Ditto. I have a prelock 686-3 4 inch. One of the best in a used double action revolver. I also have a brand new GP100 4 inch. Without a doubt they are the best value in a new medium frame revolver new. Now I am going to throw a curve into the post. How about considering a nice used S&W model 28 in 4 inch barrel. With out a doubt I consider the model 27/28 as the best when shooting 357s. I have all of the above revolvers including the a model 28-2 4 inch. My model 28-2 is the most comfortable revolver to shoot 357s. It beats all the rest of my 357s.New? Ruger GP100.
Used? S&W 686-4 pre lock.
I felt the need for a "new" 357 some years ago. After viewing S&W current production offerings I bought the Ruger GP100 4". Fine revolver with a trigger thats sweet. I've since purchased other Rugers and have not looked back.
That said, S&W revolvers (made prior to 2001) are my favorites. See if you can locate a lightly used 686-4. I have a 686-4+ 7-shot. That is one sweet revolver. All the best engineering changes incorporated and none of the cheapening "innovations". No internal lock either, which precludes consideration of a revolver for any serious purpose, for me.
Good luck with your decision! Regards 18DAI.