Ruger SP101 Review

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johngoboom
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Ruger SP101 Review

#1 Postby johngoboom » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:52 pm

My wife gave me the green light to get it for Christmas last year, and this has become my favorite CCW carry gun.

For those of you who might not be familiar with Ruger's offering of DA revolvers, the SP is the smallest frame size. They are a traditional stainless steel 5-6 shot fixed sight revolver. Ruger offers them in a 5 shot .357 Mag, and a 6 shot (new) .327 Federal Mag, and barrel lengths of 2 1/4" and 3". Because the .327 ammo is so expensive, and I opted to go for the .357 mag with the 2 1/4" barrel. This of course also allows me to shoot .38 Special loads through the same gun (Which are cheaper, and have a lot less recoil.) While its weights as a solid steel gun is not light, pared with a good Galco speed holster, it becomes much less noticeable. It hides under the just about any untucked shirt with virtually no printing. I usually carry two HKS speed loaders in a Don Hume case.

This revolver just plain fits my hand. I shoot much better with this than the slightly smaller S&W J-frame guns. Also the Rugers are built like tanks, and can take A LOT of rounds before ever having to be worked on for timing issues.

The only thing I was not happy about this gun was the trigger pull. Ruger is somewhat notorious for their rather stiff and gritty feeling triggers. So, as a machinist, I'm used to tearing into things, and have access to a few tools that really helped out on this project.

First I ordered a spring kit from Wolfe Springs, these come with different weight hammer springs, and a lighter trigger return spring. I then completely disassembled the gun and trigger mechanism, and polished all the internals (as well as the holes in the frame where the trigger return spring rides). This eliminated the "grittyness" of the DA trigger, and with the lighter springs significantly reduced the trigger pull weight in both SA and DA. I don't have a scale, but I would guess by at least 4-5 lbs. And now it's smooth as silk. I also slightly rounded the sharp edges of the trigger, this really helps to smooth the DA pull as the trigger can now more easily slide across your finger.

As far as accuracy well, it's a fixed sight snub nose. Your not going to shoot a lot of x rings at 50 yards with it, but it's still very good. In rapid fire DA drills even with one hand at 12 yards, I was able to easily keep all 5 shots in a 4" circle. Which is plenty good for a self defense carry gun. :)

I also carry a Ruger LCP in the summertime, but don't really like the .380 auto round for winter carry.
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Re: Ruger SP101

#2 Postby Van » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:16 pm

Ruger revolvers are great! Tough as tanks and fun to shoot.

My wife shot an SP101 during her intro to firearms class and she loved it. It was easy to shoot and the weight absorbed much of the recoil.
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Re: Ruger SP101

#3 Postby johngoboom » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:44 am

I'm really impressed with mine Van. I just got some cocobolo wood custom grip panels for it. I'll take some pics later today.
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Re: Ruger SP101

#4 Postby Van » Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:55 pm

johngoboom wrote:I'm really impressed with mine Van. I just got some cocobolo wood custom grip panels for it. I'll take some pics later today.



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Re: Ruger SP101

#5 Postby johngoboom » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:57 pm

A friend of mine makes these panels for the Ruger DA and SA. These are cocobolo, and I think look a heck of a lot better than the stock plastic inserts. He can make them out of just about any kind of wood.

Anyway, if any of you are interested in a set, PM me, and I'll send you his email address.

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Re: Ruger SP101

#6 Postby Van » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:34 pm

Very nice!! 8-)
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Re: Ruger SP101

#7 Postby mark » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:39 pm

Yeah, those are pretty sweet.
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Re: Ruger SP101 Review

#8 Postby JJR1971 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:18 am

Hindsight being 20x20, I really wish I'd invested in a SP101 instead of the 6" GP100 I ended up buying...it was one of my first handguns in a long time and I really did not know what I was doing.

I kept jonesing for a SP101 but ultimately decided it was outside of my price range and opted for a used Taurus 651 which has a shrouded hammer instead of an internal hammer like the SP101. It was my regular carry gun, especially in summer time, because it was also my "nightstand" gun, and it was easy to just grab and go and it concealed well even with shorts and a (dark) t-shirt. It was handy to just slip on to go run a quick errand, or take out the trash, or whatever.
Before I got my Taurus Tracker .44 mag, I used the Taurus 651 as my "glove box" gun in my car. Once I got the Tracker (loaded with the more manageable .44 spec) it became my "Glove box" gun and the Taurus 651 became my nightstand gun and "anytime" carry gun. I also have it fitted with CTC laser grips now.

