I shoot .38's almost exclusively in all my .357 guns. Reason? Lots of free brass. I reload, so the .38's can be at any power level I desire, including .357 level. I don't load much hot stuff, and if I do, I'm sure to mark the loads as .357 guns only.
Anyway, if you could buy a .38 only GP at a really good price, you wouldn't be giving up much. You could always have the cylinder reamed to accept .357's. Lots of old N frame Smith .38-44's had this done. Not sure they had the same level of heat treating as the .357's, but I don't read about them blowintg up with any regularity either.
For many years Ruger catalogued .38 Special only versions of the GP100. Most, if not all of them were fixed-sight, compact grip varients, as Ruger perceived their primary appeal to LEO/security orgaziations on a budget and wanting to provide a quality revolver without the additional training time/expense needed to train and familiarize their individuals on the increased power, recoil, and muzzle flip inherent to the .357 magnum cartridge. The ones that I've seen over the years have tended to be slower sellers, as most shooters usually prefer at least to have the option of loading .357 magnum, and subsequently are a bit lower priced.
Personally, I agree with GP100man-I almost always use .38 Special +P ammunition in both my GP100 and Security Six in both competition and carry, for reasons of increased controllability and decreased recovery times between shots. But I do keep some .357 magnum ammunition on hand, and I like having the option to use it...
There was a new blue one at my LGS that stayed there close to a year. I also remember a SP101 in .38 but can't remember how long it was there. Both new guns and haven't seen any more after these finally sold.
The 38 special GP100 was the only way Ruger could compete in the security guard market after they discontinued the Speed & Security Six. Most states only permit security guards to carry 38s unless they had served in the military and can qualify with auto.
The big problem Ruger faced was GPs size. S&W M10, Taurus and Rossi guns are the smaller K frame size while the GP is the L frame. If you have several hundred guards are you going to buy two sizes of holsters or one size of gun?
I honestly believe if Ruger had kept production of a K frame gun Taurus and Rossi would have been pushed out of the market a long time ago.
WOW Weaselmeat! that is one DANDY looking revolver!
I didn't know that Ruger did a fixed sight 4" FULL lug model! Sweeeeeet!
ANYWAYS - for all......so what makes it .38spl only????
Ruger didn't change the frame size. Is the cylinder dimensionally identical to the full-size .357mag??? Or is it shorter and the forcing cone just reaches out a tad further???
What measures did Ruger take to disable the ability of a magnum to be accidentally loaded/fired???
If the priced were right I might invest in a GP 100 38 Special but I'm more into 357s. I don't shoot 38s in my 357s because I don't like to clean the carbon ring associated with the shorter cartridge. If I want low powered loads in my 357s I use 357 brass and a starting load for the 357. That's just me. I always start with new brass and lately have been using Starline exclusively.
Around here the .38's seem to be worth less. I suspect there were fewer .38's made than .357's but many seem to be hung up on not being able to shoot .357 rounds even though the majority use only .38's.
Yea, after looking at the ballistics of a .38 special compared to my 9mm, I will stick with getting a .357 for $150 more. Sure just to shoot and say you have one is OK but, I am sticking to .357 for my next purchase and it will have more punch than my 9mm as well.