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GUNS & AMMO

| VOLUME | PUBLISHED | VOLUME SEPTEMBER AUGUST 2016 2016 60,60, NUMBER NUMBER 8 |9PUBLISHED MONTHLY MONTHLY

CONTENTS

BY CHRIS MUDGETT

Guns & Ammo’s subscriber cover features the new CMMG MkW-15 Anvil and a Rock River LAR-458 wearing Trijicon optics. p. 96

ABOVE PHOTO & NEWSSTAND COVER PHOTO: SEAN UTLEY | SUBSCRIBER COVER PHOTO: MARK FINGAR

52

BEAR CLAW

Dan Wesson’s new Bruin 10mm offers more bite from the 1911 platform.

86

A BIGGER HAMMER

The .458 SOCOM puts maximum wallop in any AR-pattern rifle. by tom beckstrand

by brad fitzpatrick

62

2016 BEST STATES FOR GUN OWNERS

96

THE BIG KIDS ON THE BLOCK

106

IF ONLY ONE RIFLE

140

THE CANADIAN ROSS RIFLE

Kimber’s new Model 84M Hunter might be the best short action for modern times.

Probably no military rifle has been more misunderstood than the Ross straight-pull.

by eric r. poole

by garry james

124

148

REMINGTON’S TOP SEVEN CARTRIDGE DEVELOPMENTS

See how your state compares to others in this year’s national survey.

Rock River’s LAR-458 vs. CMMG’s MkW-15 XBE Anvil.

After 200 years, these are the most magnificent.

by keith wood

by tom beckstrand

by craig boddington

THE SUM OF ITS PARTS

The new Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite is one of the best .22 autoloaders at any price. by brad fitzpatrick

Reader Blowback � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 8 Editorial by Eric R� Poole � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 15

The Carry Rig Blackhawk TecGrip � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 33 Gun Tech by Chris Mudgett � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 39

Gun Room by Garry James � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 17 Brass & Bullets by Dana Loesch � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 25 Handgunning by Patrick Sweeney � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 27

Rifles & Glass by Tom Beckstrand � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 45 G&A Almanac � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 158 Spent Cases ‘Carbine’ WIlliams � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 160

GUNS & AMMO Magazine, Copyright 2016 by Outdoor Sportsman Group. All rights reserved. CAUTION: Some advertisements may concern products that are not legally for sale to California residents or residents in other jurisdictions. Guns & Ammo (ISSN# 0017-5684) September 2016, Volume 60, Number 9� Copyright 2016� Published monthly by OUTDOOR SPORTSMAN GROUP, 1040 6th Ave�, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10018-3703� Periodical postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices� POSTMASTER: Send address change (Form 3579) to Guns & Ammo, P�O� Box 37539, Boone, IA 50037-0539� Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: 500 R� 46 East, Clifton, NJ 07011� Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No� 41405030�


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gunsandammo.com An Outdoor Sportsman Group publication pUbLIsHer Chris Agnes EDITORIAL

ENDEMIC AD SALES

eDItOr Eric R. Poole mANAGING eDItOr Chris Mudgett AssOCIAte eDItOr Laura Kovarik AssOCIAte eDItOr Katie McCarthy Art DIreCtOr Michael Ulrich stAFF pHOtOGrApHer Michael Anschuetz GrOUp Art DIreCtOr David Kleckner seNIOr eDItOr Garry James seNIOr FIeLD eDItOr Craig Boddington HANDGUNs eDItOr Patrick Sweeney

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CONTRIBUTORS Tom Beckstrand, Jeremy Cantrell, Mark Fingar, Brad Fitzpatrick, Skip Knowles, Kyle Lamb, Lukas Lamb, Dana Loesch, Richard Nance, Alfredo Rico, Jeremy Stafford, Sean Utley, Len Waldron, Keith Wood prODUCtION COOrDINAtOr Al Ziegler

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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 Guns & Ammo, p.O. box 37539, boone, IA 50037-0539, or e-mail us at amocustserv@cdsfulfillment.com, or call tOLL Free 1-800-800-2666. BE AWARE THAT GUNS & AMMO 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 Guns & Ammo, please call 1-800-800-2666 to determine if the agent is authorized. For more information on subscription scams, please visit www.ftc.gov. SUBSCRIPTION RATE for one year is $19.94 (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 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

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to: Guns & Ammo, 2 News plaza, peoria, IL 61614, Attn: editor 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 on-line store at www.outdoorsg.com/store. 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. Guns&Ammo® is a registered trademark of Outdoor sportsman Group in the United states. Copyright 2016 by Outdoor Sportsman Group All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission.

Printed in the U.S.A.


8 G&A september 2016 READER BLOWBACK

WRITE US! “Letters,” Guns & Ammo, 2 News Plaza, 3rd Floor, Peoria, IL 61614, or email us at gaeditor@outdoorsg.com. Please include your city and state of residence. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity.

A HOLLYWOOD MYTH Craig Boddington did an excellent job on the article “The American Legend,” G&A, June 2016. There is one point I would like to correct, and that is Marsh Williams was not a member of the team that developed the M1 Carbine and his only contribution was his invention of the shortstroke piston he invented while in prison long before the M1 project. Several recent articles quoting written correspondence with Winchester staff and management personnel proved Williams had nothing to do with the M1 Carbine design. The entire myth was the concoction of “Carbine Williams” by Hollywood. Glenn MacRill Houston, Texas

CATCHING FIRE REDUX I got a kick out of your paired photos in the July 2016 issue, which reminded me of two similar shots published almost 50 years ago. Mine featured a bit larger caliber weapon — a naval 5-inch/38-caliber twin mount — on the USS John W. Thomason (DD-760). As a combat photographer working out of Saigon in 1969 and ‘70, I was doing a story on naval gunfire support and somehow persuaded an equally goofy U.S. Army helicopter pilot to help me get these photos. Since the 5-inch guns fired a 75-pound explosive projectile — and premature detonation in the humidity was not unknown — there were obvious safety concerns being ignored. I fired off about a dozen exposures with an old Nikon F wearing a 200mm Nikkor lens at 1/500 shutter speed ... and was thrilled to discover these two shots when I got back to the darkroom. (After returning aboard, I was strongly advised to avoid the captain for a few days; he was livid about the Huey orbiting during a fire mission with troops in contact.) Dennis McCloskey Former PH3, C7F Det C, Saigon Lolo, Montana

Winchester’s 150-year timeline states the carbine was a product of Winchester’s design team including “Marsh Williams.” So maybe Winchester prefers to stick with the Hollywood version? — C. Boddington Basically true, the Jimmy Stewart film notwithstanding. — G. James

HOME DEFENSE IN A CAN? I’ve been concerned about my home defense of which I have been reading about some solutions in G&A magazine. My nighttime solution has been my circa1943 Colt 1911 in .45 ACP

JANUARY ’80 G&A stepped into the 1980s with its editor, Howard French, on the cover holding an all-new Colt Python with an 8-inch barrel (a year and a half before any became available). Pistols also featured in this issue were the lightweight HK P9S in .45 ACP and a Benelli B76 in 9mm. Neither enjoyed success. The P9S was a delayed roller-block double action overwhelmed by safety systems. Benelli incorporated the inertia operating system into the B76. Did you know Benelli made a pistol?

until the folks at Hornady came up with its Critical Defense round. I can just imagine the mess a couple of these slugs would make inside my adobe hacienda. I have yet another possibility and that is a bedside can of Raid’s hornet and wasp spray. That can spits out a solid spray at over 20 feet! Hit a bad guy in the face and its all over. And no bloody mess to clean up! Oh yes, the .45 will still be at the ready but just that — at the ready. Dick Shaeffer Willowick, Ohio


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september 2016 | reAder blowbAck

Mr. Shaeffer, I’m not sure what hornet and wasp spray will do. If it works like pepper spray or OC spray, you might want to keep that firearm handy. — K. Lamb

dependent on rotational direction, the actual ARX effect is produced by the grooves’ ability to redirect soft tissue outward, away from the bullet’s forward path, and this effect has everything to do with the unique, constricting shape of the groove and very little to do with the rotation of the bullet. Aerodynamically, the bullet behaves identically with either twist direction since at supersonic speeds a pressure cone ‘shields’ the grooves of the bullet from the disrupting effects of air flow and drag.” — E. Poole

TOO MUCH MONEY!

TWISTING ARX AMMO If you haven’t had a dumb question this month … here it is. In a Gun Tech column, Chris Mudgett discussed the new Ruger ARX polymer-bullet ammunition. I recently purchased some for my new Browning 1911380, but haven’t been to the range yet to try it out. The ammo appears to be designed for a right-hand (RH) rifled barrel. Being an engineer type, curious and having no bullet design background, I’m wondering if performance will degrade if the ammo is fired in a lefthand (LH) rifled barrel? Any insight? larry M. Hoke Arlington, Texas Didn’t someone once say that there are no dumb questions? We took your inquiry and posed it to the minds behind Polycase’s ARX bullet. They replied, “The ARX projectile is equally effective when shot from a right-hand twist or left-hand twist barrel. While at first glance it appears that the ARX shape is

I always look forward to getting my G&A magazine. I do a fast 20-minute scan and then get down to two or three hours of serious reading. You guys give me the real skinny. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed in the latest issue. The three featured pistols were all 1911 variants. The average MSRP was $1,477 (or $1,007 without the Nighthawk Hi Power). To start, I did carry a World War II-vintage 1911 in the U.S. Marine Corps during the late 1950s and early ’60s. You could hear me coming 5 yards away because it rattled so much when I walked. Today, I own a high-end Remington 1911 R1 Stainless Enhanced and love it. My cost was almost $1,000 with extra mags. I also own various other pistols, which are not 1911s, including Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, CZ, H&R, Beretta, Canik, etc. I also keep a small stable of .22-caliber plinkers for practice. They range in price from $300 to $650. I usually spend extra bucks for trigger work, sights, grips and other little improvements, just a few bucks at a time when I have the dollars burning a hole in my pocket. The July issue forgot about the “Po’ Boys” who love to shoot, love their guns and are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. Myself, I am a self-styled range rat who participates in low-key local competition and attends various self-defense classes. I shoot once or twice a week. I don’t think your average reader will readily shell out $1,000 for a pistol on a regular basis, and I don’t think all readers are gotta-have-a-1911 fans. It’s as if Car and Driver magazine only featured Lexus, BMW, Audi and Cadillac, and there were no articles on Chevy, Nissan or Toyota. How about a regular feature on the many other fine pistols out there for us Po’ Boys? And I’m not talking about the cheapo throw-away guns or the “gangsta” guns. richard Figura charlotte, North carolina Thank you for the feedback regarding the July


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issue of G&A. It’s always a challenge to consider all things when developing the content for each issue (to include the price of each gun). You’re not the only one who pointed out the high cost of many firearms featured in July’s issue. Actually, I thought I’d get a “pass” given the inclusion of Chris Mudgett’s reviews of Savage’s Model 16 and Colt Defender .45 and Sweeney’s review of the Colt LW Commander 9mm. Still, I understand your points of contention. What you see in G&A’s pages is more of a reaction on my part to what was newly launched in the industry during a particular month than me paying attention to price. Ahead of the July issue, I was more concerned with G&A being first in reviewing those Colts and Nighthawk’s impressive Hi Power. I do understand that the content must speak to a general interest audience, so I’ll keep working to improve. In fact, I’m already developing plans to include a classic test review where we take popular firearm models that might be out of production yet still available on the used racks in gun stores and evaluate them against modern standards with contemporary off-the-shelf ammunition. In the August issue, we visited S&W’s take on plinkers with three new and affordable .22s. I hope these are steps in the right direction. — E. Poole

COLT 1878 CONFUSION The article on the Colt 1878 was very interesting but somewhat confusing on the ammo compatibility. How is it possible that a .455 bullet will fire in a barrel sized for a .477 bullet as James describes? Marshall Nathanson Thousand Oaks, California It’s kind of complicated as there were various incarnations of the .455 and .476 (not to mention the .450). Without being too prolix, basically the .455 and .476 — especially the Mark I and Mark II — had similar bullet dimensions. They varied in the .476 from .455 to .477 and from .449 to .461 in some .455s, and can be fired

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in Brit revolvers interchangeably with reasonable efficiency. I’ve done it, and accuracy seems to be OK. Frank Barnes did warn in Cartridges of the World, 6th Edition that “the Mark III [.476] bullet may be a bit large for use in .455 Colts or Smith & Wessons of late manufacture,” however. — G. James

SAVE YOUR EARS! I can relate to what SGM Kyle Lamb (Ret.) wrote in his June column on electronic earmuffs. Back in the 1970s, when I was in my early 20s, a friend of mine and I went to target practice on property his father owned. Being somewhat new to the sport, we had always worn hearing protection at indoor ranges. We both shot 12 gauge and .38/.357s for quite a few hours. My ears rang for three days after that outing. To this day my hearing loss is still prevalent. Since then, I’ve always used hearing protection, no matter where I am — lesson learned. I now use electronic protection wherever and whenever I go shooting. Mike Kandea Lansing, Michigan

OOPS, OUR BAD! In the article “A Dirty Secret” in the July 2016 issue of G&A, I mistakenly stated that .30-’06 cartridges are longer and fatter than the .338 Federal. While the .30-’06 is longer, it is not fatter. Thanks for keeping us sharp! — C. Mudgett


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EDITORIAL

september 2016 G&A

15

The Benelli Super Black Eagle moves past the quarter century mark.

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ERIC R. POOLE @GUNSANDAMMOMAG

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GUN ROOM

september 2016 G & A

17

“If you enjoy it, shoot it.”

IDENTIFICATION & VALUES

G A R RY J A M E S G A R RY. J A M E S @ OUTDOORSG.COM

Model 14. Mine is a model 14-3 S/N 3K30XXX in 90 percent condition. I’ve had it for several years and enjoy shooting it. Should I continue to shoot and enjoy it, or turn it into a safe queen? J.P. Ohio DIXIE GUN WORKS “BOOK PISTOL,” .41 CAL. >$100

‘BOOK PISTOL’

S&W MODEL 14 ‘SAFE QUEEN’

Q: First let me say I love reading your section on firearm info and values. It’s always the first section I turn to. Several Q: In the recent past, I years ago, my father acquired what I call a “book pistol.” read an article in G&A on The only markings I could find were the serial number on the Smith & Wesson Model the left of the barrel and the caliber on the right. Directly 14. It stated that the Model under the serial number, requiring the use of a magnifying 14 had a 6-inch barrel. lens, are two partial stamps of a star. One seems to have I checked and mine is 5 a circle around it, the other has some type of flower-like inches. I have not found design. It is stamped “41 Caliber,” and the best I could any reference anywhere measure the bore is at .427 inch. Have you ever come to the 5-inch barreled across one of these? I am very curious who it may THE AUCTION BLOCK have been made by. An eye-catching gold- and silver-inlaid Colt Model 1860 Army Model designed by Tiffany & Co. sold for a respectable $17,250, G.R. including premiums, at the March 15, 2016, James D. Julia Email A: Thanks for the good words. Glad you enjoy Gun Room. Your little brass-framed single-shot derringer was made in Italy and offered by Dixie Gun Works (dixiegunworks.com) beginning in the 1970s. They came both plain and engraved. While cute as heck, they don’t bring a lot of money. Actually, I believe Dixie still offers the gun in kit form, sans the book casing.

auction. This spectacular revolver was one of only two made by the U.S. Historical Society in 1994. The design itself, based on an American eagle motif, was created by Andrew Bourbon, a highly respected engraver of jewelry and firearms. The revolver’s onepiece pearl grip is inlaid with a $5 gold medallion on one side and a gold Colt medallion on the other. All in all, it is an extraordinary example of the engraver’s art. For more information about this and future auctions, contact James D. Julia at jamesdjulia.com, 207-453-7125.

A: The Model 14 K-38 was offered in 83⁄8-, 6-, 5- and 4-inch barrel lengths — the most common being 6 inches and the latter two being the scarcest. The 14-3 had a change in the rear sight leaf screw in 1967. A 90 percent 6-incher is, according to the ThirtySeventh Edition Blue Book of Gun Values (bluebookofgunvalues.com), worth $350. Jim Supica and Richard Nahas, in their excellent Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, note that a Model 14 with 5-inch barrel is worth a premium. I would guess you could easily add another 25 percent to the value of your gun. As it’s not a minty piece, I don’t believe a bit of judicious range time would affect things all that much. If you enjoy it, shoot it.

CRYPTIC 1917 COLT MARKING Q: I recently came into possession of a U.S. Army Model 1917 Colt revolver. It appears to be a routine


18

G&A

september 2016 | Gun room

HAVE AN HEIRLOOM? Curious

about a vintage firearm? Email Garry at garry.james@outdoor sg.com, or send a description with detailed photos to Gun room, Guns & Ammo, 2 news Plaza, 3rd Floor, Peoria, IL 61614. Please include your name and state of residence. Due to the volume of requests each month, personal replies are not possible. The most interesting or unusual queries are answered in Guns & Ammo magazine.

RECOMMENDED READS “The Model 1891 Carcano Rifle: A Detailed Developmental & Production History,” by Giovanni Chegia and Alberto Simonelli with Ralph Riccio. Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2016, 304 pages For some reason, over the years, the Italian Model 1891 Carcano rifle and its many offshoots have gotten short shrift by firearms enthusiasts. There’s no reason why this should be, as the arm has a long and fascinating history, is a practical design and can be a heck of a good shooter. The authors of “The Model 1891 Carcano Rifle” have finally done this interesting and historically important military rifle justice. Virtually every incarnation of the ’91 is shown in full color (many also disassembled), along with markings, developmental history, accessories, ammunition and period illustrations. This work is a fine example to other authors on how a collector’s firearms book should be presented. It has already found a valued place on my bookshelf. I highly recommended it. $60

specimen, but it is stamped on the butt with some markings that are unfamiliar to me. It looks like “53 S rFC 37” — I assume this is some unit marking. If you have any idea of the significance of these markings I would appreciate your help. M.P. Indiana, Pennsylvania A: Well, of course the most tempting answer would be the “RFC” markings stand for “Royal Flying Corps,” but as the revolver has no British proofs or Broad Arrow markings, unfortunately any official-issue use by that unit seems remote. Of course, it could have been used as a one-off by some pilot, but then it is doubtful it would have been stamped. Most probably, “RFC” stands for some U.S. unit, but a thorough study of my sources has failed to turn up any likely suspects. Perhaps a sharp-eyed reader can help us out.

SWISS MAUSER HSc Q: I recently purchased a mauser HSc in 7.65mm at a gun auction. It is in very good condition and appears to be all original. Serial number is 874XXX. It has the Eagle/n on the right side of the triggerguard and on the right side of the slide near the muzzle. There are no other markings other than the mauser banner and twoline address with model and caliber designation on the left slide. Since there are no nazi proof marks, I assume this is a commercial model. I looked this pistol up in the Blue Book of Gun Values and

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COLLECTIBLE SHOTSHELLS Q: I recently received some old ammo from my grandmother. I was wondering if you could tell me a few things about it. Is it safe to shoot, how much would it be worth to a collector, and what year was it manufactured? I have around 15 new boxes of 25 shells. B.L. Email A: From your photos I can see you have some very nice condition Federal Hi-Power shotshells dating from the 1930s. Interestingly enough, I also inherited a few boxes of the same thing from my dad. They are not particularly rare but are decorative and therefore collectible. Don’t shoot them. Your examples appear to be in pretty nice shape. I’ve seen them selling for between $25 and $40 per box.

one of the descriptions reads “WWII military mfg. Swiss Commercial — ser. range 800,000 – 900,000. Very rare.” The values are considerably more for this variation than most of the others. I did some online research and could not find much information that specifically identifies this HSc variant. There were some vague references to it on some gun forums, but nothing to positively support the existence of this “very rare” model. I found some guns online that were for sale or had been sold in that serial number range but their descriptions did not refer to Swiss Commercial, nor were they getting

or asking for the prices comparable to those listed in the Blue Book. my question: Is there such a thing as a World War II military Swiss Commercial HSc, and if so, how do I tell if I have one? Any information you can supply would be greatly appreciated. H.B. Ohio A: You certainly have done your homework. There is such a thing as a Swiss Commercial HSc. Made during World War II, they normally have a high polish finish and magazine with a sheet-metal finger extension. I have seen them selling in the $850 to $1,250 range.


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20

G&A

september 2016 | Gun room

MODEL 1913 SAUER Q: I enjoy your column monthly and typically learn something from each one. Thank you for the time and research you put into it. Please comment on what I believe is an automatic from either World War I or World War II. From the condition of the holster, it was obviously carried on a daily basis for an extended period. It is intact but well worn. While this is the case, like many military sidearms, the pistol does not show extensive use. I believe it to be a Sauer & Sohn model 1913, third variant in .32 ACP. It is marked “CAL. 7.65” on the right side and “PATEnT” on the left. The topstrap is inscribed “JP SAuEr & SoHn. SuHL.” followed by the S&S com-

on this fine old piece. C.J. Kingsland, Texas

SAUER MODEL 1913, .32 ACP 90%: $165

pany trademark, an oval with a wild man holding a mace or club. I understand this model was produced from 1913 to 1929 in the city of Suhl in Thuringia, Germany. It is marked 137XXX above the left grip panel. The grips are hard rubber with the S&S logo in an oval design at the top of each. It

has the “Crown n” Imperial German government proof mark on both the right side of the frame just aft of the trigger and on the breech cap. The seven-round magazine has two cutouts, with “S&S 7.65” at the bottom of the left side. I’d be interested in your thoughts on value and any additional information you can provide

A: You definitely have a Model 1913 Sauer. These fine little 7.65mm (.32 ACP) blowbacks were made from 1913 to 1930, and some 175,000 were manufactured. It was the first automatic pistol made by Sauer under its own name. They were sold on the civilian market, and about 25,000 to 30,000 were used by the German army during World War I. These latter guns will have military acceptance marks. For a time, the pistol was also made in 6.35mm (.25 ACP), but these went out of production in 1929. The serial number on your 1913 places it too late to have been used in World War I.

