Ruger GP100 6" accuracy vs. Colt Python 6"?


February 6, 2003, 08:54 PM
Does anybody own both and can tell me the differences in accuracy?

My friend's python is amazingly accurate, he told me why they were so, but I can't remember....

I'm wondering if I will be able to get the same kind of accuracy out of a GP100...

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February 6, 2003, 10:47 PM
His Colt has an advantage in a faster twist that stabilizes heavier bulets, but you can overcome any perceived advantage he may have by using bullets you have tested for accuracy and by better, that is firmer, hold, concentration and squeeze.
He can keep all of his shots on the center mass of a silhouette target (life size) at 200 meters, if he does his part. You can only do likewise if you hold and grip until you want to scream in agony and your sight picture, squeeze and letoff is absolutely perfect. I'd bet you can do it with a little dry fire practice.
If you win, and he thinks your Ruger is more accurate, you may be able to swap him.

February 7, 2003, 04:33 PM
the other reason might be the way it locks up. during the last part of the trigger stroke, the pawl/hand raises to lock the cylinder inmobile (as oposed to the "play" in smiths and rugers).

the cylinder also rotates "into" the frame as opposed to trying to push "outward"...the ruger has a stronger lockup of the crane to the frame.

the barrel is superior not only due to the 1-14" twist but also because it chokes down at the muzzle.

the gp-100 is very serviceable as a duty gun, but it could never match my python before it moved on.

February 7, 2003, 09:07 PM
In a 1993 Shooting Times article six 357 Magnum revolvers from six different manufacturers were tested with 14 different types of ammo utilizing Ransom Rests and shot at 4 separate distances - 25, 50, 75 , and 100 yards. All were 6" stainless revolvers.

Each revolver was shot 12 times at each distance with each load. When the groups were tabulated for all loads at all distances with each revolver these were the placements for accuracy:

1- 3.28" S&W 686
2- 3.63" Wesson Firearms FB M715
3- 3.75" Taurus M689
4- 3.83" Colt Python
5- 3.87" Ruger GP100
6- 5.08 Rossi M971

In this particular test the difference between the Python and the GP100 was hardly worth mentioning. In fact the first 5 revolvers were all pretty close.

That does not mean that the results will always be the same if a new group of the same guns would go at it again. But, at least in this test , the GP100 held its own.

In another referencer I have on hand - The Gun Digest Book of Handgun Reloading - many handguns of all popular calibers were tested again in the Ransom Rest and the very best group turned in by any gun was by a 4" GP100 - a 12 shot 25 yard group in the .4" range.

Part of what hinders some shooters using GP100s might be the trigger pull - the Python will undoubtedly have a superior trigger which can make accurate shooting much easier to accomplish.

February 8, 2003, 08:24 AM
The Python, hands down! Quantrill

February 8, 2003, 12:30 PM
YodaVader - Does that article give the group sizes at each range with each brand of ammo? I'd be interested in knowing the order of the guns when shooting the best groups with the ammo they liked best.

I don't find overall average of all loads meaningful - they include the ammo brands the gun doesn't like - and I'm not going to shoot those so why count them?

OTOH, I'd be happy shooting 4-inch groups with a Python. Just because it is a pleasure to shoot.


February 8, 2003, 01:08 PM
I still have that Shooting Times article tucked away. I used to compare my early 4" 686 and 1980ish 4" Python when I had them. (How did I ever sell both???) My personal accuracy was practically the same, and both were great revolvers.

Edited: Opps..... I went home and checked. I have a different ST article: tested 4" blued GP100 and 6" Stainless Python/686/DW.. They were all good with the ammo they liked. Smith won the "best" accuracy contest.

The 6" stainless GP100 wasn't available for this test so they included the 4" blued on the side.

All were more accurate than I can shoot.

February 8, 2003, 02:46 PM
"YodaVader - Does that article give the group sizes at each range with each brand of ammo? I'd be interested in knowing the order of the guns when shooting the best groups with the ammo they liked best. "

Yes it does. Since 25 yards is the "usual standard" I'll just post top five result of the GP100 and Colt Python.

.077" - Hornady 140XTP*
.079" - Black Hills 158JHP*
.081 - Black Hills 125 JHP*
1.13" - Hornady 158 XTP
1.26" - Winchester 145 Silvertip*

*- The most accurate group fired with specified ammo at 25 yards out of all six revolvers.

The Python did not have the most accurate 25 yard group with any of the 14 loads tested but it's accuracy was good with most loads.

1.01" - Winchester 180 Black Talons
1.07" - Hornady 140 XTP
1.07" - Black Hills 158 JHP
1.09" - Hornady 158 XTP
1.15" - Remington 180 JHP

It was a pretty interesting article - plus keep in mind these are 12 shot groups - twice around the cylinder. It always amazes me when gun writers test a 6 shot revolver with a 5 shot group! I feel each cylinder needs to be included in accuracy testing so I test my revolvers with six shot groups.

The S&W 686 also fired a .077" 25 yard group tying it with the GP100 for best overall group at 25 yards with a specific load. The 686 did it with Black Talons.

Standing Wolf
February 8, 2003, 09:37 PM
I believe the Python accuracy advantage doesn't come into full play until you start loading down to .38 special target velocities.

