Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum


Smith & Wesson is perhaps the biggest name in revolvers for as long as any of us can remember, perhaps only eclipsed by names like Colt. Today’s subject is one of S&W’s classic pistols and one I was excited to hold, the model 57 chambered in .41 Remington Magnum.

The Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum is a six-shot revolving double-action pistol, it uses a steel frame and an 8 &3/8’s inch barrel. The grip is made from traditional walnut. The whole unit is finished in a classical glossy blued finish.

smith & wesson model 28 .357 magnum
my father’s model 28 .357 Magnum

My father has always had a similar pistol he was given by my grandfather;  a model 28 Highway Patrolman.  As a youth I was always enamored with what I thought was a handsome gun. His S&W was a .357 Magnum, but very similar proportions as this one. And for some reason the .41 Mag always seemed like an interesting niche cartridge. So as you can imagine the opportunity to play with this handsome old pistol was something enticing.


Like something from an old 70’s movie, the Model 57 came to me in a classy wooden box lined with a velvet. I opened it up to see the deep blue shine from old world traditions.

Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum
in its handsome box

Picking up the pistol from the box seemed like a little walk down memory lane for me. The large size of the pistol was probably proportional in my hand as my father’s old Smith that I held with much smaller hands years ago.

Curiously, I cracked open the cylinder to see how it looked inside. Clean chambers and a smooth roll of the cylinder followed by a snap of the ejector plunger was all I needed. I was quickly becoming enamored with this pistol, but the crystal clean break of the trigger was what really got me excited. Something told me I was going to like this pistol with all these classic features and quality that’s harder to come by these days.

Shop all Smith & Wesson firearms here

The .41 Remington Magnum

It’s not a .44 magnum, but it’s a whole lot more than a .357 magnum for sure. The 41 has been around since the early 1960’s, a pet project you might call it with a specialist purpose to fulfill a law enforcement needs. The mighty 41 pushes 210 bullets as fast as 1500 fps when loaded to full power, though there are some lighter bullets, and softer loads.

Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum
dumping the cylinder

Little did I know the hard part was going to be getting hands on some of these cartridges, as they sure don’t seem to show up at the local mercantile.

Part of me was beginning to think the .41 was going to be the .40S&W of the wheel-gun world. But luckily I found a box of HSM cowboy 210 grain loads at a store a couple counties over. The 210 grain wadcutters were loaded in Starline .41 Mag brass. I wish I knew what powder they had inside that produced some authentic smoke seemingly from a time long past.

Read about additional handguns in our pistol section


With my ammo and the Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum in my pocket, I headed to the range. I’d brought a sheet of cardboard to see how the pistol shot on a target, which I set up at about ten yards.

With the cylinder loaded full, I  snapped it shut. I’d never shot a .41 Magnum before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. But as it turns out the pistol felt like a kitten. Perhaps a little unsure of what to expect, my first few shots I was more focused on my grip and function than shooting well.Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum

But after a few more rounds I became quite accustomed to the recoil and feel of the model 57, and got right back to aiming a little tighter. I was very happy with the performance of the pistol, it seemed like it would have been quite the potent pistol if you were in a spot that required one.

Pretending I was one of the lawmen at the famous corral, came pretty easy. And the smooth action and aiming of the model 57 was a great tool in the hands. The long barrel was a little longer to bring on target. But the wide sight radius sure made it easy to point and hit what you wanted to.

The incredibly clean trigger sure made it easy to break right where you wanted it to. The 210 grain bullets grouped around 2 inches at ten yards.  I’m curious if that is the best the pistol will shoot or if it would have liked a different load better.

One would get the feeling that they weren’t particularly hot loads, they were very easy to pop out using the ejector. And that’s how I spent the afternoon, stuffing chubby cartridges into the cylinder and turning them into spent brass.

Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum
smokey cowboy loads

Pros and Cons

I’ll be honest about this, I can’t imagine someone buying a pistol like this without wanting something just like it. So I’m not sure I can really come up with a downside to this pistol. If you twisted my arm real hard, I guess I could say the ammo sourcing is an issue. But if I was going to be a serious .41 Remington Mag guy, I would for sure load my own.

The good news is far more interesting, the excellent trigger and smooth operation are outstanding. Everything about the finish is classic and handsome, the old wood looks beautiful and feels great in the hand. Both the single and double action of the pistol allow you to shoot the gun well. The accuracy is just what I would expect from a pistol like this.

Let’s imagine this pistol would be a perfect companion for a mountain houndsman chasing cougars and black bears. It’s certainly big enough for the job, but it’s also much smaller than most any rifle. You could tuck the pistol into a holster under your shoulder while hiking and chasing the bay of hyper hounds.

Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum

Shooting a big cat or bear from a tree with the model 57 would be an easy chore. The accuracy would be handy, and those big bullets would make short work of most predators.

Continue Reading Here

shooting the CZ P-10S

The Affordable CZex Appeal of the CZ P-10S Compact 9mm Pistol


With so many names in the firearms manufacturer world, it’d be hard to swing a dead cat in any gun store without hitting a good one. CZ-USA is another one of the big names in the gun world, and today we will take a look at one of their handguns for which they’re so famous; The CZ P-10S.

The P-10 series of pistols is a polymer frame striker fired line of 9mm handguns. Today we will take a specific look at the P-10S which is almost the smallest of the P-10 family, with a focus on use as a concealed carry weapon.

I am a bit of a CZenophile, and having been a fan of the European firearm manufacturer I was excited to get hands on the P-10S. And as soon as I opened the box I felt that old feeling coming back again. The initial impressions of the pistol are very positive; the trigger feels great, the sights pop and even with its small size it can carry a healthy CCW payload of 12+1 before any alterations. I expect I am going to enjoy shooting this pistol.

