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  #1  
Old 05-01-2011, 02:28 AM
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Default A S&W purist tries a Ruger GP100

Yeah, I must admit that (probably like many of us here) I've been a bit of a S&W purist when it comes to revolvers. I've owned eleven over the years (now down to three) and I'd always considered them superior to Rugers, although I'd never even shot a Ruger. Well, I saw this stainless 4" GP100 come up for sale recently for a price too tempting to resist and thought that I should probably give it a try! Since the GP100 model is 25 years or so old many of you have already tried or own one, but for those who haven't here are my thoughts.

Overview
  • The revolver certainly doesn't have the slim, clean lines of a S&W revolver, but it does have a chunky, businesslike appeal. I like the finish more than the older S&W brushed stainless finish but less than their newer bead-blasted finish. There are more pins visible in the frame but I don't consider that a big deal.
  • The grip is just about the perfect size and shape, and is very comfortable. It's better than anything I've ever tried on a square butt K/L frame or N frame S&W. Rubber Hogues and Ahrends Retro Targets come close but the Ruger beats them both. I have always liked the pairing of wood and rubber on the older GP100 grips--it's too bad that Ruger doesn't include them with the GP100 any more.
  • I like the dovetailed-in serrated black front sight a lot better than S&W's older machined-in red ramp sight, although it's set back a little in the barrel reducing the sight radius a bit.
  • The revolver has excellent balance--it migh be heresy but I like it better better than the 4" N-frame.


At the range
I had it out the the range recently for the first time for a quick shakedown. I had my youngest daughter out for her first try with her new Henry Mini-bolt and wanted to spend most of our range time having her shoot.




Here are my initial thoughts on the Ruger.
  • The double-action trigger pull is not bad at all--better than I was expecting. It stacks a little just past the start of the pull but it's smooth after that. It's a little heavier than a typical S&W pull but not by much.
  • The single action pull is also heavier, and there's more trigger movement than with a S&W but not objectionable.
  • The cylinder release takes a little getting used to after 26 years of S&Ws. Not bad but slower than what I'm used to.
  • The cylinder locks up earlier in the DA pull--this was a little distracting at first but easy to get used to.
  • The smooth trigger is just about the perfect width for both DA and SA shooting.
  • It seemed to be certainly accurate enough--a 4" revolver is at a bit of a disadvantage and I'd also not shot a handgun since last October. The first SA group I fired (see below) was six rounds into about 2" at 15m.
  • 125 grain .357 Magnum loads were no problem at all--the grips proved very comfortable


Conclusion
I like the chunky little devil a lot! Great balance, nice sights, super grip and not a bad trigger. I'm glad I picked it up!

It cleans up pretty good, too!










Last edited by Dragonfly; 05-01-2011 at 02:31 AM.
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Old 05-01-2011, 02:34 AM
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Have you handles the Ruger LCR in .357 Yet? Neat gun & the price is coming down every day
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Old 05-01-2011, 02:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billdeserthills View Post
Have you handles the Ruger LCR in .357 Yet? Neat gun & the price is coming down every day
Unfortunately, due to Canada's restrictive gun laws no new handguns with barrels less than 4" have been brought into the country since the mid-1990s.
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:13 AM
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I love S&W revolvers. There's something extremely appealing about them, a combination of looks, balance, and shootability. I've owned a variety of them, and I currently own four, a 2" 36, a 2" 10-11, a 2.5" 19-5, and a 6" 629-4.

However, I've been shooting Rugers since I was 11, and the Security Six was the first double action that I owned. I currently own two, an SP-101 2.25" .357, and a GP-100 4". I like them both a lot. Not as classy looking as the Smiths, but they shoot!

I agree completely with your assessment of the GP-100. Mine shoots like a target pistol, with everything from .38 wadcutters to full power loads. It would be one of the last guns I'd part with.

I'm not crazy about the grips, though, and have Hogue rubber instead.
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
The double-action trigger pull is not bad at all
Pull out the gun and dry fire it a several hundred to a thousand times. You may be amazed at what that can do for that Ruger trigger.

bob
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:34 AM
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[QUOTE=Dragonfly;135938508]Unfortunately, due to Canada's restrictive gun laws no new handguns with barrels less than 4" have been brought into the country since the mid-1990s.[/QUOTE

Exactly why Ruger now makes many of their guns with a 4.2 inch barrel.
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:44 AM
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An excellent review, and it's always good to hear from Canadian shooters.

