Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum





2 ¼’’ barrel
Stainless steel
Purchased new in 1992

With the factory grips, this is as large a snub as I can still (barely) manage pants pocket carry. At 25-ounces, it is about as heavy as I care to go with for pocket carry; it is 10-ounces heavier than my S&W 442 Airweight. Conversely, it is also as small and light as I care to go with for full power .357 magnum loads. Shown is a Gaylord 8 Ball Deluxe coat pocket holster made by Lefty Lewis of
Bell Charter Oak; intended for use in an overcoat pocket, it also works for me as a front pants pocket holster. The past three weeks I've worked in and around the house while carrying this combo and find it comfortable enough to live with. If someone knows what to look for, the print of the gun and holster is recognizable through the denim pants material; pants pocket carry of the SP101 is a bit of a stretch (pun intended).

If financial necessity limited me to owning only one small frame snub gun, I would choose the
Ruger SP101 over the S&W J-Frames and Colt D-Frames. This choice would not be an easy one to make because I like all of my snubguns, but ammo wise the SP101 works out as the most versatile for me. I was in awe when I first touched off a round of Remington’s full power .357-magnum 125-grain semi-jacket hollowpoint ammunition in this gun. For a couple of years the little magnum intimidated me; it took patience for me to learn how to shoot a snub that generated such noise and recoil. I went back to basics; I did considerable shooting with light .38 Special target wadcutters, then laddered up to standard velocity 158-grain roundnose loads, +P 158-grain loads, the mild 110-grain .357 Magnum loads, finally managing the full power .357 loads. For the most part, I now shoot heavy .38 Special loads; the cartridges shown are Federal .38 Special +P+ 147 grain Hydra-Shoks. Click here for the .38 snub versus the .357 snub.

No single handgun design is perfect for everyone. Moreover, most individuals find that there is no single handgun design that is perfect for all occasions. Some people go unarmed when their carry-gun does not fit in with their activities. Some people attempt to cover all possibilities by buying several handguns in different sizes and weights; that can get very expensive. For my world, the SP101 is a good compromise. Your world likely will be different.

Click here for Stephen A. Camp’s review of the Ruger SP101 over at Syd’s Snubnose Files.

Click here for George Hill’s review of the Ruger SP101 over at Syd’s Snubnose files.

Click here for Snub Training’s review of the Ruger SP101.

Click here to find the year your SP101 was made.

Click here for an SP101 owner’s manual.

Click here for an SP101 parts list.



14 comments:

Borepatch said...

Great gun, and great pics.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Thanks Ted. You are very kind.

James R. Rummel said...

I agree with Borepatch. Those pictures are really good!

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

James, you too are a very kind man. Thank you both.

Anonymous said...

i shot my sp-101 once in an un-air conditioned indoor range in oklahoma on a hot summer day and found in very short order that the stock rubber grips turned into the equivalent of a wet bar of soap. i lost all control of the thing and couldn't fire a round, so slippery had the grips become. very unpleasant feeling.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Anonymous, which grips did you change to?

Anonymous said...

I own the SP-101 in the .38 special and I feel one of the best made personal protection hand guns made today ! My personal opinon I feel that .38 special plus P is all that the average person really needs in a small revolver ! If you ever want to shoot a truely painful handgun try shooting an American Arms derringer in .44 magnum caliber ! I shot one only twice before I got rid of that gun ! God did that hurt !

Anonymous said...

I wanted an SP 101 .357 when they first came out. It took me a few years to get one (2.25") and I fell in love with it. I am able to shoot so well with it (I have several handguns others can shoot well that I can't) I bought one of the 3.125" .357s when I was able to find one and I am equally if not more impressed with my ability to handle it properly. If I could only have one handgun it would be an SP 101 in .357 Mag!

Anonymous said...

I was at the Mesa Arizona gun show this past weekend and I seen two .357 magnum hammerless SP-101's for sale both in the caliber that I wanted but unfortunately they were just alittle to pricey for me , this is truely a great self-protection weapon especially when hiking on trails as the .357 magnum is a minumum caliber to use in an emergency if contact were made with a bear . And the advantage of a weapon chambered for .357 magnum it will also take all of the .38 special cartridges .

Anonymous said...

This past weekend I had the good fortune to purchase a used SP-101 .357 magnum hammerless , a great self-defence weapon to use in both the forests or the urban jungles of our big cities , a good solid feel to the gun being all stainless steel , some of the other air-weight guns sometimes will go out of index if excessive over powered magnum ammo is used too often I have been told ! The SP-101 .357 magnum is the ideal weapon to carry while camping , especially in bear country here in Northern Arizona !

Paul said...

I made the August 30 comment and I have this to add. I have once again fallen in love (rare, really rare!)amd the first thing I did (well, not exactly the first thing!) was to give her my 2.25" SP-101 .357. Her one and only firearm was a fullsized Sig Sauer .22 auto, eeeeeshhh!!!!!!!

I hope her reading this spot and some links will realy let her know how much I love her and why I said "you need this, I'll work up the perfect load, try these 38 wadcutters then try these .357 Golden Saber 125's, we'll find a happy medium"! I loved that gun though I can't see needing both SP-101's at the same time so I'll let her carry some of the time!!!

Paul

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Best wishes to you and your new love, Paul! Nothing says I Love You better than giving your favorite handgun... along with wine, roses, and a diamond ;)

Paul said...

Thanks!

Yeah, I told her about my first wife that never got over keeping a .22 Mag NAA in her purse. She pulled it on her abusive X husband when he kidnapped her little girl and he smiled and slapped it out of her hand. Those little "hell fingers" are to be felt and or at least heard since their size doesn't do much of anything to deter an attack from a crazed person. Now I think my .44 Bulldog with gaping hollowpoints might make a statement that can prevent the need for discharge I am from the "If you can see it you are gonna eat it" mentality. A poke in the eye with a stick is better than just flipping a bird!

Paul

Anonymous said...

If the average person could by the law own only two handguns which two would I own ? An SP-101 .357 magnum and a quality .22 revolver or .22 automatic which would be either my S&W model 63 or my stainless steel Ruger MK-II ! Believe me the SP-101 is ruged and built like a tank , no safeties to fool with or magazines that may fail to feed a very dependable weapon !