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New .44 Special GP100 range report

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by minutemen1776, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. minutemen1776

    minutemen1776 Member

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    Just when I thought there was nothing new I wanted to get, Ruger announced before Christmas that it would be making the GP100 chambered in .44 Special. Right away, I knew I wanted one. Though I'd expected not to see one until the spring or so, I had a chance to get one much sooner and did so. I picked it up last week and I shot it for the first time today at a nearby indoor range. Here she is:
    [​IMG]
    And with the cylinder open:
    [​IMG]
    Before I get to the range report, I'll explain why I wanted the .44 Special GP100 so much. A dozen or so years ago, I owned a S&W 696, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I reloaded back then, but I stopped doing so after my sons were born and my free time left the building. Eventually, I sold my reloading gear and my "reload-only" guns, including the 696. I don't regret it so much, though at times I thought about getting another, at least until I learned how expensive the 696 has become.

    In the meantime, I've become a fan of the GP100. I tried lots of DA revolvers (Colt, S&W, Ruger, Taurus, etc.), and I enjoy the GP100 the most. In addition to my new .44 Special GP100, I also have a 6-inch .357 GP100. When I saw the announcement for a .44 Special GP100, I was excited. It has a 3-inch barrel like the 696, as well as a sexy unfluted cylinder, which I really like. The Hogue grips are sweet and I like the front fiber-optic sight, even though I generally don't care for fiber-optic anything. Basically, there's no feature on the .44 Special GP100 I don't like; it's pretty much exactly what I wanted. Understand, too, that I don't want .44 Magnum performance. I don't enjoy shooting .44 Magnum loads even in a much larger handgun. I also don't want the .44 Special GP100 for CCW, as I have other things that are much better suited to that task. For me, this revolver will mostly be a range or hiking gun, and perhaps a great excuse to return to reloading after all these years.

    For the range, I picked up several boxes of HSM 240-grain LSWC "cowboy" loads. I ordered these from Palmetto State because they were in-stock and on-sale. Besides, no one in my area seems to stock .44 Special.

    First of all, let me say that the OCD side of me really enjoys 5-shot revolvers. One row of five rounds equals one cylinder, and ten cylinders equal one full box. ;)

    Initially, my new GP100 shot REALLY high. At 10 yards, I was shooting nearly a foot too high. After 10-12 elevation clicks on the adjustable sights, I was doing all right. It took a few more cylinders to get used the DA trigger pull. It was pretty good, with some stacking and a decently clean release. I think the trigger on my .357 is slightly better, but the difference isn't much. I do know it's better than any trigger pull I ever experienced on a Security or Speed Six.

    Before I'd gone through a full box of rounds, I'd produced some respectable groups. This is probably the best 10-round group:
    [​IMG]
    Unfortunately, you can't tell too much from my groups, because I was experiencing some major rip-tears. At first, and after seeing another THR post on the .44 Special GP100, I thought I was seeing evidence of keyholing. However, closer examination shows that this is just the result of firing slow, heavy slugs at close range into a cheap suspended paper target with no backer. When I fired a few rounds at longer range, this phenomenon disappeared, leaving me with mostly clean-cut holes.

    Shooting the .44 Special GP100 was pleasant. As expected, recoil was somewhere between shooting .38s and .357s in my other GP100. The 3-inch barrel was not too forgiving as I learned how to stroke the DA trigger, leaving me with a couple of truly BAD groups. :( The sights were nice, and I liked the non-grooved Hogue grips. Overall, this is an enjoyable shooter, but right now I think my .357 is the better performer. Some experimentation with reloads might change that, so we'll see. I've been looking at presses, so maybe I'll get back into reloading later in the year.

    Here's the .44 Special GP100 after firing 50 rounds. Those HSM loads were VERY sooty.
    [​IMG]
    For lovers of the GP100 and .44 Special, I think you'll be pleased with this offering from Ruger.

    As an aside, I always bring a pair of handguns when I go to the indoor range. Accompanying my new GP100 was a FEG Hi-Power I bought a few months back. I really enjoy this gun:
    [​IMG]
    It shoots pretty well, too. This is 26 rounds. :)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I'm glad you like it. I am also interested in it but I wish it were 41 spl. I have everything I need to load for it. If I buy one of these I will have to buy a lot of other things to load for it and it will be expensive. Probably an extra $200.00 on top of the price of the gun.

    I may still do it. I have to hold one first.
     
  3. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

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    I thought I would really want one. But after seeing them. I will stick with my Rossi 720. I have a vintage 4in GP100 in 357. Bought it back in the 90's. I will never part with that beauty. But the 44 Special is a round I love to shoot and reload for. I use my Rossi in my CCW rotation. The new Ruger hasn't given me anything I already don't have. I hope many folks take a good long look at the gun and caliber though. The 44 Special is just that.... Special.
     
  4. tommy.duncan

    tommy.duncan Member

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    I picked up one on Sunday. I can't wait to get it to a range!!
     
  5. 200Apples
    • Contributing Member

    200Apples Member

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    Thanks for a great, detailed range report, and with pics!

