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...Or a similar-sized revolver, on occasion?

I'm looking to add a 357 Magnum revolver to the kit, and am looking for something with potential as a trail gun, truck gun, and occasional range gun. I know the larger L-Frames and GP100's handle magnums like a boss, because I've had a couple. I'm now looking for something smaller, but that can still manage full magnum loads. I'm considering the Ruger SP101, S&W M66, or Colt King Cobra. Wondering who has experience with any of these as an occasional carry piece, and whether the low capacity (especially the 5-shot SP) is a huge concern.
All three are excellent choices. For the duty that you have listed, I would personally want a 4-6" barrel. Full house .357 magnum loads have always "spoken" to my ear drums very loudly, and the longer barrels seem to help some. Also, I would want adjustable sights to take advantage of the potential accuracy of some of the revolvers that are available.

I've never owned a King Cobra, but wouldn't turn one down if offered one! If I were going with the King Cobra, my own personal preference would be the Target Model with 4 1/4" barrel and adjustable sights.

The S&W offerings in the K frame have been very popular over the years and also with me. I have owned several and still have a M66-1 in 4" that has served me faithfully for the duties you have described. While maybe not the preferred handgun caliber for hunting, it will serve to take coyotes, deer, mountain lion, and other game that you might come across in the woods. And, it has an admirable reputation as a man stopper with the full power loads.

I also have several other K frame .38 Specials that serve as range and home defense handguns.

The S&W M19 was of course developed by S&W, so the story goes, at the request of Bill Jordan for a .357 duty revolver that was lighter than the M27. Many have passed through my hands over the years and I have gifted two of them to my sons, as to me their were the epitome of a .357, the S&W M27 and Colt Python notwithstanding. The ones I gave my sons were both 6" pinned barrel to frame with recessed cylinders and the three "T's" - target trigger, target hammer, and target grips. While my preference is for the older models, the newly manufactured ones should work as well.

I have owned several SP101s. I was not hesitant in using them for .357 loads, although there was significant muzzle blast. As others have stated and you well know, they are limited to five shots. My favorite SP101s are those modified and customized by Gemini Customs. They do outstanding work that is very practical for use. https://www.geminicustoms.com/ruger-revolvers. For your described usage, I am in agreement with others that the Ruger Security-Six would be a revolver that I would look at instead of the SP101.
 

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I do, I do!

Among several K-Frame Smith & Wessons that may be chosen for carry duty a 4-inch Model 10 Heavy Barrel sees the most use and has for 44 years now. I'm beginning to realize that it's gonna outlast me. I can also do .357 Magnum K-Frames, but don't often tote them as the Model 10 is so familiar to me.
 

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Just to throw a monkey wrench into the mix, I checked out a 4" 686+ yesterday, and was really impressed. I'd have thought it would be way too much, but then I sometimes pack a 4506-1 IWB, so the major concern for concealment would be the width of the cylinder. Not that I'd CCW it that often, but keep it as a truck/woods piece.
That would make a hell of a nice woods gun, with a bit of social service from time to time. As for general purpose, if I could only ever have one gun.....you might have struck it right there.
 

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Occasionally I will carry a 2 1/2 inch S&W 66 or a 3 inch S&W 65 and both are very good for concealment. For an all around gun I would go for a 4 inch. The 66 and 65 are very good in that arena along with the Ruger Police Six and Security Six. Many years ago when I first started I passed on a Ruger Security Six (not knowing anything about them) and have been kicking myself for quite sometime now. A 4 inch stainless gun should be just about right for your purpose.
 

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When I backpack or hike in the woods these days, I carry a .357 Ruger Vaquero, but only because I foolishly traded away a S&W 686 that used to be my favorite hiking carry many years ago.
 

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Choices! SP101 3 or 4 inch, Smith model 19 4 inch, then GP100 in 4 or 6 inch.
I don't fell undergunned when I carry any of them.
My choice if I only had one would GP100 in 4 inch.
Of course, all are 357 mags.
 

