March 2015

Are Used 357 Mags from Colt, S&W, and FN Worth the Money?

Should you consider one of these 1970s-era revolvers, or are you better off buying new? The competitors: a Smith & Wesson Model 19-4, a Colt Trooper MK III, and an FN Barracuda.

Are Used 357 Mags from Colt, S&W, and FN Worth the Money?

In the 1970s, 357 Magnum revolvers were the weapon of choice for LE, personal protection, and outdoorsmen. Can you save a few bucks by buying a used revolver that rates 80 to 95 percent? We reviewed three used handguns to find out: a Smith & Wesson Model 19-4, a Colt Trooper MKIII, and an FN Barracuda. Of the three, our shooters would search out the M19-4 as a wheelgun to add to their current-day collection. The FN was also interesting, and wed buy it if its 9mm cylinder were included.

The 357 Magnum has an excellent reputation as a defensive round. On medium-sized game like whitetail deer at modest distances, it is effective as well. The round has been around since 1934; General George Patton carried an ivory-handled S&W 357 Mag during WWII. It is a versatile cartridge with many bullet types offered by a variety of manufacturers. Plus, 38 Special ammo in standard and +P loadings can be used in a 357 Magnum as a low-recoil alternative when training or plinking. We wanted to see if we could find a bargain in a full-size revolver with a 4-inch barrel that we could use for personal protection, and we came across two such contenders, a Smith & Wesson Model 19-4 that rated about 90 to 95 percent and a Colt Trooper MK III that rated 80 to 90 percent. Both featured 4-inch barrels, adjustable sights, and wood grips. We also came across an uncommon choice in this chambering, an FN Barracuda, available in the 1970s on a limited basis. It is unique due to the availability of an interchangeable cylinder, which could be switched between 9mm Luger and 357 Magnum. Here’s more about these interesting and affordable choices, along with our recommendations.

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