February 24, 2010

Ruger GP-100 .357 Magnum, $474

Gun Tests, January 1999

Courtesy Gun Tests

The GP-100 had some minor fitting problems, such as an overly long grip screw, but it worked reliably with the ammo we used.

Gun Tests, January 1999

Courtesy Gun Tests

From left to right: Taurus Model 689VR, Smith & Wesson Model 686, Ruger GP100 and Colt King Cobra. Only the Ruger didn't have a red front sight insert, but the GP100's sight picture was clear and sharp.

Some time back on these pages we gave you the results of a test of three .357 Magnum double-action revolvers with four-inch barrels. However, our gun stores tell us that, because so many shooters donít read Gun Tests, folks continually come in and ask which brand of .357 they ought to buy.

We chose the Ruger GP100 as one of the test guns. It had a semi-matte gray appearance, black rubber grips, and adjustable sights featuring a white-outlined black rear sight. The sight radius of the revolver was 7.5 inches. There was no provision for mounting a scope.

The Ruger GP100ís grips were black rubber without grooves, but the sides had decorative inserts of brown wood-like material (which some actually found attractive) that give the gun a distinctive look. The grips felt just great in both aimed single-action fire and in rapid-fire double action. Recoil was spread over a large area of the hand and that made for good shooting comfort, even with the heaviest loads.

The controls all functioned well and positively, and we found this to be a pleasant gun to handle and shoot. The trigger was well curved and smooth, and the double-action cycling was just slightly heavier than that of the Smith & Wesson. Trigger movement was even and smooth enough to permit good accuracy when shooting it slowly in the double-action mode. Because it sat lower in the hand than the S&W, the muzzle didnít rise as high. Thus, it allowed faster follow-up shots.

The Ruger GP100 was equipped with a front-end latch that secured the cylinder at the crane. After firing about 50 rounds through each gun, we found some wear marks. The Rugerís hammer was noticeably scuffed on the left side, which showed that it was rubbing against the frame.

The single-action trigger pull was quite crisp with no apparent creep. The Ruger GP100 had a 0.006-inch barrel-to-cylinder gap and a pull of 5.5 pounds.

We measured the forcing cone diameter as 0.375 inch for the Ruger. Note that the Ruger felt extremely tight with the hammer back, there being no movement to the cylinder whatever. It was, in fact, the tightest feeling gun of this test in this regard. Nevertheless, it spit the most material back at us. We mention this because so many shooters try to evaluate a revolverís qualities by how tight the cylinder feels, but the real proof is in the shooting.

Overall group size averages with the hot and popular Federal 125-grain JHP ammo were: Ruger, 2.1 inches. The Ruger seemed to like the 158-grain lead semi-wadcutter bullets of our Black Hills test ammunition. If we threw out one shot from each of the Rugerís groups, its accuracy results would have been stunning with this ammunition.

There were no mechanical problems. None of these guns had ejector rod throws that were long enough to fully remove fired cases from the cylinders, but that didnít matter. Also, we found no binding in double-action mode, even after firing many rounds with no cleaning. This was commendable.

The Ruger GP100 felt really good in the double-action mode, either fast or slow fire. We were able to make relatively good hits on target at long range, not exactly the realm of the double-action system. Up close and personal, the Ruger fired shots smoothly and reliably as fast as we could stroke the trigger, and it was by no means clean at this point in testing. With some handguns, carbon and unburnt gun powder will often tie up the double-action mechanism so that repeated rapid-fire shooting becomes difficult, if not impossible. This wasnít so with the Ruger. It kept on ticking.

Comments (14)

Markbo, I used a B- square mount. take the rear sight off and mount it. directions came with mount, and has not loosened up at all. I found mount on e-bay from someone who acquired misc. stuff from a gun shop that was closing its doors. I paid w/ shipping $12. normally this goes for about $40- $50. hope this helps. Ken

Posted by: ken h | March 11, 2010 6:25 PM    Report this comment

I am lucky enough to have bought quite a few of the test fungs from GT, including THIS GP-100. There is no spitting. There is no misalignment of the hand or ratchet. There was no stoning or fitting required. There has been no malufunction whatsoever. Though the trigger cannot compare to my S&W 686 (seriously... how many non custom revolvers can?) it is a good trigger and is suprisingly accurate. Though the barrel/cylinder gap is not ideal on paper, this has caused zero issues as the cylinder lockup is tight and there was no shake or end play. This gun is a winner. Don't let hear-say and mis-reading between the lines scare you away from one.

