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2019-03-01 Shooting Times

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M I C R O
9
S T A I N L E S S
R A P T O R
FO R T H E IN DI V I D UAL
RECOIL ABSORBING ALL METAL
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©2018, Kimber Mfg., Inc. All rights reserved. Information and specifications are for reference only and subject to change without notice.
TAURUS’S GAME-CHANGING, GROUNDBREAKING .380
MARCH 2019
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MARCH 2019 VOLUME 60, ISSUE 2
26
34
Best-in-Class Ballistic
Consistency
Hornady’s .300 PRC could be the ultimate modern .30-caliber magnum.
Here’s what the newest .30-caliber
cartridge has going for it.
By Joseph von Benedikt
Groundbreaker
Taurus’s new SPECTRUM .380 ACP
pocket pistol takes concealed-carry
gun design to a new level.
By Jake Edmondson
Still Going Strong
40
52
46
The Premier II is the flagship
of Les Baer Custom’s line of
excellent Model 1911s.
By Joel J. Hutchcroft
2
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
56
58
The classic Marlin Model 336 leveraction rifle has had its ups and
downs over the last 12.5 decades,
but it’s still alive and well.
By Layne Simpson
Quick Shot
Browning X-Bolt Pro
With a carbon-fiber stock, stainlesssteel barreled action, and Cerakote
finish, the X-Bolt Pro rifle is Browning tough.
By Sam Wolfenberger
Quick Shot
LabRadar Personal Radar
Gathering velocities with LabRadar
does away with skyscreens, fickle
light conditions, and finicky photoelectric sensors.
By Joseph von Benedikt
Quick Shot
TacStar AMRS
This AR-15 buttstock is adjustable
for comb height and length of pull,
and it has a hidden monopod rail
and more.
By Joel J. Hutchcroft
ENGINEERED FOR
SUPERIOR FIT, FEEL
AND PERFORMANCE.
380 AUTO • 6/7 SHOT CAPACITY • 10 OZ. • INTEGRATED LOW-PROFILE SIGHTS
CONTENTS
MARCH 2019 VOLUME 60, ISSUE 2
®
SHOOTER’S UPDATE
An Outdoor Sportsman Group® Publication
8 Readers Speak Out
Fond Memories, What About .45 Super?, Most
Mispronounced Moniker, Great Mix of Topics,
and Shooting on a Regular Basis Again
12 New Guns & Gear
Mossberg 590 Shockwave Shotguns, Crimson Trace Lasersaddle Laser Sights, MTM
3-Can .50-Cal. Ammo Crate, Ruger SP101
Blue, Hornady Outfitter Ammunition, Kimber
EVO SP, XS DXT2 Big Dot Sights, SIG SAUER
M400 TREAD, Pachmayr Speedloaders,
Winchester XPR Sporter
16 Ask the Experts
Rules for Properly Handling and Dispensing
Propellant, Cutting Edge 210-Grain Safari
Solid, SIG P238 Disassembly and Lubrication
SHOOTER’S GALLERY
18 The Shootist
Holland & Holland’s Takedown Magazine Rifle
Joseph von Benedikt
22 The Ballistician
.32 H&R Magnum
Allan Jones
24 The Reloader
Don’t Be Afraid of an Obscure Cartridge
Lane Pearce
SHOOTER’S SHOWCASE
60 Gunsmoke
The Fascinating Fifties
Terry Wieland
64 Hipshots
A Mythic Mountain Man
Joel J. Hutchcroft
PUBLISHER
Mike Schoby
EDITORIAL
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Joel J. Hutchcroft
COPY EDITOR
Michael Brecklin
CONTRIBUTORS
Jake Edmondson
Steve Gash
Allan Jones
Lane Pearce
Layne Simpson
Bart Skelton
Joseph von Benedikt
Terry Wieland
ART
ART DIRECTOR
Stephan D. Ledeboer
GROUP ART DIRECTOR
David A. Kleckner
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Michael Anschuetz
PRODUCTION
PRODUCTION MANAGER
Terry Boyer
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Jenny Kaeb
ENDEMIC AD SALES
NATIONAL ENDEMIC SALES
Jim McConville (440) 791-7017
ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER
Mark Thiffault (800) 200-7885
WESTERN REGION
Hutch Looney — hutch@hlooney.com
EAST REGION
Pat Bentzel (717) 695-8095
NATIONAL AD SALES
ACCOUNT DIRECTOR—DETROIT OFFICE
Kevin Donley (248) 798-4458
NATIONAL ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE—CHICAGO OFFICE
Carl Benson (312) 955-0496
DIRECT RESPONSE ADVERTISING/NON-ENDEMIC
Anthony Smyth (914) 693-8700
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Readers Speak Out Illustration: ©mstanley13 - fotolia.com
New Guns & Gear Illustration: ©Oleksandr Moroz - fotolia.com
Ask the Experts Illustration: ©rukanoga - fotolia.com
4
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
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6
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
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AEROPRECISIONUSA.COM
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SHOOTER’S UPDATE
READERS SPEAK OUT
NEW GUNS & GEAR
ASK THE EXPERTS
Reader Keith Roehr says a single-shot shotgun is a
great learning tool, and the Stevens Model 107 he
used as a boy helped him become a better, safer
shooter and hunter.
Fond Memories
JOSEPH VON BENEDIKT’S RECENT COLUMN ON THE STEVENS 907B
shotgun brought back fond memories of my early teens in the late 1960s.
I learned shotgunning with an old single-shot J. Stevens Model 107 (mine
was an early model “ejector” 12 gauge with the round-knob pistol grip and
steel trigger guard). It was my father’s, and now it has passed to my nephew.
Joseph’s 907B must be a rare late variation of the 107 as information
on it is hard to find. It appears to have a stronger stock design. I’d like to
see a full-gun view of it.
I think the early Model 107s were designed for paper-hulled or full
brass-hulled shells with paper or fiber wads and had Cylinder or Improved
Cylinder choked barrels. I occasionally used then-new Remington Express
shells with plastic wads for a tighter pattern and velocity for fox, duck,
and high-perched squirrels.
That old single-shot shotgun made me into a good hunter and fine
shooter. In the ’60s, good shotshells were sparse to find and expensive
for us meager country folks, so we used them sparingly, and a single-shot
or a double-barreled gun was preferred.
I was taught to never cock the hammer until I was just about to shoot
and to keep my nose back. It became almost one smooth process of
bringing the gun up onto or through the sight of the game (when ready
to shoot), setting the stock firmly to the shoulder, aim briefly, smoothly
squeezing the trigger, and watching the game a second (to see its reaction) before lowering the barrel. Generally, that one shot was about your
only chance at success, and you had to make it count.
I would start to lower the barrel, then cant the Model 107 a bit as I
broke open the action (for the spent shell to eject away from my face),
and instinctively reach for another shell. However, I was taught not to
reload until it was safe and only if another shot was needed. Seldom did
8
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
I even get a chance at a second shot. In
our neck of the woods, responsible shooters were expected to pick up their fired
shotshell hulls.
A break-open shotgun makes it safer to
leave the action open, unloaded, sling it
over your arm or shoulder until you stow
it away. To this day I prefer an over-under,
but I miss that old hammer single-shot gun.
A transition to an old Model 37 pump shotgun with the hammer was fun, but it is
long gone, too.
A single-shot gun is a great “learning”
tool for beginners because it helps shooters learn better hunting and shooting skills,
and it’s much safer until the shooter is ready
to move onto more firepower.
Now I just wish that I’d had a 20- or
28-gauge shotgun to learn with; I have no
need for a 12 gauge (except maybe for
geese and coyotes). I have taken plenty of
deer with a 20-gauge gun, and it is plenty
formidable.
Thanks for bringing back those fond
memories.
Keith Roehr
Via email
Most Mispronounced Moniker
I nominate “Lapua” as possibly the most
mispronounced moniker in the shooting world. Nearly everyone at your local
shooting range will say “la-POOH-ah” with
utter confidence. But there is no “pooh” in
Lapua. The proper pronunciation, as best
I can describe here, is “LAH-p’wah,” with
almost equal emphasis on both parts. Happily, it’s easy to find online videos of Lapua
employees pronouncing it.
Brian Adams
Reno, NV
EMAIL LETTERS TO SHOOTINGTIMES@OUTDOORSG.COM
What About .45 Super?
Shooting on a Regular Basis Again
I really enjoyed Jeffery Taylor’s follow-up letter to Layne Simpson’s .22
LR accuracy article. At almost 77 years old, things have come full circle for
me. Like most kids growing up in the 1950s, I started out on the .22 LR. As
a young adult I got away from rimfire guns, except for small-game hunting
and some plinking. Now as an old man with arthritic hands, the .22 LR is
my favorite caliber again. It’s the only cartridge I can still shoot a hundred
or more rounds at a time without my hands hurting. The older we get, the
more painful recoil becomes. Because of the .22 LR, old people like me can
still enjoy shooting on a regular basis.
Phil Witte
Phoenix, AZ
I see articles about the 10mm Auto cartridge, but the .45 Super can do the same,
and it doesn’t require a new gun. Most .45
ACP pistols can be converted to .45 Super
and still run .45 ACP +P and possibly .45
ACP for decreased loads. Thus, you can
have two and maybe three levels of ammo
from the same gun, with the horsepower
of the 10mm.
Actually, some .45 Super loads have more
ft-lbs of energy than the 10mm. Underwood
loads its Super Defender to 682 ft-lbs and
the 10mm Hunter to 677 ft-lbs.
In addition, Hi Point has a 10mm carbine
and a .45 that also shoots the .45 Super!
What do you think? For pistol, plinking,
target, defense, and hunting—new gun, limited levels, or modified gun with two or three
levels of power? For carbine?
How about publishing some articles that
compare the 10mm to the .45 Super?
Bill Hitt
Via email
CASE HARDENED • VICTORY GIRLS • FLY GIRLS • SQUADRON
www.auto-ordnance.com
Readers Speak Out
LEVER GUN
DEFENSE
Great Mix of Topics
The mix of topics in the December/January issue of Shooting Times was
excellent. I am most interested in rifles and handguns, particularly leveraction rifles for hunting big game and Model 1911s for self-defense and just
plain fun shooting. I especially liked the article on using a lever-action carbine
PROVEN
Q
for self-defense because I had never read
any articles devoted to that subject until this
one. The author did an excellent job. I have
always preferred Marlin lever guns, but I’ll
have to give Mossberg’s 464, like the author
used at Gunsite, a good hard look. And I
liked the Quick Shot report on the Kimber
KHX optics-ready 1911. I own a half-dozen
1911s, and a couple of them are Kimbers.
The KHX looks like a fine pistol to me.
The “Shooter’s Showcase” section with
Terry Wieland’s “Gunsmoke” column and
Joel J. Hutchcroft’s “Hipshots” column has
become my favorite part of the magazine.
But I also enjoy the “New Guns & Gear”
section and the columns on reloading and
ballistics. Oh, and I also like the vintage-gun
column, too.
Like I said, Shooting Times has a great mix
of topics.
Chuck Granger
Via email
Z-*5*7+*(9(:894222ggg
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Z =9*73&1 *=97&(947
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EDBROWN.COM
GROUND BREAKING PRICE
SMALLER. THINNER. LIGHTER
SHOOTER’S UPDATE
READERS SPEAK OUT
NEW GUNS & GEAR
ASK THE EXPERTS
Mossberg 590
Shockwave Shotguns
MOSSBERG HAS ADDED THREE MORE MODELS TO ITS SHOCKWAVE LINE
The new 12-gauge pump-action Shockwave variants
are the 590 Nightstick (a Talo exclusive with matte
black finish, hardwood bird’s head grip, and hardwood corncob forearm), the 590 Shock ‘N’ Saw (with
breacher muzzle, Raptor polymer bird’s head grip,
aluminum M-LOK forearm, and Mossberg chainsaw
foregrip), and the 590 Shockwave SPX (with heatshield, aluminum side saddle, top-mounted Picatinny
MSRP: $539 (590 Nightstick),
$560 (590 Shock ‘N’ Saw),
$560 (590 Shockwave SPX)
mossberg.com
rail, breacher muzzle, Raptor polymer bird’s head grip,
and polymer corncob forearm).
Overall length of each 590 Shockwave is 26.37
inches, and barrel length is 14 inches. The guns feature
twin action bars, anti-jam elevators, dual extractors,
top-mounted safeties, anodized aluminum receivers,
Cylinder Bore barrels, brass bead sights, and slingswivel studs.
Winchester XPR Sporter
Winchester’s value-packed XPR boltaction rifle is now available in a Sporter
configuration in 12 chamberings, ranging from .243 Winchester to .338
Winchester Magnum. The new Sporter
rifle features a close-grained Grade I
walnut stock with checkering on the
pistol grip and flattened fore-end; a
free-floating, button-rifled, thermally
stress-relieved chrome-moly barrel
(22 inches for short-action chamberings, 24 inches for short magnum and
standard chamberings, and 26 inches
for magnum chamberings); the M.O.A.
trigger system; a detachable magazine; Perma-Cote matte black metal
finish; Inflex recoil pad; and twoposition thumb safety.
MSRP: $599.99
winchesterguns.com
12
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
Ruger SP101 Blue
The Ruger SP101 first came to market in 1989, and it
has been chambered for .22 LR, .32 H&R Magnum, .327
Federal, 9mm, .38 Special, and .357 Magnum with 2.25-,
3.06-, 4.0-, and 4.20-inch barrels and fixed or adjustable
rear sights. It’s always been a stainless-steel gun—until now.
Based on customer requests, the company is now offering the small-frame revolver in a blued alloy-steel version.
