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

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WanderLust

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 2, 2017
Messages
48
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
Stanley_White: i had not read that about Ayoob before, good to have that fact. It defintely does alter a perception about Smiths for me. Wonder if those were heavily-shot or just standard service guns? Mine would probably fall into a 90% carry/10% shot group at the most, but.....
 

WanderLust

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 2, 2017
Messages
48
BiggFoot44: 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 :
This is an excellent paragraph you wrote, and deserves some interpretation on my part. I like differing aspects of each of those models: Weight for recoil vs weight for comfort carry, refinement vs build strength, at at least partially, just the looks of the gun. I was asking for those with good experience to chime in and offer up facts that would swing me to their way of thinking, based on what they had seen/felt/learned. I have been quite gratified at the results so far, as everyone has gone out of their way to offer up good advice and unexpected extras (.327, 44 Special, etc). The main purpose of my question was to arrive at an answer that wasn't pre-conceived on my part, but rather that would make me think (and rethink) all that I had considered as an absolute before. I am perhaps 70% commited to a Ruger SP, 3" barrel, with hammer, and I still lean towards Novak sights.
BUT... I am enjoying all the comments I am hearing so far about pros and cons of each contributor's choices. Defintely worth my time to read all of these comments! Please keep the advice coming, I promise it is not going to be wasted on me. Knowing me, I am probably going to buy 2-3 options and carry them all for a while, to help decide.
 

stanley_white

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
18
Stanley_White: i had not read that about Ayoob before, good to have that fact. It defintely does alter a perception about Smiths for me. Wonder if those were heavily-shot or just standard service guns? Mine would probably fall into a 90% carry/10% shot group at the most, but.....

My apologies for the lack of detail.

In Massad Ayoob’s case, he shot it heavily.

In your context, you probably wouldn’t ever have the same issue.

-Stan
 

JStacy

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 6, 2016
Messages
499
Location
south Texas
I have a 4" AS Sp101 in 327 and it recoils a lot less than a 357 but IMHO it is just as loud if not more so. The Federal 100SP ammo is HOT!!
Stout loaded, AKA+P+ 32 mags, would be pretty potent and leave the new Super carry 30 in the dust for energy .I would choose, and have, a 357 SP101 3" or 4" AS, as first choice with Hornady +P defender 38spl ammo Look up "Lucky Gunner" and see their ballistic gel test on various ammo on ballistic gelatin blocks. 327 would be second choice with hand loaded hot 32 mag loads. If you can carry the 4"AS SP101 the green lite pipe front sight is good for quick sight acquisition.
 

wproct

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 7, 2006
Messages
255
Location
Ia
Very interesting thread. I am overall about an equal fan of Ruger and Smith & Wesson, and I love double action revolvers. In a small carry size revolver I can be quite happy with one chambered in .38 special cartridge, but if it is chambered for .357 magnum, all the better. I have about an equal amount of love for the Smith & Wesson model 60 and the Ruger sp101. In the model 60 I prefer before lock and MIM models, and in sp101 I prefer before MIM models. Many will say that preference is really not warranted, but that's just me.

Of the two models I mention, the positives for me of the model 60 is it's smaller size of the two and IMO generally has the better trigger action out of the box. My love for the sp101 is in the design with the modular trigger guard assembly with no screws to worry about and quite simple to do spring changes etc. and I also think it is just about the stoutest, heavy built little revolver ever produced. You simply can't go wrong with either one but if I absolutely had to pick just one of the two it would probably be the sp101 with a nice set of Hogue smooth wood combat grips on it..
 

Biggfoot44

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
805
Seeing more from Mr WonderLust . a 3 inch SP101 is the obvious choice , unless he deliberately wants something different for a specific reason .

If you Like Novaks , and Want Novaks on purpose , that's fine . But you don't * need * them , the stock fixed sights are perfectly adaquate .

