February 26, 2019
The Winchester Model 1873 is known as “the gun that won the West,” and its popularity was due in large part to the practicality of having a long gun and a handgun chambered for the same cartridge. That worked well for many frontiersmen, and while the Model 1873 was also chambered for the .32-20 and .38-40, the round that cemented the rifle-cartridge duo was the most powerful one: the .44-40 W.C.F. In fact, records show that about 80 percent of the Model 1873s produced were chambered for that cartridge.
This trend in “combo cartridges” continues today, and there are numerous examples of long guns chambered for pistol cartridges. Some modern examples of this are the diverse carbines from Hi-Point Firearms. Hi-Point has made its semiauto carbines in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP for some time. A recent introduction is the Model 1095TS carbine chambered for the 10mm Auto cartridge—a significant boost in the power department. The 10mm is staging somewhat of a comeback these days, as lots of pistols and revolvers are currently available for it, and ammomakers are turning out potent loads with high-tech bullets that make a 10mm carbine a serious contender as an all-around companion gun.
The Hi-Point Model 1095TS
Hi-Point carbines use a simple, blowback action that is right at home with pistol cartridges and cycles them without a whimper. The Model 1095TS is offered in black, desert, desert camo, pink, and Realtree Edge camo. The sample I fired for this report had the Realtree Edge camo pattern.
The carbine’s barrel length is 17.5 inches, and the muzzle is threaded (a thread protector is provided). The rifling twist is one turn in 16 inches, standard for the 10mm cartridge. Hi-Point President Charles Brown told me they button rifle and chamber their barrels in-house; they’re not from an outside supplier. I examined the carbine’s bore with my Hawkeye borescope, and it looked pretty smooth. I am also happy to report that it picked up very little copper fouling after many rounds.
The operating handle is on the left side of the receiver. It is attached by a large hex-head screw.
The removable, steel box magazine holds 10 rounds, and the magazine release is right where you’d expect it to be on the pistol grip. The receiver is steel, surrounded by sturdy polymer parts, and everything is covered with the camo finish except the last 5.25 inches of the barrel that protrude from the handguard. The buttstock is adjustable for length of pull from approximately 14 to 14.25 inches by loosening three hex-head screws, moving the buttpad, and tightening the screws.
A black polymer cheekpiece pad sits atop the buttstock. When I unpacked the carbine, this pad was as sticky as fresh glue, but after a few hours, the stickiness dissipated, and its surface became smooth and soft. It was a bit high for open sight use. The height of the line of sight above the rifle’s bore is approximately 2.25 inches. The stock had only a hint of drop, so I really had to scrunch my head down on the pad to get lined up with the open sights, but it is about the right height for a scope.
The rear sight is housed in a sturdy steel cage that protects it from bumps. The aperture in the peep sight is about 0.08 inch in diameter and is adjustable for windage and elevation via clearly marked screws. The front sight is a slightly tapered post that measures about 0.56 inch at its top. While this sight meshes well with the rear sight’s aperture, it is just plain ugly and totally looks like it’s from an AK-47. Large elevation adjustments can be made by loosening a hex-head screw in the front sight and moving it up or down. I made this adjustment to get the point of impact on paper and then used the rear sight for final zeroing.
Some shooters may elect to mount a scope or red-dot optic on their Hi-Point carbine. This is a snap as the carbine has what the company calls a 10.5-inch “Weaver style” slotted rail on the receiver. The slots don’t match M1913 Picatinny rail dimensions, which means that a one-piece AR mount, such as the Burris P.E.P.R. mount or Nikon P-Series two-piece mounts will not fit the rail. But it readily accepts Weaver-style mounts, so there’s no mechanical problem mounting a scope. To mount a scope, the rear sight and its “cage” must be removed, but that’s easy to do.
I used Weaver extra-high 1-inch see-through rings to install a Burris Droptine 2-7X 35mm scope, but any similar ring set will work. These rings were about the right height for the carbine’s very straight stock, but at 20 yards, bullets struck about two feet low, even with the scope’s elevation turret all the way up. At 50 yards, the point of impact was still too low to be on target. So, for this application, some sort of offset rings and/or shims, such as Burris Signature rings with the offset inserts, would be required.
Shoots Like a Champ!
While contemplating this, I went ahead and tested the carbine with the open sights, and the aperture was easy and accurate to use. Plus, the gun never malfunctioned. In fact, accuracy of the 10mm carbine was so good I quickly forgot about installing a scope!
However, I must report that the trigger pull was spongy and gritty, with a heavy pull weight (it averaged 9 pounds, 10 ounces according to my Lyman gauge), and required a movement of about 1/8 inch to fire. I thought shooting good groups would be impossible, but in spite of the crude sights and horrible trigger, the little carbine shot like a champ!
I’m a big fan of the 10mm Auto round, so I relished the chance to shoot a bunch of different loads in the carbine. Eight factory loads and 10 handloads were bench-tested, and as the saying goes, holes in paper don’t lie. Three, five-shot groups were fired from a Lead Sled rest at 25 yards. Just take a look at the group sizes in the chart. Wow!
The average group size of the factory ammo was a mere 1.36 inches. At 0.94 inch, the best of the bunch was the Winchester 175-grain Silvertip, but several other loads were very close behind. With a bone-crushing 919 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, Federal’s 180-grain Trophy Bonded JSP averaged 1.20 inches and was by far the most powerful load tested. For a great practice load, the non-reloadable CCI Blazer ammo with a 200-grain TMJ bullet at 1,067 fps and the Federal American Eagle 180-grain FMJ at 1,152 fps are good choices. Both are relatively inexpensive.
Stoked by the great results with factory fodder, I progressed to some of my favorite handloads. I used Starline cases and Federal 150 and CCI 300 primers for these loads, paired with eight mid-range powders and a variety of jacketed bullets. The home-brewed ammo shot just fine, with an overall average of 1.11 inches, besting the factory loads by a smidgen. With a 0.75-inch average (basically one ragged hole), the standout was the Hornady 200-grain XTP over a charge of 8.2 grains of Hodgdon Longshot. Velocity of this load was 1,208 fps, and muzzle energy was 648 ft-lbs.
The Hi-Point carbines chambered for pistol cartridges represent a neat niche in the shooting world. They’re rather “traditional” and just might appeal to folks who don’t care for ARs. These carbines are worthy contenders for hunting, plinking, and home defense. While it’s just as handy now to have a long gun and a handgun that shoot the same ammo as it was in the days of the Winchester Model 1873, my slick little 10mm carbine is just plain fun to shoot in its own right. Its total reliability, very good accuracy, low cost, and Hi-Point’s lifetime “no questions asked” warranty make it a darn good value.