Home On The Range – The Bond Ranger
The Bond Ranger in .45 Colt/.410 GA. Can Do An Admirable Job of Providing Home Defense.
~ By D.K. Pridgen
or the last decade Bond Arms has made a plethora of calibers and six different models of derringers, including their most recent offering, the Ranger. While previous Bond Derringers had 3 or 3.5 inch barrels, the Ranger has stretched to accommodate 4.25-inch barrels with the longer tube improving shotshell patterns and helping tame recoil (certainly not inconsiderable with modern .45 Colt loads and .410 buckshot).
Derringers, in the running for the original pocket pistols, have been around since the 1860′s when they had only a single barrel. When Bond Arms decided to could improve upon the century-and-a-half old derringer design they chose a number of areas to focus upon. For material of construction they chose a stainless steel capable of handling standard and+P loads of the calibers their derringers would use, and gave it an attractive satin finish on the gun’s exterior. Parts are precision machined and just a few minutes of handling shows they fit very well as a result. This machining also allows for easy user barrel swapping. (Perhaps I should point out while the Ranger arrives with the longer barrel, it accepts any of the other interchangeable barrels Bond offers – 14 total, in 12 different calibers.) In the safety area, Bond also designed a cross-bolt thumb safety, rebounding hammer, and spring-loaded firing pin into the system.
Front and rear sights are integral to the barrels. While most of the six Bond derringers models have trigger guards, the Ranger does not – as is more historically correct. The Ranger has a slightly extended grip allowing for an extra finger, providing additional recoil control. Speaking of the grip, a nice looking set of black ash grips, complete with a stainless star badge emblem, finished the Ranger off. Like all the Bond derringers, the Ranger is a good-looking gun that exudes quality!
On target at 21 feet, Cor-Bon’s 225-grain DPX +P load (Bond does not recommend +P loads in .45 Cold, but it was all I had!), at an average of 802 fps, produced nice five-shot groups from each barrel, with the bottom barrel going into 1.51 inches near point of aim, while the top barrel’s 1.96-inch group was about 10 inches high. For a small handgun with fixed sights and a trigger pull of 7 1/2 pounds, this is really impressive! (For those unfamiliar with derringers, barrels are never regulated to the same point of impact. Dropping the distance to 7-feet eliminated the difference, though.)
Switching to .410 loads, I found Federal’s PD Handgun 1/2-ounce #4 pellets, with a velocity of 868 fps covered about 11 inches at 12 feet, and 7 inches at about 7 feet. Federals PDH 000 buck pellets, traveling at 877 fps dropped into 4.5 inches, while Winchester’s 3-inch 000 load, at 822 fps, made an elongated pattern of 5.5 inches. (Four 000 pellets weigh in at 280 grains, 5 at 350.) I found these 000 patterns impressive and comforting. Four of the five .36 diameter pellets rattling around in a chest cavity like billiard balls would be nothing for an attacker to sneeze at! And the second barrel can deliver the same thing again!
The Ranger arrives in a nice looking padded carrying case, with the black Bond Arms BAD driving holster strapped inside. They have quite a collection of holsters for their derringers, most of which can be ordered to fit a 4.25-inch barrel. I asked them to send a selection and Bond furnished their BAJ, a rough-out IWB holster with a metal belt clip, their BMTC, a lined Cowboy holster with retention strap, that also uses a metal belt clip, and a pocket holster, the BAP All were sized for shorter barrels, which were also supplied. With these four holsters anyone should be able to carry a Bond Arms derringer comfortably.
I believe the Ranger, loaded with modern high performance loads or either Federal or Winchester’s 000 buck .410 loads, would do a good job of handling two-legged threats, at least until I could reach something carrying even more firepower. The Bond Ranger, or even one of their other offerings, would seem quite at home defending the homestead! PP