Very nice photos, although they might improve if printed just slightly darker.

Cute kid with that rifle. Start 'em young!

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Old 05-01-2011, 09:22 AM
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My little brother has a Security Six with a 4" barrell. And it is quite a good shooter. I still like my 6" 686 alot better though...go figure. But all that aside, IMHO Ruger offers a heck of a good working piece for the money as a less expensive alternative to a Smith. I have fired a couple Taurus handguns over the years and am not impressed at all with them. The DA pull is horrendous! And for a compareable price the Ruger is by far superior to any Taurus. Really, the only thing about Rugers I dont care for is the looks and the cylinder release. But that wouldnt stop me from picking one up. A taurus on the other hand, it couldnt be cheap enough for me to consider buying. Good review!
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
Since the GP100 model is 25 years or so old many of you have already tried or own one....
25 years is about right. I bought mine in 1986 when they first came out. I might have bought a stainless one, but blue was introduced first, stainless came a bit later.

I agree with you on the grips, they've got a great feel. My GP is accurate with almost any good ammo. It has never given me a problem. Despite many rounds of .357 ammo down the tube, it's just as tight as the day i bought it.

It will never have the classic looks of the S&W revolver, but for "real world" purposes, you can't go wrong with a GP-100.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:48 AM
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I carried the old Security Sixes for work for many years (the Speed Six was agency issue) and they are still my medium-frame DA of preference as working guns. Do I like Smiths? Of course!

Some years back I came into a stainless GP-100 from a shooter's estate. It was just about NIB but someone had worked over the DA and installed a trigger stop, which I normally don't care for. The action was incredibly good. It was for sale in a local gun shop, and I overheard someone make a comment that they were thinking of getting it to throw it under the truck seat.

Even thought I didn't "need" that GP that did it. It's at its best as a field gun due to the weight and bulk, but does it ever shoot! Hot 125s feel like wadcutters, and it's one of the few DAs I own that wears the original stocks. It really is a great gun.
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Old 05-01-2011, 10:11 AM
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Plus, they are soooo easy to completely take apart.

The Wolf spring kits will greatly help the trigger and are a snap to install.
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Old 05-01-2011, 10:40 AM
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I've had my GP100 for about 10 years now. I have absolutely no worries about running some pretty hot loads through it. I concur with the comments about the Taurus'. I have small hands so the stock rubber grip with the wood inserts was replaced with a Hogue mono grip. Check out Ruger's website and you can get the red dot front site. All you need to do is compress the retention spring with a punch from inside the hole at the top of the muzzle. It's not a fiber optic but does drastically increase the visibility the item # is 90074 and is $15.23. After doing a check of Rugers web store I see they now have the Hiviz fiber sites available # 80630 for $ 34.95, I think I know what I'm buying next.
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Old 05-01-2011, 12:44 PM
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I recently bought a GP100 .357 with a 3" barrel and fixed sights. It's built like a tank! It came with the Hogue grips, but I bought a set of the old-style rubber grips from Midway and got some wooden inserts from Altamont, and it looks and feels a lot better to my hand.

I really like S&W revolvers, but I just won't buy one with the lock, and I don't like to buy used guns (just my preference) if I can get new. I wanted a revolver to keep in my nightstand, and while I would have preferred a 686, I wanted fixed sights, and no lock...I couldn't get that in a 686...so I bought the GP100. (I do have a S&W 642 for CCW, and it doesn't have the lock.) I don't have any worries about this being durable and functional!
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:00 PM
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I bought an unfired Ruger Security Six in the box a couple of years ago.I also have a 2 3/4" Speed Six.I just can't make them shoot as good as my Smith's.Do you think it is because of my name.
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:13 PM
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Rugers for business, S&W for pleasure.......

I'm not as picky with grips and appearance with my Rugers as I am with my S&W's. Ruger GP100's and Sixes were designed as duty guns, first and foremost. I usually hate Pachmayrs on a blued gun, this is how my PD trade in Service Six came to me, the LEO that carried it needed utility, not looks, and they make my Service Six handle better without worrying about dinging up the wood, and that's all that counts.