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gun room | september 2016

WEBLEY RIC COPY Q: I was hoping you could help me ID a gun my mom just gave me. All we know about it is from a journal one of our relatives left — a u.S. Army colonel living with his wife in Japan in 1874 — stated he bought it for his wife, as they were living in a rough area and he worried about her when he was not at home. It is a small, single-action pistol, maybe comparable to a .25 caliber? There are only two lines of markings on the gun, which are located on the topstrap: on one side it says “geo gibbs” and on the other side is an address, “29 Corn Street Bristol.” There are no other markings that I can find. J.P. Email

g&A

21

the Webley & Scott revolver I inherited from my uncle who has long passed. I’ve read some, and I have never seen a 2-inch square butt revolver mark IV. Any information will be greatly appreciated and possibly the value. M.N. Everett, Washington

WEBLEY MARK IV RIC COPY, 80%: $600

A: Your nice little cased revolver looks very much like a copy of a Webley RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) model. My guess is the caliber is .320. There were a number of makers (many unidentified) in both Britain and Europe cashing in on this very popular firearm. Yours looks to be a high-quality English

provenance. George Gibbs was a well-known gunmaker who operated in Bristol from around 1830 until the beginning of World War II. His markings indicate he probably retailed your piece. It is doubtful he was the manufacturer.

WEBLEY MARK IV Q: I’m very curious about

A: The Mark IV Webley in .380 caliber (not to be confused with the earlier Mark IV in .455) was developed in the 1920s. It was submitted for trials to the British government, but officials decided to produce their own version and thus adopted what was basically a rip-off of the Mark IV, the No. 2 Mk I “Enfield.” Webley protested and filed suit but received only a pittance

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september 2016 G&A

Seemingly made with magical sticky stuff.

33

T H E C A R RY R I G

There are no belt clips or traditional retention straps securing the new Blackhawk TecGrip holster to your body. Rather, the high-friction characteristic of the holster’s surface material is the secret. It can be used as a pocket holster or worn as an inside the waistband (IWB) holster. $19

If the TecGrip material is viewed under magnification, it appears in a pattern similar to Velcro.

BLACKHAWK TECGRIP “SIMPLICITY IS THE ULTIMATE SOPHISTICATION,” Leonardo da Vinci said. When an engineer discusses an “elegant” design, they are referring to its simplicity. The simpler an object can be made, the better it tends to work. Belt clips and the various types of holster straps aim to serve a common cause: gun retention. However, the more a holster seems to secure a handgun, the more effort and time is usually required to overcome those obstacles to access it. Clips, J-hooks, straps, screws and buttons add width and girth, which make holsters less concealable. Carry methods also affect accessibility, but how and where we hide our sidearm depends on our environment and variables such as clothing. Looking at the new Blackhawk TecGrip holster under a magnifying glass, the surface of the material is akin to Velcro. Even when the holster touches glass, it feels glued to it. TecGrip technology is difficult to describe, and more

detailed information about the material is proprietary and closely guarded by the Blackhawk holster team. Chuck Buis, product director for Blackhawk’s tactical accessories and a former police officer, told G&A that his team had considered a clipless holster for some time, but they didn’t want to use commonly available rubberized fabrics due to durability concerns after their own testing. “TecGrip came from another industry,” Buis said. “We just happened to stumble across it. And you can be sure Blackhawk will have other applications for it in the future.” Currently, the TecGrip holster is only available in tan, which is a color that did not exist for the material prior to Blackhawk. The company specifically wanted a flesh tone, which can aid concealment of a gun carried inside the waistband (IWB). Think of how the wind can lift up our shirt to unintentionally reveal what we’re carrying. The middle layer is a closed-cell foam that prevents


G&A

s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6 | t h e c A r ry r i G

Blackhawk Materials Positions to Carry Retention Type Adjustability MSRP Handgun Fit Accessory Rail Accommodations Average Time to Attach Comfort Rating Concealment Clothing Average Draw-to-Fire Time Manufacturer

1.25 in.

TecGrip Pocket Holster TecGrip rubberized fabric, foam, packcloth, thermal-bonded laminate Pocket Carry or IWB Level 1, friction None $19 (as tested) 4 sizes for most compact pistols and revolvers (Taurus 709 Slim tested) Yes (small-profile lasers and lights only) 4 seconds 5/5 None (Pocket Carry); Shirt (IWB) 2.91 seconds (Pocket Carry); 1.43 seconds (IWB Carry) Blackhawk, 800-379-1732, blackhawk.com

4.98 in.

34

Draw-to-fire time is the average of five clean draws from concealment in a pocket producing an A-zone hit on a stationary target positioned at 21 feet.

moisture transfer from the body to the firearm. The third interior layer is a thin, lightweight and low-denier nylon called packcloth. (It is the same material you’ll find lining other nylon holsters.) Instead of a spray-on glue that can peel, the three layers are flame laminated. A layer of foam is heated and melted by gas jets as a roller presses and bonds the layers together. The bond is much stronger than the foam itself. The holster is finished with trim tape that’s stitched for a clean appearance.

Nylon $39 99 Mini Scabbard MSRP

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60-Day carry I received one of the first samples for testing earlier this year and opted to carry a proven Taurus 709 Slim in 9mm that I’ve fired more than 3,000 rounds through without malfunction. Less than two weeks into this evaluation of the TecGrip holster, I began noticing that the layers were separating from the trim underneath the triggerguard. I sent

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s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6 | t h e c A r ry r i G

my sample in to the quality assurance (QA) department and was later told that they had given early samples too many stitches per inch along the seam. Once the QA department became aware of this, a change was made at the factory. In the 45 days I’ve carried the replacement, material seperation has not occurred. In fact, I’ve also checked this by carrying other guns in other sizes of Blackhawk has updated the 1700-line of zippered-pocket shirts and now offers the 1730 seersucker with Blackhawk’s TecGrip and button snaps. These were comfortable and worn as a concealed carry garment during this evaluation. $50 haven’t observed wear or failure of any kind. Aesthetically, there is a wrinkle forming at the bottom edge where withdrawn with the gun. A 2-second draw time becomes a the holster curls around lights and lasers, or lack thereof. lethal 4-second fumble when we have to stop and seperCarrying the TecGrip in a pocket prints similarly to that ate the gun from the holster before correcting the presenof an unassuming smartphone. The angular cut affords a tation and firing. (Never reholster inside the pocket.) proper grip before withdrawing the pistol. At the range, I Blackhawk’s TecGrip holster is also effective for IWB carry also discovered that it’s important to check one’s ability to and facilitates fast draws when worn in the appendix posicleanly draw a handgun with pants or shorts we actually tion. I would recommend it for IWB over pocket carry. wear. Loose pockets can permit the TecGrip holster to be — Eric R. Poole


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The new DDM4V7 is making a big return with one of the most innovative and sought- after attachment methods on the market: M-LOKŽ. The Daniel Defense V7 adorns the newly-designed MFR XS 15.0 rail system, which attaches to the upper receiver with our patented Bolt-up System; making it more durable than its predecessor while allowing the barrel to remain freefloating. Built around a Cold Hammer Forged 16� barrel and a mid-length gas system that reduces recoil and wear on moving parts, the V7 is deadly accurate and provides smooth operation under any condition. Built for longlasting reliability, and backed by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, the V7 by Daniel Defense is built to perform.


GUN TECH

september 2016 G&A

39

Class 1 IR illumination tools that you can own.

CHRIS MUDGETT GAEDITOR@ OUTDOORSG.COM

SOURCE Steiner eOptics 888-228-7747 steiner-optics.com

STEINER’S LASER DEVICES and each time I saw a set in Gander Mountain’s catalog I The brand name Steiner is synonymous with quality, a repaspired to own a pair — and I still do. The lenses themutation that has been hard-earned over the decades. selves are incredibly clear and go through a staggering Karl Steiner built his company out of the ruins of war in 460 exacting steps before leaving the factory. To say they 1947, committed to producing the highest quality optical devices possible. The company, Steiner-Optik grew quickly, are “clear” falls short in describing the clarity perceived. employing 50 workers within six years of its startup. Its products are now available in more than 65 countries and nearly every big-box store in the United States. When I think of Steiner, its lightweight Makrolon (rubber) armored binoculars are always the first to come to mind. They are used by mariners, explorers and elite military units the world over. They were priced far DBAL-PL (Dual Beam Aiming Laser) offers The SBAL-PL provides 500 lumens of white out of my budget as a young man, white light and IR illumination. $1,059 light paired with a visible aiming laser. $765


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september 2016 | Gun tech

Steiner’s DBAL-A3 co-aligns visible and IR lasers. The IR illuminator is adjustable from spot to flood. A built-in, quick-detach Picatinny mount allows the DBAL-A3 to be attached on any Pic. rail. The device is typically mounted at the far end of a long-gun forend at either 12 o’clock or 3 o’clock. It is activated by using either a tape switch or the integrated “FIRE” button.

In 2012, Steiner acquired Laser Devices, now Steiner eOptics, which is a U.S. manufacturer of laser aiming and illumination devices developed for and used by military, law enforcement and responsible citizens. Many products under Steiner’s eOptics umbrella may

appear to be niche items designed for specific tasks. That assumption is correct. They are almost all primarily designed to be firearm-mounted illumination or laser aiming tools. (The exception being the SPIR, which will be discussed later.) Most feature infrared (IR) technology built


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september 2016 | Gun tech

into them for use with night vision devices (NVD), enhancing your ability to illuminate targets, surgically aim your firearm and strike them under no-light conditions. As a bonus, they are all Class 1 IR devices, meaning that they are eyesafe, unlike Class IIIb lasers found on restricted units used by the military. Few companies have the ability to develop technology and harness laser energy, producing military grade electro-optics designed to withstand the field use that Steiner’s The SPIR is an IR spotlight for NVDs can be eOptics have proven to do. handheld or firearm mounted. $775 The DBAL-A3 is the most recognizable product of the eOptics division. It is the civilain version of what is known as the PEQ-15A in the U.S. Army. The DBAL-A3 offers the user a little box that typically is seen sitting on the top rail of an M4 carbine or the side rail of heavier small arms. The device offers visible and IR aiming lasers that are co-aligned with one another. Simply zero the visible laser, and your infrared laser is also zeroed. The adjustable IR illuminator sits on the opposite side. A myriad of settings are controlled by a single The bubble level on the rear ring of Steiner’s switch at the rear of the unit, allownew T-Series rings aid in consistency. Availing a combination of high and low able in 30mm and 34mm. $230 settings of the illuminator and lasers. I’ve found that the illuminator high/ IR laser low setting is the most useful when shooting a rifle in no-light conditions. But many others exsist for use in varying light conditions. A pistol version of this device is also available and is called the DBAL-PL. (PL stands for “pistol laser.”) If you’ve ever tried shooting a pistol using head-mounted NVDs, you understand how challenging it can be, especially at distances beyond arm’s reach. The DBAL-PL operates in two modes: visible and IR. The push button on the left side of the unit is labeled “VIS”and activates the bright green visible aiming laser and 400 lumens of white light. The push button on the left side is labeled “IR” and activates the IR laser. Tap each button twice for constant-on or press and hold for momentary-on activation. If your requirements don’t include IR capability, a visible-only version is available, the SBAL-PL. The SPIR, or “Special Purpose Infrared,” LED illuminator is an infrared spotlight for your long gun. It quickly attaches to and detaches from any Picatinny rail and surpasses the illumination of non-eyesafe (focusable) Class IIIb IR lasers found on the restricted military model PEQ-15. The LEDs in the SPIR make it eyesafe. The SPIR is the perfect companion to clip-on NVDs for long-range shooting, allowing us to see targets in the dark at greater distances.


Six-division USPSA National Champion Julie Golob fires 50,000 rounds each season. When she carries, she chooses 380 Micro HST¨. The 99-grain bullet’s exclusive design delivers best-in-caliber expansion, outperforming all other leading factory brands in 380 Auto*. The result is full-size terminal performance from a compact platform.

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RIFLES & GLASS

september 2016 G&A

45

Maximum training with only 20 rounds. Trijicon AccuPower 4-16x50mm

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TOM BECKSTRAND


46

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september 2016 | rifles & GlAss

A chair allows the shooter to build a position at a couple of different elevations. This forces us to work on getting stable, which should be the goal of any range session (not shooting groups).

ting to support one or both elbows, greatly stabilizing the rifle. It can also be stuffed between the back of our thigh and the back of our calf when kneeling. This helps stabilize our position enormously. The next position to work on is standing supported. Any vertical support will do. Place the non-firing hand against the support and rest the rifle on that hand. Fire three rounds at 100 yards. The final drill is standing unsupported at 50 yards. Start with the rifle as it would be carried in the field, and then bring it up and quickly fire at the target. This drill replicates “snap shooting,” which is sometimes necessary in the field.

The last round should be from the prone or from the seated bench at a 1-inch dot. This drill brings the shooter back to the fundamentals and also confirms the rifle’s zero. I always like to confirm zero right before putting a rifle away. That way I’m as confident as possible that it’ll be zeroed when I need it the next time. Other than the zero-confirmation positions, all rounds inform the shooter whether or not that position is suitable to actually use in the field. If the shooter can keep all three rounds inside a 4-MOA group, they can be confident they are accurate enough to be effective in the field. Devote time at each range session to dry firing while making subtle changes in position to improve the stability of each.

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ACCUPOWER TRIJICON’S NEWEST SCOPE LINE is its effort to bring maximum performance at a price more shooters can afford. The AccuPower line has very similar optical performance as the more expensive AccuPoint series, but instead of the AccuPoint’s dual tritium/fiber optic illumination system, the AccuPower uses LED lighting to illuminate the reticle. The LED lighting system lops a couple hundred bucks off the price and works very effectively at illuminating the reticle. The LED system uses the classic etched-fill reticle,

and there are 11 illumination levels from which to choose. The lowest end of the range works well at low light when there’s a need for just enough illumination to see the reticle without washing out the target. This usually occurs on


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G&A

september 2016 | rifles & GlAss

dark animals in the last few minutes of legal hunting. The upper end of the illumination system works well in bright light with the 1-4X being daylight visible. This gives the shooter the opportunity to use it like a red dot sight. Since it is an etched reticle, there is no chance the reticle will break under recoil. The process actually engraves the reticle on the lens. Trijicon prides itself on making extremely durable products, and the AccuPower scopes are no different. I tested the scope’s durability by placing the 3-9x40mm on a rifle chambered in .458 SOCOM and fired a bunch of rounds through the rifle. Recoil was on par with an unbraked .300 Winchester Magnum, so a couple hundred rounds was enough to convince me that the AccuPower has no problem with the big guns. Some scopes can struggle under recoil. There is only

one spring that holds the internal erector tube in place, and if it isn’t up to the task, the spring compresses under recoil and allows the erector to move around inside the scope. This problem is hard to spot because the only sign of trouble is that the groups are bigger than they should be. This often gets misdiagnosed as a rifle or ammo issue. A lot of the test groups measured sub-MOA, and one of the groups even measured sub-1/2-MOA. Groups that size told me the erector wasn’t moving at all, even though there was plenty of recoil. The AccuPower line has many of the same features that have made the brand so recognizable. The thick maintubes help keep everything inside working as it should, even if the rings are torqued down too tight (as they often are) or if the two-piece receiver base isn’t perfectly aligned. The scopes are all waterproof to 10 feet, so even a swim in

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the lake won’t affect performance. Trijicon offers several reticles with the AccuPower line, all of which are second focal plane (SFP). Most of the reticles are designed to offer multiple aiming points so the shooter can effectively pair them with any rifle/cartridge combination. These scopes offer maximum performance and options at a price a little more attainable than the well-known AccuPoint line.

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The large objective lens on the 4-16x50mm AccuPower scope has a large exit pupil, making it a good choice for twilight shooting.

AccuPower scopes have battery-powered illuminated reticles instead of the fiber-optic/tritium dual-illuminated reticles of the AccuPoint line.


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september 2016

WORDS BY BRAD FITZPATRICK | PHOTOS BY SEAN UTLEY

DAN WESSON’S NEW BRUIN 10mm OFFERS MORE BITE FROM THE 1911 PLATFORM.


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My, how things have come full circle. CZ, who produced NOW, AFTER THREE DECADES, shooters are beginning to appreciate the 10mm. Designed with input from the late Jeff Coo- the semiauto upon which the ill-fated Bren Ten was designed, per, the 10mm came into being circa 1983 for a new pistol design acquired American handgun manufacturer Dan Wesson in 2005. Around that same time, shooters began to appreciate that while known as the Bren Ten. The brainchild of Thomas Dornaus and the 10mm was a bit much for personal protection, the cartridge Michael Dixon, many readers are familiar with its history; that it generated energy levels that made it capable of hunting big game was based upon the CZ-75 and became the most highly-anticilike the American whitetail. In fact, with hot loads producing pated new firearm of the early 1980s. And the 10mm looked to energies that knock on the .41 Magnum’s door, the 10mm is a be the future of rimless semiautomatic defensive cartridges. Like the big hair and brilliant neon clothes of that era, the Bren more effective bear-stopping cartridge than the .357 Magnum and .45 ACP. A quarter of a century after the cartridge was usurped Ten and 10mm declined in popularity. Manufacturing problems, by the “10mm Lite,” aka the .40 S&W, the .40 S&W’s popularity prices and a lack of functioning magazines gave the Bren Ten a is now stumbling while there are more shooters looking at the big black eye, and by 1986 the gun was no longer in production. 10mm with fresh eyes. However, in 1987 Colt chambered its Dan Wesson Bruin With CZ-USA in control, Dan Wesson new 1911 in 10mm, the Delta Elite. When Type: Recoil operated, began funding and providing support for the FBI began shopping for a more effecsemiautomatic new projects, and the newly restructured tive semiauto cartridge, they bought Smith Cartridge: 10mm (tested), .45 ACP company began producing some of the & Wesson Model 1076 pistols and HK Capacity: 8+1 rds. Barrel: 6.3 in. finest 1911s on the market. Dan WesMP5/10 in 1990 — both platforms chamOverall Length: 9.7 in. son guns truly stand out in this densely bering 10mm — for issue to agents. Soon Weight: 2 lbs., 11 oz. crowded market. Most recently, the comafter, the FBI decided that the powerful Grips: Rosewood laminate or pany launched its Bruin, a long-slide 1911 10mm, potent as it was, was simply too black G10 Finish: Dan Wesson Duty Finish, chambered in .45 ACP or 10mm. much for most agents. Except for the Hosblack or bronze (frame) The Bruin is Dan Wesson’s first 10mm tage Rescue Team and Special Weapons Trigger: 4 lbs. (tested) long slide, and the timing could not and Tactics Team, the milder .40 S&W, Sights: Truglo TFX green fiber optic and tritium; adj. (rear) have been better. A great deal of media which utilizes a 10mm case shortened MSRP: $2,194 attention has been focused on the growing 3mm, began replacing the 10mm in 1991. Manufacturer: Dan Wesson 800-955-4486 number of hunters carrying modern By the mid ’90s, excitement surrounding cz-usa.com sporting rifles (MSRs) into the field, but the 10mm had all but faded away.


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there has been far less coverage of the recent increase in handgun hunters who now use a semiauto pistol. And it’s this new breed of handgun hunter for whom the Bruin was specifically designed. “We’ve been kicking around the idea of a long-slide 10mm for some time,” said Jason Morton, vice president of marketing at CZ-USA. “We were just waiting for the time and the design to be right.” The Bruin could be the right design of which Morton speaks. With a 6.3-inch barrel, the Bruin increases 10mm velocities over standard 5-inch 1911 barrels, which equates to a flatter trajectory and more downrange energy for stopping a rutting buck or a raging grizzly. But Morton says the lengthened barrel also adds to the Bruin’s sight radius, which makes this a gun that you can shoot more accurately with iron sights. Speaking of sights, the Bruin’s are among the best you’ll find on any 1911. Both the front and rear are dovetailed into the top of the steel slide. The Bruin features TruGlo TFX sights, which are a bright green fiber optic tube that gathers light effectively and are powered by tritium for illumination in any type of light. The rear sight is also adjustable for windage and elevation. Click adjustments are distinct so it’s easy to get dialed-in, but if you’d prefer to mount an optic on the pistol, that’s a possibility as well. The top rib is serrated and there are front- and rear-slide serrations for a secure grip and maximum control, and the frontstrap and backstrap are checkered for a comfortable hold. There are two versions of the Bruin currently available. One has a bronze finished frame and black nitrided slide complete with G10 grips.

The bruin wear adjustable TruGlo TFX sights that offer a blend of precision and speed. The front glows bright green, day or night.


b e a r c l aw | s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6

The top of the slide is finely serrated to eliminate glare when sighting, while the lowered and flared ejection port reveals that its “match” barrel is made for 10mm.

a long slide and barrel adds weight to the front of a 1911, which helps to minimize the additional recoil felt with shooting 10mm when compared to a .45 acP. Secondly, the longer sight radius facilitates more precise aiming.

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The model I tested had a black nitride slide and frame with rosewood-colored laminate grips. The grip panels on the DW “Black” version I tested featured a half-circle checkered portion and were comfortable to hold without gloves while shooting more than 100 rounds. The nitride finish, known as Dan Wesson’s “Duty Finish,” is one of the finest I’ve seen, smooth and glossy while offering a heavy layer of protection to the metal parts of the gun. This feature is of special importance on a pistol that will be carried on the hip and used to hunt because the Bruin will be exposed to the


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Tactile grip panels and aggressive 25-lpi front strap checkering aid the shooter in maintaining an optimum grip when recoiling.

elements as well as sweat, which can lead to corrosion with lesser quality surface finishes. Other aspects of this gun include a solid aluminum trigger, a beavertail grip safety and a very clever angled barrel bushing/ spring cap design that adds a unique yet distinguished touch. I’m not sure that a “soft-recoiling” 10mm exists (at least I’ve never encountered one), but there are 10mm pistols that are brutal. Thankfully, the Bruin is not such a gun. I feel qualified to make this statement as I shot it with stout hunting loads — more than 150 times — in a single extended range session. The gun’s heft (roughly 43 ounces) and that long, nose-heavy design reduce felt recoil and muzzle rise, and the grip design makes this gun quite manageable. In fact, I’d rate the Bruin as one of the best-handling 10mms I’ve shot. If you’ve carried a standard 5-inch Government Model 1911, then the longer barrel may feel awkward at first, but you’ll quickly realize when shooting it that the longer nose helps reduce sight wobble. Further, the extended sight radius helps

tighten groups, which is important on a pistol that claims to be biased toward big game hunting. Additionally, the sights are easy to see in reduced light. When I tested the Bruin, a great gray thunderhead began rolling across the flat plains and the midday light dimmed ahead of the storm, but even in that gloom I could make out the glowing tritium behind the fiber optic dots. As a backup bear gun, having that bright green tritium/fiber optic front sight is

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b e a r c l aw | s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6

The only improvement to the bruin that G&a would recommend to Dan wesson would be give us a more beveled magazine well for more consistent reloads.

a uniquely shaped hammer adds to the pistol’s muscular lines, while the beavertail safey with memory bump. a perfectly blended, beveled and checkered mainspring housing keeps the firing hand in place.

