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Browning’s SA-22 Challenge A variation on a well established theme

Yesterday, the morning was spent digging up and pulling out a pear tree by its roots with the tractor’s backhoe. Deceptively large root system for a less than massive tree. Working outside feels really good, even if the result is only being muscle sore or taking a nap.

Love this time of year in Maine. In the course of two weeks, the woods grew so dense that visibility dropped to a handful of yards at the tree line. Everything around me is one of two colors, tree bark grey or bright leaf emerald green. Rain brought skies so overcast that all of the dusk till dawn security lights came on at mid afternoon.

Fortunately, I had gotten out to the range early this morning and was able to collect data for the Browning. A few series of targets and some chronograph readings and then the sky opened up and remained that way for the rest of the day.

Personal history with the SA-22

After writing lead ins for the Browning SA-22, numerous times over the years, I considered leaving that information out. However, some readers may not know the association with John Moses Browning… no, the rifle, not me. Subsequently, I am going to write it again.

The Browning SA-22 has always held my interest. Beyond being the most successful of the John Browning rimfire designs, it has crossed my path several times, each time with a different outcome. Sometime around 1959 or 1960, when I was fourteen years old, I walked a couple of miles from work to the Bloomfield Sporting Goods Store and put $5 down on a $65 layaway purchase of a Grade I Browning SA-22. Grade I having straight grained dark walnut stocks, black blued receiver and barrel, a little touch of engraving scroll on the receiver sides.

The purchase price was $65, I paid in $45, before accepting I could not spare the money. I lost the rifle and my money and conceded I could no more afford that fancy little .22 than I could afford an Auto 5. However, the little Browning did not elude me forever.

When my youngest son turned ten, his older brothers were eleven and twelve, he wanted a rifle of his own. Michael was the little guy who was frustrated by not always having the same freedom as his older brothers. So my wife and I, on a very tight family budget, gave him a Browning Semi Auto 22 as our contribution toward sibling parity. We never did tell him the history behind the rifle’s selection. Perhaps we should have… Perhaps not.

John Browning’s history with the SA-22

Browning was granted patents 1,065,341 and 1,065,342 on June 24, 1913, patent number 1,083,384 on January  6, 1914. The first is for the take down assembly as utilized on the semi-auto 22 rimfire Browning, the second is a safety device and the third patent is for the rifle, although it specifically states the design could be applied to a rimfire or other type of cartridge. It is my understanding that the first production placed the loading point at the top of the buttstock and through to the receiver.

Some may wonder how the rifle patent came after the sub-assembly design patents. While the award is later, the filing for the rifle preceded the others by five months. The patent for the rifle clearly places and describes the magazine tube being filled top side at the base of the small of the stock. In one of the two iconic photos of Browning, he is cradling the early semiautomatic 22 and the loading port is on the right side of the buttstock as the rifle is generally seen.

Browning’s semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle was first manufactured by Belgium’s Fabrique Nationale in 1914 as the F.N. .22 Caliber Automatic Rifle. Remington licensed U.S. rights to the design, which led to their Model 24, 1922 – 1935 and the Model 241 Speedmaster, 1935 – 1949. The Browning Arms Company began offering the Browning .22 Automatic, manufactured by F.N. and imported into the U.S. 1956 – 1974. Importation continued on with manufacturing moving to Miroku in 1976. The History of Browning Firearms – Miller and John M. Browning American Gunmaker – Browning & Gentry differ slightly in dates.

There have been numerous configurations and production has been interrupted intermittently by war, politics and market demand. Still, a rifle with so few changes, and in production over 100 years after its introduction, has got to be something special. I’ve always found it interesting that an inventor, so accomplished in martial weapons, would be motivated to finesse such a refined rimfire rifle design as he neared the end of his career.

The Browning SA-22 Challenge..

Regardless which Browning SA-22 model, they are all built on a very compact, solid sided receiver. Breech block manual actuation, empty casing ejection and chamber status checks are accomplished from the bottom. There’s the Browning genius; tiny receiver to minimize bulk while offering structural rigidity and adult size buttstock, length of pull and wide, semi beavertail forearm.

