Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Guns: Ruger GP100 Match Champion review - Six for Score


Full-size revolvers have been absent from military and police holsters for decades, but the guns are still widely used by private citizens for defense and for competition shooting (specifically, IDPA Stock Revolver and IPSC Revolver divisions). Today's review looks at a version of the Ruger GP100 geared for such tasks: the Match Champion, chambered in .357 Magnum.

Fit and Features

Much like the Smith and Wesson's Model 686 SSR, the Match Champion isn't a custom shop gun, but rather a parts-improved variant of Ruger's production GP100. That means there's no action or trigger work here, but you do get a unique Hogue wooden grip, a slabsided 4.2" crowned barrel with relieved underlug, and a very slightly chamfered and radiused cylinder:

As a GP100, the Match Champion has the advantage of having lots of accessories and holsters available, both from Ruger and aftermarket. I found it worked fine with HKS speedloaders designed for K-Frames. [CORRECTION - I had it backwards; it turns out I had HKS speedloaders designed for L-frames/GP100s, which do work in my S&W Model 10 - thanks Anon]

Sights and Trigger

I opted for the model with a fully adjustable rear sight (a fixed Novak low-profile rear is also available). The front sight is a bright green fiber optic that stands out pretty well in most lighting conditions.

While the trigger hasn't actually been worked on by a smith, Ruger tumbles and polishes the fire control parts and adds a centering boss and shims for the trigger and hammer. The resulting double-action pull is a bit smoother than a stock gun, but not really any lighter.

Range Report

The Match Champion is probably one of the most comfy .357s I've ever fired - manageable even with full-house loads, and quite pleasant with target-loaded .38s. My offhand accuracy was excellent, especially compared to the teensy J-Frames I'm used to shooting.

Remington .38 Special UMC 158 gr. lead RN, 12 rounds @ 15 yards:

Handload .38 Special (158 gr Hornady JHP over 3.9 grains Bullseye), 5 rounds @ 15 yards:

Handload .38 Special (158 gr Speer LSWCHP over 3.5 grains Bullseye), 5 rounds @ 15 yards:

Remington .38 Special UMC 125 gr SJHP, 6 rounds @ 15 yards:

Remington .357 Magnum Golden Saber 125 gr., 12 rounds @ 15 yards:


Ruger is known for making reasonably priced, tank-like revolvers that do a yeoman's job, but the Match Champion shows they can gussy things up, too. I had a great time shooting it, and if you're in the market for a full-size .357, it should be on your shortlist.

Books: My Hero Academia

Superhero stories are a dime a dozen these days, but I've enjoyed breezing through "My Hero Academia," a manga series by Kōhei Horikoshi. The books are set in a modern-day Japan where 80% of the population manifests supernatural powers called "Quirks." Most people's Quirks are minor enough that they live ordinary lives, but a select few become government-sanctioned professional superheros ("Pro Heroes")... and others become dastardly villains.

The series follows Izuku Midoriya, a timid boy who was born without a Quirk. Izuku dreams of becoming a Pro Hero like his idol, the Superman-esque No. 1 Pro Hero, "All Might." Through a twist of fate, Izuku gets enrolled in Japan's elite academy for heroes, U.A. High School, and encounters a wide selection of friends, rivals, heroes, and villains.

"My Hero Academia" is hardly original (it's basically "X-Men" crossed with "Harry Potter"), but the characters are charming enough and the plot beats are absurd enough (a battle royale hero licensing exam) that it's still a lot of fun.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Miscellany: Dragon Con 2019 - Simon, you are getting older

For our gaming group, this year's Dragon Con was a low-key affair. Maybe we're slowing down with age, but we didn't have the time to make the elaborate costumes of years past, nor the wherewithal to spend 10 hours playing our usual D&D pickup game. Still, it's always nice seeing old friends, and the convention itself is bigger than ever.

The big panel we attended was for "Good Omens," a novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman that was recently adapted into an Amazon/BBC TV series. Pretty much everyone there was dressed as either Aziraphale or Crowley, which made for a delightful photo op:

If cosplay pictures are your priority, the glass walls of Aviva make it a great place for people-watching. The restaurant is located in the Hub at the Peachtree Center, Dragon Con's unofficial cafeteria.

As far as gaming goes, while we didn't play our own campaign, we did try out a Pathfinder Second Edition playtest and the Pathfinder Adventure "Skull & Shackles" card game. Both games were fun, but they had some definite balance issues and maddening rules.

The highlight of the weekend was a stripped-down performance by The Slants, an Asian-American band most famous for winning a First Amendment case in front of the Supreme Court.

Continuing with the Asian-American theme, I only wore a single costume at this year's con: Bruce Lee's famous yellow jumpsuit from "Game of Death."

Well, that's it for this year's Con - see you guys next year...

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Movies: The Peanut Butter Falcon

The river journey has been a staple of American fiction since Huck Finn, and "The Peanut Butter Falcon" continues the tradition by sending an odd couple (a runaway dreaming of becoming a pro wrestler and a roguish fisherman) down North Carolina's Outer Banks:

The film is a feel-good passion project of writer-directors Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz, who wrote the movie specifically to show off actor Zack Gottsagen's talents. It's been tough for Gottsagen to break through (he hails from Boynton Beach and has Down syndrome), but this film should change that.  Gottsagen and his costars Shia LeBeouf and Dakota Johnson (both doing the best work they've done in years) give the film a good-natured energy, and are joined by a fine supporting cast that includes Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, and Jon Bernthal.

In its reliance on the river setting and the personal dilemmas of the protagonists, the movie reminds me a lot of "The Cure," and it unfortunately shares some of the same problems, like loose plotting and a third act that wraps up a little too tidily to feel natural. Still, I enjoyed seeing a local boy like Gottsagen make good, and I do recommend "The Peanut Butter Falcon."

Rating: 8/10