Winchester Model 12

I don’t find every old firearm to be interesting, but there are the occasional ones that grab my attention for any number of reasons. The Winchester model 12 just happens to be one of the few that did pique my interest, and today I’m here to tell you a little bit about my experience with it.

History
The Model 12 is a pump action twelve-gauge shotgun, iconic in that it has the classic features that make a pump-gun so appealing. And it may not be the first, but it certainly trained generations how to shoot airborne game among many other things. The Model 12 was also used by the US Military, making it an actual war weapon unlike your AR 15.
My father grew up shooting an old model 12, barely a teenager when it was given to him by my grandfather he used it for hunting pheasants and ducks in the marshy wetlands beyond grandpas pasture. As a child I remember seeing Dad tinker with it amongst his other guns.

The model 12 uses traditional wooden furniture, with an easily identifying ribbed front grip. A shallow rib runs the length of the barrel, with a targeting bead on the muzzle end. The barrel itself is a thirty-inches long and has a three-inch magnum chamber. It features a familiar safety at the front of the trigger guard, and an action release just behind it. The tubular magazine holds six 2-3/4 shot-shells, and it is clamped to the barrel at the front of the tube.
I looked up the serial number and if the internet is to be believed, this gun was manufactured in 1917, making it a hundred and five years old.

In the Field
After some inspection and thorough familiarizing myself with the gun I decided it was time to see how it shoots. I loaded up some clay targets and a few boxes of shells and headed to the hills. The family and I spent a good part of the afternoon shooting the model 12, smashing clays and pumping fresh shells through the gun.
This model 12 in particular appears to be in pretty good shape, and yet we did have just a few hiccups with it. The trigger on the gun doesn’t reset when pumped, you can literally hold the trigger down and pump shot after shot like the old western revolvers. A couple times it felt as though the trigger followed the bolt home and didn’t go off, leaving a dead trigger. This is likely as much a result of my children’s inexperience with shotguns as anything. On a couple occasions the bolt felt stuck in battery, requiring an extra shove from me to extract the spent shell.
Despite these hiccups, we still had a great afternoon on the mountain. The barrel was made way before interchangeable chokes, so you get what it came with as far as that goes. I imagine it is set fairly tight, as the shot pattern seemed much smaller than I expected. This made shooting the hand-thrown clays a whole lot more challenging. We were shooting one-ounce loads from Winchester and Fiocchi, both using 7.5 shot.
I am certainly not the best wing-shooter, but I did feel like I was cheated out of a few hits by the model 12. Shots I am very confident I’d of made if I were shooting one of my guns. Continue Reading Here…

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Sig Sauer Kilo 10K Binoculars

I’ve been severely hooked on both hunting and long range shooting for more than a few decades, so laser rangefinders are nothing new to me. I still remember saving up what seemed like an eternity to purchase my first one, an LRF I could barely afford but would actually hit a thousand yards and beyond reliably. All these years later my laser has migrated into a good pair of bino’s which are a must have for spotting animals in these Rocky Mountains. But the me from twenty years ago would never believe just how much else has migrated into the binoculars I carry.

Sig Sauer Optics
Sig Sauer jumped into the optics market with both feet, and like their products or not they have been innovating all over the optics world. They worked hard enough to earn my business a few years back when I bought one of their Tango 6 5-30 riflescopes. I have had the good fortune to sample a broad spectrum of Sig Sauer’s Electro-optics, enough so to become quite confident in giving them more hard earned money. The Kilo 10K is that latest purchase, a pair of consumer grade binoculars that feature arguably military grade functions. I decided that I was due an upgrade, and spent the money.

The Kilo 10K Binoculars
I have been using another pair of 10X42’s for the last few years, but a friend bought a pair of the Kilo 3000 binoculars and I quickly noticed they seemed better to my eyes than the binos I was using. The Kilo 10K is a significant upgrade from the 3000 model, with so many features I’ll have to keep it short to avoid this page taking all day to load.
Besides Sig’s standard features such as their Ballistic Data Exchange (BDX) and their various lens coatings and armor, the real juicy details are all encoded inside. The Kilo utilizes second generation Lightwave DSP ranging engine that has various ranging functions that allow you to range reflective targets as far as 10,000 yards away. I was dang sure gonna try that out.

