(This is a reader-submitted review as part of our gun review contest. See details here.)
By Ross Marshman
Revolvers can be big. Revolvers can be heavy. Revolvers can be hard to reload quickly. But revolvers can absolutely still be used to prevail in a gun fight. Even though its barrel reads “Read Instruction Manual,” Ruger’s Wiley Clapp GP100 .357 magnum revolver might just be the last best hope for a modern manufactured fighting man’s revolver.
This particular wheelgun is not a backup gun. The Wiley Clapp GP100 doesn’t belong on your ankle or inside your pocket. It belongs on your belt. Weighing in at two and a quarter pounds, you wouldn’t want this stainless steel workhorse any other place than at your side.
I’ve been carrying this revolver on a daily basis for the past several months in a superbly crafted Milt Sparks Summer Special holster and it has never felt as if I was carrying around any more weight than was necessary. After owning and regularly shooting this gun for the past three years, it was obvious that Ruger sought out good advice from someone who thought long and hard about what features an ideal production revolver should have.
While the argument could be made that print media is on its way out, the same can’t be said for decades of relevant experience. Wiley Clapp has been a prolific author in print media for a long time. His work has covered almost every aspect of the history, manufacture, and use of firearms. Before that, he fought in Vietnam and would later enter the world of law enforcement and even competitive shooting.
During his career in law enforcement, he was issued a revolver which he has referred to as a “professional tool.” Given this background, it’s no wonder, then, that companies such as Sturm Ruger and even the venerable Colt Manufacturing have tapped him as a resource for sensible design choices in the modern era.
Everything positive that could be said of any Ruger GP100 can be said of this particular model, too. Simply put, the Wiley Clapp GP100 is an overbuilt, everyman’s revolver. The GP100 line replaced Ruger’s Six Series of double action revolvers that had been in production since 1972.
Introduced in 1985, the GP100 was meant to shoot more .357 magnum loads for a longer period of time than any of Ruger’s other double action revolvers had ever been able to mechanically tolerate. To make that goal a reality, Ruger cast aside its more K-frame sized Six Series and embraced the larger L-frame for the GP100 series to better withstand the heavy toll an unending stream of magnum loads would exact on the gun.
The GP100’s cylinder is locked into the gun’s frame at the front, rear, and bottom. Frankly, the last “lock” is more of a countermeasure against cylinder rotation under recoil than it is anything else. Still, it’s a good design feature that should be included on a serious tool such as this. The same can be said of the GP100’s transfer bar system that allows the shooter to carry a round in every chamber without fearing a hammer strike causing an unintentional discharge.
Even though the GP100’s design is thirty years old, it continues to set itself apart from other manufacturers’ models. For instance, the cylinder latch only needs to be depressed down into the frame – not forward as with a Smith & Wesson, not backwards like Colt, just down.
More notably, the grip portion of the GP100’s frame allows a wider variety of grips to be used. The shooter isn’t shoehorned into having only a square butt grip or rounded butt grip. Accordingly, I was able to swap out the functional, albeit large, included Hogue Monogrip with its beautiful wooden Altamont inlays, for more compact rubber grips with modest rosewood inserts.
Unlike other revolvers, the takedown of the GP100 is relatively simple. Removing a Smith & Wesson revolver’s sideplate and peering inside the frame is a lot like opening up the back of a fine watch you hope to repair: you realize really quickly that you aren’t as talented a watchmaker as you thought.
Unlike the Smith & Wesson, the GP100 has a solid frame, meaning the internals can be easily separated from the frame without worrying about removing a side plate. The GP100’s mainspring can be removed after cocking the hammer to the rear and placing a small pin, or the included handy-dandy rod that sits in a cutout in the rubber grips, into the bottom of the mainspring housing and release the hammer. The mainspring can then be removed from the frame.
Afterwards, the hammer retention pin can be removed and then the hammer. Following that, the trigger guard assembly can be separated from the rest of the frame after the trigger assembly plunger is depressed. This is the hardest part. Over time, it’s gotten easier, but expect some dark thoughts to cloud your mind during your first couple of attempts. Finally, after depressing the cylinder latch, the cylinder can be removed from the frame by pulling forward on the cylinder frame assembly.
With the Wiley Clapp GP100, Ruger took its utilitarian revolver and spruced up the thirty year old design with some smart choices. Unlike other models, the Wiley Clapp model has a visually pleasing matte stainless steel finish which won’t blind you as much as a polished nickel finish would do in a bright sunny day. Over time, it’s held up well to daily carry.
