Ruger Forum

SP 101 in 38 special

This is a discussion on SP 101 in 38 special within the Ruger Double Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; I acquired a nice 3" SP101 on a trade that is chambered in 38 special. This gun appears to be identical in every shape and ...


Go Back   Ruger Forum > Pistol & Revolver Forum > Ruger Double Action

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes

Old April 23rd, 2013, 09:42 AM   #1
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: oregon
Posts: 10
Dieselman is on a distinguished road
SP 101 in 38 special

I acquired a nice 3" SP101 on a trade that is chambered in 38 special. This gun appears to be identical in every shape and form to the .357 model with the exception to the cylinder only being bored to accept 38's. My question is. can I work up a load of 38 special rounds to near 357 magnum performance and safely fire them in this gun?



Dieselman is offline  
Advertisements
Old April 23rd, 2013, 10:21 AM   #2
 
conditionyellow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Lee County, SW Florida
Posts: 379
conditionyellow is an unknown quantity at this point
Shoot 38+P's. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature or Father Ruger.
conditionyellow is offline  
Old April 23rd, 2013, 10:23 AM   #3
 
daleeman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 2,056
daleeman will become famous soon enough
Does not sound like a smart idea to me.

Is it marked +P ? If so or not, stick with the rated rounds. If you purchased a 38, that is what you got, a 38.

Welcome to the forum. See what others have to say.
daleeman is offline  
Old April 23rd, 2013, 07:30 PM   #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 868
Lone Star will become famous soon enough
It'll handle Plus P's easily. Buffalo Bore makes some hot ones that are about like the old .38-44, I think, Check with them as to suitibility, but I think they're okay, although recoil will be pretty stout in that size of gun.

I doubt that Ruger or any gun maker will advise you about handloads. Too much potential liability.

You'll reach pressure limits in the shorter .38 case before you attain full .357 ballistics. I wouldn't try.

But the hotter .38 rounds will probably do all that you need to do. And you'll get full .38 velocities in those chambers. If you shoot .38's in a .357, you'll lose some velocity due to the longer chambers. Most of your shooting with that gun is probably going to be with .38's, anyway, even if you'd bought it in .357.

Last edited by Lone Star; April 23rd, 2013 at 07:33 PM.
Lone Star is offline  
Old April 23rd, 2013, 08:48 PM   #5
 
Smithy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Central Valley of California
Posts: 1,236
Smithy is on a distinguished road
The gun might be OK, but putting pressures that should be in a larger volume, into a smaller volume will first of; create even more pressure than anticipated due to the smaller volume. I also have one of these guns and am quite happy popping 38's out of it. My wife's gun is also 38 so I only shoot 38's out of four guns even though two of them could chamber the 357 round. If I felt that I had to have the bigger round, I could always do it in those two. Smithy.
Smithy is offline  
Old April 23rd, 2013, 09:36 PM   #6
 
jcohen24's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 249
jcohen24 is on a distinguished road
Not a good idea. Anything beyond .38+P is inviting trouble. Leave the higher pressure rounds to a gun chambered for .357.
jcohen24 is offline  
Old April 23rd, 2013, 09:51 PM   #7
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 2,307
ExArmy11b is on a distinguished road
Back in the early 90's some .38 SP's had the chambers opened up to accept 125 gr. .357. Massad Ayoob advocated this and Ruger later made the 125 gr. bullet .357 SP's. These early SP's had shorter cylinders than later .357's.

Is your SP an early model or one of the later production .38 models, which is basically a .357 SP chambered for .38?

I won't advocate unsafe hand loading but rest assured your .38 SP can handle any safely loaded within spec .38 +P+.

I have fired some early Super Vel .38's through my .38 SP with 0 issues, and these are the hot Super Vels from the 60's, before the company changed hands and also before the term "+P" existed. These rounds are hotter than any other +P I have fired and also hotter than some light loaded factory .357 such as Blazer. These rounds are too old too trust for defense but I wish the newer production .38 +P was as warm as this stuff.....if you look around sometimes you can turn up some old .38 police loads at gun shows that are actually loaded the way they're supposed to be, before lawyers started running the ammo companies.

