Trail Gun: SP101 3" vs. the new 4.2"

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Macchina, Feb 9, 2012.

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  1. Macchina

    Macchina Member

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    I've gone through the auto vs. revolver debate, a I've settled on a .357 Mag for my new woods gun. The SP101 platform looks great, but now I have to decide on the original 3" model or the new 4" model. This gun will be carried for protection in the woods. I may also hunt small whitetails with it some time in the future. I love the simplicity of the 3" model (fixed all-steel sights, more compact) but don't know if I'll miss the adjustable fiber optic sight on the 4" model.

    All my autoloaders are fixed sights and I seem to do fine with them (at 7-10 yards). For those of you with adjustable sight revolvers, do you find yourself adjusting them or do you get along just fine with fixed sights? I don't plan on ever shooting past 25 yards.

    The 3" model just "looks right and rugged", however the 4" model sounds so practical on paper...

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    Fixed sights are either on or off. For carry and ruggedness I'd go with the 3 though.
    The good thing about the ruger fixed is you can replace/modify the front sight to regulate any given load.
     
  3. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    If open carry is all you are looking at, I'd say go with the 4". It'll be better for hunting, and you'll get a little more power out of it.

    If this gun will ever be a ccw gun, then get the 3". It conceals easily and mine is reasonably accurate out to 25 yards. But all I shoot at at that distance is paper and soda cans, not deer.

    Honestly I think you should get the 3" for trail and woods usage, and a 6" GP100 or something of a different caliber if you are going to hunt with it, like maybe a .41 mag or bigger. A 6" .357 would certainly do the job though. JMO
     
  4. Scott Free

    Scott Free Member

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    I'm also trying to decide between the 3" and 4." I'm not planning to use it for hunting, though. If I were, I'd definitely be going with the 4" (actually it's 4.2.")
     
  5. Probie9

    Probie9 Member

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    Not sure where you are but here you need a 4" barrel to hunt with.
     
  6. bhk

    bhk Member

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    Probie9, your location states you are in the 'Hills of Missouri.' Missouri hunting regulations mention nothing about the barrel length of handguns. For deer hunting (for example) the regulation states: Centerfire pistol, revolver, or rifle using expanding-type bullets. Legal ammunition includes lead bullets, copper bullets and bullets made of other materials designed to expand. There are some other firearms restrictions including restricting magazines over eleven rounds (for deer), full auto weapons, etc. But nothing is mentioned about barrel length.

    Legally, you could shoot rabbits or deer with your pocket .380 in Missouri. Not a good idea, though.

    To the OP, I much prefer adjustable sights on a field revolver. Hunting targets are often much further away than normal self defense distances. You may also wish use different bullet weights for different field experiences, and that usually requires some sight tweaking. I have always had to fine tune the sights on my field handguns to a certain degree. I begin sighting at 10 yards and then work my way back to 40 or 50 yards.

    My favorite field handgun is a Smith and Wesson 60-15 in .357. It has a three inch full lugged barrel and adjustable sights, a perfect combo. Of the two Rugers you mention, I would go with the 4" adjustable sighted variation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    FOUR incher. I prefer adjustables on any .357 for field carry for two reasons. First of all, I can dial in a proper hunting load. Second, I can mark the sight's elevation screw and adjust for light .38 loads for small game, camp meat. I have a favorite Taurus M66 4" for field carry and the same gun in 3" for CCW on occasion. The 3" would actually make just as good a trail gun and it's a little lighter. If I hunted with 'em, I'd choose the 4" for the extra ballistics. Both guns are quite accurate enough to 50 yards. I have a preferred Ruger Blackhawk in the caliber for hunting, though, 6 1/2".

    If I needed an outdoor carry, I'd be all over the new 4" SP101. I had a 2.3" that shot to POA, but I really like adjustable sights on a field gun. The SP offers all the accuracy and power of a 4" K frame in a stronger gun with less weight. It's a desirable gun for that reason. But, I really don't need one.
     
  8. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    First off I'm not a hunter. But from reading threads I tend to agree that a hunter owes it to the game to make the whole thing as merciful as practical. From my handgun shooting it suggests two things.

    First, the round should have enough power to make it out the other side from a side on shot or to reach the far side of the heart and lungs area with any other angle. Will the sort of velocity from a 4 inch barrel .357Mag ensure that sort of performance? I don't know. I just know enough to ask the question.

    Second, will you have the self control to only shoot out at distances where the sight baseline of a short 4 inch barrel will ensure an accurate shot placement? Seems to me that we're talking about fairly up close and personal sorts of distances such as out to not much more than 20 yards. Oh sure, I know that folks can hit stuff at 100 and even more with enough tries. And even once they get the holdover amount they can get fairly frequent hits on a steel plate at that distance. But with hunting you have to know that your first shot will be within about 3 inches of the intended point. For a short gun the sights baseline increases difficulty in doing this once the range gets out much past 20 yards.

    So all in all what about the idea of TWO guns? Get the 3 inch for an easy carry trail gun and then perhaps get a 6 to 7 inch revolver for hunting. The 3 inch gives you the compactness of carry for camping and trail walking. Then the longer barrel of a GP100 or Blackhawk or maybe a S&W N frame 28 gives you the added muzzle velocity and sight baseline length for achieving more accurate and powerful hits out to 30 to 40 yards.

    Not to mention that with these heavier options you could load up some 180gn heavy hitters which would cripple your wrist if shot from an SP101.
     
