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2.25" or 3" revolver

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Handyman, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. Handyman

    Handyman New Member

    Oct 24, 2006
    I have a 2.25" SP101 . I was thinking of trading it in and getting the 3" .Would a 3" be much more accurate at longer range and would it have less recoil ? Is the extra 3/4" going to make any difference ?
  2. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Jan 3, 2003
    South PA, and a bit West of center!
    I have the 2.25" and to be honest would not expect any huge bonus from going to 3".

    Small weight increase might slightly ''tame'' things when firing hot loads but then there is the concealability downside - just that bit more to keep covered.

    I seriously doubt too at combat ranges the accuracy factor is measurably significant. Of course, a 3" would be nice to have - as well! :)
  3. ronto

    ronto Active Member

    Jul 4, 2006
    Smack Dab in the Middle of Nowhere.
    When faced with the same decision, I went with the 2 1/4" over the 3 1/16" version mainly because it seemed easier to conceal and 13/16" didn't make that much difference in better ballistics. The Speer 135gr. GDHP "short barrel" ammo also makes a 2 1/4" more viable.
    I did not choose the SP101 to be a "target gun" and my intented use is last resort self-defense at 7-10 yards. Such a high-stress situation would more than likely be a "point and shoot" scenario and the sights would be the last thing I'd be looking at.
    I see no advantage in trading or selling the 2 1/4" for a 3 1/16" for my intended use of the weapon. Of course, your intended use may be different than mine.
  4. 461

    461 Participating Member

    Mar 18, 2003
    I've got both versions and personaly I like the 3" better. I doubt it makes much difference balistically or concealment wise but it just seems to balance in my hand better. I have no plans to get rid of either of my 2 1/4" SP's though.
  5. Imaginos

    Imaginos Member

    Apr 9, 2004
    Grand Prairie, TX
    Get What Feels Good to YOU

    Ballistically, you can expect to lose about 50fps for every inch of barrel you shave off, so you are looking at negligible differences from a ballistic point of view.

    The slightly longer sight plane, might give you a boost, but that is completely up to you to decide based on your eyesight.

    You will have a harder time finding concealment leather for the 3".

    If the 3" feels better to you, get one, but I suggest you shoot it before you make any decisions.
  6. Confederate

    Confederate Senior Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    Bethesda, MD
    I've always preferred a 3-incher minimum, but I'm not sure I'd go through the trouble of changing. To get the extra velocity you'd get from a 3-inch tube, just push your gun forward as fast as you can the instant you fire it. :)

    (I have a Ruger Speed-Six w/3-inch barrel and I love it.)
  7. Texshooter

    Texshooter Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    If you want a 3", go with the GP100.

    If SP101, stick with what ya got.

  8. joneb

    joneb Senior Member

    Aug 18, 2005
    Is shell extraction easier with the 3" ?
  9. Preacherman

    Preacherman Elder

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
    If the frame and grip size of the gun is the same, it boils down to convenience. The shorter barrel will be easier for pocket carry, and ankle and shoulder holsters. In a belt holster, it's not enough of a difference to worry about.

    In S&W revolvers, a 3" barrel is long enough to give a full-length extractor rod, which can help in quick reloads under stress. However, I'd also go for a K-frame in 3", rather than the available J-frames, as the extra round in the cylinder and slightly larger grips make controlling the gun accurately in rapid fire rather easier.
  10. Trebor

    Trebor Senior Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    What Preacherman said. I carry a 3" S&W Model 65 for the reasons he just listed.
  11. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 28, 2005
    Lewisberry, PA
    Again, what Preacherman just said. Longer, full throw on the ejection rod, and larger frames help. Its all specific for your intended use, though. Don't expect a 3" to fit well in a pocket.

    I actually prefer the 2" Colt Detective Special family over the 2" S&W J frame sizes. The Colt design actually allows a longer, almost nearly, so close as not to be noticeable, full length ejector rod in a 2" barrel. Its even longer than the rod on my 2 1/8" barrel J frame.
  12. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Participating Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    The extra inch of barrel would be handy for extra velocity and reduced recoil. The increased sight radius will increase your accuracy more than the actual inch of extra barrel will though I reckon.
  13. Hobie

    Hobie Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Staunton, VA
    I must like the 3" guns because that is what I actually spent my money buying. I have a 3" M13, a 3" M36 and a 3" Detective Special. I do have a 2" M34 (.22) and it isn't that hard to shoot but the 3" guns aren't hard to conceal and seem to be just a bit easier to shoot fast. The .22 wasn't intended for self-defense, the others are. If you are shooting .357 Mag ammo I absolutely recommend the longer barrel.
  14. Curare

    Curare Member

    May 30, 2003
    Buckeye Country
    2 inch barrels are a definite compromise with respect to velocity.
  15. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Elder

    Jun 11, 2005
    If you are trying to conceal the gun, I'd keep the 2.25". If not, I would look at a 3" or 4" GP100 since you seem inclined toward Rugers. Own both!!
  16. Glamdring

    Glamdring Active Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    I really like snubbies.

