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SP101 barrel lengths

This is a discussion on SP101 barrel lengths within the Ruger Double Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; Forget about concealability, how do the different barrel lengths differ when shooting; how much different do they feel in recoil and ease of aiming due ...


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Old March 6th, 2017, 09:32 AM   #1
 
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SP101 barrel lengths

Forget about concealability, how do the different barrel lengths differ when shooting; how much different do they feel in recoil and ease of aiming due to sight radius? Overall balance?

I have a 2 1/4" and I'm thinking of getting a 3". If the difference isn't noticeable, I have to wonder why Ruger makes both. Surely there's an advantage to the 3". Not sure I'd go for the 4.2" but you never know.

I guess the only reason I'm interested in the 3" is it's hard to aim my 2 1/4" accurately beyond 10-15 yards, but that's not what snub nose revolvers are meant for, so maybe the 3" is better for 15-25 yard shooting.



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Old March 6th, 2017, 09:36 AM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR2 View Post
Forget about concealability, how do the different barrel lengths differ when shooting; how much different do they feel in recoil and ease of aiming due to sight radius? Overall balance?

I have a 2 1/4" and I'm thinking of getting a 3". If the difference isn't noticeable, I have to wonder why Ruger makes both. Surely there's an advantage to the 3". Not sure I'd go for the 4.2" but you never know.

I guess the only reason I'm interested in the 3" is it's hard to aim my 2 1/4" accurately beyond 10-15 yards, but that's not what snub nose revolvers are meant for, so maybe the 3" is better for 15-25 yard shooting.
I read somewhere that it takes at least 3 inches of barrel to make the 357 mag preform. If that's true or not idk. But you would have a little bit better site radius, with the 3 inch.
I have the 2 inch barrel. I love it but mag rounds really really ring ears.

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Old March 6th, 2017, 09:50 AM   #3
 
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Depends what you mean by "perform." Any standard .357 cartridge will have more muzzle energy than a .38 out of the same barrel. I usually shoot about 90% .38 in my 101 anyway.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 10:18 AM   #4
 
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I have both snub and 3 inch SP101.

For me,there is a subtle difference.If I had to choose just one,it would be the snub,but so far I have been inclined to hang on to both.

Too bad Ruger does not offer the three inch with adjustable sights.

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Old March 6th, 2017, 11:00 AM   #5
 
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In looking at some data between my snub SP101 and 4 5/8" Blackhawk, I showed average difference between them to be slightly higher in the Blackhawk (as expected)

.38 Special, 158grn SWC - 740fps to 844.1fps = 104.1fps
.357 mag, 158grn JHP - 1115.2fps to 1301.4fps = 186.2fps
.357 mag, 125grn JHP - 1175.4fps to 1469.4fps = 294fps

Granted, that's not the true comparison you seek, but it gives you an idea...

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Old March 6th, 2017, 11:48 AM   #6
 
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I think what I was reading was talking about. Burning the powder. But as stated I have the 2 inch. The only real advantage I could see with the three would be I little longer site radius

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Old March 6th, 2017, 12:29 PM   #7
 
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214 inch is good for pocket carry the 3 inch is notr pocketable unless you have cargo pants.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 02:04 PM   #8
 
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Does a 3 inch have a longer ejector rod, like S&W? There may be an improvement in clearing magnum brass.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 02:41 PM   #9
 
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vilkus,
Nope, the ejector rod is the same on both barrel lengths. The Rugers kick out empties much better than S&W's of comparable barrel length.

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Old March 6th, 2017, 03:46 PM   #10
 
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I much prefer the 3 inch barrel because there is a difference in accuracy at least for me shooting a 3 inch vs 2.25 inch barrel. But I doubt there would be very much difference shooting .38 special because of the recoil!!!
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Old March 6th, 2017, 04:11 PM   #11
 
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Me personally anything over the 2.25" snub and I'm getting a GP100.

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Old March 6th, 2017, 05:42 PM   #12
 
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Originally Posted by sigmanx View Post
Me personally anything over the 2.25" snub and I'm getting a GP100.

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My disagreement with this statement is based on weight. The lightest .357 GP100 is the 3" fixed sight at 36 ounces. Weight then goes up towards 2.5 lbs and beyond. A 3" fixed sight .357 SP101 runs 27 ounces. I don't feel the need to add 1/2 lb. + to gain one more round capacity. If you need adjustable sights, need more velocity via a longer barrel, want optics or are recoil sensitive, sure get a GP100. If you want compact power, stick with a SP101. My 2 1/4" SP101's get pocket carry and the 3" guns go to the range. They'll all stay on a playing card at 50 feet. Windage is spot on and elevation is predictable based on powder charge. I only shoot 158 gr. .357 LSWC reloads or Barnes TAC-XP 125 gr. JHP's. A couple of years back I packed a 1911 on a 12 mile mountain trek. That's when I decided I didn't need or want any extra weight. If I was 40 years younger I might consider the GP100 but no thank you since I'm 65.

