GP100 VS S&W 686

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Hylander

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May 1, 2008
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I am looking at the 6" versions.
Will be shooting cast silhouette, 50yards small steel targets.
Looking for the best accuracy. I'm a big Ruger fan but shot a match with a friends 686
and it shot great and felt good.
Pros/Cons of both?
Thoughts?
 

noahmercy

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Jun 13, 2015
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Sheridan, WY
Having owned and competed with both in a sport which requires accuracy out to 50 yards, my nod is to the Ruger.

I shot PPC for a time in the '90s. Getting into it, I was told I needed a 686 to be competitive, so I purchased one. Nice gun, and it shot well. There were also quite a few aftermarket farkles available for it (none of which I could afford). Despite a professional trigger job on the Smith, I didn't win any matches, but I did have a lot of fun.

Read some articles in the gun rags, and had a hankering to do some handgun hunting. More than a few mentions were made that the Smith would likely develop endshake and get a little sloppy if fed too many heavy loads, but the Ruger was sturdy enough to shrug them off, so I traded in the S&W on a 6" GP100. I threw a set of Hogue grips on, did a little polishing of some of the internals (leaving the hammer/sear engagement alone) and dropped in a set of Wolff springs. I immediately started winning trophies in PPC and later at falling plate matches.

Despite thousands of rounds- many of them fire breathing magnums- it is still tight, and shoots under 2 inches at 50 yards (it's favorite load does closer to an inch). Despite trying many different powder/bullet combinations from the bench, I was never able to get that degree of precision from the Smith.

Just my 2¢...
 

Biggfoot44

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Sep 6, 2009
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This is a wild guess , but if you ask the same question on the Smith & Wesson Forum , would be " They're both decent guns , but I prefer 686 " and about same porportions , flipped .

Answer - They're both decent guns , pick whichever feels better to you .
 

contender

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Sep 18, 2002
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Lake Lure NC USA
Both are good guns.
However,, if a lot of shooting is to be done, even moderate loads, you'll need to look at the ability of the gun to withstand the "use & abuse" of such endeavors.
The S&W's are known to be very, very good in the smooth action department. Especially many of the older ones.
This is due to the different approach to the action design.
The Ruger is a solid frame,, (no side plate) and the internals differ from the S&W. As such,, it does feel different when you take a pair of stock guns & put them side-by-side & compare.

Both can benefit from an action job. And it may surprise you how well a Ruger can feel after a knowledgeable gunsmith smooths up a Ruger's action.

But,, in the world of serious, long term use & abuse,, the Ruger has proven to be capable of out-lasting the S&W's.

Look into the serious world of steel silhouette shooting,, where they shoot 200 meters at steel rams weighing 50 lbs. While the S&W's can & will work in the accuracy dept,, they also required more maintenance in the long term.

Another thing I'll address. You mentioned the S&W "felt good" in your hands. Often,, the fit of the grips has a big part of how well a gun shoots. A good fitted set of grips allows consistent gripping & better trigger control.

So,, it boils down to this.
You need to decide how much shooting you'll be doing, how heavy the loads will be, the expected accuracy & lifespan of the gun if used a lot.
Both are good guns,, and only you can make the final decisions.

PS; I shoot USPSA competition. I too consider myself a big Ruger fan. As such,, I'm now using a Ruger Super GP-100 in 9mm in competition. I'm seeing a few S&W folks "take notice" of me & my scores. I like to express that the gun is just part of the equation when competing in a match. :D
 

wproct

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Nov 7, 2006
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I have owned both, and both are excellent revolvers. I currently own just my 5 inch bbl GP100. You literally need to handle both, and hopefully shoot both. It is just a personal choice thing.
 

Hylander

Single-Sixer
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May 1, 2008
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California
Sure wish I could find these locally to purchase, I don't like buying without personally inspecting.
But I have not seen either locally for over year.
Only see them on Gun Broker.
 

Wvfarrier

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
250
In general I prefer the FINISHED product that ruger puts out, however, I have found that S&W revolvers feel better in my hand
 

Chief 101

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Feb 14, 2007
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Idaho
I shot both today, and usually once a week. It's a close race...for longevity I like the GP100...for shootability and fit to my paws I go for the 686. If I had to choose just one dunno. I bought the 686 new when I went looking for a GP100 since that is all I could find at the time. GP100 stays in the truck, 686 stays in the house...both use the same ammo. Both hit what I am aiming at...happy that I don't have to choose between them...
 

hittman

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To me the GP100 is just a much superior gun in almost every respect.

But, I don’t like the weight of the full lug 6 inch. If you could find a half-lug GP, that’d be good but I dont think they’ve made them for years.
 

diyj98

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WV
This is a wild guess , but if you ask the same question on the Smith & Wesson Forum , would be " They're both decent guns , but I prefer 686 " and about same porportions , flipped .

Answer - They're both decent guns , pick whichever feels better to you .
I agree it all depends upon where you ask the question. I haven't done a scientific study with a sufficient sampling to say which one is more accurate on average, but I've owned both and prefer the 686 for my own uses.
 

Hylander

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Well, I got to shoot one of each this last Monday.
A few cylinders full from each with 38's only because that was the ammo on hand.
While both shot very well, I like the feel of the Ruger better and it shot a tad more accurately for me.

So I am on the Hunt for a GP100 6" Stainless Steel if anybody has a lead.
 

wproct

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I'm really glad that you got an opportunity to shoot both. I'm like you, I really prefer to be able to handle and examine any gun that I buy. I never see any GP100 or model 686 revolvers in any stores or shops around me. I only see them occasionally at local gun shows, which for me is usually Des moines, Iowa.
 

Hylander

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May 1, 2008
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California
Ready to Pull the trigger, but I can't really make my mind up.
I think I prefer the Ruger but the Smith looks so Purdy and I have never had a Purdy Smith.
Think I'm still leaning toward the Ruger though. 🙃
 

dwayne

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Sep 22, 2013
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Hylander, You asked a good question and you got some excellent feedback to your question. I have no skin in this but I was interested in the perspectives. I applaud the forum members for their helpfulness and the quality of their responses. We’ll done!
 

Mobuck

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Dec 25, 2007
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missouri
"I think I prefer the Ruger but the Smith looks so Purdy and I have never had a Purdy Smith."
If you intend to actually use the gun, it's not likely to stay 'purdy'.
I've had 2 S&W revolvers(K-38 & 66). Gave K-38 to younger Son cause it has laser grips which he likes. Traded the 66 for something or other after I decided I like the Security 6 better.
I 'll tote the weight of the 6" full lug GP100 since when it comes out of the holster, it says "This guy (&gun) is here for business".
 

Chief 101

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Ready to Pull the trigger, but I can't really make my mind up.
I think I prefer the Ruger but the Smith looks so Purdy and I have never had a Purdy Smith.
Think I'm still leaning toward the Ruger though. 🙃
I would buy the first one I found at the pricepoint I wanted... and consider yourself happy!
 

Hylander

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May 1, 2008
Messages
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Location
California
I would buy the first one I found at the pricepoint I wanted... and consider yourself happy!

Only one problem with that, I found both on Gunbroker at the same price 😫
If I wasn't so poor I would buy both and sell the one I wasn't in love with.
 

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