My understanding is that one can get a Ruger SP101 revolver chambered only for the .38 Special +P or one can get virtually the same handgun that will shoot .357 AND .38 Specials and +P. My question is: Why would you buy a handgun that restricts you to one caliber when another virtually identical gun will shoot two different calibers? I would think having a choice is good even if you only ever shot just one caliber.
I am quite new to shooting and I don't own either of these guns but I am thinking of buy one so I would appreciate your wisdom regarding this question.
The Ruger originally only was available in 38 Spl, but would easily handle +P's.
The second incarnation is when Ruger started boring the chambers to allow 357Mags of 125gr weight to be used. Any heavier weights and the bullets would be too long for the cylinder.
The final version stretched the frame and added a longer cylinder to acommodate all 357 loadings.
As to the reason it is still cataloged? A very few areas restrict calibers of certain weapons. The city of St Louis for example allows security guards ONLY 38 spl. Possibly tradition and size might factor in also. While it rolls with the mainstream desires mostly, Ruger HAS made some interesting production choices over the years.
In my case I got the .38 spcl +P because the dealer made me a deal I couldn't refuse. Because I have the snubbie (2.25"), having a .357 is a bit of overkill. You need a bit more barrel to really take advantage of the extra powder. A lot of folks just shoot +P .38s in them anyway. I think the +P rounds are fairly stout and I really have no desire to shoot anything with more recoil in that little gun. The SP101 is heavier than most .38s so they tend to be a pleasure to shoot (if not lug around). At $300 bucks last spring, I couldn't say no.
BTW, there are some great defensive rounds for this caliber, so you really miss nothing having a mere .38 +P.
IMHO...Why buy less than a .357. I recently bought a 357 4" Smith and I love it !! I can shoot ANY rounds I like in it. If you look at the numbers, a 38+P falls way, way short of a .357 load. I would settle ONLY for the best.....357 Magnum !!
I would go for the 357 so you can choose either it or the 38 special. I practice with 38's in mine and when out and want more power I shoot the 357's. How long is the barrel on this SP101?
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Thanks all for the great replies!Originally Posted by janott
Joe from the literature I've read the SP01 barrel is 2.25" for the .38 version and 2.25" or 3.06" for the .357/.38 version.
How bout the SP101 in .327Fed Mag?
Ruger SP101 Revolver 327 Fed, 3" S/S 6 Rnd
In addtion to the new 327 Federal ammo, the Ruger SP101 will shoot 32 H&R Magnum, 32 S&W and 32 S&W Long ammunition—giving shooters four caliber offerings and a great, versatile product for target shooting and personal defense applications.
All that and an extra round!
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Given the advancements in bullet design and construction of the past 20 years or so, there's a lot less to be gained in a short-barrelled 357 revolver over a 38, but it's always nice to be able to use either. My off-duty 357 is a 3-inch K-Frame, nowhere near as sturdy as the Ruger, and I tend to baby it with hot 38 loads rather than 357's. I'd love one of the Rugers, but for now the Smith fills the role. And as one who is limited to 38 Special on duty, I don't think it gets much better than the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel loads!
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One factor for consideration is that the SP can "comfortably" handle .357 loads. I understand "comfortable" is a relative term, but Ruger's stud frame/rubber grip design, coupled with it's robust (read "heavy") platform makes it possible to shoot heavier loads without needing to pay for orthopedic repair. I don't choose to carry full-throttle loads in my DAO/2.25 gun (preferring Remington's Golden Saber "mid level" loads), but the gun will handle them just fine. That said, other have already noted current refinement in .38 Spl. loads. I don't feel under armed when I carry a my lowly Model 10 with +P offerings.
I'm brand new to revolvers myself, having just purchased a GP100, but my understanding is that when you fire .38 spl rounds from a .357 mag cylinder, you're going to have a slightly more difficult cleaning chore as it'll dirty up the end of the cylinder. I don't know if that extra space for the bullet to travel has any impact on accuracy or performance, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did. If someone knows that all they want to ever shoot from the gun is .38 spl, then why not just get a .38 spl? My understanding is that the different .38/.357 SP101s are all the same strength, so you're not compromising in that regard.
Like a lot of things, it probably comes down to personal preference more than anything else, provided you have the choice to make.
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