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Gun Review: Ruger GP100 Match Champion 10mm Auto

I’ve spent quite a bit of time with 10mm pistols over the years. I’ve owned and shot many, but never a revolver. The Ruger GP100 Match Champion is a unique six-gun that offers a great deal to the discerning shooter…with the added bonus of moon clip sweetness.

Ruger’s GP100 line has been around for some time. For many it’s a mainstay for carry and home defense duty, among other uses.

Showing its versatility, these wheel guns are available in a wide range of calibers including .22LR, .357 Mag, .44 Special, .327 Federal Mag, and, of course, 10mm Auto. The guns are built on what could be called a medium size frame and generally feature a 5-7 shot capacity depending on the chambering. The GP100 family has many, many different designs and feature sets that can meet the needs of just about any shooter.

The gun that is at the center of this review is the Match Champion version which Ruger offers in either .357 Magnum or 10mm Auto. This series differs from the standard GP100’s in that they have features that gear them for competition shooting.

Most noticeable is the attractive, one-piece grip. This is unique to this series and isn’t featured on standard GP100 models. It’s very comfortable with no unnecessary contours to mess with a solid grip while shooting.

Like a lot of shooters, I don’t find finger grooves to be comfortable as my hands somehow never seem to line up correctly with them and I’m always struggling to get a proper hold. The Hogue hardwood grip, on the other hand, with its stippled panels is a probably one of the most comfortable wood revolver grips I’ve used.

Aside from the its beautiful grip, the Match Champion is a solid hunk of well-finished stainless steel. This results in an unloaded weight of about 37oz, which is in the ballpark of most government-size 1911 pistols out there. That heft works to the shooter’s advantage here as revolvers generally have more felt recoil than semiautomatic and 10mm can indeed generate some oomph, but more on that later.

The most exciting part of this revolver as far as features go is the ability to use moon clips. Ruger seems to be adding this capacity to many of their wheelguns and that’s a plus. In this case it’s a must as a way to adapt automatic pistol cartridges to a revolver host. The gun ships with three six-round moon clips and they function well

The gun will function and fire reliably with the 10mm cartridges with or without a moon clip. Unless you want to eject them, of course. The only way to adapt a rimless automatic cartridge for use in a wheel gun is through use of moon clips. They hold the cartridges in place and give the ejector something to grab on to when you want to push out empties.

Befitting a competition-oriented revolver, the GP100 Match Champion is blessed with a wonderful set of adjustable sights. At the end of the 4.2” barrel sits a bright, easily visible fiber optic front sight.

The rear sight is adjustable for both elevation and windage and has a white outlined U-notch that perfectly frames the front sight. These sights are easy to pick up and easy to adjust, allowing smooth, fast transitions from target to target.

As far as shooting goes, the revolver performs like a champ. I fired four different commercial options over my Oehler 35P chronograph at a distance of six feet from the muzzle. The day was 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Groups were fired from the bench and are the average of three five-shot groups at 25 yards.

HSM 180gr JHP Pro Pistol Hunter—————————————————-1053fps, 2.2”
Hornady 180gr XTP Custom———————————————————–1122fps, 3”
Hornady 155gr XTP Custom———————————————————–1372fps, 1.9”
Hornady 175gr Critical Duty———————————————————-1100fps, 2.5”

I found this revolver to be very accurate in the course of my testing. I moved out to 25 yards for my accuracy portion because at 15 yards I was putting five or more shots into a single hole from a standing position. This gun has the potential to absolutely destroy in terms of accuracy at matches.

So are there any potential downsides to this otherwise fine revolver? The only small complaint some may have might be the trigger…but it isn’t a real complaint, just an observation. When I got it, it felt heavy in double action and a bit gritty in single action. But after two boxes of ammo that cleared right up.

The trigger is now very smooth in double and breaks like the proverbial glass rod in single action after the short break-in time. The gun has since amazed me with its out-of-the-box accuracy and ease of use.

As far as general shooting goes, the 10mm is a powerful cartridge. It isn’t as powerful as a .357 Mag, but it’s no pussy cat, either. The 10mm bore may seem odd in a revolver, but there is plenty of logic behind it.

