In California, you can get a “Save the Whales” custom license plate. Meanwhile in the great state of Pennsylvania, you can now get a handsome, custom plate that helps raise money for the shooting sports. Thanks to Friends of NRA committees throughout Pennsylvania, PennDOT now offers NRA-specialized license plates. The Keystone State joins a growing list of states with NRA-themed plates. Revenues from the plates (after PennDOT takes its share) will help fund NRA Foundation programs.
Proceeds go to the NRA Foundation, the country’s leading charitable organization in support of the shooting sports. Since its inception in 1990, the NRA Foundation has awarded more than $140 million in grants. Grants awarded by the foundation provide essential program funding for youth education, law enforcement training, hunter education, conservation, firearms and marksmanship training and safety, and much more.
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Useful reloading gear does not have to be costly. Here are ten handy (and very inexpensive) items that belong on your loading bench or in your range kit.
• Magnifying Glass – We use a flat, 2″x2″ pocket 4x-8x magnifier. This folds up on itself. Very handy, we use it to inspect bullets and brass. Use this to check your flash holes for burrs, and check the meplats of your bullets before loading.
• Clear 35mm Film Cannister – Use this to transfer the thrown powder charge to the little measuring cup that sits on your scale. That way you don’t get any kernel splash. Also if the charge weight is obviously off, it’s easy to dump back in the measure. A film canister works pretty well as a trickler too.
• Compressed Air in a Can -- Get these at office supply stores. Use the can (with tube attached) to blow crud out of cases after cleaning the neck with a brush, and blast loose debris out of primer pockets.
• Pin Vise – A simple $7.00 pin vise with a #53 bit is perfect for deburring Lapua PPC and BR flash holes without reaming the flash-holes any larger. The Lapua PPC/BR flash-hole diameter is 1.5 mm, or 0.059″. eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm pin vise bit. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). You can find pin vises and bits at hobby stores.
• Bounce Dryer Sheets – The common dryer sheets will eliminates “static cling” on your plastic reloading parts such as powder measure cylinders, powder funnels, and reloading press plastic bins. Thanks to Doc76251 for this tip.
• Ballistol Aerosol – Try using this versatile lubricant/solvent for full-length sizing. Spray some on a patch and you can wipe the carbon of your case necks. Then, continue to apply a very small amount of Ballistol on the case bodies — just thin sheen is all you need. Ballistol is super slippery, and easy to remove. For general full-length sizing (on small cases) it works great and doesn’t leave a gooey, waxy, or chalky residue. For heavier case-forming jobs, we recommend Imperial Die Wax.
• Shotgun Mop – Stick this in the chamber when using Wipe-Out foaming bore cleaner. This will seal off the chamber so the foam doesn’t flow into your action. For long chambers screw on one section of cleaning rod to aid extraction.
• Colored Sharpie Marking Pens – Mark your bullets ahead of the bearing surface, and the color transfers to the target. This way you can shoot multiple loads at the same point of aim and discern which load shoots the tightest. (Recommended for 300 yards and beyond). With colored bullet tips you can test multiple loads “round robin” to equalize wind effects. When testing seating depths for example, you can mark the longer-seated set of bullets red and the shorter-seated set green and shoot them during the same sequence. Just look at the colored marks on the target to see which grouped better.
• Thin Latex Gloves – You should keep a box of inexpensive, disposable latex gloves (the kind doctors use) in your loading room. These will prevent contamination of primers or powder kernels that you handle directly. Also, use the gloves when handling fine blued tools or firearms to prevent transfering body oils and salts that promote rust.
• Plastic Washers for Neck Mic – If you use a Sinclair Neck-wall Micrometer Gauge with integral stand, you can use thin plastic washers to adjust the height of the case on the mandrel. This makes it much easier to measure the same point on the case neck every time. Thanks to FireHawk for this tip (and photo).