Unboxing the P-10S

I opened the polymer case that contained the pistol, and was greeted by a pretty familiar spread. The pistol laid in foam with an extra twelve round magazine, and a few other extras. There were two additional back-straps to change out to fit the shooters hand, and a couple extended magazine floorplates. There were also a few cleaning tools and allen wrenches for adjusting the pistol setup. And of course there was the typical cheap gun-lock forced upon gun manufacturers by our sophomoric legislators.

The P-10S in its factory hard-case

I lifted the pistol from the case, and started right into playing with it. The slide locks open quite easily on an empty magazine, perhaps it needs a little breakin as well. As the slide release is pretty stiff with an empty magazine in the gun, though it’s certainly easier with a loaded magazine.

I found the standard magazine floor-plates to be just a little bit small for my hand size. Certainly useable, but the extended floor-plates also included fit my hand perfectly. I suppose for ultimate concealability the standard length of the magazines might be beneficial.

Snapping the trigger a few times to see how it felt made me like the gun just a little bit more. The trigger has a blade safety, and it breaks quite consistently as far as my finger feels it. The reset feels good too, the whole operation got me eager to get this CZexy little pistol on the range.

I inspected the optics ready slide, a fantastic feature that more and more modern handguns are incorporating. I was for sure going to remove the base-plate to install a red-dot to see how I liked the P-10S with an optic.



After getting hands on a case of 9mm 115 grain ammo from Ammo To Go, I grabbed a few other items and my range bag before Junior and I headed into the hills to shoot the P-10S.

With a few targets setup, we started stuffing magazines full of Federal Champion 115 grain cartridges. I am definitely going to get a good holster to use with this pistol, to see how well I can shoot it from the draw.

Shop all CZ P-10 Models at Palmetto State Armory

Loading mags was a lot more time consuming, and a chore compared to unloading them with the P-10S. We ran through several magazines of ammo so quickly I had to start keeping track.

The little CZ was a smooth shooter, I oftentimes find very small 9mm pistols to be a little more uncomfortable due to the reduce purchase on the smaller grip. The P-10S was not that way, it was quite comfortable and easy to keep on target.

My son also spent a great deal of time shooting the pistol, his hands are a touch smaller than my own. Which made the P-10S a perfect fit for him (and started a conversation about switching ownership of the pistol).

The factory sights were a great fit for my shooting style. I really appreciated the sights lining up almost every time I presented the pistol. It also made me anticipate adding a red dot even more.

Pros & Cons


  • Great trigger
  • 12+1 magazine capacity
  • Optics Ready
  • Chamber Indicator
  • Partially pre-cocked striker
  • Picatinny accessory rail
  • Reversible Magazine release
  • Ambi Slide-release
  • Included extended mag floor-plate
  • Interchangeable grip backstrap
  • CZex Appeal
  • Undercut trigger-guard
  • Trim & smooth edges to avoid snags


  • Grip is a bit small for bigger hands
  • Slide release is a tiny bit stiff

P-10S Reliability

One of the reasons CZ pistols are so popular is because of their long history of service. Many CZ pistol designs are working hard right now all over the world. The P-10S carries on this distinguished service history.

We shot several hundred rounds through the P-10S, and we will surely be shooting many hundreds or thousands more. The only malfunction experienced during my testing was a single case of stove-piping the last round on one occasion. I dont know the cause of this malfunction, but it was the only one we experienced.

P-10S Accuracy

The 3.5 inch barrel of the P-10S is more than accurate enough for CCW purposes. During the course of our shooting, we were easily able to keep shot groups under three-inches at 10 yards. As a CCW pistol I think that is plenty accurate enough, and that is without searching for other ammo choices. Perhaps with better ammunition selection the pistol may shoot even better.

Overall Feel of the P-10S

The overall feel of the CZ P-10S is fantastic. My initial feeling of the pistol was that it could use some improvement. But after shooting it significantly on the range I feel much better about it. The grip texture could maybe be a touch tougher, but that’s easily remedied.

The short grip space was also easily corrected by adding the extended magazine floorplates. The slide cuts made the pistol very easy to operate in most any condition. The great trigger and other functions of the P-10S added to the positive impression left on us by the pistol.

My son did mention that with the extended floorplates he did manage to pinch his finger a few times while shooting. This might be something easily corrected with practice.

Firearms Depot also has a great selection of CZ P-10 pistols

P-10S Features

Optics Ready Slide

The optics ready slide of the P-10S accepts the very popular Holosun 407, 507 and 508 patterns. This also makes it compatible with other red dots like the Trijicon RMR and the Riton X3 Tactix. The added capabilities of the red dot sight allow the shooter to keep their focus on the target instead of the sights.

Shop additional red dots on Scopelist

Ambidextrous Controls

For those with left-handed disabilities, the P-10 family of pistols is an excellent choice. The slide release is ambidextrous, and the magazine release can be reversed easily. This gives lefties a great option for a pistol without having to give up compatibility.

Picatinny Accessory Rail

The picatinny accessory rail allows quick and easy installation of a good weapon light. For a CCW pistol like this it is hard to beat something like the Streamlight TLR8 for a good fit and bright performance.

Report Card

Reliability (8.5-10)

Other than the one stovepipe, the P-10S functioned flawlessly. It seemed to get better with more use as well.

Ergonomics (8.5-10)

The ergonomics of the P-10S were very mainstream comfortable, by that I mean it feels like it will fit most shooters. The controls are easily operated (after a little break-in) and adapted to lefties too. The grip angle makes for great target acquisition and sight picture.

Customization (9-10)

The ambidextrous capabilities of the P-10S make it very convenient for most shooters. The optics ready slide makes it easily adapted for whatever sight option you chose. And with good aftermarket support, there are lots of good accessories and add-ons for the P-10S.

