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Thread: GP-100 or Smith 686

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    GP-100 or Smith 686

    Could use some input on which to get:
    Ruger GP-110 6" Stainless
    Or
    Smith 686 6", 6 shot not the 7 shot.

    Pro's/Con's of both
    Accuracy/Reliability
    Will be shooting mostly cast for silhouette matches.
    Failure is not an Option

  2. #2
    Boolit Master




    Scharfschuetze's Avatar
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    Will be shooting mostly cast for silhouette matches.
    Probably most of your shooting will be single action then? If so, I think that either one will work well for you. For any event requiring DA fire, I'd go with the S&W, but you can't argue with the Ruger for what you want to do with a revolver. My favorite 357 for long range shooting is a big and heavy 6" S&W Model 28 N Frame revolver. It's truly amazing what can be done with a revolver at ranges often thought to be in the realm of rifles.

    I will suggest that whichever one you get, get a solid black partridge style front sight and a square notch rear sight for the utmost in precision on those little steel creatures. Fancy sights are nice for fast and fancy shooting at shorter ranges, but you'll want good square lines for good sight alignment and sight picture for long range shooting.
    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Walkingwolf's Avatar
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    Both good guns, the Smith though will be more expensive, but there are more grip options. The Smith also is a seven shot now if you purchase the plus model.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Do you want to run the risk of having to send it back to the factory because there is something wrong w/ it? If so then buy the Ruger. The last few I purchased all had to go back. The new 586 I bought on the other hand has run flawlessly and is one of the nicest revolvers I own. It's not even an option for me anymore. If S&W makes one I will buy it over a Ruger and gladly pay more money.

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    I prefer The S&W action but there is a diehard group that prefers the prelock versions.

    The S&W grips and workmanship are better.


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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    If I didn't know better......I would think the OP is trying to start a debate.
    GP-100 vs. L-Frame S&W - seems like I've seen that thread title somewhere before .

    They're both fine revolvers. The argument about the Smith's having a better DA trigger always comes up but the Ruger can be made to equal a current production S&W (the old Smith & Wesson's are hard to beat). Of course the retort to that is the S&W may be better "Out of the Box".
    The GP-100 may hold a slight advantage in terms of strength but it's not a significant difference. Sort of like saying a 100 pound anvil is stronger than a 99 pound anvil.

    The truth is both guns were developed in the 1980's as dedicated .357 magnum platforms. The L-frame Smith's came out first (1980) and addressed the issue related to .357 magnum loads fired in K-frames. The fixed sighted 581 and 681 models were specifically aimed at the law enforcement market and were well received.
    The Ruger GP-100 has its roots in the Service-Six/Security-Six/Speed-Six line and the GP-100 was introduced in 1985. The Ruger was also marketed to law enforcement in an effort to gain market share over S&W.
    Both platforms proved to be very popular and while revolvers are no longer in widespread use by LE, the civilian market continues to embrace both the GP-100 and 686.
    The fixed sighted Smith & Wesson models 581 and 681 are no longer in production but the 686 continues to be made.

    Both guns are very strong and both guns are capable of outstanding accuracy.
    The major talking points seem to be: initial price and out of the box DA trigger pull.

    I can make a GP-100 trigger rival any current production S&W but it requires parts & time which negates the price advantage.

    So, to answer the GP-100 vs. S&W 686 question - PICK THE ONE YOU LIKE !

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Electric88's Avatar
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    I'm biased, in that I've not held a Smith 686. However, I like my GP-100 very much (same exact model) and have not had to send it back to the factory. I've not had to send any of my Rugers back to the factory, and I own quite a few. Maybe I'm just lucky though.

    The GP-100 is a tank, and just a hoot to shoot. I'd have no problems buying it again.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    2ndAmendmentNut's Avatar
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    GP-100 or Smith 686

    I have owned both and still own a pre lock variant of the 686. The S&W is by far the smoother and more accurate gun. Both are very strong guns and neither will wear out with published 357 loads. If I were you, I would stock local gun stores and gunbroker for a nice used 6" pre lock model 686 or 586.

    P.S. if interested in a nice S&W model 27 with an 8" barrel send me a PM.


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    Last edited by 2ndAmendmentNut; 04-06-2017 at 09:08 AM.
    "I don't want men who miss." -Capt. Leander H. McNelly

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    ruger fan here. no longer fond of any new stuff from S&W.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    I think the 6 shot 686 is the better choice. So you are on the right track there. I am of the opinion that there is less that seperates the two than most think. I have a blue 6" GP100 and it is set to go out for an action job. I like the gun alot. To me it is more of a pick'em. I believe you will be happy either way.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I have owned and shot both. In my experience, S&W 686 is the better gun. I will admit, my 686 is a pre-lock version so that may influence things a bit.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    I assume that you will be scoping the pistol, as I prefer the S&W iron sights over Ruger,so that evens the playing field some. I think you will do work to both pistols to get them competitive. The Smith has a bigger aftermarket for options.
    Really it comes down to personal preference. As far as accuracy that is a toss up. I don't think you can say one pistol is more accurate than the other. I would lean toward the Smith and would consider a used pistol over new. Good luck!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I have owned Rugers and Smiths. Still have a bunch of them, mostly S&W. In new production
    revolvers it would be personal preference. A pre lock S&W is a lot smoother action, better trigger
    better fit & finish and to me better balanced. Actually I have only one L, 586. I don't like any
    SS guns and most of my S&Ws are the older P&R models. Both S&W and Ruger have suffered
    on quality compared to what they use to be. Revolvers are expensive to make compared to the
    new generation autos. So they keep cutting on fit & finish to keep them at a profitable price.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Hi...

    I vote for the 686. If you can find one of the Silhouette Models with adjustable sights front and rear. They come a tad expensive on the used gun market, but are extremely accurate. I have had mine for years with thousands and thousands of rounds sent down range from book maximum 125gr loads to book maximum 180gr loads and just about everything in between. Never needed any work done to it...aim, squeeze, hit target.

    Although I do not own one of my own, I do have some experience shooting a friend's GP100 in .357Magnum. It seems an accurate, well made revolver that should last basically forever. If I ever feel the need to buy another DA .357mag revolver, it would probably be at the top of my list since I already have the 686 as well as a couple of Colt Troopers.

  16. #16
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    ruger fan here. no longer fond of any new stuff from S&W.
    I have a GP-100 as well as a 686 ...and I have also owned a recently manufactured S&W mod 29, I wasn't pleased with it. While that is anecdotal, I wouldn't buy another one.

    If you are buying a NEW pistol, I'd recommend the Ruger, as rfd implies.
    If you can find a nice pre-lock S&W, that'd be my first choice.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master contender1's Avatar
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    I think Petro & Powder summed it up quite well.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I'd second the idea of a 6" Model 28, pinned and recessed. They're still out there in good numbers and many of them just have holster wear and were seldom fired much more than for an annual police department qualification. GF

  19. #19
    Boolit Master OptimusPanda's Avatar
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    They're both great. So to me it comes down to looks. Since you mention a 6" barrel I say go with the gp100. It'll look better on the slightly bigger frame. If you were after a 4" I'd have to say the smith. Or maybe a gp100 match champion.
    It's only hubris if I'm wrong.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the replies,
    Won't be scoping the gun, open sights only for 50yd steel silhouettte targets the size of small chickens.
    Do either have issues with the barrels being choked like the Ruger 44's and 45 colts ?

    Failure is not an Option

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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GC Gas Check