House Passes Bill Mandating Transfer of All US Army M1911 Handguns to the CMP

The US House of Representatives recently has passed their version of the 2018 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act ). Within, it included a provision that will mandate the release of all the M1911 handguns that are currently in US Army inventory to the CMP (the Civilian Marksmanship Program), for a further distribution to eligible US civilians. This new bill would overwrite the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which allowed for the release of 10,000 of the pistols but, fortunately, did not mandate it. Read more


That’s What Happens When You Bring a Gun to a Snake Fight

Don’t worry, honey, I’ll take care of that snake for you. . . Oh (explicit!!!)

This funny clip shows what happens when A: you mess with snakes, and B: you’re not a very good shot. Before you try to pull off a stunt like this, make sure you at least hit the range first.

After watching this video, we decided to dig a little deeper and get some background info on sidewinder snakes.

The amazing video below explains the snakes infamous sidewinding motion and how it can reach speeds up to 18 mph!

Folks with ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) may want to turn away from this one:



Quick Thinking Mom Saves Family’s Life by Giving Gunmen a Blowj0b

“He was armed and dangerous but so is my mouth” – Jennifer Bail is a hero to her family of four after doing the unthinkable to save their life. A Texas woman is a hero to her family of four after giving a robber head long enough to distract him so that her husband could hit him in the back of the head with a chair while the children escaped.

“To say I’d do anything for my children would be an understatement at this point. Plus he wasn’t a minute man so it was a lot of work.” – Jennifer.

Jennifer’s husband Raymond only had one thing to say about the ordeal …

“She’s never gave me head like that, but we will talk about that later. For now I’m just glad our children our safe.”




These “Pradit” guns are illegal homemade 12 bore shotguns. They are made by taking existing gun frames. They are becoming more and more popular among broke Thailand gang bangers.

Here we have a picture gone viral of a “custom 1911 shotgun pistol.” This has been making the rounds on gun forums everywhere, and no one seems to know where it came from, but it’s being said that Thailand may be the country of origin, as along the sides there appears to be Thai character lettering. And the time stamp on the photo (if legit) would indicate that this has been in existence for at least 8 years!

Apparently these images turned up on a Thai forum, and the text has since been put through a translator app, but the following came out as pretty much nonsense:

“The Somchai ( HA ) – Love on March 09, 2012, 12:55:40 PM.

You probably have a few plants Short shotgun made a fine (not refined – often misspelled ) beautifully finished basements and … There are plenty of qualified people do not …

It Lokodd 12 gauge head 1 ounce equals 437.5 grain , fly about 1400 ft / sec of it … Certificate Force Unleashed certainly …

Interested custom made me wash my uncle.”

Now it is said that a video of one of these guns in action has been put out there.



Gear Review: Vortex Razor Red Dot

Optics at the top of Vortex’s line all share the name “Razor” and the company boldly claims that if their Razor Red Dot was a sports car, it would be a Ferrari.  In our search for a reflex sight that is equally at home on both MOS pistols and ARs, we were very curious as to whether this description was an accurate indicator of the Razor Red Dot’s potential. Are they right?  Or have they put a Ferrari price on a Chevette?


The Razor’s overall length is 1.8” and weight is 1.4 ounces for just the sight and 2.5 ounces with the included picatinny mount. The single piece, aircraft grade aluminum alloy chassis is built to withstand both recoil and impact.  An o-ring seal makes the Razor waterproof and dust proof. The matte finish is low glare.


The low-profile, highly coated Vortex Razor red-dot optic. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The wide-field lens wears Vortex’s XR anti-reflective coating and ArmorTek scratch and stain resistant barrier.  Adjustments are made in one-MOA increments with the turn of the included wrench.  Adjustment points are located on the side and top of the optic for windage and elevation, with a locking screw at the rear of the sight. Maximum elevation adjustment is 170 MOA while max windage is 114 MOA.



There are two Razor Red Dot options: a 3MOA dot and a 6MOA dot.  Both have the same specs with a wide field of view.  The dot color is adjustable-intensity bright red, though currently that is the only color option.  There are nine brightness levels, all adjusted with the up and down arrows touch buttons just behind the glass.  Eye relief is unlimited and the optic is a straight 1x-power, non magnification, parallax free.


G40 and Vortex Razor detail. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Battery life with the included CR2032 is up to 150 hours at the highest setting.  At low to mid-range powers, Vortex claims the sight will run up to 30,000 hours. Should you forget to shut it off, the 6-hour automatic shutdown will take care of it for you.   The well-padded standard box packaging includes a picatinny rail mount and a spacer plate, both 1.5mm and 2.5mm hex adjustment wrenches, the sight’s cover and the necessary battery. Vortex logo branding is clear yet clean and classy. MSRP is $499 however online retailers list them for $399.

As always, the Vortex Warranty Guarantee cannot be beat—lifetime, unlimited, and unconditional.  If you’re not already familiar with that, it translates to mean that Vortex will repair or replace your product—at no cost—whether it is defective or damaged, no matter what happened or what stupid thing you may have done to it.


