Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum

Ruger has released another 4 inch barreled SP101 revolver; this model is chambered in .357 Magnum – it was sent to me for T&E review.  Like most revolvers chambered for .357 Mag. it is also capable of firing .38 Special cartridges.

Included in box:  Instruction manual, action locking device and a single pre-fired cartridge case.

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Revolver specs:

Manufacturer:  Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Model:  SP101
Caliber:  .357 Mag.
Capacity:  5 rounds
Weight:  28.7 oz.
Barrel:  4  5/32 in.
Twist:  1:18.75″ RH (mfr)
Grooves:  5 (mfr)
Material:  Stainless Steel
Trigger pull:  DA-11 lbs. 5 oz./SA-4 lbs. 7.7 oz.

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The 4 inch barrel features a full lug.

Satin Stainless finish

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(L)Rear sight is both elevation and windage adjustable – (R)Front sight is a dovetailed fiber-optic
     

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Crane latch/Cylinder release  –  5 chamber cylinder
     

 Aggressively knurled hammer

Smooth trigger

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    Five pull average of 4 lbs 7.7 oz. – SA
(Lyman digital gauge)

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Black rubber grip w/engraved wood insert.
     
 Disassembly pin is housed beneath the right grip insert.

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With the 5 shot cylinder this revolver maintains a slim profile.  Action lock-up was positive with no slop.  The fully shrouded barrel should help lessen full power .357 Mag. felt recoil.  Looking forward to getting out to the range soon and seeing how it performs.

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Range report:

An unseasonably cool 43° F day here in Texas.  Winds light and variable.  Remington, Winchester and Speer ammunition was accumulated for the test.

     

First thing was to get some velocity results.
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Shooting Chrony F-1 Master set at 10 ft.

 Primer strikes appear sufficient

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 Velocity results:

Rem. UMC 38 Spl. 130 gr. FMJ……….818 fps
Win. USA 38 Spl. +P 125 gr. JHP…….1020 fps
Rem. UMC 357 Mag. 125 gr. JSP…….1485 fps
Speer Gold Dot 357 Mag. 125 gr…….1402 fps

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Head group is 5 rounds of Rem. UMC 38 Spl. FMJ at 3 yards, offhand.

All torso groups are 5 rounds at 7 yards, offhand.
Left:  Rem. UMC 357 Mag – Right:  Speer Gold Dot 357 Mag.
Center:  Win. USA 38 Spl +P

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20 yds:

5 round groups were fired from a bench at 20 yards.

     
    Rem. UMC 38 Spl. FMJ
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Win. USA 38 Spl. +P JHP
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 Rem. UMC 357 Mag. JSP
(L – must have had a bad sight picture, ???)
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Speer Gold Dot 357 Mag.

Note: Targets’ center – 2″ dia.; middle ring – 4″; outer ring – 6″.

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Got dark on me fast.  With the aid of the fiber optic front sight target acquisition was achieved in low light.  While this is a handy sized revolver it doesn’t let you forget about full power .357 Mag. loads; the .38 Spl. ammo was quite pleasant to shoot.  Like all Ruger revolvers it’s built like a tank and I have no doubt it could digest as many magnums as ones hand can absorb.  Personally I was hoping for a 6 or 7 shot SP101, but the required weight for material and additional cartridges could negate it as a ”kit gun”.  As for just 5 rounds, that should get you out of a bind while hiking on a trail or as a backup when hunting without the unessential weight.