The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 5, 2013, 02:54 PM   #1
southernpride
Member
 
Join Date: July 5, 2013
Posts: 20
Newbie's First Gun / GP100

Hello everybody. I will soon be a first time gun owner and was looking for a home defense gun. I was set on getting a shotgun, but now (after much research) have decided that a revolver would actually be a better choice (though I still will eventually get a shotgun).
The Ruger GP100 looks like the perfect choice. Revolvers are supposed to be simple and extremely reliable, exactly what I'm looking for. Just wanted to ask if a 4" barrel is a good all around choice. Also, is .38 special ammo a good home defense round (enough stopping power)? I know a the 357 mag round will probably stop anything and everything, but I was wondering if the .38 would be easier to handle, less recoil (especially for the Mrs./wifey).
I would like to get a S & W j-frame (airweight) for concealed carry, but my priority right now is home defense.
I've chosen the 141 model (Blued, alloy steel). Thanks everyone.
southernpride is offline  
Old July 5, 2013, 03:04 PM   #2
SIGSHR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 13, 2005
Posts: 3,120
Be prepared for more answers than you can digest.
1. Don't own a GP-100, have a Security Six though. Top notch.
2. 38 Special for home defense ? There are no magic bullets or calibers, what really matters is how much you will practice to achieve proficiency. A hit with a 38 Special hurts a lot more than a miss with a .357.
3. 4" vs 6"-we will argue this till The Crack of Doom. For home use, a 6" is fine. Some argue the longer barrel gives an enemy more to grab onto. I say squeezing the trigger will take care of that.
SIGSHR is offline  
Old July 5, 2013, 03:07 PM   #3
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
Best bet is to find a gun shop and range that has rentals, and try one yourself.

My personal preference is a 3" barrel with round butt, whether Ruger or S&W. I don't personally care for the balance and pointing characteristics of most 6" revolvers; I like 4" revolvers well enough; but you (and your wife) may find your preferences are very different from mine.
MLeake is offline  
Old July 5, 2013, 03:11 PM   #4
alex0535
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 781
With a gun as beefy as the GP100, it will make .357 loads pretty tolerable to shoot. .38 special will have minimal recoil.

.38 special would probably be a good place to start as far as practice goes. .38 special +P ammunition would be a good choice for home defense. Should the gun ever be needed for defense, a .357 will go through the person and probably into and out of the wall behind them. Something to consider if there are other people in the home.

A 4" or a 6" would be a good choice,the 4" is the GP100 I would get.

Another thing you might consider for your concealed carry as your thinking about an airweight j-frame is the Ruger LCR. I was kind of skeptical about the whole polymer framed revolver at first, but it is a few ounces lighter than an Airweight, has the same capacity and the trigger on them is considered by many to be one of the best stock revolver triggers.
alex0535 is offline  
Old July 5, 2013, 03:22 PM   #5
southernpride
Member
 
Join Date: July 5, 2013
Posts: 20
Lot of good info, thanks everybody. Yeah, I forgot to ask about the possibility of a 357 round penetrating walls and possibly hurting/killing an innocent person.
At least choosing a revolver seems to be a lot easier than a pump action shotgun, LOL!
southernpride is offline  
Old July 6, 2013, 08:54 AM   #6
GP100man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 1, 2007
Location: Tabor City , NC.
Posts: 1,929
In light of what amo makers want you to believe ,there`s not a round made with real HD/SD energy that`s gonna be stopped by a sheet rock wall.

With that said there are variables , the wall studs & at what angle they get hit by the projectile.

I handload & while it`s been hashed over by many ,I carry carefully inspected& assembled handloads in my 357s that run in the 1,000 fps arena .

These loads are loaded to stay under the super sonic barrier & with low flash powder ,that also burns clean (a bit of a balancing act)

If given the chance ,shoot a SD course thru a shoot house with you`re regular hearing protection & that`ll give ya an idea of the disoreinting blast of shooting a 357 mag in an inclosed area !!

My vote for HD is standard 38 spc. loads

I actually have 3 HD/SD loads , 1 for inhouse (357 runnin `bout 850fps) 2a good rnfp bullet or swc runnin 1K+ for bummin `round the woods/farm (good for shootin what needs shootin) then 3 my CWP load , same as above but with a twist ,first 3 are HPs & last 2 are swc.

Congratulations on you`re purchase of the most robust production 357 magnum DA revolver !!

