January 29, 2013

Ruger GP-100 .357 Magnum No. KGP-141

We recently attended a major sporting event where security was provided by uniformed police. We couldn’t help but notice how many officers, male and female were carrying revolvers instead of semi-automatic pistols. Never shy to interview, we took turns asking various officers why they had chosen a revolver. Here are some of the reasons they gave. "It can’t be knocked out of battery." "The trigger doesn’t change after the first shot." "I can get a really good action without worrying about reliability." "It was easy to find a replacement grip that fit me." "No mags to buy and this gun will last." "It didn’t need any work to make it more accurate." Most of the guns we saw were .38 Special/.357 Magnums, which offer a wide range of power without affecting reliability.

There are many different types of .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammunition currently available. We decided to bypass frangible or other types of specialty rounds in favor of more traditional loads. First, we chose 148-grain lead wadcutters from Black Hills Ammunition. This is a classic target load, and in our opinion one of the most accurate over-the-counter rounds you can buy. Our choice of magnum ammunition consisted of American Eagle 158-grain jacketed soft point rounds by Federal, and Black Hills 125-grain jacketed hollow points.

Members of our test team collected accuracy data by firing the gun single action only from a sandbag rest at a distance of 25 yards. We documented our group sizes by taking measurements from center to center of the two widest hits inside a five-shot group. In addition, we fired standing unsupported at a cardboard IPSC silhouette target double action only from a distance of 7 yards. This part of our tests was performed with PMC 150-grain JHP .357 Magnum ammunition.

The purpose of our single-action test was to determine fine accuracy. The double-action test was designed to tell us more about recoil and trigger control. By engaging the target five separate times with two shots to the body and one to the head, we used the pattern of hits to help us evaluate rapid-fire capability.

The GP100 may only be a six-shooter, but it functioned with the most consistency and would likely offer the most durability. The front sight can be easily replaced, and the adjustable rear sight was built to last. The ejector rod was shrouded, lockup was braced, and our GP100 shot all ammos well.

Ruger lists seven different models in the GP100 family with barrel lengths of 3, 4, and 6 inches. Finishes are either blued or stainless steel. Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices range from $552 for the .38 Special +P only models to $615 for the stainless steel .357 Magnum revolvers with barrel lengths of either 4 or 6 inches. All models come with a rubber grip complete with a rosewood insert. Our 4-inch barreled KGP-141 had a pleasing bright-stainless finish and an adjustable rear sight. Elevation was the familiar clockwise for down and counter clockwise for raising the point of impact. The windage adjustment required opposite movement for changing point of impact.

A second, very small screwdriver was required to turn the windage-adjustment screw. The rear-sight blade was partially protected from impact by riding back and forth inside the body of the unit. The rear notch was accented with white trim. The front sight on our Ruger was a black ramp grooved to reduce glare and dovetailed into place.

This is not the only feature on the Ruger revolver that distinguished it. The top of the barrel shroud was flat and grooved. The shooter pressed the cylinder release rather than slid it forward. The full-length ejector rod played no part in lockup, but a heavy detent mounted on the forward surface of the crane meshed with the frame. The Ruger featured a full-length underlug and overall gave the impression of being overbuilt. The cylinder lugs, for example, were deeper and wider than those found on other guns. The grip was in fact a rubber sleeve that covered the butt frame that also housed the coil mainspring. It was held in place by a barrel-shaped lug captured by the rosewood inserts. The inserts had to be removed from each side and the lug pushed through before the rubber portion of the grip could be slid off of the frame.

The top of the barrel shroud was flat and grooved. The shooter pressed the cylinder release rather than slid it forward. The full-length ejector rod played no part in lockup, but a heavy detent mounted on the forward surface of the crane meshed with the frame. The Ruger featured a full-length underlug, and, overall, gave the impression of being overbuilt.

Tthe Ruger mixed squared edges, such as at the trigger and the hammer, with graceful sweeping lines on the barrel and behind the cylinder. The Ruger revolver did not offer an internal safety lock. A padlock designed to pass through a single chamber with the cylinder swung away from the frame was supplied.

The trigger on our KGP-141 revolver weighed in at about the same as our Smith & Wesson, but the feel was much different. The single action was smooth, but had a more pronounced let off. The Ruger double action was smoother from start to finish with the same felt resistance each time. Starting and stopping the cylinder produced little interference. This was followed by the smallest touch of stacking, which indicated the coil mainspring was fully loaded. Our shots fired double action formed the best group at center mass in our rapid-fire test. Four out of five shots to the head area formed the tightest group as well. From the bench our single-action-only shots averaged 1.7 inches firing both the hottest loads (the 125-grain magnums) and lightest, the Black Hills Match Wadcutters. But even in the case of firing the 158-grain .357 Magnum JSP loads, the difference between smallest and largest group was very narrow.

Given the fact that our accuracy test was performed under overcast skies with light rain, we would judge the sights on the Ruger revolver to be the best among our three guns. Due to the clear, rugged design of the sights combined with the consistency of the trigger, in both single and double action, we never lacked confidence firing the Ruger GP100 revolver.

Our Pick. The Ruger may only be a six-shooter, but we think it functioned with the most consistency and would likely offer the most durability. The front sight can be easily replaced and the adjustable rear sight was built to last. The ejector rod was shrouded, lockup was braced, and the GP100 shot with the least amount of muzzle flip.

Comments (48)

This is also where I'm in agreement with the majority of cardiologists and the nutri

Posted by: vegan | November 12, 2013 10:14 PM    Report this comment

This is also where I'm in agreement with the majority of cardiologists and the nutri

Posted by: vegan | November 12, 2013 10:14 PM    Report this comment

This is also where I'm in agreement with the majority of cardiologists and the nutri

Posted by: vegan | November 12, 2013 8:08 PM    Report this comment

The lunch was spectacular and served by their full-time maid

Posted by: tiopom | October 27, 2013 7:11 AM    Report this comment

The lunch was spectacular and served by their full-time maid

Posted by: tiopom | October 27, 2013 7:10 AM    Report this comment

The lunch was spectacular and served by their full-time maid

Posted by: tiopom | October 27, 2013 7:09 AM    Report this comment

I am a ruger fan and own several. My latest is a redhawk in 44mag. I own several Smiths as well. I am a gun owner who doesn't feel I have to hate S&W to own a Ruger or vice versa. I will leave that to the internet warriors. The GP 100 is on my list for a trail gun however I may get a 4 inch barreled redhawk instead.

Posted by: Fletchman | February 8, 2013 8:30 PM    Report this comment

I guess you don't buy Remington Firearms, either, since Remington is an industry leader in Metal Injection Molding processes. It is all in the mixture and the temperature control of the process. Small intricate parts are better quality controlled and as mechanically strong or stronger by MIM processes than conventional machining.

Posted by: Anishinabi | February 4, 2013 3:02 PM    Report this comment

"I was all set to buy a GP100 this year but unfortunately Ruger chose to now use the unreliable MIM castings in their guns. MIM parts are known for high failure rates that make the new MIM GP100 unsuitable for self defense."

That right there is total nonsense! This shows only a lack of understanding of modern manufacturing process and a continuation of internet BS! Hardened carbide bits are made the same way. Would you say hardened carbide bits are no good?!?!? If you don't know, don't say!

Posted by: Markbo | February 4, 2013 10:44 AM    Report this comment

BadDoggie - I got mine as soon as I read the reviews when they first came out. So things were all cheaper then - by far. And maybe my memory is bad - it may have been more like $225. I don't really know any more - I just remember it as $125 because that's about all I could afford back then. It was a couple dozen years ago - around the time the FBI lame-loads killed off the 10mm as a standard police issue.

Posted by: CT dave | February 2, 2013 9:12 AM    Report this comment

I hear you Dave but I was hoping you'd share! Appreciate the comment on the SR1911 too Cacti, I've always wanted one....guess I need to start saving up nickels....

Posted by: BadDoggie | February 1, 2013 11:35 PM    Report this comment

HAVE LOTS OF RUGERS: SR1911, GREAT GUN FOR THE MONEY, LUV IT. SUPER REDHAWK IN 44MAG, MIGHTY NICE, FULL OF RANDY GARRETS, 330 GRS, GET D JOB DONE ON THE HOGS. TWO MINI 14'S SS, HANDY, SHOOT WELL, FUNCTION W WHAT EVER I FEED THEM. HAVE P91 AND P94, UGLY BUT THEY ALWAYS WORK. HAVE SIGS, COLTS, S AND W, REMINGTONS, TC'S AND SUCH, LIKE THEM ALL. RUGER GOOD FOR THE MONEY AND NO PROBLEMS. SR1911 GOTTA BE MY FAV.

Posted by: cacti | February 1, 2013 10:03 PM    Report this comment

The GP100 is a great revolver and I've owned several over te years. One in particular was a blued model with a six inch barrel, at fifteen yards it made one hole all the time and by one hole I mean one that wasn't ragged. Quite heavy for a 357 though.

