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The Remington V3 Tactical 12 Gauge As though a life depended on it

09/13/2020 My wife and I were working on our home this weekend and came to a decision point most home owners have at one time or another. Should we mow the lawn or sell the house, buy an RV and move to a vegetarian commune in Patagonia? We compromised, deciding the lawn could wait until…

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The Browning Citori 725 Feather Superlight Even I know it's a great shotgun

09/06/2020 I guess my life has changed since the Mesozoic Era when I was a young man. Jeans and t-shirts and not venturing far from home have replaced business suits and constant travel. Now, my wife and I poke around in our vegetable garden hoping to spot the fruits of our labor. No more pursuits…

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Smith & Wesson M&P®22 Compact – Threaded Barrel A nifty plinker and small varmint dispatcher

8/31/2020 Ah yes, the cold is coming; mind numbing, soul sucking, frigid air, and butt deep snow. Yes, I do realize I moved to Maine voluntarily, but that was to flee California socialism, an intrusive government, and associated loss of personal freedom. Which, ironically, is about what Maine has gradually drifted into over the past…

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Smith & Wesson M&P® Bodyguard® 380 Self defense... Yes, that is a thing

These days, more Americans are purchasing firearms and practicing legal concealed carry than ever before. Who would blame them? Politicians are running for leadership positions on a hate America and Americans first platform, state governors and big city mayors are working to crush a robust economy and put people out of work. Violent, rioting mobs occupy large portions of our major cities, terrorizing local residents. At the same time, city governments work to defund and disband their own law enforcement and tie the hands of the remaining by imposing no arrest or no bail release policy on the police. Jails and prisons are emptying violent prisoners into the streets.

Sounds dire? Worrying? It should, because it is. Especially since the national Democrat platform says:

“Democrats will enact universal background checks, end online sales of guns and ammunition, close dangerous loopholes that currently allow stalkers and some individuals convicted of assault or battery to buy and possess firearms, and adequately fund the federal background check system. We will close the “Charleston loophole” and prevent individuals who have been convicted of hate crimes from possessing firearms. Democrats will ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. We will incentivize states to enact licensing requirements for owning firearms and “red flag” laws that allow courts to temporarily remove guns from the possession of those who are a danger to themselves or others. We will pass legislation requiring that guns be safely stored in homes. And Democrats believe that gun companies should be held responsible for their products, just like any other business, and will prioritize repealing the law that shields gun manufacturers from civil liability.”

According to the NRA, additional proposals include so-called “universal” background checks, the elimination of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System’s three-day safety -valve provision, and gun owner licensing, which would turn the right to keep and bear arms into a privilege dependent on the whim of government bureaucrats. The Democrats would empower government intrusions into the home to dictate how Americans keep and store firearms for self-defense and to confiscate firearms without due process based on the flimsiest of evidentiary standards. Moreover, the draft platform calls for a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines, something explicitly prohibited under the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller.

So when your democrat buddy says, “Obama never took your guns”, remind him it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Instead, he delegated the honors to anti gun governors, mayors and town council surrogates who passed a record number of gun restriction, elimination, and seizure laws than had passed the thirty years prior. The New York AG is currently suing to dissolve the NRA, the largest pro gun lobby group in the world. New gun buyers aren’t panicking, nor are they paranoid. They just see very real threats coming, on many fronts, and they do not want to be defenseless. These days, I always carry a quality 380 Auto subcompact pistol, a combination that definitely has a role in self-defense.

S&W M&P Bodyguard highlights

I am told, giving people a sense of the size of an unfamiliar object is best accomplished by placing it in the proximity of something very familiar. Well. Everyone knows Albert and he knows more than a little about relative relationships, so, there you go. Initially, the S&W M&P Bodyguard was compared to a mechanical pencil, laying on my drafting board. However, a survey of people under the age of 90 suggests more people know the exact height of this Einstein bobble head, 8″ tall – 2.75″ at the base, than are familiar with the terms “mechanical pencil” and “drafting board”. And, yes, I could have placed a ruler next to the pistol, but what fun would that have been?