More importantly, most of the revolver, including the cylinder, has been subtly contoured and beveled to allow for an easier time carrying the revolver against your flesh. Too, the front of the cylinder is more rounded than square allowing it to be holstered more smoothly. When I compared the Wiley Clapp GP100 to the GP100 Match Champion, another of the “premium” GP100s, I noted that only the Wiley Clapp’s frame and cylinder had been contoured and beveled. Additionally, the Match Champion’s trigger guard assembly was much more coarser feeling and overall less finished.
Casting aside the traditional combination of a plain, black front sight post with an adjustable rear sight here, Ruger opted for a bright green fiber optic front sight and a set of Novak Lo-Mount rear sights. While this sight arrangement doesn’t allow for infinite adjustment and fine tuning beyond windage, this revolver isn’t meant to be a bullseye gun.
That being said, I’ve never been disappointed in the mechanical accuracy of this revolver. It’s more than capable of two-inch groups at 21 feet with even the cheapest ammunition available at my local bulk retailer. The double action trigger is smooth and fast with a predictable reset and the single action trigger pull is short and clean. Over the years, the trigger parts have polished themselves to a degree that is completely acceptable. So, no complaints there.
As far as ammunition goes, since this revolver is chambered in .357 magnum, the shooter is able to blast a host of different rounds. From lightweight .38 special loads for routine practice, to heavy duty, 180 gr. hard cast .357 magnum loads for maximum earth-shaking effect. No matter what, shooting this revolver is a fun experience. Of course, you can obviously tell if you’re launching a target load in .38 special or a +P+ .357 magnum instead, but I’ve never found the difference to be any more jarring than the different between bulk 115 gr. 9mm and duty +P+ 147 gr. 9mm.
Frankly, launching any .357 magnum load from this gun is a hoot. The blast and recoil is absolutely manageable with proper grip and stance. Too, I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with different loads across the two calibers, both for practice at the range and for carrying it with me throughout the day. As far as carry ammo goes, you still have a lot of options.
Many shooters seem to advocate carrying a .38 special +P 125 gr. jacketed hollow point to ensure less felt recoil and facilitate faster follow up shots. Others swear by the “stopping power” of a .357 magnum +P 158 gr. semi-jacketed hollow point bullet instead. Here is where this particular model’s barrel length really becomes important. If you carry this revolver, you aren’t carrying a snub-nosed 1.875” J-Frame. Neither are you carrying a scoped 8” barreled hunting revolver with a bipod.
With the Wiley Clapp GP100, you’re carrying a fast-handling, compromise barrel on a concealable wheelgun that stabilizes rounds better than the snub-nose but not as much as one meant for taking down game animals. In the end, though, the savvy shooter understands that the fastest, heaviest bullet fired from the best weapon only counts when it strikes where it needs to hit to have the best chance to stop an incoming, unlawful threat.
It goes without saying that before you carry any gun with you out the door, you probably need to know how to use it first. Over the past three years, I’ve grown more and more acquainted with the Wiley Clapp Ruger GP100. With its three-inch barrel and shortened grip, it’s a balanced, quick wheelgun that can be brought to bear in an instant.
But before I was comfortable carrying it, I had to put in a lot of work. A whole lot of work. Much more than I ever had to with a semi-automatic pistol. If you think being able to reload one large magazine into one large magazine-well is hard, try loading six small bullets into six different holes with speed. If you don’t practice reloading a revolver under stress, you’re deluding yourself. No one can pick up a revolver and transform into Jerry Miculek without practicing.
If you went back in time, you’d encounter people like Bill Jordan or Jim Cirillo. Men who were equally comfortable with violence as they were with carrying revolvers into gunfights. Both men were successful because they religiously trained with their pieces of fighting iron.
More recently, wheelguns have taken a backset to lighter weight, higher capacity, semi-automatic handguns. There’s no denying that a higher ammunition capacity gives the shooter more opportunities to incapacitate a threat. But that assumes the shooter is alive long enough to launch the rounds sitting at the bottom of the high capacity magazine. Violent encounters can be swift and deadly. To me, the first six rounds at the start of a gunfight are of paramount importance. Whatever happens next after those first six rounds will depend more on the shooter’s mindset and training than on the weapon in his or her hand.
