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Discussion Starter #1
OK all, I need help.

I need you to talk me in to the Ruger GP100 3" or 4" over the S&W 686+. I already have one 686+ and was planning to get a GP100 for CCW, but I played with a 3" 686+ today and I'm almost sold on it.

Bear in mind, either gun will go out for porting and action work.

Biker
 

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I don't talk people into one gun over the other. Buy what you like. However, if this is one of the new Smiths with the internal lock, you might check out the post on their lock failures.

Monday, August 27, 2007
S&W Revolver Lock Failure!

Heard about the internal S&W revolver lock failing for years, but ever since my friend Charlie Petty's scathing article in AMERICAN HANDGUNNER, which essentially said the safety failures were an urban myth (and which I can't for the life of me find on the Internet), I dismissed the idea from my mind.

Doom on Mikey! I went out today to shot some .44 Magnums through several guns, including my ultralight-weight 329PD overhauled by Jim Stroh at Alpha Precision. I've put a bunch of .44 Specials through the gun already, and in truth I took it along as a "control" to compare the newer guns to.

I ran 50 rounds of Winchester Cowboy .44 Special (240-grain lead @ 750 fps) through the 329 and it shot as sweet as it always has. Then I went to BlackHills 240-gr JHPs @ 1260...thumpers, but one of my favorite .44 Magnum loads. I ran through 3 cylinders-full with no problemo.

Then I went to Buffalo Bore "lower recoil" 255-gr Keith style lead bullets at 1350 fps, a load specifically designed for the 329 and one that I have used in all my other .44 Magnums with great accuracy. Here is what Buffalo Bore says about their load:

In order to alleviate the recoil, crimp jump and sticky extraction, we have developed this load. It is still full power, but uses a lighter weight, super hard cast, gas checked bullet and will still penetrate very deeply in big game despite its lighter weight. This load is ideal for those of you who carry the S&W model 329PD. This load will not lead your barrel.

This load falls well under SAAMI pressure specs and is safe to use IN ANY 44mag. While we love to hear from our customers, please do not phone/email us and ask if this load is safe in your particular 44 mag.—it is—providing your gun is in normal working condition.

Now there exists a serious full power 44 mag. load that will penetrate big bones (including a bears skull) and drive deeply into living organs and tissues, that has minimum recoil.
In other words — and I have said this repeatedly — the ideal load for a dangerous game back-up gun, which was what I got the 329 for. As I said, I like the load..it's heavy, but nothing like the Winchester or Cor-Bon hunting loads!

On the second round, the "flag" part of the locking system flew up and locked the gun up at almost a full cock.

I couldn't unlock it; I couldn't uncock it; I couldn't get it to fire. It took me 20 minutes of working v....e....e....r....r....y gingerly with a screwdriver to get the lock to release enough to allow me to bring the 329 to full cock and subsequently unlock the cylinder and empty the gun.

I'd say this was NOT GOOD for a gun billed as a dangerous game back-up gun!

Massad Ayoob touched on this in AH in Jan/Feb 2005, quoting a failure similar to mine:
In Rochester, Indiana, detective Dennis Reichard was firing his personally owned service revolver, a Model 329 Scandium with full power .44 Magnum, when the lock's flag mechanism flew out of its slot in the frame alongside the exposed hammer. While the .44 continued to fire, Reichard was less than thrilled with his duty weapon literally falling apart while he was shooting it, and has gone back to his old all-steel Model 629 without the integral lock mechanism.
Mine is going back to Jim Stroh for a lock removal and a thorough examination. ALL my centerfire S&Ws with locks will get the damned things removed, and I'll live with the hole in the frame.

In the meanwhile, I STRONGLY caution all of you about trusting your precious butts to an S&W revolver with the integral lock using HEAVY BULLETS! Especially the ultralight Scadium-framed revolvers like the 329, 325, 340, 357, etc.

To quote from an old bluesman I once knew, "I ain't tellin' you what I heard; I ain't tellin' you what I read; I'm tellin' you what is."

Posted by Michael Bane at 4:58 PM 26 comments
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had my S&W 22-4 Thunder Ranch Revolver lock up on me within the first fifty rounds fired. [V] I sent it back to S&W and it has since had over 1,000 "failure free" rounds through it and is my Off-Duty EDC.

The selling point to the 686+ was the increased ammo capacity. That one extra round is "comforting". The selling point to the GP100 is the fixed sights. I was looking at the 3" version of both guns.

Biker
 

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I think the GP100 is a great choice... There is a fantastic amount of Accessory Mods for this Gun...
 

