FN Five-SeveN High Speed & Low Recoil

(L to R) .22LR, 9mm, Five-Seven, 5.56

Putting a pistol caliber cartridge in a rifle is simple but a rifle round in a pistol? You gotta be nuts…
In a nutshell, the FN Five-SeveN is a big little handgun with a whole lot of attitude. Why? Mainly because of the unique 5.7x28mm cartridge that it’s designed to fire. While the FN Five-SeveN is not a small gun, the 5.7×28 bullet is small in caliber, but it is a very fast one as far as pistol projectiles go.

While gun enthusiasts are going nuts over rifles chambered in classic handgun rounds, we seem to forget that the opposite exists as well.  Although not exactly a rifle round, the FN 5.7x28mm cartridge is also not quite a pistol round either.


Isn’t that a Beauty?

Clearly, the Five-seveN is truly a unique kind of gun.  It is a lightweight polymer pistol that shoots FN’s own 5.7x28mm round.

History

Developed by FN back in 1989, the 5.7x28mm cartridge was envisioned as a replacement option for 9mm submachine gun use.
Originally the 5.7x28mm was designed for the FN P90 Personal Defense Weapon, a compact and highly portable carbine, and, eight years later, the Five-SeveN pistol. NATO never officially adopted it, most likely due to selection process politics related to the battle between competing offerings from FN and German company H&K’s 4.6x30mm cartridge. Nevertheless, the two guns and the nifty little cartridge are in use throughout the world by dozens of military and law enforcement groups.
The 5.7x28mm cartridge looks a little bit like a .223 Remington (the standard AR-rifle cartridge). The diameter bullet (.224 inches) is the same that a standard AR rifle shoots, but the bullet is a lot lighter, usually weighing between 28 and 40 grains as compared to the standard 55-grain weight of the average .223 Remington cartridge. The cartridge itself is significantly shorter and smaller in diameter, measuring 1.6 inches long and .31 inches wide. This bullet is small, light and fast.


FN P90

In the early 2000s, NATO conducted a series of tests with the goal of standardizing a personal defense weapon round and replacing the iconic 9mm.

The 5.7x28mm surely impressed—it was highly effective, performed at extreme temperatures, and could even be manufactured on the same production lines as the loved 5.56x45mm NATO round.

Ballistics Info

  • Effective range when shot from a Five-SeveN: 55 yards (maximum range of 1651 yards!)
  • Total Weight: 6.0 grams=93 grains (half the weight of a 9mm)
  • Projectile Mass: 28-40 gains
  • Velocity: 2,350 ft/s (FN 28gn, JHP)

The Design

The Five-SeveN is a full-sized pistol and a compact-sized weight.  It has a nearly completely polymer frame, with some small steel internal components.
From the outside it looks similar to other striker-fired pistol. Its a full size pistol, single-action pistol and the grip circumference is identical to the Beretta 92/M9. The barrel is 4.8 inches long with a weight of 23 ounces when unloaded. The magazine release and safety lever is ambidextrous.
The pistol is 100% polymer but the functional interior of the slide and fire control parts are made of steel. Which makes the pistol light and durable.
Disassembling the pistol is very simple and you can probably do it blindfolded with one hand. All you do is pull the slide back about 1/4-inch and slide the take down lever to the rear. The slide, barrel, and recoil spring lifts right out.
The trigger pull is roughly around 6 pounds.
Finally, last the Five-SeveN comes with three 20-round magazines.

While the grip is considerably thinner than most full-sized pistols and a bit long, which could be a bit uncomfortable for some hand sizes, it features ambidextrous controls that are conveniently placed for thumb or trigger finger manipulation.

Although the grip can feel a bit odd at first because it is so nontraditional, it grew on me as I manipulated the gun and actually shot it.

Adjustable rear sights for both windage and elevation, which is important because of the round’s uncommon ballistics.

Since the 5.7×28 cartridge is so small it is easy to fit a lot of ammo into a single magazine, especially when using a double stack-double feed design.

Five-SeveN Mag
Five-SeveN 20 Round Magazine

The design of the magazines is equally brilliant and lightweight.  They hold 20 rounds and load in a similar fashion to standard AR magazines–you simply push the round straight down instead of maneuvering it in and under like in most pistol magazines.

Shooting It

Shooting the Five-SeveN is really a BLAST!
People that have shot this pistol say its very fun to shoot. The gun is loud, accurate with no recoil. Someone says the recoil is about 30% less than a typical 9mm pistol.
The Five-SeveN velocity is somewhere at 1550 to 1600 feet per second. While the average 9mm shoots somewhere between 1050 and 1200 feet per second.

Imagine the almost non-existent recoil of a .22 LR juxtaposed with the noise of an AR.  The first few shots fascinated me yet confused me.

I had never shot anything like it and could easily tell it is one-of-a-kind.  

The lightweight frame makes for a comfortable range session while magazines are a breeze to load.

Sadly the rigger is not the greatest but features a pretty crisp break and moderate pull weight, my groups were pretty consistent with how I would normally shoot a handgun; maybe slightly better at longer ranges – likely due to the high velocity of the 5.7 ammo.

I could see this gun being liked across the spectrum, from novice shooters to seasoned vets.

Looks and Accessories

The Five-SeveN has a sleek and almost futuristic look to it.  It comes in either an all-black finish or a tan frame and black slide (my personal favorite).

The rail can be outfitted with a flashlight and aftermarket night sights are available for purchase as well.

Threaded barrels do exist for this gun and I can only imagine what a great time it would be shoot suppressed.

 

FN 5.7 Suppressed, source: IMFDB.com

Practicality – Good for Personal Defense?

The 5.7x28mm cartridge was designed to meet a goal and in that role it is unequaled – but the Cold War is over and the need for armor penetration in an EDC is limited at best.

There is quite a bit of debate surrounding the topic of whether the Five-SeveN can be used as an effective carry gun.
The 5.7x28mm bullets, like “standard” AR-rifle ammunition, aren’t designed to expand like traditional hollow points. When they hit organic targets, they tend to fragment or tumble end over end, thereby creating a similar effect of making a bigger hole in the target.

On the pro side, it is extremely lightweight, has a decently heavy trigger pull and safety, very high magazine capacity, and effective stopping power.

Looking at the cons we have expensive to shoot ammo that is only available in FMJ, and the high possibility of over penetration due to such a fast round.

As with most things, it is a personal choice as to whether this is a viable carry gun or just a fun range toy to make your friends jealous.  However, we tend to be on the side of the fence that says there are Better Options for Full-Size EDC.

By the Numbers

Ergonomics 4/5

Nice grip texture, super lightweight, but an oddly shaped grip could be uncomfortable for some.

Accuracy 4.5/5

Better than most handguns, especially at longer ranges.

Reliability 5/5

I had no issues with it jamming, ever.  After doing some research I did not conclude that there were any known reliability issues and NATO testing definitely backs up the effectiveness of the round.

