Firing Line 10/98


Beretta 21A
In your July issue you reviewed the Beretta 21A, .22 LR pistol. In that review you stated, “There was also a half-cock notch on the hammer, permitting the carrying of a round in the chamber with the safety disengaged. In this manner, the gun was ready to fire with just a long pull on the trigger.”

My Beretta owner’s manual does not recommend the gun be carried with the chamber loaded. There is also a note that states: “WARNING!! To avoid the remote risk of accidental discharge due to impact against the hammer spur DO NOT carry the pistol chamber loaded with the hammer half-cocked. Should the pistol be inadvertently dropped and the hammer struck, the impact could damage or perhaps break either the hammer notch, sear pin, and/or sear, causing the hammer to strike the firing pin.”

I do not carry this pistol very often because, based on the owner’s manual, I do not feel the gun is safe to carry with the chamber loaded and I find it difficult to load without the aid of the tip-up barrel. Obviously this would not be an ideal loading method during an emergency.

In your opinion, is this pistol safe to carry with a round chambered, and if so, should the hammer be down or in the half-cocked position?

Garion Riva
No Address Given

Mr. Riva: We cannot in good conscience tell you to ignore the safety information given in your Beretta’s manual. However, if the gun were all we had and needed to carry it for self-defense, we’d stick a round into the chamber and put the gun on half-cock so that a pull on the trigger would make it fire. With the hammer on half-cock, the half-cock notch will have to be broken by a blow to the hammer before the gun can fire. If the hammer is resting directly on the cartridge, it would take a very much lighter blow to make it fire.

Freedom Arms
I enjoy reading your articles and informational facts. I have purchased three rifles and one pistol by your recommendations. When I buy something (rifle or pistol), I always bring the article containing the gun I am interested in with me and ask the dealer if he agrees with the article. To this day, not one has ever contradicted your tests.

I’m interested in purchasing a .22 Magnum revolver with a 6-inch barrel. The dealer that I use suggested a revolver made by Freedom Arms. I would like to know if you have tested this handgun, or can you give me information on it?

Jerry Cummings
Staten Island, NY

Mr. Cummings: Thanks for the good words. We haven’t tested the Freedom Arms Model 252, but the Freedom handguns we have tested have been exceptionally well made and quite accurate. We are quite sure the Model 252 will be as well. It is built on a large frame. Please note that this gun is a .22 LR and the only way to get the .22 Magnum version is to order the gun with an auxiliary cylinder. Barrel lengths are 5-1/8, 7.5 or 10 inches. Bob Baker, President of Freedom Arms, told us you can get the gun with a 6-inch barrel, though it will cost a bit more for the custom length. Retail price for the Freedom Model 252 starts at $1454, and the extra cylinder lists for $264.

For around $313 you can get the Ruger Super Single-Six, which we think is a viable choice. We tested it in the August 1997 issue.

Hi-Point 9mm Carbine
Could you please comment on the Hi-Point 9mm Carbine. Is it any good? Do you plan to do an article about it? Would you recommend that I buy this carbine? The price is unreal.

Stanley Grad
East Northport, NY

Mr. Grad: We tested this inexpensive $180 carbine in the December 1997 issue. We found it had some good and some bad points. We concluded it would be good for fun, but not recommendable for self-defense.

I do hope that you have received sufficient accolades for the “Give Precision Reloading A Shot” article in your February 1998 issue. It was one of the most informative, cut-to-the-quick articles that I have had the pleasure to read. I have been reloading and reading articles about the same for some 34 years. I particularly enjoyed the down-to-earth assessment of precision reloading techniques.

J.W. Bell
Papillion, NE


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