Ruger brought out the GP100 in 1985 as a successor to the popular
Security Six. This streamlined mid-frame revolver was intended to
bring to some of the advances that had been made in the Redhawk .44
magnums into the .357 magnum line. It retained many of the features
that made the Security Six such a popular revolver as well as the
proven reliabilty of Ruger arms. The GP100, while a smaller cousin of
the Redhawk, is by no means a push over. With a hefty frame and extra
weight below the barrel, it's a revolver that is designed to thrive on
full power loads. Available in 3", 4", and 6" barrel
lengths, with either a blued and stainless steel finish, the GP100 has
enough flexibility to more than meet any need.
|| Double-Action Revolver
|| .357 magnum
| Barrel Length:
|| 3, 4, 6 in.
| Overall Length:
|| 8 1/2, 9 5/8, 11 1/2 in.
|| 35, 38, 41 oz.
|| Ramp Front, Fixed or Adjustable Rear
|| Blue, Stainless Steel
I purchased my GP100 in late 2008 from one of my favorite local
dealers, Guns, Etc. As with
other shops, they have a wide variety of arms for sale.
However, unlike other shops, they have far more revolvers on
display than anywhere else I have seen, both new and used. Fully one
third of their display cases hold "wheelguns". Being a guy who has a
special fondness for revolvers, and especially single action
revolvers, I feel particularly fortunate to be able to browse their
wares at will without having to make a special
long-distance-out-of-the-way-drive just for that purpose. (Not that
gun shop pilgrimages are a bad thing, mind you, just not very convenient
unless you intend to buy something right then and there.)
This particular pistol is the first .357 magnum revolver and the first
double action revolver that I purchased. It was obtained out of a
desire to get something of contemporary design to place along side the
older single action pistols I have as a compliment to the set. I also
had a desire to obtain something in between .44 magnum and .22LR but
still with plenty of power. That meant a .357 magnum which could also,
of course, fire .38 special if I were feeling like I wanted something
a little less powerful.
My pistol is a stainless steel model with a 6" barrel, fully
adjustable rear sight, and mono grips. I chose the long barrel since
this, for me, is mainly a target pistol, getting most of it's use at
one of the two organized shooting ranges I frequent. Weighing in at 45
ounces, it's not exactly a light weight and deffinitely not a packin'
pistol but that's not the point. This pistol is designed to take
whatever you can throw at it and do so without making you regret ever
picking it up. With the 6" barrel, the center of gravity is
deffinitely forward of where it would typically be on a smaller
revolver but this serves to reduce muzzle flip and felt
recoil. Naturally, as with all Ruger revolvers, this came with a
durable hard case, a barrel lock, detailed drawings and operational
and maintenance notes, and lastly a cartridge specimen.
After cleaning all the shop grease off and reviewing the documentation
(you do read your documentation, right?), the revolver went through
its paces in my living room in preperation for a trip down to the
range. After taking about 45 minutes to thoroughly examine the fit and
finish of the revolver, check the cylinder lockup, look for
unnecesasry play, and finaly to get used to the sights and the trigger
stroke, it was time to fetch my cousin (who had also been pondering
purchasing the 4" blued model) and head down to the range to
give it some exercise.
The mechanics of this pistol function quite well although I do feel
that it could use some tuning. After we had fired 100 rounds (fifty of
.38 and fifty of .357), I could also see indications of a ring forming
around the cylinder. It is the oppinion of some fine gun smiths such
as the late Bill Grover, that a properly timed revolver, as long as it
is handled carefully during loading and cleaning, should not devlope
this ring. I don't know enough about revolvers to be anything even
approaching an expert in this but it does seem to me that the cylinder
lock can be held in while the cylinder turns the required
distance. Ideally, the lock would be released in the wedge cut just
before the lock and not have to ride the surface of the cylinder as it
turns. But before you take that comment as a measure of the weapon,
let me note that careful trigger control made it quite
managable. In fact, the trigger stroke was very smooth and felt better
than other DA pistols I have handled/fired. The purpose of tuning is to
make a good pistol into a near perfect pistol, not as a fix for sloppy
Measuring the DA trigger pull on my RCBS trigger pull gauge showed
exactly 10 pounds while the SA trigger came in at 3 and 1/4 pounds.
For SA, that's just great but for DA, my personal preferance would be
to see it drop down to about 6.5 or 7 pounds. In a similar vein, in
single action position, my oppinion is that the trigger sits a hair
too far forward of the rear of the trigger guard and could stand a
little more curve to better match that shape.
The hammer spur is good and wide with bold checkering to provide for a
good, solid grip. While properly positioned for easy access, for
myself, I tend to prefer the spur to slope down slightly, after the
Bisley style, as it makes it a tad easier to grab but in this case
there isn't room for that since the hammer comes back darned near to
the frame. Note that this means there is a good deal of force when it
hits the firing pin so this is actually a good thing. Besides, this is
a DA pistol and when you're firing DA, who cares about the hammer?
All in all, when I did choose to take SA shots, I don't recall having
any problems actually getting my thumb on the spur and most
deffinitely did not have any problems drawing it back.
It took some time to get used to the sights (I have to go through a
certain breakin period with virtually every new weapon I pick up, not
having expert eyes or hands) but even with that, I didn't have any
trouble getting on the paper at 25 feet out. When Mike Cumpston
reviewed this same pistol at the end of 2000 in his article
for American Handgunner titled "Revisiting Ruger's Revolvers",
he reported being able to obtain groups at 25 yards of less than
2.5". I don't shoot quite that well but still managed acceptable
performance. In time, as my technique improves and I get used to the
weapon, I expect that performance to improve markedly.
At 25 feet, firing off hand single-action, 12 rounds placed at
just about 3 inches. With practice, double-action groups were
Ruger has a long history of putting out rugged, reliable revolvers and
the GP100 is no exception. Both myself and my cousin found this to be
a very pleasant shooting, easy to control revolver that would likely
be suitable to anything we set out to do with it, whether that be
making confetti at the range, punching large holes in watermelons and
other insidious edibles out in the desert, getting the drop on a pair
of javalinas or even taking a mature white tail or mule deer. Whatever
the task, if the .357 magnum can handle it, this gun is an excellent
platform for delivering that round.