Some of the data displayed in the Kilo 10K Heads up display

The onboard system also has all the sensors needed to calculate real time ballistics via Applied Ballistics Elite ballistic calculator, and instead of pairing to your phone application the Kilo does it all inside and gives you an incredible array of information right in front of your eyes. All this without ever taking your eyes off the target.
The internal systems of the Kilo also have compass and GPS functions, you can see compass headings and such right in the binocular heads up display, angles of incline are also displayed. And you can mark waypoints in your travels using the Basemap application.
The aforementioned Applied Ballistics (AB) software allows you to store up to 25 different profiles in the binoculars using their complete bullet library, so you can always have you favorite load cued up. The Kilo 10K reads all the relevant atmosphere information to give you a corrected firing solution with current density altitude conditions, and even includes a wind meter for accurate wind speed measurement.

Lets Figure this out
I was a bit apprehensive about having the brainpower to figure out and run everything the Kilo 10K offered. After reading through the manual a few times, I was less so.

The Kilo can be configured using the buttons controlling it, or using the BDX phone application. I went about changing a few of the settings to better fit what I thought I would like, it didn’t take long to figure out. The menu allows easy switching from meters and yards, as well as MOA to MRAD. The onboard sensors provide the air pressure, temperature and humidity. You can configure the system to automatically measure the temperature or you can input the temp manually if selected. You can also select manual input of other atmospheric data using the app on your phone.
The heads up display on the Kilo 10K is incredibly informative, giving you distance (both actual and angle corrected) shooting angles, and wind corrections as dictated by the bluetooth connected wind meter. I was very please to see that even a milling reticle can be chosen to aid in spotting for corrections.

Ballistic data is displayed both through the binoculars as well as on the phone display, this could enhance a fire teams ability to make quick shots

After several trips into the hills to simply play with and look through the Kilo 10K, I decided it was time to get serious.
I replaced the factory preset data that came set for a .308 175gr SMK, and entered in all the data for the 6mm GT I was planning on shooting. All the data is easily entered via the BDX app, and no sooner had I input my data, the Kilo synced everything up with the tap of a button.

The AB calculator uses a bluetooth wind-speed anemometer to capture the speed of the wind, temperature, humidity, angles, and all the other pertinent information is captured and fed into the system. One slight complaint I had was from the wind meter itself, it measures the wind just fine. But the direction of the wind has to be put in either through the app on your phone (faster) or you can also do it through a quick access menu on the Kilo itself. The quick switching nature of the wind makes me wonder how challenging that data point might be to maintain accurate. I was hoping there was a way to index the wind direction using the compass heading from the GPS.

There are a great deal of customizable options to change how the data is conjured before your eye. The heads up display menu was clear and quick to cycle through despite having to do everything using only the two external buttons on the binos. I have used AB for some time, so my confidence in the ballistic calculations were good. I wanted to see how the interface with the Kilo lined up, to see if it was as simple as point, laze, and shoot.

Hunting Country
On a blustery summer evening, I made my way into the Wasatch Mountains to do some additional testing of the Kilo’s capabilities. The storm front threatened to bring rain, but for the most part all I got was gloomy cloud cover. The high winds carried a visible amount of dust and debris, which had me concerned at how well the laser would reach. But I was quite surprised to see the Kilo light up with just over five-thousand yards, over two-point-eight miles away.
I decided to hit something even further still away, from my perch at over six-thousand feet (9,189 DA according to the Kilo) I could see my house below. I figured the siding would be reflective enough to hit at significant distance, so I pressed the button until it came back with a reading, and it did several times. Nine-thousand three hundred and fifty-one yards it read, that’s five point three miles away as the crow flies. I checked my Basemap app, to see that the waypoint popped up marking my house. Had I needed to, I could have just walked home in the dark using the Basemap as a guide.

I did some truing of the data in AB for my 6GT load to see that it lined up with confirmed data I already had saved. It was absolutely brilliant to see a firing solution populate in a second or so, with almost all the data I needed to make the shot. The GT shoots very well out to fifteen hundred yards or so, and I wanted to see how quick I could go from spotting targets to seeing impacts at various distances. So I played my mock hunting game where a suitable sized target is picked out, and I engaged it as fast as possible as if it were escaping. The trued data from AB via the Kilo lined up beautifully, allowing me to make hit after hit with minimal delays between shots.
If the system was utilized between a shooter and spotter team, you could put an amazing rate of fire on targets. With a spotter using the Kilo, you could range targets and have the firing solution show up on the shooters phone screen without so much as saying a word. Both could see the live data displayed, and as soon as the next target is identified that data would pop up on the shooter’s screen. You can even actuate the rangefinder from your phone through the app. Once paired, you can touch the range button on your phone screen to activate the rangefinder remotely.
I created a second profile for my favorite twenty-two inch 6.5 Creedmoor, just to see how to cycle between profiles. As with other operations inside the Kilo, it was quick to pull up the menu and switch between profiles and other settings. As I used the internal menu of the Kilo I got much better at changing rapidly the settings. Continue Reading Here…

