Decisions decisions. Ruger GP100 Barrel lengths

Discussion in 'Ruger Revolver Forums' started by AndyRexia, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. AndyRexia

    AndyRexia Member

    57
    1
    8
    It would seem I've been bitten by the revolver bug again. It was probably the new Pythons that got me wanting another revolver, but after hearing the issues they're having I decided to wait a while before picking one up. Meanwhile, I'm still here wanting another revolver. I THINK I've narrowed it down. I was torn between a S&W 686 and a GP100. I know. You can't go wrong with either. They're both fine guns. I've owned a GP100 3" Wiley Clapp blued (which I gave to my father) and loved it but I've never owned a Smith. I'm thinking I want another GP100. I considered buying another Wiley Clapp. Maybe this time the stainless model with fiber optic front sight? But then I thought maybe try something new. I don't want a 4" barrel revolver. My 1975 Python is a 4" so maybe I should go 6"? Well, when Colt gets the bugs worked out of the new Pythons I will pick one of those up in 6". Hmmmm, what about the 5"? I'm liking the idea of the 5". I have a single action that is a little over 5" and I like the balance of it. Not too short, not too long. So 6 shot or 7? Or should I just get another 3"? I have such a hard time with decisions like this. Please help me out with your suggestions.

    My intended purposes are home defense and range gun. I do not plan on carrying it. I do plan on shooting the snot out of it. I miss having a GP100 in the stable. Or should I get the 686? Lol
     
    rugertoter likes this.
  2. rugertoter

    rugertoter Active Member

    292
    91
    28
    Your right, that is a tough decision. Personally, if I were trying to make that one, I would be going with the S&W 686....not because it's better than the GP100, but just a personal opinion on the "looks".

    Good luck on your quest! ;)
     
    C. D. Bates and AndyRexia like this.

  3. jmohme

    jmohme Well-Known Member

    1,314
    33
    48
    If it is not going to something you carry, my opinion is longer is better.
    That said, I prefer a five inch barrel. They balance nicely for me.
     
    C. D. Bates, rugertoter and AndyRexia like this.
  4. dick19114u

    dick19114u New Member

    6
    1
    1
    Last April, I purchased a 686 with a 5" barrel. Before that, I had used two different 1911's (45 cal) and a S&W 2.0 M&P .45 cal. for our bowling pin league. These were all brand new pistols. I couldn't ever drop more than 3 pins completely off the table. Oh, maybe 4 or 5 times.
    A few shooters, (out of about 24) were regularly smashing those pins off the table. The two most prominent were (1) Dick S., after approx. 8 weeks, only missing 2, that's (two) pins off the table. He was using a older modified S & W 1911. I don't remember the exact model #. I'll have to ask him when this Corvid thing is over. (2) The other
    person Ray J., (2nd place) had an older S&W revolver in .357, using 180 grain Missouri cast bullets, with about 5.2 grains of TiteGroup powder (approx. 980 fps).
    Within 2 weeks after using the 686, I started shooting 4 out of 5 pins, and on the 3rd week, I started shooting so many more pins off the table, I couldn't believe it. The 5" length is absolutely the best balance of these heavy revolvers.
    So, a few months later, I went out and bought a brand new GP100, with 7 rounds, and 6 inch barrel. It actually looks prettier than the S&W brand. But, after a couple of rounds at the range with a friend and cousin, we all thought that the S&W was a better made pistol. We couldn't shoot the GP100 as well as the 686.
    That being said, we went through about 2 years worth of my gun mags.
    (Guns & Ammo, Gun World, Guns, American Hand gunner, Gun Test magazine, Firearms News, Shooting Times, Ballistic Best, etc.) to look at/check out various comparison reviews.
    In summary, S&W seems to have an edge over time, but many of the most recent information showed us that there are tons of shooters that prefer Ruger. And then, there a tons that prefer S&W. The handle on the Ruger GP100 definitely has a bigger handprint. I have relatively small hands, and I'm actually going to sell my GP100, not because it's not a good revolver, but, the handprint is just too large for my hands. I also couldn't shoot it as well as the 686. In all fairness, I only shot about 150 rounds through it. But, I knew at that time, it wasn't the revolver for me.
    Interestingly enough, most of the magazines gave both about a 50/50 review. The 2018 issue of gun test magazine gave the "gun of the year" award to the GP100, if you can believe it. But, I'll stick with my 686.
    Dick
     
    AndyRexia likes this.
  5. AndyRexia

    AndyRexia Member

    57
    1
    8
    Thank you for sharing your experiences Dick. It's posts like that which make threads like this worth it.
     
  6. C. D. Bates

    C. D. Bates Member

    65
    14
    8
    I sold my Ruger SS 3".

    Have considered getting a 6", would prefer a 5".

    Have been a 586/685 fan, since the L frame was introduced. Never owned one, always wanted one, still do. Prefer the 5". Found a gorgeous 686 6" 7 shot, I should have bought, but was looking for something else, at that time and convinced myself to pass.