Field testing

We field tested both the 6MOA and 3MOA versions of the Razor and never got anywhere near to testing the battery life.  From what I’ve heard with other shooters, nobody has yet had to replace the juice.  Should you need to access the battery however, the compartment door is fairly easily opened from the right side of the sight.


We mounted a Vortex Razor red dot on the optics ready G40. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Using the sight is very simple.  Either arrow will power it on, and obviously, pressing up and down arrows adjust the intensity.  Holding the down-arrow atop the sight for around three seconds turns it off.  The controls are easy enough to maneuver for most, though a man with larger than normal fingers may have difficulty accessing the arrows.  The included slip-over cover protects the optic nicely.

While we thought the 6 MOA would be a nice dot size that would work equally well both on a hunting pistol and on our competition AR, range time changed our tune.  In fact, the 6 MOA was ideal for the AR, but significantly too large and target-obscuring on longer-range hunting or target pistols.  When mounted to our Glock G40 Gen4, the 6 MOA dot made the hunting pistol difficult to assess for accuracy at ranges beyond 25 yards.  Switching to the 3 MOA sight remedied that situation, however, and we were able to significantly increase our practical hunting ranges, confidence, and accuracy.  Check out our G40 review for detailed mounting information.


The Vortex red dot with its protective cover in place. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

In addition to the G40, the Razor Red Dot was ideal on the Ruger Charger’s picatinny rail as well.  Depending upon your main use for the sight, dot size is a major consideration, as many prefer the larger dots, especially on ARs or turkey/varmint shotguns.  We’re glad to see Vortex offering the pair of options, which makes the do-all sight even more appealing.

Regardless which option you choose, the Razor red dot’s function was flawless, with plenty of brightness adjustments for everything from the brightest sunlight, indoor ranges, and lower-light situations. The wide field of view makes shooting with both eyes open a snap.  The optic was easy to sight-in and held zero throughout several hundred rounds of 10mm, 300-350 more 5.56, and a few boxes of .22LR.


vortex_razorThe features of the Vortex red dot reflex sight put in the class of the Trijicon RMR or C-More in terms of measurables, but at generally less cost and greater warranty.  The Razor’s aluminum chassis is weightier than that of the well-known Leupold’s Delta Point magnesium-framed reflex, but that sight comes at a higher price.  There’s no test like hard use, and while we can’t speak to all the others, our Vortex Razor Red Dots held up well and were subjected to wind, rain, and snow.  Brand preference is up to the end user, but you’d be selling yourself short—or more likely, costing yourself more money—if you don’t give the Razor red dot a shot as your do-all reflex.



First Ever ‘Glock-Fishing’ Underwater Is Must See Video

Courtland Hunt has just changed the underwater game by successfully shooting invasive Lionfish over 100ft underwater with a customized Glock 9mm handgun in the Gulf of Mexico.“The project started to see if we could shoot a gun underwater and it evolved into much more with the right people involved.” Lionfish are an invasive species that need to be eradicated. All weapons modifications done under supervision of Airborne Arms Inc license holder “07-Manufacturer of Firearms other than Destructive Devices” with support of Lone Wolf Glock Parts.

We spoke with Courtland about his fish/hunt.

O360: Why did you decide to try out this new technique with lion fish?

Courtland: I want to stress  that Lionfish are an invasive species and currently the only way to slow the spreading devastation is spearfishing and people demanding them at seafood restaurants, they’re honestly one of the tastiest, firmest fish that there is in the ocean and not poisonous when eaten.

O360: What made you decide to even try this with handgun underwater?

Courtland: Our Go-Fish Productions crew set out to test whether we could shoot a handgun 100ft underwater and it turned into a project to prove almost every expert we talked to that there’s many mis-conceptions about what’s possible underwater.

While researching what we were getting into we realized that outside of a couple videos of shooting guns in a pool, there’s almost no real world intelligence on anything we were trying to do and at this point it I think it’s safe to say we are among the leading experts in shooting handguns deep underwater…for whatever it’s worth.

People ask me “why?” and I say honestly, “I’m fascinated by guns, but tired of seeing videos on ‘how many watermelons, CD’s, or marshmallows can a bullet travel through. Those things have no applications for me, however I can now tell you that if a shark (or watermelon) were to attack me at almost any depth that a Glock 9mm would surely protect me.”

“We’ve actually discovered how to get the bullet to travel at least the length of a pool (try to find that on Youtube), so I think subscribers are going to be surprised by future videos.”

(legally) It’s important to stress that all weapons modifications were done in the presence of Airborne Arms Inc, a licensed “Firearms Manufacturer” with the support of Lone Wolf Glock Parts & Accessories.


10 Best Revolvers of All Time

For the most part, revolvers — even the best revolvers ever designed — are no longer the handgun flavor of the day. Nowadays, you’ll find semiautos everywhere from country sheriffs’ belts to the hands of serious competition shooters and the bedside gun safes of homeowners and more.

The point is, semiautos are seen far more often than revolvers these days. But that’s just a recent trend. You might say unproven, even. For almost two centuries, six shooters were the sidearm of choice .

