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Latest Thoughts - 327 vs. 357 SP101

This is a discussion on Latest Thoughts - 327 vs. 357 SP101 within the Ruger Double Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; Since this hasn't come up in awhile, I'm curious if more people have tried it (327 magnum) and what the latest thinking is. I'll be ...


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Old December 5th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #1
 
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Latest Thoughts - 327 vs. 357 SP101

Since this hasn't come up in awhile, I'm curious if more people have tried it (327 magnum) and what the latest thinking is.

I'll be buying my first revolver in the next couple of weeks, the 3" SP101. The primary use will be for a hiking gun. The largest four-legged threats around here are mountain lions, though they are rarely seen. I will also want to use the gun for CC around town. I think the SP101 is the largest revolver I could manage year-round in this role.

The initial promise of the 327 was appealing - comparable energy to 125 grain 357, with less recoil. I did go to a range and rented 357 2" snub (can't remember if it was Charter or Taurus, no SP101 available). The recoil was sharply felt in the palm of the hand, but the gun was controllable and relatively accurate. I could use it for my intended purpose, but it was not as nice to shoot as the larger S&W, which I could shoot all day with full-power loads. I have not shot the SP101 but I am hopeful the heavier frame will make practice a little more pleasant.

327 was initially derided as too small, recently I read that it may have too much penetration (16" IIRC), making it a legal liability. And as far as I know, it has yet to establish any kind of record in a self defense situation. OTOH the 357 magnums reputation is well established, and ammo is available everywhere. 327 seems a bit expensive, or at least my expectation is that it should be less based on material costs.

So, I guess I am leaning 38/357. Better ammo situation, recoil should be manageable, and track record. The advantages of 32/327 come down to a bit less recoil and one extra round in the cylinder. Am I thinking this through correctly? While there is always a larger caliber, is anyone confident enough in 327 for defense use?



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Old December 5th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #2
 
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Capt.
I routinely carry mine for CCW. I have complete confidence in its abilities (and mine with it). As I recall, the penetration test was done with the 100 gr SP. It is as one would expect. Since then, Speer has released their 115 GDHP. This is the round that I carry for CCW.

I chrono'd the ammo out of my 101 and got the following velocities:
85 HP - 1391 fps
100 SP - 1466
115 GDHP - 1397

The 115 is 200 fps faster than what Speer lists for the 115 out of the 9mm.


All of that said, since you said this was your first revolver, I would recommend the .357. Ammo is cheaper and easier to find. This is going to allow you to practice more. I reload, so once I accumulate the cases ammo is not going to be a problem for me.

Also, I would choose the 3" version. To me it balances better in the hand than the 2" versions. I don't find it any harder to conceal and a lot easier to hit with it.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 09:48 AM   #3
 
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Disclaimer - the .357 is my absolute favorite load. Filter everything I say through that. I have 6 of them, including 2 SP101s.

There are a lot of reasons for this, and I am far from alone. Here is what one guy had to say - http://www.chuckhawks.com/ammo_by_anonymous.htm
Quote:
.357 Magnum

The most effective handgun round on the market - regardless of caliber - is the Federal .357 Magnum 125 grain jacketed hollowpoint (357B). This load has more stopping power than any other handgun bullet (and this includes more powerful rounds like the .41 and .44 Magnums). I advise all experienced revolver men to carry the legendary Federal 357B in a .357 revolver, or the equally good Remington full-power 125 grain semi-jacketed hollowpoint (R357M1).

There is one caveat, however. The 357B and other full-power .357 Magnums have a lot of blast and kick. If you are not comfortable with the buck and roar of full-house .357 Magnums, I would strongly suggest that you use a lower-recoil round. Controllability is important, and you will be able to fire lower-recoil rounds more rapidly and accurately. All of these .357 loads have excellent stopping power, so don't worry that you are giving up too much.
If you don't like the "buck and roar", you can practice with .38 spls, which are among the cheaper loads out there. Shoot enough magnums to know how they perform, and carry those when you are out and about.

Here is another testimonial/comparison - http://www.internetarmory.com/handgunammo.htm
There are 3 calibers which are rated "best" for self-defense - .357, .40, and .45.

