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Remington’s 300 Ultra Mag and the Remington American Wilderness Rifle Part I A no compromise combination

12/13/2019

Turning over a new leaf is not always easy. I am not even sure of the etymology of that expression… idiom? Let me check with my memory annex, Google. According to someone named Ginger, in the 16th century, book pages were called “leaves” and turning over a new leaf meant turning to a blank page. So I guess I just said I am now a blank page.

I mean, it is not like I am taking up yoga, or turning into Yoda or learning how to yodel. It is just that I was listening to a Christmas Carol channel… yes, that is a thing, when I encounter a version of “The Little Drummer Boy” sung by Bob Dylan, part of a Bob Dylan Christmas album. That guy has changed into whatever he has wanted to be, whenever he has wanted, and his transient gains or losses in popularity seemed to mean nothing to him. All I could think was, “Man, that dude is free”.

It was then that I realized I did not have to drink ten cups of coffee in the morning, I did not have to engage everyone who did not share my view of the world, I did not have to yell at the TV’s screen while watching FOX news, or show total disdain for every registered Democrat and most Republicans. No, nope, not at all. So I am sitting here typing away, a cup of green tea within my grasp, listening to Niel Young singing After The Gold Rush and enjoying the spirit of the holiday.

I like this time of year. The Christmas tree is up, the weather has been running from crisp to frigid, and my backlog of woodland whitetail hunting rifle projects is caught up. That gives me more latitude in picking projects of personal interest. Yeah for me! Today is a day reflecting opposite ends of the spectrum, a range day with a 300 Remington Ultra Mag and a FN 5.7x28mm.

Oddly enough, there is some commonality between the two rounds, the 300 Remington Ultra Magnum and the FN 5.7x28mm, in that while both can be effective is a wide array of setting, but their greatest utility comes within more specific applications. This time around, it is the 300 Remington Ultra Magnum.

Remington’s American Wilderness Rifle

Manufacturer Remington – Ilion, NY
Order #
84557
Caliber 300 RUM
Magazine Capacity 3
Barrel Length 26″
Twist Rate 1:10″ 5R
Barrel/Action material
416 Stainless
Finish
Black Cerakote
Weight 7 lbs 6 oz.
Overall Length 46.5″
Stock Grayboe Composite
Pull 13.375″
Drop at comb 1.125″
Drop at heel 1.375″
Sights
None
Trigger X-Mark Pro
Trigger Pull 3 Lbs. – 5 Lbs
Safety Two Position Thumb
MSRP $1,150

The Remington Model 700 American Wilderness Rifle, while available in other chambers, is an optimal rifle for the 300 Remington Ultra Magnum. It is constructed from the right materials and finishes for a challenging weather and environment found on wilderness hunt, it has the right barrel length for the cartridge’s powder capacity, the AWR has the right heft and balance for steady sighting and recoil dissipation, and the proven Remington design to assure longevity in use.

A quick look inside

Bolt action rifles are relatively simple machines; easy to operate, easy to clean and maintain. The Remington Model 700 AWR is no exception. Overall, the Remington Model 700 AWR is push feed, a twin lug, long action with 90° bolt lift. A recessed bolt head holds a cartridge case head, the front portion of the bolt locates into a recess in the rifles barrel and the barrel shank is enclosed in the rifle’s receiver. Remington’s three rings of steel feature. The 26″ long barrel has 5R rifling to minimize the distortion effect rifling has on bullets.

The classic Model 700 cylindrical receiver that is easy to bed to a stock in a production environment and with a high degree of accuracy. Both action and barrel are 416 stainless steel, and black Cerakote finished. As noted earlier, the action is secured to the stock through pillar bedding. Up from, the recoil lug drops into a recess in the stock and prevents rearward movement in relationship to the stock. The X-Mark Pro trigger is a good one; hardened surfaces, smooth trigger travel and no creep. The adjustment range is well within the confines of what is reasonable at 3 pounds to 5 pounds +/- a bit.

The Model 700 AWR Grayboe stock is moulded fiberglass construction. No embedded aluminum chassis, but pillar bedded with moulded in aluminum pillars. In fact, the stock is made from a solid homogeneous fiberglass epoxy matrix. no gel coat or foam core, making it easy to modify if desired, without impacting structure.  The stock is rear end capped with a shoulder friendly Decelerator recoil pad and fitted with swivel studs. As of late, a number of manufacturers have spray painted laminated wood stocks to look like composite stocks so I tend to look and make sure.

 

Bottom side, the trigger guard and hinged floorplate are made of aluminum and hard anodized matte black. The floorplate release is located at the inside, upper portion of the trigger guard. The follower is plated steel, as is the magazine box. The three round capacity is one round more than I had with my 378 WM based cases in my Weatherby Mark V rifles.

The 300 Remington Ultra Magnum is the fastest thirty in the visible universe!…!!

In the line up above, left to right, we begin with the 30-06 Springfield as the subject cartridge case capacity we want to increase to magnum proportions: 300 WSM, 300 Winchester Mag, 300 PRC based on the 375 Ruger case, 300 Weatherby Magnum, 300 Remington Ultra Magnum. Omitted are the smaller capacity 0.308″ caliber magnums and the larger 378 Weatherby case based magnums. The former because of its somewhat limited velocity potential and the later due to its oversize belt, body and rim causing a lack of firearm fit potential. As an example, the Remington Model 700 AWR in 300 Remington Ultra Mag is half the cost of a Weatherby Mark V 30-378. 300 Remington Ultra Magnum ammunition runs $40 – $50 per box of twenty rounds, where 30-378 Weatherby ammunition runs $100 – $120.

