Well, the results for our little shootout are in, and they are a bit of a surprise. This first post will concentrate solely on the accuracy of the North American Arms magnum-framed revolvers; ballistics tests are next.
A lot of people have made comments about the accuracy, or lack thereof, of NAA revolvers. I wanted to see if these guns are limited in accuracy by their design or by their human operator. After having shot more than 1000 rounds through my guns, I was inclined to lean toward the latter argument. It takes practice with any gun to become proficient enough to hit a target consistently.
For this test I placed my targets, marked with one inch squares, 10 feet from the bench. At the bench, I placed a vise to hold each gun in the exact position every time. A level was used between each shot to ensure the barrel was perfectly level.
For every gun, I shot five targets with five rounds each for a total of 25 shots from each gun. Once finished, I measured the largest distance between shots in each group. These were added together and divided by five to get an average group size for each gun.
The bullets used for the test were Federal .22 long rifle copper-plated hollow points from a bulk pack. The Black Widow was the only exception. Lacking a long rifle cylinder, I used Winchester Super X .22 magnum rounds for it.
I'll list the guns in sequence from the tightest to the largest group size:
First up is the 1-1/8 inch Mini Magnum. This gun was a surprise. At .8125 inches, It had the smallest groups of all five guns tested. In fact, the average group is smaller than a quarter! Here's a shot of one group:
The Black Widow came in pretty close behind the 1-1/8 inch Mini Magnum. Because it was shooting magnum loads, I don't know how that affected its accuracy, but it still performed well with sub one inch groups. With an average dispersion of .925 inches, the Black Widow is quite the little shooter:
Right in the middle of the pack, the 1-5/8 inch Mini Magnum shot a .9625 inch average group. I've shot this gun more than any of the other mini revolvers, and that grouping is not a surprise in the least. I've been able to hit dominoes from almost 20 feet away pretty consistently with it:
If you are wondering where the Mini Master stacks up, you'll have to wait a bit. That's because the Pug is next in line. With an average .9875 inch grouping, the pug is very close in performance to both the Black Widow and the 1-5/8 inch Mini Magnum. That's incredible when you consider it only has a one inch barrel!
The Mini Master surprised me most of all. With its four-inch barrel, I expected it to outperform all of the other guns. Obviously, that is not the case. In fact, with a 1.45 inch average group size, the Mini Master lagged pretty far behind the other guns, but my theory is that I'll need to try different types of ammunition with this gun. Because of its longer barrel, the harmonics of each ammunition type come into play, and it's quite possible I'll find a bullet that comes out of that gun tack straight every time.
Overall, I think this test proves that these guns are tack drivers at close range. Even the Mini Master has the ability to hit all five shots into an eyeball-sized target if handled correctly. I'd make a wager that anyone performing this test on any of the NAA mini revolvers would find similar results.
Because of their small size, mini revolvers do present some challenges to people use to larger guns, but those challenges are easily overcome once the nuances of the guns are learned. With a short sight radius, or distance between the front and rear sights, it's much easier to mess up their aim. Just don't go blaming the gun the next time you miss that pie tin!
The next time you are in a forum and someone mentions the terrible accuracy of these guns, just point them here. You can't dispute the facts!
P.S. A lot of people have mentioned that the accuracy comes down to the shooter... I think that's pretty clear from the above post, but my philosophy is practice practice practice. A Colt 1911 will do you no good if you don't practice with it. Neither will a perfectly tuned rifle.