Plinking Power

Ruger’s GP-100 in .22 LR is a large, solidly built stainless-steel revolver. 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY BOB SHELL

Ruger always seems to be coming out with new products, and many of them are very interesting and desirable. Some are variations of previous successes, such as the popular GP-100 in .22 LR. This gun is part of a family of sturdy-framed double-action revolvers that evolved from Ruger’s early 1970s introduction, the Security Six.

The author firing the sturdy stainless-steel revolver in the field.

The author firing the sturdy stainless-steel revolver in the field.

As you can imagine, this revolver is very large for its caliber. You’d expect a double-action GP revolver from Ruger to be large and sturdy, and it is. If you are looking for some power when you go plinking, this could be the gun for you.

According to my trigger pull gauge, the single action broke at 6 pounds, while the double action broke between 19 and 20, which is certainly extreme. It has a 10-shot cylinder, and since it is a .22, recoil is virtually nonexistent. I wouldn’t recommend dry firing it much, if at all, because, as with all rimfires, if the firing pin hits the edge of the chamber some damage may occur.

It is a massive, well-built revolver made from stainless steel, which means that weight may be an issue for those who may plan to carry it a lot. The rear sight is adjustable, and the front is a fiber optic, which makes it easier to pick up, especially in less than ideal lighting conditions. It comes in the durable case and, of course, the ever-present lock is included. The grips have a wood center panel and rubber on the outside where you hold it, and they are both comfortable and attractive. It also comes with Ruger’s patented transfer bar mechanism, which provides an unparalleled measure of security against accidental discharge.

 

A close-up of the cushioned rubber grips with wooden inserts.

A close-up of the cushioned rubber grips with wooden inserts.

SINCE IT IS SO STURDY, I’d like to see it chambered for the .22 rimfire Magnum, either as a replacement cylinder or as another variation of the gun. While the cartridges will chamber, it isn’t a good idea to shoot .22 rimfires in a magnum cylinder. The .22 LR ammo may split, and wouldn’t be accurate even if they don’t.

This gun is built so well that I don’t think it could be worn out regardless of how many rounds are put through it, especially since the .22 is a low-pressure round that enhances the life of any gun chambered for it. Because the DA trigger break was so high, I did the majority of my shooting single action. I don’t possess strong hands and can’t get any accuracy shooting DA. Hitting cans is easier using single action even out to 25 yards, and better shooters will be able to extend that range, as the gun has excellent accuracy.

The sights are easy to pick up, which is always an asset when shooting or hunting in reduced light. I have chronographed many calibers in both rifles and handguns, and depending on the load and other factors, velocity is commonly from 200 to 400 feet per second faster in the long gun as the shorter barrel and flash gap reduces velocity. During my testing of the GP-100, the ammo was about 200 fps slower than from a rifle.

Making reloaded rimfire ammo isn’t worth the time, trouble and expense involved, so factory loads are your best bet. As with any gun, this one will show a preference to a specific load or loads, and there are a variety of good factory ones to test what this particular revolver likes.

A size comparison of the .22 LR cartridge (above) and the .22 rimfire Magnum.

A size comparison of the .22 LR cartridge (above) and the .22 rimfire Magnum.

I consider the .22 RF round as one of the most dangerous in existence. Because it is small, people tend to underestimate it. But it is dangerous at longer distances, and you should never shoot it at a flat surface, as it will ricochet like any other cartridge and the shooter has no control as to where it will go.

The .22 LR is a decent small game load. I have shot a lot of squirrels and rabbits with it, especially when using hollow points. The .22 is also good for training someone because the lack of both recoil and muzzle blast will not intimidate a new or younger shooter. In addition, the .22 RF remains less expensive than centerfire rounds, even though they have gone up in price in the last few years.

There are several excellent factory .22 LR rounds available, including the Gold Medal UltraMatch cartridges from Federal Premium. (FEDERAL PREMIUM)

There are several excellent factory .22 LR rounds available, including the Gold Medal UltraMatch cartridges from Federal Premium. (FEDERAL PREMIUM)

If you shop around, good deals are available, especially for 500-round bricks. Such purchases will cut down the cost on shooting and for most uses the inexpensive ammo works as well as the pricey stuff. I have shot a good amount of rimfire ammo, and the cheap stuff is nearly as accurate  as the pricey fodder, especially in  noncompetition guns.

When it comes to having fun shooting there is nothing like a .22 rimfire. It is easy on the ears and pocketbook, and a family can buy a 500 pack of ammo and shoot all day. Many shooters, including yours truly, started with a singleshot .22 rifle.

I always ask other shooters for input during a gun test, as people tend to have different preferences. For example, I have a single six with both cylinders and I prefer it for daily carry, as it is lighter and more compact. But the GP100 could be ideal for someone who shoots often because I don’t believe you can shoot it enough to wear it out. It is one rugged design, and most of the shooters I spoke with liked it.

A brick of Remington’s Thunderbolt cartridges will provide plenty of practice with the GP100. (REMINGTON)

A brick of Remington’s Thunderbolt cartridges will provide plenty of practice with the GP100. (REMINGTON)

At the conclusion of any gun test, I have the choice to either return the gun or buy it. But sometimes someone I know will purchase it if they want it, and that is exactly what happened to this gun. ASJ

The Ruger GP100 comes in a durable case.

The Ruger GP100 comes in a durable case.

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December 10th, 2016 by