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TTAG’s review of the new Ruger .22LR SP101 got caught in my personal spam filter. It’s coming (as is Christmas). Turns out it was a fortuitous delay. Ruger’s fit the adjustable fiber optic sights that debuted on the .22 caliber SP101 onto the .38/.357 SP101. You can now train on Ruger’s .22 and then transfer your skills to the .38/.357 (both of which have a 4.2″ barrel). The move provides a not entirely unexpected raison d’etre for the .22LR and upgrades the SP101 .38/357‘s sites for about $60 over the fixed site version ($689 msrp). Not a carry piece and there are better ways to fire a .357 and it looks kinda goofy but if accuracy’s your thing and you like checkered walnut grips, this one’s a keeper. Like all SP101’s, it’s probably built like a brick, house.

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  1. ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE!!! When I saw the .22 LR SP101 trail gun come out, I emailed Ruger asking for one in .357. Now they have it. The very DAY this hits Cabela’s, its mine!!!

    I will give you the exact raison d’etre I wanted this gun: I live in a state (South Dakota) where open carry in the field is legal. Not just that, it is advised due to mountain lions. I have carried in the past either a 3 inch SP101 or S&W 586. The 3 inch SP101 is a good packing gun, light enough to carry but not so light to make recoil painful – I just wish it has adjustable sights so it can be zeroed for elevation at more than 10 yds. The 586 is a heavy beast and a bear to carry. The 4.2 inch SP101 will have the velocity and adjustable sights of the 586 but smaller and lighter. It is (in my mind) the PERFECT all day carry (non CCW) gun for time out in the field, while on ATV/horseback, going camping, etc.

  2. “probably built like a brick, house.”
    Well, it IS a Ruger double-action revolver, after all. I have their Super Redhawk in .44 and, at just shy of 4 lbs with the scope, it is a beast. Sweet shooter, though, and hell-for-tough.

  3. If I trade in my 3″ SP101 for the new 4″ barrel, Ruger had better not release a 5″ model in six months. aaarrrrrgggghhhh

  4. The .357 magnum, as originally developed in 1935, featured a 158 gr bullet @ 1,500 fps from the Model 27 Smith & Wesson N-frame revolver’s 8.75″ barrel.

    Today, the diminutive Ruger SP101 can boost a 140 gr. Barnes XPB to 1,550 fps, which nearly duplicates the load that Major Douglas Wesson used to take elk, moose. and a grizzly bear.

    An N-frame weighs 47 ounces; the SP101 is less than two pounds.

    If you want a lightweight, powerhouse trail gun, you cannot do much to improve on Ruger’s offering.

  5. The author of this article is just plain wrong. I have one of these dandies and it is an easy inside the waist CCW carry gun. It is only 29 oz and has 5 rounds of the best personal defense cartridge in existence (per Marshall and Sannow—one shot stops in real police shootings). With the 4.2 inch barrel Jeff Quinn on got 1552 fps with Buffalo Bore’s 140 grain barnes all copper bullet. That is 749 ft-lbs of muzzle energy! My 200 grain hard cast Double Tap Loads did 1216 fps —656 ft-lbs. a good black bear protection load with a cross-sectional density of .224 (equal to a 300 grain .454 caliber bullet). My self defense load, a 125 grain buffalo Bore with a gold dot bullet did 1606 fps and 716 ft-lbs! That is a nasty defense load very controllable in this little tank. Thesis a anything gun—field/hunting, CCW, home defense, plinking. I am really happy.

  6. At first, I was sort of turned off by the muzzle heavy feel and 38 Special length ejector. With moderate use, the gun quickly slicked up with a great double action trigger pull. The hammer is still very heavy to pull back, but this IS a double action revolver, meant to be fired double action. I regularly carry this gun while hunting or tending my hunting lease, where Cottonmouths and Hogs are problems that require 2 vastly different solutions, CCI snake shot and 357 Magnum 180 grain Buffalo Bore penetrators. Depending on weather, I carry either 1 or 2 rounds of snake shot and balance are 180 grain Buffalo Bore. The gun doesn’t seem to mind the 180 grain Buffalo Bores at all. This is a gun that I don’t notice when carrying all day. It is very noticeably lighter than a GP100 and even the Security Six. It’s comfortable and always there, easy to conceal under a vest. It does it’s first job very well, which is to be on your person when needed. There are better fighting guns and better target guns, but few better suited to all day carry by outdoorsman.


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