Ruger SP101 2 1/4" VS. S&W Model 60...


May 23, 2006, 10:27 PM
Okay, given the mixed and generally negative reviews, high cost, scarcity moon clips, etc that I've gotten on 9mm snubbies I've pretty much abandoned the idea of buying one.

My research has brought me to 2 competitors for my J-Frame dollar.

1) Ruger SP101 2 1/4 inch barrel

2) Smith and Wesson Model 60 2 1/8 inch barrel

I can get the Ruger for $399 locally and the S&W for $469.

Which one should I get? Both can take .357 or .38s. I like the hidden hammer on the Ruger and the cheaper price. Does Ruger make a solid wheelgun? I had a P345 that I couldn't shoot for ****** so I sold it, but the build quality seemed good. My 10/22 is 20+ years old and works just fine. But the Smith is a Smith, with all the rep that goes along with it.

I need council.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger SP101 2 1/4" VS. S&W Model 60..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 23, 2006, 10:34 PM
Have you handled the two side-by-side? That's about all it takes to make your decision.

They're both great guns, it's just that some people find the Ruger to be "solid, substantial, sturdy" while others find it to be "clunky, overbuilt"

Try handling each, and figure out which one feels "proper" in your hand, and that will be the right decision. You really can't go wrong with either, it's a total Ford vs. Chevy call.

P.S.: Are you at UT? If so, make sure to come by and check out our on-campus shooting range, next door to Gregory Gymn. You can google "UT Rifle and Pistol Club" for info.

Good luck in your search,


May 23, 2006, 10:47 PM
Thanks for the advice.

Graduated from UT in December, and I NEVER knew there was a gun range on-campus. Now I live near my job in NORTH Austin, so getting (and parking) on campus wouldn't be worth the trouble. Maybe I'll check it out when I have some free time. Is it open to Alums?

I'm going on Thursday to check out the two weapons.

Dollar An Hour
May 23, 2006, 11:35 PM
Handle them both and one will feel better than the other. Also, the Ruger has a bit more heft and will be a tad more pleasant with .357s.

Ruger does NOT have an internal lock, which may be a plus. :)

May 23, 2006, 11:39 PM
Dang, sorry we missed you. If you know anyone at UT that has the slightest interest in shooting, have them check out our info at

No provisions for alumni right now, except those shooting in USA Shooting-sanctioned matches (which are held on-campus).

However, current UT students, staff, and faculty can join the club, and all of them get a free first visit with all items provided. So do spread the word to anyone you know who's still on campus.

Drop us a line on this thread and let us know what you pick on Thursday. You really can't go wrong either way. If you intentd to CCW the Ruger, definitely check out the Pachmayr Compac grips. The Smith would be easier to conceal though. It's a total toss-up across the board.


Tiny in Ohio
May 23, 2006, 11:58 PM
Magnum loads out of the SP101 are not near as harsh as others are. The 25oz. soak up alot of the recoil, and are fun to shoot for a snub. Accuracy is actually pretty good from a 2 1/4" barrel as well.

May 24, 2006, 12:04 AM
Both are reliable, accurate, robust guns.

The Ruger is NOT a pocket carry gun and will likely hold up to lots of hot .357 longer then the Smith.

The Smith makes a dandy pocket carry piece.

Don't let anybody tell you the Ruger trigger sucks and the Smith is like angel silk. The fact is once the Ruger is either shot or dry fired lots it is a spectacular trigger. The Smith may be better out of the box but it will still be heavy.

We have both. I love the SP101 but it is sort of an odd man out for me. Too big for pocket carry means I am likely to carry a larger revo or a semi auto. The Smith 60 on the other hand is one potent pocket piece.

Other then their slight size differences they are both quality guns.

Doug Add
May 24, 2006, 12:06 PM
Follow the link below to a poll and discussion on this topic from last summer. I am very pleased with my 2.25" SP101, but I would modify the advice above about whichever feels better is the one to get. I do not like the Ruger factory grips, but with a Hogue wood grip it is perfect for my hand. If initial feel in the hand was my primary deciding factor I would have missed out on a great handgun.

1 old 0311
May 24, 2006, 01:02 PM
I have owned both. I prefer the size, fit, feel, and the workmanship of the 60.