Customization 3/5

This category is lacking a bit because the gun is not very common and the design is unique.  It might just be better to leave it as it comes from the factory and trust FN’s creative design.

Looks 4/5

I like the almost futuristic and very sleek look, but it does not necessarily look special, especially for the price.

Price 2/5

This is the real kicker.  The actual gun is expensive and so is the ammo.  While it could make a great splurge purchase, it is not exactly a cheap plinker.

Overall 4/5

Really the only downside to this gun is the price, not only out the door of your FFL but also in trying to keep it fed.  There is also the fact that although 5.7x28mm was a perfect solution the problem it was designed for – there just isn’t much of a need for it currently.

But, if you have the money and the desire, it will always turn heads at the range.

Final Thoughts

If you have the chance to shoot a Five-SeveN, you should.  It is unlike any gun I have ever shot and is truly a remarkable weapon.

The unicorn of the polymer pistol world is definitely not for everyone but has surely caught the attention of many.  An amazing combination of a lightweight frame, high-speed but low recoil round, and loud bang come together to make the FN Five-SeveN noteworthy and intriguing.

 
 
 

The post was inspired from this post FN Five-SeveN [Review] which appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

M240 SLR Machine Gun – Belt-Fed Fun

The M240 SLR from Ohio Ordnance Works is an excellent replica of the M240 light machine gun, and it is a pleasure to shoot.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY FRANK JARDIM

Variants of the M240 general-purpose light machine gun may have earned a reputation for ruggedness and reliability on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, but this 7.62x51mm NATO belt-fed beauty has provided U.S. Army and Marine Corps infantryman with hard-hitting firepower since the 1990s. And, although the weapon is heavier and more complicated than the Vietnam-era M60-series light machine guns it replaced, those drawbacks are far outweighed by the simple fact that it works much better.

SLR in the “up” position
In the “up” position, the M240 SLR’s ladder rear sight provides graduations up to 1,800 meters, or nearly 2,000 yards. Also seen in this view are the gun’s cocking handle and safety.

The M240 was designed in the 1950s, and manufactured by Fabrique Nationale (FN) for the Belgian military as the FN MAG 58. It was eventually adopted by the armed forces of Britain, Canada, Australia and many other nations. Rather than sheet metal stampings, its receiver is made of heavy machined steel components riveted together like vintage Browning machine guns of the previous century, such as the M1919 series light machine gun and M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun.

The United States military first took an interest in the weapon as a coaxial machine gun for tanks in the 1970s. It was very successful and proliferated on various vehicle mounts through the 1980s before it was employed in a ground role.

BOB LANDIES of Ohio Ordnance Works (OOW) in Chardon, Ohio, outside of Cleveland, specialized in making semiautomatic versions of historic American machine guns like the Browning Automatic Rifle and M1917 water-cooled heavy machine gun for collectors. So when the M240 was seeing heavy use in ground combat against Iraqi troops and later al-Qaeda insurgents, Landies hatched the idea of making a semiautomatic version to satisfy shooters in the military collector market. Following a year of design and development work, OOW patented the M240 SLR (Self Loading Rifle).

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There’s nothing about the military’s FN gun that’s cheap, and the same holds true with its replica. That’s reflected in its $13,917 retail price. But before you have an aneurism, consider that you can’t own a real military full-auto M240 because there are virtually none for sale to civilian collectors. The closest thing to it would be a vintage original FN MAG 58, but that gun looks different and is going to start at $100,000 anyway. So, if you must have a shooting replica of the iconic, battle-proven M240 light machine gun in your collection, you’re already shopping in the luxury gun market.

The front sight blade is narrow, so it doesn’t obscure the target and allows for precise aiming.
The front sight blade is narrow, so it doesn’t obscure the target and allows for precise aiming.

The Ohio Ordnance Works model will live up to expectations. It comes in a custom hard case, and the color instruction manual is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Be warned, this gun is addictively fun to shoot. However, if you have the coin to buy it, you can probably spring for the ammo and other accessories without too much financial strain.

There hasn’t been any good bargain military surplus 7.62mm NATO around in a long time, but relatively cheap, steel-cased, berdan-primed offerings from Russian makers Tula, Bear and Wolf can be had for as low as 37 cents a round in 500-round cases. Brass-cased, boxer-primed Winchester or Federal ammo sells in bulk for 75 to 85 cents a round in the typical military 147-grain FMJ load.

Each M240 SLR comes with 5,000 M-13 disintegrating links, which ought to be a lifetime supply for the average shooter, assuming you take a minute or two to recover them off the range with an old speaker magnet after you shoot. Making up your belts can be done by hand while watching TV, but it is faster and easier on the hands to use a special tray-like belt linker that loads 20 rounds at a time. Expect to pay around $200 for one of these, but the time saved will be well worth the price, and OOW makes a very nice aluminum belt loader for $225.

 

After opening the top cover (left), you load the M240 SLR by pushing the belt into the feed tray
After opening the top cover (left), you load the M240 SLR by pushing the belt into the feed tray from the left side of the receiver until it hits the built-in stops.

WITH A FEW 250-ROUND belts loaded up, I headed to Knob Creek Range in West Point, Ky., southwest of Louisville, to test out the M240 SLR at various ranges out to 300 yards using the built-in bipod and excellent iron sights. When the ladder rear sight is folded down, you aim through an aperture machined onto the back of it with settings up to 800 meters. Beyond that distance you can flip the ladder up and there are graduations up to 1,800 meters.



When the ladder is up, the rear sight changes to an open “U” notch machined into the ladder slide. The front sight blade is quite narrow, which I liked because it didn’t obscure my target and allowed for more precise aiming. All of your elevation and windage adjustments to zero the rifle are done from the front sight, and once you lock it in place, it stays in place.

The manufacturer warns that the rifle should never be cocked while the safety is on because it can seriously damage the trigger group. Because of that warning, I didn’t load the gun until I was on my belly ready to fire, and I kept the safety off except when I had to interrupt firing to take notes.1610-ordnance-04a

To load the rifle, you depress the two knurled tabs on either side of the rear of the receiver top cover to open it, and push the belt into the feed tray from the left side of the receiver until it hits the built-in stops. You hold the first round of the belt against the stops with your left hand while your right hand pushes the cover down, snapping it into place and securing the belt in the action.

Once you’ve done this, you can pick the rifle up and shoot from other positions and on the move and the belt won’t fall out. Be careful to keep the belted ammo clean. Don’t drag it on the ground behind you as you shoot and move.

The rifle’s integral bipod is made of heavy welded stampings. It’s very steady, and locks solidly under the gas system when not in use. Since the rifle weighs nearly 27 pounds (a couple pounds heavier than the old M60), I used the bipod for all my testing. The broad curved buttplate sits easily on top of your shoulder when shooting prone. I grabbed the wrist of the buttstock with my off hand to hold it firmly against my shoulder.



Past experience with belt-feds taught me that the barrel gets very hot, very fast, and I didn’t want any part of my body to touch it. The barrel assembly has a foregrip in the form of a built-in lower handguard with a strip of Picatinny rail solidly screwed on the left and right side and a snap-on ventilated heat shield on the top.

