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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently obtained an SP101 with 2 1/4" barrel. It is fun to shoot but it shoots high with pretty much anything I shoot in it, even lead .38 special, at 30 ft. .357 magnum shoots way high.

@ 30 ft., MagTech .38 Spec., 158 gr. LRN, supposedly at 760 fps, shoot about 2" high. I loaded some 158 gr. Speer LSWC over 4.5 gr. Unique. They shoot about 2" high as well. I have tried 125 gr. .38 Special ammo as well and it too shot high. I am loading some 158 gr. .38 Special with 4.0 gr. Unique, the lowest powder charge / power that I can find in the books. I suspect they too will hit high. What to do? What to do?

Is this normal for the SP101? I think I remember a string that suggests there may be three different height front sights available for the SP101. If this is true, where might I find those little jewels? I think I need a sight that is just a little taller.
 

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The three different sights they speak of, I think, are just indicative of the caliber gun they're meant for. .22, .32, and .357/.38 Special/9mm. The site I usually check first is Numrich (gunpartscorp is the website) - They're a godsend for tracking down certain parts.
 

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What type of sight picture are you shooting with a fine bead or using the height of your front sight blade. What's throwing me off is your suggestion that you need a front sight blade a little taller??? If your revolver is shooting high then you cut down in your sight picture!! I have a SP101 but mine is a 3 inch barreled .38 Special, my gun is very accurate from what few rounds I have shot thru it. I see that you have experimented with your reloads. This makes perfect sense as well, I am not aware of different front sight blades that vary in height for a SP101 unless you try like a big dot Meprolight front tritium blade?? Just a few thoughts I wish you good luck, hope things work out for you!!!
 

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What's throwing me off is your suggestion that you need a front sight blade a little taller??? If your revolver is shooting high then you cut down in your sight picture!![/QUOTE said:
Actually, the OP is correct, if shooting high, a taller front blade would indeed make him LOWER the muzzle of the gun to have the front sight level with the rear. But, if you are shooting high with many different loads consistantly, it might be your technique. I have the same pistol, and it has a pretty stiff trigger pull. Here is a chart that may help explain bullet placement. As a general rule, .38/.357's are regulated for 158 grain bullets to shoot on center.

 

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Maybe try some factory loads and/or have another shooter try it just for some more reference points.what sight is on it? The stock black ramp? I can't shoot worth crap with those on my GPs. Once I painted it, shots went from several inches low to right on POA.
 

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Just out of curiosity have you shot it at 25 yards? The simple answer is taller front sight blade but 2" doesn't bother me in a SD handgun. Just curious how far off it is with 158 gr 357 Magnums.
 

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Is this a néw gun or did you pick up a used one? Has the front sight been replaced or has someone worked on the firearm prior to your aquiring the gun? My first thought is trigger finger pad placement. Dry firing may determine where the elevating in occurring...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your feedback. I am trying to get to the bottom of this, which will probably require another trip to the range to carefully experiment with the ideas given here.

Although I am not highly experienced with .357/.38 Special, neither am I a stranger to them. I once owned a S&W Model 19 in .357 Magnum, and I owned a S&W Model 10 M&P in .38 Special. I was fairly competent with each of them and could shoot fairly nice groups at 25 yards. As you know each was picky with which ammunition it liked best. I currently own a Ruger Mark II Competition/Target and now the Ruger SP101 w/2 1/4" barrel. This is indeed my snub nose. It was bought on consignment, but it had never been altered or fired.

gqucool - I have the original wide flat blade. I shoot it with the front blade cutting the target in half. This last trip was my second trip to the range with it. First trip Was shooting off hand with a variety of commercial and hand loads. The second trip was all hand loads and shooting with hands resting on the bench so that I could get the best group possible to determine which loads performed the best.

