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"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

usfa zip – not a review

[This post is a recounting of the events surrounding my attempt to test-fire the USFA ZiP pistol as I perceived and understand them, and is based off my own experience with the firearm as well as conversations with knowledgeable friends, gunsmiths, and ammunition manufacturers.] 

What follows is not a review of the United States Firearms ZiP pistol I received for test and evaluation recently; I have concluded that I will be passing on reviewing it, and will be returning it to its manufacturer.  What follows is me recounting the facts of my experience with the ZiP pistol as accurately as I can remember them, and as objectively as I can write them (with some very considerate help from Jay G. and Better Half to keep it as objective as I can).

On 20MAR13, Dennis from Dragon Leatherworks gave me a call and informed me that the ZiP pistol had arrived from USFA, and I picked it up that day after work.  Once I got home, I read through the impressively comprehensive instruction manual, and then stripped the firearm down to its “basic disassembly” level in order to get a better feel for how the pieces all fit and worked together.  I reassembled the firearm per the instructions and function checked it.

On 21MAR13, I packed up the ZiP pistol and as wide a variety of .22 high velocity ammunition as I could find in my closet and headed off to Coal Creek Armory after work to put some rounds downrange.  All shots were fired from a standard 10-shot Ruger 10/22 magazine; the ZiP patently refused to feed from a BX25, which is a known issue with the platform.  My round and failure count follows:

Winchester 333 Rounds – 30 rounds fired.  4 stovepipes.
CCI MiniMag – 50 rounds fired.  2 instances where a new round was chambered but striker did not reset.  In those cases, the “Restrike” operation rod of the ZiP was employed to charge the striker. 
CCI Stinger – 50 rounds fired.  2 stovepipes, 2 failures to feed (the round nosed into the breech face).
Federal Lightning – 25 rounds fired.  No issues.

usfazipstovepipewinchesterA usfazipstovepipeccistingerphotograph of the stovepipe failure the Winchester ammunition experienced is to the left; the right picture documents the CCI Stinger’s stovepipe.  In all stovepipes, the expended casing jammed with the new round being inserted, and the failure had to be cleared by pulling out the magazine, holding the ZiP’s bolt back (it cannot be locked back), and manually extracting both the expended and the new round.

Additionally, there were incidents that I unfortunately did not record wherein the first round from a magazine did not seat itself entirely in the firing chamber.  In those cases, I was watching the round on its way in, and employed the “Restrike” rod to pull the bolt back and slam the round home.  I checked the barrel before taking the firearm to the range, and it was clear of obstructions and a little dirty, but I would not have called it “fouled”; at the time, I attributed the feeding problems to me possibly riding the operation rod forward.*

I then shot 26 rounds of Remington Golden Bullet** through the ZiP, and encountered another four stovepipes and one case failure.  Photos of the case failure are below:

usfazipgoldenbulletcaserupture01usfazipgoldenbulletcaserupture02usfazipgoldenbulletcaserupture03

I took the ruptured case out to the front desk people at CCA, and they concurred with my off-the-cuff assessment that the ZiP suffered what appeared to be an out-of-battery discharge.  After checking the firearm’s operation and ensuring the barrel was clear, I decided to continue shooting.***

Immediately on pulling the trigger on the 27th Golden Bullet round, I was confronted with a bright, actinic purple flash from the ejection port and magazine well of the ZiP, the magazine was forcibly ejected from the firearm, my hand and face were peppered with some manner of debris, and my right hand felt like it caught a baseball bat mid-swing.  I basically threw the firearm on the range bench and backed away quickly.