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Do not waste your money purchasing a new S&W. I was very dissappointed in the quality of my recent 642 purchase. Lets face it...the lock sucks. The Lock company that bought out S&W will continue to make their product and then attach a revolver to it. Ruger is the future of American revolvers...get the GP100.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If ruger is the future I hope they don't discontinue the GP100 3" fixed sighted version.

If you are reading this I would like to take the time to ask you to call or Email Ruger asking them to not discontinue the fixed sight 3" GP100. If enough people did this, who knows, maybe we could save it.

Thanks in advance, Biker
 

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Getchewan...soon...you're starting with a stronger platform with the GP=less likely to malfunction than the more delicate S&W...when it all goes to chaos, the gunsmith won't be there to fix it...I'd go Ruger on any caliber they offered that I wanted...now, if you find an older used one, the Smith might be as good...don't worry about that 7th shot-habits what they are-you'll forget you have it and dump it and reload anyways:D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OK, I won't worry about the seventh shot.

I do need to ask ya'all to call or Email Ruger though and try to convince them not to discontinue the 3" GP100. I don't know if it's true or not, but I did hear from my local gun "pusher" that they are going to discontinue the 3" GP100. :(

It seems to me that while the 3" version of the S&W's and Rugers are not the biggest sellers they do sell to those that "really" carry a gun.

Biker
 

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Smith 3" rb is a sweet thing. Smiths generally have a better trigger pull out of the box than a ruger and are easy to smooth up.

Gunsmithing---I think a ruger trigger could come close for smoothness but will never quite equal a smith's trigger. Smiths have also been more popular in police holsters than ruger---just a fact. Smith also will have i believe a lifetime warranty and generally smith is a good product.

On the other side of the coin---you will probably use that smith warranty. i still distrust the current useage of MIM parts on their guns. Some say they are good and some say they are suspect, the fact that it starts out as powdered metal makes me uneasy. I'll let others read about mim and decide for themselves. I was brought up on a six shooter so the 7rd revolver is strange to me--probably could get use to it. A internal lock is unfortunately the wave of the future. Yes i have also read of lock problems on the smiths and that if you de-activate it it will probably void the warranty--would not de-activate a safety device for liability reasons anyway. Soon however probably all guns will have some sort of internal lock--including ruger gp's......

Adj vs. fixed sight is a whole other argument. Both sides have good points and it will boil down to your decision as to what you want.

The ruger will be tough as nails and can be slicked up some. The ruger does not have mim parts and currently does not have the internal lock. I have never seen a gp-100 loose its timing--ever--never--ever-----can't say that for smith.

As for me, if it comes down to a "L" frame .357 smith vs. the gp100, my preference is the ruger.
I perfer older smiths for their "j" and "n" frame offerings but smith wins by default there as ruger does not really have any small airweights and the redhawk series is just too big compared to an "n" frame. I'll give ruger the middle ground.

Opinions will vary......
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the links. :)

I plan to send my GP100 off to the same revolversmith, if I get one. I'm 95% convinced on the Ruger. I just hope they don't discontinue it before I can scrape the money together to buy one.

Biker
 

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Thats what lay-a-way is for........
and is what this poor boy is currently doing....
 

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...and me...a little over halfway to my P95...you're workin' on a Speed Six, aren't you? That's the finest DA Ruger ever made, in my book...tossup on 2 3/4 or 4"...either one would tickle my fancy!!! BikerRN, if you could land a good Stainless Speed Six 2 3/4"...you'd have a smoother trigger and a bit lighter carry gun...it had the GP beat....hard to find them....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Lay Away will work for something on my pusher's shelf, but not for something he has to order. He don't stock 3" anything. :(

So, if I want a 3" GP100 I have to order it and pay for it when it comes in. He is nice enough to take my word for it, if I call him and tell him I want something. I've been dealing with him for over twenty years. Most people have to put a "significant" deposit down.

Biker
 

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quote:Originally posted by BikerRN



Lay Away will work for something on my pusher's shelf, but not for something he has to order.
Biker
I never thought of my dealer as a pusher, but you know you're right! He's always takin my money and feedin my habit.[}:)]
 

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SO....have a garage sale and order your new GP3"---who needs a garage anyways:D
 

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red beans and cornbread time!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK, picked up a used 3" GP100! :D

Now I just have to wait until the New Year to send it off to the gunsmith. I carry an N-Frame and a J-Frame right now as my "Off-Duty Carry" but I wanted to switch back to a 357 Magnum for ammo commonality between the Primary and the BUG.

I agree, the S&W will have a better trigger, but Ruger can "come close". Heck, I just woke up and I'm rambling.............

Take care all and stay safe.

Biker
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Things at the range went OK.

I shot what I was suppossed to shoot, in the manner in which I was suppossed to shoot them and I "qualified" for another year. :)
 
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