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This past weekend, top pistol shooters from 28 states, one U.S. territory and three foreign nations competed at the 2013 Smith & Wesson IDPA Indoor National Championships in Springfield, Massachusetts. Robert Vogel successfully defended his Stock Service Pistol division title for the sixth straight year. Second place in the SSP division went to Rob Tate who claimed first Master and the High Military Veteran title.
In another impressive performance, our friend Randi Rogers won the High Lady title for the fifth year in a row. You go girl! Randi Rogers also claimed second Master. High International title went to Luis Ricardo Zanotti of Venezuela.
Vogel Dominates SSP Division
Vogel, the first IDPA shooter to claim the sport’s Distinguished Master classification in all three pistol divisions, won all but two stages in the championship to outpace his nearest competitor by nearly 30 seconds and finish with a final time of 154.37. That’s dominance. In addition to winning the SSP title, Vogel earned High Law Enforcement and High Industry honors.
“Bob Vogel is riding an incredible win streak in IDPA that extends back to the 2007 IDPA Nationals.” said Joyce Wilson, executive director of IDPA.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has produced a video in which management and employees of three Connecticut-based companies, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Stag Arms, and Ammunition Storage Components, talk about the importance of their jobs and how their companies contribute to the Constitution State’s economy.
This video was produced in response to Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s recent call for severe new gun control laws. An NSSF statement noted: “We are troubled by the Governor’s apparent change in attitude[.] We do not believe a rush to quick-fix legislation is likely to produce real public safety solutions, while it holds the clear potential to hurt good-paying manufacturing jobs in our state.”
NSSF and member companies based in Connecticut and western Massachusetts have been working for several weeks to help educate legislators, the media and the public not only about the economic impact of the firearms industry in the Constitution State, but also what measures are most effective at keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and unauthorized individuals. To that end, NSSF President Steve Sanetti authored an op-ed in The Hartford Courant, entitled “Focus on Gun Access, Not Gun Ban”.
Connecticut has a long tradition of arms-making. In 1848, on a site overlooking the Connecticut River in Hartford, Samuel Colt built the Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company factory. A larger factory, called the Colt Armory, was added in 1855. The 1850s were a decade of phenomenal success for Colt’s Connecticut-based enterprise.
Colt’s Mfg. was the first to widely commercialize the total use of interchangeable parts throughout a product. A leader in assembly line practice, the company was a major innovator and training ground in manufacturing technology. Colt’s armories in Hartford trained several generations of toolmakers and machinists, who had great influence in American manufacturing. Prominent examples included F. Pratt and A. Whitney, and Henry Leland (who would end up at Cadillac and Lincoln).
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by Bill Gravatt
(This article was written when Bill was President of Sinclair International, Inc.)
Chamber casting is an easy task for the handloader to perform. A chamber casting is valuable if you run across a firearm that you believe has a custom barrel on it and you want to find out the dimensions of the chamber. Some gunsmiths will chamber a barrel and not mark it properly with the neck dimension or the exact cartridge name or specifications. We also get calls from some customers that have military firearms without cartridge stampings on the barrel; this will help these shooters identify their chambering.
Another reason to make a chamber casting would be for a die manufacturer to manufacture custom dies for you. A chamber casting is often required when fired cases are not available. Some reloaders will make a chamber casting that shows them the exact configuration of the throat and leade so they can determine what bullets to try. Shooters using cast bullets will make a cast so they can choose a mould that better fits their throat taper and grove/lands diameter.
A product called Cerrosafe is the most common, reliable, and the safest material to use for making chamber castings. Cerrosafe is a metal alloy that has some unique properties which make it ideal for chamber casting. First, it has a relatively low melting point of 158 to 190° Fahrenheit. This makes it easy for the handloader to melt the Cerrosafe in his home shop. Second, it shrinks slightly during cooling which allows it to be extracted from the chamber easily. It then re-expands to the chamber’s original size after about one hour at room temperature. After cooling for about 200 hours, the chamber cast will expand to about .0025″ larger than the actual chamber size. Most good reloading die makers are used to working from Cerrosafe chamber casts.
