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HI it is me again, I have been researching revolvers like crazy, I orginally was deciding between the Taurus 605, Taurus 617 and S&W 686 and Ruger SP101 all in 2 inch for Taurus and 2 1/2 inch for Smith and 2 1/4 inch for Ruger and all of these are for ccw. Ok now here is what I am trying to find out, I know Smith and Ruger both call there frames small and Taurus calls the 605 small but Taurus calls the 617 compact. OK I cant find any data on the compact frame, like what size that really is. I found something very interesting on the subject though, I found a review by Steven A Camp where he compaired the ruger sp 101 and the s&w k frame ( medium) and s&w j frame (small). When seeing the numbers on this it really makes a person think very hard about what a revolver is made of there is a few critical areas on a gun that make the difference of how a gun will hold up with 357 full loads. Here is what he said go look at this site you will not be sorry. http://www.snubnose.info/docs/sp101.htm ok now I know he didnt reveiw Taurus and that is why I was wondering where I might find out the information I am looking for, like the forcing cone thickness, top strap thickness, top strap width, frame width at bbl, cylinder width I can find not as important though. for the Taurus 617 compact frame. Nowhere does Taurus show any of this imformation and from what I have read it is very important at least to me it is. The big question here is can anyone help me find this information on the Taurus 617ss2 seven shot 357 mag? Well as for my Taurus model 85 38 special titanium 2 inch which has never been fired yet I will sell it.
 

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I know the S&W J frame revolvers have been prone to cracking. When I buy a snubbie for me I am getting the SP101. No internal gun lock, not prone to frame cracking, and I have a trusted gun smith that speaks very highly of the SP101. The only S&W I would consider is a old model 36.
 

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Strength wise, I'm not sure between a 617 and an SP101. They're both snubbies that will ride nice on your belt. But the 617 holds 7 rds while the SP101 holds 5. I'd think a better comparison to the 617 would be the 3" barreled GP100 from Ruger.

It you're going to be shooting mainly max or near max loads for the life of the gun and shooting many of them a year then you should be looking at the medium to large framed guns. I'd suggest a Taurus 608 (as its built on the large frame), the Ruger GP100 (or a Redhawk 357 if you can find one used) or a used Smith M27 or 28 as they're 357's built on the N frame.

Brent_Bowser, I'd suggest first deciding what is the intended use of this gun. Once you know what you want to use it for, then you can begin looking at specific models that will fit that idea.

If its to be a smaller, relatively lightweight carry gun then a Taurus M605 or a Ruger SP101 would be a good choice. Even the Ruger won't hold up as long as some medium sized guns to many heavy loads over time. It is still a small frame gun, even though it is the toughest of the bunch. Yes, you can drop the weight more with exotic materials (titanium or scandium) but the gun costs more and the reduced weight increases recoil and in some guns limits the available loads you can use to the bullets removing themselves from the cases due to the sharp recoil.

If you're looking for more of a home defense weapon, trail gun, range gu, larger carry weapon (more weight on the belt and more work to conceal well) then you're looking at a Taurus M65/66, Taurus 357 Tracker, Ruger GP100 (or old Security Six/Speed Six etc), or any Smith K or L frame 357. Some guns in this size range are available with exotic materials. Many guns in this size can be found with adjustable sights so you can set the gun for your preferred load, but some people prefer fixed sights as they effectively can't be damaged.

The medium/compact frame snubbies are a combination of the two categories. They're easier to conceal due to the shorter barrel but they are easier to shoot due to the larger frame (more weight to absorb recoil) and the larger grips (more to hang on to).

Here's something else to think about. Taurus and Smith both use a removable side plate to access the internals of the gun. Ruger does not, both sides of the frame are a solid unit (with the hammer and other stuff between the sides of the frame). This makes the Ruger much stronger. But Smith revolvers were used for the development of the 357 magnum and the 44 magnum so the side plate guns aren't exactly weak either. Most people won't shoot enough of the heavy stuff for this to matter.

And here's a final thought to this lengthy post of mine, many people don't find the perfect gun right away. They end up going through a few different models. Or they find that 1 gun can't do it all for them.

Steelheart
 

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from what i've seen on the 617 it is essentially the same size frame as the tracker 627. both are 7 shot.
 

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I have a 617 and a SP101. I think the SP101 is stronger and built a little better. My 617 has 3000 to 4000 rounds threw it and still seems good. The SP101 has only about 1500 to 2000 threw it but is still like new. I like to carry each of the guns. If I had to pick one it would be hard to decide. The 617 is a little fatter but they carry all most the same IWB. The 617 has a bigger grip to hide. For the pocket, the SP is not bad in a back pocket.
 

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The 617 will handle .357 just fine. I'd treat it like my M66s, more .38 for practice, but I wouldn't eliminate .357s, I just keep 'em to 158 grain on the range and shoot hot loads, but with slow powders. I carry 140s in either gun (SP101 or Taurus). I don't like the 125s for the forcing cone problems of the past in numerous guns and, heck, I'd rather have a little more meat in the bullet, anyway. Either gun has merit for carry. My 66 is a medium frame, but not that much heavier nor less compact than my SP101, so both are belt/IWB type guns. Neither are for a pocket. The SP101 does have a more compact grip. I have hogues on both and LOVE the SP101's feel and compact round butt design.

The SP101, IMHO, is the stronger gun because of frame design. I consider it as strong as any Smith and Wesson N frame. It's not just the locking mechanism, but the lack of a side plate, the fact that it's one solid cast/machined frame with TWO sides to it like a good single action. In addition, taking the trigger group out for cleaning and lubrication is VERY easy.

The 3" barrel on my 66 give it more sight radius and it's a tad more accurate as a result, but the SP101 is very accurate. I can get 2" groups out of it if I strain my old eyes off sandbags with my .38 wadcutter load at 25 yards. That's amazing to me for a snubby. BUT, neither gun is a pocket gun, way too heavy for that.

I don't have the 617, but it's not much different than the 66 in application. If I owned neither and wanted it for carry, I'd choose the SP101 first, just me, but it's a lovely little gun that's uber strong. Either gun would last me the rest of MY life, though, but the SP101 just feels like a solid hunk-o-steel in my hand. It's a very well built, well designed little gun.

Either of these choices, the SP101 or the medium frame Taurus, are much stronger guns in .357 than any J frame sized five shooter. I would not consider shooting .357 much at all in a J frame. J frames are for .38 special. The 686 is a strong gun, but heavy and bulky. The sorter barrel models compare well to the 617, though, and they're stronger guns than the K frames, just that I consider the SP101 even stronger. It's a little tank, bank vault, whatever adjectives you can think up. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I want to tank you guys for your comments, so much it had made my decision easier, I own a taurus model 85 ti. that has never been fired it is in 38 caliber. It only weights 15 oz. I think my wife will carry that gun and it is ported to help her. so now I think I will go with the ruger sp101 in 357 for myself, I will lose two rounds over the taurus 617 but I figure if I have to pull the triger more than five times to stop someone, I am in real trouble anyway. Thanks again
 

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Don't underestimate the power of .38 defensive rounds these days: much more effective at 'passing along' energy than the old days of RN or SWC alone. I'm just saying don't think of the 85 as just a lady's gun. And 5 shots versus 7? That's s judgement call of yours, b/c hopefully you've got a couple more rounds on you in a loader of some type. Not a bad idea to always have more ;)
 
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