Ruger SP101 vs. S&W model 60?


November 13, 2006, 09:44 AM
Which of these is better for a CCW and why? I really like the model 60 but the ruger seems nice also. They model 60 has an internal lock should I be worried about this? But it does seem like it weighs less to me anyways which is good for a ccw. So anyone here can you post pics of your gu and tell me what you think of it?

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November 13, 2006, 09:55 AM
"Better" is very subjective. Here's a quick paste of the tech specs for each model from the manufacturer's web page:

Smith & Wesson Model 60
Model: 60
Caliber: .357MAG/.38+P
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Barrel Length: 2 1/8"
Front Sight: Black Blade Front
Rear Sight: Fixed
Grip: Rubber Grips
Frame: Small - Chiefs Special Style
Finish: Satin Stainless
Overall Length: 6 5/8"
Material: Stainless Steel
Weight Empty: 22.5 oz.

Ruger SP101
Caliber: .357 Magnum
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Finish: Satin Stainless
Grip: Rubber w/ Synthetic Insert
Barrel Length: 2 1/4"
Groove: 5
Twist: 1:18 3/4" RH
Overall Length: 7 1/8"
Weight: 25 1/2 oz
California Approved: Yes
Massachusetts Approved: Yes
Front Sight(s): Fixed
Rear Sight(s): Fixed

If you can get your hands on examples of both to test-fire do so.

November 13, 2006, 10:03 AM
And carry the model 60 MUCH more often. They are both 3" models in my case, and both have Pachmyr grips on them, making the feel very similar. The 60 is smaller overall, and has a smoother action.
The sp101 goes in my kayaking rig.

November 13, 2006, 10:23 AM
I would pick the SP101 over the S&W Model 60 for one reason...durability. It is virtually indestructible, and IME the J-Frame Smiths were made to be carried a lot and seldom shot, especially the airweights. You need to shoot your CCW guns more than your other firearms, and the SP101 allows you to do that without having reliability problems down the road.

Just my .02,

November 13, 2006, 11:30 AM
Both will serve you well, but I prefer the shootability of the S&W wheelguns over the Rugers :D

November 13, 2006, 12:46 PM
Just like others have said, you have to find the one for you.
Both are great gun designs.

I prefer the Ruger SP101. Because I like to shoot full power .357 magnums. I have found the SP101 to be more durable when full power loads are used.

November 13, 2006, 01:23 PM
I doubt anyone here will be able to shoot enough "full house" rounds to ever determine which will last longer. The Ruger "may" last longer but that isn't really relevant unless you are using these revolvers beyond their intended purpose. Both of these revolvers will serve you fine and it really comes down to personal taste rather than anything substantial.

I have owned both and still have a S&W 640. Here are the reasons why:

1. Did not like the trigger pull on SP101 - even after some smith work.
2. Heavier than the Smith (good and bad)
3. Felt more unwieldy.

I also wouldn't worry about the trigger lock on the new Smith's but I would worry about the trigger and have it worked on. The new Smith's have pretty bad triggers, as do the Rugers, and I would seriously take a look at Taurus if I were buying new. There may not be as much resale in the Taurus ((Taurus vs Smith) (Ruger vs Taurus is equal)) but it is a better value than the newer Smith's and the Ruger if you plan to keep the firearm.

Compare all three for overall feel, weight, trigger pull, cost, and then pick the one you like best. All 3 have similar warranties and you might need to use it regardless of which you buy.

Good luck!

November 13, 2006, 03:52 PM

Looks like you've augmented your CTC grips with some kind of tape/surface. Do you mind sharing what it is? My CTCs could use a little help in the +P department.

As for 640 vs SP-101, I find the Ruger is much more comfortable to hold than my j-frame, but I shoot my j-frame more accurately. The trigger stacks on my SP.

November 13, 2006, 05:04 PM
It is just 3M anti-skid tape. You can find it at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. and just cut to fit. Stays on but still comes off, when you want it, without harming the finish.

I also use it on my 1911.

November 13, 2006, 05:18 PM
I like the Smith a lot, but I'll take the Ruger every time as a personal preference. The Ruger is a gun you can shoot full power magnums through all day long and not have a problem and I don't mean the gun, try shooting some full house rounds through a J-frame sometime and see what I mean. As for the airweights, you'll almost damage yourself as much as an attacker by shooting it with hot loads, I've got scars to prove it.