As much of a S&W as I am, and have been since the early 90's, I "found" Ruger revolvers in 2008 and they have become my primary CC and HD handguns, and I do a lot of my range shooting with them. I can say I "target shoot" with my S&W's, but I "train" with my Rugers.

S&W's are great guns, very classic and they can be slicked up and made VERY accurate. But my GP100's are no slouch for accuracy either.

Drop in a set of the gold colored Redhawk springs, run a few thousand .38's through that GP100 and you'll be amazed at how slick it gets. Most of my GP's have Redhawk springs, they do not feel "lighter" so much as "smoother" with less staging. It's hard to describe. They are at their best in target or hunting guns used primarily in SA. For my defense GP's I stick with the bronze colored stock factory springs.

The Ruger has the edge for being reliable as a sledehammer, has big, chunky parts and it takes a LOT to break one. Short of outright abuse there's not much you can do to get a GP100 to stop working. They will digest your hellacious handloads with no problems.

Lots of PD's, State Police agencies and govt. agencies issued Ruger GP100's and Six series revolvers. The PASP and NJSP used stainless 4" Security Sixes for a long time. So did the NYPD, with their DAO .38 Service Sixes. Tons of security companies also used .38 Special GP100's and Sixes, I have a few trade ins.

The Sixes are great too, I have a pile of 'em. It's a shame Ruger stopped making them, they're awesome "k-frame" sized .357's. If I were a LEO and I was allowed to carry a wheelgun, I would go with a stainless 4" Service Six .357.

Last edited by stantheman86; 05-01-2011 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:14 PM
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That exact gun is what I recommend to "new gun" people, and it is also what I'd pick if I could only have one. A stainless steel, 4" GP-100 is tough to beat.

I have a 6" in blued that is the most accurate revolver I own, beating out Python's and PC guns by the way.

Last year I was in my pushers and they had a 4" Royal Phoenix GP-100 made for one of the distributors. It is a high polished gun, with polished trigger and hammer. Came with very nice Hogue wood grips as well. In fit and finish it is right in the middle between my standard GP and older Smith's and Pythons. One of the prettiest Rugers I've ever seen though...so it came home with me.

I'll get around to putting Wolff's in it, maybe go wild and send it to Gemini Customs for some work. I was going to do that with a 4" Stainless like yours though! Great gun.

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Old 05-01-2011, 05:22 PM
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I need the .327 Fed. Mag GP100 too, and that's gonna open a whole new can of worms for me.

Whatever you do, stay away from the Blackhawks.....I bought one this winter and now I have a .357 Vaquero on layaway, before I know it I'll have 10 of them Something about these Rugers just gets in your blood.......you either love them or hate them, and if you love them you end up with a pile of them.

It always starts with one....
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:19 PM
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I am a Ruger fan. I love my S&W revolvers, but love both my DA and SA Ruger Revolvers. I have to echo the comments about changing out the springs.






But I AM a little biased.


As for Bill Ruger and his comment about the AWB. Get over it 'ya crybaby. He is DEAD. Why hold his comments against the hundreds of AMERICANS who work at the Ruger plants?
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:07 PM
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When you said you shot a group at 15m, I knew you weren't from around here, aye? We shoot at 15 yards. I own a GP-100 4". It's my woods gun. It's not quite as accurate as my 686, the trigger is not as smooth, but it will shoot the hottest 357 loads all day long. "Chunky" is a great adjective for the GP-100. It's a poor man's Smith. Ruger makes the only other DA revolver I would recommend besides Smith and Wesson.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:12 PM
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I don't consider a GP100 a poor man's Smith at all......the two designs couldn't be any more different, all they have in common is the cylinders turn in the same direction.....both have their strengths and weaknesses but I do not consider the Ruger in any way a lesser gun. I know we're on the S&W forum, and we have strong opinions about our "favorites". I try to stay subjective.

If I had the cash I would buy a NIB 586 and a NIB GP100, and run 1,000 rounds of .357 through each one a day and see which one breaks down first......I'll make an educated guess as to which one would last longer, but I think we all know the answer.

As for the sour grapes over Bill Rugers comments about how "no honest man needs more than 10 rounds" or whatever was said, I'm not going to boycott an American gunmaker because of a comment that was made by a now deceased man in 1994. He was a business man and trying to save his product line, and keep the Mini-14 viewed as a "sporting rifle". People tend to get really emotional on this topic, some of the comments I have read on other forums where they "hope Bill Ruger is burning right now" are totally uncalled for.

