in blue for only $335 all day long. Great gun, can't beat the price!

Welcome to the best gun forum on the net!

Rossi 462.jpg
 

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I've always wanted a Ruger SP101, but most of my revolvers are Tauruses. I do have a Ruger Vaquero in .45ACP and it's a sweet gun!

My choice for the .357 is a Taurus 617. I have two of them, one in stainless steel and the other titanium. Sweet little 7-shot revolver, but I'm not sure they make a 3-inch. Mine are 2-inch.

You could also look at the 608 and 66, but I don't have either, so I can't comment much. You can also go with the 605. It's smaller frame than all of these and holds only 5 rounds. I don't have that, but I do have a number of other revolvers based on the same frame, including an 85 (.38-Special), 856 (.38-Special magnesium), 85 Poly (.38 as well), and 905 (9mm with moon clips). I also have the .40S&W revolver, but it's the same frame as the 617.

That can probably get you started. Problem is, once you get started, it's hard to stop. LOL.
 

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Holy heck, has this thread had me doing some hard-corps revolver shopping on Gunbroker. Only one bid so far though! More of a reserve test than an actual bid. I'm [gritted teeth] being good. [/gritted teeth]
 

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Welcome from green country Oklahoma...Glad you're here! Looking forward to getting to know you...
 

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3" is a tough one for new revolvers. For your consideration:

Ruger LCRX with a three inch barrel - locally prices are $430 to $480 - however the 3" only comes in 38special +P
SW model 60 - 3" 357 - Locally prices run $500 (for used) , $650-$800 for new and higher for performance center versions
SW 586 or 686 - 3" 357 - locally $750 - $900 and higher for the performance center versions
 

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I have a Ruger SP101 3" .357 , a Taurus 605 2" .357, and a Taurus 85 3" .38 special. Stock triggers on the Taurus are better than the Ruger in my opinion , smoother and shorter trigger pull in DA. I have had a Ruger GP100 4" .357 that I sold , me not the gun. I have small hands and the GP was too big of a grip. I also have a Taurus 669 6" 357 with a very nice trigger, I sold my Ruger Security Six 4" 357, just didn't fit me. I personally like Taurus triggers over Ruger but I am a fan of both. My advice is you need to shoot both if possible.
I have only had 1 S&W model 10 and it was good. I had a Rossi 971 4" 357 that had a sweet trigger and was accurate , I gave it to 1 of my sons who is just getting into firearms. Try as many as you can , they are all good it is what ever you like . They all make good ones and bad ones, mainly good.
 

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Welcome to TA from Minnesota. Good luck in your quest.
 

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Welcome from Kansas, enjoy!
 

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My dad just bought the Ruger sp101 with the 3" barrel last summer. It's a very sweet gun that shoots very accurate. He swapped the grip for a Hogue monogrip and it makes shooting magnums a breeze.
 

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I've always wanted a Ruger SP101, but most of my revolvers are Tauruses. I do have a Ruger Vaquero in .45ACP and it's a sweet gun!

My choice for the .357 is a Taurus 617. I have two of them, one in stainless steel and the other titanium. Sweet little 7-shot revolver, but I'm not sure they make a 3-inch. Mine are 2-inch.

You could also look at the 608 and 66, but I don't have either, so I can't comment much. You can also go with the 605. It's smaller frame than all of these and holds only 5 rounds. I don't have that, but I do have a number of other revolvers based on the same frame, including an 85 (.38-Special), 856 (.38-Special magnesium), 85 Poly (.38 as well), and 905 (9mm with moon clips). I also have the .40S&W revolver, but it's the same frame as the 617.

That can probably get you started. Problem is, once you get started, it's hard to stop. LOL.
Not a 3" barrel, but I'm going to second the Taurus 617 2"; I have also owned Ruger GP100's, 2 of them; and they're fine revolvers, but I'll never get rid of my blued 617... just an all-around great revolver and my go-to weapon of choice.

7 shots, and the supposed tremendous velocity loss in 2" .357 snubbies is more myth and fable than anything (folks routinely still get 1250-1300 fps with 125 gr. rounds out of 2" snubbies), especially with the modern powders specifically designed for snubnose revolvers and short-barreled pistols these days.
 
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