Warning: This is a LONG entry, with numerous images.
The week of January 16th once again saw the Sands Convention Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada; host the the 39th annual Sporting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show; also known as the SHOT Show. For those who do not know what SHOT Show is or what it consists of, TPF will give you a quote direct from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) whom organizes the event.
The 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show opened its doors this morning at the Sands Expo Center with industry expectations running high in response to the energized market in America for firearms, ammunition and accessories.
Over the next four days, the show will attract nearly 65,000 industry professionals from the firearms and outdoor industry, including 2,500 members of the outdoor press-the largest gathering of outdoor media in the world-and showcase new, innovative products used for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation and law enforcement purposes.
Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, the SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world. The show is open to trade members only and not to the public; consumers will see the products unveiled at the SHOT Show on retailers’ shelves during the course of the year.
You read that correctly, not open to members of the public. We at TPF can already hear our readers rolling their eyes and thinking to themselves, “But we are the consumers!” Which is true, except that the consumers that are mentioned the service companies and persons who are directly related to the industry. Not the end user, otherwise known as the public, but those whom supply the products to the end users such as retailers, trainers, ranges, organizations, etc… That being said, there are ways that the public can attend, and do attend as is evident to many who have attended SHOT know. TPF-Online will not go into details or methods for the public to get into SHOT Show. We apologize, and suggest that you utilize your favourite search engine or firearms forum (for Canadians, we recommend Gun Owners of Canada or Canadian Gun Nutz).
So let us delve into the timeline of SHOT Show.
The most common .22 semi-auto rifle in the world; the Ruger 10/22 is a fully customizable firearm which can be modified nearly as much as the AR-15 platform. Relatively cheap to shoot, and fun to shoot, the biggest chore of owning this popular little rifle is feeding it. The .22 long rifle cartridges are notorious for being hard on the fingers for manually loading in past the 10th round, and unless you have a loading tool, the owners of all of these 10/22 magazines likely will not enjoy shooting off a brick (500 rounds) of cheap rim-fire.
So if TPF were to tell readers that there is a new magazine for the 10/22 which has a 25 round capacity, metal feed lips, an easily controlled follower for loading, they may say that is a good thing! Now, on that same magazine, add in a 20 round pocket and a built-in stripper clip to speed load those extra rounds in just a few seconds. The answer is “TAKE MY MONEY!”. There is good news as such a magazine exists in the form of the HC3R magazine from HC Mags. The HC3R is a short form from HC Rapid Rifle Reload, and just from that title the designed product’s end abilities are fairly obvious.
The HC3R magazine actually has several features which have been desired over the years in a 10/22 magazine, and while many aftermarket magazines have one or more of these features, very few, if any have all of them.
- Larger round capacity than factory magazines
- Steel feed lips for enhanced durability and increased lifespan of the magazine for feeding ammunition
- A means of dis-assembly for cleaning the magazine
- A follower retraction stud, large and lockable into retracted position for spring free loading
Point number one. More rounds readily loaded equals more fun and less time between shots for extended periods and the HC3R has an increased capacity over the original ten (10) round Ruger rotary magazines. While its twenty-five (25) rounds is not among largest capacity magazines available for the 10/22, with one hundred and ten (110) round drum magazines topping those available, it is in line with the majority of aftermarket magazines. The author finds that even a couple dozen rounds can go downrange extremely quickly… What joy!
Feed lips are essential for two reasons, they align the cartridge into proper feed positions and ensure a smooth extraction from the magazine into the firearm’s chamber. Older plastic/polymer feed lips have a history of wearing out after a few thousand rounds. Current generations of polymer are improved in durability but steel, or alloy, feed lips are a heavily desired feature as it greatly enhances the lifetime of a magazine before extraction issues become noticeable. HC Mags knew this and incorporated stainless steel feed lips into the HC3R magazine design.
As anyone who shoots thousands of rounds of .22LR will attest, it is a very dirty round which leaves soot and carbon all over, and if left to build up over time, can cause malfunctions and possibly damage to the firearm itself. Magazines are no exception to this and it is a problem that many 10/22 aftermarket magazines fail to address. With extended usage and hundreds, even thousands, of rounds cause magazines to accumulate crud and can even trap water and dirt and it becomes nearly impossible to clean if the magazine is manufactured by fusion processes, such as sonic welding two plastic halves together. The HC3R is a fully bolted together magazine which allows for unparalleled access to clean every nook and cranny from dirt, carbon, and water. A great plus
A well-known feature in most if not all .22LR magazine fed handguns due to the small component manipulation. In this respect the HC3R shines ever so brightly. The huge thumb stud allows for easy tension control as you load ammunition the common method of through the feed lips. You can easily hold it slightly back to allow for the next round to be loaded without worry of misalignment, or lock it completely back at a fully collapsed position. Be aware that rounds, if not inserted properly, can experience misalignment and stack incorrectly with the cartridge perpendicular to the feed lips instead of parallel.