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a real benefit. If you need to get on-target quickly, you’ll pick up the Bruin’s front post immediately in almost any light. A gun that is designed to be used for hunting needs accuracy-enhancing features, and you’ll find those on the Bruin. For starters, Dan Wesson’s pistolsmiths perform a superb trigger job. After 2 pounds of takeup, this trigger drew tight and let the hammer fall at exactly 4 pounds. Consistency is often overlooked


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PERFORMANCE BEST AVERAGE 230-grain DoubleTap load when considering triggers. VELOCITY GROUP GROUP LOAD (FPS) ES SD (IN.) (IN.) barely fit in the magazine. The Dan Wesson trigger Federal Vital-Shok 180-gr. JSP 1,356 36 13 .7 1.27 But this was a brand-new performs the same way SIG Sauer 180-gr. FMJ 1,288 46 12 1.25 1.44 pistol, and these issues each time and breaks with DoubleTap 155-gr. Barnes TAC-XP 1,238 83 23 1.51 1.73 appeared to be resolved equal pressure. The feel of Hornady 180-gr. XTP 1,208 45 15 1.61 1.77 afterwards so there was it quickly becomes familiar DoubleTap 230-gr. Hardcast 1,092 50 14 1.9 2.23 nothing that seemed to to the shooter. Notes: Accuracy results are the average of five, five-shot groups at 25 yards from a fixed be a chronic issue during A match barrel furrest. Velocity figures are 10-shot averages recorded on a caldwell ballistic Precision digital chronograph placed 10 feet from the muzzle. the rest of the test. The ther enhances accuracy. Bruin handled ammo that The 10mm ammunition clocked between 1,060 and just under 1,400 feet per second is loaded across a wide range of bullet weights and veloci(fps), a rather wide gap, with efficiency. The Bruin averaged ties including loads that are closer to hot .40 S&W defensive under 11/2 inches with two loads at 25 yards and under 2 inches ammunition and others that are nipping at the heels of the .41 with another two loads. The smallest group was right around Magnum. That broad range of available loads means that you can three-quarters of an inch, but even a 2-inch group is effective for “tune” your gun with factory ammo for target shooting, personal big game hunting at 25 yards, the practical limit for most shootdefense, protection from large predators and for hunting. That ers (though not necessarily the gun itself). At that range, I would also means that the standard 10mm pistol needs to be equipped certainly feel confident in my ability to easily harvest a deer next to handle a variety of loads producing disparate velocities and fall with this handgun. energy levels. On the range, the Bruin didn’t have any serious There are those who will classify the Bruin as a niche firearm, glitches with ammo, which ranged from 155 to 230 grains, and a semiauto that’s built specifically for hunting. While the Bruin included JHPs and cast bullets. During this test, there were three makes a fine close-range hunting pistol, it is far more versatile minor issues in the first 150 rounds. On the first occassion, the than most shooters think. Sure, it works for hunting whitetail slide failed to go fully into battery with a SIG Sauer cartridge. from a tree stand, but with hot loads, it works well with black Next, the last Federal round in one magazine ejected with the bears on bait. The eight-round capacity and prodigious punch spent casing from the second-to-last cartridge and, lastly, the


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make this a great hog-hunting pistol, also. If you hunt big game like mountain lions or bears with hounds, the Bruin is a great option for keeping power close at hand because it packs easily on the hip or in a shoulder holster, freeing your hands to leash dogs and climb over boulders. Even with the lightest loads, this 10mm-chambered 1911 will do everything the .40 S&W can muster — and more. The weight and length keep recoil at manageable levels for defense. Plus, it could be used for IPSC competitions. As an added bonus, the Bruin will fit in some 1911 holsters without modification; I normally carry a Commander-length 1911 in my DeSantis E-Gat Slide, but that same holster works equally well with the Bruin and its 2-inch-longer barrel. The 10mm’s time has come, and for those who look to extend the capabilities of their semiauto, this is the perfect cartridge. Dan Wesson isn’t the first company to offer a long-slide 10mm. Will pistol shooters and handgun hunters think so much of this pistol that they’ll be willing to pay north of two grand to own one? Time will only tell, but a number of people have already signed up. The odds are that there are more fans of the 10mm than have been counted. To those looking seriously at a long slide, I say you won’t be disappointed in a Bruin.

FEDERAL VITAL-SHOK 10mm 180-GR. TROPHY BONDED JSP When Federal began offering its Vital-Shok line of 10mm ammunition two years ago, the company’s primary objective was to provide handgun hunters with a load that made the most of the 10mm’s potential. This load utilizes a 180-grain jacketed soft point (JSP) bonded bullet with an advertised muzzle velocity of 1,275 fps. The Dan Wesson Bruin’s 6.3-inch pipe generated velocities that were closer to 1,350 fps according to our chronograph. The bullet’s thick jacket ensures reliable expansion, and the nickel-plated cases function smoothly in a variety of 10mm pistols. With energy levels closer to those of a .41 Magnum than a .357 Magnum and the dependability of high-quality bonded bullets, hunters can rely on this load to take down big game effectively at moderate ranges. In the 43-ounce Bruin, recoil from this hot load was stiff but perfectly manageable, and accuracy was excellent. For more information about Federal’s Vital-Shok Trophy Bonded 10mm ammo, visit federalpremium.com. $40/box (20 rds.)


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september 2016

BEST STATES FOR GUN OWNERS BY KEITH WOOD

2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE John Edwards talked about “Two Americas” during his stump speeches and debates. Though Edwards wasn’t referring to our nation’s gun laws when he made the comparison, he could have been. Laws and regulation concerning the ownership, possession, storage, carry and discharge of civilian-owned firearms vary as wildly as this nation’s climate. In places such as Washington, D.C., and New York City, legally acquiring a firearm can require bureaucratic gymnastics that would have made an Eastern Bloc politician proud. On the other hand, there are jurisdictions in this country (some rural, but plenty not) where firearms ownership is celebrated and virtually unregulated by state and local authorities. In this, our fourth year of the “Best States” survey, Guns & Ammo has done a state-by-state analysis to effectively rank each state from worst to best for gun owners.


G&A

PHOTOS: MICHAEL ANSCHUETZ

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This analysis is, by its nature, unscientific. Forcing a subjective spectrum of statutes, regulations and cultural attitudes into a five category ranking is nearly impossible to do with absolute precision. You may disagree with our rankings, but suffice it to say that every effort has been made to create a ranking system that is as fair, accurate and objective as possible. We have used the same ranking system for all previous editions and have maintained it in 2016 as it continues to be the best and most equitable method we have seen. States were ranked numerically in each of five categories: right to carry, right to own “black rifles” (i.e., firearms possessing a tactical appearance), the presence and strength of a Castle Doctrine law, subjects relating to the National Firearms Act (NFA) and a catchall miscellaneous column.

State Page 2015 Rank Alabama 78 7 Alaska 82 3 Arizona 83 1 Arkansas 78 31 California 68 46 Colorado 70 37 Connecticut 68 45 Delaware 68 41 Florida 78 12 Georgia 80 13 Hawaii 68 47 Idaho 78 32 Illinois 68 43 Indiana 76 16 Iowa 70 38 Kansas 82 8 Kentucky 78 5 Louisiana 74 17 Maine 72 29 Maryland 68 44 Massachusetts 66 48 Michigan 74 33 Minnesota 68 39 Mississippi 78 18 Missouri 76 9 Montana 80 11 Nebraska 74 34 Nevada 74 22 New Hampshire 74 10 New Jersey 66 49 New Mexico 70 36 New York 66 50 North Carolina 74 19 North Dakota 78 26 Ohio 72 35 Oklahoma 80 30 Oregon 71 28 Pennsylvania 71 20 Rhode Island 68 42 South Carolina 74 14 South Dakota 72 27 Tennessee 82 23 Texas 80 15 Utah 93 4 Vermont 76 2 Virginia 74 24 Washington 71 40 Washington, D.C. 66 51 West Virginia 80 21 Wisconsin 76 25 Wyoming 78 6

Right to Carry Technically speaking, every state in the union now has a system under which citizens can carry a firearm for defensive purposes, whether it be by permit, court decision or legislative decree. Though many states have laws in place that allow for concealed carry of a “weapon” (CCW), many states and jurisdictions rarely actually issue such permits. Points in this category are awarded based on the factors used in G&A’s “Best States for CCW”: standard for issuance, training requirements, cost, reciprocity and the extent of locations where licensees are prohibited from carrying. Issuance is a key point-driver in this category. “May issue” states that rarely issue permits are graded accordingly and can receive one to six points depending on the standard review factors. “Shall issue” states, states that require that a permit be issued so long as the applicant is qualified, are given six to eight points. States with legal permitless, or “Constitutional,” carry are given nine points, whereas states that both issue permits and allow citizens to carry without one are given

a full 10 points. “Open carry” statutes are also considered and factor positively into these rankings. Black Rifles In this category, we examine restrictions placed upon semiautomatic firearms, usually modular rifles and carbines with detachable magazines given a tactical appearance. Referred to as “assault weapons” by gunrights opponents, these firearms are generally categorized by their cosmetic features. Examples of these firearms would be AR-15-style rifles, AKM clones and other firearms that resemble military arms. These firearms are often classified for restriction by the presence of flash hiders, pistol grips, bayonet lugs and detachable box magazines. Restrictions on this type of firearm, limits on magazine capacity or states that require owners to register detachable magazines are penalized for score under this category. This is sort of an “all or nothing” category, as most states either regulate these firearms heavily or not at all.

NFA Since 1934, the National Firearms Act has regulated the sale, transfer and possession of machine guns, suppressors, short-barreled rifles (SBR), short-barreled shotguns (SBS), Any Other Weapons (AOW) and Destructive Devices (DD). The NFA requires that would-be possessors of these items submit extensive paperwork, fingerprints, a photograph and $200 in order to obtain a firearm or accessory covered under the act. The NFA is a floor, not a ceiling, on the regulation of these items, and some states prohibit the possession of some or all NFA firearms. G&A ranks states on whether they ban any or all NFA items, with nine points going to states that default to federal law as to ownership. A full 10 points is awarded to states with “shall


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RANKING: WORST TO FIRST

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WASHINGTON, D.C.

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NEW JERSEY

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Act. This bill has a long way to go but passage would certainly help the state in the NFA category, where it currently gets zero points since no NFA items are legal to own. The commonwealth is far from friendly territory for gun owners, with low scores in virtually every category. Massachusetts ranks 45th in CCW, magazines are restricted to 10 rounds and all firearms ownership requires licensing.

47

HAWAII

Hawaii is the geographical embodiment of paradise for many, but it’s hardly so for gun owners. Hawaii has a 10-round limit on magazines, ranks 49th for concealed carry since permits are rarely issued and has mediocre self-defense laws. Despite that already poor environment for gun owners, three anti-gun bills are currently awaiting action by the state’s governor, including one that would place gun owners into an Orwellian database. All NFA firearms and accessories are banned for civilian ownership in Hawaii, and permits to purchase are required for all types of firearms.

46

CALIFORNIA

Despite having some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation, California is attempting to take things even further. A ballot initiative pursued by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom seeks to impose various gun control measures that have failed to pass through the legislature. Additionally, the Assembly is pursuing numerous bills that would restrict home-built firearms, the ownership of semiautomatic firearms and the transfer of firearms. California already ranks poorly in the CCW category (ranking 50th out of 51) and gets low scores in every category except for Castle Doctrine, where it receives an average score. California could quickly find itself trading places with D.C. if the trend continues.

45

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut isn’t the best state in the Northeast for gun owners, but it’s far from the worst. Though it isn’t technically a “shall issue” CCW state, permits are actually obtainable and do not require a showing of cause on the part of the applicant. The state has fairly strong use-of-force statutes on the books and receives seven points in the Castle Doctrine category. Unfortunately, the state restricts black rifles that weren’t grandfathered in and has criminalized countless residents by banning the unregistered possession of magazines that those residents obtained legally. Suppressors are legal to own so long as one complies with federal law, but other NFA items are tricky to own as they must comply with “assault weapon” statutes.

44

MARYLAND

When it comes to gun laws, Maryland better resembles the Northeast than bordering Virginia, Pennsylvania or West Virginia. Efforts to pass additional restrictions during this year’s legislative session were unsuccessful. Permits are required to purchase a handgun in Maryland, and those guns are required to be registered. The state restricts the ownership of most black rifles and magazines exceeding 10 rounds, though a challenge to that 2013 law is currently under review by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Obtaining a permit to carry in Maryland is all but impossible, putting the state at No. 47 in our “Best States for CCW” rankings. On the positive side, suppressors are legal in Maryland and it has a strong Castle Doctrine law.

43

RHODE ISLAND

A significant number of restrictive gun bills have been filed this year in Rhode Island and, at this point, their outcome is uncertain. For now, Rhode Island remains a reasonably good state for gun owners considering its geography. The Ocean State ranked 38th in our CCW review and does not restrict

black rifles or magazines. All NFA firearms and accessories are prohibited, though, and waiting periods are required for the purchase of all types of firearms. Selfdefense laws are fair, at best, with no Castle Doctrine statute in place.

42

DELAWARE

Delaware ranked 44th in our CCW survey, but “open carry” took a hit last summer when legislation was signed to allow local governments to pass ordinances regulating the possession of firearms in municipal buildings. Delaware does not restrict semiautomatic firearms or magazine capacity, therefore garnering full marks in the black rifles category. Suppressors and machine guns are prohibited, but SBRs and AOWs are legal so long as they are registered with the ATF. Delaware gets high marks for its use-offorce laws, and the pre-emption statute helps it in the miscellaneous category.

41

MINNESOTA

This is probably the point in the survey where states become “liveable” for serious gun owners; things like outright statewide prohibitions on owning black rifles aren’t encountered from this point forward. Minnesota ranked 31st in our Concealed Carry review, but changes in 2015 expanded the state’s reciprocity. Overall, Minnesota is a mixed bag when it comes to gun laws. Both handguns and black rifles require a permit to purchase in the state, though a carry permit satisfies that requirement. Only suppressors, SBRs and Curio & Relic machine guns, and short-barreled shotguns are legal in the state, costing it points in the NFA category. Minnesota’s use-of-force law requires a duty to retreat but does allow “reasonable” use of deadly force; after a close review, we give it six out of 10 points in the Castle Doctrine category. Minnesota has a firearms pre-emption law on the books that prevents local municipalities from enacting their own gun control ordinances, which adds miscellaneous points to its overall score.


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s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6 | b e s t s tAt e s f o r G u n o w n e r s

ILLINOIS

Other than in Chicago, Illinois isn’t a terrible state for gun owners. Illinois’ concealed carry statue has been on the books since July 2013, and over 100,000 permits have been issued. Illinois does not recognize permits from other states, and non-resident permits are difficult at best to obtain. A bill that made technical changes to the CCW statutes was approved last year and included a provision to allow certain citizens to appeal the denial of their Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) application. The state ranked 42nd in our CCW review, and black rifles are unrestricted outside of Chicago and other select municipalities. Suppressors remain prohibited, as do most other NFA items. A permit or FOID is required to purchase or possess a firearm in the state, with limited exceptions.

39

COLORADO

A significant effort was made this legislative session to repeal the 2013 magazine restriction that sent Magpul looking for greener pastures, but that bill never made it out of its committee in the House of Representatives. Thanks to that 15-round limit on magazines, Colorado gets only four points in the black rifle category. The state’s CCW laws ranked 33rd, while it gets nearly full points in the NFA column. Colorado has many shooting opportunities thanks to its wide-open spaces and healthy competitive shooting communities in most disciplines. The recent erosion of gun rights in Colorado can be blamed on the state’s physical beauty: People from all over the country moved to Colorado and many of them brought their politics along for the ride (Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, take note).

38

IOWA

In March, Iowa became the 42nd state to allow for the ownership of suppressors when Gov. Terry Branstad signed the Hearing Protection Act — this legislation also legalized suppressors for

hunting. Unfortunately, other NFA items remain prohibited by state law. The governor also signed a bill that will remove the prohibitions on carrying a firearm while on an ATV or snowmobile, so long as it is secured in a holster. Iowa gets high ranks for its concealed carry statute, coming in at No. 16 in our 2015 rankings thanks partially to its outright recognition of other states’ permits. Iowa requires a Permit to Acquire for handgun purchases, but permits are not required to purchase or possess long guns. Iowa does not have a Stand Your Ground Law that applies outside of the home or business, costing it points in that category.

37

NEW MEXICO

36

NEBRASKA

NRA’s sprawling Whittington Center in Raton alone is enough to make New Mexico a great state for gun owners. New Mexico made some changes to its CCW requirements in 2015 that, among other things, waived the training mandate for many military and law enforcement veterans. New Mexico’s CCW laws ranked 41 out of 51 — it’s a “shall issue” system but isn’t ideal. There are no registration or licensing requirements to purchase a firearm, and the state gets high points in the NFA column as anything that’s legal federally is fine in New Mexico. Use-of-force laws are relatively weak, but the state’s pre-emption statute protects citizens against anti-gun municipalities. Like most Western states, New Mexico has a long and proud culture of gun ownership and ample outdoor shooting locations.

One of the problems for gun owners in Nebraska has always been the ability of cities to pass their own gun ordinances — Omaha and Lincoln being the usual offenders. An attempt to address that problem with a bill that would establish a firearm law pre-emption statute failed this year when the proponents lacked sufficient votes to shut down a filibuster. Unfortunately for Nebraskans, the population centers in the eastern part


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of the state are not only out of touch with the rest of the state when it comes to gun issues, they also wield significant power in the unicameral legislature due to sheer numbers. Nebraska has a “shall issue” CCW permit system that landed at No. 40 in our lineup, and the state gets generally good marks, except in the Castle Doctrine category where it gets only five points.

35

WASHINGTON

34

OREGON

Washington just raised its score in the NFA category when Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation authorizing the ownership and manufacture of SBRs in the state. Washington ranked 27th in our CCW survey thanks to an affordable “shall issue” permit system. Despite a pre-emption statute on the books, the Seattle City Council has passed gun control ordinances including a tax on firearms and ammunition and a “lost or stolen” reporting requirement. Though the state doesn’t have a Castle Doctrine law per se, it gets maximum points for its strong self-defense statute that establishes that there is no duty to retreat. The state places no restrictions upon black rifles or magazines. Washington requires that all private firearm transfers be run through a Federal Firearms Licence (FFL), thanks to a 2014 ballot initiative.

Oregon’s culture ranges from liberal Portland to rural mountains that border Idaho. At one end of the state you have heaven for hipsters and at the other you have Clint Smith’s Thunder Ranch. Oregon’s CCW law ranks 39th out of 51 according to our criteria, but the state gets high marks for not restricting black rifles or NFA guns and accessories. It has a good use-of-force law, but it loses points in the miscellaneous column due to its background check requirement for private transfers. A bill that would have frozen the gun rights of citizens without due process was defeated this legislative session, meaning that Oregon law is unchanged from our 2015 rankings.


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PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania boasts high NRA membership numbers in the nation thanks to a long and proud gun and hunting culture in the once frontier Keystone State. The battle between municipalities and the state legislature continues in Pennsylvania, despite the legislature’s clear intent for state law to be pre-emptive

of local gun ordinances. These pre-emption fights cost the state points in the miscellaneous column, but the state does well otherwise. It ranks 18th in our 50-state CCW rankings and gets full points for its treatment of black guns and NFA items. The state has a strong Castle Doctrine statute stating residents have no duty to retreat whether or not they are at home.

32

SOUTH DAKOTA

Any state that is home to something like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a place where freedom is alive and well. This year, the South Dakota legislature passed a bill that allows for a Gold Card carry permit that will satisfy the ATF requirements for an NICS background check. That means that with the Gold permit, citizens don’t need to pay for an additional background check every time they purchase a firearm. A separate bill, which was also passed and signed by the governor, extends the duration of a permit from four to five years — effectively lowering the already low cost. South Dakota gets max points in the black rifle and NFA categories but is hampered by a weak self-defense statute. When it comes to the intangibles, it’s tough to beat South Dakota — we give it nine out of 10 possible points in the miscellaneous category.

31

OHIO

The Ohio legislature is considering a bill that would allow active duty members of the U.S. military to carry firearms in the Buckeye State without a permit, and the House passed a bill that would remove many of the state’s prohibited locations for carry; it remains to be seen if either proposal will see the governor’s desk. Ohio ranked 37th in our CCW review in 2015, and since that time, carry permit holders’ privacy rights have been increased pursuant to language placed into the state’s budget. Ohio’s use-of-force laws protect citizens in their homes and cars, but there is a duty to retreat outside of those locations — we award seven out of a possible 10 points in that category. Ohio gets full points in the NFA category as CLEOs are required to approve paperwork in a timely manner and black rifles and their magazines are not restricted by state law.

30

MAINE

Maine’s gun laws stick out above the rest of the Northeast like a giant middle finger. Maine has a “shall issue” CCW system and, as of last Octo-


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ber, also allows for permitless carry. This year, Gov. Paul LePage signed legislation to preserve and protect shooting ranges as well as protect the rights of gun owners who live in public housing. Maine doesn’t restrict the type of firearm that you can own, including registered NFA items, and Maine’s mostly rural outdoor culture is pro gun and pro hunting. The only area of law that hurts Maine’s score is its relatively weak self-defense laws, which require a citizen to retreat if they can safely do so when they are outside the home. Something to watch is a November Bloomberg gun control ballot initiative that, if successful, would place background check requirements on private transfers.

29

VIRGINIA

Things got interesting in Virginia in late 2015 when Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced his plan to nullify CCW reciprocity agreements with 25 states from coast to coast. The state legislature acted quickly to fix the problem by passing a full recognition bill, and the governor signed it into law before the changes went into effect. The bad news is that the same governor vetoed three pro-gun bills, including one that would have protected Virginians in danger of becoming victims of domestic violence. Virginia has a longstanding “shall issue” CCW law that ranks No. 17 out of 51 and is an open carry state. Certain NFA shotguns are illegal in the state, but it has a strong pre-emption statute and laws on the books to protect shooting ranges. Fairfax is home to the National Rifle Association’s headquarters as well as the National Firearms Museum. Finding places to shoot (other than the NRA HQ range) can be a challenge in crowded Northern Virginia, but shooting opportunities abound in the state’s more rural parts.

28

MICHIGAN

Even though Michigan has had a firearms law pre-emption statute on the books since 1990, some

municipalities have nonetheless passed their own gun control ordinances. An NRA-backed bill to combat this issue has cleared a legislative committee and now heads to the House for a vote. Michigan’s newly reformed CCW law ranked 36th in our lineup, and the state does consistently well in each of our categories. Michigan has a model use-of-force law and doesn’t impose additional regulations on NFA firearms, magazines or black guns.

