Ruger vs. Smith & Wesson..


June 23, 2003, 02:21 PM
Which is more durable over time.
The specific caliber will be .357, but general experience will also be appreciated.
Also, does anyone have any long-term experience with an SP-101?

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June 23, 2003, 02:43 PM
in .357 and have owned them for a long, long time. Both are excellent weapons that have strengths and weaknesses. But, if durability is the main criteria then the edge goes, hands down, to Ruger. Rugers are particularly well built and will take tremendous amounts of wear. The SP-101 is a particularly good example of a well built Ruger. Have had mine for about five years and absolutely no problems. Good shooting;)

June 23, 2003, 02:46 PM
Perform a search and you will find quite a few threads that cover this very topic. That said, Ruger is generally considered more durable but S&W revolvers are very well made and are not exactly fragile. If you plan on shooting a lot of .357 as opposed to .38 SP ammo then you should probably opt for the Ruger or a S&W L frame. The S&W J/K frame .357s handle magnum ammo just fine but if you shoot a lot of hot loads over time the guns may loosen up a bit.

Either will serve you very well, and it is a matter of personal preference. I own both and do not plan on parting with any of them.

June 23, 2003, 03:01 PM
I also own a number of both in .357:
Model 19 x 2
Model 66
Model 28
Model 27
Model 627 PC
Model 686


(you might get the impression that I like the .357 cartridge, if you got that impression, you are right).

If I could only own one, it would be the Ruger GP100. To me, it is the perfect .357 revolver. Accurate, tough as nails, easily to completely disassemble, trigger is great, big enough to tame the hottest loads, but not ridiculously big. I feel more comfortable shooting hot loads out of it than I do my Smiths. I am sure an N-framed Smith will take the punishment, I just don't want to do it. I consider my Smiths to be things of beauty, and the Ruger to be a hard working tool. I shoot them all, but when I carry a revolver, it is a Ruger.
A lot is made about the trigger issue. My Ruger trigger is as good as most of my Smiths, including a couple that have been to the performance center. I personally think that this obsession with triggers is cutting things pretty fine and is more a function of gun discussion rather than gun use. Yes, if you have an incredibly bad trigger it will negatively effect your shooting, but none of thise guns have really bad triggers. Some are lighter than others, some are smoother than others. It is an individual thing. Not every Smith trigger is great, not every Ruger trigger is bad. I personally don't care, they are all fairly close and all work fine. I have more important things to worry about than one pound of trigger weight. With all my shooting faults, this is one of the most minute problems to contend with. I shot about 400 rounds out of my Model 66 yesterday. My shooting buddy was using a Security Six. He couldn't believe how bad the trigger was on my Smith. And he was right, his Ruger had a much better trigger. I out shot him anyway.

Ala Dan
June 23, 2003, 03:45 PM
I've owned both, Rugers and S&W's. The only problem
I ever had was with a S&W 4" barrel model 19 that had
a flaw from the factory. With the weapon loaded with 6
rounds, the the cylinder would bind; rendering the fire-
arm useless. Wait a minute, I told a lie!:uhoh: As I did
experience that same problem with my last S&W model
28-2.:( I both cases, I solved the problem by including
these weapons on trades*. I don't recall ever having
a problem with the Rugers?

*FootNote- I did explain to each perspective buyer the
problem fully; so there should be NO hard feeling's!;)

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

June 23, 2003, 04:02 PM
I would think that more steel would translate into more Ruger would win. But really, you'd probly have to do ALOT of shooting to wear out either.

June 23, 2003, 08:29 PM
A lot of shooting you say????????? Not quite...unless you consider 500-700 rounds of 110 grain .357 Magnum a "LOT".

According to S&W (who still have the gun & STILL have not decided if they are gonna cover this under warranty or not) the J-Frame Magnums are for "carry" and one should practice with .38s!

It seems I have some forcing cone erosion in what I thought was a lightly shot .357.

Full tale of woe here:

I am now carrying an SP101.

June 24, 2003, 03:47 AM
I have SP-101 and GP-100. Have shot both extensively and love them. I traded in a 581 to get the GP and have no regrets. Like 444, if I could only have one, it would be the GP. But since I have more than that, I would never give up my SP. I've shot all kinds of loads and it has never given me any problem. It is accurate and fun to shoot. If you want you can carry it in front pocket, or on a belt holster. I has sufficient power for any need. Recoil is managable. It's a great gun. I prefer it above all other snubbies.

Jim March
June 24, 2003, 05:38 AM
In addition to everything else, the SP101 and GP100s have a big theoretical advantage: they lock up at both the crane and rear of the cylinder. The positive latches at each end of the cylinder are controlled by the single button at the rear, it's quite clever. The Redhawk and SuperRedhawk are the same way. Not sure about the old Service/Security series, never personally checked on those. In any case, double latches control cylinder movement under fire; accuracy goes up and stress on the gun caused by small misalignment of the cylinder bore and barrel is reduced.

Cor-Bon uses GP100s as 357 development mules, including their hunting "heavies" (180 and 200 grainers) and have yet to succeed in breaking one.

