Lipsey's Ruger Perfect
Packin' Trio

.357 Mag. .44 Special .327 Federal Mag.
3

This Trio of Lipsey’s/Ruger GP100 Half-Lugs are a 6-shot .357 Magnum, 5-shot .44 Special and a 7-shot .327 Magnum.

John ran factory loads from Black Hills and Buffalo Bore in .357 GP.

Friend and fellow shootist Jason Cloessner of Lipsey’s, a major Ruger distributor, certainly understands the concept of the “Perfect Packin’ Pistol” and repeatedly comes up with special editions fitting our definition. The latest from Lipsey’s is not just one but a Trio of Perfect Packin’ Pistols from Ruger. Starting with the basic GP100 Jason made two major changes. Instead of a 4" or 6" barrel this special edition has a 5" barrel. Instead of the normal full under-lug configuration it has what Jason describes as a Half-Lug barrel. The outline is much like the classic double actions found in the middle of the 20th century.

Instead of stainless steel as most GP100’s are, the Half-Lug is a blued steel revolver. GP100’s are normally fitted with smallish rubber grips with a wooden insert in each panel. The grips on the Half-Lug are a total departure and were in fact manufactured by Altamont. They are all walnut with an inlaid Ruger medallion and some of the most comfortable double-action sixgun grips I’ve encountered in a long time. When I questioned him, Jason told me they had been produced to his specifications, saying he wanted to replicate a Roper-style the best he could and still work on the GP platform. He also said, “Years of looking at your finely stocked sixguns have made an impression!”

All in all he did an excellent job in coming up with some very comfortable, good feeling and good looking classic-style grips. Normally I like to fit my sixguns with custom stocks however there’s no need to do it in this instance. These are the best grips found on a double-action sixgun since the walnut stocks from Dan Wesson in the 1980s. As with all GP100 sixguns these will accept any grips made for the Super Redhawk.

The .327 Magnum GP100 also handles .32 Magnum and other .32 loads. Here’s good results with the .32 Magnum.

Black Hills 125- and 158-JHP’s performed well in the versatile .357 Magnum.

Triple Action

This Lipsey’s GP100 Ruger is offered in three chamberings. At first glance all the models look the same. They’re all blued, with the custom stocks and the 5" barrel, and even though it’s a Half-Lug, it’s a bull barrel style. Looking at the very pleasing outline of this revolver drummed up memories from 50 years ago. I was still relatively young when Skeeter Skelton designed his “Dream Sixgun.” He took the best features of several revolvers of the time with his choice of caliber being .357 Magnum and a barrel length of 5".

These are all double-action sixguns with of course the ability to be fired single action. They are all steel and have excellent sights, with an adjustable rear sight mated with a post front and gold bead insert. In a word they’re excellent for a sixgun like this.

The three chamberings offered are .327 Federal Magnum, .357 Magnum and .44 Special. The cylinders of the three have a capacity of seven rounds, six rounds and five respectively. The first two have fluted cylinders, while the 5-shot .44 Special cylinder is unfluted. The 5-round chambering is necessitated by the fact the cylinder on the GP100 is too small to accept six .44 caliber holes.

The .327 is 39 oz., the .357 also 39 oz. and the .44 Special is just slightly lighter at 38 oz. thanks to the bigger holes. The three barrel twists are different with the .327 being 1:16", the .357 Magnum is 1:183/4" and the .44 Special is the slowest at 1:20". All GP’s have the same basic action as the Super Redhawk thus are normally smoother from the box than regular Redhawks. All three of these are highly usable as they came from Lipsey’s, however actions can always benefit from the attention of an expert!

.327 Federal Magnum

Our latest magnum sixgun cartridge is another example of not really realizing what was possible. The .327 Federal Magnum was introduced in the pocket-sized Ruger SP101 and promoted as a self-defense combination. It may well be a good choice for this application, offering excellent stopping power with less recoil than the .357 Magnum. When the .327 first arrived I hoped Ruger and other manufacturers would realize the versatility of the .327 by offering models with longer barrels and fully adjustable sights. Thanks to Lipsey’s, the .327 Magnum has been offered in several iterations. Once we get away from the pocket-sized versions we find the .327 Magnum to be an excellent varmint cartridge and has also been used successfully on deer-sized game when loaded with the right bullets.

