Ruger SP101 range report

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by ScottA, May 19, 2010.

  1. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    Got to the range today with my new Ruger SP101 .357. I fired 100 rounds of 130gr .38 special and 15 rounds of 158gr .357 magnum. This was a learning experience.

    Most of my shooting experience to date has been with semi-autos. My revolver experience has been with my S&W 617 .22. The SP101 is a whole nuther ballgame.

    TRIGGER CONTROL is the name of the game with this gun. Firing my 617 will give an auto shooter a little bit of context for a long DA trigger, but only a little bit. There are so many opportunities for user error to be introduced as I pulled that trigger back. It really makes you work at making a long smooth pull.

    When I did get the nice smooth trigger pull, the gun rewarded me with some very nice groupings. Unfortunately, it's going to take much more practice to get the groups consistent. Only a couple were off target; I guess I can be happy with that.

    Kick was noticeable with the .38 rounds, but it was very manageable. Muzzle rise was not an issue. I tried various hand positions along the grip. Moving my grip up the handle didn't really produce any noticeable advantage in controlling the weapon. However, moving my grip lower on the handle did improve trigger control.

    Now for the .357 rounds. HOLY CRAP!!! Keep in mind, I've been an auto-shooter. This is the first magnum I've had the pleasure of working with... "working with" is the right way to describe it. You put magnum loads in this puppy and it immediately lets you know you better work in full cooperation with it, or it will ruin your day. For those of you who have never shot a magnum, it's kind of like palming a bowling ball then having someone strike the other side of it with a sledge hammer... it's not pleasant.

    Strange thing to me was muzzle rise was again negligible. I was expecting out of that short barrel to get a lot of muzzle rise. It wasn't there. Ruger did one heck of a job designing this gun so that the energy is coming almost entirely straight back into your hand and arm (please refer back to the bowling ball and sledge hammer).

    Let me say at this point that I cannot imagine trying to put .357 magnum rounds into a smaller, lighter form than the SP101. Whoever at Ruger thought up the LCR in .357 is an raving lunatic. I'm reminded of the homicidal rabbit in Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail... "It'll take your arm off!"

    All in all, I'm very pleased with the gun. It's a different form a shooting to master. This gun took me to school, and I liked it.
     
  2. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Good report. Sounds like fun. Thanks.
     

  3. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    One of the things many folks don't think about is that a revolver has none of the "recoil absorbing" qualities of a semi-auto. I love 1911s, shoot them a lot, and I find them mild to shoot. About 2 years ago I got a wild hair and picked up a S&W 625 3 inch revolver in .45 ACP. On my first range trip I guess I was expecting the same feeling I get when shooting a 1911 - wrong again.

    There are no moving slides or recoil springs that mask and absorb recoil - with a revolver every bit of force is transferred directly into you hand. The very pretty (in pictures) wood stocks quickly ate a hole in the web of my hand and this puppy was not real comfortable to shoot. I replaced the pretty wood stocks with Pachmayr Decellerators and it was OK after that...
     
  4. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

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    Glad you liked it. It's great gun and the trigger will wear in. . . eventually. :cool:

    Make sure to get you some snap caps and dry fire the living hell outta it! It'll speed up the loosening process as well as work on your trigger pull/sight alignment.

    It's interesting to hear your perspective of the recoil and feel of this gun. I shot revolvers primarily for the first 10 or so years of shooting handguns, so when I took the SP101 out for its first spin, I was shocked at the comfortable level of recoil when compared to some of my other wheel guns. I find the .38 special loads amazingly mild and .357s average, even with the shorter barrel.

    Definitely throw a set of Hogues on it as they greatly reduce the felt recoil by allowing a firmer grip and better distribution of shock throughout the entire hand.

    You'll have many years of fun with your SP101. It is in my top 5 favorite guns. . . for good reason. :)
     
  5. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    Watch out playing with those magnum handugns. You'll end up like me and get hooked on them. Magnum handguns are so cool. :cool:
     
  6. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    I've been taking it to the office with me and dry-firing at my desk throughout the day. I work in my office pretty much by myself, so no one freaking out.

    As for the recoil, it goes back to what NGIB said... auto shooters are spoiled.
     
  7. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    If you ever get to Ft. Lauderdale, give me a heads-up.

    You can try out my model 29-2 with some "hot loads" hand rolled by BILLYBOB44. It's cathartic.[​IMG]

    Ever heard of Elmer Keith? Google him! Then thank me for the introduction!

    [​IMG]

    All recoil junkies can thank Elmer for their habit. [​IMG]
     
  8. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    Would I need to notify my chiropractor before hand? :p
     
  9. WannaGator

    WannaGator New Member

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    Snap Caps

    Sorry I'm not meaning to thread jack but I have a new EAA Windicator .38/.357 Magnum 6 shot snubby I have not shot it as of yet except for the .357 Magnum snapcaps.

    This revolver is so different than the autopistols I own/owned.

    So It helps break a gun by using snap caps?
     
  10. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    From everything I've read, revolver triggers in particular have a break in period. During that period, the smoothness and characteristics of the trigger will improve.

    Honestly, I'm more concerned with my getting used to the DA trigger on the Ruger rather than any changes the trigger shows in the next 500 rds. That's why I dry fire practice.
     
  11. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    No, but maybe your orthopedic surgeon! [​IMG]
     
  12. Biohazurd

    Biohazurd New Member

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    I love magnums but personally i think anything over .44 mag is a bit much. Unless you want to handgun hunt for some serious baggage. Honestly though for me .44 mag can drop pretty much any land animal in north america with good shot placement... You gotta be sneaky, Foo!

    But i love sp101s they are the king of the snubs as far as im concerned.
     
  13. rigjumpr

    rigjumpr New Member

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    thanks for your range report it was right on time I "had to" purchase a revolver ( for handgun instructor) and brought home the SP101 keep in mind I'm not a revolver guy at all but I do like the feel of this one.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  14. Jo da Plumbr

    Jo da Plumbr New Member

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    I'm thinking of a Ruger 357 myself. Thanks for the report.
     
  15. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

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    A "Not a revolver guy" sporting a Texas flag? ? ? At the time I moved from Texas, I thought ALL handguns were revolvers. :eek: