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.


At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could swear my GP100s in .38/.357 use the same speed loaders as my S&W .357 L-frames, not K-frames.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Mulliga said...

Thanks Anon - I had it backwards. It turns out I had the slightly larger L-frame-sized HKS speedloaders. They fit in the GP-100 and also fit (sorta loosely) in my Model 10, which led to my confusion.


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