The M240 SLR also features a threaded quick release barrel.
The M240 SLR also features a threaded quick release barrel.


A rugged carrying handle is built into the barrel assembly, and it folds down so it doesn’t obstruct the sights. Like the military full-auto M240, this semiauto version has a quickchange barrel. To remove the barrel, grasp the carrying handle and depress the small lever underneath it while rotating it into the vertical position. This unlocks the interrupted threads that secure it in the trunnion, and allows the whole assembly to slide forward off the gun for cleaning.



This should go without saying, but when picking up the rifle by its carrying handle, don’t touch that little lever! If you do, you may embarrass yourself by dropping the rear two-thirds of the rifle on the ground in midstride. A blunder like that could take years to live down.

The barrel assembly has Picatinny rails solidly screwed on the left and right (shown here) side, and a snap-on ventilated heat shield on the top.
The barrel assembly has Picatinny rails solidly screwed on the left and right (shown here) side, and a snap-on ventilated heat shield on the top.

AS WITH ANY BELT FED GUN, there’s lots going on mechanically, and you can feel all those moving parts doing their thing while you’re shooting. Cases eject from the bottom directly below the action, and the links are tossed about 10 inches to the right in nice piles. And recoil is mild enough that my 8-year-old son had no issues shooting the M240 SLR.

Unlike the full-auto version, the semiauto fires from a closed bolt, and I expected that this would improve accuracy. To evaluate its capabilities, I tested Black Hills Gold .308 Win Match loaded with 155-grain Hornady A-Max bullets, white box Winchester 7.62 x 51mm loaded with 147-grain FMJ bullets and Federal American Eagle .308 Win. loaded with 150-grain FMJ boat-tail bullets.

The author testing the SLR in the field.
The author thoroughly enjoyed testing the SLR in the field.

I fired three five-shot groups, each at 100 yards from the prone position using the bipod. The Black Hills match lived up to its reputation and produced an average group size of 2.83 inches, with the best group being 2.44 inches. This was despite the plastic tips getting ripped off some of the bullets during the chambering operation.

The Ohio Ordnance Works M240 SLR replica will live up to your expectations.

Gun Review: The Walloper Pistol

Evaluating Guncrafter Industries’ Model No. 4 50 GI

Story and photographs by Oleg Volk

Handguns are almost always inferior to rifles in terms of accuracy and stopping power. Since defensive fighting usually happens up close, those qualities are important, but casual carrying of long guns is not socially acceptable in much of the world. The solution is to use the most powerful handgun that’s still practical for unsupported firing.
Guncrafter Industries Model No. 4 Hunting pistol attempts to create exactly that kind of weapon by combining 6 inches of barrel with a .50-caliber bore, the largest legally possible without National Firearms Act paperwork. That way, the projectile already has an impressive frontal area, 23 percent wider than .45 ACP, and 15 percent higher velocity for the same 230-grain bullet weight. For hog hunting use, slower but much denser 300-grain bullets are available. While less energetic than a hot 10mm auto load, the 50 GI is more efficient by not having to use as much of the kinetic energy to expand the projectile.

Guncrafter Industries Model No. 4 50 GI packs a powerful punch
Guncrafter Industries Model No. 4 50 GI packs a powerful punch, whether you’re carrying for self-defense or hunting hogs.

The 50 GI accomplishes all that with the pressure of only 15,000 pounds per square inch. With the 6-inch barrel, especially, it gives much-reduced muzzle blast compared to other powerful defensive chamberings intended to supplant .45 ACP. While the case has a rebated rim like .50 AE, it’s straight rather than tapered. Seven cartridges fit a regular 1911 magazine.

Gun reviewer Oleg Volk reports that the plain rear sight combined with a tritium front sight works well in moderate light, and it’s easy for the eye to pick up the chartreuse vial.

Recoil was the same as with a standard .45 ACP Government model, and the pistol showed impressive practical accuracy. Fired at the rate of about a shot per second, Model 4 gave one inch dispersion at 10 yards with all four loads. The sights as supplied were regulated for 230-grain HP and 300-grain JFP ammunition, with 185-grain HP hitting slightly lower and a 275-grainer an inch higher. At 25 yards, the groups predictably scaled to 2.5 inches, which is quite good for a fighting pistol with iron sights. The combination of plain rear sights and tritium front worked well in moderate light, with the eye focusing on the vial with ease. With the long slide providing a nice forward balance, the sights returned on target readily. Overall weight is only a couple of ounces more than a regular M1911. The pistol is available in a wide variety of finishes and with various sight options.

Unlike the texturing on some high-powered handguns’ grips, the 50 GI comes with enough to hold onto it while it kicks, but isn’t so rough that it’ll chew up your hands at the range. The reviewer reports that while it shoots like any 1911 out there, the difference is in how much impact it delivers downrange.

Magazines required a good smack to seat on a closed slide when full, and dropped free when empty. The textured slide release worked well, so that I didn’t even bother with dropping the slide with the weak hand. The degree of texturing was sufficient for retention, not enough to abrade the hands. Unlike .357 Coonan, the Model 4 in 50 GI didn’t require conscious wrestling back out of recoil. It shot like any other 1911, with the sole difference of delivering a greater impact downrange. The report was not noticeably different. The muzzle flash was not visible in daylight.

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So for the cost of dropping the full capacity from 8+1 to 7+1, it is possible to get a well behaved but more powerful weapon with the familiar form factor. The only down side I found has been the price: the pistol lists for a bit over $4,100, magazines are $50 each, and the ammunition runs $30 to $50 per 20-round box. I plan on talking to a couple of manufacturers to see if cheaper target ammunition may be developed for practice. AmSJ

A close-up of the wheelhouse of the 50 GI.
A close-up of the wheelhouse of the 50 GI.


GUN REVIEW: The Magnum Lite .22WMR

The Magnum Lite Autoloader

Review and photographs by Oleg Volk

Magnum Lite 22WMR Rotary Magazine
The rifle uses a rotary magazine common to the discontinued Ruger 22WMR model. Each cartridge is contained between two pawls and thus protected from interference by the rims of other rounds. With the heavy return spring, an oversized bolt handle comes in handy.

The creation of an accurate .22 Magnum autoloader has long been plagued by cycling challenges caused by the cartridge shape and construction. The long, skinny case has a lot of surface area and resists extraction. Extracting it while the gas pressure is high runs the risk of blowing out the thin case head typical of rimfire ammunition. Balancing these conflicting requirements was a huge technical challenge to overcome – until the Magnum Lite.

Magnum LIte 22WMR
The rail is elevated enough to permit scopes with objectives up to 50mm – quite useful for varmint hunting.

