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  #1  
Old 11-24-2011, 06:01 PM
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Default Best choice for .22lr revolver: Classic m63 or new Ruger SP101?

Although I'm also a Ruger fan, I'm considering between either a classic S&W early, model 63(No dash)4" .22lr revolver or the newly introduced Ruger SP101 4.2" .22lr revolver?

It seems to me that the best choice could be to go for the older S&W model 63(no dash)although I have never had any experience owning and shooting one of these? Although, Ruger has made some good revolvers in the past, at this point, I'm unsure as to whether or not the new SP101 .22lr revolver would be as good as the Model 63 in terms of quality of construction? So, I'd like to ask those in the know regarding the early J-frame M63 and M34 .22lr revolvers what your opinions might be regarding this? Oh, the price for the S&W model 63 in question is $550 and is close in price to the new Ruger SP101 .22lr revolver. I already own a M617-1 4" .22lr revolver-so my interest lies in the two Kit gun size .22lr revolvers as already noted!

Last edited by bigun; 11-24-2011 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 11-24-2011, 09:00 PM
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Hard to say. I have a 63 no dash and a 34-1, and love both. I handled the new Ruger 101 at Cabela's a couple of days ago. It was also very nice and seemed very well made. I believe it is a little heavier than the Smiths and this could be a consideration for you (+ or -). With the Smith you get a chance to play with a huge variety of grip options, something you might not get to do as much with the Ruger.

I guess one reason not to get the Ruger is that it is simply not a Smith and Wesson.
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Old 11-24-2011, 09:16 PM
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ive fired the new ruger 101 .22 caliber. very well balanced, i liked the factory grips alot, felt good in the hand. the trigger pull is very heavy and the gun itself @ 30 ozs. weighs more than a S&W "J" frame.
i would also believe that a S&W model 63 no dash would have a higher degree of quality workmanship.
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Old 11-25-2011, 12:54 AM
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I would certainly like to receive a few more opinions here? I do appreciate the above two opinions, though! Thanks!
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:22 AM
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If you want new production, Ruger provides (IMHO) the only option in a reasonable weight 22LR revolver.

I'm not aware of a current production 22LR offered by S&W, other than the 617 and I consider that too heavy for a 22LR.

I find that a full underlug is overkill on the barrel of a 22LR and makes the 617 unnecessarily heavy.

I really like the barrel profile of the new Ruger and will pick one up as soon as it's 'approved for sale' (GRRRRR) in my state.

Last edited by Titan; 11-25-2011 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:39 AM
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I have a friend at a gun show tell me a couple
weeks ago of going to a shop to see 2 new ruger sps in 22 l.r.

He said that the fit and finish was so bad that he passed.

Just 1 mans experience. Take it as you will.

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Old 11-25-2011, 06:59 AM
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M-63 is still in production with 3 inch barrel and 8 shot capacity if you can find one. I put on in lay-a-way a couple months ago. Yeah, it has the lock.
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:06 AM
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i love my sp's, but the fit and finish is just ok. the smiths will look better. if your looking for a gun that will handle about a million rounds, buy the ruger. if it is only going to shoot like 500,000 you could get the smith... hee, hee. i love my smiths, but would bet my life on my sp101. just my two cents.
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:16 AM
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One of my range-friends bought one of the new 4" x8 SP101s - paid over six for it. That is about what I paid for my new 3" 63 a year ago when it finally hit the stores. We met at the range recently - he with the new Ruger and me with my year old 63. The trigger of the 63 obviously was far better - lighter and smoother than the new Ruger. Balance was better, too - the 63's lighter weight (26 oz) and shorter barrel making it point better, too. The finish of the Ruger was far better than that of the new .32 H&RM 4" SP101 I had years before, even if the roughness of the action was reminiscent. The fully adjustable rear sight was a nice touch, the cheesy windage-only rear sight on that earlier .32 SP101 being such a detriment. Knowing what causes the 'roughness' and, after years of buying new Rugers, having become adept at alleviating the QC shortcomings, you'd think I'd have grabbed the .22 SP101 I saw a week or so later - for $499... but no thank you. My 3" 63 is a lot nicer - more accurate - and the 63/317 x8 speedloader from DS-10 works fine with my 63 - a no-go with the Ruger.

