Ballistics by the inch

My new (bull)puppy.

Last August, I got to shoot a new IWI Tavor TS12 shotgun. You can find the full review here, but here was my conclusion:

Final thoughts: it’s a hell of a package. I’m not sure I’d use it for “sport shooting”, but for fun at the range or as a home defense gun, yeah, it’d be fantastic, though a little pricey.

Well, after thinking about it for a few months, I decided to go ahead and get one. Here it is:

I put a Crimson Trace CT-1000 optic on it:

And took it out to the range this morning to break it in.

IWI recommends minimum shot weight and velocity for the gun, for it to operate properly. I started out with some standard target loads of 2.75″ #8 shot, 1.125oz, 1200fps. I set the gas regulator to the “L” (light) setting for these light loads. The first couple of test loads operated correctly. So I loaded all three tubes to capacity, just to run through them as quickly as I could. Everything was flawless.

Time to try some heavier loads. I went to full-power 00Buckshot. These were 2.75″ 9 pellet 1325fps loads. I kept the gas regulator on the “L” setting, since some reviewers suggested this was a good idea for the initial break-in. But the gun cycled too quickly, and caught the spent cases in the mechanism. I reset the gas regulator to “H” (heavy) and tried again. All the subsequent 00Buck and slug rounds fired & cycled perfectly.

To this point I was just getting a feel for how the gun felt, operated, etc. Because while I had tried my friend’s gun previously, it was just with half a dozen rounds in a “what’s this weird thing like to shoot” go. Now I wanted to see what it would take to become proficient with my own gun.

My initial thoughts were, in no particular order:

  • The trigger was mushy. To be expected with a bullpup.
  • Recoil was mild, if the gas regulator was set correctly.
  • Getting down behind the optic took some practice, and I was happy for the riser on the CT-1000.
  • Getting used to the paddle-catch to change tubes took a bit of practice.
  • But damn, that’s a quick way to burn through ammo.

I set up some cardboard (about 18×18″) and a sheet of 11×17″ paper at 25 yards to see how well the optic would indicate where the pellets hit from 00Buck. I had the “Improved Cylinder” choke in the gun, and was getting patterns of about 14″.

Next I put up a larger piece of cardboard (24×48″) at 50 yards to see how well the optic would do with basic Brenneke slugs. These are some old Remington 2.75″ 1oz 1560fps rounds I had. I hadn’t done anything yet with the optic other than just mount it and turn it on, so this was just a test.

Here were the first three shots, shot freehand while standing:

That’s a 4″ group. Out of a brand new gun, with a brand new optic, the first time I’d shot slugs out of it. Since 50 yards is about twice the distance I would ever imagine using this gun for, I’ll take it.

Next up: 00Buckshot at the same 50 yards. Here’s that result:

I didn’t run back and forth, just fired 5 rounds with the optic at the same position I had used for the slugs. At 9 pellets each, about half were on the cardboard, and notably most were on the lower half of the board. But once again, this is about twice the range I would ever really envisage this gun would be used at, even for hunting, and about 4x the range I might use it for home defense. Again, acceptable.

Lastly, I reset the gas regulator to “L”, and loaded it full with the target loads. I figured it was time to see what fun I could have at speed on the falling plates on my range. Here’s a run at 15 yards:

That little foot shuffle I do at the start? I was standing on the wire rope that sets the plates, so they weren’t falling. I had to get off it in order to knock them down.

I’m sure I’ll get much faster with it, with practice. But as you can see, even being completely new to the gun, it’s easy to achieve a surprising amount of speed with it. You can definitely go through a lot of ammo with one of these guns, there’s no doubt about it.

Overall, I’m very happy with the Tavor TS12. Altogether I ran about 75 shells through it in an hour, half the light target loads, the other half full-power, high-brass slugs and 00Buck. It’s been decades since I shot a 12 gauge that much in that short a period of time, and my shoulder isn’t the slightest bit sore.

Yeah, the TS12 is a keeper. And I really like the Crimson Trace optic.

Jim Downey

March 3, 2021 Posted by | Discussion., Shotgun ballistics | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

IWI Tavor TS12 review

This past weekend I got to try the new(ish) Tavor TS12 semi-auto shotgun, made by IWI.

This gun got a LOT of attention when it was announced at SHOT 2018, and generated a fair amount of interest later when the commercial version was finally released not quite a year ago. And for very good reason: it’s a hell of a package.