Considering it can handle a virtually unlimited diet of the heaviest hunting rounds and hot 125grain combat loads, the GP100 is wonderfully "size efficient" in terms of the power it can deliver for it's size (big, but still smaller than the N-Frame S&W).

I'd like to see it in a 10mm moonclip variant :).

(Amusing sidenote: Taurus uses such "double latches" on the "Raging" series, but were unable to figure out how to control both latches with one switch. So they've got two unlatching switches, one on the crane and one at the rear of the cylinder, and both need to be manually tripped at once to swing the cylinder out. My opinion as to which firm's engineers are smarter should be obvious.)

You want a general purpose DA 357, the GP is the way to go. You want a snubby that just won't ever break and is more comfortable to shoot than most, get an SP. Note that for daily carry, either way you'd best not skimp on the holster; a *good* holster and proper gunbelt can make the weight controllable.

Follow? What I'm saying here is that if you have a choice between an SP101 at $350 and an S&W Model 60 at $400 (stainless steel variant), don't assume you're going to save money with the Ruger if the purpose is daily carry. Not so - take the savings and put it into extra holster spending. Your carry comfort will then be the same with either gun. What you'll get with the Ruger is better controllability while actually shooting, and toughness (the SP101 is WAY stronger than a J-Frame S&W).

June 24, 2003, 06:28 AM
I had with the sp101 when I took it to the range for the first time
...a joy to shoot!

June 24, 2003, 11:42 AM
Is the SP101 more durable and stronger than a K-frame Smith?
I know that there is a difference between the two and they are both sort of for different roles, but I still feel the need to put that one out there.

Jim March
June 24, 2003, 12:49 PM
We *suspect* that yes, the SP101 is the stronger gun. That's based on the metallurgy, the general beefiness, the lack of sideplates, the lockup latch at the crane, etc.

It's hard to say though, because the SP is still small enough that most people wouldn't want to run 50,000 rounds of serious, full-house 125s or whatever. And they haven't been used as standard duty guns by entire police departments, which is where any glitches get seriously wrung out (where a lot of our data on K-frames comes from!).

So we really don't have a handle on what it's "outer limits" are :).

That said, so far as I'm aware *nobody* has managed to wear one out yet :D. Short of blowing it up with psycho handloads...

June 24, 2003, 05:04 PM
Had a S&W 686 that would reliably lock up when firing full magnum loads. Have a Ruger KGP-141 and SP-101, and they just eat the magnums up.

June 24, 2003, 09:45 PM
I have to agree with most posters that Ruger revolvers are more robust than S&W's. I have a 3" SP101 in +P .38 that I just love.

On the other hand, S&W makes some very innovative handguns, especially with their line of titanium and scandium snubbies - something Ruger does not seem to be interested in. So if you are interested in a lightweight snubbie, S&W (or Taurus) are the way to go.

I prefer Rugers but would not hesitate to buy a S&W revolver. I think they are both fine manufacturers of firearms.

My guilty pleasure would be to have a S&W Bodyguard snubbie, cause the are so funny looking.

June 24, 2003, 10:58 PM
I wouldn't mind a Ruger SP101 but I prefer a gun I can actually pull the trigger on. Double action only -- can you cock the hammer for single shoots? I'd probably stick with a S&W 686P....

June 24, 2003, 11:19 PM
The weight really isn't an issue. Actually, in a .357 that size it is kind of a good thing.
I like to think of myself as daring, but some of the new lightweight S&W's scare the hell out of me.
"Anyone see which way my wrist went?"
The SP101 is looking better as the thread goes on. I don't really plan on trying to wear one out, I just want to try to figure out which one would most likely make in the longest with the fewest problems.
Either way, I will definitely keep the hammer. I know that it is unlikely that I would need the hammer in a fight, but I like knowing that I have one anyhow.
DAO seems like a step backward to me.

June 25, 2003, 09:14 AM
I've owned three K frame Smiths and the model 13 developed problems inside 500 rounds of full-house .357's:(

The SP101 I owned was far more comfortable to shoot with .357 than my 640 ...although it wasn't as "pocket-friendly" as the Centennial:)

The Ruger style of grip allows for a lot more cushioning of recoil than the S&W grip frame.

June 25, 2003, 07:09 PM

The SP-101 comes in many models, but only one has a bobbed hammer, a .357 snubby. The rest all shoot DAO or SA. The SA is very crisp. The DAO is very long and deliberate, but manageable.

If weight in a small .38 or .357 is not an issue the SP-101 is hard to beat. Love the grips!

June 25, 2003, 09:10 PM
I actually like the frame of the SP101 357 in a 3" barrel. It's a little more than that I think, I just don't recall it exactly. The one thing that would worry me is my 442 was a hammerless double action and a real pain to use -- on the hands and trigger wise. I like the look of the Ruger and would consider this gun as long as it has the single action option and the double action is decent. Hard to hit the target when you're trying to pull the trigger....

June 27, 2003, 07:45 PM

My SP101 is 3 1/16" - 3 inches where I come from.

You can cock the hammer for SA if you like, but I prefer to practice short range shooting with DA. Yes the trigger is a bit stiff in DA, but you get used to it, and the more you pull the trigger (dry fire all you want) the smoother and more predictable the trigger gets. It's a great little gun.

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