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36 MARCH 2017 VOLUME 58, ISSUE 2

Springfield’s First AR The new SAINT may look like other entrylevel ARs, but it isn’t one. Its unique features and ergonomic design set it apart. Steve Gash

42 48 54 60 63 64 66

2

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

American Compact Ruger has shortened the barrel, slide, and grip frame of its strikerfired, polymer-frame American Pistol, making it better suited for personal carry. Joel J. Hutchcroft

The First .30-Caliber Magnum Introduced 92 years ago, the .300 H&H Magnum was once the darling of big-game hunters and longrange competition shooters. Layne Simpson

Safari Prestige The Iside double rifle distributed by IFG is highly functional, finely constructed, and reasonably priced. Steve Gash

Hi Power Panache Nighthawk Custom’s finessing of the Browning Hi Power 9mm pistol has handgunners hankering for it. Joseph von Benedikt

Borescope You can do a lot more than look at a gun’s bore with the Hawkeye Borescope, and now it costs $150 less. Joel J. Hutchcroft

Quick Shot Leupold Thermal Optic The new LTO Tracker allows users to find downed game in dense brush, scout pests and predators at night, and enhance situational awareness. Jake Edmondson

Quick Shot Stoeger P3000 12-Gauge Pump This wallet-friendly 12-gauge pump gun will get the job done effectively without costing an arm and a leg. Jake Edmondson

Quick Shot SnapSafe Titan Offering modular gun safes that you assemble yourself, SnapSafe has taken a unique approach to firearms storage and security. Brad Fitzpatrick


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CONTENTS

MARCH 2017 VOLUME 58, ISSUE 2

SHOOTER’S UPDATE

An Outdoor Sportsman Group® Publication

PUBLISHER

8 Readers Speak Out

Chris Agnes

The more things change, the more they stay the same; revolver cartridges in rifles; learn to point-shoot; and more

EDITORIAL EDITOR IN CHIEF Joel J. Hutchcroft COPY EDITOR Michael Brecklin

10 New Guns & Gear New IMR Powders, Brownells Premium Electronic Muffs, LaserLyte White Pearl V-MAG Grip Laser, SIG SAUER .223 Match Ammo, and more

12 Ask the Experts How to use the RCBS Precision Mic, Competition Seating Die, and Neck Sizing Die and an easier way to remove lead

SHOOTER’S GALLERY 14 The Shootist

CONTRIBUTORS Jake Edmondson Steve Gash Allan Jones Lane Pearce Layne Simpson Bart Skelton Joseph von Benedikt Terry Wieland

ART ART DIRECTOR Luke M. Bouris GROUP ART DIRECTOR David A. Kleckner STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Anschuetz

PRODUCTION

Interarms Mark X Joseph von Benedikt

PRODUCTION MANAGER Terry Boyer PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Jenny Kaeb

20 The Ballistician .416 Remington Magnum Allan Jones

ENDEMIC AD SALES NATIONAL ENDEMIC SALES Jim McConville (440) 791-7017 WESTERN REGION Hutch Looney (818) 990-9000

26 The Reloader New Tools and Components Lane Pearce

SHOOTER’S SHOWCASE

MIDWEST REGION Rob Walker (309) 679-5069 EAST REGION Pat Bentzel (717) 695-8095

CORPORATE AD SALES EAST COAST ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Kathy Gross (678) 589-2065

68 Gunsmoke The Dangerous-Game Rifle Terry Wieland

MIDWEST ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Kevin Donley (248) 798-4458 MIDWEST & MOUNTAIN ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Carl Benson (312) 955-0496

72 Hipshots Big-Bore Believer Joel J. Hutchcroft

DIRECT RESPONSE ADVERTISING/NON-ENDEMIC Anthony Smyth (914) 693-8700 Shooting Times (ISSN 0038-8084) is published monthly with a bimonthly issue in Dec/Jan by Outdoor Sportsman Group®, 1040 6th Ave., 12th Floor, New York, NY 10018-3703. Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Shooting Times, P.O. Box 37539, Boone, IA 50037-0539. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to 500 Rt 46 East, Clifton, NJ 07011. Canada Post International Publications Mail Product/Sales Agreement No. 41405030.

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4

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

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Readers Speak Out Illustration: ©mstanley13 - fotolia.com New Guns & Gear Illustration: ©Oleksandr Moroz - fotolia.com Ask the Experts Illustration: ©rukanoga - fotolia.com


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SHOOTING gunsandammo.com handguns.com rifleshootermag.com shootingtimes.com firearmsnews.com

Copyright 2016 by Outdoor Sportsman Group® All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission. Shooting Times® is a registered trademark of Outdoor Sportsman Group® in the United States. The Publisher and authors make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of the information contained in this publication. Any reliance or use of the information is solely at your own risk, and the authors and publisher disclaim any and all liability relating thereto. Any prices given in this issue were suggested prices at the press time and are subject to change. Some advertisements in this magazine may concern products that are not legally for sale to California residents or residents in other jurisdictions. SUBSCRIPTIONS INQUIRIES: Should you wish to change your address, order new subscriptions, or report a problem with your current subscription, you can do so by writing Shooting Times, P.O. Box 37539, Boone, IA 50037-0539, or E-mail us at stmcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com, or call TOLL FREE 1-800-727-4353 or 1-800-494-2267. BE AWARE THAT SHOOTING TIMES ONLY ACCEPTS SUBSCRIPTION REQUESTS FROM AUTHORIZED AGENTS! WE MAY NOT HONOR REQUESTS FROM UNAUTHORIZED AGENTS, AND YOU THEREFORE MAY LOSE YOUR MONEY IF YOU BUY FROM AN UNAUTHORIZED AGENT. If you are offered a subscription to Shooting Times, please call 1-800-727-4353 to determine if the agent is authorized. For more information on subscription scams, please visit www.ftc.gov. Subscription rate for one year is $23.98 (U.S., APO, FPO, and U.S. possessions). Canada add $13.00 (U.S. funds) per year, includes sales tax and GST. Foreign add $15.00 (U.S. funds) per year. Occasionally, our subscriber list is made available to reputable firms offering goods and services that we believe would be of interest to our readers. If you prefer to be excluded, please send your current address label and a note requesting to be excluded from these promotions to: Outdoor Sportsman Group – 1040 6th Ave, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10018-3703 Attn: Privacy Coordinator, or email your label information and note to privacycoordinator@outdoorsg.com FOR REPRINTS: For Reprints/Eprints or Licensing/Permissions, please contact: Wright’s Media - TOLL FREE 1-877-652-5295. BOOKS, DVD’S & BACK ISSUES: TOLL FREE 1-800-260-6397 or visit our online store at www.outdoorsg.com/store. CONTRIBUTIONS: Manuscripts, photographs and artwork must be submitted to the editorial department with a SASE. The Publisher assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to unsolicited material. Please send to: Shooting Times, Editor, 2 News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61614. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.


SHOOTER’S UPDATE READERS SPEAK OUT

NEW GUNS & GEAR

ASK THE EXPERTS

Revolver Cartridges in Rifles

I GUESS THIS FALLS INTO THE CATEGORY OF THE MORE THINGS CHANGE,

the more they stay the same. When I saw the “Gunsmoke” column on the Hayley Man-Stopper bullet in the November 2016 issue, one thought immediately came to mind. Several decades back, before we had the surge of modern self-defense bullets, the solution to getting an effective self-defense round for short-nosed .38 Specials was readily available. One simply got a box of .38 lead wadcutter bullets and loaded them backwards. That is to put the flat lead nose against the powder, placing the open hollow end facing outwards. Looking at the Hayley bullet, it is a dead ringer for the reversed wadcutter solution. John S. Duty Winchester, KS

Is That a Wadcutter? I just read the column on the Hayley Man-Stopper. The bullet shown looks exactly like a .38-caliber hollowbase wadcutter turned upside down with maybe a gascheck on the base to cut down on any possible leading. This is exactly what I used over 40-plus years ago when I lived up north, but I abandoned the idea very quickly because I realized that with the heavy clothing worn during the winter the bullet would “plug up,” flatten out, and maybe, at best, penetrate 3 or 4 inches. I believe this is what will happen to the Hayley Man-Stopper. I think it is better to rely on the modern jacketed hollowpoints. They are designed for maximum penetration and expansion. Don L. Sharp Lakeland, FL 8

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

The article on revolver cartridges in rifles by Layne Simpson in the December 2016/ January 2017 issue was excellent, but I wish the performance charts had included a 4-inch-barreled .357 Magnum revolver for comparison. My old Speer Reloading Manual #10 gives me a rifle loading of 17.5 grains of H110 at 1,866 fps and a revolver loading of 17.8 grains of H110 at 1,330 fps with a 158-grain bullet. Out of my Marlin rifle, I get light magnum revolver performance from a .38 Special +P, and the felt recoil with the Marlin is much lighter than from a revolver. Phil Witte Phoenix, AZ

Learn to Point-Shoot I really liked the follow-up story about Delf Bryce’s achievements as portrayed in the December 2016/January 2017 issue’s installment of “Hipshots” after reading the column about Bill Jordan that appeared in the February 2016 issue. One thing is clear: There is no substitute for practice, practice, practice. In today’s high-capacity magazine firearms there is too much reliance on sprayand-pray and not enough time at the range or in the field. This applies to home defense as well as many police departments. Multiple hits don’t necessarily end a gunfight. Shot placement is everything. Learning to point-shoot is just that: a learned skill. And you won’t learn that by looking at your sights. Tape over them and shoot for six months with eyes on the target. You may not always have time to find the sights. John Chandler Grants Pass, OR


Ruger Vaquero .44-40 I read with great interest the “Shootist” column on the Ruger Vaquero .44-40 in the December/January issue. I picked up one for a great price at a gun show a few years ago when you could actually find good used guns. Now all you see are plastic auto pistols, purses, jewelry, and jerky. When I first shot my Vaquero, I found out why it was for sale. You couldn’t hit a barn door at 20 feet with it! The barrel measured 0.430, and the cylinder chambers varied from 0.427 to 0.428. I reamed the cylinder to the proper dimensions to match the barrel, poured and loaded some 0.431-inch-diameter 200-grain lead bullets, and went shooting. I now have one heck of a shooter after filing down the front sight blade. I don’t know why Ruger changed its fine revolver into a Colt clone, but I wish they would return to its original design. You know, like Coca Cola did with Classic Coke. J.E. Ware Via e-mail

Don’t Forget the .300 WSM and .270 WSM Really enjoyed and appreciated the article on the 7mm WSM in the November 2016 issue! I have been a fan of the other WSMs (.300 WSM and .270 WSM). The article on the 7mm WSM, with all its information, data, photos, and diagram with dimensions, was well organized and easy to read with “connecting dots” throughout. I’d love to see similar articles on the .300 WSM and the .270 WSM. I believe many hunters don’t realize the choice of excellent bullets for the .300 WSM and .270 WSM. I have read other articles about the “feeding” problems of the WSMs, but I have not experienced any problems in my Sako Model 75s. John Tyson, MD Denison, TX MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

9


SHOOTER’S UPDATE READERS SPEAK OUT

NEW GUNS & GEAR

ASK THE EXPERTS

Brownells Premium Electronic Muffs

IMR HAS A NEW FAMILY OF SHOTSHELL AND PISTOL-CARTRIDGE POWDERS

for handloaders. The five new powders are REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) compliant, meaning they are not harmful to the environment. They burn cleanly and provide accurate metering. Each powder was designed to match current shotshell bushing charts, so the handloader will already have the appropriate bushings for each load. The new powders are IMR Target, a fast-burning pistol powder for small pistol cartridges like .25 ACP; IMR Red, for 12-gauge target loads and various lead pistol target loads; IMR Green, for Trap Handicap and sporting clays shotshells; IMR Unequal, for all pistol applications and a wide range of shotshells; and IMR Blue, which has the slowest burn speed of the new propellants and is excellent for heavy 12-gauge 2¾-, 3-, and 3½-inch field loads. MSRP: $19.99 to $21.99 imrpowder.com

Brownells electronic muffs have been improved to now feature automatic lowlevel sound amplification and auto high-level sound compression. The muffs are powered by AAA batteries. Nice touches include a power indicator light, an auxiliary input jack for electronic devices, and ear cups that rotate independently. MSRP: $60 brownells.com

Champion Workhorse Electronic Trap The new Workhorse Electronic Trap combines highvolume target-throwing capacity with a compact design. The Workhorse fits in the trunk of almost any vehicle and can be unloaded and set up by one person. It runs off a single deep cycle battery, and the detachable magazine holds up to 50 clays. The trap is adjustable and can throw clays with three different launch angles up to 75 yards. And it has a quick, 2.5-second reset. Plus, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. MSRP: $359.95 championtarget.com 10

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

LaserLyte White Pearl V-MAG Grip Laser LaserLyte has a new White Pearl color option for the popular V-MAG Grip-Activated Laser Sight for North American Arms .22 Magnum revolvers. The integrated ClassIIIA laser is activated when gripping the revolver, making aiming easy—just put the red dot on target and shoot. Integrated windage and elevation adjustments are adjustable to the point of impact, and the exterior battery compartment is accessible without removing the laser sight from the revolver. MSRP: $129.95 laserlyte.com


Galco Stow-N-Go

SIG SAUER .223 Match Ammo

Galco’s new Stow-N-Go inside-thewaistband holster is now offered for the .45-caliber S&W Shield. The Stow-N-Go is made from premium center-cut steerhide. The mouth is reinforced by metal, and the belt clip is injection-molded nylon. The holster has a neutral cant and fits belts up to 1.75 inches wide. MSRP: $35 galcogunleather.com

SIG SAUER has added .223 Remington to its Match Grade Elite Performance ammo line. The new offering is loaded with the Sierra 77-grain MatchKing bullet and has a muzzle velocity of 2,750 fps and a muzzle energy of 1,293 ft-lbs. SIG SAUER’s Match Grade Elite Performance ammo uses temperaturestable powder and premium-quality primers, and it’s precision loaded on state-of-the-art equipment in the United States. The .223 Remington Match Grade Elite Performance ammo comes 20 rounds per box. MSRP: $24.25 sigammo.com


SHOOTER’S UPDATE READERS SPEAK OUT

NEW GUNS & GEAR

ASK THE EXPERTS

neck-sized case leaves little room for dirt and debris that are common in the field, and that could result in a cartridge being hard to chamber. It’s not a serious issue for range testing or plinking, but it could cost you a trophy during a hunt. The Competition Seating Die is a special bullet seater in the class called “coaxial seaters.” It has a sliding collet that pre-aligns the bullet with the case neck to ensure the straightest possible seating. It also eliminates asymmetrical seating forces that can weaken one side of the neck. It is used when you need to load ammo with the greatest accuracy. Using the Competition Seating Die can be a bit slower than a regular seating die but may actually be faster on some presses, such as progressives, where hand-placing the bullet on the case mouth is awkward. Allan Jones

Q:

IN THE NOVEMBER 2016 ISSUE, ALLAN JONES MENTIONS THE RCBS

Precision Mic, Competition Seating Die, and Neck Sizing Die. Could he be more specific about their intended purposes, what order they would be used in, and their relevancy to the 7x57 Mauser? David Morse Niles, MI

A:

The three tools I mentioned (RCBS Precision Mic, RCBS Competition Seater Die, and RCBS Neck Sizing Die) complement existing standard reloading dies for certain applications, but they are seldom all used in one loading session. The Precision Mic is a measuring tool that precisely reads the case’s base-to-shoulder dimension. It is used to inspect cases during the case-preparation stage of reloading. The “read” point is on the slope of the shoulder roughly halfway between the shoulder origin and the neck origin. If this dimension is too long, the case will chamber too tightly or not at all. If it’s too short, excessive headspace can result, leading to case head stretching and ultimate failure. It has a rotating drum that reads just like a micrometer to 0.001-inch accuracy. I ended up with a lot of clean, once-fired cases for my 7mm Mauser, but they had been fired in different firearms, both sporting rifles and lab pressure barrels. This variation sometimes required setting some cases aside for later rework. I used the Precision Mic to sort those—usually the short ones—from the rest. The Neck Sizing Die replaces the standard full-length sizer die for some shooting activities. Neck sizing reforms only the case neck so it will hold a new bullet, leaving the rest of the case untouched. This avoids overworking the case body. I use neck-sized cases for practice, plinking, and training loads for my grandson. For big-game hunting I always full-length size. A 12

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

Easier Way to Remove Lead?

