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WHEN GUNS SURPRISE YOU — 34 Comments

  1. The pistol that I shoot better than any other is an old Riger Speed Six with 2.75 inch barrel. For whatever reason, it is more accurate than any other pistol I own or have ever shot.

  2. I agree some of those little guns shoot very well out to 100 yards. With my CC I regularly hit something the size of a beach ball at 100 yards.

  3. God bless and good luck with the eye surgery rabbi.
    For my part I was flabbergasted by the PPS Walther in 9mm and, even more so the Taurus TCP 380 wrt accuracy and reliability.
    As another rabbi would say ‘who knew’?

    • My surprise tack driver? Kahr CW9, which also didn’t have any hiccups during the 200 round factory mandated break in. Some of the original Czechoslovakia made CZ-75 samples would do the same too.

  4. Well Mas, I think you pretty much nailed it. My Shield and my Ruger MK3 always out perform my more expensive pistols. My Ruger is what they will lay in my casket so I’ll have something to do later.

  5. Savage Axis II 223. Fiocchi 223 40g VMax. 3650 fps barrel vel. Holes touching at 50 yards. Normal at 100. Goes to hell further. Zippy, ACCURATE. HAVEN’T been able to shoot 45 Shield as well as Glock 30 gen 4.

  6. As a die-hard 30 year Glock L.E.O. guy, I was at a training session 3 years ago when a deputy handed me his Shield 9mm and said here, try this. I declined, he insisted.So I took it next range over just to make him happy, half assed aimed at a 25 yard metal man and emptied the mag as fast as I could. ping, ping ping, every round. I returned his pistol and left the range. The instructor asked me where I was going, and I said ‘to buy a Shield’. I have since traded every Glock I own except for my Keene PD .357 Sig model 31. Full array of M&P’s and they are as tough and reliable as any Glock made, and out shoot them too.

  7. Two comments. A friend bought an old Columbian Mauser (FN made) military 98k style. Very beat up, and rust below the wood. The fore end was held together with red duct tape. Caliber was .30-06. It would shoot anything into sub MOA groups. I think he paid $129 at the time.
    And if you want accuracy, Savage, Savage, Savage. My 4 position target rifle for 200 yard is a left hand Savage 110, with a Savage 26″ stainless barrel, in .22-250. About 5,500 rounds through it, and still shoots better than I can hold. Loaded down a bit for accuracy- 55 grain cheap Sierra bullets at 3,100fps. No glass bedding or anything.

  8. Mas, I agree whole heartedly. I carry a 45 Shield 2.0 and it seems perfect. Light, compact, very accurate and good capacity. My lawyer buddy (originally from Miami) doesn’t believe me and won’t even try it. Maybe this article will open his mind. Keep up the great writing.

  9. My Rossi 92 lever gun in .45 Colt.

    Of all my tackdrivers, which do what I ‘expect’ them to do… for what it is, for what is typical of such a gun, even a “pretty good shooter” like you find now and then, my 92 (that I use in cowboy action shooting) is WAY more surgical than it has a right to be. I use the same load, accurate in all of my cowboy guns, of a 230-grain bullet over 7.8 grains of W231 and Federal 150 LP primers.

  10. I went to a bigger caliber for back up to the 9mm hi-cap. I found a Shield 45 for $299.00, brand new from a firearm dealer that advertises online. Lovin’ it! Will have to try the Black Hills. Good luck with the surgery, finally. You will no longer be able to claim the title ‘Helen Keller of shooting’!

  11. I agree that Savage rifles shoot above average. I own five (5) rifles that are either (1) factory Savage rifles or (2) are built upon Savage bolt actions. These rifles range in caliber from .22 Winchester Magnum to 9.3×62. I like the Savage rifles not only for their excellent accuracy but, also, because they are available in Left-Handed actions. I am Left-Handed and all of the above rifles are left-handed bolt guns.

    As far as being surprised by a handgun, let me tell the following story. Years ago, I purchased a little Kahr CW-40 (40 S$W) at a gun show. It was inexpensive and I thought that it might make a good carry gun.

    Well, I was unpleasantly surprised. The CW-40 was about the worst gun I ever bought. It was a “jam-a-matic”. I could not get through a single six-round magazine without at least one malfunction. These malfunctions came from multiple sources. First, since I am a lefty and the recoil of a 40 S&W is stout in such a little gun, I would sometime trip the magazine eject button with my knuckle during recoil and the magazine would pop out about 1/4 of an inch leading to a FTF malfunction. In addition, the timing of the slide/barrel lock-up seemed off so that I also got malfunctions even without tripping the magazine button.

