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I recently had the opportunity to shoot a handgun...

that, to date, is the neatest, long-range handgun I have shot.

The Remington XP-100 is a handgun that you would look at and wonder, “Is this a very short rifle or a really long handgun?”

The one I shot has a 14-inch barrel and a nylon type stock with no iron sights, but a nice Weaver-style rail to mount a scope. Luckily for me, I had a nice 2-6-power handgun scope in the safe, just waiting to make a trip to the range on this gun.

The difference between a handgun scope and a rifle scope is mainly the amount of eye relief. Most rifle scopes have an eye relief between 3 and 4 inches, while most handgun scopes are from about 6 to 12 inches.

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Eye relief is the distance your eye can be away from the scope and still see a clear view of your target. The reason for the difference is RECOIL. When you shoulder a rifle and fire it, your cheek is on the stock and the rifle butt is on your shoulder, so your body moves with the long gun and absorbs the recoil.

When you fire a handgun, it recoils back towards you as your arms flex back towards your body. If you had to get your face within 3 inches of the scope on a handgun, you might not like the results when the scope came back and bit you.

Remington made the XP-100 from 1963 through 1998. It was originally an experimental pistol designed for long-range shooting. It was originally chambered in .221 Remington Fireball, which is still the fastest commercially-produced handgun cartridge ever made.

This odd-looking gun redesigned the term “handgun accuracy” and is still very sought after today by long-range target and varmint shooters.

This pistol is based on a short-action bolt carbine with an unusual center-mounted pistol grip. I found this unusual grip a little strange to work with at first, but after a few rounds sent down range, I found it a pleasure to shoot. The grip design allowed the gun to recoil comfortably with less muzzle jump than I expected.

This pistol has had many factory chamberings since the original .221 fireball, including: .22-250 Remington, .223 Remington, .250 Savage, 6 mm BR Remington, 7 mm BR Remington, .7 mm-08 Remington, .308 Winchester, .35 Remington and the one I shot – 6 mm Remington. This pistol not only was chambered in these factory offerings, but in several wildcats as well.

It also had several design changes, from the original center-mounted grip to later moving it back some, to many stock variations and barrel lengths from the original 10-inch barrel.

Here are the models and the years they were made: XP-100 (1963–1985), XP-100 Varmint Special (1986–1992), XP-100 Silhouette (1980–1994), XP-100 Hunter (1993–1994), XP-100 Custom (1986–1994) and XP-100R (1998).

All of these are single-shot, bolt-action handguns. The original versions came with iron sights, but later ones came drilled and tapped for scopes as the popularity of these guns was with the long-range shooters, where glass is almost a must for shots out to several hundred yards.

These were and still are popular with game hunters, with whitetail deer being the most common targeted species. I have heard several cases of skilled shooters taking black bear, moose and elk, and smaller game like rabbits.

When you think about the chambering of this pistol, they have all been used for many years to take most North American game with great success, so why not a pistol that shoots rifle cartridges? I would have no problem hunting deer or hogs, once I was comfortable with this handgun.

I could not imagine shooting at something much farther than 100 yards holding this gun freehand, but with a shooting stick or tree to rest it on, shots out to 300 yards would be do-able, as I found this one to be extremely accurate.

This pistol, even with a barrel shorter than most rifles, has the velocity to dispatch most of our game. The one I shot sent a 95-grain Hornady Superformance bullet down range at speeds of just under 3200 fps. That is plenty enough bullet and speed to hunt anything around here with great success, if you have spent the time at the range to perfect your accuracy.

When I initially set this up at the range, I thought it was going to kick like a mule, but the recoil was like a sharp push, with my wrist and elbow absorbing the shock. I only shot this a few times, but I would not have a problem target shooting several hours with this.

One thing to think about when shooting one of these is where to hold it, other than the grip. I first thought I should hold the top of the barrel to keep the barrel from jumping. Then I thought maybe under the barrel. After a couple of shots, I found the most comfortable place for my hands was to grip the pistol grip as I would any other handgun and this worked out just fine.

The only thing I did not like about this gun was how the bolt is removed. You need a small, stiff piece of metal wire about the size of a big paper clip, as you have to insert this piece of wire in a slot on the left side of the receiver and press down while pulling the trigger and moving the bolt rearward. I found this to be extremely awkward, even after doing it several times.

Other than the bolt removal, I found this pistol to be very accurate and fun to shoot. I cannot imagine why Remington quit making them. Maybe someday they will resume production and change the bolt removal process. You would think with all of the single-shot handguns that Thompson Center sells, there would be a demand for this fine shooter.

Even with the bolt removal process, I would sure like to have several of these. I am certain with a little range time, I would be strapping it to my chest on my next hunting trip.

New product review:

I recently picked up a Hornady Sonic Cleaner to clean my brass. I have now used it on several hundred brass, from .223 to .45-70, and what a great job it does.

No more fooling around trying to get the tumbler corncob or walnut shell media out of those small primer pockets. You just drop your brass in the unit, turn it on and a few minutes (yes, minutes...not hours like the tumbler) your brass is spotless, inside and out, even in the primer pockets.

The last time I used it, I was cleaning a black powder pistol, and after removing the cap nipples, I put three of them in the Hornady Sonic Cleaner and cleaned the other three the old way with a brush, pick and a lot of scrubbing.

After a few minutes in the Sonic Cleaner, the three nipples looked like new. I scrubbed on the other three for a long time, and they still looked dirty. I then put the cylinder in the cleaner, and a few minutes later, out came out almost-brand-new-looking cylinder. This cleaner is well worth the price.

Shoot Safe, Shoot Straight.

If all guns were treated as if they were loaded, there would be NO MORE accidental shootings.

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Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”