Q:

When I shoot cast-bullet .44 Special loads in my .44 Magnum revolver, heavy fouling accumulates in each of the cylinder chambers just forward of the mouth of a case. After the fouling builds up to a certain degree, it’s difficult to insert the longer .44 Mag. ammunition. Solvent and a brass bore brush just don’t remove the lead very quickly. What’s an easier way to remove the lead? M.P. Delgado Via e-mail

A:

I have found the Lewis Lead Remover to be perfect for removing lead buildup in my revolver’s chambers. It also does a great job of removing lead from a revolver’s forcing cone and barrel. The key to its success is the special woven brass patch that scours away lead and fouling without damaging the handgun’s bore. It’s especially effective when combined with J.B. Bore Cleaning Compound. The Lewis Lead Remover is offered in 9mm/.38/.357, .40/.41/10mm, .44, and .45 calibers, and it’s available from supply houses like Brownells. Joel J. Hutchcroft


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SHOOTER’S GALLERY THE SHOOTIST

THE BALLISTICIAN

AS A COMPANY, INTERARMS HAS HAD A LONG,

Interarms Mark X bolt-action rifles are based on the legendary large-ring Mauser action, and they are known for their accuracy, reliability, and superb metal finish. The Mark X’s two-position safety locks the bolt when engaged.

14

convoluted history, and its Mark X rifle has too. According to various sources, a few rifles were built on Mauser actions manufactured by FN, but for the most part, it seems that the bulk of the Mark X rifles were built by Zastava in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Allegedly, the Belgrade-based manufacturer obtained its Mauser-building machines from FN in Belgium, and it could be argued that other than the marking “Made In Yugoslavia,” the actions differ little. After being barreled in Yugoslavia, the actions were imported via Manchester, England, by Interarms in Alexandria, Virginia, and that’s where their stocks were installed. If the model variation called for them, iron sights were added. The Mark X is known for its almost excessive, highly polished blue. The craftsmen that barreled, buffed, and blued them were rather zealous, and depending on the craftsman’s individual skills, some rifles have slightly rounded edges where the buffing wheel was applied a bit too aggressively. But all things considered, the deep, lustrous blue is worth it.

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

THE RELOADER

Other attributes the model is known for are accuracy and reliability. Their performance has endeared them to the few shooters who have come to know and appreciate the Mark X. As far as I’ve been able to determine, the Mark X had several variations, usually differing only in the quality of the stock and the presence or lack of iron sights. Namely, the Alaskan came chambered in .375 H&H and .458 Winchester Magnum, the Sporting rifle was available in various popular sporting cartridges from .22-250 to .300 Winchester Magnum, and the Viscount and Cavalier were offered in the same chamberings as the Sporting rifle but with plainer (Viscount) and fancier (Cavalier) stocks. Finally—and arguably the most interesting—Interarms offered the Mark X Mannlicher with a full-length stock and flat bolt handle.

Mechanicals While foundationally a large-ring Mauser action, the Mark X features several substantial differences from the classic Mauser 98. Most are in the bolt, which features a sleek bolt shroud without safety.


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Other than that deviance, its full-length rotating claw extractor, fixed ejector, and dual opposing lugs are Mauser in design. It’s a sporting Mauser action, however, without stripper clip guide or thumb cut. It is drilled and tapped for a match-type rear aperture sight on the right of the rear receiver ring. Triggers tend to be crisp and without undue overtravel and are easily adjustable. As for a safety, a two-position side lever is mounted on the trigger and found in the same location as that of the popular Remington Model 700. Like on older Model 700s, the safety locks the bolt when engaged. The bottom metal is tasteful in contour and features the same highpolished blue as the action and barrel. To use, top load the double-stack magazine box with cartridges. Feed rounds into the chamber from the magazine. Although the extractor will likely snap over the rim of a cartridge dropped straight into the chamber, doing so is hard on the extractor—like all Mauser-type extractors, it was designed to engage the cartridge rim as the round slides up the boltface on its way into the chamber rather than by forcing the extractor to flex up and over the rim. After firing, the massive extractor hauls the empty case rearward. After the mouth of the case clears the front of the ejection port, its base contacts a fixed ejector blade riding in a slot machined at 3 o’clock in the bolt. The ejector smacks the empty out, and you’re ready to begin the process again.

CALIBER MAGAZINE CAPACITY BARREL OVERALL LENGTH WEIGHT, EMPTY

Interarms/Zastava Bolt-action repeater .243 Win. 5 rounds 24 in. 44.75 in. 9.38 lbs. (with scope)

STOCK

Wood

FINISH

Polished blue barrel and action, gloss urethane stock

LENGTH OF PULL SIGHTS TRIGGER SAFETY

14.25 in. None 3.63-lb. pull (as tested) Two-position

To empty the magazine without firing, press the knurled floorplate catch at the inside front of the trigger guard. The floorplate will pop open, and the live rounds will drop out.

Provenance I picked up my .243-caliber Mark X many years ago, thinking it would make a great hunting rifle for my wife. Being from England, she especially appreciated the “Manchester, England” rollmarked on the


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INTERARMS MARK X ACCURACY & VELOCITY

AMMUNITION

VEL. (FPS)

E.S. (FPS)

S.D. (FPS)

100-YD. ACC. (IN.)

.243 Winchester Federal 55-gr. Ballistic Tip

3810

78

31

1.62

Winchester 80-gr. SP

3289

38

17

2.25

Hornady 100-gr. InterLock

2782

20

7

0.76

NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. Velocity is the average of six rounds measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle.

side of the action. Because of the rifle’s unusual coloring, she named it the “mustard rifle.” Turns out, with a vintage Leupold Vari-X II 3-9X scope mounted, the rig weighs a hefty 9 pounds, 6 ounces, which is a bit too heavy for her to tote in the hunting fields. But it’s quite accurate with ammunition it likes. Like many older rifles, it’s pretty picky in its ammo taste, shooting most loads into 1.5- to 2.0-inch groups.

Rangetime Speaking of shooting, I hadn’t fired the rifle for several years prior to reacquainting myself with it for this column. As you can see from the accompanying chart, it shot the Hornady 100-grain InterLock factory ammunition very well. I believe that the rifle has a relatively tight chamber because the bolt encountered a bit of light resistance when closing on two of the three

different ammo brands. And while it’s no Timney or Jewel, the trigger is crisp and averaged 3 pounds, 10 ounces, with about 5 ounces of variation over five measurements with a Lyman digital trigger-pull gauge. Since the Mark X is basically a standard Mauserlength action, it’s happiest when chambered for cartridges of 7x57 length or more rather than the shortish .243 Win. Although there’s a filler block in the rear of the magazine, I had to consciously position cartridges in the middle portion of the magazine before pressing them down or they’d sit cocked slightly base-down on the follower, and the bolt would fail to pick them up and feed them into the chamber. However, as long as I loaded the magazine carefully, the rifle ran without issue. Much of the rifle’s substantial weight is in the robust all-steel action and bottom metal, but the barrel is a fairly light profile. One of these days I might just have to pull that beautifully blued barrel and action out of the mustard stock and put it into a nice, slender stock of walnut. Properly bedded and free-floated, I have no doubt it would be a tackdriver.

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SHOOTER’S GALLERY THE SHOOTIST

THE BALLISTICIAN

REMINGTON INTRODUCED THE .416 REMINGTON

The .416 Remington Magnum, introduced in 1988, triggered a new American interest in dangerous-game cartridges. It was the first true dangerous-game cartridge developed by a major U.S. ammunition company since 1956 when the .458 Winchester Magnum was introduced.

20

Magnum in 1988. It was the first true dangerous-game cartridge developed by a major U.S. company since the .458 Winchester Magnum in 1956. There were big-bore wildcats and proprietary cartridges, but the big U.S. ammo companies seemed to let the British and mainland European ammo purveyors own that segment of the business. The .416 Rem. Mag. changed that. The .416 Rem. Mag. is simply the fulllength .375 Holland & Holland case necked up to hold 0.416-inch-diameter bullets and with much of the H&H body taper removed. Pushing a 400-grain bullet to 2,400 fps and 5,100 ft-lbs of energy, the .416 Rem. Mag. delivered .416 Rigby performance in a cartridge that fit the abundance of affordable American bolt rifles with H&H boltface dimensions. Dimensionally, the .416 Rem. Mag. is similar to the wildcat .416 Hoffman that was developed in the 1970s.

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

THE RELOADER

Prior to 1988, .416-caliber rifle cartridges existed, but they were little known in the U.S. The British had enjoyed the .416 Rigby, one of the finest dangerous-game cartridges, since 1911. And there were other British cartridges in that .40- to .45-caliber niche that were common in Africa: the .404 Jeffery, the .450/400 Nitro Express, and the .425 Westley Richards, for example. Many of the European cartridges required either a double rifle or a bolt gun built on the very pricey Magnum Mauser action, which limited their consumer appeal. There was enough interest in .416-caliber bullets for some component bulletmakers to offer that diameter but only on a special-order basis. (The first .416 cartridge I read about was the wildcat .416 Taylor in the 1970s. That article showed pictures of some Hornady 400-grain softpoint bullets with box labels that looked as though they were produced on


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.416 Remington Magnum

a typewriter.) I found some old one-page sell sheets at Speer showing some odd-diameter bullets, including 0.416 inch. But it took standardization of the .416 Rem. Mag. for 0.416-inch bullets to go mainstream and appear in bullet companies’ standard lines.

Renewed Interest in Big Calibers The .416 Rem. Mag. renewed American interest in Africa-capable cartridges in .40 caliber and up. And we had more choices. Some cartridges were new developments, and others brought existing European cartridges under SAAMI (Sporting Arms and AmmuThanks to the trend the .416 Rem. Mag. started in the late 1980s, today we have a nition Manufacturers’ Institute) guidelines. great selection of dangerous-game factory ammo in a variety of calibers. A year after the .416 Rem. Mag. was standardized, Federal began loading the famous .416 Rigby and Remington’s parent company purchased Barnes sevthe .470 Nitro Express. Weatherby added the .416 Weatherby Magnum eral years ago, and Barnes sells .416 Rem. Mag. ammo in 1994. In the late 1990s, A-Square joined SAAMI, and a number of its dangerous-game cartridges became standardized. The .458 Lott, a loaded with its 400-grain bullets. Winchester, Fedwildcat that nicely improved on .458 Win. Mag. performance moved to eral, Hornady, Nosler, and Norma all load .416 Rem. standardized status in 1999. Ruger added the .416 Ruger in 2009, and Mag. ammo, as does several smaller ammo companies. Reloaders will find a healthy selection of comthat venerable old wildcat, the .416 Taylor, was standardized in 2011. Today, you can find the .416 Rem. Mag. from most major ammoponent bullets. Most are 400-grainers, but there are exceptions. Speer’s only .416-caliber offering is makers. Remington no longer sells .416 Rem. Mag. under its brand, but

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.416 Remington Magnum

a 350-grain Mag-Tip softpoint for North American large game. It can be driven at more than 2,600 fps and 5,250 ft-lbs at safe pressure levels, making it a potent large-bear cartridge. Likewise, Barnes has lighter component bullets at 300 and 350 grains that are also excellent for North American game. Also, 400-grain bullets are available in both expanding and solid versions for the largest game. Hornady has a sleek 450-grain match bullet, and Woodleigh makes 450-grain hunting bullets. Propellant selection is easy. The .416 Rem. Mag. likes most propellants that work well in the .375 H&H. Look to those in the IMR 4064/ H4895/Reloder 15 burn-rate class for great performance. On the other hand, charge weights need special attention. Even with the mid-burn-rate propellants that work best, you will encounter compressed loads as you approach maximum charge weights with 400-grain bullets. A powder funnel with a long drop tube will help, as will taking your time when pouring the charge into the case. The other charge weight issue is a big one. Bullets are now made in many different forms that affect bullet length. A bullet of homogeneous construction can be much longer than a conventional lead-core bullet of the same weight. That affects both bore bearing surface and case capacity, and both can affect pressure. You must use only the charge weights recommended by the maker of the bullet you choose. No substitutions!

24

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

A strong crimp is always needed for cartridges with this much recoil. Large-caliber rifle cases often have relatively thin case neck walls; separating the seating and crimping operations is close to mandatory to avoid case damage. I have always found big-bore cartridges interesting, and it was with great appreciation that I saw Hornady expand its line of dangerous-game ammo for rifles. At press time, the Hornady website shows 16 different cartridges with several loadings each in calibers from 9.3mm (0.366 inch) up to .500-caliber. All save one are offered for U.S. distribution. Some are newer developments, but others are old classics updated and modernized with 21st century bullet technology. So maybe the .416 Rem. Mag. did start a trend.


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SHOOTER’S GALLERY THE SHOOTIST

THE BALLISTICIAN

THE RELOADER

The new Lee Precision Auto Bench Prime tool comes with a unique, folding plastic primer tray and adapter assemblies for large and small primers. Lane says it’s handy and makes priming one case or a batch of brass quick and easy.

ANYBODY FAMILIAR WITH HANDLOADING KNOWS THAT LEE PRECISION

has been offering innovative products to help handloaders improve the quality of their handloads and enhance productivity for a long time. Now the company has a new Auto Bench Prime tool. Bench-mounted priming devices are not new. The first models typically employed a pivoting lever to push the primers, one at a time, into the primer pocket of each case securely held in place by a cartridge-specific shellholder. Later, improved tools also added primer trays or plastic, primer-filled strips that sped up the priming process. Lee’s new Auto Bench Prime is a lever-operated tool that employs a unique, folding plastic primer tray and two adapter assemblies (one for large primers and one for small primers) mounted onto a metal body that you securely attach to your loading bench. The device is easy to set up and use. I mounted mine on a short piece of wood that I clamp to my bench when I’m priming a batch of cases. When I’m not using it, I remove it so as not to take up precious workspace. 26

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

The Auto Bench Prime’s instruction sheet provides a step-by-step description of how to mount it, the assembly process, optional single-primer use, special cautions, etc. Here’s how it operates. After securing the body to the bench, install the desired adapter by first lifting the lever and then sliding the adapter down into the slot in the body just far enough so you can slip the required shellholder into place. Lee offers shellholders either individually or in a cased set of the most popular sizes. Then unfold the tray and move the flow control valve so it is open. Holding the open primer tray upside down, place it atop a tray of 100 primers. Gently but firmly squeeze the two together, flip them over so all of the primers are deposited onto the Auto Bench Prime’s tray. Let the primer tray unfold slowly so the primers shift to the side with the flow control valve and primer feed slot. Shake the tray gently until all of the primers are upright, i.e., anvils up, cups down. Carefully fold and close the cover in half and slide the flow control to the locked position. Slide the primer tray into the adapter and open the flow control and primers will fill the primer feed slot. You’re ready to start priming. Lift the lever slightly so a primer drops into place on the elevator in the adapter (you can see it if it’s in the proper position), insert a case into the shellholder, and press the lever down gently. The lever provides more than enough mechanical advantage to seat a primer. In fact, you can apply too much force really quickly and damage or potentially even pop a primer. That’s why you must always wear safety glasses when reloading and especially during every priming session. Seat the first few primers with minimum force until you get the “feel” for how much is needed. If they aren’t seated deeply enough (three to five thousandths below flush), reseat them after you’ve completed priming the rest of the batch and the tray is empty. Sometimes the primers will hang up in the tray or even flip over when entering the feed slot. The adapter has an agitator spring on the bottom. Just pull it down and let it pop back into place to jostle the primers loose. Keep a keen eye on the adapter so when the upside-down primer drops into place, you can remove it before installing it incorrectly.


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New Handloading Tools and Components The new brass cases from Jagemann required minimal case preparation and provided 100 percent reliable functioning. The brass is of excellent quality.