Appearance (8.5-10)

The P-10S has a fantastic CZ look to it. Despite its affordable price it looks like a higher priced pistol. The finishes and fitment of the pistol parts give a very professional appearance.

Value (9-10)

I was very surprised how affordable the P-10S is. For the street price you get a pistol that punches above its weight for sure. It does everything that more expensive pistols from other big names in the market accomplish, arguably better in many cases.


A holster for sure

Something simple like the Comp-Tac IWB holster would be a good way to keep the P-10S close and ready. Though to be totally honest holsters are so subjective you’ll really need to try them for yourself.

Weapon Light

A good weapon light would be an excellent companion for the P-10S, I think I am going to order a Streamlight TLR8 to go along with the P-10S. It has good light rating, and also includes a laser.


Sig Sauer P365

For a little more money than the P-10S, you can also get a Sig Sauer P365. I happen to belong to the Sig cult, so this would be an easy splurge for someone like me. The P365 also uses 12 round magazines and allows an incredible collection of aftermarket accessories.

Glock 43X

The Glock 43 is also an easy choice to make. While still a bit more expensive than the CZ, it does give up some magazine capacity. Though it is also a little bit more compact so you can pick your poison.


I think the CZ P-10S was definitely a solid buy for me, and I would do it again. In fact I may start thinking about getting a full size P-10 just to go along with this one.

The P-10S provides outstanding value, and brings with it a solid history of reliable service. This is a near perfect recipe for most American CCW enthusiasts looking to get a pistol.

I will continue to update this article as we gain more experience with this little CZ, with hopes of helping others find their best affordable CCW option. If you like this review of the CZ P-10S, check out one of our other Pistol Reviews Here.


Kimber K6S 357 Magnum


I am neither a Kimber hater or a fan-boy, but I have been around long enough to know that they have certainly made some great products over the years. Their 1911 pistols are very well known, as are some of their other pistols like the one we are looking at today; the Kimber K6S 357 Magnum Target pistol.

The K6S is the latest in the line, utilizing the DASA system that uses both a double and single action trigger mechanisms. The result is a fantastic trigger performance and an enhanced experience shooting.  The K6S brings several options for those looking for a slick shooting defensive pistol, besides the trigger you have a couple different grip options, as well as barrel lengths. And any caliber you choose as long as it’s .357 Magnum. Let’s get this Kimber out of the box and onto the range.

Unboxing the Kimber K6S

The pistol came in a double-sided soft case in the factory box, simple and useful at the same time. I opened it up to see a beautiful satin stainless finish, and a handsome laminate wood grip. The unique facets of the cylinder immediately caught my eye and got me wondering what else this revolver had in store.

I picked the pistol up to feel the checkered grip in my hand, it looked like it might be a little small to fit my hand but it turned out to be just right.  The trigger was a touch close to the grip, which made it feel like my hands were still a touch big for the gun, but certainly close enough to work with.

The cylinder is released with a push-button on the frame, I like this style over the sliding forward button style. It seemed a touch sticky, enough that the cylinder wouldn’t fall open without some pressure pushing it out.


The hammer spur has a nice curl to it that keeps it pretty low profile when it is cocked, and also makes it feel very natural to reach and pull with your thumb. The texturing on the spur is aggressive enough to feel and get good purchase , but not so much as to be abrasive.

On top of the pistol I found the hinged rear-sight, it is fully adjustable and the spring tension keeps it up where it belongs. The rear sight is serrated to avoid reflecting light, the front sight is pinned to the muzzle and features a bright green fiber-optic. Together they make a great tool for aiming the little pistol.

It was time to feel the DASA trigger that I’d read about, so I pulled the hammer back for that satisfying double click. The single action pull of this trigger feels great, very little movement when it breaks. The double action felt much like I am used to feeling, a longer pull followed by a clean snap.

Range Time with the K6S

I rarely use the double action with pistols, I prefer the cleaner single action pull for most shots. The double action would be useful in a situation where you need to shoot a bunch and quickly. Personally I prefer the more accurate and stable shooting of a single shot at a time.

With a few boxes of American Eagle ammunition in hand, I headed to my shooting spot to give the little Kimber a workout. The easy loading of cartridges seems to be like soothing therapy to a gun nut like me. The long and slender 357 cartridges made a tapping sound as the rim hit the cylinder.  With a snap the loaded cylinder went into place, and it was time to start making noise.

American Eagle ammunition from Gun Mag Warehouse

The 357 is not a huge cartridge, but it does pack a punch for its size. The K6S does a fine job of handling the modest recoil, and making it pleasant to shoot. I shot through several cylinders of cartridges before realizing the smug little smile I was sporting.

The K6S seemed to be just the right size for my taste, smaller 357’s are harder to control with such small grips. And their lighter weight doesn’t hold back as much recoil either. The Kimber felt just right, big enough to be fun and easy to shoot. And it also felt small enough to still be usefully carried for various tasks.

the grip was a litle small for my hands but still gave good purchase

I found the sights to be very easy to pick up, and they made it simple to hit my targets. I shot much better shooting single-action vs. the double-action function. This obviously came as a surprise to no one. As it was, shooting from ten-yards I was able to keep the shots under two inches. Since I’m not pistol match-shooter, I’m not sure if thats good or not. But I felt like it was certainly good enough for my purposes.

the K6S sights made for great shooting

Shooting this little Kimber made me feel like I was hooting better. That might seem like a really important endorsement if you hadn’t seen me shoot before. But it certainly made me enjoy shooting it even more.

Just for good measure, I wanted to let a few 38 Special’s run through the pistol as well. My grandfather shot more 38’s and 357’s than anyone else I know. I still am working through coffee cans full of bullets he casted perhaps when I was a child. It feels good to let some of grandpa’s handmade bullets loose every now and then. The K6 was happy to send them on their way too.

