September 1998

Marlin 1894 Cowboy II: A Winning Lever-Action Rifle in .357 Magnum

Subscribers Only — With Cowboy Action Shooting the fastest growing segment of the shooting sports, Gun Tests continues its in-depth look at the hardware fueling this impressive growth. The lever-action rifle is the primary long gun used by Cowboy Action competitors. The criteria for a Cowboy Action Shooting rifle is straightforward. It must be a lever action with a tubular magazine and an exposed hammer. It must have open sights and a barrel over 16 inches in length (the minimum BATF requirement). It must fire a centerfire “pistol” cartridge larger than .25 caliber. The bullets it fires must be made entirely of lead and have a muzzle velocity of less than 1,400 feet per second. In the January 1998 issue...   More...

Marlin Model 7000 Our Pick In A Heavy-Barrel .22 Semiauto Rifle

Subscribers Only — Autoloading .22’s are lots of fun and can be lots of gun. They tend to run you broke on ammunition because of the lure of easily and quickly firing off the entire magazine. In fact, this might be one reason to own a semiauto .22 that has a limited number of rounds in the magazine, say five to seven rounds. This limitation tends to force the shooter to make every shot count, much as the fellow with a six-shot muzzle-loading revolver is reluctant to shoot quickly because of all the work needed to make the gun ready to go again. Be that as it may, self-loading .22’s offer lots of shooting fun, but unfortunately many of them are not all that accurate. They would be more fun if they could hit...   More...

Sig P229 Sport: Expensive, Good Casual Action Pistol

Sig’s P229 Sport pistol seems to us to be more of a ‘Make It and They Will Buy It’ creation than one resulting from market pressure. We suspect it was designed to appeal to the recreational shooter who enjoys having something different to show off during occasional visits to the local club range. The P229 Sport, although not a mainstream competition pistol, is worthy of attention as an example of what a major player in the firearms industry can do to advance the art of gun making. The standard Sig P229, with its aluminum frame and blackened stainless steel slide, was considered a pistol with a limited lifetime. The new P229 Sport, modified with a machined stainless steel frame and slide,...   More...

S&W Model 629 A Better Carry Gun Than Colt, Taurus .44 Mags

Subscribers Only — The versatility of the .44 Magnum cartridge is often overlooked. Yes, this is perhaps the finest hunting handgun cartridge ever devised, beaten only by recent hot loads in the .45 Long Colt and in handguns chambered for the .454 Casull, in production guns. The .44 Magnum is a hot cartridge, but that’s only the beginning of the story. There are some lighter loads, not just in the .44 Special, that tame the gun considerably. These are the loads usually fired in the shorter-barreled versions, such as the four-inchers tested here. The usual barrel length for the .44 Magnum is around the six-inch mark, because most shooters want to be able to get all the performance they can out of such a powe...   More...

Taurus PT-111 Beats Kel-Tec, Smith & Wesson DAO 9mms

Subscribers Only — Subcompact pistols, those which are small and light enough to ride in an ankle holster or carry in a large pocket, have been around for several years. Many of these handguns are reduced versions of already existing handguns. Typically, they cost as much as the original or maybe even a little more. Within the last couple of years, a new kind of subcompact pistol has emerged—which we shall refer to as an SMPD. The SMPD is a subcompact with a moderate price (in the $300 range), a polymer frame and a double-action-only (DAO) trigger. The combination of a low price, polymer construction and a DAO trigger is not accidental. The ease of making a polymer frame and the simplicity of a double-act...   More...

Rex Applegate Passes

Subscribers Only — Col. Rex Applegate died in San Diego on 14 July, 1998, of a stroke complicated by pneumonia. He was 84. Many of you may not be aware of Applegate’s immense contributions to the firearms industry and to shooters. A brief discussion here can’t cover them all, but we can touch the highlights. During World War II, Applegate was responsible for setting up the combat training for the U.S. OSS (Office of Strategic Services). The OSS eventually became today’s CIA. During that war, Applegate trained in England with Commandos and Special Operations forces. He went on combat operations with them on the Continent, without the knowledge or approval of his U.S. superiors. What better way to learn a c...   More...

Does Internal Case Volume Affect Ballistic Performance?

Subscribers Only — Aserious rifle benchrest shooter will go through a course of fire with a single case, reloading it on the firing line. The objective is to assure repeatable accuracy in a load carefully worked up to shoot groups measured in thousandths of an inch. Among the things the shooter eliminates by repeatedly using the same brass is the deviation in ballistics caused by internal case volume (ICV). Even when a box of brass comes from the same lot and manufacturer, there’s no way to be certain of their individual ICV without taking measurements. The identical powder charge, bullet and primer in a case with an ICV of 0.66, for example, will produce a different ballistic profile than in a case with a...   More...

Firing Line 09/98

Subscribers Only — Children and Firearms Please stick to testing firearms, and leave the political agenda out. At age 12, in 1952, I was a responsible young adult. With the money I had earned on my paper route, I bought a .22 bolt-action repeater. All that was required, at the hardware store, was a note from my dad. As a child, I was taught responsibility, with chores, part-time work for my dad, and a paper route from age 9. I bought my own clothes, items of my interests, and a .22 rifle. There was no emotional cry of the frightened, when my friends and I walked a mile through residential Spokane, Washington to the city limits and a place to shoot. Today, the me-first generations, call t...   More...

S&W Parent Tomkins Reportedly Eyes Remington

Tomkins PLC, the British conglomerate that lists Smith & Wesson among its U.S. holdings, has taken the first steps toward purchasing Remington Arms Company, according to widespread market reports. Tomkins would not comment on what, if any, interest it has in Remington, but market observers suggested that it is probably too early in the game for anyone to have signed letters of intent or a definitive agreement to buy the long gun, ammunition and fishing tackle manufacturer. Goldman, Sachs & Company, which is conducting the “strategic review” for Remington has asked potential suitors to sign confidentiality agreements before receiving an offering memorandum. The companies are then to submi...   More...