Ruger’s Latest Wheel Gun: SP101 in 9mm


Ruger’s Latest Wheel Gun: SP101 in 9mm

So you wish you could shoot 9mm ammo in a less-convenient way than a semi-automatic pistol? Perhaps you have grown weary of loading magazines instead of moon clips, and you wish your 9mm handgun cost more. If any of that sounds like you, then you might just fall in love with Ruger’s latest version of the SP101 double action revolver, chambered for 9mm Luger.

As you can tell, I might be a little pessimistic about this one.

The main drawback of using 9mm ammo in a double-action revolver is that the case is rimless.

(Photo © Russ Chastain)
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

This is a rifle round, but I had the photo handy and it makes the point. The lower arrow points to the case rim (yep–rimless rounds do have rims), while the upper arrow points to the case body adjacent to the rim. Both parts of the case are the same diameter, so the case is called “rimless.”

Because the rim doesn’t stick out farther than the case body (as it does on rimmed cartridges), there’s nothing for the extractor to pull on, to extract the empty cases from the revolver’s cylinder.

When rimless cartridges are used in a double-action revolver, they are often used with moon clips… and the new Ruger includes 3 full moon clips with each revolver. You clip five rounds into each full moon clip, then load the whole shebang into the cylinder. Close cylinder, go bang-bang, open cylinder. When you push the ejector rod, the extractor pushes against the moon clip, and out it comes with all the empty cases clipped into it.

On the plus side, you won’t have to chase your empty brass.

If you think this sounds like a pain, you’re correct. Shooting a 38 special revolver is heaps more fun and easier to do, but if you disagree, warm up your wallet for the MSRP of $719 for this little wheel gun and get ready for some fun.

Manufacturer Specs

  • Ruger SP101 Model: 5783
  • Cartridge: 9mm Luger
  • Grips: Black Rubber, Black Synthetic
  • Front Sight: Black Ramp
  • Barrel Length: 2.25″
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Finish: Satin Stainless
  • Capacity: 5 rounds
  • Rear Sight: Integral
  • Twist: 1:16″ RH
  • Grooves: 5
  • Overall Length: 7.20″
  • Weight: 25 oz.
  • CA Approved: No
  • MA Approved & Certified: No
  • Suggested Retail: $719.00

What do you think? Will this be a winner or a loser for Ruger?

Avatar Author ID 61 - 378958687

Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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