    I started with Kel Tec P32 & P11 when my state went shall issue.

    I now use a 637 for 24/7 & will be getting a S&W 327 in the very near future.

    It took 6 plus months to get very good with the J frame for me, but I can shoot the 327 (I have rented one a couple of times) better at speed than I can my 1911. At least out to 10 yards or so.

    Snubbies have a short sight radius, and often less than ideal sights, so you have to really focus to get good hits. I would suggest renting the 3" gun if possible, or buying a thousand rounds of ammo and burning it up in your current snubby and see how much you improve. You can get 500 rounds of 38 for $90 or less, and 1k rounds for around $180 last time I checked. I suspect you would spend that much if you traded in your current gun on a new one.

    One of the things about the S&W 327 is that it has very good fixed sights for a revolver, at least for my eyes.

    If recoil is a problem I would suggest doing more shooting with low recoil loads to develope your skills, and add regular dryfire. I shoot my carry load in my small lt wt guns at the start of my practice (actually I shoot up what has been loaded in the gun, this rotates my carry ammo also), and then the bulk of practice is with cheaper lower recoil ammo. For practice 38/357 I like to use 38/130 fmj.

    NOTE I am not saying not to shoot full power ammo, just shoot it in moderation.

    The other point is you don't have to use the hardest kicking load for you carry load either.
  17. MCgunner

    MCgunner Senior Elder

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    1) The .357 magnum is very barrel length sensitive in snubbies. The 3" will give better ballistics. You cannot make generalities about barrel length vs velocity. The .357 uses slower powders which actually work much better in a 4-6" or longer barrel (say 20" in my carbine). .45 or 9mm is much less sensitive to barrel length. There is little advantage in going to a longer barrel and carbines offer not much extra at all because these calibers use fast burn powders and are more efficient. For a magnum revolver round, longer barrels are definitely better.

    2) The extra sight radius makes the longer barrel come on target quicker on the draw and easier to sight. This translates into quicker times and better accuracy. The gun's intrinsic accuracy isn't any better, it's just easier to shoot well with the longer sight radius. I have a 3" .38 and have owned several 2" .38s and I can tell you this for a fact. The SP is no pocket gun anyway, so I fail to see the use in the shorter barrel. You can carry the longer barrel gun IWB just as easily and if it slows the draw any at all, the longer sight radius will make it faster to acquire the sights on target.

    For me, it's a no brainer in the SP, go for the longer barrel. I want one right now for some reason, maybe the strength of the SP combined with the power of the .357 magnum, but I'd like to own one and have been thinking of buying one if I could get a good price on one. It'll be the 3" version, which I think is actually 3 1/4 or 3 1/6" or something. It could even double as an outdoor hiking gun with heavy loads involving heavy hard cast bullets. For that duty, I'd definitely want the longer barrel.

    People say accuracy is irrelevant at "defense ranges" and only practice at 7 yards. :rolleyes: Myself, if the gun can regularly knock down 6" plates off hand at 25 yards if I do my part, I don't think it's accurate enough. That's just me I guess, but I've always been a sucker for an accurate gun, probably my outdoor/hunting background. I like to hit what I shoot at.

    What I like about the SP over K frames and especially a pig like the L frame or GP100 is it's lighter and more compact for CCW. I would NOT carry any GP100 IWB more'n 5 minutes, myself. It's a heavy pig. It's a good outdoor gun, good home defense gun, fun range gun, but it is definitely NOT a good choice for CCW IMHO.
  18. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 22, 2002
    Kampong Cham, Cambodia
    Here is a pic of my daughters 2" sp101 over top of my 3" S&W 13
    Not much difference...
  19. miko

    miko Member

    Aug 10, 2005
    50 fps per extra inch of a barrel is generally true for long-barreled rifles.

    By the time the rifle bullet passed the 20 inches of the barrel, the pressure is pretty low.
    Also very important is that the velocity is already very high - say, 2500 fps. The already achieved velocity is improtant because energy varies with a square of velocity, so the 50 fps difference from 2500 to 2550 fps carries - and requires to impart - much more energy than "equal" 50 fps velocity increase from 800 to 850fps - three times as much to be precise!

    When I have time and set up the chrony, I will shoot the same ammo from my 2, 3 and 4 inch revolvers and report the difference precisely. I would be extremely surprised if I don't get at least 150 fps going from 2 to 3 inches.

  20. Striker

    Striker Active Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    NE Ohio
    I have and carry both lengths, but the 2.25 inch feels/balances a bit better for me.

    Your mileage may vary. :)

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