S&W guys/gals only- should I buy a Ruger GP100?


February 15, 2004, 04:31 AM
Yeah, I know it sounds odd to address this to S&W guys and gals only, but I know what you Ruger guys (and gals) will have to say to this.

I love S&W revolvers. I am primarily a S&W guy, though I obviously (see sig line) like Taurus too. The S&W revolver is just the epitome of revolver design- smooth, pretty, well made, great triggers (with the capability of even more with work), sophisticated, and "strong enough".

Still, every now and then I start thinking about a GP100. They are stronger and sized similarly to my S&W 586 (i.e. they are L-frame sized). I don't know, I consider myself a revolver guy and I'm not sure one can really be a revolver guy and be without a Ruger wheelgun (I've got several Smiths, a Taurus and a Colt, but no Ruger). Heck, I've never owned a Ruger wheelgun. I am a 3" wheelgun guy especially, and I like that I can get the Ruger in blue and with a 3" barrel. Still, it is hard for me to actually buy the Ruger when I consider that for almost the same money I can get a new S&W (just a little more) or for quite a bit less I can get a new Taurus or used S&W (ooohh, and those used S&W wheelguns- man I need a :drool: icon).

I do need to really think about this over the next month if I will go this way. Ruger doesn't have the built-in locks and there probably won't be many new GP100s left in this state much longer (for those who have been on a different planet the past year MD now has a built-in lock law mandating all guns made on and after 1/1/03 have a built-in lock). Of course, I have nothing against going used either- but I do prefer guns I can buy in person instead of the net when that is an option (I don't see that many used GP100s), though if need be I buy on the net (I've bought quite a few guns that way- the only thing I really don't like about it is the wait).

Anyway, as a wheelgun guy, sans Ruger, should I get one?

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February 15, 2004, 07:48 AM
Do you handload?

Do you see yourself handloading monster 180gr and 200gr loads?

Do you CCW your revolvers?

Personally, I have no real use for a GP-100. They're fine, sturdy guns, and not too terribly homely as far as DA Rugers go, but all my wheelgun needs (and, more importantly, my wheelgun wants ;) ) are met by S&W's. If you already own a 586, it'll do 99.9% of what the Ruger will, but if you really want the Ruger, then you're gonna need to buy it, because the Smith can't fill that particular need. ;)

February 15, 2004, 08:24 AM
Chaim, I think you've answered your own question already.

Do you want it? Yes. Then buy it.

You really don't have to justify the reasons FOR wanting it as much as you need to think about why you WOULD NOT want it.

I think Tamara made the same good point.

Now you do trust Tamara's and my opinion, don't you?


February 15, 2004, 08:31 AM
I am a S&W guy, and my brother is a Ruger guy, so it makes for interesting discussions at times.

Personally, I prefer my S&W 586 to his GP-100. My feeling are that the action is much smoother on the 586, and I like the fit in my hand better, too.

The GP-100 is respectable in its own right, being strong and beefy. It just isn't my preference.

Since you seem to have a varied collection of wheelguns already, you may want to consider adding the Ruger to it. Variety is the spice of life. You may also want to look at it like this: understanding the different qualities of each piece of your collection enables you to better appreciate the unique characteristics of each gun.

February 15, 2004, 09:14 AM

I, too, am a S&W N Frame “guy”: a wonderful, old 27-2, two 627 Special editions, and a .45 Colt 625-9 Mountain Gun. However, I also love my two GP-100s. My Rugers are STRONG, ACCURATE, RELIABLE, and DURABLE. Their quality is excellent. Finally, while the DA trigger pull is not initially as smooth as its Smith counterparts (581, 586, 681, 686), the GP100 trigger is not bad from the factory and IT SMOOTHES OUT VERY WELL WITH USE.

In sum, I believe the GP100s are VERY fine revolvers – and great values – worthy adding to your stable. By the way, I frequently use a KGP-141 as my primary CCW handgun, which should document the unlimited faith I place in GP100s.

Best regards.

February 15, 2004, 09:23 AM
I am primarily a S&W guy although I do own a Ruger Redhawk 44 mag. My next purchase will more than likely be a GP100, I'm just trying to choose between the 3" and 4" versions. I shot a friends 4" GP100 and was really impressed with the balance and particularly the feel of the grips, they were by far the best grips I have ever felt on a revolver. The 3" version is especially comfortable in my hand and really fills a niche that S&W isn't addressing with any of their current production guns, I don't consider the 65 Ladysmith an equivalent. I have to admit that my reasons for getting one are simply that I have grown to like them and want the variation and I do like the way they look. If you've also taken a liking to them then I say go for it. If at some point down the road you change your mind you can always sell it.