Once I was fairly sure I was not bleeding, did not have any new holes, and was otherwise undamaged, I approached the gun, verified that it was functionally disabled (I did not clear and safe it, for obvious reasons), and took the first two of the following pictures (the latter three were taken at home):

usfazipgoldenbulletcaserupture10usfazipgoldenbulletcaserupture11usfazipgoldenbulletcaserupture12usfazipgoldenbulletcaserupture13usfazipgoldenbulletcaserupture14

Neither the firearm nor the magazine that was in it appeared damaged in any way, but I concluded my range time at this point and took these additional pictures (please ignore the glove and wrap – those are due to pre-existing conditions with my hand):

usfazipaftermath1usfazipaftermath2usfazipaftermath3usfazipaftermath4

That strange discoloration on my right ring finger where it wrapped under the ZiP’s magazine well (I cannot decide if it is bruising or where shrapnel was forcibly injected into the skin) and a functionally insignificant (and unphotographable) scratch on my left wrist were the only real damage I appeared to suffer.  Some of the blackening – specifically on the middle finger – on my compression glove has not come out even after approximately 15 hand washings since then; it is either permanent, or charring.  That area of my middle finger was directly adjacent to the front bottom of the magazine well.

Once I got home, I took the following pictures of the final ruptured case (I still have it on hand, though I did not keep the first ruptured case):

usfazipgoldenbulletrupture1usfazipgoldenbulletrupture2usfazipgoldenbulletrupture3usfazipgoldenbulletrupture4

After taking those pictures, I emailed Douglas Donnelly, the President, CEO, and Founder of United States Firearms, the inventor of the ZiP pistol, and my contact at USFA, and asked him to call me when he got the chance.

On 22MAR13, in the evening, Mr. Donnelly called me, and we discussed my range time with the ZiP.

His first question regarding the case ruptures / out-of-battery events was, “What kind of ammunition was it?”  I proceeded to tell him, and he seemed to basically blame the entire event on the ammunition itself.  His claim was that 90% of firearm problems resulted from the ammunition, given that the ammo is the “engine” that “drives” the firearm.  He clarified that they had never tested Remington Golden Bullets in the ZiP on account of its substandard performance and shoddy quality control, and I commented that given current prices and availability, I decided I was going to shoot whatever I could find, especially since the list of ammunition provided in the ZiP manual (pages 24 and 25) is inclusive, not exclusive.  He explained all the ways cheap bulk packs were substandard ammunition – thin case walls, uneven powder loadings, uneven bullet weights, etc. – and seemed to treat the whole matter of the ZiP spontaneously disassembling itself as either a non-event, or the kind of thing one should expect when using “that kind” of ammunition.  Mr. Donnelly even mentioned I might not have had the magazine seated properly, which could explain the spontaneous ejection, despite the detonation transpiring towards the end of the magazine.

I have put more rounds of Golden Bullets than I care to count through .22LR AR uppers and 10/22s (I bought numerous boxes of it before I knew of its QC issues), and while I have suffered the predictable numbers of duds and shoddy accuracy, I have never had a Golden Bullet rupture its case or discharge out of battery.

While discussing the possibility of an out-of-battery discharge, Mr. Donnelly informed me that there was absolutely no physical way for a rimfire firearm to actually have an out-of-battery event, on account of the primer rim needing to be supported by something for the firing pin / striker to pinch it and set it off.  Everyone I have talked to since my conversation with him has disagreed, with the specifics ranging from, “I have seen it happen,” to “Depends on the velocity of the strike verses the relative resistance of the 22 shell. If the velocity of the strike is enough to overcome the modulus of elasticity of the brass and dimple the rim enough to fire then yes. If the velocity of the strike is not enough to overcome the modulus of elasticity then no, the entire shell would simply be shoved forward.”

Likewise, I told Mr. Donnelly that, as an experiment, I cycled the bolt back as if it had just been fired, inserted my fingertip into the space between the bolt face and the breech face, and closed the assembly on my finger.  I then pulled the trigger and the striker released and impacted my finger (quite forcefully, at that – my fingernail shows the mark).  Mr. Donnelly indicated that was supposed to happen.  I am unable to replicate similar results with the same experiment on any other semi-automatic firearm I own.