With all of these features, readers may think that these magazines by themselves are very desirable due to the comprehensive features included in the magazine. So here comes the additional bonus. On the side of the magazine is a slot which stores twenty (20) rounds of ammunition. The back component of the HC3R magazine is a speed stripper clip which has two features. The first is as a cover to retain the side stored ammunition when mounted onto the magazine. The second feature is that in addition to aligning loaded rounds in the magazine, it functions as the speed loading strip for quick reloads. So on a fully loaded magazine you will have a total of forty-five (45) rounds available from a single magazine.
Lets start with how to fully load the magazine to maximum capacity by following these steps:
- Take a quantity of your preferred .22LR ammunition, at least 45 rounds obviously and have them readily available. Have the empty HC3R magazine present.
- Using the thumb stud on the magazine, retract the spring and follower completely and rotate the stud a quarter turn to lock it into position.
- Take hold of the speed stripper on the HC3R magazine and pull it away from the magazine. The bottom edge is retained by a spring-loaded guide.
- Load up 20 rounds into the clip. The speed stripper clip has a pair of guide channels on the inside of its curved profile. The indicator for a total of twenty rounds is easily visible on the inside of the clip. Loading the clip to 20 rounds is very easy and fast with no need to use force or leverage, as the rim of the .22LR round simply slides into the clip’s aforementioned channels. Loaded rounds can only enter and exit the clip on one edge. Ensure that the clip is oriented such to prevent rounds from falling out of the clip due to gravity and movement.
- Ensuring that the rounds do not fall out of the clip, place the rounds into the side storage pocket of the magazine and slide the clip down and away. Now ensure that the orientation of the magazine is such that rounds do not fall out of the magazine.
- Load up another 20 rounds into the clip as per step 4.
- With the magazine positioned to not drop any of the side storage rounds, and so that rounds do not fall out of the clip, insert the clip into the magazine by pushing the bottom end into the spring-loaded guide, and snap the clip into the retaining notch. That is forty (40) rounds so far!
- Turn the magazine over to ensure rounds in magazine are aligned and release the thumb stud. This is the hardest part to ensure that the rounds sit properly in the feed lips. It is due to the rim overlap and position in the magazine. It took TPF several attempts to get it to work properly every time, by practice makes perfect.
- Use the thumb stud to relieve tension and load the remaining five (5) rounds to maximum capacity. Total time for the author to load up with practice? Under 90 seconds.
Now that the magazine is loaded to full capacity with reserve twenty rounds:
- Install the magazine, and shoot the first 25 rounds. FUN!
- Remove the magazine. Why? Spinning the 10/22 around to ensure magazine orientation is sure to give you many funny looks if not yelled at for unsafe firearm manipulation.
- Using the thumb stud on the magazine, retract the spring and follower completely and rotate the stud a quarter turn to lock it into position.
- With the magazine held with the stripper on top, take hold of the now empty speed stripper on the HC3R magazine and pull it away from the magazine
- The side storage has twenty rounds waiting for the clip to slide over. Remember the channels holding the rims of the cartridges? It is that easy.
- Retract the loaded stripper clip, then with the magazine positioned so that rounds do not fall out of the clip, insert the clip into the magazine by pushing the bottom end into the spring-loaded guide, and snap the clip into the retaining notch.
- Turn the magazine over to ensure rounds in magazine are aligned and release the thumb stud. Voila! 20 seconds and another twenty rounds ready to shoot.
- Install the magazine, and shoot the remaining rounds. MORE FUN!
Loading forty-five rounds took 90 seconds. Reloading to use all 45 rounds extended that to under two minutes. How long would it take to load two typical 25 round magazines? Longer than a couple of minutes without any tools or loading accessories. Plus the ten seconds to reload. The HC3R is all about time and thumbs saved in loading magazines so that 10/22 users can enjoy more time putting rounds downrange with the least amount of effort loading. The only negative possible is the width of the magazine with the side pocket which may limit the fit up of some aftermarket 10/22 rifle stocks such as the previously looked at Archangel Stock.
But wait! There’s even MORE!
If your 10/22 is an extremely hungry rifle like the author’s, chewing through a brick of ammunition per session is not unheard of. The balance of buying multiple magazines versus loading them to go through several hundred rounds in a session of rimfire therapy is an eternal dilemma. Or rather was… HC Mag’s understands the need to feed the rimfire hunger, and released the Tactical Pack for the HC3R magazine.