A good revolver can handle just about anything nature and abusive gun owners can throw at it. Powered by human muscle rather than energy harnessed from the exploding cartridge itself, revolvers tend to be more reliable than semiautos. They’re not finicky about case length, powder charge, bullet-nose profile and whatnot, as many semiautos are. If you can shove an appropriate-caliber cartridge into the cylinder, a revolver will dutifully fire that cartridge. And your revolver will never turn into a one-shooter because you’ve accidentally misplaced the magazine.

Here’s a look at ten of the best revolvers of all time, ranging from the greatest wheelgun from the Civil War to the latest cutting-edge models. Be sure to vote for your favorite below.

Colt 1860 Army

Arguably the single most aesthetic revolver of all time, the 1860 Army also holds the distinction of being the first ergonomic, practical-weight repeating handgun. Of course, others came before — the slender, fragile .36-caliber Patterson; the overbuilt, goliath-sized .44-caliber Walker — but the 1860 was the first of the really great belt-carriable revolvers. The 1860 also served with admirable distinction during the Civil war. Today, quality reproductions are readily available from A. Uberti and others. How can any revolver enthusiast not own one?

Colt Single Action Army (SAA)

The advent of the self-contained metallic cartridge forever changed the face of firearms, including revolvers. Col. Colt’s Single Action Army (SAA) became the first truly successful design, and it went on to serve with distinction on the belts of various soldiers and lawmen for almost a century. Anyone who has reveled in the magic of the silver screen watched the likes of Roy Rodgers (an extremely talented handgunner), John Wayne and others with their six shooters, and wanted one. With darn good reason, too: The Colt Single Action Army is the revolver that won the West.

Smith & Wesson Model 19

While the Model 19 wasn’t Smith & Wesson’s first revolver — not nearly — it was the first lean, capable six-gun in .357 Magnum caliber that didn’t pull lawmen’s pants to their knees because of its weight. Designed in collaboration with legendary lawman and trick shooter Bill Jordan during the ’50s, the Model 19 was built on S&W’s “K” frame, which made it lighter and more ergonomic than any other duty-type revolver at the time. Eventually discontinued (to the dismay of wheelgunners everywhere), it’s recently been revived by S&W in stainless steel guise as the Model 66, and it’s just as good as ever.

Colt Python

Cited as the finest production revolver ever made by various notable shooters, including Col. Jeff Cooper, the Python was originally designed as a premium-grade revolver and marketed as such. Known for outstanding ergonomics and accuracy and an exceptionally smooth, tight action, the Python remains to this day an icon among fine double-action revolvers. Discontinued in the late 1990’s, Pythons soon became scarce on the marketplace, and today heavy sums must be laid out to purchase one. But if you’re the kind of fellow that drives a classic sports car and orders your dry Martinis shaken and not stirred, nothing will do but a Python.

Ruger Blackhawk

Favored by expert practical handgunners such as Skeeter Skelton and his son, Bart Skelton, as well as John Wooters and Jim Wilson, Ruger’s Blackhawk is arguably the best working man’s single-action revolver available. Its action is distinctly stronger than that of Colt’s SAA, making it more suitable for stout magnum loads. It’s more robust, too, and it is easily tuned and customized. It comes standard with adjustable sights and is very reasonably priced. Mounting a scope on one, while considered a travesty by traditional wheelgunners, is painless and helps milk the inherent fine accuracy. The quintessential classic Blackhawk is typified by the early “flat top” models, but despair not: Ruger has made limited runs of flat tops recently, and with diligent search, they can be found and purchased.

Smith & Wesson Model 29

Although it was introduced in the mid-1950s, the Model 29 didn’t achieve its worldwide legendary status until Clint Eastwood used one (actually several) in the Dirty Harry films. Perhaps the epitome of a great .44 Magnum revolver, the Model 29 is built on S&W’s N-frame, making it controllable but not outlandishly large, and entirely aside from it’s lore-based popularity, it’s an imminently practical six shooter. Commonly very accurate, Model 29s may be fired fast in double-action mode or precisely in single-action. Add superlative good looks, and it’s easy to see why it remains one of the most popular big-bore revolvers of all time.

Ruger Super Redhawk

While it doesn’t enjoy quite the popularity of Smith & Wesson’s big-bore revolvers or even of it’s own single-action siblings — the Blackhawk and Super Blackhawk — Ruger’s Super Redhawk is an excellent heavy, double-action wheelgun. Overbuilt for durability and strength against the battering of high-pressure heavy cartridges, it’s ideal for big-bore rounds such as the .454 Casull, .480 Ruger and, of course, the .44 Magnum. Integrated scope mounts for Ruger’s proprietary rings allow for easy mounting of a scope, thus making it an optimal choice for handgun hunters. All things considered, the Super Redhawk is the dark horse of those included in this list, and it is arguably one of the most practical for heavy handgunning.

Freedom Arms Model 83

If you’re a fan of Swiss pocket watches and vintage Jaguars, the Model 83 is your poison. Absolutely the equal of a very fine custom rifle (in terms of precision manufacturing and quality of finish), Model 83s are available in a variety of calibers and finishes, with one constant: Every one of them is superbly accurate and tuned — yes — like a Swiss watch. The only downside is the cost of Freedom Arms revolvers. You can purchase a whole handful of Ruger Blackhawk revolvers for the same cost, but if owning one best-quality six-shooter is important to you, look no farther than Freedom Arms.