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Old 10-06-2012, 07:26 PM
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I recently got a great deal on a SS GP100 4" .327 Federal Magnum....What a sweeeeeeet shooter it is. I also have a Blued GP100 6" .357 again another great shooter. Still love my Smith & Wesson 500. I have no problem shooting Rugers, when you close your eyes it's real hard to tell the differance.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:33 PM
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I have a soft spot for the GP100, It was the first handgun I purchased and I still have it. Mine is 70118, which makes it very close to the OP GP100 age wise. I love my S&W's, but it is the gun I would grab as a trail gun.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:37 PM
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I just like Thread revivals.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -rags- View Post
I just like Thread revivals.
Yes, I must admit I was a little surprised to see this one pop up again! I still have the GP100 (I'm the worst for buying and selling guns!) and still agree with what I posted last year. One benefit is that my daughter saw the thread again and asked if we could go shooting again next week!
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:38 AM
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My first revolver was a Ruger Security Six in .357 with 4" heavy barrel circa '82.
It is still my go to gun when camping and hiking.



Everyone should at least try one.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:38 AM
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My first revolver was a Ruger Security Six in .357 with 4" heavy barrel circa '82.
It is still my go to gun when camping and hiking.



Everyone should at least try one.
Ruger's factory target grips like those are amazingly comfortable. I wish that S&W target grips fit me as well.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:51 AM
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My first duty handgun was an early Ruger Security Six with the odd top to the back strap. It left a gap between the web of my hand and the frame - kicked like a mule with .357s. Sold it for a S&W M19 and was much happier. Then Ruger redisigned the grip frame, so I bought another Security Six and loved it.

My final duty revolver was a Ruger GP 100. Love it and still have it. Reliable, accurate, with Wolf springs it has a very good trigger pull, and easy to shoot magnums out of.

I was the last officer in my old department to carry a revolver, until I was forced to switch to a semi-auto; fortunately they let me be the first officer authorized to carry a Colt Government Model .45 as a duty handgun.

I still favor S&W revolvers, but the Rugers are easy to like.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:23 AM
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wifey has a nice pair i get to play with once in a while....
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:48 AM
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A Ruger GP100 was my first handgun purchase. Sweet shooter!
Later, I spotted a used? (looked NIB) Security Six that begged to go home with me, and then a Speed Six that looked unused, but was stamped USDA. Guess they needed them to fend off the mad cows!
IMO the GP100 is a bit heavy to carry all day in the field, so the Security Six is my go-to gun to carry all day.
The wife always complained that my guns were too large for her hands, so ended up with an SP101 that she seems happy with.
I have several S&W guns also, but the Rugers seem to get used the most.

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Old 10-07-2012, 11:08 AM
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I recently bought a GP100 .357 with a 3" barrel and fixed sights. It's built like a tank! It came with the Hogue grips, but I bought a set of the old-style rubber grips from Midway and got some wooden inserts from Altamont, and it looks and feels a lot better to my hand.

I really like S&W revolvers, but I just won't buy one with the lock, and I don't like to buy used guns (just my preference) if I can get new. I wanted a revolver to keep in my nightstand, and while I would have preferred a 686, I wanted fixed sights, and no lock...I couldn't get that in a 686...so I bought the GP100. (I do have a S&W 642 for CCW, and it doesn't have the lock.) I don't have any worries about this being durable and functional!

WOW. It was a used 25-2 that got me derailed from Colt revolvers to S&W revolvers. Put a lot of rounds through that fine fire arm and was so impressed that I bought another one in better condition than the first. I would suggest your position on used guns. Of I had that position I would not have my 610. Not only was it used but the insides had been abused by a want to be gunsmith. Paid $500 for it, a little under $200 for parts and labor and I now have a kick butt 10mm revolver that I could sell for $1100 if I was crazy enough to do so. Which I aint.


NIB=Used Gun as all guns are fired at the factory.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:30 PM
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I would suggest your position on used guns. Of I had that position I would not have my 610.
Well, we each have our own way...and I've been known to make an exception to my own rules. Not that I'm actively searching for one, but if a Model 29 with a 4" barrel comes along, at a decent price, it will come home with me.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:32 PM
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wifey has a nice pair i get to play with once in a while....
It's a good thing you attached a picture of the guns, or someone with a dirty mind could take that statement the wrong way.