Highland Ranger
February 15, 2004, 09:47 AM
Every time I go to buy a Ruger revolver I find myself thinking that it doesn't look or feel right.

They are beefy, no doubt . . . . . but maybe that's part of it. I like owning and using a finely crafted instrument - whenever I pick up and hold a Ruger, I feel like I am holding a rock.

And the manual printed on the barrel also detracts from the aesthetics.

So I say - How about a S&W 44 mag snubbie?

February 15, 2004, 10:27 AM
I am a hrad core Smith man. However, I like the Rugers to a point, however the current GP/SP guns I do not. If you could find an older Security or Speed Six, then I would snatch it up in a heartbeat. The current guns arent nearly the quality the older ones where.

February 15, 2004, 11:26 AM
S&W has been my first choice for 30 years now, but I also like diversity. Some years back I bought a new GP-100, 4" blued, just to see what one was like.

It's well built and heavy. Be pretty hard to wear it out. Functions well, accurate. The only thing I don't care for is the trigger action - a longer, staging pull unlike a S&W. I shoot it seldom. I have no real beef with it, but someday when I start thinning the herd it'll be one of the first to go, and somebody will end up with a like new GP-100.

Good solid guns, but if you're really a S&W person, you'll probably end up regarding it as the stepchild.

February 15, 2004, 11:32 AM
Spot, do I want one? Yes and no. I'd kind of like to have one, and I sort of feel like I should have one (hey, I'm a revolver guy and I don't have an example of the Ruger wheelguns), however whenever I get close to putting the money down I have trouble spending that much money on a wheelgun that doesn't say S&W on it. Heck, I love Taurus and my only Taurus wheelgun I have right now is a small-frame snub (the 85) and my last one before that was also a small-frame snub (the 605).

I was sort of thinking that as a wheelgun guy I need a Ruger, a gun that more than 1/2 of wheelgun guys seem to have and that represents probably about 1/3 of revolvers sold (if not more). Well, when no less an "authority" than Tamara says:Personally, I have no real use for a GP-100. I'm no longer sure I need one to be a real revolver guy. No one can even try to claim that Tamara is not a revolver gal for not owning a Ruger, at least not if they want any credibility.:scrutiny:

I don't know, I still think I'd like one eventually, but I also need another N-frame or two. I only have an M57- a 3" .44mag would be nice though I'd only feed it Specials. I definately need an M27 or M28, what kind of revolver guy, and especially a .357mag guy, doesn't have even one N-frame .357? :what: Also, a .45LC or two would be good (both S&W and Taurus).

Maybe I should forget the GP100 and go for a Vaquero for my Ruger wheelgun. Still, whenever I think I've decided for sure not to get one, they start calling me again.


February 15, 2004, 11:40 AM
IMO, a GP100 is N frame strength in an L frame size. The do slick up very well. I've worked on mine a bit plus shot it thousands of times. It's as smooth as any recent manufacture S&W. If I could have only one handgun, it would be a 4" GP100.

Besides, they are so inexpensive. SOG had 3" bobbed hammer GP100s for something like $240 (with holster and speedloader) last year. My dad got one and it's a good shooter. If you hit the gunshows, you can still find guns from the same import batch for about the same price.


Ala Dan
February 15, 2004, 11:46 AM
Greeting's All-

chaim, more importantly ask yourself; "why shouldn't
I buy a Ruger GP-100"? While I'm a S&W revolver man at
heart; if I wanted a Ruger (or any other handgun) it would
not take much to persuade me too get it. Especially, if the
make, model, and price was what I was looking for.

When I bought my NIB Smith & Wesson 6" 686-5, I had
considered the Ruger myself; with the deternining factor
being the fact that the DCM had a slightly better trigger.
Since then, I've installed a WOLFF spring kit in the 686
and she is even sweeter. FWIW, a note about the kit-
I stopped with the 13 lb trigger return spring; but the
kit also comes with the 12 lb spring as well. I see no
reason to reduce the weight any lower; cuz it suits my
needs right where it is.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

February 15, 2004, 12:42 PM
I know you only wanted to hear from S&W types, but cut me some slack, as I have only officially been a "Ruger guy" since Friday.