The cylinder also has a shoulder around the breach of the chambers, this seems like an additional safety addition. But on top of that it also makes a clean look to the cylinder by covering the rims of the cartridges as well.

Shop Kimber firearms at Euro Optic

Pros and Cons

Recoil was not bad at all

If you like revolvers there is a lot to like about the Kimber K6S. The handsome grips are both comfortable and useful for a good grip. The sights are very nice and allow for positive aiming and good accurate shooting. The trigger is fantastic either way you pull it, and the hammer is equally user friendly and easy to manipulate. The handsome brushed stainless finish gives the pistol a refined look and keeps it from shining in the sun or other bright lights.

Continue reading about the K6S Here

Five Guns for Varmint Season

With Varmint hunting season right around the corner, now is the time to get ready for the upcoming season. Whether you plan on hunting squirrels, prairie dogs, or coyotes, a good varmint gun is absolutely a necessity.  We’ll discuss five guns for varmint season from various manufacturers that you can count on.

Tikka T3X Varmint 

The Tikka T3X is at the top of my list, maybe because I have a little thing for Tikkas. The smooth action and out of the box accuracy are perfect for hitting small targets. Available in both right or left-handed, the T3X has all the features for accuracy that varmint hunters could want such as free-floated heavy barrel, an impressive trigger, an integrated scope mounting rail, and it is available in most popular varmint calibers.

The T3X also features an interchangeable pistol grip to adjust the grip to the shooter’s liking. Tikka also uses barrels with aggressive twist rates, which will allow you to shoot a wide range of ammunition. The Tikka T3X has a 1 MOA accuracy guarantee that will give you the confidence you need when pursuing whatever you’re after, you can find them right here (link ) on

Savage 93 

There is a lot of varmint hunting that can be done with a rimfire, and the Savage 93R17 is a great option for those who want to hunt on the cheap. Chambered in 17HMR, the Savage 93 is excellent for taking down rodents large or small. The rifle comes in almost too many different models to mention, there is sure to be one that fits your style and taste. It’s detachable box magazine holds five cartridges, and features a 21 inch 9 twist barrel.

These rifles are well known for shooting very accurately. Thanks to a clean breaking trigger, and a wide selection of different ammunition. The rifle is available in both blued and stainless models, as well as a camo patterned finish. Some models are available with iron sights, while others come with scope bases installed to mount your choice of optical sight. Whether you want a synthetic stock, or a gorgeous wood laminate, there is a Savage 93 for you.

Smith and Wesson M&P 15 

Any list of guns would be wrong if it didn’t feature at least one version of America’s favorite rifle. Even more so when chambered in the varmint hunting standard, the 223 Remington. For hunting coyotes, rabbits, and any other fast-moving varmints, the M&P15 gives fast shots, with even faster follow-ups. The carbine length barrels make the rifle very handy to maneuver with, getting in and out of vehicles and blinds with ease.

If shooting multiple targets is part of your routine, then the various magazine capacities will leave you spoiled for choice. The modularity of the rifle gives the user countless options to customize for your hunt. Like its adjustable buttstock, interchangeable accessories, and a flat-top Picatinny rail for mounting your scope or other sighting devices. Another benefit to the AR style rifle is future upgrades, everybody likes upgrades.

Ruger American 22-250

The 22-250 is considered by many to be the king of varmint cartridges. Another one of the five guns for varmint season is the Ruger American bolt action rifle is a great platform to shoot it from. With a 22 inch 8 twist barrel, you can shoot some of the heavier .224 bullets to add some distance to your varmint hunting. Its light weight, and shorter barrel will make it quick to get on target.

The American features a tang mounted safety, an adjustable trigger, and a free floated barrel. The latter two help give the American its accuracy potential, and with the included scope base you’ll have your scope mounted and hunting in no time. This Ruger weighs in at just over six and a half pounds.  This makes it ideal for hunts that require long hikes. At $399.30 it is also very affordable.

Taurus TX22

Don’t rule out pistols for varmint hunting. The Taurus TX22 is a bit of a game-changer for 22 pistols. With an outstanding trigger, striker firing mechanism, and 16+1 magazines, the TX22 is ready to put squirrels in the pot. The pistol is available with or without a safety (ambi). It also has a reversible mag release for left-handed shooters, it also has adjustable sights.

The TX22 is well known for devouring brick after brick of cheap 22Lr ammo, which should strike fear into any varmints heart. It’s super light-weight with a polymer frame, and suppressor ready barrel, it makes an excellent suppressor host for more clandestine hunts.


What is “getting scoped” and why is it an unfortunate ritual?

You may have heard the term before, it is often some variation of getting kissed by the scope or some other colorful reference. But they typically all mean the same thing, it is caused by the eye piece of a scope hitting the shooter in the eyebrow or nose area.

The impact of the scope is caused by the recoil of the firearm. It can cause anything from a red spot, to outright bleeding or a black eye.

This Remington 700 does not feature a muzzle device, but it does have a heavier barrel, and chambered in the low recoiling 308 Winchester

What Causes it?

The cause of this phenomenon is a simple result of physics. As a firearm fires a projectile from the muzzle, it produces recoil pushing the whole weapon towards your shoulder. The force at which it comes at you depends entirely on a few things. The biggest factor is usually the size of the cartridge and the energy it produces.

The bigger the force pushed forward by the cartridge, the larger the force will be coming back at you. This can be arbitrated somewhat by other factors, such as the weight of the firearm in question.

Why is it a hunting ritual?

Probably the biggest reason getting scoped occurs is due to a lack of practice. Proper shooting practices include recoil management. Holding a rifle or shotgun properly in order to control the recoil as you pull the trigger. For many gun owners, shooting a scoped and heavy recoiling gun may not be as frequent as plinking with their preferred firearm.