Cartridge Capacity
Grains H2O
*MAP
PSI
Overall
Length”
*180 grain
Velocity FPS
30-06 Springfield 68.0 60 KPSI 3.340 2860
300 WSM 81.3 65 KPSI 2.860 2970
300 Winchester Mag 92.0 64 KPSI 3.340 3080
300 PRC 99.0 65 KPSI 3.700 3200**
300 Weatherby Mag 99.0 65 KPSI 3.560 3125
300 Ultra Mag 112.5 65 KPSI 3.600 3225
* SAAMI Standards
** 300 PRC Velocity indicated is sourced from Hornady.

 

The 300 Remington Ultra Mag is an outstanding cartridge. For that matter, so are the 7mm Remington Ultra Mag, the 338 Remington Ultra Mag and the 375 Ultra Mag. Oh yeah, Joe, if they are so great, why aren’t they filling the racks at big and small gun shops the world over? Geez, don’t all micro aggressive on me. Let’s be adults about this and take a look… butt-head.

If this were 2000 to 2001, I would blame the receding popularity of the Ultra Mag product line on Winchester’s introduction of the Winchester Short Magnum cartridges. Winchester and members of the firearm press did a heck of a job convincing the market place that short squat cartridges, which provided little more velocity than their non-magnum first cousins, were the way to go.

If this were 2001 – 2002, I would blame the receding popularity of the Ultra Mag product line on Remington’s attempt to counter Winchester with their own line of anemic “magnums” in the form of the Short Action Ultra Mag series. Common, we know jumbo shrimp when we see it.

If you asked me today what diminished the success of the Remington Ultra Mag product, I would say, not a thing as the 300 Remington Ultra Magnum is highly successful, but now occupying an appropriate position in an application driven market place. If the 30-06 Springfield is enough cartridge for the largest game North America has to offer, the greater the increase in power above that level, the more narrow the application. How do firearm enthusiasts see these cartridge? Demand drives supply and this is how the .30 caliber cartridges fall in regard to supply…

Cartridges Number of Factory Loads Number of Companies FPS Gain
Over 30-06
30-06 Springfield
122 19
300 Winchester Short Magnum 42 9 110
300 Winchester Magnum
82 18 220
300 PRC 2 1 340
300 Weatherby Magnum 25 7 265
300 Remington Ultra Magnum 25 8 365

With the 30-06 Springfield enough to get the job done on the largest North American game, there are essentially two reasons for progressing to ever larger capacity cartridges. Magnums can stretch shooting distances and magnums can drive heavier bullets. Combine increases in velocity with heavier bullets with higher ballistic coefficient and sectional density and the result is flatter shooting, higher retained velocity and higher retained energy. What might that look like? Running these through the Real Guns Ballistic Calculator with best zero selected by the program…

30-06 Springfield 180 Grain
Near-Zero – yds. 26 Mid Range – yds. 136
Far-Zero – yds. 242 Max Ordinate – in. +3.0
Point Blank – yds. 257
Best Zero : Range 0 – 500 yards
Yards 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
Velocity – fps 2860 2762 2666 2572 2480 2390 2302 2216 2132 2050 1969
Energy – ft.-lbs. 3269 3048 2840 2643 2457 2282 2117 1962 1816 1679 1550
Momentum – lbs-sec 74 71 69 66 64 61 59 57 55 53 51
Path – in. -1.50 1.15 2.66 2.95 1.92 -0.52 -4.48 -10.08 -17.45 -26.74 -38.09
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.05 0.11 0.17 0.23 0.29 0.35 0.42 0.49 0.56 0.63

 

300 Winchester Short Magnum 180 Grain
Near-Zero – yds. 27 Mid Range – yds. 141
Far-Zero – yds. 250 Max Ordinate – in. +3.0
Point Blank – yds. 267
Best Zero : Range 0 – 500 yards
Yards 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
Velocity – fps 2970 2870 2771 2675 2581 2489 2398 2310 2224 2140 2058
Energy – ft.-lbs. 3525 3291 3069 2860 2662 2475 2299 2133 1977 1830 1692
Momentum – lbs-sec 76 74 71 69 66 64 62 59 57 55 53
Path – in. -1.50 1.07 2.59 2.98 2.15 0.02 -3.52 -8.56 -15.24 -23.67 -34.00
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.16 0.22 0.28 0.34 0.40 0.47 0.54 0.61

 

300 Remington Ultra Magnum
Near-Zero – yds. 29 Mid Range – yds. 153
Far-Zero – yds. 270 Max Ordinate – in. +3.0
Point Blank – yds. 288
Best Zero : Range 0 – 500 yards
Yards 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
Velocity – fps 3225 3119 3015 2914 2815 2718 2623 2530 2438 2349 2262
Energy – ft.-lbs. 4156 3887 3633 3393 3166 2952 2749 2557 2376 2206 2045
Momentum – lbs-sec 83 80 78 75 72 70 67 65 63 60 58
Path – in. -1.50 0.91 2.43 2.99 2.53 0.97 -1.77 -5.77 -11.13 -17.95 -26.34
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.31 0.37 0.43 0.49 0.56

There are no magnum thunderbolts that push bullets twice the velocity of their standard cartridge affiliate. In this case, the 300 Remington Ultra Magnum outperformed the 30-06 Springfield from muzzle to termination at 500 yards where it generated 16% higher velocity at 500 yards and 32% higher kinetic energy. The velocity increase over the 30-06 Springfield reduces time in flight, therefore extending point blank and reducing drop at subsequent ranges, reducing wind drift and striking the target with greater momentum and kinetic energy for deeper penetration.