    There was no way I was going to carry such a gun. It was unreliable. I contacted Kahr about the problems but, frankly, they were not of much help at first. I put the gun in the safe and took to it the range to shoot from time to time. I was hoping that, eventually, the gun would “Shoot-in” and start to work correctly.

    After a few years of this, I noticed that the locking lip between the barrel and slide was being chewed up. Clearly, the “bad timing” was causing excessive wear in this area. I contacted Kahr, yet again, and told them abut this new problem. Since this kind of issue could affect the safety of the gun, they agreed to accept the gun back for repair work.

    Kahr fixed the problems by installing a completely new barrel and slide. They also stiffened the magazine release button so that it would not trip so easily. I guess the old slide/barrel were chewed up too badly to salvage. When the gun was returned, I again took it to the range. Frankly, I was not expecting much. To my surprise and delight, the repaired gun shot fantastic!

    It is now ultra-reliable. In fact, I have not had a single malfunction since it was repaired. Even better, it shoots great. It seems to love the Winchester 165 gr. PDX round. I was amazed at the small groups that it shoots, right to the point of aim, with this ammo. Whoever worked on this gun to install the new barrel and slide certainly knew their business!

    I now have no hesitation about using it as a carry gun. So, this little gun surprised me twice. First, with how bad it was. Then, after repairs, how good it has become!

    • I carried a Kahr 40 for years, the all stainless versiou with the longer barrel, to your CW. I like the extra weight of the all stainless body. Little recoil, VERY accurate.

      I recently decided to begin carrying an old BHP in nine…. again, solid metal frame. These are incredibly nice shooting guns, and are very acurate as well. COnsidering the changing times, I felt having 27 rounds availalbe with one mag change might be wiser than 13 larger ones with the Kahr. Its taken a bit to get the carry rig sorted out for the larger/heavier gun, but now that’s behind me its fine.

      I was more tha a little surprised when I found a new Ruger 10/.22 in stainless barrel, rifle length (rather than carbine length) on sale at a WalMart I happened to overnight at a few years back. It was priced at about what the blued carbines had been on offer for. A friend was doubtful of my claim to be able to place ten rounds in a one inch circle at 25 meters in raid fire…. so we set up a cardboard box and a target with a pattern of five one inch squares. I used that then-new Ruger, to which I’d mounted a Nikon 4X fixed scope. He was blown away as I put all ten rounds into the one inch square in half a minute.

      Later, I was helping instruct at an Appleseed event and a friend’s Wife wanted to shoot, but was VERY uncomfortable with her husband’s Guy Gun, an AR .22. So I offered her my personal Ruger. She’d shot a little bit, but not that much. She learned quickly thorugh the weekend, and we wrapped up with a steel gong paddle, maybe eight inches diameter, at 100 yards. Six of the shooters opted to try it. After some specific distance instruction and tips, we went hot, and she being the only Lady interested, was given the honour of going first. She chose OFFHAND which was surprising. Five Six rounds was the designated load. She stood there, good position, s=got her steady hold factors all correct, sighted, raised the muzzle to hit about six inches high, then a tad bit more, squeezed off the first round CLANGGG!!. Net one, CLANGGG and so on.. ALL SIX ROUNDS hit tht gong. Next shooter hit once, Then her husband, an experienced shooter, hit twice. One other hit twice, the others only once out of the six, When aasked if anyone wanted to go again, she discretely declined…. next go-round her husband hit only three times, one other twice, the others once. She hit six for six, offhand, with thqt Ruger stainless rifle length. Everyone else was prone, and she outshot them all. I found myself wishing EP had been there to watch. She was awarded a pink SHOOT LIKE A GIRL… if you can!!” hat. She never did wear hats of any kind, but wore that everywhere for a few years. We still laugh about it all.. but that one Ruger sure surprises me at how accurate it is for a rack grade .22LR.

      Funny thing, with Bloomburg’s new law voted in here in Washington, I suddenly found myself th proiud owner of a stainless barreled Ruger Assault Rifle. HooGnu?

  12. I have 3 stainless Ruger Mark II’s. They’re all extremely accurate. As are my old Sig Sauers, P229 and P239, both in 357 Sig. My Henry lever action rifles also shoot way above their price. Two in .22LR and the All Weather in 357/38.

