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  #1  
Old 12-26-2018, 11:15 AM
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Default Ruger SP-101 Trigger Job, Shims, and Polish

I had some spare time over the holiday weekend to finally tear down my Ruger SP-101 to do a trigger job/polish and install shims for the trigger, hammer dog, and hammer.

While I was in there, I upgraded the OEM hammer spring to a Wolff 10# spring. I didn't like the anemic feel of the 8# trigger return spring, so I left the OEM one in for a more pronounced trigger reset.

I didn't bother with the Cylinder/Endshake Shims since my cylinder seemed fine.

Shims and springs ordered from:

https://www.triggershims.com/ruger_double_action.html



There are several YouTube videos on how to do this, so I will forgo instructions. You can look it up yourself.

Torn down. I finally found a use for the excess ads from the week.








Lapped and polished the trigger return spring channel and trigger parts. See the shine? Note that it's hard for the camera to pick up the polished parts of some of the parts. That's OK, just know that it was done. LOL






Last edited by code_blue; 12-26-2018 at 2:48 PM..
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:15 AM
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Trigger and Hammer Sears






Last edited by code_blue; 12-26-2018 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:18 AM
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Fine sanded the shims




Figured that I may as well polish the whole pistol as well. It's not a mirror polish yet, but it's a good start. I'll go over it by hand over the next few weeks as a therapeutic retreat.







Pistol was put back together using Lucas Red and Tacky #2 for critical wear parts (sear engagements points, trigger parts, any rotating parts like where the shims attached). The DA pull is nice and smooth, but not too light to allow for light strikes. This is why I opted for the 10# spring. I have read reports of the 9# spring having intermittent light strikes, so I opted for the middle weighted spring. The 12# was too heavy and not much better than the OEM.

Grips are Pachmayr Diamond Pro (#02483). I like that it provides a little cushion under the trigger guard. Shooting magnums are a bit more comfortable with these.

https://www.amazon.com/Pachmayr-0248.../dp/B00URUEIG0


It's shined enough to reflect a slightly blurred image. Look, you can see my finger reflecting on the frame.




Last edited by code_blue; 12-26-2018 at 4:48 PM..
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  #4  
Old 12-26-2018, 11:31 AM
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Nice work! I’ll be looking to do the same shortly!
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  #5  
Old 12-26-2018, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9mmContagion View Post
Nice work! I’ll be looking to do the same shortly!


Thanks for the kind words. The DA pull is really heavy and can be gritty on the SP101. It has been that way for all of the factory examples I've tried.

It is not necessary to go this far. You can simply change the hammer spring and call it a day, but if you're adventurous then by all means tear that puppy down and have at it.

Do be careful after the trigger group is pulled out. The trigger pawl has a small spring and plunger that wants to fly out. Do not pull the trigger when the group is outside of the frame.

These sites are good resources for spare parts in case you do loose something.

https://www.bevfitchett.us/ruger-sp1...pping-any.html

https://www.gunpartscorp.com/gun-man...rs-ruger/sp101


Last edited by code_blue; 12-26-2018 at 12:22 PM..
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:57 AM
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Dang now thatís a project! Nice job
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Old 12-26-2018, 12:32 PM
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MCarbo sells a trigger job kit too, but is missing in the Hammer Dog shim department and lacks the ability to customize the spring weights. I do not know who makes his shims or springs.

https://www.mcarbo.com/ruger-sp101-/...pring-kit.aspx





I do like that his site has detailed Ruger parts guides to aid the process. Very informative.

https://www.mcarbo.com/Printable%20I...Spring-Kit.pdf

https://www.mcarbo.com/2018%20Ruger%...rientation.pdf




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Old 12-26-2018, 12:48 PM
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Good write up. I have two I need to work on.
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Old 12-26-2018, 3:54 PM
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Excellent write-up and photos. It is fun doing your own work when you have the right tools and know how to improve the performance (like you did).

I have two SP-101s, one a recent .22 and the other a .38 Special from the first year of manufacture. It sat in my sisters dresser drawer with only a few 100 rounds through it when I bought it from her a couple of years ago.

