You may recall my initial kvetch about the Ruger SP101 .22LR: the trigger was heavier than Proust and stacked more than my local Wal-Mart. TTAG commentator Aharon made the obvious but important recommendation: dry fire the bitch! Roger that (so to speak). And so the .22 caliber revolver was in my hand for most of the next day—which made comfort breaks a bit awkward. Be that as it wasn’t, I must have dry fired the wheelgun a thousand times. Pulling the SP101’s trigger still feels like you’re doing so on Jupiter, but it’s a LOT better . . .

Ralph demonstrated his prowess by shooting a one-inch group at five yards using the Ruger’s improved trigger action. I swear. [Video screwed the pooch.] That said, he did so by staging the trigger; the wheelgun still “boasts” a tractor pull-style trigger pull.

Point take: the Ruger’s accuracy is there. Well, Ralph’s. Mine not so much. I’m working on it though. As well as the full review . . .

34 Responses to Gun Preview: Ruger SP101 .22LR Trigger Smooths Out

  1. I wish so, so, so, so much that Ruger would put the trigger from the LCR on their other wheel guns. Either that or ship the things with a pocket gunsmith.

    • The LCR 357 magnum model is on my shopping list. The steel that Ruger makes the LCR 357 magnum with is the same steel they use to make their .454 Casull caliber revolver.

      I like the concept of a DA wheel gun overall and especially in CC situation since if needed timing and the stress factor might demand the maximum in simplicity and speed. A DA revolver (loaded) only requires one to aim and shoot.

  2. Thanks for following up on the SP101 22LR. I have dry fired my SP101 357 about 300 times now and while the trigger is still heavy it has become much smoother and easier to pull.

    I spoke again with Ruger technical support today. Keep in mind that Ruger’s Tier One level support are essentially customer service reps with little product knowledge. However, when you’re able to convince or confuse them with either too technical a question or a deeper response to their answer you then get transfered to someone that knows their firearms (call them Tier Two).

    The Tier Two technical rep said that he has no new information on the new SP101 22LR’s trigger pull weight. He is very sure that it is in the same range as the other SP101’s in center fire ammo which is 8-14 lbs in DA.

    Unlike the SP101 in center fire ammo, he advocated using snap caps/blanks/dummie rounds (I’m not sure if there is real difference) when dry firing the SP101 22LR. I have previously spoken with Tier Two about dry firing my SP101 357 and they said not to use the snap caps/blanks/dummie rounds. BTW, previously Tier One told me that it is ok to dry fire all their guns even rim fire ones without the snap caps/blanks/dummie rounds. I’d suggested always getting advice from Tier Two.

    • The manual says that dry fire is okay for all SP101 models, so who knows? FYI, the rimfire models use the same transfer bar system as the centerfire models, so what’s sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. My feeling — snap caps are cheap. A new firing pin, not so much.

      • Ralph,

        Is the manual that you are quoting for the new SP101 22LR or for an earlier printed version that came with one of the center fire SP101? ? The concern they gave me about firing the SP101 with snap caps is that too much repeated firing can possibly produce some sort of drag on the cylinder. When I had asked about center fire ammo, the Tier Two tech said that there is a (I can’t recall the number) small physical difference in the size of the snap caps from live ammo and long term that can produce a problem.

      • …and then there’s this:

        From Ruger:
        [i]Yes. All Ruger revolvers can be dry fired without damage, and dry firing can be useful to familiarize the owner with the firearm. However, be sure any firearm is completely unloaded before dry firing! [/i]

        also this…
        [i]Yes. All Ruger pistols can be dry fired without damage, and dry firing can be useful to familiarize the owner with the firearm. However, be sure any firearm is completely unloaded before dry firing! [/i]

        and this…
        [i]Yes. All Ruger rifles can be dry fired without damage, and dry firing can be useful to familiarize the owner with the firearm. However, be sure any firearm is completely unloaded before dry firing! [/i]

        I’m thinkin’ that about covers it. If I recall all of my Ruger manuals, be it center or rimfire, all say it’s OK to dry fire.

        If I recall, with rimfire in particular it has to do with where the firing pin stops, or doesn’t. With some rimfires the pin would simply slam the front of the chamber, with Ruger guns, the pin stops short.

  3. I have a DAO SP101, and the trigger was smooth from the get go. Once you learn to tame the beastly pull weight you can manage some pretty sweet shots. I’m more accurate with my little 2″ SP shooting 158 grain 357s than I am with my full-size SR9 (terrible trigger, but that’s another story).

    Eventually I will buy some lighter springs, but, for now, I think the heavy pull is good training.

      • Thanks for asking. I bought mine with the newer trigger-safety trigger and before the newest post-SR9c trigger. It just has lots of creep and overtravel, so rounds consistently hit below and to the left of point of aim.

        • Have you contacted Ruger about it? If not, perhaps an option is to contact Ruger letting them know about the problem and frustration you are having with the SR9 and asking what they can do about fixing it. Ruger is known for having good customer service when it comes to fixing problems. They may or not charge for it.

        • Not a bad idea. Of course it’s always a temptation to just buy another gun, but it may be a better idea to fix the one I have.

  4. I flipped flopped between the Ruger SP101 .22LR and the Smith & Wesson 617. I ended up with the 617 because I could not over come the Ruger’s trigger and I am very happy with my choice more so now that I have seen this and other reviews.