As we said, using Cerrosafe is fairly easy and comes with complete instructions.
Making a Cerrosafe Chamber Cast — Step by Step:
1. First, clean and dry the chamber and barrel thoroughly.
2. Disassemble the firearm as necessary to gain access to the chamber.
3. Insert a tight fitting cleaning patch with a jag into the bore from the muzzle end to form a plug for the Cerrosafe. The patch should be positioned in the bore, just forward of the throat by approximately ½” to 1”.
4. Heat a Cerrosafe ingot in a small ladle. A heavy cast iron bullet caster’s ladle works fine or a plumber’s ladle. Any source of heat will do (a small propane torch will work fine).
5. Pour the Cerrosafe into the chamber until a little mound forms at the rear of the chamber. Too much and it can become more difficult to remove the cast from the chamber. If this happens, simply heat the barrel a little and re-melt the Cerrosafe. Don’t worry, your barrel gets a bit hotter than 190 degrees during firing.
6. The chamber can be difficult to access, so some people find it easier if they make a pouring tube out of steel, brass, or aluminum tubing to funnel the Cerrosafe into the chamber.
7. After the Cerrosafe has hardened, the chamber casting can be pushed out of the chamber coming from the muzzle end using a cleaning rod or a wooden dowel. It is recommended that you push it out within a half-hour of casting the chamber. We usually push our cast out within a few minutes. If the cast does not push out easily, insert a cleaning rod from the muzzle and tap the rod handle with the palm of your hand to start the cast out of the chamber. You can put a paper towel in the action to catch the cast or lay the rifle on the bench with a towel or bench mat underneath it to catch the cast as it falls from the action. This will prevent damage to the cast.
8. Take your measurements shortly after one hour of cast, and then put the casting away until you need it again. A medicine container or something similar makes a great container. If you are going to keep the cast be sure to mark the cast or the storage container so you know which rifle it came from. If you have no need to keep the cast you can re-melt the Cerrosafe and use it again when you need to make another cast.
Many of our readers want a custom rifle that looks as good as it shoots. When it comes to wood stocks, one of the most prized materials is fine Turkish Walnut. You’ll find a wide selection of Turkish Walnut blanks at the HunterBid.com website. Hundreds of selections are available at auction. Prices start as low as $150.00. The finest blanks sell for $1,000 or more. You’ll find both one-piece blanks (for rifles) and two-piece blanks (for shotguns). Most blanks are 36″ or shorter, but some longer Mannlicher blanks are available. Here are two examples from past auctions. The first is an exhibition-grade blank, the second a low-priced blank that still exhibits excellent figure.
New blank selections are added to the website every other day. The operators of HunterBid report: “If you are interested in any of our blanks in Hunterbid auctions, but you do not like the bidding process, please give us a call (603) 433-8908 or send us an e-mail. We will help you choose a blank that suits you, and even close the auction for you and ship your purchase the same day.” HunterBid.com is run by Chiron Inc., which is 100% owned by the Ergin family who are of Turkish origin. Chiron maintains warehouses in Dover, NH and Istanbul, Turkey.
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In the hit Hollywood movie “The Patriot”, the hero Benjamin Martin (played by Mel Gibson), tells his sons: “Aim small, miss small”. That advice was given to help his sons survive encounters with the British redcoats, but the “aim small, miss small” mantra can benefit target shooters as well.
We have found that novice and intermediate shooters can often improve their accuracy simply by using targets with smaller, more precise aiming points. Inexperienced shooters can benefit by starting with a large-size aiming circle, and then progressing to smaller and smaller target dots. This lets the shooter increase the challenge as his gun-handling becomes more steady and his aim improves.
Here are two rimfire training targets with “big to small” target circles. Start with the largest circles, then move to the smaller ones in sequence. This systematic drill provides increasing challenge shot-by-shot. Novices often are quite surprised to see their accuracy improve as they move from bigger to smaller aiming points. That provides positive feedback — always a good thing.
