At The 2018 SHOT Show, Ruger Unveils A Dandy

By Dave Workman

Gun and cartridges

At the recent Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT), writers got to sample some of the new hardware introduced by gun makers and the newest incarnation of their proven SP101 revolver is a dandy chambered for the sizzling .327 Federal Magnum.

It’s not the first time the SP101 has hosted the .327 Federal Magnum. When the cartridge was introduced about ten years ago, there was an SP101 built for it.

Workman on the line

This particular new specimen is all stainless steel with fixed sights, and a 3-inch barrel cut with five grooves on a 1:16-inch right hand twist. It has a brushed finish and the design features Ruger’s proven transfer bar.

Transfer bar close-up

The new SP101 in .327 Federal Magnum holds six rounds and has an exposed hammer so it may be fired single- or double-action. My short experience was convincing enough to suggest this revolver is going to have a warm reception.

I happen to like my wheelguns to have exposed hammers. This one would make a good choice for anyone needing a concealable carry gun that delivers a punch from a small package.


The .327 Federal Magnum is essentially a suped-up .32 H&R Magnum, which is also a good cartridge. It is capable of delivering muzzle velocities in excess of 1,300 fps with a 115-grain bullet, and that translates to powerful medicine for whatever emergency ails you. Indeed, that’s the kind of velocity one might see in a 9mm with a 115-grain bullet. Other loads clock faster, as my earlier experience with this cartridge has revealed.

Regrettably, I did not have the services of a chronograph to check the muzzle velocity of the ammunition.

The Federal Magnum’s case measures 1.20 inches, which is slightly longer than the .32 H&R, at 1.075 inches. Bullet diameter is .312-inch, same as the .32 H&R. Any revolver that chambers the .327 can also fire the .32 H&R, plus the .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long.

I’ve fired a fair number of wheelguns in .327 Federal — I happen to own a Ruger single-action in .32 H&R Magnum — and the .327 definitely delivers more horsepower than the .32 H&R. It could easily stop a coyote or feral dog, and maybe something bigger, and for a defensive round, it’s got what’s needed to discourage two-legged predators. More than a year ago, I got hold of a Ruger LCR in this chambering and it was also a decent handgun.

The .327 Federal Magnum is a flat-shooting round, even out of the SP101’s shorter barrel. In this revolver, which weighs 27 ounces empty, the .327 Federal Magnum is hardly uncomfortable to shoot. That may be due not only to the weight, but the rubber grip’s wide rear surface. I believe that a wider surface spreads recoil over a broader part of the palm, and that makes it a much more enjoyable shooter. Both grip panels feature a hardwood inset that is both handsome and functional.

Grip panels

At the SHOT Show range event, I managed consistent hits on targets out to 25 yards, and the gun-cartridge combination is capable of longer-range shooting if one applies the time and practice. With an MSRP of $749, this one is a keeper.

Weatherby’s Big Move A Win For Wyoming

On the first day of the SHOT Show, industry icon Weatherby announced that it will move its entire operation out of California and to the much more welcoming environs of Sheridan, Wyoming.

Insider Online spoke with Ed Weatherby, who revealed that the company began searching for a new home about three years ago.

“We looked at several western states,” he said, but Wyoming seriously wanted this company to put down roots in the Rockies.

Last year, the company began working with Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead’s administration and the Wyoming Business Council (WBC). The result is an arrangement that demonstrates the Equality State’s commitment to bringing business to the state, especially the kind that Weatherby represents. It’s a good pairing of a western lifestyle and a legendary company that will provide 70 to 90 jobs and an annual payroll of about $5 million, according to published estimates.

Weatherby was founded in 1945 by the late Roy Weatherby. His high-end rifles and shotguns became prized by sportsmen and women around the world.

According to published reports, the WBC worked with the Sheridan Economic and Education Development Authority Joint Powers board. Together, they put together a grant package totaling $12.6 million, and Weatherby is investing about $2 million.

Weatherby told Insider Online that the building still has to be constructed, which will happen over the next year. He is hoping the move will be completed by the second quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, California will be out the revenue, but since the Golden State Legislature has been nothing short of hostile towards the firearms industry in recent years, state lawmakers may think they’ve won some kind of victory. The timing is perfect for Weatherby, considering that some California legislators want to tack a tax surcharge on companies making more than $1 million, according to SFGate.

But one look at the revenue estimates from the WBC put things in perspective. That group expects more than $7.4 million in additional state and local taxes, more than $164 million in direct and indirect supported payroll, and $124 million in household spending for Wyoming. That’s money the anti-gun California Legislature can kiss goodbye.

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5 thoughts on “At The 2018 SHOT Show, Ruger Unveils A Dandy

  1. Cliff

    I don’t know why anyone would want to stay in California with the government that’s running that state; I won’t even go there, they suck!

  2. cisco kid

    The arms industry keeps beating a dead horse of a cartridge. No one has ever wanted it or needed such a cartridge.

  3. Jim L

    I hate to disagree with you Cisco but it’s a versitle revolver. +p power or a great starting gun for those who are recoil sensitive with the SW 32. If your opinion is based on not trying it or not testing it your opinion is just a statement and doesn’t matter. I have tested it and am very pleased with the results and the versatility. If I tested it and thought it was junk or useless I’d say it but my findings say otherwise.

  4. Billca

    I’ll disagree with Cisco too. Revolvers chambered in .32 H&R/.327 Mag carry six shots, not five, in the same size package as most 5-round snubs. Add a cartridge that whips a 100 grain or larger bullet out of a 3″ snub barrel at over 1400 fps and it compares favorably to the energies developed by the .40 S&W and .45 ACP rounds. Quite an accomplishment. I’d like to see how an all-copper JHP (hello, Barnes?) performs out of this package. With longer barrels, like a Ruger SA, it works for Coyotes at reasonable handgun range.

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