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Old February 12, 2012, 08:44 PM   #1
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sp101 or gp100

I'm undecided on the two. I don't really need to conceal the weapon so should i go with the gp100? I want a 3" barrel, something powerful but not too much to handle. I like to hike or ride my atv and don't want to be under powered. I've read so many good things about both....what do i do????
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:05 PM   #2
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No worries - just pick one; you won't be disappointed. I prefer adjustable sights, so my Ruger GP-100's are 4" versions.
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:09 PM   #3
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I would go with the GP 100 4". It's heavier and easier to control with magnum loads, in my opinion.
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:23 PM   #4
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I have both and they are both great firearms. If you're not going to conceal, I would go with the GP 100 with a 4" barrel. I have the GP with the 6" and I can't say enough good things about it. Ruger revolvers are built like tanks and are great shooters. You won't be sorry with either gun.
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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I just bought the 3 inch sp101. It's a great gun that is very sturdy, but I wish I would have gotten the GP100. Since it's not for concealed carry go with the GP100. The sp101 is pretty unforgiving on the hands with .357 and still no pussycat with .38, which would be fine in a pinch, but if you don't need to conceal it, go with the bigger one. Also I didn't like the hogue monogrip on the GP, but Ruger has a different style grip that you can buy on ebay or even from the ruger website that look much nicer.
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Old February 12, 2012, 10:42 PM   #6
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My vote goes for the 3" GP100. Shoots like a 4", but carries like a smaller gun. Plus it holds 6 as opposed to 5. And with the extra weight you can shoot this thing all day long and not feel like it kicked your butt. Great vid of Hickok45 putting one through it's paces:
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Old February 12, 2012, 11:42 PM   #7
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He doesn't need to conceal it, but he does want to able to hike and ride an ATV with it. 40 oz. is a lot to carry on your hip for any length of time. I sure wouldn't be hiking anywhere with a GP100. An SP101 with a 3" or 4" would be perfect. In fact, the 4" SP101 is designed exactly for the intended purpose.
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Old February 13, 2012, 12:08 AM   #8
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Since you don't need to conceal, go with the GP 3-inch. You can shoot more powerful loads without pain. With a good belt or other holster you'll be able to carry it fine also.
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Old February 13, 2012, 12:54 AM   #9
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Thank you for all your input.
I do like the longer barrels but being that i'm so short, i wasn't sure if i should go with the 4". I like shooting the 6" as well but just too much to carry.
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Old February 13, 2012, 03:07 AM   #10
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One thing not mentioned so far is grips. A new GP100 will come with Hogue rubber grips. They are not bad at all. However you can change them out at low cost for the Hogue "Tamer" version made for the Super RedHawk Alaskan. The GP100 and Super RedHawk take the same grips. The Tamers really soak up recoil making the GP100 a lot more pleasant to shoot with Magnum Loads.

Next the 3" GP100 is a Fixed Sight revolver, unless you get the Willy Clapp Edition, which has Novak sights dovetailed in, you have no sight adjustment. This might or might not be an issue for you.

The 4" GP100 with adjustable sights comes with a quick change front sight system. A very good thing. You can order a Gold Bead or Tritium Night front sight, and in a couple minutes change the front sight yourself. No trip to the gunsmith required.

The SP101 is a pretty fair (near K Frame size) 5 shooter. Normally the trigger is not as good as the GP100 trigger. It is lighter, this however means it recoils harder in the hand with heavy loads.

Since this is a trail and range gun, I would recommend the GP100. It will be a lot more shootable handgun than the SP101.

Get a Lobo Enhanced Pancake holster for it with Inner Hammer Shield, and it will carry just fine with a Good Heavy 1-1/2" belt.

The GP100 takes the same speedloaders as the S&W 586/686 revolvers. The Safariland ones are on sale at Midway till I believe the 28th, as are the Midway Pistol Cases. Considering you will probably not be speed loading it, the Safariland Comp II speedloaders should work fine for you. It is also fairly compact.