The new blued SP101 is chambered in .357 Magnum and
features a five-shot cylinder, a 2.25-inch barrel, a ramped
front sight, a fixed rear sight, and rubber grips with wood
inserts. The revolver is designed for legal concealed carry
and weighs 26 ounces.
MSRP: $719
ruger.com
Hornady Outfitter Ammunition
Hornady has another new line of ammunition, and it’s called Outfitter. This new family of hunting ammunition features
GMX monolithic copper-alloy bullets, corrosion-resistant nickel-plated cases, and sealed primers and case mouths. Initial
offerings include .243 Winchester (80 grains), 6.5 Creedmoor (120 grains), .270 Winchester (130 grains), .270 WSM (130
grains), 7mm WSM (150 grains), 7mm Remington Magnum (150 grains), .308 Winchester (165 grains), .30-06 (180 grains), .300 WSM (180 grains), .300 Winchester
Magnum (180 grains), .375 H&H (250 grains), and .375 Ruger (250 grains).
MSRP: $45 to $90 depending on caliber
hornady.com
INTRODUCING
The Extraordinary Hunting Cartridge
That Gives You the Ultimate Advantage.
cartridges changes the paradigm
of what to expect from a factory
round. That describes HSM’s NEW!
TIPPING POINT to a T. Match grade
accuracy combined with a payoff
of extreme terminal results.
Crimson Trace
Lasersaddle Laser Sights
Crimson Trace Corp. (CTC) now offers
the Lasersaddle LS-250 red laser sight
and LS-250G green laser sight for Mossberg Shockwave shotguns.
The CTC Lasersaddle laser sights
secure to the shotgun’s receiver side
and upper area and operate with three
distinct activation points, including one
that can be accessed by left-handed
shooters. The laser sights feature rapidchange battery caps, master on-off
switches, and integrated battery management technology for enhanced
battery life. The LS-250 and LS-250G
are covered under CTC’s Free Batteries for Life program and the company’s
three-year limited warranty.
MSRP: $169 (LS-250),
$219 (LS-250G)
crimsontrace.com
Choosing only the very best cases,
primers, and powder. Topped off
with the NEW! GAMECHANGER
hunting bullet from world-renowned
Sierra® Bullets. Then, add the
magic. Painstakingly combine the
components masterfully to assure
maximum accuracy and performance
for each caliber offered.
Caliber
.243 Winchester
6mm Creedmoor
6.5mm Creedmoor
Bullet Wgt., Type
90 gr., GAMECHANGER
90 gr., GAMECHANGER
130 gr., GAMECHANGER
.270 Winchester
7mm-08 Remington
140 gr., GAMECHANGER
165 gr., GAMECHANGER
7mm Remington Mag.
.308 Winchester
.30-06 Springfield
.300 Winchester Mag.
165 gr.,
165 gr.,
165 gr.,
165 gr.,
GAMECHANGER
GAMECHANGER
GAMECHANGER
GAMECHANGER
HSM: 50 years with an absolute passion for
accuracy. 50 years of manufacturing truly
superb ammunition. Teaming HSM’s and Sierra’s
expertise, a most extraordinary hunting cartridge
has been created. An ultimate advantage.
TIPPING POINT!
www.HSMammunition.com
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
13
NEW GUNS & GEAR
SIG SAUER M400 TREAD
SIG’s latest M400 AR is the TREAD, and it’s an entry-level,
direct-impingement, 5.56mm NATO carbine with a 16-inch
stainless-steel 1:8-twist barrel, a mid-length gas system, and
a six-position Magpul stock. It comes with ambidextrous controls, a flat gas block, a three-prong flash hider, an aluminum
15-inch M-LOK free-floating handguard that attaches via two
screws, SIG’s own pistol grip, a single-stage trigger, and a
polymer 30-round magazine. The carbine weighs 7 pounds.
The TREAD is not just the rifle, however, as SIG offers a full line of TREADbranded optional accessories with which to upgrade the carbine. Products
include handguards, handstops, grip kits, charging handles, sights, red-dot
optics, compensators, triggers, and more.
MSRP: $951 (base rifle)
sigsauer.com
Pachmayr Speedloaders
Pachmayr, famous for its tough, durable,
and comfortable handgun grips; rifle recoil
pads; tactical knives; gunsmithing tools; and
other accessories, now offers speedloaders for popular revolver makes and models.
These new speedloaders are CNC machined
from solid aluminum and feature a simple
twist knob cartridge release. The speedloaders are uniquely shaped like polygons for the
smallest outside dimensions, and they are
equipped with a rattle-eliminating O-ring
that contacts the cartridges’ bases and
firmly holds the rounds in place. The new
speedloaders are available for Colt Cobra
and Smith & Wesson J-Frame, K-Frame, and
L-Frame revolvers.
MSRP: $19.98
lymanproducts.com
XS DXT2 Big Dot
XS Sights is famous for pairing a big dot front sight with a V-notch rear
sight, and the setup is extremely fast to use. Just announced is a nightsight version of the company’s Big Dot sights that features a large orange
or yellow photoluminescent “glow” front-sight dot with a tritium center. The
large dot absorbs light and glows for hours in low-light conditions that are
not dark enough for the tritium to shine, and in darker conditions, the tritium center glows. The rear sight has a vertical white stripe with a tritium
vial at the center.
The new DXT2 Big Dot night sights are offered for Glock; Smith & Wesson
M&P full size/compact and Shield; SIG P320, P226, and P229; Springfield
XD; and FN 509 pistols. Company sources say these sights should be available for Model 1911 pistols sometime in 2019.
MSRP: $132
xssights.com
MTM 3-Can .50-Cal. Ammo Crate
MTM’s 3-Can .50-Cal. Ammo Crate is made for storing, organizing, and safely transporting gear and ammo. The Army Green
ammo crate comes with three sturdy, O-ring-sealed, Dark Earth
ammunition cans that sit in the rugged polymer crate to form
a compact storage and transportation solution for ammunition
and/or accessories. The crates are stackable, feature carry handles on each end, and have four tie-down points.
MSRP: $44.49
mtmcase-gard.com
14
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
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SHOOTER’S UPDATE
READERS SPEAK OUT
NEW GUNS & GEAR
ASK THE EXPERTS
Rules for Properly Handling and
Dispensing Propellant?
Q:
I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED “THE RELOADER” COLUMN IN THE
February issue, and I’d like to have a brief list of how to safely handle
the powder when I am handloading. I want to copy it and tack it up on the
wall next to my loading bench and use it as a checklist whenever I handload some ammo. Can Lane Pearce please provide that info?
Brian Michaels
Via email
A: Here are my rules for properly handling and dispensing propellant:
1. Select an appropriate propellant for the handload from reliable
data sources. These include reloading equipment and component manufacturers, such as Alliant, Barnes, Hodgdon, Hornady, Lee, Lyman, Nosler,
Sierra, Speer, Swift, and others.
2. Consult at least two reputable reloading manuals (three or more is
even better) to determine the specific type/brand and amount to load. Do
not substitute another propellant with a similar name or number or one
found in a published burn-rate chart that is listed as “close to” the one you
planned to use.
16
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
3. Keep only the container for the powder
you’re using on your bench when dispensing
the powder. When you’re done, immediately
empty the powder measure, scale, and any
other device you may have used to load the
cases. Verify that all powder is properly disposed of—including spills. Always store the
propellant tightly sealed in the manufacturer’s original container.
4. Never leave powder in the measure. You
will likely lose track of what it is and have to
dispose of it. Also, double-base propellants
contain nitroglycerine, so the propellant
granules will adhere to the plastic tube, and
you will have to scrape them loose to completely empty the measure. They will also
etch the plastic hopper, making it opaque
and difficult to see the contents.
EMAIL QUESTIONS TO SHOOTINGTIMES@OUTDOORSG.COM
A cartridge is made of four components. The case, bullet, and primer can be
inspected/verified to some degree after each
round is assembled. Only the propellant is
almost completely obscured. The only thing
you can do is weigh each round and determine if it contains something other than the
other three components. You can approximately verify the correct charge weight but
not if you loaded the intended propellant.
The handloader has to focus on and rigidly follow a prescribed procedure to make
sure each charge is the “right” amount of
the “right” powder.
Lane Pearce
SIG P238 Disassembly and Lubrication?
Q: I bought a used SIG P238 semiautomatic, and I don’t have the owner’s manual for it. How do I disassemble it for cleaning? Where should
I apply lube, and how much lube should I use?
Michael Roberts
Via email
Cutting Edge 210-Grain Safari Solid?
Q: I enjoyed the article on the venerable
.30-06 in the February issue, especially the mention of the unique Cutting
Edge 210-grain Safari Solid bullet. But there
weren’t any photos of it. What does it look
like compared to other high-tech bullets?
Brad West
Via email
A: The Cutting Edge 210-grain Safari
Solid (right) is shown here with a
Nosler 200-grain AccuBond (center) and
a Hornady 200-grain ELD-X (left). As you
can see, and as I described in my article,
it has driving bands on its shank and base
and a large, flat nose. In my experience, it
provides unparalleled deep, straight penetration on game.
Joseph von Benedikt
A: The P238 disassembles like a Model 1911. After removing the magazine and making sure the pistol is unloaded, cock the hammer, move
the slide rearward until the half-round cutout in the bottom left of the slide
lines up with the tab at the top of the slide lock, and remove the slide lock.
Then move the slide forward off the frame. Lift the recoil spring guide and
recoil spring out, and then lift the barrel out of the slide. Do not engage
the thumb safety with the slide off the frame because moving the safety
up will cause the detent plunger to separate from the frame.
With the pistol disassembled, put one drop of quality lubricant on each
of the slide railways. Reassemble in reverse order, being sure to depress
the ejector slightly to provide clearance for the slide. Don’t push the ejector in too far as this may cause it to bind in the frame and not return to
the proper position. After reassembling the slide to the frame, work the
slide back and forth five to 10 times. Then put one drop of lubricant on the
chamber area of the barrel. Lock the slide to the rear and put one drop of
lubricant on the top of the barrel’s muzzle approximately 0.25 inch from
the front of the muzzle and one drop of lubricant on the inside wall of the
slide. Work the slide back and forth five to 10 times.
Jake Edmondson
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
17
SHOOTER’S GALLERY
THE SHOOTIST
THE BALLISTICIAN
THE RELOADER
Holland & Holland’s
Takedown Magazine Rifle
This fine .375 H&H Magnum showcases the perfection of early
bolt-action dangerous-game rifles. BY JOSEPH VON BENEDIKT
UNLIKE MOST OF THE DANGEROUS-GAME
Holland &
Holland’s Takedown Magazine
rifle set a world
standard for
quality and performance that
has never been
beaten. This
rifle is chambered for .375
H&H, and it has
dropped many
African plains
game animals
as well as North
American elk.
18
cartridges of the era, Holland & Holland’s .375 H&H
Magnum was designed for bolt-action rifles. This was
1912, still pre-World War I, when the United Kingdom
and Germany were on amicable terms. Paul Mauser’s
turnbolt was being hailed as the greatest development
in sporting and military rifle technology, and H&H
chose to use K98s modified to accept and function
with the long magnum cartridge.
The rifle featured in this column was built with double-set triggers and a drop-box magazine that holds four
cartridges. An express-type rear sight offers a standing
leaf marked “50/200” and three folding leafs marked
from 300 to 500 yards. The front sight is classic Holland & Holland and features a fine brass bead, a large
folding ivory bead for low-light use, and a folding hood.
Well-figured walnut, petite lines, and fine checkering define the stock. The only non-original part I’ve
found is the Pachmayr “Old English” rubber recoil
pad. A metal cap with a trapdoor is fitted to the grip,
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
and generous sling loops are fixed to the toe of the
stock and around the barrel a few inches in front of
the fore-end tip.
A lovely old fixed-power Swarovski scope is mounted
in a robust quick-detach side mount. Interestingly, the
side scope mount consists of three main elements plus
rings. The base is actually two pieces. One is screwed
to the front left side of the action just aft of the front
receiver ring; the other is both dovetailed and screwed
into the rear receiver ring. The scope is secured in rings
fixed to a one-piece platform that mates into the twopiece base by hooking in a deep slot in the front, then
dropping into a rear slot where a cam lever rotates and
secures the lot.
Mechanicals
Holland & Holland’s modified Mausers function
just like any other K98-based design, so rather than
spending space on the basics, I’ll detail a few of the
unique characteristics of this rifle.
First, this rifle is a takedown
and requires nothing to take it
apart aside from a coin. Unlike
many takedown designs, the
action and barrel do not separate. Rather, the rear action tang is
curtailed and formed into a hooktype element, and it seats beneath
a metal tang-shaped housing set
into the rear of the action mortise.
To assemble, hook the action tang
in place, gently swivel the barreled
action down until it seats in the
stock, and screw the front action
bolt home with a coin, torqueing
it as firmly as possible.
A unique sear arrangement is fitted to the action
in lieu of a trigger assembly and interfaces with the
double-set triggers that are inletted with the bottom
metal. To use the triggers, simply press the rear trigger
firmly until it clicks; then touch the front trigger to
fire. It trips with just 9 ounces of pull. Using the front
trigger alone, without first setting the rear, results in
a fairly stiff pull of 5 pounds, 6 ounces.
Provenance
This rifle belongs to renowned wildlife artist
Michael Coleman, and he obtained it several years
ago through George Caswell, owner of Champlin
Firearms in Enid, Oklahoma. Close examination
indicates the metal parts may have been reblued at
some point.
Once, en route to Arusha, Tanzania, the rifle got
broken clean through at the wrist. Understandably
agitated at the airline, Coleman sent it back to Caswell, who reinforced the wrist with a steel rod and
knit the break so perfectly that unless you know
where to look, it’s invisible.
Back in Africa in pursuit of a big leopard, Coleman struck out. However, Botswana awarded him a
consolation price by offering up a tremendous kudu.
The .375 Holland & Holland spoke its piece, and
Coleman brought home a 64.5-inch bull. To put that in perspective,
a 60-inch kudu is the Holy Grail of the species—the equivalent of a
200-inch whitetail buck.
Over the years, Coleman has used the fine old rifle on African plains
game as well as elk.
Rangetime
The rifle and the original case designate 300-grain bullets, so I selected
a few good loads and fired two, three-shot groups at 100 yards with each.
Even though the bare rifle weighs only 8 pounds, 3 ounces, recoil was mild,
and the rifle shot incredibly well, averaging 1.22 inches with all ammo
types. Its favorite load was Federal’s 300-grain Partition, and it produced
three-shot clusters with all three bullet holes touching.
With the scope removed, I tried a few fast shots with the iron sights. The
stock is superbly engineered for the sights, and the rifle shoulders, points,
and balances almost as well as
a British side-by-side shotgun.
H&H TAKEDOWN
MAGAZINE RIFLE
Holland & Holland’s
Takedown Magazine rifle
is the perfect marriage of a
versatile cartridge, an action
that changed the world,
and a craftsmanship that is
unmatched. It’s no wonder
rifles such as it became the
standard by which all others
are judged.
H&H TAKEDOWN MAGAZINE RIFLE ACCURACY & VELOCITY
.375 H&H, 24.5-in. Barrel
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of two, three-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. Velocity is
the average of six rounds measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle.
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
19
SHOOTER’S GALLERY
THE SHOOTIST
THE BALLISTICIAN
THE RELOADER
.32 H&R Magnum
The littlest Magnum is a dandy field cartridge with excellent
long-range capabilities. BY ALLAN JONES
SIZE-WISE, THE .32 H&R MAGNUM IS THE SMALLEST
The .32 H&R
Magnum is
a great field
cartridge, especially when
handloaded
with cast bullets. One of
Allan’s favorites is the RCBS
32-98-FN. (Illustration courtesy
of RCBS)
22
centerfire handgun cartridge with the “Magnum”
moniker on SAAMI’s most recent list of standard
cartridges. I’ve touched on this cartridge over the last
decade, and there must be a bunch of people who share
my fondness for it. Friends and acquaintances keep
asking, “When are you going to tell us more about
the .32 Mag.?” Okay, guys, here you go.
The .32 H&R Mag. debuted in 1983–1984
as a joint project between Federal Cartridge
and Harrington & Richardson. Many compact .38 Special revolvers were limited to
five shots, and their small construction
made recoil with high-performance
defense ammo unpleasant for
some. The .32 H&R was intended
to offer stopping power that
approached the level of the .38
Special but with less recoil and in
a compact revolver that held six
rounds.
It is obvious that the .32 H&R
Mag. did not supplant existing defense
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
cartridges like the .38 Spl. Regardless, it has soldiered
on, likely because it is a dandy little field cartridge with
excellent long-range capabilities. It’s also more stinkin’
fun than should be legal. Other gunmakers soon
joined the party, including Smith & Wesson, Ruger,
Charter Arms, Dan Wesson, and Freedom Arms.
The .32 H&R Mag. is the .32 Smith & Wesson
Long case extended to 1.075 inches; the maximum
cartridge overall length (COL) is 1.350 inches.
That kept the .32 Mag. within the cylinder
length of existing H&R revolver designs
without the need for a new frame design.
The maximum average pressure was
set at 21,000 CUP, more than the
.45 ACP or the .38 Spl. +P. By
comparison, its parent cartridge
has a pressure assignment of only
12,000 CUP.
Federal introduced two loads:
a 95-grain lead SWC advertised
at 1,030 fps and an 85-grain JHP
at 1,100 fps (these are pressure-barrel velocities). The .32 H&R pressure
barrel is 5 inches long and has no cylinder gap. In production revolvers with barrels 4 inches and less, velocities were expectedly lower; revolvers with longer barrels
fared rather well.
I chrongraphed early factory ammo in my 5.5-inch-barreled Ruger Single-Six; the
lead SWC shot the advertised 1,030 fps, and its JHP cousin did about 1,060 fps.
However, when we developed handload data with 100-grain JHPs and a variety of
propellants, the same Single-Six consistently exceeded pressure barrel velocities by
an average of almost 50 fps.
Handloading the Littlest Magnum
Let’s talk reloading. My preference in bullet weight goes to the 100-grainers. They
have consistently been the most accurate in my Ruger revolver. However, the lighter
JHPs are not far behind and offer extra velocity to help with bullet expansion.
The .32 H&R Mag. uses 0.312-inch jacketed bullets; cast bullet diameters should
be no smaller than 0.313 inch for best accuracy. Suitable jacketed bullets are still available. Hornady catalogs two (85- and 100-grain XTP), and Sierra has one (a 90-grain
JHC). Rainier Bullets lists a 100-grain JHP and a 100-grain FMJ.
The .32 H&R Mag. is an outstanding cartridge for cast bullets, but it’s not a problem if you don’t cast. I found more cast bullet offerings online than jacketed ones.
Just remember to always opt for the harder alloys.
I apply a conventional roll crimp to all of my .32 H&R handloads to help ballistic uniformity. Some cast bullet designs seated to the crimp groove may exceed the
industry overall length recommendation of 1.350 inches; my Ruger will accommodate loaded lengths up to 1.455 inches, and the rare S&W Model K-32 in .32 H&R
has an even longer cylinder. My favorite cast bullet, from RCBS mold 32-98-FN,
loads up at 1.420 inches, which is no problem for the Single-Six. If in doubt, load a
dummy cartridge and test it in your gun’s cylinder.
I avoid bullets weighing less than about 80 grains in the .32 H&R. We tried doing
H&R data for a .32 ACP 60-grain Gold Dot hollowpoint bullet that worked in the
.32 S&W Long. The light bullet in the larger H&R case exhibited serious ballistic inconsistencies in the pressure barrel regardless of loading technique or our best
ballisticians’ incantations.
The .32 H&R case is adaptable enough to enjoy a wide range of propellants. With
85- and 90-grain jacketed bullets, stick with the mid- to fast-burn-rate propellants.
Alliant Unique and Hodgdon Universal did very well in pushing 85-grain bullets to
safe top speeds. With 100-grain bullets, the true “magnum” slow-burners through
H110 work but are best with maximum safe loads. If you don’t need the speed, you
don’t need the slow-burners in the .32 H&R Mag. When loading 98-grain cast bullet
loads for plinking, I use data we published for the 100-grain JHP. Standard Small
Pistol primers worked best across the board.
Do not use old .32 H&R Mag. data for 0.308-inch bullets with modern 0.312inch bullets. In lab tests I found this practice can produce pressures up to 50 percent
over the limit.
People correctly state that you can shoot cheaper .32 S&W Long ammo for practice and plinking, but my Ruger revolver never shot very accurately with the shorter
cartridge. I’ve also heard this from many other .32 H&R Mag. shooters, including
a few lucky stiffs who managed to score the rare .32 H&R Mag. K-Frame revolvers.
I’ve often been asked why not simply choose a .22 Winchester Rimfire Magnum
handgun for field use instead. Easy. I’ve never found a .22 WMR handgun that came
close to the accuracy of the .32 H&R in my Single-Six.
Although only two of the biggest ammomakers still offer this cartridge, it is not
dead. Federal and Hornady catalog it at press time, as do Black Hills and Buffalo
Bore. This is a classic handloaders’ cartridge, and Starline continues to offer cases.
SHOOTER’S GALLERY
THE SHOOTIST
THE BALLISTICIAN
THE RELOADER
Don’t Be Afraid of an
Obscure Cartridge
The obscure .375-CCC wildcat round is eerily similar to and
has a historical connection with the .375 Weatherby Magnum.
The .375-CCC is
a wildcat cartridge that first
appeared in the
early 1940s.
Lane used
(left to right)
Speer 235grain Hot-Cor,
Sierra 250-grain
GameKing,
Nosler 260grain Partition,
Hornady 270grain InterLock,
and Federal 250-grain
Trophy Bonded
Bear Claw bullets for his
handloads.
24
BY LANE PEARCE
ANY TIME YOU START HANDLOADING FOR AN
obscure round—especially a wildcat—the process is
challenging. But when the outcome is finding a load
that a special rifle shoots well, it’s definitely worth
the effort. Case in point: the .375-CCC.
The .375-CCC is a big-bore belted magnum wildcat
cartridge that first appeared sometime in the 1940s.
It is very similar to the .375 Weatherby Magnum.
What little information I discovered while researching the history of this wildcat is interesting. Two fellows
(E. Baden Powell and R.W. Miller) came up with the
idea for a series of “improved performance” cartridges
in the early 1940s.
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
They would accomplish this by rechambering
an existing rifle to accommodate an oversized case.
They set up a company, and the PMVF (PowellMiller Venturi Freebore) concept was in business.
Roy Weatherby ordered a .270 PMVF based on the
.300 H&H Magnum case, and he was so impressed
he later asked Miller to assist in developing a new
line of “magnum” cartridges to be used in customordered rifles.
In the meantime, the original company sold out to
another outfit. That company offered the same service but gave the concept a different label—the CCC
(Controlled Combustion Chamberage) designation.
The .375-CCC (right) is very similar to the .375 Weatherby Magnum (left)
Weatherby partnered with another machinist,
and can be fireformed from the .375 H&H (center).
and as they say, the rest is history. The
.375 Weatherby appeared in the mid1940s but was replaced in 1953 by the
so with a couple of lighter-weight Speer and Sierra bullets.
even more powerful .378 Weatherby
I then fired a whole box of Hornady 300-grain DGX .375
Magnum. Weatherby reintroduced
H&H factory ammo, and as expected, the average velocthe .375 Magnum around 2002,
ity was somewhat attenuated by the case expanding to
and it has regained some acclaim.
fill the .375-CCC’s “improved” chamber.
My research all started when
A few weeks later I found—and purchased—a
I had the chance to purchase
box of .375 Weatherby Magnum brass at a Carta 1942-vintage Winchester
er’s Country gunshop. Sure enough, the new cases
Model 70 that was originally
chambered easily with a snug fit in my Model 70’s
custom chamber. The only evidence was a slightly
chambered for .375 Magnum
but was rechambered in 1943
burnished ring on the Weatherby cases’ uniquely
to .375-CCC. I’ve built six rifles
shaped shoulders. My conclusion: For all practifor various wildcat cartridges, but
cal purposes, the .375-CCC is the same as the .375
the .375-CCC Model 70 is my first
Weatherby Magnum.
“ready-made” wildcat rifle.
Norma and Hornady handload manuals currently offer
The deal also included a set of RCBS
load data for the .375 Weatherby Magnum, and A-Square’s
reloading dies and 60 or so pieces of fired brass.
load manual also includes a few recipes for its 300-grain Dead Tough
I already had a bunch of bullets and suitable propelbullet. Plus, Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center includes the round on the
lants to choose from and plenty of Federal 215 Large
website. So I reloaded half of the Weatherby cases and some Winchester
Rifle Magnum primers for building the handloads.
Super-X cases and compared the wildcat rifle’s results with shooting
However, I quickly discovered that specific references
results for another of my vintage Winchester Model 70s, which is chamto this odd wildcat round are sparse.
bered for the .375 H&H Magnum.
Phil Sharpe’s supplemented second edition of his
Both Model 70s have factory-standard 25-inch heavy sporter barrels
Complete Guide to Handloading lists an extensive
and actually weigh almost the same at about 9.5 pounds. Accuracy from
array of CCC cartridges from .218 Bee through .375
the bench was almost identical for both rifles/cartridges, but velocities
H&H Magnum. Norma’s website offers some interestfor the .375-CCC were higher by as much as 200 fps.
ing facts. And the revised edition of Jack O’Connor’s
Other than following routine reloading procedures used to load any
The Rifle Book from 1964 offered only one sentence
other big-bore belted cartridge, there is only one special caution to heed.
in reference to the .300 Weatherby’s father being “a
You have to be sure to adjust your sizer die to headspace on the case
wildcat known as the .300 PMVF for reasons too comshoulder (like you would with any bottleneck, beltless rifle case) to avoid
plicated and obscure to go into in this limited space.”
repetitively stretching the body just above the case head when sizing and
But I had a plan. Because the .375-CCC cases
firing to avoid premature case separation.
appeared to be very similar to the
.375 Weatherby Magnum, I had
my gunsmith full-length resize
a couple of the fired .375-CCC
cases, and I carefully measured the
critical dimensions before trying
to chamber the cases in the rifle.
The bolt closed with just a hint
of resistance.
Next, I determined the .375CCC case has approximately
12.5 percent more capacity than
the .375 H&H Magnum, which
suggested I could likely load the
Luckily, the author acquired two sets of vintage reloading dies for his .375-CCC rifle. One set came with
maximum .375 H&H recipes and
the rifle; the other was found at a local gunshop.
stay within safe pressure levels. I did
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
25
BEST-IN-CLASS
BALLISTIC
CONSISTENCY
Hornady’s .300 PRC could be the ultimate modern .30-caliber
magnum. Here’s what the newest .30-caliber cartridge has going for it.
BY JOSEPH VON BENEDIKT
T
HE BRAND-NEW .300 PRC (FOR PRECI-
sion Rifle Cartridge) from Hornady is purpose-built for extra-long-range shooting,
known as “ELR.” It will serve admirably
for hunting elk in thick timber and for zapping whitetails down Texas senderos, but it
gets really, really good about where other
.30-caliber magnums begin to droop.