Browning Semi-Auto 22 Challenge

Company Browning
Manufactured Miroku – Japan
Item # 021024102
Type of Action Semi-auto – Blow Back
Caliber 22 LR
Magazine Capacity 10
Magazine Type Tubular
Barrel Length 16 1/4″
Barrel Material Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish Matte Black
Rifling Twist Rate 1:16″
Receiver Material Forged Alloy Steel
Receiver Finish Matte Black
Embellishments None
Stock Material Grade 1 Black Walnut
Length of Pull 13 3/4″
Drop at Comb 3/4″
Drop at heel 2 5/8″
Front Sight None
Rear Sight None
Scope Mounts Picatinny Rail
Weight of Firearm 6 Lbs 10 Oz.
Overall Length 33 22/25″
Safety Cross Bolt
MSRP $959.99

The Browning SA-22 Challenge differs from the traditional Browning SA-22 in only a few, but meaningful ways.

The SA-22 traditionally has a dropped comb to facilitate the use of the standard model’s metallic sights. The Browning SA-22 Challenge has a raised comb to bring line of sight closer to the center of a Picatinny rail mounted optical sight.

Traditionally the Browning is a takedown design, as indicated by the knurled ring at the intersection of the barrel and receiver. Do not see that knob pictured above? That’s because the Challenge is not a takedown model and has no ring.

The Challenge’s 16.25″ bull barrel is fixed, 2.75″ shorter than the standard model, and threaded 1/2″-28 to accommodate muzzle devices.

The Browning Challenge’s alloy steel barrel, receiver and buttplate have a matte black oxide finish. The walnut stock has a flat satin finish. They work very nicely together and, personal tastes, it looks much better than the dipped in plastic ’70s look of the takedown models.

One area that would make a noticeable aesthetic improvement would be improvements to buttstock to receiver fit. Browning did a terrific job with wood finish and coloring, the checkering is very clean and provides all the traction needed even in wet weather.

The forearm fits close to the barrel and receiver and there is no rattling. For some reason, the buttstock is 0.025″ wider all around the rear perimeter of the receiver and it detracts from the overall look of the rifle. Yes, I am picky. Thank you for noticing.

Buttstock feed

The Browning is loaded through the port on the right side of the buttstock with ten rounds held in the brass tube that is fed from the buttstock; pull the magazine tube back, drop ten rounds in the stock’s port, push the tube in and rotate to latch. The original design was fed through a port at the top, small of the stock.

With scope and silencer in place, the subject gun is still compact. However, the high comb supports the face and both the pistol grip and forearm are adult hand filling. A very steady rifle to shoot from standing, kneeling, sitting and prone positions.

For suppressed operation, the supplied brake is unscrewed and replaced by the not supplied silencer. Performance differences, velocity and accuracy, were insignificant at the range. Supersonic ammo is much quieter wit the silencer in place and subsonic ammo sound is less than the sound of the breech block cycling.

Getting screwed over makes me grumpy….

Spending a good deal of time outdoors, means impromptu rimfire target shooting. I can try my hand at bouncing a pine cone along the ground, shooting nubs off winter tree fall or dispatch rodents that insist on benefiting from my work in the vegetable garden. I am afraid the days of $10/500 loss leader ammo are long gone, replaced with $50/500 rounds for ammo on sale and $100/500 for quality match ammo and then there is anything made by Lapua for pretentious shooters. Still, 22 LR rimfire ammo is the least expensive ammo.

I know, everything has gotten more expensive, but I think we are being taken to the cleaners by ammo manufacturers. The price for 22 LR ammo on sale was at $10/500 just before Obama became President in 2009. Today, ammo on sale is $50/500, a 500% increase. During the same span of years, inflation was 38%, which should have resulted in price of $13.80/500 at today’s prices. I think we may be paying for too many exotic trips, boats and planes for ammo company executives. But, sometimes, you just need to let things go…

OK, setting aside the issue of exorbitantly priced ammo… produced by money grubbing, European vacationing, short sighted, golf playing, ammo making executives, rimfire shooting is challenging, relaxing and easy… three of my favorite semi diametrically opposed words.

There, now I feel all better…

The Browning SA-22 Challenge was configured with a scope and silencer. The scope took most of my eyesight out of the accuracy equation and the silencer made my ears happy. As noted earlier, velocity and accuracy differences between silencer on or off was statistically insignificant. Subsequently, the silencer was in place when the following data was collected.

Ammunition Bullet
24″ BBL

16 1/4″ BBL

50 Yard
5 Shot
Remington Match
Remington Thunderbolt RN 40 1255 1218 0.5
Eley Subsonic HP 40 1040 1014 0.8
Winchester Match RN 40 1150 1196 0.7
Winchester Wildcat HP 40 1255 1246 0.7

Nothing surprising in terms of velocity other than this, and anything else I have shot over a chronograph, never follows those videos where someone reduces a barrel’s length one inch at a time and shows a a uniform, or near uniform, degradation in velocity. What does it all mean? Who knows? Mechanical, chemical… too many influencing elements to attribute and explanation. More important, who cares beyond having a relative indicator for subsonic, sonic, supersonic, and “Holy mackerel, did you see that one!” levels of performance.

There were no failures to feed or eject or fire with the exception of one round of Remington Match that did not fire, was then rotated in the chamber where it fired normally. I attribute the failure to ammo, not the rifle, as both rim strikes were normal depth and uniform definition.


The targets above were shot with the rifle rested on a couple of bags up front and my shoulder holding position at the back. With one exception, I see the normal patterns of a rifle looking for favorite ammo. A little dispersion, a little vertical stringing, a little shift in point of impact and none of the groups are bad. Some are exceptional in both standard and high velocity loads.

I have to take ownership for the Eley group. I put a lot of ammo through the Browning and the silencer put a lot of powder residue back into the receiver and action. The trigger let off increased with lots of grit. I lifted the rifle off the bags, emptied it and blew the action out with compressed air. Then I put it back on the rest and took the remaining two shots with an obvious shift in point of aim. Yes, I should have re-shot the group, but the rifle was put up and the bench was put away before I pulled the targets. Yes, I’ll say it. I was too damn lazy. Getting old and it was getting late.

Overall.. No, not overalls

The Browning SA-22 Challenge is a nice rimfire. I like the no sheen oil finish looking stocks. Machine checkering has made major strides and the SA-22 is a good example of the process. Metal work is clean, as is its black finish. Accuracy is excellent and the gun has a lot more potential in the area than I extracted. The rail is handy. For a personal firearm, I might be tempted to mount an open micro red dot sight.

The magazine capacity is more than adequate for my purposes. It has been 60 years, at least, since I loaded up a 22 rimfire with tons of shorts so I could keep shooting longer without reloading.The threaded barrel is a nice touch, whether for use with a brake or a silencer. Barrel length, based on chronograph readings, is sufficient as a 22 LR rifle. The trigger has a centerfire rifle feel; little take up, no noticeable creep, and a light let off, unless someone did not clean it when it should have been cleaned… like shooting lots of ammo with a silencer in place.

I am not sure which version I like more, the Challenge or the takedown SA-22. I think a takedown SA-22 with the Challenge wood and metal finish would be my choice, or maybe both. I think this model variant bodes well for JMB.

A TALO Exclusive Ruger GP100 Good looking gun - built like a tank

05/15/2022 – Why is it TALO and not Talo? Because TALO is an acronym. No, not a giant spider. It is a wholesale buying cooperative operating in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and the first letter of each of those states is represented in TALO.

As they have since 1965, TALO commissions major firearm manufacturers to produce exclusive editions to TALO’s specifications, then sells them through stocking resellers throughout the country. In the case of the subject Ruger GP100,  TALO and Ruger began with the outstanding GP100 revolver and finessed the configuration.

