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Well maybe you guys can help a little bit actually. I have a friend who's as much a shooter as anyone, but the poor guy just doesn't pull in a lot of funds and most of those go into his car.

His CCW is a Makarov. I kid you not. He knows it initimately however and just loves it. As far as he's concerned it is the beat all end all platform.

That's something I can empathize with. My favorite handgun platform is not something that's as popular as some of the other platforms out there.

However, like me, he's a practical sort and realizes that you have to find something that may fit your protection needs better than your preferred platform. After much deliberation, he wants a .357 revolver.

I won't go into it but for him it's a really good choice. One of the main reasons is that, as I explained to him, I feel that this platform in this caliber represents one of the best values in guns. It's like a lever action .30-30 or a 12 gauge pump. It's simple and good and it's a lot of bang for your buck. He wants a 2.5"-4" bbl and he has $400 max.

Thus the task came on me to point him towards a choice product. It was then I realized that the market for this venerable platform is actually kind of sad.

In a new, quality, nothing special gun in .357 magnum there's 3 major players I pay attention to: Smith and Wesson, Taurus, and Ruger. Yeah I know Colt is still out there and there's some other weird stuff out there, but you can't know it all.

My first thought was to see what I could reccommend him in the current Smith and Wesson catalog... Now I personally would only buy one if I couldn't get the configuration in an earlier model, but I figured surely they surely have something in .357 with a 3 or 4 inch barrel with a street price in his range. The only reason I'm kind of a stickler about the new ones, well it's not just the locks, which really I can ignore personally, it's all the little touches that made them great are dissappearing. With each generation they drive them out. But my friend won't care about that and they're still The Good Stuff. They do show some innovation, but mostly in their more expensive models. As a matter of fact the more I looked at it, the more I realized what a snob I've become because there really isn't a new Smith and Wesson with a street price under $400, not without a really good deal anyway. About the only new Smiths in that price range I can think of are the everpopular snubs, and even then those are dedicated .38s.

Now if I were to buy a brand new revolver, today, I'd get a Ruger because if Smith and Wesson isn't going to make their products the way I like them I'm better off with the raw strength of the Ruger. I've seen the GP 100 and SP101 for a bit over $400 new, like in the $430 range. Right now he's saving his pennies to see if he can find one. He's not in a big hurry, so this may be what he could ultimately wind up with. $400 is the tip top of this guy's budget. I mean it, that's honestly all he can really afford and that's stretching it.

Taurus however seems to deliver. Several variants of the Model 65 are priced right, and their Rossi line is really good for the money I feel. I did feel obligated to tell him that although I have a soft spot for Rossis (they are my favorite cheapo handgun) and I don't dislike Taurus per se, I don't like it either. I've had a few of them in my hand and some of their models I thought were a viable budget alternative, such as the Model 85 which I'm fairly impressed with, but some were rough with gritty actions and it felt like too much cylinder wiggle. I think the strength of Taurus is that they try all sorts of cool things the other guys don't, and their quality has consistently gotten better. If they really really worked at it they could oust Smith and Wesson. But all that aside I don't actually own a Taurus so I told him to seek out someone who does.

But I lamented that in this "Everyman's" platform that should never die and is still as common as beer and pretzels, there's not a whole lot on the new market that's accessible to a working stiff like my bud.

I told my friend to comb pawns and gun stores and make careful note of what he found, its model number, and pointed him to the thread on The High Road that tells you how to check out a revolver. It seems used rules the roost in the revolver market. After all it's where I got my 686-2, which is the perfect .357 platform (the 686-4 is probably a better generation but that's okay), my 629-4 which is the sweetest shooting handgun I've ever had, and my little Rossi plinker was used too.

Still, I find myself a bit aghast that all I knew to tell him was to either learn more about Taurus or save more money and buy a GP100. I feel somewhat guilty pointing a complete revolver novice straight to the used market. I'd have thought there'd be a world of both new and used low cost options. I figure if he finds one he likes, he'll wind up with a used L frame Smith which is a lovely choice, but it's kind of a shame it's looking like his only choice.
 

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not a lot of new low cost options if it doesnt have to be new look for a ruger security six or police service six built like a tank and round 250 stainless
 

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I'm not sure about used revolvers in your area, but there are tons of used fixed sight K frames on the market. We have a local cop shop that has several shelves of them from police trade-ins. They are in good shape and can be had in the $200 range and even less. A nice model 13 or 65 would fit the bill.
 

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perhaps a good, used gun , if money is a problem. Other than reload and super accuracy, I don't think a Mak. is all that bad to carry.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Q Ball

I just emailed him that link. That's a good deal on a good gun.

Actually around here K frames don't turn up very often nor do N frames. Mostly L frames.

He lives in Florida however. I figure the used gun market must be better there!
 

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A pre-owned would seem a great way go - particularly if going the Ruger route. A find of either a SP-101 2 1/4" or even 3", or 4" GP-100 would set him up well. Only extra would be a suitable rig, oh and, at least one speedloader.

If he has enough patience he just might find a tasty M19 in shorter barrel, or even an early 4" 586/686. I'm sure what he needs is out there - just a case of looking.
 