Posted by: playhookie | February 1, 2013 3:12 AM    Report this comment

Bought my mark 2 around 77, my redhawk around 79, my M77 300 win mag in the 80s. My step father left me a 6 inch stainless gp100 in 357, It is now my competition gun.He had worked on the action and it is butter smooth. I just bought 3 months ago a ruger stainless 1911. I have about 200 rounds through it with no problems and it is accurate and priced right. Wouldnt trade my rugers for any other brand.

Posted by: nmgene | January 31, 2013 9:37 PM    Report this comment

BadDoggie, if I did find them I'd buy a carload of them myself. That was a great gun.

Posted by: CT dave | January 31, 2013 8:09 PM    Report this comment

I too had a Security Six in .357 that I bought used and had to send back to Ruger because the barrel actually turned past center (I guess the threads stretched?). Since they had already discontinued the Security Six they didn't have barrels for them in stock. So how did Ruger take care of the problem?? Yep you know it, they sent me a brand new Security Six. Unfortunately that one got away from me a few years later but I have replace that with a blue 4" GP100! They are outstanding pistols. I also love their auto .22 pistols, all revolvers and the 10-22 I talked my friend out of after I fixed it up for him.... I'm not crazy about most of their other auto pistols but I don't think you can ever go wrong with a Ruger. They have certainly treated me well over the years and they handle hot handloads like they're made for it! Hey CT Dave, if you ever find any for $125 drop me a line and I'll head on up in an armored car full of cash!! ;)

Posted by: BadDoggie | January 31, 2013 7:28 PM    Report this comment

My fav security pistol is my GP100 SS 4 inch. I passed my CCP with this pistol and did well. This is a great pistol and I think basic people that are not familiar with autos should consider this pistol as it is easy and reliable and really accurate. I have laserlyte on this one and like it, but the adjustable ironsites are great. I will comment on the Ruger P95 which is a cheap great auto pistol. These are very accurate(trijicon night sights) and I have this in my bugout bag. I live in Colorado and hope we don't need these but if I were elsewhere I would pack one definitely.

Posted by: worlon | January 31, 2013 5:39 PM    Report this comment

I bought the GP-100 a couple of years ago with the 4 inch barrel and black& rosewood grips,what a solid shooting and well made handgun.Wish that I had another in the 6 inch model.

Posted by: NCSNIPER | January 31, 2013 5:29 PM    Report this comment

I was all set to buy a GP100 this year but unfortunately Ruger chose to now use the unreliable MIM castings in their guns. MIM parts are known for high failure rates that make the new MIM GP100 unsuitable for self defense. I bought an older model Colt for much more money because I had no other choice in regards to owning a reliable self-defense handgun.

Posted by: wild romanian | January 31, 2013 5:10 PM    Report this comment

EyeRah - I paid around $125 for mine. Talk about a gun I should have kept! Wow.

Posted by: CT dave | January 31, 2013 4:57 PM    Report this comment

Never a friend of recoil, I bought a GP-100 in .327 Federal rather than an SP-100. It is a great gun with a wonderful trigger pull. I did not expect that the trigger would be as good as on some of my Smiths, but I was happy to be surprised.

Posted by: Ron Hunsicker | January 31, 2013 1:19 PM    Report this comment

I own three Rugers. All are sturdy. The 357 Blackhawk is sturdy and serviceable but has odd points such as the ejector rod requires the cylinder to be out of position. The .454 Super-Redhawk is a great sturdy workhorse, and the 45 colt Vaquero with 3-3/4 barrel and bird's head grip is a real hand-filling honey. All good guns, but there is no comparison to my smooth as silk S&W 66 One thing I do hate about Rugers is their grips; the pink rosewood grips are just plain ugly, and those wood-paneled, rubber grips perform like they were designed by a committee. Another dislike is their two-humped sight mounting. Give me a straight top rib any day. The GP-100 appears to have such a rib.

Posted by: Mister E | January 31, 2013 12:41 PM    Report this comment

I bought a 4inch stainless GP100 new around 1999 and spent less than 20 bucks replacing the main spring and trigger return springs with lighter ones. The double action trigger pull on it is by far the smoothest and best I have ever shot in any pistol or revolver. Fantastic gun, I just wish they were still 330 bucks a piece like that one was when I bought it.

Posted by: EyeRah | January 31, 2013 12:03 PM    Report this comment

Darn. I forgot to check the little box for updates.

Posted by: CT dave | January 31, 2013 11:10 AM    Report this comment

I had one of the early GP-100s. I loved that gun. The only change I wanted was to have it bead blasted so the SS wasn't so shiny.