CZ Ultralight hunter 12g

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a CZenofile. From the beginning of my development as a gun nut, I have always had a found feeling towards CZ’s firearms and their brand in general. So it came as a great surprise to me when I was handed a CZ over-under twelve gauge, I didn’t even know they made shotguns. I was more familiar with their bolt-action rifles and their classy pistols.
But like the true gun nerd that I am, I embraced this new knowledge and set of barrels.

The Upland Ultralight
I was quite surprised when I opened up the box, not only was it different than what I expected, it was also green. Surely I thought someone had left their spray-paint unattended in the company of this CZ, but to my surprise it appeared to be a factory Cerakote job. Not out of this world I guess, but not something I expected to see in a double barreled European shotgun.
The barrel set was twenty-eight inches long, and came with a full set of hand-installed chokes. Over-under shotguns are such simple mechanical devices, so it comes as no surprise to me that they are all so very similar in their function and controls. I say simple, but they are beautifully simple as I found out upon disassembly. Necessity and my child-like curiosity both managed to remove the receiver from the buttstock, and the mechanical beauty of pins and levers inside the gun impressed me.
The barrel lock and safety are the only controls besides the trigger itself, the latter being mounted in the tang of the receiver. The safety is slid forward with the thumb to disengage and fire the gun, but in the safety button itself there is a smaller selector to determine which of the two barrels goes off first. There is a very brilliant and simple connection that shifts the triggers movement between the two different sears.
The barrel lock engages the bottom of the barrel block, securing the action closed. Somehow despite the simplicity of the mechanism, I managed to goof it up. The engagement seemed off somehow, but everything seemed to lock up and function as it was supposed to after reassembling the receiver.
In my journey to the center of the receiver I noticed something that I had missed. The Upland Ultralight is light for a reason, one of those reasons is the aluminum alloy receiver. I noticed during my recreational investigation that the barrel hinge pins are steel pressed into the aluminum receiver.
The furniture on the CZ was a traditional wood, to be honest quite plain. I suppose the designers at CZ were thinking this gun would be more of a work horse than a delicate mantle-piece. That would also explain the Cerakote finish I suppose. The butt of the gun featured a simple rubber pad.

The Huglu barrel set was also made to work more than show off. The absent middle rib surely reduced additional weight on the gun, as did their twenty-six inch length. The ejectors that typically toss spent shells from the chamber were not spring loaded, they simply lift the shells from the chambers for the shooter to remove and put in his pocket.

Time to shoot
Once again I sought the shooting company of my Father, his seasoned input on shotguns and their various virtues would come in handy.
After switching out the two full chokes that came in the gun for something a little more modified, it was time to start throwing birds.
I love the challenge of hand-thrown clays, there is so much more finesse and the ability to really mess with the shooter. Dad and I have been throwing targets by hand since I was old enough to shoot a shotgun, so today was surely going to be a fun time. And just to have something to compare it to, Dad brought along his Browning Citori.
After warming up on some pretty straight forward trap targets, we decided to start mixing it up a bit with report pairs and other angles. Throwing targets from way off to the side of the shooter greatly resembles the speedy Green-wing Teal that I enjoy chasing through the muddy marsh. The lightweight CZ is very quick to shoulder, and despite its ultra-light weight the recoil didn’t seem unreasonable at all. To be fair we were shooting one-ounce loads, but that didn’t stop us from hammering a whole lotta clays.
I found that I wasn’t as good with the CZ as I’d hoped to be, I’d like to blame it on the gun not fitting me or something but it’s more likely due to my lack of practice. Speaking of fit, I didn’t have an issue with it, but my dad did mention the comb was a bit low for his face. He does enjoy adjustable combs on most of his doubles, so it could just be he’s a bit spoiled. Continue Reading Here…

The CMMG Banshee 9MM Mk4

Nine millimeter carbines have become extremely popular over the last few years, and with ammo prices maintaining their ridiculous highs it should come as no surprise that people are looking for less expensive range guns. Today we are talking about the Banshee from CMMG, it is a nine-millimeter carbine that is a bit different than everything I’ve ever tried before.

