Ruger GP100 6" vs 4" barrel?


G. Freeman
August 11, 2008, 12:48 PM
Hi Guys,
I'm interested in purchasing this gun but can't decide between the 4 or 6 inch barrel.

I used to have s S&W 586 w/ 6" barrel. I shot mainly magnum rounds through it and recoil was very controllable. However the gun was a tad heavy for longer shooting sessions or shooting lighter loads.

How's the recoil on the 4" GP100? I plan to shoot magnum loads mostly.

I'm sure the 6" will easily soak up recoil but I've never tried a 4".

Thanks in advance.

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August 11, 2008, 12:54 PM
How's the recoil on the 4" GP100? I plan to shoot magnum loads mostly.

I have two. They are very comfortable to shoot even with 125 grain screamers. Never shot 180 gr loads out of it so I don't know how it does with heavy bullets.

highlander 5
August 11, 2008, 01:04 PM
I have fired heavy loads out of my GP100,180 gr fn at 1100+fps with no problem. 4' is easier to hide 6" will give you a better sight radius.

August 11, 2008, 04:26 PM
I LOVE my new 4" GP100. I haven't shot any .357s yet, but some 130g .38 specials felt like mouse farts.

August 11, 2008, 05:47 PM
Unless I planned to carry, I would opt for the 6".

August 11, 2008, 07:20 PM
Recoil from my 4" GP100 is no problem at all. Not a concern. I believe the 4" is the most versatile, though I also have a Taurus 6".

August 11, 2008, 07:49 PM
The 4 inch GP-100 is actually heavier than the 6 inch S&W so I don't think recoil will be an issue if it wasn't already. Like stated previously unless you are going to conceal it I'd go with the 6 and even then 2 more inches of barrel is not that much harder to conceal. Mine is a 6 but I want a 4 just so it can have a brother.

August 11, 2008, 07:58 PM
My 4 inch GP-100 is a joy to use, very manageable with .357. So it's just a matter of which you prefer.

August 11, 2008, 08:04 PM
6 inch GP-100s feel pretty ponderous and muzzle heavy to me, on the other hand the extra sight radius and ballistic boost is nice to have. I prefer 3 inch or 5 inch as my short or long barrel options on that particular gun however.

August 11, 2008, 08:06 PM
One other thing - my fully loaded 4" GP100 only weighs about 8oz less than my 5.5" Super Blackhawk, and that thing handles .44 Mags easy.

August 11, 2008, 08:10 PM
Which is why I prefer the 4 over the 6. Mine are woods guns. I walk a lot on a hunt. I've checked it with my GPS and have covered upward of 10-12 miles in a day at times. That's probably nothing compared to some of the other guys around here, though.

All that walking and weight matters. I'll take the 4" ain't much I can't hit with it that I could with a 6" anyway.

Gary A
August 11, 2008, 10:40 PM
Although they are out of production, the GP100 6 inch with the 1/2 lugged barrel is wonderful. It balances like the 4 inch full-lug but has the advantages and sight radius of the 6 inch. That said, my personal choice is the 4 inch which seems to me to be the most all around versatile since I don't hunt with a GP100. Oh, and BTW, the GP100 is easy to shoot with heavy hunting loads.

Mike Kerr
August 12, 2008, 01:35 AM
I have shot both 4" and 6" GP 100's. Either will handle the most magnominius of .357 loadings, in reasonable quantities if you are acclimated to full magnum rounds. In other words 158 gr or 180 gr bullets loaded to reloading manual max with say H 110 will be manageable in either a 4" or 6" configuration with full lug barrels with the GP Rubber and wood grips yada yada.

Now, I had a 4" GP with beautiful Hogue wood grips whch became uncomfortable after a couple of cylinders full of max loads in 125 gr, 158 gr and 180 gr - so I came the the conclusion that the grip was the final element of whether the gun would reamin comfortable to the hand firing a bundle of max loads. Others may have weaker or tougher hands.

Now, lighter bullets like 125 gr's loaded to the max with H110 have a "shock and awe" effect that won't quit out of a 4" barrel - but the actual perceived recoil felt through the gun and your hand is manageable if you like small flame bombs going off 2' in front of your face. (please don't flame me on any differences between free recoil, perceived recoil, momentum etc. etc. - its a different topic.)

My problem is I enjoy a 4" for a year or so and a 6" for a year or so and I keep shifting back and forth - Of course I feel compelled to sell off the one that is not being used very much because safe queens are meant to be sold and then later mourned when you don't have them anymore. Right - NOT

Its really personal preference because either 4" or 6" GP's can take any sane loading longer than you can.



August 12, 2008, 05:37 PM
extremely gentle in the recoil department. I have a four and a six and with most loads, the velocities aren't that far apart.

August 12, 2008, 09:19 PM
The six inch GP100 above is a "Pipe Barrel" with no full lug. My 4 inch GP100 with the full lug is a dream to shoot. The shrowded 6 inch GP100 is a bit muzzle heavy. The "Pipe Barrel" above in 6 inch is light, good sight radius. I would say that both models, short with full lug and long with pipe barrel are good choices. It's a matter of looks when you choose from the two guns that appear directly above. I wouldn't mind having the 6 inch GP100 above in addition to my full lug 4 inch. But no thank's to a 6 inch full lug (not shown above). TOGGLELOCK

August 12, 2008, 09:51 PM
I like the 4" GP100. Recoil is pretty tame.

