Ruger Sp101, .357 mag. 2 1/4" or 3" barrel?


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sigbear
August 5, 2008, 08:43 PM
I was looking at the Ruger Sp101 .357 mag. 2 1/4" barrel today and liked the gun, however, I'm thinking the 3" would be a better choice for me since I would only use it when hiking in the mountains or other large wooded areas.

The shorter barrel is much easier to conceal and would be fine for the 2 legged beast, however, I'm thinking that the extra inch in barrel length would be significant in the unlikely encounter with a large 4 legged beast. So my question's are:

How much FPS and energy are lost from 4" to 3" to 2 1/4" barrel .357 mag.?

I have a Ruger security six .357 mag. with a 6" barrel which is ideal for my hiking gun, however, at my age I just can't carry it anymore for long hikes, so, it looks like the Sp101.

Sigbear

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only1asterisk
August 5, 2008, 08:58 PM
The .357 picks up a good bit of velocity in the first few inches of barrel. The 3" barrel makes a big difference in the handling and shooting qualities.

David

rantingredneck
August 5, 2008, 08:59 PM
I can't answer the exact question of how much velocity is lost, but for your purposes I'd go with a 3 1/16" version.

My carry gun is a 2 1/4" SP101, but my woods gun is a 4" GP100. Sounds like you're looking for something a bit lighter than the GP though.

jad0110
August 5, 2008, 09:06 PM
Unless you are planning on pocket carry, I'd go with the 3 1/16". In addition to the qualities already mentioned, the 3"+ barrel gives you a full length ejector rod, making spent case ejection easier.

SAWBONES
August 5, 2008, 09:06 PM
How much FPS and energy are lost from 4" to 3" to 2 1/4" barrel .357 mag.?

Can't quote numbers, but a lot less than going from an 8" barrel to a 4" barrel.
You get the most from the .357 Magnum with a longer barrel.
Nonetheless, even with a 2" barrel, the .357 beats the .38 Special+P by a significant margin in both momentum and energy.

If you're willing to put up with the felt recoil shooting .357 Magum in a 25-27 oz. snubby, the SP101 is an excellent gun choice. I happen to have three of them, two with the 2 1/4" barrel (one with the hammer bobbed, the other not), one with the 3 1/16" barrel.
I never carry the 3", but always the 2 1/4" bobbed hammer version. Maybe if I did much walking in the woods, I would choose the 3 incher, though. Most people here will recommend the 3 incher, but as one who owns both sizes and actually uses the gun for daily CCW, I like the 2.25" size.

only1asterisk
August 5, 2008, 09:14 PM
SAWBONES,

How do you carry, in a pocket?

An inch of barrel means much more going from 2" to 3" than at 6", not only to velocity but also to sight radius.

David

Ben Shepherd
August 5, 2008, 11:09 PM
I use an sp101 for daily CCW duty. I have a few examples in both barrel lengths that I have carried and shot extensively. Here's my take:

1. You mentioned age. OK, I think you are correct. You will find the extra sight radius very useful.

2. Velocity loss? About 50ish fps slower in the shorter barrel on average. So as long as you use 357 eithier length would be good. If you only run 38 or 38+p yu'll want the extra velocity of the longer barrel.

3. Regardless of barrel length, most folks find them too heavy for pocket carry.

Bottom line:
From what you said, I'd get the longer barreled one , and put it in a belt holster.

only1asterisk
August 5, 2008, 11:53 PM
From what you said, I'd get the longer barreled one , and put in in a belt holster.

I agree.

As to the velocity difference. The only test I have includes 10 flavors of factory ammo in 2", 3" and 4" barrels shot on the same day. The results show velocity increasing from 2" to 3" with differences up to 175fps and as little 50 (with higher performance ammo tending to lose more). Moving from 3" to a 4" gained from 25 to 90 fps.

The test doesn't prove anything conclusively as the sample is too small. It does fall within the range of what one would expect to find.

David

Gary A
August 6, 2008, 11:20 AM
Regarding the ejector rod, with Ruger the rod is the same on both the 2 1/4 and 3 1/16 inch versions. Ejection will be the same with either. I have had the 3 inchers and like them, but for myself the 2 1/4 inch version is the most useful. For your use, if it were me, I would go with the 3 inch without question.

Vern Humphrey
August 6, 2008, 11:58 AM
I find the 3 1/16 inch barrel is better:

1. Concealability is not affected. As someone else said, the SP 101 is heavy for pocket carry. For belt carry, the extra inch will not matter.

2. The gain in sight radius is a real plus.

3. In terms of weight, every ounce counts if you're shooting full charge .357s from a snubbie.

texas bulldog
August 6, 2008, 12:09 PM
i carry the 2.25" version and i don't regret the choice. but if my sole purpose were woods carry and not daily CCW, i would definitely choose the 3".

rdrancher
August 6, 2008, 12:33 PM
i carry the 2.25" version and i don't regret the choice. but if my sole purpose were woods carry and not daily CCW, i would definitely choose the 3".

I carry the same, and I'll give a big +1 on that.


rd

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