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Old March 6th, 2017, 07:24 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR2 View Post
Forget about concealability, how do the different barrel lengths differ when shooting; how much different do they feel in recoil and ease of aiming due to sight radius? Overall balance?

I have a 2 1/4" and I'm thinking of getting a 3". If the difference isn't noticeable, I have to wonder why Ruger makes both. Surely there's an advantage to the 3". Not sure I'd go for the 4.2" but you never know.

I guess the only reason I'm interested in the 3" is it's hard to aim my 2 1/4" accurately beyond 10-15 yards, but that's not what snub nose revolvers are meant for, so maybe the 3" is better for 15-25 yard shooting.
The OP stated, " ....I have to wonder why Ruger makes both."
The answer to that question is, "because people BUY both".

The OP then states, "Surely there's an advantage to the 3".
There is and don't call me Shirley (Sorry, watched the movie "Airplane" too many times)

OK, all jokes aside, the 3" barrel offers a longer sight radius and slightly more velocity at the expense of weight and bulk. As someone else pointed out, there's no advantage in the length of the ejector rod stroke on a 3" SP101.

I'm a big fan of 3" DA 38/357 revolvers. They are a good compromise between size, weight, power and accuracy. However, the 3" revolver is no longer a snubnose gun and is no longer a pocket gun or ankle holster gun. The 2.25" SP101 is big by snubnose standards to start with and may already be too big for pocket carry.
So the real question is, "Are you willing to pay the price in weight and bulk for that extra 3/4" of sight radius"?

The old Speed-Six had a 2.75" barrel and a 6 round cylinder. The SP101 has a 2.25" OR a 3" barrel and a 5 round cylinder. The 3" SP101 is the modern equivalent of the old 2.75" Speed-Six, minus one round. it's an excellent tool but restricted to holster carry.

As for the accuracy of a 2.25" SP101 - the gun is capable of fine accuracy matching the 3" version,; it's just more difficult to extract that accuracy from the shorter barrel with its shorter sight radius. With practice, the short barrel gives up very little. The advantage of the short barrel is ease of concealment and ease of carry.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 07:42 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrol and Powder View Post
The OP stated, " ....I have to wonder why Ruger makes both."
The answer to that question is, "because people BUY both".

The OP then states, "Surely there's an advantage to the 3".
There is and don't call me Shirley (Sorry, watched the movie "Airplane" too many times)

OK, all jokes aside, the 3" barrel offers a longer sight radius and slightly more velocity at the expense of weight and bulk. As someone else pointed out, there's no advantage in the length of the ejector rod stroke on a 3" SP101.

I'm a big fan of 3" DA 38/357 revolvers. They are a good compromise between size, weight, power and accuracy. However, the 3" revolver is no longer a snubnose gun and is no longer a pocket gun or ankle holster gun. The 2.25" SP101 is big by snubnose standards to start with and may already be too big for pocket carry.
So the real question is, "Are you willing to pay the price in weight and bulk for that extra 3/4" of sight radius"?

The old Speed-Six had a 2.75" barrel and a 6 round cylinder. The SP101 has a 2.25" OR a 3" barrel and a 5 round cylinder. The 3" SP101 is the modern equivalent of the old 2.75" Speed-Six, minus one round. it's an excellent tool but restricted to holster carry.

As for the accuracy of a 2.25" SP101 - the gun is capable of fine accuracy matching the 3" version,; it's just more difficult to extract that accuracy from the shorter barrel with its shorter sight radius. With practice, the short barrel gives up very little. The advantage of the short barrel is ease of concealment and ease of carry.
That's a good post, I have to agree with it. I'm still struggling with accuracy on my 2-1/4" .357, but I'm just going to practice practice and practice some more. I've been spoiled by my 5" Colt 1911 and my 4" S&W .38spl revolver, so until I get to where I feel good and confident with Mr. Shorty, the larger pistols aren't coming on as many camping trips as they normally would.

I'm not making it easy on myself though either, I don't like shooting any closer than about 10 -15 yards or so and figure once I can get where I want at 25 or a bit more I won't have any issues with anything closer.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 07:56 PM   #15
 
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Petro & Powder I like your reasoning. I really like 3 inch revolvers. My personal favorite that I still do not have is either a 2.5-3 inch S&W K frame .357. Mod. 19/66, 13/65. The Ruger Security Six 2.75 is a close 2nd. My revolver that I have now to fill that niche is either my Ruger GP100 WC .357 or my SP101 3 inch .327FM both offering 6 shots! The GP100 WC now that I have shot a few rounds thru it has the smoothest action & trigger pull of any revolver including my S&W Mod. 66 no dash. But now for size & power the SP101 3 inch .327FM is no slouch in power in some loads it comes very close to the .357 Magnum! I am hoping with time the SP101 will smooth up. It's getting better vs when I bought it. I could do a spring kit trigger job on it. But I never had on any of my revolvers. I never had problems either. My SP101 with Hogue Wood grips makes a nice smaller 6 shot revolver. A Ruger LCRX in .327FM would be very nice......Hey Ruger you have LCRX's in .38 & .357 now you need one in .327FM!!!
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