The trigger can become as good as all the stock S&W actions. I handled a 10 year old GP that a friend owns before I bought mine, and I am sure my trigger will eventually become that nice.

When I went shopping, all of the new S&Ws and Taurus revolvers featured an unsightly nipple on them somewhere. People compain about the "essay" on the Ruger, but only two of the four lines are warning, the rest would be on there anyway as the bottom two lines are Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. Southport Conn. U.S.A. If it really starts to annoy me, I'll have it milled off and rebrushed.

The 4" GP weighs one ounce more than its 586/686 counterpart.

If you're a do-it-yourselfer a Ruger is more friendly. No sideplate screws to mess up and all coil sprung.

Let's put it this way: My next revo is probably an SP-101, but I am always on the lookout for a 586 or a good deal on a 625, especially without the ugly lock. All quality revolvers are worth having, and I will never say that S&W offers me nothing, just something different.

I bought a Ruger for two primary reasons: It is well-nigh indestructable and it has a better cylinder latch design for lefties in that it is a push "in" button rather than a push "forward" deal. The latter works well with a thumb, not so hot for a contorted trigger finger.

February 15, 2004, 12:53 PM
HAving a GP100 is like owning a 1911. There are some guns that everyone should just havein their collection. My GP100 has handled every load I've ever run through it without a hiccup. It is a fun, sturdy. accurate firearm. Most notably FUN! I am alos a huge fan of S&W Model 686 and 625. I typically carry a semi-auto(glock 19, 32, or Kahr PM9) but can't imagine life without a stable of wheel guns.

Zeke Menuar
February 15, 2004, 02:28 PM
To me, a S&W is a fine sports car. A Ruger is a clunky truck with no power steering, power brakes and no synchros in the tranny.
Most everyone that I know that has bought a Ruger has had to send the gun to a 'smith to have the trigger fixed or back to Ruger to fix a defect. And they are fugly too.


Gary A
February 15, 2004, 03:38 PM
Well, Zeke...good points. But the next time you actually have to do some work , would you pick the sports car or the truck?;)

February 15, 2004, 04:45 PM
Maybe because I tear down my 1911s all by my little lonesome, I found taking apart the Ruger to be a snap. I "fixed" my own trigger by polishing it up and Wolffing it in about 20 minutes. No "defects" are present on my Ruger as I actually used the combined wisdom of The Firing Line and The High Road before I purchased it. If one doesn't use the revolver check thread floating atop this forum for purchasing both new and used revolvers, one is a inexcusable fool if he comes here with a tale of woe about a manufacturing defect.

Of course, I could have listened to those who think all Rugers are inexplicably junk, a notion put to the lie by the fact that it is exceedingly difficult to find used ones of relatively recent vintage compared to other brands, but reason always wins out with me and I am now the proud owner of a revolver I have little doubt I will be able to pass down to my son or daughter, if my wife doesn't snap it up first.:D

February 15, 2004, 05:02 PM
The GP fills one bill well, testing VERY heavy handloads. You won't hurt it with anything even close to sane. Other than that it is a heavy clunky gun with a poor DA trigger. If you like to plink single action the trigger can be made to be as good as any but you just can't overcome the coil springs. The one plus of the GP is they seem to be on average silly accurate.

Your 586 does everything the GP does, and some of it a lot better. Unless you want a truck gun you can beat on and not care or a beater for seeing how far you can push noise and recoil with your handloads I say buy another S&W with that money.

I am a S&W guy if you didn't guess already:rolleyes: , but I do own a GP. The only reason I keep it is for the reasons noted and the fact that it isn't worth much.

February 15, 2004, 05:18 PM
to have some different examples of high quality revolvers is not a bad thing at all. To say that you are a Smith Guy or a Ruger Guy and then let that dictate your purchases does not, to me, make a great deal of sense. Tamara raised the issue of reloading and that should not be overlooked. When I get serious/experimental about reloading it is usually for one of my Rugers. They are incredibly strong. That doesn't mean that one should get stupid/careless with reloads but the Rugers give one some confidence in that area. Do I like Rugers - damn right! Do I like Smiths - double damn right. Good shooting;)

February 15, 2004, 05:42 PM
There is no reasoning with your wants. If you want one then get it. You will find a use for it and might even enjoy it. I wouldn't pay much attention to the triger debates as most triggers on the market today are nothing to write home over. Wolff is selling spring kits like hotcakes and action jobs are lined up in shops. Not to mention the tired fingers from the gazillion dry fire sessions held everyday in front of tv's. They all benefit from a little tender loving care.
There is one thing for certain. You will have to work pretty hard to hurt a Ruger short of extreme abuse.