A couple of quick notes

This isn’t the end of the story. I have owned three 300 Remington Ultra Magnum Rifles. One was a 26″ barrel Sendero, a 26″ barrel CDL and one 26″ barrel rifle I built in the shop from a Remington Model 700 Long Action that weighs 6.5 lbs… which I don’t like to talk about, at least not until I restock it. All of the SAAMI velocity ratings are predicated on a 24″ test barrel and the bigger the cartridge, the more they benefit from increases in barrel length.

The objective for Part II is to work up some handloads optimized for bullets on the heavy end of the weight spectrum. Be back soon with the handload portion of this project and notes on the rifle’s live fire performance.

The Ruger 57 5.7x28mm Did not see this coming!

12/31/2019

Snow storm coming tomorrow afternoon. The weather has held up so far this winter so, with a little bundling up, there have been lots of good shooting days. Temperatures have dropped into the high teens on occasion, but the air is still and clear and offering good opportunities to function check firearms under less than ideal conditions. I can handle a day or two of clearing and shoveling a little Maine sunshine.

The Ruger 57 caught me by surprise; lots of precision and hunting rifles introduced by Ruger in a steady stream and then, “Hey, let’s make a pistol chambered for the 5.7x28mm”. Why not? I had real eggs for breakfast, the U.S. Congress has lost its mind and my wife still loves me despite my faults, flaws and comb-over cowlick… Life holds many surprises. So when really good things happen, don’t question them, just accept and enjoy them.

Ruger-57

Model Number
16401
Manufacturer Ruger
Point of Origin Prescott, AZ
Type Ruger Secure Action™
Caliber 5.7x28mm
Magazine Capacity *20
Barrel Length
4.94″
Rifling 1:9″ RH 8 Groove
Overall Length 8.65″
Overall Height 5.60″
Slide Width 1.2″
Weight 24.5 Oz.
Sight Radius 7.5″
Trigger Pull – Actual 4 Lbs 10 Oz.
Rear Sight Windage & Elevation Adjustable
Front Sight Green Fiber Optic
Barrel Material Alloy Steel – Black Nitride
Slide Material Alloy Steel – Black Oxide
Grip Frame
Glass Filled Nylon
Frame Material Polymer Over Aluminum Chassis
Integral Fire Control Chassis
CNC Machined – Anodized
Thumb Safety Ambidextrous
Magazine Disconnect No
Loaded Chamber Indicator Yes
MSRP $799.00
*16402 10 Round Magazine

A little elaboration

The Ruger 57 is an internally hammer fired, magazine fed, auto loading, recoil operated, centerfire handgun.  It utilizes a delayed blowback design in which the barrel and slide are held together by the recoil spring at the moment of firing. As the bullet moves down the barrel and exits, the barrel and slide move rearward at different speeds until the barrel reaches its stopping point. The recoiling slide disconnects the trigger bar from the sear.

The slide continues rearward, extracting and ejecting the spent cartridge case and cocks the pistol’s internal hammer. At full rearward travel, the compressed recoil spring pushes the slide forward, strips a fresh cartridge from the pistol’s magazine, chambers it and drives the barrel full forward. Releasing the trigger resets the pistol and makes it ready to fire.

Ruger 57 physical characteristics

The Ruger 57 is supplied with fully adjustable sights; the rear sight with serrated black face, the front a green fiber optic. The pistol’s inherent accuracy and long sight radius put Ruger’s adjustable sight selection to good use. Additionally, the slide top is drilled and tapped for reflex sight mounting. The slide has been scalloped, slotted and relieved to keep slide weight to a minimum while maintaining a robust structure.

Reach to controls is very similar to a 1911 design, which makes shooting the Ruger 57 intuitive for anyone with 1911 experience. That applies to thumb safeties, trigger reach, magazine release, and slide stop. For as long as the cartridge is, 1.594″ overall length compared to 1.275″ for the 45 Automatic, it isn’t felt when gripping the pistol. The Ruger 57 grip in cross section is 2.10″ x 1.10″ where a typical 1911 is 2.05″ x 1.34″ and the form does not compromise capacity.

Yes, that is a tiny 1911. The illustration is to show the Ruger 57’s balance and distribution of mass. The 57’s barrel is 0.1″ shorter than a full size 5″ 1911, but the overall length of the Ruger 57’s slide assembly at 8.5″ is 1″ longer than a 1911 slide assembly as a result of the 5.7x28mm’s longer cartridge accommodation.

If someone were to place a 1911 on top of a Ruger 57, aligned at the muzzles, the grips would be in the same position. However, the Ruger 57’s slide and grip frame would project 1″ farther back than the 1911, while the overall length is approximately the same. The Ruger 57 has a longer slide, but its beavertail support is integrated into the frame. The 1911 has a shorter slide and frame, but its beavertail extends back beyond its frame as part of its grip safety. The Ruger 57 approach result in a neutral balance, rather than the nose heavy balance of a 1911.

The subject Ruger 57 holds 20 rounds. Another version, as noted in the spec box, has a capacity of 10 rounds for firearm enthusiasts who live in one of THOSE states. Both pistol configurations are supplied with two magazines. The compact size of ammunition is illustrated by the twenty rounds in the palm of my hand. A couple hundred boxed rounds can be carried in a jacket pocket.

