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EAA Witness Hunter 10mm

Handgun hunting has become ever more popular. In year’s past I have hunted with several handguns, ranging from hunting squirrels with a .22 all the way up to taking larger game with .357., .44 Magnum, .45 Colt, .454 Casull, .45-70 and a .460 S&W.

Recently I had the opportunity to put my hands on an EAA Witness Hunter in 10mm with a 6-inch barrel, and I was extremely impressed.

This was the first EAA handgun I had shot, and like all guns I shoot, I started by disassembling the handgun to see how it worked and to give the internal parts a good look.

This is a 1911 design, and disassembly was just as easy as all 1911’s have been in the past. The machining is very nice, featuring precision work. I cleaned off the factory oil and applied a small amount of lubricant to the slide and other internal parts before reassembling it for a day or two at the range.

The 10mm was originally designed in 1983 by Jeff Cooper and Norma for the FBI. However, the original factory loads produced too much recoil for the FBI, so this was a short-lived venture. The FBI later went with the .40 S&W that is still a .40 caliber, but with much less recoil than the original factory-loaded 10mm rounds.

Since that time, several other ammo producers have loaded the 10mm at a little less than the maximum SAAMI pressure (38,700 psi). I wanted to push my hand loads to, or near, the max, so I did a pile of research on factory loads and documented hand loads. What I found out about most of the factory loads is they are loaded to pressures below the maximum SAAMI specs. Based on this data, I would have a little wiggle room to load some hot loads without fear of a problem.

*(Loading hot hand loads should only be done by persons with a great deal of experience – while still exhibiting a lot of caution.)

Before I started shooting very hot loads in this gun, I wanted to check the recoil springs that came with it. After some research, I found the three included springs were 11, 12 and 14 pounds. I decided to go with a Wolf 22-pound spring to soak up the added recoil from the hotter loads. Changing the recoil spring was an easy task that took less than a minute.

These 1911-style handguns are designed to eject the spent round with the recoil from firing a loaded round. When you pull the trigger, the loaded round goes off, and the pressure from it causes the slide to move backwards. This process ejects the spent cartridge.

A simple rule of thumb to determine if your semi-auto handgun has the correct spring for the loads you shoot is to fire one and check the distance the spent cartridge is ejected from the gun.

If the spent cartridge is thrown a long way (say more than 5 or 6 feet), you might need a stronger recoil spring. Having a spring that is too weak will cause your gun to wear out before it’s time due to the slide slamming against the recoil stop.

Wolf makes different springs for most semi auto handguns, and they can be found at www.gunsprings.com.

I wanted to do my test shooting at a distance of 25 yards, so I headed off to the Second Amendment indoor range in Yulee, Florida for some “fun shooting.”

Like most other older folks, my eyes made it necessary to use a sight system other than the iron sights on this fine handgun. I wanted to hit the dot in the “i” – not the barn door. This gun is drilled and tapped for the optional Weaver-style scope/sight mount which can be purchased from EAA.

I ordered the scope mount and mounted it on the gun. I already had a few red dot-style sights to try, so after hand loading a few rounds, I was off to the range. In addition to several hand loads, I had a few factory loads.

After firing a few rounds to dial in the newly-mounted red dot sight, I was ready for some accuracy testing from a Caldwell pistol rest while seated at a table.

My first load was Hornady 180-grain XTP factory ammo rated at 1180 fps muzzle velocity.

I could have stopped at this point, as the three 5-shot groups produced an average size of 1.0 inch. But, I had a few more factory loads on hand, as well as some very carefully loaded hand loads that I needed to try.

Next up was Federal Premium 180-grain Trophy Bonded rated at 1275 fps mv. These bullets were not as accurate as the Hornady brand, as the groups were around 2.2 inches.

Next up was Winchester Super-X 175 grain Silver Tip hollow point, rated at 1290 fps mv. Again these fell short of the accuracy produced by the Hornady, with average groups of 2.1 inches.

Cor-Bon 180 grain BC, with a rating of 1320 fps mv, were next. These were the least accurate, with average groups of 3.5 inches.

All of my hand loads consisted of CCI 300 primers, Accurate #9 powder and Starline brass. I used Hornady dies and a Hornady press to load all of the hand loads. My powder weights ranged from 12.50 to 15.50 grains, weighed on a jeweler’s scale to .02 of a grain.

All of the hand loads were seated to an OAL of 1.260 inches and crimped using the Hornady crimp die. See the chart below for all of the shooting results.

Things I like about this handgun:

Grip: The grip is checkered wood with a checkered front/back strap, non-slip frame. The grip is just the right size for my hand. With a nice large grip, the gun is easy to hold and shoot.

Beaver tail: Nice extended large beaver tail that fit perfectly between my thumb and forefinger

Safety: Large extended safety that is easy to use, even with gloves

Sights: Adjustable for windage and elevation rear sight, and it comes with two front sights

Scope Mount: The gun comes factory drilled and tapped for their Weaver-style scope rail.

Accuracy: Unbelievable accuracy with both factory and hand loads

Functional Ability: Performed flawlessly.

Trigger Guard: Large enough to use with gloves.

Things I did not like about this handgun:

Trigger: The trigger has a little creep, but now that I have put a couple hundred rounds through it, it seems to be getting better.

Scope Mount: After I installed the scope mount, it is hard to grab the slide to chamber a round.

My overall impression:

The EAA Witness Hunter 10mm is a VERY nice handgun. It shoots very accurately, fits my hand, is dependable and well made. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give this a 9.5 as a hunting, home protection or target gun.

If all firearms were treated as if they were loaded, there would be no more accidental shootings. Shoot Straight, Shoot Safe!


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.”