February 15, 2004, 06:21 PM
The Ruger is a good gun, but the 686 is the way to go. The 686 with its forged L frame is just as strong or stronger than the cast Ruger. One of the reasons Rugers are bigger is that, being cast frames, they have to be in order to provide the same strength as a smaller forged gun.

Rugers are a good reliable gun but are nowhere near as refined as a S&W. If you like the Ruger get the Ruger, but the S&W including the K frame S&W will do everything the Ruger will and usually with a smoother trigger pull. Plus with the 686 you can get 7 shots.

February 15, 2004, 09:35 PM
No one can even try to claim that Tamara is not a revolver gal for not owning a Ruger...

Oh, don't get me wrong, I like both my Vaqueros just fine, it's just that I love my S&W's. :) (You'd better believe that when I set up to reload .44 Mag, the loads'll get tested in my Bisley Vaquero before I ever endanger my precious 3" 629-1 with 'em. :uhoh: )

Like I said, the GP-100 is a fine gun; if you want one, the only thing that'll scratch that itch is buying one.

February 15, 2004, 10:02 PM
Hmm, the GP100 doesn't have the DA trigger of the S&W (I prefer the DA trigger to SA trigger on a DA revolver), it is a bit big, it is similar in size and type to a S&W model (the L-frames), it is best for playing with reload experiments (I do not experiment w/ handloads, when I load I am very careful that I stay within safe levels), and the Vaqueros are just as strong....Maybe I should look for a .45LC, .44mag and/or .357 Vaquero or three. Then again, it would be nice to get a GP100 to really see what the fuss is about. Arrgh!

February 16, 2004, 06:30 AM
Is dead on.

Ruger's are bigger not because they're tougher, they're bigger because they have to be.

February 16, 2004, 06:59 AM
Is dead on.

surfinUSA is factually incorrect, but I've grown tired of calling him on it.

(I'll leave it to WESHOOT2 or Terry Murbach to explain it...)

February 16, 2004, 07:29 AM
Rugers are a good reliable gun but are nowhere near as refined as a S&W. If you like the Ruger get the Ruger, but the S&W including the K frame S&W will do everything the Ruger will and usually with a smoother trigger pull. Plus with the 686 you can get 7 shots.

I thought even S&W cautioned against a steady diet of regular .357 loads in k-frames? Let alone hot loaded hunting ammo. You wont find any such recomendation about the GP series. I do agree on the "refinement" thing though. But, that is pretty subjective.

February 16, 2004, 08:09 AM
Well!...Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a dyed in the wool Smith person, and I personally feel that they are the finest DA revolvers.
With that being said...if you have an itch...scratch it.
I have owned 4 single action Rugers however, and loved every one of them. I still regret selling my stainless Vaquero .45.

February 16, 2004, 09:31 AM
Tamara, I don't believe you and I have had any disagreements in any thread that you have called me on or not. Exactly which facts do I have incorrect? That S&W frames a forged, they are, or that Rugers are cast.

As far the strength of S&W magnums goes, a K is not as strong an N but will still hold up to a lifetime of factory magnum use. Some folks may have worn out or broken a K frame magnum over years of heavy use, but the majority of us that use factory magnums never wear them out.

I can't speak for the individual craziness of some reloaders, but I know K frames that have with stood years of abuse. Although I certainly would never recomend it.

Alot of people come here with little or no firearms knowlege, they should not be left with the false impression that there S&W K frame 357 may be weak or somehow unsafe for magnum use. In reality they are perfectly safe and thats why they are still being marketed. Also I have never received a warning from S&W regarding the exclusive use of magnum rounds in a gun chambered for them.

February 16, 2004, 09:43 AM
If you handload don't get the Vaquero, the lack of adjustable sights is a SERIOUS handicap unless you just shoot light/cowboy loads.

February 16, 2004, 02:20 PM
Chaim, maybe you are looking at the "wrong" Ruger revolver . . . maybe you really need to think Single Action Ruger.

I'm not joking here. I think of myself as a Smith and Wesson fan (I've got three K frames). I bought a Ruger "Vaquerito" .32H&Rmagnun, then I bought a second one. Now I've got a Marlin m1894CB32 on order, and I just picked up a Marlin m1894C in .357.