    Can't go wrong with either one, but I give the 686 a slight edge, because of the grip, as mentioned above. I like the S&W grip, it fits my hand better.
     
  7. Magnum.357

    Magnum.357 Active Member

    119
    47
    28
    I have the GP-100 in 4". It is a great gun and I love it. In comparing it to the 686. It has its strong features of a beautiful and very strong gun even with the heavy trigger. The trigger can be worked on but that is nothing in my opinion. It is the gun its self. Also, the GP-100 was built for the .357 magnum and will run many thousands of rounds. The only edge the 686 has over the GP-100 is a lighter trigger. I look at it this way, Blond or Brunet?

    What are your thoughts of the Redhawk vs the 629?

    I've been wanting to buy a .44 magnum but can't decide if the 629 is as strong as the Redhawk.
    I definitely like the looks of the 629 with a 6" full underlug barrel.

    Is the Redhawk a better gun than the 629? Would the 629 last heavy shooting?
     
  8. C. D. Bates

    C. D. Bates Member

    65
    14
    8
    My hunting buddy has an early '70s Model 29, yes, it will hold up to heavy shooting.
    His B-I-L has an early production Redhawk. He would say it is every bit as good.

    Can't go wrong with either.
     
  9. Magnum.357

    Magnum.357 Active Member

    119
    47
    28
    Thanks C. D., more and more I am inclined to buy the 629. I also like the Red hawk but I think the 629 looks better with the full underlug barrel. Knowing that the 629 will hold up to years of shooting magnums only helps me decide.
     
    C. D. Bates likes this.
  10. robmkivseries70

    robmkivseries70 New Member

    16
    6
    3
    Consider changing the main spring down a few pounds. This and some break in time will improve the trigger getting you closer to the S&W trigger. I'd guess that's where the difference lies.
    Best,
    Rob
     
  11. Stonebuster

    Stonebuster New Member

    19
    4
    3
    Of you want a seven shot, I'd go with the 686. Some seven shot GPs have been problematic.
     
  12. C. D. Bates

    C. D. Bates Member

    65
    14
    8
    Interesting
    Have heard nothing of GP100 problems.
    Why would a 7 shot be problematic and a 6 shot not?

    Personally, I prefer the 686, but it has nothing to do with thinking the GP100 is inferior or problematic.
     
  13. Magnum.357

    Magnum.357 Active Member

    119
    47
    28
    Interesting. I can't think of any reason a 6 shot vs a 7 shot GP-100 would be so different the 7 shot experiencing problems.
    Do you think it maybe do to having an extra cylinder for a 7th round would cause problems?
     
  14. C. D. Bates

    C. D. Bates Member

    65
    14
    8

    No reason

    The Single-Six and Single-Seven .327 are no different

    An SP101 is a 5-shot.

    .22LR comes as a 6 shot, 9 shot, 10 shot
    No problems

    Makes no sense. If there are problems, what are the problems. Otherwise, it's bad grapes
     
  15. robmkivseries70

    robmkivseries70 New Member

    16
    6
    3
    C. D. Bates likes this.
  16. Stonebuster

    Stonebuster New Member

    19
    4
    3
    Rob pretty much summed it up about the 7 shot GP issue. I'll stick to the 6 shot GPs rather than take a chance of an ammo finicky revolver for the sake of an extra round. Do a search and you'll find more than a few had this problem. The 7 shot 686 doesn't.
     
  17. Magnum.357

    Magnum.357 Active Member

    119
    47
    28
    I understand some of the Russian ammo may be the cause, such as the one with steel cases, (Tulammo). I have not experienced any problems loading but have had minor issues unloading, the cases stick to the cylinder.
    As for the 7 round cylinder, it may be that the cylinder needs one or two thousands of an inch opening or in depth. If it is due to ammo only, it just may be the brand of ammo and not the gun.
     
    C. D. Bates likes this.
  18. C. D. Bates

    C. D. Bates Member

    65
    14
    8
    I dont do Rusky steel ammo

    Ammo problem, not a gun problem.
    GP100 is a "white cop" being blamed for exceptional quality ammo.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
  19. Stonebuster

    Stonebuster New Member

    19
    4
    3
    I'm not bashing GPs, I own two 6 shot which are great guns. If you search another forum I won't mention (use your imagination) they're are 8 pages that go into detail about it. It boils down to the OD of some brands case heads not having enough space between them and binding.I'm not talking about steel cases ammo. I won't further derail this thread just search "GP100 7 shot not fixed yet" . Personally, I wouldn't want to spend $700-800 on a revolver that won't shoot the same ammo without binding (causing ejection problems) as my 6 shot GP.
     
  20. Magnum.357

    Magnum.357 Active Member

    119
    47
    28
    Thank you for the info.
    I too would be disappointed with my GP-100 not shooting any and all type of .357 ammo.