A very typical case is this one; A person can shoot frequently and in high volumes with one rifle. But perhaps when hunting season rolls around each fall, they pull out their preferred hunting rifle. Which may be of a large caliber, and frequently a light-weight firearm.

Since many hunters only shoot a few rounds a year (at least from their hunting weapon). They run the risk of being unfamiliar with its recoil. And when you couple that to a heated hunting moment, where you have worked hard to get into a shooting position.

You often have to make a quick shot, and it’s easy to forget your recoil management or hold the gun in just such a way that it kicks you right in the eyebrow.  We’ve all seen the hunting pics where a grinning hunter smiles behind a set of antlers with blood running down their nose.

How to avoid it

As mentioned above, proper recoil management is the best way to avoid getting scoped. Properly seating the rifle against your shoulder and doing so in the correct position will greatly reduce your chances of redecorating your eyebrows.

Other ways you can protect yourself from the shame of scope eye is to use mechanical aids, such as a muzzle brake. Brakes reduce felt recoil by redirecting the high-pressure gasses from the muzzle. Deflecting at an angle that reduces the recoil that is felt by the shooter. Some folks use gun-vises, something I don’t encourage for good reason.

A gun-vise holds a rifle and takes up much of the felt recoil for the shooter, but in doing so they affect the way the gun recoils and can change your point of impact as compared to shooting without the vise. This could easily cause a miss in the field when you least expect it. So unless you plan on hunting from your gun vise, it is perhaps more harmful than helpful.

Another good option to avoid mockery by your shooting companions is to avoid some monster caliber in the first place. Much of the hunting done in North America takes place inside three-hundred yards. Animals like white-tail deer and comparable animals do not need a 300 Ultra Magnum to effectively and ethically take them.

A Soft Option

There are plenty of softer-shooting cartridges with more than enough power to take game animals without rearranging your face. The way your firearm is configured can greatly affect the way it recoils. A heavier gun will require more energy to push it back. Therefore a heavier gun will recoil less than a comparable gun of lesser weight.

This Savage model 12 is outfitted with a muzzle brake to reduce recoil to a very comfortable impulse

You can apply any or all these methods to avoid getting scoped, but recoil management is the most important. It is part of the foundation of good shooting, so don’t jump immediately to mechanical aids until you master the basics. A good hold tight in your shoulder pocket, and a good cheek weld, will keep the gun from recoiling more than the distance your brow needs to stay safe.
We should also mention length of pull and scope mounting. Your firearm should be setup with a proper length buttstock, and proper eye relief to keep your eye a safe distance from a recoiling scope. If it doesn’t fit you, you’re asking for trouble.


If you’ve made it this far in life without getting scoped, chances are you are doing things right. And if you are one of those in the exclusive “Split-brow” club, you probably learned how to avoid it the hard way.

If you’re somewhere in between these two groups, I encourage you to employ the tactics we’ve discussed here. Continue your shooting endeavors so that perhaps someday your unscarred face might grace this publication.


Like this? Try this one…

The Fix by Q


Our firearms industry is filled with folks from different backgrounds and walks of life, but few have made as much fuss or broken so many molds as Kevin Brittingham’s Q. Today we will be looking specifically at one of Q’s rifles; The Fix, chambered in 308 Winchester.

The Fix with the Riton Scope, YHM Nitro Suppressor, and Harris bipod

If you are unfamiliar with the ungoverned attitude of “the other” gun company from New Hampshire… You might be a little a bit surprised when you come upon their marketing and their products. Q has their own creativity that is aggressively portrayed in their designs, and The Fix is certainly a result of that creativity. Like many of their other offerings, The Fix goes well beyond conventional designs.

The Fix

At a glance, you might think The Fix was some kind of AR-10/bolt-action hybrid with some lightweight design thrown in for good measure. But The Fix is more than that.

Designed to fit a niche in the market ,The Fix fills a compact and lightweight spot. The Fix is made from a one-piece receiver, sort of like an AR upper and lower that have been molded as one piece. It utilizes a light-weight free-float handguard that attaches to the front of the receiver, and a monolithic picatinny rail is attached across the top of the whole assembly.

The Fix Features

A skeletonized folding buttstock is attached to the rear, with very minimalist design. The buttstock is fully adjustable for length of pull, recoil pad height, and features an adjustable cheek riser. And with a firm press downward, the buttstock is released and can be folded to the side of the rifle.

Perhaps the most cunning part of The Fix is the bolt, the round bolt-body houses the majority of the mechanical parts of the trigger. Like most rifles the bolt-head engages into the barrel extension to lock into battery, but it only requires 45 degrees to do it.

With the bolt-body and bolt-handle connected within the bolt-shroud, which covers the whole back end of the action. Additionally it moves with the bolt when operated. This shroud rides on a rail on either side of the receiver to keep it aligned, and prevent it rotating with the bolt assembly.

Curious Craftsmanship

Curious craftsmanship is one way to describe the two stage trigger, with a fairly light take-up. It breaks clean and is reset with each stroke of the bolt. There is an ambidextrous safety that will feel very familiar for those who shoot AR type rifles. The Fix runs on Pmags in the SR-25 pattern, this makes a lot of easy decisions for you. For those shooting AR-10 type rifles the magazine release button will also be familiar.

In addition to all this, The Fix uses Q’s proprietary Q-sert accessory system on the handguard. Think of something more robust than M-Lok, and easier to install or move as well.

The Fix also uses Q’s tapered barrel shoulders for attaching their muzzle devices like the included Cherry Bomb, or one of the many suppressor options Q offers. Tapered shoulders allow better alignment of suppressors and their assorted mounts. Preventing baffle strikes is a noble mission, and one I endorse fully.

