Ammo, Oiling, and Shotgunning

Reader Michael reads the magazine cover to cover, and he proves it with several questions about the July 2023 issue. Reader “Luger” Mike wonders about the 30 Super Carry versus some older rounds.


Re “Three Revolvers Shoot It Out: Smith, Taurus, and Charter Arms,” July 2023

Hello, Todd. First off, great publication. When I receive my monthly copy, I read it cover to cover, then re-read it perhaps several times.

In the Snubbie Revolvers article, it’s mentioned in a sidebar that “there are very good 38 Special loads available.” My question is, based on the vast knowledge pool of Gun Tests, which are the best 38 Special loads for self defense?

In the article regarding GI 1911s, it’s mentioned that there was an early FTF jam on the SDS Tisas, but a drop of oil remedied the situation. My question is, where was the drop of oil applied? I can guess, but I’d like to know for sure. I just acquired one for my son for his birthday, and if the problem pops up, I’d like to be prepared.

And, finally, on the back cover regarding home-defense shotguns available on Gun Tests+, may I suggest that y’all also consider the Stevens Model 320. It is essentially a Winchester 1200 clone, and the one I have includes a pistol grip, ghost ring sight, heat shield, 5+1 capacity, and runs flawlessly. Plus, it’s very affordable. I told you, I read cover to cover. Thanks and keep up the good work. — Michael

Hey Michael: Thanks for the kind words. As far as 38 Special loads, you can search on under the Ammunition header and find “Heavy 38 Special Loads Tested.” Or you can go to your bound volumes (another reader tip) and look for that report in the March 2022 issue. But to save you a couple of steps, the Remington Express 158-grain Lead Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Point +P R38S12 (shown above) was Our Pick in that story. Another Grade A recommendation in that article was the Winchester Super-X 158-grain Lead Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Point +P X38SPD. In the July 2021 issue, we tested lighter loads, with Our Pick being the Buffalo Bore 125-Grain Low Flash Standard Pressure SB 20E/20. This load clocked more than the rating, as Buffalo Bore often does. The Best Buy was Federal Premium Punch 120-Grain +P PD38P1. Other Grade A loads were Fiocchi’s +P 125-Grain XTP JHP 38XTPP25, the Remington Golden Saber 125-Grain +P GS38SB, and the Federal Premium LE 129-Grain Hydra-Shok JHP P38HS1G. Older tests include “38 Specials for Snubbie Carry: We Test Eleven Head to Head,” November 2012. The full list of older ammunition tests can be found aggregated under the headline, “Gun Tests Ammunition Comparisons,” or you can scroll down to it under the Ammunition header.

Regarding the 1911s, we applied a drop of oil to the frame rails on the SDS Tisas handgun to eliminate the FTF problem.

And we agree on the Stevens 320. In the October 2013 issue, we reviewed the Stevens M320 No. 19495 Pump 12 gauge, saying we were impressed by “Several excellent features of this shotgun, including the very nice and highly visible sights; its patterning performance with all three types of ammunition; and the comfortable, solid feel of the firearm.” — Todd Woodard

Dear Gun Testers

Please test the 9mm S&W Equalizer. I intend to buy a 9mm for concealed carry, but I am very confused by all the S&W Shield EZ options and other pistols. Please advise a 9mm for concealed carry to buy. — Mike

Hey Mike: This is a difficult decision, I agree. The range and number of offerings is staggering — like trying to decide between the various flavors of Cap’n Crunch and Cheerios. Over the past two years, Gun Tests has reviewed more than 25 concealable pistols chambered in 9mm Luger. Of these compact and subcompact handguns, a few have gotten “Best Buy” or “Our Pick” recommendations. To sort down to a few models, I’d encourage you to check out the Gun Tests+ area of the website and read the full article, “5 Best 9mm Pistols for Concealed Carry in 2023.” To save you some time, the top five we listed were the Taurus G3X 1-G3XSR9031, $310; SAR USA’s SAR9 Compact X, $632; the Ruger MAX-9 No. 3500, $544; Kahr’s K9 K9093A, $750; and the SIG Sauer P365 365-9-BXR3, $599. Two honorable mentions were the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ M2.0 12436, $499; and the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield Plus 13246, $553. Of course, as a subscriber, you can read any of the 9mm coverage we’ve done going back more than 20 years. Also, I have a test with the Equalizer in the works. — tw

Re “GI 1911s from Springfield, RIA, Taylor’s & Co., and SDS Imports,” July 2023

On the four 1911 pistols in the magazine, on page 17, showing the pistol in the holster, you say it’s the Taylor’s 45. It can’t be because on page 16, it says the pistol with the lanyard loop is the SDS Tisas. Even the pic of the four pistols on page 16 show the Tisas has the lanyard loop. I hope I am not making the mistake. — Tom

Yes, that’s the Tisas in the holster on page 17 and above. Thanks for pointing it out. — tw

Ballistics Comparison

Hey Todd and Company, has anyone ever done a comparison between the 30-cal Super Carry, 30-cal Luger, 30-cal Mauser, and the 7.62×25 Tokarev rounds? It might be kind of fun to pit the old against the new. Love your magazine, keep up the unbiased work. — “Luger” Mike

Hey Mike: That’s a great idea. A lot of readers will swear by their pistols chambered in 7.65×21mm Parabellum (aka 30 Luger and 7.65mm Luger), 7.63×25mm Mauser (30 Mauser Automatic), and the 7.62×25mm Tokarev. I bet I know your fav. — tw


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