April 2014

Praise for Pistol-Caliber Carbines

Readers Wyss and Jenkins like their CX4 and Sub-2000. Reader Askew combs the archives for a head to head between the Governor and Judge. And learn how to access past reviews.

Re “Pistol-Caliber Carbines:  PX4 Storm Versus Kel-Tec  Sub-2000,” March 2014
As the owner of a Beretta CX4 (albeit in 9mm), I was delighted with your write-up in the March 2014 issue. Mine has been a total delight for several years — reliable, accurate, to easy handle, and very easy to maintain. Everyone who has ever fired my CX4 has been taken with it, particularly with a red dot sight.— Kirk Wyss Morristown, Tennessee

Re “Judging the Governor: We Pit Taurus and S&W Wheelguns,” August 2011
I enjoyed reading your comparison of the Smith & Wesson Governor and the Taurus Judge. I was surprised that you found the quality and functionality of the two .410/.45 capable revolvers so close, although you did give slight nod to the Governor. I have owned and shot both, first the Taurus and lately the Smith & Wesson Governor. The Taurus was not a bad value in my experience, but I would have to give it a B- to C+ compared to the Governor. The most obvious difference to me was the overall quality of the revolvers. The quality of workmanship of my Taurus was not close to the workmanship of the Smith. The cylinder of the Taurus had noticeably more “play” when closed, and the barrel just ahead of the chamber leaded badly every time I fired the Taurus. Also, I had to send the Taurus back to the factory twice to correct a lock up problem. After I handled and shot the Governor, the quality and workmanship in favor of the Smith were so apparent to me that I said goodbye to the Taurus. I actually found the Governor more instinctive to point and easier to control and get back on target than the Taurus.

I’m not a died-in-the-wool Smith & Wesson guy by any means. However, if cost is an issue, the Taurus can generally be purchased at more of a discount than the Governor. But in my opinion, you get what you pay for. The price differential may be enough to sway someone to the Taurus, and they might be happy with it, especially if they had not checked out the Governor first. Just my two cents. Keep up the interesting comparisons and evaluations.  — Wayne Askew Salt Lake City, Utah

Re “Black 308 Semi-Auto Face Off: Rock River Arms Vs. SIG Sauer,” March 2014
You are so right about the SIG 716 iron sights. My 716 would not boresight at 100 yards. The front post was as low as it would go. The SIG iron sights are absolutely no good, in my opinion. They should issue a recall on these sights. SIG Sauer was unresponsive to my email about this issue.
I gave up and placed a pair of LMT adjustable front and rear iron sights on the rifle. Now it can shoot way beyond 100 yards, as it should be able to. All rear sights should be adjustable for elevation and windage. Colt has an equal setup with their Matech rear sight. — John Blanton Carrollton, Texas

Re “More Dangerous-Animal  Ammo: 45 Colt and 45 ACP  Loadings,” March 2014
I read with much interest the carry-gun bear loads. We don’t get many bears in our part of Heaven, though they probably visit the Vegas Strip on occasion. Years ago, I bought a Ruger Bisley Blackhawk in 45 Colt and a while later, had the barrel cut down to 45⁄8 inch. It takes heavier loads with ease, having its own page in most reloading manuals.

That would be a perfect choice for hikers — compact, foolproof, and powerful. As I have said before, I really enjoy your magazine. Keep up the good work. Yr Ob’t Svt,
— Mark Strussenberg Henderson, Nevada

I have Ruger Vaqueros that I take with me on hunting trips. My Ruger Bisley Vaquero has a 5.5-inch barrel, and I use 45 Colt 300-grain Cor-Bon loads. I’ve never had an issue with it; nothing has loosened up. But these rounds aren’t what I plink with.

I note that in my Lyman reloading manual that when uploading 45 Colt, the manual states to only fire them in Thompson Center or Ruger pistols, specifically Blackhawks and the like. I would think that consulting with Ruger rather than the ammunition manufacturer would be better. I checked directly with Kahr about using 200-grain +P Cor-Bons @1050 fps (or Winchester PDX1 230-grain @920 fps) in my Kahr PM45. Kahr said that’s fine, but don’t use +P+.

I carry the Kahr most of the time and have run into bears down here in the foothills in southeast Arizona while walking our dogs. Our bears look like they probably hit about 200 pounds max, and I think the 200-grain Cor-Bons would probably be better than nothing, or effective even. Hopefully, I won’t have to find out. If I carry an auto for hunting, or when the bear scat is particularly heavy where we walk the dogs in the fall, I carry a Kimber Custom Eclipse II in 10mm with either Winchester 175-grain Silvertips or Cor-Bon 200-grain ammo, both running around 500+ foot-pounds of muzzle energy. I mention the 10mm only in that if I anticipated an encounter, I would go with the 10mm over the 45 ACP. — John Giersdorf Sierra Vista, Arizona

Please advise the readers that there may be some combinations of pistol and ammo that are to be avoided. On several occasions during pistol matches (Service Pistol), we have seen target-grade 1911s go full auto when using GI Ball ammo. In addition to demanding a trigger pull of 4 pounds or greater (per CMP rules), we also insist on a heavier firing-pin spring. Remember, all the springs in a 1911 must be balanced and appropriate for the load being used. Using 45 ACP +P ammo, particularly those with a heavy bullet like the 230-grain ones reviewed, causes significantly greater recoil. The increased slide speed may cause the inertia of the firing pin to overcome the resistance of a target-weight firing-pin spring, thus the 1911 goes full auto. Not only is this highly illegal, but it is also very dangerous. In particular, Buffalo Bore states that its 45 ACP +P 230-gr. FMJ load can be fired in any 45 ACP firearm that is in normal operating condition. That’s a broad statement. I challenge you to try it in a Gold Cup (or clone) to see if the pistol goes full auto.

