October 2002

Firing Line: 10/02

Where’s the FEG?
Re: August 2002 issue, “Buy the Real Thing! Hi-Power 9mm Clones Come Up Short”: I enjoyed the evaluation of the 9mm Hi-Power versus its clones. I was disappointed, however, that you left out the FEG PJK-9HP and the Israeli Kareem.

I haven’t seen a Kareem, but I own and shoot an FEG. Except for the muzzle end of the slide, it’s a faithful knock-off of the Hi-Power. It shoots well and I have never had a mechanical malfunction or failure of any kind. I do get occasional hammer bite at the thumb web. I have also owned a Belgian Hi-Power, which I lost to a divorce lawyer’s fees. The FEG is not that nice, but it does have very good fit and finish. At less than $300, it’s a good buy.

-Name Withheld
@cs.com

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Gunsmith Needed
Good article on the Browning HPs. I purchased one of the HPs in .40 S&W last year. No doubt it is a handful compared to the 9mm. But I still love it. In your article there is a statement about “list of gunsmiths that offer modification to the HP, we see a very exclusive list of some of the better shops.” I am looking at having some trigger work done on my HP in the near future. The standard trigger pull is a little high for accurate target work. I have contacted Cylinder & Slide, Gunsite and Alpha & Omega. Can you supply me a few more names of shops that you know work on the HPs? All seem to have a different opinion on what is the best way to go with modifications, so it’s best to talk around some more until I can get a better feel for the options available.

-Jeff Blackmon
@sbcglobal.net


I am sure there are any number of gunsmiths who can perform a trigger job on the HP. Mechanically, there are few, if any, options to achieve this. I chose to mention C&S because they offer a complete package. Robar is another house that works on HPs. -Roger Eckstine

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FEGS?
I enjoyed the article on the Browning HP and the clones. I was hoping to see if you had an opinion on the FEG HP. There is currently an article in Guns Buyer’s Annual 2002 which rates this particular model as good to satisfactory. I own one and find it as good as the GBA article states, although this did take some experimentation in terms of ammo selection and slight trigger adjustment. I’m a long way from being an expert, but the gun shoots very well with 124-grain ball and groups at 1.0 to 1.5 inches at 15 to 20 yards offhand. Please let me know what you guys think of the FEG HP. You don’t have to be nice, I’ve heard it all anyway.

-R.Spencer
@tutogen.com


We weren’t able to include the FEG in the lastest Hi-Power test because there were already four guns in the test. Perhaps we’ll have a chance to look at the FEG down the road. -Todd Woodard

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Loading Difficulties
Re: August 2002 issue, “.22 Hornet Buzz: CZ’s 527 Lux Varmint Rifle is Our Pick”: Mr. Ordorica comments that he had difficulty single-loading the CZ into the chamber. If, in fact, the CZ has a true controlled-feed Mauser type action, that might explain his difficulty. As I understand it the controlled-feed action does not allow for single-loading since the cartridges are supposed to slip up behind the extractor on the open bolt as they rise out of the magazine. This is what provides the controlled-feed aspect of the Mauser action. If one attempts to single-load a round into the chamber, the extractor is forced to snap over the cartridge rim as the bolt seats the round into the chamber, contrary to the design intent and at some considerable risk of damage to the extractor. Just an observation based on several articles I have read on the Mauser design. I’m no expert.

-Dick Rinehart
Walton, KY


Sorry, Mr. Rinehart, that was not the problem. I am fully familiar with the Mauser design, having owned many rifles over the years and built a few custom rifles with controlled feed. The extractor of the CZ snapped over the chambered round easily enough. The trouble was that the rear edge of the chamber was three-quarters of an inch deep within the rear action ring, a design necessity caused by the front-placed locking lugs on the bolt. A round placed loosely into the action would not hit that tiny hole with ease. The alternative was to stick the nose of the cartridge into the rear of the action and fish around in the dark to find the chamber opening. The cure for this is very simple: Place each round into the magazine, from which feeding was perfect. -Ray Ordorica

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Ruger .22 Hornet Mags
The August 2002 edition was great, covering four groups of guns I’ve either purchased or considered. I bought a Ruger 77/22 All Weather (the laminated stock target version you mentioned) in .22 Hornet late last year and had trouble with the rotary magazine. After inserting five rounds, the magazine would usually stick after feeding two rounds. Disassembly of the magazine showed that there was a spur (left from plastic injection molding) on the rotary feeder, the spur coming in contact with the inside wall of the magazine. I used a fine single-cut file to remove the spur, sent a letter to Ruger because I considered the issue a possible safety issue, and they promptly sent me a second (also defective) magazine. Of course, I fixed that one too.

