Categories
Ammunition

Federal Terminal Ascent Ammunition

Terminal Ascent Bullet Performance at 1000 yards

Announced in time for the 2020 SHOT Show, Federal Premium unveiled a new line of hunting ammunition called Terminal Ascent.

In simple terms, this is a new line of ammo that claims:

  • match-grade accuracy,
  • deep-penetration at all ranges,
  • reliable expansion at low velocity,
  • high weight retention and
  • lethal terminal performance at all ranges.

While this ammo might be considered long-range hunting ammunition because of its great performance at distance, the reality is it is an “all-range, all-velocity” line that is said to perform no matter where your target is.

Let’s jump into some of the features of this new line.

General Construction

Federal designed these loads to blend the best characteristics of expanding big game ammunition with the exceptional accuracy of match-grade rounds. While compromise loads can leave the user unsatisfied with all aspects of a round, Federal Premium believes the Terminal Ascent line successfully combines all of the best attributes.

How did the company manage this?

Bonded Design

Many hunters want high weight retention as this is a good indicator that the bullet will stay in one piece and penetrate deeply. When taking a game animal, a shoulder shot is common meaning the bullet has to penetrate heavy bone to reach the heart and lungs for a humane kill.

Federal Terminal Ascent Long Range Hunting Ammunition

Hitting an animal at close distances means the bullet velocity will be high, which can cause over expansion and fragmentation in some bullet designs. A bonded round means that the jacket and core have been joined during the manufacturing process and will not separate when hitting a target.

In other words, bonded bullets are unlikely to shed weight and are likely to penetrate deeply enough to hit vital organs.

Terminal Ascent bullets have a solid shank: a thick copper base that supports the lead core. Combined with the bonding process, the shank helps ensure the bullet has high weight retention after hitting the target.

Slipstream Tip

Polymer tipped bullets were once seen to be a gimmick by some in the industry. Performance in the field tells a different story. It now seems that nearly every manufacturer has at least one bullet line with a polymer tip.

Slipstream Tip on Terminal Ascent Bullet Ammo

While the Terminal Ascent bullet has a polymer tip, it is not a common plastic point. Rather, it is a patented hollow core tip that initiates the expansion of the bullet at lower velocities.

During the testing of other polymer tipped bullets, Federal engineers determined that the expansion of bullets was inconsistent once the range reached 600 yards. This was due to the velocity loss at those ranges.

Initial experimentation showed that drilling a hole in the very tip of the bullet allowed for expansion at lower velocities which extended the useful range of the bullet by several hundred yards. With a hollow polymer tip, target media would enter and cause expansion – very similar to how the hollow point bullet works.

However, the hole at the front of the tip degraded the bullet’s flight characteristics. It almost seemed to circle back to square one. Would you need a polymer tip for your polymer tip?

The solution was a hollow polymer tip that did not have a hole in the exposed end. Through experimentation, the Federal design team discovered that the point of the hollow tip would break off on impact with the target. That would allow target media to enter the polymer tip’s hollow core and initiate expansion.

Federal Premium Terminal Ascent Hunting Ammunition

This design – called the Slipstream Tip – greatly improved the expansion of the bullet at lower velocities while maintaining the ballistic characteristics of the standard polymer tipped rifle bullet.

Another aspect of the Slipstream Tip that enhances performance is the choice of material. Federal uses the same polymer as it uses in its Trophy Bonded Tip which puts the softening temperature at 434Ëš F.

Terminal Ascent vs Precision Hunter Tips

It appears to me that the Terminal Ascent line is a direct competitor to the Hornady Precision Hunter line. In that line, Hornady uses a Heat Shield tip to prevent tip softening and to improve expansion at distances beyond 400 yards.

Is the Terminal Ascent better than the Precision Hunter? I have no way of even guessing at how the two match up in the field. And the bullet weights used by each company are different in each caliber. So, there is no direct comparison of the G1 BC either.

