January 1998

Firing Line 01/98

Smith & Wesson Model 457
In response to Mr. Lawrence S. Saval’s comments on the Smith & Wesson Model 457 pistol (in the November 1997 issue). I own one and have shot several hundred rounds through it without any jams, stovepipes or failures to eject. It shoots a little low. As a matter of fact, it performs better than some of my more expensive pistols. To those of you who want a lightweight double action .45 ACP, buy a Smith & Wesson Model 457. I carry one every day in my business. I find it reliable, lightweight, snag-free and inexpensive in comparison to other pistols on the market. It’s probably the most comfortable double action .45 ACP pistol to carry 8 hours a day.

David Wong
Spring Hill, FL


I was distressed to hear of one of your reader’s problems with his Smith & Wesson Model 457 .45 auto. I have owned this pistol for about a year and have fired about 1,500 or more rounds through it. I have experienced no problems at all. None. In fact, this is the sidearm I use as a benchmark of reliability for all my other pistols. It is clearly my first choice for personal protection.

I originally bought this pistol for my wife, but I liked it so much I’m probably going to have to buy her another one. I’m very pleased with this weapon and can only give it my highest recommendation.

Thomas E. Foster
University Heights, OH


.243 Winchester Fan
I was very happy to see the test of .243 Winchester hunting ammunition in the October 1997 issue. This came to me just as I was beginning to make preparations for a deer hunt in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with my Winchester Model 70 XTR bolt action rifle in .243 Win. I was debating which bullets to use in working up a load and along came your test to help me decide what to definitely not use! Your article saved me time and money, since I didn’t need to buy a bunch of component bullets and work up loads for bullets that would end up not giving me the necessary terminal performance.

By the way, I found the 100-grain Gand Slam (GS) shot very well out of my 22-inch-barreled Model 70, when seated on top of a maximum load of 39.0 grains of AA4350. I fired a 3-shot group which measured a very nice 0.640 inch. I was unable to chronograph this load, but Accurate Arms published an average velocity of 2,981 feet per second out of a 24-inch barrel.

It may also be of interest to handloaders to try Nosler’s Partition bullets. They come in 85-, 95- and 100-grain weights. I went with the 100-grainer with the same charge of AA4350 and fired several into water-filled milk jugs at a short range of 15 yards. The three slugs I recovered weighed 63.0 , 70.4 and 71.6 grains. The lightest of the three had shed all of the front lead core and still retained a respectable 63 percent of its original weight. They also printed a decent 5-shot group of 0.935 inches. Unfortunately, I did not have the time, or milk jugs, available to try the same test with the Speer bullet. Nor did I get a chance to see how they worked on a big Michigan buck, since I was unable to fill my tag.

In closing, I would like to thank you for the timely article and publishing an excellent magazine!

Doug Stuepfert
LaMoille, IL


Kimber Classic .45 ACP
As a recent subscriber to your magazine, I look forward each month to the next issue. In fact, I was just at a local gun shop, ready to fork out down payment money to order the Kimber Classic single-stack 1911-A1 .45 ACP pistol when a little voice in my head kept taunting me — “wait until you read about this pistol in Gun Tests before you pay your hard-earned money!”

So, I want to know what your staff thinks of this fine looking and extremely tight fitting .45 auto before I pay out $615 before tax. Will you be doing or have you done a piece about the Kimber Classic .45? If so, I’d be more than willing to buy a back-issue featuring an evaluation of this 1911-A1 model.

Robert L. Bishop
Shelbyville, KY


We tested the $575 Kimber Custom, which is the lowest-priced member of Kimber’s Classic line of .45 pistols, in the June 1997 issue. Our gun was well-made, but the 8-round magazine provided could have been better. We had 3 magazine-related malfunctions in 200 rounds. Groups averaged from 2.80 to 3.43 inches at 25 yards. We recommended it.