First Revolver - ruger fans please help


Texas Bacon
December 31, 2005, 01:20 PM
I'm about to buy my first revolver and would like some constructive critisim/advice as to whether it is a good choice.

First off I like the 686 and 620 - especially the triggers - but I don't like the internal lock idea and for $50-100 less I can get what appears to be a more rugged gun. I also kind of like the idea of a harder trigger for safety issues.

I rented an SP101 3" and had a blast. That is the gun I am intending on buying on Monday - there is only 1 in town. I liked being able to get a really good grip on the small handle and the light weight made the gun feel natural when holding it. I'm also planning on renting it again today and shooting some .357 through it - only shot .38 and .38+p last time.

Everybody likes the 4" midframes becasue they are good all around guns. While the 686 and 620 felt really, really good, the GP100 just didn't do it for me - problem is I like the actual gun better. Could the issue be the grips? Would they make that much difference? It just seemed a rally long reach to the trigger, my amall finger didn't sit right, and my thumb was on the ridge instead of in the indention on the top of the grip. Whould some houge grips make the GP feel like the 686? I don't really want the S&W so I decided on the SP.
Good choice? Would the 4" GP with different grips be a better choice?
SP101 3" - $409
GP100 4" - $479
range shooting
nightstand duty
road trips
I know the SP101's advantage is for carry but it seems a lot of you all use it as an all rounder too....
PS- I'm probably partial to ruger since my first gun was a mark 1 that dad taught me to shoot with when I was little. Great little gun!

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December 31, 2005, 01:43 PM
Opt for what fits you. Luckily you have more leeway in getting revolvers to fit because of grip options. If a gun feels clunky to you now it isn't going to get much smaller. As it happens I have a very nice GP-100 and gave my daughter in law a 3" SP-101 like the one you are looking at. The GP is a *big* gun to me and consequently is a safe queen--too nice to sell but not very useful. I have used the discontinued old Ruger Security Six revolvers in various permutations for some 25 years now and still think they are the best revolver for me.

The SP is a decent little gun. An alternative is the S&W M60 3" full lug .357--probably not quite as durable as the SP but still a nice little gun. I have essentially the same thing in an earlier .38 Spl. version which I think is the nicest compromise package ever. It's a compact J frame for smaller hands, has good adjustable sights and good DA, delivers plenty of power in .357, and is a classy gun. Sounds like a one-gun solution to your quest. Suggest you go look one over.

I am also "partial" to Ruger since I own stock in the company--but competition is good too.

December 31, 2005, 02:04 PM
there is a more comfortable smaller grip size available for the gp100. It comes stock on the 3" barreled gp100 with fixed sights. check it out. I think it is the best DA revolver setup presently coming out of the factory. Bad part is you may have to look hard to find one or order it sight unseen. The frame on the fixed sight gp100 is alot smoother and sleeker as well, I'd recommend it.

December 31, 2005, 02:06 PM
the 3" barreled gp100 will be smaller than a smith 686 which is identical almost in size and wieght to the longer barreled adjustable sight model gp100's. edited to say that your choice of the sp101 is a good one to. I prefer the dao model in 2" its great for ccw'ing something that can realistically shoot magnums IMO. The gp100 frame just handle hot magnum loads alot easier than the sp101. If you plan on shooting mostly .38's than your good to go.

December 31, 2005, 02:32 PM
This sounds like a grip issue with the GP-100 that can easily be fixed by swapping them out for a pair that fits you better.
The GP-100 would be a better choice than the SP-101 considering your choices. Since concealment is not considered the extra size and weight will help when shooting magnums. You also gain that 6th shot over the SP-101. Depending on how well you shoot the adjustable sights of the GP-100 are a plus (especially playing around at the range).
Get the GP-100 and change out the grips (most every grip maker has choices). The GP is the all-around gun and the SP is the special purpose gun.

Texas Bacon
December 31, 2005, 04:07 PM
I had looked at the S&W 60 but thought it might be too light. The grips and sights were very nice.
The 3" GP looked like a good compromise but I haven't seen any here in Houston.
Unfortunately I think I'll end up with an SP and GP over time. Don't really want to spend the money for two but since you can't always try before you buy.....
Hogue makes grips for the SP and GP but what about the 3" GP? Those grips seem to be right in the middle of the other two.