Except for two cartridges: the 300 Win Mag and the 300 WSM. Both companies selected 200-grain bullets for these cartridges. Here is how the factory specs match up:

 

Terminal Ascent Velocity

Precision Hunter Velocity

Terminal Ascent G1 BC

Precision Hunter G1 BC

300 Win Mag - 200 grains

2,810 fps

2,850 fps

.608

.597

300 WSM - 200 grains

2,810 fps

2,820 fps

.608

.597

I’d argue we can’t make any definitive statements about the two based on this information alone. However, it would seem the two lines are going to be in the same ballpark of performance. I’m looking forward to seeing field results.

AccuChannel Grooving

Federal developed a new process for adding grooves to a bullet shank to improve accuracy and reduce barrel wear and fouling.

For many people, the engineering for the new AccuChannel Grooving is getting into the weeds a bit. So, I’ll keep it simple.

Essentially, engineers performed a series of experiments and learned how to reduce the number of grooves needed on a bullet shank to achieve the same level of performance. By reducing the number of grooves, you can improve the ballistic coefficient (BC) of the bullet.

Likewise, the team found a way to improve the groove geometry to further reduce drag on the bullet.

Loads and Specs

 

Bullet Weight

Velocity

Energy

G1 BC

6.5 PRC

130 gr

3,000 fps

2,598 ft-lbs

.532

6.5 Creedmoor

130 gr

2,825 fps

2,304 ft-lbs

.532

.270 Win

130 gr

3,000 fps

2,598 ft-lbs

.493

.270 WSM

136 gr

3,240 fps

3,171 ft-lbs

.493

.280 Ackley Improved

155 gr

2,930 fps

2,955 ft-lbs

.586

.28 Nosler

155 gr

3,200 fps

3,525 ft-lbs

.586

7mm Rem Mag

155 gr

3,000 fps

3,098 ft-lbs

.586

.30-06 Sprg

175 gr

2,730 fps

2,897 ft-lbs

.520

.308 Win

175 gr

2,600 fps

2,627 ft-lbs

.520

.300 Win Mag

200 gr

2,810 fps

3,507 ft-lbs

.608

.300 WSM

200 gr

2,810

3,507 ft-lbs

.608

Ammo will be sold in 20-round boxes. Suggested retail pricing will start at $42.95 for a box and go up from there. Actual pricing is set by the dealer, and I expect to see many of these loads closer to the $30-35 range.

Final Thoughts

Terminal Ascent Ammo from Federal at 2020 SHOT Show

The final word on these new loads will be offered once they make it into the field. But for now, this line looks impressive. I am eager to see what they can do.

If you get some on the range or out on a hunting trip, how about leaving your observations in the comments below. I’ve got a lot of readers who appreciate hearing how these loads perform in real-world conditions.

Categories
Handguns

Ruger-57: New 5.7×28 Pistol

Ruger-57 Pistol

I like it when companies do unexpected things. Sometimes these outside-the-box ideas change the industry while other times they simply become a curiosity. Either way, it keeps things interesting.

The Ruger-57 is one of those unexpected pistols.

In the days leading up to the SHOT Show, Ruger is rolling out its new products for 2020. Yesterday, the company announced the Lite Rack LCP II. Today, the latest is a handgun chambered for the 5.7×28 cartridge.

Let’s take a look at what this new gun offers.

Quick Note

This gun has been selling out as soon as they hit the shelves of the local dealers. Here are a few online sources you can check for the gun. Purchases through those sites are affiliate links and help pay my bills.

Gun Design

The new Ruger-57 is a full-size pistol with a polymer frame. It has a barrel just short of 5″ and a modest weight of 24.5 ounces.

Ruger-57 Side View

It is a semi-automatic, blowback design. Ruger designed the hammer-fired gun with a 1911-style thumb safety. The safety is ambidextrous for ease of use regardless of which hand grips the pistol.

A front fiber optic sight with a fully adjustable blacked-out rear sight is standard. The gun is red dot ready. Ruger sells multiple mounting plates for the addition of an optic like the Burris FastFire and Vortex Venom.

