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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past Saturday we had the family annual post-Thanksgiving shoot. This year my father-in-law and brother-in-law and I went to the Wilson Shoals DNR outdoor range here in north Georgia. They?re once or twice a year shooters and this is their chance to spin some lead. I decided to use the occasion to warm up some guns that I have not shot before. I also figured it would be interesting to see how the guns did with much less experienced shooters. I chose the following guns: Brugger & Thomet TP-9, Ruger P89, Kel-Tec PF9, Beretta Bobcat 21A (.25 ACP), and SW99 (.45 ACP). We shot primarily at 25 yards, and then at 12 yards using Birchwood Casey 8 inch yellow splatter targets. The temperature was in the mid to upper 40?s with a light wind. We began shooting at 25 yards and finished up at 12 yards when an appropriate target holder for close in shooting became available. The two other shooters weren?t really aware that they were initially shooting at 25 yards to begin with. The small target size and distance gave them a very nice surprise as we discussed the day?s shooting on the 70 minute ride home.

Brugger & Thomet TP-9: I began shooting this gun with a two handed modified Weaver stance out at 25 yards with WWB 115 grain 9mm. I was initially looking at reliability but even the initial shots were surprisingly accurate with a POA high and to the left at about 11:30. I was using the 15 round mag rather than the 30 and had it loaded with a full 15 rounds. There were some malfunctions right off the bat. Once the bolt failed to strip the next round off the mag, and twice the round jammed while feeding high on the chamber. These happened over two magazines of shooting and at various places in the order, but never the first or second shot. This disturbed me until I recalled that the owner?s manual said to download the mag by one round from 15 to 14, or, 30 to 29. Once I did this all malfunctions stopped. Fully loading a magazine seems to affect the stacking of the rounds so that a malfunction can occur any time during the mag, not just the first round. From there on it was smooth sailing. The gun is actually nicely balanced and recoil was negligible. While it?s heavier than many handguns the weight was not a significant factor. It was very smooth shooting and the trigger wasn?t an issue at all. My BIL tried shooting it holding the gun with his offhand on the body of the gun in front of the grip but his shots were all over the place. He didn?t shoot at all well with the gun. I don?t think he understood the sights. My shots out at 25 yards appeared to be all within the 8 inch target but it was hard to tell as the target hadn?t been changed. I was being a host for my family so they would have as much fun as possible, so my shooting wasn?t really serious other than as to reliability. When I moved the target into 12 yards I was able to put all 15 rounds into the 8 inch target into 3.75 inches, but, once again, the POA was a bit high and to the left at 11:30. The gun was very fun to shoot and has the potential to be a fine gun. I didn?t use the one point sling but I had the distinct impression that I might have done even better with it. As an SBR it could be a fantastic carbine.

Ruger P89: When the P85 came out back in the 80?s I had one of the very early ones. Unfortunately I couldn?t hit the broad side of a barn with it. I blamed the gun. In the years since then I have come to appreciate that just as much, if not more often as not, it is the shooter rather than the gun. I?ve had the feeling that I didn?t give that gun a fair shake, so, some months back I picked up a newer version of that P85, a P89. I bought the gun used, very lightly used, and right off the bat changed the hammer spring to the lightest one recommended by Wolffs. For a Ruger the trigger is now darn nice, a fact that was commented upon by all shooters. At 25 yards I think most all rounds were on the 8 inch target, with some fliers, and when I had a fresh target I was able to put a smile below the ten ring a bit low and from side to side, and a few rounds dead center in the bull. At 12 yards that tightened up considerably but maybe not as much as I would have thought. Nonetheless, all shooters did extremely well with this gun without a single malfunction. Typical Ruger: solid reliablity, and more than acceptable accuracy.

Kel-Tec PF9 (9mm): I was the only one to shoot this gun. When I bought the gun by coincidence the previous owner of the gun was in the shop. He told me that he had put 150 rounds through the gun without any malfunctions and with good accuracy. Like the previous owner my experience with the gun was outstanding. At 25 yards I kept seven rounds all inside an eight inch bull. At 12 yards all rounds went within a four to five inch group. The first three rounds were one ragged hole. The gun was far more accurate that I had anticipated and I feel that I can do even better with more work. The muzzle flip is considerable but I had no problem bringing the gun back down for a return shot. There is nothing unpleasant about firing the gun. I had no malfunctions. The gun didn't miss a beat. All in all I'm thrilled with the gun and only having shot 115 gr. WWB it's on its way to becoming my carry gun. I shot it using the standard magazine without the finger rest and found that wrapping my finger under the grip was very comfortable. The gun was quite a pleasant surprise and really made my day.

Beretta Bobcat 21A: My FIL had mentioned that he used to have a .25 ACP pistol that he loved so I figured I?d buy one for him to shoot. I chose the Beretta for the quality and tilt-up barrel. He shot the gun and he had slide bite right off the bat. He wouldn?t touch the gun again. I shot it just to see what it was about. My hands are much bigger than his but I had no bite. I pulled the trigger, the bullet came out, and would hit a man sized target at 25 yards. That was that. If it was worth more I would sell it. Blah.

