By Vic Fayard, GunBroker.com Contributor
It seems that 2023 is starting with a bang when it comes to new wheel guns debuted by both American and European firearm manufacturers. Here is our round-up of some of the best new revolvers. Many of these new revolvers are already available to purchase online at GunBroker.com
People love 3-inch .357 magnums as “fighting revolvers” and you would be hard-pressed to find a better one than the new Colt Python in that format. For something that gives a little “extra” Lipsey’s has an exclusive Premier Grade 3-incher for 2023 that includes American Elk stag grips with Colt medallions, hand-drawn art by Rocky Sharp, and engraving by Tyler Gun Works. The overall length of this all-steel six-shooter is 8.5 inches while its weight is 40 ounces.
Colt brought back their Anaconda series of hulking .44 Magnums out of almost two decades of retirement in 2021. However, the Connecticut-based firm only announced it in 6- and 8-inch barreled formats. Well, for folks who wanted a more carry-friendly version of the hefty revolver, Colt has a version with a 4.25-inch barrel headed to market in 2023– something that should make backcountry sportsmen in bear country happy. Specs and details weren’t fully fleshed out at SHOT Show, but we did get some pictures of it and it feels like a heavy .357 Python in the hand. The price of current Anacondas are in the $1,499 region, so you can expect this one to be in the same range.
Florida’s Diamondback Firearms debuted a more compact variant of their Sidekick double-action nine-shot .22 rimfire revolver in January. Using a round-butt bird head-style grip rather than the previous squared butt grip seen on the Sidekick last year, the new variant also has a shorter 3-inch barrel as opposed to the original 4.5-inch model. Overall length is 7.83 inches while weight is 24.5 ounces. The zinc-alloy framed Cerakoted revolver is interesting in the respect that it looks like a single-action revolver but is double-action with a swing-out cylinder that is released but pulling what would normally be the ejector rod assembly. It also ships with both a .22 LR and a .22 WMR cylinder that can be swapped out by the user in the field without tools.
Nighthawk Customs in Arkansas has been bringing in German-made Korth revolvers for years. A new one on the schedule for 2023 is the 8-Shot NXS .357 Magnum. It is a commanding 50 ounces in weight, largely due to a 6-inch hammer-forged steel barrel with a ventilated shroud and oversized frame, complete with an integrated Picatinny top rail for optics. The swing-out cylinder is cut for full-moon clips and can be swapped out with an optional 9mm cylinder. Did we mention the whole thing has a DLC finish and custom Jim Wilson walnut grips? MSRP is $5,299.
Beretta had announced last year they would soon begin importing these legendary French revolvers and it looks like that promise has been held, with several on hand for SHOT Show 2023. Developed in the 1970s to exceed the requirements of the French police and counter-terror teams– who prefer revolvers for heavy lifting– these .357 magnum six-shooters run 5.25-inch barrels in the Sport model and 4-inch barrels in the Gendarme duty model and come standard with adjustable target sights, a target adjustable trigger, and ergonomic Trausch grips. These guns have a reputation for being over-engineered and capable of digesting thousands of full-power magnum rounds without a hiccup. MSRP for the “if you know, you know” crowd is $3,600.
Taurus-owned Rossi has returned to the medium-framed revolver world with a new 6-inch brushed stainless .357 magnum for 2023. Cataloged as the RM66 model, the new Brazilian-made double-action six-shooter includes adjustable sights and a molded rubber grip. Overall length is 11.14 inches while weight is 34.4 ounces. Rossi describes it as a “revolver you can wear on the range, shoot at Bianchi Cup, take hunting with you, and most importantly hand down to your children at some point.” MSRP is $620.
As a smaller companion to the new medium-framed RM66, Rossi this year also announced the small-framed RP63, a six-shot .357 magnum with a 3-inch barrel and round butt grip. Wearing a satin stainless finish, the overall length is 7.95 inches while the weight is 27.3 ounces. MSRP is $460.
To give the hungry .22-caliber revolver loving public more options for 2023, Ruger has added a shortened 3.75-inch barrel format to its square-butt Wrangler series. The six-shooter, which uses an alloy frame and an aluminum cylinder, is Cerakoted with options for Black, Silver, or Burnt Bronze. The overall length for this more handy-sized Wrangler, dubbed the Sheriff by Ruger, is 9 inches while its weight is 26 ounces. MSRP is $269.