Have you considered expanding your collection to SA revos? Ruger makes very fine ones indeed. How about a nice blue .357 Vaquero with bird's head grips and a 4 5/8" barrel? Now you can have your cake (S&W), and eat it too (Ruger Vaquero). Besides, the Ruger Vaquero seems much less bulky and blunt that the GP100s (my opinion). Nothing esle is a Smith, as you know . . .

The only reason to buy a Ruger GP100 is to fire heavily loaded/overloaded .357 ammo. If that kind of thing turns you on, then maybe a GP100 is for you.

Sean Smith
February 16, 2004, 03:18 PM
I'm no longer sure I need one to be a real revolver guy.

That's a stupid reason to get a gun anyway. Get what you actually want, not what you think you should want. Of course, I'm a Python snob, so you should ignore everything I say .357-wise anyway. :evil:

February 16, 2004, 07:33 PM
Do you reload? If I were starting reloading, the Ruger would give me a bit more ease while I was learning.
But the most important factor – Do YOU want it?

February 16, 2004, 11:33 PM

I think what Tamara's getting at is that the 686 and the GP100 are virtually identical in both size and weight according to the specifications on the S&W and Ruger web sites.

February 17, 2004, 03:01 AM
It is perfectly timed and smooth as any of the past four S&W's I've bought.

I believe there isn't much difference these days between the two brands as far as triggers go. More likely "luck of the draw".

I did manage to shoot a model 13 S&W out of time with fewer than 500 factory .357 loads years ago.

While that may have been a fluke, the K-frame S&W is definitely NOT up to a steady diet of hot .357's, while the Ruger will digest them until you get tired.

You ought to get the GP-100 just to compare it with the others.:D

February 17, 2004, 05:56 AM
I'm a Smith guy at heart (between the wife and I we have 10), but I had a similar itch last year and scratched it with a Security Six, stainless 4" that I got off Guns America for a bargain price. Since then, the gun has had a hand polish to the exterior, a Bowen rear sight installed, Hogues added and some light internal polish done. It is very accurate and overall, I'm very happy with it. Though not as "beefy" as a GP, it's a plenty strong .357 in a more "packable" size that feels very good to me. My two gripes about it? 1. I want a post front sight, I don't like ramps, I lose them in the wrong light conditions. 2. I'm going to find someone good to go at that DA trigger pull, it's got a bit of a mid travel stage that I find annoying. Maybe you should at least hold an older Security Six (or Speed Six, since you are a 3 incher fan) and see what you think. They are out there and often at good prices.

February 17, 2004, 07:53 AM
Don't buy the Ruger GP 100. Instead, spend your money on a gun you really WANT, not one you just think you should have. If you are already a die-hard Smith Fan, the Ruger is just going to dissapoint you in some way, even if only every time you look at it you think of the money you have in it that you could have spent on a Smith.

I'm not knocking Ruger revo's here. I'm just saying that it sounds like you know what you REALLY like and you're just trying to talk yourself into sometime you think you should have an interest in, but don't really care about.

Personally, I don't care for the GP 100 that I've fired and it soured me on revolvers for a long time until I got a Smith 28-2. Now, even though I admire the ruggedness of a Ruger GP 100, I wouldn't spend my money on even if it cost 1/2 as much as a nice Smith. They just don't do it for me, and it sounds to me like they won't do it for you in the end either.

February 17, 2004, 08:37 AM
I shot a friend's 6" GP-100 that had a super-trigger/spring job. Too light... several ftf's occured with his .357 PMC ammo - my Federal-primed homebrews worked fine. My first .38/.357's were the 2" 10 and 6" 66 I bought new from a closeout dealer last year. The 66 took my then destined GP-100 money (I have wanted one - a 4" SS - for years.). The 66 got a set of lower power Wolff springs, a Hoque gozalo alves monogrip, and front HiViz sight the day it came home. Both broke-in quite well - and have seen mostly (99%) my homebrews. They were both made last year - the 66 even has the hammer-lock-zit (Just a blemish to me... certainly not a deterrent to my purchase!). My 66 is slicker, barely, than that GP-100. I fired one of the ftf PMC .357 Magnums from that 66 in it - ouch! The bigger and heavier GP-100 is a better launch platform for stout .357M rounds - I knew that when I bought the 66 - it was bought to launch .38 Specials - and similar loads in .357 cases. It is super for that. It's dimunitive forcing cone appears to be the limiting factor. S&W will tell you, if you call them, that a 66 is designed for commercial .357 Magnum ammo.

