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First edition Ruger SP101 22LR

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Old 09-04-2016, 02:36 PM   #1
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First edition Ruger SP101 22LR

Ever wanted a particular gun when it was being produced, but before you could get around to buying it, it was discontinued?

The original Ruger SP101 in 22 LR was one of those guns for me. No, not talking about the current 8 shot version of the SP101 22LR with FO sights. I'm talking the original 6 shot 22 LR SP101 with the more basic SP sights. Here it is. (There was a rarer full lug version, too.) Bought at a gun show from a dealer who had it on consignment from a Ruger collector. New in the box, made in 1992.





So what's the story on the original 6 shot 22 LR SP? The first SPs arrived on the scene in 1989, but production numbers for the 22 LR version were very low and Ruger dropped the 22 LR offering in 2004. These original 6 shot 22 LR SPs were darn hard to find at the time. I know, because I had been looking to no avail. Guess Ruger figured the SP was all about the 357 mag and, of course, the SP was built around that cartridge.

The SP proved to be an enormous success for Ruger, though, and as popularity grew, SP shooters started to ask for an SP in 22 LR to go along with their 357 SP. Ruger answered by bringing out the current 8 shot version in 2010.

Enough history, let's take a closer look at the gun. The most remarkable thing about this gun, other than actually finding one after all these years, is the trigger. Absolutely, the finest trigger in both SA and DA that I have found on any small frame revolver and I've had my share of classic Smiths. What can I say? Either I got lucky or, as I suspect, the collector had a trigger job done by a pro. Either way, 100% reliable with a variety of ammo, though. No light strikes.

Sights are very basic, with the rear leaf being adjustable for windage, but not elevation. Very low to the bore, so very much designed for a holster. Also, as I will show you, there is an advantage to having slights so low to the bore.



I don't think this SP is any more or less accurate than other small frame 22 revolvers, but that excellent trigger does make it seem so. Another plus is that it shoots just about anything we fed it, well, with good old Federal Automatch doing the job on the following targets.

Here's my first 16 yard target. No tweaking to windage, but using a dead on hold on the center of the bull with Federal Automatch, you can see I was a touch high, as per the circled group. To stay in the bull at 16 yards, I had to use a six o'clock hold.


Really loved shooting this gun and so did Bill. Wonderful plinker. Once I got on to how it liked to be gripped, decided to go for it and do some 25 yard work. Notice, now, that the POI has shifted just a bit. To stay in the bull at 25 yards, I had to use a dead on hold, instead of a six o'clock.


Now, at 10 yards, Bill found that a dead hold was what was needed. So, from 10 yards to 25 yards, I could probably use a dead on hold and still maintain minute of beer can accuracy. That's why I like sights low to the bore. You can move around quite a bit and not have to worry about drastic changes in POI that occur with sights that sit high off the bore.

As for those grips, have a set of wooden inserts on order. The black plastic have to go.
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Old 09-04-2016, 03:49 PM   #2
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NCG.......You have an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time. Your local gun store must be a honey trove of awesome guns, and gun traffic. Maybe some day you will find the full lug model to make this collection perfect. Congrats and good shootin'. Interesting thoughts on the trigger. Find that full lug and compare triggers.
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Old 09-04-2016, 04:03 PM   #3
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Thanks, Ridge. What I want to find the most is one of these in 32 H&R. I know they have had a couple of versions in 327 and, of course, you can shoot 32 H&R in the 327, but love the 32 H&R and would prefer the original.
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RidgeRunner View Post
NCG.......You have an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time. Your local gun store must be a honey trove of awesome guns, and gun traffic. Maybe some day you will find the full lug model to make this collection perfect. Congrats and good shootin'. Interesting thoughts on the trigger. Find that full lug and compare triggers.
She is the gun whisperer. These beautiful firearms find her.
That is a great shot of the cylinder shows how well made the Ruger is.
I saw one of the .327 models at a gun show a few years ago. It was a beauty and I was very tempted.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:52 AM   #5
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A great find! And looks to be a great little shooter!
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by north country gal View Post
Ever wanted a particular gun when it was being produced, but before you could get around to buying it, it was discontinued?
Speaking of that, ever had one of these .327 GP-100's?
http://www.gunbroker.com/item/580891951
I remember you said you had a .327 SP 101. The used GP's sell for basically double the price of a brand new .357. I always wonder why if they were so unpopular that they had to be discontinued, they are now worth over $1000. I was thinking of making a serious bid on this one, but I wasn't going to go that high. I thought it might be a good fast shooter for my local combat league, loaded up with some 32 S&W longs. The only disadvantage would be having to load 6 shot strings in the 7 shot cylinder, especially for the final quick reload target. I still really want a .327, but the Single Seven is about the only one that's reasonably interesting and reasonably available.
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:19 PM   #7
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Congrats on getting a fine looking SP. Good job finding one NIB.
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Old 09-05-2016, 04:48 PM   #8
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Thanks, as always, folks.

Shaky, I do remember the 327 GP and I think there may have also been a Blackhawk in 327. Not really interested, since I have the Single Seven, now. Not about to pay those prices because I think there is a chance that Ruger may bring one or both back in 327 at some point. Then, too, I prefer my 32s in a smaller revolver like the Single Seven.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:29 AM   #9
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Another nice find for the lucky lady!

I like the barrel shape and sights on your first edition better than the current model. Adjusting elevation is nice, but I could live without it and the humongous front sight on mine. Still a good gun, though. Ideally, the quick change front sight plunger of the GP-100 would be great on the SP.

From what I understand, repairs could be something of a headache, as some of the action parts are different between the two .22 SPs. But we know Rugers rarely break....

Last edited by bearcatter; 09-06-2016 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:19 AM   #10
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I prefer the smaller sights, too, if for no other reason than looks.

You're probably right about possible parts issues, but I'll take my chances. Not really any different than buying any old gun, I guess. Be hard to imagine something breaking on this little tank of a revolver, though.
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