And then there's the interesting story how Mas Ayoob was instrumental in the SP101 being offered in .357 .
 
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WanderLust

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 2, 2017
Messages
48
JStacy: That's exactly the kind of feedback I am looking for! Thanks for that. I have strong thoughts on a 4" carry piece for a great balance of "short enough to carry, long enough to be accurate." I wondered about the real-world recoi; and noise of the .327 vs .357; I believe that takes care of that answer. Thank you.
Wproct: I liked the true comparisons between both models, and I was a bit surprised by the simplicity of the Ruger over the Smtih (but shouldn't have been, knowing Ruger). I have seen quite a few pics here of smooth wood grips on carry guns, and wondered how they stacked up against good rubber grips. Interesting to have that confirmed.
Biggfoot44: I have the same thoughts about the fixed sights vs the adj. sights, and not really sure how to decide. You won't know which is best, in my opinion, until AFTER you've bought it and shot for a while. When I shoot, I prefer accuracy, but I'm not sure how much any sights help with a 3" version.
I'm narrowing down my choices; I know its a bit harder to find anything with Novaks on them. Good point that you made on fixed sights doing the job.
And now I'm curious about Massad Ayoob and the Sp101! I'm going to search for that story.
My thanks to all for some great tips.
 

Xrayist

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
132
For a small frame I either use/carry a S&W M36 or 60's vintage Colt Cobra. If and when parts availability for those become almost non existent, (the Cobra is very close), I will switch to a SP101. I use a 3" fixed sight GP100 as a carry weapon a lot of the time. It is a tank. I have had various S&W medium frame revolvers, 586, 19, 10, etc., and while I like the lines of the Smiths, for durability and ruggedness, the Ruger has them beat hands down. Another plus, is I only like pre-lock, pre MIM Smiths, so if something happens, the Ruger is easily replaceable as the Smiths not so much.
 

45acpskng

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
7
I'm looking at buying a 3", or possibly a 4" .357 revolver in SS, primarily for carry when I show land (realtor). I prefer the Wiley Clapp version if I choose the SP, as it has nice Novak rear sights, but that's not an absolute. I would carry 95% of the time and shoot 5% of the time, so weight has some say in the matter. I've owned a large number of guns over the years, so I have preferences and experience. I like a smooth single & double action, which makes me lean more toward the Smiths. In a perfect world, a worked Smith tends to beat a worked Ruger, at least in terms of smoothness. Both can be made to be quite nice, so no disputes there, but I'm looking at apples to apples comparisons. I'm also a bit concerned about the quality issues I've seen on a newer Ruger vs an older Smith. I'm not going to wear the gun out through use, ever, so strength is not really a factor between the two types. I've carried .45's and smaller, so control is not really an issue. I'd lean toward a Model 66 or a 60, but not a 686 due to the weight and bulk. I have to conceal at times to avoid upsetting some clients. At this point, I'm really splitting hairs on a decision like this. Ordinarily I would buy 1 of everything and try them all, but it's hard to even find new or used guns right now. I'm wanting someone who has had both brands, if possible, to give me real-world experience. I don't need a knee-jerk reaction about "Ruger is GREAT!"; I already have a safe full of them. I also don't need to hear that Smith sold out and can't be trusted; I'm buying a gun, not a political event. What I want is actual experience with both brands, if possible. I'm open to ideas and opinions about other models, but I prefer a SS, SA/DA with adj. sights and a hammer. I need this gun to fill a specific role: responding to 2-or 4- legged beasts when I'm out in the field. I've got other carry guns, but this is an itch that I want to scratch. I know the difference a quality holster makes, but I had a broken back that lets me feel every extra ounce at times. I ordinarily buy lightly-used guns at good prices, just harder to do that lately. So how about it? Release the floodgates and give me some honest experience, just save the hate-mail for someone else! Thanks for listening, I love to read this forum!
Stick with the 4" K frame, 19 & 66, thank me later.😉
 

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