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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a .357 wheelgun with a 3" barrel for daily carry. I've been carrying a S&W 640 in .38, but while I love the little snubbie and I've become quite accurate with it, I want something bigger and with more power.

In Argentina hollow point bullets are forbidden for defensive use (which means I can't load my 640 with any of the good +P stuff). I use a S&W 686 with a 4" barrel for home defense and outdoors carry, but it's too big for daily use. Climate down here is quite warm, a fleece vest or a sweater are the heaviest clothes I wear (and I take them off as soon as I get to work). A 3" barrel gun in .357 seems like a good compromise.

I've been looking at a used S&W 66, which feels great in my hand and has a sweet double action trigger pull. But I don't know if it's as strong as the Rugers (I plan to practice a lot with it, using magnum ammo 95% of the time), and the adjustable sights might not be ideal for a concealed carry revolver. I know 3" barrel 66's are somewhat rare.

For about the same amount of money I can get a new GP100 or SP101, I only have experience with Ruger single actions, but the general consensus is that their double action guns are built like tanks. The GP100 would be my first choice, 6 shots and a bit more weight. Is the SP101 much easier to conceal? I'd trade a round for a significant increase in comfort (plus, I intend to pocket carry my 640 as a BUG).
 

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SP101 all the way!
 

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Any of the medium frame revolvers you mention will eventually have some issues if you shoot alot of magnums. By alot I mean 500+ a year. I do not care for the 66 as it has a lot of sharp edges to snag your draw. I prefer the M-65 Smith. 3" round butt w/heavy barrel. Less snag prone than the 66 but same cylinder. Heavy barrel helps with recoil control.
Smith & Wesson uses forged steel frames. Ruger uses investment cast. Pound for pound, forged is stronger. The Smith and the Ruger are of comparable strength but the Smith is lighter/more compact.
 

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While I like my GP-100 and SP-101, the GP-100 is a little big and the SP-101 has fixed sights. I prefer adjustable sights, that is why I really like my S&W Model 60 Pro. It is a 3" barrel J frame .357 mag with adjustable sights. It is a great gun, but I doubt if it has the endurance of a Ruger SP-101.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Any of the medium frame revolvers you mention will eventually have some issues if you shoot alot of magnums. By alot I mean 500+ a year.
Is 500+ rounds a year a lot? I shoot a minimum 50 magnum rounds a week, usually 100.

Thanks for all the suggestions, but I forgot to mention that these three models are the only revolvers available with a 3" barrel in my city (probably in my country as well), so I've got to settle for one of them.
 

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I think you will be well served by any of them. I was going to recommend the Smith & Wesson Model 13 or 65 in 3-inch until I read your regional limitations.

For daily carry I would have to +1 the SP101.
 

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Respectfully I MUST disagree with you on the GP100. It's the strongest .357 on the market, and I've personally got 1 with somewhere well over 30,000 rounds through it with nary a single problem, and it's still going strong. No timing, lockup, or cylinder alignment issues whatsoever.






Any of the medium frame revolvers you mention will eventually have some issues if you shoot alot of magnums. By alot I mean 500+ a year. I do not care for the 66 as it has a lot of sharp edges to snag your draw. I prefer the M-65 Smith. 3" round butt w/heavy barrel. Less snag prone than the 66 but same cylinder. Heavy barrel helps with recoil control.
Smith & Wesson uses forged steel frames. Ruger uses investment cast. Pound for pound, forged is stronger. The Smith and the Ruger are of comparable strength but the Smith is lighter/more compact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Respectfully I MUST disagree with you on the GP100. It's the strongest .357 on the market, and I've personally got 1 with somewhere well over 30,000 rounds through it with nary a single problem, and it's still going strong. No timing, lockup, or cylinder alignment issues whatsoever.
Now that's a bit more encouraging!

I haven't seen the GP in person yet, but I've been told it's roughly the size of my S&W 686. I've handled the SP101 and it seemed quite easy to carry, but the store only had one left with a 3" barrel and it was a .38.

They told me they could order one for me, but the paperwork would take a while, which is fine, since I'm not in a hurry. I'll take a look at the GP100 on monday, if it's too big I'll order the SP101 (and get the GP with a longer barrel if I like it!).
 

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I have a 3" Ruger SP101 that I often use for concealed. It is usually loaded with Winchester 110 grain jacket hollow point magnums, unless I'm out in the woods. Then it's loaded with 140 grain silvertips.

I have never heard of an SP101 wearing out. You can shoot the heck out of them.

The GP100 is a great FULL sized combat gun, but even in its 3" variation, it's a big gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I called the gun shop today and told them to order a 3" SP101, it'll take a while to get here but I just spent an afternoon playing with one and it is EXACTLY what I need.

I'm keeping a .38 snubbie as a BUG, so the 5 shot capacity isn't that much of a handicap.
 
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