Don't get me wrong - I am at home in an S&W's innards - and had to take the screwdriver to my new 3" 63 when I brought it home over a year ago. I had to switch grips - I love the 60 Pro grips!



I have a 5" 63 also. I recently bought a lnib 4" 651, a .22 WMR version of the 4" 63. If the early 4" 63 is as nice as my 651 - or either of my 63s - I have no doubt that it would be a better choice than the Ruger. Of course, what can you expect - this is the S&W forum!

Stainz

PS While some professional reviewers have observed decent groupings, many have not - and there has been some talk about poorly done forcing cones. Check the Ruger forum and rimfirecentral for more info. Keep in mind that I was a Ruger guy - I am now clearly an S&W guy.
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:56 AM
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I own both, a 63 (old style) and an SP101. Just sent the SP101 back to the factory-horrid trigger with some bumps and tics on both single action ans double action let off. Like I told the Ruger people, I dry fired that gun untill I was blue in the face to try to smooth out the bearing surfaces and it didn't work and for what I paid for it, I sure as heck ain't gonna spend another 60 for a gunsmith to stone the bearing surfaces. They sent me a shipping label.
I hate to say this because
1) I was really excited about this little revolver, and
2) It means that I was Wron......

But in all candor even with a good Ruger trigger this gun absolutely does not replace the kit gun and for those who want a heavier and chunkier large capacity revolver, the 617 is a much better choice as it is not that much larger than the SP and has a much nicer trigger than the Ruger could ever aspire to ( I also own a 617-4 ). To me it is neither fish nor fowl and that is truly sad, because I really wanted to like this little revolver.

I'm gonna hang on to mine for the simple reason that I don't think I can come close to getting back the $550 I spent for it.
But if someone in Louisiana wants to pay me $550-I'll eat the shipping ( ie meet you half way)
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titan View Post
If you want new production, Ruger provides (IMHO) the only option in a reasonable weight 22LR revolver.

I'm not aware of a current production 22LR offered by S&W, other than the 617 and I consider that too heavy for a 22LR.

I find that a full underlug is overkill on the barrel of a 22LR and makes the 617 unnecessarily heavy.

I really like the barrel profile of the new Ruger and will pick one up as soon as it's 'approved for sale' (GRRRRR) in my state.
How about the 63,17, and 18? All currently offered.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:41 AM
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I have a 34-1 4" and the new SP101.

For me, the SP feels much better in the hand, balances better and has better sights. The accuracy is a push. The Ruger's fit/finish was good to great. It's not a fine 30 year old S&W, but it's not made to be either.

Unlike Cajun Bass, I found the trigger to be smooth. Very heavy, but smooth. I swapped the heavy factory hammer spring for a 10# Wolff spring and it made a world of difference. ~400 rounds later, no FTF with the lighter spring.

If I had to sell one, it would be the M34.