    By far, the best trigger I have every used is in the S&W K-22 Masterpiece Competition.

    I am sure both are tack drivers but I just could not deal with the trigger.

    • Pascal, your steps ahead of me. after plinking with a friends 63 I went looking, which reality ( hard to find one) led to the 617. jeff at gunblast.com had a say on both. Then this Ruger came up. geez, buy em all an let the range decide. Still, I don’t know if I’m ready for aluminum revolver. I thought the double action on the 617 had a heavy pull ? It would be nice to shoot a 100 rounds through each to see how they heat an dirty up. I’m still looking around for more 617 reviews. But this Ruger looks to last.

  5. 12 years ago when I purchased my GP-100 one of the first things I bought was an aftermarket spring kit with lighter springs and they made a HUGE difference to me. Same goes for the SP-101 I bought a few years later. Dry firing both of them only made the trigger pulls sweeter.

    • That is not a problem with this gun, or any other current ruger rimfire design. Anyone who says otherwise is flat. out. WRONG. In saying this I am very comfortable in my qualifications as one the current authorities with these guns..

      The picture you see there is from a gun that was disassembled and then reassembled with a very important part missing.

      • I haven’t seen a breakdown image of this gun, but dry-firing rimfires is usually a bad idea. You say that Gunnutmegger is wrong, but can you provide exactly why? What part is missing and what does that part do to prevent the firing pin from damaging the chamber and/or breaking the pin?

        • Yes I certainly can.

          On ones with free floating firing pins it is. .22 long rifle was made very easy and simple in the early 19th century. If fired on an empty chamber the pin has nothing to prevent it from slamming into the chamber.

          More modern design has a firing pin that is retained by a stop, pin, etc that prevents this type of damage. The ruger design has a hammer that hits a firing pin that hits the cartridge and not a free floating striker or direct hit hammer. The firing pin is a cylinder that has a pointed edge that hits the cartridge. The body of the cylinder is captive within the frame and hits the frame many thousands of an inch before the firing pin can hit the edge of the chamber….that would cause damage if it did, but it cant because it is physically prevented by design by doing so.

          The picture above is of a buckmark or ruger MKII that had its bolt assembled without the crosspin that retains the firing pin and spring….thus allowing it to act as a free floating pin that would cause damage just like really old and simple guns did long ago. Damage from incorrect assembly.

          ALL ruger designs have captive firing pins that stop short of hitting the chamber. ALL of them. Single six, bearcat, MK line, 10/22 line, sp, 77/22, 99/22, etc, etc.

          Dry firing these guns will NOT cause damage. Saying otherwise is wrong, wrong, wrong.

        • From the FAQ on Ruger’s website (emphasis mine):

          “Can I dry fire my Mark III pistol?
          Yes. The Mark III has a firing pin stop that prevents the firing pin from contacting the rear of the barrel and damaging the edge of the chamber. If you are going to dry fire the pistol extensively, the stop pin and firing pin will eventually wear and contact could occur, and we recommend replacing both the firing pin and the firing pin stop from time to time. You should also monitor the contact of the firing pin with the rear of the barrel.

          My interpretation of that is that damage can occur, and that premature wear is likely.

          Thus, my admonition that “dryfiring a rimfire is never a good idea” seems completely true.

        • Notice the word “could” Even then we are talking tens (possibly hundreds) of thousands of cycles in the worst condition for this to even come close to happening.

          In my conversation with the engineers designers of the above mentioned guns….No, really -There has never been a proven case of this.

          It has always (as in 100%) been the case of someone forgetting to install the stop pin. Forget to install that part and you have to swage out a dimple.

        • In the case of the Ruger SR9C 9mm, as I understand it, dry-firing without the magazine in the pistol will possibly cause damage, and sooner than later. There have been a number of complaints on forum sites about this problem though it seems that some owners are sometimes or often responsible for it. The SR9C, for safety reasons, is designed not to be able to fire with a forgotten round in the chamber and a missing magazine. It was designed this way to avoid the possibility that someone would forget or be unaware a round was chambered while cleaning or otherwise handling the gun with what they imagine is an empty chamber. A bar drops down when the magazine has been removed blocking the firing pin from going too far forward. Repeatedly dry firing in this mode might or will damage that pin as it strikes the bar. A common result of this action is the pin not impacting the cartridge enough to ignite it. I believe it is called a light fire strike. An easy way around this technical situation is too remove that same safety bar that drops down. Then, the pistol can also be fired without a magazine and a round in the chamber.

        • Maybe some people think that repeatedly replacing firing pins and firing pin stops is normal wear & tear.

          I am not one of them.

          Dry-firing a rimfire is bad. Arguing over the level of badness is pointless, especially when you can use a snap-cap and avoid the issue.

  6. “Point taken: the Ruger’s accuracy is there. Well, Ralph’s. Mine not so much. I’m working on it though. As well as the full review . . .”

    One of the best trigger training tools I have ever seen is the one where you start with the pistol unloaded but in battery and cocked (or not for a DAO gun), with an empty shell casing balanced on the front sight. Keep doing it until you don’t knock the brass off when you pull the trigger, and then do it some more. It helps to have a partner.

        • Check out the picture. Balancing anything on the sight would be tough. A similar drill involves using a section of cleaning rod inserted into the barrel with the flat slotted jag sticking out. Balance the coin on the flat part of the jag and dry fire.

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