Review: SP101 (kinda long) w/pics
This is a discussion on Review: SP101 (kinda long) w/pics within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I recently purchased a Ruger SP-101. I had a difficult time deciding what pistol I was wanting as I wanted a good all-around gun. My ...
April 12th, 2005 05:59 PM
Review: SP101 (kinda long) w/pics
I recently purchased a Ruger SP-101. I had a difficult time deciding what pistol I was wanting as I wanted a good all-around gun. My intended purposes included CCW, protection in the woods, target practice, and to let my wife shoot. My wife likes my CZ 75B but it is a bit heavy and she complains about that. I figured that if I get a good .357 magnum then I can load it with light .38 specials. I wanted something lighter than my CZ. This was easy because I wanted something smaller as well. I also wanted something that was going to last a long time and take quite a few full power loads. That’s where the SP-101 came in. I have wanted it for quite sometime. It has been on my list of guns I want someday since I started shooting. Well, I just happened to get a good sum of money that I could use for just that.
My only problem was convincing the wife that I needed another handgun. When I first mentioned it I was scared for my life. I just bought a shotgun not two months ago. I figured I needed to work some kind of deal for her. So, I piped up,”If I can buy this pistol then I won’t buy another gun for the rest of this year.” As I said those frightful words I started to sweat, “Oh dear lord, what have I just done? There is still a lot of year left!” I figured she wouldn’t go for it, but I was wrong. She agreed to that and added a couple of other terms. Mainly I had to buy her a pair of $20 flip-flops and two shirts for Old Navy. I agreed. I told her that I would only buy her those things if, and only if, I was able to find a deal on the little Ruger I was looking for. She agreed and the next day I was off to the gun show.
I have an uncle that was in the hospital about a year ago for a couple months. He is still recovering and quite a ways for a full recovery. He had not been a gun show in years and had not even shot a gun since he was in the hospital. For the last couple of months I have been telling him that I would take him to the next gun show in KC. Well that was finally here and I had the money to buy something. :D We got down there and looked all the tables over really good. I saw two SP-101’s, one was at a table where I had bought my SA 1911GI. I called this dealer a few days before and he told me that he was out of the little Rugers. The other table that had a SP-101 was right at the beginning by the doors. The prices were within $5 of each other so I went with the cheapest one. I didn’t haggle any either. I paid $354 plus tax. I then went to get a couple boxes of .357 magnum ammo. The best deal I found on them was on Sillier & Bellot 158 gr. Semi-Jacketed Soft-Points. I bought two boxes for $23.
I brought the pistol home and almost hid it so I didn’t have to hold up my end of the bargain. I couldn’t help it though. I wanted to show it off like I would a new puppy or some such thing. I cleaned it up and got it ready to show the wife as soon as she got home from work. Her reaction was,”That’s kind of cute.”. “Cute”, she says. She knows better than that. My handguns are not to be referred to as, “CUTE!!!” Anyway, the next thing she says to me is, “So, are you ready to so shopping?” And she says that with this big sweet grin on her face like she is all innocent. I grumble the word, “Yes……” We got to the mall where the $20 flip-flops are only find that they store is closing and everything must go. My first thought was that they were going to be sold out of the flip-flops and I would have to stand there for 2 hours while she decides on what else I could buy her. Instead I find that not only do they have the flip-flops, but they are 60% off. Now they are only $9 flip-flops. (still too much) but I bought them and she was happy, next we go to Wal-Mart and I head straight to the Sporting Goods department. I decided that I needed some .38’s so she could shoot as well. I got a 100 round value pack of the Winchester White Box ammo for $18 after tax. After I got done paying for the ammo I met my loving wife in the crafts section where she was getting scrapbook materials and supplies. I joked asked if she was going to make me some pretty targets to go with my cute gun. Then she slugged me in the arm.
Next was Old Navy. It was pretty uneventful, we went in, I bought her the two shirts she wanted and we left. One thing though, she was wearing her new flip-flops and was incredibly impressed and kept saying thank for me buying them for her.
Now was the fun part, we were on our way home so I could get the pistol and range supplies so we could go shoot. I had to keep looking at the speedometer to make sure I wasn’t speeding because I was so excited about getting to shoot my new gun. Another 20 minutes and we were out at our own private range called ‘My Mother-in-laws house’. I went and set up the targets and she went in to talk to her mom.
I set the targets up about 7 yards from where I wanted to shoot. I loaded the little Ruger up with the .38’s to start out with. I cocked the hammer and pulled the trigger. I hit right dead center of the target. I figured it was a fluke so I tried it again and, Yup it was a fluke. J I still had some getting used to with this little guy. I am used to shooting auto-loaders so the grip angle is completely different than what I am used to. Still, all 5 shots where inside two inches. I then loaded the .357 magnum ammo. Those where noticeably more stout. Actually the stung at first. I proceeded to shoot about 30 rounds of them. I got used to the heavier recoil. I then tried a few more of the .38’s and still I got mostly 2 inch groups. (I’m still a complete amateur when it comes to shooting) I didn’t think that was bad for me since I was now shooting double action instead of cocking the hammer with my thumb. I then called to my wife to come shoot. (she is very very recoil shy) I loaded the pistol with some of the .38s I got at wal-mart and she hesitantly shot at the target. She missed the target and complained about the recoil. She didn’t want to shoot anymore. Actually this kind of excited me because now I have a reason to start reloading my empties. I will definitely have to load some extra light loads for her. After she went back inside I shot another 20 rounds of .357 mag loads and I shot until half of the box of .38s where gone. I had a lot of fun shooting. This is my first potent revolver and I am very very quickly falling in love with it.
After we got home I decided to break the revolver down and clean it. I noticed a few things that I hadn’t noticed before, some of the finish (machining?) was awfully rough. Nothing that will effect function, just things noticed. Also the edge of the trigger face was pretty sharp and I noticed my trigger finger feeling kind of raw that evening. Outside of those small things, I really like this little guy and I am incredibly happy with my purchase.
Here are the pictures.
Here is a pretty average group with the S&B .357
This the with the WWB.
The next two images show some of the minor defects I was talking about.
And now just some fun/showing off pictures.
April 12th, 2005 06:21 PM
You're after my own heart clipse.
Good shooting by the way. I can't hold a group with a snub that tight. I hate you now.
It seems like every snub on the market has lots of things I do like about it and lots of things I don't, so the SP-101 is no exception. The thing that killed it for me was that I want any and all carry guns to be as close to box stock as possible save for superficial changes, and I would have had to have it dehorned. Maybe one day I'll get over that.
I can definitely see why someone would take it over the S&W or the Taurus. It just feels more rugged and I'm 100% sure it actually is more rugged. I'd considered getting a .357 like this one, but when I played with one at the range I found out I really didn't like trying to rock and roll with a powerful catridge in a tiny gun. I reasoned if all I was ever going to shoot was .38, I should get one chambered for .38 and save a lot of weight in the process.
Still I can imagine I'd hold tighter groups if I had a heavy steel snubnose. Oddly enough though I don't miss having a real hammer like I thought I would.
I especially like the 3" SP-101. There's an outfit that does this really sweet customization job on it too. It doubles the price of the gun but it's still really affordable relatively speaking. I forget the name of the outfit.
About the only snubs I've seen that aren't a little rough on the finish are the more expensive Smiths (the ones that cost $350 and up at their rock bottom price).
Still, my grandfather probably had about a dozen .38 caliber and .357 caliber snubnose revolvers at one point, but thankfully I don't think I have that bug.
One neat thing about Ruger handguns is that all of their guns have style. You won't mistake a Ruger for anything else. I especially like what they do with their revolvers.
I am curious to ask you how the trigger is on this one? Most S&W J frames tend to have about a 10# DA trigger, and I've heard the Ruger triggers are even heavier.
April 12th, 2005 06:26 PM
BTW, I have heard bad things about the triggers on these. I was pleasantly supprised at how much I liked it. The DA is not as smooth as my CZ 75b but still feels great. SA is nice and crisp. Not too light, not too heavy. Just perfect IMHO.
April 12th, 2005 06:31 PM
Yes that's the one. If not for the fact I want to get away from the .357 Magnum caliber for a carry gun, as far as I'm concerned an SP-101 with that customization job would be almost perfect to carry. The only other problem is I'm not sure that carrying a gun that's not bone stock or close to it is such a good idea.