Colt Detective Special

Introduced in the late ’20s, the Detective Special was one of the first modern-type double-actions that employed a swing-out cylinder for fast emptying and reloading. Chambered in .38 Special, it is really the compact revolver that started the “snubby” trend, and it served ably in the pockets of lawmen — and more than a few gangsters — nationwide. Today, Detective Specials are something of a classic and are, for the most part, more valuable for their place in history than as a practical firearm. That being said, if you had to pull one out of the glass cabinet and defend hearth and home with it, the little .38 would rise ably to the occasion.

Smith & Wesson J-Frame

These days, if you go shopping for a quality compact revolver, you shop for a S&W J-frame. Made in a vast variety of different guises, the tiny-but-capable revolvers built on the J-frame foundation are unarguably the best available. I’ve used everything from scandium-framed ultralights to long-barreled adjustable-sighted models, and they are invariably reliable, accurate and tuned to perfection, although, as with any compact revolver, they aren’t always pleasant to shoot with full-house loads. My personal favorite is the Model 60 with a 3-inch barrel and iron sights. Back when I used to carry it all the time I could hit a shoebox at 50 yards with every shot. Why don’t I carry it any more? Because my wife stole it from me.


Pistol Powerhouse: The 9×23 Winchester

The 9×23 Winchester cartridge is a powerhouse round that few have heard of. Too bad. It delivers .357 Magnum performance in a semi-automatic pistol.
In simplistic terms, the 9×23 Winchester is a stretched out 9mm Luger (pictured). Both are tapered cartridges with nearly identical neck, head and rim dimensions. The 9×23 case is 4mm longer, but more importantly the 9×23 operates at much higher pressure than the 9mm Luger. Winchester’s 9×23 brass has an extra-thick case wall that allows this cartridge to run at high pressure without concern of a case blowout in the unsupported region of a conventional, non-ramped barrel.










The 9×23 is also a longer cartridge overall, and requires a full-sized pistol frame whereas the 9mm Luger can be housed in small-frame pistols.

The 9×23’s Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) maximum average pressure limit is 55,000 pounds per square inch (psi), the same as a .223 Rem. rifle round! Compare that to the 9mm Luger’s 35,000 psi and its +P limit of 38,500 psi. The 9×23’s older cousin, the .38 Super +P, whose case is the same length of 0.900” (Figure 2), has a SAAMI pressure limit of 36,500 psi.

9X23_winchester_38-superThe 9×23’s SAAMI maximum cartridge overall length (COL) is 1.300” compared to the .38 Super’s 1.280”. The 1.300” length is a bit long to fit in some magazines that house the .38 Super. I tried some 1.300” length 9×23 rounds with round nose bullets in two Chip McCormick 1911 .38 Super magazines. They fit, but not when the bullet was loaded just 0.005” longer (1.305”). That’s not much margin for error. The 1.300” round would not fit in a Para Ordnance .38 Super double column magazine. The Winchester factory rounds with flat nose bullets measure at 1.230 – 1.245”, which is typical for this bullet design in the .38 Super as well. In practical terms, it’s wise to load them similar to the .38 Super’s COL to fit in similar magazines.

Factory Ammunition
Winchester offers two factory 9×23 loads, a 124-grain SP bullet at 1460 fps, and a 125-grain Silver Tip HP at 1450 fps. These loads yield 587 and 583 foot pounds (ft.-lbs.) of muzzle energy, respectively. This equals most current .357 Magnum factory 125-grain loads from a 4” barreled revolver. COR-BON offers three loads in the 9×23 Winchester, a traditional 125-grain JHP at 1450 fps, a 100-grain Pow’RBall at 1600 fps, and a 125-grain Barnes XPB copper HP at 1350 fps. RBCD loads a 60-grain Total Fragmenting SP bullet at 2625 fps. That’s it. If you want something different, you have to load your own.

9X23_winchester_1Three factory rounds were tested: two Winchester loads and the COR-BON 100-grain Pow’RBall (pictured), fired from a custom Caspian pistol with a 5” Nowlin 9×23 barrel. Both Winchester loads lived up to their published velocities; the 124-grain SP round exceeded it. The COR-BON load was a little shy of its published speed. Only two rounds of Pow’RBall were test fired. The cases showed excess bulging and no more of these rounds were fired due to safety concerns.

The red bar indicates how much of the case ahead of the extractor groove is not supported.

The red bar indicates how much of the case ahead of the extractor groove is not supported.

The COR-BON ammunition was loaded in Starline 9×23 Comp cases (footnote 1), Starline’s version of the 9×23 Winchester. These cases bulged excessively in the unsupported region of the Nowlin barrel. The test gun has a conventional feed ramp and the Nowlin barrel’s chamber leaves a portion of the case unsupported. High pressure can make the brass expand too far and bulge in the unsupported region. If the pressure is too great, the case can rupture exposing the shooter (and gun) to very dangerous case fragments and a blast of hot, high pressure gas. Starline brass is discussed in more detail later.



