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American Handgunner March/April 2011 - Page 40
WINNINGEDGE Dave Anderson SOLID ADVICE TO KEEP YOU AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION Pro Series J-Frames Mooning SMiThS? S mith & Wesson must have known they had a winner when the first J-frame revolver was built on Oct. 24, 1950. I wonder if they had any idea just how popular these light, compact revolvers would become. Sixty years later the J-frame Smiths are selling better then ever. These compact revolvers are tremendously popular with private citizens empowered by recent state-legislated “shall issue” carry permits. And although most law enforcement officers now carry autopistols as their primary duty arm, tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of J-frames still serve in a backup role. The J-frames draw their share of criticism. Critics say they are too small, too short-barreled, too feeble, too hard to shoot, have too much recoil and are too slow to reload. But they do have one big advantage. They are too handy to get left at home. Below: The BMT Mooner makes loading and unloading clips fun rather than a chore. It’s well designed, well made, fast and reliable. I’d consider it an almost essential accessory to moon clips. One side of the metal wheel is designed to load cartridges into clips, the other side unloads the fired cases. A regular S&W 640 (left) and a Pro Series S&W 640 (right) with cylinder machined for moon clips. Moon clips provide an additional option for loading. Shooters can still load single rounds or use regular speedloaders such as the Safariland. Above: S&W J-frames from left: Regular style satin nickel 442, 640; Pro Series 640, 442 and 642. The Pro Series models provide all the features of regular J-frames and can be reloaded with single rounds, with speedloaders or speed strips, but add the option of using moon clips. The two 442s and the 642 wear aftermarket “Secret Service” grips from Eagle Grips, my favorites for J-frame revolvers. Versatile Pro Series he examples shown here are part of the “Pro Series.” T They address the only criticism I consider as valid, the issue of reloading. These models have the rear of the cylinder machined to accept moon clips for faster reloading. The moon clips provided with these J-frames (three with each revolver) are made of thin but very strong, springy steel. The system on these J-frames does not sacrifice any other methods of operation. If you like, you can load the cylinder with individual rounds. The ridge along the circumference of the cylinder, and the ejector star, engage the cartridge rims. Cartridges headspace properly for normal firing and eject when the ejector rod is activated. I also tried reloading with some Safariland speedloaders I had on hand, and these too worked perfectly. In short, whatever method you use to shoot and reload any other J-frame works just fine with these revolvers. The moon clips simply add another option. Along with a couple of friends, both very good shooters, I tried timing reloads, using a CED timer to measure from shot to shot. Both onscreen and in person I’ve seen Jerry Miculek consistently do revolver reloads in the 1.5 second range with some around a second flat. Two points: (1) these are with .45 ACP revolvers using short, fat, FMJ cartridges which funnel easily into the charge holes, and (2) Jerry is the best revolver shooter in the world. On the other hand: (1) we were using .38 Special cartridges which are long and skinny, with flat profile JHP bullets, and (2) we are not the best revolver shooters in the Continued on page 88 40 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MARCH/APRIL2011