Posted by: CT dave | January 31, 2013 11:01 AM    Report this comment

I have owned several Ruger firearms and Colts, SW as well. The only ones that had to go back to the factory with defects were a SW .22 mag Kit Gun and a SW 99, both of which never should have been boxed and shipped in the first place. The SW 99 had a dangerously defective chamber. Ruger, Colt, SIG, Taurus, I have never had a quality issue yet.

Posted by: Anishinabi | January 31, 2013 10:28 AM    Report this comment

Good Review!

Posted by: adolo | September 1, 2012 2:38 PM    Report this comment

I have many Rugers and the GP100 in 6"SS full lug barrel is my favorite x-cept for my Redhawk. They are VERY robust in build and quality. will always buy another ruger. I never worry about loads while some of my friends I would not use "hot" load in their revolvers. Accuracy? Zero, nada, nothing but x's and 9's. and it looks good.I know the trigger is not quite as good as my older S&W's but a little trigger work on my Rugers is next and it will be close.

Posted by: nutbustd | August 28, 2011 6:05 PM    Report this comment

I own several ruger firearms. Autos are good but seem a little loose, not the 22s. Revolvers are best made in my opinion. Rifles are exellent also. Plus, made in America.

Posted by: James D | March 31, 2011 11:26 PM    Report this comment

I purchased this tested revolver from Gun Tests after the testing. I have shot the mildest to wildest and have had ZERO issues. It is accurate, comfortable and reliable. What more could one possibly ask for in a revolver? I don't hunt with this one, but it certainly has accompanied me in the field many times. The trigger (as with most guns I buy) got a little polishing up and it is great! In case anyone that posts on these tests often has noticed, I have purchased over a dozen guns from Gun Tests over the years. It's always nice to buy one AFTER they have tested it and you know in advance it is accurate! ;)

Posted by: Markbo | February 26, 2011 9:27 PM    Report this comment

I've owned, shot and carried on duty Ruger, S&W and Colt revolvers. Rugers, from the SingleSix to the GP100, are the best. I love them all. Currently I have a 3" stainless GP100 with fixed sights that I bought used at a police sale, the Dept. was getting rid of old duty guns. It shoots deadon at 25 yards and makes neat groups of a little over 1". The only revolver I've ever liked more was the Ruger Speed Six 3" stainless I was issued many years ago, that was perfection, the GP100 is a little heavier.

Posted by: EdD270 | February 26, 2011 5:27 PM    Report this comment

I have a 1986 model GP100/blue with the 6" barrel and still would rate the GP100 as the best medium bore magnum revolver ever made.

Posted by: ChaZam | February 25, 2011 11:37 AM    Report this comment

My GP100 and SP101 has served me well. Both are good solid performers.

Posted by: frankgon4 | February 24, 2011 9:57 PM    Report this comment

From security six to redhawk to single six to superblackhawk then come the semi's I love my RUGERS

Posted by: jayroy | February 24, 2011 6:46 PM    Report this comment

I have been buying Ruger revolvers for over 35 years. If I have a problem, Ruger is quick to fix it, which is not often. Good strong, dependable, reliable guns.

Posted by: MICHAEL L. S | February 24, 2011 5:23 PM    Report this comment

I also have nothing but praise for the Ruger GP-100 w-6" barrel SS,which I've owned for several years and my wife carries a Security Six 3",SS, for P.P. She's owned hers for over 30 years and it's never let her or me down, I'm old school I always carry a revolver for P.P. but do like firing a semi-auto at the range.

Posted by: HalfBreed | February 24, 2011 5:19 PM    Report this comment

Turx - my first handgun, and a few thereafter were Rugers, and I love them all. I have refrained form purchasing a Ruger centerfire pistol specifically because of the factory recalls shortly after release, friends who experienced those problems, and Ruger's continued inability to get the product correct prior to recall. There is clearly validity to your comment; however, I suggest one cannot ignore the negative impact of those factors in the buying decisions in today's market. Though I have a lot more respect for Ruger standing by their product (as opposed to the approach of a particular Austrian arms maker that will not recall a product when they know it is defective), that respect has yet to translate into me adding a Ruger centerfire pistol. For my money, and the quality of today's arms, I'd simply rather not deal with the drama. Meanwhile, I have continued to buy and shop their revolvers and rimfire pistols.

Posted by: PVB | February 24, 2011 4:52 PM    Report this comment

Took a defensive handgun course a few years ago with my neighbors GP 100 and was totally impressed with its performance. My times to pick up the gun from table and place two center of mass shots beat virtually every participant with a semiauto. In my limited experience, two handguns point where I'm looking, the GP 100 and various 1911s.

