By Ron Sabo
President of MOA Corporation has incorporated high level advances in metallurgy,
strength of construction and design. Those of you that enjoy shooting long
range pistols that utilize the single action style grip will quickly find favor
with the Mertz/MOA.
The MOA utilizes the century old falling block design. This action lends
itself to accurate bullet placement. The MOA long range pistol has a strong
action (170,000 to 180,000 pounds of tensile strength). To load this
long range pistol pull the hammer back to the rear and cock the pistol. Push
the transfer button to the (S) safe position then simply pivot the lever forward
(the action opens very smooth). This causes the breechblock to slide
vertically downward (falling block) which will reveal the chamber.
Insert your cartridge then
move the lever back to the closed position, this moves the breechblock
upwards to lock into place and will seal the chamber. When you
are ready to fire, push the transfer button to the downward position
(F). You are now ready to commence firing. This is a well
made, and accurate long range pistol. In my opinion it is the
most accurate production made long range pistol that you can purchase
over the counter today. This pistol required no “tweaking” of
any kind. The falling block action, due to its light weight and
size, lends itself well in the gaming fields. With the 14 inch
223 barrel and the 6-24 Burris scope this long range pistol reaches
only 6-3/4 pounds on my scale. If you require a little more weight,
then on special order, MOA Corp. can install a heavier barrel. The
weight of the MOA with the PPC barrel installed reaches 8 pounds 8
ounces. So you can have diversity here if you wish.
MOA barrels are made by Douglas and they are button rifled. The Douglas
barrels have a burnished finish on the interior and are very easy to clean. My
223 caliber barrel is chrome moly, polished and then richly blued, the twist
is 1:10. More favorable for the heavier 60 grain projectiles, but as
you will soon see, lighter bullets were also excellent performers.
Changing barrels could not
be easier. A spanner wrench is provided with each barrel making
removal simple. Mertz incorporates a ingenious extension that
is attached to the bottom of the receiver, this extension is what the
forearm slides onto, thus making your forearm free-floating, this guarantees
consistent accuracy through a wide range of fluctuating temperatures. The
forearm for my 223 barrel measures about 1-1/2 inches and the fore
end for the 22PPC barrel measures slightly under three inches in width.
IHMSA competitors have found
favor with the precision adjustable sights, the receivers are drilled
and topped to accept MOA’s scope mounts. The MOA maximum
has been used very successfully in world class IHMSA silhouette competition
and has been in the winners circle for the past ten years and continues
to be the long range pistol to beat.
MOA offers an option for the grips; if you prefer a thumb rest they can make
them up for you, left or right handed. If you prefer a finger groove,
this is also available with its 17 degree design. (Note: Since this article, the thumbrest grips and 17 degree frame have been discontinued.)
The Maximums lever
that is used to open the action can also be substituted with a straight lever
if you prefer. Many options are available. This trigger is fully
adjustable, I set my loaner to 10 ounces.
The chamberings that are available
are vast, ranging from the 22 Rimfire, up to the mighty .375 H&H
Magnum. This pistol can take it (naturally for the .375 H&H
Magnum we recommend the Mertz muzzlebrake). It is ideally suited
for everything from groundhogs to moose to big bears.
Mr. Mertz competed at the Shooters News 2nd Long Range Pistol Championships,
hosted at Kelbly’s range in May of ’99. At the 200 yard competition
he had a fine group in the low 3’s. His chambering of choice was the
22PPC, that same barrel is featured in the article. This man knows pistols and what it takes to make ’em shoot competitively. I
requested the loan of an MOA Maximum for evaluation, and his reply was “in
what calibers?”. I requested the same pistol that he used for the
competition and an extra barrel in .223 caliber if possible. Two weeks
later I had them in my possession.