Magnum Research calls the action “gas-assisted blowback,” but it is not. Gas assistance uses a muzzle booster to move the whole barrel (as on a Maxim machine gun), or diverts a small amount of gas that is tapped off just in front of the chamber and uses it to move a piston impinging on the bolt. The gas is then diffused and vented into the forend.
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The Magnum Lite uses neither, and the mechanism is more simply described as blowback with a gas pressure regulator. According to the manual, it keeps the pressure curve consistent for reliable and safe cycling. The manual sternly warns about using ammunition under 30 grains. My best guess is that the pressure curve spikes sooner in the cycle, leading to ejection failures and possibly blown-out brass.

 

The heart of the Magnum Lite is the graphite-wrapped barrel, which is 19 inches long and tipped with a stainless-steel cap. While the extra 3 inches over the minimum non-NFA (National Firearms Act of 1934) length gives no more than a 100-feet-per-second advantage with some loads and none at all with others, it does reduce the muzzle blast a bit and moves it further away from the shooter.

Magnum Lite .22
The Magnum Lite 22WMR, complete with a thick graphite-wrapped barrel and integral Picatinny rail machined onto the receiver, is under 4.5 pounds. Between the ergonomically sculpted thumbhole stock and light, crisp trigger, the Magnum Lite is quite accurate off hand.

The optic that I installed for testing is the Nightforce 3.5-15x, with an adjustable parallax. Off-hand shots were done with it set to minimum magnification, and supported set to medium. The top setting is reserved for use with a bipod or a sandbag. Given the small size of rodent targets and the relatively modest kill zones for 22WMR on larger creatures, the higher magnification comes in handy. The glass is quite heavy, almost 2 pounds counting the rings, which is why the weight saved by the use of a graphite-fiber barrel is so helpful.

 

Magnum Lite 22WMR
Since 22WMR chamber pressures vary from minimal, with Winchester Dynapoint, to high, with defense ammunition meant for shorter barrels, the Magnum Lite vents into a diffuser block, which in turn lets the excess gas into the stock.

While no ammunition maker markets 22WMR-match ammunition, it’s been my impression that the consistency of most US loads is quite good. Further, .22 Magnum bullets have a longer bearing area than heeled 22LR bullets, therefore have the potential for decent accuracy.


The old standby, CCI Maxi Mags make a ½-inch group at 25 yards, and the Gold Dots closer to a third of an inch. With the high initial velocity, they don’t go transonic until they’ve reach 150 yards or more, and give consistent accuracy for at least that distance. Given the mechanical and ergonomic capability for excellent accuracy, this Magnum Research design has amply deserved its popularity. I only wish for one upgrade – a muzzle threaded for a sound suppressor. That option exists on the 22LR model but not on the 22WMR. AmSJ



45 ACP Carbine – Hi-Point 995TS Review

When Winchester produced its famous 1873 lever-action rifles and carbines, Colt wasted no time in chambering its single-action Army revolver in Winchester’s calibers from .44-40 down to .32-20. There are times when the quick handling and easy portability of a handgun is of paramount importance for self defense, but when faced with dire threats cowboys knew it was much better to have a repeating rifle. A handgun and longarm in the same caliber was a winner on the American frontier. From a self-defense standpoint, today’s shooters can find a practical, cost-effective, modern parallel to the 19th century Colt/Winchester pairing in Hi-Point carbines and pistols. Hi-Points are chambered in popular pistol cartridges such as .45 ACP, .40 S&W, 9mm Luger and soon .380 ACP, and the .40 S&W and .45 ACP model carbines and pistols even share a common magazine. I tested a model 995ts carbine and C9 pistol chambered in 9mm and was favorably impressed.

Hi Point GUN REVIEW 1
The author shooting a Zombie Shooters United course of fire located at the Knob Creek Range in West Point, Ky. You can visit them at zombieshootersunited.com


It is known that you can get a Colt Defender pistol and Model 6951 AR-15 type carbine in 9mm; however, this combination will cost you about $2,000. The Hi-Points I tested cost less than $500! That puts Hi-Points into a unique niche as the least expensive centerfire firearms on the market. There is a lot more to the differences between Colts and Hi-Points than price, so to narrow the focus of the discussion, I will evaluate the Hi-Points as personal home-defense firearms. In this respect, based on my testing, Hi-Points represent an exceptional value.



Hi Point C9 Cutaway
Hi-Point C9 Cutaway

Be careful not to make the mistake of assuming inexpensive means poor quality. Hi-Point firearms are engineered to be inexpensive. When I disassembled them, I was struck by the clever way parts were designed to serve multiple purposes and the use of highly efficient manufacturing techniques like metal stamping, zinc alloy casting, metal injection molding, button-rifled barrels, powder coating and injection-molded plastic. The martial spirit of the highly effective Soviet PPSH-41 submachine gun and the clandestine American FP-45 Liberator pistol of World War II are channeled through the Hi-Points. All of these firearms let the ease of manufacture and effective function dictate their form.

An important consumer byproduct of the care taken in designing the Hi-Points is that the production cost of parts is so low, the firearms are warranted forever. Not just for the original owner, but every owner (the instruction sheet with older production guns may still indicate the warranty is limited to the original purchaser, but the distributor at MKS assured me that is not the case). If any of Hi-Point’s firearms has a problem, it will be repaired by the factory free of charge. From my research, they are living up to their promise, and their reputation is excellent.



If Hi-Point’s design has a negative, I believe it is the trigger pull. The one I tested initially was heavy and erratic. Sometimes it let go crisply; other times it creeped one or two times before it released the sear. This trigger spoiled a lot of groups. I think the crux of problem is that by design, each pull of the trigger is doing a lot more than just releasing the sear. When you take the gun apart you’ll see what I mean. It is what it is, but take heart! If your trigger is stiff and creepy like a zombie, I found that dry firing the action a thousand times, like I did while I watched a TV show, improved mine significantly.Hi Point GUN REVIEW 2

The 995ts carbine is a good choice for targets from 15 to 50 yards. It is probably effective at ranges greater than 50 yards, but if you are shooting at someone that far away, it may prove difficult to make a case for self defense in court. It comes with a 10-round magazine and mine had a very handy factory two-magazine clip. This clip attached to the web of the stock allowing me to carry 30 rounds total, in and on the gun. The buttstock had a recoil-absorbing butt pad that was probably more important with the .45 ACP version than it was with the 9mm I tested. The carbine was pleasant to shoot and the military aperture sights were easy to adjust and use. This model has plenty of surprisingly rugged polymer tactical rails to mount all of your accessories and they make a nice-looking vertical foregrip and muzzle-brake, which I did not test.

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The carbine used in this test had several hundred rounds through it before I formally evaluated it. I’ve been using it during our local Zombie Shooters United competitions in central Kentucky for over a year and it has never malfunctioned in competition. I do recall, when I first zeroed it for 25 yards, that the trigger pull was quite heavy. However, during my test for this story the trigger seemed a lot better.

As one would expect, ammo matters. The best of the three different loads I tested was remanufactured semi-target-grade, 124-grain, full-metal-jacket ammunition from AwesomeAmmunition.com. The average 50-yard, open-sight group from five separate five round strings was 2.25 inches, which is pretty darn good for a pistol cartridge at that range. The velocity through the carbine’s 16.5-inch barrel was 1,143 feet per second and was measured 12 feet from the muzzle.