The Ruger 57 is an easy take down; magazine out, slide back chamber check, push in on takedown pin, pull slide back to release the slide stop, ease the slide forward while lifting the rear of the slide up and off the frame. Reassembly is as easy.

Below, the bottom side of the slide shows relieved area and a trapped, but visible firing pin and firing pin spring. While the grip frame is glass filled Nylon, the fire control components are mounted within a CNC machined and hard coated aluminum chassis secured within the grip frame

The action is a delayed blowback type with the recoil spring providing resistance. The barrel, casing and slide continue rearward when a round is discharged for approximately 0.090″. Then the barrel stops, no tilting, while the slide continues on to extract, eject, cock the hammer, then chambers a fresh round on rebound.

Ruger was smart to include an accommodation for reflex sights. The slide top is drilled and tapped to accept any of the five reflex optic mount plates available as accessories at ShopRuger.Com . At the moment, they are:

Plate # Sight
1 Vortex Venom & Vortex Viper, Burris FastFire 2 & 3
2 Doctor /  Meopta /  MRDS(Ecotech) / Insight
3 Leupold/Redfield Delta point only. Deltapoint PRO will fit but weight is excessive
4 Trijicon
5 J-point, Shield, Shield RMS-c, SIG Romeo-0, Romeo-1

The reference to weight is important, particularly with lighter 27 grain ammunition. While velocity is very high, restricted by Newton’s Third Law, the rearward force exerted on the slide is modest and the primary reason auto-loading firearms chambered for the 5.7x28mm round are blowback designs and not tilting barrel / locked breech designs. Subsequently, reciprocating pieces are light to assure reliability and care must be taken when adding weight to the slide.

I installed my old Burris FastFire II on the Ruger 57. Above, the Number 1 plate was installed by removing the two plug screws in the slide and securing the plate with the includes T15 Torx head screws torqued between 30 and 50 in-lbs. Then the FastFire mount screws secure the sight to the plate.

The Burris FastFire II weighs 0.9 oz. Ruger recommends a maximum sight weight of 1 ounce or less. There were no malfunctions with Federal 40 grain ammo and only one failure to feed with FN 27 grain ammunition. Outside of that anomaly, the pistol was easy to shoot, light in recoil, well balanced, and more shooting fun than I have had in some time. The factory target sights are excellent and hold adjustment, but the reflex sight adds a great deal of speed.

Twenty-five yard, five shot groups, measured center to center, farthest holes. Pistol was rested on shot filled bags for support with red dot sight in place. These groups are typical of what factory ammunition produced. The Federal 40 grain ammo was recorded over the chronograph at 1655 fps. The FN 27 grain ammo clocked 2159 fps. The 5.7x28mm is clearly a 50 yard plus gun for someone with better eyesight.

The 5.7x28mm

The 5.7x28mm has an interesting history of development and deployment. When you have a moment, Google the topic and you will find many versions of the same story, each altered slightly in an effort to create an air of originality. The fact that the 5.7x28mm was originally developed as a cartridge for military applications is less relevant than the fact it is a brass cartridge, with a conventional primer, modest powder charge, and bullet. Its specifications are controlled under the auspices of CIP, rather than SAAMI or NATO.

In context – above, the 5.7x28mm next to a 9mm Luger round, backed by a box of 50 5.7x28mm rounds. The 5.7x28mm has a case capacity of 13.85 grains of H2O,or about one half grain less than the 22 Hornet and about 50% more than the 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire.  In the case of the Ruger 57, the combination definitely fills a unique place in terms of handgun ballistics.  The Ruger 57 offers high velocity, low recoil, low muzzle rise, accuracy, and lethality. In comparison to the 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, setting aside excessively long and mismatched spec test barrels, the differences are as they appear in the table below.

Cartridge Brand Bullet Grains Rated
FPS
5.7x28mm
4.9″ Barrel
Recorded MV FPS
22 WMR
6.0″ Barrel
Recorded MV FPS
5.7x28mm Federal American Eagle 40 2250 1655
22 WMR CCI GamePoint 40 1875 1373
5.7x28mm FN Herstal 27 2132 2159
22 WMR Winchester Super X 28 2200 1586

In comparison to the 9mm Luger, recorded chronograph readings…

 

Cartridge Brand Bullet Grains Rated
FPS
5.7x28mm
4.9″ Barrel
MV FPS
5.7x28mm
4.9″ Barrel
ME Ft-Lbs
9mm Luger
4.5″ Barrel
MV FPS
9mm Luger
4.5″ Barrel
ME Ft-Lbs
5.7x28mm Federal AE 40 2250 1655 243
9mm Luger
Remington UD 124 1125 1111 340
5.7x28mm FN Herstal 27 2132 2159 280
9mm Luger
Remington UMC
115 1145
1171 350

In comparison to the 9mm Luger in terms of trajectory at recorded velocity…

Best Zero Results – 40 Grain 5.7x28mm
Near-Zero – yds. 14 Mid Range – yds. 74
Far-Zero – yds. 129 Max Ordinate – in. +3.0
Point Blank – yds. 137
Best Zero : Range 0 – 200 yards
Yards 0 50 100 150 200
Velocity – fps 1655 1475 1317 1188 1089
Energy – ft.-lbs. 243 193 154 125 105
Momentum – lbs-sec 9 8 8 7 6
Path – in. -1.50 2.40 2.28 -2.85 -14.13
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.10 0.20 0.32 0.46

