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SP101 22LR or S&W 617 22LR what is it gonna be?

This is a discussion on SP101 22LR or S&W 617 22LR what is it gonna be? within the Pistols & Revolvers forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; Let me set the stage. I'm new to the handgun craze and have made some inroads in building a collection, but I need or want ...


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Old October 19th, 2013, 04:06 AM   #1
 
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SP101 22LR or S&W 617 22LR what is it gonna be?

Let me set the stage. I'm new to the handgun craze and have made some inroads in building a collection, but I need or want a 22LR revolver. I have a Ruger 22/45 Lite Rimfire and a Ruger 5.5" Single Six Convertible 22LR/22Mag. I'm considering the SP101 and the S&W 617. Has anyone compared these two revolvers? Opinions are welcome. Thanks, Ed



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Old October 19th, 2013, 04:49 AM   #2
 
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I have a Ruger SP101 in 22lr. I like it a lot. I also like Smiths as well. If I had to do it all over again, I'd still spring for the SP. It just feels right for me. You may want to do a spring replacement and some polishing. The trigger is a bit stiff.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 04:55 AM   #3
 
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I have the S&W 517 & 617 in 4 and 6 inch barrels,they are very accurate target and hunting revolvers and trigger pull is pleaseant the sp 101 is a harder trigger to master and not as accurate in my opinion,The S&Ws can be harder to find because of their popularity.In addition I own a Ruger Redhawk 5.5 inch barrel 44 magnum and it it every bit accurate and pleaseat to shoot as the Smiths although I practice with 44 specials.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 05:41 AM   #4
 
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If you want accuracy go with the 617. My SP-101 (newer 4inch with fiber optic sight) was dismal in the accuracy department when I got it about a year ago. After a trip back to Ruger it is decently accurate now. Any of my 617s will out shoot it.

I sampled just about every 22LR round out there and even bought inserts for my Ransom Rest to make sure it wasn't me. The SP-101 is a handy light weight 22LR revolver but I never carry it. Always grab one of my more accurate 22LR revolvers.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 05:47 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 357Nut View Post
If you want accuracy go with the 617. My SP-101 (newer 4inch with fiber optic sight) was dismal in the accuracy department when I got it about a year ago. After a trip back to Ruger it is decently accurate now. Any of my 617s will out shoot it.

I sampled just about every 22LR round out there and even bought inserts for my Ransom Rest to make sure it wasn't me. The SP-101 is a handy light weight 22LR revolver but I never carry it. Always grab one of my more accurate 22LR revolvers.
I own an sp101 22lr and have never really had in issue with accuracy. ( I dont think) I never shot 1" groups with the thing, but always assumed it was me.

Just how accurate should one of these be? should I bench mine? What are you looking for, for you to consider it accurate? what size group and what distance?
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Old October 19th, 2013, 05:54 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 357Nut View Post
If you want accuracy go with the 617. My SP-101 (newer 4inch with fiber optic sight) was dismal in the accuracy department when I got it about a year ago. After a trip back to Ruger it is decently accurate now. Any of my 617s will out shoot it.

I sampled just about every 22LR round out there and even bought inserts for my Ransom Rest to make sure it wasn't me. The SP-101 is a handy light weight 22LR revolver but I never carry it. Always grab one of my more accurate 22LR revolvers.
Maybe I got spoiled on the Mark II & Mark III with accuracy. I was very disappointed in that reguard with a SP101 22LR. A trip back to Ruger didn't change anything so I sold it. I hope to get a S&W to try one day.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 06:16 AM   #7
 
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SP101 or 617? That is almost apples and oranges. The larger K frame S&W 617 is more or less a target grade revolver while the SP101 falls more in the class of a kit gun. The smaller size of the SP101 makes it a bit more difficult to master than the larger 617.
A more valid comparison would be the S&W 63 vs the SP101. Both are compact in size with good sights that are designed for easy packing with your tackle or hunting gear. Neither is intended for precise target work but are accurate enough for the intended purpose. Both are excellent revolvers that will last you a lifetime and then some. I don't think that you would be disappointed with either. My choice would be the SP101 because I do not care for the modern Smith and Wesson revolvers. Now, if I could find an 30or 40 year old S&W 63 or 34 kit gun at a decent price, that would change my mind.