Handloading the 9X23
The limited selection of factory 9×23 ammunition all represent full-power loads. But handloads can bring out the full potential of this cartridge. Hodgdon and Vihtavuori offer load data. The current Hodgdon data is limited to one powder (Winchester 231) with limited performance (maximum of 1300 fps with a 125-grain JHP). However, Winchester’s old 15th Edition Reloader’s Manual also has data for Winchester Action Pistol (WAP) gunpowder. WAP was discontinued, but revived as Ramshot Silhouette. The Vihtavuori data is more expansive (three gunpowders, four bullets), but published velocities fall short of Winchester’s factory loads.

Published data for both Winchester powders and Vihtavuori 3N37 was tested in Winchester 9×23 brass with the maximum charge weights given for these gunpowders. Winchester lists the pressures for both the 231 and WAP loads as 46,000 psi. The 231 and 3N37 powders came up short velocity-wise to their published values, but Silhouette did not disappoint.
Hornady makes dies for the 9×23, but not everyone does and those companies usually recommend using 9mm Luger dies, which is what I did. Only the sizing die would need to be different, and it’s not very different because the dimensions are so similar.

A. Sectioned brass. Black arrows show the apprx. location of the Nowlin barrel’s feed ramp and where cases were measured for wall thickness. B. Win. and Starline cases loaded with the same charge of Silhouette. Red arrow shows the imprint of the feed ramp.

A. Sectioned brass. Black arrows show the apprx. location of the Nowlin barrel’s feed ramp and where cases were measured for wall thickness. B. Win. and Starline cases loaded with the same charge of Silhouette. Red arrow shows the imprint of the feed ramp.

Starline Brass
The Winchester brass is king. Its thick wall handles the pressure with ease in an unsupported chamber. Starline’s 9×23 Comp brass is not as thick-walled as the Winchester brass (pictured). The Starline brass measured 0.034” thick whereas the Winchester wall measured 0.047” thick at a point 0.270” up from the base (illustrated with black arrows).

This raises the question of whether the Starline brass will hold up to the same pressure as the Winchester brass in an unsupported chamber. It does not. When loaded with the same high pressure charge of Silhouette, the Starline brass showed excess bulging in the unsupported region resulting in a large imprint of the feed ramp in the brass (footnote 2), the same as seen with the COR-BON ammunition. The Winchester brass did not bulge excessively or had at most a “microscopic” feed ramp imprint that could be seen under high magnification.

Thus there is a risk of case blowout with the Starline cases at 9×23-like pressure in an unsupported chamber and must be downloaded to ensure safety. (Note: this applies to the specific brass in my possession. A different lot of Starline 9×23 Comp might manage high pressure better or worse; Testing is required.) Brass with the imprint should be discarded because it is likely weakened there and could fail if reloaded and exposed to high pressure again.

Case Capacity
The Winchester brass’ thicker wall means it has less case capacity than the Starline brass (Figure A below). Less room means more pressure with the same gunpowder charge. This difference was apparent in terms of velocity and pressure signs in the primers. The Winchester brass showed higher velocity with the same gunpowder charge and more primer flow (Figure B below).

Because the 9×23 operates at such high pressures, pistol primers are pushed to their limits—or beyond. I see primer flow in every round of factory Winchester 9×23 ammunition I fire in my pistol, I’ve even experienced a few pierced primers, and therefore I use rifle primers for handloads because they are designed to handle higher pressures.


A. The same charge weight of gunpowder in both cases shows that the Starline 9X23 Comp brass is filled to the brim, but the Winchester brass is overflowing. B. Primer flow (cratering) is greater in the Winchester brass. Both are Federal small rifle primers (No. 205). Same cases as in Figure 5B.

Maximizing performance in Starline brass; Lower pressure gunpowder?
Silhouette can duplicate the factory Winchester loading, but it produces a lot of pressure in the process, and the Starline 9×23 Comp brass bulges dangerously at this pressure in an unsupported chamber. I tried different load weights of Silhouette to determine the charge weight at which it would not excessively bulge the Starline 9×23 brass. It had to be downloaded to 6.6 grains of powder to be safe in my barrel which generated only 1168 fps. That falls well short of the 9×23‘s hallmark performance.

Will a different gunpowder provide better performance in the Starline brass? A general rule of thumb is that slower burning gunpowders will produce more velocity than faster burning gunpowders at the same pressure (footnote 3). Silhouette is considered a medium burning rate pistol powder. Other gunpowders were tested to see if they would produce higher velocities in the Starline cases without producing the excess bulge.

Hornady 124 grain FMJ FP bullets loaded to 1.245” COL. Federal small rifle primer.

Hornady 124 grain FMJ FP bullets loaded to 1.245” COL. Federal small rifle primer.

This table (left) shows the gunpowders’ highest charge weights and velocities achieved without producing excess bulging as indicated by the feed ramp imprint. Vihtavuori 3N38 showed the highest velocity at 1304 fps, which is 136 fps more than with Silhouette. The Starline 9×23 brass has limits in an unsupported chamber but selecting a different (usually slower) gunpowder can improve velocity while still maintaining a margin a safety.

Keep in mind if your 9×23 chamber offers full case support, then the Starline 9×23 brass will work fine for high pressure loads.

