July 2018

Gun News: July 2018

Remington Outdoor Company announced that it has emerged from Chapter 11 after successfully implementing its plan of reorganization previously confirmed by the Delaware bankruptcy court on May 4, 2018. The plan provides a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring of the company and converts more than $775 million of the company’s debt into equity. The plan received support from more than 97% of the voting lenders and noteholders.   More...

More On Self-Defense Insurance

Mr. Woodard: Thank you for the surprising but timely article on self-defense insurance. As a former insurance professional, I was aware of the “hidden” differences in insurance policies of all kinds, but I was unaware of many of the differences in types of self-defense insurance for gun-toters like myself — particularly regarding bail bonds. What a great and timely article for your readers who believe in concealed carry/home defense!   More...

Caliber-Conversion Pistols From Rock Island Armory, Glock, SIG

We wanted to take a look at pistols that are capable of centerfire-caliber conversions. A pistol with the ability to train in a more affordable caliber, or have the ability to increase power, speaks to our practical side since multiple pistols in multiple calibers can be expensive. We also like that a shooter is essentially using the same grip, sights, and trigger, so he doesn’t have to adapt to a pistol with different grip angle, sights, or trigger weight and pull. We also think having a pistol that can adapt to different calibers means ammo is easier to find for your pistol. With these thoughts in mind, we acquired a SIG Sauer P226 Nitron in 9mm ($1087) and a Caliber X-Change Kit in 357 SIG ($370). The total setup cost $1457. If you own a pistol capable of caliber conversion, then you just need to opt for the caliber-conversion components. The total for the 40 S&W Glock G35 Gen3 ($560), Glockstore Double Diamond 9mm conversion barrel ($160) and Magpul 27-round magazine ($22) set us back $742. The Rock Island Armory (RIA) TCM TAC Ultra MS HC comes from the factory capable of firing both 9mm and the hot-rod 22 TCM round; total cost is $960. Part of our evaluation was to also see how difficult it was to convert between calibers, and we found it was as easy as field-stripping the pistol and dropping in replacement parts. Across the board, we found that no gunsmithing expertise was required, and you can swap back to the factory caliber easily. For accuracy testing we benched all three pistols in their paired calibers and fired at targets set at 25 yards. We performed speed drills at 10 yards, firing a magazine as fast as we could while still keeping hits in an 8-inch-diameter-or-smaller target. During close range work, we also performed a variety of magazine reloads and tactical reloads. Overall, we found a lot to like with the conversion kits, and in the case of the Glock, you could be firing 9mm out of a 40 S&W Glock for less than $200. The cost of a new Glock pistol in a separate chambering is nearly three times that amount. We also discovered that swapping calibers poses point-of-impact issues with the Glock, but not with the RIA. The SIG, set up with separate slide assemblies and magazines, was the best choice because there were no point-of-impact issues. The RIA had us very happy in 9mm, but in 22 TCM, we had numerous failures to eject 22 TCM cases — a no go, in our opinion. Here are the details.   More...

July 2018 Short Shots: Pistols and Pistol Accessories

Smith & Wesson Corp. has announced its new M&P45 M2.0 in Flat Dark Earth (FDE) finish. Chambered in 45 Auto, the M&P45 M2.0 pistol joins the previously released M&P9 and M&P40 M2.0 Flat Dark Earth pistols with Truglo TFX sights in the M&P M2.0 pistol line. The pistol features a 4.6-inch barrel and has no thumb safety. The new pistol is a striker-fired design that features a lighter trigger and aggressive grip texturing. The Truglo TFX sights use encapsulated tritium and fiber-optic technology for enhanced visibility. The molded polymer frame is topped with a Cerakote FDE slide, has four interchangeable palmswell grips, includes an 18-degree grip angle, and comes with a one-year limited warranty and lifetime service policy.   More...

Single-Action Revolvers: Best Buy Is Uberti’s Cattleman 1873

Subscribers Only — In this installment, we test a trio of revolvers from Uberti, Colt, and Ruger in stainless steel, antique or original finish, and nickel plating. We included a Bisley grip frame and two barrel lengths to give readers a broad range of choices if they’re interested in 45 Colt single-action revolvers of the traditional style with fixed sights. The test handguns were the Uberti 1873 Cattleman Old West No. 355131, a Second Generation Colt Single Action Army 45 Colt, and a Ruger Vaquero Bisley No. 5129. Part of our interest was how the longer barrel of the Colt, at 7.5 inches, compared to the 5.5-inch tubes on the others when drawn from leather. Also, we were curious how the Ruger Bisley performed with some pretty stiff loads when pitted against the standard plow-handled grip frame of the Colt and Uberti. For wheelgun aficionados, the comparison of a Colt Single Action Army (SAA) to any of its derivatives always creates interest, and in this case, there’s a 2nd Generation SAA that many seek out ahead of more-modern-production versions. Cowboy Action shooters are thought to have the most interest in single-action revolvers, but there are many more SAA-type revolvers sold than there are cowboy shooters, even considering that such competitors need two guns in action and often have one in the shop as well. Folks love single-action revolvers for recreational shooting, for hunting, collecting, and even for personal defense. Yep, if you take the National Rifle Association Handguns 101 course, you will see the list of reasons for owning a handgun, and single-action revolvers fit into every niche, including collecting. As an example, one of our raters has a great deal of law-enforcement experience, and the first time he arrested (on personal time) a lawbreaker at gun point, he used a Colt Single Action Army. With all of these factors in mind, we went on a bargain hunt, checking gun stores, online sources, and pawn shops to find lightly-pistols in good testing condition. We did not wish to pay too much for the Colt, but we knew we would spend more than a thousand dollars because of their scarcity. And we wanted to pay just a percentage of the new price for the other revolvers. To our thinking, $100 is real money, so if we could find a shooter and save that cash, then we’d have a bargain. For a thorough evaluation, our shooters fired the three revolvers on a general shooting course and then for accuracy from a solid benchrest. On the action course, shooters drew the revolvers from standard belt holsters and fired at targets at 5, 7, and 10 yards. We also fired offhand at 15 yards to test accuracy and handling. The ammunition used in the general firing course was the Black Hills Ammunition 250-grain cowboy load. This loading is designed for low recoil and good accuracy. When it came to benchrest accuracy, we were able to properly line up the fixed sights and fire three loads. These included the Fiocchi 45 Long Colt 250-grain Cowboy Action, Hornady’s 45 Colt 185-grain Critical Defense brand, a personal-defense loading, and the 45 Colt Buffalo Bore 255-grain semi-wadcutter, an outdoors and hunting load. The three single-action revolvers completed the test without any type of problems. Even after firing 50 cartridges, cylinder rotation never slowed. The hammers cocked smoothly, and the trigger action was consistent. The ejector rods worked as designed, and the cylinders rotated smoothly.   More...