There are no surprise control surfaces, just the usual suspects, and where you would expect to find them. Always good in a defensive firearm. Side controls, back to front: thumb safety, slide stop, take down lever and, aft of lower trigger guard, magazine release. The M&P Bodyguard is supplied with two magazines and both flat and finger groove extender floorplates. Extender version shown.

Take-down is straight forward; remove magazine, check for empty, lock slide open, rotate down and remove takedown lever, move slide forward and off.

The M&P Bodyguard is a camming, tilting barrel design that fires from a closed, locked breech. It is double action, not a striker or blow back design, and hammer fired. Combined, the Bodyguard features make for a stronger and more reliable pistol and delayed opening after firing often results in higher velocity and certainly greater reliability. Double action also allows a second strike at a stubborn primer, where training regimen permits. The dual, staged recoil spring eases racking effort, but provides proper energy storage and resistance for a reciprocating slide.

There is a dropped gun safety in the form of a firing pin blocking plunger embedded in the slide, which requires a trigger pull before getting out of the way of firing pin travel.  So no blade safety poking through the trigger. The Bodyguard will fire with or without a magazine inserted.

An open top, low ejection port and oversize extractor contribute to the Bodyguard’s reliability. Dovetail mounted, blackened stainless steel front and rear sights are durable they stay put where adjusted. Alternative sight sets are available from S&W and third party suppliers. The M&P Bodyguard is a sub compact, so it is… brief in the area of the polymer frame.

With trigger finger at trigger level, I can get two fingers on the grip, with my pinky curled under the floor plate. No, not as much control as having all fingers around a grip as might be the case with a full size pistol, but more than enough control to back up a 10.5 lb double action trigger pull.

The M&P Bodyguard is tucked in all over. Some pistols sport diminutive dimensions when they are built around the 380 Auto cartridge, but then they go with thick grips or a thumb safety that expands the envelop. Not the case here and there are no sharp, snagable… it’s a word now, to hang up on clothing. Yes, I am stalling with pictures because I have not yet thought how to address the 380 Auto Loxodonta in the room. So read the spec table for a few minutes while I think.

The 380 Automatic… the cartridge

S&W M&P Bodyguard


Smith & Wesson
SKU 109381
Origin USA
Type Semi Auto DA Only
Caliber .380 ACP
Capacity 6+1
Metallic Sights Drift Adjustable
Barrel/Slide Stainless/Armornite
Grip Frame Polymer
Finish Matte Black
Overall length 5.3″
Height 4.3“
Grip Width 0.75″
Sight Radius 4.5″
Barrel Length 2.75″
Weight – Empty 12.0 oz. Actual
MSRP $379

Designed by JMB, the 380 Auto  first made an appearance for use in the Colt Pocket Automatic in 1908. It was introduced in Europe by FN of Belgium in 1912 as the Browning Short. It has seen substantial use in both military and law enforcement applications, as well as a civilian defensive weapon.

The 380 Automatic has had been assigned a variety of nomenclatures including, but not limited to: .380 Colt Automatic Pistol, .380 ACP, 9mm Browning Short, 9mm Kurz, and 9x17mm. The official SAAMI name is “380 Automatic”, no decimal point.

I often carry a 380 Automatic. Sometimes as a backup to a primary, but also when working outdoors around the house where there is a good deal of physical activity and both hands are occupied with the task at hand. It is a comfortable and not conspicuous carry and it offers protection where none otherwise exists.

Maine has more than an infrequent number of rabid fox attacks on residents, without provocation. Not a probability, but a very real possibility, and preparedness is always good. Additionally, we now live in a strange world with lots of people drawing satisfaction from harming others and my wife and I choose not to be victims.

Ammunition selection

The S&W M&P Bodyguard is not sensitive to ammunition brands, bullet weights or bullet types. Very important as ammo selection varies greatly from one individual to another and, sometimes, from one application to another.

Two approaches I’ve taken with factory ammunition and component bullets. Far left – Interceptor ARX and ARX injection molded 56 grain ARX copper/nylon compound bullets. Above right, Remington Golden Saber ammunition or 102 grain brass jacketed hollow point component bullets. Over a chronograph, fired from the Bodyguard, ARX MV clocked 1,263 fps and the Golden Saber generated 753 fps.