The tapered muzzle of the Fix barrel

Out of the Box

The buttstock hinges to one side to reduce the size during transport

As I lifted The Fix from its box, I was temporarily time-warped back to SHOT Show a few years back, when I picked up The Fix for the first time. Just as I did then, I was surprised by the impressive light weight of the rifle. Q’s website lists it a mere 6.3 pounds.

I folded out the buttstock and shouldered the rifle to get that first feel for it. An amazing balance is one way to describe the rifle, and so easy to maneuver. I reached for the bolt-handle to run the unique bolt and check the chamber.

An incredibly short bolt lift is borderline distracting, the first few times you feel like you only half-lifted the bolt and there is more to go. Its minimalist bolt handle is quite petite. For sure it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if it was a bit bigger for better purchase and to avoid missing it entirely.  After playing with The Fix for a bit, it was time to get it prepared for the range.

Outfitting The Fix

A good scope mount is a must

For my testing purposes, the rifle would for sure need a scope, and mount. Probably a decent bipod, and a few boxes of ammo. I have several scopes laying around but I chose to mount one of the newer ones to The Fix. A Riton Primal 2-12X44 would be a great companion to the little Fix, I mounted it using an AADland Engineering 20 MOA one-piece mount.

After an evaluation of installing the one Q-sert pic rail section that came with the rifle. Fitting perfectly at the front to use as a bipod mount for one of my Harris bipods. I also took the time to break loose the Cherry Bomb from the muzzle, because I wasn’t about to go shoot this rifle without a suppressor in my pocket.

To the Range

I gathered a few boxes of my favorite 308 Winchester ammunition on the way, I’m a big fan of 175 Sierra Match Kings when shooting 308’s. I also shot some admittedly cheap ammo from The Fix, and it also shot pretty good groups.

At one hundred yards the rifle was shooting sub MOA groups with ease, this made it much more interesting for sure. Getting used to the bolt took a minute, but it actually became very easy to shoot the rifle keeping my thumb rested on the bolt knob. This ended up making the process of running the bolt even easier and faster.

The rifle’s lightweight would surely increase the felt recoil, so I was ready for that going in. But even through the recoil it was easy to shoot The Fix well. And as you might imagine packing the rifle around was fantastic.

Continue Reading About The Fix Here

A typical three-shot group from The Fix

Shop for your Fix at Firearms Depot

Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Competitor .44 Magnum


There is a soft spot in my holster for big wheel guns, there is something romantic about their husky built cylinders and the intimidatingly large muzzle. With so many things you can do with them as well, which makes them not just fun but useful. Today’s review is the Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Competitor.

As we take a look at one of Smith & Wesson’s big Performance Center Competitor pistols built on an N frame. You might be thinking the same thing I was when I first saw the pistol; who competes with a .44 Magnum?

But I stopped asking questions that start with “I wonder why people…” a long time ago. The Performance Center model 629 Competitor is a robust and impressive handgun, so I guess whoever has it in their hands can do whatever they want.

This Competitor is built from stainless steel all the way around, which helps it build up the weight to over 57 ounces. Big pistols like this are a lot easier on the hand with their additional weight.  And the Competitor also includes a weighting system to add additional weight to the gun to better balance it.  Smith & Wesson’s big pistol is just over 11 inches long, which gives it a large sight radius. But it also has a rail for optics mounting across the top of the barrel, which gives you even more sighting options. Different rubberized grips make it very easy to hold onto, which is definitely a plus with this big pistol.

Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Competitor
Loading the big cylinder

WIDTH                     1.7 in
LENGTH                  11.3 in
HEIGHT                   6.1 in
WEIGHT                   57.2 oz
CALIBER                  44 MAGNUM
SIZE                           LARGE
CAPACITY                 6
GRIP                           SYNTHETIC
SIGHTS                      PATRIDGE
OPTIC                         READY YES
SAFETY                      NONE


When I opened the box containing the Competitor, I wasn’t exactly ready for it.  Immediately impressive is the size of this handgun, it is certainly not for the faint of heart. As is typical with Smith & Wesson revolvers, it felt fantastic in the hand. All controls of the pistol all worked smooth and without taxing effort. Every part of me wanted to feel the trigger, as I wondered just what a competitor’s trigger would feel like.

Drawing back the hammer for that satisfactory click as the trigger set, I rested my finger on the smooth chrome trigger and started pressing. The smooth crack of the hammer dropping was extremely clean and the gun barely moved as a result. A smile to came over my face thinking this gun was going to be a blast to shoot.Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Competitor

Curiously I inspected the sights which looked very high quality, and easy to pick up. But like a real optics weenie I really wanted to get a red dot mounted to the pistol, since I don’t have a pistol scope.

We started putting together some supplies to take the gun to the range and get it warmed up. I had some Hornady Lever Revolution 225 grain ammunition to shoot in the gun. In addition I also had some handloaded 240 grain semi-wadcutter handloads that I figured I’d try out as well. I also had the proper mounting devices to incorporate a red dot to my shooting, so I grabbed that as well to see how the gun shot using the optic.

Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Competitor
Hornady Lever Revolution ammunition worked flawless in the S&W with its 225 grain FTX bullets

On the Range

With ammo, tools, red dot, and the weight system for the Competitor all in tow I hit my favorite shooting spot. I spread it out on the tailgate of my truck, and started my process of evaluation.

The large size of the revolver definitely reduced to feeling of recoil some, and it wasn’t bad at all to shoot. My initial concerns about why someone would want to competitively shoot a caliber this big were immediately resolved.

Shooting the big Competitor was actually very fun and enjoyable, the trigger felt immaculate, even the double action pull felt better than I expected. Though I don’t know how accurate I would be able to shoot with it that way.

Shop this and other S&W revolvers here

The Competitor came with a set of various weights that you can add to a vacant bore that runs underneath the barrel itself. The system allows you to add or take away the cylindrical weights to tune the recoil of the pistol. While the system seems to have a good purpose, I didn’t notice a significant change in my ability to shoot it much better. This could just as easily been me, and nothing to do with the S&W.