If you choose to seat primers one at a time, leave the tray open and insert it into the adapter. Place a primer on the tray (anvil up/cup down) and let it slide onto the elevator before operating the lever as described above. Like using any other special-purpose tool, practice makes perfect. Once you’ve read the instructions and get the hang of it, you’ll be priming every new batch of cases quickly and safely. leeprecision.com

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Jagemann Brass Speaking of new cases, Jagemann Sporting Group is now offering brass to handloaders. Jagemann is a family-run business that started out making deep drawn sheet metal automotive stampings in 1946. In 2008 the company began making brass casings for the munitions industry. Now it has moved from selling brass to various OEM suppliers to providing it directly to hobbyist handloaders. The company also produces polymer magazines. Marketing Manager Amy Jagemann sent me samples of .38 Special, .357 SIG, 10mm Auto, and .300 Blackout cartridge cases. In addition to those, the company also offers .25 ACP, .32 ACP, .380 ACP, 9mm, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, and 4.6x30mm cases. The shiny new brass comes in 100-count bags, and each case is prominently headstamped “JAG” along with the appropriate cartridge designation. I loaded 10 rounds of each sample with various bullets, primers, and powder. Case prep was negligible because almost every case mouth was as round as could be and the .38 Special brass OAL was so consistent it didn’t need to be trimmed to ensure a uniform crimp. In fact, about all I had to do was deburr each case mouth (inside only). All of my samples passed the final test. By that I mean each and every piece fed, fired, and extracted/ejected reliably. Fifteen minutes of loading and shooting concluded with absolutely no hiccups. You can check out their products and where to purchase them at the company’s website. jagemannsportinggroup.com


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THE NEW SAINT MAY LOOK LIKE OTHER ENTRY-LEVEL ARS, BUT IT ISN’T ONE. ITS UNIQUE FEATURES AND ERGONOMIC DESIGN SET IT APART.

30

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017


SPRINGFIELD ARMORY’S first-ever AR, called the SAINT, is a direct-impingement AR with upper and lower receivers forged of 7075 T6 aluminum. Both are treated with Mil-A-8625F hard anodizing that prevents surface corrosion and reduces the chances of surface scratches and blemishes from tough use. After anodizing, the upper receiver’s bolt carrier bore and the extension tube bore are coated with a dry film lubricant to minimize the need for frequent traditional lubrication. It has M4 feedramps to optimize use with longer bullets. The lower is equipped with what Springfield calls the “Accu-Tite Tension System.” This system improves accuracy via a nylon-tipped tension setscrew that reduces any play between the upper and lower receivers. It performs a function similar to “accuracy wedges” sold by other companies. The SAINT’s chrome-moly 16-inch barrel has a true 5.56 NATO chamber, so it is perfectly all right to shoot 5.56mm and .223 Remington ammo. The barrel’s chamber, bore, and exterior surfaces are coated with Melonite, an extremely hard and durable finish that provides better accuracy than traditional chrome plating and won’t chip, peel, flake off, or craze (develop surface cracks). Another benefit of the Melonite bore coating is that the bore assiduously resists copper fouling. I think this is a terrific feature. Another desirable SAINT feature is that the barrel has a 1:8-inch twist rate. That means it will stabilize bullets up to and including 80 grains in weight, and it’ll also shoot flyweight bullets just fine, too. Something I confirmed in my shooting sessions.


The SAINT features Springfield’s own flip-up rear sight and a GI-style “F” height front sight. The flip-up rear sight has two sizes of apertures that can be changed in an instant.

And there’s more! The SAINT has a mid-length gas system that, as most AR aficionados know, greatly reduces wear because the pressure curve to the bolt carrier group is flatter than the rapid spike of a carbine-length gas system, which results in a softer recoil impulse to the shooter. Also, the front sight/gas block unit is farther forward, which allows for a longer sight radius when using open sights, and a longer handguard can be used, if desired. The front sight is the “F” height for proper alignment with Springfield’s own flip-up rear sight that comes on the gun. Enhancements have not been left off the trigger, either. It is Springfield’s proprietary GI-type trigger, but the parts have a nickel-boron coating that is hard as glass and slick as, well, you know. This gives a much more uniform feel to the trigger pull and maintains the correct spring tension required to fire SAINT MANUFACTURER TYPE CALIBER MAGAZINE CAPACITY BARREL OVERALL LENGTH WEIGHT, EMPTY STOCK LENGTH OF PULL GRIP

Direct gas impingement autoloader 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington 30 rounds 16 in. 32.25 to 35.5 in. 6.69 lbs. Bravo Co. 10.5 to 13.75 in. Bravo Co. six position

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Springfield Armory low-profile flipup rear; GI-style “F” height front

TRIGGER SAFETY MSRP

32

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6.88-lb. pull (as tested) Two position $899

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

NATO ammunition with 100 percent reliability. I can attest that the SAINT’s trigger is just fine out of the box, and the oversized Bravo Company trigger guard means you can shoot it in cold weather with gloves on. Bravo supplies the Mod O pistol grip, too. It has a reduced angle that moves the grip slightly forward for improved handling, and the grip has a hinged waterproof floorplate for storage of small parts or a few rounds of ammo. The handguard is a new design from Bravo called the PKMR. It is 8.88 inches long and is slim and trim, with six KeyMod attachment points on each side and the bottom. The sides have nice, smoothly textured surfaces that provide a good handhold without rasping the skin off your palm when shooting. The handguard also has a heat shield that really works. This proved to be really handy in prolonged shooting sessions. The buttstock, also from Bravo, is adjustable in length of pull from 10.5 to 13.75 inches and has non-protruding pads on each side for the shooter’s cheek. They don’t have any sharp edges and are very comfortable when shooting. The hard-rubber buttpad is set at a bit of an angle that keeps the buttstock properly positioned in the shoulder pocket. It is perfect for offhand shooting and includes both fixed and QD provisions for ambidextrous sling mounting. The buffer assembly is a heavy carbine “H” tungsten unit with more mass for better return-to-battery functioning and balanced recoil that helps reduce wear on internal components. The souped-up Springfield bolt carrier group has a hardened and staked-in gas key, and the extractor spring has an O-ring with additional tension for more reliable extraction.

Holes in Paper Don’t Lie All of these specially designed parts make the SAINT sound like a pretty neat AR, but how does it shoot? As the saying goes, holes in paper don’t lie, and the targets tell the tale. In a word, the SAINT shoots great.


The SAINT comes with a Bravo Co. six-position buttstock, a birdcage flash hider, and a Bravo Co. PKMR KeyMod handguard.

I had the opportunity to try out the SAINT in two venues. Last August, Springfield Armory held a media event at the H-Bar Homestead near Gillette, Wyoming, to introduce the new rifle. Springfield is not just rolling out the rifle and telling folks it’s new, great, and value-packed (although that’s all true). Instead, the company is specifically targeting a well-defined segment of the AR market, which includes, in Springfield’s own words, “forward thinking, independent men and women who believe their safety is their responsibility.” These folks are “youthful, aspirational, unapologetic civilians” who intend to “defend their legacy.” As part of this program, Springfield sponsored six individuals with varying shooting experience for five days and nights of intense training and competition. At the end the winning shooter was named the “Night of the SAINT” and will be announced at the 2017 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. In Wyoming, the other writers and I were given the chance to shoot the SAINT under real-world conditions. Two courses of fire at steel targets were set up in the sagebrush and pine trees along two winding paths. There were 50 targets on each course. The shooter was given two loaded 20-round magazines and could engage the target(s) as they came into view along

the path. There was no time limit, but we were allowed only one shot per target, hit or miss. The rifles had red-dot sights installed, so the courses were actually pretty easy, and most shooters only missed a target or three. I managed to miss one steel on the first set, but got all of them on the second course. The SAINT seemed to have “divine guidance.” I just put the little red dot on the plate, squeezed the trigger, and clang! It was toast. The reliability of the eight SAINT rifles was 100 percent. Each rifle had fired approximately 1,300-plus rounds of ammunition with no malfunctions of any kind. All in all, I was impressed with the new AR, so I was looking forward to giving one my usual workout on my home range. Soon after I returned from Wyoming, a brand-new SAINT and a 30-round Magpul magazine arrived in a sturdy hard plastic case. I had a two-tiered plan as to sights. I wanted to evaluate the inherent accuracy of the SAINT, and for that I mounted a Burris Veracity 4-20X 50mm scope in a Burris P.E.P.R. 30mm mount on the SAINT’s flat-top Picatinny rail. I realize this is a much heavier and larger scope than one would normally use on a compact AR, but it was perfect for the task at hand. MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

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SPRINGFIELD SAINT ACCURACY & VELOCITY POWDER BULLET

(TYPE)

(GRS.)

VEL. (FPS)

S.D. (FPS)

100-YD. ACC. (IN.)

.223 Remington Hornady 60-gr. V-Max

CFE 223

26.2

2789

22

0.94

Nosler 60-gr. Partition

CFE 223

26.2

2767

33

1.42

Nosler Varmageddon 62-gr. FBHP Sierra 63-gr. Semi-Spitzer

CFE 223 CFE 223

26.0 25.8

2659 2714

26 45

1.65 1.18

Nosler 64-gr. BSB

CFE 223

25.8

2758

22

0.79

Sierra 65-gr. SBT

CFE 223

25.8

2711

38

1.14

Sierra 69-gr. MatchKing Sierra 69-gr. MatchKing Hornady 75-gr. A-Max Hornady 75-gr. BTHP Match Hornady 80-gr. A-Max Sierra 80-gr. MatchKing Hornady 35-gr. NTX Federal 40-gr. Ballistic Tip Winchester 45-gr. JHP Hornady Match 53-gr. HP Hornady 53-gr. V-Max Federal 55-gr. TSX Hornady 55-gr. V-Max Nosler Varmageddon 55-gr. FBMT Winchester 55-gr. Polymer Tip

Varget CFE 223 CFE 223 BL-C(2) CFE 223 CFE 223 Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load

25.5 25.3 24.5 25.5 24.0 24.0

2679 2640 2547 2733 2414 2393 3416 3361 3141 2790 3147 2871 2754 2715 2780

18 49 32 24 20 21 21 8 23 23 3 32 11 21 30

1.77 1.81 1.34 1.54 2.13 0.63 2.05 1.30 1.73 0.75 1.42 1.61 1.54 0.55 1.65

Black Hills 60-gr. V-Max Federal 62-gr. Fusion Federal 62-gr TBT Black Hills 69-gr. MatchKing Federal 69-gr. MatchKing

Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load

2860 2669 2751 2678 2562

15 32 27 17 16

1.38 1.57 1.18 1.34 1.26

Hornady Match 75-gr. BTHP Black Hills 77-gr. OTM

Factory Load Factory Load

2667 2668

13 11

1.02 0.56

NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups fired from a benchrest. Velocity is the average of 10 rounds measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle. Federal cases and CCI No. 41 primers were used for all handloads. All load data should be used with caution. Always start with reduced loads first and make sure they are safe in each of your guns before proceeding to the high test loads listed. Since Shooting Times has no control over your choice of components, guns, or actual loadings, neither Shooting Times nor the various firearms and components manufacturers assume any responsibility for the use of this data.

After the accuracy testing was done, I mounted a new Nikon M-223 1-4X 20mm in Nikon’s two-piece P-Series mounts for tactical drills and general plinking at steel targets. The light, compact M-223 was a proficient partner on the SAINT for engaging targets of various sizes and ranges quickly yet accurately. There is a slight drawback when using a low-powered scope on an AR with a high front sight. On 1X or 2X, the high “F” front sight looms large in front of the scope’s crosshairs; it was like trying to shoot around a large tree. At 3X or 4X, however, the front sight faded out enough that it was not much of a problem. In anticipation of the rifle’s arrival, I had assembled a representative selection of factory loads and prepared several of my favorite handloads for testing. The SAINT has a 1:8 twist, so I especially wanted to try a full range of bullet weights, especially the heavier ones, to see if they’d stabilize and shoot accurately. The trigger pull averaged 6 pounds, 14 ounces, but due to the parts’ nickel-boron coating, the pull felt much lighter and 34

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

was not an impediment to shooting good groups. While the trigger had some take-up, it was “slick” and not “gritty,” as are so many mil-spec AR triggers. The results are shown in the accompanying chart, but let’s take a quick look at the factory loads first. Like most rifles, the SAINT really liked some loads better than others. Three, fiveshot groups were fired at 100 yards off of a solid rest from my shooting building. A couple of days were very windy, so that no doubt affected the results somewhat. Overall, the 16 factory loads averaged 1.31 inches. Several were under, or right at, 1 inch. Significantly, the 75- and 77-grain loads shot well, but then, so did several traditional varmint loads with lightweight bullets. I concentrated on heavier bullets for my home-brewed ammo, weighing from 60 to 80 grains, and the average of all 12 handloads was 1.36 inches. Many groups were 1 inch. I used CCI No. 41 primers for all handloads, and for charging .223 handloads, I’ve just about defaulted to Hodgdon’s


CFE 223 as the powder of choice. Not only does it provide top velocities and good accuracy, but that “Copper Fouling Eraser” stuff in it really works. Plus, CFE 223 is dense enough to allow seating long, heavy bullets without compressing the propellant, and it flows through a powder measure with great uniformity. I did use a couple other powders for some of the handloads, including Varget and BL-(C)2. While there was good accuracy with almost every bullet, I like a little more bullet weight in an AR, and I’ll probably stick with midrange bullets like the Nosler 60-grain Partition, Hornady 60-grain V-Max, Sierra 63-grain Semi-Spitzer, Nosler 64-grain Bonded Solid Base, and the Sierra 65-grain Spitzer Boattail for hunting loads. Over the course of shooting several hundred rounds, there was not a single malfunction of any kind. The bane of accuracy nuts is fouling from bullet jackets, so I must praise one result of shooting with this rifle. No matter the load or cleaning interval, there was almost no copper jacket fouling! I have to attribute this to the Melonite coating on the bore. After a shooting session, I carefully examined the SAINT’s bore with my Hawkeye Borescope after pushing a dry patch through the bore, and there was only a slight hint of copper fouling. No other rifle I’ve tested, including a lot of other ARs, has resisted copper fouling to this degree. It’s a major asset. Another facet of the AR world I wanted to examine was the velocity loss from the longer, SAAMI-spec barrels and minimum chambers used by ammunition companies to develop data. Overall, the SAINT’s 16-inch barrel lost an average of 354 fps, or 10.8 percent, and generally, the higher the listed velocity, the larger the velocity loss. The new SAINT represents considerable added value over pure entry-level ARs. The Melonite bore and nickel-boron-coated trigger, the beefed-up bolt carrier group, and the high-quality Bravo furniture increase the reliability and functionality of the carbine. Probably the most significant upgrade, at least in my opinion, is the mid-length gas system that reduces felt recoil and wear and tear on the gun and increases service life. The MSRP of the SAINT is $899. That’s perhaps $200 to $300 more than the absolute lowest-cost AR on the market, but adding on the parts and features I’ve noted to that entrylevel gun would cost about $600 or more. The net result is the SAINT is a lot of gun for the money. It is accurate and reliable, it handles great, and it offers a lot of desirable features at a great price. To me, that sounds like a darn good value.

The SAINT was 100 percent reliable and nicely accurate with a wide variety of factory ammo and handloads loaded with bullets weighing from 35 to 77 grains.

MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

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S

HOOTING TIMES WRITER JOSEPH VON BENEDIKT SAID

the full-size Ruger American Pistol could possibly be the best semiauto centerfire handgun ever. I won’t go quite that far, but I will say the new Compact version is, in my opinion, even better than the original model. As we reported last May, Ruger’s American Pistol was developed using feedback from consumers, law enforcement and military personnel, distributors, and retailers, and it is packed with innovations. Its ergonomics are excellent, and its design engineering offers a combination of both cuttingedge and classic features. The new Compact version is 1.12 inches shorter in height and 0.95 inch shorter in overall length than the full-size pistol. The new version’s stainless-steel barrel is 3.55 inches long, whereas the full-size 9mm pistol’s is 4.2 inches long. (The .45 ACP fullsize American Pistol’s barrel is 4.5 inches long.) The top of the American Compact’s chamber has a loaded chamber view port, which as the name implies, allows a loaded cartridge in the chamber to be seen when the slide is closed. The new American Compact is offered chambered for 9mm, and according to my digital scale, my sample weighs 27 ounces unloaded with an empty magazine inserted. My pistol has an ambidextrous manual thumb safety, and it measures 1.5 inches thick outside to outside at the ambi safety. (The Compact is also offered without a thumb safety; that version is called the Pro Model.) 36

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017


MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

37


Like its big brother, the American Compact is fully ambidextrous, with a magazine release, a slide stop, and a thumb safety on both sides.