  9. skidder

    skidder Member

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    Velocity, Weight, Sight Radius, Muzzle Jump. Just a few advantages in the 4" for the purpose you describe.
     
  10. Nico Testosteros

    Nico Testosteros Member

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    The 4" model wasn't available when I got mine but I'd go 3" again.
     
  11. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    This is a good point. I doubt the sights on the 3" was figured for 180 grain bullets. That's probably what you'd be looking at for deer, right?

    I stand by my original statement. Two guns would be a better option. If you need one to do it all, the 4" is probably best.
     
  12. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    If it were me, I'd choose the 3-incher. I'd also see if I could find a good Ruger Security-Six or Speed-Six. I found a great 3-inch Speed-Six .38 Spc. years ago and had a great gunsmith ream it out to accept .357 mag. He was a very exacting fellow and his measurements were precise. I can drop .357 125-gr. bullets into each chamber and all six catch the bullets without letting them drop through. Anyway, the Speed-Sixes can still be found second hand and in 2.75-inch barrels, which means the weight difference isn't substantial and the Speed-Sixes carry an extra round. It's just another example of Ruger dropping the ball and giving us less for more. Their GP-100s are totally unsuitable for trail carry because Ruger made the guns heavier and stronger than they needed to be! Smith could have made their guns stronger without adding all the unnecessary weight, but they didn't do it. They forgot what Bill Jordan taught them.

    The SP-101 doesn't handle .357s well, not because they're not strong enough, but because they're fairly light. The Security- and Speed-Sixes are just a tad heavier, just as strong and handle magnums much better.


    Rugers_357.gif

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  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    Barrel length... for hiking, the 3" SP-101 makes a lot of sense as does a 22 revolver. For hunting... not so much. I would choose 5.5-6" (out to about 7.5") barreled revolver in 41 mag or larger for whitetail hunting unless it is a "feel good" revolver for "hunting" where you essentially use your rifle and you just want a handgun on the belt just in case. In that case, 4" is fine.

    "Saying" you won't take a shot over 25 yds hunting with a handgun is mostly BS. Are you going to tell me that you absolutely would not take a shot a 30 yds at a 10-point buck? Get the right tools for the job.

    I would want adjustable sights on a hunting handgun.
     
  14. Elm Creek Smith

    Elm Creek Smith Member

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    Oklahoma Deer Gun Hunting regulation: Centerfire handguns: Chambered for .24 caliber or larger and 100 grain or heavier soft-nosed bullet having an overall cartridge case length of 1 1/4 inches or longer are legal (.357 or larger) and a minimum barrel length of four inches.

    Just trying to help.

    ECS
     
  15. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    Many states have minimum caliber (or power level) and minimum barrel length for handgun hunting. It is usually 357 mag. My state used to have 357 mag as the minimum, now it is just centerfire handgun which means you technically could use a pocket rocket.
     
  16. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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    This right here.
     
  17. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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    This right here too.
     
  18. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    Hands down the 4.2.
    With real sights, you can zero it to whichever load & bullet weight you want to use. With fixed sights, you have to adjust yourself.
    Denis
     
  19. Ghost Tracker

    Ghost Tracker Member

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    I'm an SP101 owner & fan. If I was determined to hunt with mine, it WOULD be a 4.2".
     
  20. Macchina

    Macchina Member

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    Well, I ordered the 4.2" SP101! Now I have to find a holster (open carry on the belt) and pick up some reloading supplies...

    What's a good bullet and load to start with? It doesn't have to be super cheap bullets, I don't do a TON of shooting and I like to pick a single load per gun and use only that.
     
  21. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    For trail use the 158g hornady xtp is hard to beat for the price.

    Please do a range report as I'm thinking about one of these as a dual purpose ccwable hunting gun

    posted via tapatalk using android.
     
  22. DBR

    DBR Member

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    I suggest 158gr Speer Gold Dot for general carry and Buffalo Bore 180gr Hard Cast in a speed strip for "just in case".

    The Winchester 145gr Silver Tip HP is also an excellent round. I carry it in my 2.25" SP101.
     
  23. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    My security six had massive muzzle climb. It sat tall in the hand with a Hogue on it and the stock grips were a joke. The grip was hard nylon and I had to trim it a bit around the grip/frame to keep it from cutting two little slits on the palm of my hand. My SP101 was a lot easier to shoot, didn't hurt, muzzle climb was not a problem WITH the addition of a Hogue rubber grip.

    So, in my experience, the SP101 is the softer shooter. With the stock grip on it, the heavier 180s slammed my middle finger pretty bad. The Hogue fills in behind the trigger guard and stops that while still sitting fairly low in the hand.

    And, no way the Security Six's action is as strong as the SP101s. Frame maybe, but the SP101's lock up design is superior, one reason the sixes got dumped in the first place, not strong enough to be a Ruger. :D

    Everyone likes to think "they don't make 'em like they used to". With a Smith and Wesson, that has some merit, but in THIS comparison, they make 'em BETTER. :D
     
  24. 1goodshot

    1goodshot Member

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    Are there any holsters for the 4" guns?
     
  25. CDR_Glock

    CDR_Glock Member

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    I like the 6" barrel for velocity. I grabbed this for long distance shooting. Recoil is handled well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giStCm4k1E0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Here is a great holster for a 4" barrel. It is a Lobo Leather Pancake. It's very comfortable to wear. This one has soft leather inside to prevent scratches and a smoother draw.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crSyDDmlcdg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpdhVqVvtMw&feature=youtube_gdata_player



    iPad/Tapatalk
     
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