Obsolete Arms and Ammo
By Bob Shell
Apache Junction, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- The Ruger GP100 Revolver has been around for a number of years.
It was introduced in 1985 and replaced the Security Six. There were some changes made which made the Ruger GP100 Double Action Revolver one of the strongest double action revolvers available. They are available in some different barrel lengths and possibly other finishes so it would be a good idea to check out the website to see what options are available.
The model I received is the “Match Champion” which is supposed to have a couple of features lacking on the regular model. It includes a worked action to enhance smoothness. A three lug system and extra lining up the cylinder with the barrel should enhance accuracy. It cost $200 more then the standard GP-100.
Right off there are a couple of things that surprised me.
First of all the double action pull is fairly heavy in my view for a competition gun going 12 LBS according to my gauge. Some of the other shooters with better hands liked the double action pull so that is one of the reasons why I have several people try out these guns. The single action is nice at 4 LBS and has no travel or creep. I don’t see any way to adjust it though a qualified gunsmith may be able to lighten it. The front sight is a fiber optic and is easy to pick up however the rear is fixed which I find odd considering it is a target gun.
Without a doubt, there are adjustable sights available but in my view they should be standard on this gun.
The frame is set up to accept various custom grips which is a good feature since not everyone will not like the factory offering. In my view they are ok but if I was going to shoot it a lot I would look around for a different type.
Multiple Shooters Agree
As is something I always do I have other people shoot the T & E gun, that way I get a more fair view of how the gun is liked. Everyone who has tried it likes the grips. That was usually one of the first comments they made about it.
The frame is heavy so it should digest heavy loads over a period of time without a whimper. Except for heavy loads with heavy bullets recoil shouldn’t be an issue. A ported barrel might help out by reducing felt recoil.
The 357 is one of the most versatile rounds available capable of digesting bullets from 50 to 200 grains. In addition you can shoot 38 specials as well as 38 short and long Colt rounds for real light loads. There are more types and weights of bullets available then can be covered in this article. Anyone who makes handgun bullets or ammo makes 38 and 357 components. I picked up some Armscor 158 grain FMJ – RN bullets. The problem is they have no cannelure which enables the bullet to move. I put a cannelure on them which was somewhat difficult because they are hard. Since I knew that before I bought them, they will have other uses.
Hornady bullets and ammo were used and they have a couple of real interesting new products. They have a 90 grain pink load for those who are recoil shy but want some effective personal ammo. Since it is a lead free HP penetration should be good while providing good stopping power. It would be really nice in a 2” featherweight. Hornady makes a 140 grain flex tip which should find some various uses including some hunting applications. They are in addition to their regular line up of bullets and ammo. For info go to www.hornady.com
As with any gun the proof in the pudding is how well it shoots. When I do a gun review I try to get some factory ammo because it gives me a chance to evaluate my handloads and not everyone reloads so that info should help them out. Double Tap sent some loads in both 38 and 357. I have used a lot of Double Tap ammo for both rifles and handguns and have never been disappointed in its performance. They have an extensive line and it is always growing. If you don’t give them a try that might be an error on your part. For info you can go to www.doubletapammo.net
For handloaders there is a good verity of 357 bullets though at this time they might be hard to get. One company that has been around for years is Sierra. They make a good selection of bullets for us handloaders and if I am looking for the most accurate bullet there is a good chance that it will be a Sierra product. I have some 158 grain FP bullets for this T & E. For info on their line of fine bullets you can go to www.sierrabullets.com to get any needed info. They also have a very comprehensive loading manual.
LOAD BULLET VELOCITY COMMENT
38 Special loads
Hornady Lite 90 grain HP 1051 mild
Double Tap 110 grain Barnes 1172 ok
5.5 X 231 110 grain Barnes 1016 low recoil
6 X HS-6 125 grain SWC cast 1091 consistent
8 X HS-6 125 grain HP 961 mild
3.5 X 231 148 grain CMA WC 632 mild
8 X HS-6 158 grain FMJ 916 high es
8 X HS-6 158 grain Sierra FP 1006 high es
6 X HS-6 158 grain cast 683 slow
7 X Unique 158 grain FMJ 1141 very high ES
Double Tap 158 grain cast SWC 1019 consistent
6 X HS-6 160 grain coated SNS 668 mild
Winchester (38 Super) 130 grain FMJ 1107 decent
357 magnum loads
Double Tap 110 grain Barnes 1613 nice
14 X Blue Dot 125 grain Hornady XTP 1514 potent
Double Tap 125 Bonded Defense 1496 warm
10.5 X HS-6 140 grain Hornady FTP 1349 nice load
9.5 X HS-6 158 grain HP 1091 high es
9.5 X HS-6 158 grain FP 1059 decent
6 X HS-6 158 grain cast 711 ok
12 X Blue Dot 158 grain FMJ 1240 good load
Double Tap 195 grain HP 989 consistent
Double Tap 200 grain cast 1203 hunting load
13 X 296 200 grain cast performance 1075 nice
I was thinking that wanted to try something new with the 357.