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There's nothing wrong with used guns, as a matter of fact, my Glock-19 is the only gun I own that I bought new, but I digress.

I see used (but in good condition) SP-101's and GP-100's for under $400 pretty often and I've often lamented that the area I live in is terrible when it comes to gun-shopping. Personally, I'm partial to either Ruger or old S&W's. I've got a Security-six that I bought used about 7 years ago. It was about 12 years old when I bought it and I've put about 10,000 rounds through it and it's still running like a champ. I recently saw one for $260 new (or at least "never used"). Something like that might be an option.
 

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Taurus

Well, I "hear tell" that Taurus has come a long way but, I would still never buy one due to their past history of extremely poor quality control & their catastrophic failure rate which was the highest ever (for the longest period of time) in the gun industry.
They DO run some very pretty ads in the gun magazines though. :wink:
Their revolvers are somewhat better than their pistols but, give me a used S&W or Ruger over a New~In~Box Taurus any day.
I'm not slamming anybody that owns a Taurus. A couple of their wheelguns seem worthwhile to me solely for their "Weight to Power" ratio.
If you happen to get a good one then you're "good to go."
If you bought a Taurus Lemon then Taurus will keep fixing it and fixing it and fixing it forever with their "Lifetime Guarantee" but, who-da-hell wants to live through that nightmare repair scenario.
It would be hard to beat a well cared for used Ruger Security Six or Police Service Six for the dollars spent.
 

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If you can find one of the Canadian trade in stainless GP100s with the 4" half underlug barrel, fixed sights, and a bobbed hammer, it'll be under $300 AND be in good mechanical shape. Cosmetically, there'll be some marks and scratches, but they're fine otherwise. My dad has one and it's a shooter. Spend the difference on a good CCW holster and plenty of practice ammo.

BTW, with some work and plenty of shooting, the GP100 trigger can be quite nice. I've carefully polished the insides of mine, mucked about with the springs (finding the right combo of reset and hammer springs), and shot it thousands of times. Now, the DA trigger is so light and smooth, you'll think it can't possibly pop a primer, but it does so every time.

All that said, I'd prefer a SP101 for CCW, but I could carry a GP100 if needed, just get good leather. Except for the oversized belt loops (1.75" and WIDE), Galco's FLETCH holster is great for the GP100.

Chris
 

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Euclidean said:
I just emailed him that link. That's a good deal on a good gun.

Actually around here K frames don't turn up very often nor do N frames. Mostly L frames.

He lives in Florida however. I figure the used gun market must be better there!
He should buy used if he can, just examine it very closely.

Theres nothing wrong with the L frames.
Around here you can find a used S&W 686 with a 4" barrel for around $325 to $350 in excellent condition. I bought 1 used for $325, that had a trigger job and is extremely accurate. I have also bought 2 new ones but they run about $550.

There are some other good recomendations being posted on this thread.

I am not stuck on the 686 since I also have a SP101 in 357, a Colt Tropper in 357, and a 28 year old Charter Police Bulldog in 38 SPL. all are great shooters and would be fine for concealed carry also.
 

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Euc,
Have you checked with CDNN? I would second the used GP-100/SP101. Used S&W or Taurus take a bit of knowledge to make sure you get something that's not "over-used". Blued will be cheaper, but splurge for SS, if at all possible. (You can "refinish" SS yourself for +/- $30, if you want to clean it up a bit.)
 

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Euclidean,

You might have him look on gunbroker.com. I have bought several guns there at far below retail price.
 

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CDNN has some deals on police turn in weapons; sometimes revolvers, too.
 

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The Makarov was the preferred weapon of our enemy for decades. I wouldn't write it off so quickly. No, it's no .45 ACP. But for less than $200 out the door with a box of ammo, it truly is the People's CCW.

The Communist Bloc is great for all sorts of weapons. My deer rifle is a Mosin-Nagant. My woods gun when I'm off working on my rural property in vicinity of feral dogs, coyote, black bears, and moonshiners is an SKS. And my main CCW piece is a Makarov.
 

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A lot of people would be very surprised by how many people CCW Makarovs. My first carry gun was a Bulgarian Makarov, which now lives on my nightstand. My current primary carry (FEG SMC-918) uses the same 9x18 round, but in a smaller and lighter package than a Makarov.

The round is certainly no .45, but I wouldn't call it anemic either. The main thing that Maks have going for them, besides their price obviously, is their reliablity. They are also very accurate, pleasant to shoot, and ammo is quite cheap.

As a matter of fact, I'm picking up my second Makarov this week, this one a Russian Hi-cap model.

Now all we need is for Cor-Bon to get there heads out from where the sun don't shine and bring out that 9x18 PowRBall they've been promising! So long as they load it just like the discontinued 9x18 JHP's were.........
 

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I was at the range today with my "cheap" Makarov and allowed three other people to shoot it (who had brought a Taurus and an H&K) and they were impressed with the accuracy, but rightfully criticized the sights and recoil. They nearly shat their pants when I told them how much it cost me.

9x18 is not a .45, you're right. But it's no joke. With a decent personal defense round, it'll do just fine.
 
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