The CMMG Banshee is a nine-millimeter AR style pistol, it features a five-inch Chromoly barrel with a 1-10 twist. A pistol brace is mounted at the back on the buffer tube, and using both 6061 and 7075 alloys for the upper and lower receiver help keep the weight of this little pistol down to four-point-seven pounds. The overall length of the pistol is just under twenty-one inches, making the Banshee Mk4 a very mobile and handy weapon. Other features such as custom furniture and six different Cerakote colors to choose from put the Banshee on many shooters want list.

Many of the nine-millimeter carbines on the market today are of the blowback type. This simple design operates much like a semi-auto pistol, utilizing the recoil and pressure generated at the breech of the barrel to open and cycle the action. It is less expensive and requires fewer parts in most cases which makes it a good option for entry-level priced pistol caliber carbines (PCC’s).
More advanced designs like the MPX utilize a gas system like those seen in many AR pattern rifles for more reliable function. And still others like the old roller guns from HK utilize a different locking bolt and a gas-operated system for their legendary reliability.

The Banshee utilizes CMMG’s Radial Delayed Blowback system to improve several aspects of the carbine. One of the many complaints with blowback systems is the heavyweight that is typically required to hold back the bolt long enough for the bullet to get down the barrel. Heavy bolts made from blocks of steel are usually the culprit.
Another of the complaints heard about blowback-operated guns is the recoil impulse felt by the shooter. With nothing holding the bolt closed but its weight and spring pressure, a blowback gun begins moving and opening the action as soon as the shot is fired. This added to the heavy cyclic weight of the bolt increases the feeling of recoil and motion. The more advanced designs of the gas-operated systems don’t start operating the action until the bullet has left or nearly left the muzzle. And with their lighter bolt carriers they feel much smoother in operation. The radial delayed system of the Banshee allows greater reliability than traditional blow-back designs. It also makes the weapon more stable and controllable by reducing the recoil impulse with its lighter bolt carrier group.

The Banshee
The Banshee has several features that will make it extremely popular for AR-style rifle enthusiasts.

-Radial delayed blow-back system. The flagship feature of the Banshee series of rifles is the CMMG’s patented radially delayed system. The beveled lugs on both the bolt and barrel extension cause the bolt to be pushed open as it pivots inside the carrier, the time it takes to rotate the bolt out of battery allows chamber pressures to drop to much lower pressures before opening. This feature also allows the Banshee to use much lighter carriers than traditional blow-back designs.

-Ripbrace “not-a-stock”. The pistol brace that comes with the Banshee has several locking points that are locked into position using the common rocker lever under the “stock”. The difference between this one and others is that the Ripbrace has beveled pin bosses in the rear-pulling direction, this allows the stock to be pulled as far to the rear as the user would like without the need to push any release rocker. It makes for fast and simple deployment of the weapon.

-Sixty vs. ninety degree safety. Most AR’s can take a an ambidextrous safety, but the ambidextrous safety provided by CMMG has a reversible center barrel that allows you to choose either sixty or ninety degrees of motion to safe or fire the weapon.

-Standard AR mags with adaptor. The Banshee Mk4 utilizes standard AR 5.56 sized magazines. The 9mm cartridges are made to fit using a magazine insert that uses its own internal feed ramp and follower.

-Ambi mag catch. Magazine catch controls are located on both sides of the receiver, allowing ambidextrous control of the magwell and it’s contents.

-Extended mag release. The Banshee comes standard with extended magazine release buttons, I found them more than adequate and added ease when dropping the magazine.

-Threaded barrel and compensator. The Banshee comes with a linear compensator to reduce muzzle rise, and underneath the muzzle was threaded 1/2-28. This is a must nowadays, as suppressor have become extremely popular.

CMMG has offered a wide selection of configurations for the Banshee, including six different Cerakote colors; black, green, tan, bronze, grey, and titanium. The Mk9 series of Banshee utilizes pistol magazines, but that’s for another story.