Of the 115-grain full-metal-jacket factory ammo I tested, Winchester Target was clearly the better of the two. It was close behind Awesome Ammunition’s magic beans, with an average group size of 2.98 inches and 1,332 fps. The Winchester groups were more than an inch tighter than another popular low-cost factory ammo. This pattern of performance held for the C9 pistol too. Awesome Ammunition was the most accurate, this time a 124-grain, jacketed hollow point, followed by Winchester and the other famous brand, coming in at a distant third place.



Don’t expect the C9 pistol to shoot like a Colt Gold cup. It’s no target pistol, but it will be head-shot accurate at 7 yards and center-mass effective to 25 yards. I was able to easily put five shots through a green bean can at 7 yards with one hand after I broke in the trigger. When I bench tested at 7 yards, I found the same Winchester load I used in the carbine, printed groups averaging 1.62 inches and had a velocity of 1,104 fps. That cluster of 25 test rounds left a ragged hole in the target which you could cover with the bottom of a soda can. That’s pretty impressive for a $140 pistol. As a point of interest, I shot groups with this same load benched from 25 yards both before and after I broke in the trigger and the difference was dramatic. Breaking in the trigger shaved 2 inches off the group size, dropping it from an average of 9.74 inches to 7.75 inches.

The Hi-Points are heavy guns, but they are reliable, bargain priced, decent shooters and all American made. Without a doubt, they will be the best home-defense guns you will ever own for the money.

Story and Photos by Frank Jardim AmSJ

Kel-Tec Sub2000MK2 Upgrades

Review and photographs by Oleg Volk

The story of this carbine goes back to 1997, when Kel-Tec introduced the Sub-9 carbine. In general, it was a conventional blow-back gun with the magazine inserted through the hand grip. Designed during the high-capacity-magazine-ban years, it used popular and available pistol magazines, but the Sub-9’s claim to fame was its unusual folding form.

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When folding or collapsible stocks were not legal, the Sub-9 worked around that concept by creating a carbine that folded in half at the chamber, halving its overall length for storage and transport.



The folding is initiated by pulling down on the back of the trigger guard, which allows the front of the gun to swing up and back eventually locking the front sight into a recess on the butt-stock.

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In 2001, the machined aluminum receiver was replaced with a plastic clamshell, resulting in a lighter and less expensive Sub-2000 model, and since it was made to fit several makes of pistol magazines, in 9mm Luger and .40S&W, this carbine became extremely popular.


Kel-Tec Sub-2000Mk2 (Mark 2). An upgraded version of the Sub-2000 but very similar mechanically and incorporates many improvements that were requested by users but often supplied by after-market accessory makers.

Kel-Tec sub2000mk2
Kel-Tec sub2000mk2

Features and Upgrades

  • It is 29.1 inches long when deployed and folds down to 16.1 inches.
  • It has a higher standard of fit and finish, which shows immediately in the smoothness of cycling and accuracy.
  • The plastic front-sight tower, with its ring-post protector, has been replaced by a machined, non-glare metal tower with protective ears around an AR15-compatible post.



  • Windage and elevation adjustments are now repeatable, and the red-dot sight-picture is clearer than before.
  • The muzzle now extends past the sight tower and provides threading for a suppressor or flash hider.
  • The butt stock is now adjustable for length-of-pull with three positions, and the buttpad is smoother and almost twice as wide as the original; this has considerably reduced the recoil effects.

  • There are now loops for two types of slings, and the forend is more rigid, slightly less bulky and endowed with Picatinny rails on the top and bottom.
  • Cooling vents on the sides double as an M-Lock accessory slot, and the pistol grip has been reshaped for better ergonomics.
  • The unloaded weight with a magazine is only 4.4 pounds.
  • sub2000mk2_front_sight_tower_2165hires-min
    Performance has improved. Racking the bolt is easier, although the two-finger extended charging handle from Twisted Industries would still be a useful addition. The barrel appears to have improved as well. The old Sub-2000 ranged from 5 to 6 minute of angle while the new one shoots 2.6 to 4 MOA with the same red-dot sight. The top rail even allows the use of magnified optics, since the carbine itself is accurate enough to justify them. Cantilevered AR-15 scope mounts should be used because the top rail only covers the front two-thirds of the forend.

    DEAD FOOT ARMS

    The gun ran reliably with all types of ammunition, except 50- to 60-grain hyper velocity loads. Point of impact changed considerably from load to load and as much as 3 inches diagonally at 25 yards. For serious use, it’s best to find one load that shoots well and stick to it.Photo 1 Keltec Sub2000Mk2

    Overall, the gun favors lighter-weight ammunition. The absolute winner in the accuracy department is the all-copper 100-grain OATH Halo with a consistent 2.6 MOA. A mild load with 1,250 feet-per-second velocity also produces minimal recoil and expands reliably.

    One hundred and fifteen-grain Corbon JHP and, surprisingly, Winchester’s “white box” FMJ are almost as good with 3 MOA. Remington Golden Saber 124-grain is less accurate with 4 MOA, but works well up close with 1,350 fps velocity. Winchester 147-grain JHP lagged at 4.5 MOA, but would be accurate enough for its intended short-range use with sound suppressors.

    Although 60-grain Liberty ammunition did not cycle, it did reach 2,550 fps and could be used for varmints out to nearly 100 yards.

    The trigger pull is about 6.5 pounds and not very smooth, with a gritty second stage and some over-travel. Fortunately, the wide trigger guard allows for a safe addition of a trigger shoe designed for a P11 pistol. This wide shoe improves the feel of the trigger and gives it better control. This carbine uses an internal hammer with a sufficiently energetic pin-strike which makes misfires unlikely. In fact, I’ve had no malfunctions of any kind, even with over 300 rounds of mixed-type ammunition.

    Photo 2 Keltec Sub2000Mk2The bolt does not stay back on the last shot, but the difference in the feel is sufficient to tell when the gun is empty, and the charging handle can be locked back to show a clear chamber. This carbine fits 17- or 33-round Glock magazines and works well with 50- and 100-round drums; all drop freely when released. Smith & Wesson M&P magazines are the next in line for production after the Glock-compatible model.