Many thanks to Hodgdon powders
and Chris Hodgdon for their cooperation, and to Adam Braverman of Sierra
Bullets for their supply of 55 grain moly coated bullets. Sierra
has teamed up with seven-time national high power champion David Tubb
who offers the Tubb/Neco coating process. Sierra utilizes the
same jacket on the Blitz Kings as on their 224 Match King HPBT bullets. This
explains the benchrest type accuracy that these acetal resin tipped
bullets exhibited. Many chucks that fell to this bullet showed excellent results, as long as I
kept the velocity at 1900 feet per second at the varmints location. We
must research and take the time to find out any projectiles limits, we owe
it to the game we are hunting. They deserve to be harvested quickly and
cleanly. This 55 grain Blitz King has a ballistic coefficient of .272.
The MOA Maximum in .223 caliber
A century or century and a half ago our forefathers could never have
envisioned the advancements made in today's modern propellants. Hodgdon
Powder Company has been at the forefront of the advancements in smokeless
powders for the sportsmen. Note: Some slower powders that exhibit
excellent accuracy may require seating the projectile into the lands/leade,
to raise pressures somewhat to increase the propellants burning rate. Especially
for the shorter barrel lengths of long range pistols, also the opposite
may be required for the faster buring powders (for example, you will
have to seat your bullet to jump to the lands/leade). The temperature
range was 97 degrees to a low of 40 degrees.
While loading at the range,
my powder measure of choice for a few years now has been the Harrell’s
benchrest measure. This powder measure is known for its repeatability. Consequently,
when I refer to clicks, it will be with this powder measure. This
barrels preference for bullet seating depth was determined by using
the Stoney Point comparater and was measured from the projectiles ogive. The
sweet spot seemed to be .011 from the full jam into the leade/lands.
H335- this spherical powder
is the choice of our armed forces for the 5.56 NATO/.223 caliber. It
also is the favored propellant for many sportsmen. 40 clicks
= 26 grains and when mated with the Sierra 55 grain Blitz King moved
through my Oehler screens at 3,049 feet per second and grouped .498
- .688 - .387 - .511 and a wind driven 1.011 for an agg of .619. The
temperature was 91 degrees.
H322- 47 clicks = 25.1 grains
with the 55 grain Blitz King and averaged 3,095 feet per second. Group
sizes were .422 - .651 - .711 - .476 and a .520 for an agg of .556
an excellent combination of group sizes and velocity, definitely a
solid performer. Staying with the above load but using the Speer
50 grain TNT (coated) projectile this one averaged 3,126 feet per second. This
combination showed a tight .559 group.
H4198 Extreme- with its new
shortened grain size, you will find as I have that it meters through
your measure much smoother. For decades this has been the choice
propellant for the triple deuce. It is an ideal propellant for
rifles and the T/C Contender/Encore’s chambered in 45/70 Govt.
and the 444 Marlin, a very versatile propellant. 41 clicks =
22.1 grains with the Sierra Blitz Kings and averaged 2,996 feet per
second and groups averaged .668. I had a few boxes of the Sierra
52 grain HPBTMK and put them to the test. 42 clicks = 22.6 grains and
went through the Oehler screens at 3,089 feet per second and grouped
.270. Four of the five rounds went into a very small hole. It
would not surprise me if the winner of the Super Shoot or the Shooters
News Long Range Pistols Competition was using this projectile. If
you haven’t tried this one you are doing yourself a disfavor.
H4895 Extreme- this propellants
versatility is unique, for the fact that from the very popular 17 Remington
up to and including the powerful 458 Winchester Magnum and those chamberings
in between, this one will find your favor. 44 clicks = 24.5 grains
with the 55 grain Sierra Blitz Kings averaged 3,049 feet per second
and grouped .458 an excellent balance of accuracy and velocity. The
temperature was 96 degrees.
Varget Extreme- I will be using much more of this propellant in the future,
its applications are many. I enjoy its versatility, it has found favor
in more of my long range pistols. 49 clicks = 27.5 grains with the Sierra
55 grain Blitz King, and averaged 2,939 feet per second and grouped .422 the
temperature was 86 degrees. This combination accounted for several difficult
shots in the gaming fields. Some woodchucks thought they had the benevolent
protection of higher soy beans but fell victim to the MOA and these components. Be
advised that the above load is compressed and a longer drop tube is in order.