On the range
After mounting up a Sig Sauer Romeo on top of the Banshee, and grabbing a few accessories for it, I headed out the door with great expectations. I don’t much care for proper ranges, and I avoid them as best I can. So into the mountains I fled with a Banshee under my arm.
I began loading the curious magazine, which was much easier than I had anticipated. The inner mag adaptor has feed lips that mate to the existing P-mag feed lips, the front of the magazine adaptor is a long feed ramp. Stuffing thirty rounds into the magazine went quick, and it was time to empty it.
Shouldering this tiny little pistol felt so easy, the lightweight and size of it make you almost ball up into a a solid mass of pistol, elbows and arms bones. I started popping off several rounds, and the bumping of this little banging Banshee felt like just like I hoped it would feel. The light weight was matched by its light recoil, and before I knew it I was back to fumbling fresh cartridges into the magazines. I made a few adjustments to my Romeo, and went right back to shooting. The linear compensator wasn’t particularly noticeable, hard to say how much of a difference it made with such light recoil anyway.

My nine year old had come along with me, and as kids often do he started hinting at interest in shooting the Banshee. He’s shot plenty of other guns so this wasn’t a big ask, but I was supremely pleased as I watched how simple it was for him to handle and manipulate the gun. I collapsed the brace to better fit his little stature and off he went.

I am not one for making a racket, so it was time to see how this pistol would do suppressed. I had brought along my Yankee Hill Machine R9 suppressor, because I knew it was up to the task and easily swapped out the muzzle threads to fit the Banshee. I was shooting 124 grain supersonic ammunition so I wasn’t expecting it to be extremely quiet, but it did seem to be quieter than I expected. Most of the PCC’s I have shot in the past were blow-back designs, but delayed guns like this Banshee seem to be quieter still due to their breech staying closed longer.

With the Romeo and the R9 installed, we spent a good portion of the day making little piles of brass all over. I’m not sure what kind of accuracy you might expect from a 9mm carbine such as this, but hitting things like soda cans and six inch steel plates at fifty-yards seemed pretty easy. I would have liked to try some different ammunition in the gun to see if it had a preference for one over another, but the way things are at the gun counter right now I was lucky to get what I could.

Pros and Cons
There are quite a few pros when it comes to the Banshee, many of which I’ve already mentioned above. For me, the best pros of the Banshee are the weight and controllability. It almost felt like a toy compared to a CZ Scorpion or an MP5, and it was easy to control with almost zero muzzle rise when suppressed. The quality of the Banshee felt at or above its price point, with smooth fit and sexy finish. And all the little things like the extended mag buttons and such made this rifle feel perfect in my hands.

I suppose there are a couple things that I could call cons, but I’m not sure they can be blamed on the Banshee’s design alone. Short guns like this can be more than a little handy, and if you aren’t careful with your hand, you may find it has some new holes in it. CMMG put a good little hook at the front of the handguard to keep you from getting your fingers to close to the muzzle, but it’s still close enough that a careless move could cost a finger. This is of little concern to me as I will probably always use a suppressor on the gun. I’m still unsure if I would prefer the Mk9 Banshee over the need to put adaptors in several P-mags, but that is another thing to evaluate. Continue Reading Here…

Canik SFX Rival 9MM

Canik keeps throwing out one banger after another, I have followed them somewhat closely watching eagerly to see what comes next. I bought a Canik TP9 Elite Combat (EC) a year or two ago, and I was very pleased with how it functions. The latest thing from Canik to cross my path is the new SFX Rival 9mm which is the subject today.


The SFX Rival

The Rival is being marketed as an IDPA competition gun, with both it’s size and weight restrictions meeting the standard for most competitive circles. The Rival does this while bring all the many features from all its Canik siblings, with things like ambi-slide release, reversible and extendable magazine release, flat trigger-shoe, undercut trigger guard, magwell-flare and a picatinny accessory rail up front. In addition to these features, the Rival has deeply cut slide serrations, as well as a fluted barrel. Like many of the TP9 family it also comes optics ready, with an assortment of baseplates and sight options. All this with two custom Cerakote color schemes, mine has the Rival grey with gold accents.
As usual with Canik, the pistol came in a hard plastic case with an assortment of tools for cleaning and maintenance. It also came with a Kydex holster and spare magazine pouch, as well as a couple magazines.

