2 inch vs. 3 inch barrel- SP101

2 inch vs. 3 inch barrel- SP101

This is a discussion on 2 inch vs. 3 inch barrel- SP101 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Is there a big diffrence between 2 inch and 3 inch barrels? Specifically in a Ruger SP101 .357 mag. I know the longer barrell should ...

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Thread: 2 inch vs. 3 inch barrel- SP101

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array wormy's Avatar
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    2 inch vs. 3 inch barrel- SP101

    Is there a big diffrence between 2 inch and 3 inch barrels? Specifically in a Ruger SP101 .357 mag. I know the longer barrell should produce better ballistics, but is it a profound diffrence. I personally like the looks of the 3 inch better.

    I would love to get a SP101 pics forum started. If yall have SPs post a pic.


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array pirate's Avatar
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    I have a 3" and realisticly for the type of handgun these guns are (close quaters/CCW) it want likely make any difference. The 3" certainly may be a bit more accurate at distance but the 2" is a bit more concealable. Either way they are solid as a rock, great wheelguns in every respect. I do have several pugs like the S&W 642 and Model 10 (2") and Colt Dick Sp. and they perform well for the job intended.

    When I leave the home port:
    S&W 642 Airweight, Ruger SP 101, Colt Detective Spec., CZ RAMI, Kahr PM9, Kahr CW40, S&W Model 10-7, Glock 30, 19, and 26, Browning Hi Power, CZ82, Colt Commander, Dan Wesson PM7, Ruger LCP

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    Yes, there are some technical advantages and trade-offs based on your goals and preference. I doubt that you’ll regret your choice with either version. There are some that may point out that 2” is slightly easier to conceal than the 3” but that is entirely subjective to your style of carry.
    My S&W 642 has a 2-1/8” barrel and I have very few compromises. Perhaps you already know your preference of concealment and holster choice. If not, ask to test a few holsters with the 3” in the store before purchasing.
    Regards,
    “Monsters are real and so are ghosts. They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”
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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Depending on your size and shape, you can notice the difference between a 2" and 3". The taller you are the less significant this is. I'm 5' 7" and the 1 inch makes a very noticeable difference in comfort. There isn't enough difference in ballistics to really worry although there is a difference. At the end of the day get the one you like the best. Also the 1" extra in sighting doesn't make that much of a difference at the range the gun is intended to be used at.

    I went back and forth on this same question for months before finally settling on the 3". I believe many SP101 owners probably went through the same thing.

    I love my 3" but wish I also had a 2" w/bobbed jammer. I love them both and if I didn't already have other .38/.357 revolvers I'd own both sizes. I set up the smaller one as my main carry and I'd send it to Gemini Customs to have it bead blasted and worked on. The long barrel version I'd keep stock for my woods/rought and tough sidearm.

    Whichever you get I HIGHLY recommend the wolf springs. They make the trigger pull lighter, it takes less than 5 minutes to change them and it's so easy a kid can do it. It really is remarkable how nice it can make the trigger. And the trigger really does improve with use.

    You can also anticipate having to sand some of the sharper edges on the SP. It has a number of them including the leading edge of the trigger right where it disappears up into the frame. When shooting the gun under recoil, this spot tore me up pretty good at first.

    But that's the nice thing about an all stainless gun (unlike an airweight J frame), you can do a lot to the finish and if you want, you can have it put back to original.

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    Member Array Bacon's Avatar
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    For me, the main difference is the sights. The 2" takes more practice to shoot reasonably accurate at any sort of distance. The 3" is obviously easier for middle aged and older eyes. YMMV
    NRA Life Member

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    I find that over the counter concealed carry holsters specifically made for the SP 101 are easier to find for the 2" unless one does not mind the muzzle sticking through the bottom of the holster.

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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wormy View Post
    I know the longer barrell should produce better ballistics, but is it a profound diffrence.
    The difference in ballistics is negligible. A slight increase in velocity and maybe a tiny bit better accuracy when shooting from a machine rest. The real difference is the increased sight radius. The longer barrel will put the front sight further out there increasing the practical accuracy of the gun. The longer (heavier) barrel will also help a little bit with recoil control.

    Basically what it boils down to is that a larger gun will be easier to shoot well than a smaller gun.

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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    I notice a greater amount of daylight on each side of the front sight, in the notch, when aiming the longer SP101. This is helpful. The ACTUAL difference in barrel length is not a full inch, as the shorter one is more like 2.25", and the longer one more like 3.0625", so except perhaps for pocket carry, there is no real difference in ease of carry/storage. Finding a holster in stock may be a bit easier with the shorter one.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    I think if I were considering the 3" SP101 I would probably get the 3" GP100 instead and have 6 shots instead of 5. Either way you go though you'll have a fine revolver.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array wormy's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for the posts. I just recently got the 3 inch SP101. I like these wheel guns so well, guess Ill just have to get the 2 inch also. Any of you have the .327 mag? Wondering about the re-coil. The .327 is not to be found in my area, and you can forget finding ammo.

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array jarhead79's Avatar
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    From a holster standpoint, the 2 1/4 inch model takes about the size of holster that a 5 inch 1911 takes. The 3 model pretty much rules out IWB carry, too long, in my opinion.

    If you want to conceal it, I'd stay with the short one.

    Nate
    www.ubgholsters.com short wait times. Use 'defensivecarry' as a coupon code for a discount to your order.

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    VIP Member Array old grunt's Avatar
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    Like the 2"(2.25"..I guess),but have only held them do not own one yet. Did have a 2.75" Ruger Security Six 357 and that was a nice gun with that barrel length. Either way, an SP101 is a great choice. Good luck with yours. Hope to join the SP101 family in the not-so-distant future!
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    Member Array IssaquahWA19's Avatar
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    I have the 2.25" and where I carry mine on my side if I had gone the 3" I think I would have been very uncomfortable as the muzzle is already pretty close to rubbing on my front hip joint and I am 6'4 but thats just me.

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    Member Array mike28w's Avatar
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    I just reviewed the website " Ballistics by the inch". It appears that a person gains 200 - 275 fps when going from a 2" to 3" barrel.

    That sounds fairly impressive to me. The 3" barrel seems to have a more tolerable reoil for me. YMMV...... mike

  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    With all due respect, I have to disagree with Nate on ruling out the 3" for IWB carry. I've carried the 3" IWB in an AJ Concealco IWB on and off for a few years. I'm 5'7" and somewhat slender. It is bulkier and I feel it more on the hip than say my 3" Colt 1911 .45 but that's because of it's weight and the cylinder bulge.

    Still the shorter version is "easier" to comfortably conceal IWB as I said in my first post. As for getting the GP100 to get a 6th round, the big deal there is the added frame size. If your hands are small you may not have a good finger position on the trigger. That's my problem, so extra round or not, it has to fit the hand well. Also, even if you have a good sized hand, the GP100 will be even bulkier and harder to conceal.

    For a good hunting, field gun the GP100 can't be beat.

    Really, you can't go wrong. Best thing you can do is go handle both and then buy the one you like the best, but If I had to do it all over again, I'd go with a bobbed hammer version of the short one because I use mine almost exclusively for CCW. If you're getting it more as a house gun or hunting side kick then definitely the 3" w/hammer.

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