 TALO GP100 – 357 Magnum
Manufacturer Ruger – Newport, NH
Model Number  1782
Type SA/DA
Caliber 357 Magnum
Capacity 7
Barrel Length 3.0″
Rifling 1:18.75″
Weight (Actual)
38.0 Oz
Overall Length 8.50″
Grip Checkered Hardwood
Frame & Cylinder
Stainless Steel
Rear Sight Adjustable W/E
Front Sight
Fiber Optic – Green
Trigger Pull DA/SA 10 Lbs 3 Oz / 4 Lbs 6 Oz
MSRP $1,199

Ruger manufactures twenty nine, seven shot Ruger GP100 models. Of those twenty nine, twelve are TALO exclusives. Differentiating the subject TALO model from others in the GP100 seven shot variations are the combination of a 3″ barrel with adjustable sights, an unfluted cylinder and hardwood combat grips

A decision on form, not performance

The GP100 series Ruger has been in production since 1985, an upgrade to Ruger’s Security Six double action Ruger that was introduced in 1971 and discontinued in 1989.The GP 100 stainless steel version went into production in 1987.

In comparison to its Security Six predecessor, the GP100 offered improved trigger function, a more robust frame and locking system, an improved peg mounted grip, and interchangeable front sights.

The GP 100 series is a medium frame, double action product, which places it in physical context between the company’s compact frame SP101 and it’s large frame Redhawk, and its even more stout Super Redhawk.

All steel alloy or stainless steel Ruger double action revolvers have solid sided frames and are modular in design, which makes for high durability and ease of service and maintenance.

Thirty seven years of making essentially this same product has given Ruger a wealth of manufacturing experience with this model and the same amount of time to finesse and refine the design in response to customer feedback.

So different, yet so much the same….

I have owned five GP100s is various configurations and chambers while in the process of finding the one that suited me the best. The non-TALO gun pictured above is my personal revolver. It is shot with great frequency and, like those that came before it, has proven to be both accurate and reliable, precise.

The point is that the TALO is a unique configuration of a long produced, highly reliable and accurate revolver. The TALO has inherited that pedigree, so the only consideration is configuration and aesthetics. Even then, the GP100 series has a peg grip frame that accepts many grip styles and they utilize  standard dovetails for sight mounting so an owner is not limited to what shipped from the factory.

Traveling in the same circles

As indicated on the table below, the cylinders, six shot and seven shot, have common dimensions, with the exception of the space between chambers. The outer walls are the same, as is the diameter of the circle formed by the chambers. I have had no problems with the seven shot GP100, even with my aggressive handloads.

 Revolver Cylinder
Length “
Diameter “
Rear Chamber
Outer Wall

Thickness “
Chamber Wall
Thickness “
GP100 1.609 1.546 0.080 0.122
TALO GP100 1.608 1.545 0.081 0.055

Sights? Hell, even I can see them…

The TALO’s rear sight has a white outlined notch. The front sight is a bright fiber optic piece. The front sight sits in a notch that is dovetailed at the front to the raised rib. If there is a preference for a different color fiber optic front sight, pushing a punch in the hole in front of the sight… no, not the bore, the hole above it, releases the sight for changing.

Compact grip, but a handful for most…

Boot grips are great on small frame guns and offer OK control, but the combat grips used on the subject TALO GP100 add that one extra finger position to keep the pinky in the scheme of things. The round but helps with concealment.


The Ruger GP100 is a true triple lock; front latch, cylinder latch and center pin lock. The tight cylinder lock up contributes a great deal to GP100 accuracy and safety of operation. Exceptional frame strength means a revolver beginning with a 0.006″ or so cylinder gap, will have the same cylinder gap after thousands of rounds have been fired.

Seven is enough…

I do not know when the need for fifty round auto loader magazines came into prominence. I was pretty busy in the mid to late ’60s and then I put in a lot of hours throughout the ’70s and ’80s, so maybe then. Not knowing a seven round handgun was useless under any circumstances, I just stumbled through those decades with a seven shot 1911 Commander or six shot revolver. Not sure how I survived.

I do not question another person’s decision to want or need more, and I certainly don’t question their right to do so, I am just all set with seven. So the TALO GP100 gives me all of the capacity I need and, if all else fails, a couple of speed loaders with get me through. It keeps the weight down and a concealable handgun compact.

Does it use conventional bullets, or electric rechargeable?