August 13, 2008, 01:04 AM
I debated the same question, but ended up with the 4" barrel, for a couple of reasons. Number One, I found a barely-used one for a killer price; Two, the 4" felt more balanced in my hand than the 6". I have it for a self-defense weapon for backwoods hiking - there's nothing that the 6" can do in that situation that the 4" can't. I'm not hunting; I'm using it as a last resort. I have no problems toting the 4" on my belt all day, either.

And btw, I LOVE the feel of 158 gr. magnum loads through this gun!

August 13, 2008, 01:25 AM
mec says it best....I had a 4" fixed sight GP and friend had a 8 3/8ths" (?) Smith....his was a bit milder, but we both shot scads of ammo at outings....and both were super accurate....

August 13, 2008, 01:41 AM
I have a 6" half lug. I have tryed a Bushnell RED DOT sight and i just love it!
My GP just loves 158gr LSWC over 15.7gr of WIN 296! 180gr XTP HPs shot high at 25 yards, BUT thats why i only use them for the red dot! REAL POINT OF AIM at 50y!

Steve C
August 13, 2008, 02:55 AM
4" barrel is better for home self defense and can be used for concealed carry. Its more maneuverable and fits a glove box better if you want to carry in the car when traveling.

The 6" gives you a longer sight radius so its easier to shoot with better accuracy. For field carry when conceal ability and maneuverability in close space isn't an issue or for hunting the 6" is the better choice.

I have revolvers with barrel lengths from 2" to 8-3/8". The 4" guns get more use.

August 13, 2008, 04:52 AM
4" is for more convenient carry. 6" is for shooting. What's your priority for this gun?

August 13, 2008, 08:00 AM
My very first gun was a 4" GP100, it shoot great and I perfered to shoot the magnun loads from it! Had it for16/17 years and traded it to move on to the
6" GP100 for deer hunting. I kind of regret the trade because the 4" shot and carried on the hip great.

Gary A
August 13, 2008, 09:44 AM
I sorta did the opposite of you, penny. I've gotten mostly into single-actions and traded off my 1/2 lug 6" GP100 which I liked very much in favor of a terrific 4" which is more versatile for me. I really don't handgun hunt, but if I did, my choice would be my 6.5" stainless Blackhawk over the GP anyway. I sorta-kinda miss the 6" a little bit because it was accurate as heck, but I've got plenty of guns and simply didn't have a real place for it and single-actions keep calling me.

Bush Pilot
August 14, 2008, 03:48 AM
Have both, the 6" rarely goes with me, just prefer the 4", you won't go wrong with either barrel length. One good thing about GP100s, they sell quickly if decide to get a different gun.

August 14, 2008, 10:03 AM
+1 for the 4" barrel. The gp100 is a great all round shooter. Recoil is fine with super hot 125's and 158's. However, i have stopped shooting 125's as they are causing flame cutting in the top strap. This is a common occurance to all 357's so i'm told and does not weaken the gun, so i'm told.

The 4" is a great gun to take on hikes, long road trips, or quick jaunts to the range. It eats all types of ammo I throw at it and keeps on truckin.

August 14, 2008, 10:39 AM
Flame cutting? I thought GP100's were pretty imune to this, and it was Smith & Wesson's that had bigger issues with this problem? I don't own a GP right now, but am actually thinking of getting one for taking to the range.

August 14, 2008, 10:40 AM
Nope they flame cut. Or at least this one does. :(

Gary A
August 14, 2008, 02:42 PM
Unless one is shooting super hot loads, flame-cutting, to the extent it occurs, is usually self-limiting, i.e. it goes so far and then stops. Shouldn't be a problem. At least that is my understanding. Agreed, though, that the hot 125s are more prone to this than other loads.

August 14, 2008, 04:21 PM
I'm sure the 6" will easily soak up recoil but I've never tried a 4".

I think it depends on what you will use it for. If it is for home defense and range use, then I would get the 6". If you will be carrying it around a lot, I would go with a 4". I have a 6" and have fired a 4" as well. The recoil difference is noticeable, but the 4" will not leave you bruised by any means. It is a pretty beefy gun either way.

August 15, 2008, 04:36 AM
No need to use 125gr rounds in the 4" GP. I found the 145gr Winchester Silvertips to really stand out with this revolver.

Gary A
August 15, 2008, 10:21 AM
I also really, really like the 145gr Winchester Silvertips.

August 15, 2008, 01:55 PM
The 4" barrel balanced better in my hand than the 6" and it handles the heavy loads well.

Big Mike
August 16, 2008, 11:40 AM
FWIW, I've read a few times that folks have experienced the 4" as being somewhat more accurate than the 6" because the stiffness of the 4" barrel compared to the 6". I have no experience shooting the 6", but I used to own a 3". Looking for a 4" now.

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