Dan Wesson’s Bruin

A 10mm Boar-Blaster!

By Mark Hampton

It’s not difficult to notice the 10mm Auto continues to gain popularity and I’ll confess we’re doing what we can to help out! It’s an amazingly versatile cartridge, in both revolvers and autos. With new pistols coming on board, a variety of ammunition for hunting and personal defense, innovative optic systems, holster rigs, you name it — there are a multitude of reasons the 10mm is gaining ground.

Handgun hunters are also jumping on board. The 10mm makes for a very effective round for close range whitetail or wild boar; two game animals often pursued by handgunners. Handgun hunters who prefer semi-autos naturally gravitate toward effective rounds such as the 10mm. When roaming around the SHOT Show looking at various pistols, Dan Wesson’s Bruin caught my attention. I spoke with Jason Morton, vice president of marketing for Dan Wesson, and he told me enough about the Bruin to order one.

The Bruin’s 6.3″ barrel makes for a dandy platform for boar hunting.

This 50-yard target with Buffalo Bore’s 220-gr. hard-cast shows the
Bruin can easily make “one minute of boar” accuracy. Now, if only Mark
could see well enough to get the gun to shoot up to what it’s able to!

A Serious Auto

At first glance it appears like any other 1911. But once I took it out of the box I could see features I really appreciate. The two-tone finish is a bit unique, very business-like, and the black and bronze provides a no-glare finish that is exactly what I want in a hunting pistol. The Bruin supports a 6.3″ match-grade barrel providing a slightly longer sighting radius than standard 5″ models. A tad more velocity can also be squeezed out of the longer barrel. If you’re “iron-sighting” you’ll be amazed at how different the tad bit of extra length can matter when sighting carefully. Like a rifle, the longer sight radius means you can hold “finer” as the old fellows used to say.

The slide features wide front and rear cocking serrations providing good gripping surfaces. It made slide manipulation easy. Along the top of the slide you can see a finely grooved rib that shrugs off glare. On the left side of the barrel you will see “Bruin” inscribed in small letters for a subtle touch. No big, obnoxious billboard here. I think it’s compelling, handsome — not “pretty.”

The Bruin comes equipped with good sights. For whatever reason, my eyes appreciate the fiber optic green round dot found on the front sight, helping to make target acquisition quick and easy. This front sight is dovetailed into the slide and the rear night sights are fully adjustable. At the bottom portion of the rear sights light serrations prevent glare. With two light-colored dots situated on both sides of the rear square notch, even in low light conditions (chasing the angry boar at dusk) you can align the sights painlessly.

At night the rear Tritium sights glow a yellowish color and contrast well with the green fiber-optic/Tritium combo front sight. While I applaud the quality sights on the Bruin, I prefer optics due to aging eyes. But alas, the slide is not equipped with any integral mounting capability. There are after-market solutions, but having a factory-available slide cut for a base plate would be perfect. This pistol could be a real serious hunting tool with the installation of a good reflex optic — at least for old guys like me. I’ll keep my fingers crossed Dan Wesson adds a mounting system for optics in the near future. Hey Jason, you listening?

CZ’s Bruin 10mm-long slide has plenty of 10mm factory ammo available
to feed it and according to Mark, handling is a cinch too.

In The Details

The front and backstrap wear 25 lpi checkering making for a firm gripping texture when shooting hefty 10mm rounds. No worries about losing your grip or having to readjust your hand after each shot due to recoil. The lower rear corner of the butt has been rounded ever so slightly too, softening the often-sharp corner. The left side safety is serrated, and I never encountered a problem working the lever even wearing gloves. The magazine release is also checkered. The large beavertail grip safety always ensured proper function even with high grips.

The genuine VZ grips are G10 and are textured, black in color, matching the two-tone finish. The grips are most comfortable and my hands never slid around during recoil of even the stoutest loads. As most 1911’s go, the breed tends to simply feel good in my hands and this Bruin was no exception. With the longer barrel, the pistol balances and points exceptionally well.

The Bruin was shipped in a nice hard plastic case, included were two 8-round magazines and a plastic bushing wrench too. The magazine bases are padded, with a slight ledge hanging out in front in case you need to rip an empty out for some reason — like a locked slide during a wild boar charge? Nonetheless, it does make manipulation easier when wearing gloves, even when you’re not standing your ground during a charge.

The front portion of the aluminum trigger is serrated and adjustable for over-travel. My test gun had some take-up before breaking cleanly just over five pounds according to the Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. There was no gritty feel in the trigger pull once you took up the slack. The rearward portion of the skeletonized hammer features light serrations providing constant traction when cocking. A clever touch. The Bruin comes with a 22-pound recoil spring.