GP
__________________
GP100man
GP100man is offline  
Old July 6, 2013, 09:42 AM   #7
southernpride
Member
 
Join Date: July 5, 2013
Posts: 20
Thank you. I definitely plan on taking some sort of shooting/defense course. My local police department is said to run a very good basic shooting class. I know this may not be the best place to ask, but what's a good set of ear muffs for hearing protection. My right ear is damaged and I don't want to damage it any further during practice.
southernpride is offline  
Old July 6, 2013, 11:44 AM   #8
redrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 5, 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 834
I think you made an excellent choice.
redrick is offline  
Old July 6, 2013, 12:13 PM   #9
Old Stony
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2013
Location: East Texas
Posts: 655
Good tough revolver. Learn to shoot double action .38's and you could do a lot worse. Anything that will penetrate about 8" of bad guy will suffice.
Lots of good ear protection out there. The higher the decible rating the better.
Old Stony is offline  
Old July 6, 2013, 02:38 PM   #10
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,640
For ear protection, start with a combination of foam inside the ear plugs and ear muffs. Wallmart sells both for relatively cheap.

As far as the gun, rent before you buy. You might also want to take an introductory handgun class before you buy. Many classes will let you try a variety of guns.

A prefer longer barrel guns. They're easier to aim and the extra weight helps keep recoil down.
Buzzcook is offline  
Old July 6, 2013, 02:54 PM   #11
Webleymkv
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 9,933
A 4" barrel is a good choice for an all-around gun. You've got enough sight radius and weight that accurate shooting shouldn't be too difficult, yet its still compact enough to carry if you're willing to dress around the gun a bit.

As far as ammunition is concerned, start with standard pressure .38 Special and work up through .38 +P, low-end .357 Magnum, and full-power .357 Magnum stopping wherever you're comfortable. In a gun the size of a GP100, you might be surprised how well the recoil can be handled.

With regards to overpenetration, so long as you carefully select a good hollowpoint load the .357 Magnum can be made to penetrate the same or less than a .38 Special. This is because the higher velocity of the Magnum allows for more aggressive expansion which, in turn, retards penetration. Regardless, you need to be careful about your background because just about any centerfire handgun bullet can penetrate multiple layers of sheetrock quite easily.

Originally posted by SIGSHR
Quote:
Some argue the longer barrel gives an enemy more to grab onto. I say squeezing the trigger will take care of that.
That kind of depends on which way the barrel is pointed and whether or not the BG grabs the cylinder too don't you think?
__________________
Smith, and Wesson, and Me. -H. Callahan
Well waddaya know, one buwwet weft! -E. Fudd
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures. -J. Caesar
Webleymkv is offline  
Old July 7, 2013, 12:19 AM   #12
jimmythegeek
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 10, 2011
Location: Seattle
Posts: 216
Wasn't looking for a wheel gun until a pal talked me into trying GP100

We rented one at a range. It had a 4" barrel, and my 10 year old boy *loved* shooting the .357 ammo. It might have been a light target/range round, but a soft .357 is going to kick all kinds of ass over a lot of other rounds!

All 4 of us in the group shot it well (except my boy, who doesn't shoot anything well yet ) We all loved the trigger in DA and in SA. I'm not a strong guy and I could shoot it one-handed Bullseye style.

Just a pleasingly beefy gun. Smooth smooth smooth. Like buttah gliding on ball bearings or something.

I do think you should rent it for a trial run at a range session.

It's now on the list. Maybe a S&W 686 instead if I find one first, but the GP100 is all the gun I need. I don't know if I'd ever carry it, but if you aren't thinking in those terms, it's a great firearm.
__________________
"Jeez, man, what's another word for 'stupid?'"
"Tactical." -Tom Servo
Marlin 795, 795ss, 39A Mountie, CZ-455 American, CZ-452 Scout, CZ-75 Kadet, AOM160 M1 Carbine, USGI M1 Carbine, M1 Garand, Dan Wesson PM7 1911
jimmythegeek is offline  
Old July 7, 2013, 01:16 AM   #13
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,037
GP100 (or 141, your choice) is excellent as a house gun. But I prefere the 6" barrel. When the .357 was developed, 6" was the standard barrel length. 4" was a compromise to make holster carry more convenient (especially when seated in a squad car). Ballisticaly, the 6" is better and for target work gives a better sight radius, too, for tighter groups. 2" more weight out front also makes the gun balance a little better in my opinion, too.

