Battle of the Mouse Guns!

OK, this may not be the most rigorous and thorough test I’ve done, but since I didn’t intend to do it at all you’ll just have to live with that. I was going through the safe and happened across the Mini Mouse and a box of ammo and thought, “Hey, I wonder what this would do in gel?” After I tried that I thought I’d try Linda’s little Colt, and once I’d done that it seemed churlish not to give the other guns a chance. I did limit myself to one gun per cartridge, but I didn’t even try for a representative sampling of ammunition in each caliber. I just shot what was handy, which in the case of the Seecamp and S&W meant what was already in the magazine.

Mouse Guns, as we have discussed before, are sub-subcompact self-defense guns. They are usually chambered in ,22 Short, .22 Long rifle or .25 ACP. There are also a couple in .32 ACP and even one in .380 ACP for the true masochists among us. Yeah, there are a few in other calibers, like the micro-revolvers chambered in .22 Magnum or the tiny Guardian in .25 NAA, but I don’t have those so they won’t be included.

The Mouse Guns used in the test- a Colt Junior in .25 ACP, a Seecamp LWS32 in .32 ACP, a S&W Model 61-2 Escort in .22 Long rifle and Mini Mouse, a home-made single shot micro derringer in .22 Short.

It’s also not a battle; it’s a series of tests. But ya gotta admit, ‘Battle of the Mouseguns‘ is much more attention grabbing than ‘Testing a Random Assortment of Tiny Guns.’ So, without further ado, let the battle… uh, testing begin!

Mini Mouse, .22 Short

Mini Mouse- even among tiny guns this is a tiny gun.

This gun came into existence because Linda challenged me to make the smallest arguably useful gun I could. You can read all about that here: https://tinkertalksguns.com/2020/06/13/i-do-like-a-challenge/. The ammunition used was CCI sub-sonic/low noise, which claims to propel its 29gr. bullet at 710 fps., presumably from a rifle-length barrel. I did not attempt to measure the velocity of this shot; with a 1-3/8″ barrel and no sights I wasn’t confident I could hit the 4″x 4″ end of the block from far enough away to use the chronograph. Designed to be used at an arms-length, this is not an easy weapon to shoot accurately!

So, I fired the shot through four layers of denim and into the gel from a distance of about 1 foot, and this was the result-

As you can see the bullet tumbled in the gel, once at about the midpoint and again just before it came to rest. Not a bad-looking wound-track for such a genuinely anemic round.

Since bullets sometimes bounce back in this media the total length of the wound-track is measured, not the resting place of the bullet.

The bullet penetrated a total of 6-3/4″. Dangerous certainly, even potentially deadly, but not something you’d want to bet your life on. That’s OK; this gun was made as a curiosity and for fun. It was never intended to be a serious weapon.

Colt Junior, .25 ACP

Made for Colt by Astra, who sold it in .25 ACP or .22 Short as the Cub. A very well made, easy shooting gun.

Linda adores this little gun, and she’s right to; it’s adorable. It’s also a lot of fun to shoot. I tested two loads from this gun, the first being a 58gr. hard-cast flat point loaded over 1.1gr. of Red Dot with a CCI 300 small pistol primer. The gave a velocity of 646 fps. and 54 ft./lbs of energy. The shot was fired over the chronograph, through four layers of denim and into the gel from a distance of about ten feet.

The bullet’s path through the gel curved slightly, but at 12-1/2″ penetration is impressive. The bullet did tumble, which probably accounts for the curved path, and came to rest facing backwards. With this bullet’s flat-nose profile, hardness and sectional density I think it’s not likely to easily bounce off bone. Put of few of these in someone’s face, or even center-mass and they’ll probably be reconsidering their life-choices.

The second load was a 35gr Speer Gold Dot hollow-point. I loaded this pretty conservatively over 1.5gr of Universal with a Federal magnum small-pistol primer. This yielded 831 fps. and a coincidental 54 ft./lbs of energy.

Sorry about this pic; it’s sometimes hard to get a decent shot.

The bullet penetrated about 10 inches, though it’s hard to tell from my crappy picture. The bullet did not expand, but I didn’t expect it to. Pushed to about 1000 fps. in other tests I’ve seen they will expand a bit, and have comparable penetration to this.

Our standard load for this gun is the 58gr. load, and based on this test I’m happy with that choice.

Seecamp LWS32, .32 ACP

Introduced in 1981, the LWS25 was a top-of-the-line mouse gun, with stainless construction and a smooth DAO trigger. When they introduced the LWS32 a few years later it was an instant hit, with it’s popularity limited only by slow production and, let’s admit it, the cost. Despite it’s already hefty MSRP these guns often demanded a premium.

This near-legendary little gun was designed to fire Winchester Silver-tip hollow-points. Not because they were expected to expand, mind you; the don’t from this very short barrel. They were specified because, at the time, they were the only commercial ammo that was short enough to fit in a magazine-well designed for .25 ACP.

I hand-load either a 60gr XTP or a 75gr hard-cast flat point, and in neither case is it a ‘hot’ load. The exact load used today is the 60gr. XTP over 2.6gr. of Universal with a Federal #100 Primer. From this gun that’s good for an average of 727 fps. and delivers 70 ft./lbs.

Like all the shots in this test, I fired into the block through four layers of denim. As expected the bullet did not expand, and stopped barely inside the bottom of the block at 11″. Decent penetration, and a significantly larger wound channel than the .22s or .25, but that’s not to say it’s in any way impressive.

S&W Model 61-2 Escort, .22 LR

With period ammo!

The biggest gun in this test is the S&W. It’s a weird little gun; large for a mouse gun, the magazine holds only five rounds and the design is based on a Belgian .380 ACP pocket pistol from 1908. On the other hand it’s dead reliable and hilariously accurate. I regularly shoot groups at 25 yards with this gun, and at closer range rapid-fire dumps are Big Fun.

The ammo used in this test is 1970s-vintage Sears house-brand stuff. You know, the cheap stuff. In contrast to modern cheap .22LR it’s extremely accurate and very, very reliable. I inherited bricks of this stuff when my Uncle Jim passed away, and by this point I’ve shot a couple thousand rounds of it and cannot recall a failure to ignite that wasn’t gun-related. I’ve had as many as 1-2 FTFs in a single 50-round box of Winchester White Label. Anyway…

The chronograph decided not to measure this shot, which happens occasionally with small bullets. Even though this is a solid-point bullet I fired it though the layered denim anyway.

By this point there were so many wound-tracks criss-crossing through the gel that I literally had to tear the block apart to find this bullet. That’s fine, actually, since I was planning to re-cast the block after this anyway. So, 8-3/4″ of penetration. not awesome, but hey, it’s a mouse-gun. Whaddya expect?

And in the End…

…a mouse-gun is the back-up to a back-up. Purse jewelry for a film noir femme fattale. The gun you carry when you aren’t carrying a gun, to be used in only the most extreme extremis. As such it’s good to have an objective standard to evaluate their potential effectiveness and limitations.

I was quite surprised that the most effective of the lot was a hand-load I cooked up for the .25 ACP; I expected better of the LWS32, and it’s entirely possibly that a different load will yield better results. Next time around I’ll try the 75gr. LFP bullet and see how that does, and maybe try some factory jacketed bullets in the .25, some high velocity fodder in the .22s… plenty more fun where this came from!

Michael Tinker Pearce, 18 August, 2020

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