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Old September 13, 2017, 10:06 PM   #1
Kwik2010
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Brand New Gun! Ammo Recommendation/General Opinions

Not sure if this should be posted in the Handload secrion or the Revolver section but it's partially a story of acquiring a firearm I've been longing for for quite some time. So here goes.

I recently acquired a Ruger GP100 4" .357 Magnum. For quite literally years, I'd looked at these firearms multiple times but always found a reason to not get one. I always liked revolvers but they were not the "cool" thing and everyone I know always gave me so much crap for what the few that I did own, that I may have developed a slight complex about them even though I shot them well and enjoyed shooting them.

After some soul searching and realizing that I had several handguns that sat in the safe for the better part of 2 years, I decided it was time to down size and trade them off for something I would use. The 2 I got rid of were two .45 Autos. I'll never down a the .45 as a defensive caliber and I will continue to own the one I shoot but why have 3 if 2 don't get use? So I went and got what cash I could get for em and put the money in my secret gun fund.

Fast forward a few weeks, I'm standing in a Western/Ranch type of store in town here and I waltz by the gun counter. Seeing the GP100 and an SP101 side by side I asked the guy behind the counter if he'd pull em out for me to compare. I own an SP101 snubby that used to ride in my waistline nearly everyday until I got the LCR. I still put the SP101 to use now and then but it mainly rides in my glove box in case of a rainy day. I've owned several 357's but never a full size revolver. I've also owned several full sized revolvers but not in 357. I'd always had either a 44 Mag or a 45 Colt because I was young and dumb when I purchased them and bigger is always better right? Ya sure. Right. While fondling the two the guy behind the counter told me that GP100 was his best seller at that point in time. I asked him why he thought that was and he just gave me a look like "are you blind?" while motioning to a bright pink sign on the glass case directly beside the firearms I was handling. "Manager's Special GP100 4" or 6" $529.99". I'd looked at used ones over at another sporting goods store that were more than this. I have no problem purchasing a used firearm but finding one new for a cheaper price and having a warm and fuzzy about knowing no one before me has abused it is a plus.

After consulting with the better half I put my small gun fund to good use and walked out with what I believe is my new favorite in the small collection. Fast forward a few more weeks and after multiple trips to the gun range I'm falling in love. Currently working on having a family member make a holster for it. It's definitely turning into my new trail gun. I've tried several rounds and once I accumulate enough brass I plan to begin reloading for it. I have plenty of powder becuase I use 2400 in my 44. I came across some American Eagle 158 soft points on sale for $20.99 a box of 50. So naturally I bought the last 3 on the shelf because I always had good luck with federal brass. I was looking at them mainly for the brass as 357 ammo selection seems limited locally. But after a few cylinders they seem to be fairly stout loads. I've seen a video or two on them and they seem to be a fairly serious load and not the plinking rounds I was sure I had purchased. I had a thought of carrying these on the trail in the mean time until I could develop a load.

Thoughts on this ammo's potential? The worst critter I really run across has been a mountain lion. I've seen black bear but they are typically hightailing the other direction and I always have bear spray handy when hiking. So it's main use would be against ill willed 2 legged creatures, possibly a mountain lion, maybe a wild dog (though I've never actually ran across one), and as a very very very last resort against a blackbear if it were absolutely necessary. I've never come across a grizzly though I know it can happen. If I ever plan to go into grizzly country, I'll invest in something much more substantial.

I'm not trying to start a "what's the best bear gun" debate. I'm just curious on what you guys think of this revolver/ammo combination as a hiking/camping/fishing companion/utility load.