While not exactly a negative, if this revolver had one aside from its intrinsically low capacity, it would be that the cylinder’s mouths are not chamfered and polished to better guide the six rounds into their six chambers. Other than that, the Wiley Clapp GP100 can fall prey to the same malfunctions and problems that could plague any revolver.
It’s folly to suggest that “revolvers don’t jam.” That’s not to say that all modern semi-automatic firearms have guaranteed, malfunction-free performance, but the argument that one type of weapon is somehow less prone to malfunctioning is belied by the inevitable truth that all things will eventually fail. Extractors can slip over the rim of a cartridge resulting in a stuck casing, an unfired bullet’s nose might be dislodged by recoil enough to stop a cylinder from rotating, likewise, a bullet’s primer might protrude just enough out of its pocket to completely lock the cylinder up – the list goes on. Beyond that, parts can break.
Even though I’ve run this gun hard for years, including some high round count training courses, I’ve yet to experience a catastrophic malfunction or breakage. In sum, before you can truly rely on this gun, the shooter has to be willing to accept the chance that a more serious malfunction may occur and train accordingly.
If you asked Wiley Clapp whether he carried a revolver like this one every day or not, he’d probably say no. But I’ll bet that if you asked him whether he carried a lighter weight, higher capacity semi-automatic handgun every day instead, he’d probably say no, too. The same could be said for most shooters, I think.
Variety is the spice of life. And shooting revolvers is cool. Feeling the cylinder rotate and watching the hammer start to drop is an experience to be cherished for generations to come. Revolvers aren’t perfect. But neither is anything else. Ultimately, it is the shooter’s responsibility to decide what the best tool is for them for the task at hand. And our experiences may vary. Ruger’s Wiley Clapp GP100 is a thoughtful tool that is designed to help you protect yourself or others from harm. I will continue to rely upon it for years to come.
Specifications: Ruger Wiley Clapp GP100 Revolver
Caliber: .357 magnum
Barrel: 3” barrel with 1:1875” RH twist
Weight: 2.25 lbs
Operation: Double action
Finish: Matte Stainless Steel
Capacity: 6 rounds
Price: Around $700
Ratings (out of five stars):
Accuracy * * * *
For a three-inch barreled, $700 dollar production revolver, it’s more than acceptable.
Ergonomics * * * * *
There’s a reason why so many revolvers are still being made. And part of that reason is the feel of a rounded grip in your hand. This gun draws smoothly and points naturally.
Reliability * * * * *
Over two thousand magnum loads have been digested by this beast. And countless more .38 specials. No problems.
Customize This * *
You can change the sights and the grips. That’s about it.
Overall * * * * ½
Nothing is perfect, least of all etching a barrel with an admonition to read the manual. That being said, while this resembles a fighting man’s tool from the past, this quick, accurate wheelgun can still be shot well and carried with great confidence today.
Want! Want! Want!
I’ve always had a soft spot in my cold, black heart for heavy .357s.
A whole lot more fun to shoot than a featherweight magnum snubbie…
Had a 6″ Colt King Cobra back in the day. S/S, it was the handcannon that was pretty good to shoot.
Carried it for a while, only way to conceal it (6′ 190#) was in a LH underhanded cross-draw shoulder rig.
This is a gun on my bucket list. I should have picked one up when I had it in my hands. Haven’t seen one in a LGS since, although I’m sure I could find one online if I had to. Unfortunately, it now is joined on the bucket list with so many other fine specimens and the budget is blown. Beautiful and practical gun, the Wiley Clapp is.
Cool gun. I’m wanting a 4-5″ barrelled .357 from Ruger, Dan Wesson (I can dream, right?), or Smith and Wesson. One of the newfangled 8 shooters would be cool. Such an item would be a great woods gun, as would the new Ruger .45 ACP / .45 Colt revolver.
I’m just not sold on the size / weight / firepower of the .357 5 or 6 shooter for self defense and daily carry. The muzzle blast out the barrel / cylinder gap is also pretty darn loud. It can definitely work, but I’ve settled on 15 plus one of 9mm +P out of a Glock 19. That’s a similar power level to the 3″ .357 with less weight, cost, and almost triple the capacity.
But I still want the revolver for style and class. Logic be damned.
S&W has their 8 shot .357 N Frame. It’s a real beast. It would be a fine nightstand gun but I would not want to schlep it around in the woods. If I’m dragging that much weight I may as well take the .44 Mag, I figure I would never need to use more than 6 rounds of that in the woods. Still, if Ruger made a 7 or 8 round .357, I would have to have it.