I LOVE SP-101s, one of Ruger's finest revolver designs (as far as I'm concerned).

Dan
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Old 12-26-2018, 4:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bergmen View Post
Excellent write-up and photos. It is fun doing your own work when you have the right tools and know how to improve the performance (like you did).

I have two SP-101s, one a recent .22 and the other a .38 Special from the first year of manufacture. It sat in my sisters dresser drawer with only a few 100 rounds through it when I bought it from her a couple of years ago.

I LOVE SP-101s, one of Ruger's finest revolver designs (as far as I'm concerned).

Dan

Agreed, definitely Ruger's most balanced small framed revolver. I opted for the 3" specifically for the balance. The 4" was too nose heavy for the size and the snubby didn't do anything that the 3" couldn't for me. I also owned a Security Six 4" a while back, but it just didn't feel as nice in hand compared to the SP-101, so I sold it to a buddy.

I'm sure that you've noticed the heavier trigger on the rimfire variants. That was intentionally done to ensure solid ignition of the round. If you decide to do this to the .22LR variant, not that the parts are slightly different and your spring options change.

Best of luck and thank you for the feedback.
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Old 12-26-2018, 4:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by code_blue View Post
Agreed, definitely Ruger's most balanced small framed revolver. I opted for the 3" specifically for the balance. The 4" was too nose heavy for the size and the snubby didn't do anything that the 3" couldn't for me. I also owned a Security Six 4" a while back, but it just didn't feel as nice in hand compared to the SP-101, so I sold it to a buddy.

I'm sure that you've noticed the heavier trigger on the rimfire variants. That was intentionally done to ensure solid ignition of the round. If you decide to do this to the .22LR variant, not that the parts are slightly different and your spring options change.

Best of luck and thank you for the feedback.
Yes, noticed right away on the strong springs in the .22. I turned it over to an expert local 'smith and she did her magic and it is really nice and smooth now.

I'm not going to do anything to the .38, it shoots just fine as-is. Stupid accurate too, it is my go-to revolver for fun shooting (as well as my S&W 15-4 Combat Masterpiece).

Dan
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Old 12-26-2018, 4:44 PM
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I have contemplated changing out the front sight to a high viz type, but have read that the POI changes. This isn't exactly a target revolver, but if it aids my shooting I'll consider it.

Do you folks hold target style? I assumed that these little fellows prefer a combat sight picture given the intended purpose, but I could be wrong.
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Old 12-26-2018, 4:48 PM
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hahahaha, with Xmas freed time I did the same thing to my two Browning Buckmark.
- Kept the sear spring in the factory condition (did not do the Heggis spring swap).
- Sanding then polished and polished again.
- Used all the manufacturing part.
The triggers for both now are less then 2# (around 1.750#)

Sorry, I did not mean to side kick your post.
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Old 12-26-2018, 4:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie1234 View Post
hahahaha, with Xmas freed time I did the same thing to my two Browning Buckmark.
- Kept the sear spring in the factory condition (did not do the Heggis spring swap).
- Sanding then polished and polished again.
- Used all the manufacturing part.
The triggers for both now are less then 2# (around 1.750#)

Sorry, I did not mean to side kick your post.

Not at all! I have yet to work on a rimfire design, so the data is helpful. The only rimfire firearm that I own is a Sig Sauer 522, so it's not exactly the same as working on a revolver. I haven't decided on what I want yet or if I'll even get a rimfire pistol. Maybe the M&P22 or something familiar.

That reminds me, I found a leftover magazine for my old GSG 522 / MP5 clone in a long forgotten box. If anyone needs a spare mag, PM me.
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Old 12-26-2018, 6:11 PM
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Iíve been wanting an sp101 for a long time. Donít know if Iíd do all that, but the trigger spring for sure. Nice job getting it all back together.

And dude, crab for $6.99 a pound!!!


