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Thread: Ruger 5" 44 Special half lug GP100

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Ruger 5" 44 Special half lug GP100

    Lipsey's had a run of these made. http://www.lipseys.com/itemdetail.aspx?itemno=RUGP4451 I manfully resisted temptation for almost a full day before I ordered one. My LGS charged me $650, before state tax. Here's what I can tell you about mine:
    Cylinder throats will all take a 0.431 pin gauge, none will take a 0.432 gauge.
    With my set of cheap feeler gauges, Barrel-cylinder gap is more than 0.002", less than 0.0035", call it 0.003".
    I can't feel any thread choke with a tight patch on a cleaning rod.
    The smooth wood stocks are nice looking, but they sure are slippery.
    You can see a little daylight between the front sight and the barrel, but it's not an obnoxious amount.
    I had a couple of hours of daylight left when I was done measuring, so I headed to the local shooting spot and set up some paper plates at 25 yards. I had two batches of "Skeeter" loads, with the RCBS 44-250-Keith (262 grains in my alloy) sized .430 over some stout charges of Universal Clays and Unique. Yeah, I know they should be sized .432 for this Ruger, but that was what I had loaded and sitting on the shelf.
    First shots hit a foot and a half high. Uh-oh. Cranked the rear sight all the way down, and the Skeeter loads still hit 4" above point of aim for me. Did I mention the stocks were slippery? Turned out they don't fit my hand too well, either.
    After 50 rounds or so I had a touch of leading close to the forcing cone, about what I expect from bullets cast a little hard and a touch undersized.
    Here's the part where I get to tell a tall tale about the accuracy of the Ruger, either good or bad. Sorry, between the slippery stocks and my lack of practice I can only tell you it seems to be more than adequate, but promising groups were always marred by me yanking the trigger when the gun was pointed someplace other than it should have been.
    I sent an email off to Ruger, asking about getting a taller front sight. They sent me a service tag number for a new rear sight blade. We'll see how that works out.
    I ordered a set of Pachmayr "Diamond Pro" rubber grips online. They arrived and I put them on tonight. They're a version of the Pachmayr "Grippers" I have on all my other revolvers. Maybe they'll be enough to pull the point of impact down where I want it.
    Right now, I'm real happy to have another .44 Special in the stable. I'm hoping with a little more work I'll be extra happy about this one.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks for the write up. They are also offering the same configuration in 327 federal. I definitely like the looks of the half lug barrel over the full lug. I might have to sell my 3" gp 44spl to buy this one. Hats off to Ruger and Lipsey's for making what there customers want. I just wish S&W would follow suit.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy

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    That blued half lug .44 Special is a definitely a good looking gun.
    Last edited by Pistolero49; 01-19-2018 at 09:34 AM.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Bub Warhawk's Avatar
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    On mine, all the throats will accept a .430 pin gauge, none will accept a .431, using a minus set of pin gauges. I have not slugged the barrel yet, need to get some dowel rod for that.

    Did you measure the diameter of the barrel shank? My calipers are too big to get there good, but mine measures pretty close to .535 that’s not much meat around a .429 Bore.
    Last edited by Warhawk; 02-08-2018 at 07:01 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Don't know why manufacturers can't get the sights right on new guns. Almost every gn I've bought in the last 3 or 4 years shoot high for me -- this incules adjustable sights with the rear bottomed out.

    Warhawk -- When I first got my M69, I measured the bbl shank on both the M69 and a 629

    M69 .620"
    M629 .630"

    Never measured the 696 (Orig L Frame S&W .44 special), but the barrel shank was very thin.

    Paul

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy oldhenry's Avatar
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    I very nice looking revolver.
    I have the 3" SS & the 5" full lug blue now. I'll resist adding this one.........for a while.
    SS is nice, but the blue finish is my favorite.
    Henry

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul105 View Post
    Don't know why manufacturers can't get the sights right on new guns. Almost every gn I've bought in the last 3 or 4 years shoot high for me -- this incules adjustable sights with the rear bottomed out.