Safariland Comp II Speedloader: Product # 742807 $9.99
Midway Tactical Pistol Case: Product # 160870 $9.99
Hogue Tamer Grip: Product # 231159 $18.99


Last edited by Viper225; February 13, 2012 at 03:15 AM.
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Old February 13, 2012, 09:02 AM   #11
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ok, does this change anyones opinion?
I'm a female
112 lbs.

i was at calibers and shot a s&w 686 4"; felt great!!

I'm leaning towards the gp100, barrel ?????
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Old February 13, 2012, 09:06 AM   #12
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For your purposes a GP100 3" like mine should do the trick.
It can handle the stoutest 357 loads without unpleasant recoil;holds 6 rounds vs. 5 for the 101;and is accurate.
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Old February 13, 2012, 10:24 AM   #13
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You don't say were you live, hike and ride. If you're worried about bears, you'd be better served with pepper spray or a much bigger gun. If you're worried about "bad guys," you'll get more shots on target quicker with .38+P, and 38+P is plenty powerful. All this said, I still think you'd do well with the SP101. I can't imagine someone of your size hauling around a GP100. The GP100 is a great gun and I've recommended them to others—for home defense. For carry, go with something lighter.
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Old February 13, 2012, 03:48 PM   #14
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If you really liked the 4" 686 then I think you have answered your own question. The 686 and the GP are the same size. If concealment isn't an issue, I would definitely go with the GP and no shorter than 4". Imo, people make way too big a deal about carrying around a few extra ounces.
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Old February 13, 2012, 04:45 PM   #15
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My girlfriend liked this 4 inch revolver so much she thinks I should get one for myself.

4 inch S&W Mod 67-1. It is close in size to the GP-100 and a couple of ounces lighter. With .38 Spcl.+P it shoots fine and will not wear the shooter out.

Note both she and I prefer the Houge Monogrip to the Pachmeyer Declerator grip. It made the trigger reach in Double Action uncomfortable.
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Old February 13, 2012, 05:15 PM   #16
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For hiking, lighter is better as you are less likely to decide you really don't want to carry that hunk of weight ever again. (as typically happens to folks who buy a .44 Magnum for dealing with errant theoretical bears)

My current hiking gun is a 7 shot titanium Taurus revolver. (I've carried it 182 miles in the last 2 years and many, many more before. -- I just happened to have totalled up my hiking in a particular area recently--)

Between the SP101 and GP100 I'd pick the SP.

But for carry purposes, you should consider the LCR in .38 spl. It's even lighter than the SP (but less fun to shoot).
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Old February 13, 2012, 05:49 PM   #17
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Probably nothing new here, but I own a 4” GP100. I am madly, insanely in love with that weapon. She’s a beaut, and she shoots well. She is, on the other hand obnoxiously heavy to carry and practice with.
I only clock in at 5’6” and 140lbs and putting a hundred rounds through it tires my arms out, ditto dry fire exercises. Now she doesn’t tire me out because of recoil, the weight helps soak up almost all of the with 38 spcl rounds, but from just holding the weapon up.
So lately I’ve been lusting after an sp101 just to practice with. One of the new 22lr ones.
As a defensive weapon I’d go with the GP for the extra round, and the knowledge that should I need to I could probably beat some one into submission with it, should I run out of ammo.
But if you’re gonna pack it to hike, and you pack like I do when I hike, then the sp101 and its lower weight may be just the ticket for you. Just my $.02
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Old February 13, 2012, 06:41 PM   #18
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My preference is the Six series, but that's not one of the choices. If you do more shooting, I'd would go with the GP. If you do more hiking, I'd go with the SP.
You could get both and be twice as happy .
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Old February 13, 2012, 06:51 PM   #19
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For concealed carry, I prefer the SP. Overall I prefer the GP but it's thickness makes it bit tougher for carry. Both are great guns though.
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Old February 13, 2012, 07:19 PM   #20
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I would consider what you plan to use for ammo. If you are shooting 38 specials each gun may be acceptable. If you plan to use 357 ammo , the sp101 is a real handful with magnum loads regardless of who shoots it (not just girls or smaller people.) I would not care to spend an afternoon shooting hot 357's out of the sp-101. The only advantage of the sp101 is it's smaller size.
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Old February 14, 2012, 12:43 AM   #21
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For what you are talking about ... the GP100 hands down.