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I always like the 686 6" when they came out the most for what you describe. Especially if they had a Power Custom main spring replacement. I'd owned a pinned model 19 4" but traded it. I now have a 6" model 14 which has been very accurate, shooting 1 3/8 groups at 25 yards back when I shot alot. It was not the revolver I really wanted, but during a trade, it was available. The gunsmith trued the barrel to the cylinder by tapping the yoke until it aligned perfectly. The double action has always been sweet and so I've never traded it - mostly because my wife shot it better than the 3" model 36 in .38sp that I'd bought her.

If I was younger and out in the woods more like you seem to be, looking for a combination range gun and woods walker, I'd go for the 6" 686 or even the 586 and have it tuned when the funds became available. I've handled some 6" Ruger GP100s in 357 that had been tuned that were sweet also. This may not apply to everyone, but I've always been a bit more accurate with the longer barrel. Even though red ramp front sights were popular, I never cared for them. I handled a 4" model 15 I never should have let get away once that had the red plastic replaced with flo green that was interesting. Also, a stainless steel front sight will disappear on you in bright daylight.

Now, these medium sized revolvers are all a little too heavy for me for daily concealed carry, as much as I'd love to own one in 3". Instead, I've opted for an older 3" Bulldog in .44sp that is much lighter - but doesn't handle nearly as well as what you are considering.

If I make it back to the woods, I'd be quite comfortable with my 4 5/8 Ruger b'hawk in .45 Colt. It too has been worked on and has the super b'hawk hammer and is smooth as glass.
 

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ninety_caliber, I've got an iwb holster similar to that where the revolver sinks deep inside to the point I can't get a proper firing grip. I'm thinking of adding a few stitches myself or a tension screw to raise the gun up a bit without exposing the trigger. Nice model 12.
 

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I carry a snubnose model 66 I bought new in the early 80's when I wear a suit mostly unless I am going to major cities like Detroit than I carry my 1911 .
 

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It's that black iwb holster. It's an Izula stamped J X and came with the package. The problem is that the clip is mounted too high on the holster allowing the grip (changed the wood to CA rubber) to barely ride above the pant top. Also, the clip fits a 2" belt. I suppose if I could crimp the metal clip at the top to fit a 1.5 belt it would work fine. Maybe I will find a solid piece of steel or alum 1.5" tall, insert it in the clip and let a vise flatten the top of the clip 1/2". My 3" Bulldog .44sp fits just a little loosly and the barrel is flush with the bottom. Probably not worth the hastle of postage. These are on ebay.


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Just to help things along. Some tote-able Smith & Wesson K-Frames and their holsters here. All are subject to carry use.

Model 66 2 1/2 .357 Magnum and Model 10 .38 Special with custom holsters made for them.


K-Frame Military & Police (pre)Model 10 4-inch standard barrel with Myres holster.


K-Frame Hand Ejector .32-20 with vintage no-name holster.


My old favorite K-Frame of all and the one most often carried, a '71 vintage Model 10 Heavy Barrel .38 Special with a Bucheimer Federal Man holster. Favored for carry beneath a covering suit or sport coat.


The same ol' Model 10 with a Bell Charter Oak Mae West IWB holster. Good under a coat or even under an untucked shirt in summer time.


Again, the same Model 10 with a Bianchi X15 shoulder holster. Least comfortable way I have to tote the revolver. Works under a coat.


And last but not least the same Model 10 with my favorite old field holster, a Smith & Wesson 21 35 worn out after 35 years use outdoors and a new-old-stock replacement my brother-in-law found for me a few years back.
 

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During the cooler months I often carry my snubby M64 in a Street Combat holster by El Paso Saddlery. Otherwise I carry a 642 in my right front pocket. Both are loaded with Remington +P LSWC-HP. I see no need to carry 357 for self protection. I always wonder how many who carry the snubby M66 and M65s or the SP101 or the 357 versions of J frames actually carry them with 357 ammo.
 
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