27

LOUISIANA

Louisiana has one of the lowest-ranking CCW laws in the South (34 out of 51), but it is generally a good state for gun owners. Louisiana has strong use-of-force laws, doesn’t restrict guns based on appearance or magazine capacity and has a strong outdoor tradition. Bills are pending this session that would allow domestic violence victims to quickly obtain permits in order to defend themselves with a firearm and to allow for the restoration of firearm rights for certain criminals who have paid their dues. Louisiana also has the distinction of being the only state with a former History Channel “Top Shot” contestant (USPSA/IPSC competitor Blake Miguez) serving in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

26

NEW HAMPSHIRE

They take the “Live Free or Die” thing pretty seriously in the Granite State, and it is a rare island of freedom for gun owners in an otherwise dark corner of the nation. Bills have passed through New Hampshire’s crowded legislature this year that legalize hunting with suppressors and expand the state’s CCW law. Also, after last year’s gubernatorial veto of permitless carry legislation, the legislature has once again put the proposal on Gov. Maggie Hassan’s desk for action. New Hampshire gets eight points for its current CCW law and full points in the black gun and Castle Doctrine categories.

25

NORTH CAROLINA

24

NEVADA

23

SOUTH CAROLINA

Things have improved for gun owners in North Carolina since our last survey with the signing of a comprehensive bill by Gov. Pat McCrory last August. The law clarifies that handguns can be kept in school parking lots by CHL (CCW) holders, improves the range protection and pre-emption statutes, and allows for the use of SBRs while hunting. CHL applicants in Charlotte are currently having problems obtaining their permits in a timely manner, thanks to the foot-dragging of the county sheriff. North Carolina doesn’t restrict black guns, and CLEOs must approve Form 1 applications in a timely manner, but owning an automatic firearm does require the sheriff’s permission (it is unclear as to whether this requirement was altered by the “shall sign” bill signed in 2015). A 145-year-old Sunday hunting ban, the last of the blue laws, was overturned last year, bringing North Carolina hunters into the 20th century. An antiquated requirement to obtain a Pistol Purchase Permit remains on the books, though a bill is currently before the General Assembly to remove it.

The big news in Nevada is that a Bloomberg-funded initiative to pass a background check mandate through the ballot box will be up for vote in November. This tactic has been used nationwide to sidestep our founders’ view of a representative republic. Nevada’s CCW law ranked 22nd nationally, and reciprocity with other states improved in 2015. Nevada does not restrict black rifles or magazine capacity, and all NFA firearms and accessories are legal. The state gets eight out of 10 points for strong use-of-force laws and does well in the miscellaneous category thanks to a strong overall statutory framework and more outdoor space to shoot than anywhere on this side of the moon.

South Carolina has the worst right-to-carry reciprocity in the


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South, which is part of the reason it ranked 29th for concealed carry. As of this writing, the Palmetto State doesn’t even recognize permits issued in neighboring Georgia (though there is a proposal before the legislature to change that). The state gets strong scores in all other areas, with strong use-of-force laws and an otherwise gun-friendly set of laws.

22

WISCONSIN

Over 300,000 carry permits have been issued in the Badger State. A bill introduced this year to allow CCW permit holders to carry on school grounds was a bridge too far, though, and failed to advance. Wisconsin laws haven’t changed for gun owners since our last review in 2015, so the state maintains high scores for a strong CCW law, a model use-of-force statue and no restrictions on black guns and NFA items. Cities such as Milwaukee and Madison aren’t exactly pro-gun meccas, but the state is gun-friendly overall with a strong hunting culture.

21

MISSOURI

The Missouri legislature has made major strides for gun owners over the past decade, and this year was no different. A bill has passed both chambers that allows for limited permitless carry (wherever open carry is legal), beefs up the state’s use-of-force laws and makes improvements to the state’s CCW statute. Because the governor has not taken any action on the bill at the time of this writing, the passage of this legislation will not affect the state’s score. Bills that would have allowed campus carry in the Show Me State did not advance from committee. Missouri’s CCW law ranks 19th in the nation, and the state gets high scores for black guns and in the NFA column. Missouri is a pro-gun state as a whole, though some of the larger cities are decidedly less friendly.

20

VERMONT

While Vermont is often touted for its great gun laws, it’s actually a lack of gun laws that makes Vermont special. Vermont’s permitless carry law has been around for over a century, thanks to the 1903 court decision in State v. Rosenthal. Undoubtedly, 113 years of permitless carry without any major problems is an excellent track record of success. Vermont law is basically silent on most aspects of gun ownership, which earns it superb scores in nearly every category. Because Vermont doesn’t give their citizens the option of obtaining a permit for reciprocity’s sake, we only give it nine points in the CCW column, and its lack of “shall sign” language costs it a point in the NFA category. The not-in-my-backyard attitude and anti-gun mindset of many of Vermont’s more recent transplant residents has made finding a place to shoot more difficult in recent times, which costs it some points in the miscellaneous column.


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the Castle Doctrine category. The statutes and jury instructions relating to selfdefense are somewhat ambiguous. Still, upon further review, we give the state six points to maintain consistency with the standards used elsewhere in this survey. Thanks to the positive changes in law and a fresh look at the state’s use-of-force laws, Idaho jumps five points this year.

11

KENTUCKY

An effort to bring permitless carry to Kentucky failed to advance this year. If that bill had passed, Kentucky would have maximum points in nearly every category. Kentucky ranked No. 12 in G&A’s “Best States for CCW” review and gets eight points for a strong rightto-carry statute. Kentucky allows for all NFA items and has a “shall sign” statute in place. Remington just closed its plant in Kentucky, so the state will lose some of its firearms industry footprint, but it remains a friendly state for gun owners with strong laws on the books.

10

WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia gets max points for CCW this year after the governor’s veto of a permitless carry bill was overturned by the legislature with the support of pro-gun Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. West Virginia gets full points in the NFA and black gun categories and eight points for its strong Castle Doctrine law. The state has a pre-emption statute that blocks all municipal gun ordinances that were not in effect prior to 1999. One goofy law on the books prohibits guns for sale from being displayed in a store window. Maybe the legislature can repeal that one in 2017.

9

businesses from being discriminated against by financial institutions. Despite the 10-year success of Utah’s campus carry laws, this proposal was just too much for some in Atlanta to swallow. Nonetheless, Georgia remains a great state for gun owners with nearly maximum points for CCW and NFA, and a full 10 points in the black rifle and Castle Doctrine categories. Georgia has strong pre-emption laws and some great shooting facilities, including Rogers Shooting School up in Ellijay. Georgia law does not restrict the type of firearm that citizens can own or possess, as long as federal law is followed.

8

TEXAS

7

MONTANA

Texas has a nationwide reputation for being ardently pro gun, and that reputation gains credibility each year. 2016 marks Texas’ move into the top 10 of G&A’s list. Open carry is now legal to those with a Concealed Handgun License (CHL), and campus carry is also legal. You can even carry (openly or concealed) in the governor’s office and the Capitol, proving that Texas’ leaders are willing to walk the walk as well as they talk the talk. The Texas legislature wasn’t in session this year so no new laws were adopted, but opinions issued by the Attorney General’s office helped clear up some ambiguity surrounding Texas’ new status as an “open carry” state. A CLEO “shall sign” bill failed to pass during the 2015 session, leaving Texas with nine points in the NFA category. Texas has a strong Castle Doctrine law and one of the proudest gun cultures in the nation. Texas has some of the nation’s finest shooting facilities, including FTW Ranch outside of Barksdale, where one of the longest recorded shots (and hits) in history recently took place.

GEORGIA

Two pro-gun bills were vetoed by Georgia’s governor this year: One would have allowed for CWL holders to carry on college campuses, and the other would have made various changes to the law, including protecting firearm-related

Montana’s legislature only convenes during odd-numbered years, so nothing substantive changed for gun owners in Big Sky Country this year. A


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permitless carry bill was vetoed last year, therefore Montana maintains eight points for its strong CCW law that we ranked 10th in the nation. Other than the lack of a “shall sign” statute for NFA guns and suppressors, Montana gets full points in every other category. Montana’s culture is about as pro gun as it gets, with a growing firearm manufacturing presence, plenty of places to shoot and world class hunting opportunities. Montana is tied with five other states in raw score and pulls ahead on intangibles alone. Let’s just hope that Montana doesn’t become the next Colorado.

6

ference committee. Another bill, which would allow for open carry, should be on its way to the governor. Oklahoma has led the nation in many areas of pro-gun legislation, having been the first state to protect the rights of employees to keep firearms locked in their cars on company property. Oklahoma gets high marks across the board for a good CCW law (32nd in our “Best States for CCW” review), strong self-defense laws and unrestricted access to black rifles and NFA items. Short of permitless carry, Oklahoma almost has it all. Oklahoma finishes in a four-way tie with Tennessee, Alaska and Utah.

OKLAHOMA

At the time of this writing, a bill to strengthen the right to keep and bear arms in the Oklahoma Constitution has passed out of both legislative chambers and is awaiting action by a con-

5

TENNESSEE

Several pro-gun bills were signed into law in the Volunteer State this year, including one that will allow employees and students of pubic

post-secondary schools to lawfully keep guns in their cars on campus. A bill that will allow faculty and staff members of state colleges and universities was allowed to become law without the governor’s signature. Tennessee gets high scores across the board for its gunowner friendly laws and strong shooting culture.

4

ALASKA

A campus carry bill has made it out of the Senate but awaits a committee vote in the House and very well may run out of time this year. Alaska was the second state to allow for permitless carry and was the first state to offer its residents the choice of carrying without a permit or going through the process to obtain one. Alaska gets top marks in every category except the NFA column due to its lack of a “shall sign” law — no

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word on whether any CLEOs are actually refusing to sign applications. Guns are a way of life in America’s last frontier, and the laws and culture of the state reflect that reality.

3

UTAH

2

KANSAS

Utah’s governor signed two pro-gun bills this year: One helps protect the makers and sellers of firearms and ammunition from lawsuits, and the other allows citizens to carry firearms on buses. Utah receives maximum points in every category except for CCW, since it does require a permit (ranked No. 3 in the nation). Utah recognizes permits from all jurisdictions, allows for carry in restaurants and protects the identities of permit holders. The state has strong use-offorce laws, a “shall sign” requirement for NFA items and doesn’t restrict any type of semiautomatic firearm or magazine. The state of Utah has a growing firearm industry presence. Utah has a strong hunting and shooting culture, and a landscape to match.

The Kansas legislature didn’t pass any landmark pro-gun legislation this year, but that’s only because they are running out of laws to pass. Just a decade after the war was won to bring the right to carry to Kansas, the state has some of the most pro-gun policies in the nation. Kansas allows for permitless carry and also issues permits for those who desire them, allowing it full points for its CCW laws. Open carry is also legal throughout the state. With no restrictions on black guns or magazines and a “shall sign” statute on the books, it also gets max points in the black gun and NFA categories. The state has a strong use-of-force law that has been on record for a decade and has done a great job of peeling back the powers of anti-gun municipalities. If there was an award for “Most Improved State” in the last decade, it would clearly go to Kansas. This state is just one point away from a perfect score.

1

ARIZONA

Still the reigning champion, Arizona earned a perfect score in Guns & Ammo’s 2016 survey. Arizona not only has a statutory framework that strongly favors civilian gun ownership, it has a shooting culture to match. Arizona gets max points in every category for permitless carry, strong self-defense laws,

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a “shall sign” NFA statute and excellent gun laws that make up the miscellaneous category. Arizona boasts tons of competitive shooting opportunities in every discipline, and its desert terrain is a longrange shooter’s paradise. Arizona tops our list, but other states have closed the gap. Check out gunsandammo.com for our “Best States for Concealed Carry” list.


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THE .458 SOCOM PUTS MAXIMUM WALLOP IN ANY AR-PATTERN RIFLE.

A BIGGER HAMMER WORDS BY TOM BECKSTRAND | PHOTOS MICHAEL ANSCHUETZ & MARK FINGAR

THE .458 SOCOM WAS DEVELOPED by Marty ter Weeme, and borrowed its name from the joint service Special Operations Command (SOCOM) based out of McDill, Florida, following input from this community during the mid to late 1990s. Tony Rumore of Tromix Corp. took the cartridge design and built the first prototype rifle, and it was a functioning success. Subsequently, Tromix started production but it wasn’t adopted by the military. For lack of initial ammunition support from within the firearm industry and component availability, only a few companies created products, which limited the .458’s chance at becoming popular with the commericial market. Even five years ago, only a handful of manufacturers offered upper receiver conversions, some of which have gone out of business. Times have changed and the .458 is picking up interest with the introduction of the CMMG MkW Anvil and the fact that now ammunition companies are developing devastatingly fresh loads for it. Here’s the cartridge’s second chance.


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The AR rifle had been serving our military for almost 30 years when members of the Special Operations community carried it in Mogadishu, Somalia, and the events chronicled in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down� took place. Special Operations members who participated in that event were later at a barbecue with some folks from the firearms industry where they voiced their displeasure at the terminal performance of the rifles they carried. A couple of the constraints established early in the design process were that the cartridge had to feed out of standardissue USGI magazines and work out of a standard AR-15 lower receiver, to include the buffer and recoil spring.

The cartridge that evolved was the .458 SOCOM; the SOCOM appellation giving homage to the men whose experience started the project. Standard commercial loadings throw 300-grain bullets at 1,900 feet per second (fps) and generate approximately 2,400 ft-lbs of energy. That puts this little powerhouse in the same class as a mild .45-70. Available Ammunition Today, there are several factory loadings available for the .458 SOCOM with almost all of the manufacturers represented here. G&A staff conducted a detailed assessment of the following loads by shooting them in a Rock River LAR-458 and the new CMMG MkW-15 XBE Anvil.


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POLYCASE 140-GRAIN ARX THE MOST EXOTIC LOAD tested comes from Polycase and uses its polymer-fluted bullet at extremely high velocity (for a .458 SOCOM). The bullet has radial flutes that descend from the bullet nose. The flutes use hydraulics to channel tissue away from the bullet at high velocity. The polymer bullet is designed to penetrate deeply and cause devastating wound channels. I had limited ammunition for testing, but noticed an interesting phenomenon with this load. Initial group sizes were extremely large in both test rifles but tightened considerably by the third or fourth group. This is not unusual when shooting one type of bullet at high velocity (brass alloy monolithic, for example) and then transitioning to a copper-jacketed bullet. The .458 SOCOM velocities aren’t the same as most bottlenecked cartridges, but the accuracy shift most likely means that the best performance will come with a clean barrel prior to shooting the Polycase rifle rounds. Cleaning isn’t absolutely necessary, but best accuracy will not occur until the barrel has a chance to season with the polymer. The same thing happened when moving from the Polycase bullets back to copper. The first couple of groups with the copper were noticeably larger than the rest. The Polycase bullet only weighs 140 grains, so it is much faster

Extreme Spread – 86 Standard Deviation – 34 Average Velocity – 2,586 fps MSRP – $84 / 20 rds. polycaseammo.com

than the rest of the test ammunition. It loaded and fired in the Rock River rifle, but failed to generate enough pressure at the gas port to cycle the rifle. These were the only malfunctions experienced while testing. The ammunition fired and cycled without issue in the CMMG rifle.

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BLACK BUTTERFLY 300-GRAIN NOSLER BALLISTIC TIP (BT) THIS IS AN EXCELLENT LOAD for the big-game hunter because the bullet selected for the round expands at .458 SOCOM velocities. The bullet comes from Nosler’s muzzleloader line and has the distinctive orange polymer tip. Polymer tips are ideal for moderate to low velocity hunting rounds because they initiate almost immediate expansion upon impact. Where jacketed rounds need a few inches of penetration before terminal performance really begins, polymer tips go to work immediately. Additionally, this bullet has a rounded tangent ogive that centers well in diverse rifle chambers. The .458 SOCOM is not a SAAMI cartridge. There is no standard for freebore (the distance between the chambered bullet’s ogive and where the rifling starts), throat diameter or leade angles, so chambers can vary significantly from one rifle manufacturer to the next. A bullet with a rounded tangent ogive like this Nosler BT will give the most consistent performance across a wide variety of chamber specifications because the bullet shape transitions gently from the bullet’s nose to the bearing surface and centers well as it enters the rifling. This round chronographed at an average velocity of 1,853

Extreme Spread – 73 Standard Deviation – 29 Average Velocity – 1,853 fps MSRP – $45 / 20 rds. blackbutterflyammo.com

fps out of a 16-inch barrel. Given the muzzle velocity and a G1 ballistic coefficient (BC) of .250, this load will expand on impact out to 400 yards. Unfortunately, the big and heavy bullet has dropped about 9 feet at that point (with a 100-yard zero, no less), so I don’t recommend actually shooting at game that far away. This is a great hunting load inside 200 yards and is positively lethal inside 100 yards, distances keeping with the round’s intent. The bullet has a tapered jacket that handles the velocity spectrum well on impact, staying together at the highest muzzle velocity yet still expanding all the way down to 1,000 fps.

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CORBON 300-GRAIN DPX THIS LOAD USES a Barnes bullet specifically designed for use in the .458 SOCOM. The all-copper bullet expands at velocities down to 1,000 fps and has a polymer tip to initiate quick expansion immediately on contact. When pushed at high velocity, the bullet will not fragment due to its monolithic copper construction. The BC is about the same as the Nosler bullet, so it has a similar parabolic flight path, even when pushed at Corbon’s relatively high velocity of 1,926 fps. Extreme spread and standard deviation on muzzle velocities were the lowest of any ammunition tested. I spoke to Corbon president Peter Pi to ask him why the box indicates that this ammunition is only for CMMG rifles. Pi stated that Corbon did all load development with the CMMG rifle and that he was confident in the ammunition’s performance when used in that rifle. Corbon likes to load to maximum pressure and, for the .458 SOCOM, that’s 35,000 pounds per square inch (psi). According to Pi, the CMMG rifle, with its large and thick bolt face, could handle a steady diet of ammunition at that pressure without any risk of premature bolt breakage or parts failure. I tried shooting this ammunition in the Rock River rifle, and these rounds would not chamber. Since the .458 SOCOM isn’t a SAAMI round, I expected some variation in chamber dimensions,

Extreme Spread – 14 Standard Deviation – 6 Average Velocity – 1,926 fps MSRP – $60 / 20 rds. corbon.com 800-626-7266

but the differences between the Rock River rifle and this load were significant enough that the rifle wouldn’t even close the bolt. I tried twice and had to collapse the stock and mortar the rifle to extract the unfired round each time. The second time, I had to remove the scope, get a good enough grip on the charging handle, and firmly pull rearward while simultaneously smacking the rifle’s butt on the ground to extract the round. There were no issues in the CMMG rifle, however.


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VENTURA TACTICAL 300-GRAIN CONTROLLED FRACTURE Extreme Spread – 18 Standard Deviation – 8 Average Velocity – 1,884 fps MSRP – $42 / 20 rds. venturatactical.com 702-998-7727

THIS AMMUNITION FEATURES a bullet made by Lehigh Defense that capitalizes on newer machining technology. The bullets are made on CNC machines, so production is much faster and more economically feasible than the older lathe-turned bullets. The 300-grain bullet is brass alloy with scoring inside the massive hollowpoint. On impact, the pre-scored petals peel away from the bullet shank and radiate outward causing major tissue damage. The bullet shank penetrates deeply and often exits the far side of the animal, leaving a good blood trail. One of the advantages of CNC’d bullets is the tight tolerance to which they’re held. Since this bullet is monolithic, there is no jacket to cause concentricity issues while in flight. The performance of this load is a textbook argument for these types of bullets. The most accurate three-shot group was from this load and measured .41 inch from center-to-center. Ventura Tactical also did a phenomenal job loading the bullet as velocity extreme spread was only 18 fps and standard deviation was a paltry 7.5.

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UNDERWOOD AMMUNITION 300-GRAIN XTREME PENETRATOR UNDERWOOD AMMUNITION IS A small boutique ammunition manufacturer located in Illinois. All ammo is loaded on hand presses and visually inspected prior to packaging. Muzzle velocity, extreme spread and standard deviation were good for this load, and accuracy was exceptional. The accuracy from both test rifles was very consistent and group sizes remained among the smallest tested for all five groups. The accuracy performance of this round was very similar to the ammunition loaded by Ventura Tactical because Lehigh Defense makes both bullets. The Xtreme Penetrator bullet has an unorthodox design that first surfaced back in the early 1980s. The design didn’t work well back then because sintered material and the manufacturing techniques used at the time couldn’t handle the terminal stress upon the round’s impact. Those same designs work phenomenally now that bullets are CNC’d out of brass alloy or copper. The nose is flat with straight flutes extending down the bul-

Extreme Spread – 42 Standard Deviation – 15 Average Velocity – 1,943 fps MSRP – $60 / 20 rds. underwoodammo.com 618-965-2109

let’s ogive. Once the bullet hits meat, the flutes use hydrostatic pressure to channel flesh away from the bullet at high velocity, creating a large wound cavity. The bullet never deforms, so it also penetrates well.


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TGD ENTERPRISES 325-GRAIN FTX THIS WAS ONE OF THE MOST ACCURATE and consistent rounds tested. TGD Enterprises is a small shop located in Illinois that caters to the .458 SOCOM round. If ever there was a shop that made a strong argument for the presence of boutique ammunition manufacturers and the service they provide the customer, TGD Enterprises is it. The load tested had an extreme spread of 25 fps and a standard deviation of 9.5. Single-digit standard deviation numbers are rare and always a pleasure. This load was also very accurate in the two rifles that tested it. It was the most accurate of all the copper-jacketed rounds tested with most three-shot groups hovering around 1 inch. The projectile selected for this load is Hornady’s excellent 325grain FTX bullet. It has a polymer tip and was originally designed for use in a lever-action .45-70 rifle, where it could take advantage of the additional velocity compared to .458 SOCOM. The chronographed muzzle velocity for this load was 1,793 fps, almost 200 fps above Hornady’s minimum recommended

Extreme Spread – 25 Standard Deviation – 10 Average Velocity – 1,793 fps MSRP – $60 / 20 rds. tgdenterprises.com 309-949-2556

impact velocity window for the FTX bullet. While this TGD Enterprises load is one of the most consistent rounds tested (and one of the most accurate), it is slightly limited for hunting because the bullet will only expand on impact out to about 100 yards, given the muzzle velocity from a .458 SOCOM.


