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GUNS Magazine March 2010 - Page 70

8-ShoT SPeeDloaDerS Jeff John T he relatively new 8-shot .357 Magnums by S&W offer considerable firepower over conventional 6-shot revolvers in a full-size all-steel revolver or in a lightweight albeit large 2" concealable revolver. My brother, who retired from the LAPD, has been packing the 2" variety for sometime, with 8-shots and a pocketful of spare ammo. Now, thanks to Clint Smith, 8-shot speedloaders are here (only for use in these new N-frame S&Ws). The project wasn’t easy because the volume of ammo takes up a lot of space in the cylinder. The speedloader has two flat surfaces to get past the frame and the grip and may not work with oversize rubber or wood stocks. Dropping these huge loaders into the cylinder takes some concentration and practice. While not as quick as using the old 6-shot variety, it is certainly The new 8-shot speedloader gives users of the S&W 8-shot .357 Magnum an effective way to carry spare ammo. faster than fumbling with loose ammo. The instructions advise you to test the loaders with the ammo you use for self defense. There are large variations in rim thickness in .38/.357 brass and some may not release as easily as others. I found this to be true with Blazer ammo, but Black Hills ammo loaded in Starline brass, Federal and Winchester released fine. Those were the only brands I had on hand. Others may work fine—but test them first. My initial practice in loading with my brother’s 2" showed if I picked up the speedloader from the table with my index finger on a round part, middle finger on one flat and third and pinky on the last flat I could insert the speedloader relatively trouble free. Loading from the pocket (Comp-Tac will be making pouches called simply the Kydex pouch for these soon, but weren’t available in time for this test), my fingers weren’t sensitive enough to find the flats. I was able to place the speedloader in and align it by rotating the cylinder with my left thumb for a sure release. There is just enough wiggle in the ammo when the speedloader is locked to make starting the rounds easy. Cast lead semiwadcutters were the hardest to start in the cylinder and ammo loaded with Speer Gold Dot bullets the easiest. The 8-shot speedloader (left) is quite a bit bigger than the old HKS 10A for the S&W Model 10. Both speedloaders are charged with .38 Special ammo. These speedloaders, machined from 6061 aluminum and a knob made of Derlin aren’t going to take practice well if repeatedly dropped to concrete or similar hard surfaces. While practice is necessary for a sure, quick reload, it would be prudent to do so over grass or carpet. Don’t put the fear of damaging it while dropping it in the back of your mind—if doing so saves your life, it’s a cheap buy at $60. Warranted free of defects for one year, abuse won’t be covered. SPeeDloaDer ThUnDer ranch, 96747 hWy 140 eaST lakevieW, or 97630 (541) 647-7840 PoUch comP-Tac vicTory gear, P.o. Box 1809 SPring, Tx 77383 (281) 209-3040,

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