My first DA revolver, after several SA Rugers, had the GP-100 lockwork and grip - in a 'larger' frame - a .454 SRH. It broke-in to a good trigger - actually, at the time, it was my reference. I still love the SRH and it has a steady home - and I still want a GP-100. My first S&W, a 625 Mountain Gun in .45 Colt, introduced me to a new marque - and a new way (DA) of shooting. My next DA was a 4" 625 in .45ACP. Now... if you want to 'jump in' to the DA revolver world - in an N-frame big bore - you can't beat a 625 in .45ACP. You can buy a box of ammo anywhere - 230gr FMJ .45ACP's are $10/50 at Wally World. Try to find .45 Colts...

So what do you get? The 66's are fine - especially if you plan on a lot of .38 plinking and little .357 Magnum use. They are a bit more than the GP-100 new. The 686+ is close to what that 625 will cost... But, that GP-100 can be fine-tuned - it, too, dramatically improves with a proper break-in. It sounds like you 'want' the GP-100, too. You really can't make a bad decision. Whatever you get - shoot it and enjoy it!


PS The .454 SRH was bought as my first DA revolver to launch my favorite .45 Colts... which it does quite well. It also will make a big bang.

Lobotomy Boy
February 17, 2004, 08:48 AM
I'm both a Ruger guy and a Smith guy. Most of the wheelguns I've owned have been Smiths, though I have owned a Super Blackhawk and a P89. My next purchase is going to be a Ruger Blackhawk Convertible because I want a single-action revolver capable of shooting cheap 9mm ammo at the range, yet also capable of shooting .357 ammo (my parents have a serious mountain lion problem at their farm). There is only one such gun.

But for my next double action revolver, it will depend entirely on what I find. If I find a nice Model 27 or 29 at a reasonable price, I'll buy it. They are my favorite revolvers, bar none. But if I run across a sweet deal on a GP100 or a Redhawk (or a good deal on a 66 or 686), I'll probably jump on it. All are fantastic guns. The trigger action is initially noticably better on a Smith, but Rugers really do improve with use. Buy a firing cap and dry fire it a couple hundred times if you are impatient.

Ultimately all these guns are so good that your choice depends on your personal preferences. Buy the gun that makes your heart skip a beat.

February 17, 2004, 05:06 PM
If you are already a die-hard Smith Fan, the Ruger is just going to dissapoint you in some way, even if only every time you look at it you think of the money you have in it that you could have spent on a Smith. That is my biggest worry. When I bought my Marlin 60 rifle I loved it at first (it was my first rifle) but after a few months I started thinking that I should have bought a Ruger 10/22 for just a little more. For quite some time I hated it- every time I looked at it all I could think was that for $50 more I could have had the Ruger. It wasn't until I bought a 10/22 that I realized that I liked the Marlin far better and I finally loved that gun again (meanwhile I wasn't crazy about that 10/22 and whenever I looked at it all I could see was either that I should have bought a stainless Marlin 60 or try the Remington:rolleyes: ). Additionally, as I stated I'm a Smith guy, and whenever I think I might get the GP100 all I can think about is that for that price I can get a new M10 or M64, 2 used K-frames (one .357mag and one slightly cheaper .38spl), a used L-frame with money for ammo or a new .357mag with just a little more money.

However, there is the other side.

You ought to get the GP-100 just to compare it with the others.
That may well be the biggest reason I keep considering the GP100. First, I do occasionally get asked by people what I suggest, and it would be nice to actually have ownership experience with another make (my advice would be more informed). Second, I love .357mags and I'd love to eventually have one of each of the main players (even though I almost hate my Colt PPS I will probably even get a Trooper and I need to someday own a Python- I've never felt a nicer DA trigger).

I am a Smith guy, but thinking back to my Marlin that I hated for over a year because I could have had the Ruger 10/22 and getting the Ruger made me realize that I love the Marlin. Well, what if I'm a Smith guy because I've never owned the Ruger? Not likely, but more realistically, maybe once I got it I'd love it far more than I think. Also, I decided against that gun way back before I ever owned a gun and I was renting them to see what I like- I don't like rubber grips and their rubber/wood combo is about the worst I've tried. Back then I didn't realize how easy it was to switch out grips (or I guess I did, but I wanted it to be "right" right out of the box). Well, now I wonder if perhaps I'd like the gun with a nice set of wood stocks on it.

