Why not just shoot .38 Special in the .357 gun?
38+P as well and the SP101 handles it quite easily.
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I have one of the early SP101 .357 Mags in 3". It was nicknamed the Pocket Rocket (although too big to pocket) and was built on the .38 Spl frame. Can only use 125 gr .357 due to the shorter cylinder. Only built about 1,500 before they changed the cylinder to true .357 length.
Mine has been professionally tuned, Magna-Ported and dehorned. It's probably the best defensive five shot revolver I've used. I use a holster...not pocket carry. Points very well, recoil quite manageable and is deadly accurate in fast draw/fire drills. The 3" balances much better than the 2".
I don't carry it anymore, but had a lot of fun when I did. Most of the guys in our defensive shooting group were using 1911's in the 1990's. I would bring in my SP101 to make a point about revolvers and have some fun. Was able to hold my own.
Really p----d off one shooter who used a Les Baer. He shot about 1,000 rounds each week. I'd mop the floor with him when we did man-on-man popper drills. He could never quite figure out why.
Another anecdote. Went to the range one day and a friend was shooting a S&W J-frame 3" .357 heavy barrel with factory 158gr mags. Muzzle rise was wicked. Let him use my SP101 with same ammo while I observed. Recoil and muzzle rise much less than the S&W. It wasn't just the Magna-Port, since I had shot the gun prior to Magna-Porting. The low SP101 bore axis and weight were also a major factor. It is as controllable as larger .357's.
I found the factory sights to be just fine for a defensive handgun. I used a black magic marker to black the front sight and the rear of the back sight. At seven yards you're practically point shooting due to the good handling characteristics and balance. At least I was. Most of my practice is defensive oriented and is 15 yards and under.
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing. --Nicholas Murray Butler
I love my SP101 in .327 and plan to get another. However, it has had two problems.
First, the rear sight pin kept working loose. The cure is simple: Put a slight (*very* slight) bend in the pin and tap it back in.
The second is more pervasive, and I've read many accounts of others having it. The cylinder doesn't rotate freely, but has a slight drag, which gets worse if it isn't thoroughly cleaned.
I wonder if this might have been designed in to help with the timing during rapid fire. All I know is that it does get worse until the cylinder axle is thoroughly cleaned and well lubed.
|Just mobilize it|
Thanks so far for the replies and eye candy. I thought I heard some info about cylinder issues on the 3" model about 6-12 months ago. Hopefully that's resolved if it was even a real issue.
I urge you to shoot both the short barrel and ! the 4.2 inch barrel , prior to purchasing.
If you want it for going to the range, you will enjoy the 4" much better,
If you are buying it for carry , you will be wanting to practice with it and you will be much happier with the 4.2 inch model.This message has been edited. Last edited by: bendable,
Safety, Situational Awareness and proficiency.
Neck Ties, Hats and ammo brass, Never ,ever touch'em w/o asking first
I have a 3" (3 1/16, per Ruger). I've had it for twenty years, received from a colleague who is dead, and it's a pistol I'll never sell or give away for that reason.
I use the factory grips, which make .357 full-house ammunition feel like .38 spl, aided by the weight of the pistol. It's accurate easy to shoot.
The SP101 is heavy for its size. The 642 I pocket carry is a feather by comparison, and the SP101 works best on the belt. A bit too heavy for pocket, in my opinion, and pointless with the 3" bbl.
3" is still a little short for .357; much of the capability of the cartridge is simply flash and noise beyond the barrel; to my thinking a 4" is about the minimum for .357 magnum.
I'm not a fan of shooting .38 spl in a .357 magnum revolver. I keep them separate.
The double action pull on the SP101 is poor, but can be improved a bit with action work and shims. The lockup is good, as it is on most Ruger revolvers.
Capacity is five. Not bad, not great, but anyone who has grown up with a revolver won't find it much of a handicap. No spray and pray; hit the first time and keep hitting while moving to cover. Basics.
My SP101 has been everywhere with me. It's well travelled and beaten up, having ridden in trucks and airplanes and backpacks and leather holsters. It's mostly stock, though I've been grousing about doing work to it for two decades. It doesn't get a lot of carry time these days, which is sad, because it's a great pistol, but others fill my personal role for now. I still won't get rid of it.
Glocks and plastics may or may not last into the next generation or two, but the Ruger will. Probably no significant change to lockwork and function five or ten generations away, if it gets passed along that long. I'm a fan of the Security Six and the GP100; the SP101 just makes a lot of sense.
I lack the 4", which I do intend to remedy this year. Maybe a SP101 in .22LR, too. We shall see.
I have the SP101 & its predecessor, the 6 shot Speed Six. You can't go wrong with these revolvers, they're terrific.
