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Old September 17, 2012, 03:24 PM   #1
Billy Shears
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Shooting the SP101 Accurately

I own an SP101 revolver (chambered in .327 Federal Magnum) and the thing is giving me fits. I can't decide if the problem is with me or with the gun, whether this is a training issue or a mechanical issue, or simply just a short sight radius issue, but for whatever reason I cannot get this thing to group.

I shoot three times per week, roughly 1,000 handgun rounds per month year after year and can keep my 1911 or S&W M&P45 groups all in the same ragged hole at 10 yards all day long. Today I shot multiple 10 round groups from the M&P at that distance that left nothing but a half-dollar sized hole in the paper and no flyers.

Shooting the SP101 (even in single action) at a target tacked up next to the M&P target I could just barely cover all six holes with my hand. I repeated this process until I ran out of ammo, but same thing, every time. The M&P puts all 10 shots touching one another and the SP101 throws 6 all over the paper.

I've tried several different loadings, through nearly 1,200 rounds so far, plus plenty of dry-fire practice at home, but I'm not seeing any improvement. And I'm beginning to be discouraged. I've always enjoyed shooting revolvers, especially the part about not chasing brass all over the range, but this one is not making me happy and I'm tempted to trade it off and be done with it. I have other Rugers, a GP100 and a New Vaquero that shoot dead-on, but this little SP101 isn't getting the job done.

Any insight or advice appreciated. Thank you.
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Old September 17, 2012, 03:39 PM   #2
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Have you mic'd the cylinder throats? You may have a couple of small ones. Generally, when a revolver won't shoot, I start looking at the cylinder throats, then the forcing cone, then the spot in the barrel just under the threads. Finally, the muzzle. What we want is for the bullet to be well-centered as it goes through the cylinder throat and hits the forcing cone, then starts to traverse the barrel. If you have a small cylinder throat, the bullet is swaged as it goes through and hits the forcing cone undersized. Bullet fit is everything in a revolver.
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Old September 17, 2012, 03:44 PM   #3
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I'm not a big revolver guy... but in 1990 I did buy a SP101, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
It shot almost exactly like the gun you've described. I couldn't shoot a 2" group from 5 feet, let alone 50 ft.

Gave it back to Ruger. Long story short, the cylinder timing was off... in that the chambers were out of alignment with the barrel by a bit over .035".
Gun was returned, fit with a new cylinder, and was a 2.5" gun with anything I ran through it from that point forward.

Not saying this is your issue, but it's something to look at.

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Old September 17, 2012, 03:46 PM   #4
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As the others are alluding to, I would start by doing single shots from one cylinder repeatedly and see if those group for you. By a process of elimination you should be able to isolate the cylinder(s) that needs work, if that is indeed the issue.
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Old September 18, 2012, 10:53 PM   #5
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You seeing the front sight OK? The factory front sight on the SP101 gave me fits for years. Finally had an XS Big Dot installed. Much better now.
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Old September 19, 2012, 12:17 PM   #6
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Try this experiment - put the target fairly close, say 5 yards, and concentrate only on squeezing the trigger the same each time.

Don't bother re-aligning the sights after the first shot, just squeeze off the rest smoothly, one right after another, so you don't have a chance to make any deliberate changes to your stance, etc.

You may be surprised to find a fairly small group. If so, it may not be the gun, but rather you may be unconsciously trying to compensate for a longer and/or heavier trigger pull, anticipating the hammer drop, or moving the gun around a bit while trying too hard to 'place' each shot.

If you still get large groups while making each shot consistent and not caring about 'perfect' shot placement, there may be some problem with the gun so it should look forward to a trip back 'home' to Ruger for a look-see.
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Old September 19, 2012, 12:40 PM   #7
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I like the "same chamber" idea.
If that doesn't do it, wellllll...............
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Old September 19, 2012, 03:44 PM   #8
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PawPaw gave some great advise, but you can also try some different bullets and powders. I've had good results in my .357 shooting .358 sized bullets with a moderate load.
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Old September 19, 2012, 05:33 PM   #9
Billy Shears
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I'll try these suggestions. Thanks to all who offered advice. You're a great bunch.
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Old September 19, 2012, 06:58 PM   #10
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I have the same gun as yours but mine is very accurate at 20 yards. I'm sure something is wrong with the cylinder or forcing cone.
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Old September 19, 2012, 07:03 PM   #11
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Several obvious questions, you are adapting your grip from the auto to revolver, and have you asked another qualified shooter to try shooting it? If you answer yes to these then I have to agree with everyone else. you need to start looking at possible mechanical problems.

Good luck.
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Old September 19, 2012, 10:52 PM   #12
Billy Shears
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Yep. After shooting some more rounds, I think I have to confess that the problem is the indian, not the arrow. These short sight radius revolvers are tougher to shoot than the long barrelled semi-autos I've shot my entire life. Humbling. It takes practice to develop these skills. Thanks again for all the helpful input and advice.
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Old September 20, 2012, 12:37 AM   #13
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I have a sp101. & SWMP 40C .When I go to the range I only shoot that type of pistol revolvers or autos. Then I can do better with my shooting without going back and fourth it causes me more trouble than it's worth .
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Old September 20, 2012, 02:07 AM   #14
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Have you tried different ammunition?
Or, have you stuck with the same load for everything?
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Old September 20, 2012, 03:16 AM   #15
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What kind of accuracy do you need for a "belly-gun ???
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Old September 20, 2012, 10:00 AM   #16
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I bought a 3" a couple of years ago. It averages 3-4" groups at 20 yards depending on the ammo. Not great, but fine for this type of gun IMO. I think I'd send yours back to Ruger.
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