Otherwise, an excellent job bringing to readers’ attention the existence of these loads. At $2+ per round for the 45 Colt offerings, I’ll roll my own, including using primer and bullet sealant. Also, that flat-nosed 45 ACP bullet closely resembles the old USAF “super bullet.” In a properly set up 1911 auto (the stiffest Wolff recoil spring, firing pin spring, sear spring, and main springs) and a hard hold, that old USAF bullet with 7.2 grains of Unique in a GI case is good for 1,000 fps, per my Oehler 35P. But don’t forget a strong taper crimp, lest the rounds in the magazine start “growing.”

Regarding the “Pistol-Caliber Carbines” in the same issue, here in Ohio, carbines using standard pistol magazines enjoy a particular advantage. In one’s vehicle, it is illegal to carry a rifle magazine with even one round in it. But as a companion to your Glock/Beretta/S&W/Sig, you can have as many loaded mags for such a carbine as you wish. Another solution folks with their CHLs (Concealed Handgun License — the official term in the Buckeye State) have chosen is to keep a Kel-Tec PLR in the car along with an MSR and a number of loaded magazines. Yes, they can also have a more conventional concealed-carry piece. Ohio does not limit the number one can carry!

That said, I think you do the Kel-Tec an injustice. Criticizing it for its performance with aluminum-cased ammo, despite the manufacturer’s admonitions against such use, is not fair. As to “inferior handling,” that’s rather subjective. My Sub-2000s handle just fine. Being 9mms, the recoil is trivial. And they are both tackdrivers, being capable of one-hole groups for a full magazine @ 25 yards. As to convenience, the folded Sub-2000 fits very nicely in a briefcase or computer bag. Discreet carry, indeed! To me, the greatest drawback of the Sub-2000 is the inability to properly mount dot or other optical devices for my “mature” eyes.

Bottom line: Balancing the $400 price savings against the price differential for using brass-cased ammo makes the Sub-2000 a screaming buy. Regards,
— Russ Jenkins Medina, Ohio

Re “Pistol Lasers: Guide-Rod, Rail Models Tested Head to Head,” March 2014
I just received this issue and have read it, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I most enjoyed the piece on the Lasermax lasers. I have had a guide-rod laser by Lasermax in my Glock 29 for eight years now, and I love it. It has never failed and has always performed perfectly. And that is no small task — it is installed in a compact semi-auto chambered in 10mm! Great job on that article, and all of the articles for that matter! — Mike Penrod Vowells Mill, Louisiana

Re “Firing Line,” March 2014
This is in response to a response that appeared in Firing Line in the March 2014 issue regarding “Two Big 45 ACP Pistols: Glock 21 Versus Ruger’s SR45” in the December 2013 issue. The second responder seems to condemn Taurus products, even though you have given them good ratings on occasion.

While I think that it’s unfortunate that he has managed to obtain two Taurus firearms over the course of 30 years that didn’t meet his expectations, I’ve been more than pleased with both of mine, with which I shoot a falling plate series that runs over the course of three months on every weekend — three runs in each class for lowest time, which usually averages 30 rounds per class, not counting practice and warmup shots.

One is a Taurus 608, which I bought to shoot the revolver course, an 8-shot revolver is very desirable and I just can’t afford an S&W 627 or a V-Comp. That 608 has seen thousands of rounds over the last three years and I have, though rarely, outshot someone shooting a V-Comp.

My other Taurus is a PT-1911 with a red dot, which I use for centerfire pistol open class in the same event. It has been in my range bag for shooting basically the same course of fire as the 608 does for at least five years and has always functioned as well as any 1911 Colt or any of the clones I’ve seen. As for Ruger, they make a fine firearm as well. In fact, I have both a MKII and a MKIII, which I use in the same competition mentioned above in rimfire class and have experienced no serious problems at all. But taking note of what Mr. Hewitt has said: “Any gun enthusiast would agree that for the most part Ruger has always turned out a very good product,” I’d have to beg to differ somewhat because we have people in our gun club, some of whom have been competing for 30+ years (you don’t get much more enthusiastic than that), who would never buy a Ruger.

Why? It’s the same old brand loyalty and/or avoidance that drives the ongoing Chevy vs. Ford argument. Both companies make good cars, otherwise they wouldn’t be in business. While it’s true that there have been some guns out there in the past that have come from the maker as junk, neither Taurus nor Ruger has made them.

— John Gertig Osseo, Michigan