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Old May 10, 2015, 08:42 PM   #1
Hammer059
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Is SA really much more durable than DA?

A friend and I were having this discussion at the range today and he said he wanted a Single-Six over the SP101 for plinking/hiking/fishing/etc because it would be more durable and less likely to break. I pretty much agreed with him, however I feel like he would have a tough time wearing down the SP101 also and durability really isn't a concern with either.

Obviously with a DA there are more parts to potentially break. But if we're comparing (for example) a Ruger Single-Six to a SP101 in .22lr, (or a Blackhawk to a GP100, you get the idea) would you expect the SA to have a longer service life due to it being single-action? Would one of them be less likely to mess up the internal parts if it was dropped or banged around a lot?

What say you?
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Old May 10, 2015, 08:46 PM   #2
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My gut says anytime there are more parts, there is more to go wrong, and more to possible break, but, I don't have anything "real" to back that up.

The biggest "issue" with the comparison is the two designs are so different, each having their own strengths and weaknesses, its really difficult to make a fair comparison.
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Old May 10, 2015, 08:52 PM   #3
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Understandable.

I have a single-shot 12 gauge that is tough as nails, and I like the idea that there is less to go wrong with it. I guess it makes sense that that's his reasoning for revolvers.

Still, I feel like he's comparing an extremely durable gun to a very durable gun, and there really wouldn't be that big of a difference in long-term durability… I'd be very curious to ask a gunsmith about this.
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Old May 10, 2015, 09:02 PM   #4
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I beg to disagree in principle....old Colt/Other SA guns had flat leaf springs and thin half cock notches and tended to need more replacement parts. Newer Ruger SAs with coil springs and the transfer bar have fewer problems.
That said, I'll take a Security Six, any of my Ruger Single actions, or my Smith DAs any day for long term longevity, both the guns and mine.
I love the feel of the Colt, like hearing the four clicks but prefer a smooth double action pull every time.
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Old May 10, 2015, 09:06 PM   #5
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Six of one, and half a dozen of the other.

Pick the one you like best.

Either one will likely out-last you and your offspring.

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Old May 10, 2015, 09:31 PM   #6
The Lone Haranguer
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Quote:
Would one of them be less likely to mess up the internal parts if it was dropped or banged around a lot?
In theory, this favors the single-action. It has a solid frame and the cylinder is supported by a pin running all the way through it. Drop the double-action onto a rock, and if it lands on or skids off the cylinder, it would be more likely to spring the cylinder yoke/crane, while the single-action would just get scarred up a bit.
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Old May 10, 2015, 09:44 PM   #7
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In the old days, one of the supposed advantages of the Colt SAA was that it could still fire even if some parts broke, and that was the main reason it was adopted by the army in preference to more complex designs. But DA revolvers have improved a lot in 140 or so years, and I doubt the classic SAA has any advantage today over good DA revolvers; in fact, the old type guns, full of flat springs, are probably less reliable than modern DA revolvers or auto pistols.

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Old May 10, 2015, 10:47 PM   #8
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Do you want to compare any single action vs. any double action revolver? Or just Ruger's?

Regardless of the design, Bill Ruger had a very justified reputation for making very rugged firearms - his revolvers in particular. While it is possible to break something in either SA or DA products, you will really have to work at it. Failures are very few and far between, and if (or when) something does happen the company will fix it.

I would suggest that you simply pick the kind you like best, and not worry about the rest.
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Old May 10, 2015, 10:57 PM   #9
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Old Fluff, we're specifically speaking of modern production Rugers here, such as Single-Six/Ten vs SP101 .22 -or- Blackhawk vs GP100/Security Six

Thanks everyone for your input thus far. I myself am considering the SP101 in .22lr also so this question applies to myself as much as my buddy. He's not a forum member but I gave him the link and he's following the thread as we speak.
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Old May 10, 2015, 10:59 PM   #10
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thats kind of like asking "what is a better vehicle for me to get my groceries with, a Sherman Tank or an M1 Abrams?".......

both revolvers are overkill for just about anything you want to do with them, and the chances of you ever breaking or wearing one out are slim.....
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Old May 10, 2015, 11:10 PM   #11
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Both the Single Six and SP101 have "Rugged" for a middle name.

But I believe the former may be available with an optional cylinder in .22 WRM. This might, or might not be a factor in your decision.

Also the SP101 was designed to be a .38 Special, but was later upgraded to .357 Magnum. When chambered in .22 it is noticeably on the heavy side. Again this is a personal factor, to be decided on what you like.
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Old May 10, 2015, 11:57 PM   #12
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Old May 11, 2015, 07:28 AM   #13
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If you manage to wear out either one of them, brag about it.

You've really done something.
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Old May 11, 2015, 07:42 AM   #14
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With really heavy recoiling magnums, especially those larger than 44 mag there might be some truth to the theory. I just don't see it making any difference in a 22.
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Old May 11, 2015, 07:53 AM   #15
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I've got a 50 year old single six that is easily in six figure round count, that'd take ~$6000 at today's prices and it's still going. I've got a SP in 357 that gobbles up 180gr @1100fps like candy not gonna hurt it with CCI Stingers LOL.
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Old May 11, 2015, 08:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
...for plinking/hiking/fishing/etc because it would be more durable
I'm trying to think of the pistol that is not durable enough for those purposes. There is no evidence to support that a single action revolver is more durable than a double action, even of the same mfg. Depending on the models, DA may often be more durable than singles. Between the Single six and SP101, the SP101 is probably more durable, which is not to say the Single Six is not handle its share of abuse.
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Old May 11, 2015, 08:53 AM   #17
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Simply looking at tolerance stacking I say yes the fewer parts of a SA make it inherently more durable, but as others have said both are sufficiently durable to handle a lot of abuse.

The piece I would expect to see fail in both platforms is the hand which is of very similar dimensions between platforms, so in reality I think it's likely a tossup. Since there is a lower parts count in a SA and a bit more room (relative to parts count) to accomplish the task of rotating the cylinder, so a beefed up hand on a Blackhawk would put it head and shoulders above the six series or sp or gp guns.
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Old May 11, 2015, 09:04 AM   #18
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I'm a Ruger fan. My first handgun was a Ruger Single Six purchased in 1962. It's still going strong although most of the blue is worn away. I shot Vaqueros in Cowboy Action for many years. The hammer plunger spring on both broke within a couple of weeks. But that's after many thousands of live rounds and maybe 10 times that number of dry fires. All at speed.

Schematics show 53 parts for the Single Six and 64 for the 101. As other posters have noted, in .22 caliber, your great grand children will be shooting either one you choose.
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Old May 11, 2015, 10:04 AM   #19
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Probably not in the long term

In theory, yes. In practice, probably not enough to matter.

A single action has less parts. However, the older models (the Colt Model P, for instance) have more fragile parts than most double action revolvers.

Modern Ruger single actions are very tough. However, I have some double action revolvers built in the 1920s and 1930s that are still functional and accurate.

At the same time, there are many examples of premature failure and wear in all types of handguns.
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Old May 11, 2015, 12:00 PM   #20
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There is no evidence to support that a single action revolver is more durable than a double action, even of the same mfg.
I would have to argue that. In cartridges greater than the .22LR, comparing Rugers to Rugers, a DA will shoot itself loose before an SA. At least, that is what is commonly believed and was written in Hamilton Bowen's book. In the case of the large frame SA compared to the Redhawk/Super Redhawk, he says that the DA's will withstand greater pressures due to the larger cylinder but that they will also shoot loose sooner. The reason being that in addition to having fewer parts, the SA has a solid frame with the cylinder riding on a rigid basepin. The DA, by design, has a crane and that is an inherent weakness when you're talking long term, heavy use.

In reality, any difference between the two guns in question is probably purely academic. If you ever manage to wear either to the point of needing rebuilding, you will have surely gotten your money's worth. Though I would wager that if you put 100,000rds through both, the Single Six will be in better shape at the end.
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Old May 12, 2015, 07:23 PM   #21
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Well my friend ended up getting a SR22, which is a WAY different .22 handgun than we were originally discussing.

However, I've decided I'm gonna get a Sp101 in .22lr. Had a 4" in .357 and loved it. I'll definitely get rid of that horrible front sight though, that huge green dot is very distracting for me. I like "traditional" sights, especially on revolvers.
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Old May 12, 2015, 07:42 PM   #22
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I haven't 'worn out' an SA or a DA with a lot of use, certainly not a Ruger.


Blackhawks, Super Blackhawks, Vaquero, SP 101, GP100.. you have to TRY to break' em--it doesn't happen easily.
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Old May 18, 2015, 07:53 PM   #23
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For hiking, fishing and the like, some folks prefer a revolver, especially a single action like the Single Six, not because it is more reliable but because it is more "politically correct". To folks like game wardens, a SA revolver says "sporting" where a Glock says "gangster". Maybe shouldn't be that way, but it is.

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Old May 18, 2015, 08:17 PM   #24
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As close as I can come is Ruger in 357.



Generally I would say the DA is more fragile if you had someone who abuses his tools and toys, like slamming the cylinder shut on the DA or tossing the pistol in the back of a pickup with the cylinder open.

If I just shot hot 357 through either and took halfway decent care of them then my wrists would probably give out before either revolver.
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Old May 18, 2015, 08:36 PM   #25
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Compared to the Ruger SA, the weak spot in even a Ruger DA is the crane assembly. Drop a SA on its sides and not much is going to happen. Drop
a DA, particularly on its right side and more than likely "boing."

That solid frame for a SA counts for a great deal.
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