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Ruger SP101s

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by mec, Sep 19, 2020.

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  1. mec

    mec Member

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    Ruger SP101 .357
    A view toward Practicality suggests filling out your dance card with extra durable Rugers before indulging in other products. I currently have a couple of GP100s and two SP101s having bought the 2.25-inch bbl model in 1995 just before the Texas CHL law went into effect. While a wide variations in features and calibers has developed, my second SP bought about a years ago is also in .357 though with a 4-inch barrel and adjustable sights.
    sp1012loads.jpg
    The SP101 came out in 38 special in 1989. Massad Ayoob saw the potential and bored chambers to magnum length allowing use of the shorter `125-grain JHP loads. Bill Ruger went one better, lengthened the frame and cylinder to permit use of the full range of bullet weights.
    The Hornady Critical defense load resembles most 125 grain factory loads in velocity. The short revolver attains approximately the same performance that might be expected from a plus+ 9x19 124 jhp and the 4-inch launches the same projectile at into mid 1400 fps range.

    i've made steady use of the original revolver over the last 25 years-predominately with factory 357 and the 40,000 cup level loads that were in the loading manual;s a couple of decades ago. Performance with those upper level loads closely resembled the top loads from CorBon and Buffalo Bore and are pretty hard on revolvers. My Sp101 continues in perfect timing and cylinder carry-up. I recently removed a slight amount of end shaie with .003-inch arbor shems. Recently, the trigger showed a tendency to lock up in mid stroke. Ruger CS said the most likely problem was a weakened trigger return spring and I got the revolver back in perfect repair with a one-week turn around.
    sp101corbon.jpg
    The standard rubber grips tame recoil very well though the 180 grain corbon hunting load begins to hurt. Other, snub 38s and 357s can be quite painful. One woman who showed up for chl training prefered this revolver to the taurus she brought with her. It was comfortable with her 38 factory loads and she did very well for a beginning shooter.
    25yard38slowfire.jpg
    I seldom shoot any better with a 4-inch revolver regardless of make.
    Many shooters are more comfortable with the recoil from 38 special loads though the .357 entered the small revolver field after several decades of 38 Special bashing by the Grey Protuberances of the shooting press whom Charles Askins once said had, "never shot anything more dangerous than a Billy Goat." The shorter revolver is effectively accurate double action out to 25 yards or more.
    holsters.jpg

    Both Revolvers are comfortable in strong-side OWB holsters and the traditional untucked sport shirt hides them effectively.HKS and Pachmayr speed loaders.
    The SP frames are near identical in size to the snubs from Smith and Wesson, Taurus, Colt and kimber. The heavy 25 oz and over weight is very welcome during actual shooting.
    . 179grload.jpg
    The 358429 is an Elmer Keith Design. He created it in 1929 before the 357 came out and it often had to be seated to the bullet shoulder to chamber in the first magnum revolvers. The sp101 cylinders like the early Smiths so I had to seat them the same way. This years Lyman Handloading manual list a maximum of 13.5 2400- standard primer. I reduced the charge to 13 even allowing the bullet to be seated on top of the powder column without any airspace or compression.
     
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  2. Frulk

    Frulk Member

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    Nicely done review. My daily carry is an 3.2 inch SP101 in .327 Fed Mag

    .327 FM

    KmIGRyb.jpg

    .357 Mag

    wEPOai1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  3. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Mec, I enjoyed your post. :cool: I am doing it backwards, I guess. After getting quite perturbed with S&W over a few things I will not bring up here, I have 2 Rugers (Redhawks) in my sights and am leaning towards an SP101 “just because”. :)
     
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  4. Frulk

    Frulk Member

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    Really appreciate the load data for that 4.2 inch SP. Haven't seen any of it in print as the 4 inch SP hasn't been around all that long.
     
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  5. mec

    mec Member

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    What I've seen from the 4-2 Inch is just about identical to what Ive gotten with a 4.2-inch bbl GP100 I got my 4.2 sp101 at Cabelas about year ago. The clerk would not remove the trigger lock for inspection which, in the log run didn't much matter I had it at the range before I found out that one of the chambers was poorly bored and would stick cases. Additionally, there were no click detents in the rear sight. At that time you could contact Ruger via the owners manual I had it launched via their fed ex contract that day and back completely corrected within the week
    The repair on the 2,4-inch was very well handled AFTER I managed to make contact. The new BAT VIRUS protocol was the general boiler plate about delays and a one-way service request to customer service. No answer to that and I had to find a product representative's e-mail to get into the system
    After that it was pure VIP treatment including a call from the tech in the repair department
    Very happy with ruger customer service in general and tend to attribute the initial difficulty with the prevailing Bat Flu malaise that seems to have abated somewhat.
     