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Old 11-25-2011, 09:55 AM
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I'm surprised to hear what people are paying for the new Ruger SP101 .22s. I picked one up at a large local shop for $499 out the door just the other day. As others have said, the DA pull is a little heavy, but not too awfully bad. The SA has some creep before it goes bang. I'd like to see what might be done to fix that up. The gun is accurate and very very sturdy. I had a nice 4" 63 that I bought back around 82. I ended up giving it to my son as it was the first gun he ever shot when he was a little guy. Wouldn't mind finding another one, but am happy with my 6" 617, the 3" 317, and now the SP. I feel I'm reasonably well equipped for rimfire revolver fun!
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:44 AM
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When I was looking for a .22LR revolver years back I ended up going with a S&W 18-3, 4". I have yet to regret the decision.
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:46 AM
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I have a 63-1 4", and love it. I have fired the Ruger, and while it was O.K., it isn't a S&W. The weight difference is substantial, and the 63 carries much more easily. I hated the fiber optic front sight on the Ruger, it hopefully will have a replacement option at some point. I couldn't group well with the Ruger, and blame it on the fiber optic front sight. The trigger on the one I shot was fair, but gritty and long. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another 63, but would pass on the Ruger.
As was mentioned earlier, the S&W has a large selection of grips available to fit anyone's hand. Good luck with the Ruger.
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:48 AM
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I remember when Taurus introduced their new 9 shot 22 magnum revolver. It weights 55oz, That is more than their 454 casull Raging Bull! The Ruger SP-101 22 weights in at (reportedly) 30 oz. The model 63 weights 26 oz. I would say that the Ruger is not too heavy but the Smith would be my choice. I would rather have the model 18 combat masterpiece over any of them. The only 22 revolver I own now is a Ruger Single Six "Buntline" with a 9.5" barrel. It will deliver amazing performance from the 22 magnum cartridge.

Last edited by Will Carry; 11-25-2011 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:52 AM
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When I was looking for a .22LR revolver years back I ended up going with a S&W 18-3, 4". I have yet to regret the decision.

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Old 11-25-2011, 11:03 AM
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My vote: Old School 63...

Actually found in a local gun store for $419 O.T.D. It CAN happen.
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  #19  
Old 11-25-2011, 11:53 AM
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[QUOTE=Titan;1362125

I'm not aware of a current production 22LR offered by S&W, other than the 617 and I consider that too heavy for a 22LR.

Titan. Smith currently offers the J frame in .22...........2 flavors of alloy(317) and stainless(63) 3".
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike, SC Hunter View Post
Titan. Smith currently offers the J frame in .22...........2 flavors of alloy(317) and stainless(63) 3".
Thanks. I was under the belief that the 63 was out of production, and I don't care for the alloy frame of the 317.

I'm a stainless guy, and will definitely check out the 63.

ETA: I still may go with the SP101 based on aesthetics. I'm not a big fan of the large gap between the front of the 63's cylinder and the frame (short cylinder in a larger frame).

Last edited by Titan; 11-25-2011 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:01 PM
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I just picked up an older S&W masterpiece revolver K series in 22lr with a 6'' barrel. I love it. It wasn't cheap. But i wanted it bad. Its 100% on the bluing / grips and she looks like brand new. I see most of the others going for $800 to $1,400 too. My master piece is a C&R revolver now too as most of the older ones are.

I guess these were police/officers target models similair to there 38's for the feel of them but in the cheap 22lr to practice with. Most of the ones i see are 6'' barrels.

After owning a brand new colt python 357 in the 70's that had cylinder timing problems i would like the colt 22 revolver too but i don't want one with problems i been down that road with two new colt 1911's being bad too right out of the box.

A while back i picked up a taurus model 94 9 shot revolver with a 4'' barrel for the wife. Bill

Last edited by BigBill; 11-25-2011 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InTheWoods View Post
Hard to say. I have a 63 no dash and a 34-1, and love both. I handled the new Ruger 101 at Cabela's a couple of days ago. It was also very nice and seemed very well made. I believe it is a little heavier than the Smiths and this could be a consideration for you (+ or -). With the Smith you get a chance to play with a huge variety of grip options, something you might not get to do as much with the Ruger.

I guess one reason not to get the Ruger is that it is simply not a Smith and Wesson.