In an opposite take on the shortened Sheriff series of revolvers also announced this year, Ruger is offering a sort of “Buntline Special” styling that adds a good bit of length to the standard 4.62-inch barrel. New models will be available with either 6.5- or 7.5-inch barrels, giving the revolvers an overall length of 12- and 13-inches, respectively. Like all Wranglers, they are six-shooters chambered in .22 LR and are available in three Cerakoted colorways– Black, Silver, or Burnt Bronze– all with plastic grip panels in the same pattern as the company’s Single Six revolver. The suggested retail is $269.
Announced late last year, Smith & Wesson has now started shipping the M350 Legend, the first production revolver to shoot the straight-walled .350 Legend hunting round. It is a giant X Frame format, similar to the company’s .460 S&W and .500 S&W models and is all-stainless-steel with a 7.5-inch ported barrel, a fluted 7-shot cylinder, and Hogue grips to help tame recoil. Weight is 71.5 ounces, which is a tough carry but revolvers of this nature are typically shot from a rest in a blind or sticks in the field. The MSRP is $1,599.
Watch Video of the S&W Model 350 Revolver
Billed as “moving from the backwoods to the boardroom,” Taurus has given its crowd-pleasing Judge revolver a makeover. The improvements include a hand-tuned action with a crisp trigger, hand-polished stainless steel construction, and presentation-grade wood grips. Executive Grade revolvers are made in a special department at the company’s factory in Bainbridge, Georgia, which only makes these more bespoke wheel guns, and the fit and finish are top-notch. Like the rest of the Judge family, it is a five-shot revolver chambered in .410 bore/.45 Colt. Using a 3-inch barrel, the overall length is 9.5 inches while the weight is 36 ounces. MSRP is $949.
While the Taurus 605 Defender isn’t new– it was first introduced in 1995– what is new about it for 2023 is the fact that it comes in a Taurus Optics Ready Option, or TORO model. As such it and the companion Model 856 TORO are the first ever optics-ready small-frame carry revolvers on the market. Sure, other makers and aftermarket gunsmiths have marketed packages that run Pic rails and Weaver rails on revolvers meant for hunting, but this is something different as it is for micro red dots (Holosun K footprint) on defensive wheel guns. The 605 TORO is a five-shot 357 Mag with a 3-inch barrel and is available in blued or stainless finishes running $450-$470 with the stainless models hitting the higher end. Overall length is 7.5 inches while weight is 23.5 ounces.
Essentially a .38 Special companion to the Taurus 605, the five-shot Taurus 856 Defender is now offered in an optic-ready TORO model for 2023. Factory cut to accept micro red dots on an RMSc Shield/Holosun K pattern, it runs a full-lug 3-inch barrel for an overall length of 7.5 inches. Weight is 23.5 ounces, unloaded and sans optics. MSRP ranges from $445 for blued models while stainless comes in at $460.
Watch Video of the Taurus 856 TORO Revolver!
First introduced in 2018, Taurus has given its large-framed Raging Hunter in .460 S&W Magnum a serious upgrade for this year. The resulting five-shot model ditches the “puny” old 8.5-inch shrouded barrel for a longer 10.5-inch stainless barrel ending in a proprietary domino-sized compensator that goes a long way to tame the recoil of the stout cartridge. Taurus says it is akin to a .44 magnum. In addition to a top Picatinny rail for optics, it also runs a bottom rail for mounting on a tripod or when using shooting sticks in the field– keep in mind the overall length is 16.22 inches while the weight is 71.26 ounces, unloaded. MSRP is $1,269.
Watch Video of the Taurus Raging Hunter 460 from the range!
Before 2023, Taurus had only offered its Raging Hunter series in .357 Mag./.38 Special, .44 Mag., .454 Casull and 460 S&W Mag. New for this year are variants chambered in .500 S&W Mag– the most powerful factory revolver round on the market. Running a ported barrel to help cut down on recoil, Taurus is making the big wheel gun in a range of barrel lengths, which means it can serve as a dangerous game backup gun or as a primary hunting gun. The sizes run from an 8.37-inch barreled model with an overall length of 14.8 inches, down to a more carry-friendly 5-inch model with a stop in the middle that splits the difference with a 6.75-inch barrel. The Taurus 500s will be offered in black, stainless, and two-toned finishes. MSRP for the 8.7-inch variant in stainless is $1,089, with the other variants coming in at lower price points.
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