SW99 (.45ACP): Of course, this is the Smith & Wesson version of the Walther P99 and mine is in .45. For a .45 version of a P99 style pistol it?s the only game in town. And what a game it is. I thought I had shot this one before but it turns out I hadn?t. I?m glad that I finally took the time on Saturday.

My first surprise was that the mag holds nine rounds. Previously I had only looked at the side of the mag that says ?8? by the round window. Nine rounds of .45 is a wonderful thing, but with that grip length it should hold nine. I loaded up a mag with 230 grain WWB and away I went. I only shot the gun at 25 yards. From what I could see all rounds were in the 8 inch target, a bit high and to the right. I only shot three mags (the other shooters wanted to stick to 9mm) but all grouped around the same POA a bit high and to the right. With the Walther adjustable sight I?ll be able to bring that left my next time to the range, and the elevation can be adjusted with a front sight change if the POA remains constant. By the way, the SW99 has the AS trigger system that to me was indistinguishable from my P99 AS except possibly the travel in the first stage was a bit longer. The trigger break may not have been quite as crisp as my P99 but these two guns have significantly different numbers of rounds through them, far less through the SW99. The really surprising part about the SW99 was how smooth a shooter it was. I?ve shot and owned lots of .45s over the years, and without exception it is the smoothest .45 that I have shot to date. The recoil of a .45 is often described as a push rather than a snap, and if that is true this gun was only a soft nudge. That may well change with hotter loads, but this gun is an incredibly pleasant shooter that has great accuracy potential. Function was perfect. Right now it is my favorite gun in the P99 family. I know that some folks ?turn their noses up? at the SW99, but based on my experiences Saturday I?d say that this gun should be strongly considered. Add to that the fact that it?s a .45 and for me owning one of these is a no-brainer. Next trip to the range I?m going to shoot it at 12 and 7 yards where I expect that it will really shine.

I also pulled out my car gun, my second generation (DA only) Taurus PT111 Mil Pro 9mm, and put numerous rounds through it at 7 yards. Everyone did reasonably well with it with groups ranging from 4 inches to five to six inches (with an occasional flier) and generally low and to the left. Reliability was perfect with a mix of WWB and Federal Hydra Shoks.

What a perfect day it was.

Q
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ShipWreck, it was like a breath of fresh air. It was a beautiful day and North Georgia can be spectacular. The setting of the range is wonderful, enclosed by tall Georgia pines and a red clay cliff backdrop. The folks were friendly and the two range masters were friendly and ran the shooting well with everyone safe while having a great time. It's a good group of folks.

The best part was watching my father-in-law and brother-in-law having such a good time. They only get to shoot once or twice a year when they head south to visit me, so I wanted it to be as good as it could be. I spent most of the time filling magazines and keeping an eye out for safety while helping them with the manual of arms for each gun. I figured the Ruger P89 to be the best for them as a hammer fired gun is easier for the less experienced to understand and operate. Luckily I was right in my assumption. I can shoot anytime but for these guys it was a special treat. My brother-in-law used to have a number of guns, and we used to be shooting buddies when I lived up north, but his wife made him sell his guns when his daughter was born. After shooting Saturday he came back to my house where he and his family were staying and hinted to his wife (my wife's sister) that he'd like to get a .22 to target shoot with, and she had a hissy fit. Too bad she didn't see the ear-to-ear grin on his face while he was shooting the B&T and Ruger.

Days like last Saturday are too few in anyone's lifetime. If my guns never do anything more than what they did Saturday it will have been worth it. It also made me appreciate my wife even more who really encouraged us to go shooting and is a good sport about my obesession. She isn't a shooter herself
(although she has shot an AR15 and various .22's) but I think that she finds comfort knowing that the guns are there.

Is shooting a family activity for anyone else?

Q
 

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Nice report, Que. It's encouraging to know that others get out and shoot, often as a family.

My son and I went out to the range the day after Thanksgiving; it was sunny, 50 degrees or so (which for Central Oregon at this time of the year is downright balmy), and arrived to find the $#&(#% range closed for the day. :mad: We went back the next day, although the weather was down to a brisk 33 degrees and visibility was a couple of hundred yards at best. We froze our fingers to nubbins but still piped about 100 rounds of 9mm FMJ each through the P99C and an SW99C, and another 50 rounds or so of .380 FMJ through the S&W PPK/S. It's an outdoor range, and it had rained a couple of days before; as a result, we stayed on the concrete pad and tried to keep our brass from flying into the mud. It was all good, with the guns working perfectly ... nothing new there. Would have paid money for an indoors range on this day, however.

Despite the weather, interestingly enough, a couple was shooting nearby; he was trying out a .45 1911 knock-off that I didn't recognize (and grumbling about the price of ammo), while she was having a great time shooting something that looked all-too familiar: a brand-new Walther P22. It worked flawlessly for her during the 45 minutes or so that we were there, and she was spot-on target at 25 yards. Both of them talked about how much fun the P22 was to shoot, how well it operated for them, and how inexpensive it was to buy and to operate -- especially when compared with the .45.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great lineup of guns and fun
Thanks! It also led to some further actions taken just this morning.