Standard magazines hold 20 rounds. However, the company also offers limited capacity 10-round magazines for shooters who live in less-free states.

The 5.7×28 Cartridge

There is a good chance that some of my readers are not familiar with the 5.7×28 cartridge.

5.7x28 Ammunition for Ruger-57

That’s understandable as the cartridge has never secured a large part of the firearms market. Nevertheless, it is a caliber that offers a blend of low recoil, high velocity and the reliability of a centerfire round.

In general terms, it is a cartridge with a bottleneck case and a bullet with a diameter of 0.224″ (5.7mm.) Bullet weights range from about 20 grains to about 50 grains. The cartridge could be thought of like a thinner, shorter .221 Fireball though I have no information that suggests the Fireball directly influenced the 5.7×28 design.

Lightweight projectiles tend to make for less recoil and increased velocities. In my own testing, for example, I found the SS197 load with a 40 grain Hornady V-Max bullet averaged 1,683 fps from a 4.8″ barrel.

FN Herstal developed the round in response to a NATO request for a small arms cartridge that could be fired from a pistol and personal defense weapon (PDW) and could penetrate body armor. Although the cartridge and companion firearms were never adopted in any significant quantity by military units, the cartridge and guns have found use in law enforcement and sporting contexts.

Other than the new Ruger-57, there are few companies manufacturing firearms chambered for this cartridge. FN builds the Five-seveN pistol and PS90 rifle chambered for the 5.7×28. There are also several smaller companies that make or previously made specialty guns for the round including the AR-57 and Masterpiece Arms MPA 57.

Speer Gold Dot 57x28 Ammo

While ammunition selection is fairly limited, Speer introduced a new Gold Dot defensive round for the 5.7×28 at the same time Ruger released this new pistol.

The Speer load uses a 40-grain bullet and will be sold in boxes of 50 rounds. The MSRP is about $1/round but street prices are expected to be about $35-39 for a box of 50.

Holster Options

For self-defense, predator control or just plinking on a camping trip, there is a good chance you will need a holster for your new Ruger-57. Fortunately, Ruger had the good sense to work with a number of companies to ensure there would be carry rigs available at launch.

Check out my Ruger-57 Holsters Guide and see what is available.

Specifications

 

Ruger-57

caliber

5.7x28

capacity

20+1

barrel length

4.94"

overall length

8.65"

height

5.6"

weight

24.5 oz

grip frame

polymer

finish

matte black

MSRP

$799

Final Thoughts

I have a positive first impression of the new Ruger-57.

Ruger-57 Review

As I always say, the proof will be in the shooting. Even so, I am intrigued by this gun and have high expectations for its performance and the amount of fun it can provide.

The guns are not cheap by Ruger standards, but it is an all-new design and there are costs associated with that. Compared to the FN Five-seveN, the pistol is significantly less expensive – by more than $600. That will definitely bring more shooters to the 5.7×28 niche. I hope that means we will see more ammo made for it as well.

Categories
Handguns

Ruger Lite Rack LCP II in .22

Ruger LCP II in 22 LR

In the run up to the 2020 SHOT Show, Ruger announced a new pistol chambered for the .22 LR called the Lite Rack LCP II.

In what appears to be a riff off of the incredibly popular Smith & Wesson M&P 380EZ line of pistols, Ruger highlights the ease of slide manipulation and soft recoil of the Lite Rack.

The new Lite Rack has a number of interesting features that sets it apart from the existing LCP line. Let’s jump into them right now.

Quick Note

This gun has been selling out as soon as they hit the shelves of the local dealers. Here are a few online sources you can check for the gun. Purchases through those sites are affiliate links and help pay my bills.

Lite Rack

Ruger Lite Rack LCP II in 22 LR

Ruger appears to have recognized a need for easier to manipulate slides. For years, many people with poor upper body strength have struggled with slide operation. On small guns with heavy recoil springs, this has been a significant issue.

