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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Glock 19, SA 1911, Beretta 92FS, and am now looking to add a revolver to my collection. Target shooting, nightstand pistol.
Have narrowed it down to SP101, GP 100, S&W 686 Plus. What are your experiences with these revolvers?
 

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My experience with those revolvers is that I have handled and want all three of them. The GP 100 in particular simply for aesthetics.

In all seriousness I do not think you can go wrong with any of them. Sorry I was of no use.
 

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For target shooting/bedside the 4 inch gp, any length 686, or a 4 inch sp101 would all be excellent choices.

I own two sp101's and want a gp100 but, the 2.5 inch barrel 686 plus is so sexy.
 

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By them all and sell me whichever one you like the least at drastically reduced pricing. :) Seriously, I don't think you can go wrong with any/all of those. Just pick the one that feels right!
 

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I've owned each at some point in time. No regrets on any of them.

You mentioned target shooting and home defense. The SP101 is durable and a concealed carry option. Since I presume you'll be using something else for carry, I'll rule it out for now. It's two drawbacks compared to the GP and the 686 plus are barrel length (4 vs. 3 or 2.5 inch barrels) (velocity) and capacity (5 vs. 6 or 7 rounds). You could buy a 4 inch SP, but you still come up short one or more rounds in the capacity department ("more holes are better than less holes" - 1911Tuner).

Either the GP or the Smith will serve your needs well and be fun to shoot. Off hand, I'd give the nod to the Smith based on capacity (if you buy the 686 plus). I would go to a range where you can try them both side by side and see which one fits you best.
 

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Ive sold all my revolvers except for an old Rossi. A rev will likely be my mext purchase, but I think revolvers are grossly overpriced related to their function. However they could have alot of collector value.
 

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I almost completely agree with Wheelgun_Man.
BUT - if you have small hands, the SP101 might be just what the doctor ordered. If not, then skip the SP101. It is a great revolver, but the 686 and GP are better for your purposes.

Find a place where you can try out the Ruger GP100 and the S&W 686 or 686+ and give them a go. Figure out what feels natural, what speaks to you.

I'd add 2 things to consider: 1) If you're ok with used, be patient and seek out a Colt Trooper. Used Troopers in quite good condition are available and could be a real bargain in a used pistol. Gander Mountain in Winston Salem had a used blue Colt Trooper with quite a bit of holster wear for about $420 or so the week before Thanksgiving. I got my stainless Trooper from a fellow board member here for $525 or $550 I think. It has some scratches and such on the barrel, but it locks up perfectly, and is extremely accurate and will probably last long after Im dead. For the price of a new GP100 or S&W 686 ($600-$700 or so) with some patience you could find a great double action Colt... and have something more unique - it might never be very collectable, but to me, it is more unique, it just isn't made anymore, and it will probably last a lifetime.

2) Barrel length is very, very important. 3" is a great length, but ballistically, 357 is significantly more powerful through a 4" barrel. Many types of ammunition deliver higher velocity when shot through longer barrels but 357 Magnum delivers extreme differences based on barrel length. With 357mag, barrel length may make more difference than with any other caliber. 357 magnum is a bit of a barrel-length-chameleon fired through a 2" barrel is very similar to a 38 special +p load, but through a 16 inch barrel, it is similar to a 30-30 rifle. So I'd recommend that for a GP100, 686, or any other 357 revolver where concealability is NOT important, try to get a barrel of at least 3" and preferably 4" because the ballistics are significantly different for the 357 - based on barrel length.
As an example... (from Ballistics by the inch) Federal 357 ammo, 125gr, through a 2" barrel, launches at 949fps. Through a 4" barrel the muzzle velocity is 1511fps. That is a huge difference. (it goes up over 2000fps for a 16" or longer barrel)

For comparison, Federal 125gr, 38 special+p hydrashock through a 4" barrel is 954fps, and only 1252fps through a 16" barrel.

Since, barrel length also adds to sight radius and the weight of a revolver, that means that a longer barrelled revolver will probably be more accurate, deliver less recoil, and be significantly more powerful... You can't go wrong with a 4" GP100 or 686... or Colt.

When you get it, be sure to post photos.

View attachment 32803

You mentioned target shooting and home defense. The SP101 is durable and a concealed carry option. Since I presume you'll be using something else for carry, I'll rule it out for now. It's two drawbacks compared to the GP and the 686 plus are barrel length (4 vs. 3 or 2.5 inch barrels) (velocity) and capacity (5 vs. 6 or 7 rounds). You could buy a 4 inch SP, but you still come up short one or more rounds in the capacity department ("more holes are better than less holes" - 1911Tuner).

Either the GP or the Smith will serve your needs well and be fun to shoot. Off hand, I'd give the nod to the Smith based on capacity (if you buy the 686 plus). I would go to a range where you can try them both side by side and see which one fits you best.
 

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From the three that you listed I would have to suggest the GP-100 then the SP-101 in that order. I don't have personal experience with the 686, so I don't have an opinion on it. For durability the Rugers are hard to beat and work well for your purposes.
 

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For target and bedside, I'd get a GP100 or 686. You get extra shots, longer barrels. Since you don't plan on carrying, a 4" or 6" of either will be great...and the 686+ obviously gives you 7 rounds instead of 6.
 

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686 is an absolute classic.

Since you aren't tying to conceal it, get the 6" barrel....

Target work? Shoots light .38sp through a ragged hole
Nightstand? 7 malfunction-proof 357mag rounds are hard to beat!

Then, find a s&w k22 revolver as a practice partner.... Another classic gun from s&w!
 

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For a first revolver, I would definitely suggest going with the larger frame revolver, so I'd pass on the SP101. (Save that frame size for when you're ready for a snubby).

I like the S&W because it offers an easy way to mount a red-dot or scope if you ever want to tinker with that - the frame is drilled and tapped, and the rear sight removes quite easily to install an inexpensive base for optics. Also, the extra round in the 686+ is pretty cool. You may want to check whether speedloaders are available for that configuration though, if that's important to you.

I like the Ruger because the cylinder latch is the most natural to me.........it's a pushbutton. You don't have to slide it forward like the Smith, or backwards toward you (who the heck invented THAT?) like you do on a Colt.

I'm philosophically averse to the current production S&W's because of the ugly internal lock on the side of the frame. So I would (and have) only buy older S&W's without the lock. If you don't care about the lock, I'd go with the current production S&W. But the Ruger is an excellent choice as well.

Lou
 

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Since it is simply a nightstand and target pistol get a gp or 686.

I have a gp and wouldn't trade it for anything. Built like a tank and just damn sexy.

If you have big pockets go for the 686 plus. Their amazing also.

Oh Lawmens in Raleigh has a 2.5 inch 686 plus for $622. Thats a deal.
 
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