147-grain bullets are shown: a Remington FMJ FP with a square base and a Hornady XTP with a boat tail. The Rem. slightly bulged the Win. cases, as shown by arrows and a change in the shadow. The boat-tail bullet produced no bulge. Bullets were seated to 1.245” COL.

147-grain bullets are shown: a Remington FMJ FP with a square base and a Hornady XTP with a boat tail. The Rem. slightly bulged the Win. cases, as shown by arrows and a change in the shadow. The boat-tail bullet produced no bulge. Bullets were seated to 1.245” COL.

Heavy Bullets
Another difference between these two brass is how they fit heavier bullets. The Winchester’s thicker case walls extend quite a distance up the side. This poses no problems for bullets up to 125 grains, but heavier bullets extend deeper in the case body. The Winchester brass’ thick walls bulge slightly with square-based 147-grain bullets, whereas the Starline’s case walls are designed to accommodate them. The bulge was about .005” wider than the non-bulged case at that location. The round still fit in the Nowlin chamber, but it did not readily slide in when the chamber was slightly dirty, indicating that it was a close fit. A boat-tailed 147-grain bullet produced no measurable bulge in the Winchester brass.

Load data
Load data for the 9X23 Winchester is limited. Some user-supplied load data can be found at Dane Burns’ website. Savvy reloaders will also look at .38 Super and .38 Super Lapua data. This data is ideal for .38 Super brass, but don’t forget that the Winchester 9×23 brass has less internal volume, which means higher pressure for the same powder charge, so load development based on .38 Super data requires adjustment and must be reduced if used in Winchester 9×23 cases. In all circumstances, start at the low end and work up watching for pressure signs.

The Other 9X23s
The 9X23 Winchester should not be confused with other 9×23 cartridges such as the 9mm Largo, (aka 9X23 Largo, 9mm Bayard Long, 9mm Bergmann-Bayard) and 9mm Steyr (aka 9X23mm Steyr). The Largo is also a tapered case but is slightly longer (0.910”), and it has a longer maximum COL as well (1.320”). The Steyr is a straight-walled round, like the .38 Super, with same-length brass but a longer maximum 1.300” COL. The Winchester 9×23 should never be fired in guns chambered for these other cartridges because 9×23 Winchester pressures far exceed these other rounds.

The 9×23 Winchester is a very powerful cartridge with impressive ballistics due to its high operating pressure. The Winchester factory ammunition provides high performance and durable brass for use in unsupported chambers. But ammunition choice is very limited, making handloading an appealing option.

Starline’s 9×23 Comp brass proved to be much less durable in the unsupported Nowlin chamber, showing excess, dangerous bulging at caliber-typical pressure. Judicious handloading was required for this brass to be safe. Gunpowder selection could enhance ballistic performance with the Starline brass, but it could not match the full potential of original Winchester brass with the gunpowders tested.

Shooting Times nor the author are responsible for mishaps of any kind, which might occur from the use of factory or handloaded ammunition. It is the user’s responsibility to follow safe shooting guidelines and to develop safe handloads.

Footnote 1. Dane Burns had noted in a forum thread that he experienced consistent case blowouts with COR-BON ammunition loaded in Starline 9×23 Comp cases. He also noted that as of 9/18/2009 all COR-BON 9×23 ammunition would be produced with Winchester brass. But this does not seem to be the current state. As per my email correspondence with COR-BON on 7-9-2013, they load their 9×23 ammunition exclusively in Starline brass unless they can find some NOS (New Old Stock) Winchester brass.  My sample of COR-BON 9×23 ammunition was several years old – unknown date of manufacture.

Footnote 2. Measurements showed that the feed ramp imprint appeared when the case wall at that location had expanded to 0.390” or greater for this barrel. Cases that were expanded to 0.387-0.389” showed no evidence of the feed ramp imprint. One of the Starline 9×23 Comp cases tested with a high pressure charge of Silhouette had expanded to .4005” in the unsupported region. Yikes!

Footnote 3. I have no way to measure pressure. There is an assumption that the brass’ expansion is correlated with chamber pressure levels, but it might also be correlated with the shape of the pressure curve which differs between fast and slow burning gunpowders.  In either case, this test will compare case expansion with different gunpowders. Note: different burn rate charts place gunpowders in different positions.

ANSI/SAAMI booklet Z299.3-1993. American National Standard. Voluntary Industry Performance Standards for Pressure and Velocity of Centerfire Pistol and Revolver Ammunition for the Use of Commercial Manufacturers. 1993. Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc., Wilton, Conn. USA.

Brown, E. (1998) 9×23 in “Condition White”, American Handgunner, September/October, pp. 55-56.

Cartridges of the World (2006) 11th Edition, by Frank C. Barnes, Edited by Stan Skinner. Gun Digest Books, Iola, WI.

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Terrific TEN: 10mm Auto Then & Now

In the early 1970s, a gentleman by the name of Whit Collins approached Colonel Jeff Cooper with the idea of developing a powerful .40 caliber cartridge that would fit in a modified Browning Hi-Power and would offer a serious boost in power over the 9mm and .45 Automatic. Cooper’s idea was to develop a .40-caliber load that pushed a 200-grain bullet at about 1,000 feet-per-second (fps), a substantial increase in power over existing law enforcement loads.


