S&W Model 60 .357 or Ruger SP101 .357, I need some help deciding


October 19, 2007, 07:40 PM
First of all, I understand that this is completely a matter of personal opinion, I would just like some input of your personal opinion and why, especially if you have shot both guns.

I am purchasing a .357 snub for pocket carry. I already own a S&W 642 CT but would like a .357 for pocket carry. I am having trouble deciding between the two. So far, here are the pluses and minuses of each that I can think of at the moment:

S&W Model 60 Chief's Special .357 2 & 1/8 inch barrel:

+ Made from forged steel
+ Smooth action, great stock springs
+ Edges are finished well
+ I can change out my 642 CT grips onto a new Model 60
+ ~22 oz, so not to heavy but heavy enough to handel .357 loads
+ Conceals in my pocket just as easily as my 642, just a little heavier which I do not mind
+ I can put my CT on the S&W

- Has the lock
- Does not have the safety feature where on the Ruger the gun will not fire from SA without the finger on the trigger
- Slightly shorter barrel than the SP101

Ruger SP101 2 & 1/4 inch barrel:

+ Build like a tank, though made of cast and not forged steel
+ I like the build aesthetically slightly better than the S&W, I like the lug under the barrel too
+ ~25 oz which is a little heavier than the S&W, but will handle .357 slightly better
+ Slightly longer barrel than the S&W = more powder burn and more velocity from the .357 load

- Rugged edges, which aren't as smoothed out as the S&W
- Trigger pull is not as nice stock as the S&W IMO
- I can't put my CT laser grip on the Ruger

I do not know much about the difference in the extractor rods between the two. So far, this is what I have found. I have done a ton of research about these two models, though for some reason I can find more about the SP101 than the S&W. Is there anything that I am missing or that would make my decision a little easier?


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October 19, 2007, 08:34 PM
IMHO, I would buy the S&W Model 60. You will notice the weight difference in your pocket, plus like you pointed out you can use the Crimson Trace grips you currently have.

You could buy a LNIB Pre-lock Model 60 if you want to skip the lock.

Really you are missing on the nicest SS .357mag pocket gun, a S&W 640. Do you really need or want a hammer? It will cause more problems in your pocket than it is worth. Besides the only place having a hammer is practical is the range.

Alan Fud
October 19, 2007, 09:49 PM
I was about this very same question with regards to the 60 vs SP101 so I'll be watching this thread closely.

I also have another question, if I may ... what is the difference between cast vs forged steel? Which is better and why?

October 19, 2007, 10:14 PM
SP101, stronger gun, easier to shoot, I prefer the grip frame design, accurate and with an aftermarket spring that costs about 8 bucks, the DA is sweet.

On design alone, I prefer any DA Ruger to any comparable S&W model. The gun is designed and built for strength and reliability and so far it ain't got a lock on it, though you'd better buy one soon cause I've heard rumors.

I do not know that forged is any stronger than investment casting, and then there's those MIM parts. But, the side plateless design of the Ruger is MUCH stronger than the old side plate design of a Smith, regardless of forged vs cast. The Ruger is the much stronger gun. It's stronger than a K frame, let alone a J frame.

October 19, 2007, 10:48 PM
Normally I'd say get the SP101 over a model 60 if you intend to shoot much .357 Mag. However, you specified pocket carry, and the slightly smaller J frame will work better in that role. If the lock bothers you removal instructions are easy enough to find using google. The fact that you already have a set of J frame CT laser grips is another bonus to going with the model 60.

However, before you get dead set on either of the guns you list take a look at the S&W 640; it's a stainless steel version of the 642, available in either .38+P or .357 Mag. The 640 will offer you all the J frame benefits listed above, plus an enclosed hammer will be both snag and lint resistant when carried in a pocket.

October 19, 2007, 11:35 PM
I have had both with 3" barrels, I still have the Ruger!

October 20, 2007, 02:32 AM
If you are set on only those two revolvers I would choose the M60.