“My hope and prayer is that everyone know and love our country for what she really is and what she stands for.”
― John Wayne
I recommend the Wiley Clapp model the sights are worth the extra cost.
God bless America...and no one else
|Just mobilize it|
Good stuff guys, really helpful info. I actually went to look at a 3" model today and almost bought it, but at the last second I noticed a huge blemish near the serial number that wouldn't wipe off so I frustratingly walked away. Some may not care, but I like fit and finish as much as ruggedness and the fact that it's a "tool" and blah blah blah. Gonna start the search again though because I'm getting one. Based on the feel and the comments here, it looks like I can't go wrong.
|Only dead fish |
go with the flow
It looks like the current models have mim hammers, mim extractors and stamped triggers. Does anyone know what other "improvements" they made?
Mine's a 2.25" 9mm. Full moon clips are cheap speed loaders. :-)
"Cedat Fortuna Peritis"
|addicted to trailing-throttle oversteer|
Meh. SP101s in general are in dire need of a trigger job right out of the box. In that regard the GP100 is better, though the larger Ruger's trigger isn't perfection either. With customary factory grips I find that the smaller Ruger is a nasty stinker shooting 357 loads. A Hogue monogrip is a must for me. But even with that modification I'd still rather be shooting 357MAG through a GP100 or 686.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
I have a 3" in .357. I carried it hiking on a trip out west and didn't even feel the weight at all. It's nice to have the versatility of switching between 180gr hard cast for the woods, 135gr gold dots for in town, and snake shot for the creepy crawlies.
I may be the odd one out here, but I find it handles .357mag loads just fine, especially when one compares it to the lighter J-frames. Its a little harsher than a GP100, but not too bad. I did spend a good deal of time agonizing about whether to buy the 3" or 4" model. The 4" would have yielded slightly better ballistics, but I think the 3" carries better, and balances nicely.
As to the bad...The trigger sucks. When compared to my Smith 360, out of the box, well, there's really no comparison at all. The Ruger trigger is heavy and creepy in DA, and lacks the clean SA break of the Smith. Mine also has one tight chamber, which sometimes sticks with .357 loads, requiring a good deal of force on the ejector rod to get them to extract. When chronographing loads, they consistancy tend to be about 50-75fps faster out of that particular chamber as well.
I like the gun...It's built like a tank and will most likely last forever, but I do sometimes question if I would have been better served to spend $150 more and bought a 3" model 60.
|His diet consists of black|
coffee, and sarcasm.
Mine was a pussycat with all .38 Specials and OK with milder "medium velocity" magnums. One mild magnum I liked in it that no longer seems to be around was WWB 110-grain JHP. The Remington R357M1, the full power 125-grain, kicked like a mule and had a muzzle blast and flash like a thunderclap. I don't know if all that noise was really pushing the bullet all that much faster.This message has been edited. Last edited by: egregore,
Would like to try an SP101, have a Service Six and it is the most solid handgun I own. Stainless steel and it still looks in great shape even after being hauled though the woods.
U.S. Army 11F4P Vietnam 69-70 NRA Life Member
I offered to let each of my daughters pick one of my guns to have as theirs when they're old enough. Only one daughter is really interested, and of all the guns she could have picked, she chose my SP-101. I'm happy for her, but sad that I'm losing one of my most favorites. I'll definitely be replacing it.
Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice - pull down your pants and slide on the ice.
I have a few SP101's. The top one is a 9mm that's been out of production for several years. I've never fired it and it appears to be NIB. If I remember right I have the original shipping sleeve for it.I have a couple unopened packages of the Ruger 9mm moon clips.
The one of the lower left is a spurless SP in 357 mag. I asked for it after Ruger replaced 2 defective 357LCR's.
Then the lower right is a 4" SP101 in 22 LR.
The little 22 is alright but I much rather shoot my S&W M 63.
I really like the spurless accept for the weight. If it wasn't for the weight I'd probably carry it often.
The 357 spurless has been Glass Bead blasted since this picture was taken after polishing out the machining marks Ruger left in it. The flat part on the top edge of the crane was like a razor blade. It needed a Wolff spring kit bad along with Trigger Shims. It's really sad what Ruger is turning out today.
*** A Proud NRA Benefactor Member***
I've had a 2.25" Wiley Clapp for about a year now. Its probably my most common carry piece at this point. Dry fire it for a few evenings and the trigger will smooth out. Its a 10yd and in defensive gun, no need for a glass trigger.
Very good to see all the love for the robust little powerhouse. I must confess that I've EDC'd my DAO variant over the last few days and given it some additional range time as well. Great balance & heft
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