The American Compact’s slide is blackened stainless steel, and the nitride finish is matte. The slide has cocking serrations at the rear only, 14 to be exact. The muzzle end of the slide has been contoured for easy insertion into a holster, and the ejection port is wide and low. The American Compact’s standard sights have white dots— two on the rear and one on the front. The Novak LoMount combat-style rear sight’s square notch measures 0.139 inch wide, and the front post is 0.130 inch thick. The front sight is 0.189 inch tall. Rear notch and front sight line up easily and quickly, and getting just the right amount of light on each side of the front sight is easy. Both sights are dovetailed into the top of the slide, and the rear is secured in place with a setscrew. For those who, like me, prefer sights other than white-dot setups, variations of the sights are available at shopruger.com. Options include plain black, white-outline, white-bar, and tritium-dot rear sights and plain black and tritium-dot front sights. Before I get into the details of the American Compact’s polymer frame, now is a good time to review the disassembly procedure. Disassembling the American Pistol is similar to but different from other striker-fired pistols. Like other pistols, first make sure it is unloaded and then remove the magazine, lock the slide back, and rotate the takedown lever about 45 degrees clockwise. The takedown lever is located on the left side of the frame above the trigger guard. Then release the slide stop and 38

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

move the barrel/slide assembly forward off the frame. The American differs from other pistols of this type in that the trigger does not need to be squeezed for takedown. After the barrel/slide assembly has been removed from the frame, the captive recoil spring and barrel can be removed. Ruger points out that the American Pistol requires only minimal lubing for proper functioning, and the company recommends a drop inside the slide beneath the front sight and spread around the periphery of the hole that surrounds the barrel, a drop at the top inside of the slide in front of the ejection port, and a drop spread down the entire length of each slide rail groove, which mate with the frame rails. Speaking of the frame rails, they are part of a one-piece stainless-steel chassis that’s embedded into the polymer frame. All fire controls interface with the chassis. The frame’s finish is matte black, and it’s textured and sculpted in the gripping area. The oversize trigger guard is undercut where it meets the grip frame, and the top rear portion of the frame has a high beavertail. Both characteristics are rather common on this type of pistol these days, and both features are designed to help the shooter achieve a high grip, which aids in recoil control and pointability. And they work. Like the full-size American Pistol, the American Compact points


The pistol’s interchangeable grip modules switch out by removing the barrel/slide assembly and then rotating the recessed locking cam one-quarter turn with the provided Torx wrench, sliding off one backstrap, replacing it with the chosen one, and turning the locking cam.

naturally and feels like an extension of my arm. That characterization seems to have become a cliché in the gun world, but in this case, it is true. The frame also has an integral accessories rail. It’s shorter than the full-size American Pistol’s rail and has three crossslots instead of four as on the full-size version. The sample American Compact I’ve been handling and shooting is totally ambidextrous. I said earlier that the magazine release and thumb safety are ambidextrous, and the slide stop is also ambidextrous. All controls are located in the usual positions. The intention of the ambidextrous controls is obvious: The pistol can be fired by right-handed and left-handed shooters alike right out of the box. No reversing of any control is required. Also, the pistol can be fired effectively with one’s weak hand regardless of which hand that may be, and having the magazine release, in particular, on both sides of the gun allows shooters to operate it with the tip of their finger instead of shifting their grip if they so choose. The pistol’s grip utilizes interchangeable backstraps. Ruger calls them grip modules, and they dovetail onto the back of the grip frame and lock in place via a rotating cam. Here’s how they can be switched out. First, remove the slide assembly from the frame as related in the disassembly process described earlier. Then insert the provided #10 Torx wrench into the slot in the center of the back of the grip module. Using the Torx wrench, rotate the grip-locking cam a quarter-turn counterclockwise. Remove the Torx wrench and hold the grip with your fingers by placing your pinky finger

near the beavertail of the frame and placing your thumb on the bottom of the grip near the mag well area. Pull the grip module straight out. Push the new grip module onto the frame and then slide it toward the top of the frame and into position. Insert the Torx wrench into the slot and rotate the locking cam a quarterturn clockwise until it stops. Use caution to not apply excessive force on the cam lock when unlocking or locking. I like the ergonomics of the American Compact’s grip. My pistol came with the medium-size grip module installed, and it felt good. But I had to adjust my grip ever so slightly to be able to press the magazine release with the thumb of my shooting hand. I could press the ambidextrous magazine release easily with the tip of my trigger finger with the medium-size grip module installed. But I also tried the large and the small modules to see if they felt any better. I wear medium-size gloves, and for me, the small module felt best. Plus, with it in place, I could reach the magazine release with either my thumb or my trigger finger without shifting my grip on the pistol. When von Benedikt evaluated the full-size Ruger American Pistol, he liked the small module best, too, and his hands are big and beefy, but his fingers are somewhat short. AMERICAN COMPACT MANUFACTURER

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc ruger.com

TYPE

Striker-fired autoloader

CALIBER MAGAZINE CAPACITY

9mm Luger 17 or 12 rounds

BARREL

3.55 in.

OVERALL LENGTH

6.65 in.

WIDTH HEIGHT WEIGHT, EMPTY GRIPS

1.5 in. 4.48 in. 27 oz. Integral to polymer frame

FINISH

Matte black

SIGHTS

Fixed Novak LoMount white-dot rear, white-dot front

TRIGGER SAFETY MSRP

7.0-lb. pull (as tested) Integrated trigger safety, automatic sear block $579

MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

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The American Compact comes with two magazines. One holds 17 rounds of 9mm ammo and utilizes a grip adaptor. The other holds 12 rounds and comes with a finger extension baseplate as well as a flat, flushfitting baseplate.

RCBS trigger pull scale. Take-up is short, and release is relatively crisp. Reset is also short. If you’re wondering about holsters for the American Compact, Ruger partnered with Blade-Tech to offer several different holsters for the full-size American Pistol when it was in development, and CrossBreed, DeSantis, Safariland, Triple K, and others also make appropriate holsters; however, at the time of this writing, none specifically for the American Compact were available. Even though they might be a little long, holsters for the full-size American Pistol should work for the American Compact, and a Ruger spokesperson assured me that those same holstermakers are working on models specifically for the American Compact. Rather than a belt holster, I’ve been using a black 1000 denier nylon Blackhawk Day Planner holster. The Day Planner is designed to provide on-the-go security and accessibility as well as easy and convenient access while at work or in the home. I’ve had my Day Planner for three years now, and it’s the small/medium size. The removable, multi-fit holster fits the American Compact well, and the package looks like one of those small day planners or e-reader cases that a lot of people carry. The double zipper allows entry from just about any point, and there’s even a carry handle on the spine. With my American Compact holstered and the extra magazine fully loaded, the whole thing weighs 3.5 pounds, which makes it easy to tote. But I actually like simply leaving the Day Planner out on my desk or on the end table next to my leather club chair, positioned so as to be within easy reach. I’ve practiced grabbing it, unzipping it, and drawing the American Compact, and it’s fast and easy to do.

As for the magazines, two are included with the American Compact. One holds 12 rounds of 9mm ammo, and it comes with a contoured finger extension baseplate. An extra flush-fitting, flat baseplate is also included. The flat baseplate makes the pistol even easier to conceal, and it can be switched with the finger extension baseplate by pushing a punch, paper clip, or other small tool into the hole in the center of the baseplate, disengaging the retention detent, sliding the baseplate off, and then sliding on the new baseplate. The other magazine included with my American Compact is a 17-round, full-size magazine. Since it sticks way out the bottom of the pistol’s grip (I measure the gap to be close to 0.75 inch), a separate grip adaptor is provided. It simply slips over the end of the magazine and fills in the gap between the bottom of the grip frame and the magazine baseplate. When Ruger created the American Pistol, the engineers incorporated a safety lever trigger. Many striker-fired polymer-frame pistols have this type of trigger, and shooters are pretty familiar with the type. For anyone who may not know how these triggers operate, here’s a brief description. RUGER AMERICAN COMPACT ACCURACY & VELOCITY The two-stage trigger has a built-in safety lever that prevents the striker from being 25-YD. released unless the trigger is fully squeezed. VEL. E.S. S.D. ACC. AMMUNITION (FPS) (FPS) (FPS) (IN.) Once the striker has been cocked by the clos9mm ing action of the slide and the internal trigger American Eagle Syntech 115-gr. TSJ 1083 51 24 2.58 safety has been disengaged by depressing the Hornady Critical Defense 115-gr. FTX 1093 18 9 2.81 trigger safety lever, moving the trigger rearHSM 115-gr. XTP 1179 23 10 3.12 ward releases the internal striker block and HPR 124-gr. JHP 942 16 9 3.77 then with the last bit of trigger pull the striker SIG SAUER 147-gr. JHP 950 45 18 2.38 is released from the sear and the pistol fires. NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. My American Compact pistol’s trigger pull Velocity is the average of 10 rounds measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle. measured exactly 7 pounds, according to my 40

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017


The trigger has a safety lever built into it. The trigger guard is undercut to permit a high grip and allow better recoil control.

Shooting the American Compact I’ve already commented on how natural the American Compact points and how comfortable its grip feels. As to my pistol’s accuracy, well, I was able to shoot the SIG SAUER 147-grain JHP ammo quite well. With that loading, I averaged 2.38-inch, five-shot groups at 25 yards. The other factory loads averaged 2.58, 2.81, 3.12, and 3.77 inches. The results are listed in the accompanying chart. After I conducted the shooting-foraccuracy session, I fired several full magazines offhand at targets ranging from 7 feet to 15 yards away. Intermittingly, I double-tapped, I shot strong- and weak-handed, and I fired slowly and carefully. I even shot the pistol right side up, left side up, and upside down. It never missed a beat. The pistol was very comfortable to shoot, especially with the HPR 124-grain JHP ammo, which was the softest-shooting ammo I tried. And as I just reported, I didn’t have a single malfunction. The pistol never failed to feed, fire, extract, and eject. I consider the new American Compact pistol to be one of the most accurate striker-fired polymer-frame pistols I’ve fired. Usually, I don’t shoot this type of pistol exceptionally well. Not for the lack of trying, though. I’ve fired a lot of ’em! Most have been the standard full-size duty versions with 4-inch barrels. A couple of years ago I discovered that I liked the balance of other brands of 5-inch-barreled versions much better. Frankly, I’m surprised that I shot the American Compact with its 3.55-inch-long barrel as well as I did. Needless to say, it handled extremely well for me. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but based on how well the American Compact performed—or I should say how well I performed with the American Compact—I’m going to have to reassess my opinion of shorter-barreled strikerfired polymer-frame pistols.

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MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

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SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017


T

he .300 H&H Magnum, sometimes referred to as Holland’s Super .30, was introduced in 1925 by the British firm Holland & Holland and was the first of many offspring to be spawned by the earlier .375 H&H Magnum. At the time of the .375’s introduction, Holland & Holland was building rifles on

turnbolt actions from the Mauser factory in Oberndorf, Germany, and while experimenting with cartridge cases of various shapes, it was concluded that considerable body taper topped them all for smooth feeding from magazine to chamber. It was also believed that plenty of taper made a fired case easier to extract from a dirty chamber. Both factors were considered important in a rifle/cartridge combination designed for use on potentially dangerous game.

Giving the body of the rimless .375 H&H case plenty of taper left very little surface area on its 15-degree shoulder for headspacing, so it was given the belt of the .400/375 Belted Nitro Express, introduced by Holland & Holland in 1905. The .300 H&H is a direct descendant of the .375 H&H, but the shapes of their cases differ considerably. Whether by design or accident has been lost in time, but an even smoother-feeding cartridge resulted by combining the sharply tapered body of the .375 H&H case with an extremely long and tapered shoulder with an angle of 8 degrees, 30 minutes. And it paid off, too. In a finetuned action, the .300 H&H glides from magazine to chamber like grease on glass. The two H&H cartridges became immediate hits among well-heeled sportsmen who traveled far, but the price of English-built rifles was beyond reach of the workingman. A best quality Magazine Rifle on the Mauser action sold for 35 guineas in London and $320 in New York. The American firm Griffin & Howe began offering custom rifles chambered for both cartridges around 1926, but they also were quite expensive when compared to factory-built bolt actions like the Winchester Model 54 and Remington Model 30 available at the time. The British originally loaded the .300 H&H with cordite, a propellant formed into long strands resembling spaghetti. The strands were usually long enough to reach from the base of the The .300 H&H Magnum cartridge was introduced in 1925 and was first loaded with cordite. Today, modern smokeless powders are used, and the round typically generates 3,000 fps with 180-grain bullets out of a 24-inch-long barrel.

cartridge case to the beginning of its shoulder. Linen string was often used to tie a number of strands into a bundle prior to being placed inside the case. And since that made insertion into a necked-down case impossible, the bundle was inserted prior to that operation. Due to its extremely high nitroglycerin content, cordite was quite erosive on barrels. It was also subject to wide fluctuations in pressure when subjected to extremes in ambient temperature. Realizing the .300 H&H would be used in tropical climates, the British down-loaded the cartridge to about the same performance level as that of the .30-06 as it was loaded in the United States. Advertised velocities for 150-, 180-, and 200-grain bullets were 3,000, 2,700, and 2,350 fps respectively. Soon after the .300 H&H arrived in America, Western Cartridge Co. gave it a big kick in the pants by increasing chamber pressure, which was made possible by the use of more stable powders. Two loadings were introduced: a 180-grain load at 3,060 fps and a 220-grain load at 2,730 fps, both measured from a 24-inch barrel. Velocity of the 180-grain load was said to exceed 3,100 fps in a 26-inch barrel. At the time .30-06 factory ammo loaded with a 180-grain bullet was rated at 2,690 fps from a 24-inch barrel. Many of the custom rifles in .300 H&H built by Griffin & Howe during the 1920s and 1930s were on 1917 Enfield actions, and that included the heavy-barrel target rifle Ben Comfort used to win the 20-shot, 1,000-yard Wimbledon Cup match at Camp Perry in 1935. Popularity of the .300 H&H among long-distance target shooters actually began during the late 1920s, and by the time Comfort got around to giving it a try, MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

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Built by Lex Webernick of Rifles Inc. around a blueprinted Remington Model 700 action, the author’s favorite rifle in .300 H&H has a three-groove, 26-inch barrel; a Sunny Hill steel trigger guard-floorplate assembly; and an S&K Industries laminated Ultra Walnut stock. It wears a Zeiss Diavari 3-9X scope in a Talley two-piece mount.

The .300 H&H used to be quite popular among hunters and long-distance target shooters, and ammunition suitable for both was available. Remington and Winchester no longer load the cartridge, but ammunition is available from Hornady, Federal, and Nosler.