A video of the ZiP’s striker being released while the bolt is out of battery is below.  I first ensured the firearm was unloaded and cleared, and then released the striker with the bolt closed – the striker is visible as the silver metal bar with the right-sloping point directly beneath the bolt in the beginning of the video.  I used the “Load” operating rod on the ZiP to simulate that its bolt had just blown back from a successful round discharge and reset the striker, and then used the operating rod to hold the bolt open, simulating that the next round failed to be fully inserted into the chamber.  As you can see, the striker releases.  I then repeated this demonstration a few more times.

Mr. Donnelly seemed to initially think I was referring to a base blowout in our conversations, but once I described to him the above pictures, with the sidewall of the case being blown out above the rim, he hypothesized that due to the unlocked, blow-back nature of the ZiP’s action, the Golden Bullets forced the expended case out of the firing chamber before the pressures had reached “safe” levels, resulting in that pressure finding the case to be the shortest path of release.

usfazipsprings

When I told Mr. Donnelly about the other failures I had experienced, he asked if I still had the “target” springs installed in the pistol; the instruction manual – screen captured to the right – states the ZiP ships with “high velocity” recoil springs installed, and “target” springs as an option, depending on the type of ammunition you are shooting.  I asked for clarification, and he stated that due to ammunition shortages, he and the factory decided to start shipping the ZiPs, and specifically the “media units”, with “target” springs installed.  He said there was supposed to be a hand-written note in the box informing me of this; there was no note.  I indicated that they needed to update their manual accordingly, and he told me there was no need.

Much of the conversation was Mr. Donnelly telling me why the ZiP was revolutionary / original / superior / advanced / fun / etc.

The conversation closed with Mr. Donnelly telling me to install the “high velocity” springs, go shoot it some more, and let him know how it goes.  No real mention mention was made of correcting the situation that resulted in a firearm almost exploding in my hands aside from what seemed to be the implication not to use Golden Bullets any more, and the further seeming implication that I should have known not to use them to begin with.  I came away from the conversation feeling like he was more interested in blaming the ammunition than discovering if my specific pistol, or the design as a whole, may have a defect.

As previously stated, I am declining to review this firearm, and will be returning it to USFA with no further testing; I leave it to my readers to draw their own conclusions.

[Update]  Please see this follow-up for the rest of the story[/Update]

(* – This is not an objective observation, but hindsight being 20/20, I should have taken this as an indication of the future.

** – I dump my bulk .22LR ammunition in washed-out coffee cans for easier storage.  Unfortunately, I do not retain the boxes, so I am unsure of lot number, bullet weight, or advertised muzzle velocity for this specific batch of Golden Bullets.

*** – Likewise not an objective comment, but I should have stopped shooting here.  If a firearm suffers a failure of that nature, you need to take some serious looks at it, or have a gunsmith do so, before continuing to shoot it.  )

57 comments to usfa zip – not a review

  • Scott Murphy

    Nothing like laying the blame off on someone or something else is there? I think Mr Donnely should probably consider the implications of the class action lawsuit in his future if they don’t get this figured out quick.

  • Ben C

    I would much rather read an accurate report of what happened during use than a regular “gun rag” glowing review that ignores reality.

    Thanks for the well documented range report!

  • Ben C

    Also, striker being released when the bolt is held open by a finger width sounds like a rather unsafe product regardless of feeding reliability.

  • Scott Murphy

    Oh and after finding some pics of the whole gun WTF! are they thinking? That gun looks like such a bad idea on so many levels.

  • Tam

    It appalls me that the manufacturers of some of the highest-quality single-action revolvers in the world are willing to affix their names to this gimmicky pile of suck and fail.

  • GuardDuck

    “…..once on the range the zip funtioned with acceptable levels of combat out of battery detonations…”

  • Volfram

    @ Ben C: I thought exactly the same thing!

    @ GuardDuck: for a sufficiently broad definition of “acceptable.”

  • Comparing the design of this to the Jennings J22 I used to have, the Jennings was a better designed gun.

  • Wow.
    To heck with whether the gun is any good or not, the piss-poor reaction of the company’s top man makes me want to never buy any gun from USFA.

    The proper reaction to a T&E gun going kaboom is not “you used the wrong ammo, and you should have known better,” it’s “we’ll send you a shipping label, and we’ll try to figure out what happened when we get the gun back in.”

    The “it’s supposed to do that” response to a confirmed repeatable out of battery strike(!) is just icing on the Fail Cake.

  • Hank

    First time I seen a photo of the “Zip” I concluded it was a corny, goofy looking POS. My next thought was that there is some ATF rule that firearms have to look like a firearm and the “Zip” doesn’t IMHO.

    It’s absurd shape lends nothing. It’s not superior to existing arms. It’s not smaller, lighter or more accurate and clearly it’s not “fun” either. Revolutionary and original are merely subjective. In short, it’s pointless.

    I can design a gun that looks like a toaster or a cinder block but that’s not reason enough to own one.

  • @ Tam:
    It’s my understanding that they no longer make SAA clones so that they could devote all their attention to this.

  • perna

    Thanks for posting this. Not that I had any plans on buying one, but you never know when a deal to good to pass up might come along. Now this is on my list of things to never buy.

  • [...] blogger Linoge (Walls Of The City) was testing the USFA ZIP Pistol when it suffered from an out-of-battery discharge [...]

  • seafarinman

    I have had multiple .22lr rounds fire out of battery with my Sig Mosquito. Pretty scary experience for sure! The problem seems to have been remedied after I replaced the factory barrel with a gemtech threaded replacement barrel. It is better but still not my favorite plinker.

  • Cybrludite

    Looks like something out of the Ghost In The Shell anime. I’ll certainly be giving this one a miss.

  • Shankbone

    Did you really buy Remington Golden Bullets? I would rather pour sand in my gun’s action than shoot those filthy and dangerous bullets! I had two hangfires with Remington Goldens a few years ago and learned my lesson. Yes, hangfires.

    It is difficult to tell from your narrative the total number of rounds you fired with the Zip22 or what the round count was for each of the out of battery explosions. (There were two, right?). What was the final round count when you sent the pistol back?

  • B

    Well, this killed my plans to get one of these. I was annoyed with how they first tried to drum up interest with the pistol to begin with – an anonymous shooter at a range with an unknown gun in a viral video attempt. But, I overlooked that, even though they should have just come out and said what it was and to give some stats on it. But, after this, I think I’ll save my money for something else… like ammo if I can ever find any.

  • Cymond

    Back before the Zip was announced, there was a youtube video of an “Unidentified Firing Object” at a shooting range. This video was also linked on Firearm Blog. The description on the video is that it was an unknown gun seen at the range. The whole thing was suspicious. Who takes an up-close 2-part 40 second video of a mysterious gun at a deserted shooting range, but fails to ask for any information? The video was posted on youtube by “Joh Smith” who had no other videos. The video was submitted to TFB by “Doug”. Sounds like Doug Donnelly, owner of USFA. In short, it was a failed attempt to build hype and start a viral marketing campaign. The deceptive marketing campaign really turned me off to the Zip, even before I saw the over-the-top marketing video. And now this.

    How did USFA go from making high grade single action revolvers to making over hyped junk?

  • LucusLoC

    after reading the article I keep seeing the title as “unsafe zip” as in “U-S-F-A spells ‘unsafe’”

  • Davey

    At least they won’t be able to blame reloaded ammo.