But still that'd be awesome to have.
I know what you mean about the trigger. A lot of semiautos are way too light for me. Firm and smooth is good. Does the trigger lend itself to staging, not that you should ever do this of course?
April 12th, 2005 08:32 PM
Darn good-lookin gun Clipse...flaws or not...Ruger continues to build doggone good guns....it looks of smooth-flowing design lines from the pics.....yeah gotta agree with Euclidean on the target...I'd have to be on a bench with "that" target about 5 feet away. LOL!!
April 12th, 2005 09:55 PM
I always liked the Ruger wheel guns.
They are amazingly SOLID & their Stainless Steel is TOUGH STUFF!
Congrats on a nice Stainless Short Nose!
Damn! What camera are you using????...Those pics of yours are nice as heck.
I sure need another camera that takes good close~ups.
Let me know.
April 12th, 2005 11:31 PM
That is a darned nice looking guns and, as always, great pictures of it. I have to say I do like the Ruger design better than the S&W. As Euc said, there's no mistaking it.....
Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.
April 13th, 2005 12:36 AM
Hey Clipse - didn't know you was here!!!
Nice going - good pics and certainly - a nice tight group. From a pure shooting POV I'd like the longer (3") barrel but - for carry find the shorter version still a fine piece.
Finish is often leaving something to be desired - but that's Ruger - solid and dependable but not up there with Smith finish IMO. Trigger too - not perfect but - lots of use = improvement!! Great shootin' iron!
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
- a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.
April 13th, 2005 01:03 AM
I have a 3" SP101 that I love. But I promised it to my step-daughter for her 21st birthday. She delayed that until she had a place of her own because she didn't trust her roomies or their boyfriends. Now she's married and will take the piece. Long ago, I had the gun altered so as to only fire DAO. I had her in mind. I want her to absolutely KNOW that she's pulling a trigger and it's going to go BOOM and KILL whatever is in front of that muzzle.....
Now my only worry is making HIM as good as she is......
Now I have another empty hook on the gun vault door. I'm sorta lookin' at the new Ruger Alaskan in 454 Casull. It fires a .45LC in exactly the same manner as the SP101 .357 also fires a .38sp. In answer to my wife's natural query as to why I need a snubnose that'll drop an Elephant when we live in South Florida....I naturally replied that we might encounter a charging and hungry GRIZZLY BEAR at the mall....
Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.
April 13th, 2005 02:09 AM
Nice pics Clipse, I'm also curious about your camera?
That wheelgun does have a certain "cool" factor to the way it looks.
April 13th, 2005 10:57 AM
Here is the kicker on the camera. It is the most enexpensive camera that Walmart sells. Its a HP m305. Its a 3 megapixal and works more than wonderfully enough for me.
April 13th, 2005 11:26 AM
I replaced the factory grip on my SP101 with a Hogue Mono-Grip and really like the comfort and fit in my hand.
The SP101 is my "jeep in the field"....when I'm outdoors hiking in forest, brush, or desert, it is on my hip in a Bianchi Accu-mold holster. :thumbup:
April 13th, 2005 12:58 PM
Clipse (and anyone else) –
Have you had any problems with the S&B ammo in your revolvers? I did with some 38 in my S&W 642. Three or four times I had it jam. The crimp must not have been tight enough, because after the fourth shot, the bullet in the fifth round had loosened enough that it was protruding too far in the case for the cylinder on the revolver to move and fire the fifth shot. Imagine my shock at having a revolver jam.
One thing I say for S&B 38 special. It’s pretty hot compared to domestic. When I first got the revolver I started with Winchester. Then I tried Winchester +P. A little hotter. Than I tried the S&B, which is not rated +P. It was a lot hotter than the Winchester +P. Then I tried Fiochi, which was also not +P rated. It put the S&B to shame.
The only other caliber I have ever had trouble with in S&B was 357 sig. It is garbage.
Blessed be the Lord my rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1
Si vis pacem, para bellum
April 13th, 2005 01:01 PM
I shot 55 rounds of the S&B .357 mag and had no problems. If go shoot this weekend I would load 5 round and shoot four and look at the fifth.
April 13th, 2005 01:56 PM
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