It accomplishes this by being optimized
specifically for very long, very aerodynamic, high-ballistic-coefficient bullets. We’re talking slippery .30-caliber projectiles that
start at 200 grains and go way north from there.
Another characteristic that Hornady’s design team was tasked
with accomplishing was endowing the .300 PRC with forgiving,
easy accuracy. You know, like the accuracy the 6.5 Creedmoor
has become legendary for—the sort of inherent accuracy that
will eventually make savvy shooters say, “It’s hard to find a .300
PRC that won’t shoot.”
Because .30-caliber rifles have big holes down the barrel and
because magnums hold a lot more gunpowder than standard-size
Basically the .375 Ruger case necked down to accept 0.308-inch-diameter
bullets, the .300 PRC (left) has a bit more case capacity than the venerable .300 Winchester Magnum (right). The cartridge achieves its optimal
ballistic consistency with long, heavy, high-BC bullets.
accuracy-friendly cartridges such as the Creedmoor, when a
magnum .30—any magnum .30—detonates, shocking quantities of pressure, vibration, action flex, barrel oscillation, heat,
and so forth occur. Unlike with mild, semi-small-bore cartridges,
achieving predictable, easy accuracy with a magnum .30 cartridge is no simple task.
Rather than engineer the cartridge around existing rifle
actions and comfortable bullets, Hornady’s design gurus built
the .300 PRC around ideal-cartridge concepts, much like they
did with the 6.5 Creedmoor.
First, in order to provide acceptable barrel life, the .300 PRC’s
case capacity is a whisker below the “overbore” threshold. If
you like to actually shoot your rifle—and ELR shooters do—
this is an important consideration.
Specifically, propellant capacity is greater than the .300 Winchester Magnum, less than the .300 Weatherby, and just a tad
less than the 30 Nosler. It’s a whole bunch less than the .300
Remington Ultra Mag and .300 Norma. According to Hornady, capacity is 75 to 80 grains depending on propellant type.
In ELR, as long as you’re within a certain velocity window,
you just let the bullet do the work. Savvy ELR shooters couldn’t
care less about light-for-caliber bullets, such as the 150-, 165-,
and 180-grain .30-caliber projectiles so popular for common
hunting tasks. Instead, they opt for the slipperiest, low-drag,
heavy-for-caliber bullets available.
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
27
BEST-IN-CLASS BALLISTIC CONSISTENCY
These über-slick projectiles shrug off air friction and
maintain velocity better than
common bullets. The result
is less drop and less wind
drift at extreme range and a
much more distant transonic
threshold.
In practical terms, what
does this gain you? Superior
long-range (and extremerange) performance on
anything from steel targets
to terrorists. It’s worth noting
that a secondary design goal
of the .300 PRC was to produce a lighter-recoiling ,
more efficient cartridge that
1
3
4
2
can effectively replace the
.338 Lapua Magnum and
Competing .30-caliber magnums don’t have the “head height” to allow the use of extreme-BC bullets with long,
.50 BMG for extreme-range
sleek ogives. By virtue of its very long SAAMI-spec COL, the .300 PRC does.
sniper work.
2 .300 PRC With Hornady 212-Gr. ELD-X
1 .300 Win. Mag. With Hornady 200-Gr. ELD-X
The .300 PRC also gains
3 30 Nosler With Nosler 200-Gr. AccuBond
4 .300 Wby. With Hornady 200-Gr. ELD-X
added on-impact energ y.
Because that heavy, low-drag
bullet maintains velocity so well, it carries large quantities of
Also—and very importantly—since the bullet’s base doesn’t
impact authority well past the point where most magnum .30s
intrude much below the neck/shoulder juncture, the .300 PRC
begin to fizzle. Higher retained velocity also ensures better
actually has more functional internal capacity than competing
bullet expansion at distance. This is a big deal to hunters who
cartridges with nominally greater capacity.
shoot game way out there.
However, such bullets are extraordinarily long. In most carSpecifications
tridges they protrude deep into the case, intruding on propellant
Basically the .375 Ruger case necked down to accept
capacity and causing potential concentricity issues.
0.308-inch-diameter bullets, the .300 PRC has a history. ExperImportantly, the .300 PRC has a 1.120-inch “head height,”
imenters have been tinkering with similar wildcats ever since
which is a term that describes the distance a bullet can protrude
the .375 Ruger was introduced in 2007, and they found it ideal
from a case mouth and still fit into a magazine. Compare that
as a heavy .30-caliber long-range benchrest cartridge. It’s been
to the 0.72-inch head height of the .300 Win. Mag.
informally known by several monikers: .30-375, .300 AI, and
This generous head height distance allows those long, sleek,
.300 HSM (Hornady Super Magnum).
low-drag bullets with stretched-out ogives (the curve of the bulSince it features almost parallel sides, it maximizes capacity for
let’s nose between tip and full diameter) to be seated to ideal
its length and provides an optimal container for an ideal quantity
depth. They don’t have to be seated ultra deep in order to fit
of the temperature-stable propellants so critical to ELR shooting.
inside a magnum-length magazine box. Accuracy and case effiPlus, it has a shoulder angle steep enough to further aid capacity
ciency both benefit.
and to promote clean, complete propellant combustion, resulting in uniform pressures and velocities. Yet that shoulder is not
so steep as to complicate feeding from a magazine.
.300 PRC
Neck length is ideal for maintaining concentricity. Chamber throat dimensions are tighter than other .30 magnums and
are tuned to provide consistent, precise bullet exchange from
case mouth to rifling.
Paired with a true magnum-length action, it enables long,
sleek bullets to be seated to the sweet spot, without the base
of the bullet intruding deeply into powder capacity. In order
to play nice, the chamber’s throat depth is optimized for those
long bullets sticking way out of the case mouth.
28
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
Importantly, the .300 PRC is spec’d with a rifling twist rate
popular .30-caliber magnums (loaded with 200-grain ELD-X
of 1 turn in 8.5 inches, which is necessary to adequately stabibullets because they don’t have the magazine length to accept
lize the extremely long, heavy-for-caliber bullets that excel at
the sleeker, longer 212-grain version). It’s an interesting comELR. Such projectiles won’t stabilize in the 1:10 twist standard
parison and showcases the increasing advantage of an extremely
across pretty much all other .30-caliber magnums.
aerodynamic hunting bullet as distances extend. Even at just
For years, wildcatters and precision handloaders have been
200 yards, the .300 PRC very nearly matches the .300 RUM,
custom-ordering rifles built and chambered outside of SAAMI
and past that it easily outclasses the RUM. For readers who
specifications in order to obtain enhanced performance. A typ want to learn more about how the .300 PRC stacks up against
ical example is a custom .300 Win. Mag. or 30 Nosler rifle built
other popular .30-caliber cartridges, check out my exclusive
using an extended magazine box, a deep chamber throat, and
Web article at shootingtimes.com.
faster-than-spec rifling, which all optimize performance with
Converting Rifles
the long, high-BC bullets that excel at long range.
As Hornady’s Jayden Quinlan put it, “Obviously, the gun
While the .300 PRC does not use an outdated belted magnum
guys want this, so we’ve created a SAAMI-spec cartridge that
case head, it does use the same size boltface, which makes for
fits their needs. There’s a little bit of difficulty in the fact that
easy conversions to the PRC. Assuming your rifle has a true
we’ve stepped outside the box in the COL limitations, but we’ve
magnum-length magazine, converting a .300 Win. Mag. to
done that on purpose as well. Custom gun guys
have been doing that for years.”
This enables ammunition companies to
build long-range ammo that achieves performance levels previously obtainable only by
handloaders working with custom chambers.
Using Hornady’s 225-grain ELD Match as
our projectile of choice, let’s take a brief look
at what the .300 PRC is capable of at extreme
distance.
It exits the muzzle of my 24-inch-barreled
Gunwerks Magnus test rifle at 2,822 fps.
At standardized sea-level atmospherics, it
maintains supersonic velocity to 1,750 yards—
almost a mile. At my home altitude of 5,050
feet, it’s supersonic to 2,100 yards. That’s a
whole bunch of steel-ringing capability.
For those interested in what I call “extended
range precision hunting,” I’ve included a chart
Initial factory loads feature Hornady’s outstanding 225-grain ELD Match, which has an
on page 31 comparing the .300 PRC (loaded
astounding G1 BC of .777, and 212-grain ELD-X, which has a BC of .673.
with the 212-grain ELD-X bullet) to three very
.300 PRC ACCURACY & VELOCITY
Gunwerks Magnus, 24-in. Barrel, Revic 4.5-28X 56mm
7
5
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three, three-shot groups fired from a bipod. Velocity is the average of 10 rounds measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle.
Ambient temperature: 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Elevation: 5,050 feet.
All load data should be used with caution. Always start with reduced loads first and make sure they are safe in each of your guns before proceeding to the
high test loads listed. Since Shooting Times has no control over your choice of components, guns, or actual loadings, neither Shooting Times nor the various
firearms and components manufacturers assume any responsibility for the use of this data.
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
29
BEST-IN-CLASS BALLISTIC CONSISTENCY
.300 PRC is as simple as running a finish reamer into the chamber. Because it has the requisite magazine length, Remington’s
Model 700 long action is a good choice for conversion. The
standard box magazine measures right at 3.7 inches of internal length. Many other common magnum magazine boxes
measure 3.6 inches internally, so they are too short without
significant modification.
However, it’s critical to note that most other .30-caliber
magnum barrels are rifled with a twist rate of 1 turn in 10
inches, which is too slow to properly stabilize the long, sleek
bullets that give the .300 PRC its advantage. Consider adding
a premium custom barrel with a 1:8.5 twist.
Handloading the .300 PRC
As I write this, no reloading data for the new cartridge is
available. However, I’ve extrapolated powder charges from
similar-capacity rounds and tried a few handloads. As you
can see in the chart, even without any workup or fine-tuning, three of the four handloads averaged around 1 MOA in
my rifle. That’s not bad for preliminary results. Undoubtedly,
finessing the charge weight and seating depth would result in
better accuracy.
Slow-burning powders, such as Retumbo and Reloder 26,
should be ideal for loading the .300 PRC. Even though it’s a
shade faster burning and may not generate quite as impressive
velocities, H1000 is certainly worth a try, too.
Because of the .300 PRC’s 75- to 80-grain powder capacity,
Large Rifle Magnum primers are called for. I used Winchester
Large Rifle Magnum primers for my handloads, but Federal’s
215 Gold Medal Match primers are outstanding, and as far
as I’m aware, they’re the only true match-grade Large Rifle
Magnum primers available.
Slow-burning, temp-stable powders, such as Retumbo, H1000, and Reloder 26, are ideal for handloading the .300 PRC.
Initially, correctly headstamped cases will be available only
from Hornady, but I suspect additional companies will get on
board eventually. Being match-quality, the Hornady brass will
provide good results from the get-go. If you like to tinker and
want ultimate consistency, weight sorting and neck turning
may add a slight accuracy edge.
Ideal match bullets for the new round include Hornady’s
225-grain ELD Match (BC: .777), which is available in factory-loaded form; Sierra’s 230-grain MatchKing (BC: .800);
Berger’s 230-grain Hybrid Target (BC: .717); and Nosler’s
210-grain RDF (BC: .701).
For hunting, pick high-BC bullets like Hornady’s 212-grain ELD-X (BC: .673), Nosler’s
210-grain AccuBond Long Range (BC: .661),
Barnes’s 200-grain LRX (BC: .546), and Berger’s 210-grain VLD-Hunting (BC: .625).
Field Test
Joseph handloaded five high-BC bullets for this report, including (ieft to right) Hornady’s
212-grain ELD-X and 225-grain ELD Match; Sierra’s 210-grain MatchKing, Barnes’s 200-grain
LRX, and Federal’s 200-grain Edge TLR.
30
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
My first hands-on acquaintance with the
.300 PRC came in the KwaZulu-Natal region
of South Africa, hunting free-range, indigenous game in the Umkomaas Valley with
Crusader Safaris. Hornady PR wizard Neal
Emery put a fine custom rifle by G.A. Precision in my hands, along with several boxes of
ammo. In the northern foothills of the Stormberg mountain range, we glassed a morning
away in search of a big common reedbuck. As
noon came, I went prone with the .300 PRC,
and Emery dialed the local atmospherics into
the Hornady 4DOF Ballistic Calculator app
on his smartphone.
Rocks at 649 and 873 yards were appropriately dented by
212 grains of Hornady lead and copper. An old termite mound
beckoned from 1,100 yards, and while I didn’t center the vitalsize formation with my first or second shots, I did hit edges. My
third shot punched it perfectly. Professional Hunter and personal friend Armand Aucamp was gobsmacked. “If that had been
a big kudu bull, you would have got him with all three shots!”
As the sun drew near the horizon, we located a big, old reedbuck living in a grass-filled slash in an unwelcoming rocky
butte. Playing the wind, we stalked through the swaying grass
and loose rocks and burrowed into a dense thicket atop a tiny
knoll 292 yards from the bedded reedbuck. Threading the
muzzle through thorny, slender tree trunks, I rested the Spartan
Precision bipod attached to my rifle on a couple of precarious
stones. Then I found the animal’s shoulder and sent a heavy
.30-caliber bullet through Africa’s atmosphere and into the
reedbuck’s shoulder.
Three days later, back in the Umkomaas Valley, a monster of
a nyala appeared like a wraith. Just 25 yards away, he stood stock
still, then drifted into heavy brush as I raised the rifle. Threading the needle, I triggered two shots through tiny openings in
the thornbush, dropping the bull with the second.