The MOA Maximum proved to
be more accurate then expected. Many shooters were impressed with this
pistol's performance and ease of handling at my home range (Kelbly’s,
the host of the Super Shoot).
The 22PPC barrel- the barrel length
is 14” and its O.D. is 1.265. For reasons I simply cannot
figure out, the 22PPC seems to be a minority in the gaming fields. The
combination of accuracy and velocity attained with this short squat
cartridge is impressive.
Varget Extreme- the best accuracy
was indicated to me with very slight marks on the projectile from the
lands. Using my Stoney Point comparator the measurement from the ogive
was 2.685, all bullets were subsequently used at this measurement. 52
clicks = 29.2 grains this mated with the Sierra Blitz King 55 grain
bullet averaged 3,094 feet per second. Groups averaged .631 and
the temperature was 79 degrees with 31% relative humidity. 52
clicks = 29.2 grains with the Berger 52 grain MEF (coated) and averaged
3,182 feet per second and grouped .465, excellent combination of accuracy
and velocity. Another combination that worked well was 55 clicks =
31.1 grains with the Nosler 40 grain BT (coated) projectile, this averaged
3.326 feet per second. This combination grouped .686 and was
successful in the gaming fields.
H335- was successful both
on the bench and in the gaming fields. The temperature was 76
degrees. 43 clicks = 27.5 grains with the Sierra 55 grain Blitz
King, and averaged 3,065 feet per second and grouped an outstanding
.264 for the smallest group with theMOA Maximum with either barrel. 45
clicks = 28.9 grains with the Nosler 40 grain BT and averaged 3,348
feet per second and grouped .699.
H322- was an excellent
performer, it also accounted for the largest group of this series with
a wind driven 1.102. But it soon proved itself. 48 clicks = 26.7
grains with the Sierra 55 grain Blitz King and went through the screens
at 3,046 feet per second and grouped 1.102 - .488 - .385 - .427 - .520
for an agg of .582. I found another box of Sierra 52 grain HPBTMK
projectiles and gave them a go as well. 48 clicks = 26.7 grains
with the Sierra 52 grain HPBTMK and averaged 3,086 feet per second
and grouped .397. The benchrest jackets that Sierra utilizes for the
52 grain HPBTMK and the 55 grain Blitz King certainly helps account
for their repeatability in groups the quality control is impressive.
H4198 Extreme- 43 clicks
= 23.3 grains with the 52 grain Berger MEF (coated) and produced 3,036
feet per second and grouped .711 - .640 - .361 - .297 and a .514. Good
combinations of accuracy and acceptable velocity. 46 clicks =
24.8 grains with the 40 grain Nosler BT went through the screen at
3,463 feet per second and grouped .514.
Unfortunately I had depleted
my supply of the Sierra 55 grain Blitz King’s. I had even used
up the supply that my Editor had given me some months before.
H4895 Extreme- 50-1/2 clicks = 28.3 grains and averaged 3,065 feet per second
with the 52 grain Berger MEF and grouped .479. Using the 40 grain Nosler
BT with 52 clicks = 29.2 grains, this combination averaged 3,311 feet per second
and grouped .511. 50-1/2 clicks = 28.3 grains mated with the Hornady
50 grain SX averaged 3,085 feet per second and grouped .526.
I spent the summer of 1999
on the bench evaluating many powder and bullet combinations. The
gaming fields were a peaceful and relaxing retreat and I found much
Thanks again to Richard Mertz,
President of MOA Corporation (307)283-3030,
Adam Braverman from Sierra Bullets 800-223-8799 and Chris Hodgdon of
Hodgdon Powders 913-362-9455 for their cooperation in making this article
Gateway Precision Arms
8301 Crest Industrial Drive, Unit "C"
Affton, MO 63123
Hours of Operation (Central Time Zone)
5:00pm Monday - Friday
Phone Number (314) 832-4360
Copyright 1988-2018 Gateway Precision Arms,
All Rights Reserved
10/22® is a Registered Trademark of Sturm, Ruger, & Co., Inc.