As published ballistic gel results seem all over the place, when I have the time and inclination, I gather my own data in a setting under my own control. ARX penetrated 14.5″ and the Golden Saber 13.0″. By comparison, a non expanding PMC 90 grain FMJ penetrated 20.5″.

The ARX does not expand, but it does generate a significant lateral fluid pressure load. How do I know? Tie a string with a slip knot around the gel block at 2″ intervals. Mark the string where it passes through the knot, shoot the gel block and measure how far the string has pulled through the knot. It is a good relative indicator.

The Golden Saber or brass jacketed hollow point expands to approx double its original diameter even at 380 Auto velocity levels, but still penetrates 13″ which is good; bare gel, no denim, flannel, or sheet rock barriers in front of it. The PMC FMJ is a good illustration of why the 380 Auto earned a poor reputation in the distant past. Zero expansion, minimal lateral load and over penetration. The ball ammo design, in ancient times, was required to make a 380 auto loader cycle reliably. Not needed now.

Why not use a simple blow back 22 LR rimfire? I won’t put my foot in my “22 LR is not powerful enough” mouth, because #war_harbinger will tell me that he routinely lion hunts with a 22 LR, but I will say that subcompact 22 LR pistols are about as reliable in function as a jamming desk stapler. Is that better? Again, subcompact auto loaders, as quality rimfire pistols with a 3.5″ barrel and longer barrels tend to be reliable… a reliable pistol with an anemic cartridge, with unpredictable terminal ballistics.

Accuracy, shot to shot

Ten yard, five shot groups; Remington Golden Saber left, Interceptor ARX right. Both measure 1.8″ with the biggest challenge coming from the long double action trigger pull. From my perspective, excellent performance from this type of firearm and for its intended purpose.

In sintesi

The Smith and Wesson M&P Bodyguard is an excellent 380 Automatic pistol; materials, quality of design and quality of assembly. Subsequently, it is also highly concealable, reliable and accurate as a subcompact pistol. It may not have the power of a 45 Auto or even a high capacity 9mm Luger chambered pistol, but it is easy to use, easy to control and light and small enough to carry where other pistols might be left at home. Nice gun.


The Ruger SR1911 10MM Auto and a Cast of Thousands!…!! OK, maybe only a cast of four... but that's not what's important


My wife and I date a lot. Yes, with one another. Something more typical in a fifty three year marriage than one might suspect. Two weeks ago, it was lunch after our consecutively arranged primary physician appointments. Last week it was a post CT scan brunch. In October we have the big annual post cardiologist dinner.

My wife goes to the doctor, primarily, to rub my face in her near perfect lab work and visit results. I go, in my way of thinking, because I am like a low tech, high mileage Ferrari in need of an occasional tune. My wife’s alternative theory, is that I am an old guy who needs to watch his diet and exercise more. Phonetically speaking… potayto, potahto.

The Ruger SR1911

The Ruger SR1911 product is a high reliability, high quality, 70 series 1911 design. It is offered in numerous configurations in full, commander and officer lengths. Depending on version, it is available in 45 Automatic, 10mm Automatic and 9mm Luger. SR1911 applications are self defense, hunting and recreational and competitive target shooting. I have used the SR1911 extensively in 45 Automatic, 10mm Automatic and 9mm Luger.

Of the calibers offered, the 9mm Luger is the easiest to control, the 45 Auto provides more power with only a slight increase in effort required to control. The 10mm Auto version is the most powerful and extends the SR1911’s usefulness to a legitimate wilderness trail and hunting use. For a mellow fellow, a 10mm Auto with full tilt loads may be too much of a good thing. For an experienced centerfire pistol shooter, it may be just right.

In early going, growth in use of the 10mm Auto was stifled by a lack of ammunition variety and supply and by manufacturers’ persistence in producing soft loaded ammunition. The latter robbing the cartridge of its potential. However, the 10mm Auto has bucked uneven popularity cycles and has aspired to command approximately sixty two factory loads, a composite of twenty brands, readily available through retail channels. Within that population, full tilt loads are available.

