Thoughts on Ruger SP101 vs Smith Model 60, 66, etc???

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contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,005
It's funny about your purposes of use. When Miss Penny started showing real estate years ago, she too decided that she needed a gun for that gosh forbid, bad occurrence with a thug. She wasn't really a gun girl at that time,, so I allowed her to try different guns.
We even borrowed a S&W model 60, and a Colt Det Spl.
She tried , the Ruger GP-100, a SP-101, and a Security-Six as well.
Now,, the S&W had a shorter barrel than the GP & Security-Six. The SP-101 was similar in length.
She too was a "carry a lot but shoot little" in attitude.

You mentioned wanting .357,, so that right there takes the 38 Spl guns out.
You mentioned preferring adjustable sights. this may affect the final decision.
You want a smooth action. As noted, both can be made smooth easily enough. (I can attest to the fact that if a physical confrontation where it'd have to be used,, you won't notice the action. Too much other stuff going on.)
Quality issues; Both companies make good guns. Just check one over prior to purchase for any issues. And, if one happens to show up after the purchase,, both companies have good customer service. But even your statement of "newer Rugers vs. older S&W's" isn't a fair comparison.
Carrying, since how you carry is a big factor,, I'd strongly suggest you truly look at several options of different holsters that will assist in your daily comfort. I had several discussions long ago with many LEO's on what holster they prefer,, since they carry a second gun, AND a lot of other equipment for 8, 10, 12, or more hours daily. Quite a few have strongly supported the N82 Tactical holsters for just such reasons.

So, real world opinions?
Miss Penny chose the Ruger 4" Security-Six. She liked the variety of ammo she COULD choose to use. It fit her hands. The gun was comfortable to wear AND carry to her. Later on, our oldest son gave her an option (about 4 years later,) and bought her a SP-101,, because it had been her second choice.
She started carrying it more than the Security-Six as it "fit more outfits, and wasn't quite as heavy," in her opinion.
But she still enjoys both. Now, many years later, she has a few other options she chooses depending upon where she's going & what she's doing. But she no longer sells RE.
 

Coyote56

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
50
“but .357 is more comforting than .38s at times. I normally load the first round to be snake shot, then something stouter after that.”

Your preferred choice of defensive ammunition is sound. Perhaps you should rethink your pistol loading protocol.
 

WanderLust

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 2, 2017
Messages
40
Contender: Thrilled to hear from you on this subject! I am seeing a wealth of knowledge coming in from people like you who have "been there, done that" and shared the results. This is causing me to reconsider my preferences just a little bit, honestly. I am a firm believer in good leather gear making a difference, but I had not considered trying out holsters while comparing the guns. Maybe this is best attempted at a very large gun store where they will have a lot of guns AND gear for real comparisons? I like the newer SP in the Wiley Clapp version, but prefer the older Smiths without the locks, my only reason for the differences. Thanks for giving some really good advice and sharing what worked for your family.
Coyote56: I agree with the thoughts on loading protocol, to a degree. My only consideration is I typically find the snakes when nearly underfoot, hence
prefer to have something ready for close-up work. On something larger, the snake-shot won't stop them, but it may slow them or deter the action for a moment. I would love to see some articles that might address this, to see what the general consensus would be. This is one area where a 6-shot gun could have a definite edge and change my vote. Anyone have some sources that cover this?
This is why I love this forum! Great advice from people that take the time to present the facts and experiences. It's worth noting that several Smith forums had members who were quick to chose a Ruger over many versions of the Smiths that they owned. And they all presented facts to back up the their choices. Thanks to all who take the time to help.
 

sgt 127

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 16, 2013
Messages
6
I have many choices. 3” S&W 65. S&W 642. 2 3/4” Speed Six. 4” S&W 66 and, more. Honestly. This gets carried more than anything. It’s the absolute smallest .357 I’m willing to shoot. Solid. Reliable. Easy to carry appendix.

I live in the high desert. Between 158 GR hardcast and rat shot, I can solve any 2 or 4 legged and, no legged problem.