Oh, as for everyone who implies or says outright that K-frame .357s can't take magnums- you are wrong (at least in my experience). Sure the older ones had some problems with certain loads but long ago S&W strengthened the K-frame. Heck, even the older K-frames can take regular use of many magnum loads. The thinner forcing cone has problems with regular use of the light 110 and 125gr loads. However, the 158s are fine. I've shot thousands of 158gr magnums, hundreds of 110s and 125s, and thousands of rounds of various .38s and .38+Ps out of my S&W 65LS and there is no forcing cone or topstrap damage. I have an older M19 (P&R) that I bought about a year ago. I haven't shot it as much as my 65LS but until a few weeks ago I had never shot a .38spl out of it, only 158gr magnums (plus who knows what went through it before I got it)- it is in exceptional condition (if not for minor finish wear it would be like new). Of course, when I want to go all out (the few times I get "experimental" with my hand loads for instance) I can use my L-frame S&W 586.

February 17, 2004, 11:11 PM
"Oh, as for everyone who implies or says outright that K-frame .357s can't take magnums- you are wrong (at least in my experience)."

As a GP-100 will:D .

And, suspected fluke or not, that 1982 Model 13 S&W of mine was out of time to the point of dangerous in less than 500 rounds (from new) of Speer 158 gr. .357's.

The two Ruger Speed Sixes I had at the same time just kept on ticking with the same ammo.

The K-frame's basic design is over 100 years old, and S&W admitted as much by going to the L-frame.

If you value your K-frame, you oughtn't shoot a lot of .357 mags from it.;)

February 18, 2004, 04:15 AM
It's not just any magnum round that's hard on a K-frame. Just a steady diet of hot 110 or 125 grainers that will erode the forcing cone. It was designed around the 158 grainers which were standard at that time.

February 18, 2004, 11:28 AM

The K frame design may be 100 years old, but it is still the basic design of S&W revolvers to this day. A real testament to its strength.

Heat treating and steel alloys have come along way in the past 100 years not to mention the past 50 that the K frame magnum has been around.

And finally, the fact that the K frame line of magnums is still around 25 years after the introduction of the L frame is an absolute confirmation that they are perfectly safe with factory magnum rounds. Had this not been the case the L frame would have replaced the K frame in magnum chamberings but that is not the case.

February 19, 2004, 02:45 AM
"The K frame design may be 100 years old, but it is still the basic design of S&W revolvers to this day. A real testament to its strength."

The K-frame was never designed for magnum pressures.
The K-frame was "magnumized" only to give the cop on the beat a lighter holster gun than the N-frames which were used for the original .357 magnum.

The K-frame does not have the reinforcement in critical areas of its frame to withstand a steady diet of hot .357 magnum loads.

Heat treatment can only do so much, then extra frame and/or redesign is called for. That's why the L-frame made its appearance.

"And finally, the fact that the K frame line of magnums is still around 25 years after the introduction of the L frame is an absolute confirmation that they are perfectly safe with factory magnum rounds."

No, it's vindication of the concept of a light magnum service revolver:
to be carried a lot and not shot much with full-power magnums.
K-frames are certainly safe with magnum loads, until the pounding begins to loosen them up, as with my poor Model 13.

" Had this not been the case the L frame would have replaced the K frame in magnum chamberings but that is not the case."

No, the L-frame is an design upgrade by S&W which provides them with a product to match the sturdy Ruger concept of a revolver that can withstand unlimited use of .357 magnums.

The L-frame is bigger and bulkier than the K-frame, and for a "carry-a-lot, practice with .38 Special, and load Magnums for duty" gun, the K-frame magnum makes perfect sense.:)

February 19, 2004, 07:51 AM
K-frames are certainly safe with magnum loads, until the pounding begins to loosen them up, as with my poor Model 13.

If your 13 shot loose in "a few hundred rounds", there was something more wrong with it than just being a K-frame.

Yes, a K-frame will give up the ghost faster than an L-frame under a steady diet of magnum loads, but we're talking many, many thousands of rounds, here. Tens of thousands if one stays away from maximum loadings.

February 20, 2004, 12:37 AM
"If your 13 shot loose in "a few hundred rounds", there was something more wrong with it than just being a K-frame."

Yes, I suspect that there was. It was new in 1982, which was not one of S&W's "high QC" eras. The main problem was rapidly-developed endshake with the Speer 158 grain "penta points", which were loaded hot by the standards of the day.

Interestingly enough, the two Ruger Speed Sixes I owned at the time digested far more of them with no problems, and the Speed Six isn't as tough as the GP-100.

