Ruger vs S&W Revolvers

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Jan 18, 2008
My very first gun - ever - was a S&W M29, 8-3/8" barrel that I bought for IHMSA Silhouette shooting. Beautiful gun.

But I bought it new in 1988 and that period of S&W was not their greatest in terms of quality. Those in IHMSA that shot revolvers (as opposed to T/C's and XP-100's) chose Ruger Blackhawks or Dan Wesson over S&W by about 20 to 1. Why? The M29's had a reputation of going out of time and of throat erosion. The common belief was that S&W designed the M29 with the thought that the average owner wouldn't put more than one box of .44 mag rounds through it in its lifetime.

As for mine, within the first 500 rounds I did see throat erosion, flame cutting of the top strap, and some timing issues if you pulled the hammer back very slowly (I always shoot single action). But now, with over 2000 rounds through it of my mild magnum loads, it shoots accurately and is not getting worse.

I do believe the Rugers overall are stronger and, back then, of higher quality. S&W has improved its quality since the 80's, however.
Have to agree with the flame cutting. I owned several S&W 610 revolvers and started noticing top strap flame cutting on the most used 610. I moved away from S&W to Rugers. I'm on the fence over whose best. I've had issues with my GP100 and have a couple 480 Rugers that had to go back for cylinder polishing. I have a new Colt Python that has been very good to date, preferred over my GP100 at this point. Overall, like S&W, Colt and Ruger, but each has their unique issues. Price-wise, they are migrating in a common direction. At this point, I have all brands on my want list but feel the fit & finish on Colt is currently ahead of S&W and Ruger.


Aug 7, 2023
Well you certainly have the right to like what you like.......But I have to say this, (and I admit that I'm a Ruger guy) that the last couple of Smiths that I picked up in a gun shop, not that I would buy one, but was curious to see them , that I had to ask the salesman if they were new or used ? He just chuckled and said they were new......that said, I have never had to ask a salesman if a Ruger I was looking at was new or used. To me that speaks volumes. 🙂👍
May 29, 2011
Life's far too short to waste any time whatsoever on that pompous, opinionated jackass, or his video's...🙄
Lol, Much better to waste time on other Pompous, opinionated Jackass's or their video's.

Seriously, much ado about nothing. He has posted thousands of video's and gets a lot of likes and has been around the gun community for a long time. I do not always agree with him, but I do think he can be funny at times. Prefer him than some of the tactical nut cases that we see so often. Smith vs Ruger? Couldn't care less what someone else prefers. One thing I do know about him, is that he is really into revolvers. Give him a high five on that one.


Feb 20, 2011
I run hot and cold on Yankee. He can be entertaining, but perhaps should not be taken very seriously. I run mostly S&W revolvers, because I like to compete (casually) shooting DA for speed, ala Jerry Miculek. I was already in my 50s when I finally discovered what DA revolvers were actually for. All my life I thought they were single action revolvers with an extra feature (double-action), just in case. When I discovered Jerry I realized that they are DA only revolvers with a built-in extra feature you should expect to never really need... the single action option. I was hooked and my view of revolvers changed forever. (Until then, my views were a direct result of the influence of Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels.)
If you want to shoot DA revolvers fast, S&W is the only option, because they are built specifically for that purpose, even if that was not their original intent. Their design is notably superior for that particular choice. Plus, they have the added benefit, with some models, of faster reloading via moon clips, making them the best combat revolvers, also.
So, clearly, I am biased, heavily biased, toward S&W. But, there is no doubt that Rugers are also excellent, just different, and differently purposed. And as for the "stronger" option, the S&Ws are plenty strong ENOUGH, but Rugers do tend to be stronger, some might say needlessly stronger. Today, some factory ammo and some recommended handloads are clearly marked "Ruger Only", for a reason. So, on that point, Yankee is definitely wrong. I would never put a "Ruger Only" load in one of my beloved S&Ws... I have Rugers for that!!
All that said, I prefer to buy used revolvers when possible because all the damned manufacturers have apparently retired ALL of their quality control people and hired chimps, instead! Either that, or they secretly have people whose job it is to make sure every double-action trigger pull is gritty and absurdly heavy. (Probably the lawyers.) So, expect to have to do some minor work on any new revolver and then you only risk being pleasantly surprised!


Guns. I has it.
Nov 30, 2023
Gig Harbor, WA, USA
I like S&W, Colt, & Ruger all for different reasons.

S&W had quality issues in the past, the 1980's. I think they've improved greatly since then. My S&W firearms range from 1950 to 2010.

Personally, I've not had issues with Colts, 1970's through 1990's.

None of my very many Rugers ever had functional issues; one had cosmetic issues that I had to get fixed. Must've been a bad day at the factory.


Jan 3, 2017
When I first posted in this thread I had not seen much of the Yankee. I've seen more of him since. He did one on the 32 H&R mag and 327 Federal. Sort of bad mouthed them for self defense. You may agree or not, but he never touched on why I have two as a relatively flat shooting low recoil gun for small game.
Hickock blew it when he did one on the C96 broom handle and called it an eight shot. I think he had the common 8 shot stripper clips that were never intended for the C96.