    I tend to look at expensive guns like I do expensive golf clubs. On my best day and with a $4000.00 set of clubs, Tiger Woods would best me if he were using a set of broom handles. Shooting is as much a mental game as it is a muscle memory exercise.

    I just recently signed up to get your articles Mas. I’m thankful and greatfull that Mark Walters on AAR was reading one of your recent ones. Mark was nice enough to repeatedly tell his audience how to subscribe to you at backwoodshome.

  13. As a young guy with a DAO revolver fetish, one of my first purchases was an oddball Taurus 850 contract overrun for some retro-minded pd during the Obama administration. The batch hit the market with blotchy aluminum/stainless frames left “in the white” and 2.5″ barrels twisted a hair off kilter for $250.

    While my feelings for Taurus have since soured, this little revolver always brings home some of the day’s tightest groups (and tomorrow’s sore hand). Maybe its the imperfections in the metal, but the traditional notch and groove sights on this particular snub are some of my favorites, very precise and easier for me to see than comparable Smith 64s I picked up from an armored car company. I wish all guns could be this rewarding.

    That said, the biggest performance surprise I’ve enjoyed came in an old Kahr K40 Covert I picked up for just over 300-an all steel 40 identical in size to the G43. Wanting to get ahead of the recoil, I ordered the strongest power recoil spring Wolff offered and swapped it out on arrival. Stumbling across a batch of mags at fire sale prices, I bought over 20, maybe 30. Pretty cool setup for a guy just out of college… So imagine my disappointment when i find the spring is so stiff i can barely realign the rod, half the used mags have Kahr’s signature cracked followers and there’s a very slight bulge midway down the barrel when the piece arrives. Young and dumb I had already started the transfer, so she was mine warts and all.

    Walking over to the range in a sour mood, I load up a box and a half of Fiocchi, brace for the worst, and shoot the best group of my life. I do it again, mag after mag, until I’m standing in a pile of empties and tortured brass (Kahr+40=”C” shaped case mouths) staring at half a dozen ragged holes. I can’t contain myself and drag the longsuffering arthritic rangemaster over and he actually asks to go through several mags when several rounds as a courtesy is an unusual accomplishment. The pistol turned out to be a smooth shooter with slow-if-stiff 45-like recoil on the new spring. But remember kids, the 40 is an unshootable extravagance from the 90’s…

    Come to think of it, while I’ve shot much finer fare over the years, the guns I’ve made the most memories with have all been used or abused and cost less than $400. Simple pleasures!

  14. when I think about reasonably priced gun with good accuracy a Jericho 941 and CZ75 come to my mind. Theprice sure varies in different countries but several years ago Jeticho 941 was two times cheaper than any other western made handgun and all where very very accurate

  15. For pure fun with accuracy I have to go with my old Crossman 760 Pumpmaster while plinking offhand.

    I often shoot as well offhand as prone: The last time I shot a .22 in formal competition (at URI about 1975), I shot a 98 prone and offhand on the old A 36 (?) target with an Anschutz I had never fired before the match.

    So enter the Crossman while living in suburbia where location, employment & family and more restricted my shooting options & activities for decades. Dang that thing was accurate, as my uncle discovered. He insisted it couldn’t be that good and brought a couple of his favorite German made pellet guns out from OH his next visit. I kicked his guns back to OH, even after tightening a sight that came loose while being transported in his Cherokee.

    I really loved & enjoyed that gun. One day some 30 years into it’s life I killed it. I was showing a son’s girlfriend how much fun plinking as (even in the back yard in city limits). I got forgetful, as we all were having fun shooting it. I forgot to oil it. smh Lost compression.

    I still get sad. The replacement 760 just doesn’t do it. Someday I may just find someone to fix it.

    • Paul, Baker Airguns in Mt. Victory, Ohio is the best place I know of to buy airguns or to get them repaired. They can repair just about anything, their prices are reasonable, & they are completely honest. They restore old airguns all the time. I have been dealing with them for years & I highly recommend them. They also sell parts & seal kits for guns so you can repair them yourself. Here are a couple of links to their website:

      https://www.bakerairguns.com/

      https://www.bakerairguns.com/product/crosman-760-self-cocking-seal-kits/

      If anyone else reading this needs anything having to do with airguns (new or old) or is looking to buy a particular restored antique airgun, this is the place to go. You can also find them on Facebook.

