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Old February 23, 2006, 06:06 PM   #1
thom1960
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Ruger SP101..2.25" or 3" ?

Getting my ccw permit and was thinking of the SP101 in 357 mag. How much of a difference is there in recoil and accuracy between the two? I like the idea of the 2.25" for easier conceal. but the recoil and accuracy concern me.
Any input would be appreciated.

Tom
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Old February 23, 2006, 06:55 PM   #2
zoomie
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I'm going to carry the 3". I had the same question and everything I read said the same basic things.
  1. The grip is harder to conceal than the barrel, and that's the same on both.
  2. 357 loads lose substantial velocity out of a 2" compared to a 3".
  3. The slightly longer sight radius can only help accuracy.
  4. Either one is tough with full 158gr bullets; try 110gr loads.
Why don't ya buy one of each and I'll take the one you don't like. I don't think you can go wrong either way.
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Old February 23, 2006, 07:06 PM   #3
azredhawk44
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I own a 3".

This gun was designed to shoot 158gr pills. The sights are built for it. 110, 125, etc. will shoot low compared to 158's.

The benefit of the 2" model is that it becomes feasible to carry in a jacket pocket or dockers pockets. I cannot do this reliably with my 3" gun. The increased length causes the grip to stick out of my jacket or trouser pockets just a little bit.

I carry mine IWB or OWB. With moderate magnum handloads that I brew myself, I can touch 5 shots together at 25 feet. This is with a moderate amount of Titegroup and 158gr LSWC bullets from Redline. Using some of the powerhouse magnum powders like 296 or H110 in cartridges for this gun is silly since the barrel length is so short. Faster burning powders like Titegroup, maybe Unique, will give much better results.
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Old February 23, 2006, 07:13 PM   #4
cje1980
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I tend to prefer a 3" snubby compared to a 2 incher. To me it simply makes more sense. As long as its a 5-shot it is very concealable. With a 2" barrel, its uncontrollable with standard power 357Mag loads and pretty anemic with 38Spl loads. The 2" barrel also lowers the power level of 357Mag loads while increasing flash recoil. The 3" will give you better ballistics from both 38Spl and 357Mag and will also be easier to control. I like the S&W M60 3" version. Its small and light yet fairly easy to control with 125gr. 357Mag loads. It has adjustable sights and is as accurate as I am. Its hard to beat this gun for its combination of size, weight and power. This is a gun that would probably fill every role a handgun can do except maybe grizzly protection. With a hopped up 180gr. HC load, it would also perform that role rather well.
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Old February 23, 2006, 07:27 PM   #5
azredhawk44
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Quote:
This is a gun that would probably fill every role a handgun can do except maybe grizzly protection. With a hopped up 180gr. HC load, it would also perform that role rather well.
Dang it, now I have to argue with you!!!!

I would be surprised if a smith (or ruger) small frame snubby has a long enough cylinder to carry a full cartridge that exceeds 1.600 inches total length. A 180gr cartridge would need to be around 1.650 or so total length to accomodate a full powder charge of the requisite H110 or 296 to push it to necessary velocity for big critter protection.

But, we have a 3" barrel to get speed from. Not enough. Instead of 1200fps, you get maybe 900fps and a 3 foot fireball. And I think that speed is generous.

Add to that the recoil of the super-heavy bullet, the high energy release from the powerful powder charge, and the tiny gun to control it in, and you certainly do not have the swiss-army 1 gun fits all perfect gun.

It will deal with people perfectly well with proper self defense ammo, as well as small-to-medium wildlife, though.
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Old February 23, 2006, 07:43 PM   #6
Mastrogiacomo
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I have the 2" DAO - believe me, you don't get recoil from this gun which is why it's my carry choice, but if you like the looks and balance of the 3" you really can't go wrong with Ruger.
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Old February 23, 2006, 08:12 PM   #7
ribbonstone
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The only time the 2" vesion is slightly more concealable is when it's dropped loose in your pocket...most pockets are a bit short, and the 3" version will have the top fo the grip poking out (at least until it shifts around when carried loose and becomes nearly impossible to draw).

So if an pocket holster is in your thoughts, might want the 2"...and even then, will need pretty deep strudy pockets.

In a holster...inside the waist or on the blet...the barrel length is the least important factor (until it becomse too long to let you bend at the middle and sit down).

May not seem like a bunch of differnce...but going for a 2" to a 3" is a 33% increase.
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Old February 23, 2006, 08:12 PM   #8
ribbonstone
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The only time the 2" vesion is slightly more concealable is when it's dropped loose in your pocket...most pockets are a bit short, and the 3" version will have the top fo the grip poking out (at least until it shifts around when carried loose and becomes nearly impossible to draw).

So if an pocket holster is in your thoughts, might want the 2"...and even then, will need pretty deep strudy pockets.

In a holster...inside the waist or on the blet...the barrel length is the least important factor (until it becomse too long to let you bend at the middle and sit down).

May not seem like a bunch of differnce...but going for a 2" to a 3" is a 33% increase.
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Old February 23, 2006, 10:36 PM   #9
Ichiro
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I think Arizona Redhawk said it all, but I'll add my 2 centavos.
  • In just about any configuration, a 3" will be easier to shoot accurately than a 2".
  • A 3" barrel will also allow more of the power of the .357 mag. cartridge to be converted into speed instead of blast.
  • The 3" barrelled model is more visually and physically balanced than the 2".