American manufacturers were offering match-grade ammunition. He won the match with Western ammo loaded with a 180-grain full metal jacket bullet of boattail form. Comfort’s win at Camp Perry got the attention of the paper-punching crowd, and while many hunters were aware of the cartridge, its lack of availability in more affordable rifles kept it from becoming equally successful as a big-game cartridge. That began to change in 1937 with the introduction of the Winchester Model 70. Just as important as its availability was its price. The standard-grade rifle had a 26-inch barrel and sold for $61.25. Even when the price of a scope and mount was added, cost of the Model 70 was only about a third as much as an imported rifle in .300 H&H Magnum. To capitalize on the success of the .300 H&H in competitive shooting, Winchester also offered several target versions of the Model 70. All were considerably less expensive than the Griffin & Howe rifle used by Comfort, yet accuracy was reputed to be as good and sometimes better. The National Match Rifle with standard-weight barrel weighed 9.5 pounds. The heavier barrel of the Target Model Rifle increased its weight to 10.5 pounds. Adding even more weight to the barrel resulted in the Bull Gun at 13.25 pounds. Sad to say, no standard-production rifle I am aware of today is available in .300 H&H Magnum, and collectors have put the old Model 70 beyond reach of many riflemen. During the 1960s Colt offered the Coltsman on an FN Mauser action, and most of those are probably also gathering dust in collections. Back when Browning rifles were built around FN Mauser actions I bought one in .375 H&H and first used it on a hunt for Cape buffalo and other African game. The previous owner of that rifle also had one in .300 H&H, and I should have bought it as well. Remington did a limited run of Model 700 Classics back in 1983, but good luck finding one. A few Ruger No. 1s have been chambered for it. Today, a vintage Remington Model 721 is usually the most affordable, but even it is becoming scarce. My first rifle in .300 H&H, a custom job built on the 1917 Enfield action, was not very accurate. But the Winchester Model 70 I hunted with for several years (and 44

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017


Layne took this record-book mountain caribou while hunting in the Yukon with a 1940s-vintage Model 70 in .300 H&H.

should have kept) had a 26-inch barrel and was one of the first rifles I owned that shot inside minute of angle. It happily took a couple grains more of H4831 than what was listed as maximum by Hodgdon, and according to my Oehler Model 10 chronograph, a 180-grain bullet exited its 26-inch barrel with an average muzzle velocity of 3,112 fps for a duplication of the original Western Cartridge factory load. I don’t recall discarding a single case due to an expanded primer pocket. A Model 70 Bull Gun in .300 H&H I shot for several years was even more accurate. My all-time favorite rifle in .300 H&H was built a few years back by Lex Webernick of Rifles Inc. of Pleasanton, Texas. After blueprinting a Remington Model 700 action, he fitted one of Dan Lilja’s match-grade, 26-inch, stainless-steel barrels with three-groove rifling at a twist rate of 1:10 inches. The rifle’s laminated stock consists of two layers of carbon fiber sandwiched between three layers of fancy walnut, and it is a beauty. Unfortunately, the maker of the stock is no longer in business. Webernick also replaced the factory aluminum trigger guardfloorplate assembly with an all-steel version from Brownells. A test group accompanying the rifle, shot at 100 yards on Webernick’s test range, measured just under a half-inch. Remington and Winchester no longer load the .300 H&H, but Hornady, Federal, and Nosler do. And for those who wish to turn the calendar back to the 1920s, Kynoch offers the 180grain Woodleigh Weldcore bullet at 2,700 fps.

Handloading Holland’s Super .30 With unprimed cases available from Hornady and Nosler, the .300 H&H is an excellent candidate for handloading. For many years IMR 4350 was the favorite of many handloaders, and while still quite good, it now has plenty of competition. Some of the highest velocities from my rifle are compliments of IMR 4955. Accuracy leaves nothing to be desired, and due to low velocity spreads when subjected to extremes in ambient temperature, it has become my first choice for big-game loads. Data in some of the old reloading manuals pushed 180-grain bullets to 3,100 fps, and while some of today’s manuals approach that velocity, others don’t. For example, Hodgdon’s Annual Manual has close to the same maximum speeds for the .300 H&H and the .300 Winchester Magnum, both in 24-inch barrels. The same goes for the Lyman manual, except the .300 H&H test barrel was 2 inches longer than for the .300 Win. Mag. The Sierra manual gives the Winchester cartridge a 200 fps edge, while the Nosler manual has the Winchester cartridge 137 fps faster. Cartridges such as the .45-70 and .44-40 Winchester are loaded light out of respect for old rifles and those of fairly weak design. Neither applies to various factory rifles that have been available in .300 H&H through the years, yet some sources seem to be loading it below its true potential. SAAMI maximum chamber pressure for the .300 H&H is 54,000 Copper Units of Pressure (CUP). There is no conversion factor for CUP to pounds per square inch, but if there MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

45


.300 H&H MAGNUM ACCURACY & VELOCITY POWDER (TYPE) (GRS.)

BULLET

BULLET FREETRAVEL (IN.)

VEL. (FPS)

100-YD. ACC. (IN.)

Rifles Inc. Model 700, 26-in. Barrel Barnes 130-gr. TSX BT

IMR 4064

67.0

0.060

3510

1.17

Sierra 150-gr. GameKing

IMR 4350

74.0

0.020

3387

0.68

Reloder 19 IMR 7828

73.0 73.0

0.010 0.040

3212 3016

1.19 0.71

Sierra 180-gr. GameKing

IMR 4955

72.0

0.025

3137

0.55

Swift 180-gr. Scirocco II

IMR 4955

74.0

0.010

3152

0.82

Sierra 200-gr. MatchKing

IMR 4955

69.0

0.045

2955

0.36

Swift 200-gr. A-Frame Sierra 220-gr. Pro-Hunter Federal 180-gr. Trophy Bonded Tip Hornady 180-gr. InterBond Nosler 200-gr. Partition

IMR 4955 71.0 0.050 IMR 4350 64.0 0.045 Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load

2863 2738 2948 2934 2819

0.64 0.77 1.12 0.93 0.74

Hornady 165-gr. SST Hornady 180-gr. InterLock

NOTES: Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. Velocity is the average of 25 rounds measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle. Hornady cases and Federal GM215 primers were used for all handloads. All load data should be used with caution. Always start with reduced loads first and make sure they are safe in each of your guns before proceeding to the high test loads listed. Since Shooting Times has no control over your choice of components, guns, or actual loadings, neither Shooting Times nor the various firearms and components manufacturers assume any responsibility for the use of this data.

was, Ron Reiber at Hodgdon Powders says it would be around 65,000 psi. That has to be close because in Europe, the CIP (the equivalent of our SAAMI) has maximum chamber pressure at 62,000 psi. Considering that the .300 H&H has generally been available only in rifles with extremely strong actions, loading it to considerably lower chamber pressures makes no sense. It makes even less sense when we consider that the .300 Win. Mag. case is no stronger than the .300 H&H case, yet SAAMI maximum for it is 64,000 psi. Case capacity is in favor of the .300 Win. Mag., but it’s not by much. Water capacity of the Hornady .300 H&H Magnum case is only one grain less than for the .300 Win. Mag. case, and for cases of that size, such a minor difference in capacity has an insignificant bearing on chamber pressure and velocity. Capacity of the Hornady case is 7.0 grains greater than for .300 WSM brass made by Winchester. Everything, including barrel lengths and the pressure to which the three cartridges are loaded, being equal, velocity of the .300 H&H would be the same as for the .300 Win. Mag. and higher than for the .300 WSM.

Hunting with the .300 H&H Through the years I have bagged a few head of big game with various rifles in .300 H&H. One of the finest was a mountain caribou taken in the Yukon. My rifle was a 1940s-vintage Winchester Model 70 wearing a Zeiss Diavari ZA 1.5-6X scope. When loaded with the right bullet, the old-timer is capable of cleanly taking anything in North America. The hunter who goes after pronghorn antelope does not need its power, but when loaded with the Barnes 130-grain TSX BT at 3,400 fps, it shoots flat and delivers a deadly blow at great distances. Moving to the opposite extreme, there are better choices in cartridges for use on brown bear, but I would not hesitate to take on one with a rifle in .300 H&H using ammo loaded with the Swift 200-grain A-Frame at 2,850 fps. For everything else in between, 180-grain bullets, such as the Sierra GameKing and Hornady InterBond, are good choices. The popularity of the .300 H&H began to decline with the importation of millions of military-surplus rifles beginning in the 1950s and continuing for about the following three decades. Actions of standard length, such as the Winchester Model 70 and Remington Model 721, were capable of handling the old cartridge, but gunsmiths across the country were building thousands of rifles on cheap 1903 Springfield and 1898 Mauser 46

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017


While the .300 H&H Magnum (right) is a direct descendant of the .375 H&H (left), the shapes of their cases differ considerably with the .30-caliber cartridge having a shoulder angle of only 8 degrees, 30 minutes.

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actions, and both were too short. This led to the development of shorter wildcats on the H&H case by P.O. Ackley and others. Then came the .308 Norma Magnum. On one of the several visits I made to the Norma factory through the years, I discussed the development of the .308 Norma Magnum with an old-timer who was quite familiar with the cartridge. I learned the cartridge was designed specifically to deliver .300 H&H velocity with a case short enough to work in the Mauser and ’03 Springfield actions. The task was to come as close as possible to duplicating the capacity of the Winchester .300 H&H case. They did a darned good job. I still have a few .308 Norma cases as well as a box of Winchester .300 H&H cases, both made during the 1950s; when filled to the brim with water, the .300 H&H case holds a mere half-grain more. The Norma cartridge represented the first blow, but the introduction of the .300 Win. Mag. is what finally crowded the grand old British cartridge away from the trough. Even so, if you already have a rifle in .300 H&H, you don’t need a .300 Win. Mag. On the other hand, if you have neither, there is no logical reason to choose the British cartridge over the Winchester cartridge unless, like me, you pull for the underdog and are sentimental enough to have a custom rifle in .300 H&H built.

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F

OR SHOOTERS WHO DREAM OF GOING ON

an African safari, the double rifle is the quintessential arm. The problem, of course, is cost. Double rifles are just as the name implies—two guns attached to one stock. And the two guns have to get along with each other and put their bullets reasonably close together at game ranges. Therein lies the rub. A good, used English double rifle, if you can find one, is priced about like a good car—maybe even a house. But the costs of labor and materials around the world vary, and a superb side-by-side double rifle is made in Italy by Fabbrica Armi Isidoro Rizzini (F.A.I.R.). F.A.I.R. was founded in 1971, and today the firm produces an extensive selection of over-under and side-by-side guns, both shotguns and rifles, plus a petite single-shot rifle. All are top quality. F.A.I.R. guns are represented in the U.S. by Italian Firearms Group, which is headquartered in Amarillo, Texas. When I first encountered the Italian Firearms Group (IFG) at last year’s SHOT Show, I was immediately drawn to an elegant side-by-side. From afar I assumed it was a .410 shotgun, but the open sights suggested otherwise. Intrigued, I examined the gun. A very knowledgeable young man named Justin Dodd hustled over, and I peppered him with questions. It turns out he is the Chief Operations Officer of IFG. Anyway, he said that this double rifle is the “Iside” (pronounced E-see-day, with the emphasis on the first syllable). The Iside double rifle 48

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

is offered in three grades: Safari, Safari EM, and Safari Prestige. All are sturdy boxlocks and are similar in mechanics; just the grade of wood and embellishments vary.

Exudes Quality & Sophistication The Safari Prestige has false sideplates that are adorned with exquisitely engraved scroll and game scenes. The single trigger (more on it later) is gold-plated, and the European walnut stock and forearm are dark and well figured. The buttstock has a definite Teutonic look, and the raised cheekpiece is somewhat angular in shape. It is very nice. Overall, the gun exudes sophistication. I swallowed hard and asked the price. The retail price of the Iside Safari is $4,993; the Safari EM is $5,187; and the Safari Prestige is $5,545. The Iside Safari is chambered for .243, .270, and .308 Winchesters; .30-06; .30R Blaser; 7x57 and 8x57 Mausers; and 9.3x74R. I am somewhat of a closet 9.3mm aficionado. I have rifles chambered for 9.3x62, .370 Sako, and 9.3x74R, so I requested an Iside Safari Prestige chambered for the big, rimmed 9.3x74R cartridge. In due course, the gun arrived, and if anything it is even more striking than the one I saw at the SHOT Show.

The F.A.I.R. Iside Safari Prestige double rifle from Italian Firearms Group is a boxlock with engraved false sideplates, a single gold-plated trigger, and nicely figured and fitted European walnut buttstock and forearm.


PAGE

49 SHOOTING TIMES MARCH 2017


The Iside Safari Prestige rifle has 21.75-inch barrels that are joined in a monoblock construction; their junction is discreetly covered by delicate engraving. The barrels proper are quite thin at the muzzles, measuring only 0.476 inch in diameter, but the combined mass of the two barrels and the top and bottom ribs, all welded solidly together, provides sufficient stiffness. The sights are a red fiber-optic front and a standing rear with a large yellow triangle that would be hard to miss if confronted by a bellicose bovine. The Iside Safari Prestige has automatic ejectors that functioned perfectly in my tests, elevating an unfired case for removal, while kicking an empty clear for quick reloading. The top rib has provisions for an optional scope mount made in Italy by Contessa Professional Mounts, and it’s a quick-detachable type. Mounts are available with 1-inch or 30mm rings. To attach a scope, two “filler” pieces are removed from the top rib, and a one-piece base is attached in their place. The scope rings are attached to a piece that clamps to the base on the rib. The base I used measured 0.464 inch wide, but bases with Picatinny slots are also available. While the rings/scope assembly is solidly attached, it can be removed in an instant by unlatching a lever on the right side of the base and pulling it out. Reattachment is just as quick and easy. For my shooting review, I mounted a Steiner 1-5X 24mm Nighthunter Xtreme scope. The tang safety is non-automatic and moves easily back and forth. A curious feature is the type of single trigger on my sample gun. It is non-selective. After loading both barrels and closing the action, if you push the safety “Off ” and press the trigger, the right barrel will fire. Press the trigger again, and the left barrel will fire. The trigger is inertial, however, and is “set” for the left barrel by the discharge of the right. So if the right barrel is empty when the action is closed, or if the cartridge in the right barrel misfires, the left barrel will not fire with a second squeeze of the trigger. To fire the left barrel in that situation, The tang safety is non-automatic. Because the trigger is inertial, it “sets” for the second shot after the first shot is fired. If the first barrel is empty when the action is closed or if the cartridge in the first barrel misfires, the second barrel will not fire until the safety is engaged and then disengaged.

50

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

The sights on the Iside Safari Prestige rifle are a red fiber-optic front and a yellow-triangle rear. The rifle also has a top rib that’s designed for scope mounts.

put the safety “On,” then “Off,” and the left barrel is ready to go. Double triggers are available. The 9.3x74R was introduced in Germany in the early 1900s. While its long (2.941 inches) case makes it unsuitable for bolt actions, it is perfect for break-action rifles like the Iside Safari Prestige. Its internal ballistics were specifically designed to produce lower pressure, in deference to break-action rifles. Excellent 9.3x74R ammo is available from Federal, Hornady, and Nosler, it’s just that rifles to shoot it in are as scarce as hen’s teeth, so the Iside doubles are welcome additions. In Safari Rifles II (2009), Craig Boddington, whose credibility needs no introduction, gives the cartridge high marks but stops short of recommending it for pachyderms, stating, “It is really a bit too light for elephant even with the best solids.” However, it can be easily handloaded to fit a multitude of hunting roles. Aside from the usual cost to manufacture the action, stock, and sundry parts, the double rifle’s barrels have to be “regulated,” that is, made to shoot close to the same point of aim with the selected ammunition. As Boddington points out, in a sideby-side double, the right barrel is to one side of the center of gravity, and the left to the other. If the barrels are exactly parallel, when the gun is fired, recoil would force the right barrel to the right and the left barrel to the left, and the two bullets


would hit far apart. Thus, the barrels have to be angled together ever so slightly for the points of impact to converge. “Regulation” of a double rifle involves soldering the barrels together, shooting the gun, then taking the barrels apart, adjusting the angle between them, resoldering, and shooting again. This process may take several tries and many hours. Thus, the regulation of a double rifle is truly an art, and the number of such artisans dwindles each year. All this contributes to scarcity, and this in turn to cost.