The PC 627 is in fact my night-stand gun.
ruger redhawk is an eight shot
‘That’s a similar power level to the 3″ .357’
If you’re comparing the hottest +p 9 mm loads to the more modest .357 loads. The ‘standard’ loads you see from Federal, Remington etc. will get you into the 475-500ft/lbs range out of a 3″ but the hotter loads from Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, etc will get you up around 600. Buffalo Bore actually claims 685ft/lbs from a 3″ J frame with their 158gr. Of course that comes at the price of more muzzle blast, recoil and noise. BTW, contrary to the review, there is no such thing as a +p .357 load (at least not one that’s commercially available). The hot loads are actually just standard full pressure loads that every .357 revolver is proof test to 130%. Personally I blame S&W for prevalence of light .357 loads.
Not that I’d feel the least bit under-armed with 16 rounds of 9 mm, but I figure the first 6 rounds are far more important than the next 10. Conversely, if you’re going to limit yourself to 6 rounds (before diving for cover to reload from a speed strip) you’d best make those rounds count.
I guess I was also mentally comparing it to my Glock 35 with 9mm conversion barrel and Underwood 9mm +P and +P+. That combo can exceed 500 foot pounds and has a 17 + 1 capacity. The Glock “19” (G23 with conversion barrel and upgraded recoil spring) can hit 450-475 FPE. Being a tactical / military guy, I can easily forgive a bit of power loss for a whole lot more firepower.
Just shooting force on force last week at a tactical supervisors class, I’d take a pistol over a revolver in a shootout pretty much any day. We didn’t have Simunition ARs or shotguns, but I suspect those would be even better.
The 1 7/8″ .357 revolver has drastic velocity loss, whereas the 3″ barrel is much more efficient. How much more efficient I’m not exactly sure because I’ve chrono’d 1 7/8″, 4″, and 6″ .357, but admittedly not the 3″.
Yes the +p+ stuff can get right up there. There only real advantage to the .357 (standard loads) is that they can do it with heavier bullets for better penetration and more downrange energy. Personally I’ve always been a little skeptical of 115gr. bullets at those velocities being able to hold together.
Definitely not a fan of 2″ or less barrels. I’d just as soon have another half inch on that Wiley Clapp myself. But with the hot stuff you’ve still got more than the standard stuff in a 4″ barrel.
I’d take a pis tol over a revolv er in a shootout too. But the vast majority of self defense shootings are just that, shootings not shootouts. I think the good old re volver has some advantages in the type of scenarios you’re most likely to encounter. Or maybe I just carry one because I think they’re cool. Either way.
I think the real candidate for “modern fighting revolver” is the S&W TRR8 with 8 rounds of .357 and an optics rail. That said, they are more expensive and I am happy with my GP100. Tank of a gun and mine has an awesome trigger.
While there are a few Ruger guns I’d consider buying, their gaudy warning labels they stamp into their guns keeps me from dropping any money on them.
Yes, I know this story and comment are a year old. However, for anyone else reading this, does a warning stamped into the barrel change the operation or handling of the revolver? Of course, it doesn’t, and those things are what matters.
I really, REALLY, regret selling my 6″ Colt King Cobra back in the mid 90s. Loved shooting that thing and it looked cool as hell.
Nice revolver. Very cool! I’d love to have one like it.
Good review, if a bit long, and flowery.
Unnecessary criticism of the Six series as being weak – The Six series guns are plenty strong for extended use with .357
I generally prefer the Six series guns to the GP100
It was the Six series that forced S&W to start building guns that would take a steady diet of .357 loads. They’d been telling their customers for 25 years to shoot mostly .38 Specials in their K frames because they wouldn’t take the abuse of full house .357s then Rug er came out with a similarly sized gun that would shoot them all day long at 2/3 the cost. A few years later the L frames came out. However the GP 100s are stronger. Your great grandkids might appreciate that.
Granted – the GP100s are stronger than the Sixes
Kind of like the F-350 pickup is stronger than the F-250
The F-250 and the Security Six are strong enough for most people, most of the time.
I do remember seeing a GP100 (and a Mark series .22 pistol) on Firefly, so they will apparently last hundreds of years into the future.