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BLACK BUTTERFLY 350-GRAIN PLATED ROUND SHOULDER (PRS) BLACK BUTTERFLY IS BASED in South Carolina and loads their ammo on handloading machines. They are not a large volume shop and strive to deliver high-quality ammunition at a reasonable price. About two bucks a round is good pricing for the .458 SOCOM, and that’s what Black Butterfly charges. Black Butterfly caters to the .458 SOCOM round and publishes the bullet-brass-primer recipe for each load on their website. The 350-grain PRS round is a copper-plated lead bullet loaded to a chronographed 1,756 fps, about 100 fps faster than listed on their website. The bullet is a flat-nosed projectile common for lead and copper-plated bullets in this caliber. I’d never heard of Black Butterfly ammunition prior to conducting testing for this article, but the two loads I tested exhibited reasonable extreme spreads and standard deviations, two solid indicators of quality ammunition. This particular load should be less expensive than other offer-

Extreme Spread – 49 Standard Deviation – 18 Average Velocity – 1,756 fps MSRP – $35 / 20 rds. blackbutterflyammo.com

ings due to the inexpensive projectile. While the lead bullet will certainly deform on game, I’d reserve this load for range time and high-volume nuisance hunting (like fighting off the local hog population).

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CMMG MkW-15 XBE ANVIL Type: Direct impingement, semiautomatic Cartridge: .458 SOCOM Capacity: 7, 10 rds. Barrel: 16.1 in.; 1:14-in. twist Overall Length: 33.5 in. (collapsed); 38 in. (extended) Weight: 7 lbs., 8 oz. Stock: Magpul CTR Grip: Magpul MOE Length of Pull: 11.1 in. (collapsed); 14.5 in. (extended) Finish: Type III hardcoat anodized Sights: None Trigger: CMMG, single stage, 7 lbs., 7 oz. (tested) MSRP: $1,950  Manufacturer: CMMG 660-248-2293 cmmginc.com

Rock River LAR-458 Tactical Carbine Type: Direct impingement, semiautomatic Cartridge: .458 SOCOM Capacity: 7, 10 rds. Barrel: 16 in.; 1:14-in. twist Overall Length: 34 in. (collapsed); 37.5 in. (extended) Weight: 7 lbs., 10 oz. Stock: Rock River Arms NSP CAR Grip: Hogue Length of Pull: 11.5 in. (collapsed); 15 in. (extended) Finish: Type III hardcoat anodized Sights: None Trigger: Rock River Match, two stage, 5 lbs., 7.2 oz. (tested) MSRP: $1,415 Manufacturer: Rock River Arms 309-792-5780 rockriverarms.com


september 2016

rOCK rIVer Arms’ LAr-458 vs. CmmG’s Xbe

A LOT OF READERS ARE FANS of the .45-70. It’s a big cartridge that’s been around for a long time, and some of the most popular and beautiful rifles are chambered in it. It is a great choice for hunting just about anything in North America. That same level of ballistic performance is also available in AR-pattern rifles thanks to the .458 SOCOM. It’s unlikely that .45-70 lovers think much of the AR, but multiple generations of American riflemen have carried it to war and the shooting range for over 50 years and have become attached to the little rifle’s many strengths. Giving all these riflemen a chance to hunt anything in North America with their most familiar rifle seemed like a good enough idea that both Rock River Arms and CMMG now offer models chambered in .458 SOCOM. I managed to get my hands on Rock River’s LAR-458 and CMMG’s MkW-15 XBE Anvil to give them a workout and to see which one is the better rifle. My instructions were very clear: All test criteria had to be data based to eliminate personal opinion and to prevent any whining about unfair test practices after the fact. In pursuit of this goal, I shot every round G&A sent me (after pilfering company stock and calling every manufacturer that loaded .458 SOCOM). Before the dust settled, I had a bruised shoulder and a slight headache, but the results surprised me. I didn’t expect that level of performance, and I thought the guns would beat me up worse than they did. I also have a newfound appreciation for and budding romance with the .458 SOCOM, even though she slapped me around a little bit.

WOrDs bY tOm beCKstrAND pHOtOs bY mArK FINGAr

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ROCK RIVER LAR-458 TACTICAL CARBINE

CMMG MKW-15 XBE ANVIL

the Rock River lAR-458 (above, top) is built on AR-15-pattern upper and lower receivers. the cMMG MkW Anvil (above, bottom) has AR-10-pattern upper and lower receivers, but the magazine well accepts AR-15 magazines.

round counts will be hard on the LAR-458 bolt. Price I grew up near a machine shop that specialized in making Contrast that with the AR-10-sized lugs of the Anvil. It’s rare to cars fast and powerful. There was a sign inside the shop that said: break an AR-10-size lug, even in a .308, because they are much “Speed costs money. How fast do you want to spend it?” That same thicker and extremely strong. The Anvil’s lugs are the same size as principle applies to these two rifles. There’s a lot of machine time for each, and there are a lot of parts unique to each. Both pack a ton those found in a .308 because the case heads are the same size. However, before we can condemn the LAR-458 for the skinny of power into a light and handy package. Neither company will sell bolt lugs, it’s also important to remember thousands, because this is a niche market. that the .458 SOCOM operates at a very All that being said, both rifles are midlow chamber pressure. The maximum grade models from their respective lines; the chamber pressure for the .458 SOCOM is Rock River LAR-458 is about $500 cheaper 35,000 pounds per square inch (psi). This than the CMMG Anvil. If we wanted an level of pressure is normally associated with easy answer, a quick look at the MSRP of pistol cartridges. Modern rifle cartridges each would say that Rock River won that usually have a maximum pressure of round. The problem is that even though 58,000 to 62,000 psi. The AR was designed both rifles are ARs and mid-grade models, around rifle pressures, so how much of a this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. liability do the skinny bolt lugs of the LARThe LAR-458 is based on an AR-15 458 really pose? (.223 Rem.) and the Anvil is based on an the cMMG bolt (left) scores with beefier lugs on either side of the extractor. Chamber pressure is directly correlated AR-10 (.308 Win.). They weigh almost to gas port pressure, and gas port pressure the same, but the Anvil has a much larger bolt and bolt carrier. Since the .458 SOCOM has a .473-inch case is the largest determining factor in bolt speed for AR-pattern rifles. Bolt speed is what breaks bolts. Slow bolts last a long time, head size (just like the .308 Win.), the additional mass found on and 35,000 psi makes for a slow bolt. the Anvil’s bolt face is a significant advantage when considering While the skinny lugs are a little disconcerting, I wouldn’t long-term durability. Put enough rounds through any rifle and something will break. worry too much if you’re not intending to shoot hot loads or a lot of rounds through the rifle. Most hunting rifles will never see 300 When AR-15s break, it is almost always the bolt. Usually, lugs rounds. If that’s the case, the LAR-458 definitely wins the price on either side of the extractor will snap off because they are only category because 500 bucks is 500 bucks. supported on one side. If you like to handload and/or like to shoot your rifle, the The LAR-458 bolt starts out the same as a standard AR-15 bolt, Anvil wins the price category. AR-10s are usually $1,000 more but the bolt face gets expanded to accommodate the .473-inch than comparably equipped AR-15s from the same manufacturer, case head. This process removes a big chunk of the already limited bolt lug material. There is only a thin ring of steel supporting so the fact that CMMG offers the larger frame for only $500 more than the LAR-458 is a pretty big value. the forwardmost one-third of the lugs. Hot ammunition or high


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left: the standard-size lAR-458 receivers are forged, just like most AR-15s. Right: the cMMG receivers are machined from billet aluminum to account for the AR-15-sized magazine well in an AR-10-sized lower.

ing I could do to correct the issue except Gas Systems Gas systems are a big deal to manually cycle the action while testing on AR-pattern rifles. Gas must flow the round’s accuracy. While that’s just one through a small port in the top of the barload, the non-adjustable gas block is a rel, through the gas block and gas tube, slightly limiting factor for the LAR-458. and back into the bolt carrier to push it This rifle will also likely struggle with rearward to cycle the action. The system 500- to 600-grain subsonic loads, just as it is a closed loop that needs the correct did with the lighter and faster Polycase. amount of gas to work properly. The Anvil has an adjustable gas block, One of the most important dimensions so the shooter can make the gas port on any AR is the size of the gas port. The the cMMG adjustable gas block allows the Anvil to work reliably with any .458 bigger or smaller as necessary to cycle any small hole in the top of the barrel is what bullet weight in any temperature. load that gets stuffed in the chamber. The controls how much gas enters the system. If screw at the front of the gas block rotates there’s too much, a rifle can have extraction between 15 settings, allowing the port to be properly sized for and feeding problems and will experience shortened bolt life due any type of ammunition. The adjustable gas block is also benefito excessive bolt velocity. If there isn’t enough gas, the bolt will fail cial if the owner plans on using a suppressor or shooting in very to lock back on an empty magazine or it might not even cycle. cold weather. Things get tricky when we get into cartridges other than the While the Anvil has an adjustable gas block, I didn’t adjust it to two for which Eugene Stoner designed the AR-pattern rifle (the get the 140-grain Polycase load to cycle. This is because the rifle .308 Win. and the .223 Rem.). Problems start when we use ships with the gas block turned all the way to position 15, so the ammunition with a broad range of bullet weights that are loaded gas port was huge and the rifle was over-gassed for the 300- to to minimum and maximum pressures in a rifle that fails to 350-grain ammunition I tested. I was under strict orders to not account for the new set of variables. do anything to one rifle that I didn’t do to the other, so I left the The ammunition used in testing the LAR-458 and Anvil had adjustable gas block alone during testing. The Anvil may have bullet weights of 300 to 350 grains in six loads, with one sample been over-gassed, but it had no malfunctions of any kind. that had a bullet weight of 140 grains. The LAR-458 handled all If it were mine, I’d adjust the Anvil’s gas of the 300- to 350-grain loads without system down to match the ammunition I so much as a hiccup. However, the only the .458 socoM loads into a standard double-stack 5.56 nAto 30-round mag, but intended to shoot. This is a simple process malfunctions experienced during testing it only holds nine rounds of .458. socoM. where the shooter loads one round in the occurred when I tried to shoot the 140magazine and fires the rifle. If the bolt locks grain Polycase ammunition out of the back, adjust the gas block to a smaller gas LAR-458. The round would fire, and half port and try again. When the bolt fails to the time the empty case didn’t have enough lock back on an empty magazine, open the oomph to get out of the upper receiver. The port up one or two clicks and you’re set. bolt coming forward would pin it like a If you intend to only shoot 300- to stovepipe malfunction on a pistol. The rest 350-grain loads out of a .458 SOCOM, of the rounds had a fired case that cleared the simplicity of the non-adjustable LARthe ejection port, but the bolt failed to pick 458 gas block makes it a good choice. up a fresh round from the magazine, so the For those shooting bullets from 140-grain bolt went forward on an empty chamber. speedsters to the 600-grain subsonics, or Those malfunctions happened because those shooting suppressed and hunting the rifle couldn’t get a big enough gulp of in very cold weather, the Anvil with its gas to cycle completely. The LAR-458 gas adjustable gas block is the right choice. block is non-adjustable, so there is noth-


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Triggers and Accuracy Upon opening the boxes the rifles shipped in, I removed each model and tested trigger pull weights using a digital Lyman trigger pull gauge. I tested each trigger five times and have included a table of the results. The LAR-458 ships with Rock River’s excellent two-stage trigger that was 2 pounds lighter than the standard AR trigger that comes in the Anvil. More important than the lighter pull weight is the almost non-existent creep of the Rock River trigger. The trigger on the LAR-458 made it significantly easier to accuracy test the rifle compared to the standard trigger found in the Anvil. (For an additional $200, CMMG offers a Geissele SSA trigger upgrade.) Accuracy testing the LAR-458 and Anvil comprised the bulk of effort invested in this article. I had seven loads to test, and I

the Rock River two-stage Match trigger measured two pounds lighter than cMMG’s standard trigger.

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fired five, three-shot groups at 100 yards for each load out of each rifle. I did all accuracy testing in one range session over the course of approximately five hours, and I felt and looked like 50 miles of bad road when I finished. I did alternate rifles during testing to allow each one to cool before moving to the next load. Accuracy testing a .458 SOCOM is like accuracy testing a .4570. It’s necessary during load development, but not something I’d get really focused on. This round should not be fired past 200 yards, maximum, because the bullet drops rapidly past that distance. As long as it holds a 2-inch group or so at 100 yards, I’d be more than comfortable heading into the field with it. What I found at the range was that both rifles are capable of exceptional accuracy. This is a testament to the extremely high quality machine work done on both rifles and helps illustrate why they don’t sell for $500. Also, keep in mind that all accuracy testing was done with hunting ammunition and not match ammunition. Match ammunition doesn’t exist for this cartridge because accuracy shouldn’t be the primary consideration for its use. The best group of the day came from the LAR-458 in the third hour of testing. The load was Ventura Tactical’s featuring the 300-grain Controlled Fracturing projectile. Three shots went into a .41-inch group at 100 yards. The Anvil’s best group wasn’t far behind it. Underwood Ammunition’s 300-grain Xtreme Penetrator load put three rounds into a .62-inch group at 100 yards. After crunching the results of all that shooting, the average group size for the LAR-458 was 1.45 inches (1.29 inches without the Polycase data) and the Anvil’s average was 1.72 inches (1.4 inches if we discount the Polycase results). Polycase ammunition shot just fine through both rifles and

TRIGGER PULL WEIGHTS Rock River: 5.7 5.12 5.14 5.4 5.9 Average: 5.45 lbs. cMMG: 7.7 7.1 7.7 7.7 6.9 Average: 7.42 lbs.


G&A

september 2016 | the biG kids on the block

the Rock River muzzlebrake is more effective than the cMMG brake, but it does direct some of the concussive muzzle blast back onto the shooter.

has one of the best bullet designs tested, but the polymer-based bullets needed a few rounds to season the dirty barrel before groups tightened up to normal. I didn’t have enough ammunition to re-shoot the test, but would recommend cleaning the barrel if you’ve been shooting copper-jacketed bullets before shooting Polycase for accuracy testing. Range Observations There are a lot of rumors out there about the punishing amount of recoil the .458 SOCOM generates in a relatively light AR. I didn’t find that to be the case. Both rifles I tested had muzzlebrakes, which come with pros and cons. Both brakes reduced recoil, but the Rock River brake was much easier on the shoulder. It did, however, literally blow my limited

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amount of hair back each time I pulled the trigger. That’s the first time I’ve had a brake do that. The brakes reduced recoil but it still took a toll. I enjoy a little of the rough stuff as much as the next guy, but I wasn’t having a good time after about 100 rounds. While the recoil generated from the cartridge isn’t much different from a 7- to 8-pound rifle chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum, it isn’t much fun to shoot for a couple hundred rounds from the prone position. Less than 100 rounds isn’t overly punishing. Both rifles come with standard 30-round AR-15 magazines. I used my own Lancer 20-round magazine for both rifles to better accommodate the prone position. I had no issues from the standard Lancer 20-rounder. CMMG states that their rifle ships with a modified Lancer magazine that is optimized for .458 SOCOM use. The cartridge was designed to ACOG MEETS LED work in a regular Trijicon’s Advanced Combat Optical magazine so I Gunsight, i.e. ACOG, has been around closely inspected for more than 25 years. It has been in U.S. service since 1995. These optics CMMG’s Lancer

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the big kids on the block | september 2016

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CMMG MkW-15 XBE ANVIL the chronograph data is the exact same for the two rifles because there was only enough ammo left to get muzzle velocities from one rifle. All muzzle velocities come from the new cMMg MkW Anvil.

SD

BEST GROUP (IN.)

AVERAGE GROUP (IN.)

73

29

1.22

1.63

1,756

49

18

1.41

1.86

TGD 325-gr. Hornady FTX

1,793

25

10

.84

1.16

Ventura Tactical 300 gr. Lehigh XP

1,884

18

8

.68

1.26

Underwood 300-gr. Lehigh XP

1,943

42

15

.62

1.08

Polycase 140-gr. ARX

2,586

86

34

1.86

3.37

Corbon 300-gr. DPX

1,926

14

6

1.67

2.29

VELOCITY (FPS)

ES

Black Butterfly 300-gr. Nosler BT

1,853

Black Butterfly 350-gr. PRS

LOAD

notes: Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups fired from 100 yards. Velocity results are the average of five shots measured using MagnetoSpeed V3 chronograph.

ROCK RIVER ARMS LAR-458 TACTICAL CARBINE SD

BEST GROUP (IN.)

AVERAGE GROUP (IN.)

.82

1.62

1.86

2.09

TGD 325-gr. Hornady FTX

.75

1

Ventura Tactical 300 gr. Lehigh XP

.41

.89

Underwood 300-gr. Lehigh XP

.61

.85

Polycase 140-gr. ARX

1.85

2.26

VELOCITY (FPS)

ES

Black Butterfly 300-gr. Nosler BT

Black Butterfly 350-gr. PRS

LOAD

Corbon 300-gr. DPX

Ammunition wouldn’t chamber in rifle.

notes: Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups fired from 100 yards.

that came with the rifle. The only modification I detected was “.458 SOCOM” laser-etched to the side. Taking a moment to get off the beaten path of traditional AR chamberings has been well worth the effort. The .458 SOCOM offers a lot of versatility, accuracy and big-bore performance in a very popular rifle that’s usually limited to a couple of cartridge choices. The LAR-458 and Anvil are both excellent rifles that should appeal to slightly different shooting demographics. Rock River’s LAR-458 is the top pick for hunters because of its value, excellent trigger and superb accuracy. The CMMG MkW-15 XBE Anvil gets the top pick for enthusiasts that handload or shoot a lot. The highly accurate rifle has a larger bolt that will last much longer that of the LAR-458, and the adjustable gas system can be tailored to work with any load.


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Kimber Hunter Type: Bolt action, detachable box magazine Cartridge: .243 Win., .257 Roberts, 7mm-08 Rem., 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win. (tested) Capacity: 3 rds. Barrel: 22 in., stainless steel Overall Length: 41.25 in. Weight: 5 lbs., 11 oz. (tested) Stock: FDE polymer, pillar bedded Length of Pull: 13.75 in. Finish: Matte Trigger: 4 lbs., 1 oz. (tested), adj. Sights: None Safety: Three position MSRP: $885 Manufacturer: Kimber, 888-243-4522, kimberamerica.com


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Weighing 6 pounds and priced under $900, this sub-MOA Model 84M with a lightweight stock, adjustable trigger and removable magazine might be the best short action for modern times.

WORDS BY ERIC R. POOLE | PHOTOS BY MIKE ANSCHUETZ


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AFTER THREE UNSUCCESSFUL days tracking herds of Cape buffalo and looking for an old dugga boy in Zimbabwe, I began to fear our chances following an unusually wet season. There were many pans of water, so the buff didn’t have to stay near one or two watering holes as in times of drought. Following the setting sun back toward Mbizi camp in the Nuanetsi region of Zim’s Lowveld, Chifuti Safaris’ Professional Hunter (PH) Rex Hoets spotted a lone blue wildebeest flanking our left and confirmed the spread of his fine horns through his binos. Using thorny mopane trees for cover, we stalked him until he presented the perfect broadside shot in a clearing; however, he was alert and thinking about running. My PH quickly set up hickory sticks as I chambered a 178-grain Hornady ELD-X into a new Kimber Hunter. From 150 yards, the bullet performed flawlessly as it passed through the wildebeest’s heart and lungs. My dangerous game rifle was a Kimber Talkeetna in .375 H&H, but I decided to bring a second rifle to Africa for evaluation on plains game. I left the States just one week after it was built by Kimber’s riflesmiths in Montana. In fact, it was so special that I was told my particular .308 rifle was not a prototype but the company’s very first production gun. Kimber’s new Hunter is based on the Model 84M and features a lightweight stock, adjustable trigger and removable box magazine. On my digital scale, the rifle weighed 5.7 pounds. After mounting a new Steiner GS3 2-10x42mm in a set of one-piece Talley rings, the scale read only 6.9 pounds. It is definitely a lightweight that handles accordingly.

On Kimber Kimber entered the riflemaking business in 1979 and was first known as “Kimber of Oregon” for being based in Clackamas, Oregon. (Kimber firearms are now made in Montana as well as New York.) The brand’s first rifle was the Model 82, an American-made rimfire of good quality. In fact, I read a story penned by former G&A contributor Layne Simpson who likened it to the Winchester Model 52 and Remington 40X sporters — high praise indeed. The 82 was a classy rimfire and set the standard by which Kimber has maintained ever since. In 1984, Kimber unveiled the Model 84, which was the first rifle scaled down in size to accept the .223 Remington. The original 84 shared the same lines, stock, barrel profile and barrel length to the Model 82. Back then, these rifles listed between $650 and $780 depending on their grade, a bit more if you preferred a Monte Carlo stock. (As an aside, a barreled action could be bought seperately from Kimber for $475.) However, that trend seems to have been bucked this year with the new Kimber Hunter. It is now the most affordable rifle Kimber offers with an MSRP of $885. As with anything subject to inflation, prices go up. For a year and a half, the design team in Montana has been at work to give us a handy and accurate rifle that saves us money and earns additional Kimber fans. The Hunter borrowed from the success of Kimber’s mountain rifles, which have handlaid carbon fiber stocks. Though the rifles are light and accurate, the market was showing shooters were attracted to synthetic stocks. Designers felt that they could work with polypropylene and offer riflemen better performance than what’s recently been introduced by others.


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The Mauser-style two-lug bolt in the Hunter offers a large claw extractor and three-position safety. it cycles rounds quickly and smoothly from Kimber’s proprietary three-round magazine. The mag can be incorrectly inserted (shown above, bottom right) and locked, and may be difficult to remove. Though Kimber includes a sticker on the stock, it is important to read the owner’s manual.