Since there are so many bullets and load combos I wanted something unique. I tried basically the same thing with the 327 mag which was trying a 32 auto in it. Since it has a rim, I thought it would work and it did. So applying that logic, I figured that since a 38 super case has a rim why not try it. I tried some primed cases and they all went off and the extractor did a decent job of removing the cases. I only had a few cases and for some reason some would not fit even sizing with a 9 mm Luger and a 38 die. So the obvious question is why.
Under ordinary circumstances there is no logical reason to shoot these. In an emergency, if no other ammo was available it is nice to know that you might have a solution to having no ammo. Ballistically there is no logical use but as long as they are safe why not.
I shot the 38 super ammo and as expected it shot ok in fact shot a pretty decent group at 15 yards though off to the left as was most of the other ammo I shot. With various loads the accuracy potential looks great. Shot some groups at 15 yards and when I did my part groups stayed around an inch. We chronographed some Winchester 38 super with the 130 grain FMJ and they were consistent. As a note, I do not recommend shooting 38 supers in a 357 mag except if nothing else is available. Do not shoot them in a 38 as the pressures exceed the SAMI loads even the 38 + P rounds. It would be extremely hazardous to attempt that. If they are handloaded down they probably would be ok but I still don’t recommend it. I did have some extraction problems though not serious because the rim on the super is smaller. I included some good and a couple that were not consistent though they were accurate enough. Every gun is different so these loads may or may not shoot well in other similar weapons.
If you want to get an idea as to the accuracy potential of your revolver there is a way to check it out and anyone can do it. Take a jacketed bullet that is .357 and measure it to be sure. Put it through each chamber to see what happens. Ideally, it should go through with barely a nudge. If there is play that allows the bullet to flop around that will have a negative effect on accuracy. If it flops about it may go into the rifling slightly crooked. On the other hand if you have to use some force to get it through that probably means that it was swaged down a little. If it is undersize going into the barrel accuracy will suffer. A good quality revolver will not have these situations and the cylinder will be perfectly aligned with the barrel.
This extra work that Ruger does increases the accuracy and the cost. If excellent accuracy is important then the extra cost is worth it.
I have done this and other measurements on quite a few revolvers and sometimes you get over or undersize holes and I have had different size holes in the same gun. I can guarantee you that those conditions does nothing for accuracy. Those problems generally occur with older and lower price guns.
As always I have other shooters try out whatever product I am doing a T & E on. That way I can get a more honest feedback from various types of shooters. I have one youngster shooting it and he handled it pretty well. He as well as other shooters including myself like the grips. They are comfortable even with heavy loads. At our public range, I had several shooters try it and they all liked it. Most favorable comments centered on the grips and the single action trigger pull. The front sight is really nice as you can pick it up easily in varying lighting conditions.
Unfortunately, I can’t say much nice about the rear sight. It is fixed which is puzzling as this is advertised as a competition gun. Many of the loads I shot hit to the left though they did group well.
I would guess that a customer could purchase an adjustable rear sight but it shouldn’t be necessary. After a couple of sessions it is obvious that this gun can shoot well. A couple of other shooters view it favorably liking the grips and the single action trigger pull. Since the gun is rugged I want to focus on heavy hunting bullets. The Double Tap 200 grain cast definitely has some possibilities and will get some 180 and 200 grain slugs of various designs to work with.
- Model Number: 1754 | Caliber: 357 Mag
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Finish: Satin Stainless
- Front Sight: Fiber Optic
- Rear Sight: Fixed
- Barrel Length: 4.2″
- Overall Length: 9.50″
- Weight: 38.00 oz.
- Grips: Hogue Stippled Hardwood
- Twist: 1:18.75″ RH
- Grooves: 5
- MA Approved & Certified: No
- CA Approved: No
- Capacity: 6
- Suggested Retail: $899.00
- The Match Champion Model is designed with the competitor in mind. With its ergonomic enhancements and tuned action, the Match Champion delivers fast, accurate shots and takes the popular GP100 to the next level. It features a contoured cylinder, Novak Lo-Mount Carry rear sight and fiber optic front sight, Hogue hardwood grip with stippled sides and a slab-sided, half-lug target crowned barrel.
- Patented grip frame design easily accommodates the use of a wide variety of custom grips.
- Patented Ruger transfer bar mechanism provides an unparalleled measure of security against accidental discharge.
- Triple-locking cylinder is locked into the frame at the front, rear and bottom for more positive alignment and dependable operation shot after shot.
- Easy takedown of integrated subassemblies requires no special tools and allows for no hassle maintenance and assembly.
- Also features a slab-sided, half-lug barrel and hard plastic case.
If you are looking for an accurate heavy duty revolver and the price doesn’t bother you I would highly recommend trying out this gun. All thumbs up if you will.
About Bob Shell
A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo, Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. Visit: www.bobshellsblog.blogspot.com