    In practical terms, it’s a competent companion to a center-fire pistol. Its main advantage over the pistol is improved practical accuracy and some increase in muzzle velocity. Folded, it can safely fit into a laptop case with a loaded magazine in the grip. While ballistically weaker than a true rifle, the Sub2000Mk2 is also lighter and quieter. For firing indoors, the reduction in concussion is very helpful, not to mention many ranges do not permit 5.56mm and other rifle calibers. –AmSJ

    Note: Some of the photos for this article show a pre-production version of the Sub2000mk2 carbine without the threaded muzzle. All production guns will have a threaded muzzle.

    sub2000mk2_accuracy_testing_2791hires-min

    Big Horn’s Lever-Action Jurassic Thumper

    Lever-Action Jurassic Thumper

    Big Horn Armory’s Model 89 Chambers The .500 S&W Magnum For Really Big Game

     

    Story and photographs by Dave Campbell

    Ever since the .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum came on the scene in 2003, there have been a bunch of folks trying to figure out how to cram this über-powered revolver cartridge into a rifle – especially a lever-action rifle. It’s been an American obsession ever since the cowboy days: A guy “needs” to have a lever-action rifle chambered for his handgun cartridge. Whether that need is real or not can be debated elsewhere, but the perception remains steadfast. Most of the popular revolver cartridges – from the .32-20 to the .45 Colt – have been made in a lever-action rifle. But there’s another advantage with the .500 S&W Magnum. In a rifle the .500 S&W begins to crowd the .458 Winchester Magnum in performance. Problem is, the .500 S&W Mag has a few dimensional issues to fit it into an established platform.

    Model89 Rear sight
    In terms of real-world practicality the Model 89 is something of a niche rifle. It most certainly is not the all-around deer, elk and pronghorn rifle so popular in the West now. Rather, it is a rifle designed to deliver a solid punch to large, tough animals at moderate range — say, 200 yards or less.

    Frank Ehrenford, owner of Big Horn Armory, was one of those who dreamed of a lever gun in .500 S&W Magnum. In 2008 he partnered with Greg Buchel, master machinist and engineer, to see the project come to fruition. They tested a variety of lever-action rifles from the Marlin 336 to the Model 1895, but none were deemed suitable. So a year later they decided to build their own rifle from the ground up.

    As a starting point they chose the Winchester Model 1886, the Browning-designed lever gun that features dual-opposing locking lugs to contain powerful cartridges. The Model 1892 is the same action scaled down to handle pistol-caliber cartridges. Unfortunately, the Model 1892 is too small for the .500 S&W Magnum.

    Ehrenford, Buchel and Dan Brown, their machinist, decided to upsize the Model 92 to harness the new chambering. One regular complaint about the Model 92 is the dinky loading gate. Especially with larger cartridges like the .44-40, .44 Special/Mag and .45 Colt, it can become downright painful to load the magazine more than a couple of times a day. To address that issue, the team decided to adapt the loading gate design on the Model 86 to the new action. Loading the Model 89 is not as challenging as it can be with a Model 92.

    DEAD FOOT ARMS

    What they ended up with is a rifle about halfway between the size of an 86 and an 92 Winchester, hence the moniker Model 89. Parts for the rifle are made by stock removal on CNC machinery. There are no investment cast parts in this rifle, nor are there any forgings. As the company gets on its feet parts are made by an outside contractor located in the United States. Receivers are manufactured in Wyoming, and the stocks are made in Texas. Big Horn Armory began shipping completed rifles in 2011.

    Lifter

    My range time showed me that a careful shot with superb eyesight might be able to stretch the range to as much as 300 yards, but for most of us mere mortals, two football fields should be considered max. I was able to hit an 18-inch square gong at 300 yards about four shots out of ten from a benchrest. A younger shooter with better eyes probably might pick up perhaps three more of those dingers at that range.

    My sample Model 89 showed superb workmanship throughout the metal and wood. I had some initial concerns that the curved lever might prove painful under the stout recoil of the big .50 caliber, but those concerns proved meaningless. There’s plenty of room even for my bratwurst-sized digits in the loop, and the pistol grip helps greatly in controlling the rifle. The otherwise traditional look and lines of this rifle are melded with a couple of modernizations to help in its handling.


    First, the traditional two-piece walnut stock is shod with a 1-inch-thick Pachmayr decelerator recoil pad. As a traditionalist, I normally tend to favor the old crescent-style steel buttplate – wickedly beautiful and equally wicked on the shoulder. Here is where good sense trumps tradition: the substantial recoil pad allows one to run this rifle without bludgeoning one’s shoulder into a massive hematoma. Too, a Marble receiver-mounted aperture sight replaces the traditional buckhorn or semibuckhorn sight usually seen on a lever action. This one is threaded in case you want to add a smaller, more precise peep to it, but the ghost-ring sight picture is perfect for this kind of rifle.

    There are two basic versions of the Model 89 – rifle and carbine. Interestingly, because the rifle has a half magazine and the carbine is full length, the carbine holds two more rounds than the rifle. On the company’s website, BHA offers a plethora of options and upgrades. Buchel even showed me a prototype receiver with color case hardening for those customers who demand the most beauty in their guns.

    Cut out hunter black carbine #1 walnutCROPPED
    Model 89 – Rifle

    Hunter black carbine #1 walnut
    Model 89 – Carbine

    As lever actions go, the stock on the Model 89 is straighter than on most other lever-guns – noticeably straighter than on a Model 94 Winchester, for example – and this helps with handling recoil. The drop at the comb is but ¾ inch. Nonetheless, the Model 89 turned in a respectable average of 2¼-inch groups at 100 yards. That’s plenty good for the brush where 100 yards is a long shot.


    The 7¾-pound weight isn’t too much of a burden to pack, considering the power this rifle delivers. If I were traipsing around bear country in Alaska, the stainless-steel version would be a very comforting companion. Last year Big Horn Armory added a couple of new versions of its flagship rifle, the Model 90 in .460 S&W Magnum and the Model 90A in .454 Casull. For more information and an exhaustive list of accessories and upgrades check out bighornarmory.com. AmSJ

    About the author: Dave Campbell began his hunting career with a spear off the southern California coast in the late 1960s, eventually graduating to the gun on land. Campbell is the founding editor in chief of the NRA’s Shooting Illustrated magazine.He returned to his beloved Wyoming in 2007 as a freelance writer, though he usually refers to himself now as an “editor in recovery.” You can keep up with Campbell at davecampbelloutdoors.com.

    Aero Precision M5E1

    The Triple Play

    Aero Precision’s M5E1 is an evolutionary improvement on the basic AR-10 theme.

    The Aero Precision M5E1 is a logical development from the more basic M5 .308 autoloading rifle. It is positioned as a firearm that’s practical in the field, yet more accurate and capable of sustained fire than typical hunting or defense rifles. The main upgrade is the strengthened receiver designed to give monolithic-rail effects without its logistical disadvantage, namely the difficulty of changing the forend. The area where the freefloated handguard and the barrel attach to the receiver has been beefed up relative to the typical AR-10-style guns. The mounting surface for the forend is machined into the upper receiver, so the free-floated rail attaches with just four pairs of screws and no need for additional rings or hardware.

    Aero Precision M5E1 (Oleg Volk)

    Its realistic niche is for a designated marksman or a hunter working from a blind.

    Aero Precision (Oleg Volk)
    The creation of this rifle was driven by the need for a relatively handy rifle that yields maximum muzzle velocity.

