Ruger SP101 versus the Ruger GP100...What's the difference?


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Mr. T
March 4, 2010, 09:08 PM
I happen to own a Ruger GP100 and was wondering what the difference was between the GP100 and the SP101?:o:confused:

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blutarsky
March 4, 2010, 09:11 PM
besides 5-shots vs. 6-shots? or typically shorter barrel?

9mmepiphany
March 4, 2010, 11:57 PM
mostly just frame size

6_gunner
March 5, 2010, 12:03 AM
The SP101 is a much smaller gun than the GP100. If you're familiar with Smith revolvers, it's like the difference between a J-frame and a K- or L-frame.

John Wayne
March 5, 2010, 12:13 AM
GP100 trigger will probably be a little better too, and have a full length ejector rod. In short, better trigger, one extra round, full length ejector, longer sight radius, more controllable, more velocity.

*disclaimer--I don't know if the GP has a full-length ejector rod. I would seriously hope it does, being a full-sized gun, but I know the 3" SP101 does not.

TwoNiner
March 5, 2010, 03:30 AM
Short answer: about 1lb.

Big Mike
March 5, 2010, 10:52 AM
Short answer: about 1lb.

TN, you got that right. Had the 3" GP100 and basically traded for a 2 1/4" SP101, for concealed carry; it was a night v. day experience. Capacity, weight/size/dimensions, and increased recoil for comparable loads in the larger GP. That said, both are fine revolvers.

TwoNiner
March 6, 2010, 12:24 AM
How did you like the fixed sight GP100 3in? Did it balance well? I'm actually thinking about picking one of those up for home defense/general plinking. Unfortunately none of the shops around here carry them so I would have to special order, and to do that I have to pay up front.

22-rimfire
March 6, 2010, 04:37 AM
The 3" GP100 is a fine revolver. I have one purchased for exactly the reasons you state. It balances well for me and feels great. It has the old style smaller grips which I really like.

To me it looks and feels like a heavy 4" Colt Diamondback. Love the Diamondbacks.

My shooting of that revolver is pretty much home defense ranges of 10 yds or less. I have a 6" 357 revolver for longer distance shooting.

The differences between the GP and SP is primarily frame size and the 6 verssu 5 chambers in the cylinder. Weight of course too.

nulfisin
March 6, 2010, 12:04 PM
The weight really does matter if you're going to shoot 357 rounds. They're a piece of cake out of the GP. They are manageable in the SP but, in my experience, much less fun to shoot than in the GP.

Legionnaire
March 6, 2010, 12:29 PM
How did you like the fixed sight GP100 3in?One of my favorites. Liked the grips so much, I scrounged up another set to put on my 4in. Here's a pic of my 3in. Note the polished barrel (no more warning).

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=117087&d=1267896553

frankiestoys
March 6, 2010, 12:37 PM
Oh just get both.

22-rimfire
March 6, 2010, 03:03 PM
I actually purchased the 3" GP100 BECAUSE of all the positive comments on this and other fourms. As far as I'm concerned, 100% accurate for the most part and a great revolver. I consider it nearly a perfect home defense revolver loaded with 38spl +P's.

You have to understand that I was very slow to accept Ruger revolvers as anything other than cheaper immatations of Colt and S&W guns for years. I believe the GP100 was my first Ruger revolver and I have since bought a Redhawk, Super Redhawk, and Blackhawk. I do not regret any of these purchases.

JohnKSa
March 6, 2010, 03:07 PM
Other than the obvious differences, the only one I'm aware of is that the GP100 cylinder rotates on a ball bearing while the SP101 is a simple friction bearing. The GP100 cylinder tends to rotate more easily and more smoothly as a result.

Big Mike
March 13, 2010, 02:48 PM
How did you like the fixed sight GP100 3in?

The 3" was fine, not as accurate in my hand as I would have liked but was too heavy for me to carry comfortably concealed in Florida. I traded to an almost new SP101 and it is what I carry 99% of the time. Currently have a full-size .40 which I would happily trade towards a 4" GP100. I would not say that the version of the 3" GP that I had was as smooth as others have reported to experience.

For me the 3" would have been a better shooter with the full-size grip, but I never hung onto it long enough to find out. Also, the 3" had the SP101 type sights and couldn't be upgraded as easily as the 4" sights. If I had still had the 6946 (in the pic) I would likely have kept the 3"GP.

Lone Star
March 13, 2010, 05:43 PM
I think that one really needs the SP for concealed and light duty use, when no special danger is anticipated.

For general duty, the larger GP offers greater stability/weight and a sixth shot and higher velocity in longer barrel lengths. But it is much harder to conceal, about like a Smith L-frame or Colt Python.

I love both about as much as my S&W equivalents. Either would be the ideal two-gun setup for someone unable to have more guns for awhile.

The .357 is an enormously versatile gun, with .38 loads sufficing for much of what's needed. For small game on the trail, you don't want .357 power, anyway. But when needed, it's there.

Lone Star

shockwave
March 13, 2010, 06:00 PM
As it happens, I stopped by a gun shop today and tried out the SP101 and the S&W 360PD Airlite Chief's Special. The Smith feels like it weighs half that of the Ruger and would be a much better CCW. Both have great quality and the action is equally solid in both.

Steve_NEPhila
March 13, 2010, 06:05 PM
The SP 101 is actually capable of shooting magnum loads on a regular basis without problem to either the shooter or the revolver. I do not know too many people that can light off 50 rounds of .357 mag in a scandium Smith and Wesson J frame.

Rexster
March 14, 2010, 05:43 PM
shockwave wrote: "As it happens, I stopped by a gun shop today and tried out the SP101 and the S&W 360PD Airlite Chief's Special. The Smith feels like it weighs half that of the Ruger and would be a much better CCW. Both have great quality and the action is equally solid in both."

I am going to dissent here, but to be clear, my hands are my hands, and not necessarily like those of another. An S&W Airlite HURTS the base joint of my thumb, with mere +P ammo. I don't mean the type of hurt that stops hurting when I stop shooting; I mean lingering pain that I feel deep inside the joint for several weeks. Even standard-pressure .38 Special I tried later, caused lingering pain. Yet, with an SP101, I can shoot such stuff as Federal 125-grain Hi-Shok (Classic silver box) .357 Magnum, and 180-grain Federal Castcore, with no pain at the time of shooting, nor lingering discomfort. Therefore, the choice between these two weapons, for me, my hands, is the SP101. I can only imagine what an Airlite would do to my hand if fired with magnum ammo!

FWIW, I can shoot the 158-grain LSWCHP .38 Special "FBI load" from an S&W Airweight Model 642. (Actually, it is a Performance Center limited-run gun not labeled as a 642.) An Airweight weighs a mere two or three ounces more than an Airlite, but somewhere in that two to three ounces is a point of diminishing returns.

I rarely carry that Airweight J-frame, bcause I can almost always conceal an SP101, even in the hot, humid coastal Texas summertime. My usual carry ensemble, when not in police uniform, from 2002 to 2007 was TWO of the snubby SP101s. I now usually carry a P229, but still have the SP101s for when a double-stack auto is too big. When I retire, I will probably revert to the SP101s.

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