May 2005

Firing Line: 05/05

Other Solutions
Re “Getting Bores Clean: Copper Solvents Require Elbow Grease,” February 2005:

I know that it is impossible for you to test every product on the market, but I do wish you had included two of what I consider to be well-known brands in your evaluation of copper solvents. One is Hoppe’s Bench Rest 9, and the other is Butch’s Bore Shine. Both of these products are sold by Brownells. You even made reference to “Hoppe’s No. 9” in your article (without regard to whether it was the “old” No. 9 Nitro-Solvent or the “newer” Bench Rest 9 Copper Solvent), but you did not give any evaluation of the Hoppe’s product. I have used both of the Hoppe’s products for many years and have always felt they did a good job at their respective cleaning tasks on rifles, shotguns, and revolvers. Recently, I have been using Butch’s Bore Shine on rifles, and it also appears to do a good job as far as I can tell.

However, I have been curious about how good each of these cleaners really is for various cleaning duties, but I am not equipped to do comprehensive tests. I have tried some products in the past that were clearly inferior (I won’t call any names here), but it is hard to determine the best of several that appear good. Hopefully, in the future you can include Hoppe’s and Butch’s in your tests. In the meantime, I am going to try the Montana X-treme 50 BMG you evaluated highly in the article.

Joe Seall

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Just read my new issue of Gun Tests and really enjoyed the article on bore cleaners. I’ve got as many bore-cleaning solutions as I do guns. I have tried Montana Extreme regular and had good results; I guess I’ll have to try 50 BMG now. But I’d like to know if you guys have ever tried Copper Melt. Brownells is carrying this now, and it’s much easier to come by than ordering from Canada, where the product is made. I’ve had great results with this product. It ranks number one and Montana Extreme is number two. Thanks for your time and a great mag.

Chuck Stewart

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Next time see if you can find time to review Wipe-Out. It’s available from Brownells. The stuff is really too good to be true. There’s the original version, an accelerator for it, and an “improved” version. I’ve only used the original without the accelerator. I have a (nearly new) Remington 700 .22-250 with a horrible factory bore that used to take hours to clean. Now, I first get the carbon fouling out with Ed’s Red. One wet patch, let it soak 20 seconds, a few strokes with a brush, dry patch. There will still be lots of copper in the bore. Then I blow the bore full of Wipe Out and let it soak for 20 minutes. Run a couple of dry patches through on a jag, repeat. It comes out clean. I’ll probably never use anything else for copper fouling. I’ve used Wipe Out on all of my rifles from the .223 to the .338 Lapua.

Extraordinary stuff. No more tired elbow. I can clean a dozen or more rifles in about an hour. While the first one is soaking, I go to the next one I’ve tried Shooter’s Choice, Sweet’s, Hoppe’s, Bench Rest. They’re all in a different, lower league.

The only other cleaners I need are Ed’s Red and a non-chlorinated brake cleaner, both for applications different than copper removal.

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.45 GAP Not Needed
Re “Self-Defense .45 GAP Loads: None Have Everything We Want,” February 2005:

I think Col. Cooper’s description of “an answer looking for a question” suits the .45 GAP perfectly. It baffles me as to what the .45 GAP will do that the .45 ACP won’t do. Carry a few more cartridges in the weapon? If eight rounds won’t solve the problem, you are in way over your head and need something bigger. I will stay with my 1911/.45 ACP, thank you, and consider myself adequately armed.

Walter Van Wart
West Point, Texas

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A ‘PRK’-Version of Gun Tests
It just gets more and more frustrating; time and again I read a test comparing Guns That I Cannot Buy here in the Peoples’ Republik of Kalifornia! Far too often I simply cannot buy any of the guns in a particular test. A few examples: 11/03: “A Trio of Russian Rifles.” 01/05: “A Roller Locked Trio.” Anything AR-like; Bushmasters, Carbon-15s, etc., or just about Anything in .223 caliber. I’ve been a subscriber for approximately 10 Years, but especially now that the so-called assault-weapons ban has expired, I expect I’ll see more Guns I Cannot Buy.

I doubt that I’m alone in this, but I would bet that those in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New York may be similarly handcuffed and are writing to you about it.

I fear that in order to keep thousands of subscribers, you may have to print a special edition for California and other such states. I cannot imagine that this would cause you too much undue expense, and it may keep subscribers who are as fed up as I am in reading about all the cool weaponry that I can’t have.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest! I’ll be watching and waiting to see if, indeed, my suggestion yields any action.

F.L. Field, III
Santa Barbara, California


Regrettably, we won’t be able to produce special editions, in part because it would be unduly expensive, but also because I can’t keep up with all the state configuration restrictions on handguns, rifle capacity, and grip style changes for shotguns. —Todd Woodard

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Ammunition Reviews
I was enticed to subscribe by an ad that claimed there were reviews of .22-caliber Long Rifle ammunition. I haven’t seen any so far, nor could I find any in the archives. Do any really exist? And if so, how can I access them?

