October 2001

Firing Line: 10/01

Glock’s .357 SIGs
While reading your excellent article comparing the .357 SIG pistols (August 2001), I noticed that the Glock 31 had a trigger pull of 2.8 pounds while the Glock 32 had a trigger pull of 7.0 pounds and the Glock 33 had a trigger pull of 7.5 pounds. Your article did not mention a target trigger installed in the Glock 31. I mention this because a target trigger pull of 2.8 pounds would, in my opinion, be considered as unsafe for a duty firearm.

I also noticed that the “Trigger Span DA” of the Glock 31 was different from the other two Glock pistols. The Glock 31 was 2.7 inches, while each of the other Glocks was 2.8 inches. This difference may be due to the installed 2.8-pound trigger. Theoretically, this measurement should be the same on similarly framed Glocks because the various triggers are interchangeable.

While reviewing the SIG pistol you wrote, “This system requires more shooting practice than the Glock trigger, but we felt safer handling the loaded gun with the firing system decocked.”

The Glock pistol’s trigger is never in a “cocked” condition except at the instant of firing. As you pull the trigger, the firing pin is pulled back until the cruciform drops and the Glock fires. The trigger is then in a rest condition, protected by three automatically functioning safeties until the operator pulls the trigger again.

One further input regarding a “Firing Line” comment, in which the writer said, “The Glock is light. I thought it would be difficult to control, but it wasn’t. I carried it around in my pocket most of the afternoon.”

As a police firearms instructor, I feel obligated to point out the Glock pistols need to be carried in a holster, particularly if they are in your pocket or purse. Also, the writer says he has not gotten over the nagging feeling of handling an unsafe gun with the Glock. Most revolvers have no safety, each Glock has three automatic safeties, all of which operate when the trigger is pulled. Which brings me back to my point, anything loose in your pocket or purse such as a pen or lipstick that can get inside the trigger guard and put pressure on the trigger may possibly fire your unholstered Glock.

-Robert D. Ashley
Rockledge, FL

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Testing Rifles
I subscribe to your magazine and enjoyed it. The only improvement I’d like to see is an increase in sampling rate, a sample of one per product is not statistically significant, though I can seen the “this is what the consumer would experience” argument. A sample of three from different sources would dramatically increase the reliability of your data (and your production costs for those you could not resell).

The reason for writing is the recent 10/22 article (September 2001). I was very disappointed that the Volquartsen 10/22, using their stainless steel receiver, was not included. My understanding is they guarantee 0.4-inch groups at 50 yards using quality ammo. Any chance of adding it as an addendum to your next issue?

FYI, I recently spent a couple of weeks testing ammo with 10/22’s (one Ruger stock 10/22 Target Stainless using a Ruger barrel and one using the same stock and receiver but a Butler Creek target barrel). While my methodology may not be scientifically valid; I found with both barrels that Fiocchi .22 LR SM 320 ammo outperformed all others.

A strange sidebar was that Winchester Dynapoint 22 HV was in the top five (out of 25 different ammo makes) with both barrels. With the stock Ruger barrel it came in right behind the Fiocchi. I realize .22’s are very picky regarding the ammo they are fed, but this cheap ammo is great for low cost but semi-serious target shooting. It’s usually sold at Kmart in a milk jug, for somewhere around $5 for 250 rounds.

-Dave Means
worldnet.att.net

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No Llama Fan
I read with great interest your September 2001 evaluation of the Llama Max-1. A local gun dealer whom I’ve known for some years had one for sale and was really touting it. I dropped the magazine, then racked the slide and locked it back to check the chamber. When I put the magazine back in it would not stay. No matter how hard I pushed it in by hand, it wouldn’t lock in place. Maybe if I’d used a hammer…. Anyway, your evaluation of the gun only served to confirm that this brand still hasn’t made the grade on quality control. That’s too bad because we could use a reliable, low-cost basic 1911.

By the way, I am one of the many fortunate folks who snapped up a Bulgarian Makarov and have found it to be worth three or four times the asking price. The pistol always feeds, fires and ejects and it puts them right where the sights are pointing.

As your article pointed out, there are much more expensive guns out there that don’t perform as well.