 

Best Zero Results 124 Grain 9mm Luger
Near-Zero – yds. 10 Mid Range – yds. 53
Far-Zero – yds. 93 Max Ordinate – in. +3.0
Point Blank – yds. 99
Best Zero : Range 0 – 200 yards
Yards 0 50 100 150 200
Velocity – fps 1111 1016 948 894 848
Energy – ft.-lbs. 340 284 247 220 198
Momentum – lbs-sec 20 18 17 16 15
Path – in. -1.50 2.88 -1.15 -14.84 -39.40
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.14 0.29 0.46 0.63

 

Best Zero Results 27 Grain 5.7x28mm
Near-Zero – yds. 17 Mid Range – yds. 86
Far-Zero – yds. 143 Max Ordinate – in. +3.0
Point Blank – yds. 151
Best Zero : Range 0 – 200 yards
Yards 0 50 100 150 200
Velocity – fps 2159 1783 1458 1205 1043
Energy – ft.-lbs. 279 191 127 87 65
Momentum – lbs-sec 8 7 6 5 4
Path – in. -1.50 1.97 2.66 -0.78 -10.21
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.08 0.17 0.28 0.42

 

Best Zero Results 115 Grain 9mm Luger
Near-Zero – yds. 10 Mid Range – yds. 55
Far-Zero – yds. 96 Max Ordinate – in. +3.0
Point Blank – yds. 103
Best Zero : Range 0 – 200 yards
Yards 0 50 100 150 200
Velocity – fps 1171 1064 989 931 883
Energy – ft.-lbs. 350 289 250 221 199
Momentum – lbs-sec 19 17 16 15 15
Path – in. -1.50 2.82 -0.52 -12.74 -34.99
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.13 0.28 0.44 0.60

In each example, best zero was determined by staying within a 6″ target for as great a distance as possible with a maximum +3″ ordinate. Maximum range was set at 200 yards to examine trajectory, however, the design specification sets a maximum effective range with a pistol at 55 yards, with a maximum range of 1,651 yards. In each case, the point blank range of the 5.7x28mm far exceeds the 9mm Luger.

Ammunition

There are three types of 5.7x28mm ammunition in general distribution. Prices run between $24 and $29 per box of 50 rounds. Ruger specifically prohibits the use of reloaded or re-manufactured ammunition in the Ruger 57, but with good reasons.

The low inertial force generated by a light 22 caliber bullet mandates the minimal resistance of a blow back action, light slide weight and minimal resistance to case extraction for reliable operation. The same principals apply to any auto loading firearm chambered for this cartridge. Unfortunately, the 5.7x28mm cartridge with its high operating pressure and only the slightest of body taper is not cooperative in that scheme of things. Subsequently, all 5.7x28mm factory ammunition receives a proprietary, low coefficient of friction polymer coating that aids extraction and assures reliable cycling of the firearm. Case cleaning techniques used when reloading, and the routine of processing brass through dies, would remove the poly coating and there is no workbench product to replace it. Below, the effects of sizer dies on the cartridge’s poly coating as accumulated in a shell holder.

Above, a full length sizer and seater die set. General information – The 5.7x28mm headspaces on its shoulder and requires full length resizing to restore workable dimensions after being fired. Hornady #37 and Lee #15 shell holders cover both the 5.7x28mm and 25 Automatic. RCBS #45 and Redding #34 are dedicated 5.7x28mm shell holders. The 5.7x28mm cartridge takes a small rifle primer. FN ammunition has staked primers and requires primer pocket swaging before reloading. Federal ammunition primers are not swaged. Rims are quite fragile in a reloading press.

Personally, I would not reload the 5.7x28mm for use in any auto loading firearm. There is just nothing to gain, but a lot to lose, by handloading. Changing bullet weights and powder types, increasing or diminishing velocity and/or pressure would only serve to diminish reliability. So why do I have reloading dies and shell holder at the ready and why bring up the issue of reloading?

I like the idea of small caliber, moderate case capacity cartridges for single shot pistol application, particularly for recreational target shooting, pest control and varmint hunting. Pictured, left, the 5.7x28mm next to a 17-357 RG, the 357 SIG with shoulder pushed back and necked down to .17 caliber. At some point in time I will dig up a 5.7x28mm reamer and put together a single shot pistol project for Real Guns®, but only because I like to make things out of other things and satisfy my own curiosity about cartridge potential. When I want to have fun shooting, without a lot of tinkering, poking and prodding, I’ll just take out the Ruger 57 and enjoy the day with factory ammunition.

Completing the Ruger 57 Package

Sometimes when new firearms are introduced, necessary accessories are not. Fortunately, Ruger has covered a range of accessories for the Ruger 57 that are available at ShopRuger.Com and through local Ruger product retailers. Accessories include: holsters, magazines, magazine pouches, optic mounting plates, reflex sights, and rail-mount lights and lasers. The basic Model-57 is supplied with two magazines and a lockable hard case.

What can you do with a Ruger 57?

I keep wanting to draw an association with a mature firearm to help in the representation. I can’t. The Ruger 57 is an original work. It certainly is not a derivative of the bulky FN Five-Seven with rhino horn front sight. It is not a 1911 with a nose heavy attitude. It is light, balanced and fast handling, with either open sights or red dot sight in place.