The case itself is thermo-formed with a robust zipper and has both a flexible carry handle as well as a pair of shoulder strap rings on its exterior. The internals are two-fold, with the base filled with EVA foam that is pre-cut to hold all its contents securely. The battle pack contains one complete HC3R magazine, 5 extra speed loader clips with retaining caps, and a quick strip loading box for fast loading of the speed loader clips. Plus multiple pocket cutouts for typical small boxes of .22LR ammunition and a small cutout arrangement for the included set of hex keys for magazine dis-assembly. The upper portion of the case has a zipper closed mesh pocket that encompasses the entire case cover in size, and can be used for targets, bore snakes, and other items that you may wish to include.
The loading box for fast speed strip loading takes couple minutes to fully load up with 100 rounds, five rows of twenty, and setup for usage. Once setup, it takes less than a half minute to load up the five speed loading clips.
If fully loaded up with ammunition, the entire case securely holds 545 rounds of .22LR, which makes the Tactical Pack heavy enough to warrant the usage of the shoulder strap included in the package. Of those rounds 245 are ready to use, with an additional 300 rounds in reserve. Unfortunately the reserve ammunition box cut outs are designed for use with paper boxed ammunition, not plastic boxes which are larger and may not fit properly if at all.
The Tactical Pack when fully kitted delivers:
- One fully loaded magazine with side pocket filled. 45 rounds ready to use
- Five fully charged speed loading clips. 5 x 20 = 100 rounds ready to use
- One filled loading box. 100 rounds ready to use
- Six 50 round factory boxes of .22LR. 300 rounds of reserve
That should keep those hungry 10/22 rifles satiated for the meantime, and with the Tactical Pack having an MSRP of $89.00 USD, and available from Canadian vendors such as Wanstalls Online. What do you, the readers think? Is the HC3R magazine and the corresponding Tactical Pack by HC Mags Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
Back in January, an event occurred, which the author has been privileged in attending now for the sixth year in a row. The event consists of a single day of practical hands on experiences for media and then four days of talking to an ungodly number of individuals whom are representative of the entire world for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Of course this equates to the 2012 SHOT Show which is the largest venue of its kind anywhere in the world.
The Monday, January 16th, the temperature outdoors was quite decent and the sky was cloud-free which made Media Day, once again a fine day to go and play with some of the newest firearms and related products which are currently or soon to be available for the commercial markets. Optics, ammunition, handguns, rifles, shotguns, stocks, and a host of other items were available to over 1200 media individuals to experience first hand the products available. Some items truly stood out for the author and the number one item memorable experience was cranking the handle of Colt’s reproduction 1877 Gatling Gun. 20 rounds of 45/70 Government, flew by and seemed effortless as you turned the handle of this beautiful reproduction of history. High quality prototype 308 Winchester chambered bull-pup rifles, custom machined .50 BMG projectiles, the Slide Fire stock, are just a couple of the items that were experienced by the huge crowd of media types.
For the next four days the actual trade show ensued once again at the Sands Convention center. Over 1600 companies were there with in excess of 36,000 people coming to interact with them brought the total attendees to more than 61,000 people over four days. Stunning, especially when you consider that representatives from all 50 states were there as well as representation from more than 100 countries.
TPF will not go into the thousands of products that were displayed and showcased as there are multitudes of other websites and writers whom dwell on the little nuances. There were however an extreme multitude of famous and mentionable people in attendance or in some cases, on display at SHOT Show 2012. As usual the legends and successful masters of shooting disciplines were present, as well as TV sensations both past and present. Lou Ferrigno, was seen repeatedly examining various products as a guest of Barrett Firearms; as well, several participants of the TV Show Top Shot Season 4 were discovering the huge industry on display at SHOT Show 2012. Further highlights of celebrity fanfare was the feature appearances by the crew of Red Jacket Firearms from the TV show, Sons of Guns, and many others.
A short, incomplete listing of well known people who attended Shot Show:
- R. Lee Ermey
- Les Stroud
- Bear Grylls
- Ted Nugent
- Troy & Jacob Landry
- Larry Vickers
- The SeAL team/cast from the movie “Acts of Valor”
- An nearly every known professional shooter, Outdoor TV series hosts, etc…
TPF isn’t going to go into the huge details about what was present and what new products were available for the US market. Suffice to say that the author would be able to write a short novella of several tens of thousands of words showing the various new non-firearm products, let alone new guns. We will however keep you, the reader, abreast of any products which these manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, graciously provide to TPF-Online for review.