  16. Ruger LC9 for summer carry and American Tactical Titan (45acp)for winter carry. Both reasonably priced and mine are surprisingly accurate. I will, however, be looking at the 45 Shield.

  17. I wish you exceptionally good results with the eye surgery Mas. As to accurate firearms… When I entered the Regular US Army in June 1969 as a 2LT I brought my first target pistol, A Browning Medalist. I have very large hands and the unusual grip fitted fine for me. Nearly fifty years later, I still have that Medalist and periodically take it out to our 280 acres of “tall and the uncut” here in Colorado and recreate the joy and memory of those first very accurate rounds from 1969. My aging nearly 72 year old eyes now tend to rely on optics like the Romeo 1 EO on a Sig Sauer 9mm SAO Legion. But the Medalist is still my memorable and enjoyable tack driver. Be safe and best to Gail for her nice Black Hills present to you.

  18. I have the shield 45 for EDC and have had the same results. It particularly likes 200 sig saue v crowns. I also have a savage 111 for my primary hunting rifle. 30-06 it will shoot .5 minute groups at 100 yes with careful hand loads. I’m delighted that both products are produced locally to me in western MA. I think we got a good thing going.

  19. To continue the kudos to Ruger, my 22/45 is my most accurate handgun. My Kimber Pro series 45 was my next most accurate until I got my 9mm Shield. For some unknown (or unadmitted) reason, the Kimber, which has always been very accurate in the past, has taken a second seat to the Shield. Clearly, it ain’t the gun, at least in the case of the Kimber, it’s me. Still, this is my “shot above its weight class” story about a smaller (very concealable) gun at a price several times less than a really good one.

  20. I passed down a 30/40 krag, in sporterized version, with marble sights on it to my son, which I had gotten from my dad. It not only was the smoothest bolt gun I have ever handled, it shot very close to MOA with a rest. For a service rifle that is over a hundred years old, I was impressed. I used it as a white tail deer gun, here in Michigan, and it was quite enough gun with corelokt bullets of 180 grain.
    I just ordered a Ruger Mark IV 22/45, the plain jane model, and delivered to my gun dealer was only 278$. I could not pass that up, and I expect that I will not be disappointed.

  21. Just like Mr. Sullivan, my surprise gun was a Savage 110 in Left handed bolt with a detachable magazine. This was my first big boy gun that Dad gave me for Christmas, just after I turned 12, 50 years ago. It was (and is) chambered in 30-06. With a Weaver 2.5-7 scope, I’d regularly shoot sub-MOA groups.

  22. Many years ago, I bought a used early model Sig P226 at a local gunshop. It was a police trade in with the folded sheet metal slide, internal extractor, phosphate finish, & black plastic grips. It’s so early that it’s marked Herndon, VA instead of Exeter, NH. It was the first Sig I ever bought. I was immediately impressed by the feel of the grip & the exceptionally smooth, light trigger pull in both DA & SA. The sights were also excellent & easy to see. When I took it to the range, I couldn’t believe how accurate it was. Shooting tight groups with it to the point of aim offhand at 25 yds. is easy! Although I own a lot of very fine, accurate handguns now, I think this one is still the most accurate semi-auto that I have. Every time that I take it to the range, I am reminded what a pleasure it is to shoot it. I like it even better than the newer Sigs that I own. If I ever have to bet my life on a 9mm handgun, this will be the one.

  23. I have a special affection for Grand Power pistols made in Slovakia, where I come from. My personal experience of their K22 pistol in .22 LR
    completely validates their marketing message as arguably the best “understudy-type” rimfire semiautomatics on the market with the form factor of their full-size full-caliber siblings. The DA/SA trigger is wonderful by any standards, but especially for a rimfire. They are fully ambidextrous (mag release, slide catch, manual safety, takedown sliders). And the slide is a steel (!) slide, with Beretta-style cut outs, so it should last pretty much forever.

  24. Hi Mas,I have a Shield in 45 and It is one of my most accurate guns,as a matter of fact, on my last range trip,I hit a Bullseye on my 1st shot and had a great group at about 7 yards.I paid under $300 and I shoot it better than my $1000 Kimber TLE 1911.Kudos to Smith and Wesson-this Shield is incredible.My son,who is a Firefighter/Paramedic
    and I are avid supporters of the 2nd Amendment and love the shooting sports.Happy New Year !!

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