May 24, 2006, 02:00 PM
I also own both. The Ruger does excellent work as a belt gun. I have been known to carry the 60 as an ankle piece. It's easier to conceal than the Ruger, but the Ruger can be concealed as an ankle piece. The Ruger isn't much larger then the Colt Detective Special and I've carried that in an ankle holster as well. And the Ruger has a silightly smaller cylinder because it is a fiver rounder so I have found it to be more comfortable.

I like them both. You really can't go wrong with either one. I do reccommend a pre-lock Model 60 if at all possible.

May 24, 2006, 02:16 PM
I don't have a S&W 60, but my SP-101 is great. I disagree that it is not pocketable, I have a Galco pocket holster and carry it in my front pocket. I did change the grips to Uncle Mike's boot grips as they don't peek out of the top of the pocket and they improved recoil handling for me. I enjoy shooting it, even with full power 357 loads. The sights work better for me than Smith sights - we're all different so look at both. My opinion is the Ruger will hold up better with 357 loads, but the Smith is well made too.

May 24, 2006, 07:52 PM
Even thought I own a model 60, I have shot the Ruger as well. Of the two, I prefer the S&W more for its trigger quality. That said, the Ruger is a nice revo as well and if you're on a budget, go w/ the SP :)

May 24, 2006, 09:01 PM
Own both currently, shoot both, enjoy both. The 60 is marginally smaller, somewhat lighter, somewhat more expensive. The only really clear difference is that the SP101 field strips in a jiffy with almost no tools. You knew all that...the best thing is to try each and see which one works best for *you* rather than hearing from us in the cyber-peanut gallery. :)

May 25, 2006, 12:48 AM
I have two each S&W model 60s and Ruger SP101s.
The Smith 60s are more "finished" out of the box and have lighter triggers, but the SP101s are notably stronger than the 60s, and can be smoothed up easily.

The size and weight differences are there, but they don't make a big difference with CCW via belt carry. I wouldn't use the SP101s for pocket carry, but then the Model 60 isn't my choice for that niche either.

The SP101s are much less uncomfortable when shooting full power .357 Magnum rounds (125gr+P and 158gr+P JHP) than the Model 60s. The Model 60 does much better with .38 Special rounds than with .357 Magnum, IME.

May 25, 2006, 02:43 PM
The SP101s are much less uncomfortable when shooting full power .357 Magnum rounds

That is precisely the right way to say that! :D

.45 Cal
May 25, 2006, 03:30 PM
I also have no problem with pocket carrying my SP101, and agree that once you shoot them side by side you'll know which fits you better.

May 26, 2006, 12:03 AM
Well, for those of you keeping up, I BOUGHT the Ruger today. When I got to the shop they had both guns sitting side by side. I spent a good 15 minutes comparing them, but they don't let you shoot guns before you buy em, so I had to go on weight, feel, and dry-firing.

I ended up going with the SP101 for a couple reasons.

1) Build. The Ruger just felt more "solid" I don't know why. I plan on shooting a lot of .38s through this gun but I also want it for .357, and I'll practice with that when I can afford it. Seems to me that the Ruger's weight will be more forgiving on my wrists and hands with hot .357 loads then the Smith.

2) Price. The shop that I buy my guns from has a very good website with prices, but sometimes when you actually get out to the storefront the price on their website ends up being "wrong." Sure enough the Smith was $480 when I got there but the Ruger was still $399. The gun I was leaning towards was $80 cheaper, and that sweetened thing up a bit.

So there you have it, folks. I'm a wheelgun owner now. I'll post some pics tomorrow.


May 26, 2006, 05:12 AM
That sp101's a fine handgun. Congratulations

May 26, 2006, 01:09 PM
Don't assume that a new Ruger will have a trigger action that isn't as good as a new S&W.

I recently bought a new Ruger SP101 and a new S&W 340Sc. Of course, each has a trigger action that is different than the other. But, I wouldn't say either is better than the other. YMMV.

May 26, 2006, 02:51 PM
Congratulations on your choice. I'm a "smith" man myself, but I've shot the Ruger SP101 and find it more comfortable than the Model 60. The S&W gets points on light weight and ease-of-carry.

My advice - go easy on the .357s with your new gun. Shoot lots of .38s first. The .38 LSWCHP +P is a good load for your little snubbie.

May 26, 2006, 07:51 PM
Ruger does NOT have an internal lock, which may be a plus. :)

That's why I'll never part with any of my Smiths because they were all manufactured before the internal locks were adopted.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger SP101 2 1/4" VS. S&W Model 60..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!