June 2019

You Cannot Make This Stuff Up

OMG, the things that are going on in and around the gun world these days. Some of it is quite hilarious, and some of it is deadly serious. In both cases, the items below are so weird, I could not make this stuff up if I had to.   More...

Enthusiasm for Pistol Carbines

I have a Canadian Non-Restricted version of the 9mm Beretta CX4. Barrel Length ~19.5 inches. The Restricted version here is ~16.5 inches. I did not see any mention in the review about needing “No Tools” to field-strip the rifle. When field-stripped, the two main parts are about the same size as the Ruger when taken down. In Canada, the Restricted version comes with a plastic gun case and no front rails, and the Non-Restricted version comes with the front rails and no hard case. The Non-Restricted version is too long to fit into the plastic case. With my big hands, I don’t have an issue with the mag release. I bought the CX4 because I already own a Beretta 92A1, and they use the same magazine.   More...

Compact 1911s: Two Pretty Good 45 ACPs for the Money

There should be a saying: Once you shoot a 1911, you won’t go back. That’s how some of our testers feel about the 1911 platform, which in a properly executed handgun will have a nice trigger, comfortable grip angle, good sights, and plenty of power in 45 ACP. And 1911s that you might carry don’t have to have a big footprint, so with that in mind, we looked at a Commander and two Officer-size 1911 pistols with a street cost of about $450. Inexpensive doesn’t necessarily equate to value in a 1911, but with the two Officer models, one each from Taurus and Taylor’s, and a Commander from American Tactical, Inc. (ATI), we found some value-packed compact 1911s. Not perfect by any means, but good performance for the cost. Of course there are compromises, but that is to be expected in a 1911 that costs about $450. In fact, if we could disassemble and reassemble these compact 1911s into one optimal compact 1911, we would take the trigger from the ATI, the sights from the Taylor’s, and the receiver from the Taurus.   More...

VALUE GUIDE: 1911 Pistol Ratings

Log on to Gun-Tests.com to read complete reviews of these products in the designated months. Highly-ranked products from older reviews are often available used at substantial discounts.   More...

6.5mm Bolt-Action Rifles: Savage and Mauser Compete

Subscribers Only — Recently, at one of his favorite shops, a Gun Tests rater saw that one of his friends, a 70-year-old shooter still going strong, was looking for a “long-range” rifle. Long-range rifle shooting seems to be quite popular. We don’t necessarily mean Camp Perry–type shooting, but ordinary shooters wishing to fire their rifles at distant targets and hit the target more often than not. With a wide range of 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition and the introduction of nine new rifles from a single maker in this caliber, we feel that the 6.5 Creedmoor is likely to remain popular for many years. The cartridge is touted as highly accurate, with low recoil, and enough velocity to consistently kill deer-sized game cleanly with a well-placed shot. The 6.5 Creedmoor also offers long-range efficiency with less component expense for handloads, not to mention lower recoil than the 308 Winchester or 7mm Remington Magnum. Because of the friend’s interest, we elected to test two new rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor and a third in another midrange offering, the 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge, introduced by Hornady. The two “Creeds” were both Savages. The first was the Axis II XP Stainless Bolt-Action Rifle with Scope 57289 in 6.5 Creedmoor. The Savage Axis II is the newest development of the Savage Axis line, a package gun. Package guns are simply affordable rifles supplied with scope rings and bases and a rifle scope. The buyer saves considerable amounts of money by purchasing the package versus purchasing each component separately. The rifle will have been mechanically bore-sighted by the manufacturer. In general, these rifles offer good value and save both time and money compared to obtaining and putting together your own package. The second was a Savage 110 Apex Storm XP 57344 in 6.5 Creedmoor, substantially more expensive than the Axis. The Savage 110 differs considerably from the Savage Axis rifle. The receiver of the Axis is closed and easier to machine, while the Savage 110 is more traditional. A locking lug in the stock attaches to the Axis receiver, while the Savage 110 locking lug is sandwiched between the barrel and the action. The 110 action has more leverage and primary extraction seems better, although the practical difference may be difficult to prove. Though the 6.5 Creedmoor is increasingly popular, the 6.5 PRC may become a viable cartridge for many users. The 6.5 PRC seems unlikely to be chambered in anything but bolt-action rifles, and we felt this a good opportunity to test a rifle we have not yet put through the grueling Gun Tests procedure, the Mauser M18. This rifle came chambered in 6.5 PRC, allowing us to gauge the difference in accuracy, power, and recoil between this cartridge and the 6.5 Creedmoor. The rifle was fired with the Hornady 6.5 PRC Match load, one of only two available, both manufactured by Hornady. Each box of 20 6.5 PRC rounds cost $31 from SportmansWarehouse.com. There are also those who flatly state the 6.5 Creedmoor will do nothing the ancient 6.5x55mm round will not do, so we added a rifle chambered in the latter cartridge to give us some historical perspective. There are a few current rifles chambered for this cartridge, but we found an original Mauser rifle, manufactured in 1895, chambered for the 6.5x55mm Swedish, also known as the 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser, and sometimes called the 6.5x55mm Mauser. The round first appeared in 1891, according to Cartridges of The World’s 16th Edition. We are not collectors per se, but we like testing viable hunting rifles to see if the new stuff gives any better performance than the oldies. A collector may turn up his nose at the humble sporterized Mauser, but we found it to be a great light rifle for woods hunting.   More...