The .327 Magnum is nothing more than a longer .32 Magnum and both cartridges can be used in the same cylinder. In fact the .327 is quite versatile as it not only accepts both of these Magnum cartridges, but it can also be used with .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long cartridges. It even accepts and fires .32 ACP cartridges, which have just enough of a rim to keep them from entering too far into the cylinder. The .32 ACP won’t win any prizes for accuracy but in a pinch if that’s all you have available they’ll work. Buffalo Bore’s .32 ACP +P loading using a 75-gr. hard cast flat nose clocks out at 822 fps and groups in 2" for six shots at 20 yards.

My most accurate shooting .327 Magnum loads were both assembled with 10.0 grains of #2400. This has been my standard .32-20 loading for decades and I simply use the same one in the newer .327. With the Lyman #311316 gas checked bullet sized to 0.312" the muzzle velocity is 1,328 fps with six-shot groups at 20 yards of 11/8". Using the Speer Gold Dot 115 JHP groups are just slightly larger with a muzzle velocity of just under 1,300 fps.

For fun, the Black Hills .32 Magnum 85-gr. JHP clocks out at just under 1,100 fps with a 6-shot group of 13/8". Buffalo Bore’s Heavy .32 Magnum +P loading consisting of a 100-gr. JHP at 1,360 fps delivered a 11/8" group, while their 130 Hard Cast Keith bullet load has the same accuracy at 1,220 fps.

The .44 Special

The .44 Special GP100 is almost as versatile as the .327 Magnum as it will not only accept .44 Special loads but .44 Russian and .44 Colt loads as well. I tried 15 factory loads in all three chamberings and nine .44 Special handloads and I can say this is one of the most accurate .44 Specials I have experienced. The fact it has uniform chamber mouths of 0.431" certainly has something to do with it.

The Black Hills 210 .44 Colt clocks out just under 700 fps with a 11/8" group at 20 yards while the very short .44 Russian 200-gr. load from PMC places four shots in 3/4" with a muzzle velocity of 740 fps. Switching to the .44 Special factory loads we find the Black Hills 250-Keith (now discontinued) at 750 fps and a 1" group; Buffalo Bore’s Anti-Personnel 200-gr. Hard Cast Wadcutter, 1,040 fps, 5/8"; and Federal’s 200-SWC Lead HP grouping into 7/8" at 875 fps. My choice for a serious everyday load for roaming the desert, foothills, forests and mountains is the Buffalo Bore Outdoorsman 255-gr. Hard Cast semi-wadcutter at 1,025 fps and grouping 3/4" at 20 yards.

The Lipsey’s Ruger GP100 series has custom walnut grips instead of the typical GP100 rubber grips (left).

The .357 Magnum

I expect this sixgun to be the most popular of the Lipsey’s/Ruger GP100 Trio, as next to a good .22 everyone should have a quality .357 Magnum and that’s exactly what this sixgun is. Of course, the .357 Magnum is also versatile in that it will accept .38 Special loads and even .38 Long Colt Cowboy Loads. My most-used factory load for the .357 is the Black Hills 125-JHP as I not only use it in .357 Magnum Pocket Pistols, it’s also my cartridge of choice for hunting turkeys where you don’t have to use a shotgun. This load clocks out at 1,400 fps with a 11/8" 5-shot group at 20 yards.

The Black Hills 158-JHP is 100 fps slower but shoots slightly tighter, with a solid 1" group. HPR’s 125-JHP is just under 1,300 fps with a group just over 1". Buffalo Bore also offers a 125-JHP +P that clocks out at, would you believe, 1,666 fps and does so quite accurately with a group of 11/2". Buffalo Bore also offers their Outdoorsman loading consisting of a 180-gr. Hard Cast Gas Check bullet at 1,435 fps. This would be my load of choice for wandering off the beaten path with the GP100 Lipsey’s/Ruger .357 Magnum.

The GP100 has been around well over 30 years and has a proven track record of reliability — it’s virtually indestructible. These Custom Lipsey’s/Ruger renditions are a welcome addition to my battery of double-action sixguns.

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