OK, the basics: this is a gas regulated semi-auto 12ga shotgun, which will handle either standard 2.75″ or 3.00″ Magnum shotgun loads. It has an innovative three-tube magazine design which will hold up to 16 rounds (15+1) of 2.75″ shells or 13 rounds of magnum shells. It is a bullpup design, with an 18.5″ barrel and 28″ overall length. It weighs 8 pounds unloaded. It uses standard Benelli/Beretta choke tubes. It has M-LOK compatible rails, a continuous Picatinny rail on top, and multiple sling mount points.

So, one of my friends got a new TS12, and wanted to try it. He figured we’d test it with his standard home defense ammo, Dupo 28 explanding steel slugs. The Tavor had not been fired previously, and we decided to try it without an optic, just using the Picatinny rail on top as a guide.

We looked the gun over and figured out the operating controls. It’s very intuitive, and we quickly got the hang of loading and using the gun. Since it was brand new, we expected a little bit of break-in time, and indeed the first few rounds didn’t cycle completely. But after about a half dozen or so, it ran flawlessly.  The automatic-reload feature when you move from one tube to the next is really slick, once it was working correctly.

What were my impressions of it?

Well, when you first look at it, the gun *looks* big. I think that is due to the boxy shape of it. The proportions are a little weird, and you figure that it’s a shotgun, so it has to be big. But because it’s a bullpup design, it actually isn’t that big. And when you pick it up to use it, then it feels much smaller, more compact, and very well balanced. In fact, it feels like a tight little package of lethality. This video from TFB really shows how it operates in heavy use.

And it feels really solid. For me, the ergonomics were excellent, and even shooting these substantial 1oz slugs there was minimal perceived recoil. That’s thanks to the gas operating system. Comparing the TS12 to the KelTec KSG, well, there’s really no comparison in terms of recoil. The KSG, while a cool little package (it’s slightly shorter and weighs less than the Tavor) is fairly brutal to shoot. Of course, the KSG is about half the price.

The fit & finish of the TS12 are very good. Like I said, the gun feels solid and well made when you hold it. And when you are just looking it over, the quality is likewise evident. Of course, IWI is a well known firearms manufacturer with a solid reputation.

One note: when the TS12 was announced, it was said to be completely ambidextrous. The final version released isn’t, though you do have your choice of getting a left- or right-hand version, according to the IWI website.

As mentioned, we decided to try the TS12 without an optic. Which was a little difficult, wearing muff-style hearing protection, but quite doable. And at about 20 yards from the target, it was easy to put multiple rounds right where you wanted them:

20200822_163455

Final thoughts: it’s a hell of a package. I’m not sure I’d use it for “sport shooting”, but for fun at the range or as a home defense gun, yeah, it’d be fantastic, though a little pricey.

Jim Downey

August 25, 2020 Posted by | Discussion., Shotgun ballistics | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Short and fun.

Another quick post about getting together for a bit of shooting weekend before last. This time, let’s look at some semi-auto carbines.

The first two are a pair of Beretta CX4 Storms, one in 9mm and the other in .45ACP. You can see them here with the pump guns:

Table selection

I’ve previously reviewed the Cx4, and would only add that each time I shoot one of these guns I just enjoy the hell out of them. At just under 30″ overall length and weighing 5.75 pounds, they’re light, easily maneuverable, and very ergonomic. Great little pistol caliber carbines.

Now, see that gun partially visible off to the right in the pic above? And here’s another shot of it with the other pumps and carbines:

Selection

See that short little thing third from the left? Yeah, it’s an AGM-1 carbine in 9mm. Here’s a much better pic of it:

AGM

It’s an old-school bullpup, made in the 1980s in Italy. None of us had seen one before, and since it was a used gun it came with no paperwork or information. In picking it up, it felt almost too small to be civilian-legal (I mean non-NFA regulated), but the overall length is a tad over 26″ and the barrel is barely 16 and 1/8th inch. It has a little more heft than the Cx4, and most of the parts are heavy stamped steel. It uses Browning Hi-Power magazines. Interestingly, it was intended to be a modular design you could easily convert over to either .22lr or .45ACP, though I doubt the parts to do so are very common now.

But it was a surprisingly nice little gun to shoot. And when I say little, I mean it — damned thing is shorter than my arm. It was accurate, had a nice trigger, and almost no recoil. All of us were able to put a magazine full of bullets into a one-inch hole at 11 yards the first time we picked it up and tried it. Cool gun. If you ever happen to stumble across one in a shop, don’t be afraid to give it a try.

 

Jim Downey

November 25, 2014 Posted by | .22, .45 ACP, 9mm Luger (9x19), Anecdotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment