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GUNS Magazine September 2011 Digital Edition - Page 24
• J O h N B A R S N E S S • STILL GOING STRONG Newer powders in the .45 ACP. here aren’t very many firearms that have been in T continuous and abundant production around the world for the last century. The Browning A5 is no more, and even the winchester Model 94 had a brief hiatus early in the 21st century. Meanwhile, the 1911 Colt is probably even more popular than it has been for many years—proof once again of John Browning’s genius. While I’ve fooled around with a bunch of 1911s over the decades, ranging from rattling old mil-surps to new Kimbers and Wilson Combats, I hadn’t owned one in quite a while. This posed a little problem when editor Jeff John suggested a centennial column on newer powders for the 1911—a problem that turned out to be easily solved with a visit to Capital Sports & Western Wear of Helena, Mont., one of the old-style gun stores in the state, complete with two in-house gunsmiths and lots of used guns for sale. most loads shot between 2" and 3" at 25 yards. They didn’t have any used 1911s, but did have some new ones. I am not much of a target shooter, so mostly wanted a reliable self-defense sidearm with basic, rugged sights. Something as close as possible to the original would work great. Luckily, they had a Cimarron Arms “Wild Bunch,” a pretty close copy of the early 1911s manufactured by Armscor in the Philippines, designed for use in the “Wild Bunch” variation of Cowboy Action shooting. The manager of Capital’s gun department, Dave Tobel, said they’d had very good The cimarron “Wild Bunch” fed a variety of ammo perfectly throughout the tests. .45 ACP hANdLOAdEd AMMO PERfORMANCE BuLLET (BRANd, BuLLET wEIghT, TYPE) POwdER (BRANd) ChARgE VELOCITY gROuP sIzE (gRAINs wEIghT) (FPs) (INChEs) luck with various Cimarron products, and since the price was half of the next “most affordable” 1911 in stock, I decided to give it a try. Back home, my Timney gauge showed the trigger pull averaging just about 4-1/2 pounds, though it felt lighter. Everything else, from the magazine release to the safety, functioned smoothly and easily. The first field trial was with a batch of “break-in” handloads filled with Ramshot True Blue and Remington 230-grain hardball bullets. It was the middle of March, a week before the official end of winter, a good time for blasting snowbanks, providing an idea of how a handgun handles and some revenge for the past several months. The Cimarron handled very well, and fed every round reliably, puncturing piles of snow as fast as the trigger could be pulled. By the time a new batch of highly varied handloads was assembled, spring had arrived, or at least what passes for spring in the northern Rockies, a quickly-changing mix of sunshine, rain and more snow. One Thursday afternoon turned out sunny and reasonably warm, and the Cimarron got a more formal workout with the help of a Millett Benchmaster pistol rest. 185 Nosler JHP True Blue 9.0 1,024 185 Nosler JHP Super Field 7 .0 976 185 Nosler JHP Competition 5.0 943 185 Nosler JHP AA No. 5 9.0 1,078 200 Hunting Shack LSWC True Blue 7 .0 878 200 Hunting Shack LSWC N310 4.0 786 200 Hunting Shack LSWC N310 4.6 910 200 Hunting Shack LSWC Longshot 6.5 887 230 Remington RNFMJ True Blue 7 .0 819 230 Sierra JHP Super Field 6.0 807 Notes: All loads assembled in Remington brass and primed with Federal 150 primers. 24 2.97 2.24 2.50 4.35 4.38 2.88 5.24 2.06 2.11 2.25 Three Bullets The three bullets chosen for the test were the 185-grain Nosler Sporting Handgun jacketed hollowpoint, the 230-grain Sierra Sports Master jacketed hollowpoint and a 200-grain semiwadcutter from a Montana company called The Hunting Shack. The loads were gleaned from manuals and various other sources, including Bill Wilson, who for years has used a slightly “overmanual” charge of Vihtavuori N310 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • SEPTEMBER 2011