For carry, on the other hand:
  • The 3" barrelled model absolutely will not fit in my Bagmaster fanny pack, so that carry option would be out of the question for me.
  • The 3" barrelled model only comes in SA/DA, as far as I know, so the hammer spur is an issue for carry. In my FIST IWB holster, which I wear not IWB, but between my belt and my pants Crossdraw instead of strongside, the hammer would definitely poke into my ribs when seated, not to mention dragging on my shirt if I ever needed to draw it.
  • As for pocket carry, the 2" model is not ideal, but it WILL fit into a coat pocket decently enough. A 3" model, with the extra inch of barrel and hammer spur absolutely would not fit into any of my coat pockets.

As for ammo:
In the past, I've recommended 110 grain magnums as a training round, because of the reduced power/blast and getting used to magnums in this gun. I must retract that recommendation now, as I've noticed that this round shoots way, way too low for any kind of good result. As these guns are sighted in (permanently) for 158-grain rounds, there is absolutely nothing I can do about the low shooting. At 7 yards, if I aimed at the heart of a silhouette, I may hit the groin with 110-grain ammo. It's that bad! Stick with 158-grain rounds in any configuration, and your results will be better. Even .38s in 158-grain will shoot better than 110-grain magnums.

~Ichiro
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Old February 24, 2006, 11:59 AM   #10
grimjaw
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I have the .38 Special only version of the SP101, so I can't speak to the power question other than to say that that extra inch does make a difference in velocity. I know I'm more accuracte with the 3" version, and it's mostly due to the sight radius. I don't find it any more difficult to conceal than the 2" version other than I have to wear slightly longer shirts or use IWB holsters. If you find .357 to be unbearable to shoot, you could always switch to .38's, and it's a breeze.

jmm
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Old February 24, 2006, 12:14 PM   #11
Sarge
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I have shot and carried both. If you intend to CC it and carry it regularly, get the 2". It will still shoot plenty well- like this well at 20 yards, with full-snort 125 grain magnums-

As Mastrogiacomo noted, recoil is not bad at all with either of them.
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Old February 25, 2006, 09:33 PM   #12
Ben Shepherd
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AZREDHAWK44: The sp101 does indeed have enough cylinder length/strength for slightly long 180's. Recoil is, uh, stout? to say the least. But the little girl will handle them.

As long as you don't have one of the very early ones marked "for 125 grain only".

As for my barrel length of choice? 2 1/4". Been carrying one for 6 years.
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Old February 25, 2006, 09:47 PM   #13
threefivesevenmag
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2.

I would go with the 2" for concealed carry.

Is the 3" a better gun? It does get more velocity out of your loads, but I think combat accuracy at 7-10 yards will be fine out of a 2" gun. Remember, it's the software (you) not the hardware (the gun) when it comes to accuracy out of a good revolver.

I think the choice will mainly come down to your climate, carry method, and ability to carry comfortably. A 2" DAO SP-101 is going to be easier to carry concealed than the 3" with a hammer. I promise you that.

But, have fun with your choice. You'll probably end up with both anyway.
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Old February 25, 2006, 11:36 PM   #14
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I have the SP101 with a 2 1/4" barrel and love it. It more than accurate enough for the ranges that I would use it at. I have fitted Hogue Rubber Monogrips on it and have no problem firing any 357 ammo that I have tried so far. I carry it (not fulltime carry) in a Milt Sparks PMK and have no problem with the weight of the gun.

I see no reason to get the 3" version for CCW for use of ranges of 30 feet or less.

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Old February 28, 2006, 11:21 PM   #15
cje1980
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Quote:
But, we have a 3" barrel to get speed from. Not enough. Instead of 1200fps, you get maybe 900fps and a 3 foot fireball. And I think that speed is generous.
Buffalo Bore states that even their monstrous 180gr. load is safe even in J-Frames. Now judging by the fact that they listed specific guns that will cycle their 340gr. 44Mag loads. I would have to believe them on that. You're certainly not going to lose 300fps by going to a 3" vs a 4" barrel. At the most there might be a loss of 100fps, although less than 50fps is more likely. A 3" 357Mag is one of the most versatile handguns someone can get their hands on. Small enough to carry anywhere and powerful enough to feel safe in the woods(lower 48 states).
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Old March 1, 2006, 04:53 AM   #16
ChuckD
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My SP 101 is a 2 1/4" 357. I rarely shoot 38's through it. It has digested well over 5000 357's. Recoil on this model is not an issue. Accuracy is not an issue. Sight radius can be an issue--takes more practice. All that said, in my years of concealed carry, my personal experience is that (in any brand) 3" barrels are the cats meow. Am I looking to get rid of my 2 1/2"---NO! We have bonded...ChuckD
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Old March 1, 2006, 07:13 AM   #17
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My buddy changed the front sight to xs big dot, and changed the hammer over to spurrless. He carries it backup along with 3" gp100 spurless. It is quite the combination and he shoots all 5 or 6 touching at 10 yds. Oh the sp is the 2 1/4 one. I myself don't like 357 out of any gun smaller then 3" k-frame. I would rather shoot a 3" Kimber 45. Less recoil then 9mm and they are so accurate.
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