The Hunter stock isn’t simply a product of injection-molded plastic. In fact, it has a rigid honeycomb structure that saves weight. It is complete with an effective .9-inch (my measurement) rubber recoil pad branded with the Kimber logo. During G&A’s testing, we found that there was no movement of the stock under recoil, and it didn’t contact the barrel. The stock makes the Hunter extremely comfortable to shoot, though it could use added texturing for grip. Kimber won’t reveal who’s making the stock for them (I asked), but did say that the stock was designed by its engineers and made to their specifications. The great news is that nothing was done to the Hunter’s 84M barreled receiver. The barrels are still button-rifled by Kimber; the muzzles are given a clean 11-degree crown and squarely mated to the short action. The ejection port is generous, and the bolt remains an improved Mauser type. A split for passage of the ejector does not weaken the left locking lug as it does with the traditional Mauser bolt, yet this bolt is still a controlled-roundfeed (CRF) type. The force of a retracted bolt pulling a chambered case initiates ejection, which takes place once the case rim is struck by a pivoting ejector. The ejector is a spring-loaded lever that remains depressed under the bolt until a notch beneath the left lug allows the point to slide up a channeled groove. The 84’s ejector is similar to that first seen on the Winchester Model 54 and pre-’64 Model 70s. Paul Mauser’s extractor design carries over to the Model 84

Hunter with a nonrotating claw extractor held to the bolt body by a collar. The bolt face is counterbored, but its wall is cut away at the bottom to allow the extractor hook to engage the rim of a cartridge as it travels from magazine to chamber. This feature is commonly referred to as controlled feeding, and it prevents the chance of double loading. The Hunter’s extractor hook is quite large with a tooth that measures .55 inch. It is shaped and beveled to ensure that it will slip over the rim of a cartridge that’s loaded manually into the chamber. The .79-inch diameter bolt body has dual, opposed locking lugs at the front. Kimber must have spent time polishing the raceways, because the action moves smoother than you’d expect on a typical production rifle. When closed, the bolt lug is rectangular and dovetails nicely into the receiver ring. Kimber continues its legacy of small actions without the sacrifice of strength and safety. To put the action in safe mode, the serrated safety lever on the right rear of the bolt needs to be drawn all the way back. This is a Model 70-style three-position safety system, which means that when the lever is protruding perpendicular to the length of the bolt, the action is on safe and the trigger cannot be pulled to fire, but the action can be opened for extracting a spent case or live cartridge from the chamber. Pushing the lever forward enables the trigger to be drawn and the rifle to fire, which is indicated by a red dot positioned in view of the shooter. On my sample, I noticed that I was able to quickly


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PERFORMANCE LOAD

Hornady 178-gr. ELD-X

VELOCITY (FPS)

ES

SD

BEST GROUP (IN.)

AVERAGE GROUP (IN.)

2,588

31

12

.44

.73

Notes: Accuracy is the average of five, three-shot groups fired at 100 yards from a bench on a sandbag rest. Velocity is the average of five shots across an Oehler Model 35P chronograph positioned at 15 feet.

pass by this middle position from safe to fire, and I hardly noticed it as I do with the bolt in the larger 84L action. Placing the 84M Hunter in this middle/safe mode to clear the chamber requires an intentional act to do so. With the safety system disengaged, the adjustable trigger can be pulled. Kimber advertises a 3- to 5½-pound adjustment range, while my sample measured 4 pounds, 1 ounce from the factory. When boresighting the rifle to a scope or cleaning the bore from the breech, the bolt can be removed by pressing the serrated bolt release lever on the left side of the rear receiver bridge. It is neatly designed and does not protrude wider than the stock. The original Model 84 had no removable magazine. Today, the Hunter benefits from a new detachable staggered box magazine that holds three rounds. To remove the magazine, simply press a plastic grooved release lever at the front and pull down. You’ll find that the magazine has a hook at its rear that pivots on a notch molded into the back of the magazine well just inside the stock. In Africa, I mounted and dismounted a Toyota Land Cruiser numerous times. I was handed my rifle by one of the

The 1-inch recoil pad is marked with Kimber’s moniker and effectively dampens felt recoil for such a light rifle. The matte stainless barrel is thinly tapered and complete with an 11-degree crown.

trackers, and when I loaded up, I’d hand my rifle back to be cased. The trackers were always certain to recheck that the chamber was clear of ammunition and would check the magazine by removing it, also. Speaking English and no Shona, I could not explain to them the ways of the Hunter’s magazine, and they managed to get it stuck on two occasions by inserting it straight up and trying to force it in. Both situations required a mallet and some leverage to remove the magazine. As a result of this experience, I contacted Kimber who eagerly inspected my rifle and


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The Kimber Hunter accounted for seven game animals taken in Zimbabwe with Chifuti Safaris (chifutisafaris.com). All animals, including a kudu (above, left) and impala (above, right), fell to a single shot using Hornady’s new 178-grain elD-X load for .308 Win.

considered my input. Though it should be apparent as to how to insert this magazine, we know many people don’t read instruction manuals. Therefore, Kimber now adheres a sticker to the stock next to the magazine as a reminder to its owner of how to insert the magazine correctly. Hook the tab into the notch inside the magazine well first, and pivot it forward until the magazine release lever latches to the front.

MCS Upper with

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Field Tested On receipt of the Kimber Hunter, I scoped, chronographed and accuracy tested with the ammunition I would be

taking with me to Africa: Hornady Precision Hunter 178-grain ELD-X. After boresighting, my sample required 45 rounds before group sizes settled. To start with, three police officers (on hand) and I were averaging 1½- to 2-inch groups. Bewildered, I called G&A’s Rifle & Glass columnist Tom Beckstrand for advice, and he encouraged me clean the rifle and continue shooting. “Some barrels just need the hemorrhoids knocked off,” he concluded. “If we want to see rifles shoot their best, we’d shoot more rounds through them before measuring groups. Sometimes it takes as many as 200. I find that this can be true for any rifle.”

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i f o n ly o n e r i f l e | s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6

After running Hoppe’s 9 on clean patches through the barrel then heading back to the range, it turned out that he was right. At round 45, I started seeing sub-MOA and even half-MOA groups from a rest. In fact, my best three-shot group measured just .44 inch at 100 yards. After more than 75 rounds, I had the confidence I needed in my rifle and scope for Africa. While in Zimbabwe, I used the Hunter for plains game every chance I could. In fact, I enjoyed three predator hunts for jackal and learned a lot about myself as a hunter along the way. I also harvested a near record impala ram from 125 yards, and completed my personal quest for Africa’s gray ghost by shooting an impressive kudu taken within 50 yards. Amazingly, each animal went down cleanly with a single shot. The results of this safari are indicators to the effectiveness in combining this particular rifle, caliber, scope and ammunition. This selection of African game represents almost everything the American hunter would want to take this fall, ranging from coyote to elk.

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Will there be other calibers other than .308? Yes, in fact the Hunter is already offered in .243 Win., .257 Roberts, 7mm-08 Rem., .308 Win., as well as 6.5 Creedmoor. Will there be an 84L model? Yes, later this year Kimber expects to launch a long-action Hunter that will likely start out chambering the .30-’06 Springfield. Are we going to have to wait a year before the Hunter is available locally? No, as of early May, the Hunter can be found in stores. With some familiarization and time spent at the range, the Hunter proves to be money well spent.

The Future Let’s answer some pending questions. What’s next for the Kimber Hunter? Will the Hunter stock be offered in colors besides tan? Not at this time.

STEINER GS3 The new GS3 features a coating described as “Color Adjusted Transmission,” or “CAT.” The technology amplifies contrast in the peak human vision sensitivity range. The result is best described as an image that effectively separates game animals from leafy or shadow-dappled backgrounds. The GS3 line utilizes a second focal plane (SFP) 5X zoom range that offers a wide field of view and an uncomplicated duplex reticle system. It weighs only 18 ounces, making it a perfect complement to lightweight rifles. A Steiner GS3 2-10x42mm was used exclusively throughout performance testing of the Kimber Hunter rifle and endured two weeks in the African bush while on safari. G&A editor Eric Poole returned with the opinion that the GS3 offers the best image quality when compared to other scopes in this price point. Learn more at steiner-optics.com $920

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BASED ON THE PPQ, WALTHER’S NEW Q5 MATCH IS A RED-DOT-READY 9mm THAT’S BUILT FOR THE PRODUCTION-CLASS COMPETITION SHOOTER. WORDS BY CHRIS MUDGETT | PHOTOS BY SEAN UTLEY

Walther Q5 Match Type: Recoil operated, striker fired, semiautomatic Cartridge: 9mm Capacity: 15+1 rds. Barrel: 5 in. Overall Length: 8.1in. Width: 1.3 in. Height: 5.3 in. Weight: 1 lb., 9 oz. Finish: Tenifer black Grips: Textured polymer Sights: Fiber optic (front); notch, adj. (rear); RDS compatible Trigger: 4 lbs., 12 oz. (tested) Price: $850 Manufacturer: Walther Arms 479-242-8500 waltherarms.com


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Josh hanlin, a UsPsA Carry Optics Division competitor, rips through a stage with the Walther Q5 Match during G&A’s evaluation.

MINIATURIZED RED DOT OPTICS mounted on pistol slides are taking the service pistol category by storm, and for good reason. The performance benefits these sights bring to the game are just too great to ignore. Red dots take sight alignment completely out of the equation. Shooters with aging eyes need not worry about seeing either the front sight or the rear sight because there is nothing to align. In regard to self-defense shooting, the RDS-equipped pistol allows users to focus on the threat. We don’t need to refocus on the front sight prior to pulling the trigger. Place the dot where we want the bullet to impact. Mounting challenges Several years ago, one had to visit a machine shop that specialized in modifying pistol slides for mounting a red dot sight on a pistol slide. Thinking back to 2009, few shops existed that did the job correctly. I can only recall a handful of gunsmiths or shops that I would have felt comfortable sending my slide to; David Bowie, Robbie Barrkman, ATEI and L&M Precision come to mind. In the last three years, that has changed. Today, there are tons of different places that do this type of work. For one, pistol slide modifications are becoming more common with more vendors offering the service. I visited a local gunsmith last year who, after doing a little research, was able to mill a pistol slide for me to the proper dimensions, depth and even arch of the front of the popular

Trijicon RMR housing I wanted attached. The problem with having a machine shop mill your slide to accept a red dot sight is that you’re now stuck with that particular red dot sight — forever. As time goes on, RDS evolves and their footprints change. A recent example of this is with Leupold. Three years ago, its premier RDS was the DeltaPoint. The DeltaPoint evolved into the DeltaPoint 2 (DP2) in the summer of 2014. The DP2 featured a number of improvements to the original design. As a result of these improvements, the footprint of the sight was lengthened slightly, prohibiting the new sight from fitting slides milled for the original DeltaPoint. Owners of factory slides milled specifically for the DeltaPoint were out of luck if they desired to upgrade to the better optic. Production of the original DeltaPoint has ceased, so a replacement is out of the question. Adding insult to injury, the new and improved DP2 never made it to market. Technology and design characteristics made such rapid improvements that Leupold instead released its next generation sight, the DeltaPoint Pro, which featured improvements beyond the DP2 including new electronics, adjustments without special tools, integrated and adjustable rear sight and a top-loading battery compartment. It should be noted that this isn’t a ploy from Leupold (or any other manufacturer) to get us to spend more money. In the case of Leupold, they provided the consumer with a better product. To do that, they needed to make dimensional changes to the DeltaPoint’s housing.


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field stripping the Q5 is the same as the PPQ. Most pistols use a takedown lever, while the Q5 uses a takedown catch that is pulled down to disassemble.

Leupold DP-Pro The DP-Pro is the latest RDS from Leupold. It offers a built-in adjustable rear sight and uses motion sensor tech. $780

Vortex Viper Vortex’s new RDS offers side-mounted red dot intensity adjustments and is an up-and-comer for professional use. $330

Trijicon RMR The RM06 is the benchmark for mini red dot sights. It’s rugged, intutive to use and its 3.25 MOA dot is perfect for a pistol. $708

Solutions A remedy to these mounting challenges would be for optic manufacturers to standardize a footprint. Because that is unlikely, firearm makers such as Walther have taken it upon themselves to develop their own fixes. Walther’s new Q5 Match is the company’s first model ready to accept several different optic manufacturers’ RDS. These include the Trijicon RMR series, the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro and the Docter Optic footprint, which is compatible with other optics such as Vortex’s Venom and Viper. They accomplish this by removing a rear section of the top of the slide, including the rear sight dovetail. Optic adapter plates are then attached within the cut and secured to the pistol slide with the provided screws. Each optic plate has the proper bosses and screw pattern for specific optics, and they are marked accordingly. While the optic is securely fastened to the slide of the pistol, the sight cannot be mounted as low as an optic that has been

the Q5 ships with three different adapter plates to mount four different miniature red dot sights.

milled low into the slide. The lower the optic, the easier the dot is to pick up, as it will be more in line with the bore and at a familiar height for most shooters. This can be overcome with training. However, some shooters feel the closer the sight is to the top of the hand, the easier and more natural it is to pick up. Regardless of the reason, it can be overcome with dry- and livefire practice. G&A’s recommendation is to pick the right sight for your needs and budget, then shoot and handle it exclusively until it becomes intuitive. The Walther Q5 Match would make a great USPSA Carry Optics Division pistol. With that said, I would not consider the pistol fit for concealed carry duty with a red dot affixed to its slide. At the time of this writing, suppressor height sights are not available for this handgun. Even if they were, there is no place to mount a rear sight, as there is no rear dovetail to install one. The sole exception would include using Leupold’s DeltaPoint Pro, which has the ability to accept an adjustable rear sight at the back of the sight’s housing. You would still need to source a proper height front sight.


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Left: Walther’s PPQ line has one of the most ergonomic factory grips on a polymer pistol frame. Right top: the brilliant blue trigger subtly lets bystanders know this isn’t a normal PPQ. Right bottom: the deeply cut forward slide serrations act as lightening holes, compensating for the slight increase in weight that a red dot sight adds to the pistol slide. A red fiber optic front sight goes unseen when shooting the red dot.

PERFORMANCE SD

BEST GROUP (IN.)

AVERAGE GROUP (IN.)

64

23

1.6

2.4

1,109

32

13

1.9

2.2

990

25

10

2

2.6

HPR 124-gr. JHP

1,015

12

4

2.1

2.3

Winchester 115-gr. FMJ

1,193

57

22

2.1

2.2

VELOCITY (FPS)

ES

SIG Sauer 115-gr. FMJ

1,195

SIG Sauer V-Crown 124-gr. JHP

LOAD

American Eagle 147-gr. FMJ

notes: Accuracy is the result of five, five-shot groups over a support at 25 yards. Velocity is the average of 5 shots measured by a Pro Chronograph with the measuring point recorded 15 feet from the muzzle.

Grip If you’re familiar with Walther’s PPQ M2 series, the frame is unchanged — which is a good thing. The M2 frame is incredibly ergonomic and has the right amount of texture to make it stick to your hand without being abrasive. The backstrap is replaceable, should you desire a longer or shorter length of pull. The M2 grip gives us a reversible, American-style push-button magazine release instead of paddle levers on each side of the triggerguard. The slide release is ambidextrous, and I consider it to be one of the best in the business. It is large and lengthy but simple to use, regardless of thumb length, and makes for lightning-quick slide-lock reloads. I also noticed that it doesn’t inadvertently lock the slide back during firing, even with a high support grip. Nor does it prevent the slide from locking back on the last round fired. The Q5 Match features Walther’s Quick Defense Trigger (QDT). The enhanced trigger is easy to spot, as it is an attractive blue color. The trigger pull averaged 4 pounds, 12 ounces on a digital Lyman trigger pull gauge, but it felt lighter than that. I attribute that to its smoothness. And it is smooth, with no stages or binding in the pull — just a light slick break. The reset is equally impressive, which Walther states is “.1 inch,” allowing for fast follow-up shots. We at G&A feel that the Q5 Match is at home on the competition range. With that in mind, the majority of the ammunition we tested was full metal jacket (FMJ) range ammunition, spanning Winchester’s White Box 115-grain to American Eagle’s 147-grain FMJ. The sole exception was SIG Sauer’s 124-grain V-Crown

JHPs to ensure the pistol would reliably feed hollowpoints, which it did. Our best group came from SIG Sauer’s 115-grain FMJ, printing a 1.6-inch five-shot group at 25 yards from a rest. This is superb accuracy from a pistol designed for high-speed running and gunning stages. Slide In addition to the bright blue trigger shoe within the triggerguard and miniature reflex optic sitting atop the slide, you’ll notice the very deep front slide serrations that expose areas of the 5-inch barrel. Walther removed excess ounces by cutting the slots deep to help compensate for the slight increase in weight that results from adding a red dot sight. If you like the look of the Q5 Match but are not ready to move to a red dot sight yet, Walther ensured the pistol was ready for iron-sighted competition right out of the box. A red fiber optic front sight is paired with an adjustable black rear sight that comes on its own mounting plate. The Walther Q5 Match gives competitors and sport shooters the ability to dip their toes into the world of red dot optics without permanently modifying their pistols. This allows a shooter to utilize one pistol and bounce back and forth between classes and disciplines that may require iron sights only or those that allow slidemounted optics. While I don’t feel adapter plates are the answer for a hard-use defense pistol, they allow users the option to try different sights and to adapt their slides for future sights and their designs; this is an important attribute in the world of competition.


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september 2016

REMINGTON’S TOP SEVEN CARTRIDGE DEVELOPMENTS After 200 years, these are the most magnificent.

WORDS BY CRAIG BODDINGTON | CARTRIDGE PHOTOS BY MICHAEL ANSCHUETZ

CELEBRATING 200 YEARS since Eliphalet Remington made his first muzzleloader, Remington is the oldest American gunmaker, a major milestone in a republic just 240 years old. It is not my lot to celebrate those 200 years of Remington firearms, or the many that have given me pleasure since I first owned a Remington 50 years ago — especially the many Remingtons intended for left-handed folk such as me. Instead, as part of and in tribute to Remington’s bicentennial celebration, let’s focus on Remington’s contribution to our wonderful world of self-contained metallic cartridges. As Remington celebrates its 200th, its competitor, Winchester, is celebrating its 150th. By historical coincidence, this is important to this story because Remington, a full half-century older, was initially rooted in the muzzleloading era; Winchester emerged directly into the cartridge era. Perhaps the fact that Remington began with flintlocks and was a veteran gunmaker before percussion ignition offers a partial explanation, but I couldn’t justify a Remington blackpowder cartridge that makes the list. They do, however, get to claim an important “I gotcha!” The Remington Navy rolling block pistol was originally chambered for the powerful .50 Remington Navy rimfire cartridge, but by 1871 — two years before the .44-40 — the chambering became the .50 Remington centerfire cartridge. Now, in the smokeless powder era, it’s a different story. As with its competitors, Remington’s cartridges haven’t all been winners, but they’ve hit a lot of home runs along the way and have been on the cutting edge of cartridge development numerous times. So many times that I found it nearly impossible to cut this list down to a workable number. Seven great Remington cartridges? Forget it. Ten, a dozen, 20? Forget that, too. And then, with certain exceptions, I saw patterns developing. You might package things differently, but here’s my spin on Remington’s greatest cartridge developments.

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.22 Centerfire Remington owns the .22 centerfire market. You could say it also owns the .17 centerfire market, but .17 centerfires are not nearly as popular as the .22s, and Remington has developed eight .22 centerfires. The .22 Hornet, initially produced by Winchester, was first. Another Winchester development, the .220 Swift, is the fastest. But Remington has introduced the most .22 centerfires, including the most popular. One business principle is “Why mess with success?” As we’ll see, Remington has had no qualms about competing with themselves in developing better or faster cartridges. In 1950, Remington’s great engineer and champion benchrester Mike Walker fathered the .222 Remington. Walker (1912-2013) takes credit for Remington’s M721, M722, M700 and 40XB, along with many other Remington developments. He was still competing in benchrest matches at age 99! His .222 was intended for accuracy, and it produced. Much faster and flatter shooting than the Hornet but not as hard on barrels as the Swift, it quickly found favor among varmint hunters. The .222 Remington Magnum and .223 Remington were parallel developments based on the .222 Remington with a bit more case capacity. Both were initially conceived in the late 1950s as potential military cartridges. Remington brought out the .222 Remington Magnum as a civilian cartridge in 1958, while military experimentation was ongoing. The word “magnum” is used a lot in cartridge designations, but its original context was a cartridge that was larger cased and

.22-250 Remington. This was hardly a new cartridge; various wildcat versions of the .250 Savage case necked down to .22 had been popular among varmint hunters since at least the 1930s. It also wasn’t new to Remington to bring popular wildcats From left to right: .222 remington, .222 reminto production. So the .22-250 wasn’t ington magnum, .223 precisely a Remington development, but it remington, .22-250 was Remington that put it into production remington. these are the most successful of form. Almost as fast as the .220 Swift, but remington’s eight .22 generally judged to be a bit more accurate, centerfire cartridges. the .22-250 was an instant success. the .223 and .22-250 are without question Remington’s other four .22 centerfires the world’s most pophave been less successful. Their 1961 ular .22 centerfires. .22 Remington Jet Magnum was a joint development with Smith & Wesson, and it was actually a handgun cartridge chambered in the S&W M53 revolver. The cartridge was pretty cool, but the revolver had issues with full-power loads and was discontinued after just a decade. The .221 Remington Fireball was introduced in PHOTO: REMINGTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION ARCHIVES 1963, a shortened .222 Remington legendary benchrest competitor mike Walker worked for remington for 37 of his 101 years. He created the .222 remingcase adapted to the ton, which eventually led to the .222 remington magnum and XP-100 bolt-action 5.56x45mm (.223 rem.) cartridges. pistol. It’s a great cartridge, but ahead more powerful than an existing cartridge in of its time. The XP-100 would become the same caliber and within the same compopular, but not for another 20 years. pany’s product line. With a longer case that Introduced in 1977, Remington’s .22 held more propellant, the .222 Remington Accelerators weren’t exactly cartridges, Magnum was faster and flatter shooting but rather sabot adaptations for three than the .222 Remington, so it was truly popular cartridges: the .30-30 Winchester, a magnum. However, as we know, the .308 Winchester and .30-30 Springfield. 5.56x45mm won out and was adopted by A 55-grain .224-inch bullet was held the U.S. military in 1964. Ballistically, the in a discarding sabot, allowing extreme .222 Remington Magnum and 5.56x45mm velocity. Accuracy varied, but this was not are almost identical, so Remington could have rested on their laurels and ignored the the situation with Remington’s most recent .22 centerfire. The .22 Bench Rest Remnew military cartridge. Instead, they introington was part of a series of short wildcat duced a civilian version dubbed the “.223 cartridges based on the .308x1½-inch Remington.” Over time, this killed the .222 case, standardized by Remington in 1978 Remington Magnum and has almost killed as the .22, 6mm and 7mm Bench Rest the .222, but it was a good move because it put Remington’s name on what has become Remington. Remington’s cartridges are yet another Walker development. The 6mm the most popular .22 centerfire and one of and 7mm BR Remington were produced the most widely used cartridges of all time. as factory cartridges, while the .22 BR A year later, in 1965, Big Green Remington was a wildcat, with no factory put its name on what has become the ammo available. second-most-popular .22 centerfire: the


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Far left, the .257 roberts; near left, the .25-’06 remington. While the great old .257 roberts continues to hang on, remington’s .25-’06 has become the most popular .25-caliber cartridge.