First Impressions
My very first initial thoughts of the Rival were pretty flashy, it seems quite busy to the eyes. But I wanted to find out quickly though if the busy looks matched up to a busy time shooting targets.
As I expected, the Rival felt nearly identical to my TP9 in the hand. A good thing in my estimation as both of the pistols feel great filling the hand and giving a good textured grip to control with. I actually rubbed the Cerakote off of my other Canik doing draw drills, shooting and reload drills constantly. And after all that, the Rival felt like an old friend. My fingers instinctively landed on every control with perfection, and it didn’t take long to notice just a couple things.
The first thing was the ambidextrous slide release, I think perhaps the Rival uses a stronger spring because there is more felt resistance on the slide than my other guns. This translated into just enough extra effort to annoy me, but that’s all.
I also noted that the extended magwell-flare seems to be a better fit than the one on my other Canik, this made reloading even easier than I anticipated. Magazines were easilly slid into place with little to no effort.
The trigger felt fantastic, which has been my typical experience with these higher grade Canik pistols. Continue reading here…

Why Classic Sig’s are still great

Sig Sauer perhaps leads the market with a plethora of new firearm products every year, and of course among those many items are their always popular pistols like the Legion series and the countless models of the P320. With all these hot releases and choices, it can be easy to forget some of the old standby pistols that Sig has made in the past. At the risk of sounding like the old guy trying to convince you to trade your Glock for a 1911, today I’m here to tell you about a few classic Sig pistols and why they deserve your time.

The P220
The P220 is an aluminum framed single stack pistol, chambered in the Automatic Colt Pistol caliber .45. It uses a double action (DA) trigger and an magazine with room for eight rounds. As with many of the older Sig pistols, this P220 is safety-less. The controls are extremely simple using only a trigger, slide-lock, and a de-cocking lever to safely lower the hammer. The mag release is in the traditional spot, all these controls are comprehensive and easily manipulated. It also has a low-slung accessory rail up front for installing weapon lights.

This P220 happens to be one of the fancy German made ones, and it also features a threaded barrel for installing a suppressor. I intended on running my Silencerco Octane 45 to see how they played together. With a few boxes of 230 grain ball ammo, the 220 and the Octane in hand I hit one of my shooting spots.
I don’t shoot much .45ACP very often, but it sure felt powerful coming out of this Sig. The full-size pistol felt perfect in my hands, its grip and angle match my natural point of aim. Hitting targets with the heavy and slow bullets was very enjoyable, even more so once I installed the suppressor. The naturally subsonic bullets of the 45 made shooting the suppressed P220 pure joy, I could have perhaps benefitted from taller sights but had no problem hitting what I aimed at.

The P220 has everything from classic firepower to the iconic looks of a service grade pistol. The trigger still feels fantastic all these years later, and the pistol’s function was flawless. The gun is obviously a little heavier than more modern pistols, and everyone but the old 1911 guy would probably like more magazine capacity. But despite those few things, I absolutely love this pistol. The heavy weight tames the movement of the gun significantly, making it smooth and deliberate in every motion.

The P239
One of the reasons that the P220 was so easy and familiar to me, was that it has the identical controls and design as my P239. I bought this pistol shortly after Y2K for those old people out there who remember phones with cords, though none of that had anything to do with my purchase. I bought the P239 because I was a freshly minted CCW carrier, and my taste then was just as good as it is now. Years later I found while reading that the P239 was frequently used as a concealable or backup pistol by agents and SEALs.

Much like the P220, the P239 is a single-stack aluminum framed DA pistol. The aforementioned identical controls are easily manipulated, and the only changes made over the last two decades has been a Hogue grip. The soft edges of the pistol and its low profile sights make it an easy option to conceal and draw.

I’ve carried the P239 for nearly half of my life, so nothing could feel more comfortable to me when shooting. And like it always does, the 239 functioned flawlessly during my latest trip afield. Shooting both 115 and 124 grain ammo, the P239 was right at home hammering targets. The eight-round magazines are solid and easily changed, and having several of them made reloads and multiple engagements quite fun. My wife who is significantly more petite than I also found the P239 to be easily handled and fun to shoot.

I typically carry this gun with the hammer down, which is easily done using these pistols. One need only pull the trigger whilst whistling Dixie. Both the 239 and 220 proved to be quite accurate, but the P239 and I have pulled off some near unbelievable shots over the years. Including the decapitation of a rodent on the first shot from sixty-nine yards, whether you believe that or not, you can certainly count on this gun shooting accurately.

