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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 08-02-2020, 10:32 AM
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Default Model 19 vs GP100

My next purchase will be a .357 mag. Let me start by saying I'm partial to the Model 19. Really want a 2.5 or 3" Combat Magnum but I'm addicted to heavy loads and now I'm reading the GP100 may be the better choice. I know my Redhawk eats up heavy loads all day and wants more. I'll paste a couple paragraphs of a GP100 review I read. Is this just Ruger paying for a review? Should I be concerned blasting a couple boxes of bear loads through a Model 19? Here's some of that review I read:

The GP100 is capable of absorbing the pounding of a steady diet of .357 Magnum ammunition, without going out of time. The shooter will be tired long before the revolver shows any signs of trouble. The GP100 is not only among the most rugged revolvers ever designed, it is among the most accurate as well.

The GP100 will accept heavy handloads that will literally lock up other handguns. As an example, I have worked up a heavy load using H110 powder and†Hornadyís 125-grain XTP†that develops 1,628 fps from my four-inch barrel GP100. This load never sticks in the cylinder or exhibits excess pressure signs.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:46 AM
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Iíve been the proud owner of both of those guns. I prefer my 3in WC Gp100 to the 4in model 19. The 19 is gone now it funded a 3in model 65. I love 3in k frames.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:27 PM
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The 19 was introduced in 1954/55 and meant to be a lighter gun that will be carried a lot vs the option of the day a bigger/heavier 4" N-frame Highway Patrolman........

Today the GP-100 and L-frame Smith are better guns if you are going to do a lot of .357magnum shooting .......... the GP100 is a nice utility gun IMO..... but I'd look for a L-frame 686 before the Ruger.

So it depends on your intended use....... if I'm just going for a hike in Penn's Woods I carry a 3" 66 that I may have to shoot...... as a General purpose/utility/open carry duty gun I'd opt for my 4" 686 or 681 (fixed sights)

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Old 08-02-2020, 12:35 PM
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.357 in a K frame vs. GP100, the GP all day. Even with the factory compact grips it’s comfortable.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:41 PM
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Depending on who your "expert" is, the evaluations offered between the guns in 357 shooting heavy loads has been debated for many years. There are many shooters who speak of shooting many heavy loads through their Model 19 without any ill effects... (shot without shooting the revolver "loose" or going out of time etc.). Then there is the other side which adhere to the Model 19 as a great K frame 38 special that can shoot 357 Magnum when needed. Somewhere there is a middle.....

The Model 19 certainly will shoot 357 mag ammo without much ill effect. However, it is a K frame and that frame was constructed to shoot the 38 special which it does very, very well. So the "middle" for many of us that admire (LOVE) the Model 19 will adjust our routine of shooting it to a degree that will not harm it (and in spite of those who feel that one cannot hurt a Model 19, I think that a steady use of the 357 loads do have a detrimental affect on it). And in my opinion, if one shoots the Model 19 with an understanding that it will never be manufactured in the "old way" ever again, then one would shoot 38 special loads in it and save Magnum loads for special purposes.

Now with the Ruger revolvers one has another path to shoot magnums on a regular basis. The Service Six/Security Six revolvers were designed and manufactured for the 357. They are beefier and more robust. The GP 100 were developed to succeed the Security Six/Service Six which allows it to shoot 357 rounds almost exclusively.

So I think that you would be better served by continuing using your Redhawk for the magnums that you enjoy shooting and find the Model 19 that you want and shoot magnums through it occasionally, while blasting with the guns that were made for that pastime!
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:50 PM
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There is an easy way to end this dilemma.

Buy both.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:12 PM
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I don't think you're comparing apples to apples. The Ruger equal to the Model 19 would be the Security Six. The S&W equal to the GP100 would be the 686. Yes, the GP100 will handle constant heavy loads better than the 19, but I have had GP100's in the past, and they can't hold a candle to a 19 or 686 when it comes to the trigger. The GP100 is a solid gun, for sure, but I'd take a 686 over one any day. JMHO YMMV.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:16 PM
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FWIW A model 686 or 586 would be a better comparison to a GP100. If your goal is to shoot as hot of loads as possible i'd choose one of those. If you're going to stick with published load data the model 19 will be fine.

I don't disagree with review quotes provided, but the same qoutes could apply to a S&W 686, 586, 627, etc.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:39 PM
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The new 19 and 66 are as strong as the L-frames. Stoke them up as hot as you want with any bullet weight. Barrel erodes eventually? No problem with the separate barrel and shroud, replace the barrel only and no one's the wiser.
If I were going to shoot really hot loads I'd go 4.25" just because the muzzle blast and noise from a snub is so obnoxious.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:13 PM
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As usual you guys are great. You answer my posts without making me feel stupid for asking such rookie questions. Yes, the 686 would be the apples to apples Smith to the GP. Problem is, and I should have said this originally, I feel like my fledgling collection needs an older variant Model 19. Complicating matters is a wife who thinks one or two guns is enough so, well, you guys know what I'm up against there. So currently I'm leaning toward buying an older Model 19 and continue to use my Redhawk for the super heavy loads. I guess what I should have asked is can an older Model 19 handle three or four consecutive cylinders of hot 125 grain rounds or would that just be too much for it? Again, I don't even know what questions to ask but I'm sure you guys not only know what I'm trying to ask but what the answers are as well. Thanks for helping me out.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:27 PM
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If you're intent on shooting hot loads consistently, go for the GP100. An older 19 is a great shooter, and worth adding to your collection. The fit, finish, and triggers are something to behold. I have at least 4 of them, but they get fed a steady diet of .38 Special when I shoot them. JMHO YMMV.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:32 PM
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I love your last answer Bhfromme. The family pressures on gun people can be extreme. Thankfully, I never had a wife do that and I've had three. Number 2 just didn't like me having my guns loaded and ready to go because of our child. Otherwise, she never bugged me. My last wife carried her own gun, and I bought her another, but I get it - totally.

