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6" vs 4" GP100

This is a discussion on 6" vs 4" GP100 within the Ruger Double Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; Hello All, I am something of a novice, and I am going to be purchasing my first pistol in the near future (it's a 1 ...


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Old July 14th, 2010, 08:09 AM   #1
 
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6" vs 4" GP100

Hello All,

I am something of a novice, and I am going to be purchasing my first pistol in the near future (it's a 1 year + wait in Buffalo NY for a permit just to purchase a pistol-CCW is reserved for the "connected") and I have almost settled on a GP100. I can't decide between the 4" or the 6" barrel length, and I would like some input on the ramifications of each.

Since this will never be a carry gun, but rather a "Holy S**T someone's in my bedroom!" gun, the conceal ability is not a factor.

I am keen to know differences in perceived recoil, do the guns handle differently, is the ammunition more effective from a 6 vs 4 inch barrel and any other thoughts you all might have.

I am leaning this way because if I ever do get a CCW license, I will probably carry a GP100 with the 3 inch barrel, and I like the notion of having both defensive pistols having the same feel, grip, trigger mechanics and ammunition use.

I am also curious about trigger pull-how does the weight of the trigger main spring relate to the weight of the trigger pull? Does an 18 pound spring mean an 18 pound pull, or is it less due to mechanical advantage associated with the internals of the pistol?



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Old July 14th, 2010, 08:24 AM   #2
 
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I would recommend the 6" if it's going to be a range gun and a home defense weapon. At the range the longer sight radius makes it easier to shoot well with, and the longer barrel adds more weight and makes even .357 feel like a mild round.

There are many drop-in options for optics rails if you want to put a red-dot on it.

Don't listen to the "hype" from all the S&W guys who say "Ruger revolvers have bad triggers" it's pure nonsense, straight out of the box, with stock springs I have no problem keeping all my hits center mass in DA at 25 yards with any of my GP-100's. The accuracy of these revolvers is amazing. The DA pulls with stock springs are not heavy, but firm and even. Once you get a few rounds through the gun you'll see that the stock triggers are fine.

A GP100 is in my opinion the best out there for a .357 revolver. That gun will last forever, and if I ever had to choose one handgun it would be one of my GP-100's. There's really no amount of shooting you could ever do that would hurt that gun.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 08:25 AM   #3
 
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For best overall purposefullness (I think that is a word?) and handling characteristics, I would go with the 4" GP100 in stainless steel. The gun feels balanced in my hand, is very accurate, and after some spring replacements and an "Iowegan Gun Guide" fluff and buff, she is an absloute joy to shoot. Good for home defense, the range, or even concealed carry (if you had to). Whatever you choose, you can't go wrong with the GP100. I have a 4" and a 5" GP. Love them both. I do not own a six inch.
Also, I mostly shoot .38+p's out of mine for practice, and use the full-power .357 factory and handload stuff sparingly, so recoil is a non-issue with me, anyway. There's my two-pence.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 08:27 AM   #4
 
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I prefer the 4" because it has better balance for me over the 6" full lug GP.
I doubt that you would notice any advantage in terminal balistics between the two. If you plan to carry a GP then my choice would be the 4". An even better carry gun would be the SP101. They will all serve you well as a home defense weapon. I wouldn't start thinking about replacing the springs until you get the one of your choice. Both of my GPs have very smooth double action triggers. None of the replacement springs on the market will improve the single action trigger JMHO........that requires some work on the internal parts. You may want to consider a used Ruger. They are almost impossible to wear out and with a good used Ruger you get much more for your money.



Move to Texas and establish residency and you can walk in any shop and leave with the gun in just a few minutes. No wait and a CHL is a genetic trait all Texans enjoy.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 08:42 AM   #5
 
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Yes, my spring replacement job was strictly a personal preference and was only a slight step down from the original factory springs in terms of power. I had some trigger drag in mine (purchased in 2005) that I had to clean up using the IBOK, so I decided to replace the springs since they were 5 years old. Despite the nay-sayers, the GP100 trigger is very nice right out of the box. My new 5" GP had a very nice trigger. The SP101's are sweet too. Got a 2.25" bbl ss that is a nice gun. Ruger makes some very nice, rugged, shootable revolvers
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Old July 14th, 2010, 08:47 AM   #6
 
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Since it sounds like you would like a CCW someday and would like a 3" I would get the 6". My GP has a very nice trigger pull although I did not have it done a previous owner might have, it is better than any SP I have owned and they have never had trigger work(and IMO never needed it). As far as ballistics go I think human innards would not show much difference between a 4 and 6" at any SD range with the same round. As stantherevolverman86 stated above the 6" should kick less because of weight alone, but I don't own a 6" GP ....yet. Time to sell a DW.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 08:56 AM   #7
 
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I own a 6" GP100 and bought the longer barrel for the slightly better muzzle velocity for field carry (not ccw).

I have a friend who has a few S&W revolvers, and i can say i cannot tell the difference between their triggers and my GP100 from a practical standpoinit in any way. The more i shoot my GP, the smoother it gets, too.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 11:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tater View Post
I own a 6" GP100 and bought the longer barrel for the slightly better muzzle velocity for field carry (not ccw).

