First, there is a reason Taurus revolvers cost less.
My gun dealer won't even sell me a Taurus...I'll break it through use since I shoot so much.¬* I figure he knows what he's talking about considering the huge number of guns he sells.
Forget Charter Arms too...unless it's an old model.¬* Apparently the new model guns have low quality control (please research this on various forums).
Reliability is generally thrown about in terms of "overall" or "general" reliability.¬* Unfortunately, this obfuscates many of the problems that revolver shooters run into.¬* It is a different set of problems.
Revolvers are NOT more reliable, unless you're talking about sitting in a desk for 20 years.¬* Cylinders are SENSITIVE components and need to be treated with care.¬* A CLEAN revolver may be a bit more reliable, but for how long?¬* You may get just a few cylinders before problems develop;¬* it all depends on the gun.
The main trouble with them, though, is that a "jam" generally requires a trip to the gunsmith.¬* Even a heavy recoiling round may cause the next round in cylinder to lengthen --and prevent the cylinder from rotating (or opening).¬* Keep this in mind as you research problems with revolvers on the 'net (thehighroad.org, smithandwessonforum.com, etc).
That leaves Ruger and S&W for current production guns and Colt and Dan Wesson in the used market.
Ruger makes some nice guns, but their triggers require work.¬* You will find a smooth trigger is essential, especially when the weight is in the 10+ pound range.¬* Furthermore, the RETURN is also essential (it's how Jerry shot those 12 shots so fast) and you need to learn it.
S&W also makes good guns.¬* Many people don't like the lock...doesn't matter to me.¬* Others says the new guns are not as nice as their old ones.¬* You may want to consider purchasing a used one.¬* You're going to pay the money anyway...either for a new gun or in gun smithing fees.¬* It would probably be best just to send it to S&W;¬* there are not that many good revolversmiths around and at least there's a baseline of skill at the factory.
I really, really like S&W's Performance Center guns, but you'll pay for them.¬* I picked up a new Registered Magnum for under $1000 recently and it has EVERYTHING you could want on a revolver except a gold bead front sight.¬* It's ready to go with no waiting.¬* The 3.5" barrel is great for CCW in either the strong side or appendix position.
Moonclips are like magazines for semi-autos.¬* I highly recommend them...you've seen the demo clip.¬* Unfortunately, that means you'll have to send out a Ruger (assuming you go with a current production gun) to get the cylinder cut.¬* While it's there, get the cylinder holes chamferred and beveled for really fast reloads (the rounds just FLOW in).¬*
If you decide to avoid moonclips, then speed loaders and speed strips are your only options.¬* They're fairly slow to use...keep this in mind.¬*
You may want to look at the Ruger GP100 with 3" barrel.¬* The shorter barrel doesn't make much difference and it conceals more comfortably.¬* Alternatively, maybe try the Ruger SP101 in the new 327 Federal cartridge.¬* You still get six shots in a very small package with 3" barrel (the 3" barrel length seems to be the happy spot for control versus concealability).
You really do need to train with your revolver.¬* The gun manipulation skills are VERY different from semi-autos.¬* Unfortunately, most instructors focus on semi-autos, so you'll really need to interview any potential instructors for their revolver experience.¬* Working the trigger efficiently is your most important skill.¬* Fast reloads ON THE MOVE is another.¬* Fortunately, you can do both at home with snap-caps (ALWAYS USE SNAP-CAPS when dry firing--regardless of make or model).
Finally, get involved with ICORE.¬* There are ICORE shooters in NoVA who shoot once a month.¬* I can get their contact info.¬* These are informal matches and you will learn a lot by attending them.
Read Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting
by Ed McGivern.¬* The text is a bit difficult to read, but everything you need is in there.¬* You'll have to dig a bit for his shooting procedures.¬* It is worth it though--consider it a DIRECT look into the mind of the shooter of the 1930's.¬* Remember, revolvers were king in the civilian market when it was written.