+1 When in doubt the call goes to the runner ( S&W.)
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:21 PM
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the 63 is on my short list
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:44 PM
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If you check the 2011 S&W catalog, pg 40, you'll find J-frame rimfires, including my SS 3" 63 (bottom, below), SKU #162634; two 317 AirLites; and a hammerless AirLite 43C, all in .22 LR. Also, you'll find two 351 series AirLites in .22 Magnum. The AirLites are all Al alloys - except the 43C - it's apparently not to be produced. Go to pg 45 for the two K-frame 617 - a 4" & 6". You will find the partially lugged and blue steel K-frame 6" 17 and 4" 18 on pg 67 in their new 'Classics' offering. Interestingly, the partial lug of the 4" 18 only pares away 1.3 oz from the 'muzzle heavy' 4" 617, like mine - middle, below:



The top revolver is the first of the 8-shot 63's - available a couple of years ago, before the 3". I added grips to all three and HiViz sights to the top two, the new 3" 63 coming equipped with the HiViz sight. I have a sad admission... if I could only keep one - it would be the 4" 617... unless I had to tote it - then it would be the 3" 63 that would remain. Sorry about that, 5" 63!

Now, my latest buy was this '97 vintage LNIB 4" 651 - a keeper - and awaiting some 60 Pro grips like the 63's. Look at the barrel's forcing cone vs cylinder - the cylinder is longer than the 63's - to accommodate the longer .22 Magnum cartridge. Thus, the longer fc in the 63's and 317's.



Stainz
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:16 AM
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I've got quite a few Smiths and love them all, but I must say that I've been impressed with what Ruger has been doing lately.

My prioritized 'next buy list' turns out to be all Ruger:

SP101-22
Hawkeye Rifle Model 77/357
SR1911

I'd also grab an LCP if I could figure out how to acquire one at a decent cost from someone in-state. Not 'compliant' here in MA through dealers. For that matter, neither is the SP101-22 but it will be eventually. The LCP just doesn't have enough 'safety features' to satisfy our facist AG.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:32 AM
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I picked up a 5" M63 (all I could find at the time) w/lock over a year ago and have put thousands of rounds down range. It is my favorite shooter and the lock, albeit ugly, has been no problem.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:39 PM
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The old school M63 that I'm considering has a pinned barrel and with a grooved trigger. When was the first year that a smooth trigger had come on these guns?
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:52 PM
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I have a 34 that I bought in 1985.It is the only gun I ever sent back to the factory and it went back twice.. It is now an absolutely wonderful revolver. It is a 4" nickle plated model. A few years ago I bought a 3" 317. I am amazed that I find my self often choosing the 317 over the 34.You might want to check it out.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:44 AM
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Ruger makes a very well built and strong revolver and I've owned two but neither was a 22LR. That said I own 8 S&W 22LR revolvers and I've long since sold my Rugers and the main reason was because of the better finish on the S&W revolvers and the smoother action.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:16 PM
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I have had several 63's in 6 shot 4" and only 1 shot very well and I sold it to a friend of my sons. My 617's and 17's all shoot better.

I had a 18 that you could not hit a 12X12" box with at 25 yards. I tried everything to no avail. I got fed up with it and took it to a gun show and sold it to a dealer. I told him the problem I was having with it and he told me that I just wasn't a good shot. I smiled and sold him the gun. At the next gun show I went up to him and asked him how the gun shot. He said that was the biggest piece of junk he ever shot. At least I know it wasn't me! I really would like to have a nice shooting 18 someday.

All I ever had in the Ruger flavor is single sixes. They shoot OK but I am not impressed with them. I would like to try thier new SP101 though at some point.

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Old 12-01-2011, 11:12 PM
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Stainz, the cylinder on the 651 is the same length as a same vintage 63. The new 63's are built on the Magnum J frame (longer). Nice revolvers...
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:08 AM
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I like Ruger revolvers almost as well as S&W revolvers. But if your trying to decide between the new Ruger SP101 and a S&W model 17 or 18 I would go with the S&W. The double action trigger is better. Most new owners of the SP101 I have read about have had to do trigger action work to make the double action trigger work better. If you are going to shoot single action only then the SP101. But at about $550 for a SP I would buy a Ruger single 10 or like me I own a Ruger single 6. To me Ruger makes as good a single action revolver as a person can find for a reasonable price.
Good luck with your decision.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:33 PM
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When I needed a good accurate 4" barreled 22lr all weather revolver, my S&W 617 no dash filled the bill very nicely, and still does that.