Last edited by ExArmy11b; April 23rd, 2013 at 09:53 PM.
ExArmy11b is offline  
Old April 23rd, 2013, 10:32 PM   #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: oregon
Posts: 10
Dieselman is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExArmy11b View Post

Is your SP an early model or one of the later production .38 models, which is basically a .357 SP chambered for .38?
This is a rather late production model. I can't tell you what year for sure, but I can tell you that it looks exactly the same as my friends SP101 chambered in .357 magnum. I actually thought some about seeing if a smith would open up the cylinder to accept .357 mags.
Dieselman is offline  
Old April 23rd, 2013, 11:40 PM   #9
 
Smithy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Central Valley of California
Posts: 1,236
Smithy is on a distinguished road
I know that there is absolutely no difference between the SP in 38 and the SP in 357, save the length of the chambers. The frame and cylinder have exactly the same outward dimensions so one could ream the 38 out to 357 spec's and a 158 SWC would fit and chamber just fine of a 357 round. The gun "probably" should be OK? This is only because Ruger goes over the top and builds its guns like a brick S$^%House. The thing is, that when the stamp on the side of the barrel says 38 special, then that's all it is tested for. The proof load is a 38 special proof load and NOT a 357 proof load. So there is a chance (though probably not a huge one) that the gun very well may have problems eating a course of 357 ammo. That's the reason to not mix the two. Same thing would go for something like an American Derringer chambered in 25 ACP that uses the same frame and barrel blocks as there 44 magnum. I don't think it would be wise to bore out a larger hole and cap one off. Smithy.
Smithy is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 08:03 AM   #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: oregon
Posts: 10
Dieselman is on a distinguished road
Well what I would like to load up for this gun is a 158 grain Hornady or 158 hard cast to about 1050fps-1100fps. So I guess not quite 357 mag but certainly more than 38 special +P. Guess I need to think about it for a while and see if I can come up with a load around those numbers that wouldn't be too much more than a 38+P for pressure just to be on the safe side. I just figured with it being basically the same gun as the 357 that it would likely handle this load ok. My wife and I hike in the mountains a lot and I carry either my 45 colt Vaquero or my GP100 357 mag and my wife carries this 38. I would feel a bit better if I could come up with something a little better in penetration for black bear and cougar than the typical 125 gr. Remington Golden Saber that she usually carries at 975fps.
I know many will say, you bought a 38 so shoot 38 and if you want a 357 buy a 357. I get that. It just happens that I got a wonderful deal on this gun for very cheap and the wife fell in love with it.

Last edited by Dieselman; April 24th, 2013 at 08:06 AM.
Dieselman is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 09:12 AM   #11
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 2,307
ExArmy11b is on a distinguished road
Ruger makes the .38 SP's on the .357 frame because there is still a demand for them. Civilians who for legality reasons don't want a .357 for CC, for foreign markets that don't allow .357's and for the small numbers of LEO's who carry wheelguns off duty who aren't allowed to carry .357's. some French police still carry .38 SP101's.

The advantage of .357 over a good +P .38 defensive round out of a snub revolver have been debated, a lot of the powder doesn't have a chance to burn and the velocity gains vs. increased blast and recoil are also a hotly debated topic. IMO a bad guy won't know much of a difference if he takes a Federal Hydra Shok .38 +P center mass or in the face or a .357. It is a long accepted fact that .357 needs at least a 4" preferably a 6" barrel to be truly effective.

Last edited by ExArmy11b; April 24th, 2013 at 09:17 AM.
ExArmy11b is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 10:06 AM   #12
Moderator
 
terry_p's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: NH, USA.
Posts: 13,895
terry_p has a spectacular aura aboutterry_p has a spectacular aura aboutterry_p has a spectacular aura about
My advice is to stay within the limits established in the loading manuals. You can't tell what will happen with pressure spikes if you load more than recommended. Some powders do not react arithematically by go geometrically beyond certain levels.

