Thursday, October 18, 2012

357 Magnum in an automatic pistol?

That's what we get from Coonan Inc according to my latest American Rifleman.  It looks like a regulation .45 automatic but it takes 357 Magnum revolver cartridges.  Interesting and all that, but why?
   357, being a revolver cartridge, has a rim on the brass to seat on the back of the cylinder.  Without the rim, the hammer strike would merely push the entire cartridge up the cylinder instead of igniting the primer.  Revolver cartridges need that rim.  There have been several attempts to make revolvers that could fire rimless .45 auto cartridges, using clever metal clips that grab the extractor groove in the rimless automatic round.  They worked, mostly, but nobody was ever very fond of them.  Convenienal wisdom is that revolvers need rimmed cartridges.
   On the other side, rimmed cartridges don't stack neatly into a magazine  the way rimless will.  The rims have a tendency to catch each other and jam the gun.  Instead of stacking up straight, they stack in a curve, calling for a curved magazine.  Straight magazines, with a spring on the bottom are more likely to feed than curvy ones.  The moment of truth for an automatic pistol is when the slide jerks open, the empty brass is tossed out, the springs ram the slide home, stripping a new round off the top of the magazine and jamming it into the chamber.  As any automatic pistol owner can tell you, there are a thousand ways this can go wrong, jamming the gun.  I certainly don't want to give Murphy's Law something extra to work with like a rimmed cartridge.  I want rimless ammunition for my automatic pistol. 
   Plus, nobody has ever complained about the regulation .45 round lacking in power or accuracy.  357 is a fine round, but it doesn't hit any harder. 
   It's a nice looking gun, but I'd druther have a regulation .45 automatic. 

No comments: