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Old November 4, 2022, 05:59 PM   #1
Gulfcowboy
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Ruger sp101 357 4.2 barrel.

I wanted to see if anyone on here has a ruger sp 101 in 357 magnum with a 4.2 in barrel. If someone does how do you like it? I have just put one on layaway. I watched gunblasts Jeff say it was his favorite barrel length for the sp101 in 357. I like the fact it has ajustable sights. I'm thinking of carrying while on horseback. With it's slimmer lighter profile I think it would excel for that application.
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Old November 4, 2022, 06:54 PM   #2
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One of many, good choices.

Personally, I think it's a good choice and gets even better, with a trigger job. Will you be shooting mostly .357 or .38 as well? Have you handled a GP100?

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Old November 4, 2022, 07:15 PM   #3
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I have handled a gp100. They are abit heavy for me. I own a 4in s&w 686. Ill probably use 38 plus p more than anything. Any recommendations on places to do the Trigger job?
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Old November 5, 2022, 11:47 AM   #4
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Should not be a problem ...

Quote:
Any recommendations on places to do the Trigger job?
You don't have to look very far, to find a local "Smith" that can do the job and kits are readily available. If you are fairly handy, you could do it yourself. That is what I did. I live in Iowa and I'm guessing you would have better luck, locating one in Texas. I got started by watching a video, on YouTube. Also, ask the shop where you bought the shop where you bought this. ...

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Old November 5, 2022, 02:10 PM   #5
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sp101 trigger job

Okay, As mentioned, one source is YouTube and see if it fits your needs. I have never done an SP but have done a few GP's and they are similar. I do a bit more than than I see, on the GPs.....

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...01+trigger+job

sp101 trigger job

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Old November 5, 2022, 03:37 PM   #6
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Thank you. I'll give it a try.
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Old November 5, 2022, 04:03 PM   #7
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I have one and I real enjoy shooting it. I like the 4" barrel and believe that in the minimum length barrel to get the full benefit of a 357 round. I believe you will enjoy your gun.
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Old November 5, 2022, 10:49 PM   #8
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@Gulfcowboy: I'm excited for you. Your 4 inch, .357 SP101 will make a fine trail field gun for you. I have a 4 inch, .32 H&R SP101, and a 2 1/4 inch, .357 blued steel SP101. I bought the shorter barreled revolver as a sort of "kit" gun. I wouldn't want to part with either revolver.

As for the trigger work, my advice is: "What Pahoo said". The modular design and construction somewhat limit what can be done to improve the trigger. The most improvement can be done by simply changing the hammer spring and the trigger return spring, and you do not necessarily need a gunsmith to do that. As "Pahoo" noted, there are many youtube videos which can walk you through the spring changes if you have a modicum of mechanical ability. The factory hammer spring is 14 pounds and the factory trigger return spring is 10 pounds. Wolff sells a SP101 spring kit, which contains an 8 pound trigger return spring, and 12, 10, and 9 pound hammer springs. Midway shows the wolff kit as out of stock, but wolff shows them in stock on their website. You could order them directly on-line from wolff for about 10 bucks (if I remember the price correctly). I used the 8 pound trigger return spring, and the 12 pound hammer spring. I did not install the 9 or 10 pound hammer springs because people have reported light strikes and misfires from the lighter hammer springs. It did not seem to me that trading reliability for a lighter hammer pull was a good bargain. I have had NO misfires with the lighter 12 pound hammer spring.

There is also a trigger return plunger which travels in a .250 inch diameter hole in the trigger/triggerguard assembly. On both of my guns it looked like the hole had been drilled by a rasp. I de-burred the hole, and then polished it with some very fine jeweler's rouge. The plungers then travelled smoothly in the channel. Whether that helped or not, I don't know. Again, all these things are usually covered in the youtube videos.

Some people will also shim the hammer on the SP101, in order to prevent the hammer from dragging against the frame. You can get SP101 shim kits from "TriggerShims.com". However, I haven't done that. I don't know if hammer shimming is worth it, and so I may or may not do that sometime down the road. In any case...Lucky you! I know you will enjoy your new revolver.

Last edited by hammie; November 5, 2022 at 11:15 PM.
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Old November 6, 2022, 12:22 AM   #9
74A95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulfcowboy View Post
Any recommendations on places to do the Trigger job?
DIY described here:

https://www.shootingtimes.com/editor...ger-job/465997
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Old November 6, 2022, 03:23 AM   #10
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You won't get as good a DA trigger on the SP101 as you can on the GP100 for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the cylinder on the GP100 is on ball bearings, the SP101 has a friction bearing. Also, the bigger size of the GP100 means more leverage is possible in the design.