Purchased mine just shy of 3 yrs. ago. at $679.00 most expensive handgun I’ve purchased. But also most fun revolver I own. Is it loud? Yip, Does it have major muzzle flip? Yip it does. Heavy recoil? Nope, that’s what makes it so much fun to shoot. This is a revolver that is both tool and an art piece. First time my sister-in-law shot it, she looked at me and said “will you leave this to me in your Will?” The answer was ”Yes”
Ruger only produced 2000 in this model, mine was purchased on gunbroker.com new in the box. It deserves to be handed down generation after generation
Same here, it’s the most expensive handgun I’ve ever bought. Conversely I’d argue why would anyone pay more when you can have a GP Wiley Clapp. I’ve heard the 2000 number and I’ve heard 2500 but either way I think they’re producing that in each of the stainless and the blue so it’s more like 4000 or 5000 a year.
Compared to my 6″ GP the 3″ tends to flip a bit more but it actually dampens the recoil whereas the 6″ sends it straight back into your hand. The 6″ does look more intimidating though, so it’s my house gun.
Here’s the truth about the number of stainless model Wiley Clapp GP100’s as described to me by Talo’s representative. He said that, at the time, the stainless version of the Wiley Clapp #1752 was supposed to be limited to 2000 while the dark “Hawkeye” finished guns were not limited at all. The Hawkeye finished guns are still being sold as far as I know.
According to the Talo representative, the Wiley Clapp 1752 was limited to 2000, however there was some kind of “lack of communication” that led to Ruger building more than twice that number before realizing the mistake had been made. The production was stopped as soon as the mistake was discovered but the end result was that more than 4800 model 1752’s (but less than 4900) were produced instead of the 2000 that were planned.
It really irritated me because one of the reasons I bought mine was because of the relatively small number it was limited to. The folks that paid big premiums for these guns because of the low production numbers were obviously even more angry and justifiably so. Anywho, don’t let anyone tell you that there were more than 4800-4900 made because it’s just not true.
All things considered, this particular model Ruger GP100 is definitely worth the price we all paid (unless someone went all silly and went significantly higher than say $850-900). Then again, this model GP100 has still become extremely collectable with very few new ones coming up for sale by dealers who held onto them. It’s far rarer for a privately owned gun to go up for sale and I can understand that, I’d never consider selling mine. When a new one comes available the prices are often much higher than what they sold for upon initial release so even the folks who paid a high premium could very likely come out ahead or worst case scenario, break even.
There’s no doubt that as time goes by the #1752 Wiley Clapp GP100’s value will increase not just because of the limited production numbers but primarily because it’s a phenomenal GP100, possibly the best ever made, both in it’s design performance and it’s beautiful appearance.
I like this revolver but wouldn’t carry it. The minute of pie plate at 50 feet accuracy is not worth $700. The wieght is also a factor in everyday carry.
I have been spoiled by pistols and revolvers weighing ounces or pounds less that deliver substantial power.
Waiting on Ruger (or Smith) to bring out a 357/38 with a polymer frame that will be in the 20 -22oz range and carry six shots. I could live with a 38+P but I think a 6 shot version of the LCR with a 2.5 – 3 inch barrel would easily be under 25 oz in 357 and less than 22 oz in 38.
Cmon Ruger. My money is waiting.
How about that Kimber K6?
I’d love to see the 3″ LCR in .45ACP (or .44 Special is fine) with moonclips. Probably need to be a 5 shot though.
LCR’s are already 5 shot in .38/.357/9mm. I guess that means they would need to be a 4 shot in .44 or .45, or maybe just a bigger cylinder.
I’m waiting for Ruger to out out the 3″ LCRx in .327. Meanwhile, the regular LCR in .357 is working well. The 5″ Davidson’s GP100 is quite nice too.
My wife loves hers….
HK’s, 1911’s, bolt action rifles costing more than $2k.
As distinct from cocking the hammer in some other direction?
(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
This is a good, readable review and your personal observations are cogent and welcome.
This is my carry gun (for the last 2 1/2 years). I opted for the ‘Hawkeye blue’ model though mostly because I preferred the sights. The blue has Novak gold bead (interestingly Colt opted for the brass bead on their Wiley Clapp 1911s) instead of the fiber optic. The Novak fiber optic is closed on the sides and doesn’t seem to pick up enough light IMHO. I put a Hi-Viz fiber optic on my 6″ GP 100 but ended up installing the white dot. That fiber optic was a little too bright in broad daylight but the white dot is more visible in dim light. Basically I guess I prefer a reflective sight.
I’m assuming the author has an older version of the WC. Mine and all of them since come with the wood side panel grips instead of the Hogue monogrip. The Hogues suck.
Also, a Wolff or Wilson Com bat hamm er and trigger return spring kit is well worth the $10.
