As I have previously posted, I recently picked up a Ruger GP100. It is the Wiley Clapp Hawkeye Blued, which is a 3" barrel .357 magnum revolver. Today I took it for its first range day. I used a Galco "Summer Comfort" IWB holster throughout. All shooting was done double action only. I'll do some single action work later, but wanted to get used to the trigger pull of DA as that's how you'll likely shoot it in a real self-defense scenario.
First up was 50 rounds of Ultramax Match 158gr semi-wadcutters. I've never used this ammo before, and doubt I will again. It shoots soft, recoil is minimal, and accuracy was acceptable. I wouldn't consider it match grade ammo, though, at least in the Ruger.
This is 6 rounds from 7 yards, two handed. I was a bit disappointed with the grouping.
I ran 6 more rounds through it a bit faster at 15 yards and then 6 more at 25 yards, going for headshots. As you can see, I was off paper on 3 of the headshots and the torso groups were acceptable but not great.
I finished out the box, and while the gun felt good, it just wasn't shooting the groups I had hoped for. At this point I wasn't sure if it was me or the gun.
Next up was a box of CCI Blazer Brass 158gr jacketed hollow points. First up was 7 yards, two handed shooting, same as with the UltraMax. The box is the size of a credit card. I was much happier with this ammo than the Ultramax and decided it wasn't me or the gun, it was the ammunition.
The Blazer ammo is loaded hotter than the Ultramax and you can tell. The recoil is heavier, but still very controllable with the heavy GP100. It groups quite well, and was actually the cheaper of the two.
This was 10y, two handed, as soon as I could find the front sight again. The gun settles very well and by the time I had the trigger reset I could be back on target.
Now that I knew the gun would perform as I expected with this ammo, I figured I'd trudge back to the 35 yard line and have some fun.
With these results:
I strung them a bit to the left as I went, and that's all me and not the gun. I was shooting faster than my skills allowed at that distance. Slowing down and running the trigger a bit slower tightened it up significantly.
I finished the box with some from the holster work, including shooting on the move. The following is three sets of double taps. I started at the 12y, drew as I moved diagonally forward, and fired two on on the go. Repeated at about 10y and about 7 yds.
The two shots with the slashes next to them were from earlier holster work, at 12y, as are the holes in the torso outside of the circle (and two inside the circle). 6 of the shots inside the circle are from 25y, staging the trigger, slow fire.
So, here's my takeaway:
Accuracy: Groups are perfectly acceptable and its combat accurate. Definitely up to my expectations. The photos above demonstrate this better than words can, and I'm sure I'm holding the gun back, not vice versa.
Trigger: The trigger is smooth and predictable. As I stated, all shooting was done DAO. The trigger stages well, the drawstroke is smooth, and it breaks cleanly. The trigger reset is long, as it is with any double action revolver, but I never short stroked it or felt it was a hassle. One of my friends, an armorer with decades of revolver experience, said it was one of the nicest factory triggers he's ever felt in a wheel gun.
Fit/finish: Ruger did a fine job with this gun. The crane was stiff out of the box, but after running 100 magnums through it it feels good now. It swings out with a push from the right, like it should, but doesn't bounce or flop around making it easy to use speed strips or speed loaders. The cylinder release button activates easily and positively. The finish is even and the grip is wobble free. The wood inserts in the grip are checkered perfectly, and everything seems to have tight tolerances.
Comfort: The rubber mono-grip with wood inserts fits my hands perfectly. Its very comfortable to shoot, even after 100 magnum loads I had no stinging hand or the like. I did have a slight rub mark on the inside of my trigger finger where the trigger guard brushes it under recoil, but not enough to raise a blood blister or cause me any real issue. This gun has, IMO, a perfect weight for a carry gun/range gun compromise. Light enough that its comfortable to carry with a quality belt/holster but heavy enough to absorb recoil and not be punishing to shoot at the range (looking at you, airweight snubby).
Sights: Fantastic. The Novak sights with gold dot on the front sight are perfect. The brass bead on the front sight post is so fast to acquire, the sights line up instinctively. The "light gap" on either side of the front sight is ideal for me, enough light to quickly see you are on target but narrow enough that its easy to stay centered and be accurate. These contribute to an easy, accurate, and fast first shot. I have not had a chance to try them in low light yet.
Carry-ability: I wore it around the house yesterday in the Summer Comfort and forgot it was there. Literally forgot. I started to go out and when I went to put my Sig on the Ruger was already there. The 3" barrel doesn't jab me i the thigh, and the Summer Comfort keeps the grip tight against my side. Easy to carry, easy to conceal.
Overall impressions: This gun is fast. Even with me being unfamiliar with it, it leaps out of the holster and onto target like its possessed. It points naturally, the sight lines up on its own, and the trigger makes double taps a joy. As the photos above show, even on the move I was able to land both shots within 1" of each other from 12y to 7y. It feels agile. While doing some holster work, spinning to face the target, it moves and points with ease.
Wiley Clapp was on to something when he and Ruger spec'd this gun out. It is a great do-it-all gun. I never really got the hype about the 3" barrel over the 4", but I sure do now. Its just so...agile, it feels like an extension of your hand. Points as well as a 1911, accurate, comfortable, and it simply oozes quality.
I don't think you'll find a better revolver at the price (MSRP $850, street price seems to be in the mid $700s on average), and probably won't do better on a factory revolver anywhere in the ballpark.