    I have recently become a devotee of the .44 Special and wheelguns chambered strictly for it. Right now that consists of two Rugers; one of which is already home, the second in 10-day jail and a S&W thats on the horizon...
     
  6. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    i started my love affair with the 44 special many years ago, with a colt SA 5.5" nickle revolver and it just would not shoot worth a hoot.. so i bought a smith 29 with a 6.5" in .44 mag used for a good price and had the best of two worlds. and several years ago i found out a good friend had a smith 624 in .44 special with a 4" in the box with all the goodies and it took me two years to pry it from his collection at a good price.. now i,m not down on ruger as i own and shoot 7 revolvers and auto,s, i just find most model,s heavy and way over built for my general field and hunting needs, the load i use most is a 240gr GC,s hard cast bullet at 900 fps and i have shot clean thru a decent white tail from stem to stern at 40 yards. eastbank. Picture 7654.jpg
     
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  7. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    minutemen1776

    Great review! Thinking about getting one when finances allow for it. Nice shooting with the FEG PJK-9HP too!
     
  8. Wishoot

    Wishoot Member

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    If I were not buying a new car today, I would be buying a new 44spl GP100 today.
     
    chanroc likes this.
  9. GunNut

    GunNut Member

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    Now that's a GP-100 that I may have to buy.
     
  10. red rick

    red rick Member

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    That's a nice looking revolver and nice range report . I wonder why they came out with a 3" barrel first . I think it would really be sweet with a 5" or 5 1/2" barrel .
     
  11. DPris

    DPris Member

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    Stay tuned.
    Denis
     
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  12. joneb

    joneb Member

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    Having a S&W 696 I would like a longer barrel? not sure. The 3" works quite well in a modern gun chambered for 44 spl for its intended purpose.
    So would I want a 4.2" or 5.5" maybe, but we all know there is a appeal for a 3" revolver.
     
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  13. BLU

    BLU Member

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    VERY sweet! Wood stocks are gorgeous on my S&W 629, especially with a non-fluted cylinder, (like you, I think it really makes the gun sexy), but it's more fun to shoot DA with the finger groove Hogue grips on her. I reload .44 Special and like the .45 Colt, you can get some amazingly accurate loads. Gees... just bought a gun today. Now you're making me wish I'd have brought home a sister for mine.

    image.jpeg
     
  14. Legionnaire

    Legionnaire Member

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    Thanks for the report! Picked mine up yesterday afternoon and am planning a range trip this weekend.
     
  15. BLU

    BLU Member

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    I stopped at my LGS and asked to see one. Wish I hadn't. Thought I didn't desire any more guns for awhile, but I was wrong. I can hear that .44 calling me now. The grips... I don't see any need to change those out for finger groove grips, at least now. It felt very sweet. It definitely needs some beautiful wood grips for show though. My question is: Should I wait for the nearly certain introduction of the .44 Magnum, (which for versatility alone would be my preference), or are we fairly certain that'll never happen?
     
  16. DPris

    DPris Member

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    Don't hold your breath for a .44 Mag GP.
    Denis
     
  17. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    I believe we'll see a 44Mag version down the road. Whether it is built on the GP frame or some type of hybrid Redhawk frame I cannot say. But a smaller 44Mag is the next evolutionary step and one I'm sure Ruger will take at some point.
     
  18. Legionnaire

    Legionnaire Member

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    I have no interest in a .44 mag on the scale of the GP100. The Redhawk (or Blackhawk) is a fine platform for the magnum cartridge IMHO. Now a .41 mag in the GP would get my attention ... especially with a 4 or 5-inch barrel.
     
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  19. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    I assume most people say they want a Mag but will shoot it very little due to nasty recoil. Or they'll just shoot Specials in it. Still, it would be nice to have the option of stuffing the cylinder full of Magnums if needed.

    And, yes, a 41 Mag on the GP frame would be pretty nifty.
     
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  20. DPris

    DPris Member

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    Finished the second of two range sessions yesterday.
    Roughly 550 rounds fired, 5 factory & the rest handloads with cast & jacketed, multiple weights.

    Gun prefers lighter bullets, best was 5 shots under 2 inches at 25 yards with a Hornady 180 XTP JHP & 2400.
    On average, probably a 3-inch gun.
    Some groups tighter, some groups wider.

    Does not like 240 Berry plated or Hornady 240 swaged lead.
    Denis
     
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  21. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Did you shoot any other heavy bullets? 240 XTP'S etc?
     
  22. DPris

    DPris Member

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    Win 246 RNL, BB 255 SWC, for factory.
    Denis
     
  23. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    I haven't tried too much heavy stuff in mine. I have some Remington 240gr JHP's loaded that I've been meaning to try.
     
  24. Jim NE

    Jim NE Member

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    Though not practical for me, I admit that those GP 100 .44's look very appealing. If I were in the market, I'd probably buy one of them before a S&W model 69's - despite the 69's magnum chambering - and I'd certainly buy one before I bought one of those hyper-expensive N frame Smiths in .44 Special.

    Good luck.
     

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