Pros and cons of the S&W 60 and Ruger SP101


August 23, 2003, 05:18 PM
I'm looking to add a steel snubby .357 to the collection.

Revolvers are still a bit unfamiliar to me compared to semi-autos. I'd like to know if there are any clear pros and cons relating to these two revolvers.

The Ruger SP101 would be new, the S&W 60 would be used, pre-lock, but excellent condition. They would have a 2 1/8" or 2 1/4" barrel and be .357 Magnum.

Any pros and cons of either or both would help. Thanks.

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August 23, 2003, 05:26 PM
The SP101 is built like a tank and cant take a steady diet of .357 Mag. Ruger also has excellent customer service.

Jim March
August 23, 2003, 05:41 PM
The SP101 is heavier and tougher.

The Ruger can also be fully field-stripped by a non-gunsmith, and springs easily changed. You can shoot a huge number of hot rounds through it without hurting the gun; used SP101s are virtually always in good shape (barring really stupid handloads) because you can't physically shoot enough full-house loads to hurt the gun before your wrists give out!

Rugers have no sideplates; the action and grip frame "forks up" into the bottom of the fully solid frame. Rugers also "lock up" at both the crane and rear of the cylinder. Swing the cylinder out and push on the stud at the center of the ejector star (rear of the cylinder) while looking at the crane - you'll see the "interlink" and the locking latch that holds the crane firm in the frame.

Upshot: the Ruger design is worlds past the late-19th-century S&W design. But there's a price: a bit of extra weight, and the trigger could usually use a bit of tuning.

Now, the S&W isn't a bad gun. Especially if you shoot mostly 38/38+P and save 357s for carry and enough practice to know where they print. It's lighter for carry.

In my opinion, neither gun is small enough for front-pocket carry. SOME would say that the S&W is so compatible. That's really what it comes down to, because if you agree that front-pocket carry is out of the question for both, then you've got to do an IWB or other belt rig, or a fanny pack, or a shoulder rig. In those cases, the extra five or six ounces on the Ruger won't matter much...except of course to help tame recoil some!

Now, all that said, both guns will work. And since both Ruger and S&W are capable of every once in a while dropping a lemon, RUN THE CHECKOUT:

My preference is for the SP101. BUT an S&W J-Frame 357 that passes the checkout well will always be picked over a "loose and sloppy" Ruger.

Old Fuff
August 23, 2003, 05:55 PM
If you are determined to shoot .357’s out of a snub-gun get the Ruger, it is heavier and the grip is easier on the hand. The advantage of the S&W is that it’s smaller and lighter – something most people want in this kind of gun. However it makes a better .38 Special then a .357 Magnum. If you go for the .357 also get the three-inch barrel. If the package is too big or heavy reconsider the thirty-eight.

August 23, 2003, 06:14 PM
For magnum use, there is only one answer................RUGER!

August 23, 2003, 07:47 PM
Wow, so few posts in this thread, but they've already said it all!

Both are fine guns. I agree with the gents who've already posted.

August 23, 2003, 08:02 PM
Thanks for the great posts. Of course, any revolver gets the complete Jim March checkout!

This gun would be used mainly for target/fun shooting at the range. There would definately be some magnum rounds fired through it, but the gun wouldn't see all that much action. It won't be a carry gun, so weight isn't an issue. I know, a longer barrel would make more sense for target shooting, but I just like the looks of short barrel revolvers. And this is meant to be a fun gun! :D

Thanks again, and any other not-really-obvious traits about these revolvers (good or bad), that haven't already been mentioned are welcomed.

Jim March
August 23, 2003, 09:59 PM
One odd thing: the newest S&Ws have a front sight pinned in place for easy replacement. ALL SP101s have that feature. Lots of companies make replacements; for combat, think Tritium but for range fun and a lot less money, go with a fiber optic front.

If the S&W front sight is of the early type (plain metal on the barrel, no pinned insert) then that'll make sight improvements much more annoying and expensive.

Other than that, repairs and spring changes on the Ruger are a lot cheaper. Basically, you use a screwdriver for just one thing: to take the grips off. Once you do, under one panel is a small metal rod - that is a tool to let you disassemble everything else with NO screwdriver! (Can't booger up the frame screws.) The manual includes full disassembly instructions.

With the S&W, opening it up is officially a gunsmith-only proposition. At a minimum, you'll need a set of high-end screwdrivers to avoid dinging the screws, and an aftermarket book on the subject :scrutiny:. So if you're broke, no money for a smith and you need to change springs or even major parts like the trigger, hammer, can "shadetree mechanic" a Ruger.

Accuracy of each will be in the same ballpark (and quite good). But understand, these are fighting handguns and in a close-range encounter of 5ft or less, can be legitimately described as the very best survival tools available.

Standing Wolf
August 23, 2003, 10:35 PM
The Ruger can also be fully field-stripped by a non-gunsmith, and springs easily changed.

The same applies to J frame Smith & Wessons, although I'll admit I've done some cursing and swearing while replacing rebound slide springs.