-Bob Van Elsberg
Los Lunas, NM

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More On The .480
While I’m not a Ruger employee myself, I do have numerous friends employed there and am aware of the high degree to which the engineering and management staff there reads Gun Tests and pays attention to its findings. In the May 2001 issue, Gun Tests performed a comparison review of the .480 Ruger Super Redhawk (with 9-inch barrel) with two revolvers firing the .475 and .500 Linebaugh cartridges that are built on the Ruger Bisley frame (which is obviously much smaller and slightly lighter than the rather daunting .480 Super Redhawk frame).

While this comparison is interesting, I am of the opinion that its results do not significantly support the conclusions of the writers, and that the actual intent of the review was to encourage by damnation that Ruger come out with a Bisley-sized revolver that shoots the Linebaugh cartridges. I’m not sure if this is an effective motivational technique — I sure wouldn’t be inclined to listen to someone who tells me I am crap without corroboration from other sources, especially in the face of the fact that Ruger is having difficulty meeting the demand already for all of its big-bore pistols. The market apparently doesn’t quite agree with Gun Tests, especially as there are already many in the market who are clamoring for a .480 carbine to go with their .480 revolvers.

I’ll note that the fact that the .480 Super Redhawk is a six shooter while the Bisley in the Linebaugh presentations is merely a five-shooter, so comparing the two gun frames needs to take this into account, not just for hunting situations (since those following revolver safety rules will leave one chamber empty regardless of the presence of transfer bars) where a hunter wants to carry his full complement of five cartridges in his piece, but for self defense from bear, moose, or predatory humans.

Additionally, the test disregards completely the measuring of recoil of the three cartridges and firearms in their different loadings, as the Super Redhawk is not only 5 ounces heavier (only 10 percent greater than that of the Bisley, despite the complaints about “needing wheels for the cannon”) than the .475 and 8 ounces heavier than the .500, but the greater barrel length reducing climb, and the slightly (7 percent) higher velocity of the Linebaugh. Furthermore, Ruger’s cartridge was never intended as a competitor against the Linebaugh, but as an intermediate cartridge between the .44 magnum and Casull cartridges that has apparently sat on the shelf for some time, for those shooters who want more power than the .44 but not so much as the significantly more powerful Casull.

The primary reason, as I recall, that Ruger went with the Super Redhawk frame for these high-power cartridges is due to testing of prototypes on the Redhawk and Bisley frames that resulted in significantly high failure rates. It was determined that making these frames capable of dealing with the pressures and recoil would require that they be priced somewhere upward of $2,000.

I also think comparing a stock Ruger with a much more custom (and nearly three times more expensive) firearm is also a bit disingenuous of Gun Tests. I wouldn’t compare a Fox presentation grade shotgun against a Fox Sterlingworth, or a stock Corvette against a ZR-1.

I will agree with Gun Tests’s opinion that grip shape and size should be significantly considered in large-bore pistol designs to help alleviate the effects of recoil on the shooter, but it’s rather obvious that this is a far greater need for those shooting the wrist-cracking Linebaugh cartridges than for those shooting the slightly more tame Ruger. We’d all like to do the most damage with the smallest pistol with the least recoil, but physics does put a limit on this unless, of course, you are advocating the return of the Gyro-Jet, which, as I recall, never sold very well.

-Michael S. Lorrey
Lebanon, NH


No matter what Ruger says in its ads, the facts are that Hornady had spent money for dies to make .475 Linebaugh brass that they were unable to use, following a court challenge to an existing agreement between Buffalo Bore Ammunition and John Linebaugh for the use of the latter’s name. It does not take much reading between the lines to see that a shorter cartridge like the .480 would be a good way to recoup part of Hornady’s investment.

The idea that the .480 Ruger will fill some sort of gap between the 454 Casull and the .44 Magnum is hogwash. The .45 LC, as loaded by Buffalo Bore and by Cor-Bon, does that nicely, and that fine ammo works in existing Ruger handguns, as was stated in my report on the .480. There is absolutely no “need” for the .480.

