July 2012

Dangerous-Game Ammo Choices

Reader Miles wants a definition of ‘rake’ as it applies to self-protection against animals. And, Reader Ochs has worked himself around to owning a suppressed rifle for home defense.

Re: “Dangerous-Game 357 Magnums: Cor-Bon,
Grizzly Clear Winners,” May 2012

I agree with Bob Campbell that shot placement is key to stopping charging animals. On page 28 of the May 2012 issue, he says take a “raking shot” at a charging dog of any kind. I looked at all five definitions of “rake” in the dictionary, and I have no idea what you mean here. Later in that paragraph, the writer says to shoot “higher, above the spot the collar would normally ride.” Does he mean hit the dog in the neck or in the shoulders?

If you have trouble fitting in a little more clarity in passages like this, try cutting out a few bullet box photos and add some text here. The Grizzly ammo box was worth seeing, since it is new. All the rest of those boxes I have seen in your magazine, and I would rather have a little more text on how to kill charging animals than those photos of boxes. The spent bullets are great to see, but the boxes are not needed.

I think this bullet test information is every bit as valuable, if not more so, than some of the gun tests you do. Please test more. I would very much like to see what 45 ACP bullets would be like for bear, big dogs, etc. A couple of friends and I shot several handgun bullets through milk jugs filled with water and lined up on a board. We also shot into phone books taped together. One 357 Magnum bullet went through 10 milk jugs and kept going, and so did a 357 SIG semiwadcutter bullet — clean through 10 jugs and kept going. In the phone books, the SIG put the semiwadcutter bullet 6 inches into the paper, but the 357 Mag put its deepest bullet only 4.5 inches into the paper. The SIG was shot from an M&P Smith & Wesson with a 3.5-inch barrel, and the 357 Magnum Smith & Wesson 7-shot revolver has a 6.5-inch barrel. We are having a hard time believing that, even though we did it. How good is the penetration of the SIG in your tests, and do you recommend it for bears, dogs, etc.? Our 45 ACP bullets did not penetrate this deeply in water or paper. We also shot 9mm, 38 Special, 22 Magnum, and 22 LR. One 38 Special round, an old roundnose military cartridge, had very deep penetration. I would love to see your tests on all this.

In a previous article you tested 45 ACP ammo, and in that article one of your testers said the 230-grain ammo was much better at going through doors and windshields than 185-grain ammo. That information was the best info in that entire magazine. Keep throwing in that kind of knowledge. It is invaluable.

Also in your October 2011 magazine, your writer said on page 7, “… the 40 S&W delivers noticeably more power than the 9mm, but the larger high-velocity round can still be packed into the same frame.” I have a cousin police officer in Idaho who told me he had a 40 S&W Beretta that came apart in his hand after 5,000 rounds of practice. They called Beretta and wanted it replaced, and the company said it was time to get a new gun. Beretta’s tests for the military, where they were the only ones who had a gun shoot 50,000 rounds with no malfunction or misfeed, did not apply to the 40 S&W round. My friends asked why and kept digging, and finally the guy who designed the 40 S&W explained to my friends that all of Beretta’s 40 S&W pistols are essentially bored-out 9mms, and those 9mms are not designed to handle the pressures that the 40 S&W generates. The Beretta rep was basically was saying that all 40s will eventually break down. I would like to know if any 40 S&W pistols are designed from the ground up and are meant to handle all those pressures. It seems obvious, from your statement, that the 40 S&W is nothing more than a 9mm bored out — in most cases, if not all — because 40s fit the same mold as the 9mm.

Another point I would like to add is that I love the comparisons of all your tests on a caliber, where you fill a page with results in the same caliber.

When you grade guns, I am puzzled that some guns have a problem, always minor, that you point out and still give them an A. To me, if anything is wrong, it should get an A-, because it is not flawless.