The Mosquito
Before the P322, there was a Mosquito. The Mosquito is a .22LR chambered pistol that basically mimics the P series of pistols. It does use a polymer frame however, with an alloy slide and this one does have a safety. Not sure why, perhaps due to the idea that it may be used by young shooters. Other than the safety, the Mosquito is again identical in its controls and function to the other two pistols mentioned here. It does feature a pic rail for adding your favorite accessories under the front. The single-stack ten-round magazine is familiar and simple, much like every other 22 pistol from that era. Continue Reading Here…

Bergara B-14 HMR 6.5CM

If you missed my last article on the Bergara BMP, do yourself a favor and go check it out after this one. I was pleasingly surprised by the that rifle, the very first Bergara I’ve had the pleasure to shoot. So it should come as no surprise that when this HMR showed up, I was quite excited to see if it too would exceed my expectations. What I couldn’t have anticipated was how deep down the Bergara hole I would fall.

The HMR
The Bergara B-14 action is the heart of many of their centerfire rifles, the HMR model is one of those. The B-14 action shares some the best features with the Remington 700 action, which allows it to utilize the large aftermarket support that it inherited from Big Green. A two lug ninety-degree bolt throw locks up the one piece bolt into the action, it is retained by a left-hand side bolt stop machined into the back of the action. The B-14 uses a trigger of Bergara’s making, but can be easily replaced by one of the many suitable aftermarket options. I found it to be completely unnecessary as the factory trigger feels fantastic. The safety is located just right of the bolt shroud, in a standard pull for safe, push for fire configuration. Underneath the action is the detachable box magazine, a standard AICS pattern. The rifle came with a five round, but I also ran some of my ten-round Magpul units as well. The mags are released in typical fashion by pushing forward a catch at the front of the trigger guard. The match grade barrel is of a heavy contour, and threaded 5/8-24 at the end. It came with a nice radially ported muzzle brake, or it can be removed to install a suppressor which is a better idea. The 6.5 Creedmoor model I tested featured a twenty-four inch barrel with a 1-8 twist, which is ideal for stabilizing most factory loads. The B-14 is perfectly rounded out with a quality twenty moa scope base, and a handsome sniper grey Cerakote finish.

The molded stock is built around Bergara’s mini-chassis, and host a few of its own features. It has a fully adjustable length of pull and adjustable comb, the former is adjusted by removing or adding spacers. The comb is adjusted with a wing-nut on one side of the buttstock, both are easy enough to adjust and I believe that Bergara got it right by making the comb adjustable while taking the simple spacer path for the LOP adjustment. There are sling attachment cups at both the front and rear of the stock, as well as double front sling studs if you choose to go that way. The whole thing is finished with a cunning paint scheme that is only flashy to the human eye.


A good rifle needs a good scope

I was very excited to get this rifle warmed up, but first I needed a good little scope to mount on it, I chose the US Optics TS25X.
The TS series of US Optics scopes are lightweight and have all the features a rifleman needs. I mounted the scope in a pair of Warne rings, and bore-sighted the rifle before heading out to shoot it. I picture this rifle as a perfect companion for a hunter who means real business, someone who aims to get what they’re after. The five to twenty-five power range of the TS25X gives serious marksmen all the power they need and the JVCR reticle is handy for measuring corrections at whatever range a hunter may need them. The hunter I have in mind must be a serious one, because at just under twelve-pounds he is going to need to be serious to pack this around.
Once the scope was mounted and leveled, I threw on one of my Harris bipods and stuffed the rifle in a case.

Going Hot
The sun had been shining all morning long, and the wavy rays of mirage were quite visible on the flat desert plain where I lay. My shooting mat was already warm to the touch as I prepared to fire my first shots, I lay there stuffing a few cartridges into the magazines for the HMR. The cartridges were Winchester Deer Season Copper Impact, quite a mouthful if you have to repeat it more than once so remember that. This ammunition featured a one-hundred twenty-five grain Copper Extreme Point bullet, a lead free projectile that utilizes a red polymer tip but is NOT made by Hornady.