Michael Stogre


There are four .22 ammo tests on the Gun Tests website, and they can be downloaded free of charge. Log on to gun-tests.com, click on the “Tools & Techniques” button, click on the “Ammunition” link, and the ammo reviews are listed below that header. Currently posted are “.22 LR Handgun Ammo Test: Federal Target Is A Best Buy”; “High-End .22 LR Ammo: Buy Federal UltraMatch”; “Pricey .22 Ammo: We Pick Fiocchi”; and “.22 Pistol-Ammo Test: Federal Classic is a Best Buy.” —Todd Woodard

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How About PowR Ball?
Re “9mm +P and +P+ Cartridges: Winchester and Remington Win,” March 2005:

I’ve just finished reading the article on the 9mm +P and +P+ ammunition. Is there any chance of an upcoming article on the PowR Ball line of ammo? I’m especially interested in the 9mm Glocks and how the Commander-sized S&W 1911 series handles the PowR Ball .45. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Mike Crichton
Riverside, California


I’ve forwarded your request to Kevin Winkle, who handles the ammo testing. We’re currently casting around for different tests, so it may be a few months before we come back around to .45 ACP rounds. —Todd Woodard

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How About Cor-Bon?
Good information on the 9mms, but, since +P+ ammunition is not readily available, it would have been nice to see the Cor-Bon +P 115-grain round, advertised at 1350 fps, compared.

It was interesting to see that none of the +P+ rounds tested generated the 1350 fps velocities we read about. Since many of us have a number of 9mm autos (I have seven), there is interest in the 9mm and ammunition that will maximize its efficiency. The 9mm with good bullets is a great gun. It is accurate, easy to shoot, has minimum recoil, and is really a winner.

I, of course, like all guns and purchased the Sig 239 in .357 Sig after your fantastic review last year. You were right. It is a classic in balance, where weight is concentrated in the hand and recoil is absorbed and controlled. The first .357 Sig I shot, a Glock, had a most awkward/unpleasant/unacceptable recoil that really affected follow-up shots.

I purchased the new Ruger P345 in .45 with decocker/safety before your review. I am a Ruger fan, but this gun has a double-action trigger that is impossible. I just run out of room in a long, hard trigger pull. The only way I can pull the double-action trigger is with the tip of my trigger finger. I like the feel, but an excellent new design is just wasted, in my opinion. I have a Smith 5906 9mm with a difficult/awkward double-action trigger that I have kept because it is accurate, and I like the beauty of this stainless gun.

In your opinion, could the Ruger or Smith triggers be corrected by a gunsmith? Thanks, I look forward to the results of your work each month.

Howard W. Tignor
Waynesboro, Tennessee


For trigger work, try Ross Carter at Carter Custom Weaponry, 302 West Central Ave., Harrison, AR 72601, (870) 741-2265, ross@cartercustom.com. —Todd Woodard

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Pre-Subscription Question
Does your magazine track problems with guns as they begin to age? Like a lot of people, I buy used guns. I’d be interested in knowing about any problems that may not have been evident when the gun was new, but that developed as the gun got older.

Adam Zivitz


We periodically do tests of used guns whose cartridge count has been recorded by retailers. That way, we’re able to get access to guns that have fired 10,000 or 50,000 or more rounds in their lives. —Todd Woodard

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Seeing Clearly On Optics
Re “Binoculars Test, Part I: Leupold 10x40s Beat Bushnell, Steiner,” April 2005:

Testing optics is a great idea. I have a $400 scope, $500 binoculars, and a $680 rifle. Optics are just as big a part of the sporting equation as are firearms, and we have a real need to see how they perform!

Tom McGinley
San Carlos, California

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.45 LC Revolvers
Re “Three Cowboy Action Revolvers: Ruger, Beretta, and Cabela’s,” March 2005:

Thanks for reading my mind. I just about bought a Cabela’s Milennium when I learned that Ruger is coming out with a new smaller-frame Vaquero, and Beretta bought Uberti. I decided to wait for Gun Tests to weigh in before buying.

What a surprise your test revealed. The cheapest gun was the best, and a Uberti product outclassed the Beretta, which came with broken grips. Would I have been furious to take it out of the box? Then a Ruger that first works and then stops indexing after the factory reworked it? A revolver without correct timing is worthless, not a Conditional Buy. Glad I waited for your report.

Gerhard Gotzmann
El Paso, Texas


The Ruger New Vaquero we reported on in the March 2005 issue got a Conditional Buy rating because it skipped chambers frequently. We thought the problem was not serious, said so, and sent the gun to the factory for examination. We just got it back, with the note that the gun had been slightly misassembled (which we had suspected). The gun now works perfectly, and easily rates “Our Pick.” It’s a clear winner. In the same test we discussed the Beretta Stampede, which we noted arrived with cracked grip panels. We finally heard from Beretta on this matter, and replacement grip panels are now on the way.

If you’ve had recent problems contacting Beretta USA, one of the company’s key personnel recently left and has yet to be replaced. Please be patient. —Ray Ordorica

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Curing the Ruger No. 1
Re “Don Bower’s (Almost) Ultra Precise Ruger No. 1,” March 2005:

My Ruger No. 1 .25-06 behaves the same way, in that it gives me a flier every now and again. I have been told that the cure is a screw between the shaft (under the barrel), using a tapped hole in the shaft, and the barrel itself, drilled vertically. This doesn’t make any sense to me because I believe the root cause of the inaccuracy is the action of the springs that are mounted on that shaft vibrating and transferring that vibration to the barrel through the wooden forend. My reasoning is that, because the forend is held on by only one screw and its contact with the barrel at its front edge, the barrel is not free floating and is thereby subject to random pressures from the springs and the wood.

I think that I proved this when I took the forend off and fired the weapon without it, using a sandbag as a rest. I did not get any fliers.

I would welcome any comments from your readers, or yourselves, because otherwise this is a fine-looking rifle, and I would like to shoot it with the confidence that I have in my other rifles.

Mert Wreford