Right Click and “Save as” to download printable PDF versions of these targets.
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The days of the “ORM-D: Small Arms Cartridges” labels for ammo shipments are numbered. The Dept. of Transportation (DOT) is phasing out the current ORM-D ammo labels, replacing them with a larger striped diamond label that does not mention “Small Arms Cartridges”. This change is designed to harmonize U.S. shipping rules with United Nations standards. You can start using the new “Limited Quantity” diamond labels for ammo shipments right now, but the new labels are not yet mandatory. You can continue to use the old ORM-D “Cartridges, Small Arms” labels until December 31, 2013. As of January 1, 2014 you MUST use the Striped Diamonds.
OFFICIAL UPS RULES — Elimination of ORM-D Classification
In an attempt to harmonize and align with international standards, the DOT has amended the 49CFR regulations regarding the ORM-D classification. Effective January 19, 2011, with the publication of the HM-215K final rule, the hazard class of ORM-D is being eliminated. Those materials may still be shipped classified as a limited quantity (“Ltd Qty”). In conjunction with ORM-D hazard class elimination in HM-215K, limited quantity ground shipments will no longer require shipping papers when prepared under the new rule. This includes those materials previously classed as Ltd Qty that required shipping papers via ground transport.
Ground Ltd Qty Marking
Air Ltd Qty Marking
NOTE: These illustrations are not true to scale. The actual default Ltd Qty Diamond label to be used for ammo shipments is much larger, about 5″ per side. A smaller 2″ per side version of the Ltd Qty striped diamond can be used on smaller packages.
There is a transition period for shippers to comply with the new classification, marking and labeling requirements. Until December 31, 2013 a limited quantity package containing a consumer commodity as defined in 171.8 may be reclassed as ORM-D, or until December 31, 2012 for ORM-D-Air material. UPS began accepting materials with the new markings effective April 1, 2011. Note: To be in compliance with TDG, Standard (ground) Ltd Qty shipments to Canada prepared under HM-215K require the verbiage ‘Limited quantity’ or ‘Ltd qty’ to also be marked on the carton.
Download OLD and NEW Label Formats
On the Parallax Curio and Relic Forum, a thread includes PDF samples of both the new Diamond Ltd Qty Labels and the current ORM-D Labels. The thread explains: “The good news is the new label doesn’t have any indicator that the package contains ammunition. The bad news is the new label is gigantic compared to the old ORM-D label. You are required to use one of the larger labels on one side of any package containing ammunition. If the package is too small for one of the larger labels then you are permitted to use one of the smaller labels instead. Because of the size requirement in the regulations, you only get two of each label on standard piece of printer paper.”
If you want to still use the ORM-D Small Arm Cartridges Labels until the new Diamond Labels are mandatory, here are links to PDF sheets of ORM-D labels. These PDFs have many rows of labels per page so you can save printer paper. The black version and blue version will use up more printer ink, so you might want to use the white version to be more economical.
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The Nightforce NP-2DD (Double Dot) reticle is popular with both match shooters and long-range varminters. The uncluttered reticle gives you an unobstructed view of the target — and that’s especially important for 1000-yard shooting. You can also use the “gap” between center dot and horizontal lines to judge wind hold-off (this “gap” is 1.1 MOA at 42X and 2.0 MOA at 22X). Some guys use the lower dot for hold-overs when shooting at different distances. At 22X the second dot is 8 MOA lower than the top dot. At full 42X power, the lower dot is 4.3 MOA lower than the top dot.
Clicking Elevation vs. Hold-Over with Double Dots
If you have a Nightforce scope with NP-2DD reticle should you click for elevation changes, or hold-over using the second dot? The answer is: “It depends”. Danny Biggs, multi-time U.S. F-Class F-TR National Champion, offered this advice is our Shooters’ Forum: “There is nothing wrong with [using] the NP-2DD ‘over and under’ dots. Try it, and if it works for you, fine. However [in most situations] I would not bother to use it. Rather, I just click up/down the elevation going from 600 to 1,000 yards.