While many people can master slide manipulation with a good technique some people are simply unable to do so.

For these folks, the new Lite Rack LCP II may be a good option.

Ruger designed this pistol to function with a light recoil spring. This means there is less resistance to the slide being pulled back. But, working in concert with the lighter spring is the new Cocking Ears.

Cocking Ears

Most handgun slides have serrations to assist the shooter with gripping the metal when working the action. To further improve the shooter’s grip on the slide, Ruger uses pronounced Cocking Ears.

Ruger Lite Rack Cocking Ears

Located at the extreme rear of the slide, the Cocking Ears jut out from both sides of the gun to provide a ledge for the hand to press against. This should, in theory, improve the shooter’s ability to push/pull the slide.

Heckler & Koch included similar ears on its popular VP9 duty pistol. When I reviewed the HK VP9, I found the ears improved my hand’s grip on the slide while maintaining a sleek profile.

Unlike the HK device, Ruger’s Cocking Ears appear to be a machined part of the slide.

New Floorplate

Ruger updated the LCP II floorplate on this model. Compared to the simple pinky extensions available on the .380 ACP variants, the new plate is a little beefier.

The additional bulk is likely needed to fit a full 10 rounds of .22 LR into the magazine.

Whatever the reason, the floorplate does add extra real estate on the pistol’s grip. Many people will appreciate the extra length.

Rimfire Not Centerfire

Light Recoil from the Ruger LCP II Lite RackLight Recoil from the Ruger LCP II Lite Rack

While .380 ACP ammunition is not abusive, it can still provide harsh recoil to a newer shooter in a small, light handgun. A .22 LR is a much lighter recoiling load.

For the new shooter and those with upper body strength issues, the Lite Rack LCP II may be a fantastic option.

New Thumb Safety

 

Right Side View of Ruger Lite Rack LCP II

Like many .22 LR pistols, the Lite Rack LCP II has a thumb safety. It is quite pronounced and should be easy to operate by anyone regardless of hand strength.

Pushing forward on the safety deactivates it and allows you to fire the gun. The safety is on the left side of the gun only.

The pistol also uses the trigger safety to help prevent accidental discharges.

Specifications

 

Lite Rack LCP II

caliber

.22 LR

capacity

10+1

barrel length

2.75"

overall length

5.2"

height

4.0"

weight

11.2 oz

grip frame

polymer

finish

matte black

MSRP

$349

Final Thoughts

I like the new LCP II in .22 LR. It incorporates a number of features that will make it appealing to a range of shooters. As a guy with increasingly severe arthritis, I am happy to see another company offering a gun that can work for people with reduced hand strength.

The new Lite Rack LCP II has the same suggested retail price as the standard .380 ACP model: $349.

Categories
news

Return of the Taurus 942

Taurus 942 Revolver

Taurus is expected to bring the 942 line of revolvers back at the 2020 SHOT Show.

The new versions of the classic wheelguns will be offered in models for both .22 LR and .22 WMR cartridges, but no convertible revolvers are expected at this time.

In addition to the caliber choices, shooters will be able to select from a wide range of finishes, frames and barrel lengths.

Here are the options that will be available:

 

942 2" barrel

942 3" barrel

942UL 2" barrel

942UL 3" barrel

942M 2" barrel

942M 3" barrel

942M UL 2" barrel

942M UL 3" barrel

caliber

.22 LR

.22 LR

.22 LR

.22 LR

.22 WMR

.22 WMR

.22 WMR

.22 WMR

capacity

8

8

8

8

8

8

8

8

action

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

barrel length

2"

3"

2"

3"

2"

3"

2"

3"

overall length

6.6"

7.6"

6.6"

7.6"

6.6"

7.6"

6.6"

7.6"

height

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

weight

23.6 oz

25.0 oz

17.8 oz

18.8 oz

23.6 oz

25.0 oz

17.8 oz

18.8 oz

frame

alloy or stainless steel

alloy or stainless steel

aluminum

aluminum

alloy or stainless steel

alloy or stainless steel

aluminum

aluminum

finish

matte black or stainless

matte black or stainless

matte black, stainless or anodized colors

matte black, stainless or anodized colors

matte black or stainless

matte black or stainless

matte black, stainless or anodized colors

matte black, stainless or anodized colors

grip

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

MSRP

not available

not available

not available

not available

not available

not available

not available

not available

As you can see in the above table, the company will offer these guns with both steel and aluminum frames. The aluminum has the obvious benefit of decreased weight while the steel frame can offer a longer life for frequent shooters.