This Ruger 57 consumed many rounds of ammunition in recreational target shooting competition. It was shot for performance and reliability data collection.  It was holstered and carried in the surrounding woodland in areas where plinking is ideal. It was also used to dispatch some pest rodents trying to take up residency in places where they were uninvited, and with rather explosive results with 27 grain ammo.The full grip was comfortable shooting one or two handed. The sights, metallic and red dot, were steady on target thanks to the Ruger 57’s good balance. Report was moderate, muzzle rise was not significant… a well behaved, high performance pistol. The Ruger 57 is an excellent handgun that brings a great deal of enjoyment to shooting.

 

Browning’s 1911-380 Black Label Medallion Pro A 1911 that won't make your pants fall down

12/27/2019 There have been some very dramatic changes in life in America and therefore, through societal osmosis, changes to all of us as individuals. Take lunch, as an example. Thirty years ago, lunch at Leo’s Eat Well Delicatessen could have been thinly sliced pastrami from a steam table, piled high on hard crust dark rye…

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Ruger’s LCP II 22 LR

12/30/2019

Ruger LCP II 22LR

Model Number
13705
Manufacturer Ruger
Point of Origin Mayodan, North Carolina
Type Blowback- SA
Caliber 22 Long Rifle
Magazine Capacity 10
Barrel 2.75″
Rifling 1:16″
Overall Length 5.20″
Overall Height 4.00″
Slide Width 0.81″
Weight 11.2 Oz.
Sight Radius 4.5″
Trigger Pull – Actual 4 Lbs 6 Oz.
Rear Sight Low Profile – Integral
Front Sight Low Profile – Integral
Barrel Material Stainless Steel
Slide Material Alloy Steel
Slide Finish Blued
Frame Material Glass Filled Nylon
Grips Integral
Safety Manual + Hammer Block
Magazine Disconnect Yes
Loaded Chamber Indicator No
MSRP $349

The Ruger LCP II is the jellybean of firearms; it comes in many colors and configuration and firearm enthusiasts consume them like crazy. They are highly concealable, highly reliable, low in price, and supported by aftermarket suppliers for owners who want to personalize with holsters, magazines, laser sights, short pull triggers, tuned recoil springs, etc.

The introduction of the 22 Long Rifle version of the Ruger LCP II adds yet another dimension to the product. Form similarity with the LCP II 380 Automatic version makes the 22 LR version a good practice stand in with higher capacity, 10 rounds rather than 6, and with less costly ammunition.

The LCP II 22 LR also stands on its own with less recoil and easier slide actuation when chambering a first round. The 22 LR version has a manual safety and a simple blowback action rather than a lock breech, tilting barrel action. The 22 LR barrel tilts only as the slide cycles to reduce the angle from magazine to barrel ramp.

Carrying a pistol for self defense suggests a potential for a circumstance where a person’s life is in peril. Determining which firearm and cartridge combination is appropriate is a personal decision but, for most, a reliable 22LR pistol has a place in self defense applications.

In my mind, there is no controversy to the issue of using a firearm chambered for the 22 LR rimfire. I would carry the LCP II as a backup, or a primary in some circumstances, because it is easy to conceal, easy to operate, easy to control and quite lethal close up with the right ammunition. My opinion.

The Ruger LCP II 22LR is shipped with a nicely done pocket holster, a thoughtful accessory.

One magazine is included with the pistol, however, extras can be purchased in two packs from ShopRuger.Com. The 22 long rifle magazines do not have a load assist button, so a magazine loader is included to speed magazine loading; not necessary, but handy.

The slide is easy to rack, which Ruger attributes to a “Lite Rack” system which is comprised of refined slide gripping surfaces, cocking ears at slide end and a light recoil spring. The manual safety is push forward to fire.

The one piece, heavily stippled grip frame is made of glass filled nylon. The slide is fashioned from through-hardened steel. While the pistol is small, the controls are easy to actuate. Removing the take down pin is not hard, but it does require the assistance of a small prying tool… like a screwdriver.  The pistol is hammer fired. The hammer is inside the assembly, but visible from the back.

Rather than barrel motion being controlled by a camming surface on the barrel under lug, the top of the barrel surface above the chamber provides the cam profile; as the slide is driven back, it drives the rear of the barrel down.

At 3/4″ wide and 5″ and a bit long, the LCP II has enough surface to form a solid grip, but it is small enough to easily conceal. The sights are low and snag resistance and actually quite good for fixed sights. The barrel camming surface is more obvious in this picture.

While the Ruger LCP II 22 LR is diminutive in size, the trigger guard loop is full size. The pistol is covered with gripping surfaces, either stippled, serrated or sculptured. The slide is easy to rack from either front or rear ribbed surfaces or from the subtle dog ears at the rear of the slide.

Performance as measured by feet per second

And here we have our participants, in order of height and from above left to right, and on the table top to bottom:

Ammunition Bullet
Weight Grs
Rated FPS
24″
Barrel
Actual FPS
2.75″
Barrel
Remington Thunderbolt 40 1,255 828
Federal Champion 36 1,280 933
Remington Cyclone 36 1,280 975
Remington Golden Bullet 40 1,255 937
Winchester Wildcat 40 1,255 876

Accuracy…

I was going to post my three hundred yard targets with ballistic tables, but I didn’t want to show off. Instead I stuck with twenty five feet and a 3.5″ x 2.5″ playing card with geezer size face markings. I was doing really well for the first four shots, then I got to stressing about the coming fifth shot and it became a self fulfilling prophecy.

Which ammunition was the most accurate? All of them. Shooting a number of groups with each, essentially yielded the same or very similar results and that is good enough for close-in work. So any 22 LR ammunition will work as well? No, some standard velocity ammo, target ammo produced some failures to feed. Not much of a surprise as the LCP II 22 LR manual indicates that high velocity ammo gets the best functional reliability results.