There is one exception though where I regularly use the lower dot! That is for 1,200-yard shooting — a fad at the Midwest Palma Championships held annually up at Lodi, WI. Here I fully employ [the hold-over method].
Following the 1,000-yard match, I click up 2-3 minutes of elevation depending on the load being used for my 7mm RSAUM, go to 42 power, and use the ‘lower’ dot. For me, the lower (and smaller diameter dot) at 42 power provides a preferable aiming dot for the much diminished size/appearance (at 1200) of the 1,000-yard target face. In this instance, I’m really not too lazy to just ‘click up’. By using the smaller aiming dot I ‘uncover’ the 10/X rings as much as possible as they are obscured by the larger upper dot. [This also allows] a better hold on the rings horizontally for windage purposes.” — Danny
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To kick off a new week, we are featuring a splash of color — the beautiful blue 7mm-270 WSM of Forum member Ian B. (aka “Elwood”) from Great Britain. A very knowledgeable guy, Ian is one of the UK’s top F-Class shooters. And he’s the proud owner of a very “Flash” F-Class rig.
About the Shooter — Ian’s Background
Ian tells us: “I started shooting F-Class Open four years ago when a good friend invited me to Bisley to shoot with the Dorset Riflemen. I found it very enjoyable and a real challenge. The next year I attended the GB F-Class league’s Introduction to F-Class course, and soon afterwards started to compete in the GB F-Class league, while still shooting once a month with the Dorset Riflemen. In this short time frame, I’ve managed to finish 8th in the league last year, 12th in the Europeans, and I was a part of the GB squad that won the team event at the European Championship. I was then selected for the GB F-Open World Championship Team. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I have had to withdraw.”
Ian’s Beautiful Blue 7mm-270 WSM F-Class Rifle
Report by Ian B. (aka “Elwood”)
Having spent my first year competing with a magazine-fed 7mm WSM tactical/sporting rifle (Surgeon action and AICS mag) and doing reasonably well with it, I then moved on to a .284 Shehane (.284 Winchester Improved). I love the Shehane and still use it but this year I wanted something for those windy long-range days and so there was only one logical choice, the 7 WSM. This time I chose a 7mm-270 WSM as I quite enjoy case prep (just kidding). Actually, there’s not much to do really. The quality of Norma brass is well known and the Norma 270 WSM brass is quite easy to obtain in the UK.
The action is a Right Bolt, Left Port (RBLP) Stolle Panda F-Class action, with Jewell trigger. There wasn’t any particular reason behind the RBLP configuration — it was more of a case of that’s what I could get at the time. I had a 1.250″-diameter, straight-profile Bartlein barrel finished at 32 inches and chambered for the Berger 180gr VLD with a .313″ neck diameter. All my metal work and quite a bit of the wood work is done by the excellent Neil McKillop of McKillop Engineering. As with all top gunsmiths, Neil is meticulous to a point of obsessiveness and he’s the name behind quite a few winning rifles including several used by the GB Open and F-TR teams. Neil also inletted the stock from a blank and did the bedding for the action and the front bag runners.
Loading for the 7mm-270 WSM
I have one “tried and tested” load: 7mm Berger 180gr VLDs, seated .020″ into the lands, Vihtavuori N165 powder and CCI BR2 primers. This load is supremely accurate, but at 2990 FPS it’s a bit slow. To get more speed, I’m currently testing H1000 with good results, but it looks like I may have a slow barrel. I have another Bartlein barrel chambered and ready to screw on when the weather gets warmer. If that new barrel shoots well, the current barrel will probably be used as a practice barrel.
I do full case prep, neck-turning, uniforming primer pockets after the first firing, chamfering necks inside and out, and removing burrs around flash holes. Even the best brass sometimes suffers from imperfect quality control. I try to use Redding dies if possible, and will use bump dies, neck bushing dies, and competition seating dies.