Terminal performance on both animals was spectacular, and
the next morning I watched Emery drop a kudu cow at 750
yards with one shot.
At home, I ran a few preliminary accuracy tests with a Gunwerks Magnus rifle, firing both of Hornady’s initial factory-load
offerings and five handloads.
Impressively, the combined average accuracy of all the loads
was less than one inch. Both factory loads outperformed all but
one of my handloads, but I’m okay with that. Hornady’s engineers have had a lot more time to finesse their .300 PRC ammo
than I have. As you can see in the chart on page 29, both factory loads grouped well under 1 MOA.
After that, I just had to
really stretch the .300 PRC.
.30-CALIBER MAGNUM BALLISTICS
Shooting buddy Ty Evens and
.300 WSM
.300 WIN. MAG.
.300 PRC
30 NOSLER
.300 RUM
I shot at an 18x24-inch rect200-GR. ELD-X
200-GR. ELD-X
212-GR. ELD-X
200-GR. ELD-X
220-GR. ELD-X
angle at 1,844 yards and hit it
MUZZLE
a surprising number of times.
And although the fickle wind
occasionally threw a bullet
200 YDS.
wide, for the most part our
misses were by scant inches.
Whether the new .300
0
0
0
0
0
PRC has the power to
carve out a viable chunk
500 YDS.
of the .30-caliber magnum
market remains to be seen.
It’s designed for a particular
purpose that is currently very
popular, and it accomplishes
800 YDS.
that purpose splendidly.
My admittedly hazy crystal
ball suggests that although the
.300 PRC will never unseat
the .300 Win. Mag. as the
1,000 YDS.
king of magnums, it is likely
to give the bigger, hotter magnums a serious run for their
money. It kicks less than the
.300 Wby., 30 Nosler, and
1,500 YDS.
.300 RUM, yet it outperforms
them all at long distance.
Plus, it’s engineered from
the ground up to provide
easy accuracy and best-inNOTES: Ballistics were calculated at a typical extended-range hunting altitude of 7,000 feet, at 40 degrees
class ballistic consistency. If
Fahrenheit, with a 10-mph crosswind, using a 200-yard zero. Velocities are Hornady’s published factory-ammo figyou like the idea of shooting a
ures, extrapolated from handload manuals, or actual chronograph results.
The bullets are the Hornady 212-grain ELD-X for the .300 PRC; the Hornady 220-grain ELD-X for the .300 RUM;
mile or more, you need a rifle
and the Hornady 200-grain ELD-X for the .300 WSM, .300 Win. Mag., and 30 Nosler.
chambered for it.
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
31
34
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL ANSCHUETZ
GROUNDBREAKER
TAURUS’S NEW SPECTRUM .380 ACP POCKET PISTOL TAKES
CONCEALED-CARRY GUN DESIGN TO A NEW LEVEL.
BY JAKE EDMONDSON
T
AURUS SAYS ITS NEW SPECTRUM IS A “GROUNDBREAKING, GAME-
changing” auto pistol design. It’s a striker-fired, double-action-only .380
ACP personal-protection pistol that’s been carefully engineered for shooter
comfort and ease of use.
Special Features
The company points to five areas where the SPECTRUM has received
special attention—ergonomics, slide racking, trigger, recoil management,
and takedown. Before I get to what Taurus says about those elements, let’s
get the preliminary information out of the way.
The double-action-only .380 ACP SPECTRUM has a 2.8-inch barrel. Its magazine capacity is
six or seven rounds, and it comes with two magazines. The seven-rounder has an extended base
pad that serves as a grip extension. I have medium-size hands, and with the flush-fitting magazine inserted, I can get two fingers fully on the grip, and my pinky finger tucks up under the
butt. With the extended magazine inserted, I can squeeze three fingers onto the grip.
The pistol’s overall length is 5.4 inches, and height is 3.82 inches with the flush-fitting magazine. The pistol’s slide and frame proper are 0.89 inch thick. Its widest point is outside the slide
stop, and that measurement is 0.98 inch. Grip circumference is 4.75 inches. Empty weight is
12.3 ounces with an empty six-round magazine inserted. With the seven-round magazine loaded
with 100-grain ammunition, the weight is 15.1 ounces.
The SPECTRUM comes with low-profile fixed sights. Both are plain black, and they are
integral to the slide. The front sight is a simple ramp (it’s more like a bump), and the rear sight
has a square notch. My sample pistol came with a Viridian E-Series red laser already installed.
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
35
GROUNDBREAKER
It has an ambidextrous on/off switch conveniently located up front that can be reached
easily with the index finger.
The laser’s housing is made of polymer
and attaches to the trigger guard and features
a 5mW red laser. The laser is powered by a
single 1/3N battery (battery life is six hours
in constant-on mode). The laser features an
auto shut-off that turns the laser off after five
minutes.
The SPECTRUM’s slide is carbon steel, and
the frame is polymer. The slide is contoured
at the rear where cocking grooves are typically
located and has polymer overmold inserts on
each side instead of grooves. The frame also
has polymer overmold surfaces on the grip’s
backstrap, frontstrap, and sides as well as in
the beavertail area.
The only external controls on the sleek
SPECTRUM are the slide stop lever and
the magazine release button. They are both
located on the left side of the gun, but the magThe .380 ACP SPECTRUM comes with two magazines that have removable baseplates. The
flush-fitting magazine holds six rounds, and the extended magazine holds seven rounds.
azine release can be switched to the right side.
There is no external manual safety.
Now let’s look at the five areas that Taurus focused on when
strokes. They also are intended to make manipulating the slide
designing the SPECTRUM. In the ergonomics department,
more comfortable.
the SPECTRUM has unique contours that allow the shooter’s
The trigger is not your typical hinged or levered striker-fire
hand to naturally conform to the grip. Obviously, this provides
type of trigger. It’s a solid fingerpiece, and the mechanism proa more secure grip. The extended magazine is ergonomically
vides a long and smooth trigger pull with a reasonably crisp
contoured to fit the shooter’s hand. All edges of the pistol have
release. The mechanism is a true double-action-only system
been softened to make for snag-free fast draws. All these feathat features a non-energized striker with no pre-cock or pretures combine to help provide a natural point of aim.
load. My pistol’s trigger pull averaged 8 pounds, 4 ounces as
As for slide racking, the previously mentioned soft-touch
measured with an RCBS trigger pull scale. The mechanism uses
polymer ovemold inserts take the place of typical slide cocka long trigger stroke, and it allows for staging. It’s not a matching grooves, and they are more than just stylish elements. They
type trigger pull by any means, but by doing a lot of dry-firing,
were designed to enhance positive slide racking by creating
I developed a good, consistent pull before testing the gun’s
contact points for enhanced traction and minimizing short
accuracy. During dry-fire practice, the laser was very helpful
illuminating any jerky trigger squeezes by allowing me
to easily see the movement.
As I mentioned earlier, the
frame has soft-touch polymer
overmold areas strategically
placed on and around the
grip. Taurus says these proprietary polymers improve grip
retention in wet or dry conditions, providing a stable,
firm grip, which in turn maximizes shooter comfort and
helps manage recoil.
Takedown is easy, quick,
The SPECTRUM’s fixed rear sight is integral to the carbon-steel slide and so is the front sight. They are rudiand, unlike other strikermentary but sufficient for up-close personal-protection shooting.
fired mechanisms, does not
36
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
SPECTRUM
Our review sample SPECTRUM was equipped with a factory-installed
Viridian E-Series red laser. The laser was very useful during the author’s
dry-fire routine and also contributed to the pistol’s good accuracy with
live ammo.
require the trigger to be squeezed. Takedown requires turning the takedown pin with a flathead screwdriver or other such
tool (I used a coin).
I can attest to how easy and quick takedown is, but I had
a little hiccup when reassembling the pistol. Everything went
well except for installing the recoil spring and guide rod. It took
me a few minutes to get the spring fully compressed without
it moving around on me, but once I did, everything else went
smoothly. By the way, the takedown pin automatically goes
into the locked position after reassembly, but for safety’s sake,
shooters should always check that it is in the correct position
at the end of assembling the pistol.
GROUNDBREAKER
The SPECTRUM’s slide features soft-touch polymer overmold inserts
instead of the typical cocking grooves. More than just stylish elements,
they are intended to provide secure contact points and make racking
the slide easier.
Shootability
Because the SPECTRUM is made for up-close and personal encounters, it is not intended to be a precision-shooting
tool. So I fired it for accuracy at a distance of seven yards. At
that accepted self-defense distance, the pistol was more than
accurate enough for its intended purpose. In fact, you might
consider it impressive accuracy.
The results of five, five-shot groups with five .380 ACP factory loads with bullets weighing 90, 95, 99, and 100 grains
fired from a bench-rest are listed in the accompanying chart,
but briefly, all strings went into nice, tight clusters. They definitely would do some damage to an attacker. Even though the
mechanism is a DAO, I was able to make well-aimed, well-controlled shots. The results are pretty typical for a pocket pistol;
however, I can say that the SPECTRUM is slightly more accurate than my Smith & Wesson .380 BodyGuard but not quite
as accurate as my SIG P238.
What the chart does not show is how easy the SPECTRUM
was to operate. In this regard, Taurus’s claims are spot-on. The
SPECTRUM’s slide was very easy to rack, noticeably easier
than my S&W BodyGuard and my SIG P238. Once I got used
to the SPECTRUM’s trigger pull by dry-firing it repeatedly
before shooting any live ammo, I was able to control the pistol
during the live-fire portion of my evaluation. And for ease of
carry, well, I carried the SPECTRUM in a pocket holster for
several days, and I hardly noticed it was there.
The little SPECTRUM pocket pistol disassembles for routine cleaning in a
matter of seconds after first rotating the takedown pin with a flat-blade
screwdriver, a coin, or the rim of a fired cartridge.
One more thing Taurus says about the SPECTRUM is that
it “pairs fashion and function with more elegant color choices.”
I assume that’s where the model’s name comes from. It’s offered
in eight “Standard” colors: black, gray, or white frame with
black or gray overmold and black or stainless slide (MSRP:
$289 without the laser) and three “House” color combinations: black frame with Flat Dark Earth overmold and
black slide; white frame with cyan blue overTAURUS SPECTRUM ACCURACY & VELOCITY
mold and stainless slide; and gray frame
with mint overmold and black slide (MSRP:
7-YD.
$305 without the laser). Plans are for specialVEL.
E.S.
S.D.
ACC.
AMMUNITION
(FPS)
(FPS)
(FPS)
(IN.)
edition colors to be offered throughout the year.
.380 ACP, 2.8-in. Barrel
I’m not very interested in these fashion
Hornady Critical Defense 90-gr. FTX
909
36
18
2.19
aspects—I’m not exactly what you would call
a fashionista—but function is critical in a perAmerican Eagle 95-gr. FMJ
900
38
13
3.11
sonal-protection pistol. Once function is proven
to be 100 percent, user comfort and ease of operSIG SAUER 100-gr. FMJ
819
27
12
3.13
ation are important, and in my limited testing
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. Velocthe SPECTRUM has been totally reliable, easy
ity is the average of seven rounds measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle.
to use, and comfortable to carry and shoot.
38
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
sigsauer.com
TM
40
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL ANSCHUETZ
STILL GOING
The classic Marlin Model 336 lever-action rifle has had its ups and
downs over the last 12.5 decades, but it’s still alive and well.
BY LAYNE SIMPSON
B
EGINNING LIFE AS THE MODEL 1893
then transitioning through the Model
93, the Model 1936, the Model 36, and
eventually settling on the Model 336,
Marlin’s enduring lever action is now 125
years strong. One reason for the venerable Marlin lever action’s longevity is that
it is one of the all-time great deer-hunting rifles.
operation. As the finger lever is swung to its closed position, it
elevates a vertical steel locking bolt at the rear of the receiver into
engagement with a deep slot on the underside of the breechbolt.
That prevents movement of the breechbolt when the rifle fires.
To make sure the rifle will not fire until the action is fully
locked up, the rifle has a “Safety Firing Pin.” As Marlin described
it, it is a two-piece firing pin with a strong spring pivoting the
forward end of the rear section downward and out of alignment with the front section when the action is open. Its nose
extends into the locking slot of the breechbolt. As the locking
1893 to 1947
The Marlin Model 1893, which was
introduced in 1893, was essentially the company’s previous side-ejecting Model 1889
with improvements and a longer action. The
Model 1893’s first chamberings were .32-40
and .38-55 Winchester, and a factory-mounted
telescopic sight was among its options. The
.25-35 and .30-30 chamberings were added in
1895, and the .32 Winchester Special chambering followed in 1902.
The Lewis Hepburn-designed Model 1893
breech-locking system has remained the same
to this day, and while it’s quite simple, not
all current Model 336 owners understand its
The Marlin Model 336 started out as the LewisHepburn-designed Model 1893 (shown here) in
that year, and its basic design has not changed
in the last 125 years.
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
41
STILL GOING STRONG
bolt moves into full engagement with the breechbolt, its top
end pushes the rear section of the firing pin into alignment
with the front section, and the rifle will fire when the trigger
is squeezed.
Why the Model 1893 became the Model 93 in 1905 remains
a mystery. My guess is it was a marketing move because it rolled
off the tongue a bit easier. No mechanical change was made to
the rifle. During about four decades of production, the forearms
of Marlin rifles had been quite thin and when the “Sure-grip”
forearm, with its fish-belly shape, became standard in 1936, the
name was changed to Model 1936. About a year later, the same
rifle became the Model 36, again with no change in basic design.
1948 to 2005
In 1948 the name was changed a final time to Model 336, and
with it came a trigger stop pin that prevents the trigger from
being squeezed until the lever is completely closed. The old flat
mainspring was replaced by a coil mainspring, and the shape of
the bolt was changed from rectangular to round.