Three types of 357 magnum ammunition were used in checking out the TALO GP100. Types or similar I use frequently: Hornady Critical Defense 125 Grain FTX, Remington Performance Wheel Gun 158 grain lead SWC, HSM Bear Load 180 grain FPGC.

The Hornady fits the bill for concealed carry. The Remington ammo is a good concealed carry and trail load. The HSM ammo is a good, deep penetrating  deer and hog hunting load and trail load.

None of them are particularly harsh recoiling. No mountain goat climbing muzzle on discharge. No great muzzle flash or report beyond what would be expected of centerfire, medium capacity cartridge operating at elevated chamber and bore pressure.

Here comes the table…

I do not know why people don’t like tables. They are so organized and telling, compared to me droning on and on trying to deliver the same information through a narrative or maybe through chaotic, beat, free verse with jazz accompaniment. Hmm…. Maybe next time.

Ammunition Bullet
Actual FPS
4.2″ BBL
Actual FPS
3″ BBL
5 Shot
Group “
25 YD
Hornady Critical Defense 125 FTX 1500 1489 1339
Remington Wheel Gun
158 LSWC 1235 1317 1195
HSM Bear Load
180 LFP 1200 1093 1112

Everybody has a theory as to why revolver chronograph readings can defy logic. I can only reshoot where a reading appears to be an anomaly to confirm or correct. After that, I just write ’em as I see ’em. I like the 180 grain performance out of the TALO and I liked the TALO’s shot from a rest accuracy. The differences between 4.2″ and 3″ barrels is negligible for the vast majority of applications, but the compact size difference is meaningful.

In summary… Yeah, I know, finally…

Looks good, shoots straight, comfortable to carry. But then those comments should not come as a surprise if you read the rest and didn’t just skip through the pictures. I think what stands out, besides the aesthetics, is the extra round without a size increase penalty and the stoutness of the revolver.

I like double action revolvers and I do not cock the hammer to lighten trigger pull. It is an unnecessary step to get to discharging a round and practice can get you to the same place without resorting to thumbing a hammer. Nice revolver.

Smith & Wesson’s M&P 10mm Auto Beyond self defense

05/08/2022 – Funny. You wonder why there is a picture of a tractor and I wonder why you are… wondering. My whole perspective on firearms begins with self reliance. My perspective on self reliance began with parents who believed a person should not ask others to do something they are capable of doing for themself.

Does that not make for a “know it all” view of the world? No. Quite the opposite. It makes for a life long learning experience and the ability to accept failure as part of that process. So, my workload… woodland maintenance, vegetable garden, landscaping, firewood, snow removal, and being an old man dictated labor saving devices.

It is just a small tractor, but it is all the tractor I need. And I don’t have to negotiate with services, or debate the quality of work or timeliness of completion at the conclusion of each project. Good or bad outcome, I only need to find a mirror to know who is responsible.

Firearms are all about self reliance…

Our little town of Raymond has terrific emergency services, both fire and rescue, and then there is county sheriff’s office. All are well trained, professional and they always respond quickly. However, I live in the boonies, surrounded by trees and it takes any of those services fifteen to twenty minutes to arrive when called. In addition, Maine has winter ice and snow storms that can lead to days of isolation.

Subsequently,  there are fire extinguishers strategically located within the house and garage, a small cache of canned and dehydrated food and cases of water. Care is taken to safely stow flammable liquids and propane. A whole house generator assures heat, running water and lights in the event we experience a power outage. And I always have a firearm… always.

We live in an isolated area, nice distant neighbors, nice town. But we get summer people that come into the general area for the recreational lakes, or to rent camps, or to sight see… or to run drugs, break into homes, hide from police in isolated areas. Yes, Maine is pretty much like the rest of the country and I don’t want to wait fifteen to twenty minutes for help to arrive in the event of an unpleasant encounter.

Then there is time spent in the woodland covered property. Clearing tree fall, trimming back the tree line, walking boundaries and enjoying being outdoors are all parts of the routine. So I carry my security with me; hunting, varmint and pest control and always time for a little target practice. So a firearm that can accomplish all of those things, and stays out of the way while working, fits in nicely.