Delivers the Power with Style I wanted to check the velocity and accuracy of each barrel, and their “regulation,” so testing turned out to be a bit more complicated than for a bolt gun. After some fits and starts, I

came up with a test protocol that, while time-consuming, collected the desired data. For consistent ignition of the long powder column, I used CCI 250 Magnum primers for my handloads, and standard deviations averaged around 25 fps. Load recipes are available in most manuals, and suitable powders are the medium to medium-slow numbers, such as H4350, Hybrid 100V, W760, and IMR 4451. I had five different factory loads on hand, plus lots of 9.3mm bullets ranging in weight from 232 to 325 grains, so concocting test loads was no problem. After some preliminary load development, I loaded six rounds of each test load. The maximum average pressure (MAP) for the 9.3x74R is quite low by modern-day standards. For example, Hodgdon uses a MAP of 42,600 psi for its data.

Steiner Nighthunter Xtreme ABOUT THE TIME I GOT THE F.A.I.R. ISIDE DOUBLE RIFLE,

I also received a brand-new scope from Steiner called the Nighthunter Xtreme. I wanted to use a scope with a quality commensurate with the excellent rifle, so I selected the Steiner and mounted it on the rifle’s top rib with the Contessa Professional mount. While the outfit looked a little “over-scoped,” there’s no denying that the Nighthunter Xtreme is a superb optical and mechanical instrument. The Nighthunter Xtreme is specially designed for low-light hunting. The main tube has a diameter of 30mm, and the objective diameter is a full 24mm. This, and the low power range of 1X to 5X, gives the Nighthunter Xtreme terrific brightness and a huge field of view. In fact, the 1X magnification is a true 1X, and the scope can be used with both eyes open for ultrafast close-range shooting. The turret caps and the power ring are rubber armored to reduce noise and make for easy adjustments, and there are acres of eye relief. That’s handy on a rifle of considerable recoil, like the 9.3x74R. The scope’s innards are top notch, too. The lenses have Steiner’s proprietary “Diamond Night” coatings that deliver excellent light transmission and superior clarity and contrast at dawn and dusk. The lenses also have “Nano-Protection,” which is a hydrophobic molecular coating so smooth that water literally sheets off, and dust, dirt, and other crud, even fingerprints, are effectively repelled. The scope is dry-nitrogen filled to lock out moisture and is rated waterproof to a depth of 6 feet. Hunting at night is common in Europe and in many areas in the United States, such as in Texas for feral hogs and other exotics. For these situations, the Nighthunter Xtreme has a 4A-1 crosshair reticle with three thick posts at the bottom and sides. At the center is an

adjustable red dot that subtends 1.95 inches at 100 yards. Steiner calls this system “Smart Illumination,” and smart it is. On the left-side turret there is a convenient switch that turns the red center dot on or off and a rheostat that controls the brightness of the dot: dim for daylight and progressively dimmer for low light. Here’s the neat part. If you forget to turn off the dot, the scope will do it for you. If the rifle is pointed up (e.g., slung on your shoulder, put in a safe, etc.), the dot goes off. But as soon as you bring the rifle back toward level, the dot instantly comes on at the last set intensity level. This is one of the slickest illuminated reticle setups I’ve ever used. The image quality is just what you’d expect for high-end German glass: superb edge-to-edge clarity, great brightness, and click adjustments that work solidly and that are perfectly calibrated. I accidentally “checked” this feature. Once I wanted to move the point of impact 3.5 inches to the left. I miscalculated and instead moved the crosshair 7 inches left. Realizing my mistake, I cranked the crosshair back to the right one-half of my previous adjustment, and the group then landed exactly 3.5 inches right of the previous group. Overall, I am impressed with the performance of this medium-sized European scope. Yes, the Nighthunter Xtreme is a bit pricey (MSRP: $2,587.49), but it always costs more to go first class. —Steve Gash

ARC

2017

51


I fired the Safari Prestige out of my shooting building and kept track of the velocity and points of impact of each shot from each barrel. Remember those skinny barrels? Well, I found that they heat up really fast. After one pair of shots, the barrels were pretty warm. After two pairs, I couldn’t hold my hand on them. And after three pairs, they could have branded cattle. So, after each pair of shots, I placed the rifle on the cooling rack in front of the air conditioner and walked down to the target and marked “right” or “left” on the bullet holes. By the time I got back to the building, the barrels were completely cool, and I fired the next pair of shots. Two sets of three pairs were fired for each load, and this uniform procedure worked well. Dodd told me that the Iside guns are regulated at 50 meters, so that is the distance at which I placed the targets. As for accuracy, Boddington says, “...two shots from each barrel into a 4- to 6-inch circle at 100 yards is just fine,” so that was my benchmark. Of course, that translates into 2- to 3-inch groups at 50 meters, and the Safari Prestige got pretty close to that with most loads. 52

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

The 9.3x74R Safari Prestige shot well with factory ammo and handloads. Often each barrel produced relatively small groups, but as is typical of double rifles, there was a slight distance between them.

I ended up defining “regulation” as the aggregate group size of the six shots. This varied considerably from load to load, as would be expected. Group sizes from each barrel were about 60 to 80 percent the size of the combined group from both barrels. Here’s an interesting quirk: The right barrel was somewhat more accurate than the left barrel with handloads but slightly less so with factory loads. Velocities of handloads were on par with the factory loads, and most would make excellent hunting loads. All of the range results are shown in the accompanying chart. The best “regulation” with factory loads was with Federal ammunition loaded with the Swift 286-grain A-Frame bullet. It had an aggregate group size of 2.20 inches, a velocity of 2,155 fps, and a muzzle energy of 2,964 ft-lbs. Next best was the Nosler Custom 250-grain AccuBond. It registered 3.00 inches and was the fastest factory load tested, averaging 2,412 fps.


ISIDE SAFARI PRESTIGE ACCURACY & VELOCITY

BULLET

CASE

POWDER (TYPE) (GRS.)

RIGHT BARREL VEL. (FPS)

LEFT BARREL VEL. (FPS)

M.E. (FT-LBS)

RECOIL (FT-LBS)

RIGHT BARREL ACC. (IN.)

LEFT BARREL ACC. (IN.)

GROUP ACC. (IN.)

9.3x74R Norma 232-gr. Oryx

Nosler

VV N-140

65.0

2576

2584

3430

30.6

1.55

1.87

2.67

Barnes 250-gr. TSX

Nosler

H4350

63.5

2275

2275

2874

26.0

2.89

4.33

5.31

Nosler 250-gr. AccuBond Nosler 250-gr. AccuBond

Hornady Hornady

IMR 4451 IMR 4451

60.5 61.5

2206 2237

2208 2254

2705 2800

23.7 24.8

1.77 0.91

2.32 2.44

3.22 2.44

Speer 270-gr. Semi-Spitzer

Federal

Hybrid 100V

64.0

2297

2307

3178

29.7

1.69

1.53

2.40

Barnes 286-gr. TSX Hornady 286-gr. SP-RP Hornady 286-gr. SP-RP Nosler 286-gr. Partition Nosler 286-gr. Solid Hornady 300-gr. DGS Swift 300-gr. A-Frame Swift 300-gr. A-Frame Norma 325-gr. Oryx Nosler 250-gr. AccuBond Federal 286-gr. A-Frame Federal 286-gr. Hydro Solid Hornady 286-gr. SP-RP Nosler 286-gr. Partition

Nosler Hornady Federal Federal Nosler Federal Nosler Nosler Nosler

Hybrid 100V IMR 4166 H4350 W760 Reloder 15 PP-2000MR W760 H4350 VV N-540 Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load Factory Load

61.0 56.0 62.5 67.0 55.5 54.0 63.0 60.0 52.5

2180 2002 2235 2273 2181 2076 2163 2120 1980 2402 2161 2201 2285 2227

2196 2061 2231 2261 2167 2060 2148 2115 1976 2423 2159 2215 2284 2136

3041 2622 3167 3265 3002 2850 3096 2988 2824 3232 2964 3097 3315 3023

28.4 23.4 30.0 32.1 26.7 25.6 30.1 28.3 26.1 27.6 27.3 30.2 33.7 27.0

0.39 2.24 0.69 1.22 2.71 1.31 3.27 2.78 2.46 2.05 2.17 1.65 1.77 2.01

3.74 2.24 1.14 1.89 1.18 1.78 3.70 2.88 2.66 2.52 0.92 3.40 1.14 1.32

3.74 3.58 2.68 3.11 4.52 2.52 3.70 2.88 2.70 3.00 2.20 4.33 3.70 4.64

NOTES: Accuracy is the average of two, three-shot groups from each barrel fired from a Lead Sled DFT rifle rest at a distance of 50 meters. Velocity is the average of six rounds measured 12 feet from the muzzle. Muzzle energy is for the average velocity of both barrels. CCI 250 Magnum Large Rifle primers were used for all handloads. All load data should be used with caution. Always start with reduced loads first and make sure they are safe in each of your guns before proceeding to the high test loads listed. Since Shooting Times has no control over your choice of components, guns, or actual loadings, neither Shooting Times nor the various firearms and components manufacturers assume any responsibility for the use of this data.

Several handloads also did very well by my benchmark. The Speer 270-grain Semi-Spitzer came in with the smallest aggregate cluster at 2.40 inches. Hornady’s 286-grain SP-RP averaged 2.68 inches, and the 300-grain Dangerous Game Solid averaged 2.52 inches. Norma’s 325-grain Oryx Bonded went 2.70 inches; the Nosler 250-grain AccuBond measured 2.44 inches; and Swift’s 300-grain A-Frame was 2.88 inches. All shot well enough to stop a charging critter bent on putting tooth marks in one’s hide. However, there is a price to pay for this power. A lot of laws can be circumvented, but the Third Law of Motion isn’t one of them. So I must report that the recoil from these loads was, shall we say, brisk. Many loads generated over 30 ft-lbs, and this is a scoped rifle that weighs 8 pounds, 4 ounces. With the scope removed, the recoil of the 6 pound, 11.5 ounce gun with the most powerful load would be a staggering 39.5 ft-lbs! But the Safari Prestige double certainly delivered the power. In fact, the muzzle energy of these loads nips closely at the heels of the .375 H&H Magnum. Energies over 3,000 ft-lbs were recorded, and the high-tech bullets available today launched at 2,100 to 2,400 fps make the 9.3x74R a formidable contender in the game fields. The excellent factory loads and the hightech bullets available add to its versatility. The F.A.I.R. Iside double rifle is a finely constructed and highly functional gun, and its relatively modest price belies

its high quality. I don’t know how many of us hanker after a double rifle, but the fact that rifles of this genre are available at these prices is remarkable and makes them tempting choices for the big-game hunter, recreational shooter, or anyone who just appreciates fine firearms. ISIDE SAFARI PRESTIGE MANUFACTURER DISTRIBUTOR TYPE CALIBER

F.A.I.R. IFG italianfirearmsgroup.com Break-action side-by-side double rifle 9.3x74R

CARTRIDGE CAPACITY

2 rounds

BARRELS

21.75 in.

OVERALL LENGTH

38.75 in.

WEIGHT, EMPTY

6.72 lbs.

STOCK LENGTH OF PULL

Fancy European walnut 14.38 in.

FINISH

Engraved silver receiver, polished blue barrels, semi-gloss stock

SIGHTS

Notch rear, red fiber-optic front

TRIGGER SAFETY MSRP

3.8-lb. pull (as tested) Tang mounted $5,545

MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

53


54

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017


P

REDATING MOST OTHER HIGH-CAPACITY

capacity pistols by as much as half a century, the Browning Hi Power was the original “wonder nine.” John Browning designed its bones at the request of the French military, but he passed away in 1926, just a year before the U.S. patent came through. The process of refining and finalizing the Hi Power was a lengthy endeavor that spanned more than a decade. FN’s Dieudonné Saive took up the torch after Browning’s death and finessed the locked-breech system, reduced capacity from 16 rounds to 13, integrated the previously removable barrel bushing into the slide, and implemented other refinements. Over time, the Hi Power gained worldwide renown, and it has ably served as the standard-issue sidearm for at least 50 different militaries. It continues to do so in the hands of the Belgian Army along with a dozen or more others, ranging from the Canadian Armed Forces to the Singapore Armed Forces.

MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

55


Many are the modifications Nighthawk Custom applies to the foundation guns from Browning. Trigger, hammer, and sear are changed and tuned to provide a crisp 4-pound pull; an extended beavertail is installed; and the barrel is recrowned.

While fans of the Hi Power admit that it has a few design flaws, the Grande Puissance, as it is known, has a certain panache that keeps it solidly atop the high-capacity 9mm podium in terms of historical respect and eminence. A slew of variants, reproductions, and imitations exist—far too many to list and detail here—and perhaps the best of the lot is the custom gun Nighthawk is putting out. Some serious handgunners are saying it is the finest Hi Power to ever grace dealers’ shelves.

The Bones

NIGHTHAWK HI POWER MANUFACTURER TYPE CALIBER MAGAZINE CAPACITY

Recoil-operated autoloader 9mm Luger 13 rounds

BARREL

4.63 in.

OVERALL LENGTH

7.75 in.

WIDTH

1.25 in.

HEIGHT

5.12 in.

WEIGHT, EMPTY

32 oz.

GRIPS

Checkered cocobolo

FINISH

Matte black Cerakote

SIGHTS

Heinie Slant Pro rear, gold bead front

TRIGGER SAFETY MSRP

56

Browning/Nighthawk Custom nighthawkcustom.com

3.6-lb. pull (as tested) Ambidextrous thumb safety $2,895

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

As the company’s website indicates, Nighthawk Custom saw no reason to reinvent the perfect double-stack pistol. Instead, the company is finessing current-production Hi Power pistols made by Browning with several modifications. Before delving into the customizations, let’s take a look at the features of the standard Hi Power as currently sold by Browning. In basic terms, the Hi Power is a single-action semiautomatic pistol of locked-breech design. The barrel is 4.63 inches long. The frame and the slide are made of steel. Capacity of the double-stack magazine is 13 rounds. Browning currently offers three variants: a Hi Power Standard, with fixed sights, blued finish, and standard-grade wood grips; a Standard/Adjustable Sight version with blued finish and wood grips; and a Mark III with fixed sights, matte black epoxy finish, and composite grips. All feature ambidextrous thumb safeties. Retail prices range from $1,110 to $1,200. All feature the external extractor introduced around 1962 to improve reliability, and all are fitted with the spur-type hammer standardized in 1972.


Nighthawk also installs a Heinie Slant Pro rear sight and a 14K gold bead front sight. Stippling is applied to the top surface of the slide to prevent glare.

In function the pistol is of short-recoil design. When the hammer falls and the cartridge fires, the barrel and slide reciprocate rearward together for a short distance, after which a cam slot in the bottom of the barrel engages the frame, pulling the barrel down so the locking lugs disengage and the barrel halts. Under momentum, the slide continues rearward, drawing the fired cartridge case from the chamber and ejecting it, and cocking the hammer. When it reaches maximum rearward travel, the recoil spring throws it forward. As it returns, the slide picks up a fresh cartridge, which glides up beneath the sturdy 0.10-inch-wide extractor, and slams the barrel forward. The frame cams the barrel up, locking the lugs into battery, and it’s ready to fire again.

Nighthawk Modifications

slender black G10 grips are available as an option. Two 13-round magazines come with each pistol.

Shootability As one would expect of a product with its marrow rooted in John Browning’s genius, the Nighthawk Custom Hi Power feels at home in my palm and points like an extension of my body. The stippled texturing offers a secure grip without galling the hand, and it will never fray the lining of one’s Harris Tweed. I grip pistols high and hard, and the extended beavertail adds tremendously to the outstanding feel, balance, and comfort of this Hi Power. When pointing the pistol, the ambidextrous safety lever falls directly beneath my firing-hand thumb, making it easy to disengage and providing a familiar feel to my 1911-trained hand. It engages easily, with a crisp, positive “click.” As an aside, the Hi Power was originally intended to be carried cocked and locked. A fun feature unfamiliar to many shooters is the magazine ejection spring that preloads as you insert a magazine. It ensures that empty magazines leave the mag well with enthusiasm when the mag release button is pressed. Even with the gun upside down, the magazines launch clear of the mag well.

