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
Overall Length: 9.50″
Weight: 37 oz.
Capacity: 6 rounds
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.