The Beretta 21A Bobcat .25ACP was such a blah shooting experience, and since my father-in-law will never pick it up again, I traded it back in today. The shop gave me very close to what I paid for it. I'd also say that Searcher's bad experience with his Tomcat also affected my decsion to deal the gun. Add to that my very favorable impressions with the Kel-Tec PF-9 and I decided to also trade-in a New England Arms Survivor 20 gauge single shot shotgun on a Kel-Tec P11. This was a gun that I bought a day or so after 9/11. I had sold my entire gun collection five years before and fearing a state of civil unrest (not knowing what was going to happen next) I bought the 20 gauge. It was better than nothing. That gun gave me a lot of comfort.

Trading in both guns and adding the equivalent of lunch for two at Arby's it was a flat trade for the P11 (hard chrome slide and navy blue frame) and an extra mag. The Survivor served its purpose and the Beretta was, at best, mediocre, so now I have a gun that will be most useful, and, more room in the vault.

Q
 

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The Beretta 21A Bobcat .25ACP was such a blah shooting experience, and since my father-in-law will never pick it up again, I traded it back in today. The shop gave me very close to what I paid for it. I'd also say that Searcher's bad experience with his Tomcat also affected my decsion to deal the gun. Q
Good call, Que. For what it's worth, which is previous little at this point, I'm still awaiting word from the folks at Beretta on the status of my lowly Tomcat (yes, it's been weeks and weeks and weeks), and I fully expect to have to wait weeks and weeks more before I get it back. I'm also convinced, given the inherent flaws in the design, to have to send it back to them in short order once it does return from the grave. No more Berettas for me -- or at least no more Tomcats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Que: Well, the .25 ACP is just not much of a round (except for proper black- tie occassions :) ).
Do you have another shotgun?
Sure do! A Saiga S20 AK-47 platform 20 gauge. Very businesslike :)

The FN Tactical Police also makes me smile.

Q
 

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A Saiga 12 is at the top of my list. The only thing that has held me back is the very wide rear sight notch on the ones I have seen. I like to be able to use the shotty as a limited rifle out to 125 yds. or so, and the unusually wide rear notch made me think it would reduce its effectivenesss for longer range purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A Saiga 12 is at the top of my list. The only thing that has held me back is the very wide rear sight notch on the ones I have seen. I like to be able to use the shotty as a limited rifle out to 125 yds. or so, and the unusually wide rear notch made me think it would reduce its effectivenesss for longer range purposes.
There's a real easy way around that. As it is an AK it has the AK side mount for a detachable scope mount. The detachable Belarus POSP mounts are actually quite nice and will allow you to attach any scope or red dot. I believe there are also aftermarket replacement iron sights. The Saiga Forum is a good source of info. http://forum.saiga-12.com/

BTW, I chose the 20 gauge as follow-up shots are quicker and the gun more controllable than the S12. I'm hearing about more and more law enforcement use of the S20 over the S12 for that reason. The S20 is also considerably less expensive than the S12 and much easier to find, but, on the other hand, there are considerably far more aftermarket items for the S12. Either gun is a slick piece made at the very best AK factory. Magazines aren't cheap but more and more higher capacity aftermarket mags are coming out, and, once again, for the S12 much more so than the S20. I also have Saigas is .223 and .308. I consider that Saiga to be one of the very best values in the gun world. Believe me, the Saiga shotguns probably won't be available much longer as many of the gun-grabbing politicos have them on the list already. If I was an investor in firearms this is where I'd be putting my money.

Q
 

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Since I already have 12 ga. guns, the 20 might be a good addition. Will have to become more familiar with the ballistics of the available loadings.

Thanks Que.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Since I already have 12 ga. guns, the 20 might be a good addition. Will have to become more familiar with the ballistics of the available loadings.

Thanks Que.
That is another disadvantage to the 20 gauge, much fewer loadings and availability than 12 gauge.

Q
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
By the way, there is lots of fun to be had with Saigas. Below is a photo of my .223 and .308 with aftermarket add-ons, all 922 compliant. I've since upgraded the optics, but you get the basic idea, showing the POSP side mount.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I should note that the nonstandard forend stock on the .308 is not an aftermarket part. The sharknose shape was applied to the stock by cutting and sanding/buffing. Any modification to the forend stocks requires care as at a certain point they have enclosed metal reinforcement and a magnet needs to be used to identify the borders. The shape was altered to allow more air in to circulate for barrel cooling. Many complain about the cheapness of Saiga furniture, but when you cut into it you come to appreciate that it's better than most would suspect.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
By the way, below is a photo of the Kel-Tec P11 that I traded the "blah" Beretta for. It's shown with a spare mag with a finger extension. I don't think I'd carry the gun that way but would carry the finger extended mag as a back-up.

Also, last Thursday I shared a plane ride with a chief of detectives from a large East Coast city. He tells me that a lot of the detectives are carrying a back-up Kel-tec P32 around their necks with a break-away lanyard.

Kel-Tecs seem to be getting scarce, so I put a P32 on layaway. I settled on a blued gun but would have preferred hard chrome like my P11.

Q
 

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