For winter carry in North Texas, I used be able to get away with carrying a full-frame PT92 in a kydex paddle holster, which I could conceal under a heavy coat; I finally got a decent IWB holster for my Glock 23, though so I stopped carrying the PT92. I did once carry my CZ-75B in .40 S&W in an IWB for sh*ts and giggles but it's really impractical for that...too dang heavy, plus you gotta carry it cocked-and-locked.

I still like the look & feel of the SP101, but for now my Taurus 651 fills that niche.

I will probably sell my oversized 6" GP100 one of these days, though. It's strictly a range gun with not much practical use except maybe home defense.
(I used to keep it loaded and in my coffee table downstairs when I lived alone in N. Texas last year). I have a nice rigid nylon holster for it, but I wouldn't dream of trying to carry it concealed, not even under a heavy coat in winter.

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Re: Ruger SP101 Review

#9 Postby Inquisitor » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:11 am

You might consider the newer LCR.

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Re: Ruger SP101 Review

#10 Postby CarolinaHiker » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:58 pm

johngoboom wrote:My wife gave me the green light to get it for Christmas last year, and this has become my favorite CCW carry gun.

For those of you who might not be familiar with Ruger's offering of DA revolvers, the SP is the smallest frame size. They are a traditional stainless steel 5-6 shot fixed sight revolver. Ruger offers them in a 5 shot .357 Mag, and a 6 shot (new) .327 Federal Mag, and barrel lengths of 2 1/4" and 3". Because the .327 ammo is so expensive, and I opted to go for the .357 mag with the 2 1/4" barrel. This of course also allows me to shoot .38 Special loads through the same gun (Which are cheaper, and have a lot less recoil.) While its weights as a solid steel gun is not light, pared with a good Galco speed holster, it becomes much less noticeable. It hides under the just about any untucked shirt with virtually no printing. I usually carry two HKS speed loaders in a Don Hume case.

This revolver just plain fits my hand. I shoot much better with this than the slightly smaller S&W J-frame guns. Also the Rugers are built like tanks, and can take A LOT of rounds before ever having to be worked on for timing issues.

The only thing I was not happy about this gun was the trigger pull. Ruger is somewhat notorious for their rather stiff and gritty feeling triggers. So, as a machinist, I'm used to tearing into things, and have access to a few tools that really helped out on this project.

First I ordered a spring kit from Wolfe Springs, these come with different weight hammer springs, and a lighter trigger return spring. I then completely disassembled the gun and trigger mechanism, and polished all the internals (as well as the holes in the frame where the trigger return spring rides). This eliminated the "grittyness" of the DA trigger, and with the lighter springs significantly reduced the trigger pull weight in both SA and DA. I don't have a scale, but I would guess by at least 4-5 lbs. And now it's smooth as silk. I also slightly rounded the sharp edges of the trigger, this really helps to smooth the DA pull as the trigger can now more easily slide across your finger.

As far as accuracy well, it's a fixed sight snub nose. Your not going to shoot a lot of x rings at 50 yards with it, but it's still very good. In rapid fire DA drills even with one hand at 12 yards, I was able to easily keep all 5 shots in a 4" circle. Which is plenty good for a self defense carry gun. :)

I also carry a Ruger LCP in the summertime, but don't really like the .380 auto round for winter carry.


A fine choice...the SP101 is one of the finest, strongest revolvers around. Don't worry...it's likely you will shoot that gun for a very long time, even full 357 loads, and not need much work to it, if any.

The trigger pull improves the more you shoot it, or some choose spring work as you did. Also, that trigger tends to have sharp edges on it, and most round those off a bit. I also prefer the bobbed hammer for snagless unholstering.

Regards,

CarolainHiker

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Re: Ruger SP101 Review

#11 Postby Greengunner » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:43 pm

Love the SP101.
Ruger revolvers=the working man's gun.
For me it's GP100 4inch for range, night stand, general use.
SP101 3inch for car/truck, camping, hiking, general use.
and I'm looking into the LCR for CCW.


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