Snubnose Revolvers from S&W And Ruger: Which One To Carry?
Our team wanted to know if a five-shot 357 Magnum wheelgun — such as an SP101 and a Model 60-15 — had an edge over a six-shot Ruger in 327 Federal Magnum. Yes, ammo choices.
The 357 Magnum is an excellent defensive cartridge. Pair it with a lightweight, compact revolver, and that is what we would call an excellent choice as a conceal-carry handgun. Our team has tested variants of the Ruger SP101 and S&W Model 60, but the S&W Model 60 Pro Series in 357 Magnum is a variant we have wanted to get our hands on for a while. We also wanted to see if the caliber choice would sway our recommendation on the established Ruger SP101 model.
The second Ruger SP101 we tested was chambered in 327 Federal Magnum, which was cataloged by Ruger from 2007 to 2011. As we noted in our first look at the gun in the April 2008 issue, Ruger and Federal teamed up to produce a cartridge/handgun combination that provided the power of the 357 Magnum but with less recoil and in a compact revolver that holds six shots rather than five shots. As a bonus, the 327 Fed Mag–chambered Ruger also accepts 32 H&R Mag, 32 S&W, and 32 S&W Long ammo. The footprint of the Ruger SP101 in 327 Fed Mag is basically same as the Ruger SP101 in 357 Mag, with a few exceptions.
All three double-action revolvers are built from stainless steel with similar barrel lengths, give or take three-quarters of an inch. All had exposed hammers, so single-action firing is possible. A transfer bar was built into the revolvers for safety. All three were built to last, even under a steady diet of hot loads. The lock up was tight on all three, and the chambers were all aligned with the bore, which we assumed but also verified. Fit and finish was very good on all three revolvers and that was exactly what we expected. The workmanship in these guns make them worth the cost.