I don’t do much for handgun competition, but I know a number of guys who do. I had a few of them fire the Match Champion when I ran into them at the range and they were drooling over its potential for IDPA competition and other match applications.

The guys shot it much better than I did when shooting fast and I was pleased to see that those moon clips presented no problems at all in terms of fast reloads. In short, this is one very nice made, impressively accurate revolver.

Specifications for the Ruger GP100 Match Champion 10mm
Action: Double-Action
Barrel: 4.20″
Overall Length: 9.50″
Weight: 37 oz.
Capacity: 6 rounds
MSRP: $969

Ratings [out of 5 stars]

Aesthetics * * * * *
This is a very pretty gun. What’s not to like about the classic combination of stainless steel and hardwood grips?

Handling * * * * *
This gun is meant to win matches, so it had better handle like a racecar. Mission accomplished. It’s fast and easy to use under a competition timer, even in my not-so-experienced hands. Actual competitors shot shot it were impressed.

Accuracy * * * * *
The fact that I had to back up to get a better idea of group size should tell you everything you need to know. This baby shoots.

Reliability * * * * *
None to speak of.

Carry * * * * 
This is a big, heavy revolver, though no heavier than many full-size 1911s. Still, most people who carry it will be carrying it in a holster at the range. I had a holster that worked for it sitting in my attic and I used it for speed drills. I’d suggest getting a slightly smaller gun if you need an EDC item, but that’s just me.

Overall * * * * *
The GP100 Match Champion is just that…a real champ. For the right guy, this revolver is a ticket to lots of competition wins. The gun is ready to roll right out of the box and it just wants to shoot. With one in your hand, so will you.

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    • No slide to rack, so if you have trouble manipulating a slide (any number of possible reasons) but still want a big bore, this is a decent alternative.

      • This is a large, beefy revolver. If a person has trouble racking the slide on a semi auto would they be able to handle this beast?

        A round but k frame with a 3 inch barrel in .38 would probably serve that person better.

        • Our next-door neighbor, when I was growing up, had only three fingers on his left hand; his thumb and forefinger were removed in an accident involving a piece of farm machinery. (I never learned the details on that one.)

          He was a revolver guy. Full strength in his (complete) right hand, could do some support, manipulation and grip with his left, but couldn’t “pinch” to draw back a slide.

          So, no, his problem wasn’t strength, per se.

    • I agree with Forward Assist . I don’t see the point in a 10mm revolver when you can get one in .357 Magnum or a .357 semi auto when you can get one in 10mm. The two rounds are very similar in power and performance except that one (the .357 Magnum) works better in revolvers and other (the 10mm) works better in semi autos.

      • I know its more obscure, but why not a .41 Mag if you just like the bore size? Great round on paper if a .357 just wont “do it for ya.”

    • I think it’s this: still in the same power factor as .357 Magnum, but with lower recoil, and therefore easier to control, so therefore tighter groups.

    • Because last ammo shortage there was no shortage of .40? Same reason I bough a G35 and a conversion barrel instead of a G34. If this ends up on the Ca. roster, I believe I’ll grab one. Be a good gun for the cabin/boat, plus I can burn all the WWB .40 I bought during the drought.

    • Nice power levels with 10mm and also shoots .40 Smith. I have a metric f#$%ton of .40, so I’ve had my eye on this. YMMV.

      • Like you, I had at one time a G-23, it fit my hand better than any other semi-auto. I’ll likely replace it as finances allow. For that reason alone, I’m in the .40 camp. This revolver can kill 2 birds with one stone, for me…

    • That’s the thing about S,R&Co, they make a lot of stuff that only a few people will buy. People thought Bill was nuts when he came out with a mid priced single shot rifle. The only people who bought single shots were dirt poor and couldn’t afford a bolt action rifle. Who’s going to pay $1400 (today’s money) for a single shot rifle? Well, I bought one (although an unfired used one from a collector for $900) and would like to pick up a couple more. My last Ru ger I bought was this; They make 250 every year in different cal ibers.

