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2.25" SP101 .357 Mag Chronograph Data

This is a discussion on 2.25" SP101 .357 Mag Chronograph Data within the Ruger Double Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; I have seen quite a bit of internet lore out there stating the snub nosed .357 mag is impractical as too much velocity is lost ...


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Old January 8th, 2017, 12:50 PM   #1
 
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2.25" SP101 .357 Mag Chronograph Data

I have seen quite a bit of internet lore out there stating the snub nosed .357 mag is impractical as too much velocity is lost to the short barrel. I have chronographed short barreled .357's in the past and have found many of these claims to be exaggerated. I recently picked up another snubby SP101, lnib, at a price I couldn't pass up. So I decided to clock some loads to see how she fares. I figured I'd document my findings this time for everyone's reference.

I have always wanted a spurless model and have carried these little revolvers quite a bit. They have to be some of my favorite guns. Anyhow, it was a cold day today, 15 deg F, but I managed to gather some data from the chronograph.

In short, yes some velocity will be lost with the snubby's shorter barrel, but as the numbers below show, the .357 snubby still produces velocities well within magnum territory. I don't know how temperature sensitive the loads I used are, but I have previously found cold weather typically tends to lower velocity numbers so keep that in consideration. As far as shootibility goes, I find the magnum SP101's recoil no less manageable than that of a S&W 642 with 158 gr +p loads.

Here's the little bugger with the big bark:



And the results:

SP101 2.25" barrel, B/C gap measures about .007-.008

Remington UMC 125 gr jhp, 5 shots:
1263
1250
1241
1303
1284
Avg:
1268 fps
446 fpe

American Eagle 158 gr jsp, 5 shots:
1076
1076
1055
1077
1057
Avg:
1068 fps
400 fpe

Handload - 16.7 gr H110 w/ 158 gr Hornady XTP:
1112
1076
1067
1077
1087
Avg:
1083 fps
412 fpe

S&W SD9VE 4" barrel 9mm for reference

Federal Aluminium 115 gr fmj, 15 shot
Avg:
1161 fps
344 fpe

Hope any folks interested in these fine revolvers find this data useful.




Last edited by andyrping; January 8th, 2017 at 01:00 PM.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 01:26 PM   #2
 
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I use a 3 inch sp101 for less muzzle blast and velocity is a bit higher and the gun is definately more controllable.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 02:38 PM   #3
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Good for you, Andy. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that the 357 mag is no better than a 38 +P in a snub nose, I could probably buy another snub-nose. Have no issue with those that prefer the 38 for its lower recoil and muzzle blast - those are valid issues in a small revolver - but a 38 is not a 357.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 04:46 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyrping View Post
I find the magnum SP101's recoil no less manageable than that of a S&W 642 with 158 gr +p loads.
Yeah, that's kinda the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyrping View Post
Hope any folks interested in these fine revolvers find this data useful.
But definitely useful. Thanks for sharing.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 11:17 PM   #5
 
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Good info! Thank's for sharing it!
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Old January 9th, 2017, 06:46 AM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by North country gal View Post
Good for you, Andy. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that the 357 mag is no better than a 38 +P in a snub nose, I could probably buy another snub-nose. Have no issue with those that prefer the 38 for its lower recoil and muzzle blast - those are valid issues in a small revolver - but a 38 is not a 357.
Exactly! There is just no comparison with the .38 +p. If I recall correctly, I was getting about 735 fps out of my old S&W 642 using Remington's 158 gr +p lswchp's. And that little revolver stung the hand pretty fierce with those. Aside from being easier to carry in the pocket, I'll take my SP101 any day over the Airweight j frames. The magnum's muzzle blast is pretty stout, but the recoil is actually not bad at all out of the heavier Ruger. And that's with the factory grips. I have the Hogue monogrip on my 4.2" SP101 and it really helps tame the recoil even more. Just can't go wrong with an SP101!
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Old January 9th, 2017, 08:01 AM   #7
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I'm with you. Much prefer steel frames to alloy frames in this class of gun, even though I take a bit of a hit on the weight. Definitely makes for a more shootable gun for me even with the 38s and, of course, the 357s. Personal call, of course, on how much weight versus how easy to shoot you want in a gun.

I also went with Hogues on my SP in 357 for taming recoil a bit with heavy 357s. Really helps.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 08:52 AM   #8
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Buffalo Bore 38 Spl +P 158 gr LSWC-HP/GC's chronied 1,037 FPS in my 2 1/4" SP. I imagine their 357 ammo would be in the 1,200 FPS + range.

I agree with the OP the loss of velocity isn't as significant as some make it out to be.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 05:34 PM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by terry_p View Post
Buffalo Bore 38 Spl +P 158 gr LSWC-HP/GC's chronied 1,037 FPS in my 2 1/4" SP. I imagine their 357 ammo would be in the 1,200 FPS + range.

I agree with the OP the loss of velocity isn't as significant as some make it out to be.
BB lists their 158 gr .357 load @ 1398 fps from a 3" model 60. I have found the often stated estimate of 50 fps loss of velocity per inch less of barrel length to be a pretty reasonable predicition so I would not be surprised if this load easily broke 1300 fps from a 2.25" sp101. I'd love to get a hold of what ever powder they use!
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Old January 11th, 2017, 07:16 AM   #10
 
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Thanks for posting that.

I wonder how much speed the temperature might have stolen? I've had rifle velocities sap a hundred fps in very cold temps. I was never ambitious enough to clock handgun velocities at 15 degrees, but it likely takes a bit of velocity.

I've checked .38 snub speeds from time to time in my M36's and my M637. The numbers are all over the place, and can vary by as much as 100fps. Just as interesting, some loads are faster in one gun than they are in another. I don't see much evidence in my small collection that one 2" barrel is faster or slower than the other. Just different.

.38's in any flavor never get within 200fps of a .357 load bullet for bullet.
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