  • Jerry

    Several month ago I happened onto the site for this firearm. I did read the online manual in its entirety and do recall seeing something about Target and High velocity springs mentioned. One is to select the appropriate springs for the type of ammo used.
    Over 38 years ago I experienced a Kaboom at the range using a High Standard Supermatic Citation in competition. Using CCI ammo the exact type now eludes me but I had a stovepipe detonate with the slide out of battery. Safety glasses were a must and long sleeve shirts were recommended. I just cleared the round and proceeded with the match after the range officer checked my pistol.
    This is one toy I want to add to my collection. Ammo is something that I check out considering all of the problems encountered by many today.

  • Oakenheart

    Watching that video, it’s quite obvious that there is no safety interlock to prevent firing if the bolt is not in battery. Seems to me it should be quite simple to machine a guide and catch that will keep this from happening by disabling the trigger until the bolt is fully in-battery. One could in fact probably make an out of battery malfunction happen easily by pulling the trigger rapidly – the thing will fire without the bolt fully forward – so ruptured brass, etc is to be expected. Not a safe design at all in my opinion.

  • Renegade_Azzy

    What is to prevent teh pistol from firing as an open bolt and going FA?

  • In keeping with the spirit of the original post, I will not be making judgement calls or expressing opinions in comments, nor will I be replying to the same. Nothing personal against you all, I just feel it is in everyone’s best interest for me to try my damnest to stay as objective as I can (which is no small task, as anyone who knows me could tell you).

    @ Ben C: You are quite welcome.

    @ Jake: In truth, after writing this comment, I will be headed to my local FedEx where I will be paying to ship the firearm back to USFA. I contacted them to inform them that I would be returning it, and they simply told me where to send it; no attempt to pick up the tab was made by them.

    @ Shankbone: 187 rounds were fired through the Zip, resulting in at least 16 failures of some type, not counting the instances where the round failed to be chambered completely and I had to “hammer” it home. There were two separate instances that seem to be out-of-battery events.

    @ Davey: One of the few “kabooms” where that is the case.

    @ Oakenheart: From experimenting with the gun, I discovered that the trigger can be pulled and the striker will release at any point after the striker resets. This occurs on the bolt’s backwards motion, immediately as the bolt clears the back of the magazine – about 80% of the bolt’s total travel. The gunsmiths I have spoken to regarding this firearm indicate firearms should not be capable of doing that; Mr. Donnelly seems to disagree with them.

    @ Renegade_Azzy: The trigger does disconnect and reset on the bolt’s backwards stroke, forcing you to pull the trigger again before the next round will go off.

  • phil

    @ Renegade_Azzy: hopefully some sort of disconnect would prevent FA but IIRC straight blow back ≠ open bolt ≠ out of battery. Open bolt means pulling the trigger releases the bolt AND fires the round. That doesn’t mean this design couldn’t potentially SLAM FIRE and go FA, but IDK how.

    @nobodyinparticular. Because blow back guns’ timing are based on the chamber pressure, spring weight and bolt weight it’s possible to get a KB if the bolt moves back before the chamber pressure is safe. Ammo, spring strength, bolt weight in any bad combination can cause stove pipes, FTF, FTE, and various KBs (again IIRC). But true OOB will most of the time indicate bad design or broken gun, right? From what Linoge says, it sounds like even if it IS the ammo’s fault OR “his own” fault for having the wrong springs, the gun should NOT fire until the action is forward. What’s to prevent the situation Oakenheart describes where rapid fire consistently yields firing OOB? IMWO this “looks” like bad ammo or timing, but if the trigger can be pulled with the action open? They need to acknowledge that as a big problem. Again, i have no experience to back up any of my opinions, IANA gunsmith or engineer. I’ve just seen similar results with crappy .22 in similar actions (10/22, tec-22, etc.) Maybe weigh any leftover rounds to see if they’re over charged?

  • me

    I will certainly agree that Remington “Golden Bullet” bulk pack is floor sweepings.

    But I get duds, hangfires, extraction problems, and ejection problems with it. I don’t get out-of-battery firing with it in my .22 firearms: a Ruger 22/45, a Ruger 10/22, and a very old Marlin bolt-action.

