Review: Ruger GP100 Seven Shot | Outdoor Channel
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Review: Ruger GP100 Seven Shot

If you would like to have a high quality .357 Magnum revolver that will last for generations ... you should consider the Ruger GP100

The Ruger GP100 Seven-Shot Revolver (Photo courtesy of Down Range TV) The Ruger GP100 Seven-Shot Revolver (Photo courtesy of Down Range TV)

By: Ed Head

Who needs a seven shot .357 Magnum revolver? A lot of people, as far as I can tell. Everyone I’ve shown the new Ruger GP100 seven-shooter wants one and now that Ruger has them with 2.5”, 4.20” and 6” barrels it looks like there will be a model for everyone. Revolvers are accurate, powerful and easy to understand and shoot. Versatility is a hallmark of .357 Magnum revolvers as they can shoot a huge variety of both .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammunition suited to every purpose from target shooting to defense and hunting. I would wager there is more ammunition available in more varieties for .38/.357 revolvers than for any other handgun round.

So how did we arrive at this particular GP100? That story starts in 1986 when the GP100 was introduced. Ruger was highly successful with their Security Six lineup of medium frame revolvers that were about the same size as the Smith & Wesson K-frames. The Security Six competed with the Smith Model 19 and 66 and gained a reputation for being robust and easier to maintain. We issued both during my Border Patrol tenure, and while the Smiths were viewed as more elegant, the Rugers were seen as more durable. In terms of maintenance the Ruger was the hands down winner. Whereas the Smiths required screwdrivers of the proper size and a fair degree of knowledge, the Rugers could be taken down with anything – even a nail – and could be serviced by anyone after a couple of minutes of instruction.

Eventually the law enforcement world reached a consensus and determined the K-frame Smiths and medium frame Rugers weren’t strong enough for a steady diet of hot .357 Magnum ammunition. Considering most every department practiced and qualified with .38 Special target ammunition and actually fired very few Magnums through their revolvers I’m not sure how this conclusion was reached, but in any event it resulted in two of the best .357 Magnum revolvers of all time, the medium to large L-frame Smith 586 and 686 and the Ruger GP100 of almost identical proportions. As with the earlier revolvers the Ruger is easier to take down and maintain and is considered a bit stronger than the S&W but the fact remains they were and are excellent revolvers.

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