Ruger's Time Machine


You can almost smell the stale coffee and cigarette smoke of a police detective’s
desk when you handle the blued-steel Ruger SP-101.

Whether gumshoe detective or guncrank writer, the words “revolver” and “reliable” are synonymous to these probing guys. There’s a reason some guns are destined to be classics before rolling off the assembly line.

What makes them classic, you ask? Simply put, they have style. They’re made the old-fashioned, old school, old memory kind of way. You know, back when blued steel wasn’t an option, it was your only choice. Same with wood grips. Short-barreled revolvers were king back then. Yes, old is cool!

My first experience to blued steel snubbies was as a rookie cop. I had to give information to the saltiest of salts, the station detectives, about a robbery. To a bald-faced rookie, these curmudgeons were investigative legends, not only having a “been there and done that” reputation, they had the look seeping through every pore.

Entering the DB (Detective Bureau) office, the smell of burnt coffee and cigarette smoke hit your sniffer. Each World War II-era desk had an overflowing ashtray, accompanied with a stack of case-files, on it. Every detective was wearing a wrinkled suit and looked as though they lived in the office. Some did.

To a man, all wore old leather holsters, probably older than me. These cops solved cases with their noggins. Most could have a suspect in tears by just staring at them, followed by a signed confession. They meant business, and they all carried a blued-steel snubby.

Tank proved that a snubby revolver can shoot if you do your part. He ran a
variety of ammo through it without a hitch.

Yesterday, Today

So how about those of us today who might want a classic-style blued snubby? Then check out Ruger’s SP-101, overbuilt in the strength and ruggedness department and able to withstand .357 Magnum pressures. And it’s available in blue! It’s no lightweight, though, weighing in at 26 oz. Overall length is 7.2" and height is less than 5". It’s capable of shooting either .357 Magnum or .38 Special cartridges, and is a five-shot shooter. MSRP is $719.

The rubber handles are stylishly accented with gorgeous checkered wood inserts, featuring the Ruger logo, while also providing cushioning to the hand from recoil. The left grip is recessed, allowing use of a speed loader, during hasty reloading.

Sights are as they should be on a pocket-pistol — low and subdued. The serrated front sight reduces glare and is securely pinned through the top rib, allowing for easy swap-out, if needed. The rear sight consists of a snag-free, hog-trough channel, milled out of the top strap.

A transfer-bar safety allows safe loading of five cartridges in the five-chamber cylinder with no risk of discharge, unless the trigger is pulled. The triple-locking fluted cylinder assures extremely tight lockup, providing top accuracy.

The full-lug of the 21/4" barrel adds needed heft, absorbing recoil while shooting Magnum loads and adds to the coolness factor in looks. A stainless steel hammer, trigger, transfer bar and star-extractor of the cylinder contrast nicely with the blued steel.

If you like classic revolvers, the new Ruger SP-101 in blued steel should be right up your alley.

Shootin’ The Shorty

Short-barreled guns can be just as accurate as their longer barreled compatriots, they’re just not as forgiving when it comes to sight alignment. Being just a smidge off can make a huge difference downrange.

I shot the Ruger at 50 feet from the standing position and loaded it with SIG SAUER 125-gr. V-Crown .357 Magnum, Black Hills 100-gr. HoneyBadger .38 Special +P, and handloads consisting of 170-gr. cast Keith bullets loaded over 13.0 grains of 2400 in .38 Special brass.

Groups ran in the 2" to 3" range, with most hovering around the 2" mark. This little piece is a shooter, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least! There’s enough light on either side of the front sight to provide a sharp sight picture, so I wasn’t too surprised by the results with the little gun.

If you want a high-quality snubby that’ll take you back to the good ol’ days of blued steel guns, then be sure to check out this Ruger SP-101.

For more info:, Ph: (336) 949-5200

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