Range Report: Ruger SP101, a Thousand Rounds Later

Four years ago, I purchased a NIB Ruger SP101 w/3 1/16” barrel. Primarily an S&W revolver shooter, I have to admit being very pleasantly surprised at the little Ruger’s performance as I mentioned in my first range report on this petite shooter, which was also used in a report on then-new Corbon 125-gr. DPX ammunition.

Prior to these reports I had not really put more than a few hundred rounds through the SP101. Some were .38 Specials but most were .357’s. Though while a police officer I fired thousands of 38’s through revolvers chambered for the magnum, it is a practice I’ve just never really liked. For the first report, I did include some .38 Special loads because they are frequently chosen and used in SP101’s chambered for the magnum; I believed some would be interested in that aspect of this revolver’s performance.

Since that time, I have not really shot this little thing all that much; just a box-or-two-here and a few rounds there sort of thing over the years. Checking over my ammo supplies and rather skimpy notes on this revolver, I’ve fired at least a thousand .357 Magnum loads since the last report. These would include factory as well as handloaded ammunition. Most were full-power but some were at midrange power levels.

By the time I did the original SP101 report, I’d pretty much decided to keep it. My SP101 remained stock as the proverbial stove, but recently it was lightly-personalized. I won’t use the term, “customized”, because alterations are quite minor.
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CZ-97 Review and Range Report:

I now understand the cult like following of CZ. I walked into my local shop and there was this beautiful large size CZ-97. I am a revolver fanatic but this semi auto caught my eye. The dealer acquired this through an estate auction. The CZ-97 did not have a scratch on it and according to the estates logbook, which was also acquired by the dealer was never fired.


The CZ-97 is a very large pistol but due to my massive hands the grip feels just right to me. To put this in perspective the grip of an S&W 686 feels a little small in my hands. CZ introduced the CZ-75 in 1975 hence the “75” as part of it’s model number. This pistol is a 9mm platform and has captured the hearts of many shooters around the world. Ceska Zbrojovka “CZ” introduced the CZ-97 in 1997 with the hopes of creating another cult like following like they had with the CZ-75. Unfortunately for CZ this never came to fruition. Though not a complete failure I attribute the lack of excitement and following of the CZ-97 to its size. This pistol holds 10 rounds staggered within the magazine, which contributes, to the size of the grip/frame. Though there is a positive side to the size of this pistol, it is a very soft shooter for 45ACP.

Comparing the CZ-97 to a Smith & Wesson 1911 there is not much of a weight difference.
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Range Report & Review: Springfield Armory Loaded Stainless 1911

Well, I snagged a Springfield Loaded for $650 new recently, and I just shot it this weekend. Since there’s always a lot of interest in 1911s, I thought I’d do a little review, from the perspective of a diehard CZ fan.


The Loaded is a step above the Mil-Spec in the SA product line. I bought it because I wanted a traditional internal extractor and didn’t want to fork over the money for a Colt. Made in Brazil, the gun has lots of MIM parts and the fit and finish, while serviceable, isn’t as good as some other 1911s I have seen, even other Springer 1911s like the TRP. The gun has a two-piece barrel, a nonstandard titanium firing pin/spring, and comes with two seven-round magazines (Metalform?). The slide-to-frame fit is loose for my taste – admittedly, I don’t have any other 1911s to compare it to. It has the ILS system, but as covered in other reviews, it’s not too hard to replace.

The main thing I like about the Loaded over the Mil-Spec is the Novak LoMount 3-dot sights – they are definitely nice and to install them on a GI or Mil-Spec would cost a decent chunk of change. I wish they were tritium, though. The other “features” are okay, but I could do without the bump on the beavertail grip safety and the front slide serrations. The ambi safety might be important to southpaws, but it’s useless to me. It snicks on and off positively, though. The grips are pretty good, and are probably slim enough for most people, but I’d like to go with even slimmer grips if possible.

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