Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 41

applied for it to go fully into battery. This
should be no more than about 2 pounds of
pressure. By this definition, my barrel fit was
not as tight as it could be, but since it did have
some resistance, it couldn't be off by much.
A closer look at the bottom lock-up surface
showed evidence of minor contact on the pad.
There was no vertical movement in the barrel
when the slide was locked forward, suggesting
a solid fit. But the proof of function and
accuracy awaited at the range.
I slugged the new Apex barrel along with
the original barrel with 0.3581-inch coated cast
bullets. The S&W barrel slugged at 0.3565 inch
and the Apex barrel slugged at 0.3578 inch. Both
dimensions are within SAAMI specifications for
a 9mm barrel groove diameter (0.355 + 0.004).
The Smith & Wesson M&P barrels are known
to have short throats and handloaders have to
be watchful and load their bullets a little deeper
than they would for some barrels. The same is
true of the Apex barrel, though this one had an
even shorter throat than the S&W barrel.
For example, I can load 9mm Zero 115
JHP-conical bullets to around 1.150 inch for
several of my 9mm barrels. With the original
barrel, they just fit at around 1.100 inch. The
Apex barrel chamber is even shorter and the
maximum length that will fit is 1.073-inch. All
the factory ammunition I tried fit in the Apex
barrel with no problems.

Range Results
The accuracy test compared group size at
25 yards from the Smith & Wesson and Apex
barrels with the gun mounted in a Ransom
Rest. I used seven loads: six factory and one
handload. Groups were a single 25- or 50-shot
group. Putting a large number of rounds in a
single group provides a clearer picture of shot
dispersion that might be missed if shooting

The blue dotted line
shows where material is
removed from the lower pad of
the semi drop-in barrel for proper lockup.
The pad on the gunsmith-fit barrel is much wider.

multiple groups with the same ammunition
and demonstrates how consistent the gun and/
or ammunition shoots.
The pistol ran reliably with the Apex barrel.
Whatever resistance there might have been
with the snug fit did not hamper function.
As for accuracy, the Apex barrel produced
obviously smaller groups with all seven loads.
Group size with the Apex barrel was reduced
from 17 to 58 percent of the group size
produced with the S&W barrel. The average
group size with all seven loads was reduced by
34 percent with the Apex. Velocity of the two
barrels was nearly the same.
What about point of impact? The thing about
changing barrels is that they might not point
to exactly the same place. You don't need
much of a difference in fitting dimensions or
bore axis to move the point of impact. This
was examined by using one sheet of paper to
record the point of impact from both barrels
using the same ammunition.
The point of impact with the Apex barrel was
about 1½-inch high and ¼-inch to the right of
the POI with the original barrel. That's not too
much of a change at 25 yards.

SSUSA.ORG | JANUARY 2020

41


http://www.SSUSA.ORG

Shooting Sports USA - January 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - January 2020

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 16
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 22
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 26
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 27
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 40
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 41
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 42
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Cover3
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Cover4
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