August 24, 2003, 01:16 AM
I especially agree with what Old Fluff said.

August 24, 2003, 03:58 AM
The S&W revolvers can be completely stripped using just a set of screwdrivers, but for ease of removal and replacement of the trigger rebound block and spring, Browwnells sells a tool that greatly eases this operation. Dont remember whnat it cost, but it wasn't much. I still prefer to do it the way the LSP armorer taught. Using the supplied screwdriver (No longer supplied with S&W revolvers) , insert the tip under the rebound block where the rebound spring contacts the stop. Slightly compress the spring and gently pry up. While covering this operation with left hand to keep the spring from flying across the room if you slip, continue until the spring clears the stop, then ease off on the spring and the assembly slips right out. This sounds a lot more complicated than it is, and reassembly is just as simple. If a bunch of ham fisted troopers can learn, anyone can.

For my part, I wouldn't feel like I had done a thorough cleaning of ay of my S&Ws if I didn't completely strip them even though I know it is not an absolute requirement.

In fairness, the newer S&Ws are a little more troublesome due to the mdifications to parts like the hammers (multi piece) and the infamous safety lock,( a useless POS IMO).

August 24, 2003, 04:24 AM
Here is a pic of my SP101...

August 24, 2003, 04:30 AM
Well, that picture sucked so I'll try again.

August 24, 2003, 04:44 AM
Finally a pic that uploads right! As you can see I've done some work on her. I decided to remove all the writing and symbols on the pistol, except for ".357 Magnum cal." on the barrel and the serial #. I wanted my gun streamlined and very smooth so I started with a Dremel and then went with Scotch-brite discs on an airgun. I haven't finished with the smoothing and detail grinding yet, there are some contours that I want to work on. When the SP101 is to my liking, I will start working on it with a cotton buffer wheel on a commercial grinder with some rouge. When done it should look like a piece of seamless, edgeless and lethal art. I know that someone here might say to send it to Clark's custom guns and get it "melted" by them, but then where is the personal touch? No thanks, I will customize my guns, rifles and cars myself. Here is another pic but it is very dark. Thanks for looking...

Jim March
August 24, 2003, 05:08 AM
That is a SWEET melt-down job in progress. Tons of time invested but hey, it'll be JUST how you want it.

Throw a Tritium front dot on there at some point :). You've got "Excalibur in making" there :D.

August 24, 2003, 11:56 AM
I have an SP 101 .357.
It is my always on me carry gun.
Mine is DA/SA with the hammer bobbed, with just enough left to manually cock the pistol, but much better for fast presentation.
I tried the Hogue, but now have a Pachmyer on it.
I usually shoot and carry 38+p's, with some .357, usually just for practice.
I cannot recommend this revolver enough.

Standing Wolf
August 24, 2003, 09:16 PM
I decided to remove all the writing and symbols on the pistol, except for ".357 Magnum cal." on the barrel and the serial #.

Definitely pretty, although I'm not sure why you wanted to keep the caliber indication.

Jim March
August 24, 2003, 10:22 PM
He kept the caliber marks to make like easier on his great-grandchildren 75+ years from now.

A stainless gun like that, hand-modified by the user, will be something that will stay in his family. He'll NEVER be able to sell it and get his labor investment out of it, no way in hell. But that doesn't make this stupid - on the contrary, he has something personal and trustworthy and basically a partner for his life and beyond.

100 years from now, somebody is liable to ask his decendent why he keeps THAT thing as a bedside gun versus something with an electronic igntion and caseless hyper-velocity ammo. None of that will matter - that gun will still perform. But that decendent will need to home-brew ammo and if he KNOWS THE CALIBER, it'll help :D.

4v50 Gary
August 24, 2003, 11:12 PM
IronFist - that is nice!.

Go Ruger. American workhorse. Never need to tighten screws on it. Tough action that takes abuse and still works.

August 24, 2003, 11:28 PM
Love my SP101! Very accurate at 'combat ranges' especially considering I'm shooting full power mags and have the DAO only version. .38 Special loads through it are rather pleasant. The mags will wear you out in short order though.

Once MO gets a form of CCW, it will be my primary carry.

In fairness, I have not shot a S&W Mod 60. I breifly considered one, but was pretty much sold on the Ruger since I already have a Redhawk and Vaquero...

August 25, 2003, 03:30 PM
Thank for the nice remarks guys, and Jim... you hit the nail on the head! This pistol will stay within my family long after I am gone, so some caliber information is probably needed. I have always liked guns with personality and this one has it in spades and it is a joy to carry. While I like the Hogue grips that I put on it, future plans call for some Crimson-trace laser grips to be installed. I have shot pistols with those grips before and really enjoyed them. When my baby is completed I will post a few pics here on the forum. Thanks again...

Michael in Sandy, Oregon

August 25, 2003, 07:07 PM
I like both, but eventually went w/ the mod 60. The nicer action/trigger was the selling point for me.

If you enjoyed reading about "Pros and cons of the S&W 60 and Ruger SP101" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!