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primarily noteworthy because it was rimless, thus ahead of its time. It would not be Remington’s last .25-caliber cartridge. In 1934, Remington standardized another popular wildcat, gunwriter Ned Roberts’ .257 Roberts. Based on the 7x57 case necked down, the .257 Roberts was seen as a “bridge” cartridge between varmint and big game hunting, at least up to the deer-antelope class. The 6mm cartridge surpasses it today, but it remains a cult favorite, an effective and mild-mannered cartridge that refuses to die. Come to think of it, I suppose the same can be said of all the .25 calibers. If you’re not a quarter-bore fan (and I am not), it’s easy to say that they won’t do anything the 6mms won’t do — and can’t do as much as 6.5mms and .270s can. But the .25 caliber retains a loyal following whose ranks include the late Frank Barnes and Bob Milek, and J. Scott Rupp. Fans of the .25 caliber were euphoric when, in 1969, Remington standardized the .25-’06 as a factory cartridge. Based on the Fans of the .25 caliber tend to be extremely loyal. the late Gary sitton, one of the most talented writers whose work .30-’06 case necked down, has graced G&A, was a dedicated .25 fan. He took this the .25-’06 was wildcatted excellent whitetail with a .25-’06 on John Wootters’ ranch by A.O. Niedner as early in south texas. as 1920 and remained a popular wildcat for the next 50 years. As a .25 Caliber In 1906, Remington introfactory cartridge, the .25-’06 has become, duced a family of cartridges for their without question, the world’s most popModel 8 semiautomatic rifle. These were ular .25-caliber cartridge. It has the capathe .25, .30, .32 and .35 Remington. bility to propel the heaviest .25-caliber The .35 Remington had the most lasting bullets at meaningful velocities, yet offers popularity, but here’s what’s interesting excellent accuracy and acceptable recoil. about this family: In a time when lever actions were king and almost all American To some extent it is a regional cartridge: It is especially beloved in Texas, where cartridges were rimmed, this new Remthe deer are small bodied but often taken ington family was rimless, designed for down in those endless Texas senderos. On shoulder headspacing. The .25, .30 and the other hand, it’s a cartridge that is still .32 Remington cartridges were essentially growing in demand, and I’m told it is fast rimless versions of Winchester’s rimmed becoming a favorite among South African opposite numbers: .25-35, .30-30 and .32 hunters. In .25 caliber, the .25-’06 RemWinchester Special. The .25 Remington ington stands as a crowning achievement. became obsolete by World War II; it’s


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Below, left to right: 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington), 6.8mm Remington SPC, 7.62x39. The 6.8mm has more power than the 5.56 NATO and better ranging ability than the 7.62x39.

6.8 Remington SPC The 6.8mm Remington Special Purpose Cartridge (SPC) was introduced at the Remington Writers’ Seminar in 2002. We didn’t get a chance to shoot the 6.8 SPC at that event, but we learned about it. The new cartridge was based on the old .30 Remington case and shortened so it could be housed in the AR-15. I listened politely, but I was not impressed. Hey, I’m a U.S. Marine. We’re going to take Big Army’s leavings anyway, and I didn’t see realistic potential for a wholesale shift to a new rifle cartridge. In a way, I was right. The 6.8mm SPC was developed in conjunction with the Special Operations community and Remington. The intent was to develop a cartridge with more power than the 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington), but still able to be housed in the AR platform (thus requiring only upper assemblies to be switched). This the 6.8mm SPC does, but even though it earned proven results with Special Operations, there has been little appetite for a complete changeover, despite the fact that the 6.8mm SPC beats the 5.56x45mm in almost every way. In other ways, I was wrong. An unusal designation, “6.8mm” is just a .270 firing a .277-inch bullet. Sized for the AR-15, it can’t compete with the .270 Win. in velocity or bullet weight. With a 120-grain bullet at 2,500 feet per second (fps), it makes a fine medium-range deer cartridge.

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Below, left to right: 7mm-08 remington, .280 remington, 7mm remington magnum, 7mm rsAUm, 7mm stW, 7mm rUm. even this lineup isn’t a complete showing of remington’s 7mm cartridges. starting with the .280 in 1957 and following up with the 7mm remington magnum in 1962, remington has long dominated the popular .284-inch bullet diameter.

The 7mm family. The 7mm (.284 caliber) is another bullet diameter that Remington virtually owns. Since 1957, they have brought to market seven 7mm cartridges! The first was the .280 Remington, later briefly called 7mm Express Remington. Although never wildly popular, the .280 is sort of a cult cartridge, much beloved by those who use it. Fans have included Outdoor Life’s Jim Carmichel and Steve Hornady; and while I am not a .280 disciple, I have long conceded that .280 Remington is probably the very best cartridge based on the .30-’06 case. In 1962, largely at the urging of Warren Page, then shooting editor of Field & Stream, Remington brought out the 7mm Remington Magnum as an initial chambering for their new Model 700 bolt action. It was an instant success, and today it is the most popular fast 7mm, and probably the most popular 7mm cartridge overall. Able to propel bullets up to 175 grains at meaningful velocities, it’s a world standard hunting cartridge, manufactured by everyone and used almost everywhere. The 7mm Remington Magnum is based on the

the late Warren page, longtime shooting editor at Field & stream and later executive director of the national shooting sports Foundation, was a lifelong proponent of the fast 7mm. it was largely at his urging that remington created the 7mm remington

.375 H&H case shortened to 2½ inches, thus able to fit into .30-’06-length actions with most of the body taper removed. For many years, it was the world’s most popular cartridge to wear the “magnum” suffix, and that name is appropriate because it is very much a “magnum” of

Remington’s own .280. In recent years, it seems to have lost a bit of ground, but that’s understandable because Remington, never shy about making a better or faster mousetrap, has launched three even faster 7mm cartridges! In 1996, they standardized Layne Simpson’s wildcat 7mm


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Shooting Times Westerner, which is essentially a 7mm Remington Magnum on steroids because it uses the full-length 2.85-inch .375 H&H case. (It is actually based on the 8mm Remington Magnum case necked down.) In 2000, Remington trumped themselves again by rounding out their full-length Ultra Magnum line with the 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum. A year later, the 7mm Remington Short Action Ultra Magnum, with its shortened 2.035-inch case, brought 7mm Remington Magnum-like performance to their slick little Model Seven short-action rifle. So that’s four “magnum” 7mms from Remington — but that ain’t all. In 1978, the 7mm Bench Rest Remington was added as a chambering for the XP-100 Silhouette target pistol. Initially, there was no intent to produce ammo, but its popularity spread from competitors to hunters. Largely at the urging of G&A’s Dave Hetzler and Milek, both gone now, a factory load was introduced in 1988. Last, but far from least, in 1980 Remington introduced the 7mm-08

the author used a remington mountain rifle in .280 remington on a backpack sheep hunt in northwest territories’ macKenzie mountains. After 14 days of tough hunting, he took this ram on the last day.

Remington. Based on the .308 Winchester case necked down to 7mm, the cartridge had been wildcatted since the ’50s, but in factory form has been extremely popular. Ballistically, it’s essentially the same as the great old 7x57 Mauser, but its shorter case can be housed in short bolt actions, as well as lever actions and

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the remington Ultra magnum family, introduced in a very brief period between 1999 and 2002. Below left to right: 7mm, .300, .338, and .375 rUm; and 7mm and .300 rsAUm.

unbelted Magnums in what would Remington Ultra Magnums soon become a second magnum Although the .300 Remington Ultra craze. The concept itself wasn’t Magnum appears to have legs, it new. In fact, there are similarities would be a stretch to say that any of with both the Lazzeroni lineup Remington’s six Ultra Magnum carand the Canadian and Impetridges have become wildly popular. rial Magnum line, but the case But that isn’t the point. For decades, dimensions are unique. Remingthe cartridge world revolved on the ton followed up in 2002 with the concept that a “magnum” cartridge short-cased (2.035 inch) 7mm was not only fast, but wore a belt. and .300 Remington Short Action (The .222 Remington Magnum is Ultra Mags, developing ballistics among few exceptions.) Remington similar to the longer-cased 7mm broke the mold in 1999 with their the .338 remington Ultra magnum is both powerful and Remington Magnum and .300 .300 RUM, and then followed up a flat shooting. in 2004, the author used a .338 rUm to Winchester Magnum. Winchester year later with the 7mm, .338 and take this big newfoundland moose. had already stolen a match with .375 RUMs. its Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) doing the loading, but the 7mm RUM has All are based on a very fat (.546-inch line, which included both a 7mm and .30 greater case capacity than the 7mm STW; base diameter) case with the rim rebated caliber. The question as to why they went and the .300, .338 and .375 RUMs have to .532 inch, which is the same rim (and forward with the RSAUMs is often asked. greater case capacity than Weatherby’s bolt face) diameter of belted magnums The answer is simple: The WSMs are respective full-length Magnums, so potenbased on the .375 H&H case (which is slightly too long to be housed in the tidy tial velocity is greater. almost all of them). The case is 2.845 little Remington Model Seven action. So, The 7mm Remington Magnum was one inches in length, so a full-length or .375 realistically, Remington didn’t have much of the last cartridge introductions in the H&H-length action is required. The choice but to forge ahead. Regrettably, first “magnum craze” of the late 1950s fatter case obviously allows more powder the two RSAUMs have not been popular, and early 1960s; except for the .300 capacity, but it is also conducive to a but this is not likely a matter of worth; it’s Winchester Magnum, which followed it smoother burning curve. Combine that that, between the RUMs, RSAUMs, WSMs, with shoulder headspacing, and the RUMs by just a year, it was also the last belted WSSMs and RCMs, there were way too are designed for accuracy as well as speed. magnum to become truly popular. The many similar cartridges in a short time. RUMs were the first production fat-cased Actual velocity always depends on who is


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Far left to right: .35 remington, .350 remington magnum, .35 Whelen. the .35 caliber is another that retains a small but loyal following. deep woods hunters love their .35s because they anchor game with authority!

Jeff cooper often theorized that, with 250-grain bullets, a short, light .350 remington magnum would be minimally adequate for the largest game. testing the theory, the author used a .350 remington magnum to take this water buffalo in Argentina. it was adequate, but not impressive.

Niching the Niche: .35 Caliber The .35-caliber bullet, diameter .358, has never been wildly popular, but it fills an important niche among deep woods hunters who want to anchor bucks, bulls and boars in their tracks. The .35 Remington is the only surviving member of its 1906 family; despite very modest paper ballistics, it retains a solid reputation as a hard-hitting short-range cartridge. It is also very effective in short barrels, so the growing popularity of handgun hunting has given it a boost. It was a popular and effective chambering in Remington’s XP-100, and has long been available in the T/C Contender and other specialty pistols. Only a handful of cartridges dating that far back are still chambered in new firearms, so I think we’d have to consider the .35 Remington a solid winner. It has actually shown a lot more staying power than the excellent .358 Winchester, and has achieved more lasting popularity than Remington’s next .35, the .350 Remington Magnum. The .350 Remington Magnum and its companion cartridge, the 6.5mm Remington Magnum, were introduced in 1965. Based on the 7mm Remington Magnum case shortened to 2.17 inches, both are little fireplugs of cartridges and probably the first true “short magnums.” Both undoubtedly suffered from coming along at the end of the first magnum craze, and

the 6.5mm probably suffered even more from the curse of the 6.5mm. To date, no cartridge with that bullet diameter has done particularly well in North America. The .350 Remington Magnum quickly gained a reputation as a hard kicker, and it undoubtedly was in its original short, light Remington Model 600. Despite attempts to revive it, the cartridge has not been popular. This is unfortunate as it’s an extremely hard-hitting cartridge in a compact package, and the many hunters who cling to it swear by it. Interestingly, the .350 Remington Magnum is a ballistic twin to Remington’s next and most recent .35-caliber cartridge. The .35 Whelen, introduced in 1987, is another long-standing wildcat that has been successful for Remington as a factory cartridge. It goes back to 1922 and is named after Col. Townsend Whelen (1877-1961), who often wrote for G&A at the end of his career and in the early years of this magazine. James Howe of Griffin & Howe did much of the development, but it is not altogether clear how much direct involvement Whelen had in creating the cartridge that bears his name. Regardless, it remained a fairly popular wildcat for the next 65 years and has remained a popular factory round since standardized by Remington; it is without question the most common .35-caliber cartridge today.

At the 2002 remington Writers’ seminar, one of several attempts was made to revive interest in the .350 remington magnum. it is not a popular cartridge, but it’s an awesome choice for tough game such as wild hogs and black bear.

The .35 Whelen is hard-hitting, suitable for the largest North American big game, and yet mild mannered and easy to shoot. I took one of the first .35 Whelen factory rifles on an Alaskan moose hunt in 1987. We were on a snowy ridge in thick timber, and I got a quartering-to shot at perhaps 80 yards. I will never forget seeing that bull fall backward — and he never moved.


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Far left, the .44 special; near left, the .44 remington magnum. the .44 remington magnum is essentially an extended-case .44 special, the extra case length not for powder capacity, but to preclude the heavier loads from being chambered in .44 special revolvers.

.44 Remington Magnum Elmer Keith, his beloved .44 Magnum and this magazine are inextricably linked. For years, Keith had been messing with heavy handloads in the .44 Special, choosing that cartridge because the brass was thicker than .45 Colt brass, and since the diameter was smaller, cylinder walls were thicker. Working with Remington to produce the cartridge and Smith & Wesson the first revolvers, Keith is very much the father of the .44 Remington Magnum. Since we customarily refer to the cartridge as the “.44 Magnum,” we often forget it was a Remington development. Development began in 1950, with the cartridge initially termed the “.44 S&W Extra Long.” Introduced in 1955 as the .44 Remington Magnum, the case is essentially an extended .44 Special case — 1.29 inches versus 1.16 inches — the extra length making it impossible to chamber .44 Magnum cartridges in a .44 Special. Actual bullet diameter is .429, same as the old .44 Russian and .44 Special. The .44 Magnum is Remington’s crowning achievement in handgun cartridges. Though recently surpassed, for years it was the “most powerful handgun in the world,” as Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” Callahan said. Although extremely accurate, it is about all the handgun that most shooters can handle, and definitely too powerful for some! It was the first and is among the very few handgun cartridges that are powerful enough to handle North America’s largest game. Our founder, Robert E. “Pete” Petersen, was among the first to take a polar bear with a .44 Magnum revolver — mounted life-size, the bear graced the entrance to Pete’s offices on the seventh floor of the old Petersen Publish-

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remington engineer mike Walker and the unmistakable elmer Keith at the remington factory in ilion, new York.

ing building at 8490 Sunset Boulevard. Elmer Keith remained a staunch fan of the .44 Magnum for the rest of his life, carrying a 4-inch Model 29 almost everywhere he went. Within a year, Ruger created the Super Blackhawk for the .44 Magnum, and it remains a standard and popular chambering for large-frame revolvers. Although extremely efficient in short handgun barrels, it develops considerably more velocity in rifle barrels, and thus is also an effective close-cover rifle cartridge. Ruger’s semiautomatic carbine, introduced in 1961, was the first rifle chambered to the .44 Magnum, but there have been many more since. Not everyone will agree with my list of Remington’s greatest cartridge developments, but no one can disagree with the .44 Remington Magnum!


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september 2016

THE CANADIAN ROSS RIFLE Probably no military rifle has been more misunderstood than the Ross straight pull. by garry james

| photography by jill marlow


september 2016

A duo of Canadian soldiers stand in a trench during World War I. The Ross, while basically a sound design, was felt to be lacking in reliability and was ultimately replaced by the Mark III Enfield.

G&A

Charles Henry Augustus Frederick Lockhart Ross was the 9th Baronet of Balnagown and designer of the controversial rifle that bears his name.

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SIR CHARLES ROSS, inventor, promoter and manufacturer of the notorious rifle that bore his name, was one of the most unlikely arms designers of recent times. Holder of the title 9th Baronet of Balnagown, which he assumed at age 11 upon the death of his father, Charles Henry Augustus Frederick Lockhart Ross was one of the richest men in Great Britain. He was also its largest landholder, possessing estates totaling 366,000 acres, on which resided some 3,000 tenants. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, Sir Charles, to many, exemplified the stereotypical upper-class peer — phlegmatic, impatient, irascible and sometimes profligate. To balance off these negative traits, he was an enthusiastic, sometimes brilliant dabbler in many fields of endeavor. Early on, he took an interest in hunting and firearms, designing his first rifle — a straight pull, bolt action — in 1893. This first foray into the firearms field was not wholly successful, and the rifle was reworked and refined, resulting in a much more practical arm, which was patented in 1897, the same year Ross relocated from Scotland to Canada. To a degree, the mechanism of Ross’ improved repeater was derived from that of the Model 1890 Mannlicher — but it did have enough innovative features to qualify it as an original design. Ross arranged to have his brainchild produced by two individuals — Connecticut ’smith Joseph A. Bennet and famed London gunmaker Charles Lancaster, thus giving Sir Charles outlets on both sides of the Atlantic. Traditionally, Canada had to be content in arming its forces with British weaponry that was more or less considered second line in the mother country. As an example, Snider rifles were widely seen in Canada for a good number of years after they had been superseded by the more efficient Martini-Henry in 1871 — a situation not unlike that in India, where it was decreed by law that native troops were never to be issued arms as up-to-date as those used by regular British forces. This latter circumstance came to pass because of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, and while the Canadian arrangement implied no lack of confidence in that country’s loyalty to the crown, it rankled many in Canada’s Parliament. Requests by Canadian authorities for more up-to-date weaponry were largely rebuffed. This created a condition wherein many politicians in Ottawa felt indigenous arms manufacturing would be the ultimate solution. Discussions in Parliament became quite charged, complicated and, at times, acrimonious. Unfortunately, because of space limitations, I beg the reader’s indulgence to allow me to abbreviate over this complicated matter as the thrust of the article is primarily an examination of the Mark III Ross. Let it suffice to say that, over the years, the official discussions of the Ross rifle, its

one of the distinguishing features of the ross Mark iii’s is the extended steel box magazine. Previous ross rifles had internal mags.

the butt of the Mark iii is stamped with model designation and date of manufacture.

the ross rear sight is overbuilt for a military rear. it is more suitable for target work. front sight is a basic hooded, ramped blade.

the rifle’s safety involves a simple rotating paddle. to the rear, the rifle is ready to fire; forward, it’s on safe.

adoption and procurement often became very caustic. Despite the wrangling over military Ross rifles, it is important to note that fine-quality Ross sporting rifles were also constructed over the years and received generally high marks from those who used them — especially with the much-vaunted .280 Ross cartridge. It might be noted, however, that despite all the real or supposed problems with his rifles, Sir Charles was also responsible for some superb bullet designs. In any event, Sir Charles, with his usual positive, confident manner — abetted by partisans in Parliament — offered, at his own expense, to establish an arms plant on the Plains of Abraham, in Quebec. The government gave Ross a contract for 12,000 rifles, delivery to begin in 1903. In the interim, he had been experimenting with other variants of his invention, and though


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receiver markings on the Mark iii indicate manufacture by the ross rifle company, as well as proof marks.

the Ross received its earliest and most lasting degree of opprobrium. The first involved the bursting of a rifle at a range qualification resulting in the death of a militiaman. The second was the “blowing out” of a portion of a bolt during target practice, which blinded Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP) Sgt. Maj. W.J. Blodridge in one eye. The RNWMP also experienced other problems with the rifles, including bolts rattling loose during drill due to poorly built bolt stop springs. One parliamentarian, critical of the Ross, stated the arm “kills as much behind as in front sometimes.” Though the Mark II addressed and corrected many of the problems with the Mark I, it was still felt to be far from perfect. There was considerable movement in Parliament to drop the Ross altogether and switch over to the manufacture of Lee-Enfields, but politics got in the way, and despite extensive testing, which turned up such things as the bolt seizing up after overheating during repeated rapid-firing, the Ross was retained as the Canadian service rifle. The superb performance of the Mark II during international competitions provided much encouragement to the pro-Ross factions. Further improvements to the Ross were made, resulting in the introduction of the Mark III (also sometimes called Model 1910). Unlike its predecessors, it had an external, sheet-steel magazine. The barrel length of the rifle was increased to 30½ inches — 2 inches longer than that of the Mark II — with an overall length some 8 inches in excess of that of the Enfield Mark III. It also weighed in at a substantial 9½ pounds. The rifle’s rear sight was beautifully designed for the target range, but was certainly overly complicated for a military arm. Though we’ve given a very basic rundown on the operation of the earlier model Ross rifles, as this story is primarily about the World War I-vintage Mark III and its expectations, workings and problems, a short excerpt gleaned from the 1913 Handbook for the Canadian Service Rifle is probably the most succinct way of outlining the works of the piece as delineated by its issuers. Following a brief rundown of the basic action parts (bolt, sleeve, safety, safety spring, extractor, cocking piece, firing pin, handle, bolt head, etc.), the manual continues: removing the ross bolt is simple: the cutoff is placed in its center position and the bolt withdrawn to the rear out of the receiver. note the rivet on the bolt body that ensures the bolt is properly assembled.

the ross rotating bolt head ensures a good, solid lockup if the bolt is properly assembled. the extractor is sturdy and effective.

the plant construction took longer than expected, ultimately it was satisfactorily completed — the first arm to emerge from the facility being the Mark I Ross, a .303-caliber martial variant of his contractor-built Model 1900 sporting rifle. Again, because of the complicated and prolix nature of the evolution of the Ross, with apologies, we will be forced to glide over some of the tortuous developmental details that led to the Mark III. We will, however, touch upon some of the more salient features and causes célèbres that led to the World War I arm. Basically, the early Mark I and Mark II rifles featured solid rotating bolt heads like that of the 1890/95 Mannlichers. Mechanism, extractors, sights, etc., were fiddled with, modified and altered as circumstances and experimentation dictated. The rifles were wellbuilt and featured internal box magazines. The Mark II was found to be extremely accurate, and it performed superbly in competition. Unfortunately, right from the get-go, troubles with the rifle became evident. Probably the most notorious were two separate instances that occurred in 1906, both involving the Mark I. Despite later rifle improvement, it is these two events for which


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G&A

september 2016 | the cAnAdiAn ross rifle

“The sleeve carrying the Bolt is cut on its inner surface with spiral threads, which operate on corresponding spiral threads on the Bolt, causing the latter to rotate as the Action is moved backward and forward on the Guides of the receiver. “The Bolt and Bolt Head are cut out of the solid in one piece … There are two Lugs on the Bolt Head which are cut to form an interrupted screw, the threads of which, on the Bolt being closed, engage in corresponding grooves cut in the Resisting Shoulders of the Receiver and take the shock of the discharge. A groove is cut in the right side of the Bolt Head on which the Lug on the Extractor Works. “The Safety Catch is so constructed that when turned to the front, showing ‘Safe,’ it causes the Cocking Piece to be drawn to the rear from contact with the Sear and locks the action in a safe position. “When turned to the rear it shows ‘Ready.’” The directions then go on to explain that when the bolt is withdrawn, the bolt head rotates 45 degrees horizontally, freeing it from the receiver and allowing the bolt to be withdrawn, at the same time compressing the mainspring. Closing the bolt — which is now cocked — rotates the head back 45 degrees, locking the action. Along the way, it strips a round from the magazine and chambers it. So far, so good. When conditions are right, it is a smooth, efficient setup. With the exception of removing the bolt for cleaning — which is effected by placing the cutoff lever in a central position and simply pulling the bolt free from the action — the manual is very explicit in warning that further disassembly should only be performed by “qualified Armourers.” It also notes that the rifle’s service life is reckoned to be between 5,000 and 6,000 rounds “before it becomes unserviceable.” The Mark III, as noted above, had a cutoff arrangement similar in configuration to that of the 1903 Springfield, which allowed the rifle to be fired single shot, retaining rounds in the magazine. This component also served as the bolt release. Five rounds of ammunition could be quickly and efficiently loaded into the mag by means of a British stripper clip. When Canada entered World War I in 1914, this was the rifle the Canadian Expeditionary Force was armed with. Once in the trenches, problems arose. Principally, it was discovered after repeated usage that the bolt had a tendency to jam shut, giving rise to stories of soldiers having to kick open the bolt or pound it free with an entrenching tool or other handy object. While the dirt and grime of the trenches were in some part to blame, the main culprit was an improperly designed bolt stop that, after the bolt was repeatedly opened, deformed the bolt head to the point it would bind up in the receiver when forcefully closed. This dif-

the ross magazine holds five rounds of .303 and is loaded by means of a standard enfield-style stripper clip.