Last edited by jdavis; October 19th, 2013 at 06:26 AM.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 06:34 AM   #8
 
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I was comparing SP101-22 and S&W63 several months ago. It was a unanimous decision between myself and my 2 sons to pick the 63 because its trigger and hammer are defintely lighter and smoother and the grip fits better in our hands. 2 months later I ended up buying S&W617 as well because I could never get the 63 out of the boys' hands. At that point, I think I would've gotten the SP for myself if it were available at my LGS because the 617 cost $275 more than the SP.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 12:42 PM   #9
 
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The 617 is a very nice and accurate gun. I bought one this year after waiting 5 months on it. If you go with the 617 make sure you check it out really good before buying it. Check for barrel cant,cylinder gap etc.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 03:05 PM   #10
 
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I have a 4" 617, and the new SP101 22 8 shot. They really are 2 different style revolvers. My 617 isnt spectacularly accurate as people whould have you believe. My SP101 is very accurate. I shoot the SP more, the 617 doesnt see much daylight. I simply like the size and proportions of the SP better. Either is an excellent revolver, both at the top of their class. Either will last several lifetimes, and provide great service. I also have a 3" 317, and if I could get a solid front sight for it, it might just be the best revolver of the 3 for the field.

I know you asked about two specific revolvers, but have you considered a Single Action? My Single Ten is unbelievably accurate. Its beautiful, and built to heirloom quality. And a few dollars less than the SP101-22
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Old October 19th, 2013, 06:51 PM   #11
 
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I get better with my sp101 .357 with every 100 rounds I put through my SP101 .22. Both are great revolvers though it takes a few rounds to get used to the triggers
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Old October 20th, 2013, 07:58 PM   #12
 
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I had a new 617-7 6", was so excited to get it.....then realized 3 of the chambers had late carry up and the gun was way too heavy for a .22. It wasnt even all that accurate. It spit lead, had a lousy DA pull and looked used when it came out of the box. I almost bought a Taurus (gasp) .22 revolver to save $300, probably would have been better off. For the record I have many S&W's, including 4 "new gen" models and love them but that 617 was a piece of crap. I contacted S&W and they told me to send it in but by that time I decided to just sell it, disclosing the carry up issue and take the $300 beating.

You want the Cadillac of .22 revolvers get yourself an older S&W K-22, very very nice.i have one from the 50's that I will never part with.

If I had to do it again I would have spent the $700 I dropped on the 617 on an older .22 SP101 and just experimented with springs and got an action tune until it was "right" I sold the 617 for a loss and will never again buy a NIB S&W. water under the bridge, I guess.....that's why I still play around with S&W's as range toys but I'm a loyal Ruger nut and will always choose their product over another. I would love a .22 SP101, old or new.

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Old October 22nd, 2013, 01:43 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdavis View Post
SP101 or 617? That is almost apples and oranges. The larger K frame S&W 617 is more or less a target grade revolver while the SP101 falls more in the class of a kit gun. The smaller size of the SP101 makes it a bit more difficult to master than the larger 617.
A more valid comparison would be the S&W 63 vs the SP101. Both are compact in size with good sights that are designed for easy packing with your tackle or hunting gear. Neither is intended for precise target work but are accurate enough for the intended purpose. Both are excellent revolvers that will last you a lifetime and then some. I don't think that you would be disappointed with either. My choice would be the SP101 because I do not care for the modern Smith and Wesson revolvers. Now, if I could find an 30or 40 year old S&W 63 or 34 kit gun at a decent price, that would change my mind.
Concur.

I have been shooting a 17 and a couple of 617s for several years. I also have a couple of 63, both 3" and 5". I got a SP101 .22 last year. I was very pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of the 101. It isn't much different than the others. All needed internal smoothing which I took care of. The Smiths can take lighter springs. No one seems to make lighter springs for the 101s with MIM parts yet, so I stuck with the original springs. It is a little heavy, but it is nice.

They really are intended for different things. The K frame Smiths are excellent range guns, but perhaps a bit heavy for carry in the field. The S&W 63 and the SP101 are both under 30 oz and make better carry guns, but the lighter weight may not be quite as steady at the range.

Your choice. Or you can just prioritize and get one then the other or get which ever is currently available getting the other when it becomes available.
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