Since you said this will be a pocket carry revolver I have to remind you that an exposed hammer can snag, especially with pocket carry. Even though there are ways of avoiding this problem, why chance a snag? If you agree the possibility of a snag is unacceptable then read on. If you don't want to consider another revolver that's fine too. I don't want to tell you to buy something other than what you want to consider.

Since you said a "plus" point is Stainless Steel there are other options. Like said above, the S&W Model 640 is the Stainless version of the M642 that you already own. It looks the same and will provide the same sight picture you are used to. As with the M60, your CT will swap right over to the M640. There is also the M649 which is a Bodyguard frame Stainless .357 Magnum.

October 20, 2007, 03:12 AM
The advantage of the SP101 is that it is the smallest .357 that can handle cylinder after cylinder of the heaviest .357 loads without fear of damage (whether your middle finger can is another story). It is not a particularly light gun, but, then, when you shoot 180 grain .357 loads, you will be glad.

October 20, 2007, 03:15 AM
Thanks ArchAngelCD! I have almost decided, and as of right now, I am leaning towards a new S&W Model 640 with some Pachmayr Compac grips or my CT.

October 20, 2007, 07:21 AM
I wouldn't trade my Model 60 for a Ruger. Once you carry it, you'll never get rid of it. The single action trigger helps it be a tack driver too.



October 20, 2007, 09:56 AM
I carry the DAO SP101 in a Mika round-cut pocket holster every day.
I wouldn't want a weapon with an internal trigger lock for a CCW...Just one more thing that may go wrong at the wrong time and is counter to the simplicty and reliability advantages of a revolver.

October 20, 2007, 01:38 PM
Thanks ArchAngelCD! I have almost decided, and as of right now, I am leaning towards a new S&W Model 640 with some Pachmayr Compac grips or my CT.
You're welcome kashton, I'm glad I could help. I'm sure you will like the M640 since like I said above, it's the Stainless version of the revolver you already owm.

Pistol Toter
October 20, 2007, 02:07 PM
I voted the 2.25" SP101. I carry mine every day. However it is NOT a pants pocket gun, jacket maybe; and unless you are willing to put it in a pocket holster, your gonna wear holes in the pockets. I love my little Miss Piggy. My son swears by his 3.0625". It's a jim-dandy gun too. Both of us carry in a Bianchi 3S "PistolPocket" which a pancake style holster. I seriously doubt the S&W model 60 would be much better; maybe a little??...

October 20, 2007, 10:07 PM
I jacket pocket carry a sp-101 in the winter. I have shot the smith and would not like to have to do it again. The sp is a bit big for the pants. YMMV patrick

October 20, 2007, 10:53 PM
I like J-frame Smiths. You can keep them in your pocket comfortably all day and the Model 60 is a good choice--if you wish, there are full lug versions of stainless J-frames to choose from as well. I carried a Model 640, alternating with a Model 60 as daily CCW pieces when I worked nights in a downtown bookstore. They hid so well in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster that none of the rabid anti-gun ladies I worked with (both male and female) ever had any idea that I was packing a CCW. Don't ask, don't tell, I guess...

With that said, I have never owned a Ruger SP, so can't say whether or not it is better or worse than the Smith. I guess I've always been happy with J-frames, so never saw a need to change. My current carry gun is a 686 Plus in 2.5" guise and also a SIG P-226 9mm carried in the front pocket as the mood strikes. Nothing against the Js, just getting older and they hurt my wrists and hand's web too much during practice with the magnum rounds. Still, I'll probably get another J-frame and stoke it with .38s, for carry variety; this one will have backstrap-covering Hogue neoprene grips--I miss having a "J" tucked in close. My first choice would be a hammerless in stainless steel, and no keyhole. Second choice would be a stainless S&W Bodyguard style piece.

Good luck with whatever you decide to carry!


October 21, 2007, 04:45 PM
Here you go. I went to the range yesterday and shot a 340PD with full magnum loads:

http://www.hunt101.com/img/523434.bmp (http://www.hunt101.com/?p=523434&c=500&z=1)
http://www.hunt101.com/img/523435.bmp (http://www.hunt101.com/?p=523435&c=500&z=1)

Lots of fun but my hand still hurts from 40 rounds lol.