If you want a 357 then get one but the 38 loaded to the top of the +P level is a formidable load. I purchased Buffalo Bore 158 LSWC/GC-HP and they chrony 1,037 FPS out of my 2 1/4" SP. I tried to duplicate the load with the exact same bullet but came up about 100 fps short with power pistol powder at the top listing in the speer manual. It is still a good strong load though.
terry_p is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 11:09 AM   #13
 
opos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Where the debris meets the sea
Posts: 3,121
opos is just really niceopos is just really niceopos is just really niceopos is just really nice
Had one of those which I've since sold....my thoughts...If you want a 357, buy a 357. The 38 SP101 (at least the one I had) said 38 special +P on it..but I still shot standard 38 specials in it...I'm not into magnum and heavy loading in a snub....I'm older with arthritis and just hate the resulting sting and boom. I do a lot of loading and have never been a "hot rodder" when it comes to loading....big flash and big boom can lead to parts failure or damage so why do it?
opos is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 07:52 PM   #14
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Jenks, OK
Posts: 19
Corbi is on a distinguished road
Greetings. This is my first post on this forum but I have been enjoying the forum for some time.

I have been an avid shooter for a little over 40 years, reloading for a little over 29 years. Casting bullets for about 5 years now.

To say Ruger is my favorite firearms manufacturer is a huge understatement.

This post hits home with me as I recently aquired a GP100 in 38 special. My GP is identical to the same pistol chambered in 357 mag accept the chambering. This is my opinion: If the pistol is rated for the higher pressure cartridge then it seems safe to load the 38 special to the same pressures. Trouble is finding data on those types of loads.
If you do a search on "38/44 load data" or "heavy 38 special load data" or "38 special high velocity load data" you will probably find the information you are looking for. A search for Brian Pearce might turn up information too.

For my 38/44 loads I use the Lyman 358156 mold. Do a search on this bullet too. With gas check they weigh 165 grains from my mold. They have two crimp grooves. If you seat it in the long crimp groove in the 38 special casings you get case capacity very favorable to the 357. COL is around 1.525". There is data on this bullet with Lil'gun powder that will get 1150fps from my 3" GP. Same load from my Marlin '94 makes right at 1700fps. I have tried Unique, 2400 and Lil'gun. The Lil'gun makes best velocity and best accuracy.

Again, just my opinion. Use common sense and do what you are comfortable with.

Corbi
Corbi is offline  
Old April 28th, 2013, 05:40 AM   #15
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Jenks, OK
Posts: 19
Corbi is on a distinguished road
Here is ammo listed from Buffalo Bore that will work with the SP101. 1112 FPS from a 3” SP!!!:

38 SPL +P OUTDOORSMAN - 158 gr. Hard Cast Keith 1,250 fps - 20 Round Box
PRESS RELEASE FOR BUFFALO BORE 38 SPL +P 158gr. HARD CAST OUTDOORSMAN (ITEM 20H)