Knucklehead46 - That is a very interesting chart and I could indeed be anticipating. I will keep that in mind on my next range outing. I am not sure that I was actually anticipating, as I have not done that with the other .38 Special or.357 Magnum, and I was shooting with hand resting on the bench the last trip out. I shot high on the first trip also and that was shooting with a two hand grip. I almost always use that stance. I will be super careful about anticipating the nest time out. [ I feel a special bond with you. My uncle used to call me knucklehead :) ]

slimjim9 - I have the original sights. I have shot some commercial .38 Special and .357 Magnum with the SP101. They shoot high as well. The .357s buck a bit, but I put Houge grips on it and the recoil is tolerable with the new grips. .38 Special is very comfortable. I think I will have someone else shoot it for comparison. Good idea.

terry_p - I have not shot it a .25 yards, but will try that next time out. I did not shoot 158 gr. commercial .357 Magnums, only hand loaded .357 Mag using hard cast truncated cone with 6.0 gr. Unique. (Note; I also hand load for my Ruger 77/357. Another great gun, in my humble opinion.)

DSP24 - The gun has the notched groove rear sight and the original front ramp sight. No modifications. As before, I am not new to handguns, but I will be very conscious of trigger placement and studiously avoid anticipating the shot. I like your idea of dry firing I will get some dry fire inserts next trip to the range/gun shop.

Again, thank you all for your suggestions. It is entirely possible that this is poor shooting technique, which would indeed be accentuated with a short barrel .38/.357. I bet that, with a bit of practice and experimentation, I will find the little revolver is just fine as is. Perhaps I will paint the front and back sights. My sister-in law likes to paint and has a good variety of colors.
 

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One thought would be to use a different sight picture, the so called 6 o'clock hold with the bull sitting on top of the sight. They say Ruger sights them in with 158 gr loads and being the part number for the .38 and .357 sights are the same would seem to indicate a slower speed akin to .38 would be better. The gun should shoot higher with slower velocities and heavier bullets. As others have mentioned one might obtain the front sight for a .22 or .32 as they should be taller due to the windage adjustable rear sight. You could then file the sight down to get the desired shot placement.
 

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One other thing to think about, based on my own personal experience, is that my S&W's have a far better / lighter trigger pull. Shooting my S&W is different that shooting my Ruger, the Ruger takes more effort. (This can be fixed, but so far, I'm just tellin it like it is.)

The second thing is, both of your S&W pistols mentioned have a longer barrel, hence a longer (and more forgiving) sight radius. A snub really has to be lined up right to hit the mark. By way of example, imagine a yardstick laid at an angle in front of you. The 1" mark represents a snub, the 3' mark represents a traditional length barrel. They are both on the exact same plane, and would both shoot in the same exact spot, but the 1" snub will only appear off a little, where as the 3' barrel would not even register in your sight picture and would be corrected before you ever took the shot.

I personally find that with snubs, reflex shooting is best. It's not a target pistol, and in the moment of truth, you most likely would not be taking a long precise aim. Point and shoot. Muscle memory and practice will prove astonishingly tight groups with a little effort. My S&W 640-1 amazes me every session, the SP 101, not so much (yet). But the SP101 is the workhorse built to take the abuse of thousands of rounds, and is FAR tougher than the Smith. The Ruger is also far easier on the hand. I love em both, and thats why I have em both. They each have a purpose, and are good at it
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
1965 R69S?

Knucklehead,
Is that a 1965 R69S I see in your picture? Is it yours? I completely restored one in 1977 and then, unfortunately, completely destroyed it in a motorcycle wreck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have been practicing the rapid fire with it, in addition to the attempt to find a good load. I find the .38 special easiest to shoot fast and accurately, probably because of the reduced recoil. I am going to experiment some more with powder loads and bullets before I settle on my SD load. I will most definitely experiment with the sight picture. It is probably the easiest and most effective solution, especially considering my eyes are not so good anymore. (I have changed to red dot or 2X scope on my MarkII for that reason.)

Practice will be with the lead 158 gr.LSWC or Lead Truncated Cone (LTC), as I have a lot of them and a lot of powder suitable to that type of shooting. I but I do not want .357 Magnum for self defense, due to the possibility of shooting through the wall hitting an innocent neighbor.
 

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What a lot of us have done is an easy trigger job and spring swap. My wife now loves her SP, before the trigger just wasn't to her liking. Also you can dry fire an SP101 without snapcaps per the owners manual.

Ruger SP101 Trigger Job Guide
 

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If you heel the lower back side of the grip, anticipate recoil, 0r have a loose grip
The pistol is going to shoot high. Naturally a bad sight picture will also contribute to the problem.
Don't think it's your problem but a very slow bullet will shoot a little high ( it's in the barrel longer.)--dwell time.
I can shoot off a rest and shoot higher and higher with just adjusting my grip strength.