December 31, 2005, 04:16 PM
You've got a lot of options, any one of which will result in you owning a very nice revolver.

Have your gun source order you a 3" GP-100. You won't have adjustable sights, but the grips are smaller, and it will shoot any .357 magnum round like a dream.

Buy a larger GP-100 and hunt around for some grips that suit you better. The Pacmayr grips are really nice.

Buy the SP-101 and test your tolerance for hot loads. The very powerful loads are not fun in my SP-101, but the low-to-medium are fun. It's a very nice revolver.

Buy a used "Six" model on a web site like The frame is a little smaller than the GP, but they're still hefty guns. You'll also have your choice of aftermarket grips. I've purchased three guns from this web site and have been very pleased with them. The prices on these models are very good compared to NIB or used Smith&Wesson models.

Buy an older, used Smith&Wesson revolver. The older models feel better made to me and don't have the internal lock. If you want something more rugged than the 686, get an N-frame like the model 28 Highway Patrolman. N-frames feel too big to me, however.

If I were in your position, I would go for one of the "Six" models in excellent condition. Polish it up nice, and spend the extra dough on ammo.


December 31, 2005, 08:22 PM
I have both the SP-101 and the GP-100 and I can tell you they are both wonderful guns. You can get the smaller grip for the GP-100 and it is only slightly larger than the SP-101, as a matter of fact they share the same grip panels as the SP. I use the smaller grip on my 4" GP and like it very much and it only cost about $10.00 from Ruger(more with panels).

The SP is a great gun but can get a bit much with full house magnum rounds and the GP handles them easily. I tend to shoot lighter loads through the SP just for me, the gun can take it with no problem. Decide what rounds you like to shoot and that may make the choice for you.

My suspicion is that you'll end up with both eventually anyhow. ;)

Good luck, buying guns is a great excitement.

Texas Bacon
December 31, 2005, 09:08 PM
I think you are right Tim. I plan to shoot .38s most of the time but I would imagine that .357s would be fun from time to time. I imagine the progression will go 3" sp101 , 4" GP100, sell SP101, 3" GP100, 2.25 SP spurless.....

So you can actually put smaller grips on the GP? I wouldn't have imagined that. Any experience witht he hogues and how they are different from the factory grips with regards to feel and fit?

December 31, 2005, 09:48 PM
I have a 3 inch SP 101 and it is a great revolver. Mine is extremely accurate at combat ranges. Easily concealed, though a bit heavy. The weight helps absorb recoil. Built like a bank vault.

I plan on taking it to Teddy Jacobson and have the hammer spur removed and have it coverted to double action only. This will cost me $43. Then, for $150, I'll ask Teddy to do his Street Reliability Package on this gun.

January 1, 2006, 02:19 AM
I have a GP100 with the larger adjustable sights type grips. I tried a Hogue grip, but it made the trigger reach feel a tiny bit longer for me. Think it was because the Hogue was a little thicker across the backstrap and because it filled in the area behind the trigger guard a little more preventing me from gripping as high. You might want to try to find a shop that will let you try the Hogue on the GP100 before you buy(gun shop let me return the Hogue I bought with no problems, but I don't know if everywhere is like that.)

No experience with the smaller fixed sight GP100 grips.

January 1, 2006, 02:22 AM
Security-Six! :cool:

January 1, 2006, 09:01 AM
I had a Security Six. Swapped it because I couldn't get it to shoot really well with .38s. It was killer accurate with .357s, though, and I sorta regret having traded it.

I LOVE the SP101. I'd get it with the 3+ inch barrel, much easier to shoot with the added sight radius and give it more .357 horsepower with the hot loads. I want one bad myself. The one thing I see I don't like with it is the lack of adjustable sights. I had a dove tail front sight installed on my Taurus M85UL with a gold wire embedded in the front blade for shooting lighter loads with a different sight picture (a Elmer Keith trick, he used 'em for long range shooting) and that worked out marvelously. Might do something like that with the Ruger 'cause I'd wanna be able to shoot accurately with both light and heavy loads. Once I got the sight thing worked out, the fun would be awesome, I think. It's a strong, yet relatively light and compact gun. It'd definitely be more useful to me than a medium or heavy frame .357 like the GP100. But, then, I carry concealed. But, I'd use it as an outdoor gun for hiking and hunting trips, too. I can't think of a gun that would be a better all around do all gun for me.