As with other guns that have been introduced by Taurus in recent years, the new 942 revolvers will be available in a variety of finishes. On the steel frames, shooters can select either a matte black or stainless finish. Aluminum guns have these choices and expand the palate to include a number of anodized colors.

Exact anodized colors have not been announced, but the company’s 856 line of revolvers is suggestive of the possibilities. That line includes vibrant colors like azure, rouge, bronze and burned orange. Likewise, the Taurus Spectrum .380 ACP pistols have a significant number of color options.

There are many common features in this gun line. For example, all guns have spurred hammers and can be shot in either double-action or single-action modes.

Another common feature is that the front sight is a pinned, black ramp while the rear sight is a plain black, drift adjustable notch.

All of the guns have an 8-shot capacity. The guns are also fitted with the standard Taurus rubber grip with the bull logo at the rounded bottom.

I believe these may be the first new guns to feature the company’s new location on them. In 2019, Taurus began a move from Miami, FL to Bainbridge, GA. I’m sure there are a range of reasons for the move, but I know that labor costs, property costs and local taxes are substantially less in the new location.

I’m hoping the company experiences a significant reduction in overhead costs and can reinvest the money back into its quality control processes. The company offers a lot of interesting designs at very affordable prices. However, it has been my experience that the quality of the guns has been very hit-or-miss. If the company can get its QC issues – be they real or just perceived – it can see huge success in the coming years.

I do not have an official word on the pricing of the new 942 revolvers. However, my sources believe the MSRP will be around $350 or less.

Categories
Handguns

Chiappa CBR-9 Black Rhino Pistol: New Personal Defense Handgun

Chiappa CBR-9 Pistol

On the heels of its PDW announcement earlier in the year, Chiappa Firearms has another new gun based on the same design. Called the CBR-9 Black Rhino pistol, the new handgun will officially roll out at the 2020 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

The new pistol uses a steel “upper” receiver that holds all of the mechanical components save the ejector and magazine. Those parts are housed in the polymer lower receiver that also forms the pistol grip.

Chiappa uses a blowback system in the Black Rhino. According to the company, the system is “improved and efficient” with a bolt that is about 50% of the weight of competing products.

Chambered in 9mm, the gun uses proprietary 18-round magazines. The company stated the magazine design is a patented design that prevents the deformation of the feed lips for improved reliability. In other words, don’t expect to slip a 33-round Glock magazine into place.

Good news, however. The company suggests larger magazine capacities may be available at a later date. This would seem to be an obvious play on its part.

One of the most interesting aspects of this new pistol is the collapsible arm brace. Similar to the shoulder stock on the PDW, the arm brace can make this gun extremely compact for transport and provide the additional bracing for someone to shoot the gun more accurately with one hand.

Low profile fiber optic sights are standard, while a top Picatinny rail allows for the addition of a red dot or some other optic. There are also side rails for lights and additional gear.

A few years back, Chiappa introduced the AK-9. That was an AK-style pistol that fed from Beretta 92 magazines. The CBR-9 pistol looks far more refined.

The original personal defense weapon that the Chiappa CBR-9 pistol is based on was unveiled at the 2019 IWA Outdoor Classics trade show in Nuremberg, Germany. To my eye, the CBR-9 Black Rhino pistol bears a passing resemblance to the HK MP7 PDW. I’m not suggesting the one is a copy or clone of the other – just that they have a resemblance. Here’s hoping the Chiappa is more affordable than the HK.