June 2010

Wild Bunch Pistols Not 45s?

Reader Kimball points out that we had Stars in our eyes instead of Colts. Reader Howard shares an expert’s shooting technique. Reader Jackson moves on down the road—Godspeed to him.

Re "Wild Bunch Pistols: Colt 1918 Leads The Pack, But At A Price," May 2010

Loved the article. However, you stated that the M1911 figured heavily in the 1969 production of Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch. This is incorrect, to a certain extent. Within the storyline, these were the pistols carried by many of the Bunch—but the pistol actually used for filming were Star Model B’s in 9mm. Stars were often used in place of 1911s by prop masters because the Star 9mm pistol was much easier to adapt for blanks than the 45 and was very similar in appearance. Thank you and keep up the good work.

—Blake Kimball
Saint Cloud, Florida

Re "Smith Lover’s Quandary: Is One Of These 9mms Right for You?" April 2010

I read with great interest your recent article on the three S&W 9mm handguns. As an owner of the S&W 952 Performance Center, I can attest to this particular pistol’s ability to be a winner on the target range.

Its Model 52 heritage is evident, and S&W is to be applauded for bringing out a wonderful "cousin" to the old 52 and 52-2.

Your article did not mention, however, that a 6-inch-long-slide variant is available from S&W. My particular 9-52 is the 6-inch-long-slide version. In doing testing last year for load development, using a Ransom Rest, I was able to achieve essentially eight shots in a single hole at 25 yards time after time.

Also, the trigger does get better and better over time and shows no creep or click with well over 10,000 rounds through the tube.

The 952 is one accurate pistol, as your tests revealed. Thank you for that verification!

—Art Gumbus

I really enjoyed the article about bullseye pistol shooting and what to use on those mean old paper targets at 50 and 25 yards. From 1957 to 1960 I was in the Army. I was very blessed with being on the all-DASA (Defense Atomic Support Agency) pistol team two years in a row. We were not given the greatest firearms to compete with, but we did have High Standard Supermatic 22s. Also, we were given S&W 38 Sp. 6-inch revolvers for the centerfire matches. As for 45s, we were given Colt competition models. They were average, but not super. So I purchased a Colt 1943 GI model from the NRA. I sent it to a pistolsmith with instructions to make me a hardball gun. He did just that. I put a good set of sights on it and went to work. I won our post shootoffs two years in a row and did very well on the division level. At the National Matches at Camp Perry, I met the great Jimmy Clark the year he won the National Title. He gave me something he called "group tightener," and it help me relax during the matches. It was 90 proof and very smooth.

—P.C. Howard

P.S. I don’t use "group tightener" any more—haven’t in 25 years.

Re "High-Velocity 45 ACP Loads: Impressive, But Hard to Handle," April 2010

I thoroughly enjoy GT each month, and you have saved me money or helped me choose the right pistol many times. In the April 2010 edition, you tested personal defense ammo, which was very informative. But why did you not test the Hornady Critical Defense brand? This seems to be the trick setup right now, and I have had great success in all my carry guns with this ammo in both 9mm and 45. No misfeeds and very accurate.

—Fred Weeks
Ft. Worth, Texas

No slight on Hornady. In the limitations of time and budget, we just didn’t include it this round. Also, GT reader Allen Smith of Raleigh, NC, checked with Federal about the availability of Hydra-Shok rounds. He wrote them, "I have heard that Federal has discontinued the Hydra-Shok rounds for personal defense. Is this true?" Federal replied, "The Hydra-Shok has not been discontinued nor do we have plans to." In the article, we didn’t mean to imply that the Hydra-Shok line was being discontinued—just that a certain load wasn’t listed for consumer sale. We were specifically looking at the availability of the P45HS2G load, a 45 ACP 185-grain listing. It is listed only on the Federal LE site, and ATK spokesman Jason Nash confirmed that it is restricted to law-enforcement buyers. Eligible buyers can consider it a Grade A selection, but we’ll keep its score as a Grade C because of its limited availability.