That said, you can make some improvements.

If you change the trigger return spring and/or the main spring, be sure to carefully test the gun in DA mode. The hammer fall is slightly less energetic in DA and you want to be sure you don't compromise reliability. As far as the trigger return spring goes, if you lighten it, you will want to get used to the reset with the lighter spring when shooting rapid DA.
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Old November 6, 2022, 07:03 AM   #11
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It’s easy to enhance the trigger pull yourself. Go to Trigger Shims.com and get their kit. If you have any questions give them a call, they’re probably the most helpful friendly people you’ll ever deal with. Just remember, when it comes to polishing any surfaces go lightly, it doesn’t take much to get the job done. And yes, using the shims and getting the proper size shims does make a difference. My GP100 rivals the best S&W in single action and surpasses them in double action. I used Flitz on a soft fabric wheel with my Dremel and it only took a minute or so to polish each surface sufficiently.
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Old November 6, 2022, 08:33 AM   #12
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I put in a spring kit ?Wolf? and compared it to a stock SP side by side. Little to no difference. From that experience I'd say a spring kit is useless unless you get in there with a Dremel, which I intend to do.
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Old November 6, 2022, 08:55 AM   #13
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@jetinteriorguy: Thanks for the positive testimony about the hammer shims. I wasn't sure about how effective they would be, but now based on your experience, I'll give them a try. The hammer shims are pretty inexpensive and should be simple and quick to install.
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Old November 6, 2022, 09:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
If you change the trigger return spring and/or the main spring, be sure to carefully test the gun in DA mode. The hammer fall is slightly less energetic in DA and you want to be sure you don't compromise reliability. As far as the trigger return spring goes, if you lighten it, you will want to get used to the reset with the lighter spring when shooting rapid DA.
Absolutely correct^^^^^^^
I have a GP-100 and a Match Champion both have spring kits installed and both are competition used guns. Both have the lightest springs installed being 8# and 10#. Many folks have stated going with the 10# and 12# springs for reliability of function that will shoot factory ammo is right on the money. I reload and use federal primers for my revolvers. Dry firing will help smoothen the trigger pull also. If you do install lighter springs make sure to test the reliability with whatever ammo you will be using
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Old November 6, 2022, 10:39 AM   #15
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Friend has one of the sp 101 snubbies in 357. I have shot it several times great little gun. Handled full power 357 surprisingly well for its size.

I have had gp 100s in both 4 and 6in, still have and love my 6in but both are amazing guns. Just large and heavy. If i was going to carry a 357 it would be a sp 101
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Old November 7, 2022, 11:18 PM   #16
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I have a 3” 357 SP-101. I polished up the internals that Ruger couldn’t be bothered to do and put in the Wolff springer kit. It’s very good now, but not GP-100 good. Or Redhawk good. Good for a little revolver.
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Old November 10, 2022, 10:50 AM   #17
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I have several variations of the SP101 and though I enjoy them, ever since I got a Kimber k6s the SP101 has lost a lot of time in the carrying rotation. The SP101 is a beefy carry revolver compared to S&W counterparts. The k6s is about the same size but you get an additional round and a trigger that is quite noticeably better than the SP101.

The SP101 is good, don't get me wrong. But before purchasing one I would encourage you to at least explore the Kimber k6s. Just my two cents.
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Old November 10, 2022, 11:17 AM   #18
Pahoo
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Great little revolvers

Quote:
Kimber k6s the SP101 has lost a lot of time in the carrying rotation.
Gunner;
I was going to mention the K6 but wanted to stay, on point. I totally agree and they are worth every dollar/dollars. ......

As replied earlier, I have done three GP's with improved perforance/results. I too have polished and de-burred some of the internals. Perfromance is proportional to the investment. ...

Now, back to the SP, Have not done one but plan on doing a .22 which they say is a bigger challenge that the .357. If it works out I should have a nifty shooter.

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Old November 10, 2022, 01:04 PM   #19
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If you aren't going to work on it, the SP line has one of if not the worst triggers of any make or model revolver today...
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Old November 10, 2022, 07:48 PM   #20
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Can't argue the point !!!