As is the case with every other rimfire firearm, and all centerfire firearms for that matter, it is always best to try a few types/brands of ammo and shoot what functions best. With velocity and accuracy established, the next step was to determine penetration potential which called for exotic test equipment.

Penetration tests

I used to shoot into large quantities of ballistic gel and then study and analyze the condition of bullets and bullet paths in gel. No, not wound channels as it is impossible to wound a synthetic product with no internal organs or skeletal structure. I took a lot of measurements, took a lot of pictures, made some assumptions, none that were worth much as a practical matter, even if I dressed the blocks in denim and old sweatshirts.

On the advice of a very good heart surgeon, I stopped assuming that most medium size mammals are built like a gel block. The sternum, at its mid point in humans, averages 0.400″ to 0.600″ in thickness, which needs to be penetrated before any of that soft tissue on the other side is reachable.  So I began to preface gel testing with plywood testing.

Birch hardwood plywood is rated with specific gravity of 0.700. Pine core plywood is rated as 0.610. Ballistic gel is 0.910 when simulating swine muscle tissue and swine bone specific gravity is 1.50. While the difference seems drastic, plywood specific gravity reflects oven dry weight with zero % moisture content. I store wood in our basement next to wood working machinery, and that area is kept at a constant 26% humidity. The moisture content puts the plywood at a density similar to ballistic gel.  In addition, the cross fiber nature of plywood and epoxy used in lamination  adds other resistance to penetrating force.

When I want to do preliminary screening, rather than spend $200 for a $10 block of synthetic ballistic gel, I make up test plywood panels. In the case of a 22 LR handgun, I use one 3/4″ thick section of hardwood plywood, backed by multiple layers of 1/4″ plywood. Penetration of the first 3/4″ layer is a pass/fail test. If a bullet won’t pass through, the combination is unacceptable. Subsequent 1/4″ layers make it easier to measure smaller increments of penetration for bullets that make it through the 3/4″ layer. Bullets passing through all layers are deemed adequate.

Velocity, bullet weight and/or bullet types did not make the difference in penetration as some faster bullets and as heavy bullets barely made it through the 3/4″ hardwood plywood block. Yet out of the five ammunition types tested, despite the 2.75″ LCP II barrel and modest velocity, two blew through 1.5″ of plywood, did significant peripheral damage and kept right on going. Why? Magic is my guess. I am not suggesting that this is a test of lethality of a round and firearm, it is just information for the reader to process and analyze based on their personal experiences and understanding… of plywood.

Conclusion

The Ruger LCP II 22 LR is a made in the U.S.A.and a carefully assembled product, sold at an affordable price. Easy to rack, light trigger pull and no appreciable recoil, the LCP II 22 LR worked well as a plinker and it was fun to use for recreational target shooting. It’s easy to conceal and its small size makes it a natural to carry in circumstances when other larger pistols might be left at home. Nice little pistol.

Winchester’s Wildcat 22 LR Rifle A rimfire for the entire family.

12/09/2019

So we are in that spot between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A little snow, a lot of cold and just a touch of panic over holiday shopping and festivities. It’s tough to have conversations with grown children about travel, or our unwillingness to travel.

We love our children, we love our grandchildren, but our generation sees Christmas as a home by the fireplace holiday, while their generation is consumed with a need to go away from home to some vacation location, or to attend an event, or series of events.

So my wife and I get invited to get on a plane, to go someplace, where family will stay in hotels, dine out every night, attend holiday events and generally not spend time communicating with one another beyond, “Don’t you have the tickets? I thought you had the tickets”, “I’ll get the check. No, I’ll get the check”, “What time does the performance start?”… etc., etc..

They get concerned that we will be “alone” for the holidays. It seems odd that they don’t recognize that two people who have been together for over fifty years aren’t alone when they are together. We began as as boyfriend and girlfriend, a normal amount of crazy, then husband and wife, father and mother with all of the challenges that come with raising children, keeping them safe and nudging them toward the terrific adults they are. Approximately 65% of our adult lives were devoted to parenting and, to some extent, it continues on today.

We will call family and Facetime on Christmas, have a quiet and relaxed special dinner, sit in front of our fireplace with lights and decorations around us, and celebrate the substance of the day, the birth of Christ. If they would like to spend time with us, they know where to find us. Oh, yeah. The rifle…

Winchester Wildcat

Manufacturer Istanbul Silah – Turkey
Item #
521100102
Caliber 22 Long Rifle
Magazine Capacity 10
Barrel Length 18″
Twist Rate 1:16″
Barrel Material
Alloy Steel – Black
Receiver Material
Composite
Weight 4 lbs 0 oz.
Overall Length 36.25″
Stock Composite
Pull 13.5″
Drop at comb 7/8″
Drop at heel 7/8″
Non-optical sights Ghost – Adjustable
Scope Mount
Picatinny Rail
Trigger Pull 5 lbs. 4 oz.
Safety Cross Bolt
MSRP $249.99

The paradoxical Winchester Wildcat; lifting it out of the box, the Wildcat feels small, almost like a compact rifle for a young shooter. It is very light and it is compact, but the stock geometry with a 13.5″ length of pull and sharp radius pistol grip are a comfortable fit for an adult. The comb height and sight height makes for natural line of sight to a target.