Ken H: What mount did you use to mount your scope?

Posted by: Markbo | March 11, 2010 12:15 PM    Report this comment

I have a gp 6". my wife likes the target loads for it. I of course love the slow burning stuff. topped with a leupold 4x over 3500+ rounds thru it.

Posted by: ken h | March 4, 2010 9:10 AM    Report this comment

Traded for a SS 4" model. Had typical rough trigger. Found a total rebuild tutorial from a retired gunsmith from Iowa. That and a calibration kit from Wolff Gunsprings has turned it into a superior arm. Can easily keep it on-target when fast double action, and accuracy is match grade.

Posted by: wirelessguy | March 1, 2010 7:39 PM    Report this comment

My Ruger Security Six was (pardon the pun) bullet-proof. More reliable and durable than any Smith or Colt I've ever owned. Did the action job myself, Wolff springs, 4.5# trigger pull like breaking glass. Gave it to my sister to keep my ex from getting it. Wonder if she'd sell it back to me, or should I upgrade to the GP-100?

Posted by: Lee W | February 27, 2010 5:42 PM    Report this comment

I am planning to buy the GP100; and already have a gun smith for a trigger job. I have the 686, and think of it as an almost perfect gun -- nice trigger. However I do question the design of the firing pin, My SP101 is a pleasure also.

Posted by: tovlogos | February 27, 2010 2:56 PM    Report this comment

Owned one since 1990, love the look in SS with the rubber and wood grips and 6 inch barrel. Firing .38 Special rounds makes it a bit tamer and just as accurate as firing the .357 rounds. Great handgun...

Posted by: DICKWEED | February 27, 2010 8:03 AM    Report this comment

I have a GP100 and have found it to be accurate and reliable especially with 158gr cast bullets. The action of my Smith & Wesson Model 27 is much smoother though.

Posted by: Glenn G | February 26, 2010 1:58 PM    Report this comment

I have owned a GP100 6" barrel since 1986. The pistol is a handful for women. My wife does not care for it due to the .357 recoil. I have found as the gun has grown older that my shot pattern has moved to the left of target. I have readjusted the sites to compensate. I love the feel and reliability of this pistol. Bar none, it's the most fun to shoot of all my pistols. When you first pull the trigger, it really gets people's attention at the indoor NRA range after everone else has been firing semi-autos.

Posted by: Superbee1 | February 26, 2010 7:50 AM    Report this comment

I have a 4" model. Came with a terrible trigger that was smoothed out by a great smith. Now it is one of my favorite guns. A real shooter.

Posted by: Anthony C | February 26, 2010 7:32 AM    Report this comment

That may be true, however if the barrel is not lined up with the cylinder it will spit at you tight or not. That's why the author said the proof is in the shooting. Nice gun, my friend has one that I have shot a few times. I like my S&W 686 better.

Posted by: Robert J | February 26, 2010 6:46 AM    Report this comment

When they say that the cylinder was tight, that means that the ratchet, or the hand need a little work with a very fine stone to make things right. This also stops "material" from spiting back.

Posted by: lotoofla | February 26, 2010 1:00 AM    Report this comment

My Wife sold guys for years at the Marine Corp Gun Shop and her personal choice was the GP-100 with a 6" barrel. I love shooting her gun. With 357 ammo it went BOOM and more fun than my SIG P226 with 9mm that went bang!
Enjoy it.

Posted by: Mike F | February 25, 2010 8:30 PM    Report this comment

I have had a great experience with the Ruger SP 101, 3" barrel. Put a Hogue grip on it and I can shoot all day with any commercial load. I also rounded the trigger. My 89 # wife can also handle it easily.

Posted by: M F | February 25, 2010 5:35 PM    Report this comment

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