It's a bit on the heavy side to carry when wandering creeks and trout fishing, so I opted for the model 651, for coyote & wild dog protection.

The 651 WMRF is the cat's arse (imo) when it comes to a fishing companion revolver, though I wouldn't feel under-gunned carrying a model 63 filled with stinger 22 lr rounds either.

Plus, with a S&W 651, you can have an accessory 22lr cylinder fitted and have the best of both worlds!
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Old 12-02-2011, 04:41 PM
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Your investment in a Model 63 will hold value or increase. No so much with the Ruger.....
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:20 AM
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So,was really never said,but what about the NEW 63 S&W compared to the Ruger SP101 22?
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
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Your investment in a Model 63 will hold value or increase. No so much with the Ruger.....
Apparently, you haven't followed the prices of Rugers much. They will both increase in value if cared for. The 63 MIGHT increase more. But that is certainly not a garantee. You should also be able to get into a new Ruger for about a $100 less.

I don't think you can go wrong with either.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:37 AM
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I have handled the new 3" M63 and like it a lot. It has a nice weight and balance, and I even liked the fiber optic front sight. The presence of the IL made me put it down but that was a few years ago and I might not be so choosy now.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:16 PM
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So,was really never said,but what about the NEW 63 S&W compared to the Ruger SP101 22?
I have both new models 63 8 shot and the SP101 8 shot. The quality and accuracy is good on both models. Both have fiber optic front sights, red on 63, green on the SP101. The trigger was tough on both when new, but replacing the return spring can fix that. The one thing I don't hear any discussion about is the difference in grips, trigger and frame design. Comparing out of the box on both 8 shots, I find the 63 fits me the best. The SP101's grip is too small for my hand and the different frame design (wider frame/thin trigger) causes my trigger finger to hit the frame when firing. A larger grip may help the SP101.



I like the Ruger but it does not fit my hand well with the stock grip, I haven't tried any other grips yet.


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Old 05-29-2013, 01:03 PM
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I got my M63 a couple years ago. I didn't care for the lock but, have since forgot about it. I wouldn't want the lock on a defensive gun but, on a .22 who cares? It is a quality made firearm.
I never go to the range without it. Minute of Baseball @ 25 yards with bulk ammo.

I got the "M60 Pro" grips on the advice3 of Stainz, they are perfect.

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Old 05-29-2013, 01:12 PM
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I have examples of a number of .22 revos: a very nice 1958 vintage Model 17, and 617s with 4, 5 and 6 barrels. I consider them terrific range guns, but a bit heavy to carry. I also have 3 and 5 Model 63s and one of the new 4 SP101s. In my case the 5 63 is a bit more accurate than the 3 and the 101 is equal to the 5 63. The 101 had a rougher trigger, but I smoothed it internally and played with springs and now it is very similar to the 63s. If I were to carry one in the field, it would be a 5 63 or the 101. They both weigh 30 oz. Any choice would be based on personal preference.
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:32 PM
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I have never owned a Ruger 101 but I sure like the 63 no dashs.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:10 PM
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I own several SW .22s all Js with one exceptin and love them all for different reasons. I handled the Ruger and just couldn't get past the size and weight. If it is being sold as a "kit gun" its size is a deal breaker (for me). Then again, if Ruger offered it up in a 2" version I would certainly be way more interested in plunking down the coin for one. Otherwise, I'll just stick with my little SW J-frame kit guns and if I need something a bit larger, just grab my Pre-18.
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  #43  
Old 05-29-2013, 07:34 PM
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I own several SW .22s all Js with one exceptin and love them all for different reasons. I handled the Ruger and just couldn't get past the size and weight. If it is being sold as a "kit gun" its size is a deal breaker (for me). Then again, if Ruger offered it up in a 2" version I would certainly be way more interested in plunking down the coin for one. Otherwise, I'll just stick with my little SW J-frame kit guns and if I need something a bit larger, just grab my Pre-18.
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  #44  
Old 05-29-2013, 08:21 PM
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I have the 34-1 in 4" and would recommend it or the 63. Let me throw out something from my experience.