I replaced my springs with the Wilson Combat, best $10 upgrade I have ever done.
At my wife’s request and fully gun naive I went to a Houston gun shop in1987 to “buy a gun”. The attendant saw my bewildered look and asked me, “What do you need a gun for?” “Home defense”, I answered. He reached under the drawer and slammed a 4 inch GP 100 on the counter, almost breaking the glass in splinters. I bought it, brand new, for less than $300.00. Still have it and it looks brand new. It’s a thing of beauty.
Stand by for an old fart warning. My first duty pistol was a 4″ 686 Smith. I carried it for a few years then went to a Smith 4006 auto because the gun rags said the .40 ballistics were “similar” to the .357. I bought a Smith 640 stubby as a back up so I’d have a .357 hide out piece as well. The .40 is gone but I still have both wheel guns and take them to the range when I’m suffering from an attack of acute nostalgia. If I had to go back to a revolver I’d be okay with that combination again. I still carry the 686 when hunting for four and two legged predators.
Now let’s talk Ruger. 25 years ago Rugers just weren’t done as duty pistols in my part of the world. They were good pistols but real shooters carried Smith’s. Today I’ve come to appreciate the quality and strength of Ruger wheel guns. I own a Single Six and a Super Redhawk in .44 mag. I’ve heard people say that you can’t stuff enough powder in a .44 case to blow up a Super Redhawk. I’m not about to try but I’ll say that Ruger makes a strong pistol. If I didn’t already own a couple of nice legacy Smith’s or if I could find 6 good Poweball numbers a GP100 could find a place in my collection.
This gun is a thing of robust utilitarian beauty and I’d like to have one for a variety of reasons, but I’d never carry a gun this heavy for EDC. It mainly just reminds me how much I wish Ruger had a Novak or other snag-free sight option for the LCR-X 3-inch, which I own. I’m not liking the adjustable rear at all. It snags bad enough to stop a draw in the Sticky holster I bought for it, and it snags in the 5.11 fanny pack I thought I would put it in for trail carry, and it just looks fragile. I like the gun otherwise, but I really think Ruger screwed up what could have been the perfect LCR by not going with either Novaks or just the original LCR sights.
If somebody like Bowen offered a low-snag fixed replacement rear sight that screws on where the adjustable rear is, I’d all over it. Hell, I’d pay a Bowen price for it.
GP-100, 4 inch barrel, stainless steel, hoge grips, 110 grain hollow point ammo, 4 speed loaders: I have been carrying this for over 20 years. I have never had to draw or fire it in need but it is there. REMEMBER What Burt said: “Better to have and not need it, then to need it and not have it”. Best gun ever, to hell with auto’s.
I have the GP100 6″ barrel version. It’s a great revolver and lots of fun to shoot. I would only carry it as a BBQ gun though.
Great review — very thorough and damn it all if you didn’t point out that mastering a gun, any gun, takes work.
I just acquired an old Police Service Six and I absolutely love it. I put some old (never been opened) Rogers combat grips on it and now it fits my hand perfectly. Time has smoothed out the trigger — it’s every bit the equal of a Smith. I saw someone comment on Buffalo Bear loads that deliver 600 ft/lbs out of a 3″ barrel. Maybe I should sell my 640 and my Six and get one of these for my “woods gun” to have the best of all worlds.
I’ve owned the 4″ GP-100 with the grips shown here since the late 80’s. Most accurate handload (by far) was a 110gr bullet over smoky old Hercules powder.
As for supposed advantages of autoloaders, I don’t buy it. They have unpredictable failures. The very first time I racked the slide on a fullsize 9mm, the slide grabbed the cuff of my long flannel shirt-sleeve and jammed.
I’ll soon be carrying this rig, along with a 3″ SP-101 5-shot in .357, as backup.
Eleven rounds without reloading.
“Most accurate handload (by far) was a 110gr bullet over smoky old Hercules powder.”
Didn’t mean “bullet” (duh). I was using good-quality hollowpoints for these reloads and had good accuracy with both .38SP loadings and hot jumped-up .357 loadings. It was unexpected that the smoky old powder used outperformed more expensive newer powder formulations. It’s been years now since the handloading, so that may have changed.
I only carry the old “flamethrower” 125gr factory loadings in the GP-100, even though less accurate than the 110gr handloads. Simply for the sheer power. The smaller SP-101, once it’s in my hands, will use factory 110gr.
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