Quote:
If you aren't going to work on it, the SP line has one of if not the worst triggers of any make or model revolver today...
Yeh, not just "MHO"

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Old November 15, 2022, 11:54 AM   #21
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I don't have the 4.2", but I have the 3" 357.

Years ago, I was on a Ruger forum, and there was a guy there whose handle was Iowegan. I believe he was a retired gunsmith and he wrote these "Books of Knowledge" on Rugers. Once a member had a certain seniority level without too much trouble, the member could download those.

I got one and did his home tune job, which consisted of replacing the stock springs with aftermarket ones, and polishing certain internal components in certain areas. It was like a whole new gun. STILL not like an old K frame S&W, though. Or even a GP100, as JohnK said.

I radius the edges of the trigger; as they were too sharp for a comfortable DA pull. I also polished the sides of the hammer while I had it apart; tarted it up a bit to give some indication that it is special now. :-)

I've had that gun for many years now. It went through a stint in a damp apartment basement and has some big blotches of rust now on the side of the frame, that really galls, but it's my fault. I've thought about getting rid of it, but I just can't. It shoots so well and is smooth, for an SP-101. I really spent some money and put a CTC laser grip on it. That's fun at the indoor range and might come into play with a nighttime intruder, but it's also nice that it makes room for the pinky. The standard SP-101 grip (for my hand) is too small for four fingers and too big for three. It's just a bad size. It was stupid of Ruger to just scale down the GP100 grip without putting more thought into it. Chintzy to do away with the ball bearings, too.

A new S&W J frame has a smoother trigger pull, but it stacks more and is heavier. On these small revolvers, its those coiled hammer springs that hold them back from greatness. I often wonder why they didn't just miniaturize the leaf-type hammer spring from the K frame and fine tune its thickness, so it could rival a K frame...

So this is what it needs, in my opinion, to be a Good Gun:
  • Radius the edges of the trigger
  • Polish the internals where they rub together
  • Install a lighter hammer spring and trigger return spring (Wolff or maybe Wilson)
  • Replace grips with something proper; either accommodate the pinky or don't. Pretty wood or cushioned rubber.

Well, that'll give you some stuff to think about.
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Last edited by Smaug; November 15, 2022 at 12:02 PM.
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Old November 15, 2022, 05:23 PM   #22
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Some shims on the hammer also help. I had a couple of small, very thin steel washers that fit perfectly. That prevents the hammer from dragging on the frame although it does make assembly a bit trickier.

One of the biggest benefits I got was from disassembling the trigger return mechanism and carefully smoothing the inside surface of the trigger return channel. It is usually really rough in there and can make the trigger heavier and also gritty as the spring coils rub over that rough surface during a trigger pull. Once that is done, the trigger will still be heavy, but at least it will be smooth.

I have one of the .22LR SP101s that I love. The DA trigger is heavy--even after all the work I did on it, it's around 13lbs with the original springs. But it's a smooth trigger and very shootable. It's a great trainer for trigger technique that is also fun to shoot and economical.

The rimfire SP101s are at even more of a disadvantage for trigger pull as it takes more hammer energy to pop the rimfire primer and that translates directly to a heavier DA pull.
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Old November 24, 2022, 01:24 PM   #23
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Thanks for all the replies. I really like the balance and size of this little revolver. I carried it abit in a outside the waistband holster with a long shirt. I took it to shoot, and it is as everyone says. A very long trigger pull. Smooth but very long. So I dropped it off at a local gunsmith, and told him to do what he could. All and all a really nice little revolver that can be carried with ease.
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Old November 25, 2022, 05:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulfcowboy View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I really like the balance and size of this little revolver. I carried it abit in a outside the waistband holster with a long shirt. I took it to shoot, and it is as everyone says. A very long trigger pull. Smooth but very long. So I dropped it off at a local gunsmith, and told him to do what he could. All and all a really nice little revolver that can be carried with ease.
Glad your happy with it. Let us know how it is after the smith gets done with it.
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Old November 27, 2022, 03:51 AM   #25
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I have that size in .327 Federal. I mostly use it for longer-range plinking.

The advice on a trigger job is sound. I had one done locally plus an over-travel stop and it helped. It could still use some shims though. The hammer and trigger both have more lateral play than I'd like.

Since I'm not using this model as a CCW, I upgraded to a Hogue hardwood grip. It's remarkably comfortable in use. If you are carrying OWB on horseback, I'd recommend giving it a try.
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