    I do not own a USFA “Zip Gun,” nor have I tried one. I will say that everything I see and hear about them indicates that, at least at the present point of development, it’s a pretty dismal attempt at firearms design and manufacture, so “zipgun” is a pretty good name for it.

  • The striker issue has me wondering. I guess if you’re the typical recreational shooter who yanks the trigger back the striker been able to release at any time after reset is not a huge issue. But if you’re like some us who like to barely break the trigger and let it reset immediately, this can become a HUGE problem if the combination of trigger reset and recoil forces causes the trigger to toggle again, releasing the after the round has been stripped but before it is fully supported in the chamber. You had several failures to fire which you described as the striker failing to reset, I wonder if the striker had reset and simply was released again before the round was in position for it cause an out of battery ignition?

  • Ed Walters

    This out of battery firing showed up in a youtube video of a guy named Rellacor. It was on his outtakes at the very end of his video. The gun fired when he pushed the restriker back then again while inserting a 10 round magazine, and lastly while using the safety. Actually his outtakes should have remained in his main part of the video. I have read where this Donnely guy is trying to do damage control because of the youtube videos in the form of a “fix-it-kit” which I doubt will work because of this thing firing out of battery. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt and Donnely doesn’t seem to care about anything but selling these things to more unsuspecting customers. He dumped his SAA line in lieu of this piece of trash yet he does nothing to remedy a customers complaints other than play the blame game which is a lame excuse at best.

  • Ed Walters

    A guy named Rellacor posted a video on Youtube with several out of battery firings. The first was while using the charging handle, then while inserting a Ruger 10 round magazine and lastly while pushing the safety on and off. Doug Donnely doesn’t seem to want to hear anything negative about his gun even though there is video proof the gun is junk and unsafe. For him to blame any and everything on an unsafe and unreliable gun is absurd. It shows you his only aim is to sell this POS before he gets closed down for false advertising or worse.

  • Robert

    “Oh yeah, the USFA ZIP pistol prefers out of battery discharges ya know. Lovely gun eh? Beautiful plumage.”

  • @ Ed Walters:
    Yikes! Even beyond the atrocious muzzle and trigger finger discipline in that video, the gun itself is #@@$# scary! REALLY watch your hands while you’re loading it or clearing a jam – that one guy is lucky to still have all his fingers!

  • phil

    @ Linoge:
    Did it really take my post that long to show up, or do I need to start refreshing every time I think about posting? This is what I get for posting from my phone through the RSS app. /shame

  • Dennis Crabtrey

    I have checked one of these new Zipguns at my local Gun Shop. It is a new, unusual and inovative design. I will be buying one for just that reason; I LIKE weird and unusual. I read the manual and it does specify two recoil springs. Firing OOB and case head ruptures look and feel very simular. Ammo and spring combo could very well be cause of the problem. Mr. Donnelly’s actions were not what most of us would like or expect. Any company can have a product fail. Things break. The company’s reaction is what defines professional or POS. A positive reaction would have been a pick up ticket and a carefull line of pertinent questions about the failure.

    22 LR bulk ammo is amazing quality for the price. Yes, you will have some fail to fire. Maybe the case thickness is a bit off. It only cost 4 cents a trigger pull and 5 years ago it was 2 cents a round. I happen to like Remington ammo. It is hotter than Federal and Winchester. My Taurus 22 PLY LOVES IT! It is a bit dirty.

    I will still buy a Zipgun just because it is unusual. I may not fire it. I will inspect it. I do appreciate the effort that was put into the original test. This demonstrates the need for eye/ear/hand protection while shooting. I have had simular explosive results in a revolver several times (S&W 63).

    NRA Certified: Basic Pistol & Self Defence in the Home. Shooter for 50 years. Reloader for 42 years.