      So, if I wasn’t a revol ver guy and had a few semi-autos in .40S&W and 10mm, THIS would probably be the rev olver I’d buy. I’m not that guy, but I still applaud it’s existence.

    • Logic is suggestive. The more available revolvers in different calibers, fantastic. Never slow down the industry. Excellent revolver and caliber.

  1. Isn’t .40 S&W a slightly shorty 10mm?

    If so, could it fire .40 S&W with moon clips?

    • As youvcan actually shoot .40 in many (or is it all) 10mm semis I can’t imagine not being able to do so with the revolver.

      • I was wondering about that as well.

        I’d like a GP100 in either .41 or .44 mag (not Special). Five shot capacity would be fine.

        The Match version looks a lot like my old Security Six .357.

        • Same caliber on the projectile and almost zero chance of overpressure. Cant see a revolver having much trouble there.
          Agree on the .41. I like it – just dont see much use for those who already have .357. If I wanted to step up it’d be a .44

      • …That’s why I wrote “Isn’t .40 S&W a slightly shorty 10mm?”… 🙂

        • Yup. I can and have shot .40 S&W out of my G20 and my G40.
          Seems to work just fine. I’ve not shot for any kind of accuracy measurements, just the
          “Can it really do this” kind of thing.

        • That’s actually good news for me, Tom. I have a hankering for a G-20, and .40 S&W is plentiful and not very expensive on the shelves ’round here.

          There are no headspacing problems feeding .40 S&W in a 10mm semi-auto? Won’t the casing go too deep in the chamber?

        • I seem to recall DG pointing out that when you shoot a .40 in a 10mm it headspaces on the extractor.

          Which is probably really bad for the extractor.

          In the GP it would headspace on the moon cl ip.

        • “I seem to recall DG pointing out that when you shoot a .40 in a 10mm it headspaces on the extractor.”

          Huh. If DG says it’s good-to-go, I’ll believe him. I always thought Glocks headspaced on the cartridge casing…

        • ‘I always thought Glocks headspaced on the cart ridge casing…’

          They do. Unless you’re shoo ting a car tridge with a .142″ shorter c ase than the one the ba rrel is chambered for.

        • If you’re worried then just buy the conversion barrel from Lone Wolf. That’s what, $125?

    • When I shot 40 S&W in my G40 they worked fine despite all the people who told me I was going to blow up my gun. If you put a round in the chamber and let the slide go home that round will not fire. The 40’s feed and fire well from the magazine. I ended up buying a properly headspace 40 S&W barrel for my G40. It feels like shooting a 9. Then I got a Sig Legion P220 in 10mm with the all steel lower and now I hardly shoot the Glock. The Sig is heavy enough to let you keep the front sight on target.

  2. Josh, Great review! I’d love to have that revolver! I would like to add a few notes. 10mm is the equal or better than 357 mag out of a pistol/revolver. Where 357 wins is with longer barrels because it uses slower burning powders. I’ve seen charts where handloaders have used IMR 800X for 10mm and get similar velocities to 357 with the longer barrels in a carbine. Additionally, most major mfrs download the 10mm to 40 S&W levels. Try the Underwood, Buffalo Bore or Double Tap loads to get the full potential of the cartridge if you don’t hand load. Cheers!

    • Reloading is IMO an unfair thing in the “better than” game. It really makes apples to oranges comparisons. Most factory .357 ammo these days isn’t as hot as it used to be either. That says nothing of TC/Blackhawk only .357 loadings.

    • ‘…most major mfrs download the 10mm to 40 S&W levels. Try the Underwood, Buffalo Bore or Double Tap loads to get the full potential of the cartridge if you don’t hand load.’

      The same can be said for .357.

      Also, I don’t think all .357 loads use slow burning powder. Double Tap claims 544ft/lbs from a 1-7/8″ S&W with the 158gr loads I keep in my GP100s.

      The 10 can run a bit higher max pressure (according to SAAMI) than .357, but the .357 gains more in case capacity than it loses in max pressure to the 10. The biggest advantage to the .357 is with high SD bullets. A 158gr .357 has about the same SD as a 200gr .40, and having the longer, thinner case there’s a lower percentage of case capacity taken up by the deeper seating. On the other hand, for self defense on thin skinned but malintentioned humans there’s definitely a case to be made for the wider slug.