Having said all that, we love your magazine. I subscribe only to Gun Tests, because you guys are honest and dependable. Four other guys here at work also read every issue I get cover to cover every month. We all like what you do. I have shown several relatives of mine your reviews that helped them make gun purchases.
—Don Miles, Utah

Dear Mr. Miles: Regarding what is a raking shot. It is a hunter’s term. There are chest shots or broadside shots, which we more easily understand. A quartering shot is from behind at an angle. A raking shot is one that rakes through the animal. Beginning at the 308 Win., you can “rake” through a deer with a rifle — that is, shoot through it with an angled shot. A 223 Rem. is suited only for a chest shot — it won’t rake through the target end to end or quarter to quarter. A 45-70 G’vt, properly loaded, will rake through a bison. When shooting feral dogs and coyote and fox and the like, it is quite noticeable that the raking shot from behind or the front anchors animals far more quickly than a chest hit.

There is much more damage. When addressing a dangerous dog, a chest hold would never penetrate to the heart/lungs from the forward angle because of the angle of entry. If you take a center-chest point of aim between the two front legs, then the bullet will simply angle down and miss the vitals. Aim for the point below the chin, where the neck intersects the chest. At this point the bullet is angling down — we are taller than dogs — and the bullet will penetrate into the chest and take out the heart or other vitals.

On the 40 S&W, I agree that the round is basically an overloaded 9mm in which weapons wear seems greatly increased. The 40 S&W is a high-pressure round. On the other hand, there is no doubt that 40 ballistics are impressive, as you will see in an upcoming 40 S&W ammo test report. Thanks for your patronage and comments. — Bob Campbell

And this from Ray Ordorica: Reader Miles ought not to have been surprised that his handgun ammo showed such great penetration. Typical cast SWC handgun bullets will out-penetrate most rifles. Shoot into water with a 300 Weatherby, and penetration will be far less than you’ll get with a 44 Magnum with Elmer Keith’s load. Round-nose bullets show better penetration than just about anything, but are very poor at stopping anything unless the brain is struck. With stout jackets, round-nose bullets are the type used to penetrate to the brain of elephant.

Suppressors and Home Defense
I have been following your reviews for years. I always learn something new and I have used your insight to help me make purchases on a number of occasions. Lately, you have started to mention suppressors, and I would appreciate a review of suppressors in the future. I would also like to pass on some of my own experience with suppressors and short barrel rifles (SBRs). I have been shooting for more than half a century, and I have shot a variety of weapons (handguns to cannon). My view of a “perfect” self-defense weapon for my house has changed over the years.

I first relied on one of my 1911s because it was an old friend I had carried in Vietnam. However, it was a bit much for my wife. So, I moved to a 9mm for the combination of stopping power and handling. However, I was not sold on the stopping power, so I moved to a 20-gauge shotgun, and that was something we could both grab in an emergency if we needed to. In the past, I have scoffed at the idea of using the type of arms you see in movies because the weapons are usually something that my engineering background saw no need for. Specifically, I saw silenced SBRs being used and just could not see why they were necessary. For me, a rifle is supposed to have a long barrel to be able to shoot more accurately. And, why would you silence a rifle when you want the rounds to be going faster than the speed of sound (so the round itself is not silenced)?

However, my view changed when a friend let me shoot his integrally suppressed 44 Mag SBR. No recoil, very little sound, and accurate at 50 yards. Thereafter, I bought my first quick-attach 30-caliber suppressor and waited seven months for the ATF to give me my tax stamp. I then put the suppressor on my FN SCAR 17s and was shocked at how nicely it worked. However, I found that shooting subsonic rounds in the SCAR would not reliably cycle the bolt (even when adjusting the gas port), so I saved the subsonic rounds for my Savage bolt-action 308 Win. with the suppressor.

Then another friend let me try his Noveske 300 AAC Blackout (as I understand it, the Blackout has the same ballistics and sound profile as the Whisper), and it was a pleasure to shoot. It cycled with both factory and hand-loaded subsonic rounds, was very quiet, and had almost zero recoil. It finally dawned on me that if I wake up in the middle of the night and grab a weapon, I am not going to be putting on ear protection. If the dog, my granddaughter, or my wife were around, they would be deafened by the report. However, using the suppressed 300 AAC Blackout in the house would not endanger anyone’s hearing, and the subsonic rounds would not over-penetrate into the neighbor’s house. Shooting the 300 Blackout, I have 200-grain bullets coming out just below the speed of sound, packing the punch of a 45 ACP, have 30-round magazine in the gun and stored separately, enjoy almost no recoil, have a short barrel for easy maneuvering, and have plenty of rail space for a red-dot and light. My view of the perfect bedside weapon has changed with my realization that we all have the right to bear suppressed SBRs. My view changed when I realized that 30 200- to 220-grain bullets traveling at 1000 fps with little noise makes a great house gun. This won’t be true in California, but I am in Oregon where we have these rights. I would like to see more on suppressed SBRs in your reviews.
—Tom Ochs