Unfortunately, we are not living in normal circumstance, so people tend to cache ammunition and manufacturers tend to shift production to the most mainstream cartridges. Consequently, of the sixty two factory loads typically available, approximately twenty loads under five brands are currently stocked by online retailers.

Sounds less than exciting until you consider that, today, of the one hundred thirty two factory loads generally produced for the 45 Auto, zero are in stock through online retail and only four of the two hundred thirty two loads generally available for the 9mm Luger.

Some overview aspects of the SR1911 10mm Target

A well equipped 1911 with all the controls where God and John Browning intended, all in easy reach and all with positive actuation. And there are the nice touches of extended, narrow thumb safety, lightweight Commander type hammer, light weight trigger, and speed bump on the grip safety for folks with a lazy grip. Slide grooves appropriately placed to keep gripping hands away from the pistol’s muzzle.

The black sights, anti glare stainless finish and micro adjustable sights are quality pieces; long 6.9″ sight radius, with OK contrast and sharp profile against a target. For folks with a differing preference who might want, say, a bright green fiber optic front sight, they can easily be changed out.

For folks who gripe about the effort required to change a dovetail mounted front sight, you might try fitting a peened front sight on a 70 series Colt with a sight fitting backing anvil for a fresh perspective.


The personality of the Ruger SR1911 makes it softer shooting than most 10mm pistols. Key to this SR1911 10mm Auto’s attribute is the absence of a barrel bushing, its heavy profile bull barrel and slight increase in slide weight. The result is dampened reciprocating forces. This explains why the Ruger SR1911 has become my pistol of choice whenever copious amounts of 10mm Automatic ammunition is to be expended. Capisci? The little spring clip in the guide rod is used for disassembly.

The little clip, “wire tool” in Ruger nomenclature, is pushed through the guide rod when disassembling to hold the guide rod, reversed recoil spring plug and recoil spring in a compressed state until the assembly is removed from the slide. A function of its bushingless design.

The Ruger SR1911 is effective in applications as shipped from the factory and it also responds well to typical 1911 modifications, accepting 1911 standard bits and pieces including tool steel fire control components. Standard 1911 trigger job fixtures, trigger bow forms, slide and frame rail fitting tools, and stones and files all apply.

For further information, the Ruger SR1911 10mm Target has previously been reviewed in detail on Real Guns®. That information, live fire review and handloads are available at:

Ruger’s SR1911 10mm Power House Parts 1 & 2
10mm Auto jacketed handload Data

Four cast bullets

I can’t speak for you, but I am here because I needed some inexpensive cast bullet loads for the 10mm Automatic round for practice, self defense as a trail gun and for deer and hog hunting. Do I not have to be here as a condition of my employment? Sure. That, too or, maybe it’s “Sure, that too”.

All Acme bullets are made of 92-6-2 lead alloy (lead-antimony-tin) and have a Brinell Hardness of 16. Pure lead has a Brinell hardness of 4. Typically, anything with a Brinell Hardness greater than 10 is considered hard cast.

Bullet Type Weight
Diameter” Shank
Acme Cast SWC 155 0.401 0.300 0.582
Acme Cast FP 180 0.401 0.390 0.630
Acme Cast FP 200 0.401 0.425 0.682
Double Tap Cast WFNGC 230 0.400 0.505 0.732

155 grain OAL is critical, as is going easy on the taper crimp. The reduced velocity load listed is a practice load, but not so light as to cause cycling problems or require a recoil spring change, and they actually have quite a bit of thump. For self-defense it is a very controllable load and it offers a bit less penetration of walls, appliances and the car parked in the garage.

The form of the 155 grain SWC has been altered in more recent production to be slightly shorter to keep inside maximum overall length and all production is now red Hi-Tek coated. Loaded to 1.250″, edge of bullet meplat pictured hits barrel ramp ahead of case mouth, preventing feed problems. The 10mm Auto cartridge headspaces on its case mouth, so all cases were trimmed and outside/inside reamed and taper crimped. No, you should not skip those steps and call it done.

Handloads… Hond luuds in Scottish

Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity,  pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may be excessive in others. All loads should be reduced by 5% as a starting point for development where cartridges have greater than 40 grains in capacity and 10% for cartridges with less than 40 grain capacity following safe handloading practices as represented in established mainstream reloading manuals. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.


10mm Automatic  SAAMI MAP 37,500 PSI
Firearm Ruger SR1911
Barrel Length 5″
Max Case Length 0.992″ +0.000″/-0.010″
Min – Max COL 1.240″ – 1.260″
Primer CCI 300
Bullet Diameter 0.4005″ +0.000″/-0.0030″
Reloading Dies RCBS

Bullet Type Bullet

Net H2O
COL” Powder Type Powder



5 Shot
Acme SWC 155 15.4 1.250 AA 7 13.5 1465 739 1.9
Acme SWC 155 15.4 1.250 Power Pistol 10.5 1449 723 1.6
Acme SWC 155 15.4 1.250 Power Pistol 6.5 1101 417 1.1
Acme SWC 155 15.4 1.250 Long Shot 10.5 1462 736 1.6
Acme FP 180 13.0 1.260 AA 7 11.5 1250 625 1.6
Acme FP 180 13.0 1.260 AA 9 13.0 1259 634 1.3
Acme FP 180 13.0 1.260 Long Shot 9.0 1307 683 1.5
Acme FP 200 11.4 1.260 AA 9 11.5 1156 594 1.0
Acme FP 200 11.4 1.260 Long Shot 8.0 1204 644 1.2
Acme FP 200 11.4 1.260 CFE Pistol 7.2 1166 604 1.7
Double Tap WFNGC 230 9.2 1.240 AA 9 10.2 1023 535 1.4
Double Tap WFNGC 230 9.2 1.240 Power Pistol 7.0 1001 512 2.0
Double Tap WFNGC 230 9.2 1.240 Long Shot 7.0 1094 611 1.2


Impressions, thought and physical

I would have to classify these handloads in the Ruger SR1911, with one exception, as… invigorating. Sharp muzzle climb with the hand and wrist going along for the ride. In other words, more than micro aggressive to Democrats, but satisfying to Republicans and Independents. I don’t know about Libertarians, they don’t respond to surveys.

Heavy lead probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to kinetic energy junkies at first blush… glimpse, not the face coloration, but penetration is greater as are retained energy and velocity and then penetrate harder surfaces than gelatinous gel. If I had to break the shoulder bone of a black bear for some indeterminate reason, my preference would be for heavier, hard cast bullets or a safe place to hide.

For personal defense, proficiency training and recreational target shooting, the 155 grain probably makes a good deal of sense. For a trail gun or hunting, heavier is probably better. Personally, I like 200 grain loads as a balance of velocity and sectional density.

AA #7 and Long Shot powders ran a little hot and had to be backed off from some of my historical load data. Pressure build was not linear in work up, with pressure spiking nearing max loads. Others were more well mannered. I would like to spend more time with CFE Pistol as there appears to be greater potential.

Official 50′ targets. Within the context of this article, I see the Ruger as a 50 yard gun being shot by a guy with 50 foot eyes, at least with metallic sights. 200 grain bullets shot the corner off the queen with three shots, before it dawned on me that I could aim lower and nearly put five into the 1.25″x2.0″ inner rectangle. Accuracy that could be matched or bettered with many of the handloads on the table.

Empties, without playing with recoil spring rates, were deposited a… generous distance from the shooter. For most applications, I would rather have the certainty of ejection and reliable cycling than having reloadable brass drop at my feet. The force of ejection can be tuned to shooter preferences.

Are you happy with yourself and the Ruger, Joe? You bet.

I write about Ruger firearms a good deal. Most of the work I do is related to shop work: handloading, ammo check out or gunsmithing with reviews being derivative rather than the objective. Ruger happens to make workhorse firearms that hold up to hard use, are accurate, respond to modification, and photograph well. The Ruger SR1911 Target 10mm Auto is no exception.