Shooting the pistol at 10 and 25 yards to see how accurately I could shoot the gun was actually pretty impressive, even without the fine aimpoint of a red dot sight.

Pros and Cons

The 629 Competitor definitely has some good features, the high quality of its parts and function are surely at the top of my list. I can’t get excited about guns that aren’t accurate enough to be useful, and this one is certainly very useful. While I am not competitive pistol shooter material, I still found it easy enough to hit just what I was aiming at with this pistol I’m more of a hunter, and I could easily see myself taking down a deer or elk in the deep dark forest of these Rocky Mountains with just such a pistol.

Shop all S&W revolvers from Palmetto 

The weight system I could take or leave, it didn’t seem to make a difference for me. But the smooth rolling cylinder and crispy clean trigger sure go a long ways. The sights are perfectly suitable for most of my kind of shooting but the added bonus of being able to mount an optic only increase my affinity for this gun.

If you are a competitive shooter then you surely might find the weight of this pistol to be an asset, whereas if you aren’t a competitor you might find it a bit heavy. The good news is that either way it’s going to shoot well for you.

I really wish I’d of had a pistol scope, so I could try shooting the Competitor with a scope. As it was I tried shooting it with a red dot mounted to the rail, which turned out to be pretty interesting. I like the fine aiming point and the ability to keep my eye focused on the target and not worry about the sights.

Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Competitor

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If you like this review, check out the rest of our Pistol reviews

Bullet Penetration and Tumbling


For years I have been fascinated by the performance of bullets both in the air as well as once they hit their target. As a hunter at heart, a bullets terminal performance inside flesh and bone are particularly interesting. Today’s subject is about Bullet Penetration and Tumbling.

Recent events have lead me to investigate the subject in a little more detail, and today I am jotting down a few theories based on experience and the albeit anecdotal evidence I’ve been exposed to.


I’ve seen quite a few bloody bullets in my hunting career, a subject I’ve gone into great detail in another discussion titled: Is shot placement more important than cartridge and bullet selection?

Expansion is no guarantee of a kill, this bullet would have probably worked great had it gone through vitals (.270 Nosler ABLR)

The main theory behind that article is that shot placement is more important than the cartridge or bullet you choose. That’s not to say that cartridges and bullet selection are not important, just emphasizing that making a good shot is MORE important.

Today’s subject seems to be a little bit of an offshoot from that discussion, and more relevant to bullet selection.

Different bullet designs utilize different methods to transfer their energy to the target. Some use raw energy to simply peel open into a larger frontal face (meplat) creating a larger diameter to plow through tissue. Others are designed similar to a mechanical broadhead that open to a consistent pattern that also generates a larger path of damage through the tissue.

There are other designs as well, our forefathers hunted with simple lead balls with little to no increase in size upon impact.

The bullet that got me thinking

For the last few seasons I have been using bullets quite different than I had used during the many seasons prior. Some of you may have already guessed that I am talking about the Cayuga Solid bullets manufactured by Patriot Valley Arms.

I was approached by the manufacturer to test the bullets performance on various big game animals at varying distances and conditions. For all the information about that subject you can read the whole thing in: A Solid Season.

Dont consider this a sales pitch for any specific product, I share information on products I use and I include information where they can be found. As always, I encourage you to use what you shoot best.

After shooting nearly a baker’s dozen of Utah big game animals (and one unfortunate Wyoming coyote), I had become quite pleased with the bullets performance. We used the bullets in almost every popular caliber, but mainly in 6mm, 6.5mm, and 7mm.

A Mule Deer heart that took a 122 grain 6.5mm Cayuga

The animals hunted with the bullets were Pronghorn Antelope, Mule Deer, and Rocky Mountain Elk. All the animals shown in A Solid Season were taken as close as 200 yards and as far away as 1000 yards.

How do bullets work?

As the seasons passed, and the meat stacked in my freezer, I was curious what exactly these bullets were doing. We had yet to recover a single one, even the 6mm bullet had zipped through a Mule deer at 1000 yards. This piqued my curiosity as most other styles of bullets had at one point or another come to rest in our game animals for inspection.

There are other solid copper bullets from other manufacturers that likely perform in a similar fashion

The Cayuga is turned on a lathe from a solid copper bar, with a hollow point cut into the tip of it. There is no other structural facets or features to it, which had me imagining that they simply mushroomed open somewhat at the front.

Discussing the topic with the manufacturer of the bullets, we discussed the probable eventuality that the bullets were tumbling within the tissue. Something I hadn’t considered beforehand.

Wound Channel Analysis

Inspecting the various animals that we had shot over several seasons, the damage was what I would consider a textbook wound channel. That is to say, everything looked exactly as I would have wanted and expected to see.

Broken shoulders when applicable, pulverized vital organs with large holes preventing their further use, and the almost exclusive anchoring of the animal upon being hit. This was the norm when shooting these bullets.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve seen a lot of bullet holes. And for all applicable purposes the solid bullets I had used seemed to perform in a near identical way. Compared to all the cup and core bullets I have used over the twenty years prior.

This set of elk lungs took a solid bullet (and some bone fragments)

But do bullets tumble?

The gyroscopic energy of a bullet induced by the barrel’s twist surely keeps the bullet stable and moving in the right direction while in flight. But how far into the target tissue does this stability remain? Does bullet penetration and tumbling happen immediately?

Watching ultra-slow-motion of bullets impacting a ballistic torso you can clearly see that many bullets tumble. Particularly towards the end of their travel through the dummy torso filled with fake bones and organs.

the almost perfectly preserved tip of a Hornady 135 A-tip does it look like it bent to one side?