Re: “Little-Known 1911s: Remington And Taurus
 45 ACPs Compete,” May 2012

On page 21, paragraph 3, line 13, Ray Ordorica basically says it’s OK to completely remove a pistol’s trigger overtravel screw. This would be OK if pistols were built to John M. Browning’s specs. However, these days not all 1911s are built to these specs. By design, the rearward travel of the trigger is supposed to be arrested by the vertical abutment on the lower part of the grip safety arm. This works well if the pistol is built to spec. However, if the pistol and particularly the grip safety arm is not to spec and the overtravel screw is removed, it is possible for the stirrup of the trigger bow to travel far enough to lift the sear spring off the sear and cause the pistol to double or go full auto. This has occurred quite often lately with home tinkerers and is/was quite common with Kimber 1911 pistols and others. It most recently happened to a good friend when he removed overtravel screws from two of his Kimbers. I suggest you verify this with a good 1911 ‘smith and post a warning in a future issue. —Jim Bellino, Arizona

Many thanks for your observation. I have quite a few 1911s, only one of which has the screw removed. It’s a genuine Colt, and has fired more than 3000 rounds with zero trouble. I might add that in all my years of IPSC and NRA competition and personal training with a great variety of 45-caliber 1911s, I have never had a double. —Ray Ordorica

Re: “9mm Carbine Matchup: Kel-Tec, Thureon,
MechTech, & Norinco,” June 2012

I enjoyed the article on 9mm carbines, but it raised a question: How do these modern guns compare in effectiveness and convenience to the original 30-cal. carbine M1? There’s a lot of similarity in the ballistics of the two rounds, and the weights are pretty much the same.
—Peter, San Francisco, California

Sir, a very good observation. The main advantage of the 9mm is ammunition cost and availability. Wal-Mart doesn’t stock 30 Carbine ammo. The 30 Carbine has greater range and penetration. A good old GI gun is reliable, the copies less so, especially with cheap magazines.

The new Cor-Bon DPX load penetrates about 19 inches of gelatin and pushes .56 inch in expansion. Overall, as a stand-alone defensive tool, the M1 carbine has a lot going for it. My partner, Jerry Knighton, deployed a GI carbine with banana clip in the cruiser 30 years ago and was well prepared. The 9mm is simply more available and cheaper.

I have always wondered about those who disparage the 30 Carbine as a self-defense rifle yet praise the ballistically inferior Soviet 7.62mm burp gun! In short, the 30 Carbine is superior to the 9mm in a carbine for those willing to scrounge ammunition and good magazines. I write extensively about the 30 Carbine in the 2013 Gun Digest, due out August 2013. That book will be available for sale through Gun Tests at the time. — Bob Campbell

Re: “Practical Match Pistols: Pro9, P30L, and
 G34 Gen4 Compete,” June 2012

At the end of the section on the Glock 34, you suggest that the Glock 17 Gen 4 would be a better choice for everyday use. Is this only because of the longer sight radius for the Glock 34? If I were to purchase the Glock 17 Gen 4, would you recommend the 10- or 17-round magazine? —Clio Harper

I mentioned the Glock Model 17 because it is shorter, so it’s easier to carry in a holster or maneuver inside an automobile, but still offers a full-size grip and sight radius. Glock’s compact Model 19 and the subcompact Glock G26 are smaller pistols for when deeper concealment is a higher priority. I would have both 10- and 17-round magazines. Load the big mag for inside the house or car. When carrying concealed, the 10-round magazine will make the gun a lighter package. —Roger Eckstine

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