Aesthetically speaking, the Bruin is a serious-looking pistol ready for hunting or personal defense, right out of the box.

Shooting

My good shooting buddy John and I engaged targets at both 25 and 50 yards on a blustery, cold day, not the best for hanging out and shooting slow groups! And to be perfectly honest, neither of us have young eyes anymore so our groups were not bragging-type. A variety of 180-gr. FMJ ammo was shot first. Everything we fed the Bruin ran smoothly. Next, we shot several hunting-type loads from 180-gr. to 220-gr. hard-cast offerings. The Bruin never jammed once, with a variety of bullet weights tested. All of our 5-shot groups were easily inside minute-of-hog, even out at 50 yards.

Buffalo Bore’s 220-gr. hard-cast load performed well and I would have no worries on this round tackling any big mean hog. All of the hunting ammo tested could just as easily be chosen for deer or hog pursuits. The Bruin was not finicky — and recoil was not an issue. At the end of the day, I was well-pleased with accuracy and performance. It was clear this gun could easily out-shoot either of us during our testing, so I don’t want to get Jason irate by quoting some groups which I know do not give the justice due to the Bruin! Between us, I have no doubt this is easily a 1.5″ gun at 25 yards with the right ammo.

When I first considered the 10mm Auto, I was a bit concerned about the availability of factory ammunition. Well, those fears were hugely unfounded. I made the plunge into the world of 10mm and found a wide assortment of premium ammo from many providers, including Winchester, Hornady, Federal, DoubleTap, Buffalo Bore, Cor-Bon, HSM, HPR, SIG SAUER, Armscor and Underwood to name just a few. There is plenty of quality 10mm factory ammo with a wide assortment of bullet options for those who don’t handload.

For those who do roll their own, hand-loading the 10mm is simple. With the help of Redding’s T-7 Turret press and their titanium carbide competition die set, I can crank out some of my own handloads and tailor them for specific applications like hunting, plinking or range work. At this point I have been very pleased with quality Starline brass. I am frequently loading Nosler, Hornady and Sierra bullets — all 180 grainers. Suffice to say, the 10mm is easy to load.

Night sights — with green Tritium/fiber optic front, Tritium,
adjustable rear, show up cleanly in any light.

Wide rear cocking serrations (and front serrations for press-checking)
make manipulations wearing gloves easy and sure.

Field Carry

Carrying the long-slide Bruin is a breeze thanks to the Guide’s Choice Leather Chest Holster from Diamond D Custom Leather. This chest rig was designed, tested and hand-made in Alaska by folks who know how to stretch hide. I’ve been wearing the Guide’s Choice model in different fits for quite some time and I’m still impressed by the comfort it provides. Not only is the holster comfortable for all-day hikes and such, but it keeps the gun next to your chest, totally out of the way when fishing, hiking or doing other daily chores. A spare magazine carrier is a nice option since I’m always packing an extra mag.

Whether I’m riding around the farm on the Polaris Ranger or in hot pursuit of hounds chasing wild boar, the Guide’s Choice Chest Holster has been a constant companion. In addition to superb holsters, the company makes an “Alaska Tough” leather belt, double lined and available in different widths. This is a great companion for Diamond D Custom holsters.

The Bruin is an excellent choice for hunting, recreational plinking, range work or personal defense. This is not an inexpensive pistol at an MSRP of $2,194, but hand-fitted guns never are. In spite of its “workman-like” looks, the Bruin exhibited first-class fit and finish. The long 6.3″ barrel is most welcome in hunting situations too. It’s darn close to a “do everything” gun, if you ask me.

If Dan Wesson would build this pistol with an optic-ready mounting system for a reflex sight, it would make a really effective hunting option. Disregard if you have good eyes, but however you slice it, the Bruin 10mm is a keeper.

For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index, Ph: (800) 955-4486

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2 thoughts on “Dan Wesson’s Bruin

  1. Rope

    Nobody with any practical experience and common safety sense uses front cocking serrations for any reason. Press checking using FCS is an accident waiting to happen and a solution to a non-existent problem. The only reason they (FCS) sell is because many find them cool and the manufacturers jump on board to sell product.

    Reply
    1. Jake

      Many police departments teach press checking with the front of the slide, by coming underneath the gun and pinching with the off hand. This allows the trigger finger to come up and identify chamber status in low/no light conditions. Hands and fingers are never put in front of the muzzle. In several years of watching/training many police officers and civilians using this method, I’ve yet to see an ND or other mishap for that matter. It’s a unique technique that has its place in the world.

      Reply

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