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Thread: 686 or GP100

  1. #21
    Boolit Grand Master
    rintinglen's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Orange, VA NOW
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumbcocker View Post
    If the Smith is pre EDM rifling I would get it. If not I would get the Ruger and be prepared to do some polishing and spring replacement.
    My sentiments precisely. S&W Barrels post-EDM are not as good as those they replaced, IME, and Rugers are actually better these days.
    But an 80's 686 that had not been rode hard and put away wet would get my money before either brands new.
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  2. #22
    Moderator Emeritus

    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
    Land of 10,000 Lakes
    The decision is easy.
    Get both
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  3. #23
    Boolit Master

    fivegunner's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    LOWELL Michigan
    Like others have said, Buy them both. you won`t go wrong.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master derek45's Avatar
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    Oct 2010


    NRA LIFE Member


  5. #25
    Boolit Master

    Lefty Red's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    WCH OH
    I have a 7 shot GP100 4” and love it. But I would choose a 686+ every time over the GP100. I just can never find in the wild. Only reason I got the GP100 was it was the first 357 4” I have seen in three years at the LGS.

    I'll be needing that for squirrels and such.....

  6. #26
    Boolit Grand Master

    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    I have both and I much prefer the 686's. That being said most of my S&W's are pre-1993. I do own several of ECM barreled Smiths and I have no issues with them for cast. With the factory stock Ruger or S&W triggers its luck of the draw. Once you start tuning the triggers S&W hands down.

    S&W barrels since 1993 use a process called ECM (Electro Chemical Machining).



    ECM and EDM are not the same.


    Some more discussion on the ECM barrels and cast.

    Last edited by M-Tecs; 08-07-2022 at 03:00 PM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."
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  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    We went through this a couple of years ago. The 686+ won easily. By we I mean my fiancé and I. We got the 5" barrels...matching pair. Tazman contributed to our choice with his experience.

    The Ruger seems "clunky" in comparison, but everyone has different hands. If you shot them both and you could not pick the winner, it won't matter much.
    Don Verna

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
    tward's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Rochester, NY
    I’ve had a SS 4” GP-100 for 25 years. Trigger seems to solved by spring change and pulling the trigger 5000 to 10000 times! Sights and grips are super easy to change. Customer service at Ruger is second to none. I never found a load that wasn’t comfortable. If you can I’m in the buy both camp, you can usually sell later at a profit. Tim

  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy hoodat's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Jefferson State
    Mine is 686-6. Never had the lock cause a problem and it's been fired about a bazillion times. SA trigger simply couldn't be any better. DA trigger is so good that I taught myself to shoot DA, and quit looking back. Hardly ever squeeze a single action shot. My favorite plinking is 12" or 16" gong at 100 yards. Your 50 yard chickens wouldn't be a problem.

    My pet plinking load is 125 gr Berry's plated flat points, with a 7 gr. charge of Bullseye. Trajectory works from 0 to a hundred yards without any thought.

    This is my second 686, first one was when they first came out. I like this one best. jd

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    It seems that people who do almost nothing, often complain loudly when it's time to do it.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master Tokarev's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Canada (North of upstate NY)
    686 or GP100?
    8-round Redhawk yeah!
    Remarks by President Biden on the Hostage Situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, January 16, 2022:
    "But you can’t stop something like this if someone is on the street buying something from somebody else on the street."

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    May 2011
    If forced to pick from current production, I’d go Ruger.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master

    Tazman1602's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    The woods of Northern Michigan
    I’m a Ruger nut but a couple of years ago my wife made me (due to another brand, NOT Ruger) take back a 357 that immediately failed and could have become dangerous and told me please buy something that wouldn’t hurt me even if it cost more…

    I got a 6” barrel 686 that is a joy to shoot. Only thing that made me hesitate was it was my understanding that there was nothing you could do to correct an MIM trigger that was crappy. I simply tried all they had in stock and the one I bought wants for nothing….