—Todd Woodard

Re "22 LR Semiauto Shootout: ISSC, Sig Sauer, and Walther," and "Wild Bunch Pistols: Colt 1918 Leads The Pack, But At A Price," May 2010

I was overjoyed to see that you tested two guns I already own. On the Walther P22, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Its not the most accurate gun in the world, but it’s great as a cheap plinker. The one thing you had against it was the separate pin needed to reassemble the gun. I lost my pin within a week of getting the gun, and I too managed to launch my spring across the room on multiple occasions. But after a few times disassembling and reassembling the gun, you get the hang of it. With just a little practice, it isn’t a problem at all. Now I can reassemble my P22 just as fast and easy as any of my other pistols, and I’m not by any means dexterous. If you’re looking for a semiauto 22, don’t let this dissuade you from the P22.

With the Springfield GI 45 Stainless, I’m not sure which gun you were testing. I didn’t have any problems with break-in. It was perfectly reliable right out of the box. I’ve put all kinds of ammo through it, and never had any problems with reliability. It’s also one of the most accurate pistols in my modest arsenal, and though I don’t benchrest or anything like that, I would venture to say that my GI 45 is as accurate as my Glock 35 (the long-barrel target 40 S&W model). I can see the gun losing points for a heavy trigger and bad sights, but the GI 45 I know and love shouldn’t be getting docked for accuracy and reliability. Judging by the inferior performance of the stainless to its parkerized twin, I’m thinking you found a goofy individual gun.

San Diego, California

Re "22 LR Semiauto Shootout: ISSC, Sig Sauer, and Walther," and "Rim-Tac Rifles, Round II: The Sig 522 Edges Umarex’s M4," May 2010

I enjoyed the rimfire pistol and rifle reviews in the current issue of Gun Tests but was surprised to see in the Accuracy and Chronograph Data sections that the pistols produced more muzzle energy than the rifles. Since this seems counter-intuitive, I’m guessing there must be a logical answer to how a 4-inch barrel outperforms a 16-inch barrel firing 22 Long Rifle ammunition. Please help me to understand.

NW Indiana

First, one of the listings in the pistol test was an editing mistake: the 8 ft.-lbs. energy reading for the CCI Mini-Mag in the ISSC M22 should have been 88 ft.-lbs. of energy. Hat tip to reader Terry Thomas, who was the first to point that out. Otherwise, a lot of things can influence muzzle velocity, from which energy is calculated. But to be sure, I took the two rifles back to the range with the same ammos and rechecked the velocities with another chronograph, and got comparable data. However, the pistols have already moved out of our inventory, so we couldn’t recheck them. One potential answer is that semiautos require differing amounts of gas to operate their actions, so the rifles may have used more than the pistols, thus depressing the rifle velocities. Also, because there were no common ammos (CCI’s Green Tag 40-gr. solid lead roundnose, Remington Golden Bullet brass-plated 36-gr. hollowpoint, and Wolf Match Extra 40-gr. lead roundnose for the rifles and CCI Mini-Mag 40-gr. roundnose, Federal Lightning 40-gr. solid, and Winchester Super 37-gr. hollowpoints for the pistols), it’s hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison. —tw

Re "22 LR Semiauto Shootout: ISSC, Sig Sauer, and Walther," May 2010

Thanks for such a great magazine. I have been a subscriber since 1995 or so and have thoroughly enjoyed the articles and information over the years.

Your recent article on the Sig Sauer Mosquito is very disturbing and has prompted me to send you a letter for the first time. I purchased a Mosquito in October 2008 for several reasons, including teaching firearms fundamentals to my children using a smaller caliber round and then moving them up to a 9mm and .40 S&W. I estimate I have fired 400 rounds through the Mosquito and have not had a single failure to feed or eject problem. I realize the double-action trigger pull is heavy, but in single action it is not at all noticeable, even for my kids.