In all the .22 revolvers I've ever owned, 6 shots is actually BETTER than 8 and here is why: The .22 brass expands a bit when you shoot it. After 100 or so rounds through the gun, ejection tends to get 'sticky', i.e. it's hard to eject the spent cases. Ok, bear with me here, this, IMHO, is due to the friction. More rounds = more friction - harder ejection. Again, IMHO, all the Ruger SP101s, Taurus 94s (9 shots), etc, were all harder to eject the spent cases than my 34.

In fact, I recently (albeit briefly) switched to the Ruger SAs - like the single six - because I wanted the ejector rod. Well, I am not a fan of the Single Six anymore so I bought the brand new Ruger Bearcat Shopkeeper.

Ruger Bearcat Shopkeeper Stainless 22 LR

Well, I really like the Shopkeeper buuuttt (didn't somebody say something about Ruger QA?) out of the box it wouldn't fire on 3 cylinders, sent it back, a month later I get it back and it has horrible timing and lockup issues, not to mention the cylinder gap throws stuff EVERYwhere GRRRRRRR. So, back to Ruger it went today. I haven't even had an opportunity to take a picture. Here's a stock photo.

Edit: I've been promising to do a review on the Shopkeeper but haven't been able to yet. FYI: posters on other forums have reported nothing like my experience with the SK, so don't let my experience sway your opinion. I gotta say; it is one really, really cool little gun.
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  #45  
Old 05-29-2013, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodsmith357 View Post
So,was really never said,but what about the NEW 63 S&W compared to the Ruger SP101 22?
Read my earlier post - #9 - I compare them - first hand experience.

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  #46  
Old 05-29-2013, 09:21 PM
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Default .22LR is one caliber I prefer Ruger to Smith

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigun View Post
Although I'm also a Ruger fan, I'm considering between either a classic S&W early, model 63(No dash)4" .22lr revolver or the newly introduced Ruger SP101 4.2" .22lr revolver?
I considered both and went with the SP-101 and I absolutely love it. Admittedly it has a heavy trigger pull, which will take some work to lighten up. Otherwise it is just about perfect. I love the high visibility sights and the solid feel of it. Shoots great and the 8 round cylinder is not aluminum as the M617, but heavy stainless steel and should last several life times.

Also no Internal Lock to fuss with and since I own other SP-101s it is a great practice gun. The balance and feel of the gun is excellent.

My only regret is that two were available at the great price of $510, and I only picked up one.
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  #47  
Old 05-30-2013, 07:40 PM
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Shoots great and the 8 round cylinder is not aluminum as the M617 (finesse r )



Most 617's have a SS cylinder.

Last edited by Macinaw; 05-30-2013 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:58 PM
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My only regret is that two were available at the great price of $510, and I only picked up one.[/QUOTE]

What has the world come to when $510 for a .22 revolver is considered a "great price"? Clearly my age is catching up with me!
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:49 PM
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double post
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
What has the world come to when $510 for a .22 revolver is considered a "great price"? Clearly my age is catching up with me!
Then you don't want to know what a new 617 goes for! I still think it's worth it.

DS 10 speed: In regards to the stock grips on the sp101, I hate them too. But for about $20, Hogue makes some very nice replacements that I find very comfortable.
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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present Thread, Best choice for .22lr revolver: Classic m63 or new Ruger SP101? in Smith & Wesson Revolvers; Although I'm also a Ruger fan, I'm considering between either a classic S&W early, model 63(No dash)4" .22lr revolver or ...
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