Originally Posted by Alpo
Unless you have a lot of experience with them, I don't believe you will like either one.
A 357 has a fair amount of recoil, and to make it fun to shoot you need a fairly heavy gun. Smith originally put it in the large frame gun (same size as your dad's 57) for a reason. The K-frame (the mid-size frame) Smiths are not really fun to shoot 357s out of for long periods of time, unless you get one with a long barrel. The long barrel adds weight, which helps tame recoil.
A 5-shot S&W is a J-frame (the smallest frame size). A J-frame 357 is going to weigh in the neighborhood of 18 ounces. That's too small. It's going to hurt. It's going to be fine for carrying, but not for shooting.
If you want a 357, get a bigger gun. Get a used Ruger Single Six, or a new GP100. Get a Smith 686 or a N-frame.
Now me, I got a pair of 6 1/2 inch Ruger Blackhawks and a 6" Python. Fairly heavy guns and fun to shoot with 357s all day long. I also have a 2 1/2" Model 19 and a 3" 65. Both Smith K-frames, and while fun for occasional 357s, they are much more fun with 38s.
I agree with Alpo I have both the Colt Python and the Smith 686 with 6" barrels. The are both a joy to shoot. My wife has a 642 airweight much against my wishes, and as most wives did not listen. She liked the fact that it does not weigh. Problem is she no longer will shoot it ever again unless her life depends on it. Sucker kicks to much and hurt her hand, heck I do not like shooting it myself. Which is bad thinking because you need to shoot your gun to remain proficient.
As alpo stated, if you are going to get the smaller gun in 357 do not get the models that have the lightweight frames. Get something heavy. But since your reason for getting one are mainly for home defense and side carry on hunting trips I would recommend at least a revolver with a minimum of 3" or 4". This revolvers in my opinion are more accurate with these barrels instead of a snubby. BTW plan not hear for at least a week if you ever have to discharge you revolver inside your home.
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