    Aero Precision (Oleg Volk)

    The rifle I tested was a combination of all three variants offered by Aero Precision. It came with an adjustable Magpul CTR stock designed for the 16-inch carbine, a 15-inch forend for an 18-inch midlength rifle and a 20-inch barrel for a full-length rifle. The goal was to have a relatively handy weapon yielding maximum muzzle velocity. A variable-length stock allowed adjustments for various shooting positions and for body armor. Of the two colors available, I chose the flat dark earth cerakote, mainly to reduce the gun’s visibility and its tendency to warm up in direct sunlight during hot Tennessee summers. The edges of the receiver and the forend have all been carefully chamfered and smoothed, making gloveless handling comfortable. Extensively ventilated KeyMod handguards with a full-length Picatinny top rail proved well suited for field use, requiring only a short rail segment up front for the bipod, or a direct KeyMod bipod stud. The stock offered a quick-detach socket on both sides, and the QD rail-mounted receptacle for the front of the sling completed this field-ready rifle.

    Aero Precision (Oleg Volk)
    The edges of the receiver and the forend have all been carefully chamfered and smoothed, making gloveless handling comfortable.

    In cold weather, the all-metal forend would be insulated with rail covers, while in warmer weather, free air flow around the barrel would take priority. Due to the long barrel, the rifle starts out front-heavy, but adding a scope and a full 20-round magazine brings the balance to the front of the magazine well.

    In keeping with the intended use of this rifle, I put a 1-6x Vortex Razor HD scope on it. With the optic set to six power, the M5E1 can be used to engage goblin-sized targets out to 600 yards from a bipod or an improvised rest. At intermediate magnification, it’s excellent for unsupported shooting. And at true 1x with daylight-bright reticle illumination, it works as an expedient red-dot sight for tracking motion. A rifle-length barrel with a flash hider keeps muzzle flash from showing up in the field of view, even in low light. The same length and the attendant inertia keep the muzzle rise to a minimum, so shooters can spot their own targets through the scope at all magnifications. The recoil is negligible, allowing full concentration on marksmanship without concern for the kick.

    Aero Precision (Oleg Volk)
    The area where the free floated handguard and the barrel attach to the receiver has been beefed up relative to the typical AR-10-style guns.

    The rifle functioned reliably with over a dozen types of ammunition, from steel-cased ball to hunting soft points and match hollow points. The trigger is smooth during take-up, with a crisp break point but still at military standard weight. Running it in winter gloves, I came to appreciate it for the tactile feedback it provided. The enlarged integral trigger guard helped make gloved use safe.

    My M5E1 was test fired from a rest at the factory on my request, grouping around 1 minute of angle with Federal 168-grain Gold Match ammunition. All of my testing was conducted by a former Marine Corps rifleman under less formal conditions from sandbags or from a Lead Sled, usually with some crosswind.

    The Averaged Results
    Prvi Partizan 175-grain match 0.75 MOA
    Pierce Munitions 168-grain match 1.5 MOA
    Federal Fusion 150-grain 2 MOA
    Hornady 168-grain match 2 MOA

    The shooters remarked that they considered the rifle capable of better precision than it demonstrated, though I am convinced that 0.75 MOA is quite respectable, especially when the limitation of the six-power scope is considered. The barrel twist rate is 1 in 10, optimal for 175-grain bullets, while the older 1-in-12 standard works fine for the 168s. For short-range plinking or CQB training, the difference in mechanical accuracy would be of negligible importance, but heavier bullets would work best for deliberate long-range precision work. With initial muzzle velocity around 2,500 feet per second, most 175-grain loads stay supersonic out past 1,000 yards – well outside of the optical range of our setup.

    Aero Precision (Oleg Volk)
    The trigger is smooth during take-up, with a crisp breakpoint, but still at military standard weight.

    The fit and finish of the rifle are excellent. Internals showed almost no visible wear after the first 400 rounds. While the lower has a threaded opening for a tension screw, I found it unnecessary because play between the lower and the upper was already negligible. I would have preferred an extended charging handle latch, but that’s an easy fix.

    The rifle weighs 9.6 pounds empty, on par with an M1A match or FN FAL. Loaded and scoped, it tips in at 13.6 pounds. Its realistic niche is for a designated marksman or a hunter working from a blind. Despite the weight, the gun travels well slung, thanks to the absence of any protrusions. The M5E1 is an evolutionary improvement on the basic AR10 theme, and is a very enjoyable to operate and unfailingly reliable. With the recent price drop bringing the complete gun to the $1,300 to $1,600 range, depending on the variant, it is quite competitive with other precision alternatives. And that has long been Aero’s chosen field, good performance at a reasonable price.
    If you’re wondering how this fare up against top AR-15, don’t even consider it. AR-10 has its long range purpose but if you still want to read about this debate, click here for AR10 vs AR15.

    Here’s another perspective from Youtuber sootch00.

    AmSJ

    Review and photographs by Oleg Volk


    Glock 41 – “The Practical Tactical Side of the 45 Auto”

    The year is 1904 and from the inner workings of John Moses Browning’s, mind a cartridge emerged. It was the great 45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), 45 Auto or an even more modern nickname “The Flying Dump Truck”. The US military had been buying and using various calibers while searching for the perfect combination of size and power. Having moved from a 250 grain 45 Long Colt to a smaller 150 grain 38 Long Colt during this transitional period many unfortunate and very deadly failures to stop occurred. While the light cartridge was easier to control, it didn’t yield the necessary effects on the target. This lighter bullet combined with a smaller diameter left our fighting men with something that they couldn’t depend on when the chips were down as handgun bullets during this period were not designed to expand.

    So Thompson-LaGarde commissioned to study the effectiveness of various calibers and bullets. This led the US Calvary to request that a new handgun be developed for their use and it had to be .45caliber Interesting enough, the first loading of the 45ACP was a 200gr bullet, but after a few revisions a 230gr, bullet moving at 850 ft/per sec was chosen. This loading is only slightly less powerful than the 45 Long Colt that was deemed to be outdated. Since it’s inception the 45 ACP has been known for its knockdown power. Some of the claims were exgarrated but it has been proven to be a fight stopper if the shooter does their part.

    Fast forward to 1991, a span of 87 years, we find the the 45ACP being introduced in a state of the art fighting pistol. Fixing what some believed to be the downfall of existing 45cal. pistols, the magazine capacity was increased to 13 rounds providing enough firepower to sustain a fight. I think that the 1911 has enough capacity to do this,but the more bullets the better. This pistol is the Glock Model 21, a full size polymer fighting pistol that provides a modern corrosion resistant platform launching the big powerful bullets.

    Some people found the thickness of the G21 to be too wide for all hand sizes. To alleviate this somewhat, in 2007 Glock introduced the SF or Short framed versions of their large frame pistols. These SF versions didn’t change the width but decreased the distance from the back of the grip to the trigger by .098in. They also shortened the heel of the pistol by .16 inch. This allows the pistol to be operated by people with smaller hands.

    In 2010 Glock took another step forward to modernize an already hi-tech design by releasing the Generation 4 Glocks (Gen4) across their whole product line. This allowed the the use of user installed backstraps to customize grip size to the shooter. These even include 2 with pronounced beavertails. The shooter can also forego the use of any backstrap, this will give the smallest overall grip size. The Gen4 also uses a reversible magazine catch to make the weapons more user friendly for left handed shooters along with a recoil taming dual spring setup.