Obviously, my concern is the firing of a round with an open breech and agree completely with your reasons for stopping the evaluation. I would really hate to have this happen to one of my kids and have them injured and then be hesitant about dealing with firearms.

I for one am extremely interested in any followup on the Mosquito and encourage you to follow through and notify your readers.

—Nicholas Borchard
Apple Valley, California

Please see the letter below. —tw

I am a NRA Certified firearms instructor in the Cleveland Area for Concealed Carry Courses and want to inform you of major problems we have had with Sig Sauer Mosquito pistols. On the first one, we had the front 1 inch of the slide completely break off during a shooting session with a client. There was no squib or other barrel obstruction of any kind. The gun just broke apart with no warning. The company replaced the gun with a new one, and after only a few days shooting, the gun’s slide was sticking so bad it would not come off the gun. It, too, was sent back, and now I do have a replacement for that gun.

On the plus side, Sig did get me two new guns to replace the first two defective ones. But I will not let students fire the latest Sig Mosquito. So far, no one was hurt, and I’d like to keep it that way.

—Kim Rodecker
Cleveland, Ohio

Dear Todd and Gang:

Receiving Gun Tests each month has helped make the years go by faster than I think they should have. I don’t know when I started receiving Gun Tests, but I started keeping them in a binder with the July 1995 issue, and have filled four 3-inch binders with them. I have enjoyed each one—not always agreeing with the findings or the products reviewed, but I enjoyed reading each issue.

Now, at 65, with all the guns I want except for $5,000 to $25,000 shotguns and engraved rifles with exhibition wood, this is as good a time as any to sadly say adios.

However, there may soon come a time when our country may need real men to stand together, and to that end, I give you the following.

1. Get a Mossberg Model 500, 12 gauge, with a bird barrel, a slug barrel and a blackpowder barrel and put it in the closet with a lot of ammo. Birdshot to feed your family, slugs for deer and humans, and buckshot for people intent on doing you harm. The 12 gauge is the single most versatile cartridge in the world. If your wife lets you have only one gun, this is the one to own. Get one, learn to use it, and then put it away.

2. Do the same thing with an SKS. It is one of the simplest guns in the world to shoot; your wife or daughter can handle it, and the SKS doesn’t jam (much). If you cannot get an SKS, than anything will work, but don’t get a tricked-out "tactical" piece. Your wife or child may need to use it to save you!

3. Get a 22 rifle, and when you can, a 22 pistol or revolver. The 22 will supplement the 12 gauge and makes a fun gun to own and to train your family and friends.

4. For a centerfire rifle beyond the SKS, figure out what four or five calibers you like and stick with them. There are hundreds of calibers out there now, and most of them are simply the gun and bullet companies’ way of trying to get you to buy more junk. I believe the 30-06 is a great choice. It will kill anything in North America. The 308 is a fine caliber and close to the 30-06. In my view, the Remington 700 is one of the finest bolt-action rifles ever made, and is all you need in a long gun.

In my 50 years of gun ownership, I’ve come up with a few observations:

  • Some gun companies don’t make anything! They simply put their name on stuff made by other folks.

  • Do not go hunting if you have not shot four boxes of bullets at the range this year.

  • Any ammo your rifle shoots accurately will harvest animals within 100 to 150 yards, so Remington Core-Lokt @ $15 a box is as good as McDuff’s Finest at $45 a box— if you keep your shots within this range.

  • Nothing prepares you for a 300-yard shot except practicing 300-yard shots.

  • Shooting a 45-caliber pistol with a 22 conversion will not teach you how to shoot a 45. It will teach you how to shoot a big, clumsy 22.

  • Optics, scopes, and binos are worth what you pay for them. $1200 scopes/binos/spotters are terrific, and $1800 scopes/binos/spotters are outstanding.

  • Don’t be the kind of ass who shoots something and then does not make every effort to recover it.

All of that said, I leave you. Thanks for the years of informative reading.

—John Jackson
Tampa, Florida

We appreciate the advice, John. We hope you’ve got many more years of hunting in you. —tw

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