So what magic has Nighthawk performed on Browning’s stock Hi Power to make it worth $1,700 more? To begin with, a custom extended beavertail, which prevents the hammerbite so common with standard models, has been added. Nighthawk also has replaced the standard spur-type hammer with a competition combat-type hammer paired with an improved sear lever and trigger. And the trigger pull has been tuned to a crisp 4-pound pull. To aid accuracy the barrel is recrowned, and NIGHTHAWK CUSTOM HI POWER ACCURACY & VELOCITY fast-handling characteristics are improved by contouring the magazine well to enable 25-YD. quicker mag changes. Recoil control is VEL. E.S. S.D. ACC. AMMUNITION (FPS) (FPS) (FPS) (IN.) improved by hand-stippling the frame and 9mm trigger guard. To reduce glare, the top and Barnes 115-gr. TAC-XPD 1077 59 19 2.96 rear of the slide are stippled as well, and the Hornady Critical Defense 115-gr. FTX 1213 41 11 3.42 sights have been replaced with a Heinie Slant Black Hills 124-gr. JHP +P 1287 49 13 2.34 Pro rear and 14K gold bead front. SIG SAUER 124-gr. JHP 1131 89 25 2.03 Instead of rebluing after the modifications Hornady Critical Duty 135-gr. FlexLock 1015 58 16 1.91 are completed, each pistol is finished in a corBrowning 147-gr. BXP 990 46 13 2.00 rosion-resistant, extremely tough, non-glare NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. satin black Cerakote. Checkered select cocoVelocity is the average of five rounds measured 10 feet from the gun’s muzzle. bolo wood grips add a refined touch, although MARCH 2017 • SHOOTING TIMES

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Barnes 115-Gr. TAC-XPD Hornady Critical Defense 115-Gr. FTX SIG SAUER 124-Gr. JHP Black Hills 124-Gr. JHP +P Hornady Critical Duty 135-Gr. FlexLock Browning 147-Gr. BXP

Superb ergonomics and fine custom touches make the 9mm Nighthawk Hi Power inherently easy to shoot well.

The trigger on my pistol averaged 3 pounds, 10 ounces over a series of five measurements and had less than an ounce of variation. I will confess that it wasn’t as crisp as the best 1911 triggers I’ve used, but it was very good. To evaluate its accuracy, I rested the Hi Power over a sandbag and fired a series of three consecutive five-shot groups at 25 yards and then averaged the results. I repeated the process with several different loads with bullets ranging in weight from 115 to 147 grains. Interestingly, the pistol seemed to prefer bullets in the heavier range, turning in its best average with Hornady’s 135-grain Critical Duty load and its second-best with Browning’s new 147-grain BXP load. Of the six loads tested, all but one averaged less than 3.0 inches at 25 yards. Point of impact was slightly left with most loads, but curing that’s as simple as loosening the Allen-head setscrew in the Heinie Slant Pro rear sight and drifting it a bit. With clinical testing completed, I transitioned to practical shooting, running informal drills on my Action Target IDPA Practice Torso, a steel half-size torso target with center mass and center head reactive cutouts. Double-taps, magazine dumps, and 58

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

careful shots with both strong and weak hand demonstrated the fine heirloom-quality pistol’s ergonomics and accuracy. Since the grip naturally positions the hand in a proper shooting grip, getting the Hi Power into action from my Galco holster was effortless, smooth, and fast. Reliability, as one would expect from a pistol hand-tuned by one of the finest custom houses in America, was stellar even with the mixed bag of random 9mm loads that I used for running my casual drills. The refined Hi Power digested all the mixed bullet weights and nose profiles along with more than one cartridge that had a bit of corrosion or discoloration marring the brass case. While Nighthawk opted to customize and tune existing production pistols made by Browning, there still won’t exactly be a flood of these fine Hi Powers hitting the market. But that’s okay. And at $2,895 not a lot of shooters will line up to purchase one. That’s okay, too. This is a connoisseur’s pistol: a Hi Power for the discerning disciple. For those who love the Hi Power pistol for what it is—a superb high-capacity medium-bore pistol of infinite shootability and extraordinary historical significance— there isn’t anything else like it.


KNOW A HALF-DOZEN WRITERS WHO ARE, YOU MIGHT SAY, ADDICTED

to their borescopes. They use them with every new gun they review and for other investigative tasks related to shooting. One of them has replaced his borescope at least four times because he keeps giving them away to gunsmiths, reloading buddies, and other gun people. I’m a recent convert to the joys of using a borescope and have been using the Shooting Edition Hawkeye Borescope from Gradient Lens, which now costs $150 less than it did a year ago. Why the reduction in price? Well, you can now buy it without the original locking metal case. Instead, you can get it with a laminated box that’s lined with die-cut foam. The MSRP is $745. So what can you do with a borescope? Obviously, you can study the condition of your favorite guns’ bores. You can locate and identify any bore problems before they appear to the naked eye or begin to show up in a gun’s performance. You can track how barrel wear progresses. When you’re considering buying a used gun, you can see what it looks like on the inside 60

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017


and determine how much it’s really worth before you part with your hard-earned money. If you’re comparing new guns that you might like to purchase, you can check the quality of machining in their bores and make a more informed decision. But you can also do a lot more with a borescope—like viewing the inner surfaces of your handloading dies, inspecting the dimensional consistency of flash holes in fired cartridge cases before handloading them, finding irregularities and erosion in the forcing cones of your revolvers, examining the locking lug recesses inside an auto pistol slide, seeing how well a screw-in shotgun choke actually fits, or checking the condition of your gun’s gas ports. The list goes on and on. Using a Hawkeye Borescope is easy. Here’s how you do it. First, screw the supplied light source (a Mini-Maglite is included with the standard Hawkeye Borescope) onto the lens housing, turn it on, and look through the eyepiece. Then adjust the light beam’s brightness and intensity. Use the dial on the eyepiece to focus the lighted and highly magnified image you see through the tube. (Focus is from 1mm to infinity.) The lens tube used alone has a 42-degree field of view. That’s fine for close inspection of open surfaces, such as determining land count and direction or locating rough patches you feel

The Hawkeye Borescope’s lens tube casts a 42-degree illuminated field of view, and the mirror tube directs that field 90 degrees sideways. The mirror tube slides over the inner lens tube.

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with your cleaning rod or examining fired cartridge cases for incipient shell separation, but you’ll need to use the included 90-degree mirror tube to look directly at the walls of a barrel’s bore. The mirror tube slips over the lens tube and can be rotated to view 360 degrees with its knurled base, which has a tactile index notch so you’ll always know which way you’re viewing. This is very helpful because the mirror tube inverts the image so that right is left and up is down. Optional higher-intensity light sources are also available from Gradient Lens, and in fact, I used the optional LED light source. It costs an extra $135, but I think it’s worth the cost because it delivers a very bright white light and offers a longer lamp life. Gradient Lens recommends viewing the images by eye because doing it that way is the most popular way, plus it provides the sharpest images. However, you can also view your images via an external monitor or on a computer. The monitor offers a larger image, and using a laptop or desktop computer allows you to store still and moving images. That’s right, you can make videos of the inside of your guns’ bores. Of course, for that you’ll need additional video camera and capture devices. The Hawkeye Borescope’s standard tube is 17 inches long, and that’s good for inspecting a lot of bores. If your gun’s barrel is longer than that, simply view it from each end. If you plan on examining barrels longer than 34 inches, Gradient Lens offers a 22-inch tube. The company also has a 7-inch tube that’s perfect for viewing handgun barrels. The standard tube’s outside diameter with the mirror tube installed is 0.188 inch, so it easily fits in .200-caliber bores and larger. If you shoot .17-caliber rifles, you may prefer the Pro SuperSlim tube, which has a mirror tube outside diameter of 0.15 inch. The drawback here is that the technology necessary to shrink down the diameter is expensive, so the Pro SuperSlim Borescope costs about twice as much as the standard Hawkeye Borescope. The first thing I did after receiving the Hawkeye Borescope was to check the condition of the muzzle crown of a friend’s

You can do a lot more with a borescope than just look at your gun’s bore. It’s a great tool for examining the inner surfaces of handloading dies, the forcing cones of revolvers, the screw-in chokes of shotguns, the flash holes in fired cartridge cases (left), a gun’s gas ports (right), and much more.

Remington Model 700. The rifle has been in his family for a long time, and his grandpa, his dad, and his uncle all had used it for years for hunting deer. It has accounted for a lot of venison dinners. Anyway, my friend is now in possession of that old Model 700, and he was complaining that when he recently shot it, it just didn’t shoot as accurately as he had remembered it doing. I got out the Hawkeye Borescope, and the first thing we checked was the rifle’s muzzle crown. Sure enough, we found a slight amount of erosion at the juncture between the bore and the face of the barrel. We decided the barrel needs to be recrowned. I’ve also checked some of my own guns with the Hawkeye Borescope just to see if I’m getting them cleaned properly. I’ve found slight traces of copper fouling in some and even a bit of rust pitting in others. Clearly, I need to do a better job. Fortunately, the guns in question still shoot as accurately as I’m able to shoot them, but letting their bores deteriorate by not getting them thoroughly clean certainly isn’t a good idea. Had I not had the Hawkeye Borescope, I wouldn’t have noticed the imperfections. I had looked in the bores of all of my personal guns with bore lights but hadn’t seen the spots. There are just some things you can’t see without the brightness and high magnification that only a borescope can provide.

Of course, a borescope allows you to check your gun’s bore for things such as erosion of the leade, pitting, and tool marks. It’s also great for checking the all-important muzzle crown and can reveal imperfections that are not visible to the naked eye.

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and game-recovery tool called the LTO Tracker. LTO stands for Leupold Thermal Optic, and according to the company, the LTO Tracker’s state-ofthe-art thermal-imaging engine provides exceptional image quality, fast 30Hz frame rates, and detection of heat sources out to 600 yards. The LTO Tracker is intended for use by big-game and varmint hunters where legal. Such uses include helping a hunter make a stealth approach to a stand or a blind with minimal risk of scaring off game, identifying where varmints and feral hogs are located, and tracking a quarry’s heat trail to more quickly and efficiently recover the downed animal. The LTO Tracker features a user-controlled reticle, a 21-degree field of view, and a 6X digital zoom. Six thermal color palettes (red, green, white hot, black hot, white highlight, and black highlight) allow the user to choose the view that’s most beneficial. The LTO is powered by a single CR123 lithium battery, with battery life reaching up to 10 hours of continuous use. The unit has a fast start-up time (less than three seconds) and a powerful sensor that’s effective from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s waterproof to IP67 standards and is built in the United States. It weighs less than 10 ounces and is 5.6 inches long. The LTO Tracker is designed to allow users to find downed game in dense brush, scout pests and predators at night, and enhance situational awareness. S : $874.99 leupold.com

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206x156 600 yds. 21 degrees horizontal -4 F to 140 F

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30Hz

F FOC S ZOO DIS L Y DIS L Y

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Fixed 6X Direct view 1.22 in. round

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240x204 pixels

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One CR123 battery

L NG H

5.6 in.

W IGH

< 10 oz.

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5-year electronics warranty

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SHOOT

HUNT

DEFEND

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QUICKSHOT

WALLET-FRIENDLY IS THE TERM STOEGER IS USING TO DESCRIBE ITS NEW

P3000 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. And at an MSRP of just $299, you can’t argue with the statement. About 10 years ago I had a motto for buying guns that went something like, “If it’s under $350, I can afford it.” Obviously, that limited me pretty much to used guns. Back then you could get some pretty cool old guns—usually in fairly good condition—for that price. Sometimes you could even get a good gun for less. But you couldn’t buy a quality new gun for anything close to that. Well, Stoeger has the new economypriced P3000 pump gun that’s a dependable, rugged workingman’s gun that just about everybody can afford. It’s pretty plain, but it gets the job done in good fashion. So what do you get for that paltry price? The P3000 comes with a black synthetic buttstock with a length of pull of 14.25 inches, molded-in texturing in the grip area, and a 1-inch-thick recoil pad. The forearm is also black synthetic, and it, too, has molded-in textured gripping areas. The buttstock has an integral sling-swivel eyelet, as does the barrel ring. Speaking of the barrel, just one length is offered: 28 inches. The barrel is finished in matte black and wears a ventilated rib with a red-bar front sight. The rib is 5mm wide (as near as I can measure it), and it’s smooth on top. The barrel is threaded for screw-in choke tubes, and the gun comes with a Modified choke tube already installed. Stoeger also supplies a choke tube wrench, and other constriction choke tubes are available as accessories. The P3000 action uses dual action rods, and the bolt group assembly includes the bolt body, locking head, locking head pin, extractor, extractor spring, extractor pin, firing pin, firing pin spring, firing pin retaining pin, and O-ring. My sample’s action is solid and tight and operates smoothly and relatively quietly. The crossbolt safety is located at the rear of the trigger guard and can be actuated easily with the shooter’s thumb or forefinger. The action release lever is positioned at the front of the trigger guard. Trigger pull on the review sample P3000 averages 9.0 pounds. That’s for 10 measurements with an RCBS trigger pull scale. The trigger group can be removed for maintenance simply by pushing out one retaining pin and then pulling the assembly out from the bottom of the receiver. The action’s bolt group assembly is also easily removed for cleaning. 64

SHOOTING


P3000 MANUFACTURER TYPE GAUGE MAGAZINE CAPACITY BARREL CHOKE

Stoeger // stoegerindustries.com Pump-action repeater 12, 3-in. chamber 4 rounds 28 in. Modified

OVERALL LENGTH

49.5 in.

WEIGHT, EMPTY

6.9 lbs.

STOCK

Synthetic

FINISH

Matte black barrel and action, black stock

LENGTH OF PULL SIGHTS TRIGGER SAFETY MSRP

14.25 in. Red-bar front 9.0-lb. pull (as tested) Crossbolt $299

The P3000 weighs 6.9 pounds and measures 49.5 inches long. The magazine tube holds four 2¾-inch or 3-inch shells. And, of course, a removable magazine plug that limits the tube capacity to two shells is included. How does it shoot? Well, during my first shootng session with it, I broke three clay targets with the first three shots. I’m not a very good shotgunner, so that’s as good as I ever do—actually, I usually don’t do that well. The gun’s balance is good, and it shoulders easily and points well. The P3000 fits me well, and I swing it much better than other shotguns I’ve hunted with. Typically with a 12-gauge gun, I tend to swing late and miss birds. But I swing the P3000 smoothly and ahead of the target. It works well for me. The P3000 won’t win any beauty contests, but I sure do like how it shoots. And I definitely like its price.

The wallet-friendly 12-gauge pump-action P3000 shoots 2¾- and 3-inch shells and comes with a ventilated rib, a red-bar front sight, and integral sling-swivel eyelets. MSRP is just $299.