Much of the excitement and great moments at the SHOT Show is when the author met so many other Canadians on happenstance, Mrs. Page from Packing Pink, Mr. Krete from The Gun Centre, Mr. Hansen from Freedom Ventures, Mr. Muir from Lever Arms, Mr. Ruston from Tactical Products Canada, and a host of others representing Canadian businesses. Many thanks are to be given to these individuals and companies for attending and creating the contracts and arrangements which continue to supply our Canada market with firearms and related products.
If you are ever able to go, TPF-Online recommends that you do so and experience the multi-billion dollar industry which is partially displayed at SHOT Show. And recall that this is just a PARTIAL display as there are many many other businesses and manufacturers who are not in attendance. A great example is FWB, or Feinwerkbau, one of the oldest and most renowned Olympic class firearms makers, wasn’t present yet again in this year’s SHOT Show.
This years SHOT Show was executed even better than last year and once again, anyone coming should bring a couple pairs of walking shoes to explore and experience the whole event and all booths. However, be forewarned that should you attend, plan your visits to the booths they would have roughly a minute for visiting each booth, and when you consider the sheer scale of the show, much of that time can be walking from booth to booth. There are many displays and extra events which can eat up several minutes of time, such as watching professional shooters show their skills, lining up to get autographs and pictures with celebrities, as well as hands on experience with the multitudes of firearms accessories and outdoor gear.
The 2012 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show is the largest event of it’s type in the world and TPF can guarantee that should you ever attend this event, every single product displayed at the show will be Practical, Tactical, or Fantasical.
A small example of how you can spend your time talking to one of the many representatives of companies in attendance. Presenting Angus Hobdell, who has been shooting CZ products since 1986 and a member of Team CZ-USA since 2003. In 2012, he is still a great competitor and 100% behind promoting CZ-USA.
On behalf of TPF-Online and the CSSA, many thanks Mr. Hobdell for your time and efforts.
As an added bonus, over the next few days and weeks, TPF will be releasing small video clips from many of the top action shooters in regards to the shooting sports and tips for improving your abilities. So stay tuned!
TPF would hazard a guess that many of our readers have never heard of Cascade Cartridges Incorporated. Or at least not by the full name which it is commonly known as. CCI Ammunition was founded by Dick Speer under the original moniker of Cascade Cartridge Incorporated nearly 60 years ago in 1951. Yes, Dick Speer is related to the man who founded the Speer Bullet company, Vernon Speer. What started as a small venture to have commercially available brass cases and primers for reloaders has since blossomed into one of the premier ammunition manufacturing companies in the world today.
While CCI is well known to reloaders for their primers, it is their ammunition which has given wings to the company. Known for their rimfire ammunition in so many varieties and configurations, CCI is considered by many to be the leader in rimfire ammunition. Obviously this precludes dedicated target ammunition such as Lapua and Eley, as neither of those have rimfire ammunition commonly available at larger box stores (aka Walmart) and smaller gun stores.
What about centerfire ammunition you may ask? CCI does indeed have centerfire ammunition, but not quite like you may expect. It is true that CCI and Speer do have a combined effort in Blazer branded ammunition, but in itself CCI only manufactures specialty rounds in centerfire. Many thanks to Mr. Anderson of the Canadian Reload Radio Network for supplying TPF with this specific product for evaluation.
TPF is proud to take an extended look at CCI’s Centerfire Handgun Shotshell, to be known as CHS for the remainder of this review. In this specific instance TPF will be looking at the 9mm Luger calibre yet several others are available. Available for rimfires in the both .22 LR and .22 WMR calibres, these are by far the most commonly available versions in Canada. However, besides 9mm, calibres such as .38Spec/.357Mag, .44Spec/Mag, .45LC, are available, as well as the .45ACP and the modern .40 S&W. Now before you all run out and decide to have a slew of fun shooting miniature shot loads from pistols, please be advised that most shot loads mass 1/3 or less of regular cartridges and therefore may not reliably function in your firearms. Originally designed for revolvers, the PCS was initially to be used for defending oneself from small animals such as rattlesnakes and other pests which can pose a threat to humans. Additionally, in a survival scenario, a firearm loaded with shot makes short range, small game harvesting much easier.
The CHS are created using the following items. The aluminum case ,from Blazer brand ammunition, is primed with CCI primers when centerfire and an unknown powder mixture. TPF did not get masses of the powder as chemical composition was impossible to determine and would be of no help. The shotshell casing consists of a transparent blue polymer capsule which holds the shot load. A light, flexible wad seals the shot in the capsule and acts as a wad does in a shotgun by transferring and delaying energy into the shot mass. According to the specification data available from CCI, the 9mm shotshell contains approximately 53grams worth of #12 shot. The standard diameter for a #12 shot pellet is approximately 1.27mm (0.050″). TPF measured and massed three cartridges to find the averages. Shot from three cartridges measured 0.31mm (0.012″) up to 1.37mm (0.054″) in diameter and was not consistent. The shot of the three rounds massed at 51.6, 52.1, and 51.4 grains for an average of 51.7grains, which is close considering that CCI states that shot is loaded into the shells by volume.