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Old 12-26-2018, 6:53 PM
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Meprolight Front Night Sight, trigger job and shims kit mostly like yours OP, polished frame and cylinder with top of barrel and frame sighting plane left matt, chopped barrel underlug, Altamont "Snake" rosewood grip panels in Altamont laser-cut checkered rubber Ruger grip:


You can see the checkered front of the rubber grip in this photo:
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Old 12-27-2018, 1:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rm1911 View Post
I’ve been wanting an sp101 for a long time. Don’t know if I’d do all that, but the trigger spring for sure. Nice job getting it all back together.

And dude, crab for $6.99 a pound!!!


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I've seen a few go for $500 in the classifieds. That's a good deal! Get one!


Quote:
Originally Posted by ojisan View Post
Meprolight Front Night Sight, trigger job and shims kit mostly like yours OP, polished frame and cylinder with top of barrel and frame sighting plane left matt, chopped barrel underlug, Altamont "Snake" rosewood grip panels in Altamont laser-cut checkered rubber Ruger grip:


You can see the checkered front of the rubber grip in this photo:
Oji, that's solid. The Altamonts are nice looking. I looked into those a while back, but figured they were the same grip size as OEM. Is that correct? I wanted a different grip angle from OEM because it affected my LOP/leverage on DA. Maybe it's not as bad after the trigger job, but I didn't try with the OEM grips. The Badgers seemed nice too, but I didn't like the extended LOP nor the lack of shock absorption.

You had the sight plane coated? I see that your hammer is black also. Could you provide a photo of that and the sight plane? I did question if the polished plane would affect shooting in bright conditions after tonight's polishing round. The top of barrel I left matte, but the top of the frame was slightly polished. You can see that the rear sight notches were also polished, but not to the degree of the sides.

I spent about an hour hand-polishing this evening. There was a pretty noticeable difference after. I think I'll continue this therapeutic retreat until I can shave using the reflection. LOL






Last edited by code_blue; 12-27-2018 at 1:24 AM..
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Old 12-27-2018, 4:59 AM
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Question on the polishing. Do you use Flitz or some other compound? I found Flitz to work okay but the substrate had to be pretty smooth or it would just shine up the fine grained machining marks.

Dan
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Old 12-27-2018, 7:36 AM
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Question on the polishing. Do you use Flitz or some other compound? I found Flitz to work okay but the substrate had to be pretty smooth or it would just shine up the fine grained machining marks.

Dan

I used Mother's metal polish, but the result is the same as your scenario. You have to keep at it until the surfaces are smoothed and even. Some folks accelerate this by using very fine sandpaper and oil to smooth the surface before polishing. The sanding part is important for the straight edges in trigger jobs.

You can kind of see the fine scratches on my cylinder. It's not fully smoothed out yet.
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Old 12-27-2018, 9:25 AM
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Originally Posted by code_blue View Post
I used Mother's metal polish, but the result is the same as your scenario. You have to keep at it until the surfaces are smoothed and even. Some folks accelerate this by using very fine sandpaper and oil to smooth the surface before polishing. The sanding part is important for the straight edges in trigger jobs.

You can kind of see the fine scratches on my cylinder. It's not fully smoothed out yet.
Excellent, thanks! I did something similar to an 1872 Open Top .38 Special single action a while ago (not polishing the exterior, but fine tuning the action):

Cimarron 1872 Navy Open Top-03.jpg

The result was remarkable. The action parts were accurately machined but had dings and rough surfaces. A few hours polishing things up and lubricating critical parts made this gun into a butter smooth tack driver. I did polish the brass trigger guard and back strp though.

Dan
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Old 12-27-2018, 9:55 AM
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code blue:

My SP is an early one, it came with a kind of a matt finish, not the line grain semi-polish of the current ones.
So, I just did not polish the top of the gun, I left it as original.
Someday I might cut the lengthwise lines in the barrel top like older S&W models, best done with a mill which I don't have, all other work you see was done by hand with a grinder and files.
I also painted black around the rear sight notch like yours has, to give the notch easier visibility.