    Warhawk -- When I first got my M69, I measured the bbl shank on both the M69 and a 629

    M69 .620"
    M629 .630"

    Never measured the 696 (Orig L Frame S&W .44 special), but the barrel shank was very thin.

    Paul
    It is all the rage now to use heavier than nominal weight bullets, thus the higher front sight. If the sight was the correct height for 240 - 260 grain bullets the heavy bullet users would complain. As it, it is easier to make a tall sight shorter than a short sight taller.

    There is an easy fix as Ruger makes a taller rear sight blade (white outline) for the Redhawk. This blade will interchange with all other Ruger sights. Install one of these and you are good to go with nominal weight bullets.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Unfortunately, for me anyway, they all shoot high with factory sights (therefore need a higher front sight or lower rear ) -- even higher for heavier bullets.

    Here's a target I shot with my 4 1/4" S&W M69. Rested at 25 yds with rear sight bottomed out. Aim point same for all loads (center diamond). Only shot two of each load to minimize recoil induced fatigue and target clutter. Interesting to note lateral dispersion of various loads in addition to vertical impact with different bullet weights.



    S&W fixed this with a lower rear blade on later M69s.

    Recent Ruger and Colt firearms also shoot high for me (even with adj sights bottomed out).

    I know the problem is fixable, but it's a bit of a pain, and in my opinion shouldn't be necessary.

    Sorry for high jack.

    FWIW

    Paul
    Last edited by Paul105; 01-19-2018 at 12:00 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Last new GP100 I bought in mid 80s, but it came with a selection of different front sight blades. That was the point of the easy interchange push button thingy. Has Ruger gone back to pinned blades, or no assortment of fronts? Would seem the easiest would be to include a blade with enough meat to file for what ever bullet was desired. Anyway, could be a nice nitch market for someone with a CNC mill.....if they are still interchangable.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Three-Fifty-Seven's Avatar
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    Ruger used a dovetailed front sight on both my GP 100 Match Champion, and 4.2" SP 101 ... no aftermarket support for the SP, the GP I had used Novak sights, but they didn't cut the dovetail in deep enough, so the sight had a ugly gap between the sight and barrel ... after the third gun, I sent back, I gave up!
    Shawn


    John 3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Interesting, I always thought that was a nice feature and kind of a "trait" of the GP100s. Oh well, looks like a nice revolver, I'd be in crept for mt 41special version
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warhawk View Post
    I got the same throat measurements on mine, using a minus set of pin gauges. I have not slugged the barrel yet, need to get some dowel rod for that.

    Did you measure the diameter of the barrel shank? My calipers are too big to get there good, but mine measures pretty close to .535 that’s not much meat around a .429 Bore.
    Well now. I got my micrometer out and measured the following barrel shank diameters:
    GP100: 0.513"
    S&W 696: 0.523"
    S&W 629: 0.621"
    Before we all panic and throw ourselves into traffic over shank diameters, I have another set of numbers, this one for the length of unsupported barrel shank sticking out of the frame:
    GP100: 0.050"
    S&W 696: 0.120"
    S&W 629: 0.107"
    What does this tell us? I can unequivocally state I'd rather shoot 44 Magnum loads in the 629 than the other two. As far as "Skeeter" level loads (250 SWC over 7.5 Unique for 900 fps) go, I'm going to keep running them through the GP100. As far as "Keith" loads (250 SWC at 1200 fps) go, I have a .44 Magnum for that kind of duty.
    Last edited by 376Steyr; 01-20-2018 at 01:55 AM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Was close to hitting on one of those but went for 5.5" flattop bisley.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub Warhawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 376Steyr View Post
    Well now. I got my micrometer out and measured the following barrel shank diameters:
    GP100: 0.513"
    S&W 696: 0.523"
    S&W 629: 0.621"
    Before we all panic and throw ourselves into traffic over shank diameters, I have another set of numbers, this one for the length of unsupported barrel shank sticking out of the frame:
    GP100: 0.050"
    S&W 696: 0.120"
    S&W 629: 0.107"
    What does this tell us? I can unequivocally state I'd rather shoot 44 Magnum loads in the 629 than the other two. As far as "Skeeter" level loads (250 SWC over 7.5 Unique for 900 fps) go, I'm going to keep running them through the GP100. As far as "Keith" loads (250 SWC at 1200 fps) go, I have a .44 Magnum for that kind of duty.
    Exactly my thoughts, as far as what to use in each Gun. I used to have a 696, but always worried about that super thing barrel shank and when I got a ridiculous offer for it, I sold it.

