September 2006

Firing Line: 09/06

Re "Big-Bore Revolvers:
For Power, Choose Rugerís Super Redhawk," April 2006

I was glad to see a review of the .454 Alaskan. I live in the mountains of the West, and I would like to see more comments or an article comparing what we call "bear guns" here. I assume most .454 loads are too much for this gunís weight, but would like your staffís opinion. Ruger now has their Alaskan out in .44 Magnum. Is this a better choice than the .454? S&W has their new .460 XVR in short-barreled and survival packages. Are the recoil, flash, and blast from these guns too much? Iíve thought of getting a Taurus tracker in .44. Is it too light for the load?

For those of us who carry in bear country, concealability (yep, even with bear guns) is also a factor in deciding what gun to purchase. While the West is generally gun friendly, itís also full of gun-hating hippies, granolas, and transplants who will harass or even lie to authorities to cause trouble for those who pack guns. Thanks, and keep up the great work!

Steve Funk

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Re ".357 Mag. Service Revolvers:
Ruger Outduels Taurus, S&W," August 2006

Your August article was completely unfair to Smith & Wesson. Why? Because you did not test the most comparable S&W model to the Ruger and Taurus models, which both had one-piece, full-lug barrels with adjustable sights. The comparable S&W model is the 686 Plus. I happen to own this fine revolver, and I find that it has none of the shortcomings you noted for the Model 619, which has a two-piece barrel with no underlug and fixed sights. I would bet that the Model 686 Plus would have earned an "Our Pick" and a "Best Buy" rating if you had stuck to comparing apples with apples.

George Glendenning
Las Vegas, Nevada

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You fault the S&W 619 for its unshrouded ejector rod and fixed sights, while praising the Taurus 66 and Ruger GP100 for providing ejector shrouds and adjustables. But why didnít you test the S&W 620 instead, since it has the same features as the Taurus and the Ruger? The 620 is the appropriate gun in the niche you chose to examine, while the 619 is the plain Jane version.

Even so, it should not, of course, have the crappy DA pull of your sample.

John Roemer
Parkton, Maryland


We reviewed the 686 Plus in the January 2002 issue, and considered a re-review redundant. Perhaps the 619 suffered unfairly as a result. óTodd Woodard

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Re "New Semi-Auto Power Pistols:
Springfieldís XD 45 Is A Winner," August 2006

I just got my July issue and as usual sat right down and read it cover to cover. As usual I learned some new stuff.

1. Iíve been holstering my 1911s wrong for about 25 years, including qualifying twice a year for 20 years in the navy. I have never held my thumb on the slide to keep it from moving, since the safety does not lock the slide (as stated on pages 6-7). This method of holstering a 1911 has also never been mentioned at any firearms class or IPSC/IDPA safety brief I have ever attended.

2. All my 1911s are apparently broken since they all lock the slide when the safety is engaged.

All kidding aside, it makes me wonder when I read comments like this about firearms I am familiar with whether I should trust your comments about other firearms.

All in all, you guys do a great job testing firearms without bias. Keep up the good work.

Jim Wamsher


The text in question reads, "When holstering a handgun that does not lock the slide in place when the safety is applied, (such as a 1911), it is wise to place the thumb over the rear of the slide or behind the hammer." Obviously, that sentence needed work: Try this instead: "When holstering a handgun that does not lock the slide in place when the safety is applied (unlike the thumb safety on a 1911, which locks the slide), it is wise to place the thumb over the rear of the slide or behind the hammer." óRoger Eckstine

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In your review, you note the lack of a thumb safety as a negative on the Springfield Armory XD 45 and S&W M&P40 DAO pistols, yet in the same issue, you review three service revolvers with no such qualms. Although it is not customary to equip revolvers with mechanical safeties, it certainly can be (and has been) done. It seems to me that if safety-less revolvers are acceptable service and carry weapons, then safety-less automatics are as well. In my view, this is more an issue of proper drill and training than firearm design.

Klebert L. Hall
Foster, Rhode Island

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Re "High-End Rimfires:
We Narrowly Pick Anschutz Over Kimber," July 2006

While I enjoyed your article, it failed to answer the basic question posed in your subtitle. Specifically, are they worth the extra money? Clearly, you showed the performance of these guns. What you omitted was a demonstration of how the less expensive guns compared to that performance. It would have been nice to compare the performance of a $400 CZ, such as the American Classic, with the performance of the Anschutz and Kimber.

Jethro Currie, Jr.

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"The Ö barrel on the Anschutz Ö exceeds the Kimberís by about 1 inch, but, surprisingly, it ... produced bullet velocities 40 fps slower than the Kimber."

It shouldnít be so surprising. Obviously, Kevin Winkle isnít well-acquainted with .22 cartridge performance. Several years ago, the issue of barrel length and velocity was explored in an American Rifleman article. The conclusion was that maximum velocity was achieved at 16- to 18-inch barrel lengths, with velocity dropping off for longer barrels. The only exception was with CCI Stinger ammunition, which showed increasing velocity out to 24 inches. If you are shooting regular high-velocity ammo in your .22, the only advantage of a longer barrel is sight radius.

Denton Warn
Hutchinson, Kansas

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Re "Firing Line," July 2006

I hate to keep dredging up the past, but some comments in "Firing Line" in the July 2006 issue regarding your review of the Hi-Point C9 (May 2006) prompted me to write. Iím a full-time police-academy instructor. One of my duties is to be a firearms expert for the state attorneyís office, test-firing guns that were used in crimes to prove they will function. I have test-fired many, many Hi-Points of all calibers, in all kinds of conditions, and I have yet to see one that did not work properly. Not saying Iíd want to buy one ó they are very top heavy, triggers tend to be mushy, safety is very small, ergonomics are poor; but they are inexpensive and, in my experience, reliable.

Itís all well and good to prefer a $2000 custom 1911, but not everyone has that kind of money, and for someone strapped for cash, Hi-Point is not a bad choice. FYI, there has been at least one change in the design along the way. Newer Hi-Point pistols have a magazine disconnect safety that older ones didnít have. I donít know when this happened.

PFC Tim Lose
Anne Arundel County Police Academy
Davidsonville, Maryland