Like I said, I like the Smiths a lot, but for a gun that will be shot much I'll take the Ruger every time.

P. Plainsman
November 13, 2006, 06:31 PM
If you can get a good trigger on the SP101 (gunsmithing, maybe judicious use of Wolff springs -- I've done it), it's the better design.

Ruger's DA revolvers are very accurate. Interestingly, the last head-on comparison of the SP101 and the M60 I read (Gun Tests, couple months ago), the Ruger creamed the Smith for accuracy with all defensive ammo tested. Like 40% more accurate at 15 yards with .357s. They also reported that the SP101 displayed the best lockup, grip comfort, sight picture, and shot to the sights better than the Smith. It also drove the defensive rounds about 40 fps faster than the Smith (2.25" Ruger barrel vs. 2.125" Smith barrel).

The Smith's a quality gun, and is a smidge lighter (Gun Tests liked its lighter weight), but the SP101, not unlike John Shaft, is a bad little moth ... "shut your mouth"! ;)

Whichever gun you choose, consider installing a tritium front sight from Trijicon or Meprolight. Great defensive accessory.

November 13, 2006, 06:49 PM
The SP101, hands down.
The trigger-action smooths up quite nicely after some thousand or so rounds/dry-fires.
It is better designed and constructed, and the extra mass sucks up percieved
It feels better in my hand.
And when you're out of ammo, you still have a cudgel.

November 13, 2006, 09:55 PM
SP101 in my book.nothng against S&W just never had a problem with any of the Rugers I've owned.My brother and I both carry SP101's.As for the remarks above about the Taurus well I cannot agree with that.Dont get me wrong, I own one for plinking and use it for squirrels with great results.Personally I will trust my life to a Ruger before Taurus anyday.I can agree with the many suggestions as to try and get a chance to handle and shoot both the Ruger and the S&W for yourself before you make your choice.

November 13, 2006, 10:59 PM
I like Model 60s quite a lot, but frankly have little experience with the more recent incarnations. When it comes to short stuff I opted for the 442 which of course is essentially the same thing. The one M60 I still have is an older 3" full lug .38 Special which I think is the best thing S&W ever shipped out the door. I had the same gun in .357 for a while but the older one had a much better DA to the point I let the .357 go.

For some odd reason the ladies I know seem to opt for the SP-101 over the J frames. And do rather well with them, too. I think they sense that using that chunkier little gun with .38 Specials is not going to beat them up and is going to be more controllable (i.e., fun) than getting their hands stung.

I can sure think of lots worse guns to rely on. As a matter of principle I do not own guns whose name starts with T and ends with S.

November 13, 2006, 11:24 PM
Steelhead - thanks for the info. I think that tape will improve my grips. Those 205s have like zero give.

I really don't think you can go wrong with either, but the Smith is the only choice if you want to pocket carry on occasion. A coat pocket is fine for the Ruger, but pants? Forget about it, unless you have huge pants.

If you're going to wear it on your belt, I think the Ruger may be a better choice. A larger gun is easier to grip, draw and shoot, IMO.

shooting on a shoestring
November 13, 2006, 11:44 PM
I carried and shot a .38 no dash Mod 60 for about 25 years. It developed problems, timing got off, screws began unscrewing, cylinder gap is now at 0.012", cylinder has end shake, side shake, and its in my pocket right now. I now only carry it round the house between the shower and the sheets. I use a SP101 2.25 .357 now for daily carry. Its very tight, 0.003" gap, great lock-up, and I shoot it DA better than the 60. I use it with full throttle 158's (using Hogues helped tame the bite). I find the wider sights on the SP101 to be better on the range ( I did paint the front ramp day-glo orange), the Mod 60 has very tiny sights, but usable. SA trigger on the SP101 is fine, the Mod 60 is finer. I shoot my carry weapon at least 500 rounds per month. I believe the SP101 will last me as long as I need it.

So pick the one you like. The 60 might last you only 20 or 25 years, but its lighter, smaller. Just be sure you shoot enough to be better under stress than any opponet you may encounter.

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