Ruger GP-100 “Match Champion” 357 Magnum Double-Action Revolver

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

January 9th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.









Transfer bar safety.



Windage-adjustable rear Novak sight with interchangeable fiber-optic front sight.



Front of cylinder is radiused.








The GP-100 double-action 357 Magnum revolver has been in production for twenty-eight years now. I remember back when it was first introduced, Ruger announced that they were replacing the Security-Six with this stronger GP-100 design. I was disappointed, as the Security-Six was an excellent sixgun. It was stronger than the S&W K-frame, which as about the same size, very accurate, and as durable as an anvil. The GP-100 had a hard act to follow, and compared to most of the GP-100 line of revolvers, I still prefer the old Security-Six.  The reason for this is that the GP-100, in its most-common form, is heavier than the Security-Six, with most GP revolvers encountered wearing a full-lug barrel. The Six series guns had just enough underlug to enclose the ejector rod, and it quit right there.

However, with this new Match Champion GP-100, Ruger got it right. Just right. The barrel wears a half-lug; just enough to enclose the ejector rod. Also, the sides of the barrel are machined flat, further reducing the weight of the barrel on this GP-100. The front of the cylinder is radiused, making the revolver just a bit easier to slide into a holster. The Match Champion has the best trigger pull that I have ever felt on a GP-100 sixgun. The double-action pull is butter-smooth, and the single-action pull is very crisp. The grip is a Hogue unit made from some type of hardwood, and the stippling provides a secure grip, without being abrasive to the hand. This is one of the most comfortable-to-fire 357 Magnum revolvers that I have ever held in my hands.

The detailed specifications of the Match Champion are listed in the chart below. All linear measurements are in inches, and the weight is listed in ounces. The trigger pulls are listed in pounds of resistance. SA is the single-action trigger pull. DA is the double-action trigger pull. Height includes the sights. Two barrel/cylinder gap measurements are listed, as I had two revolvers here, with differing barrel/cylinder gap measurements, but both were very uniform from chamber to chamber.

Weight 37.6 ounces
Barrel Length 4.2 inches
Trigger Pull SA 3.75 pounds
Trigger Pull DA 6.6 pounds
Cylinder Length 1.61 inches
Cylinder Diameter 1.55 inches
Chambers 6
Overall Length 9.51 inches
Overall Height 5.9 inches
Barrel / Cylinder Gap 0.003 / 0.005 inch
Ammunition 357 Magnum / 38 Special
MSRP (as of January 9, 2014) $899 US

For accuracy and function testing, I tried every type of 357 Magnum factory ammunition that I had available to me, as well as two 38 Special hollowpoint loads. The ammo consisted mostly of high performance ammunition, along with one of my favorite cast bullet handloads that I use as a general purpose plinking and casual target load. This moderate handload uses the excellent Mt. Baldy 173 grain plain base Keith semi-wadcutter bullet (my supply is getting low) with six grains of Hodgdon Titegroup powder. The accuracy of the GP-100 was tested with the revolver secured into my Ransom Master Series machine rest. The chronograph results are listed in the chart below. The excellent accuracy is shown in the pictures. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. SP is a jacketed soft point bullet. DPX and TAC-XP loads use an homogenous copper hollow nose bullet made by Barnes Bullet Company, as loaded by Cor-Bon and Buffalo Bore. Glaser is a specialty jacketed bullet with a compressed pre-fragmented core. HC is a hard-cast lead bullet. Keith is the aforementioned semi-wadcutter cast lead bullet. Velocities were recorded at a distance of twelve feet from the muzzle, and are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. Testing was done on a windy day with a steady twenty mile per hour breeze and an air temperature in the twenty-eight degree Fahrenheit range, at an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level, and relative humidity of thirty-seven percent.

357 Magnum

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Remington Golden JHP 125 1237
Atomic JHP 158 1337
Cor-Bon HC 200 1133
Cor-Bon DPX 125 1504
Cor-Bon SP 180 1220
Cor-Bon JHP 125 1401
Cor-Bon Glaser 80 1736
Buffalo Bore TAC-XP 140 1626
Buffalo Bore JHP 125 1602
Buffalo Bore JHP 170 1247
Buffalo Bore JHP 158 1393
Buffalo Bore HC 180 1341
Grizzly Cartridge HC 180 1184
Handload Keith 173 1219

38 Special

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore +P TAC-HP 110 1063
Remington Home Defense +P JHP 125 909

Accuracy varied from really good to superb with the GP-100 Match Champion revolver. As mentioned above, all accuracy testing was done at a distance of twenty-five yards, with the revolver secured into my Ransom Master Series machine rest. With each type of ammunition tested, the Ruger exhibited good accuracy. The largest group fired of the day measured just under two and one-half inches. The most-accurate ammo would consistently group five shots into one and one-quarter inches or less.

The Hogue hardwood grip on the Match Champion revolver handles the recoil of the 357 Magnum cartridge very well. The grip shape and angle feel as if it was made to fit an actual human hand, and the weapon points naturally for me. The front sight is easy to see in most lighting conditions. If there is any available light at all, the fiber-optic rod picks it up well, making the front sight easy to get on target. For paper-punching, the square profile of the front sight aids accurate shooting. The rear Novak sight is smooth, rugged, and adjustable for windage correction, if needed.

Extraction and ejection was smooth and easy with every load tested; even the hottest Buffalo Bore and Cor-Bon stuff. Most cases fell from the chambers without the aid of the extractor. The GP design locks the cylinder into place at three points; the rear of the cylinder at the center of the extractor star, the front of the cylinder at the crane, and at the bottom of the cylinder at the bolt notches. This system offers an aid to both strength and accuracy. The smooth trigger pull also contributed to the sixgun’s practical accuracy, making the weapon easy to keep on target as the trigger is pressed.

A lot of shooters these days dismiss the revolver in favor of a higher-capacity semi-automatic. There is nothing wrong with choosing a semi-auto for a hunting or fighting handgun, but a good 357 Magnum revolver usually offers better accuracy, and more power, using the best ammunition available. Also, a revolver does not leave brass scattered on the ground, which may or may not be a problem for the shooter, depending upon whether or not it is legal to carry and use a firearm in that particular location. I always recommend that people obey the law, but when the law violates your right to keep and bear arms, I no longer recommend obeying that law. It is often necessary to carry a gun where doing so violates the law. If forced to use a firearm in such a situation, leaving behind brass is a bad idea, and a revolver does not leave brass on the ground. For whitetail deer hunting, a 357 Magnum sixgun like this GP-100 is an excellent choice, having the accuracy and power needed to cleanly harvest the animal at short to moderate distances.

With the creation of this new GP-100 Match Champion, Ruger has built my favorite 357 Magnum double-action revolver. It is smooth, accurate, reliable, tough, and sized just right. They paid attention to the details, and got the details right. Like all Ruger firearms, the GP-100 is built right, and built in the USA.

Check out the extensive line of Ruger firearms and accessories online at

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To order premium quality 357 Magnum and 38 Special ammunition online, go to,,, and

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

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Click pictures for a larger version.







One of Jeff's favorite 357 Magnum loads is this 140-grain lead-free from Buffalo Bore.





Superb accuracy.