    ”Only accurate rifles are interesting”
    ——Townsend Whelen

    In a time of universal deceit , telling the truth is a revolutionary act
    —- George Orwell

  13. #33
    Boolit Master oldhenry's Avatar
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    Mar 2016
    Albany, GA
    I have an '80s era 686+ 4" that is an excellent revolver. I had a 6" from that same era that was also an excellent revolver. Unfortunately, I traded that 6" @ a gun show in the '90s thinking I could always buy another: bad mistake. Both had decent triggers out of the box, but I improved them with several sessions of judicious polishing mainly to improve the DA. I did replace the trigger return spring with an aftermarket item, but always maintained full power on the OEM main spring.

    I now have 2 GP100s in .44 spec. & really like them. I installed hammer shims, hammer dog shims, aftermarket trigger return spring & main spring. I lightly polished all contact points. Now those 2 GP100s have excellent triggers SA & DA.

    I personally would not buy a 686 of current manufacture. A friend bought a 629 of current manufacture & I spent many hours trying to smooth that action & it's now fair (not outstanding).

    I'm fortunate in that I have my own range & have 2 full sets (10) of the IHMSA chickens & 5 IHMSA pigs. When I go out to shoot these, I carry one of my 4 Ruger SAs.

  14. #34
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    The Lone Star State
    I liked the balance and feel of the 686 but went with GP100 for the solid frame, one piece barrel and no lock.
    Last edited by Cargo; 08-07-2022 at 11:52 PM.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master

    Dieselhorses's Avatar
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    Feb 2017
    Southeast Louisiana
    Quote Originally Posted by 414gates View Post
    My Rugers all developed trigger drag against the frame, and needed to be shimmed. The trigger drag caused light strikes.

    None of my S&W developed trigger drag, but I did end also end up with light strikes from weak leaf springs.

    I never favored one trigger over the other.

    If you have the means, buy them both.
    I had that issue and found the strain screw backed out a bit.
    The unexamined life is not worth living....Socrates
    Pain, is just weakness leaving the body....USMC
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is FINAL!....Wyatt Earp

  16. #36
    Boolit Master Wag's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    I'm a die-hard Ruger fan but in this case, I have to give a slight edge to the 686. Something a little more "crispy" about it.

    But if you can, get one of each. You won't regret it!

    "Great genius will always encounter fierce opposition from mediocre minds." --Albert Einstein.

  17. #37
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    I like the GP100 better overall -- particularly its lines and beefiness -- but I have to admit my friend's 686 has a much nicer SA trigger.

    I tried the Wolff reduced-power springs, but found I got light strikes with CCI primers. Also shimmed the hammer and some other parts, and dry fired it a few thousand times, and it's getting better, but I think my friend's 686 still has the nicer trigger.

    I may send it out to have a pistolsmith work on the trigger, but so far I'm having trouble parting with it for a month or 6 weeks!
    Last edited by Buck Shot; 08-08-2022 at 12:38 PM.

  18. #38
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    west central Illinois
    Over the years, I have owned and shot many Ruger GP100 and S&W 686 revolvers. The ones I kept were the S&W.
    I have never been able to make the Rugers shoot anywhere nearly as well as the S&W revolvers.
    I have a 686+ seven shot revolver with the EDM rifling and Hillary hole. There are no issues with accuracy, leading or anything else with the revolver.
    I can't tell any difference in accuracy or feel between the old models and the new ones.
    I love the way the GP100 feels in my hand but I cannot make them shoot. After the fifth try I gave up on them.
    I can't make the single action Rugers shoot either.
    The only Ruger revolver I ave been able to shoot reasonably well is the Security Six. Of the four or five of them that I have used, only two worked well for me.
    If they were readily available, I would get a Model 27 S&W.

  19. #39
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Early 4" 686 Plus!

  20. #40
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    S.E. Arizona
    I just picked up a Match Champion, it has the normal super stiff, lawyer proof trigger which I fixed thanks to Wolff gun springs and a little polishing. It has something on the end of the barrel that belongs on the end of a fishing hook, I have an actual target sight which is on the way from Dawson. One very nice thing that I have discovered so far though, is the cylinder throats, they're all very uniform and somewhere between .357 and .358, (.357 jacketed bullets drop through but .358's don't), so it should be an excellent cast bullet gun. Almost bought a S&W 9mm revolver but figured that was too much of a gamble since S&W has abandoned quality control in favor of quantity of guns going out the door. Plus Ruger customer service is light years ahead of S&W.

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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
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check