SP101: .38 or .357?


August 16, 2006, 02:13 PM
I want an SP101 snubby (2.25" barrel with exposed hammer). Problem is, I can't decide if I want a .38 or a .357. I have a GP100 in .357, so kind of think another .357 makes sense. But is .357 overkill in a package this size?

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August 16, 2006, 02:18 PM
The SP101 is one of the few snubbies where .357 makes sense. Most loads are pretty manageable although the 158s tend to hop more than I like (never tried anything heavier than that).

In fact, if you were going .38-only, I'd look at something like the S&W 642. The SP101 is a much better shooter (in terms of going easy on the shooter), but if the caliber is the same, the 642 is easier to tote.

Steve 48
August 16, 2006, 02:18 PM
Get the 357 but in 3 inch. Mine is a solid gun and you can always shoot 38's in it if you want. Steve 48

August 16, 2006, 02:43 PM
If you have decided on the SP101 platform then get the .357, for the reasons Steve has articulated.

I have both the 3" and a 2 1/4" bbl lengths. Unlike Steve, I prefer the shorter tube. (I'm carrying it as I write this). Both are manageable for me with my prefered 357 load, the Federal 125 gr JHP. One caveat, the weight of the SP101 negates it as a pocket pistol for me and I carry it in a belt holster.

.45 Cal
August 16, 2006, 03:59 PM
I absolutely agree with Striker's take. And I just ordered a Silver Dollar Pancake from www.simplyrugged.com and it is a great holster for the

August 16, 2006, 04:06 PM
.45 Cal,


BTW, I'm carrying in a Galco at the moment, but talked to Rob last week and ordered up a Silver Dollar Pancake and matching Speedloader carrier.

Great minds think alike.....


.45 Cal
August 16, 2006, 04:15 PM
Thanks, Stiker! And congrats on the Silver Dollar. You'll enjoy it...


Pistol Toter
August 16, 2006, 04:21 PM
I carry the 2 1/4" SP101 .357 with the exposed hammer. Loaded with Remington midrange velocity 125gr Golden Sabre. Carry in a Bianchi S3 IWB but most often the 7L pancake. The .357 is not too much in the all steel little Ruger. Yes, you know you have fired .357 but it is controlable in the 28oz gun. I love mine!! P.T.

August 16, 2006, 04:23 PM
IMHO, I can see no reason to get a SP101 in 38 special. That choice greatly limits your choice of ammo. As has been stated, you can shoot 38 Special from a .357 but the reverse doesn't apply.

August 16, 2006, 04:31 PM
But is .357 overkill in a package this size?

If you've got a .357, you never have to buy a single round of .357 ammo for it, much less fire any out of it. But you CAN if you want. If you buy a .38 Special, that option is forever closed to you. You can never go wrong buying a .357 if you have the choice between that and .38 Special in the same gun.

August 16, 2006, 04:38 PM
Thanks, guys. Sounds like .357 it will be. And thanks for the tips on ammo and carry rigs.

Anybody carry and SP101 in an ankle holster?

August 16, 2006, 06:56 PM
A SP101 2 1/4" .357 with some "Secret Service" grips from www.eaglegrips.com

August 16, 2006, 10:08 PM
Carry what you want, but shoot .357 through it. It's fun.

For a dedicated .38 carry gun, I would go for an Airweight.

August 17, 2006, 01:57 AM
My first handgun purchase was a Ruger SP-101 .357mag with 2 1/4 barrel. ;)

The weight and size of the Ruger SP-101 makes me say get a .357magnum. Many major ammo makers make great loads for short barrel .357magnums and you can use the same revolver for .357magnum, .38spl, +P and +P+ in it. Recoil and muzzle flash will increase with short barrel Ruger models but it's still a smart choice.


August 17, 2006, 08:59 AM
that the SP101 is a great in .357, as it is nice and heavy and will not punish you shooting full loads.

August 25, 2006, 07:27 AM
Yesterday, I walked into my local gun dealer (closest one to home) on a completely different matter. There in the case was a pristine 2.25" SP101 in .357. I asked if I could look at it. Very clean, fairly smooth trigger (for a Ruger that doesn't look like it has been shot much), good lockup ...

Then I saw the price. On consignment for $250! So for $270, taxes and NICS included, this little baby followed me home! Happydance! Only downside is I'm tied up all weekend, so it'll be next week before I can get to the range.

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