And, like was said, go for what fits you. If the gun feels right in your hand, it's definitely a wonderful choice in handguns.

PS: I love my Rugers, too, all five of 'em. Wish I still had that Security Six. I might look around at gun shows this year for a Speed Six or Security Six. You can find 'em used, ex-duty guns, from time to time.

Texas Bacon
January 1, 2006, 10:41 AM
Well I'm going to a gun show shortly. I'll be looking for a deal on any of the above mentioned guns and if I see one and the gun feels right - done deal. If not, I'll be picking up my SP tomorrow. I'll probably try and grab a set of hogues to go with the SP as well.

Anybody ever replace their front site of the SP with a red ramp like on the 686? I really like the way the red pops up compared to the black and it still seems pretty durable.

January 1, 2006, 12:31 PM
Anybody ever replace their front site of the SP with a red ramp like on the 686? I really like the way the red pops up compared to the black and it still seems pretty durable.

Agreed! FYI, my Security-Six doesn't have the red ramp like my 686 but some Security-Sixes did come with them from the factory.

January 1, 2006, 09:36 PM
Front site on the SP is just pinned in so it shouldn't be too tough to change out, on my 9mm SP that Gemini Customs worked over I had them put a large gold dot front sight on it and it shows up much better.

I've never tried a Hogue on the GP, but my SP came with one from the previous owner. The Hogue was quite comfortable, but much bigger than the factory grip so I took it off, I'm pretty shallow about how my guns look and I just couldn't stand it. Aftermarket wood panels in the factory rubber grip look good to me so that's the way I went.

Texas Bacon
January 1, 2006, 10:00 PM
Well I saw three gems at the gun show today. There were 2 3" sp101s and a 3" GP. I decided to buy the first SP and wouldn't you know it - it was broken. The extractor pin was too long and the cylinder very hard to open.

The GP was awesome. It felt great. I realized that I liked it so much because of the grip differences on the lower part of the grip. I checked out the hogues for the GP and I think it solves my issues. They had a 4" but the sights were a little crooked. The GP is my next purchase but for now I decided on the other SP. I left to go get some cash so I wouldn't get charged the extra 3% and while I was in the car I decided to run down to Gander Mtn.
I ended up buying the SP at Gander. $389 (discounted because it was the display - they only had 12 in the whole company and this was the only one in Texas) and I got a free soft case. Not too bad for a days work.
So right now I have some Winchester 130grn .38, some Federal 129grn .38+p jhp, and the fellow at Gander sold me some Remington 125grn UMC .357 JSP. He said that the Remington would be a good round to break into .357. What do you folks think?
Oh, and I got a set of Hogues for the SP for $16. Surprisingly they feel thinner to me than the factory set and just a touch longer - my pinkie has a place to go now.....:D

January 2, 2006, 01:04 AM
Welcome to the owners club. You will love that little SP!! Shoot the heck out of it and just enjoy it. Cleaned both my SP and GP tonight and looking forward to the next range trip.

January 2, 2006, 12:07 PM
Well I'm going to a gun show shortly. I'll be looking for a deal on any of the above mentioned guns and if I see one and the gun feels right - done deal. If not, I'll be picking up my SP tomorrow. I'll probably try and grab a set of hogues to go with the SP as well.

Anybody ever replace their front site of the SP with a red ramp like on the 686? I really like the way the red pops up compared to the black and it still seems pretty durable.

Hey Texas Bacon,
You were at the same show (at the GRB) I got my P-64 (Sunday). It was the best one I've been to in a while not too many "other vendors". I am glad you found something you can shoot and hold on to.


January 2, 2006, 12:13 PM
I am sure you will love the gun. I prefer the 686 but they are very similar. One thing I found out was that shooting .357's was much more fun and addictive than the .38's, they just felt anemic. Well good luck to you and welcome.

Texas Bacon
January 2, 2006, 12:44 PM
yup - and they are coming back in three weeks to the reliant center for another show........time to start stashing away money..

January 3, 2006, 08:01 PM
Texas Bacon,
There is a gunshow this coming weekend at the Pasadena Convention Center.
They are should just start a GS in a weekend-fleamarket format every weekend:rolleyes: . Same people same guns:D .


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