Rover 'n Rugers
October 23, 2007, 10:49 AM
I voted for the Ruger. The Model 60 is about 2.5 oz less and a bit smaller. Both can be tuned to about the same trigger pull weight but the Smith will have a shorter hammer arc. If one was looking for pocket carry a lighter model than the 60 might be desired; depends on your size and pocket size. Lighter than a 60 but still all steel is the 6 shot .357 Colt Magnum Carry. Sometimes one turns up used at a reasonable price; just depends upon luck.

October 23, 2007, 10:54 AM
Ruger...in a heartbeat

October 23, 2007, 03:07 PM
You said you wanted to pocket carry, so I say go with the S&W. Its lighter, and more compact. With the lighter weight .357 rounds like the Speer SB 135, Golden Saber 125 grain, or the Cor bon DPX 125 grain you'll be OK.

If you were going to belt carry, or wanted to shoot .357 all time and/or with heavier loads I would say go with the Ruger. Fact is they are both great guns, made by two great companies. I have owned both in the past, so my opinion comes from an actual user.

Good luck.

October 23, 2007, 05:06 PM
I have owned a m60 just like the one you speak of and I really enjoy it. It has replaced my XD-40 and it has also become my primary for both carry and sport(it is all that I have use for in my area). I am not familiar with Ruger but I can say that the m60 is a wonderful handgun.

October 23, 2007, 10:16 PM
since the S&W you mentioned has the built in lock i'd opt for the Ruger.....

however, if the guns were equal non locked department, i'd opt for the S&W.

October 24, 2007, 12:22 AM
I purchased a S&W 640 NIB Pre Lock model on Monday and it is coming in tomorrow. I will post some pics =)

October 24, 2007, 12:23 AM
I purchased a S&W 640 NIB Pre Lock model on Monday and it is coming in tomorrow. I will post some pics =)

October 24, 2007, 05:09 PM
WOOHOO, I just brought home my NIB S&W 640 Pre-Lock! :D

The trigger pull is SO SWEET, better than any S&W I've ever shot or held before... no kidding.

http://www.hunt101.com/img/523937.jpg (http://www.hunt101.com/?p=523937&c=500&z=1)

It feels GREAT in my pocket Desantis Nemesis holster! The perfect weight. It feels solid but not too heavy. This has instantly become my favorite CCW!

What is the best ammunition for SD? Right now I have 130 grain Federal Hydra-Shok...


October 25, 2007, 02:37 AM
Nice pre-lock 640, I have been looking for one of those for ages. That 130 grain federal ammo is basically full power ammo but it is labeled as low-recoil. Some shy away from full power 357 ammo in these small guns but I am always a fan of carrying the most power available. If it were me I would find some of the Federal 357B 125grain ammo which is their original full power ammo, or Remington's equivalent 125 grain ammo. Again nice find on that 640!

October 25, 2007, 07:10 AM
i carry the full power remington 125gr. magnums in my 640-1, but i had it magna-ported so it kicks like a +p .38spl....

October 25, 2007, 05:07 PM
You've already posted the pluses and minuses and that should make up your mind for you. If not, you need to shoot both and decide which you prefer. It's probably just a gut feeling.
I have nothing against a Ruger, but my S&W is a 3" -- looks right, feels right, shoots right (at least for me -- I can't believe S&W is losing by over 1%).

October 25, 2007, 05:47 PM
I already bought one =)

October 25, 2007, 05:53 PM
I have not read thru this entire post. I went with the Ruger for the following reasons:

1. Neither is a pocket gun. Both, imo, require a holster.

2. Since they both require a holster, I'd choose the one that is slightly heavier and easier to shoot.

3. The Ruger is also more durable and easier to maintain and clean.

October 25, 2007, 09:00 PM
I own and like both! :)
The only thing I would add to what MCgunner said pertains to perceived recoil. The S&W MOD 60 in .357 Mag is substantially more uncomfortable to shoot than the Ruger SP101 in .357 Mag due to the fact that is does not absorb or redirect recoil as well as the Ruger SP101 design. This makes a big difference to those with small hands and or small wrists.


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