This load was designed for those who need a deep penetrating 357 mag. or 38 SPL load to be fired from lightweight alloy 357’s and any 38 SPL revolver. Lightweight alloy 357’s develop multiple problems when firing our 180gr. 357 mag. hard cast turbo charged (Item 19A) ammo or any make of full power 357 ammo. Yet many folks want a deep penetrating “outdoor” type of load for their lightweight pocket 357’s, so here it is. Whether you are shooting gators or bears in the head, this load utilizes a hard flat nosed bullet, at sufficient velocity, even from 2 inch barrels, to fully penetrate either.
This load is safe to shoot in all 38SPL and 357 magnum firearms of modern design that are in normal operating condition. In the super lightweight alloy revolvers (around 11-12 oz.) the bullet will not jump crimp under recoil provided you do not subject an unfired round to more than 5 or 6 firings. In all steel guns, even short barreled ones, crimp jump is not an issue as the all steel snub nosed revolvers are much heavier than the alloy versions.
This load utilizes a flash retardant powder that will not blind the shooter in low light conditions, which is important as wildlife and criminals get much more active when darkness comes.
This bullet is hard cast and properly lubed and as such will not substantially lead your barrel. You should find no degradation of accuracy when firing many cylinders full of this ammo without cleaning.
We never use extra long laboratory barrels to produce our advertised velocities, which we feel is dishonest to the customer as those extra long barrels produce extra high velocities, which you cannot duplicate with stock revolvers in the real world. Instead, we use stock firearms and you can see the velocity results below.
• 1255 fps -- Ruger GP 100, 6 inch barrel, 357 mag.
• 1186 fps -- S&W Combat Masterpiece 6 inch barrel, 38 SPL (circa 1958)
• 1146 fps -- S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch barrel, 357 mag.
• 1167 fps -- S&W Mod. 15, 4 inch barrel, 38 SPL (circa 1968)
• 1112 fps -- Ruger SP 101, 3 inch barrel, 38 SPL
• 1043 fps -- S&W Mod 66, 2.5 inch barrel, 357 mag.
• 989 fps -- S&W Mod 340PD, 1 & 7/8 inch barrel, 357 mag.
• 1027 fps -- S&W Mod 642 (pre dash), 1 & 7/8 inch barrel, 38 SPL

If you hand load you should be able to duplicate these velocities with 38/44 data. If you don't hand load a couple of boxes of this ammo for trail carry would have you well armed. Like the previous posts have indicated, this is going to be a hand full in the SP101. LOL


Also from Buffalo Bore about black bear defense:

"Black bears are very different mentally, than grizzly bears. Black bears come in red, brown, blonde, and black color phases, but they are all black bear species and should be considered “black bears” regardless of color phase. While black bears have much the same physical qualities (normally smaller) of grizzly bears, they GENERALLY have a much different mindset.
To stop black bears, all you have to do is hurt them; you do not need to kill them. Almost any center fire handgun cartridge will dissuade a black bear if you hit them well with it. The more powerful the cartridge, the more damage you’ll potentially do to the bear, but nearly any black bear will turn tail if he is hit with a cartridge such as good stiff 9mm load. I know this argues against prevailing wisdom, but prevailing wisdom is based mostly on speculation, not real world experience and is not really wisdom.
We make “bear loads” in smaller chamberings such as 9mm, (item 24F) 38 SPL+P, (item 20H) and 357 mag. (item 19A). We do this because a lot of people own those guns and don’t want to buy a 454 Casull or 44 mag. I would have no problem defending myself against a black bear attack (and have done so) with the proper 9mm ammo. I prefer a more powerful/bigger cartridge, but the 9MM will get it done, even on grizzlies, if you take their brain. Of course, making a brain shot under such duress, will take practice and cool nerves."

Corbi
Corbi is offline  
Reply

  Ruger Forum > Pistol & Revolver Forum > Ruger Double Action



Search tags for this page
ruger .38 special sp101
,
ruger 101 38 special
,
ruger sp101 38
,
ruger sp101 38 review
,

ruger sp101 38 special

,
ruger sp101 38 special p
,

ruger sp101 38 special review

,
ruger sp101 38 special revolver
,
ruger special 101
,
sooting ruger sp 101 .38spl
,
sp101 38
,
sp101 38 special review
Click on a term to search for related topics.

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Ruger Forum Discussions
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lee 38 special moyneur Reloading 15 November 23rd, 2011 06:55 PM
44 special WheelyGuy Pistols & Revolvers 29 December 9th, 2010 11:14 AM
.38 special 110 gr. +p DArBad Ruger Double Action 4 April 16th, 2010 05:13 PM

Top Gun Sites Top Sites List  
Powered by vBulletin 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1
Copyright © 2006 - 2014 Ruger Forum. All rights reserved.
Ruger Forum is a Ruger Firearms enthusiast's forum, but it is in no way affiliated with, nor does it represent Sturm Ruger & Company Inc. of Southport, CT.