A trap in the butt holds an enfieldstyle oil bottle and pull-through.

the ross knife bayonet tip was modified into more of a spear point. it was felt the original blade would not effectively penetrate a German overcoat.

ficulty was remedied by simply doubling the diameter of the stop so that the stress was more uniformly distributed over the lug. Too, there were supposed complaints of bolts flying back when the gun was fired, a situation harkening back to experiences with earlier Ross models. In fact, this could happen if the bolt was improperly reassembled, though anyone with a reasonable amount of experience in taking the bolt apart and putting it back together could ensure the process had been correctly performed by simply checking to see if about an inch of the bolt sleeve was visible behind the bolt head. It is suspected the rumors of bolt failure in this manner were somewhat exaggerated, but the problem was easily solved by the addition of a rivet in the bolt sleeve, which made it impossible to reassemble the bolt improperly. Too, it was found that the Ross apparently performed better with Canadian-made ammunition rather than British cartridges. Interestingly enough, I have not been able to turn up one recorded incident in World War I of a soldier being injured by a bolt blowing back — nor is such a thing mentioned in the official Canadian records. As noted above, disassembly of a rifle past removing the bolt from the receiver for cleaning purposes was forbidden, according to regulations, by anyone other than an armorer. One can only assume that many of these supposed


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september 2016 | the cAnAdiAn ross rifle

the ross is a beautifully built rifle that functions well under normal circumstances, but because of real or perceived failure in the trenches of World War i, it was replaced in canadian service by the British Mark iii sMle.

accidents might have occurred in the imagination, political arena or due to faulty recollection after the war — just like the “thousands” of Canadian deaths supposedly directly attributable to the Ross’ shortcomings. Still, with the jamming problem and other real or perceived failings, the damage was done, and, in 1916, the Ross was withdrawn from Canadian service and replaced with the Mark III Enfield — a not unreasonable measure, as doubtlessly the Ross did have its problems as a service arm, and the troops’ confidence in the rifle had severely deteriorated. Still, the Mark III continued in limited service as a sniper arm, where it was highly regarded. It was used in the Great War in this capacity (most often topped with a U.S. Warner & Swasey scope). It was even seen in some numbers in World War II. As well, the Mark III saw a brief resurgence in World War II, as some numbers were issued to the Canadian Navy, British Home Guards units and others. The Ross Rifle Company ceased arms production in 1918 after building arms in military and sporting configurations in several calibers, from .22 RF to .370 Express. The .303 Mark III was made in the greatest numbers. Not long after the closure of his factory, Sir Charles relocated to Washington and, finally, in the late 1920s, settled in St. Petersburg, Florida. Among other endeavors, he kept up his interest in traveling and hunting and also became an avid fisherman. Many of the residents of St. Petersburg found him eccentric and somewhat prickly. Characteristically, his last words, growled at his nurse from his deathbed, were: “Get the hell out of here!” Over the years, I’ve fired a number of straight pulls — everything from the U.S. Model 1895 6mm Lee Navy to the Model 1911 Swiss Schmidt-Rubin — but never a Ross. Fortunately, a few months ago a nice-condition Mark III came my way, so as soon as things thawed out up here in Montana, I took it to the range along with a selection of .303 rounds that included 1976 British-issue Mark 7 174-grain full metal jacket (FMJ), Hansen Yugoslavian-made 175-grain FMJ and Hornady 150-grain SP. The rifle is heavy, no question about it. Quality of manufacture, fit and finish are excellent for a military arm, with the rear sight better built and more sophisticated than I’ve seen on some target rifles of the same vintage. The action is one of the smoothest straight pulls I’ve encountered — quite probably the smoothest. Ammunition was easily loaded using stripper clips, and the trigger was a pleasant two-stage 5½ pounds. Bottom line? The rifle performed beautifully. Ejection was positive, rounds chambered

the author found the ross to be a delight to shoot and among the most accurate military rifles he has ever fired. the straight-pull action was unquestionably smooth and extraction was excellent.

Using three different types of .303 ammunition from a rest at 50 yards, groups were all sub-2 inches, with some, such as this one, 1¼ inches. rounds hit close to point of aim.

the internals and mechanism of the ross Mark iii are similar in some respects to those of previous models, but there are definite differences.

flawlessly, and accuracy, with all brands of ammunition, just about as good as I can do with open sights and these tired old eyes. From a rest at 50 yards, no group exceeded 2 inches, with most coming in at sub-1½ inches. Interestingly enough, the military ammo performed the best. No question, under controlled circumstances, the Mark III Ross proved to be a class act and very, very pleasant to shoot. Under the right conditions and in the proper hands, the perfected Ross rifle is a high-grade, sophisticated arm, as it proved on the target range and in the hunting field. Still, as a military arm, it certainly had its flaws. All things considered, it likely should never have been adopted, but politics and misguided nationalism got in the way as, unfortunately, they do in so many cases.


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september 2016

THE SUM OF ITS WORDS BY BRAD FITZPATRICK | PHOTOS BY MARK FINGAR

THE NEW RUGER 10/22 TAKEDOWN LITE IS ONE OF THE BEST .22 AUTOLOADERS AT ANY PRICE.


september 2016

PARTS

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150

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s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6 | t h e s u m o f i t s pA rt s

Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite magazine — have largely stayed the same, WITH AGE COMES REFINEMENT, Action type: Blowback operated, every other component of the 10/22 has and after five decades of production, the semiautomatic, rimfire been enhanced, changed, trimmed down, Ruger 10/22 autoloading rifle has been Cartridge: .22LR beefed up or otherwise altered to make nearly tuned to perfection. Consider Capacity: 10+1 rds. Barrel: 16.1 in. this a gun of many faces. that during the same 50-year span in Overall Length: 34.62 in. The latest look for the 10/22 comes which Bill Ruger’s blowback autoloading Weight: 4 lbs., 8 oz. in the form of the Takedown Lite, which rifle was conquering the rimfire world Stock: Black synthetic sports a 16.1-inch cold-hammer forged virtually every other major firearm Modular Stock System Finish: Blued barrel tensioned inside a .920-inch alumimanufacturer has produced at least one Trigger: 5 lbs. num sleeve that has holes that resemble a .22 autoloader. None have threatened the Sights: None; drilled and tapped, heat shield. The muzzle is threaded ½-28 10/22’s longevity. It was a modular rifle two rails provided Price: $659 and capped, so adding a muzzle device to before “black gun” was a buzz term, with Manufacturer: Ruger Firearms, ruger.com this barrel is a cinch. There are no sights a long list of upgrades and add-ons that 336-949-5200 on the Takedown Lite, but the top of the allowed users to transform the standard receiver is drilled and tapped, beech-stocked, iron-sighted and two rails are included. semiautomatic squirrel gun One is for Weaver-style bases into something that looked and the other for tip-offs. like it belonged on a “Star The two-piece stock is black Wars” set. The 10/22 was (and synthetic; the forend has a remains) affordable, accurate, molded finger rail to keep lightweight and reliable. Now your hand firmly in place, and it’s even more portable. the rear portion of the stock Ruger took note of how has a interchangeable comb. many shooters were upgrading The new Ruger Modular Stock 10/22s with aftermarket parts System allows us to remove and began offering factory the rear sling stud and pop out the insert that contains the comb models designed to save owners the time and hassle of upgradand recoil pad. There are two stock inserts included: a standard ing stock originals. Though the main components that make length of pull (LOP) straight comb stock and the same LOP stock this gun so popular — namely the blowback action and rotary


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s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6 | t h e s u m o f i t s pA rt s

with an elevated comb. If you want to customize the gun for a shorter-armed shooter, there are other inserts available to cut down LOP, which means one stock can be fitted for any shooter and optic system. The stock is injection molded and has that hollow drum sound, but it should last a lifetime even for being light and inexpensive. The narrow pistol grip has finger grooves that are functional and comfortable, and the recoil pad is soft and dense, which isn’t necessarily a concern on a .22 rifle, but it does rest comfortably on the shoulder and won’t slip or slide. The feature that immediately separates the Takedown Lite from standard 10/22 offerings is the visible adjustment knob just ahead of the receiver. In keeping with the manifesto of simple and reliable design, separating and attaching the two subassemblies is

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A 16.1-inch cold-hammer forged barrel is housed beneath a light aluminum barrel sleeve. the muzzle is threaded and capped.

the receiver of the takedown Lite is drilled and tapped. two rails are provided with the rifle, one for tip-off rings and another for Weaver-style rings.

RUGER BX-15 AND BX-25 MAGAZINES Ruger’s original 10-round rotary magazine has proven to be reliable and easy to use. However, the company is expanding their magazine lineup to include 15- and 25-round variants. Known respectively as the BX-15 and BX-25, these mags feature steel feed lips that present the cartridge at a 30-degree angle (like the rotary BX-1) for efficient and reliable feeding. The stainless steel spring inside the magazines provide constant, even pressure, and their robust design means that they will retain spring pressure for thousands and thousands of rounds. The anti-bind follower is made from polyacetal, a high-lubricity thermoplastic commonly found in precision parts. The exterior of the magazine is made of a durable polymer and fits securely into place. The 10/22 isn’t finicky about magazine placement, so you can easily swap magazines without taking your eyes off target. The BX-15 and BX-25 were both used during this range test, and both proved reliable and consistent. Both versions fit firmly into the gun and locked positively in place. They are available at shopruger.com; the BX-15 costs $29 and the BX-25 costs $5 more.


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ruger’s modular stock system allows users to adjust comb height easily. two standard Lop inserts are included, but shortpull models are available at shopruger.com.

the ruger 10/22 takedown Lite shares the same stock design as the ruger American rimfire, with finger grooves molded into the rifle’s wrist for a comfortable, secure hold.

fast and easy. Ruger has made it hard to screw up the process. To assemble the rifle, simply tilt the forearm and barrel to the left, slide the rear of the barrel into the opening on the front of the receiver, rotate it back to align with the rifle’s rear portion (when the gun is aligned you will feel — and hear — a click) and tighten the adjustment knob in a counterclockwise direction. When the shoulder of the barrel is seated in the receiver it will become tight, and at that point you have properly adjusted the two subassemblies. Manually cycling the bolt seats the barrel. Afterwards, it is ready to shoot. To remove the barrel, press the recessed lever on

the underside of the forearm, rotate the forearm assembly to the left, and remove. Practice the process a few times and it becomes second nature. The component parts are machined to tight tolerances for a consistent feel and reliable operation. With its lightweight molded stock, aluminum sleeve and short barrel, the 10/22 Takedown Lite weighs just 4½ pounds without a scope. That’s certainly light enough to carry for miles while hunting squirrels in the woods or to hold for a marathon plinking session. This rifle is a great option for those who are looking to introduce new shooters to the sport; it’s a manageable gun, and


t h e s u m o f i t s pa rt s | s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6

the length of pull can be altered. Overall length of the assembled rifle is just under 35 inches. When the gun is broken down and stored in the supplied nylon case, the length shortens to 24 inches. Speaking of the case, it securely carries the rifle when out in the field or on the range or not in use, and it has ample pockets for storing a variety of items like tools, ammunition, spare magazines, safety glasses, hearing protection, scope rails — and even a compact optic. Instead of carrying this rifle and a small duffle bag full of gear to the firing line, we can simply grab the Ruger Takedown Lite in its case, throw the shoulder strap on our arm, and we’re ready for range day. Additionally, the case fits in a variety of places where an assembled rifle is too long. The Ruger bag is smaller than most rifle cases and larger than the average pistol case. This in-between design helps prevent others from immediately identifying the contents as a firearm. Ruger spent 50 years developing the

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10/22’s blowback system, and they have refined the action so that it reliably feeds just about any .22LR ammo available or stashed. For this test, my ammo selection included one dedicated target load, a high-speed hunting round and three standard-velocity loads. This covered the entire range of average .22LR velocities from fast to slow and tested the ability of the 10/22 to function with ammo of disparate speeds. I won’t keep you in suspense. Through 125 rounds (plus a few more for sight-in), the 10/22 had no issues with feeding, firing, extraction or ejection. Ruger’s BX-1 rotary magazines rank among the best in the rimfire world, and I also tested the Takedown Lite with the new 15-round BX-15 and

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the forend of the rifle has a molded finger groove that comfortably positions the front hand while firing.

the takedown Lite is simple to disassemble: press forward on the recessed lever and rotate the barrel and forearm to the right to remove.

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PERFORMANCE

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.87

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Notes: Accuracy results are the average of five, five-shot groups at 50 yards from a fixed rest. Velocity figures are 10-shot averages recorded on a Caldwell Ballistic Precision digital chronograph placed 10 feet from the muzzle.

25-round BX-25 mags without any problems. The standard trigger is a bit heavy — right around 5 pounds with a little creep — but still not bad. If you prefer something even crisper, Ruger offers the BX trigger assembly for 10/22s for about $90, which will lighten the pull to around 2½ pounds. At 5 yards, the rifle managed groups that averaged between .87 and 1.33 inches, with the best five-shot cluster of the day (courtesy of CCI’s Velocitor 40-grain gilded ammo) measuring under a half-inch, a group that appeared as a single ragged hole for the first three shots. During the test, I used a Bushnell Elite 3-9x40mm scope. However, the 10/22 Weaver-style top rail made it easy to mount a red dot sight, which kept the total weight of the rifle right near 5 pounds. This is where the Modular Stock System shines. With the scope in place, the straight comb works fine, but the higher red dot necessitated a raised comb and changing from one comb to the next proved fast and simple. You can learn a lot in five decades of study if you pay attention, and the team at Ruger has done that. It continues to make the storied 10/22 better with each successive generation, and the Takedown Lite offers a lot to shooters — excellent accuracy and dead-nuts reliability in a lightweight, easy-to-store package. Now that rimfire ammo is once again available and affordable, it is time we all had a little fun. The 10/22 Takedown Lite is ready to help you deplete those renewed ammo reserves.

there are plenty of internal pockets for storing tools, ammunition, spare magazines and more in ruger’s 24-inch case.

replacing the factory trigger with an upgraded version, like ruger’s own BX model, is fast and requires very few tools.


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158 G & A s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6 G&A ALMANAC

AIRING THE WEEK OF

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LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

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LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

R PE ON SU UP CO

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

$

SAVE 259

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. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one FREE GIFT coupon per customer per day.

AMMO BOX

comp at

$ 99

4

SAVE 66%

LOT 63135/61451 shown Customer Rating

Customer Rating

WE CARRY A FULL LINE OF WELDING WIRE

LIMIT 9 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

R PE ON SU UP CO

90 AMP FLUX WIRE WELDER LOT 61849/62719 68887 shown

SAVE 50 $ • No Gas Required

$149.99

comp at

9999 $

WOW

QUALITY TOOLS LOWEST PRICES EVERYDAY SUPER COUPON

20% ANY SINGLE ITEM

OFF 1/2" ELECTRIC IMPACT WRENCH LOT 69606 61173 68099 shown

$149.88

$3999 comp at

ICE

$1199

comp at

$ 199 2 $29.99

• Accuracy within ±4%

Item 239 shown

R PE ON SU UP CO

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, CoverPro, Daytona, Diablo, Earthquake, Franklin, Grant’s, Holt, Jupiter, Lynxx, Maddox, Portland, Predator, StikTek, StormCat, Union, Vanguard, Viking. Not valid on prior purchases. Nontransferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16.

R PE ON SU UP Customer Rating CO

SAVE $109

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

LOT 2696/61277 807/61276 62431/239

Customer Rating YOUR CHO

WOWTOSURQPEUER WRCOUPENONCHES SAVE 60% DRIVE 1/4" 3/8" 1/2"

LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

• No Hassle Return Policy • Lifetime Warranty On All Hand Tools

t calling 800-423-2567. Canno l or HarborFreight.com or by LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from originaal be used with other discount t. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Origin purchase with original receip through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day. coupon must be presented. Valid

• 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed • Over 30 Million Satisfied Customers

R PE ON SU UP CO

• Includes sheath

4

SAVE 68%

LOT 62113 62682/62683 69910 shown

18" MACHETE WITH SERRATED BLADE

Customer Rating

comp at $ 99 $15.98

LOT 61258 shown

Customer Rating

LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SAVE 100

R PE ON SU UP $ CO

comp at

$159.99 61840/61297/68146

5999

2500 LB. ELECTRIC WINCH WITH WIRELESS REMOTE CONTROL

$

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

R PE ON SU UP O

LOT 69780 41005 shown

C 1000 LB. CAPACITY SWING-BACK TRAILER JACK

$39.94

comp at

Customer Rating

1999

SAVE 49%

$

LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

WOW SUPER COUPON

WATTS 4000 PEAK/3200 RUNNINGRATORS 6.5 HP (212 CC) GAS GENE

comp at

99 $ 9 3 3 $469

$28999

/69676 shown LOT 63079/63080/69729 SUPERT /63090 QUIE LOT 69675/69728/63089 ONLY CALIFORNIA Customer Rating

SAVE 179

$

• 70 dB Noise Level

om or by calling stores or HarborFreight.c LIMIT 5 - Good at our used with other discount or coupon or prior 800-423-2567. Cannot be from original purchase with original receipt. purchases after 30 days last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be Offer good while supplies12/2/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day. presented. Valid through


160 G & A

september 2016

SPENT CASES

‘CARBINE’ WILLIAMS DAVID MARSHALL WILLIAMS was born in 1900 to a wealthy landowner in North Carolina. At the age of 15, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy by claiming he was 17 and was discharged when his true age was discovered. In 1917, he enrolled in Blackstone Military Academy and was expelled during his first semester for the theft of several rifles and 10,000 rounds of ammunition found in the trunk of his car. Subsequently, Williams operated an illegal distillery, and on July 22, 1921, Cumberland County sheriff deputies seized his still and product. As the deputies were leaving, Deputy Sheriff Alfred J. Pate was shot twice and died at the scene. Williams was arrested and charged with murder. After one hung jury, Williams testified that he had fired the first couple of shots without the intent to kill the deputy and pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree. He was sentenced to 30 years of hard labor. While serving time at the Caledonia State Prison Farm, he was allowed access to the machine shop and began servicing the firearms used by the guards. There, he developed ideas for self-loading firearms. After a petition campaign, Williams’ sentence was commuted in 1927 by Gov. Angus McLean. Williams was contracted for work by the War Department and later worked for Colt, Remington and Winchester. With Colt, he redesigned the Ace .22-caliber rimfire pistol and created the Ace .22 Conversion Unit for the 1911A1. At Remington, he develped a rimfire rifle that was later redesigned as the Model 550. For Winchester, Williams invented the Inertia Operated Bolt Lock design used in the Model 50 shotgun and later referenced in Benelli’s U.S. patents for its inertia-driven shotguns. During the time the M1 Carbine was in development,

Williams was an employee on the Winchester design and engineering staff, along with Edwin Pugsley, William C. Roemer, Ralph Clarkson, Fred Humeston, Cliff Farner and many others. Williams was not the sole or even primary designer of the M1 Carbine, however. As a Winchester employee, he made approximately $5,000 per year and was part of an extended design and engineering team that worked on several projects. While the day-to-day involvement of Williams and his contributions to the final version of the M1 Carbine might be the subject of debate, innovations, including his patented short-stroke gas piston system and floating chamber, are part-and-parcel of the gun’s design. These designs use the high pressure gas generated in or near the breech of a firearm to operate the action. Without “Carbine” Williams, the M1 Carbine would not have been as it is known today. In 1952, the film “Carbine Williams” starring Jimmy Stewart was released depicting an entertainment-based script of his story. Williams died on Jan. 8, 1975.


N

EW

Representing the next evolution in single stage press technology, the Lock-N-Load® Iron Press™ is built to be the heaviest, most rigid press in its class. Tight tolerances in manufacture and assembly combine to provide consistency and precision that will deliver match accurate ammunition, round-after-round, year-after-year.

AUTOMATIC PRIMING SYSTEM The gravity fed Automatic Priming System (sold separately or with the Kit) helps increase reloading efficiency by allowing more processes to happen simultaneously.

ACCESSORY DECK Provides quick access to trays for bullets or cases, and storage for chamfer and deburr tools, case neck  brushes, primer pocket cleaners and more.

PATENTED SHELL HOLDER PLATFORM Allows users to deprime, pause and remove the case to chamfer and deburr, then easily replace the case to prime.

LOCK-N-LOAD® BUSHING SYSTEM Incorporating our  patented Lock-N-Load® bushing system, change overs are lightning fast.

SUPERIOR STRENGTH Industry leading strength and further ease of use comes from the spring assist 1-1/8” solid steel ram and ambidextrous handle.

800.338.3220

|

HORNADY.COM

Pictured with accessories from the Iron Press™ Kit. Dies and cartridge components sold separately.



Guns & ammo 2016 09