I expect this is due to the reduced stability caused by the loss of rotation induced by friction and bullet deformation within the target. Despite its tumbling, it continues to pass through the target. We know the bullet is expending its energy as it passes through the target. So it would make sense that running into bones and other “stuff” within a body could cause it to turn or tumble.


The increased diameter of bullets as they expand, as well as the reduced weight as some of them shed their mass is also likely to slow their rotation. Much like a spinning ballerina extending their arms slows their rotation.

I also think its a reasonable assumption that many bullets do the same as they mushroom out. The overall shape of the bullet becomes more of a round shape than a long cylindrical one. This too could make the bullet change its orientation as it passes through the target.

Is it possible that the solid copper construction of the Cayuga bullets has something to do with tumbling? The lack of any lead within the bullet means that they are particularly large for their weight. And the larger/longer bullets need a faster twist to keep them stable. Perhaps the bullets are close to the edge of unstable due to their size, and therefore easier to tumble than a traditionally constructed bullet.

Jacketed bullets

Many of the theories above can affect bullets regardless of their composition. Jacketed bullets also mushroom or expand and can change their orientation during pass throughs. The mushroomed tip of a jacketed bullet frequently has sharp copper edges. Together with the wider surface is likely why bullets come to rest backwards.

Once the centrifugal force of spinning is overcome by friction, the slowing bullet probably hangs up on the sharp edges and the drag of the wider mushroomed face pulls it to the rear. Much like the fletchings of an arrow keep your arrows traveling the same direction.

the remains of a Hornady 150 grain Interlock

The flattened meplat of a bullet causes a snow-plow effect as it pushes through tissue. Obviously the bigger surface of the meplat, the greater the effect. A bullet that travels sideways through a target also has greatly increased the forward moving surface area. Either of these scenarios seems to cause significant damage and wound channels.

A First Recovery

During a recent Pronghorn Antelope hunt, I was actually able to recover the very first Cayuga solid bullet. The shot was with my 6mm GT shooting the 100 grain Cayuga. The impact was from approximately 480 yards and crossed through the buck who stood at a quartering angle.

After shattering the left shoulder, the bullet passed through the ribcage tearing through one lung and the top of the buck’s heart. It continued towards the opposite corner of the animal passing through the liver, and a bit of the stomach (lucky for me it wasn’t messy).

The bullet came to rest in the soft belly skin. Just in front of the buck’s right hip and was poking out of the skin.

Inspecting the buck. Note broken left shoulder and exit wound low left (censored for my guy)

Perhaps striking a bone is all the bullet needs to start a spin. Or perhaps maybe hitting anything at all? Make sure you comment below to let us know your theory.

It is apparent from both the recovered bullet, and the damage that some of the bullet fragmented

After butchering the buck, I found that the bullet had broken the shoulder bone just below his shoulder blade. It was also apparent that either fragments of the bullet or pieces of the shoulder bone were sent thrashing into the chest cavity causing additional damage.

The broken shoulder, the shoulder blade is on the right

The Bullet

Perhaps the most interesting bit of all was the recovered bullet itself. Much of its weight had lost at the front. But it also had not mushroomed at all, in fact it really wasn’t much bigger at the increased meplat than the 6mm bullet diameter.

Discovering the bullet pointing against the direction of travel, didn’t surprise me. I’ve found many jacketed bullets in the same awkward stance. Weighing the fired bullet turned out to render almost a 10% weight loss, the remaining bullet weighed 90.2 grains.

the recovered bullet (left) compared to an unfired bullet (right)

There has already been some serious panties ruffled discussing this topic, and the usual suspects doing their armchair spotting and backseat analysis. I myself remain quite curious as to what happens when these and other bullets hit their targets.

While I can only offer my opinion on what might be going on in the milliseconds after impact. My experience killing animals with bullets that appear to be tumbling has been nothing but good.

I don’t know for sure what happens, only that the result is a dead deer, elk or antelope. And many of them have been the cleanest of kills. With only a couple of them taking more than a step.


Does a tumbling bullet do more or less damage? Do jacketed bullets tumble as well? Can bullets that come apart on impact effectively take down our prey?

Obviously I can only speak from my own experiences and those I have witnessed. But I think that all bullets will tumble at some point. Either when they slow down enough, or when they hit something significant enough to knock them out of their rotation.

this is another wound channel from a Cayuga solid bullet

We could all agree that a bullet that reliably opens to a larger size is probably a very safe bet for inflicting damage. However there is something that hasn’t added up for me here; We have been sold “reliable bullet expansion” as the most desirable trait a bullet can have for as long as I can remember.


After witnessing what this little 100 grain chunk of copper did to this antelope buck I am curious. If the bullet isn’t tumbling, and its spinning stability sticks with it through most of the animal, then how did minimal or perhaps no expansion cause such impressive damage? If a 6mm flat-point bullet can cause that much damage, is the expansion sales pitch oversold?

I don’t think it is, as I’ve seen FMJ performance through big animals as well, which proved to be significantly less damage. Granted, fmj’s aren’t flat-points but you get the idea.

this set of lungs was hit by a very fast FMJ bullet, though they seem barely damaged the animal expired in seconds

My theory is that these solids must be tumbling, or at minimum a combination. Otherwise their wound channels would look more like an FMJ wound channel than that of an expanding bullet. Furthermore they seem to produce just as deadly wounds as expanding bullets.


This is all of course just my opinion based on my experiences. Don’t get too excited or bent out of shape if it conflicts with yours. These questions are simply looking to create a discussion and see how my experience contrasts with yours.

While I don’t consider myself a forensics specialist, or a ballistician. I am very interested in both of these subjects as its related to hunting and the equipment we use for it.

Please feel free to add your comments below, and share your own experiences. Perhaps we might all be somewhat enlightened through discourse. I will likely update this post as additional information is added.