If you think you might carry it all day for conceal carry, SP101.
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Old February 14, 2012, 04:54 AM   #22
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To me that's a no brainer, the GP100.

TBS, I only own a SP101.
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Old February 14, 2012, 08:03 AM   #23
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I have two SP101's, both with the 2-1/2" barrels. One gets carried a lot around the farm, lightweight enough to be comfortable to carry but lightweight enough to be uncomfortable to shoot. Don't carry my only GP100 6" much due to it's barrel length and weight, wish I had bought the 4". The SP is handy as it can fit in your back pocket, coat pocket, etc. or on the belt. The GP can only effectively be carried in a holster or with a 4" barrel stuffed in waistband/belt. The SP kicks like a mule with .357's and the GP is a jewel to shoot. These are not my only guns, but for me and my lifestyle if I were down to choosing one, I would pick the SP of any barrel length over the GP. With the info provided, "I like to hike or ride my atv and don't want to be under powered.", I think the 4" GP would serve you the best. One last thing, have you considered a Glock 10MM?
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Old February 14, 2012, 12:57 PM   #24
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Barri35, your statistics do change one thing for me: I'm even happier when a woman starts to shoot than a man, as it seems there are significantly more men than women who are at the range on any given day. My mother and grandmother taught me to shoot, so I always encourage women to participate.

Ruger GP100 are sometimes seen in a 3" barrel configuration. It is not as easy to find as a 4".

I'd recommend the 4" as the best 'blend' of lengths. I have a 3" .38 [rossi], a 4" GP100 and a 6" GP100. Firing the same .38special ammo in all three, the recoil is most noticeable in the 3" and least in the 6". A 4" will be short enough to do what you want it to, but long enough to dampen the recoil enough to keep it fun for a long time [as you said after shooting the S&W 686 4"]. Plus you get cool jets of flame with full-power .357mag ammo out of 4"!

A 3" will pack easier on the ATV, it will swing easier. It will jump more quickly in the hand also. So, do you want the extra portability of 1" less barrel length or do you want the extra control you will get with 1" more on the barrel length [plus higher velocities/more power from the same ammo]?

The age-old question: extra light for carry-often, shoot-seldom or a balance of weight for a lifetime of pleasure while shooting, while being light 'enough' to carry often [with the right holster/belt combo]? Only you can decide what is in your best interest.

I personally don't like the monogrips on the GP100, as the finger grooves don't line up 'just right' for me: whether it be the standard Hogue monogrip or the Hogue Tamer for the Alaskan. I have the 'old school' rubber/wood grips for the GP100 on both of mine. I found out [the hard way] that you can order either the full-sized GP100 rubber grip OR the compact-GP100 rubber grip [also fits the SP101, I believe].

For smaller hands and for carry, you may want the 4" GP100 but with the small rubber/wood grips installed, so the butt of the pistol isn't so big. The hand grip area of a SP101 with the strength and capacity of the GP100 = the best of both worlds?

I got my grips at MidwayUSA. I bought the wooden inserts for my full sized GP 100 from Altamont Grips. I like their GP100 inserts.
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Old February 14, 2012, 01:44 PM   #25
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I just went through the same process of choosing a Ruger revolver for a variety of purposes. I settled on the SP101 with 3in barrel, because it seemed to bridge the difference between a full size revolver like the GP, and the smaller concealed carry snubs. The SP would make a fine range gun, home defense, or hiking/range gun. Having shot 357 from much lighter guns, the 357 out of the SP doesn't seem too bad. My mother recently decided that shed like a house defense gun because she is often alone at night, picked the GP with 4in barrel. It is very nice. Its also a big gun. The SP is not exactly dainty.
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