Ruger SP101 Match Champion
The Ruger SP101 made its debut in 1988. It was a small-frame revolver intended to be the stablemate for the GP100 that had supplanted the firm’s small Security-Six wheelgun. The SP101 was originally designed as a .38 Special, but according to the book Ruger & His Guns, defense expert Massad Ayoob convinced Bill Ruger it should be a .357 Magnum—albeit one that handled only the 125-grain .357 load.
In fact, 3,000 guns marked “357 Magnum, 125-grain ammo only” were produced. But obviously there are problems with such a critter, so Ruger designers lengthened the SP101’s frame and cylinder to create a true .357. Over time the SP101 has been chambered to .22 Long Rifle, .327 Federal Magnum, 9mm Luger and .32 H&R Magnum—the latter two chamberings discontinued. Guns with that kind of history always interest me, so when Ruger came out with a Match Champion version—one obviously aimed at the competitive shooter—I had to check it out.
The Match Champion features an adjustable rear sight and a serrated hammer spur. The front of the cylinder has a slight taper for easy holstering.
I like bright, flashy guns, and this one is stunning. The gun’s stainless steel has been buffed and polished to a chrome-like finish. I have been around guns long enough to know this kind of work is exacting, something left to experienced help. There is a slight difference in appearance between barrel and frame due to their configurations. Barrels are easy to polish, but the frame takes longer to touch up after the majority of work is done due to cylinder latches, sights and cylinder cranes. I rate the overall job as top notch.
Topside, the gun features the traditional Ruger adjustable rear sight, sans a white