Originally Posted by Angry Hippo
Let me ask this question. Can anyone 'rate' the apparent quality of the engraving on the "deluxe" version? It's machined engraved and not unique which certainly matters... but can anyone throw out a ballpark figure on how much an equivalent job might cost at a gunsmith/engraver? I've looked into engraving once or twice and always found that number one - I didn't really know what I wanted and number 2 the price was really quite expensive. I visited one website that showed nearly 'identical' looking engraving could vary wildly in price depending on the actual detail.
Leaning towards the engraved one and perhaps getting a trigger job later on if I'm really dissatisfied with how it runs after putting some rounds through it and an evening or two of dry fire. I called around and couldn't find either model in stock at the big box gun stores - and probably couldn't afford the markup at any of the smaller shops.
I did feel up a standard 4.2 inch GP100 at Scheels today. They said they had a match champion but it sold two days ago. I matched it up against a 686 that they had in the case next to it, also 4.2.
Good GOD that particular Smith had one of the heaviest double action triggers I've ever pulled. It was easily tougher than my J-frame and next to the GP100 I held was quite a joke. The GP100 double action easily over 10 but I'm pretty sure that 686 was nearing 14lbs or more (according to my questionably calibrated finger and the gentleman at the counter). Combined with the Hillary Hole 'lock that isn't a lock because anyone can open it' I crossed any new production 686 out of contention. I would note that the 686's ejector rod felt like a much better fit. I don't know if it's by design but the Ruger's ejector was kind of loosey goosey feeling.
I'm going to sleep on it for another day or two and see if I can find one locally to actually put my hands on before I drop that many bills on a gun through the mail sight unseen.
The ejector rod on a 686 HAS to be much tighter, since the tip of the ejector rod actually acts as a locking point for the entire cylinder assembly. The gp100 has a locking point on the cylinder crane instead which engages directly with the frame. This is generally considered a more rugged and robust design (since the locking point is much closer to the cylinder, rather than way out there on the tip of a steel rod). The Ruger ejector rods are therefore only used for one purpose (ejecting) and don’t have to fulfill the secondary purpose of securing the cylinder (like they do in S&W’s).
Anyway: I should also mention that the trigger on my Match Champion was much better in both DA and SA than my stock gp100. The difference was especially noticeable in SA: it was much crisper and lighter. Could be just “luck of the draw” though.
I have also installed trigger, hammer and hammer dog shims on a gp100, and I can say it’s extremely easy and inexpensive. You can get a full shim set for $20 from triggershims.com with free shipping, and measuring the gaps and installing them is super easy. So I wouldn’t even consider the inclusion of shims on the MC to be much of a factor if I were you.
Anyway good luck making your decision!