At that point only the .30-30 and .32 Special remained. Sales
increased in 1953 with the addition of the .35 Remington.
Many hunters were switching to telescopic sights, so beginning
in 1956 receivers were drilled and tapped for scope mounting,
and an offset hammerspur was included.
Micro-Groove rifling, which has 12 shallow lands and
grooves, was introduced in Marlin .22 rimfire rifles in 1953,
and by 1956 all centerfire barrels had it as well. It had taken
an hour to cut the old Ballard-style rifling with the scrape-cutter method, but a barrel could be rifled in only a few seconds
with the button method.
The two-piece “Safety Firing Pin,” as it was described by Marlin back in
1893, lives on in the Model 336. With the action open, a strong spring
pushes the nose of the rear section of the firing pin downward and out of
alignment with the front section. As seen here, it extends into the locking notch of the breechbolt.
A huge advantage the Model 336 has over other lever actions
is that its design allows easy removal of the bolt and ejector for
cleaning the bore of the barrel from the chamber end rather
than from the muzzle. A screwdriver for removing the threaded
pivot pin of the finger lever is the only tool required.
The first large-bore cartridge developed for the Model 336
was the .444 Marlin, which was introduced in 1965. It has long
been one of my favorites, and several of my friends used it for all
of their deer, black bear, and hog hunting. Marlin rifles chambered for the fine .444 were named the Model 444. Soon after
Marlin discovered in 1972 that the Model 336 action would
handle the .45-70, .444 Marlin sales began a gradual decline.
The four millionth Marlin Model 336 was sold at auction almost 15 years ago (2005), and after a bit of a hiccup when Remington moved production
to New York in 2010 after acquiring Marlin Firearms Co., the classic lever gun is going strong once again.
42
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
Just as Marlin created a bit of confusion when renaming the
Model 1893 four times, so it went when the company decided
to call the Model 336 in .45-70 the “New Model 1895” in about
1972. The original Model 1895 was introduced in 1893, and its
design is basically the same as the Model 1893, but the Model
1895 action was made much larger so it could handle the .45-70
and other thumb-size cartridges. Considering that the Model
1893 action was sized for the .30-30 and other cartridges of
that length and diameter, Marlin engineers did an excellent
job of modifying the Model 336 to handle the .45-70. While
the New Model 1895 has proven to be strong enough to handle
Category 2 .45-70 loads published in various reloading manuals, those loads generate higher chamber pressures than the
original Model 1895 should be subjected to.
Marlin began using a rather unusual method of obtaining a
close fit between the receiver and the buttstock in 1974. Stock
inletting was intentionally left a bit undersized and immediately
after the rear of the receiver and its tangs were induction-heated
to a very high temperature, pressing the receiver and the stock
firmly together caused metal to burn its way into the wood for
an extremely close fit.
In the old days, it was not uncommon to see a Model 336
in a saddle scabbard out West, but more were carried by easterners for woods hunting, and they were quite happy with the
.30-30 and other close-range cartridges. However, on several
occasions, Marlin has chambered the Model 336 for faster
cartridges for use in open country. In the early 1970s, the .250
Savage was announced, and though several Model 336s were
chambered for it, I am aware of only one that managed to escape
the factory. Another attempt was made in 1983 with the .307
Winchester and .356 Winchester, and while rifles in .356 Win.
went into production, the .307 Win. did not. In addition, the
Model 336 has been chambered in .219 Zipper (1955–1960),
.375 Winchester (1980–1983), and .450 Marlin (2000–2009).
In 2005, the Model 336 hit a milestone. An engraved, goldinlaid, color-case-hardened Model 336 bearing serial number
4,000,000 was auctioned, fetching $17,626. The proceeds were
donated to the Hunting & Shooting Sports Heritage Fund.
2006 to the Present
The .308 Marlin Express and the .338 Marlin Express cartridges arrived in 2006, and for those chamberings, the Model
336XLR was given a laminated stock and a longer barrel.
The purchase of Marlin Firearms Co. by Remington Arms
Co. was finalized in January 2008, and in 2010 Remington
relocated Model 336 production from the old Marlin plant in
New Haven to Remington’s New York factory. Unfortunately,
A huge advantage the Model 336 has over other lever-action rifles is ease
of field stripping for cleaning the bore from the chamber end of the barrel
rather than from the muzzle. A screwdriver for removing the threaded
pivot pin of the finger lever is the only tool required.
longtime Marlin employees were not included in the move,
and the quality of the Model 336 hit rock bottom. (Remington officials later acknowledged the move was a disaster.) For
the first time in 117 years, what had been a totally reliable rifle
became almost totally unreliable. The scramble was on to find
Marlin-built rifles, and as the sales of “Remlins” plummeted,
various models were discontinued.
Determined to keep the Model 336 (and other Marlin
models) alive, Remington invested in new CNC machinery
and the training of employees. It was money well spent. For
example, my wife’s nephew purchased a new Model 336 a while
back, and when I installed a scope on it for him, my examination of the gun revealed that the blued finish on the receiver
was a bit shy of what it had been in the past, but everything
else about the rifle was quite satisfactory. Wood-to-metal fit
was good. The rifle functioned without a hitch. And the trigger pull was actually lighter and a bit smoother than on some
of my old Marlins.
The action was quite smooth, and the gun’s accuracy was very
good. Several loads shot inside 2.0 inches at 100 yards, and Hornady’s Full Boar ammo loaded with the 140-grain MonoFlex
bullet averaged 1.42 inches at 100 yards at an average velocity
of 2,527 fps, which was 61 fps faster than its billing. Zeroed 3.0
inches high at 100 yards, it was dead-on at 200 yards. The reticle in his scope is duplex-style, and when the top of the wide
section in the lower quadrant was used for aiming at a 300yard target, the rifle was dead-on there as well. All bullets fired
at that distance were inside 6.0 inches. Everything considered,
his rifle is as good as the Model 336 has ever been.
Several current variations of the 336 are available. The
Model 336W with a 20-inch barrel and the Model 336Y with
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
43
STILL GOING STRONG
a 16.25-inch barrel in .30-30 and a walnut-finished hardwood
The fact that it is selling quite well indicates there are still plenty
stock are the least expensive (MSRP: $548). The Model 336C
of hunters, young and old, who appreciate steel and walnut. It
(MSRP: $635) in .30-30 or .35 Remington is the most popis one of the all-time great deer rifles, and anyone should be
ular in the line. It has a 20-inch barrel, and its walnut stock
proud to own one.
and forearm have generous
checkering coverage. Give
the Model 336C a stainless1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
steel barreled action and it
becomes the Model 336SS
(MSRP: $779). Moving up
another notch in price is the
Model 336XLR (MSRP:
$996) with a laminated wood
stock, a stainless-steel barreled action, and a 24-inch
barrel in .30-30. My second
Model 336 was the Texan
with a straight-grip stock,
which was the standard version. The deluxe version of
the Texan has a fancy walnut
1 Model 336LTS Lightweight, .30-30
6 Model 444SS, 1:20 Twist Ballard-Style Rifling
stock, machine-cut engrav2 Custom Model 336C, 7mm STE
7 Custom Model 1895, .45-70
ing , and a gold-colored
3 Model 336T Texan Deluxe, .30-30
8 Custom Model 1895, .50 B&M Alaskan
trigger. It was reintroduced
4 Model 336C, .35 Rem.
9 Model 336CB, .38-55 Win.
in 2018 and has an MSRP of
5 Model 444SS, 1:38 Twist Micro-Groove Rifling 10 Model 1895CB, .45-70
$999.
The New Model 1895 is
also back in full production,
and quite a few variations
MARLIN’S LEVER GUN HAS BEEN AVAILABLE IN FAR TOO MANY VARIATIONS TO
are offered—all in .45-70.
mention, but here are a few select picks (along with their years of production): Model
They include the Standard
336A Rifle with a 24-inch barrel (1948–1962), Model 336SC Sporting Carbine (1948–
rifle with a checkered walnut
1963), Model 336T Texan with straight grip (1954–1983), Model 336 Marauder with a
stock and 22-inch barrel;
16.25-inch barrel (1963–1964), Model 336 Magnum in .44 Magnum (1963–1964), and
the Trapper with a synthetic
the Model 336 Extra Range in .356 Winchester (1983–1986). In addition to the original Model 444 in .444 Marlin with its straight-grip stock (1965–1971), there were the
stock, 16.5-inch barrel, and
Model 444S with curved-grip stock (1971–1983) and the Model 444SS with curvedSkinner aperture sight; the
grip
stock and crossbolt safety introduced in 1984. In 1998 Marlin switched from 1:38
Cowboy with an 18.5- or a
twist Micro-Groove rifling in the 444 to six-groove Ballard-style with a 1:20 twist.
26-inch tapered octagon
Standard barrel lengths offered through the decades are 16.25, 18.5, 20, 22, 24,
barrel; the 1895G with a
and 26 inches. The barrels of some models that were advertised as 16.25 inches were
walnut stock and an 18.5actually 16 inches when measured from muzzle to the face of the breechbolt. Both
inch barrel; the same gun
round and octagon barrels have been available.
As for other features, if your Model 336 has a gold trigger, it was likely built after
with a laminated wood stock
1958
but prior to 1982, although the gold trigger has occasionally appeared during
and a big-loop finger lever
later years. If the top and bottom of the receiver do not have a sandblasted finish, it
called the Model 1895GBL;
was built prior to 1960. And thank goodness you bought that cherished .32 Special
the Model 1895GS with a
because 1963 was the last year it was offered. If your New Model 1895 in .45-70 has
straight-grip walnut stock
a straight grip with a finger lever of the same shape and its front sight is dovetailed
and an 18.5-inch barrel; and
directly to the barrel, it was built between 1972 and 1979. If its barrel has eightthe 1895SBL in stainless steel
groove rifling rather than 12-groove rifling, it is from the very first year of production.
If it has Ballard-style, six-groove rifling, it was built after July 1998. Traditionalists
and laminated wood with an
gnashed their teeth and cried out in the night when a crossbolt safety was added to
18.5-inch barrel and a Picathe Model 336 receiver in 1984.
tinny rail with a Skinner
aperture sight.
—Layne Simpson
I’m happy that Remington
has kept the Model 336 alive.
MODEL 336 VARIATIONS
44
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
®
®
®
®
A BONA FIDE
The PREMIER II is the flagship of LES BAER CUSTOM’S
line of excellent Model 1911s.
BY JOEL J. HUTCHCROFT
T
O MY WAY OF THINKING, THE PREMIER
II is the flagship of Les Bear’s superb Model
1911s. Sure, the company has a bunch of
fine models, including the Black Bear, Boss,
Bullseye Wadcutter, CMP-Legal National
Match Hardball, Commanche, Concept,
Custom Carry, GT Monolith Stinger, GT
Monolith Stinger Heavyweight, Hemi,
Monolith, Monolith Commanche, Monolith Heavyweight, P.P.C. Distinguished Match, P.P.C. Open
The Premier II 10mm comes with two, nine-round magazines that are
made by Tripp Research. They have COBRAMAG HV polymer base pads.
46
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
Class, Shooting USA Custom Pistol, Stinger, Swift Response
Pistol, Ultimate Master, Ultimate Recon, Ultimate Tactical Carry, and a limited-edition presentation-grade
model. Phew! That sure is a lot of models. But as its
name implies, the Premier II is the top gun.
I’ve been fortunate to work with several Premier
IIs over the years. The first was a .45 ACP Super
Tac model that was built sometime around 2001.
The next one was chambered for .38 Super and
was made in 2010. Both had 5.0-inch barrels.
The most recent one, prior to the one I fired
specifically for this report, was a 6.0-inchbarreled 10mm Premier II I wrote up for
this magazine exactly two years ago. All were
incredibly tight, had excellent trigger pulls, and
were extremely accurate. The newest addition to the Premier
II line is the 5.0-inch-barreled 10mm pistol that I’m reviewing here.
When John Moses Browning designed the Model 1911, he
had already developed a .38-caliber semiautomatic pistol
called the Model 1902 and was in the process of updating
its design to .45 caliber. That .45 pistol was known as the
Model 1905. When the call came from the U.S. military
to build a better .45, Browning quickly made some modifications and submitted the pistol for review. A second
set of modifications was transmitted to Browning by the
Ordnance Department, and after a 6,000-round torture test
without a single failure—a first in the history of firearms—
the Army adopted the Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911.
Since then the Model 1911 has become the king of service and
self-defense pistols.
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL ANSCHUETZ
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
47
A BONA FIDE MASTERPIECE
Those first military Model 1911s were developed to be fired
one-handed and generally just pointed toward the target. Many
of the tactics of that time were holdovers from the cavalry days
when one hand was needed to control the horse while the other
operated the handgun.
The Model 1911’s grip safety was an Ordnance Department
requirement based on a notion that a light single-action trigger could be inadvertently fired from a less than proper grip.
In addition, an absolute necessity for these fast-firing pistols
was reliability, especially if they got dropped in the mud. It was
imperative that the soldier picking it up would still be in the
fight, so tolerances were loosened to accommodate the dirt and
grunge of combat. Accuracy was a distant, second-place priority back in those days.
The Model 1911 has undergone many refinements and modifications during the last 108 years. Modifications that Les Baer
Custom has mastered enhance the accuracy of the pistol, make
the pistol handle better and quicker, and improve the pistol’s reliability. I’ll get to some of them shortly, but Baer has tightened
tolerances and redesigned certain features, such as the grip safety,
to make Browning’s masterpiece even better.