    I bought 500 poly coated Badman bullets, the are a 200 gr RNFP. I’m hoping I can find a 900-1000 FPS load with them that the GP shoots well.

    I’ve also sort of duplicated the old 38 Spl FBI load for the 44 Special. I use a 240 gr swaged SWCHP at about 850 FPS. This is one That shoots well in my little Rossi 720 with mild recoil.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by 376Steyr View Post
    Well now. I got my micrometer out and measured the following barrel shank diameters:
    GP100: 0.513"
    S&W 696: 0.523"
    S&W 629: 0.621"
    Before we all panic and throw ourselves into traffic over shank diameters, I have another set of numbers, this one for the length of unsupported barrel shank sticking out of the frame:
    GP100: 0.050"
    S&W 696: 0.120"
    S&W 629: 0.107"
    What does this tell us? I can unequivocally state I'd rather shoot 44 Magnum loads in the 629 than the other two. As far as "Skeeter" level loads (250 SWC over 7.5 Unique for 900 fps) go, I'm going to keep running them through the GP100. As far as "Keith" loads (250 SWC at 1200 fps) go, I have a .44 Magnum for that kind of duty.
    Taurus Tracker .44 Magnum shank diameter: 0.543" and stickout: 0.050"

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy bpatterson84's Avatar
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    I sure like the esthetics of this gun, I might need one someday. Really looking forward to seeing some more experiences with them, I hope they get sight regulation figured out. I suspect they want to trade out the rear because they have more of those laying around than the gold(or brass) dot front sight.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    When I was looking at GP100s I didnt like those full lugs neither. I really wanted 6" half lug GP100 Match Champion but they dont make those, only in 5" I think. I shot my friends 6" S&W with full lug and i think it was a bit front heavy. I still like my GP100 MC though even with this short 4.2" barrel. My first and so far only wheel gun. I'm starting to get this itch to pick up another wheel gun though in a larger bore like 44mag, 454 or 460 S&Ws are nice.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    I’ve noticed lately that quite a few guns are coming out with stock sights set up for 6 O'clock hold which will obviously shoot “high” if you were not aware of the factory’s intent. Maybe that is what is going on here?

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by falmike View Post
    I’ve noticed lately that quite a few guns are coming out with stock sights set up for 6 O'clock hold which will obviously shoot “high” if you were not aware of the factory’s intent. Maybe that is what is going on here?
    Not sure if the factory's intent is for a 6 o'clock hold. A 6 o'clock hold is only applicable for a certain size bullseye at a specific distance. This doesn't make sense for a gun that is more likely for hunting or self defense at random distances on a variety of targets. The rear sights have plenty of upward adjustment so it wouldn't hurt to add a few thou's to the front sights to make them more versatile. Ruger really needs to address this situation.

  20. #20
    Boolit Mold
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    Sounds like Ruger set the sights for 44 special (200 gr bullet moving at around 750 to 800 fps.) Since the flattops came out, everyone thinks the Skeeter load is the norm. Maybe they don't want heavy loads banging into the forcing cone. The local gun store I go to, had to send 2 back with forcing cone issues. Not sure what the issues were. He knows I want one, but am on the fence about the forcing cone. I would too think the Skeeter load is what it would get fed. He tells me to get the flattop.

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