They began the process of finding a rifle case that would provide the proper casehead dimensions. Eventually Cooper, with input from Irving Stone and others, decided on the .30 Remington case. The original bullet used was a .40-caliber, 180-grain projectile from the .38-40 Winchester, and Cooper’s version of the load became known as the .40 Super, which would later become the 10mm Automatic.
10mm_auto_case_dimensionsCooper enlisted the assistance of Thomas Dornaus and Michael Dixon to develop a handgun that was capable of handling the powerful new cartridge. That gun became known as the Bren Ten, and in the early 1980’s there was a stir about the new handguns and the new load that Colonel Cooper himself had imagined and developed.

It seemed the 10mm Auto was destined to be a success, but production never kept up with demands and soon interest in the 10mm Auto was fading. Colt saved the day, and recognizing the potential of this new cartridge, the brand offered it in a specialized 1911 known as the Colt Delta Elite. Those who still had faith in the 10mm Auto now had the opportunity to purchase one from a manufacturer with the ability to meet high production demands. The 10mm Automatic was finally on its way.

L-R: Bren Ten, Colt Delta Elite

L-R: Bren Ten, Colt Delta Elite (Click to Enlarge)

1989 FBI Testing Protocols found that the 10mm Auto delivered on its promise of prodigious power, but the recoil and muzzle blast were considered too great for general law enforcement use. The .40 S&W arrived on the scene, and the 10mm Auto was once again pushed aside.

“Early on, [the 10mm Auto] was adopted by law enforcement as a ballistic improvement over existing duty rounds,” says ATK Ammunition Product Line Manager Mike Holm. “Although it performed well, the FBI considered the recoil too heavy and some of the guns available at the time were not robust enough to handle the recoil, so most manufacturers watered down their 10mm Auto offerings to produce ballistics almost identical to the 40 S&W.”

The 10mm Auto has never been forgotten, though, and it has found a new following among hunters and those who venture into country where large predators are a problem. These shooters were looking for 10mm loadings that were closer to original specification than the lighter loads of the day.


Would You Hunt with a 10mm?

I started wearing a handgun in the field more than a decade ago…

“There’s a dedicated group of shooters who love the original, full-power 10mm Auto,” says Holm. “They know and accept the recoil. In fact, they want it because it means they’re using the platform to its full potential.”

With full-power loads, the 10mm Auto serves as a powerful defense weapon against man and beast and has been used as a hunting cartridge as well. The 1911 is an easy gun to carry, and it provided energy levels that were just shy of those generated by larger, heavier .41 Remington Magnum revolvers. There are still companies that are investing in the 10mm Automatic—Federal has just introduced a new Vital-Shok 10mm load that pushes a 180-grain Trophy Bonded JSP bullet out of the muzzle at 1,275 fps. This produces 650 ft.-lb. of energy at the muzzle and places the load between standard .357 Magnums and the .41 Remington Magnum energy wise.



Federal Trophy Bonded 10mm Ammo

Handgun hunters rejoice: Federal Premium’s new Trophy Bonded 10mm…

Whether you’re looking for a hunting gun, a defensive sidearm or something to keep the bears at bay, the 10mm remains a valuable load. Here’s a look at eight currently manufactured semiautos that are chambered for this mighty round:

Para Ordnance Elite LS Hunter
para_ordnance_Elite_LS_Hunter_10mmFor 2014, PARA introduced the Elite LS Hunter 10mm 1911. It offers a 6-inch, match-grade ramped barrel, stainless steel frame and slide with Ionbond PVD black finish, VZ Operator Machined G10 Grips, an oversized, flared ejection port and a variety of other options. The rear target sight is fully adjustable and the fiber optic front sight is easyto see even in low loght conditions. In addition, the Hunter LS features an accessory rail for mounting lights and lasers, and this pistol equipped with a laser would be an outstanding rig for hogs and deer at moderate ranges. The long barrel also allows shooters to garner the most velocity out of their hunting loads. If you’re in the market for a six-inch 10mm 1911 but can’t afford a custom gun the PARA Elite LS Hunter offers a lower-priced, high-quality production gun option. Price: $1,249

Glock 20, 29 & 40

New for 2015, Glock introduced the optics-ready 10mm G40.If a custom 1911 isn’t in your price range then you aren’t excluded from the 10mm fraternity. Glock offers three 10mms; the subcompact Model 29 with a 3.77 inch barrel, the larger Model 20 with a 4.60 inch pipe, and the longslide optics-ready Model 40 (pictured above). With a 15-round capacity, the Model 20 and 40 offer serious firepower for defensive works (from either two or four-legged predators) and they are effective hunting firearms for deer-sized game at reasonable ranges. The Model 20 is also available in a small frame (SF) configuration that is perfect for shooters with smaller hands.