      • I wouldn’t believe that 1 7/8″ barrel velocity claim. My 1 7/8″ 340 PD lost so much velocity that JHPs wouldn’t expand reliably against water jugs. When I put it over a chrono, I was getting just 1150 FPS out of the 125 grain loads and 1100 or less with the 158s. This was shooting Federal and Hornady JHPs that were running around 300 FPS faster from a 4″ 686 that same day under the same conditions. My 4″ G19 with a stainless LWD barrel was running 124 grain HST +P at an average of 1218 FPS.

        I sold that .357 and haven’t regretted it – especially since my 5″ Performance Center .357 gets great velocity and holds 8 rounds.

        • Yea, I take that number with a grain of salt myself, and I’m not a fan of 1-7/8″ barrels, at least in .357. But the Double Taps, Buffalo Bore, etc run around 20% more muzzle energy than the Federal, Hornady, etc loads, so they’re still capable of some fairly impressive performance. But do you really want to shoot those loads in a revolver that barely tips the scales at a pound? I carry a 3″ GP that weighs 36 ounces and they kick hard enough in that.

          On the other hand, I’ve seen some numbers on 9 mm revolvers with 1-7/8″ barrels and they achieve about what you’d expect out of a 3″ semi-auto. Probably a better option if you want a little more than a .38 special.

    • While uncommon for this discussion, I would have to give .357 the edge if you want heavy bullets. Im no scientist (or handloader, even) but the longer case should help there.

  3. I haven’t purchased a firearm for quite some time my goodness the prices are really getting up there. A grand for a double action revolver, my oh my. They warned me my social security check wasn’t going to amount to shit. The government needs some kind of LIEAP program for guns.

    • I’m pretty much in the same position as you. The difference being, if I want to buy a decent gun, something over say, $400, I have to sell a gun that I don’t use anymore, to be able to pay for it.
      I’ve got my eye on a SCCY 9mm now, and can get one at the loco LGS for $219, so I wont have to sell anything.
      Lets hope the penny pinchers in Washington will give us a decent S.S. COLA next year. 1.8% one year, and Zero % the next year really sucks!

      • Inflation means we’re all screwed in the long run. I make $20k per year more than I did 15 years ago, I have no debt other than student loans, and all I’ve done is tread water economically speaking. Don’t look for any real relief from the government. They’re the ones running this damn racket.

      • That’s still a mite painful for my pocket, Carlos…

        *whimpering pitifully*

  4. The GP100 in 10mm headspaces off a thing inside the chamber, so it doesn’t work with .40, which is a shame. As for why someone would want a 10mm revolver, I imagine that a 10mm guy who wants to dip his toes into the wonderful world of magnum revolvers would want this.

    • ^ This revolver will fire the .40s&w.
      From American Rifleman review…
      “The cartridge case of the .40 S&W semi-auto pistol round shares the same external dimensions as the 10 mm with the exception of being 0.142″ shorter. This means the revolver can be safely fired with the softer shooting .40 S&W but two things should be kept in mind. First, .40 S&W cartridges must be supported by full-moon clips. Otherwise they will slip down into the chambers and not fire. Secondly, it’s important to thoroughly scrub out each of the cylinder’s chambers after shooting .40 S&W before switching back to 10 mm to avoid the longer cartridge cases sticking in the chambers.”
      That’s not the only review of this revolver that states the same.
      Just google it for yourself.

      • No it won’t. According to the people on the revolverguy website, the cartridges slip towards the internal ledge, and the .40 S&W even with the moonclips, slips too far forward to ignite reliably. They found that maybe 1-2 out of 6 rounds would fire. You could get custom extra THICC moonclips, and it might work then, but with factory moonclips, no dice. I wasn’t talking out my tukhus.

        • You might be surprised. I accidentally dropped some .38 Super in a .357 cylinder once. (No moon clip.) They all lit up. Case extraction was a bitch, though. Hammer knocked ’em in there real good. I dont care to repeat that.

