Thursday, July 24, 2014

First Impressions Gemini Custom GP-100... a word, WOWIE ZOWIE!

I bought a Wiley Clapp 3-inch GP-100 (a TALO exclusive, I believe) off either Gunbroker or's the Gary James review from AMERICAN RIFLEMAN back in 2012 when the revolver was introduced:
Shooting the Wiley Clapp Ruger GP100 is a delight. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a nice piece to begin with, but I have to admit I really liked the grip. It fit my small-to-medium-size hands wonderfully and gave superior control and recoil absorption. The wide notch of the Novak rear sight allows for a bit of daylight on either side of the front sight, providing for quick and easy target acquisition—even in low light. While the action did not appear to have been tuned much, if at all, the revolver performed extremely well both in single-action and double-action operation, the trigger pull being crisp on the former and smooth and unglitchy on the latter. Bottom line: It was simply a lot of fun to shoot, and I did about as well with it as I can with any short-barreled .357.
I've wanted one for a while because:  
  1. Wiley is a really good friend of mine, even though he once almost got me killed sliding off an icy road on the way to GUNSITE, and...
  2. The ones I handled seemed to be really nice revolvers.
I saw one for a good price and snapped it up. To be honest, Wiley did indeed "write the book," in this case, books, including CONCEALED CARRY — THE SHOOTERS GUIDE TO SELECTING HANDGUNS and numerous articles on concealed carry and snubby revolvers (here's an example, and a list). Although I have learned an incredible amount about guns and shooting from Wiley, to the best of my knowledge he doesn't own a pair of 5.11 tactical pants. I mean, he was a Marine in Vietnam and spent a career in law enforcement, but I don't know whether you can call him a "tactical guy" or not.

Wiley's done a couple of designs for Colt, including the TALO Lightweight Commander and a really nifty Peacemaker in .44 Special, before the GP-100. I liked the Novak sights, I like the Roper-inspired wood grip panels (that mirror his grip design on the 1911 and the S.A.A.).

The gun out-of-the-box was okay, but I had heard great things about Marc and Karen Morganti at Gemini Custom, and the custom Rugers pictured on their site were to die for.

Here's what I asked Mark and Karen to do on Wiley Clapp gun, essentially a "Basic" package.

• Complete action tuning
• Crown barrel/chamfer cylinder throats
• Recontour and polish trigger
• "BOB" hammer
• Dehorn for carry
• Eliminate cylinder endshake
• Replace all springs
• Polish all plungers, springs, whatever
• Re-bead blast if necessary

I passed on the porting, because I blow hot and cold on ported pistols. After talking with Marc, the hammer's been polished and trimmed, but not removed (as it has been on my competition GP-100).

I got the gun back yesterday, and today between storms and visitors I put maybe 60 rounds through it before the storm caught me, mostly .38 Specials including ARMSCOR FMGs and Winchester +P 158-gr. Double action trigger pull is amazing...didn't even shoot it in the single action mode. I'll actually mkeasure it in the next day or two (remember, visitors!), but speaking as somewhat of a connoisseur of Ruger trigger pulls, this is one of the best I have. The gun is beautiful; the gun is smooth; the gun shoots like an extension of your hand.

This may be the best defensive revolver I've ever shot.


LC Scotty said...

Go you know if just the grips are available and will they fit any GP100?

Dan said...

They're the former standard stocks found on GP100's. The wood inserts are checkered distinctively.

As to finding them separately probably hard to find.

Eric said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Middle Man said...

TALO wholesalers recently rolled out a Wily Clapp SP-101

Bruce P said...


Just trying to get in touch - please send me an email when you can. Thanks Michael.


bluesun said...

LC Scotty and Dan:

Go to Altamont, they still make that style of wood insert grips, and you can pick and choose the wood type and any checkering you might want.

(As a side rant, I can't stand the Hogues that come with new GP's--finger grooves suck for anyone who isn't the guy they modeled the grips after, and that guy wasn't me.)

Michael Bane said...

Bruce P...


LC Scotty said...


Thanks so much-that's exactly what I'm looking for!! I agree about the grooves-absolutely hate them.