Last edited by Kwik2010; September 13, 2017 at 10:58 PM. Reason: Making title less generalized. Following advice from Burrhead.
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Old September 13, 2017, 10:44 PM   #2
Sequins
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I love 158gr rounds personally. Do you happen to know how many FPS you're getting out of your barrel?
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Old September 13, 2017, 10:47 PM   #3
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I don't have a chronograph but from some internet digging it looks to be about 1150-1200 fps out of a 4 inch. I know it changes from gun to gun but I can't imagine it's far off of that.
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Old September 13, 2017, 10:51 PM   #4
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Just a posting tip. I didn't read that post because it's so dense. Many other people will also ignore it because it's too hard to read. Paragraphs with spaces are your friend.
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Old September 13, 2017, 10:55 PM   #5
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I'll keep that in mind in the future. Thank you.
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Old September 13, 2017, 11:01 PM   #6
Sequins
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1100 FPS with a 158gr seems pretty good to me. I'd carry that with confidence if your concern is two-legged or non-bear, although I'd prefer an expanding hollow point design if you could get your hands on one but I wouldn't feel undergunned whatsoever with the load you've described.
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Old September 13, 2017, 11:13 PM   #7
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Much better. The GP100 is a tank and you won't wear it out with any sane loads. For two legged threats there really aren't any bad loads. If I were concerned about medium to small black bears, I'd look at a 180gr hard cast bullet over a stout load of 2400 or, even better, H110 or W296. Starline is a good source for brass.
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Old September 13, 2017, 11:15 PM   #8
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$529 is a great price for a great gun.
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Old September 13, 2017, 11:26 PM   #9
HighValleyRanch
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Quote:
I don't have a chronograph but from some internet digging it looks to be about 1150-1200 fps out of a 4 inch.
I got 1381 and 1403 with the Buffalo Bore heavy 180 grain Outdoorsman round out of a 4" Ruger Security six, so you should be able to get that with the GP100. That equals 783 foot pounds muzzle energy!
Should be ample for black bear and mountain lions with the flat point keith hard case bullets.

The eagle .357 is light to midrange stuff more in the 400 foot pound range.
(BB chart says that 158 grain @ 1100 Fps = 424 ft # ME.)
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Old September 13, 2017, 11:49 PM   #10
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After you shoot a box of the magnums in that light revolver you will have wished you bought a box of .38 special for informal plinking and fun. I reload .38's for my S&W Model 64 and 66, wadcutters for paper punching, 125 and 158 for informal rock busting and can bouncing. I do not shoot very many magnums as I am not using the pistols for hunting or home defense however one of my 125 jhp .38's will take down Texas hogs or nasty burglars if necessary.
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Old September 14, 2017, 12:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
After you shoot a box of the magnums in that light revolver you will have wished you bought a box of .38 special for informal plinking and fun.
GP100 light, That's funny right there.
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Old September 14, 2017, 12:29 AM   #12
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Well the hottest thing I've shot in it was 180 grn Remington HTPs. They weren't too terrible to shoot. I did notice the recoil a bit more by the end of the box. I've shot several boxes of 38 out of it. Not sure why but I cannot find a load that hits even remotely near point of aim compared to 357s unless I'm within about 5 yards. But I haven't tried all that many. I'm not quite sure how this firearm would be considered light but then again I haven't shot any real powerhouse rounds out of it either so I'll wait and see on that front. It's definitely way more comfortable to shoot than my lcr 357. I decided one day that I'd try them 180s out of it. I could get follow up shots but it isn't something I enjoy doing daily. That's for sure.
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Old September 14, 2017, 03:43 AM   #13
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Brand New Gun! Ammo Recommendation/General Opinions

Considering the most likely encounter will be a two legged animal, apart from the uncommon wild animal, your choice is adequate.

HOWEVER, personally I would choose Buffalo Bore 180 grain Hard cast LFN-GC. It's a heavier hitter for the 4 legged animals that you may encounter.

Mind you, I'm a recoil junkie. Heavier recoil, the better for me. I can rapid fire a 44 Magnum Snubby.

I choose to have a 454 Casull for my woods gun. Hard cast lead bullets at 325 gr. 5" Ruger Toklat or my Ruger Alaskan.



If I want to pack something lighter, then the 3" 629 44 is what I'd carry with 305 grain hardcast bullets.

I just feel more comfortable with a much heavier bullet.



Bear spray is helpful, too.


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Old September 14, 2017, 06:04 AM   #14
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The American Eagle 158gr SP is fine for 'walking around'...

If I were hunting, I'd go with something a bit more stout...
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Old September 14, 2017, 08:11 AM   #15
Kwik2010
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Alrighty then. It sounds like it's going to fit the bill for a while until I can get some brass accumulated and loaded with some more serious rounds. Seeing as how I have a large amount of 2400 saved up, I was looking at a mid to high range load consisting of this and a 158 or 180 XTP for a good utility load. I need to find some 180 hard cast for a serious trail load. Anyone have a particular bullet in mind that isn't too terrible difficult to get my hands on?
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Old September 14, 2017, 10:08 AM   #16
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I think you got a great deal on a quality firearm and are on the right track with reloading your .357.
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Old September 14, 2017, 11:13 AM   #17
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The projected use is a consideration in ammunition for carry.