Premium Features
Everything I wrote about the 6.0-inch 10mm Premier II two
years ago can be said about the 5.0-inch Premier II, except, of
course, the barrel length. Both guns have Baer’s throated and
fully supported National Match barrels and slides. They have
steel frames, stainless-steel bushings, low-mount adjustable
rear sights, and green fiber-optic front sights that are dovetailed into the slides.
They both have tuned and polished extractors, Baer extended
ejectors, Baer checkered slide stops, Baer extended thumb
safeties, Baer aluminum triggers, Baer deluxe skeletonized Commander hammers, and Baer deluxe sears. They come with flat
mainspring housings and Baer beavertail grip safeties.
Speaking of the grip safety, Les Baer designed his grip safety
to have a 0.250-inch radius cut from the pin hole. The raised
“memory” bump ensures positive disengagement even if you ride
your thumb on the thumb
afety. The hammer fits perfectly into the notch, and the
wide beavertail effectively
eliminates hammerbite.
The gun’s mag well is beveled, and the grip’s frontstrap
is checkered 30 lines per inch.
The pistol comes with two
nine-round magazines that
are made by Tripp Research,
and they have COBRAMAG
HV polymer base pads.
The front sight, as I mentioned earlier, has a green
fiber-optic insert. The housing is 0.125 inch wide and
0.185 inch tall. I like the
green, but Baer also includes
easy-to-switch red and yellow
rods if green isn’t your color
of choice.
The adjustable targettype rear sight is similar in
tyle and design to the classic
BoMar rear sight, but the top
corners have been rounded
off to prevent snagging. The
face is all black and finely striated, and the notch is 0.114
inch wide. The whole unit has
been recessed into the top of
the slide.
The chamber of the Premier II 10mm’s 5.0-inch match-grade barrel is throated and fully supported. The pistol
The slide has fine serrauses a standard recoil spring guide rod assembly and a match-grade barrel bushing.
tions at the rear and at the
48
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
PREMIER II 10MM
The front sight is dovetailed into the slide and
comes with a green fiber-optic pipe installed.
Extra red and yellow fiber-optic sight pipes
are included.
front (25 up front and 30 at the back), and the
ejection port is lowered and flared. The barrel’s feedramp is polished. The Premier II uses
a standard recoil spring guide rod assembly.
The pistol has an extended thumb safety for
right-handed shooters and a standard magazine release. The textured G10 grip panel has
been contoured to allow easy access to the
magazine release.
The skeletonized aluminum trigger is Baer’s
Speed Trigger, which has three holes and a
slightly oversized trigger pad. My sample pistol’s trigger pull averaged exactly 4.0 pounds,
2 ounces, with just 2 ounces of variation over
a sequence of five measurements. There was
just a hint of take-up, and letoff was crisp and
consistent.
The pistol is tuned for total reliability, and
the pistol’s fit, finish, and hand-craftsmanship
The target-style rear sight is fully adjustable and recessed into the top of the slide. The
are excellent. All edges and corners of the Preface is all black and finely striated.
mier II 10mm are smooth.
Like every other Baer Premier II 1911 I’ve
worked with, this new one has an extremely tight fit. Due to
The barrel bushing to barrel fit is also very tight. In fact, I
the close fit of the slide and frame, there is zero wiggle between
couldn’t turn the bushing with just my fingers and had to use
the slide and frame. The barrel locks up extremely tightly with
the supplied bushing wrench to disassemble the new pistol.
the slide, and some effort is needed to “pop” the slide back.
When in battery, the barrel doesn’t budge a bit when I push
Premier Accuracy
down on the hood. Experts tend to agree that slide-to-frame
As for the accuracy of the new 5.0-inch 10mm Premier II,
fit and barrel lockup are critical for optimal accuracy, and the
for this report I fired six factory loads with bullet weights rangPremier II’s fit is as tight as I’ve ever experienced.
ing from 155 grains to 200 grains and styles ranging from lead
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
49
A BONA FIDE MASTERPIECE
roundnoses to hollowpoints. All types fed, fired,
LES BAER PREMIER II ACCURACY & VELOCITY
extracted, and ejected perfectly.
Velocity ranged from 1,134 to 1,288 fps,
measured 12 feet from the muzzle, and average accuracy ranged from 1.15 inches to 2.53
10mm, 5.0-in. Barrel
inches. Overall average accuracy was 1.83
inches. The accuracy results were obtained
with the pistol mounted in my Ransom Rest,
and they represent five, five-shot groups with
each load at 25 yards. The complete results are
listed in the accompanying chart, and I’ve also
included accuracy results for the other Pre10mm, 6.0-in. Barrel
mier IIs I’ve fired. Like the 5.0-inch 10mm, all
results are for the guns mounted in a Ransom
Rest.
After shooting the new Premier II for accuracy, I banged away offhand at steel plates and
bouncing ball targets at ranges from between
.45 ACP, 5.0-in. Barrel
seven yards and 25 yards. I also stretched out the
pistol at 35 and 50 yards with two hunting loads,
shooting from a stable rest. The pistol was wellbalanced and easy to shoot well, and hitting a
10-inch-diameter steel plate at the extended distances was not too much of a challenge.
.38 Super, 5.0-in. Barrel
I’ve fired a lot of 10mm ammunition over
the last couple years. The 10mm is experiencing a bit of a renaissance, with introductions
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups fired with the pistols mounted in a
of new guns and ammunition, and I currently
Ransom Rest. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 12 feet from the guns’ muzzles.
have a few favorite factory loads. One is the
Barnes 155-grain TAC-XP. This load is the
softest-shooting 10mm load I’ve found. For that reason, it’s great
Winchester’s 175-grain Silvertip loading has been a favorfor plinking, and it’s not too shabby in the accuracy department.
ite 10mm load of mine for a long time because its ballistics are
Another favorite is Hornady’s 155-grain JHP-XTP. The XTP
close to the ballistics of Winchester’s 175-grain Silvertip .41
bullet has more than proven itself for self-defense applications,
Magnum loading, which is my favorite all-around revolver
and it’s typically my choice for personal protection.
cartridge. I would feel confident using it for everything from
defense to hunting.
Two hunting-specific factory 10mm loads I enjoy are
Federal’s 180-grain Trophy
Bonded JSP and HSM’s 200grain RNFP Bear Load. Both
generate significant muzzle
energy and are right for downing deer and black bears.
Les Baer 1911s are some
of the best-crafted, tightest-fitting 1911s you can
buy. The Premier II pistols
are my favorites. They are
smooth-working, perfectly
functioning, extremely accurate pistols. In my opinion,
The frontstrap is checkered 30 lines per inch, the G10 grips are textured, and
the Premier II is a bona fide
the flat mainspring housing is grooved. Together they provide a secure grip.
masterpiece.
50
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
800 -338 -3220
|
HORNADY.COM
®
™
®
®
®
®
®
SHOOT
HUNT
DEFEND
TRAIN
Browning
X-Bolt Pro
BY SAM WOLFENBERGER
BROWNING OFFERS ITS X-BOLT RIFLE IN A NUMBER OF CONFIGURATIONS,
and I’ve had the pleasure of working with one of the more recent ones:
the X-Bolt Pro. It features a stainless-steel receiver, a spiral-fluted bolt with
enlarged knob, and a stainless-steel fluted barrel in sporter contour. The
external surfaces of the metal parts are coated with Cerakote in the Burnt
Bronze color.
The stock is a carbon-fiber composite material and finished with a coating of Burnt Bronze Cerakote. Instead of checkering, the stock has textured
gripping surfaces. It also has a slight right-hand palmswell and Browning’s
Inflex recoil pad. The rifle comes with two sling-swivel studs, also finished
in Burnt Bronze Cerakote. Length of pull is 13.63 inches; drop at the comb
is 0.69 inch; and drop at the heel is 0.5 inch.
My X-Bolt Pro is chambered for .300 Winchester Magnum, but other calibers are offered, including 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 26 Nosler, .270
Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, 28 Nosler,
X-BOLT PRO
.308 Winchester, .30-06,
and .300 WSM. Barrel
lengths are 22, 23, and 26
inches depending on the
chambering. My rifle has a
26-inch barrel, and my rifle’s
detachable rotary magazine holds three rounds,
but magazine capacity for
the non-magnum chamberings is four rounds.
The outside diameter of
the removable muzzle brake
is 0.61 inch, and it matches
the diameter of the barrel. A
thread protector is provided
if you prefer to not use the
muzzle brake.
The action is glass
bedded and has a top-tang
52
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL ANSCHUETZ
The 26-inch flued barrel comes with a removable muzzle brake.
The carbon-fiber stock is finished with Burnt Bronze Cerakote.
two-position safety and a bolt-release button that allows
pull. By the way, as the photo shows, the alloy trigger is
the bolt to be opened with the safety engaged. The triggold plated.
ger guard is aluminum alloy.
My shooting session with the new Browning X-Bolt Pro
Using a brand-new Bushnell 4.5-27X FORGE riflescope,
proved it’s capable of excellent accuracy and is comfortable
I fired five factory loads through the X-Bolt Pro, and overto shoot. The action worked smoothly, and the trigger pull
all average accuracy at 100 yards for five, five-shot groups
was very good. It’s a nice touch that users can adjust pull
weight themselves. And it’s also a nice touch that you can
was 1.30 inches. That’s as good as I can shoot with any rifle,
use the included muzzle brake if you like, but if you don’t
and the rifle is probably able of better accuracy in the hands
care for the noisy blast, you can remove the brake and use
of a more capable shooter. My shooting results are shown
the provided thread protector.
in the accompanying chart. As you can see, my best accuBrowning’s X-Bolt Pro proved to be a downright nice rifle.
racy came with Hornady’s Superformance 150-grain GMX
It looks good, and it shoots great.
ammo, and it averaged 1.13 inches at 100 yards.
The rifle had a clean and
crisp trigger pull, averagBROWNING X-BOLT PRO ACCURACY & VELOCITY
ing 3 pounds, 12 ounces.
The trigger is user-adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds
by removing the bottom
“metal” from the stock.
8
Actually, in this case it’s
not metal but rather a composite material. Because my
rifle’s trigger pull was reasonably light as the rifle
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. Velocity is the average of
came out of the box, I fired
10 rounds measured 15 feet from the gun’s muzzle.
it with the factory-preset
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
53
SHOOT
HUNT
DEFEND
TRAIN
LabRadar
Personal Radar
BY JOSEPH VON BENEDIKT
INSTEAD OF MEASURING THE TIME A PROJECTILE TAKES TO PASS BETWEEN
a set of electronic eyes and then computing velocity like a traditional chronograph, the LabRadar Personal Radar uses Doppler radar to measure
speed. By pinging off the base of a projectile and running calculations in
its onboard brain, the LabRadar computes velocity, extreme spread, and
standard deviation at five different programmable distances downrange.
The radar takes continuous measurements as the bullet continues its
journey downrange, so the LabRadar also does what no traditional consumer-level traditional chronograph can: It enables you to calculate rifle/
projectile-specific ballistic coefficient (BC).
Plus, it can be programmed to calculate downrange energy figures. It
doesn’t rely on consistent light to take accurate measurements. And it can
be controlled via a smartphone app.
The LabRadar offers significantly greater capability than any other consumer-available “chronograph,” and set up is laughably easy.
A standard quarter-inch threaded insert enables easy attachment to
a tripod, but the simplest way to use the LabRadar is to mount it on the
Bench Mount flat-plate base supplied as an optional accessory. A quickdetach, swivel-head mount interfaces with a dovetail that you screw into the
bottom of the LabRadar, and the plate enables you to stand it anywhere—
on your shooting bench, on the ground at the front end of your shooting
mat, even on the hood of your truck. Rubberized feet keep the base from
shifting, even on slick, semi-steep locations.
Position the LabRadar near your firearm’s muzzle, roughly 6, 12, or 18
inches to the side. In programming (which only takes seconds), you’ll set
56
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
the device to match. Aim the device at your
target using the aiming notch in the top,
turn it on, and start shooting.
Each LabRadar unit comes with a Quick
Setup guide pamphlet. Diagrams inside
show where to place the unit depending
on your gun’s muzzle device. If your firearm has no muzzle device, simply put the
LabRadar directly to the side of the muzzle.
You don’t have to teach the LabRadar
anything. You just turn it on and select the
settings that produce the measurements
you need.
The top left button accesses the menu,
where you choose velocity units (fps, yps,
m/s, mph, km/h), distance units (yards,
meters, feet), weight units (grams, grains),
and velocity range (rifle, handgun, archery).
You’ll also designate the “projectile offset,”
which is the 6-, 12-, or 18-inch distance the
unit is from your gun’s muzzle.
If desired, you can enter projectile weight
and the LabRadar will calculate actual
muzzle energy in ft-lbs out as far as you
instruct it to.
ultra-effective suppressor (say, subsonic rimfire ammo through a quality
suppressor), you’ll need to switch to Doppler mode. In Doppler mode, the
unit sends continuous signals and begins measuring as soon as a projectile enters into its radar cone. It’s best suited for large, slow projectiles.
You may also need the Doppler trigger function mode when testing powerful rifles with short barrels. I recently reviewed Marlin’s new 1895 Trapper,
which is chambered in .45-70 and has a 16.5-inch barrel. All loads but one
tested just fine in Trigger mode, but one load consistently produced strange
As I said earlier, the LabRadar measures
measurements of around 3,600 fps (it should have been around 1,500 fps).
velocity at five distances that you specify.