"Tens of thousands if one stays away from maximum loadings."

That was not my (admittedly limited) experience, nor was it the experience of the Anderson Indiana Police Department, who finally had to caution the patrol officers to limit their practice firing to +P Specials to keep their old "K magnums" in service. SOme of that cop ammo of the late '60's & early '70's
was fairly hot.

The Speer loadings I was using were issue rounds in some departments, and they were probably pretty close to maximum (I got 'em for free, so the cost balanced out)

Both Rugers ran through quite a few of them after the Model 13 gave up the game.

"Yes, a K-frame will give up the ghost faster than an L-frame under a steady diet of magnum loads..."

It certainly will!:D

I'm happy with that analysis.:)

February 20, 2004, 05:23 AM
I think what Tamara's getting at is that the 686 and the GP100 are virtually identical in both size and weight according to the specifications on the S&W and Ruger web sites.

This is indeed true as I had both, and still own the GP-100.It is all a matter of what you prefer.

February 20, 2004, 05:30 AM
Here is someones experience with their Model 19 and what S&W told them.

February 20, 2004, 02:09 PM
I own a few Colts, a Smith and a Ruger.

The Smith was nicer than I expected (being a life long Colt snob).

My Ruger a SP-101 is one great gun. I know you want a GP-100, lock work is pretty much the same. The only thing I don't like about the Ruger is the coil spring when you pulll the trigger. You can feel it twang or vibrate in the palm of your hand when you shoot it. Not that big of a gripe but one of note. Trigger is heavier than the Smith, but mine is more accurate than my Smith.

February 20, 2004, 02:38 PM
A big part of the reason I choose each gun I own is emotional. The Ruger wheel guns do not appeal to me, for whatever reason. I see no reason to own every brand just to compare them. That's what shooting buddies are for :)

On a tangential note, I've always wanted an older 6" Python. Why? Because of how it looks and its reputation. Zero other reason than that. Isn't that enough reason?

J Scott
February 23, 2004, 08:36 PM

J Scott

February 24, 2004, 12:18 AM
No, I have several Rugers, but the GP100 is not one of the old man's better designs.

February 24, 2004, 12:55 AM
These last two opinions have been really insightful. Thanks for the contributions.:rolleyes:

February 24, 2004, 01:56 AM
okay, to elaborate...since I now have finished my dinner - The GP's I find sorta crude in design, usually with so-so triggers and blocky design. I just find the Smiths easier to shoot, and better looking. No question the Rugers are durable and reliable, and some I expect are pretty accurate.

If the GP was in a unique caliber I especially desired, I might go ahead and get one - like I did with my .480 SRH. In the common .357, though, there are plenty of other choices.

February 25, 2004, 06:24 PM
I am a huge L-frame fan. I have a 681 PC, a 686-5 3", and 2 686 MG's. I love the triggers, accuracy, quality, etc. I do though, also really like the GP-100's, especially the fixed sight models. I think "blocky" does apply to the adj. sighted GP's but not to the fixed sights. I think they are very well designed. They actually have more of a service or speed six profile. They also have a slightly smaller grip frame that fits my hand better than any other handgun. I only have 2 reasons for prefering the 686's: 1) trigger-I've felt some nice GP's but they have never had that "feel" of a smith, and 2) for defense I think that 6 is fine but why not be able to load 7 in the same size package? (for plinking it make no difference).

Can't really go wrong with either. Which feels and shoots better for you?

February 25, 2004, 07:07 PM
Sure, go for it. It only holds 6 rounds.

As Bill Ruger said "No honest man needs more than 10 rounds."

The Anti's will love you for it.

Dave Markowitz
February 26, 2004, 09:45 PM
I am a died-in-the-wool Smith & Wesson wheelgun fan. However, after shooting a GP-100 with some 125 grainers handloaded on top of a good amount of Blue Dot, I had to get one. Why? For me, the GP-100's grip soaks up recoil better than any other handgun's that I've shot. I was simply amazed at how much more comfortable it was to shoot the Ruger, than say, a K-Frame with hot loads.

I scratched my itch with a police trade-in 3" GP-100 imported back into the US by Century Arms. When I got it the gun was filthy and had obviously been shot a lot with lead loads. E.g., the cylinder flutes were black and required major scrubbing. It cleaned up nicely, and the large number of rounds through it really smoothed up the action.

Oh yeah, I got it in trade for the equivalent of $225 OTD. :D



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