I have a friend who has a few S&W revolvers, and i can say i cannot tell the difference between their triggers and my GP100 from a practical standpoinit in any way. The more i shoot my GP, the smoother it gets, too.
Same here! My son and I fired both the 4 and the 6 as range rentals several times before I selected the 6 barrel. Neither he nor I found the differences to be very much except for slightly less recoil on the 6. The 6 is a slightly heavier gun with the center of mass more forward. It feels heavier in the muzzle and this may tire you faster during long sessions but I dont carry so for me its no big deal.

To be perfectly honest, I had trouble making the decision myself so I dont really think you will be disappointed with either. What floored me was how smooth the trigger was out of the box! While not the first revolver I have shot, it is the first revolver I have owned and all I can think is what the hell took me so long! Love the gun!
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Old July 14th, 2010, 11:56 AM   #9
 
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I recently went through the same dilemma. I went with the 6" for better accuracy and I don't regret my decision.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #10
 
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+1 on that, the 6" offers so little velocity and "mechanical" accuracy improvement over the 4", the only advantage I like is if you're going to keep it with iron sights, the sight radius goes a long way toward placing those rounds. That's just me, I enjoy 25 yard bullseye shooting, and I have a much easier time with the 6" than the 4", it's just more "forgiving" of sighting errors.

A 6" revolver has about 30% more of a sighting plane over a 4", as it was explained to me by a guy who used to shoot revolver matches. It's the reason the older dedicated "bullseye" revolvers have 8 3/8" barrels, it was the max barrel length allowed for the matches and those shooters wanted every millimeter of sight radius they could get, when it comes down to a 1/16" or less difference on the target, that can mean 1st place or 20th.

A bad guy isn't going to be any less dead with a hot .357 HP from a 4" instead of a 6", so for pure HD it's a non issue.

It is a tough choice, both the 4" and the 6" are seen as excellent all-around barrel lengths, if a 6" half lug were available used, I would see that as a much handier choice.

If I had to wait a year to get a pistol permit I would just buy new, I mean, why not There's that special something in getting a new "baby" fresh out of the box, and knowing you're the first guy to put rounds through it since it left the factory, kind of like buying a new car off the showroom floor. You know someone else hasn't beat on it or neglected it. You get to break it in, and then in 10 years when it's well used and holster worn you can say "yeah I got this new in the box back in '10"
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Old July 14th, 2010, 02:31 PM   #11
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I bought the 4" GP and it is my nightstand piece. No particular reason except I prefer a little shorter snout. The trigger on mine was excellent out of the box so guess I was one of the lucky ones. Good luck and post a range report once the local establishment deems you worthy. In NH we get upset if the background check takes a half an hour or the CCL longer than a week. A year wait is insane.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 02:48 PM   #12
 
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IF you gotta wait a year, get both!
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Old July 14th, 2010, 04:27 PM   #13
 
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LC,

If you are finding it hard to choose between the 4 inch and 6 inch GP100, consider the 5 inch barrel, they are not a catalog item but they are available. I had the same debate regarding the 4 inch or 6 inch and settled it by buying the 5 inch, and I'm happy with it. The 5 inch barrel feels only slightly nose heavy to me, and is a reasonable length for field carry.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 04:32 PM   #14
 
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my thoughts

You don't hear this often, but .357 magnum has the best track record for 1-hit stopping power - 96%. As far as I know, that's out of a 4" service pistol barrel. You might find this interesting: Handgun Cartridge Power Chart - Condensed Version

An extra 2" of barrel will gain you a few hundred fps, a little less recoil, a little less bullet drop at long range. Good for a hunting gun. I'd stick with 4" for home defense, personally; magnums will already overpenetrate walls, and more velocity will only make that worse. I live in a crowded neighborhood, so I even go as far as to load the first 2 chambers with light .38 specials, then the rest with defense loads.

To me, 4" says house gun, 6" says trail gun.

My experience in concealed carrying my SP101 is that a small grip is a must. The 3" GP100 used to come with a compact grip, which is something worth looking into. Some wood grip makers probably sell them. I don't know if my wardrobe would be able to hide a 3" model with a full grip unless it was wintertime.

Last edited by Wolfeye; July 14th, 2010 at 04:38 PM.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #15
 
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Yeah +1 on that, when I think of a 4" revolver I think "service revolver" and when I think 6" I feel it's a "sporting" gun. In my mind anything less than 3" is a snub.....my 3" GP is kinda in between, not quite a holster gun, but a bit more than a snubbie......kind of a "full size compact" revolver if that makes sense.

I feel your pain, I used to live in NJ and I only bought a few handguns as a NJ resident, it was enough of a hassle just getting my FOID card just to buy rifles and shotguns, getting a handgun required so much BS I stopped bothering with it and just bought LOTS of rifles.

There's a reason why a Beretta Storm 9mm or .40 carbine was probably the hottest selling firearm in NJ, it's basically a stocked 16" barrel pistol and so was as close to a handgun as you could get without the hassle. I bought a semi-auto Tommy Gun instead. People were buying those Henry .357 rifles like crazy too, just to have something in .357 instead of waiting a year to buy another handgun. My Dad bought two S&W revolvers back in the 80's, before the laws got wierd and we still got 'em both, people didn't give up handguns easily on the used market in NJ since they took so much work to get!

I think now, as a PA resident, the reason I go crazy buying handguns is because I'm making up for years of lost time.......now, like terry p says, as a PA resident I complain if I get some guy who takes more than 10 minutes to call in the NICS check, and having to fill out an extra form for a handgun It took me having to spend 3 years in the Army to get out of NJ, but man, was it worth it!
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