    Glock has never been slow to produce products geared to law enforcement. The Practical / Tactical models were a result of that offered in 9mm and 40cal. these were the G34/35. They feature a slide and barrel which is .8in longer than the service models. This allows faster follow up shots and a longer sight radius. These 2 features also lend themselves to the competitive world. For years the 45 shooters wanted the advantage of the longer platform in both the tactical and competition world. The longer barrel would allow the already good performance numbers to get better by providing higher velocity and enhanced accuracy do to the longer sight radius. Well Glock listened,and in 2014 they introduced the Glock 41, basically a G34/35 length gun in 45 ACP with a 5.3in barrel.

    The slide of the G21 has always been fairly wide and really blocky. The G41 uses a slide almost the same width as the 9/40/357 guns, providing a slimmer profile. While providing a slimmer profile, it also lets the longer weapon weigh in at only .7 of an ounce heavier than the standard G21. I will admit I have been a 9mm Glock user with no use for other calibers, but the G41 fits me very well. In fact, I hope to get a 10mm version of it making it a perfect woods gun for anything in North America for anything on 2 or 4 legs.

    On to the G41 experience, I find it balances well while allowing me to shoot a wide variety of bullet weights from 165gr to 230gr. I don’t really find any recoil difference shooting range ammo (FMJ) or self defense (JHP). The gun just gobbles them up ! My particular gun likes the heavier bullets, which is fine with me. This gun will never be a hot weather concealed carry gun for me, but I would carry it in 3 seasons without reservations. I will be providing you an updated review once I run the round count up. I currently have 200 rounds thru it and have a plan for a 500 round afternoon in the near future. I will also be reviewing some gear that I have for the G41, holsters etc. I will also try to shoot a wide range of ammo thru it also.

    As of right now I can’t find much to complain about, it’s a Glock you just load it and shoot it.

    Michael Yates ~ All Things Tactical

    Chiappa 1873 10-Shot Revolver

    The Short And Long Of It All –
    A Look At Chiappa’s SAA 1873 10-Shot Revolvers

    The Chiappa 1873 10-shot represents an effort to bring an affordable single-action plinker to the market. Using a cast zamak-alloy frame, they look and feel like the old .45 Colt Peacemakers without being as expensive to buy. Depending on the model they retail anywhere from just under to just over $200. These revolvers are available in the US and come with either a 4.75-, 5.5- or 7.5-inch barrel, the last with adjustable target sights.

    PHOTO 2 fanning_hammer_1970-min
    The Chiappa’s short barreled (4.75-inch) revolver can be reliably used for point shooting, but aimed fire would require a bit of Kentucky windage.

    To me, the main appeal was practicing with inexpensive rimfire ammunition and enjoying the light recoil – in style! To that end, I obtained a highly decorated belt and holster set from Old El Paso Saddlery to ensure I had the complete package. I also obtained belts and holsters from El Paso for the kids and adult shooters which looked great functioned flawlessly.

    Single action revolver grips are usually fairly good fit for smaller hands, their triggers don’t require much reach, so I also planned to use them for teaching new shooters. To that end, I also got a more utilitarian set of holsters – one each long and short in left and right hand configuration – and adult and child size gun belts with cartridge loops. This way, a person can run the more precise long gun with the string hand and the lighter, shorter gun with the weak hand.

    Check out these Cool Gun Safes Click HERE
    to Check it out.

    aiming Chiappa Revolver
    The Chiappa 1873 10-shot revolver represents an effort to bring an affordable single-action plinker to the market. Using a cast zamak-alloy frame, they look and feel like the old .45 Colt Peacemaker without being as expensive to buy.

    Known principles

    SSA22_5377hires-minSingle-action, gate-loading revolvers are among the most hardy repeating gun designs. Sequential ejection enables the use of imperfect ammunition and brings the full impact of the ejector to bear on one empty casing at a time, and since the ejector rod goes into the casing from the front, even rimless ammunition can be used. With the cylinder fixed in the frame, alignment with the barrel usually remains good, even after a steady diet of hot loads. With rimfire ammunition the guns should last for many generations. Single-action triggers are generally quite decent, but loading may be slower than with break-open or side-swinging cylinders. Recent models, like this pair of Chiappa SAA1873s, hold 10 rounds each, which should be sufficient for a fairly high rate of fire for a short time.

    girl w Chiappa Revolver
    Single-action revolvers grips are usually a fairly good fit for smaller hands, and their triggers don’t require much reach, so the author plans to use them for teaching new shooters.

    old_el_paso_holster_1634-min

    The Test

    I headed to the range with high hopes and a brick of Federal 40-grain ammunition. The long-sight radius and crisp trigger should produce good practical accuracy, and the longer models with a 7.5-inch barrel should yield a very respectable velocity. Normally, the 40-grain CCI Velocitor manages about 1,250 feet per second and the 33-grain CCI Stinger zips out at 1,350 fps.

    The shorter revolver with fixed sights was test fired first. I discovered that the substantial gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone caused a louder than expected report. Despite good balance and a decent trigger, the best groups I could get were well over 2 inches at a distance of 25 feet. The problem with these entirely acceptable groups was their location – 3 inches down and one to the left of the point of aim. With a groove in the top strap for the rear sight and a fixed blade for the front, there was not much that I could do to reconcile the point of aim with the point of impact. The front sight could be filed and repainted to raise the point of impact, but I wouldn’t try to bend the casting for fear of breaking it. This revolver can still be used for point shooting, but aimed fire might require a bit of Kentucky windage.

    The longer model with the 7.5-inch barrel shot much better. A minute with a flat-blade screwdriver adjusted the target rear sight to correct zero. At 25 feet, all 10 rounds shot consistently and fit into a 1-inch circle. Success?

    Unfortunately, two issues plagued this sample. First, it actually jammed during loading. To load, the hammer should be placed at half cock, which enables the cylinder to spin freely. Opening the loading gate exposes the chambers. Half way through this process the cylinder would stop rotating. To get it to rotate further, I had to put the revolver on full cock, carefully lower the hammer (sometimes on a live round) and only that would free up the cylinder for the completion of the loading procedure. The other problem was the amount of misalignment between the forcing cone and the chambers. This caused lead shavings during firing. Outdoors, this could have been overlooked given the excellent accuracy, but indoors I found small chunks of lead hitting the lane dividers, which bounced off into my face. Though not very fast by the time they reached me, these bits were annoying.

    It’s possible that minor gunsmithing would resolve these issues, but the cost of that would quickly add up. My reluctant conclusion is that the budget single-action revolvers are hit and miss in terms of quality. ASJ

    The 1873 with a 7.5-inch barrel comes with an easily adjustable target sight, and shot a 1-inch group on a 10-round test fire at 25 feet.

    Story and photographs by Oleg Volk