February 2007

Firing Line 02/07

Re "Small .45s for Concealed Carry:

Light DA Versus Single Action," January 2006

I am chagrinned at the "Don’t Buy" rating you gave the Para Ordnance CCO CWX745S .45 ACP. I re-read your review on this piece, and your were entirely laudatory, your only reservation being its price, and that on the basis that you had tested a cheaper (operative term) plastic gun that would send the same bullets down range.

Give it a "Conditional Buy" if you must, but do not presume to tell me or anyone else not to buy this piece simply because you think it is too expensive. Given the price tags on some of the other guns you recommend, the Para Ordnance is a steal.

Para Ordance CCO
And yes, I know the politically correct term is "polymer," not "plastic." But as a chemist, I know that "polymer" is not specific compound; rather, it is a generic name applied to all manner of substances made up of repeating units in long chains. The hair on your head, the meat on your plate, the bag you brought from the grocery store and the plastic pistols are all examples of polymers.

Synthetic polymers, commonly thermosetting and capable of being molded, extruded, cast or the like are plastics. Certainly they have many different properties, but plastic they remain. I have little respect for anything plastic and I refuse, as do a number of my fellow officers, to stake my life on a plastic piece.

I own a Para Ordnance .45 ACP P1445 with LDA and Power extractor and the thing is excellent in all respects. It is a far better recommendation to buy Para Ordnance than your concerns about price are not to.

Clayton W. Freeark

Alamosa County Sheriff’s Posse

Actually, what we said was this: "Para Ordnance CCO CWX745S .45 ACP, $1049. Don’t Buy. Though accurate, easy to shoot, slim, and snag free, the CCO was not as light as it looked, and we’d like to see it fitted with eight-round magazines just like a full-size pistol. The Taurus Pro PT 745C .45 ACP is lighter and smaller and costs substantially less money, so we’re hard-pressed to recommend the CCO. However, many shooters might consider the CCO a Conditional Buy or even a Buy It if they want a metal-frame gun instead of polymer." Sounds a lot like what you just said. — Todd Woodard

Re "Iron-Sighted Single Shots: Buy NEF’s

Handi-Rifle in .22 Hornet," January 2007

It was good to see your test of the Handi-Rifle. I own five of these rifles by NEF and H&R in calibers from .22 WMR up to .25-06. They are not my best guns, but they are an excellent buy and always fun to shoot. If you call the factory, they are very cordial and helpful to their customers.

My .223 with a varmint scope shoots 1-inch five-shot groups on a good day with reloads. These guns tend to shoot best after running a dry patch through the clean barrel and then firing about five fouling shots to "prime" the barrel, so to speak. I always take my .223 hunting with a slightly dirty bore. These guns also shoot better after about 200 shots through a new barrel. I have only noticed "stringing" when firing the fouling shots, or if I let the barrel get too warm. At the gun range I run an oily patch and two dry patches through the barrel every five or 10 shots.

If a person wishes to scope one of these guns, the factory has an excellent Weaver base with multiple slots for excellent positioning of the scope. (Their rifles without iron sights come with this base.) Add $16 Leupold Weaver-style rings from Wal-mart and the base will accept up to 50mm objective scopes with good clearance to the barrel and to the hammer. It is important to remember that the hammer can hit the underside of the scope if the scope bases are too low. NEF’s hammer spur is a must to use with the scope; it is a good quality spur, as it will not slip from the thumb (good knurling). But, for safety, be sure that the spur is tightly secured to the hammer via its Allen setscrew.

Some shooters do have an occasional problem with a fired case sticking in the chamber. Clean brass, clean chamber, clean ejector, and properly-sized brass usually eliminates this problem. A take-apart cleaning rod can be kept in the hunting bag in the deer stand for emergency removal of a fired case (but the deer is already dead, right?).

Getting a second barrel requires shipping the gun action to the factory for them to fit the new barrel to the action; they also mark the second barrel with the gun’s serial number. An owner must not switch barrels and actions without this factory fitting of the barrel to the action.

The only real complaint that I have about these guns is that they can have some sharp edges in the concealed areas, but that is a reflection of the low price tag. A jeweler’s file can take of this issue. The exterior fit and finish are entirely acceptable.

John Blanton

Carrollton, TX

Re "A Pair of Tiny Pocket 9mms: We Pick

The PM9 Over the R9s," August 2004

After seeing your "Buy It" recommendation for Kahr’s PM9 in the August 2004 issue, I did just that. It now holds a place in my front pocket formerly held by my Seecamp .32 ACP. I love my Seecamp, except for that .32 part. The Kahr is a great pocket pistol, with one caveat. When a couple of women friends shot it, its light weight and their lack of wrist strength resulted in repeated failures to return to battery after recoil. This may be an issue for women (and some men) shooters.