Nothing to hide…

While concealed carry is a part of personal routine, concealment is not necessary for the applications previously defined. Open carry removes concealment considerations, so firearm selection is less restrictive. A full size auto loader, like the Smith & Wesson M&P®10mm, is a solid choice as a balance of good handling and good power.

Smith & Wesson M&P®10mm M2.0

SKU 13387
Manufacturer Smith and Wesson
Point of Origin Springfield, MA
Type Striker Fired
Caliber 10mm Automatic
Magazine Capacity 15
Barrel 4.6″
Rifling 1:10″ 5 RH
Overall Length 7.9″
Overall Height 5.6″
Frame Width 1.30″
Weight (Actual)
29.6 Oz.
Sight Radius 6.9″
Trigger Pull (Actual) 4 Lbs. 2 Oz.
Front/Rear Sights 3 White Dot – Drift Adjustable
Barrel Material SS – Armornite® Finish
Slide Material SS – Armornite® Finish Matte Black
Grip Frame Zytel Polymer 18° Grip Angle
Internal Chassis Extended Rigid Stainless Steel
Thumb Safety
Magazine Disconnect No
Optics Ready
MSRP $665

The M&P®10MM’s relatively long barrel extracts more of the 10mm Automatic’s ballistic potential than a short barrel gun. Its greater mass tames recoil and muzzle rise and its long sight radius makes sight alignment faster and more precise.

The M&P®10MM’s full size grip affords high magazine capacity and it is hand filling, rather than finger dangling. the long dust cover provides an accessory mount for a tactical light or laser, and the slide’s topside provides a mount for an optic sight.

Full size auto loaders are often chambered for more powerful cartridges. None will reach the ballistic performance of a rifle or big bore revolver, but they can achieve adequate power for hunting medium size game such as deer, hogs and larger varmints.

There are many holsters available for the full size M&P®10MM pistol open sights and with optic sights installed. Blackhawk, Black Scorpion, Blade-Tech, Craft Holsters, Galco, Safariland, and We The People Holsters all make holsters to accommodate S&W M&P pistols with optic sight in place.

A walk through…

The Smith & Wesson M&P10mm 2.0 comes with useful accessories for a new owner. There are four backstrap inserts to accommodate virtually any hand size: small, medium, medium large, large. Two 15 round magazines take care of most ammo on hand requirements. Seven optic sight mount adapter accommodate most popular, and even some not so popular, optic sights.

A small cover on the slide, secured by two screws, hides the optic sight mount when not in use. The seven adapters included with the pistol cover more than the listed open red dot sights. As an example, I installed my trusty FastFire II Burris sight using the #3 Docter adapter and it worked like a champ. So the listings are more type conventions than a very specific sight model and manufacturer.

The open sights are drift adjustable and tall enough to see through a mounted red dot sight in the event a battery croaks or the optic sight breaks. I know, why am I still using a relic Burris FastFire II sight? Because I have had it on everything from a lightweight carbine chambered for the 375 Ruger to 45-70 Trappers, a 500 S&W X Frame, many ARs in assorted and sundry chambers; I can’t kill it. It has a 4 MOA dot, it holds adjustment, it is fast shooting, so….

I was listening to “Doing It All for My Baby” by Huey Lewis and the News and realized, according to reader demographics, the song was released ten years before most of you were born. Resentful and envious, I hopped on the tractor and ran up and down the driveway, building a huge pile of brush and branches for future chipping. It was a spectacular construct and, when I was done, I no longer gave a damn about how young any of you are. I’ve got a new tractor!

Annotation heavy, but easy to operate

The subject M&P10mm 2.0 does not have a thumb safety It does have a firing pin block that stops firing pin movement unless the trigger has been fully depressed. The trigger has a safety that prevents it from moving rearward until the trigger safety has been depressed. The idea is to minimize the chance of accidental discharge.

The chamber check port allows looking at the tail end of the gun’s chamber to see if a cartridge extractor groove and rim are visible. While this is a nice feature, it does not take the place of puling back the slide and looking with the chamber in full view. No, I do not stick my pinky in the chamber to verify it is empty. If my vision can’t distinguish between a hole and a casehead, I shouldn’t be holding a firearm, loaded or empty.