The Wildcat’s lightness comes from a number of contributing areas. The stock is polymer, the lower receiver assembly is polymer and the receiver that mounts the barrel is polymer. The alloy steel barrel has a sporter contour. The forearm is narrow, but finger grooved for a stable and comfortable grip, and grooved to form a nonslip surface. The buttstock, bucking tradition, has been hollowed in the middle. It is heavily ribbed for solid structure and the underside has been removed because… well, nobody ever uses it.

The use of polymer for receiver and the bulk of the rifle is not controversial. Not functionally, but from a use of polymer material standpoint, the Winchester Wildcat is a futuristic version of my 60 year old Remington Nylon 66 that has seem probably half a million rounds of ammo. For as mid century modern as the Remington is, the Wildcat has a very contemporary, very sleek, very modern look with some very nice engineering.

Above, the composite receiver, slip fit barrel and cross bolt through clamping surfaces. The tab at the front locates the front end of the lower receiver assembly.

By depressing the disassembly button at the rear of the receiver, all of the moving parts of the action and the magazine housing come out as part of the Lower Receiver Assembly. The bolt handle rotates upward to clear the ejection port. The lower receiver housing is a polymer piece. The blowback action is striker fired.

The Winchester Wildcat features a wealth of entertaining innovation. Yes, I did say entertaining, but not at the expense of functional improvement. I think Winchester should label the magazine “No Fumble”. Not only does it insert in a positive fashion, but it ejects into the palm of the hand with a quick tug on the side mag releases.  When belly side up on the bench, a conventional mag front release will also eject the magazine. The hemispheric striker hits a rimfire round where the primer compound resides, rather than having its energy dissipated by a cartridge’s solid brass rim edge. Neat. Yes, those are two hex wrenches tucked away in there. One for sight adjustment, the other for stock fastener removal.

Very clean ergonomic design. All controls are easy reach and actuated with appropriate resistance.

The Winchester Wildcat magazine holds ten rounds. Its feed lips are metal to take a lot of wear and tear, a follower wheel on the back of the magazine rotates ammunition in while loading and the small tab sticking up in the right of the photo holds the rifle’s bolt open on entry.

 

 

A little forend slight of hand. A rail cover conceals an unused rail and sling swivel. While it is easy to pull off, it is not easy to knock off. I apologize for the dust. The shop is heated with propane, fired in a closed system that looks like an antique wood stove. Subsequently, the shop interior’s humidity is about 20%. Good for drying stock blanks, good for preventing rust. Lousy for static sensitive electronics and, obviously, for photography. Guess I will pick up a HEPA filter…. and get my lungs checked.

For as light as the stock is, it definitely feels stout. Winchester used a combination of ribs, boxing and triangular for to make the stock very rigid. The Wildcat’s barrel floats in its barrel channel, which removes inaccuracy caused by uneven pressure points on a barrel.

Shooting performance

The groups appearing on the table that follows were shot with a 9x scope to register the rifles accuracy rather than that of my eyesight. That said, I like the ghost sight set up. It is fast and accurate. I’ve seen them criticized for having a fuzzy rear sight image… see “ghost” sight, and some folks suggest it is impossible to center a bead in circle… see “precision peep sights”. For folks who can trust their brain to conspire with their eyeball to center concentric circles, a ghost sight is excellent. The rifle was nearly as accurate with the ghost sights.

The sights are polymer, which fits in well with the rest of the rifle. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, and yes the hex wrench to adjust them is stowed in the lower receiver assembly. That one is a little curious, as I don’t see pulling the guts out of a rifle to adjust the sights when I could just add the small hex wrench to my pocket shooting tool kit. Yes, “small” is the correct size wrench.

Ammunition Bullet
Weight
Grains
Rated
MV FPS
24″ BBL
Actual
MV FPS
18″ BBL
50 Yard
5 Shot
Group
Remington Cyclone
36 1280 1394 1.4
Federal Champion
36 1260 1229 1.3
Remington Thunderbolt
40 1255 1213 1.5
Remington Golden Bullet
40
1255
1226
1.1
Winchester Wildcat
40 1255 1218 1.2
Winchester Target
40
1150
1203
0.9

The 50 yard groups were shot from a rest. Wait… how do they say it? Oh, yeah. The rifle was steadied on a solid rest. The shooting bench was fashioned from sturdy pine (my big ol’ picnic table with a large cast iron rest). A slight buffeting wind was blowing across the target in a north by north west direction that rustled through the sparse strands of hair on my head. Temperature was 32.06°F, humidity was 99% and the barrel, it was warmed to 42°F. No, you don’t have to recreate those conditions. The rifle shot the same, cold or warm and you can always wait until the leaves go still between gusts before taking a shot.

Overall

Winchester’s Wildcat is a refreshing product at a time when many manufacturers are making rifles that are not only priced cheap, but they are made cheap. The Wildcat is well made and reliable; lots of ammo, a number of shooters and no failures to fire or feed save on round of Remington Thunderbolt that wouldn’t fire in any 22 LR rimfire firearm present.

My wife, who is the picky one in the family, loved the little Winchester. The form of the stock was comfortable for her, even with a 13.5″ length of pull. She spent some time shooting the 1/2″ tops off of our bean poles at 50 feet. Something I will remember in the spring when it comes time to reestablish the vegetable garden.

I found the Winchester to be a an excellent 22 rimfire; sights, trigger, magazine system, cleaning. The Wildcat’s manual references shooting with a silencer. Perhaps there are more models on the way, maybe one with a threaded muzzle. We’ll see.

 

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