Some people prefer the 4" because of the possibility that a 6" could be wrested away from you in a hand-to-hand struggle. My opinion is that 2" is not that much. Reduced muzzle blast, flash and better ballistics carries more weight in my decision-making process than that. It is up to you. The 4" is more balanced in my hand than the 6" when carrying and pointing. But the 6" is more balanced in my hand in the instant when a bullet is launched. You may feel differently.

The GPs do have enough weight to make even .357 loads comfortable to shoot and 38 specials downright easy.

You comment about finding a house shotgun being more difficult to shop for than a house handgun confuses me. Remington 18" 870 is the hands-down favorite. Mossberg 500 for the budget minded. Simple.

I recommend you learn to reload. Practice is one of the most vital elements of becoming proficient (accuracy and handling competence) with a handgun. If you don't have a companion/matching 22 rimfire, the next best thing is cheap ammo (which means, you rolling your own). But that is unsolicited advice.

Penetration. Yes, it is a concern. Choosing bullets that are less likely to penetrate your walls is one thing. Choosing tactics to reduce that likelihood is another. If you in-home tactics involves a stationary defense with a narrow field of fire (like down a stairway or a hallway) you can reinforce the wall/backstop at the end of that lane with a full bookshelf or a solid wood panel or such.

Thanks for asking our advice.

Lost Sheep
Lost Sheep is offline  
Old July 7, 2013, 03:58 AM   #14
Crazy88Fingers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 937
Over-penetration has been brought up, and you may be interested in learning more. I introduce you to: The Box o' Truth.

As the test demonstrates, sheet rock barely slows a bullet down.

Aside from that, enjoy the new gun! I don't own a GP-100 myself, but I've read and heard nothing but great things.

Be safe, shoot straight.
__________________
"And I'm tellin' you son, well it ain't no fun, staring straight down a .44"
-Lynyrd Skynyrd
Crazy88Fingers is offline  
Old July 7, 2013, 10:02 AM   #15
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
At close quarters it is easier to wrest control of a longer gun, and/or to get inside the weapon. (I work out a lot with cops and MPs, and weapon retentions and disarms are kind of a hobby/specialty.)

It is easier to draw the shorter barreled weapon if the threat is close.

As has already been noted, a 6" is harder to carry, particularly if seated.

For range use, or hunting (typically carrying crossdraw or on the chest) a 6" is probably a better choice for pure ballistic energy, longer sight radius, etc.

For defense, I would go 3" or 4", in that order.
MLeake is offline  
Old July 7, 2013, 01:29 PM   #16
Ferretboy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 6, 2012
Location: Longview, WA
Posts: 214
I have a GP-100 in 6" I use it for everything as the opportunity arises. I keep it loaded at home and when I carry it with Hornady Critical Defense. I practice with about anything I can get plus some hand loads that I am getting into. the GP-100 is heavy so I suggest strengthening your arm for holding it up. I use a 10 pound dumbbell and hold my arm out straight until it burns too much to keep up, it makes holding the revolver out for extended periods a lot easier.
__________________
There is no such thing as Overkill, Dead is Dead!
Ferretboy is offline  
Old July 7, 2013, 01:40 PM   #17
Colt46
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2002
Location: Campbell Ca
Posts: 916
Home defense would favor the shorter barrel

If you want to utilize the .38 Spl for HD then you need to really search out PREMIUM ammo. Good .357 ammo for HD is all over the place and there will be many acceptable loadings. .38 has a lot more margin of error.
Colt46 is offline  
Old July 7, 2013, 01:57 PM   #18
Hammerhead
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,577
A 4" .357 DA/SA revolver is the choice for an all around handgun IMO.
The 4" GP100 was my choice too. Love it.
Hammerhead is offline  
Old July 7, 2013, 08:08 PM   #19
ClydeFrog
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 1, 2010
Posts: 5,798
Ruger GP series....

The Ruger GP .357magnum is a top-rated DA(double action) revolver.
I owned a new in box Ruger GPNY(a factory run of stainless DA only 4" barrels for the New York City PD).

You can clean it with a CLP, Brownells, LPX, Gunzilla, Ballistol.
A .38spl +P or +P+ can be a great home defense round or you can buy a .357magnum.
Id look at the MagSafe or Glaser Safety Slug for home protection. Some gunners do not like frangibles or pre-fragmented defense rounds but I think they have merit.

Always you factory made ammunition for defense. No reloads or hand-loads.
There is a Crimson Trace laser-grip for the Ruger GP revolver too.

Clyde F
www.gunzilla.us www.crimsontrace.com www.brownells.com www.natchezss.com www.nra.org
ClydeFrog is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 08:35 PM   #20
southernpride
Member
 
Join Date: July 5, 2013
Posts: 20
I truly appreciate all the help. Thank you everyone
southernpride is offline  
Old July 13, 2013, 12:29 PM   #21
8bit
Member
 
Join Date: June 11, 2012
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 56
I think you're making a very solid decision for a first/HD gun. I was in your shoes not long ago and looked long and hard at the 4" GP100. I ended up with a used S&W Model 10 instead, but that was only because money was tight at the time. I lost the ability to shoot .357 but I saved about 300 bucks in the process. I had planned to upgrade to the GP100 when I had the money but I just love that Model 10 so dang much. It's likely going to stay with me forever.

As for the S&W Airweight you said you'd like to get for CC, definitely look into the Ruger LCR as well. I did tons of internet research on the perfect CC revolver and I was pretty dead set on an Airweight. But when I got to the gun store and had a chance to actually hold it in my hands, it just didn't feel quite right. The guy behind the counter said he felt the same way about them and much preferred the LCR. So he let me check it out and I was in total agreement. It just felt better in my hands, but of course your mileage may vary.
8bit is offline  
Old July 15, 2013, 09:38 AM   #22
veamon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2013
Posts: 168
How about a Taurus Judge? Load it with shotgun shells and have the benefit of both.

I have shotguns in my home as well, but my wife isn't as comfortable with guns as I am, so for her it's a good fit. She carries a 38 s/w, and a Judge is one less type for her to learn how to work.
veamon is offline  
Old July 15, 2013, 02:24 PM   #23
FortressOfTears
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 1, 2013
Location: Midwest
Posts: 8
I have a 4.2" GP100 and love it. I would use it for HD, if it wasn't so darned loud. Not that you would care that much if you were in such a situation. I put the tritium night sights on it and it is a great performer. I have shot many loads through it, including handloads, and i would like to mention that the recoil of a 110gr SD .357 bullet is really not bad at all. The GP has a nice heavy frame (42oz i think?) and really handles the recoil nicely. Once you shoot some 180s through it, you will understand how mild the 110s are through that particular gun. Great choice, i love mine.
FortressOfTears is offline  
Old July 15, 2013, 02:25 PM   #24
lee n. field
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 12, 2002
Location: The same state as Mordor.
Posts: 3,401
Quote:
Hello everybody. I will soon be a first time gun owner and was looking for a home defense gun. I was set on getting a shotgun, but now (after much research) have decided that a revolver would actually be a better choice (though I still will eventually get a shotgun).
The Ruger GP100 looks like the perfect choice. Revolvers are supposed to be simple and extremely reliable,
They are simple in operation. Not necessarily simple in construction. This not a "revolver vs. autoloader" Internet micturation contest. Each has its own particular modes of failure.

Quote:
exactly what I'm looking for. Just wanted to ask if a 4" barrel is a good all around choice.
4" barrel is a good all around choice.

Quote:
Also, is .38 special ammo a good home defense round (enough stopping power)?
Enh. Maybe.

Quote:
I know a the 357 mag round will probably stop anything and everything, but I was wondering if the .38 would be easier to handle, less recoil (especially for the Mrs./wifey).
I would like to get a S & W j-frame (airweight) for concealed carry,
Small light weight snubs are not easy. Not a good beginner's gun. Those are for when you get good. They do have their attractions.
__________________
"As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. "

Last edited by lee n. field; July 15, 2013 at 04:21 PM.
lee n. field is offline  
Old July 15, 2013, 07:50 PM   #25
Obambulate
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 22, 2011
Posts: 340
I think the 4" blued Ruger GP is an excellent house gun. Lots of ammo choices for home defense, ranging from standard pressure .38 Specials to the hottest Magnums. Your choice will depend somewhat on your own proficiency and comfort level with the round, while also considering the layout of your house and any other people in the area.

As for a carry revolver, definitely look at the Ruger LCR. The .38 Special model is less than 14-oz and the .357 model is under 18-oz.

The J-frame S&W carry guns range from about 21-oz for the steel framed M60, to about 11-oz for the expensive scandium and titanium models. The reasonably-priced alloy framed 642 and 442 is about 15-oz and a good compromise between carry weight and recoil control.
Obambulate is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13095 seconds with 7 queries