Threaded-Barrel Rimfire Rifles: Savage, CZ, and Ruger Compete

Subscribers Only — As we noted a couple of issues ago, the shooting community is seeing more and more factory-supplied threaded barrels on rifles to allow application of muzzle devices, including sound suppressors. In that previous test of 308 Winchester and 300 Blackout bolt rifles, we noted generally better accuracy with the rifles when fitted the cans, but we didn’t cover how much more pleasant the centerfire rifles were to shoot. Our shooters noted a marked difference in recoil at the shoulder, and, perhaps more profound, the lack of muzzle blast and report created better shooter conditions behind the gun. A lot of things can contribute to flinching and missing, and noise and a sharp push into the shoulder are two of them. This time, we cut way down on the noise — to practically nothing, which has its own appeal — by shooting three rimfire bolt-actions side by side with a suppressor. We realize one of the drawbacks of shooting quieter is the initial cost of the cans as well as the red tape. We can’t do much about the red tape other than to say get yourself an NFA trust, depending on where you live. But we can offer a strategy for making the can work across many firearms, so you can amortize its cost per shot. But first, the rifles. We ordered all three rimfires online. The rifles, a Ruger American Rimfire, a CZ-USA 455, and a Savage MKII FV-SR, were delivered in less than a week to 2nd Amendment Arms and Ammo in Katy, Texas, a preferred Bud’s FFL who charges only a $10 transfer fee per gun with a Texas License to Carry and $20 per gun without the TLC.) Our first test rifle was a Ruger American Rimfire Standard 8305 22 LR, $309. Ruger’s American Rimfire line is already extensive, and new models will build it out further. The 8301 is similar to our test 8305 model, with the former having a barrel length of 22 inches rather than the 18-incher on our rifle. Other 22 LR chamberings in the line include the 8351, which has an 18-inch stainless tube; the Talo Distributor Exclusive 8331, which comes with a Muddy Girl Camo Synthetic stock; and The Shooting Store Distributor Exclusive Model 8334, which has an OD green synthetic stock that contrasts with the black comb modules. Other chamberings include 17 HMR (Model 8311 with a 22-inch barrel; Model 8312 with an 18-inch barrel) and 22 WMR (Models 8321 and 8322, with 22- and 18-inch barrel lengths, respectively). Our second rifle was the CZ-USA 455 American Synthetic Suppressor-Ready 02114 22 LR, $373. Like the Ruger, the CZ 455 02114 is part of a sizable line of rimfires offered by the Kansas City, Kansas-based importer. Among the other offerings in the 455 line are the CZ 455 American Combo Package, which comes in 22 LR and also ships with a 17 HMR barrel, along with everything you need to make the caliber change. Other interesting models include the 455 American Stainless, which comes with a swappable 20.5-inch barrel finished in a matte bead blast. For those of you who don’t foresee ever buying a suppressor, the American Synthetic is similar to our test gun but is not suppressor-ready. The price difference is so small, $421 for the threaded rifle and $385 for the non-threaded barrel, we don’t see the value in the threadless version. The third rifle was the Savage Arms MKII FV-SR Threaded Barrel 28702 22 LR, $248. The shooter may wonder if the $248 price suggests that this rifle is cheap. It is inexpensive, but not cheap. One example of value was the receiver-mounted Picatinny top rail, which allowed us to pop on a Nikon scope with ease and bore-sight the rifle in minutes. Very handy. Also, there’s the adjustable AccuTrigger, which came out of the box at 2.4 pounds.   More...

July 2018 Short Shots: Rifles and Rifle Accessories

Brownells recently rolled out the BRN-22 Receiver for custom rimfire rifle builds. The BRN-22 is fully compatible with the popular Ruger 10/22, so you can choose from the many barrels, stocks, triggers, and other custom components for the 10/22 platform. According to the Brownells website, the BRN-22 receivers are machined from 6061 aluminum billet “to exacting tolerances.” Brownells touts the machined receivers as better than forged, and points to the smooth, clean interior “to realize that a machined receiver can be held to much tighter tolerances for a precise fit with other parts.” After machining, BRN-22 receivers get a matte-black Type 2 hardcoat anodized finish.   More...