was the early 1970s. We
lived on the western side of Virginiaís wilderness.
Game was plentiful from black bears and deer, to
rabbits and squirrels, and feral hogs thrown in. And the Colt
SAA in .357 magnum you see in the photo resided for long
periods in a high holster that kept it almost above my
waistline. In the years we lived out there, I learned the
power potential of the .357 in hunting all the way up to
were the years where I bonded with the true .357 magnum
caliber ... that means ammo loaded to the original specs...
47,000 psi. Since
the Colt SAA is really designed for the 45 long Colt
cartridge, when it is chambered for the .357 there is lots
of steel left around the chambers, and it becomes a strong
handgun. Much large game fell to that little Colt over the
years in the wilderness, way before a bunch of gunzine
writers told me the .357 magnum wasnít enough gun. I
didnít listen then, and I donít listen now.
this to get into perspective on a recent find in a gun shop
in Tucson. There
in the glass case for specials was an EAA Bounty Hunter,
in its shiny, highly polished, hard nickel finish.
I wasnít at first interested for several reasons. I
have a number of Colt clones in 45 caliber.
And the Bounty Hunters that Iíve known in the past
had the ugliest duck billed hammer of any handgun built in
modern times. The gun store owner practically pushed this
one into my hands...he knows my taste in guns, (since I
probably paid for the roof on his building over the
years)... with the words ďPaco, they have changed...Ē
the Bounty Hunter is manufactured by Weihrauch of
Germany. And even the earlier styled SAAs they made though ugly, were
exceptional well built and very strong. I have one in 44
Special which takes pressure levels near the 44 magnum
without a hiccup.. But just butt ugly hammers.
Bounty Hunter has the new and improved hammer, works the way
the old Rugers and Colts did, half cock.. two clicks
back, and load. And
the best part is the duck bill is gone and a whole newly
redesigned hammer in itís place, and it is much sleeker
than the Ruger New Model hammer.
But what sold me on this one, it was chambered for
.357 magnum. This
Bounty Hunter is 1/4 pound heavier than the pictured
Colt...it has a good deal more margin of safety in strength
built in, much like the Ruger SAAs.
has the old style Colt grip, real comfort in the hand. The
cylinder diameter is 1.7 inches across, which is a tenth of
an inch larger than the Colt. My Colt chambers at the mouth
measure .136 and the Bounty Hunter
.150, with recessed chambers. The cylinder is 1.76 in
length and the Colt is 1.6... the Bounty Hunter allows my
long original 173 grain Keith bullet to be seated out where
it belongs, which is great. But it also allows Cast
Performance's 200 grain bullet to be seated correctly...
not taking up room in the cartridge case, needed for powder.
Bounty Hunter locks up tight...no front to back play and the
bolt timing and lock up are sharp, tight, and right on.
Every chamber mouth is measures .3575.... consistency at the
chamber mouths is one of the three big points for a
handgunís accuracy. The
next is the bore must of the same size or slightly
smaller... this Bounty Hunterís bore is .357, and the
accuracy is outstanding.
The third accuracy point is all the cylinders must be
truly and absolutely straight to the bore.
One of the reasons Freedom Arms handguns are
so superbly accurate is their chambers are line bored
can find out if your chambers are perfect by using Pacoís
Perfection Test (PPT)...load only one and the same
cylinder for three shots off the sandbags at 25 yards...move
to the next target and do the same with the next chamber,
and so on...and then compare where each group is. If you
have a bad chamber it shows up by forming a group that
doesnít match the same place on the target as the others.
Folks complain that they keep dropping one shot out of the
group.. Might not be them, but the gun itself.
my favorite load for strong heavy sixguns in .357 (15 grains
of 2400 with a 173 grain Keith cast 1 in 15, water quenched
from the very hot mold), my 25 yard groups with the Bounty
Hunter were under an inch and a quarter when I held right. And that is with old eyes.
The front sight is a almost a 1/10th of an inch
thick... with a generous back sight notch.
Helps us older eyed people.
whatís the down side? The
shape of the grips/stocks are perfect, I like flat bottom
grips best... they are not overly thick... the feel is just
like the old timey Colts, only the gun is slightly heavier.
But the wood the stocks are made of are from hunger, dull tan
something or other. The other problem, these guns may be hard
to find. Mine was
priced right at half the cost of a new Ruger SAA. So when they
show up in a gun store they go fast...
still like blue/black handguns best, but this one is very handsome
in its high polished hard nickel finish. If you see one,
consider buying it.
can check out EAA's line on the Web at: www.eaacorp.com/.
NOTE: All load data posted on this
web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor
GunBlast.com assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data.
The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under
conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the
potential user of this data. Always use data from respected loading
manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated
in the source manual.