Shoot the pistol off a good sand bag rest and or let someone else shoot the gun.
Forget 25 yards for now, self defense will mostly be from contact to 10 yards.

Sight picture should be dead on hold for defense shooting, forget the bulls eye 6 O-clock hold, it does not work unless the distance is specified and target size does not change. It's silly to think your going to guesstimate for all different shooting.

Lets say a 3" target at 5 yards gets you to the center with a 6 O-clock hold, How are you going to hit the center of a 5" target ?
guess 2" up ?,
and what happens if the distance changes and the target is a different size ??

You have about 1.5 seconds to clear cover garments and fire a combat accurate shot, no time to do calculations or think to much.
Good enough is a poor answer for self defense. You either win--or you loose.



If the pistol is just for tin can shooting it may be a little different.
 

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Knucklehead,
Is that a 1965 R69S I see in your picture? Is it yours? I completely restored one in 1977 and then, unfortunately, completely destroyed it in a motorcycle wreck.
Dawngazer, you have a good eye. And we have similar (parallel) lives it seems.............. That is a 1966 BMW R69/S. And it was "almost" destroyed in an accident this past Labor Day. I say "almost" because I rode it to my friends party on Sunday night, and got cut off by some idiot not paying attention. On Monday, I decided to ride my Dual Sport back to his house for a BBQ, and another idiot coming the opposite way did the infamous left turn right in front of me in the intersection, and hit me head on. That bike is now totaled, and I have a fair amount of damage to myself as well.... enough so that I have had to miss the last two months of work. Hit and run, driver kept going, tho he was eventually caught thanks to witnesses chasing him down and recording license plate.

Oh, and as a kid, my dad called me Knucklehead all the time. Imagine his surprise when I restored a 1946 Knucklehead.

Lastly, I have heard that you should never use reloads for self defense. The prosecution will claim that you were manufacturing special ammunition in anticipation of the event. Best thing is to find a good self defense load that performs well in your gun (store bought) and then do your best to replicate it... for practice
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dawngazer, you have a good eye. And we have similar (parallel) lives it seems.............. That is a 1966 BMW R69/S. And it was "almost" destroyed in an accident this past Labor Day. I say "almost" because I rode it to my friends party on Sunday night, and got cut off by some idiot not paying attention. On Monday, I decided to ride my Dual Sport back to his house for a BBQ, and another idiot coming the opposite way did the infamous left turn right in front of me in the intersection, and hit me head on. That bike is now totaled, and I have a fair amount of damage to myself as well.... enough so that I have had to miss the last two months of work. Hit and run, driver kept going, tho he was eventually caught thanks to witnesses chasing him down and recording license plate.

Oh, and as a kid, my dad called me Knucklehead all the time. Imagine his surprise when I restored a 1946 Knucklehead.

Lastly, I have heard that you should never use reloads for self defense. The prosecution will claim that you were manufacturing special ammunition in anticipation of the event. Best thing is to find a good self defense load that performs well in your gun (store bought) and then do your best to replicate it... for practice
Interesting point, one that I had not thought of. I will keep that in mind. I already have some magtec .38 Special, 158 gr. LRN bullets that shoot rather well. I think I will keep those for SD, and replicate with the cast lead bullets I already have. Thanks for the heads up.Note, I lost about 11 months of work due to my Motorcycle Accident. I had 7 other bikes since then, but gave it up a number of years ago.

Go with God.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I just installed a Meprolifht True-Dot Sure Shot front sight on my SP101 snub i.e. It is a bit higher so it may raise my point of aim a bit. I had to drill the new sight, but I was a machinist for a time and it was not difficult. I will post a range report, probably not until next week.
 

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I always see laser bore sights at the gun shop but never have used one. In a situation like this, would that be useful at all?
 

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Hi Dawn

Since this is a self-defense gun, exactly how high is it shooting at typical self-defense ranges using the stance, grip, ammo you plan to use, and a dead on sight picture? (And I agree with stand tall - that's what you should be using for that work.) That's what counts as far as POI. What the gun does at other distances with other ammo and so on is secondary.

Also, I find that even when just bracing my forearms or hands on a rest, the gun will shoot a bit higher than when I move to a standing position and no rest.
 
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