Post-Thanksgiving Family Shoot Range Report

Discussion in 'Anything Else' started by Buzz, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. Buzz

    Buzz Premium Member

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    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 of 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
     
  2. Netfotoj

    Netfotoj Premium Member

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    Very interesting report. Wish I'da been there.

    I found particularly interesting your P99/SW99 report. I'm going to presume what you said about the .45 model will also apply to the 9mm, too.

    I discovered with my full-size Llama .45 that my myopic "arms aren't long enough" vision problems are not as bad with a 5.125" barrel, so I've decided to find myself a good full-size 9mm to replace my S&W 669. The front sight on its 3.5" barrel is just too darn close to the end of my arms.

    The only way I can see the sights is to put on my reading glasses and that's not a good plan for carry. Can't see to walk with them on and should I need to shoot, I can hardly say, "Wait a minute while I put my glasses on."

    I don't have the vision problem with my M357-A1, which I guess is due to the trap sights. It works for me anyway.

    As one of my friends said a while back, "Old age is not for sissies." :mrgreen:
     

  3. Buzz

    Buzz Premium Member

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    Netfotoj, in the case of the 9mm I would probably go with a Walther P99 as opposed to the SW99. The reason that I went with the SW99 is that Walther doesn't make a .45 P99. The SW99 .45 is a slightly different gun with at least a longer frame (grip). While I've never heard about any issues with the 9mm SW99 I would prefer the P99, but if I had the right shot at an SW99 I wouldn't hesitate. All that I can say with certainty is that based on my experience Saturday I think that my .45 SW99 has the potential to be an exceptional gun.

    Buzz
     
  4. Buzz

    Buzz Premium Member

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    If you read the account above of my Thanksgiving family shoot you will recall that the Beretta Bobcat 21A left me less than excited and my father-in-law with slide bite "wounds". Early last week I took the Beretta back to the shop where I bought it, along with a New England Arms Survivor single shot 20 gauge, and traded them in. The Beretta would end up relegated to a dark corner in my gun vault never to be seen again, and the 20 gauge han;t been shot for years, so why not deal them? The shop gave me pretty much what I paid for it, and with the payment of a meager additional sum, about the price of lunch at Arby's, I picked up a Kel-Tec P11. The P9F impressed me so much the week before, and Kel-Tecs are getting so scarce, that I added the P11 and put a P32 on layaway. The P11 is shown below with a spare mag with finger extension. When I go to get the P32 if a P3AT is still there I'll lay that one away.

    I shared a plane ride with a chief of detectives from a large US city and he tells me that wearing the P32 on a lanyard around the neck with a break-away fitting has become quite popular. That seems to me an interesting option.

    Buzz

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  5. Netfotoj

    Netfotoj Premium Member

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    I hope they've improved the P11 trigger. Been there and done that and my trigger finger still hurts thinking about that 99-lb. hammer spring. See Tale of 2 Pocket Pistols if you haven't already. I love my PF9 but I don't want another P11 even if it does offer three more rounds capacity. :mrgreen:
     
  6. Buzz

    Buzz Premium Member

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    I suspect it's the same trigger. Truth be told that sort of attracted me to the gun. I've shot double action for a long time and triggers tougher than that one. Firing with the first joint after the tip of the trigger finger on the trigger has always given me excellent results. I like the safety factor of such a stiff pull as the gun will be carried or reside in my car with one in the pipe. I really like my PF9 but the lack of a second strike capability will keep the P11 in the picture.

    Want to talk about the worst trigger ever, that would have to be the P11's predecessor, the Grendel P10. Between that one and the VP70Z I still have nightmares. Fortunately I was able to lighten the VP trigger myself and Grendel lightened the P10 trigger when i sent the gun back to them. I never did get past the stripper clip loading.

    Buzz