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  6. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Sure it has-
    20190402_002312.jpg
    Just not in centerfire. :)

    Some day Ill have another .357 SP. Despite the extra heft, I found it much more shootable than the average J-frame, and felt more confident when carrying it.
     
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  7. ACORN

    ACORN Member

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    I really like the feel of Pachmayr Compacs on my 2 SP101s. They fill my hand quite comfortably.
     
  8. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I have had one over 25 years. It wears Badger boot grips.
     
  9. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I have the 3” model in .357 . I carry it a lot , even in the woods . IMO the 3” is the perfect size for CC and not losing to much velocity and comfort shooting .357 and carrying all day .
     
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  10. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    @mec .. great post
     
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  11. swoter

    swoter Member

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    I carry the 2.25 inch barrel, blued 5 shot 357. IWB. Sometimes I forget I’m wearing it.
     
  12. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    A 3" in 357 is on my want list . I've got no love for s&w anymore.
     
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  13. mec

    mec Member

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    "
    A local guy got a 3" when they were new.Liked the extended sight radius and used it to shoot metallic silhouettes informally. He got regular hits at impressive ranges.
     
  14. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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    China Flu.
     
  15. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    I purchased a 3" in .327 recently. Solidly built, but the trigger was pretty poor. I cleaned it up and made it better. Trigger didn't require any shims, but I installed .007 on both sides of the hammer to get the slop out of it. Much better now, but it took a bit of work.
     
  16. Stophel

    Stophel Member

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    They make a blued one now, finally, and I've been tempted by it, but.... It's bigger than a J frame, so it's not really a pocket gun, and then I'd need much bigger grips on it, and then I would end up with a belt pistol, and might as well just carry a six shot M&P or something else that I already have.... So I have been unable to justify it.
     
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  17. mec

    mec Member

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    The intro blue model I saw was the basic 2.25-inch bbl. The unheralded holster in my holster/ speed loader picture is a pocket holster that works very well with the short SP. A bit heavy I guess but it doesn't seem to print and is about as casual deep-cover as you can get with a powerful handgun.
     
  18. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I have a 2-1/4" SP101 in 9x19 and a 4-1/4" SP101 in 327 FM.

    They're nice revolvers and shoot well. I like Ruger's rubber grips with the insert panels.
     
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  19. Project355

    Project355 Member

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    My SP-101 is 38 Special, 3" barrel, green Xenoy grip panels, bought new with a serial ... "under 150". I used it as a training aid, twice a week for eight years. Dry firing took a toll on the recoil plate, which was replaced at no cost by the mothership. It has untold trigger activations and is as smooth as the inside of yer girlfriends thigh. Only about a few hundred shots fired, and the sights are well regulated for +P 125g cartridges. Looks like hell 'n back. If I knew those green panels were gonna end up being collectable, I would have whittled some wooden ones :(

    All moot. I still call it mine but the ex got everything, all the shooters.
     
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  20. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Member

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    Very nice....here's mine with purple heart wood inserts made by Chad at Chig's Grips:

    20200920_120308.jpg
     
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  21. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    My first ccw.
    20200908_190413.jpg it carries easily and packs a punch.
     
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  22. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    That fobus paddle holster is actually a good holster.
    I have one for my sp101, and my 1911s. Pretty good for a $20 bill.

    I have been thinking about upgrading the front sight to a tritium dot...just haven't committed yet.
     
  23. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I've had two, and still have one of them. The other was given to a friend in need, back when such things could be done in this state without paperwork. Both in .357 Mag with 2.25" barrels.

    The one I still have is DAO, but after some work it has a nice trigger. I also painted the front sight red with nail polish. Last time I checked it for accuracy, I got 9 of 10 shots in the head of a "humanoid" shaped target at 25 yards, by staging the trigger.

    I think full house .357s are a bit much for one handed shooting (certainly for me anyway), but two hands and a hogue grip makes it much more possible to do as I described above. Looking at Lucky Gunner, the .357 Mag 158gr SJHPs from Remington perform well from this length of barrel, so I keep some around for it.

    A solidly built revolver for sure. This one will be sticking around, whether or not I carry it much.
     
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  24. mec

    mec Member

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    The
    The fixed sights are large enough, with enough "air' on the sides for visibility and staging the trigger is as good or almost as good as the single action option. Tritium sights fine and fiber optic a real boost when your vision starts going whonky.
    I don't live in a "private sale background check state" but would be inclined to ignore it if it is as impossible to enforce as it seems.
     
  25. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't consider it all that hard to enforce, should the firearm be used in a crime and recovered. I don't see it as too difficult to use the serial number to find out where the manufacturer sent the gun, and trace it to the FFL who sold it originally. Find the original purchaser, and grill them about how it left their possession. Bottom line, I don't want that hanging over my head. But each to his own.
     
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