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contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,005
Holster AND grip selection is important for a good "fit" to suit a person's self defense needs. Be it against a buzzing rattler,, or a meth-head wanting a few bucks while coming at you with a knife & a crazed look in his eyes.
Many of my preferred choices for a holster have cost a pretty penny. I have found that "Barranti Leather" makes some of the best I've found. Miss Penny found she really liked my older & long ago defunct "Roy Baker pancake" for the Security-Six. The good thing about "Doc" Barranti is you can discuss your needs with him, and a custom holster will result. The only downside is the time it takes to get one. He's a well sought after holster maker.
Going to a bigger gunshop with a good selection of holsters and grips isn't always as easy as we'd like. Gun shows offer a fair chance at this,, if you go to bigger shows with lots of vendors.
And,, once the gun is selected,, you can always shop around to find what works the best.
When we teach our handgun clinics,, I try & have a selection of identical guns,, where the main difference is the grips. It allows a student to actually feel what works best in their hands.
Your holster needs should address the amount of time you will plan on carrying,, PLUS adding at least 2 hours,, "just in case." It should not make your back suffer by undue pressure points, OR lopsided weight pulling. To that end,, a firm belt is a MUST. One designed as a gun carrying belt. Again, Doc can help there,, or if modern materials are sought after,, look at some of the offerings of heavy gun belts made by several companies. I use an older Blackhawk Instructors belt daily. I've had it for several years.
Ladies don't often wear a belt,, much less a heavy belt. So other options for carry come into play. With back issues,, maybe some of these options should be looked at.
Compression shorts by UnderTech have been well accepted,, or a bellyband. Then, there's the fanny packs where they are designed to carry a gun. I have an older one that the rear section is a dedicated holster system, where you can grab a single pull cord & rip it open to quickly access a gun. It's called a "Fast Action Gun Bag."

Study options to fit YOUR body size, weight, and comfort levels.
 

Snake Pleskin

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
859
Holsters will make the difference when it comes to all day carry.
I will tote my SP 101 around all day in a proper OWB. Never know it’s there.
Also, give the Colt King Cobra a look. Spendy but a fine carry revolver. Again, good holster=effortless carry. And a S&W J-frame is always a contenderView attachment 1826View attachment 1827View attachment 1828
What grips do you have on these revolvers? They look good and I imagine help mange recoil too! Pls let me know, thanks
 

outlaw_dogboy

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 2, 2005
Messages
86
Just wanted to point out that a GP100 in 44Spc carries light, at least for me. If you load your own, for practice, I can attest it is easy loading. Enough defensive ammo out there, and snakeshot, too. It will take care of anything you're likely to encounter except a bear. MAYBE cougar, if they're in your area. Adjustable sights. And one of the best triggers on a revolver I've ever felt, right out of the box.
As for your primary question, I've shot mostly L-frames in S&W. One K-frame a long time ago. If it wasn't for the fact the K-frame has issues with steady diets of 158 gr .357, I'd have a K-frame right now.
I have a 3" SP-101. It carries extremely light and easy. It had a horrible trigger, right out of the box. I took it apart, polished up the innards, put a Wolffe spring kit in it, and now it has a trigger as good as the 44 GP100. Unless you VERY handy with taking things apart and putting them back together, you won't be able to do that sort of work on a S&W.
 

gundog5

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 17, 2014
Messages
16
Holsters will make the difference when it comes to all day carry.
I will tote my SP 101 around all day in a proper OWB. Never know it’s there.
Also, give the Colt King Cobra a look. Spendy but a fine carry revolver. Again, good holster=effortless carry. And a S&W J-frame is always a contenderView attachment 1826View attachment 1827View attachment 1828
Hi Coyote56, I really like the grips in your photos. I have a Colt 2.5” Lawman at Ford’s for a refurbish. Who made your grips? I want to get a nice set like your when I get the gun back. Thanks Bill
 

WanderLust

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 2, 2017
Messages
40
Sgt 127 :
That is quite helpful to hear that it's a favorite, with the list of solid options you have as other choices. In your opinion, does the single-action come into play as necessity? I vastly prefer a hammer, but I'm also willing to learn from others with more knowledge. I like the option of having a smoother lighter shot if time allows. Also, would you pick a 2.5", a 3" or a 4" version of the SP101 if starting from scratch? How much difference would rear sights make for you in real life on that gun, or do you find that it's point-n-shoot? Love the grips, by the way!
 