For this review, TPF decided to do some actual testing on these 9mm shotshells. The test outcomes were very interesting, and TPF will share the results with you. A total of 7 rounds were used in testing. Three rounds were sacrificed for construction evaluation.
Tested: CCI 9mm Luger #12 Shotshell
Firearm: Glock 17
Range: 3m (10′)
Target 1: Plain cardboard target
Target 2: Plastic cap over triple cardboard backing
Target 3: Unblemished golf ball
The review was based upon the assumption that these specialty loads were primarily for use against hostile snakes, which seems like a very valid and plausible use. A distance of 3m (10′) was determined to be an approximate engagement distance. The Glock 17 utilized was bone stock except for an aftermarket disconnector. Unless otherwise noted, all magazines used were loaded with a single round and loaded by charging the handgun by engaging the slide release. Note that between fired rounds, the firearm was checked for obstructions and functionality. No obstructions ever became stuck or lodged in the barrel of the firearm.
Round #1 on Target 1: The shot patterned roughly a 204mm (8″) circle, and were spaced relatively evenly. Noted extremely light recoil compared to standard 9mm round, in fact the reduced energy did not fully cycle the slide, resulting in a stovepipe of the empty brass. The pellets easily penetrated through the single sheet of 3mm (1/8″) corrugated cardboard. Spread of the pellets was even, and a hole where the wad shot through the cardboard and small blue plastic fragments were embedded about the target. Subsequent shots had triple layers of corrugated cardboard as a target backer.
Round #2 on Target 1: Misfire, what appeared to be a light primer strike on the primer. Round was removed and will be mentioned further onward.
Round #3 on Target 1: Perceived recoil of the shot was approximately double that of round #1. Shot patterned roughly a 410mm (16″) circle, and were spaced relatively evenly. Pellets passed through triple layers of cardboard. While still much less than a standard 9mm in felt recoil, the performance had enough energy to fully eject the case, but not enough to lock the slide back on the empty magazine.
Round #4 on Target 1: Results were identical to previous round (#3).
Round #5 on Target 2: On target 2, a small plastic cap was attached to act as a focus point as well as additional resistance for the pellets. The cap had a material thickness of 1.17mm (0.043″) and was typical to those found on 20L (5Gal) water bottles. Pellets passed completely through the cap and as prior tests passed fully through all three layers of cardboard backing. Same shot spread and recoil results as round #3.
Round #6 on Target 3: For the third test we used a golf ball, specifically an brand new, Spalding Top-Flite Plus. The ball was raised up a small bit on a cardboard stand to allow for a stable target in this test. The wad missed the ball, albeit not by much, and the ball itself was only hit by two (2) pellets. Pellets did penetrate into the outer cover of the golf ball, but did not pass through. Same shot spread and recoil results as round #3.
Round #7 on Target 1: In this test we loaded two of the 9mm CHS rounds into the magazine. Round #7 would load first, followed by the previous round #2. The purpose of this test was to determine if the recoil of the round was enough to load subsequent rounds into the chamber of the test firearm. Upon firing of round #7, which had the same performance characteristics as round #3, the next round had the blue plastic shot carrying case shattered during the loading process, which resulted in a tip up failure to feed and #12 shot cascading through the firearm. Now it is unknown the storage condition which these rounds have experienced, and the plastic capsules were extremely fragile. The cause MAY have been age of the plastic as well as thermal and/or moisture absorption. TPF has an email inquiry into CCI about the manufacturing date of that specific batch of ammunition.
Testing results show that the 9mm CHS round is indeed a very effective round for it’s intended purpose. shooing through multiple layers of cardboard and some pellets retained enough energy to perforate coroplast which was downrange at 10m (33′). At the tested distance, there is no doubt that if the rounds perform as they should, that nasty rattlesnake would never threaten another hiker again. Here in Canada, it is TPF’s opinion that the 9mm and other centerfire versions would not be as popular as the rimfire versions.
The 9mm Centrefire Handgun Shotshell cartridge, manufactured by Cascade Cartridges Incorporated, better known as CCI, has an MSRP of $15.95 USD, and is available at places such as Target Sports Canada. As always, it is up to you to determine if it is tactical, practical, or fantastical?