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SP101 .22LR Review & Range Report

This is a discussion on SP101 .22LR Review & Range Report within the Range Reports forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; After buying my new SP101 .22LR 8-shot revolver this past week, I finally had the opportunity to take it for a spin at the local ...

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Old February 2nd, 2013, 09:53 AM   #1
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SP101 .22LR Review & Range Report

After buying my new SP101 .22LR 8-shot revolver this past week, I finally had the opportunity to take it for a spin at the local range.

I shot three brands of .22LR standard velocity ammo for a total of 175 rounds.

It's important to note that I did change two things on the gun prior to taking it to the range:

1) Installed #12 Wolff main spring (kept the stock trigger return spring as-is...the #8 Wolff trigger return spring was way too sloshy for me).

2) Installed a Hogue monogrip.

Pictures and performance notes below...

As it comes in the box.

Brand new w/ Hogue grip installed.

Range setup.

Remington 333 36gr HP bulk ammo @ 20ft. Ammo ran clean with minimal smoke. Also seemed to fit the best when inserted into the cylinder (did not have to coax it into the charge holes as much). Three misfires out of 50rds.

CCI 40gr standard velocity round-tip (lead) @ 20ft. Had to coax this ammo into the charge holes and it appeared to keyhole a tad upon target impact. A bit odd. Three misfires out of 50rds.

Armscor 36gr high-velocity HP @ 20ft. Also had to coax this into the charge holes a little, but experienced zero misfires. Round sent a bit more smoke than the rest, but no worries at all. Very pleased with its performance for my first time shooting this brand.


I am extremely pleased with this revolver. The trigger isn't nearly as bad as most make it sound. I do not know if this can be attributed to Ruger listening to feedback or if I just got lucky. Additionally, I found the Hogue grip to be useful with pinky finger placement and it added comfort to my shooting.

Sight acquisition is easy and the gun shot true to aim. I attribute my "low" shots to being new to the firearm and just needing a little practice. The rear sight pin did back out about 1/16" during my shooting session after the whole session was complete. I will probably put some blue loctite on the pin down the road to secure it completely.

About 75rds into shooting, I did experience some extremely light binding when snapping the cylinder into battery. It stopped after I cycled the cylinder in and out of the housing a few times and it was most likely caused by some powder residue and/or a slight break-in period. Either way, it stopped and never returned afterward.

I attribute the low number of misfires to .22LR just being .22LR. I conclude that the #12 trigger from Wolff is very reliable for this setup and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. I will most likely still do a polish job on the innards down the road, but I really don't have anything to complain about with regard to the action on the gun.

Overall, I find this gun to be a joy to own and shoot. It's accurate, extremely well-balanced, and it eats what you feed it with minimal complaints. If you can get your hands on one, I highly recommend that you pick it up.

I'm more than positive that this gun will give me years of enjoyment and service.

Last edited by Wristwatch; February 2nd, 2013 at 09:58 AM.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 12:00 PM   #2
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I had reliability issues with the #12 spring in my SP101. I did install the #8 trigger return sping in mine, and it feels fine with the factory mainspring. I have not done any internal smoothing or shimming of parts. The trigger is very nice in stock form as you mentioned in your other thread. I have ten 22 revolvers, and the SP101 is the best of the best. I like it better than my 4" 617, but it ties for the top spot with my 3" 317. Thats a remarkable little revolver.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 12:55 PM   #3
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I'd like to think that Ruger has addressed the trigger issue on the 22 LR SP, but two I've recently seen at various gun shops are even worse than the SP I had when they first came out. Still very much hit and miss, apparently, from one box to the next.

Looking good, there, as to groups. What you want are concentric groups. That tells you all chambers are in alignment. To me, that is every bit as important, if not more so, than group size in a revolver.

As to the misfires, could be the ammo and could also be the springs you installed. I would, as standard procedure, try it with different brands of ammo. If the problem persists, you might want to try hammer or shims or some polishing before going back to the factory springs. Smoothing things up can go a long way to avoiding those misfires.

As to the binding, be sure you are not getting residue under the extractor star or the forward lock. Doesn't take much.

Thanks for the report!
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 06:36 AM   #4
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Great thread. I just scored an SP101 .22LR yesterday; the ten day wait has begun. (Very logical, I have over a dozen pistols and revolvers, but this ten day wait will enable me to "cool down" in case I bought the little 22 in anger.) I was very impressed with the fit, finish, workmanship, and trigger of this little revolver and cannot wait to get it to the range to try it out. 9 days to go!

One bummer. There is not a .22 LR round to be had anywhere excepting for expensive hunting loads. I sure hope the supply chain gets going soon. (Glad I stocked up on three cases before the election.)
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 06:53 AM   #5
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Congrats! Nice shooting.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 08:54 AM   #6
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Very nice!

I shot a rental one a few months back and it was a sweet, if very dirty and abused, little revolver.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 03:25 PM   #7
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the ruger sp101 22 is a sweet revolver i love the gun
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Old August 4th, 2015, 03:29 PM   #8
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the sp101 22 kinda looks like an old school security six that i also own and love
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Old August 4th, 2015, 04:24 PM   #9
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Congrats on your new Ruger.
Mine is still stock and after reading this thread, I best be getting it out and getting it dirty again at the range.

22lr have started to hit the shelf again. Our Field and Stream had a "skid" of CCI Mini Mags, boxes of 300 rounds. Two box limit, but a SKID, I almost passed out.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 08:20 PM   #10
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FTF are no good, I had the same failure rate as you with ISMI springs but I can't deal with 3 or 4 out of 50 being "clicks". The action was nearly perfect, I even had my smith bob the hammer but I was still getting a "click" once every cylinder or two with any ammo including Federal and CCI Stinger, which are supposed to have the most sensitive primers.

I put a stock GP100 spring in,and had 100% ignition.

Went to an unknown weight Wolff spring, that I had in my parts box, and went through 2 cylinders of Aguila with no misfires but need to test it out more.

.22 LR "bulk" ammo can have misfires but 3-5 out of 50 is too many, it must be the springs are just a hair too light.

I used to fire 3-400 rounds during one session through my S&W K-22, mostly cheap bulk pack and out of several 1,000 rounds might have had a FTF or two with old stuff that was laying around.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:10 PM   #11
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I like that revolver a lot except for the small factory grips. The Hogue grips that you installed look like a nice improvement. Have fun with it.
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