  5. I’ll say this about the statement that, “The only way to adapt a rimless automatic cartridge for use in a wheel gun is through use of moon clips.”. Not true. Charter Arms has several revolvers that fire rimless cartridges without the use of moon clips and you can eject them without moon clips. That said they are still a Charter Arms revolver so you probably will not get a firearm that anywhere close to the quality of the Ruger, but it makes me wonder why other manufacturers have not gone down that road.

      • Model 547, I believe their system was more complex and expensive to make, therefore one of they reasons they are not made today. Found this Hickok45 video on the 547.

  6. No, just no. First of all, Ruger revolvera are so ugly that they make glocks look good. Second, 10mm is great for a semiautomatic but makes no sense in a revolver, third, if you want power, or less power, reload.

  7. I recently bought a S&W 586 (6″ barrel .357 Mag.), and I was very happy with my purchase. After reading this very positive review of the GP100 in 10mm, I’m even happier with my purchase.

    • I bought a used 6″ barrel 686 3 weeks ago, I love it so far but the lock has got to go and I want some news grips from Altamont to replace that ugly black rubber one. I just can’t decide between rosewood and walnut.

  8. As for those who question the desirability of a 10mm revolver perhaps a few reasons YMMV,

    1) Ammo compatibility. Currently I try very hard not to buy a firearm in a different calibre than what I already stock ammo for. Currently in handguns there are 6 different types of ammo that I stock ammo for. I do not want to stock more.

    2) Atypical ammo compatibility. Be it Glaser Silver, blanks, down loaded rounds for beginners or those who are recoil sensitive, or snake shot a revolver will handle all of those with no worries. This is not true of a semi.

    3) Reliability. “A good semiauto is reliable” is a true and accurate statement. However while revolvers are not perfect in reliability they are more reliable than a semiauto. I have had both fail to fire and both jam (requiring tools and time to clear) but far, far fewer with revolvers than semis.

    4) Simplicity. “Pull the trigger again” is a much easier and faster drill to teach and practice than “Tap, rack and bang”. Plus while not ideal with a 10mm it can be done using only one hand.

    As for ugliness and heft, yes it is ugly and yes it is heavy. Both are common for Ruger firearms. What is also common for Ruger firearms is reliability, durability and superb customer service whether caused by a manufacturing error or user error.

    As much as I would like this firearm due to point #1 (ammo compatibility) I will not be buying this one unless I win the lotto or come into a significant amount of money.

    Nukem Jim

  9. I want one only because I missed out on the S&W 610 when I had the chance.
    But at around $700. I have to think about it all over again.

  10. The necessity of moon clips is what pushes it from a practical alternative to a novelty for me. My love of a good wheelgun comes from what they can do better than pistols, so if it can’t take loose rounds then there’s no need to choose it over a self-loader.

    • Moon clips are not necessary. They do make loading and unloading much easier. The best revolver shooter in the world, Jerry Miculek, uses revolvers chambered in semi-auto rounds just so he can use moon clips and load faster. You could possibly get a hard to extract cartridge loading without moon clips but that happens with 357, too.

      • A rimless c ase will not extract at all without the moon cl ips. At least in a DA rev olver with a swing out cylinder, but I’ve never heard of a SAA chambered in a semi-auto car tridge. There’s noting for the extractor to grab.

        My beef with the moon cl ips would be that full moon cl ips would suck for carry. I keep a speed strip in my pocket, which is slow to load but so convenient for carry. A pair of half moon cl ips would probably work well though and carry pretty easily.

        • Respect, Gov. Especially on the GP, but I dropped some .38 Super in the GP .357 once. No, the rod would not extract but I could still pick them out by hand. It wasnt fun, though, and I dont recommend things like that.
          Know any good wood grips? Mine still has the Hogue mono. The new Williams sights are nice BTW. This Match has sights more like an SP.

  11. I honestly don’t get the intention of this.

    First, revolvers work best with rimmed cartridges. The chamber will headspace off the rim, and do it reliably. If your case is a bit short, or you want to shoot a smaller round in the revolver (eg, .38 Special in a .357, or .44 Special in a .44 RemMag), go to it, have fun, you’re golden.