The rifle shoots great, with a very nice factory trigger, and I don’t have any more feeding problems. I expect it will shoot even better now that I have free-floated the barrel and epoxy/glass-bedded the action. The .22 Hornet is a great round.

-David Armbruster
@aol.com

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Ruger Ammo Selections
Just received my very first issue of Gun Tests magazine, and would like to comment on the test result of the Ruger, with regard to ammo used. I’ve had my laminated-stock with the target gray stainless barrel for about a year. I’ve been both pleased and frustrated owning this rifle, but as far as ammo is concerned, it shoots best with Winchester 46-grain soft-points. It’s very sensitive to ammo changes, even as much as shooting the same load in HP, you would have to re-sight the gun. I tried a box of the (very expensive) Hornadys in 35-grain, and it threw them all over the place at 100 yards. I can’t comment on the Winchester Supremes, as I haven’t tried them, being afraid to and having to start the whole process over again. I’ve never owned another rifle that is this sensitive to ammunition.

The lack of smoothness in ejecting rounds sounded familiar, but worked itself out over time. It now feeds perfectly, but it is still a pain to remove the magazine at times.

Finally, I would like someone to advise me if the trigger could be worked on or replaced with an adjustable trigger by a competent gunsmith. It to too stiff for my tastes.

-Stephen S. Davis
@dtex.com


Yes, a competent gunsmith can smooth and lighten the Ruger’s trigger. -Todd Woodard

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Blackpowder Revolvers
Re: August 2002 issue, “Firing Line, Getting A Grip”: I enjoyed your article on blackpowder revolvers and Joe Dantone’s response to it in the August issue. I agree that the 1860 Army is very beautiful, and its longer grip has always been my favorite single-action grip, because it does not let my pinky dangle like the 1851 Navy and SAA. Might I suggest that Mr. Dantone can have his cake and eat it too! He can simply buy an 1861 round-barreled Navy which combines the barrel and ramrod style of the Army with the balance and grip size of the 1851 Navy. Problem solved!

-A.J. Siarkowski
@telenet.net

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Auto Rims?
Re: August 2002 issue, “.45 ACP Wheelguns: We Evaluate Smith & Wesson, Taurus Big Bores”: I read the review of both of these revolvers and was pleased with the report. The one bit of info that I wish you would have included was whether or not the revolvers would be able to use .45 Auto Rim instead of the moon/halfmoon clips.

-Brian Zielke
@execpc.com


According to S&W the Auto Rim will function in the 625s. S&W does not advertise it because they feel the expense and lack of availabilty of Auto Rim cartridges will turn buyers off. The ejector system of the 625 does not directly touch the rims of the cases and requires that the rounds of either .45 ACP or Auto Rim be mounted in a moon clip. -Roger Eckstine

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.45 ACPs For Tracker
I had purchased a 6-inch Tracker prior to your article in the August issue. I have fired four different kinds of bullets — all lead — through the gun. Lyman 185 grain, 200 grain SWC, and a 255-grain SWC, all heat treated; and a 230-grain round nose, straight wheel weights. They all shot excellent. Things you didn’t mention in your article which surprised me were that the chambers are numbered, and the chamber seems to be short. In my old 1917 Smith & Wesson on the 255-grain bullet, I could roll-crimp them into the crimping groove and they chambered fine. I cannot do that with the Taurus at all. It shoots excellent anyway.

I wrote Taurus about extra moon clips, and I have a letter back from customer service; for five clips it would cost $39 plus $4.75 for shipping, which I think is a little high. The clips seem to be flimsy. I’m not happy with them and think they’re the weak link. But my 6-inch shoots excellent. And according to the Taurus website, the company is coming out with a .45 Long Colt in the same configuration, 4- and 6-inch barrels, which I think would be interesting.

-Gregory Rollberg
@highstream.net.

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Carbon 15 Club
Re: Sept. 2002 issue, “Firing Line”: Yet another edition with letters about the Pro Ordnance Carbon 15! I’ve only been a subscriber for a couple of years, but it looks like the little rifle that could has generated a fair amount of mail.

