Lipsey’s Liberates The Overlooked And "Obsolete"

0

A pair of keepers! Ruger GP100’s in .44 Special and .357 Magnum frame a Barranti/Myres Threeperson’s shuck and Snap-On Cartridge slides.

Innovation is a wonderful thing, just so long as we don’t forget our past. Some think the newest released hellcat or horsed-up hotrod is the way to go, while forgetting about the forefathers of firearm fodder. Many are overlooking the old guys, even considering them obsolete. Me? I like both!

I call the .357 Magnum the .30-06 of the wheelgun world. At its inception, it was considered a fire-breathing dragon. Hell, some even hunted polar bear with it. Now? It’s been rejected to the rubbish pile by the new wave of know-it-all’s.

As to the .44 Special, it was the seed Elmer Keith nurtured, loading it to 1,200 FPS, giving us the .44 Magnum. Using his Lyman 429421 cast bullet, anything in the lower 48 could be taken with it. Even loaded to 900-1,000 FPS, the .44 Special can take care of the majority of chores asked of it.

Cast of characters for Tank’s testing includes Lyman 4-cavity 358429 and Miha Previc 6-cavity version of the Hensley & Gibbs 503 Keith bullet.

Lipsey’s Likes ‘Em!

Recently, Lipsey’s (a large distributor of Ruger firearms) released a tangible trio in Ruger’s GP100’s. However, Jason Cloessner, Lipsey VP in charge of product design tweaked these DA revolvers to put a smile on any sixgunner’s face who’s familiar with the likes of Skeeter Skelton and Steve Herrett. For you youngsters, if these names mean nothing to you, do yourself a favor and Google these guys. I bet you know how to do that!

This trio consists of a 7-shot .327 Federal, 6-shot .357 magnum and lastly, 5-shot .44 Special. What self-proclaimed sixgunner could deny himself these classic cartridges in his quest for the DA Holy Grail? The .327 Federal is the new kid on the block, but Jason saw fit, and rightfully so, to include the old timers, too! Obviously Jason is well rooted to this sixgun game and knows how young and old shooters in the know will appreciate these grey-bearded go-to’s.

Close-up of white outline adjustable rear sight and brass bead front sight.

Overall Specs

These blued beauties sport 5" barrels with dovetailed front sights and adjustable rear sights. Hammer and trigger are stainless steel. The most noticeable change is some wonderful walnut stocks made by Altamount, with input from Jason Cloessner. I fondly call them “baby Roper’s” after the Herrett’s Roper stocks Skeeter Skelton liked so much. Wrapping your hand around these stocks provides a comfortable, secure grip while giving this version of Ruger’s GP100 a classic, nostalgic look. These guns have the traditional looks of guns made several decades ago, which Jason was trying to accomplish — and succeeded.

Of all the samples I handled, I noticed everyone has a better than average DA trigger pull, which is great to see. The .357 has a fluted cylinder, while the .44 Special has a smooth one. Overall length is 10.5" and weight is 38 ounces.

Shootin’ these Sixguns

To me, there’s nothing more proper than shooting classic cast “Keith” bullets in a sixgun. It’s just a natural way to get back to the root of the matter as we exercise our rights to own, shoot and enjoy our guns. Nothing clears the mind or lifts our spirits like a good day on the range making clean cut holes from the broad-shouldered driving band of a “Keith” slug you cast and loaded yourself. It’s simply a symphony of shooting satisfaction.

em>Speaking of Elmer Keith, this shows how he would elevate his front sight and perch his target on top of the front sight for elevation. With a lot of practice, you’ll be amazed at how far you can shoot at something and hit it.

.44 Special

I used a Miha 6-cavity mold, which drops 503 Hensley & Gibbs, style “Keith” slugs weighing in at 265-penetrating grains. To my way of thinking, there’s only one load for the .44 Special, the Skeeter load. Consisting of the classic “Keith” bullet loaded over 7.5 grains of Unique, sparked by a Winchester LPP, this union of gun-lore past makes for an accurate, powerful load running around 1,000 FPS, depending on barrel length.

Shooting DA with a rest, placing five slugs into 2" was the norm at 25 yards. SA was a tad
smaller at around 1.5".

Here are a couple of Tank’s targets shooting DA from the bench at 25 yards. Nothing like a good sixgun for accuracy — and ya’ don’t have to chase your brass!

.357 Magnum

When Elmer designed his Lyman 358429 mold, the long-nosed slug was designed for .38 special cases. If Magnum brass was used, the nose would peek out the cylinder throat, tying up the whole works in short order, so you had to crimp over the front driving band. Have no fear, using .38 special brass is my preferred method as there is an abundance of range brass in that caliber waiting for the taking. Loaded over 13 grains of 2400, lit by a SPP, most guns shoot this iconic load in excess of 1,250 FPS. That’s a lot of horsepower for a 170-grain handgun bullet. Accuracy is about the same as the .44 Special. Shooting DA, with a rest, groups hovered around 2" for five shots at 25 yards. SA shooting shrank the groups down about 1.5".

Go Getcha’ One, or Two, or all Three…

So if you’re a designated sixgunner looking for a modern made gun which scratches a nostalgic itch and you know the value of old-time rimmed cartridges, propelling cast projectiles, the Ruger GP100 is just the gun for you. While shooting it, you’ll become familiar with the likes of Elmer, Skeeter, Steve Herrett and a host of sixgunner ghost’s past.

Check Back Each Wednesday For More Think Tank Articles

Make sure you get Think Tank every week. Click here to sign up now.