For a carry gun, I'd get a 2.5" 686. One of the most perfectly balanced handguns on the market. It's like pointing your finger. The 686 will also have a much better trigger.
For fun and field use, I'd get the GP100 (and a trigger job). It's a tank that can take anything you put in it, and will still be passed on down to your grandkids. It will stand up to more use and abuse than any other DA revolver. Plus, it doesn't cost as much.
However, that said, I love my S&W revolvers, and for most shooters that take care of their weapons, the 686 will outlast their owners for sure. It's a sturdy gun. Plus, you can get it in 7 or even 8 shot models.
So, back to the beginningwhat are you going to use it for?
I dont believe there is a 357 on the market that out classes shoots or looks the 686. The majority of all revolver action pistol shooters choose the 686. These guns will have 30-40K rounds through them and still be function guns. In my opinion, the only thing Ruger gives you in the GP100 that the Smith does not is extra weight. If you can ware out a 686 you have earned the privilege buy another.
A forum community dedicated to the great outdoors and hunting enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about hunting, fishing, survival, archery gunsmithing, optics, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!