Well, after the latest comments in your letters section, I decided to trade mine. I have to say, that even with its problems, I still enjoyed shooting the thing, and felt almost like a bad parent or something when I took it to the gun store. They actually offered more than I expected, or at least more than they have offered me on other guns I’ve taken to them. For whatever reason, I decided to hold off. A couple of days ago I took the rifle back out to the range for a session with the Aimpoint that I have on it. To my astonishment, it worked flawlessly shooting Wolf 55-grain FMJs. This is the same stuff it has coughed over many times before. It actually has coughed over everything I’ve tried in the past. After the 30-round plastic mag that comes with the gun (while supplies last) performed without a problem, I was emboldened. I dared to try the two other magazines that have seemed to give me more problems than the 30-rounder. To my astonishment all performed flawlessly.

God knows what awaits me next time out, but for now the part of me that loves the little bugger is grinning like a Cheshire cat. I feel like I’m in a club, kind of like when I owned a Macintosh computer.

I note with interest that Professional Ordnance has come out with a 7.62x39-caliber version of the rifle, and they advertise some new gas operating system. Maybe they are listening to customers’ complaints after all. I actually thought about buying one of those.

I sure would like to communicate with the guy who wrote about the proper procedure for lubricating the bolt (and only the bolt). It was as if reading his letter and the near abandonment of my Carbon 15 caused it to shape up before it got shipped out. I’m going to keep that sucker a while longer.

-Robert Finch
@wfubmc.edu

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FAL Test
Re: Sept. 2002 issue, “FAL Rifle Test: Do Less Expensive Models Make Sense For You?” Concerning your recent test of the Century Arms R1A1, the problem you encountered with the bolt catch is not really a problem, rather a characteristic of many civilian-made inch-pattern FAL-type rifles.

This is taken from Century’s manual. “NOTE: On these rifles, the pin in the front of the catch is not long enough to engage the magazine follower. The catch may be engaged by hand to hold the bolt open when the rifle is empty.”

I did not have any problems removing or inserting either magazine with the bolt held open. The gap you refered to between the bolt carrier and receiver is evident, but seems to have no noticeable effect on function. I’ve had a few feed problems, but wonder if that will get better after a few hundred rounds down the pipe. The finish on my R1A1 is first class, and I don’t have a two-tone gun like the ones you received for your test.

My big complaint is the manual for this weapon sucks! You think you would at least get a front-sight tool with it, too. The rear-sight aperture is big enough to drive a truck through. Now as for price, the asking price at a local gun show was $449. After I sold some surplus M-60 parts, I only had to cough up $70. Maybe someday I’ll sell some more and get an Imbel or DSA, but for right now, I’m pretty satisfied.

-Jerry Rivas
Sanford, NC

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FAL Hold Open
I am not sure you are really correct in calling the CAI FALs “defective” because the bolt will not lock back on an empty magazine. On the FAL, the rear of the magazine follower interfaces with a small pin in the holdopen to raise the holdopen when the magazine is empty.

Apparently, the CAI rifles are made with British Commonwealth parts and, for reasons unknown to me, the British removed the pin to eliminate the empty-magazine holdopen feature, though the hole is still there.

So the CAI rifle is not really “defective,” since the original rifle did not have the automatic holdopen; the CAI merely carries over a feature, undesirable or not, of the original rifles.

I simply made and fitted a new pin, a rather easy job, and the bolt on my CAI rifle now stays back on an empty magazine, just like it should.

-Jim Keenan
Middletown, MD

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High-Stress Shooting
Re: Sept. 2002 issue, “Firing Line”: I’m really enjoying my subscription to Gun Tests. I think given the limitations of judging a gun model based on one or two examples, you do a great job of uncovering problem areas to look at when handling an individual weapon at the dealer’s counter. Of course if you had twenty of each model taken from different manufacturing runs, the information would be more accurate, but we’d be paying twenty bucks a copy for the magazine and waiting months between copies.

In response to Mr.Rehak’s letter concerning the need for a super-accurate .45-caliber auto or a large caliber “cop gun” in September’s edition, I’d like to point out the obvious. I’ve been at the wrong end of a handgun eleven times, once with a sawed-off 12 gauge. The distance between the armed person and myself was in all cases less than 2 yards — close enough that a quick step in and a twist of the wrist and the gun was in my hand. At 25 yards, if you are moving, it would take a very good marksman to hit you. At 5 to 10 yards, it is not easy to hit an erratically moving target, even if you are a good shot. Here is a test to try.

Take a center-mass-sized target, a small punching bag full of sand works well. Hang it with a bungee cord from a limb and get it jumping and swinging. Now stand seven paces away and try to shoot it. It is very difficult. If you are very calm and a very good shot, you may graze the target once every 50 rounds or so.

-Kurt Sellers
West End, NC