Also, there is absolutely no reason to avoid loading all chambers in the Ruger Bisley design because there is no way for the hammer to strike the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. The firing pin is held to the rear by a strong spring. If you’re concerned that dropping the gun could result in an accidental discharge, try this: Load a case with primer only. Load the case into a Ruger Bisley under the firing pin. Then, beat on the end of the muzzle with a wood club or a mallet, anything that won’t harm the gun but puts a strong inertial force onto the firing pin. I tried this with my Ruger Bisley .45, and could not get a mark on the primer. There is no reason not to carry the Ruger Bisley fully loaded. Give Bill Ruger the credit he’s due for that transfer-bar design. It works.

Given equal cartridges and identical gun weights, the shooter feels less recoil with the Ruger Bisley frame shape. Free recoil of the .500 Linebaugh as tested is 47.4 ft.-lbs. That of the .475 Linebaugh was 50 ft.-lbs. The Ruger developed 32 ft.-lbs. of free recoil. The comparatively poor grip shape of the Ruger Super Redhawk delivered that energy into the hand in a manner that made the Ruger less comfortable to shoot than the .500 Linebaugh with max loads, for several of our test shooters. If the Ruger had the same barrel length and weight as the other two, its recoil would have been nasty. John Linebaugh, in conjunction with Ross Seyfried, determined the Ruger Bisley grip shape was best for hard-kicking guns nearly 20 years ago, back when John was intentionally blowing up Ruger Bisleys to test the “failure rate.”

Rather than “encourge by damnation,” I repeated the request of every handgunner who has experience with the big rounds, that only the Ruger Bisley has the proper configuration for these massive levels of power. I believe the Ruger Co. knows this.

Finally, the reason we compared the Ruger with the real thing, regardless of cost, is that the Ruger is a pretender, and you can’t get the real thing without spending the extra money. We could have compared the .480 Ruger with the high-pressure, light-bullet 454 Casull, (which I regard as useless); or with a properly loaded .45 LC Ruger, though this latter would have made the .480 look even worse.

—Ray Ordorica

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Surplus Comments
I agree with your assessments on the surplus rifles in the August 2001 issue; the only conclusion that I would differ on would be on the 8mm Mauser bolt action Gun Tests bought. A like-new one can be had for $150 retail, not FFL wholesale, at some big sports chains nationwide. The current run of arsenal like-new 8mm Mausers is a good opportunity to get a Mauser bolt action that can be easily drilled and scoped by a gunsmith. I have done such on a few of these Yugoslavian Mausers and have found them shooting less than 2 inches at 100 yards with Sellier & Bellot FMJ and softpoints. Ammunition is either very, very cheap corrosive surplus or through the Shotgun News vendors, one can buy new factory Sellier & Bellot 8mmx57JS for only $6 a box/20 plus shipping. That is lower than any .270 Winchester or .30-06 in bulk. The SB ammo is loaded to original specifications, a 196-grain .323 bullet at 2,600 fps, with about 3,000 ft.-lbs. of energy per SB’s ballistics table. That is a good hunting load for North America. Historically, the U.S. Army had to respond to the advent of the 8mm Mauser cartridge by elongating the case and necking it down to arrive at the .30-06, as per the history books.

Even the Springfield rifles in .30-06 were Mauser based and royalties had to be paid to Mauser. The U.S. factory 8x57mm ammo is downloaded as there are some older 8mm Mausers that originally were .318, thus a .323 bullet would be dangerous to fire in them.

What these old but excellent condition 8mm Mausers offer is a bigger and heavier bullet than most .30 loads, but at the same recoil and at a lower price if you buy in bulk. Of course, the .30-06 and .270 are much flatter due to smaller and lighter bullets, but some guys like bigger slugs without having to shoot .338s. The rifles are well made and easily customized or even wildcatted, as about half the sporting arms in the world are derived from the Mausers.

The typical casual rifle shooter would not go out of his way to do what I have done, but after I was initially drawn to the low price of the 8mm Mausers, I found them to be quite a lot of fun and very flexible.

For the price of new Remington or Winchester, you can get three or four Yugoslavian Mausers and modify each one differently. The 8x57mm won’t die anytime soon, it is the .30-06 of Europe.

-K.P. Lee
Olympia, WA