After loading my magazines, I laid behind the rifle and peered through the scope at my distant target. Moisture began to accumulate on my cheek as I rested on the stock of the HMR, slowly adjusting my hold to get the very best and solid position. The curved shoe of the trigger felt perfectly mated to my finger as I pressed, and I watched the impact of my very first shot impact through the target. My bore-sight job had been on-point, as almost no adjustments were needed. I sent a couple magazines of ammunition through the rifle, quite please with the results. Running the bolt on the rifle was smooth and easy, extracting spent cases with ease. The brass piled up so neatly next to me as to think someone had placed them there with care. I pushed the rifle out another couple hundred yards, with hits coming easily as I went. The feeding and ejection of this rifle are very reliable, as is the clean break of the trigger. After a couple boxes of ammo spent, I was very happy with the HMR.

Let’s Hunt
A few days later I took the rifle to another one of my spacious hides, the high alpine forests of the rocky Mountains. There I wanted to see how the HMR would fair as a rugged mountain rifle, as I knew that walking back and forth from a truck to a blind wasn’t much of a challenge. The thin air at nine-thousand feet taxes your lungs and circulatory system for sure, but it also helps bullets fly better and farther. So I figured this was a place the HMR would shine, perhaps reducing my effort by exchanging the distance of walking for distance covered by bullets. Continue Reading Here…

Beretta A300

Its hard to imagine a good lineup of autoloading shotguns that doesn’t include something from Beretta, the European manufacturer is one of the oldest pillars in the firearms business. The firm is well known for many notable firearms, but they are known in these parts for their shotguns, and the A300 Outlander is the one we are playing with today.

Autoloading Beretta’s

My Father is a bit of a shotgun junkie. Being things as they were when I was younger, I was exposed to some very nice shotguns. I also got to shoot many of them, Dad wouldn’t let me bring my two-hundred dollar 870 when he had a couple fancy Italian’s on standby. And whether it was a fancy double barreled gun or a handsome auto-loader, I was happy to give it a go.
Beretta makes a broad assortment of semi-automatic shotguns, whether it is an M9 for tactical scenarios, or todays A300 field gun, there is a Beretta to fit your needs.

The Outlander

The A300 Outlander like many of Beretta’s semi-auto guns is a gas operated system. The action is operated by gas pressure vented from the barrel to a piston, which pushes an operating rod disengaging the bolt and cycling the action. It sounds pretty simple, because it is. Perhaps the reason why it is such an effective system used by so many. The gun is fed from a tubular magazine that can hold up to three two and three-quarter inch shells with the plug removed.
This model came with dark wooden furniture, but the gun is also available with synthetic options and camouflaged coatings. The twenty-eight inch barrel features a three-inch chamber which allows you to shoot any two and three-quarters or three-inch loads. And the muzzle utilizes an assortment of replaceable chokes to adjust your shot pattern to the ammunition and expected shots.

The controls of the Outlander mirror most semi-auto shotgun patterns, so whether you are learning on the A300 or coming from a different model you will find the controls familiar and easy to operate.
I grabbed a few boxes of Winchester and Fiocchi ammunition, both of them with one-ounce loads of 7.5 and 8 shot. And with a couple cases of clay targets my Dad and I headed out for an afternoon of bustin’ clays.

In the field

Of course Dad was going to bring a couple of his own guns, something we could compare the A300 to. A Benelli and A Winchester SX3 would make great company to the Outlander, as well as something we were both familiar with to compare it to.
We started throwing targets to get a little warmup going, and before long we switched over to throwing doubles and report pairs.

The Beretta felt great in my hands, I felt a little bit of a squish on the cheek to get a good view down the rib. As I continually swung the gun after targets I found that old familiar feel of pacing the flying target with the bead. To my surprise I did quite well shooting the A300, better than I had done with the other guns present anyhow. A good bit of time passed before I managed to miss a target, and as it invariably happens the gun wasn’t at fault.
Following the faster targets that came from the side I was able to maintain a good sight picture down the rib, and it felt great to watch those clays turn to dust. The modest recoil from the one-ounce loads was easily manageable, and follow-up shots were quick to get on target.

Proper shooting with any shotgun requires a proper setup, we did change out the full-choke for something a little more open. Hand thrown clays can often be more challenging to hit than mechanically thrown targets, and many of the shots we made were fairly close. So before we started, I swapped the choke out for a modified for a little broader pattern.
I managed to talk my Dad into putting his gun down for a minute, to see how what he thought of the Beretta. He too was able to make good hits with the Outlander, and his old guy hmm haw of approval was well deserved. Continue Reading Here…


Conclusion