The GP-100 .357 magnum came out as a successor for the solid and dependable Security Six series of revolvers and to compete with the wildly successful S&W’s L series 585 and 686 revolvers and to give Ruger a revolver with the visual appeal of the Colt Pythons.
The first models introduced were blued followed by stainless. The grips consist of rubber with goncalo alves wood side panel inserts, lending to a practical but eye appealing set of grips. The grips were a two piece affair and tended to develop a gap over time. This can lead to slight irritation to the hand over a long string of magnum fire. The gun had a beefiness compared to the S & W guns.
When I first saw this gun, it screamed casting and utilitarian. For that reason, it doesn’t have the appeal of the Colt or Smith. One of the technological marvels is how they were able to machine the trigger assembling housing to the frame so tightly, that the seam appears no more than a scribed line.
The Ruger never failed to fire and after intense amounts of pulling the trigger, the action smoothed out to where it was significantly better than many of the Smiths I tried in double action mode. The sights are more that satisfactory but pedestrian. The gun comes highly recommended for its strength and reliability. The accuracy was more than suitable and whereas I never did try to ring out the ultimate accuracy from the gun, it was easily capable of 2 in. groups at 25 yards.
Which would I choose between the Python, GP100, and the M686 given a choice of one? The answer is it depends on how its to be used. If I wanted a shooter and a beater and something that could take a lifelong diet of pounding, my choice would be without hesitation the GP100. It has the beefiest frame and stoutness that screams use and abuse me. If I were to choose a gun for moderate shooting and the easiest trigger to manage, I would choose the M686. I would replace the factory grips with less blocky grips. If I were to choose a gun for the aesthetics and appeal, the Python would be the one. It has classic lines and a certain quality that the other two can’t match.
I shot and handled the GP100 alot because it was a utilitarian gun. It wasn’t babied but it wasn’t abused. As my income grew I sold this one off to get another gun. And as I reflect today, I should have kept the GP100. The story of my life…more regret.