New England Fireams Handi-Rifle
After reading your review of the Super Redhawk Alaskan in April 2006, I was torn. It sounded like a great gun, but I waited for the inevitable release of the .44 Magnum. One definition of manhood (or lunacy) is shooting .454s in a 44-ounce gun. I suspect your staff agreed. While I have a few magnumized Buffalo Bore .45 Colts around, .45 Colt magnum loads aren’t easy to find in my local gun store. They also make little rings in the .454 cylinders that I’m not fond of cleaning. I’ve shot my .44 Alaskan with 240-grain Federal Hydra-Shoks and with Buffalo Bore’s new 250-grain "reduced"-recoil bear loads. The recoil is stout, but not unpleasant, and it shoots 3-inch groups. My wife can shoot .44 Specials in it with her weak hand, if she’s willing to clean the little chamber rings.

An article on AR carbines in your October 2006 issue mentioned that mounting a Bushnell Holosight would require a riser. I was in the market for a rear flip-up sight for an M4A3, and contacted Bushmaster. A rep said the Holosight should co-witness with my iron sights. He was right. After zeroing the iron sights, I used them to help aim the Holosight. When aligned, the 1-MOA dot dances brightly atop my front sight.

I look forward to many more years of Gun Tests.

Steve Funk

Re "A Brace of Full-Size .22 Autos:

We Would Buy The Wolverine," May 2006

I purchased a Olympic Arms Whitney Wolverine pistol because of your recommendation. It had a feeding problem, and the adjustable sights were off. I wrote to company twice about my problems, and returned the gun to the company once. It is now being checked out by the gunsmith at the Armory Gun Shop. The dealer is trying to make thing right with this pistol. At present, I am not happy with the Wolverine pistol.

Thought you ought to know about these problems.

Michael Cherneky

Portsmouth, Virginia

Re "Guns of the Year," December 2006

Kahr PM9
On page 7, you have your review on the Walther P22 WAP2203 with an "Our Pick". Then on page 20 you have a list of 2006 "Don’t Buy" guns, and listed there is the P22 WAP22005 model. It is my understanding the only difference is the length of the barrel. What month did the review for the WAP22005 come out, and what made you give one a good review and not the other?

Love your monthly journal. I find the information valuable and informative.

Kevin Ensign

This has confused a lot of readers, especially newbies who didn’t see Ray Ordorica’s original review in the February 2006 issue. Excerpts from the reviews of the two guns should make our reasons for liking one and not the other pretty clear. We rated the Walther P22 WAP22003 an Our Pick. Ray wrote, "It was completely reliable in our limited shooting, and shot very well, with many five-shot groups going around an inch at 15 yards. … We think this model, with its 3.4-inch-long barrel, is by far the better setup of the two P22s available, the longer one having given us fits.…" Of the Walther P22 WAP22005, we said, "Don’t Buy. The shorter one

Olympic Arms Whitney Wolverine
did it all, despite its having its front sight on the slide instead of on the barrel. … At first we really liked this version with its 5-inch barrel and its false brake, but over the course of our testing, our opinion changed." —Todd Woodard

Test Requests

I am a subscriber to your magazine and enjoy your honesty very much. I grew up around firearms, carried one everyday on the job for 22 years, and now that I am retired I still carry one every day here on the ranch. I have a great diversity in my firearms.

Have you ever, or are you going to do, any evaluations on the Colt Defender and the Baby Eagle in .40 S&W? I would be very interested in your evaluations of these two pistols. Keep up with the excellent work with your magazine.

John W. Miller

MSG of MP’s, USA, Retired

We tested the Colt Defender in our November 2001 issue where it bested a similar model from Springfield Armory. Recently, I handled a 2006 Colt Defender and thought it was a very good choice. But I like the Lightweight Commanders better because of the increased sight radius and the option of utilizing eight- and even ten-round magazines. We have tested the Baby Eagle

Walther P22
chambered for 9mm (October 2000), but need to evaluate the .40 S&W model in the near future. In the meantime, reading these back issues may be helpful. Thanks for writing, and thank you for your military service. —Roger Eckstine

Re ".40 S&W Carbines: We Shoot Hi-Point,

Beretta, Olympic Arms," May 2006

Just got through reading your article on the Hi-Point .40 carbine, well done with the following exception:

You quote a cost of $225. I assume it to be retail. Per Jerry’s Sport Center catalog, that carbine will cost a dealer $199.95 plus shipping. If you consider $10 or $15 dollars in mark-up enough to cover other dealer expenses and show a net profit, you are in the wrong business.

I don’t know where you buy your rifles, but if you are paying less than I can buy for, let me know whom to contact.

A Small Pennsylvania Dealer

The manufacturer’s suggested retail (which we quoted) of the Hi-Point 4095B gun we tested is $225. Log on to www.hi-pointfirearms.com/40_carbine.asp to check that. —Todd Woodard