Posted by: nattybumpo | February 24, 2011 4:26 PM    Report this comment

I had a Ruger P-89, and I never had any mechanical problems with it, except that the frame would rub the base joint at my thumb on my right hand causing me to stop. Using gloves only made the gun slippery to hold. Ever since Bill Ruger Sr. died every new gun has had some major recall.

Posted by: lotoofla | February 24, 2011 4:00 PM    Report this comment

While Rugers tend to get "bashed" quite a bit on the On-Line gun forums, most of those have never actually shot or owned a Ruger. Like the GP100, there are many quality Ruger firearms. Strong, reliable and made in the USA! I have shot thousands of rounds from my GP's, standard and hot loads with no issues ever.

Posted by: Turx | February 24, 2011 3:08 PM    Report this comment

For those who have experienced unsatisfactory performance due to ill fitting grips..... Have you tried changing to custom or aftermarket grips? I have almost routinely installed Hogue and/or Pachmayr rubber grips on many of my handguns, both pistols and revolvers. The difference in handling, along with perceived recoil reduction, can be quite revealing and impressive. Of course, black neoprene may not be every-body's choice of handgun grip, but most manufacturers of aftermarket grips make some pretty nice wood and/or ivory grips as well.

Posted by: canovack | February 24, 2011 2:55 PM    Report this comment

Own GP-100 in SS 6" and Redhawk .454 Casull Grey SS 7.5" and both are increditible Revolvers. Shame their Semi-Autos aren't as durable and reliable. Use red dot sight on .357 and 2X scope on .454, I am deadly with both and hunt deer quite often with both...

Posted by: mlinkrpt | February 24, 2011 2:47 PM    Report this comment

These guys seem to be right on to me.

Posted by: baddog | February 24, 2011 2:45 PM    Report this comment

I have a GP-100 in blued, 4 inch. Since the first time I held it, it fit me right. After shooting, I never felt penalized for using the "hot" .357 loads in this gun that some other revolvers, which in turn, made my hands hurt. The build quility is beyond dispute and I look forward to passing this one along to my son someday. I know it will work as well for him as it does for me after my many years of use. Plus I think it looks good too...

Posted by: mvchernoff | February 24, 2011 2:27 PM    Report this comment

Autos - I agree Gav, except for the .22's.

I love my Rugers as well, though I don't have one of their double action revolvers. I have enjoyed shooting other people's Security Sixes and GP-100's though!

Funny - fit is so variable for different people. My brother picked up a used Redhawk in .41 Magnum, and neither of us could really get used to the grips on that one. It's too bad, because it shot nice, but that was after staring each shot with a fresh grip because it shifted too much.

Posted by: PVB | February 24, 2011 2:18 PM    Report this comment

I have owned, and still do own, a number of Ruger firearms to include pistols, revolvers, and rifles. I have heard some folks criticize Rugers concerning their fit and appearance. While Ruger pistols and revolvers have a definite "Ruger" appearance, I have not found this to be objectionable. One thing that is certain is that Ruger revolvers can withstand a considerable amount of use and even some abuse. It has always made a favorable impression on me that I find boxes of "hot" ammo that have a warning printed on them that the ammo should be used only in Ruger revolvers or their equivalent. To me that is quite an endorsement of the robust strength of a revolver.

Posted by: canovack | February 24, 2011 12:02 PM    Report this comment

lotoofla- 100% agree, Ruger revolvers are state of the art, hands down, best ever made, and that includes the old Smiths and Colts. More durable, more reliable, more accurate, and more ergonomic. My first Ruger revolver was my father's old Single Six .22, blue, with the .22 mag cylinder, but the first one I bought was the Security Six SS. I gave that one to my sister to keep it out of my ex's hands during the divorce, and I replaced it with a GP100 4" SS, with the soft rubber Hogue fingergrips. I just can't say enough good about it!

Too bad their autos don't meet the same standards.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | February 24, 2011 11:25 AM    Report this comment

My first Ruger revolver was a 4" SS Security Six, and it shot 3" groups @ 100 yds. with a Redfield 4x scope with Speer 140 gr reloads (the powder is obsolete). At Gun Smith School I came across a GP 100, and used it for a tuning project, with iron sights it shot a 5" group @ 100 yds. with a Hornady 125 JHP, and a max load of Alliant 2400. Ruger makes great revolvers

Posted by: lotoofla | February 24, 2011 10:39 AM    Report this comment

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