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by Ernie Bishop a.k.a. Ernie Last updated: 2008-06-16 20:22:45
First of all, this handgun is a prototype. Second, having never met Bob Baker I had no expectations other than I knew he has always made a quality/accurate product. My old FA 454 was extremely accurate and always reliable. I sold it out of a need for funds, but I kept the brass & dies in hopes of someday getting another one. Spending time with Bob this past week caused me to appreciate the man behind the product. He is a no-nonsense kind of a man, who is thoughtful, and is not going to make promises about a product that is not ready to go to production yet. He does not talk over your head and I never saw him trying to “sell” his product. He was more interested in what people had to say about those who were handling and shooting it. When it came to LR shooting with it he had not grouped it @ LR. He came to see what it could do and to get input from all types of shooters. The 6.5 JDJ barrel has a Douglas barrel (1-9 twist if I remember correctly). For what it is worth, this is a very accurate break-open specialty pistol. It impressed me with its ability to shoot small groups even with a three pound trigger pull. It is an exceptionally easy to open break-open handgun with extraction working well every time I used it and or saw it being used. It has a one piece base and ring that had been sloped. The angle was not enough to get him on paper at 1,000 yards with a Burris 3-12 LER (only 28 MOA of internal adjustment), so he had to hold over the target when shooting at 1,000 yards. I am pretty sure Bob placed 2nd or 3rd in one of the classes @ 500 or 750 yards-I need to call Rich or Bob to find out for sure.
I remember Marc, Ray, Jim, Larry, Steve, Erik (my son shot the 6.5 JDJ during the comp one time too) Slim, and I think “Little Ray” besides myself shot it. Larry (one of the guys from my congregation) actually shot it in the comp several times at 750 yards. Both Larry and Jim like it better than they did the MOA. Jim, who won the 1,000 yard unlimited and took second in the 750 unlimited class using my rear grip 6.5-284 XP, told me last night that he would purchase the FA single-shot for LR shooting and hunting (2-3 barrels) if the gun was in production. All of the 6.5 JDJ ammo was used during the competition, so when I shot it, it had the 357 Max barrel on it. With the scope that was on it (don’t remember) one had to put the bottom of the scopes field of view at the bottom of the steel plate at 500 yards. I think that the 357 Max barrel was shorter than the JDJ. I am going to assume the scopes horizontal adjustment was maxed out because of the wind and you had to put the vertical crosshair to the left of the stake holding the target to get on paper. I shot it four or five times @ 500 yards. I hit steel three out of five times, maybe four out of five. I missed the first time because I did not aim far enough left. Made a correction and hit steel consistently and then I tried to shoot it from a sitting position @ 500 but could not get steady enough to ensure a connection, so I did not shoot it from the standing or sitting position and went back to the bench and shot a couple of more times. The miss(ess) by myself and others was primarily due to wind, not vertical. Even @ 500 yards that 180 grain Hornady, correct me if I am wrong on the bullet weight guys, really smacked that plate hard and you could see it swing. When the 357 Max ammo gone, Bob put on the 357 Magnum barrel (very quick and easy to change barrels) and Marc nailed the 500 yard gong even with it. This is an elegant, easy to open weapon that has simplicity and strength (very accurate to boot) built into it from what I have been able to ascertain. Would I choose it over an Encore? Yes! Time will tell what kind of cartridges can be safely used in it but Bob thinks it will handle anything the Encore can. NOTE: Only time and testing will determine that. Remember, it is a prototype and he has not had the time to use other cartridges, and it may or may not look exactly like it does currently. I believe it will essentially look the same, but I am saying their may or may not be some adjustments that are made before production begins. As it is currently, it is a very practical hunting SP in my opinion. I would be willing to use it. It has clean lines (not real wide). The forend is free-floated which is vital as far as I am concerned for my uses and would also work well with a bi-pod. The design of the grip made the 357 Max’s recoil be insignificant for me (no brake). I also shot a 44 mag revolver that Bob had with factory ammo and the grip design with the wood grip, caused me to question if it was down-loaded factory ammo. I had never shot a 44 mag before that felt so tame (no brake or porting).
This SP has my interest. Personally, I like the aesthetics of the handgun, but that has never been an issue for me in terms of whether or not I would purchase a handgun. I want a handgun to be easy to use, functional, reliable, accurate, and capable of being used in a variety of venues: big game, varmints, and LR field and bench shooting. I think everyone shared their input with him who shot the gun. You can guess that a lighter trigger pull was one for me and a more useable scope base (picatinny), so I could use either 1” or 30mm scopes with the ability to move scopes forward or backward depending on whether or not I was using a LER or riflescope. A longer forend as an option if one had a longer barrel with a sling swivel stud located where the bi-pod is close as possible to the end of the forend. I know there are several things I forgot to mention. Please feel free to ask questions of any of us who shot it and we will give the feedback to you as we can. The other guys who shot it may have different opinions than I did.
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