GP 100; 4 inch barrel or 6


November 16, 2006, 10:56 AM
I am looking into picking up a Ruger GP 100 come spring as a graduation present to myself. I was wondering if you all suggest getting the 4 or 6 inch barrel. This will mostly be a plinking, bedside, and carrying around the farm gun. I may want to deer hunt with it from time to time, but that would probably only be when I am driving through heavy woods and might need two hands more often, so the probable reduced range of the 4 inch barrel would not be an issue.

I have a few concerns and I hope you all can help here.
- as I read Wisconsin deer hunting regs, it says that a hand gun has to be 5 1/2 inches barrel length measured from firing pin to the muzzle with the action closed . If I understand that correctly then I would assume that both 4 and 6 inch barrels would be ok, maybe someone who has knowledge of this would help me on that.
- second, in the off chance that WI ever gets CCW, there is a chance I might want to carry this gun in the winter and such, and in that case a 6 inch barrel would probably be excessive. (although to be fair, if we do get CCW I'll probably buy a smaller snubbie).

so, in conclusion... which should I be looking for? 4 or 6.


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November 16, 2006, 11:12 AM
I personally prefer the 4" model (I have one). However, you may want to get clarification on the law from the folks that enforce that law regarding hunting before you buy anything. It would suck to buy the 4" gun and get hassled by game wardens. You mentioned driving... The 4" would carry better in a holster while seated.

As for CCW, I'd use that as an excuse to buy another celebratory gun and get your GP100 for what you know you'll use it for rather than what you might get to do. ;)


Tom C.
November 16, 2006, 11:33 AM
I live in MD and the hunting regs say 6 barrel and 700 ft. lbs of energy. A .357 revolver is considered marginal for deer, and 700 ft lbs is tough to meet.
I have a very nice 4 GP 100, I also have a 6 S&W Model 27-2. They are quite different. I would be tempted to go with a 4 for most things, but plan to get something bigger if you want to do much deer hunting. Realistically, bigger means .44 or .45.
As a retirement present to myself I bought a S&W PC500 Hunter with a 6 barrel. Presents to yourself are the best kind.

November 16, 2006, 04:34 PM
I've got a lot of good memories of deer hunting in Wisconsin, but that was many years ago. Just yesterday I bought a GP100 6-inch - that gun just feels right in my hands. But now, in retirement, it will only be used to punch holes in paper. As I read your post, I wonder how much experience you have with shooting big caliber handguns. Before taking one deer hunting, you will need to spend a lot of time at the range practicing. Of course you would be able to use lower cost .38 Special rounds for that. I agree with the poster above who stated that .357 Magnum is marginal for deer. However, I think it will suffice if you get the 6-inch barrel, don't take really long range shots, and are proficient enough to insure good bullet placement. If you don't plan to practice a lot, it would be better to use a rifle and increase the likelihood of a clean kill.

November 16, 2006, 06:44 PM
Personally, I like the feel and balance of the 6" GP 100. I have shot the 4" and it is a good gun also, but you need to decide what you are going to use it for. My 6" is used for target at 25 yards and deer hunting in Indiana. All deer taken has been within 30 - 50 yards. This gun has been very effective. It is the gun that I use to shoot very heavy .357 loads. Whichever length barrel you get, you are getting a very tough and durable revolver that will outlast your lifetime. JMHO :)

November 16, 2006, 08:58 PM
I really like the 4" version for its versatility :D

the pistolero
November 16, 2006, 09:49 PM
I can't believe I am the first one to say: One Of Each. :D I have much to learn about hunting, so I don't know about that, but as far as plinking, bedside and carrying around the farm, the 4" would be just about right. I love mine.

November 16, 2006, 10:08 PM
I would go six inch myself. If we get CCW who cares how big it is? Also, for farm or truck carry, use a shoulder holster or leave it on the seat.

Hey, where in WI do you live? I'm in Stevens Point myself and since I've lived here I never really feel inclined to carry a gun (except for deer).


November 17, 2006, 09:37 AM
I live in Madison, and I too have never really felt the need to protect myself in CCW, but assuming we get it I would probably go through the dog and pony show to get my permit. I figure why not use every available tool to insure my saftey and those of my loved ones.

As to expiriance with big caliber handguns, I've shot my brother in law's .44 quite a bit, and I am fairly accurate with it, but I don't plan on buying a gun I won't shoot often, so practice will definately be in the plans with both .38 spl and .357 rounds.

For the deer; I really don't plan on acually getting a shot at deer if I carried it for hunting, my 30-06 is much better at taking deer, but there are certain stands of woods on our land that driving it with a rifle (or my 870 express) is difficult due to the thickness of the underbrush, so having a holstered gun 'just in case i run into a bedded down buck who doesn't want to run' would be ideal. (and this happened to my sister not 3 years ago, a buck and two does that just wouldn't run)

you know, now that I look.... I might as well get the 4 inch and get a bigger .44 for them pesky deers, that way I get everything I want.