Glock’s brand new 10mm, the G40, comes with a 6.02 inch barrel to glean the most velocity and energy out of 10mm Auto loads. With a sight radius of 8.19 inches, the extended barrel also aids in accuracy. If you’d prefer to use an aftermarket optic, Glock has you covered; the new G40 comes with the company’s MOS (Modular Optics System), which includes interchangeable plates that common semiauto handgun optics like Trijicon’s RMR and Leupold’s DeltaPoint. With the extra barrel length and the ease with which optics can be mounted, this is a great option for whitetail, hog, cougar, and similar-sized game, including a viable sidearm option for carrying in bear country. Price: $545 to $699 (depending on specific Model #)

Colt Delta Elite
The other guns on this list probably owe the Delta Elite thanks for their very existence, for as good as the 10mm cartridge is it’s hard to say whether or not it would have survived beyond the original Bren Ten were it not for Colt. As it were, Colt introduced the Delta Elite in the late 1980s and turned the shooting public on to this powerful cartridge. The Delta Elite is still in Colt’s lineup today, and it comes with a brushed stainless slide and frame, Commander-style hammer, and signature wraparound grip with the Delta Elite logo in the center. The high profile fixed three-dot sights are easy to see and the eight round magazine provides plenty of payload. Price: $1,115

Rock Island Armory TAC 2011 GT10
Unlike the 10mms on this list that are designed and built for hunting, the TAC 2011 GT10 is a dedicated combat gun with features like VZ G10 grips, full-length dust cover with tactical rail, combat hammer, extended beavertail grip safety, adjustable rear combat sights with a bright orange fiber optic front sight. With an eight round capacity, it provides an extra round compared to most standard-capacity 1911 .45 combat guns, and when you’re carrying a 10mm auto the odds are slim that you’ll be outgunned in a violent confrontation. The five-inch barrel makes the TAC 2011 easier to carry, so this gun doubles as a great backup weapon in bear country. It’s also a bargain in the realm of 10mm 1911s. Despite its modest price tag, Rock Island Armory guns have an enviable reputation for accuracy and dependability. Price: $732.81

Nighthawk Heinie Long Slide 6
Nighthawk produces custom 1911s made of fully machined parts and frames made from solid forgings, and each gun is inspected by customer service director Tim Lehr before leaving the factory. The quality is, as you might expect, excellent, and the resulting pistols are extremely reliable and accurate. The company offers a number of 10mm 1911s, including the Heinie Long Slide, which features a match grade, full gunsmith-fit six-inch barrel, forged frame and slide, tactical magazine release, and fully adjustable sights with tritium night sight inserts. All of the sharp edges have been removed from the slide and frame to make this a comfortable gun to carry. Price: $3,595

Republic Forge Predator
Republic Forge is a new name in 1911’s but their one-gun, one-at-a-time philosophy, abundance of available options and extremely high build quality are building a following for the brand. Their Predator long slide 10mm Auto is built to the same high standards as all their other 1911s, and the Texas-based company allows you to build your own custom 1911 on their website so that you can play with grip styles, finish options and other features in your efforts to build the perfect 1911 for you. The gun shown here has a graphite black frame, Damascus slide (a $1,500 dollar upgrade), Texas Star hammer, and ivory grips, a striking firearm to say the least. Price: $3,395

Dan Wesson Razorback
Not too long ago Dan Wesson gave up on the 10mm Auto and discontinued every model, but customers began decrying the move and begging for a DW 10mm. To appease the 10mm fans, Dan Wesson now offers their 10mm Razorback, a Government-sized 1911 with a 5 inch match-grade ramped barrel, stainless slide and double diamond cocobolo grips. The pistol features a Clark-style target rib and fixed combat sights as well as an undercut trigger guard and smooth front strap for a comfortable hold, especially for shooters with larger hands (and with a full magazine of hot 10mm loads you’ll want as many fingers on the gun as possible, trust me). The frame is forged, and the surfaces are polished and sandblasted for a smooth feel and comfortable carry. Price: $1,350

SIG Sauer P220 10mm
For 2015, SIG Sauer now offers four different P220 models chambered for the 10mm Auto. The Match Elite Reverse Two-Tone model (pictured above) comes with a stainless finish, adjustable match sights, an Elite Beavertail, black G-10 Piranha grips and a DA/SA trigger. Also new are Stainless Elite and Stainless Elite Nitron versions with SIGLITE Night Sights and 5 pound SA triggers; the Elite has a stainless finish with rosewood grips while the Elite Nitron comes with a Nitron finish and G-10 Piranha grips. Of special interest to hunters is the Hunt Ready P220, which features a Kryptek Highlander camo pattern, a SIG Sauer Romeo red dot sight and G10 Piranha grips. All models have a 5 inch barrel, an eight-round magazine capacity and weigh just over 39 ounces. In addition to the four new 10mm handguns, SIG has also added two new 10mm Auto loads to their Elite Performance Ammunition lineup, a 180 grain FMJ load and 180 grain V-Crown load. Price: $1,422 (Match Elite Reverse Two-Tone)



How the Iconic 1911 .45 Caliber Handgun Actually Works [HD VIDEO]

The iconic Colt Model 1911 handgun, more commonly known as either the Colt .45 or simply the 1911, has been in service with militaries around the world for more than 100 years, yet it remains as American as apple pie.



And while it is likely the most recognizable handgun in the world and something almost every shooter has fired numerous times – almost nobody really understands whats going on during a firing cycle.

Thanks to all former Delta Force operator Larry Vickers and this cut-out 1911, we can actually see how each part functions throughout the firing cycle to create this finely tuned piece of engineering: