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125gr .357 only in certain Rugers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by priv8ter, Jan 14, 2003.

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  1. priv8ter

    priv8ter Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Poulsbo, Wa
    So, I'm reading the instruction manual before using my new SP101(because the gun tells me to do so!). There is a blurb in the manual about how some .357's are limited to 125gr bullets, and this noted on their barrel. Mine doesn't have this limitation, but I am wondering why Ruger would make a gun like this, and even more, why someone would BUY a gun with this limitation.

    The manual says something about the cylinder being too short for full weight Magnum rounds, but, why make a gun with an undersized cylinder. Is this something to do with their QA department? Are they just trying to get some value out of a cylinder that is not 100% perfect?

    Just curious to see if anyone else has looked into this situation.
  2. Dave Williams

    Dave Williams Member

    Dec 28, 2002

    IIRC, the .357 model was originally made out of the .38 model, when someone noted that the cylinder was long enough, and the frame tough enough, to support the .357 cartridge, but only in the 125 gr loading. Ruger then updated the gun to handle all .357 loadings.

  3. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Dave's right. The first .357 SP101s were, I believe, bored out .38 Specials done by Rick Devoid (?). Ayoob showed one to Ruger, who agreed to make it a production item. At first, the original cylinder length restricted the rounds to 125 gr, which were shorter and wouldn't extend out of the cylinder. Later units had lengthened cylinders so all rounds would work.
  4. Nick96

    Nick96 Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    South Texas
    As I recall, when the SP was introduced in the late'80 it was offered in .38 only. But, it was +P rated where the J frame S&W's were not - and Colt recommended their steel frame Dect. Spl. be restricted to a limited diet of +P. Thus, it was the smallest +P rated .38 available at the time. The 125gr .357 limitation was in effect for just a couple of years for the reasons mentioned above. Again, at the time it was the smallest "quality" .357 available - even though it was just a bored out .38. Then the current version that is rated to handle any .357 - and again, at the time, the smallest .357 that would handle any .357 cartridge.

    The SP was, therefore, a trend setter throughout its evolution. Though there are many small .357's out there now, the SP remains the smallest that many people would consider practical for constant .357 use.

    Due to the limited production run, perhaps the 125gr only .357's may have some collector value some day (for our children and grandchildren).
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