SHOOT

HUNT

DEFEND

STORE

QUICKSHOT

GUN SAFES ARE VALUABLE TOOLS THAT PROTECT

your firearms from theft and fire and secure them from family members and visitors. The give-andtake of safe design is that larger safes hold more guns and are difficult to steal, but they also create a burden for homeowners. Lugging a gun safe weighing a quarter-ton up or down stairs and into interior rooms of your house isn’t always an option, and for that reason many safes are stored in rooms with easy exterior access and wide doors, making them easier to steal. Enter SnapSafe, which was acquired by Hornady in December 2015, and offers a line of unique modular gun safes. I recently purchased the company’s Titan safe. The Titan comes disassembled, and it doesn’t take an engineering degree or special tools to put it together. You can assemble the safe in an upstairs room in your house where your guns are easy for you to access and difficult for crooks to steal. The Titan weighs in at 375 pounds, which is rather light by gun safe standards. But the Titan’s lack of heft and modular design don’t make it less capable of defending your firearms. The unit is 59 inches high and 22 inches wide with a capacity of up to 12 long guns. The 9-gauge steel exterior walls are held together by heavy bolts, and the interior fire blankets give this safe a fire rating of 2,300 degrees for one hour. In addition, the door seals swell to 20 times their original size to protect interior contents from smoke and water in the event of a fire. The 3/16-inch steel door is held closed by eight 1-inch chrome steel live locking bolts. The interior of the safe is lined, the exterior has a classy powder-coated black finish. It’s also predrilled for floor mounting. You can choose between a SecuRam digital lock or a LaGard mechanical lock. 66

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Having just moved into a new home and welcoming a brand-new baby boy, I am well versed in product assembly, and let me say that not all assembly instructions are created equal. The Titan was easy to put together, but if you are struggling with the provided manual there’s also a straightforward video tutorial on the website. The hardware provided is substantial, and the parts fit together well, which makes assembly much easier. That being said, the task is simpler with two people because the door (the heaviest part) weighs 92 pounds. You probably don’t want to lug that upstairs all alone. The SnapSafe assembly is userfriendly. All the exterior parts are very clearly labeled, and there are arrows that indicate orientation. In short, you will begin by adding a 9-volt battery (for digital models) and assembling the handle components; removing the door from the frame; assembling the top, bottom, and sides; and then placing those on the back of the safe, which should be lying face-up on the floor. After installing the doorframe and interior pieces, stand the safe upright, add the door, and design your own combination of interior shelving. You’re finished. Working alone, the process took me less than 45 minutes. Two pieces of advice: Have a plan in mind when you start to remove the door from the frame (I didn’t and ended up working harder than necessary and almost dropping

the thing on my foot), and for your own sake, follow the video tutorial instructions when adding the interior walls. If you follow the proper sequence, it’s quite simple. The SnapSafe Titan is a great idea that’s long overdue. Now you can buy a high-quality safe with good fire and theft protection and set it up anywhere you’d like. MSRP: $1,148 snapsafe.com

How do you make the most accurate bullet in the world even better? By crowning the MatchKing with an acetal resin tip that lowers drag by improving the ballistic coefficient. Long live the King. WWW.SIERRABULLETS.COM

#LONGLIVETHEKING © Copyright 2017 Sierra Bullets

1400 West Henry Street | Sedalia, MO 65301 Tech support: 800-223-8799 | sierra@sierrabullets.com

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SHOOTER’S SHOWCASE GUNSMOKE

HIPSHOTS

RIFLEMEN ARE PRONE TO FADS AND FASHIONS

Considerations when choosing a dangerous-game rifle include the power-level of the chambering, ammunition availability, handling characteristics of the rifle, and the purchase price. A bolt action, such as Terry’s custom FN Supreme chambered for .450 Ackley and fitted with scope mounts, handles like a bird gun, and the wide range of handloading options make it extremely versatile.

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like everyone else. In the early 1990s, as interest in British double rifles was reawakening, any double chambered for the .470 Nitro Express was blessed with what was called the “.470 premium.” This was about a 20 percent higher price, gun for gun, because ammunition was readily available. As ammunition for other calibers crept back on the market, interest in the .470 waned somewhat, not least because those with money to afford several doubles became bored with it. The .500 NE was next up. When rifles and ammunition for the .500 became common, interest switched to the .577 NE. In 2010 I saw a nice Holland & Holland .577 for sale at Puglisi’s with an asking price of $280,000. He got it, too. The same is true of bolt-action calibers, but these are rifles that anyone with a serious interest in dangerous game can afford. For many years, “.458 Winchester” was the answer to just about any question because it was all that was available. However,

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

the .458 Win. Mag. has its problems—problems that Jack Lott sought to resolve with the slightly longer .458 Lott. As the Lott gained popularity, it became a standard, and shooters looked around for something new, something different, something bigger. Both the British .500 Jeffery and .505 Gibbs enjoyed renewed interest, and Norma catered to all of these with its African PH line, providing first-rate, modern hunting ammunition for rifles that 30 years earlier everyone was writing off as obsolete.

Points to Ponder There has always been much more interest in dangerous-game rifles than there have been guys who actually hunt dangerous game. This is understandable. We can’t all go to Africa and hunt Cape buffalo, but most of us can afford to buy a rifle, work with it, and dream. I’m often asked what a shooter should buy for his first dangerous-game rifle (DGR), with many now evincing an interest in the .500 Jeffery


or .505 Gibbs. My answer is always the same. For your first DGR, get a .458 Lott. Learn to load for it and shoot it and only then consider something bigger. In most cases, the Lott turns out to be more than enough. Just as the .458 Lott is a quantum leap above the .338 Winchester Magnum in power, recoil, and rifle weight, so the .505 Gibbs is a dramatic leap above the Lott. The problems do not end there. Brass is more expensive, bullets are harder to come by, dies are usually special order, and you may even need a bigger loading press to accommodate larger-diameter dies. These are not minor difficulties, even if money is no object. Another advantage of the Lott is that if you arrive in Africa and your ammunition does not arrive with you, it’s possible to use .458 Win. Mag. instead. Not ideal, but better than nothing. If the local ducca doesn’t have any, your PH probably will. Power aside, my main reason for preferring the .458 Lott is that a handloader can concoct loads for it that are suitable for everything from whitetails on up. There are good expanding 0.458-inch bullets weighing

from 300 grains to 600, countless designs in cast bullets, and various solids. These can be loaded to velocities as low as 1,200 to 1,500 fps with lead bullets or approaching 3,000 fps with light jacketed ones. This means you could use your .458 Lott for a wide variety of hunting aside from elephant and Cape buffalo, and a lot of use translates into intimate familiarity. An ideal weight for a rifle chambered for the .458 Lott is between 8.5 and 10 pounds, depending on the scope, sling, and so on. My custom .450 Ackley (which is ballistically identical) weighs 8 pounds, 3 ounces (unloaded, unslung, unscoped) and handles like a bird gun. Such handling qualities are exceedingly rare with the brawnier cartridges and rifles, but they are a huge and distinct advantage when mbogo comes boiling out of a thicket.

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Big-Bore Believer // Continued From Page 72

Sir Samuel was a pioneer in experimenting with rifling twist rates, having rifles built to his own specifications. He determined that big, heavy balls being propelled by big charges of blackpowder required slow twist rates and deep grooves. Through his experimenting he resolved that fast twist rates combined with shallow grooves could cause the ball to “trip over the rifling”—meaning the ball rides over the lands—and adversely affect the downrange ballistics. He also advocated for massive powder charges. Fadala quoted Sir Samuel as saying, “In 1840 I had already devoted much attention to this subject, and I drew a plan for an experimental rifle to burn a charge of powder so large that it appeared preposterous to the professional opinions of the trade.” That rifle weighed 21 pounds, had a barrel length of 36 inches with two “exceedingly deep” grooves and a twist rate of 1:36, and was designed to shoot round balls weighing 3 ounces.

2 Bore The massive 2 Bore was the largest caliber created for a shoulder rifle. It had a nominal bore diameter of 1.326 inches (33.7mm) and fired projectiles that weighed about 8 ounces (3,500 grains). The muzzle velocity was 1,500 fps or so, and the muzzle energy was a whopping 17,500 ft-lbs.

The round ball was fitted with a greased linen patch and pressed down the bore with a ramrod, but the powder was loaded into the breech in an unconventional way. The loading rod had a 1-ounce cup on one end. The cup was filled with blackpowder. The rifle was turned with its muzzle pointing down, and the muzzle was slipped over the powder-cup end of the loading rod. The loading rod was pushed up the barrel until the powder cup contacted the breech. The rifle was then turned muzzle-up. In that way the entire contents of the powder cup was inserted into the breech and no powder was left in the rifling as could happen if it was poured down the bore. Sir Samuel lived to the ripe old age of 72, passing away on December 30, 1893. During his life he explored the Nile River; had waterfalls and mountains named after him; and hunted water and Cape buffalo, elephants, grizzly bears, brown bears, tigers, crocodiles, wild boars, and a whole lot more. His ideas on shooting were, as Fadala wrote, “…carved in granite with the chisel of experience.” Fortunately, through his writings, he left us his vast wealth of knowledge about dangerous-game blackpowder ballistics.

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ht.com or by calling our stores or HarborFreig or coupon or prior LIMIT 9 - Good at used with other discount t. 800-423-2567. Cannot be from original purchase with original receipbe purchases after 30 days last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must ies day. suppl per mer while custo good per n Offer 5/10/17. Limit one coupo presented. Valid through

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1.51 CUBIC FT. SOLID STEEL ELECTRONIC DIGITAL FLOOR SAFE

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ITEM 91006 62678/62977 shown

VALID NOW ON 5,000 + ITEMS

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Limit 1 coupon per customer per day. Save 20% on any 1 item purchased. *Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or any of the following items or brands: Inside Track Club membership, Extended Service Plan, gift card, open box item, 3 day Parking Lot Sale item, automotive lifts, compressors, floor jacks, saw mills, storage cabinets, chests or carts, trailers, trenchers, welders, Admiral, Badland, Bremen, CoverPro, Creekstone, Daytona, Diablo, Doyle, Drummond, Earthquake, Franklin, Hercules, Holt, Jupiter, Lynxx, Maddox, Portland, Predator, Quinn, StormCat, Union, Viking. Not valid on prior purchases. Nontransferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 5/10/17.

Customer Rating

99 99 99

$ $

129

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SUPER COUPON

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12,000 LB. ELECTRIC WINCH WITH REMOTE CONTROL AND AUTOMATIC BRAKE

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SAVE $228

ITEM 61256/61889/60813 shown

How Does Harbor Freight Sell GREAT QUALITY Tools at the LOWEST Prices? We have invested millions of dollars in our own state-of-the-art quality test labs and millions more in our factories, so our tools will go toe-to-toe with the top professional brands. And we can sell them for a fraction of the price because we cut out the middle man and pass the savings on to you. It’s just that simple! Come visit one of our 700+ Stores Nationwide. 44", 13 DRAWER INDUSTRIAL QUALITY ROLLER CABINET Customer Rating ITEM 68784 shown 69387/63271/62744

$

• Weighs 245 lbs.

34999

37999 comp at

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ITEM 60363/69730 ITEM 68121/69727 shown CALIFORNIA ONLY

$1029.99

$

comp at

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SE REEL RETRACTABLE AIR HOFT HOSE WITH 3/8" x 50M 938. 97 shown

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ITE

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3 99

$ 99

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R PE ON U P S U C•O Weighs 73 lbs.

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ITEM 61282 shown Customer Rating 61253/62326

1299 $8499 99 $ 99 comp at

$59.97

$

1645 VALUE

LIMIT 1 - Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or prior purchase. Coupon good at our stores, HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Offer good while supplies last. Shipping & Handling charges may apply if not picked up in-store. Nontransferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 5/10/17. Limit one FREE GIFT coupon per customer per day.

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2.5 HP, 21 GALLON, 125 PSI VERTICAL AIR COMPRESSOR ITEM 69091/61454 61693/62803 67847 shown

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99

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WIRELESS SECURITY ALERT SYSTEM

ITEM 93068 shown 69590/61910/62447

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20"

$

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comp at

$269.99

SAVE 60%

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$189

EAR MUFFS

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$

comp at

ht.com or by calling our stores or HarborFreig or coupon or prior LIMIT 3 - Good at used with other discount t. 800-423-2567. Cannot be from original purchase with original receipbe days 30 after al coupon must ases purch last. Non-transferable. Origin Offer good while supplies5/10/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day. presented. Valid through

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ITEM 62281 61637 shown

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99

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ITEM 90899 shown 98025/69096

$

comp at 99 $752.99

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7 FUNCTION DIGITAL MULTIMETER

$14999

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6.5 HP (212 CC) OHV HORIZONTAL SHAFT GAS ENGINES

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MOVING BLAN

SWING-BACK TRAILER JACK

ITEM 66537 shown 69505/62418 Customer Rating

ITEM 69780/41005 shown

Customer Rating

1999 $2599

SAVE 66%

comp at

$39.94

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• 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed • Over 30 Million Satisfied Customers • No Hassle Return Policy

$ 99 $899$17.97

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• 700+ Stores Nationwide • Lifetime Warranty On All Hand Tools

• HarborFreight.com • 800-423-2567

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8", 5 SPEED BENCHTOP DRILL PRESS

Customer Rating

ITEM 62520 60238 shown

99 54 $ 99

$

69

SAVE $60

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$115.56

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SHOOTER’S SHOWCASE GUNSMOKE

HIPSHOTS

SIR SAMUEL BAKER (1821–1893) WAS AN ACCLAIMED

During the mid-1800s, Sir Samuel W. Baker hunted large, dangerous game throughout the world. He preferred bigbore rifles that fired large, heavy round balls with massive amounts of blackpowder.

72

sportsman and expert big-game hunter. He is known to have demonstrated his skills by hunting down red stags in Scotland and wild boars in Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) using just a knife. But as you may have already discerned, this issue of Shooting Times is loosely centered on a theme of dangerous game (see “The Ballistician,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Safari Prestige” elsewhere in this magazine), and Sir Samuel was the consummate dangerous-game hunter of his time. He was a champion of big, massive rifles (including the 2 Bore with its nominal bore diameter of 1.326 inches!), preferring heavy, round ball projectiles over conicals. Born in London, Sir Samuel was trained as a civil engineer, and achieved considerable success in that field designing railroads, bridges, and other structures, but he gained prominence as adventurer, explorer, hunter, and writer, penning at least 10 books. His books include The Rifle and Hound in Ceylon (1853); Eight Years’ Wanderings in Ceylon (1855); The Albert N’Yanza Great Basin of the Nile and Explorations of the Nile Sources (1866); In the Heart of Africa (1886);

SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2017

Wild Beasts and Their Ways, Reminiscenses of Europe, Asia, Africa and America (1890); and True Tales for My Grandsons (1891). They’re still in print and readily available, a recognition of his value today. He also wrote articles for outdoor journals of the day, including Field magazine. In his writings on shooting and hunting, he promoted big guns, large charges of blackpowder, and big round balls. According to Great Shooters of the World by Sam Fadala, Sir Samuel used single- and double-barrel rifles weighing 15 to 22 pounds apiece. The round balls he fired in those rifles weighed between 1,750 and 1,900 grains. And the charges of blackpowder were in the neighborhood of 328 grains. As Fadala wrote, “He [Sir Samuel] was one of the few hunters of his day to do autopsies on downed game in an attempt to study wound channel and bullet behavior.” As a consequence, Sir Samuel concluded that round balls (actually, the round balls had integral lead belts around their middles) were more deadly in stopping the charge of dangerous game. He observed that conicals “…make too neat a wound and are apt to glance on striking a bone.”

Continued on Page 70


ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT . . .

VP SERIES PISTOLS Heckler & Koch VP pistols are packed with the essential features you need in a reliable and accurate handgun. And they come from the world renowned company that pioneered the first striker fired and polymer pistols more than forty years ago.

VP9 (9 mm) and VP40 (.40 S&W) pistols have easy to change backstraps and side panels for a personalized fit.

VP pistols use HK’s ergonomic handgun grip design that includes changeable backstraps and side panels — accommodating all hand sizes. Only HK handguns have such a personalized grip. The VP trigger surpasses those found on competitors and has been widely hailed as a ground-breaking component. It has a short, precise take-up with a solid, single action type break followed by a short positive reset. Add in features like controls that are completely ambidextrous, HK’s patented charging supports for better gripping to rack the slide rearward, and a cold hammer forged polygonal barrel made from cannon grade steel and you can see why this is a “No Compromise” pistol. All at a remarkable price and backed by Heckler & Koch’s legendary German quality and an exceptional lifetime warranty. Available Standard, Flat Dark Earth, Grey and Tactical (threaded barrel) models.

VP Standard Model 9 mm or .40 S&W

VP Tactical Model 9 mm

VP Flat Dark Earth Model 9 mm or .40 S&W

VP Grey Model 9 mm

www.hk-usa.com • 706-568-1906


KIMBER MICRO light. compact. powerful. available in .380 acp and now 9mm.

The Micro 9™ family puts 9mm power and Kimber dependability in a classic, compact package.

The 2016 Micro 9

amily

Micro 9™ Crimson Carry With Crimson Trace Laser Grips

Micro 9™ Stainless Rosewood grips; satin silver finish

Micro 9™ Two-Tone Rosewood grips; matte black slide

For a look at our many Micro pistols, please visit www.kimberamerica.com

MADE IN A MERIC A

WHAT ALL GUNS SHOULD BE

TM

(888) 243-4522 kimberamerica.com

©2016, Kimber Mfg., Inc. All rights reserved. Information and specifications are for reference only and subject to change without notice.

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