November 17, 2006, 10:40 AM
I would tend towards the 6" since you won't be CCW the piece. A little more site radius a little more muzzle velocity, a little better balance. I have a 5.5" Ruger Blackhawk (.45 Colt) and it is a great hunting, woods carry type of gun.

November 17, 2006, 11:20 AM
Well Wedge, that blackhawk is on my 'to get in the future sometime' list. So its good to know it comes with a reccomendation!

November 17, 2006, 11:35 AM
Absolutely. I had my cylinders (it is .45 Colt and .45 ACP) reamed out which helped a lot in the accuracy department. Power-wise if you reload (and for .45 Colt it really is the only way to get accurate and affordable ammo) sky is basically the limit (within reason - don't go crazy and follow the manual). I mentioned the blackhawk because it is about the same size (well a little bigger) than the 6" GP-100.

A 6" barrel really helps for sighting and balance.

I see the 4" barrel as a compromise between concealability and site radius. So if concealability is not a concern would go bigger. I have CCW'd my .45 Colt though (lived in Western NY then so even in the summer a flannel shirt was not out of place). 'twas the only gun I had at the time.

I think the only solution is to either a) flip a coin or b) buy both :-)

November 17, 2006, 12:08 PM
I would go with the 4" GP100 and make do for whatever use you plan at first. Later if deer hunting is important, I would go with at least a 41 mag revolver with 6-ish" barrel. No reason why you can't have two and you might want to mount a scope or red dot on the hunting firearm. It really depends how good of a shot you are and how serious you are with the hunting aspect of the use. Me, I have a 3" GP100 that is quite handy for general walk in the woods or "around the farm carry" and I have no intention to hunt with it. I have several to choose from for hunting, but lately I have been using a 480 Ruger Super Redhawk for deer hunting. Packs considerably more punch than most 41 or 44 mag loadings. My 4" 41 mag is my heavy walk in the woods gun which I could use for hunting. If you like to shoot handguns, you will buy more than one.

Be sure to get yourself a 22 also which makes a good walk around gun in the outdoors. I started with 22 and moved up in power as my experience increased. You will shoot the 22 much more than anything else.

For carry, there are easier to carry revolvers for concealed carry than the GP100 but if you insist, the 3" would be more practical.

November 17, 2006, 01:04 PM
Thanks for the replies, I've been convinced (not that I really needed much convincing) to go with the 4 and eventually work my way into a longer barreled gun later if I need one. As to CCW, like I said before if we acually ever get that here (or if my GF makes me move to TX) I'll probably be looking into a smaller gun for that use, especially in TX where it is so hot.

November 17, 2006, 03:05 PM
Great choice!

TX isn't that hot. Okay it is but you get used to it (just like the cold, I used to live up in the land of ice and snow myself).

November 17, 2006, 04:09 PM
You will not give up any accuracy with a 4" bbl. The bullet has no idea what length bbl it came out of. What you do give up is sight radius, a longer barrel can be easier to shoot well, but it has nothing to do with the accuracy of the gun. Since the 357 is marginal for deer I would definitely go with the 6" to give you a little more velocity. More importantly than bbl length will be you ammunition selection. Do not use ammo intended for 2 legged varmints or you will be sorely dissapointed. Two good choices are remington 165 gr corlokt hunting, and buffalo bore 170 gr bonded. Both will do as good a job on deer as can be expected for the venerable 357mag

November 17, 2006, 04:16 PM
4" in SS for my son as a
christmas present and recently got a 6" blued with a BSA red dot sight for my self. Both are nice. The DA trigger on my 6" is a little gritty and the target reacquisition is a new experience, but I'll learn.
Good luck.

November 17, 2006, 07:56 PM

November 17, 2006, 08:36 PM
Well, I would go with the six. I went through this discussion when trying to decide between a .357 and a .44mag for hunting deer, and I went for a long barrel (okay, I went for a REALLY long barrel...9 1/2 inches) in .44mag. I wanted as much accuracy as I could get, and for me, recoil management was important. Since you know you're getting a .357, then the issue comes down to the sight radius of the 6 vs the 4 as opposed to the lighter weight and more concealability of the 4.

Given that you'll get a snubbie when you get CCW in your state (think positive!) get the six.


Working Man
November 17, 2006, 08:45 PM

I have both the 4" and the 6" and they are great :D . Very accurate but if you are
wanting to go deer hunting I would have to say go for the 6" you'll get better
range/accuracy at range with it. As for a CCW they are a bit heavy unless you want
an underarm holster even then you might find it cumbersome.

On the hip or leg for the farm, plinking, or home defense you can't go wrong
with either one. The final point goes to the 6" for deer hunting.

I do encourage you to get both though. The 6" first then the 4". :evil:

November 17, 2006, 08:51 PM
I'm with Revolverman357 on this, I've used the 6" GP100 to take a nice doe @ 63 yds. broadside with a Red dot using 180 Grain Partition Gold, dropped on the spot!

November 17, 2006, 09:31 PM
Tough, tough question. I have both. The extra two inches makes a big difference when it comes to balance and felt recoil. I would hold both (shoot if possible) and see how each balances for you and get the one that feels right, for me that is the 4", though I'm not getting rid of the 6 inch.

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