November 1998

Henry Repeating Arms Rifle Held Its Own Against Winchester 9422

Subscribers Only — Lever rifles in the rimfire calibers can do many things for the avid shooter. Besides providing casual shooting fun for the lever-rifle fan, these guns can be serious hunting arms. If the nimrod has a centerfire lever gun for any serious purpose, the rimfire can provide meaningful and inexpensive practice. This practice can extend from the rifle range to the small game field, and to just about anywhere in between. In the Idaho back country, many landowners keep a .22 LR of some sort, many of the lever type, by the back door for garden or yard pests. Our test here includes a pair of lever guns, the Winchester 9422 Walnut and the new Henry Model H001, out of Brooklyn, New York, of all plac...   More...

ArmaLite M15A2 HBAR Tops Olympic, Colt .223 Rifles

Subscribers Only — For a number of years after its civilian introduction in 1964, the Colt AR-15 was essentially a semiautomatic version of the U.S. military’s standard issue rifle, the M16. Today, however, a handful of manufacturers are producing AR-15-type firearms in a variety of configurations. We prefer to call these firearms sporting rifles. Despite what some politicians may think, we feel that all law-abiding citizens of this country should have the opportunity to own a sporting rifle. They are suitable for many types of shooting activities, from small game and varmint hunting to target shooting and home protection. They are also just plain fun to shoot. All of the rifles in this test are .223 se...   More...

Coonan Cadet Not Worth Its High Price

Subscribers Only — The Cadet is Coonan Arm’s response to those who have called for a compact version of the company’s Model B pistol. The Cadet is about 1 inch shorter and 7 ounces lighter than a standard Model B, and has a 1-1/4-inch shorter barrel. Like the original, the Cadet is a single-action .357 Magnum pistol made of stainless steel. Its 3-3/4-inch barrel has a fixed locking lug. There is no barrel bushing. Walnut grip panels and fixed sights are standard equipment. This $850 compact comes with one 6-round magazine. Click here to view the Coonan Cadet features guide . The Coonan Cadet we acquired for testing looked like a beefy Officer-size 1911 pi...   More...

Magnum Research Desert Eagle Outperformed Coonan Model B

When the .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935, it was the most powerful commercial handgun cartridge available. Since then, that title has been passed on to several other rounds, such as the .44 Magnum and the .454 Casull. Nevertheless, the .357 Magnum is still a very good round. In our opinion, the .357 Magnum is one of the most versatile handgun cartridges. When loaded hot and topped with a 125-grain jacketed hollow point, it is an excellent self-defense round. With heavier bullets, it is capable of taking varmints and other animals smaller than deer. CCI even makes a shotshell round that can be used to dispatch snakes and birds. The .357 Magnum utilizes a rimmed case and is intended for use in revolvers. Although there are several technical problems associated with feeding and headspacing a revolver cartridge in a semiautomatic handgun, a few companies currently make .357 Magnum pistols. Two such guns, the Magnum Research Desert Eagle and the Coonan Arms Model B, are the subject of this head-to-head test. Also, a separate evaluation of the Coonan Arms Cadet compact .357 Magnum pistol is included on pages 14-15.   More...

Gun Tests’ Gear of the Year

Subscribers Only — Deciding which firearm is right for you can be very difficult. You have to decide which guns will meet your needs. Then, you have to separate the gems from the lemons. Last but not least, you have to pick the firearm that will give you the most for the money. Gun Tests subscribers have a big advantage over other gun buyers. We tell you what the firearms we test are really like. We give you the facts and our unbiased opinions, instead of hype. We can be impartial because we buy the guns we test from a regular retail source—just like you—instead of getting them from manufacturers. Furthermore, we don’t take advertising from firearms makers. We receive many letters that ask what we cons...   More...

Experiment

Subscribers Only — Much recreational shooting easily falls into traps of a sort, in that we practice certain types of shooting and leave some vital experiments out of our practice—stuff that could come in mighty handy some day. For example, many common tests involve how well a person can shoot a handgun at, say, 15 or perhaps 25 yards. This is all well and good, and certainly shows us either our own personal limitations or — if we are among the very best handgunners — the limitations of the handgun. This shows us where the gun hits, which is very important with fixed-sight pistols. Yet do we know where the gun hits at, say, three feet? Can we take the head off a snake or put the bullet within half an inch o...   More...

Burris Signature 6-24x Tops Other Varmint Rifle Scopes

Subscribers Only — For most kinds of deer hunting, a 3-9x rifle scope is a good choice. It provides a fairly wide field of view, which makes acquiring the target relatively easy, and a good range of magnification. However, when hunting varmints at long distances, a much more powerful scope is needed. A 6-24x scope with at least a 40mm objective lens is generally considered to be a good varmint scope. However, this rather limited definition of a varmint scope promptly expanded when we started buying scopes for this test. We found two 20x scopes that outperformed most of the 24x scopes, and a 44mm scope that was smaller than most 40mm scopes. Our final choice of optics for this evaluation included the eight...   More...

Firing Line 11/98

S&W Sigma SW9M I found your recent evaluation of the small 9mm pistols (September 1998 issue) interesting and would like to tell you about a unique problem I had with the Smith & Wesson SW9M. First, I’m 62, an NRA certified small arms instructor, and have a Lifetime Masters classification for High Power Rifle competition. I have an FFL and a Texas concealed handgun license. I am an orthopedic surgeon and do not have a weak wrist or grip. I thought that the SW9M would be the ideal self-defense weapon to carry in the console of my Explorer. I have a habit of test firing anything I am going to carry before making any out of town trip. I soon found that if I loaded the SW9M...   More...