Coyote56

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
50
@Snake Pleskin
@gundog5
Grips are made by:
Ruger SP101-Badger Grips (Bocote)
Pair of Colts-Hogue (Rosewood)
S&W 442-Altamont (Rosewood laminate)
Ruger GP100-Altamont (Rosewood laminate panels)
S&W Model 629/Monel 66-Altamont (Rosewood laminate)
Colt Python Altamont (Walnut laminate)
 

timnc

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 12, 2010
Messages
230
I agree completely with Contender's comments. I went through the same process as Miss Penny and settled on the same gun-Ruger Security Six in .357-except mine is the 2 3/4" model because it "feels" better. It is the ONE GUN I will keep until the end. Made that decision 40 years ago and never changed my mind. Oh, it gets shot a lot too.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
7,566
I love your statement in your first post: normally you would just buy one of each and try them out. That is a great attitude.

Have you considered the SP101 in 327? I believe that model has adjustable sights.

A Ruger SP101 with some Badger boot grips makes a very nice concealable pistol.

For what it’s worth, I think the SP101 is better looking than the Smith and Wesson snobbies.
 

WanderLust

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 2, 2017
Messages
40
I love your statement in your first post: normally you would just buy one of each and try them out. That is a great attitude.

Have you considered the SP101 in 327? I believe that model has adjustable sights.

A Ruger SP101 with some Badger boot grips makes a very nice concealable pistol.

For what it’s worth, I think the SP101 is better looking than the Smith and Wesson snobbies.
Kevin,
Thanks for the advice on the .327 option. I don't have enough of an opinion to make a difference on that round. No one I know has one, and I'd want to fire one before trusting it as a carry gun. I know I can handle the .38 rounds in a shorter gun, and should have no problems with a .357 round in a heavier (meaning Ruger) snubbie. I just don't have the knowledge about recoil, muzzle flash, expansion, etc with the .327. What do you see as perceived or felt recoil for this round vs the others? I like the heft and build of Ruger, but the action typically is smoother out of the box on a Smith revolver
(I kinda liked the word "snobbie" that snuck in there, remind me of a lot of Smith purists. They think their guns are the only 'right' choice, all others are
for desperate, uncultured people.)
 

stanley_white

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
17
After hearing Massad Ayoob tell how he and his friends switched to Ruger revolvers over S&W to avoid frame screws working themselves out I would go Ruger every single time unless there is a must have design feature in a S&W that Ruger does not offer.

-Stan
 

Biggfoot44

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
676
I must say it's surprising to see M60 , SP101 , and M66 used in the same sentence , unironically , as they are so different . So , I'll repeat back how I interpret the OP's parameters , and further input , so that I'm on the same , or nearby page :

Carried a lot , shot little
Concealment is important, at least sometimes
Decent accuracy , with emphasis on practical accuracy and control

.357 capabilities desirable

Along with :

OP has a plentitude of other handguns , so no concern about being an " only handgun " , to do absolutely everything

OP has a sufficiency of skills and experience with multiple handguns , so no concerns about " is this a good gun , for total beginner to use to learn to shoot from scratch ? " .

My philosophical observation : I you are one of those people who is comfortable concealing a full size gun , all the time , you would already Know it . You wouldn't be asking , you'd be showing off your new to you M66 .

Sticking close to your candidates , and taking your criteria at face value , the Answer is glaringly obvious , the SP101 ! To best work to its strengths , 3 inch bbl is optimal . The base model fixed sights are fine , and aren't a limiting factor in shooting it well .
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
7,566
There is a lot of good information about the 327. If you reload, there are lots of choices of powder you can use and a variety of bullet weights.

It’s definitely a faster bullet than 38 and shoots flatter. Well, I say that, but I’m not sure. I shoot 38 wad cutters; so for me it’s true.

Felt recoil? Less than a 357 but probably more than 38, or about the same. Two popular bullet weights of factory ammo are 85 grain and 100 grain. So your pushing less mass through the barrel.

The LCR also comes in a 327.

I’m sure others can speak better about this caliber than I can. I do have an SP101 in 327, and another in 38 only. The 327 is incredibly accurate.

Oh, it’s loud as well.
 

buckshotshorty

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 10, 2008
Messages
381
i own a Ruger in 327 Federal but it is an LCR. The real advantage for me is first, it holds six shots and then it gives you a good deal of choices which ammo you can shoot. I carry it with 6 rounds of HR 32 MAGNUM ammo.
in that gun 327 federal magnum ammo is quite stout and the report is loud. Definitely more recoil than 38+p, but not quite as much as 357 mag.
Good luck with your search.
 

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