Twenty 22 Rimfire Loads Go Head to Head at the Range

Subscribers Only — The most popular and most produced cartridge in America is the 22 Long Rifle. This is an old design, using not only rimfire construction but also a heel-based bullet. For this reason, many of us do not recommend the 22 LR ever be considered for personal defense. It isn’t all about limited wound potential. The 22 rimfire firing system isn’t as reliable as a centerfire system. Also, the heel-based bullet sometimes is damaged when feeding in a semi-auto firearm. It isn’t unusual for a brick of 500 cartridges to contain several cartridges that misfire and do not ignite, even with a hard primer hit. Others will have the bullet bent in the cartridge case, which complicates feeding. On the other hand, during a test of self-loading pistols a few months ago, we fired 1600 22 Long Rifle cartridges from several makers without a single malfunction or failure to fire. For this test we were looking at some of the better choices for hunting with the 22 round. The 22 rimfire is a great small-game round that offers excellent accuracy in the right handgun. While there have been plenty of tests of accuracy and velocity with this round, we set out to test penetration and expansion. We used our standard 6-inch-wide water jugs. We tested first for accuracy and then for penetration, along with standard metrics of accuracy, expanded diameter, and retained weight. The primary firearm used was the Smith & Wesson Model 17, also known as the K-22, with a 6-inch barrel. This revolver is proven to be accurate. Since self-loaders demand high-velocity loads, the revolver eliminated any concern with function and allowed us to test 22 Short, CB Cap, and Quiet type loads without concern. We also tested a number of select 22 loads with the Ruger Standard Model .22. The range results were interesting. In the end we isolated a number of very versatile loads for specific chores and other loads that do a number of things well. We rated the cartridges based on what they were designed to do. There is a great deal of difference in performance between the CCI Quiet load, as an example, and the CCI Stinger, but each rates an A because they perform as designed in a niche role. The best hunting load, we believe, is the Federal Small Game Match load. A viable choice for all-round hunting use is the CCI Mini Mag. While we place a premium on accuracy, all of the loads tested were accurate enough for small-game hunting. We tested the loads at 15 yards because we were using iron-sighted handguns. Overall, the 22 rimfire loads gave good results. We could get by with a single inexpensive practice load and a hunting load, but it is good to have the versatility of fast-opening loads intended for short-range pest control and heavier loads intended for deeper penetration. Here’s how each load performed individually.   More...