The SP101s are what might be called a "substantial" gun. Recoil with mine using .357s is far less than my S&W 642 airweight shooting ordinary .38spl. The .357 was introduced in 1935 and has more than 70 years proven track record.

I'm fundamentally a conservative kind of guy. I like to go with what has been proven to work. The .327 may turn out to be a fine load, but it is the "may" part of that which trips me up. If I only had one gun, would I rather spend my money on "may" or "darn sure will"?

With .357, you have a range of choices from 125 gr very hot loads to 180 gr hunting loads. You can even buy CCI shot shells for that first shot or two toward the occasional poisonous reptile you might run across.

So, my recommendation for anyone's first, or only, gun is always a .357. I don't think you can go wrong with it. If you get the fever, you can branch out from there, but you will always have "old reliable" to fall back on.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 11:30 AM   #4
 
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It is a good point you made about .357 having the greatest stopping power. Some would find that hard to believe, but I have read that in more than one article on stopping power over the years. These articles use real world data, and are written by some of the foremost experts in the fields of law enforcement and firearms, so I believe them.

I will have to give the same disclaimer, however. The .357 is the most awesome handgun caliber hands-down. (IMHO)....
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Old December 7th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by argyle View Post
I'm fundamentally a conservative kind of guy. I like to go with what has been proven to work. The .327 may turn out to be a fine load, but it is the "may" part of that which trips me up. If I only had one gun, would I rather spend my money on "may" or "darn sure will"?
This makes a lot of sense. In five years or so the 327 may establish a good record and I can get one then. After all, there is always another gun, no?
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Old December 7th, 2008, 03:42 PM   #6
 
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I am with most of the other posters on this question. Lack of track record for the .327, dearth of ammo-both in choice and in quantitiy, reputation of the .357 as a one-shot-stopper and the dismal history of switching to smaller caliber (remember the switch the U.S. Army made from the Colt SAA in .45 Colt down to the double-action 38s the eventually found to be inadequate in the Phillipines). All these make me skeptical of the .327. My final decision on the matter will wait until others have compiled enough real-world data to make a determination.

In the meantime, my revolver of choice for concealed carry is the SP101 in .357 Mag. If I need a sixth shot, I have my "New York reload", a second SP101. (I'm joking. If I need more than 5 to prevail, get to cover or withdraw, a second gun will probably add little to my tactical position.)

For self-loaders, I have my Colt Officer's Model in stainless or my Star PD in blue.

Good shooting.

Lost Sheep
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Old December 7th, 2008, 08:26 PM   #7
 
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I have the 327 it is a tru mag round. at my local indoor range most people wait until I stop shooting the 327 before they fire. they tell me that every time I fire a round off, it makes them jump and miss with thier guns. I hope the round stays around and finds its way into blackhawks and lever guns. but for a primary defense weapon I would reccomend 357, simply because its proven and cheaper to shoot. I personally belive the 327 round to be a little more superior to the 9mm +P 115 grain bullet.
Hope this helps.
Jerry
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Old December 7th, 2008, 08:28 PM   #8
 
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Oh I also forgot to mention that the 327 only has 3 different loading availble at the moment. they all average about $25 a box.

Last edited by sfcmathieson; December 7th, 2008 at 08:29 PM. Reason: spelling and capitalization.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 05:52 AM   #9
 
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Lost Sheep said...
Quote:
and the dismal history of switching to smaller caliber (remember the switch the U.S. Army made from the Colt SAA in .45 Colt down to the double-action 38s the eventually found to be inadequate in the Phillipines). All these make me skeptical of the .327
No offense, but I don't find that point valid ... with the technology of the modern hollowpoint, the smaller calibers perform much better than they did a hundred years ago. It was with the 125 HP that the 357 made its reputation. This is nothing more than a sped up .38 with the proper bullet. Also, the round nose is the least effective bullet form, in any caliber, for tissue disruption.

However, it is imperative that one have 100% confidence in the cartridge/weapon they choose to carry and I respect you decision to wait and see.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #10
 
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for your intended use I don't think its a bad choice. The ability to use light 32 S&W rounds for plinking and small game and also to be loaded up with 32 H&R or full 327.mag loads for defense or varmints makes this caliber quite handy. It seems that most people who knock this cartridge haven't much experience with .32 cal. It might be the most versatile knock around cal. for an outdoorsman.
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