Grips: I have three kinds.
Hogue: best for range / all day shooting but they move the gun up higher in your hand and lengthen the grip a bit, they do keep the original grip-to-gun angle that I like.
Uncle Mike's Boot Grips: most compact of all, best for carry, hard rubber, small size, same grip angle as original, not so much fun for shooting.
Altamonts: yes, these are the same as the original grips, just better looking.
The original grips really are a good design.
I go from one grip to the other depending on use and my mood LOL.
Badger grips and similar: I don't like the grip angle for most of these, too steep and Glock-like an angle for me, I prefer 1911 / SAA grip angle so the gun points naturally on target when I pick it up.

Hammer spur: covered with a piece of thin wall small-diameter black fuel line.
Have to warm it / stretch it / work it on.
Main reason for this is that the spur checkering is sharp and can cut up the surrounding materials where the gun normally resides as a ready-to-use HD gun.
it is nice on the thumb at the range, too.
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bergmen View Post
Excellent, thanks! I did something similar to an 1872 Open Top .38 Special single action a while ago (not polishing the exterior, but fine tuning the action):

Attachment 763848

The result was remarkable. The action parts were accurately machined but had dings and rough surfaces. A few hours polishing things up and lubricating critical parts made this gun into a butter smooth tack driver. I did polish the brass trigger guard and back strp though.

Dan
Very nice, Dan! I can see the brass coming back to life. I wish I had an old Buck 110 to restore just to see the brass shine. These projects are really satisfying, aren't they?



Quote:
Originally Posted by ojisan View Post
code blue:

My SP is an early one, it came with a kind of a matt finish, not the line grain semi-polish of the current ones.
So, I just did not polish the top of the gun, I left it as original.
Someday I might cut the lengthwise lines in the barrel top like older S&W models, best done with a mill which I don't have, all other work you see was done by hand with a grinder and files.
I also painted black around the rear sight notch like yours has, to give the notch easier visibility.


Grips: I have three kinds.
Hogue: best for range / all day shooting but they move the gun up higher in your hand and lengthen the grip a bit, they do keep the original grip-to-gun angle that I like.
Uncle Mike's Boot Grips: most compact of all, best for carry, hard rubber, small size, same grip angle as original, not so much fun for shooting.
Altamonts: yes, these are the same as the original grips, just better looking.
The original grips really are a good design.
I go from one grip to the other depending on use and my mood LOL.
Badger grips and similar: I don't like the grip angle for most of these, too steep and Glock-like an angle for me, I prefer 1911 / SAA grip angle so the gun points naturally on target when I pick it up.

Hammer spur: covered with a piece of thin wall small-diameter black fuel line.
Have to warm it / stretch it / work it on.
Main reason for this is that the spur checkering is sharp and can cut up the surrounding materials where the gun normally resides as a ready-to-use HD gun.
it is nice on the thumb at the range, too.
Ah, yes the older, matte finish SP101. I remember those. It was similar to a satin finish.

I'm glad that you noticed the blacked out rear notch. I didn't mention it, but that was one of the first things that I did along with painting the front post with two coats of white then two coats of orange. It really helps my eyes focus on that area.

I would also like the anti-glare serrations cut along the barrel at some point, but I don't know if the benefit justifies the cost of machine work, ya know? If I'm going to go all out, I may as well have them cut a dovetail for Novak rears like on the Wiley Clapp version or something similar.




Check out the Bowen Classic sights: https://www.gunblast.com/Bowen-SP101.htm






For the Hammer Spur, I will probably chop it down to a half-bob. More like a rounded or spade spur. I've seen a few examples online and it looks to be a good alternative to the long and sharp OEM. There was even an OEM half-bobbed hammer on a no-longer-produced variant, but IIRC the part is not available to purchase from Ruger. I can't seem to find an image of the rare model. It was a snubby variant for sure.

Examples:




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  #23  
Old 12-27-2018, 11:18 AM
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More things to think about and do.


The SP have proven to be excellent revolvers.
They are accurate, durable and nothing beats the crane lock up method.
I think the SP is one of the best revolvers ever made, regardless of price.
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