It is easy to do this…

Tidy assemblies. The flat wound spring is captive to the guide rod. Not nearly as much fun as the jack-in-the-box action of a 1911, but then it eliminates crawling around on the floor in search of a recoil spring plug. The barrel on the 10mm Auto version is ramped. A stainless steel chassis runs the length of the frame, securing the fire control pieces and adding rigidity to the frame.

The S&W M&P10mm is a take down lever pistol so disassembly is easy and any tools required are stowed in the grip in the form of the frame tool. Looks a lot like a small, long shaft. common screw driver. Oh, okay, it looks as pictured below. Are you happy now?

The frame tool… yes, the one with the arrow that is stowed in the grip, is used to poke down into the magazine well from the top of the slide, to rotate the sear deactivation lever down. A necessary step in the field strip sequence. Can we move on now?

The 10mm Automatic as a lighter weight hunter

Cartridge Bullet
5 Shot
25 YD
Buffalo Bore Heavy 220 1200 1183 1203 1168 2.1
Federal Hydra-Shok 180 1030 1015 1063 1019 2.3
PMC Bronze 170 1200 1086 1127 1060 2.0
Prvi Partizan 170 1115 1017 1039 993 1.8

Pictured above, left to right and on the table top to bottom, hunting, self defense, hunting, target practice. The S&W M&P 10mm is no doubt a defensive weapon of significant capability. Bullet and load level selection determine bullet expansion and penetration.

Ballistic doodling – feel free to skip this section

Ignoring proprietary cartridges that contain an overdose of their creator’s ego, the 10mm Auto looms large as a powerful cartridge in the world of auto loaders. In the world of handguns of all types, it ranks as more moderate, but still adequate for taking deer size game at reasonable distances. Yes, that does mean inside 50 yards.

With expanding bullets intended for self defense against humans will yield 12″ – 20″ of gel block penetration. With tough jacketed bullets, particularly in 180 grain and 200 grain weights and hard cast, the 10mm Auto will blow through 32″ of gel blocks. Setting aside comparisons, the 10mm Auto can stand on its own as a hunting cartridge or trail gun.

Compared to a 185 grain 45 Automatic +P load, the 10mm Auto has 2% greater velocity and less than 2% greater kinetic energy. I know, energy increases at the square… the difference here is the 45 Auto’s 5 grain greater bullet weight.

The 40 S&W 180 grain standard, by comparison, generates 19% less velocity than the 10mm Auto and 34% less kinetic energy. Yes, there was some rounding errors here, but not of any significance.

Is the 10mm Auto comparable to a revolver loaded with 41 Mag ammo, each with 180 grain loads? For the sake of context, the 41 Mag produces 22% more velocity and 48% greater kinetic energy.

A 357 Mag with standard pressure factory 180 grain ammo outputs 8% less velocity than the 10mm Auto and 16% less kinetic energy. However, the 357 Mag is available with 180 grain ammo at 1,500 fps and 899 ft.lbs of energy, where the 10mm Auto will not pick up much more even with handloads.

What did the mother bullet say to her child? It’s cold out. You ought to put a jacket on.

And what about the shooter?

Overall, the full size Smith & Wesson M&P 10mm is well balanced and carries just enough heft to make it comfortable to shoot. The aggressive gripping surface finish is excellent; no slipping, no reestablishing hand hold after each shot and, if you shoot often enough, it will remove most calluses.

Even without the optic sight installed, the three dot system is clean and fast. Combined with the longish sight radius, the three dot system delivers good accuracy. The groups indicated earlier in table form were shot with a red dot sight installed and from a rest.

Recoil is greater than a 9mm Luger… probably a bit more than a 45 Auto, but not bad and would not be a factor with the addition of some proficiency practice. Reliability? I would say very high. During all of the range time there were no misfeeds, jams, failure to feed or fire mishaps.

Very nice flat faced trigger. Light pull, crisp break and contributed significantly to accurate shooting. The finish held up and cleaned up easily. No sign of battering on frame rails or slide. Yes, very nice firearm with many applications. Now I need to find a pistol scabbard for the tractor roll bar.