I have had several Model 19s, long story for another time, they're all gone now, but occasional shooting of full house .357 Magnum loads won't hurt it. I personally would not shoot three or four cylinders of hot loads through a Model 19 at one range session but once at each range session doesn't bother me much.

Here's the more specific thought process - you said "fledgling collection". There is a world of difference between an accumulation of guns and a real collection. If you're planning a collection of Smith & Wesson revolvers then you need a Model 19 in it and an older one is ideal if the gun is in excellent shape. Same goes for the concept of collecting .357 Magnum revolvers from any companies. You get to decide what the collection will consist of. As a reference, my profile lists my interests as .38/.357 revolvers. But I considered that my S&W pistols were part of the collection, too, especially the 9mms at the official size in inches of .355. Nearly identical to a .38 or .357 Magnum bullet.

But I've had nearly 4 decades plus of having guns in my house, especially S&W revolvers, but that doesn't count rifles, and a host of assorted handguns from other makers. My point being, especially in light of your family pressure, that you need to be very clear in your own mind what you are "collecting" versus, if you can, what you can accumulate.

The follow up then is what will you shoot in your lightweight .357s versus your heavyweight .357s and since you have choices already I'd avoid too much shooting of hot rounds in a K frame.

Long winded answer, I know..........
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:18 PM
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GP100 is the winner for me. I have several in different barrel lengths from 2-3/4" up to 6" and they devour .357 Magnum loads like Rosie O'Donnell devours Twinkies.

Box after Box after Box......

If it's just based on performance, you should go with the GP100. If "looks" or "style" are the major factor... than you should just get both guns and then you won't lose any sleep on "what ifs".
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:20 PM
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I'd get the 586 or 686. The grip frame is the same size as the K-frame grips. The frame and cylinder are beefier, but not as fat as the N-frame.
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:21 PM
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You do know that is is an S&W forum?
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:28 PM
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And a very honest one, it is.
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:34 PM
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Just
Just picked up this nice 6" ported barrel model 19-5 last summer (traded a well used 2 1/2" model 19).



For constant heavy shooting, or just a little different .357, this "L" frame 581 is really nice.



Those stock grips and the NOS Tyler grip adaptor handle heavyweight loads just fine.

Trooper Joe
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:35 PM
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Talking GP 100

Something like this
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:34 PM
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I agree with sentiments mentioned here about the GP series equivalent is the L frame 586/686. I’d recommend the GP or L frame if shooting consistent diet of 357s. Either can serve you well.

I have both a GP WC, 3 “, 686-4+ 4”, m64-2 2”, m10 &15, both 4”. I enjoy my K frames the most, especially when shooting in IDPA - but am shooting 158gr 38 spcl- not 357s.

So, other than collecting- what purpose is the gun for- range, HD, carry, etc? That may guide your assessments better.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:39 PM
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I really like my Smiths but, for all day have to hit it hard....the GP 100
6" is with me in the field.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:43 PM
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The load quoted in the OP seems excessive to me. If you fire really hot loads a lot, you need a heavy gun.

But a .357 isn't really meant as a range gun. It's for moderate use in defense or hunting. Routine heavy .357 use will eventually cause wear, sooner in a smaller gun. Frequent .357 use in LE guns caused the introduction of the L-frames and GP-100.

Light bullet, high velocity ammo is worst..

When I was a gun writer, I had access to gun and ammo engineers and PR people that the public doesn't. They ALL agreed with what I'm posting here.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:59 PM
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Other than just to own a 357 I guess the only purpose for getting a 357 is east coast backwoods defense and fun at the range. I have a little 9mm wondergun and a Model 10 for lightweight plinking and a Redhawk 44 Mag in a chest holster when we hike out west in grizzly country but I'd like something a little lighter when we're hiking here in the east. Honestly the GP fits my needs better but I just love the old Model 19s. I'd get both but as I mentioned above wifey would throw a major hissy if I came home with two more guns so there I am. Rock and a hard place. I'm leaning toward getting a 19 and only shooting heavy loads through it occasionally. I know a 686 solves my dilemma but a 686 just isn't a 19. Thanks for all of your responses. I just need to make a decision and pull the trigger. Sorry for the bad pun - just couldn't resist.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:47 PM
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I am in a similar situation. I have a Model 15 and a Model 629. A 19 will be pretty much a duplication of the 15, in your case Model 10 and 19. I am thinking hard about a Blackhawk convertible 357 and 9mm or 45 Colt and 45 ACP.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:12 PM
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On three separate occasions, I was told by Smith and Wesson to shoot .357 sparingly in a K frame magnum, and to shoot 158 grain if I insisted on shooting them at all. There are no more barrels for .357 K frames that would work in an older Model 19. Iíve owned probably half a dozen K frame .357 revolvers. Magnums were few and far between and always 158 grain.

The Model 19 was created to make a .357 As comfortable to carry as a K frame .38. In time, the limitations became apparent and the L frame was born.
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