I use a RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 to throw a charge just slightly under my desired weight and then trickle-up to final weight using the superb Dandy trickler and a Gem Pro 250 scale.
I anneal every other firing using a Bench-Source machine. Before this I used a Ken Light and also did them by spinning them in a drill. Never again will I do that after using the Bench-Source. After I have annealed, I always run a nylon brush wrapped in 0000 wire wool into the neck to remove any debris.
I keep to the same lot numbers of primers, powders, and bullets. Even the Bergers can vary from lot to lot — I have two different lots of 7mm 180gr VLDs that vary .020″ from bullet base to the ogive. I trim and point my bullets. Pointing may be a mental thing — I had a fantastic shoot while using trimmed and pointed bullets so I do it all the time now. ( A fellow GB team shot refers to them as “Pointless Dies” — I have witnessed him shoot a 99-14V at 1000 yards with bullets that weren’t trimmed or pointed). My next move will be to start measuring bearing surface…where does it all end?
Custom Wood Stock Was Modified by Ian and Treated to a Fancy Paint Job
The stock is a custom-made design crafted by Joe and Simon West of Joe West Rifle Stocks. I had several modifications done to one of their existing stock designs. Having done a lot of my shooting with the AICS, I was quite used to a thumbhole stock, so thought I would try one in F-Class. I told Simon what I wanted and he sent me down a prototype made from very inexpensive Tulip wood. We had a few discussions and then made some more mods..
I made two main changes to the stock. First, I removed the lip at the bottom of the pistol grip because I felt I might rest my hand on this and possibly disturb the rifle. Second, I had the protruding pistol grip base removed so that the bottom of the stock was completely flat like the Precision Rifle & Tool F-Class stock. Simon also made the finger grips to fit my hand and flattened them off to allow for a bit more movement. The stock was then sent to Hydro Graphics in the UK to have a custom exterior finish. The paint color is a Marbleized Candy Oriental Blue. As always, Hydro Graphics did a great job.
Optics and Rings
The scope is the excellent 5-50x56mm March with the MTR-2 reticle — far and away the best reticle I have used for F-Class. March makes great optics. During the 2012 European individual F-Class event, using another March (my 8-80x56mm), I could see my shooting partner’s impacts in the white V-Bull at 800 yards! And just recently at a club match I called two V-Bulls at 900 yards using the 8-80X (not at full power). Granted the light has to be perfect to be able to do this, but my highest praise for the Deon Optics glass is that it rivals that of Schmidt & Bender. Having owned both March and S&B scopes and compared them side-by-side, I feel that I can make this statement fairly.
UK-based Third Eye Tactical made the nice, 34mm rings. The UK is now producing some excellent products. We now have UK-made custom actions, rings, rails, stocks and more. It would be nice to think we could have a 100% British-made rifle, and not rely completely on USA-made products. I think all we need is the trigger? But I can’t see there ever being a UK-made scope!
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Sometimes everything comes together — a great barrel, the right load, good bullets, and, of course, a gifted trigger-puller. Check out this target from Forum member Mike Ezell. That’s five (5) shots at 100 yards from Mike’s 30 Major benchrest rifle. Mike tells us: “I fired a few groups today in the great weather. No surprises — it did VERY well! My little wildcat, the 30 Major, has always been a shooter. That target was not a fluke — I shot a few groups today and agg’d a high One.” Mike is a Kentucky gunsmith who builds his own rifles.
30 Major is Based on 6.5 Grendel
What’s a “30 Major” you ask? This is Mike’s own wildcat, a 6.5 Grendel necked up to .30 caliber. Mike writes: “The 30 Major is essentially a .070″-long 30 PPC. With the great 6.5 Grendel brass available from Lapua, all you need to do is neck-up and turn the necks to prep the brass.” Mike says it is very much like a 30 BR, but you just start with 6.5 Grendel brass instead of 6mmBR brass.