Not me, of course, but someone...
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:00 PM
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I purchased a SP101 .22 (First Ruger Ever), heavy trigger, but it seems to be slowly improving, or I am getting use to it. The grip is comfortable and fits my hand like a glove.

Ruger seems to be doing excellent with its sales.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:40 PM
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Until S&W makes some nice single actions I will own Rugers
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:22 AM
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I thought "what a great thread" I love my GP's and SP's! Then as I read through I saw someone said exactly what I was thinking, "the GP-100 SS 4" is perfect for a new gun person." I thought gee, what a smart guy, then I realized I'm the one that typed that, about a year ago.

Thread revivals, come Oooouuuttt!!!

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Old 10-09-2012, 11:57 PM
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I wanted my first 357. Smith was having one of their periodic forays into gun control, so I bought a Ruger Security 6, 6 inch barrel, blued. WONDERFUL gun, very strong, good trigger pulls after a set of Woolf springs and 1000 rounds. I still have it and it shares 357 honors only with a 27-2 8 3/8 " barrel.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:59 AM
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What the heck, I'll play too.

I had a dolled-up M&P40 FS that I traded for a 6" blue GP100 & $150 in my pocket. The guy offered the trade, and the cash made it impossible to say no.

I also own a snub SP101 .357. (I needed a new CCW gun after I traded my M&P). I bought the SP brand new. Out of the box, the trigger and action were "ok". I installed Wolf springs and performed a DIY trigger job (where you just smooth out a few contact surfaces). After the trigger job and the springs..... Wow!
It's no S&W, but it is a nice smooth and crisp trigger now. Most days, I shoot my snub SP with better accuracy than my 4" and 6" revolvers.
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:41 AM
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Well, I'll contribute to the thread revival too. My fav GP100 has been this 6" I picked up NIB at the gun shop for $525.00 about 6 months ago. It's a hoot to shoot and a great field gun for hiking, etc. And it don't mind heavy loads.

Just love it.

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  #39  
Old 10-20-2012, 06:25 PM
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Thank you for this post. I have a GP 100 with a 6" barrel and I love it. today I found a used one and I know the original owner. I have made my decision that Monday I will have 2 GP 100's.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:37 PM
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Stay tuned for "True Confessions" Part Two
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:08 AM
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Old thread I know : I loves my Smiths but this was hard to pass up @ $ 489 otd so it works real nice for my nightstand.
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  #42  
Old 01-13-2013, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake Plissken View Post
Old thread I know : I loves my Smiths but this was hard to pass up @ $ 489 otd so it works real nice for my nightstand.

That isn't a sizzling deal, but is a good one. I think you'll like that gun enough that you'd have paid more and been content. I sold my M-686 and got a four-inch GP-100 about nine years ago. I prefer the ruggedness and balance of the Ruger, although I like some other S&W's better than some Rugers.

What sort of wood is the Hogue grip? Is it a laminate?
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:21 PM
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Yea Hogue laminate
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:49 PM
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This 6" GP100 shot 3/4" groups @ 25 yards off a rest, I sold it to finance the purchase of a 3" Model 65. I will own another GP 100 someday...

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Old 01-14-2013, 09:07 PM
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It's fun to see this thread revived after almost two years--I still have (and still like!) the GP100 and my daughter still enjoys shooting her Mini-Bolt. Here's a shot from last Fall -- you can see she's grown into it a bit more.



Good luck with the challenges facing you guys in the upcoming weeks and months--let's hope you fare better than we have!
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  #46  
Old 10-12-2013, 12:04 AM
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Every S&W fan should own at least one Ruger GP100. After all, variety is the spice of life. The Ruger DA revolver has many great design features. The S&W also. I must admit though, since the introduction of the lock, and MIM parts, the Rugers do look better.
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:13 AM
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Another S&W fan that also appreciates Ruger firearms as well. Really like the single action revolvers and the Six series.
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:13 AM
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One our local cable channels here in Louisiana had a short show on Ruger handguns. They featured a GP-100 competition model that looked very nice. Wonder how long before it hits the stores?. Frank
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:35 PM
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I love both S&W and Ruger Revolvers!

3" GP-100 and 3" Model 65
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  #50  
Old 10-12-2013, 02:19 PM
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I have one around here somewhere...



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