    Second, there’s already the cartridge that inspired the 10mm auto: the .41 Magnum. The .41 Magnum can do everything the 10mm Auto can do, and much more. Another revolver that can handle a .41 Mag would be welcome in the market. Heck, another few high quality revolvers in .44 Special would be quite welcome in the market.

    In short, I don’t understand the fascination of revolvers chambered in rimless cartridges. There are handguns that fire rimless cartridges in grand style – they’re called pistols. There are handguns that fire rimmed cartridges in grand style. They’re called revolvers.

    • If they can fit 5 .44 specials in that cylinder I’d think they could fit 5 .41 magnums in it.

  12. Unlike other commenters, I actually bought the GP100 10mm with the intention of using .40 S&W ammo for USPSA competition. The 10mm correctly headspaces on the case mouth using the moon clip only for extraction. The .40s in a moon clip have excessive headspace resulting in mostly misfires. I have tried the Ruger .032 clips, .035 S&W Model 646 clips and .039 Chiappa Rhino clips. All gave misfires, the Ruger clips being the worst.

  13. TK Custom makes moon clips that address the headspace issue with 40 cal in the 10mm. They aren’t cheap at 80 bucks for ten but how often are you going to wear out a piece of spring steel? They also sell loader/unloader tools to further reduce the odds of screwing up the clips. I bought the 3″ non match version of the GP and love it to death.

  14. When you go up to a full power ++P (Full-Semi-Auto) with over 1,500-1,700 fps, you have to use 24-26 lb spring to tame the power in a full size 1911.

    They are very tough to rack the slide for most people. In that case, the revolver makes sense for use.
    But the recoil will be like having 18 lb sprins (or no springs at all!)
    But I can rack the slide, so I’ll keep my 10+1 in a full size 1911 with very slightly extended Tripp Research Cobra mag 10mm (second version?)

    • Fully agreed.

      And you can turn around, load .41 Magnums into a revolver, and exceed the 10mm.

      If you want to exceed the .45 ACP in a 1911, you can load up some really stiff .45 Colt loads, stuff those into a modern revolver (also a Ruger) and get most of a .454 Casull.

      If someone wants to shoot hot, hot handloads, it’s easiest to get a revolver. There are plenty of rimmed cartridges to launch heavy bullets downrange. There’s no need to limit one’s self to the 10mm’s parameters.

  15. My GP100 is in .357 Mag. I carry it only when at the range or when I go into the back country in case I happen upon a wild critter that sees me as food. My EDC is a Walther PPK/S .380 SA (yes, made famous by James Bond thrillers). Also, carry (less often) a full size Walther P99QA in .40 Cal. I love the power packed GP100 as it is rugged, stainless steel and very reliable. Speed loading is suggested.

  16. Rich & Ross are Real Men of action, my respects to them. No idle jabber from them. As to the Why, that’s their business.
    As to ‘some’ 38 Supers in a revolver, I’m an experienced re-loader & there IS some ‘why’ to that too, in ‘strong’ revolvers of short barrels. It’s complicated, a reloading proposition mainly & with 9mm .355″ diam. bullets only & case heads that meas. > .400″. Its an ‘up-close’ power thing (in short brl. revolvers) & not for long range accuracy. Novices need not be concerned!

  17. 10mm is becoming more popular while .357 mag is on its way out. Makes sense to have a wheel gun in 10mm to me, not to mention more efficient powders and more modern bullet designs are more common use in 10mm. From a 4-5″ barrel, 10mm performance runs around the same as .357 magnum, with some loadings actually exceeding the .357 performance.
    From shorter barrels it outperforms the .357 magnum with less recoil. Obviously as the barrel length increases the .357 will grossly outperform the 10mm as magnum powders love longer barrels. I will always have a place in my heart for .357 magnum
    My first handgun was a GP100 match champion in .357 magnum
    But Im not as enamored and have become more realistic with how it actually performs looking at real world data vs what the box says.

  18. I recommend using the thicker TK moonies made for the 40 S&W if you want to fire the 40s. Otherwise you’ll get a bunch of light striker misfires from the factory 10mm clips. Solves the problem.


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