Optimized and race ready, Ruger's new SP101 Match Champion should hit the target with competitive wheelgun shooters.
Ruger has built great renown with its revolver lines. Single or double action, they’re known to be tough-as-nails and dependable as daybreak. Only thing was, until recently, if you were looking to race them, well you’d better break out your wallet.
That is because, for the most part, they required a bit of tinkering to make them competition ready. This changed in a big way a few years back with the New Hampshire gunmaker’s release of its purpose-built competition revolver — the 9mm GP100 Match Champion. And Ruger has followed up recently with a new model, which has plenty of potential for grabbing competitive shooters’ attention – if for no other reason than its caliber.
The newly released SP101 Match Champion is chambered for one of the most popular competitive revolver rounds, the .357 Magnum. This gives competitors an option that will make the major power factor each and every match. But Ruger has provided a litany of other reasons to give this shining thoroughbred a serious look aside from its chambering.
While the lively handling 4.2-inch full-lug barrel is what might catch most shooters' eyes, it’s what can’t be seen that really separates this revolver from the rest of the SP101 line. Ruger has given the handgun’s internals the works, polishing and optimizing the springs and hammer strut. Combined with trigger and hammer shims, the SP101 Match delivers a smooth double-action trigger pull complete with a consistent let off.
The revolver’s triple-locking cylinder has also been enhanced, chamfered to make reloads that much speedier. The barrel has been cut with an 11-degree target crown to ensure competition accuracy. And the gun comes outfitted with attractive Altamont hardwood grips that feature fairly aggressive stippling and checkered sides to facilitate a solid, positive grip no matter the conditions. Finally, the SP101 Match boasts a fully adjustable rear sight and a fiber optic front, which should give shooters a clear target picture, even on the fly.
Like the rest of the .357 Magnums in the SP101 line, the Match Champion variation holds only five rounds. This could put off some competitors, as it means they will be fighting the clock more with reloads than those wielding six shooters.
Given the extra work Ruger has poured into the SP101 Match Champion, it costs a hair more than the average revolver from the line. But with an $859 MSRP, the handgun is still a fairly affordable option for those looking for a revolver ready to race out of the box.
Ruger SP101 Match Champion
Grips: Altamont Stippled/Checkered Hardwood
Front Sight: Fiber Optic
Barrel Length: 4.20 in.
Material: Stainless Steel
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Twist: 1:16 in. RH
Finish: Gloss Stainless
Overall Length: 9.12 in.
Weight: 30 oz.