My best guess is that the unit was reading the considerable amount of large,
I set mine at 3 yards, 50 yards, 100 yards,
unburned granular ejecta exiting the muzzle of that short barrel. I switched
200 yards, and 250 yards. And these varito Doppler mode and got perfect, accurate results.
ous downrange measurements enable it to
As for reading the results, before firing, press the center button on the
left side of the unit twice to initiate a fresh string, hit the OK/Enter button
accurately calculate BC numbers specific to
your gun, bullet, and current environmenat center on the right side, and press the Arm/Disarm button below the
tal conditions.
power button. A small LED light will change from blue to orange, indicating the LabRadar is ready.
You’ll also pick Arm Time, Trigger Source,
Between each shot the 3.5-inch LCD screen displays velocity at the preTrigger Level, Tx Channel (if several shooters
determined distances you programmed.
are using LabRadar units side by side, Trigger Level and Tx Channel allow you to isolate
After you’ve fired your shot string, press and hold the Arm/Disarm button.
yours), system date and time, and so forth.
After two seconds the screen will show results, including average velocity,
The only one you’ll need to worry about
extreme spread, standard deviation, high and low velocity, and so forth.
upfront is Arm Time, which is the period
Using the Enter button and up/down arrows, you can run through the string,
that the device stands ready to measure a
delete any abnormal readings, and so forth.
Because it has a large brain, the LabRadar’s internal memory allows you
shot before hibernating to save the battery.
to record up to 100 different shot strings of up to 100 shots each. It’s also
You can set it for as little as 10 seconds and
as long as 300 seconds. The system rearms
compatible with SD cards, which enables you to save and store data if
every time a shot is fired, so you don’t have
desired. Incredibly, assuming adequate card capacity, installing an SD card
to keep poking the Arm button.
allows you to record up to 9,999 shot strings of 100 shots each.
Eventually, you may have to become
In addition, the latest iteration of the LabRadar is Bluetooth equipped
familiar with the Trigger Source function.
and pairs with a free LabRadar app. This enables you to control the unit
Most of the time you’ll use the LabRadar
via your smartphone.
in Trigger mode, which means that sound
LabRadar’s website offers a full line of accessories. Some, like the $39.95
waves from the shot initiate a measurepadded carry case and the $39.95 plate-type Bench Mount, are must-haves.
ment. However, sometimes when using an
You can also purchase tripods, SD cards, etc. And for use with archery
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mylabradar.com
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
57
SHOOT
HUNT
DEFEND
TRAIN
QUICKSHOT
TacStar
AMRS
BY JOEL J. HUTCHCROFT
ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARS IS THE ALEXANDER ARMS AAR-15 IN 6.5 GREN-
del that was gifted to me by a friend several years ago. It has a 16-inch
fluted barrel with an A2-style flashhider, an MK10 composite free-float handguard, an Alexander Arms Tactical blade-type trigger, an A2-style pistol
grip, and a collapsible M4-style buttstock. It’s accurate and functions perfectly. I’ve always liked everything about the carbine except the buttstock,
so I decided to replace it with one that better meets my needs.
I use a SIG SAUER ROMEO4H red-dot optic on the carbine, and I don’t
have a comfortable cheekweld with the original buttstock. There’s no shortage of aftermarket buttstocks for ARs, but I chose TacStar’s fully adjustable
match-grade AMRS. (AMRS stands for Adjustable Match RifleStock.)
The TacStar AMRS fits ARs with A1/A2 buffer tubes, and it offers a full range
of adjustments, including comb height and length of pull. Comb height can be
adjusted by 0.75 inch. The adjustable buttplate alters length of pull by 1 inch.
Other fine features are a hidden Picatinny rail for a stabilizing monopod, a removable rubber buttplate cover, and a number of sling-mounting
points, including ports for push-button quick-release swivels (swivels are
not included) and fixed sling loops. The AMRS is made of high-strength
polymer, and it weighs 26.6 ounces.
TacStar says the “AMRS is the easiest, most practical final upgrade for any
AR.” That’s a bold claim, but I can attest to how easy it was to install and adjust.
First, using a borrowed armorer’s wrench, I switched out my carbine’s M4
buffer tube for an A2-style buffer tube. The buffer tube is not included with
the AMRS, so I got mine from Brownells. To install the AMRS, extend
the adjustable butt away from the stock to allow access to insert
and tighten the stock-mounting screw. To do that, lift the locking
tab located at the bottom rear of the stock (this releases tension on the adjusting wheel) and turn the adjusting wheel
until the screw can be inserted. Slide the AMRS onto the
buffer tube, using care to seat the takedown pin detent
spring into its hole as the stock is attached. Insert and
tighten the stock-mounting screw.
Adjust the length of pull as stated above and
lock down the locking tab. Adjust the comb by
squeezing the serrated pads on each side of the
comb section and sliding the comb up to the
desired position and then releasing the pads.
It’s as easy as one, two, three.
MSRP: $179.99
lymanproducts.com
58
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL ANSCHUETZ
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SHOOTER’S SHOWCASE
GUNSMOKE
HIPSHOTS
The Fascinating Fifties
The .505 Gibbs and .500 Jeffery are big medicine for hunting
big and dangerous game, and for some reason, they have a
lot of allure to American hunters. BY TERRY WIELAND
IN 1972, UP ON THE TANA RIVER IN KENYA, I RAN
Although the
big .50-caliber
dangerousgame rounds
(like the .505
Gibbs shown
here) are simply
too much for
everyday hunting in North
America, American riflemen
are fascinated
with them.
60
into a hunter by the name of David Thompson. He
was a thin, little guy, going gray as might be expected
of someone who made a living chasing mean game in
the thornbush. He was armed with a squat, heavylooking bolt-action rifle, devoid of bluing but also
devoid of rust. Obviously, it was a rifle that had been
around but well cared for.
Naturally, I asked about it. A .505 Gibbs, he told
me. Had it for years, he said, and it looked it. The
magnum Mauser action appeared to have seen service at Dunkirk, if not Stalingrad, and who knows
what its history was. In those days, anything hailing
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
from Germany (including much of the French Foreign Legion) was a little sketchy.
Thompson handed me his rifle, and I immediately
understood why Ernest Hemingway’s fictional hunter,
Robert Wilson, described his own .505 Gibbs as “this
damned cannon.” It was a cannon, indeed.
Largely due to Hemingway, the .505 Gibbs enjoys
a reputation that far outstrips its actual use in the
field—or the number that were even built in its first
80 years. Most estimates place the number of original
.505s at no more than a hundred. Comparable figures hold for the equally fearsome .500 Jeffery and
.600 Nitro Express.
The .505 was introduced by George Gibbs in 1911, and he used a comapplication for Cape buffalo under adverse circumpletely original case. The .500 Jeffery, on the other hand, was an English
stances. For most of us, they are simply too much for
rendering of the 12.5x70mm Schüler, which came along in the 1920s and
everyday use hunting anything. Having said that, some
was designed specifically to function in a standard Mauser 98 military
readers are sure to proclaim that either one is not too
action. On paper, the .500 Jeffery shades the .505 ballistically and was
much gun for them. That attitude goes a long way to
touted as the most powerful magazine-rifle cartridge in existence until
accounting for the .500 Jeffery’s popularity.
the .460 Weatherby arrived.
That claim probably accounts for the
fascination with it by American big-bore
enthusiasts ever since the first edition of
Cartridges of the World appeared in 1965.
For the record, the Jeffery (allegedly) uses
a 535-grain bullet at 2,400 fps (6,800
ft-lbs), while the .505 fires a 525-grain
bullet (2,300 fps, 6,180 ft-lbs). Ten grains
of bullet weight and 100 fps account for
an additional 1,820 ft-lbs, which shows
how velocity can skew perceived power.
Without getting into all the technical
details, I believe the .505 Gibbs is a much
superior cartridge, simply because it is
big and roomy, has a stout rim for extraction (the .500 Jeffery rim is rebated), has
a neck twice as long to firmly hold big
LAR-15 RRAGE RIFLE DS1850
bullets under substantial recoil, and operwith RRA Six-Position Tactical CAR
MSRP: $759.99*
ates at lower pressures, which is always a
big plus in hot climates hunting dangerous game.
Most American enthusiasts do not
agree. After Norma introduced its African PH line a decade ago, the .500 Jeffery
outsold the .505 Gibbs by a reported ratio
of six to one. The comparative ballistics
16" LIGHTWEIGHT
INTRODUCING THE
for Norma ammunition are: .500 Jeffery,
CHROME MOLY
LAR-15 RRAGE RIFLE
1:9 Twist Barrel
570 grains, 2,200 fps, 6,127 ft-lbs; .505
Punching above its weight class, this new entry
Gibbs, 600 grains, 2,100 fps, 5,877 ft-lbs.
carbine features a sleek monolithic upper receiver/
CZ-USA offers its big bolt action in
handguard with side and bottom MLOK® ports.
both .500 Jeffery and .505 Gibbs, and
This NEW RRAGE sets a higher benchmark for all
since you are gaining nothing in action
entry carbines to follow.
size or weight by going with the .500 Jeffery, I fail to see why anyone would take
that over the .505, unless they are unduly
impressed by paper ballistics. In terms
of deadliness, they are virtually the same
(assuming they deliver the claimed perforLAR-15 RRAGE RIFLE QUICK SPECS: CALIBER: .223/5.56MM NATO CHAMBER
WEIGHT: 5.7 POUNDS LENGTH: 36"
mance), but much is to be said for the .505
in terms of a dependable, usable huntONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH
ing rifle.
YOUR LOCAL DEALER.
* Prices are subject to change.
And what can you hunt with these feroPERFORMANCE TUNED.
Optics and scope mount not included.
ROCKRIVERARMS.COM
cious and fascinating fifties? In reality,
they are elephant cartridges with some
MARCH 2019 • SHOOTING TIMES
61
A Mythic Mountain Man // Continued From Page 64
Lilly also worked as a hunting guide, sometimes for notable and wealthy
men, such as President Theodore Roosevelt and Oklahoma oilman W.H.
McFadden. But he was happiest when he was hunting himself, and during
the last 25 years of his life, he made a sufficient living as a professional
hunter, sometimes using a pack of 20 hounds. Most of his earnings came
from ranchers who hired him to exterminate predators, and he lived in
the hills with his hounds, sleeping where he wanted and hunting where
game was plentiful. He also shot and prepared specimens for the U.S.
Biological Survey and the National Museum.
Lilly was well known for his minimalist lifestyle. He inhabited the
forests and hills with just the clothes on his back, a canvas tarp, a wool
blanket, his hunting knife, and a rifle or two.
His life spawned many myths and legends. One such was the time
his first wife demanded that he dispatch a troublesome chicken hawk
and he subsequently disappeared in chase not to return home for over
a year. Or the one about him hunting every day except Sundays for 15
years straight. Or the one about him being attacked by a huge grizzly
bear during which he shot the bear in the chest and under the eye and
then finished him off with his trusty 18-inch-long knife. There are tales
of his super-human stamina and reports of him preferring to sleep outdoors in the crook of a tree rather than in a house or hotel bedroom.
Books and articles have been written about his hunting exploits,
but my favorite stories are the ones that illustrate his shooting skills.
62
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
As a boy, Lilly perfected his shooting skills on
moving targets like buzzards and bats, darting bees,
and flittering songbirds. Later in life, he preferred
the Winchester Model 1886 in .33 Winchester for
hunting bears and the Winchester Model 1894 or
the Marlin Model 1893 in .30-30 for hunting mountain lions, but he also used .22 and .32 Rimfire rifles
and was photographed with a Savage Model 1899
in .303 Savage.
Lilly is reported to have wingshot bumblebees
and yellowjackets. Some said he could down mosquitos and shoot both antlers off a running deer
and then drop the buck with a third shot. He could
shoot a buzzard out of the sky and hit it again and
again before it hit the ground. All with a rifle.
Undoubtedly, some of those stories are exaggerated, but nevertheless, it is clear that he knew his
way around a rifle.
Ironically, Ben Lilly died in bed in a farmhouse
where he was rooming in 1936. He lived a legendary
life, mostly in the outdoors. As one historian put it,
his loyalty was to “the freedom of an unfettered life,
with neither rules nor rent.”
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SHOOTER’S SHOWCASE
GUNSMOKE
HIPSHOTS
A Mythic Mountain Man
Ben Lilly, a.k.a. “Nestor of the Mountains,” was one of
the greatest hunters and most intriguing characters
of the 19th and 20th centuries. BY JOEL J. HUTCHCROFT
BY ALL ACCOUNTS, BEN LILLY WAS AN OLD COOT
Ben Lilly (1856–
1936) lived an
unconventional
life. His hunting adventures
are legendary,
and his shooting skills were
extraordinary.
64
who dressed like a mountain man, didn’t shave his
beard from the time he was 17 years old until he
died at the age of 80, and preferred the company
of wild animals to that of humans. He was a legendary houndsman and a bear and lion hunter
extraordinaire. And by lion, I mean mountain lion. One source has Lilly killing 500
mountain lions and 600 bears. Others say
he killed thousands. Regardless of the actual
number, he is thought to have killed more black
bears, grizzlies, and mountain lions than anyone
of his time.
Benjamin Vernon Lilly was born in Alabama in
1856. He grew up hunting, primarily for bears and
SHOOTING TIMES • MARCH 2019
mountain lions who preyed on his family’s livestock,
and became an adept tracker. Eventually, Lilly inherited a farm, but he was not cut out for life on the
farm.
Lilly was married twice and fathered several
children, but neither marriage lasted. You
might say he was struck with wanderlust, and
over the years he traveled through Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. He
had some success trading cattle, finding and
selling wild honey, and blacksmithing. In fact,
he designed and handmade a special hunting knife
similar to an Arkansas Toothpick with an 18-inchlong S-shaped blade that he carried throughout his
lifetime.
Continued on Page 62
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