I have appreciated the Bond Arms line of derringers for some time. They are built like tanks (they are also heavy). The barrels are interchangeable so you can change calibers or length with just an allen wrench and they are actually really pretty guns (to me). The problem has always been the cost. For something that I would see as, at worst, a range toy or, at best, a limited use weapon the price tag was just too high. I typically see them around $600 to $650 which could buy any number of much practical firearms.
A few weeks back I was talking to my favorite Son in Law, Moose and he mentioned that he really wanted one too but that they were just too pricey. That’s when it hit me. I had seen an email offering one for well under $300 so I mentioned it to him. He was super excited but when he mentioned it to my daughter she put the kibosh on it pretty quickly.
I felt bad for him and mentioned it to Wonderful Wife on the way home. She promptly responded by reminding me that we had not bought him a birthday present yet and that he does an awful lot for us so we could spend more than we typically do on birthday gifts. We also decided I could pick one up for myself as well. There is a reason I refer to her as Wonderful Wife!
The specific model being advertised for this price is the newly introduced “Rowdy.” Bond Arms heard from folks like me and developed this reduced price model. It is not as highly finished or polished making more use of matte finishes. This particular model comes chambered in .45 Colt/.410 with a three inch barrel. It can handle 2.5 inch shot shells which, in theory, should be a really good option for snakes encountered while out in the woods or wherever. Which is how we both envisioned using this little (but not light at 20 ounces) gun.
I took it out to the deer lease a few days ago and did a little testing after filling the feeders. Here are my initial thoughts and impressions…
The recoil, with shot shells, is fairly mild to me. Now keep in mind I regularly shoot lightweight .44 Magnum and ultralight .357 Magnum revolvers. It is a bit more stout with slugs but still not unpleasant. The weight of the handgun does a lot to mitigate the recoil.
For right or wrong, I typically test snake shot on used pizza boxes. I didn’t have any handy so I had to make due with what was on hand, soda bottles and empty feed sacks.
First up, the feed sacks at three yards. The problem with these as targets is they they are a loose weave and it is easy for small pellets to pass through without leaving any indications of having passed through. So the test was very inconclusive. Next up, a one liter plastic soda bottle. Unfortunately, this was still somewhat inconclusive. There was obviously penetration because I found sever pellets inside the bottle but couldn’t really see any holes to indicate how they got in there and I don’t think it was magic. I also could not tell where the bottle was in relation to the majority of the pattern. Was it on the edge? Right in the middle? No idea.
Which leads to my biggest criticism, the sights. At least for me and on that day, the sights were essentially unusable. I am used to the crappy sights on most snub-nosed revolvers but these were even worse. I couldn’t hit the bottle even once using slugs from only a few yards away. I got close enough to crease it once.
Bottom line is that this is a fun gun to shoot but I don’t know if it would be useful for anything beyond being a range toy. Still more testing needs to be done before I can tell that.
One thing that I can say, based on what I saw with the two different targets I used, is that loaded with #7 target shot this would not be a good choice for self-defense. These tiny, light pellets could only penetrate one side of the plastic soda bottle and left entry wounds so tiny that I couldn’t even find them. A thick sweatshirt would probably stop most, if not all of these pellets even at close ranges. Buckshot or the specialized .420 self-defense loads might do a better job as they made impressive holes in the berm I was shooting into but only time and testing could tell that.
That’s it for now. I hope to get it back out onto the range and do a more thorough test of the Rowdy and the various loads I have purchased for it soon. I would also like to compare the it with .38 caliber and .44 caliber shot shells as well.
Take care and God bless.