A softpoint will not expand anywhere near as much as a hollowpoint, as a rule.
That's good on bear, but will almost certainly involve over-penetration on people.

I tend to carry 180s in the wilds.
I wouldn't use those as an urban defensive round.
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Old September 14, 2017, 12:38 PM   #18
Kwik2010
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Ya I've got multiple options for urban defense before lugging this thing around. Not saying it can't be done but I'd rather have my snubby or my compact 45 Auto on my hip. So the gp100 and ammo will all be trail focused.
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Old September 15, 2017, 12:05 AM   #19
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Cheashooter, my 100 is the same weight as my model 66, not what I would call a heavy pistol unless you are comparing it to a J frame Smith, haul around a Mod 28 for awhile if you want a heavy .357. 36 oz vs 42 oz. (4").
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Old September 15, 2017, 12:42 AM   #20
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Nice grab. I paid more for both my GP-100s, and the second one was used. I typically carry 180 grain Buffalo Bores when I'm way off the beaten trail, but for most day hiking stuff I carry 158s, my own recipe using Missouri Bullet Co. LSWC hard casts. Enjoy your new gun, and post a pic, please. We all want to see some new gun -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-.
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Old September 15, 2017, 02:48 PM   #21
Kwik2010
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I'm taking it to the range tomorrow. I'll get some pictures. Once I wade through the threads on how to post pictures correctly I'll get a few up.
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Old September 16, 2017, 11:47 AM   #22
Kwik2010
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25 Yards off the hood of my pickup. I made it through the 2 boxes of 357 I had with me but it was pouring rain so I didn't go through any of the 38s. This was the end of the day. It was a mix of single action and double action with the last 10 rounds I had with me. These were the 158 Grain American Eagles I mentioned earlier.


Last edited by Kwik2010; September 16, 2017 at 11:51 AM. Reason: Fixing Image
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Old September 16, 2017, 11:54 AM   #23
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Kwik,
Congratulations on getting the strongest (arguably) 357 revolver on the market today. Back in 71 I bought my first Ruger Security-Six which is the precursor of the GP100. I have always loaded the 140 HP loads with the hottest accurate load I found. It is a Ruger/Contender load only and my gun has well over 50,000 rounds through it and it still shoots to 1" groups at 25 yards after 45 years. I've never needed to tune it up or even visit a gunsmith.
I settled on the 140 grain HP because it is a good compromise between velocity and terminal ballistics. I have hunted deer with it and even the big muley went down easily. I would not hesitate to defend myself against a cougar or a black bear. The load I use is 19.1 grains of H110 and I get 1464 fps from my 4" and 1509 fps from my 6". Both guns have a lifetime of the same load through them without any problems. The 6" is my carry gun, it was used in competition for three years in Hunter's Pistol Silhouette and had 30,000 rounds put through it in those three years, and I have shot informal targets, falling plates and ground squirrels with it. It has been my best friend over the last 45 years.
I hope that you have as much fun with yours as I have with mine.
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Old September 16, 2017, 12:08 PM   #24
Kwik2010
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Shootist,

I hope I do too. I have 2 categories of firearms. Ones that get traded from day to day and those that never leave my collection. This one is definitely in the latter. I'll take a look at that load and see how it shoots. I appreciate it. I will say, however, that I think I may need to ipgrade the front sight. That black blade against a black target on a cloudy, rainy day made it difficult. I'm looking at a few different ones and I like the brass bead style. A former coworker has one on his 6" and I've shot it before. But for the price they are I'm gonna hold off a while. I have a family member that's quite the machinist and I'm gonna see if I can just buy another factory front sight and have him set a brass bead in it for hopefully a smaller price. And if it doesn't work I can't imagine I would be out very much. I'm hoping that the price is similar to the one with the red insert in it. Then I'd only be out 16 bucks ish.
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Old September 16, 2017, 12:18 PM   #25
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I'll probably start a tad lower on the powder charge. Seems high according to Hodgdon's website. I'm not quite comfortable enough with my reloading skills to go above published load data. But I'll definitely take a look at the 140s. Thanks again.
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