Lone Star
February 11, 2003, 09:45 AM
I've owned two Pythons, and had maybe 15 S&W .357's and several Rugers, both Security-Sixes and GP-100's.

All displayed excellent accuracy, but the Rugers were invariably the hardest to shoot well, due to the trigger pulls. When I got lucky, they'd shoot about as well as the others.

Overall, the Pythons shot NO better than the S&W's. All would cut one-hole six-shot groups at 25 yards when the shooter did his part.

I will say that the six-inch guns shot best. The S&W M27 and M28 shot easily on par with the Pythons, and stay in time much better.

Lone Star

February 11, 2003, 10:47 AM
YodaVader - Thank you. That helps a lot. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference most of the time shooting either gun with the ammo you listed.

I do know, primarily from shooting my dad's Python regularly during the past 15 years, that the Python shoots wadcutters a whole lot better for me than the magnum rounds. I know my Ruger Police-Service Six likes wadcutters, especially the costly target rounds, and I'd guess the S&W might too.

(And speaking Ruger triggers, I bought the spring kit for my '85 Service Six last year and it increased the trigger pull. Huh? The blooming spring is a lot larger. I keep meaning to put the kit back in and measure the pull and then post the info along with the spring measurements, but never get around to it.)


February 11, 2003, 12:04 PM
JohnBT - glad I could help. Also keep in mind that the ammo that was most accurate in the test revolvers may not necessarily be the most accurate in your particular revolvers.

As you mentioned - it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between different ammo in revolver accuracy (especially shooting off hand) . Now if you were capable of shooting 1" groups consistently with a certain revolver that would be a different story!

Myself , when I test accuracy with my 357 or 44 revolvers I mount a scope and fire from a very solid rest where there is no apparent crosshair movement. Have been able to fire many one-hole groups in this manner. Once I stand up and shoot off hand I see how far I am from the actual capabilities of the revolver!

February 11, 2003, 04:45 PM
Early Pythons --(Pre'73) were test fired at the factory and came with the target--
The guns had to group under an inch (50ft I believe) in order to ship--
This at least keptthepoor onesout of circulation and added to the Python's rep--

February 16, 2003, 11:26 PM
Well, I just wanted to make sure that the GP100 was more accurate then I was.. Which it is.

The Python trigger pull is like Bill Clinton, very very slick. I think most guns are accurate, but the triggers are what makes them not live up to their accuracy potential.

I usually notice a 50% grouping improvement on all my rifles and handguns when I give it a trigger job. Biggest noticable difference was on my Ruger 10/22.

I do love the GP100, the action is built tough. I just didn't want to see like a 1" difference in groupings from the Python to the GP100.


February 17, 2003, 10:18 AM
I had a python many years ago, late 70s, and my first GP in the late 80s. The Python was not new when I got it, but it did not appear to have been worked over, but the trigger was pretty good as I recall. I was shooting 2.5 inch groups at 25 yards. That was the best I could do.
Now for the latest GP. I have a 6 inch full lug. I found initial accuracy lest than wonderful. I had the mainspring changed and personally firelapped the barrel. The firelapping made a world of difference. I really could feal the difference as the work progressed. When it was as good as I wanted it, I started testing for accuracy again. About the same as the Python. Again, I think that this is the limit of what I can do with iron sights.
Think of the GP as a diamond in the rough, it needs some polishing to bring out the real beauty. If you're willing to invest a bit of money (< $50) and time (<4 hours), you can have a very remarkable firearm.

February 20, 2003, 02:26 AM
My best friend has a 6" GP100. He bought it because he couldn't afford a Python. I have a 4" Python (my second over 25 years). I can shoot 3/4" at 25 yards most of the time with hot (125 Win JHP w/20 gr 296) loads. It's a nasty load that my gun likes. The GP100 is a boat anchor. Worst trigger on the market and it can NEVER be worked to approach the Python with it's leaf spring. The S&W can be worked very nice but it's still a Smith. Both are tougher than the Python, that's true, but you have to really abuse it a LOT to show the difference. Besides, who says the best gun has to be the toughest one? Very few people shoot that much unless you're a competitor. Rapid fire (Dirty Harry) 6 shots under 3 seconds at 25 Yards produces 4" groups for me. (Who shoots rapid fire at 25 yards!?) It's fun. I've put thousands of rounds through my two Pythons and never broken one. Well, that's my two cents worth.........

February 20, 2003, 05:40 AM
There are other reasons to buy a Python then just for the sake of being accurate. The craftmanship is wonderful on my python. The trigger pull is like glass. The lines are graceful. To some people that means alot, and to others it means very little. Like art in a way, the "Mona Lisa" is just a picture to some people and to others there is the love art involved. What it means to you is what you are willing to pay for it.
I'm sure the quality varies with the date of manufacture, but just the same, to compare a Ruger to a Python, is apples to oranges.

February 20, 2003, 12:12 PM
apples and oranges is such a classic comparison that it loses it's impact...

i prefer the comparasion of an old VW bug vs. porsche 911. they both shared german engineering, workmanship and rear engines. the bug was great transportation, economical, reliable, even cute...but it would never be regarded the same as a 911.

was the 911 worth 3 to 5 times more than the bug?...well, enough folks feel it is to keep the company going...(does that make it better than colt?)

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