The cartridge has one major benefit — it utilizes a PPC-diameter bolt face. That makes it easy to convert your group-shooting 6 PPC to shoot score with .30-cal bullets. Mike explains: “If you have a PPC, to shoot score, all you have to do is chamber up a [.30 caliber] barrel and screw it on your PPC.”
Great Accuracy Restored after Solving Mystery Problem
To get his 30 Major rig shooting this well, Mike had to solve a mysterious problem that cropped up last year. Mike explains: “Two years running, I have finished in the top 15 in IBS points shooting [the 30 Major], but last year’s benchrest season was tough.” Mike was having some accuracy issues that defied explanation. But he figured it out: “The front action screw was bottoming out against the barrel extension – just barely. A simple fix brought the gun back to life. It’s a Stiller Viper Drop Port. The action is screwed and glued into the stock, so I was a bit surprised … especially after having checked for [that issue] while looking for the problem. I’m just glad to have found the trouble so I can begin to re-instill some confidence in the gun and myself, after last year.”
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Coonan Inc. offers an interesting new handgun, a single-stack semi-auto that fires the .357 Magnum rimmed cartridge. Though the Coonan pistol is similar in appearance to a m1911, it has a linkless barrel, and a pivoting trigger. To feed the rimmed cartridges smoothly, Coonin employs a proprietary magazine with an “articulated follower”. This gun is available in both standard and compensated versions. With these Coonan pistols you can shoot a very powerful defensive round that has a much higher velocity and up to 80% more energy than a .45 ACP. You can also shoot .38 Specials (with a different spring).
The .357 Magnum is a very effective self-defense round, offering much higher velocity and energy than the .45 ACP. Consider this, the Coonan can launch 180gr Corbon .357 Mag ammo at 1288 FPS. At that MV, the 180gr bullet delivers 663 ft-lbs of energy. By comparison, a .45 ACP round with a 230gr FMJ running 850 FPS delivers just 359 ft-lbs of energy (at the muzzle). That’s a huge difference — the .357 Magnum delivers nearly 80% more energy (calculated at the muzzle).
The “Coonan Classic” .357 Magnum with 5″ uncompensated barrel starts at $1375.00. For $99.99 more you can get a 5.7″ threaded barrel. For $249.99 more you can get the compensated version. Many other options are offered, such as Black Duracote finish with laser-etched black aluminum grips ($299.99 extra). The gun in the video below features the Digital Camo Duracoat package with milled black aluminum grips ($549.99 extra).
American Rifleman Reviews Coonan .357 Magnum Pistol
“The .357 Magnum cartridge was developed for a revolver where it could headspace off the rim. Traditionally, feeding of rimmed center-fire cartridges is problematic in box-magazine-fed firearms. That problem, however, has been addressed well with the Coonan. The cartridges are staggered, with the rim of each cartridge in front of the one below it in the magazine.”
“Although the Coonan’s gripframe is larger than that of a standard M1911 … even those with average-size hands had no trouble reaching the trigger.”
“We function-tested the pistol with several different .357 Mag loads, with bullet weights from 125 grains to 180 grains. It ran well with most, but did not function properly with reduced-power ‘personal defense’ ammunition. When the gun was fed full-power .357 Mag ammunition designed for handguns, it ran fine.”
Coonan Pistol Shoots .38 Special Also
While the Coonan pistol is designed to run with .357 Magnum ammo, the manufacturer says the guns will also shoot .38 Special and .38 +P ammunition, provided a different spring is used. Coonan provides a 10-lb spring for use with .38 Spl ammo. This is used in place of the 22-lb standard spring. (Spring exchange procedure is shown in Video above.) Coonan cautions: “A 10-pound spring is supplied with the firearm for use with .38 Special ammunition. We recommend using .38 +P or .38 Special ammunition. The firearm may not cycle with .38 Special ammunition until broken in (approximately 200 rounds).”
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