Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    Hello All- Happy New Year.

    So- to start the year out right - we go out and buy the lovely Mrs. Traveler a new Ruger SP101 in .357 Magnum.

    What could be bad? They're great guns, everyone loves them, and revolvers never jam. Right?

    Wrong.

    The gun is four hours old (to us) and hasn't even been cleaned yet let alone fired. Right out of the box, dry firing, after less than 50 trigger cycles - it locks up!

    Now granted, I don't know a lot about wheel guns, so before I call Ruger tomorrow at 8:00:01 AM (FAX is already sent) maybe someone can offer some words of wisdom to calm me down.

    When the trigger is partially pulled and allowed to reset, the cylinder rotates to a position between two chambers. At that point pulling the trigger locks the gun up. The trigger stops halfway, the hammer stops at half cock and it will stay that way unless you manually rotate the cylinder back into lockup. (The lockup feels a little sloppy too.)

    I have little doubt the gun will have to go back to Ruger in NH. (After I speak to them I'll call the dealer- my guess is all they'll do is ship it to Ruger for me.)

    Is this operator error on my part? Suppose Ruger says they've fixed it. Would you ever be confident enough to carry this gun? Maybe after 1000 trigger cycles with no failures of any kind?

    I hate to think I just bought a multi hundred dollar paper weight.
    Last edited by PA Traveler; January 2nd, 2012 at 11:58 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    I'm not sure, but I think that SUCKS!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    Nothing is wrong with the gun, Revolvers are not supposed to be rotated to a half cock notch between cylinders, older revolvers could be done like that so the firing pin could rest between cylinders, that were the days before the automatic firing pin block were invented on revolvers.

    What is happening is that the hand is getting hang up on the star instead of falling back inside the frame locking up the cylinder.

    A modern d/a revolver must be operated with the trigger , if not you can have that problem, .

    i own 6 d/a revolvers and i have created the problem you mentioned.

    You need to actually shoot that gun , its the only way to know if you really have a problem.
    Alll guns (and i am guilty of this myself) can fail in the living room, you need to shoot it. THen post back .

    Sending it in to Ruger , Ruger will just test fire it and send it back to you as fixed.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    Nothing is wrong with the gun, Revolvers are not supposed to be rotated to a half cock notch between cylinders, older revolvers could be done like that so the firing pin could rest between cylinders, that were the days before the automatic firing pin block were invented on revolvers.

    What is happening is that the hand is getting hang up on the star instead of falling back inside the frame locking up the cylinder.

    A modern d/a revolver must be operated with the trigger , if not you can have that problem, .

    i own 6 d/a revolvers and i have created the problem you mentioned.

    You need to actually shoot that gun , its the only way to know if you really have a problem.
    Alll guns (and i am guilty of this myself) can fail in the living room, you need to shoot it. THen post back .

    Sending it in to Ruger , Ruger will just test fire it and send it back to you as fixed.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    I had a similar out-of-the-box problem with a S&W 686, and if I recall correctly, the problem was the cylinder hand/pawl spring.

    I also had a failure with a new Uberti Cattleman. That was associated with the cylinder pin.

    I've had other revolvers, new and used without problems, but:
    Considering that revolvers represent about 5% of my gun purchases, but account for very near 100% of the problems (and absolutely 100% of the new, out-of-the-box failures), I'll never buy another.

    AFAIC, unless you plan on carrying a gunsmith in your pocket, a revolver is more likely to produce a total firing stoppage situation than a semi-auto pistol. Again, that's just based on my experience and opinion.
    Last edited by marks; January 3rd, 2012 at 02:28 AM.
    "I don't care what went wrong. I beat the snot out of it until it works" - Clint Smith

  6. #6
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    Default Re: NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    Thanks both. MRNYMAN just to be clear, the issue happened only by operating the trigger. I never touched the cylinder until the trigger refused to cycle all the way through the pull and the hammer failed to drop. Only then did I rotate the cylinder until it clicked back into lockup.

    Marks, based on your comment, is it fair to say you would not rely on a revolver for home defense or carry? Anyone else agree / disagree?
    Last edited by PA Traveler; January 3rd, 2012 at 08:02 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    Quote Originally Posted by PA Traveler View Post
    Now granted, I don't know a lot about wheel guns....Is this operator error on my part?
    Yes. By stroking the trigger only partially, the hand advances the cylinder through less than the full amount required to bring the next chamber into alignment with the firing pin. Stroking the trigger again in this condition causes the hand to fail to engage the cylinder properly and the cylinder will not rotate. It will feel like it's "locked up".

    What you describe is quite normal for a double-action revolver. In order to fire the weapon you must stroke the trigger completely. I'm sure when you understand how a revolver works, you and your wife will enjoy it.

    Also, do yourself and your gun a favor; get some snap-caps for dry-firing. They will allow practice without abusing the hammer and firing pin.

    --Phil

  8. #8
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    Default Re: NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilB View Post
    Also, do yourself and your gun a favor; get some snap-caps for dry-firing. They will allow practice without abusing the hammer and firing pin.
    --Phil
    Here is what Ruger says about this. This is copied directly from the Ruger manual for the SP-101:

    “Dry Firing” is practicing the trigger pull of the empty revolver for practice and
    familiarity. The SP101 revolver can be dry-fired without damage to the firing pin
    or internal components.
    Be sure that the revolver is unloaded before handling. Be sure of your bullet
    stop, even when dry-firing for practice. Do not dry-fire the revolver with the plastic "safety disk" on the cylinder.
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

  9. #9
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    Default Re: NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    Quote Originally Posted by marks View Post
    AFAIC, unless you plan on carrying a gunsmith in your pocket, a revolver is more likely to produce a total firing stoppage situation than a semi-auto pistol. Again, that's just based on my experience and opinion.
    Can you back this up with any other evidence other than your own experiences?

    If it goes by experiences only, then I can counter with this: I have been shooting revolvers since 1965 (shooting my fathers Colt Frontier Scout). I currently own 14 revolvers, none of which have ever had a problem. I used to shoot PPC, which at the time was revolver only. It is now both revolvers and semi autos. I never had a failure with my revolver during competition (320 rounds shot) or during practice (which was 700 to 1000 rounds per session).

    How long has the revolver been around? If they were that bad why didn't they fade from the picture a long time ago? How many police departments carried (and still do) revolvers over the years?

    I carry a revolver the majority of the time as my carry gun. It rotates between a Ruger SP101, LCR, or Speed Six. When I carry an auto, it is more often than not a 1911.

    My self, I would bet my life on my revolvers (but that may be because I am VERY confident in my revolvers and my abilities with them).
    Last edited by Xringshooter; January 3rd, 2012 at 09:52 AM.
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

  10. #10
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    Default Re: NIB - SP101 -Malfunction?!

    I bought two used Ruger revolvers, a 2 1/4" SP101 .357 mag. and a 4" .357 Speed Six. Both were well used when I got them and I have shot them often, never a problem with either of them.

    To your confidence question, my first carry gun was a Kahr CW9. After a few thousand rounds the trigger bar had broke. I sent it back to Kahr and they fixed it no charge but I no longer had confidence in the gun. Even though the thought was all in my head, I mean when you have car problems you fix them and drive the car again right, I just didn't have the confidence in the gun anymore.

    Been carrying the SP101 ever since. I don't want to carry anything I don't have 100% confidence in, that could lead to hesitation on my part and get me killed.



    .

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