  • Will

    Linoge,
    I would suggest that when testing any .22LR firearm, a thorough cleaning be done first. Some brands, and some models, and sometimes just an individual gun, can be very sensitive to powder residue buildup. In this case, since it started dirty, you had a null data point for reference. Some .22′s can look somewhat clean, but when you start cleaning, an amazing amount of crap can turn up. I attribute this to a combo of the powder and lead that ends up looking very much like it’s part of the metal of the gun.

    As for the gun, it would appear that the designer is unfamiliar with the function of the trigger disconnect in auto types. Generally, moving the bolt, or slide, out of battery will cause the disconnector to move out of contact with the trigger system, removing the ability to release the hammer or striker while the mechanism is in an unsafe condition. The concept of an out of battery trigger disconnector for safety has been known since the early days of auto gun designs, which would be at least 100 years ago. Someone is not doing their research properly. This thing should not be released to the public until the design is reworked to fix this glaring oversight.
    I must state that I don”t have one in hand for a detailed exam, but your checkout seems to cover the flaw in the design fairly clearly.
    Btw, try to get in the habit of saving all brass from a new, or reworked, gun test. A careful exam can tell a lot about what is happening, even if it doesn’t blow up on you! (For both the ammo and the gun)

  • Wade

    From his response, and the traffic to this post, it looks like Donnelly may be on his way to the same sort of immortality that Jim Zumbo earned. “That company totally Donnellied me when I returned that gun for warranty work.”

    Donnelly: Verb. To project blame for product defects onto the end user, unrelated accessories, the weather, or any other cause rather than to accept responsibility for selling a bad product.

  • [...] It’s probably not in your best interest to tell that to a gun blogger. [...]

  • rick

    I have shot thousands of Remington golden bullets in my 22 rifles and my revolver and have never had a problrm except for the occasional dud. They may not produce stellar accuracy in some guns but my particular 10/22 shoots them better than almost anythig else. Blaming this on the ammo is pure BS.

  • Volfram

    @ Dennis Crabtrey: I like weird and unusual too, and would be tempted to get a ZiP for the same reason… except this weird and unusual design is dangerously unsafe, and I want to be able to take my guns to the range without worrying about saving up for a pair of bionic hands.

    Personally, I’d save my money, make a 3D mockup and get it 3D printed, but I can understand your point of view.

  • @ phil:

    The site was getting hammered yesterday, may have just hit it at a bad time…

  • [...] Skas on usfa zip – not a review [...]

  • Gascolator

    Thanks for this non-review. I was very interested in one of these, but they seemed to be pretty much unavailable. Just as well. Over on rimfirecentral.com there have been reports about the older GBs occasionally having an out-of-battery event due to not fully seating in the chamber, likely due to irregularities in the cases. But the number of malfunctions on the Zip product overall seems far too high to make it worth-while.

  • PK

    Is it possible that a cartridge didn’t seat fully in the chamber and you managed to get it to fire anyway? I’ve had similar things happen with Golden Bullets in my 10/22 and Buckmark.

  • [...] USFA “Zip” Ka-Boom/WALLS OF THE CITY Blog [...]

  • Derek D.

    If this went and fired multiple shots with one pull of the trigger, remember–don’t loan it to a friend. Just ask David Olofson.

    If enough of these guns start to go FA, Mr. Donnelly will have a lot more to worry about than liability lawsuits–he will have the scourge of all LE organizations living in his a$$.

  • @ phil: I am not a gunsmith, I do not play one on television, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but from speaking with people who do meet one/more of those qualifications, I am told that firearms should not allow you to pull the trigger and actuate the striker/firing pin when the bolt/slide is more than a few fractions of a fractions of an inch out of battery.

    In other words, you should not be able to reproduce my “fingertip experiment” results on any other properly-functioning firearms, and I have been unable to do so with my Walther PPS, Baby Eagle, TT-33, CZ-52, 10/22, AR-15, and M1A.

    Unfortunately, I lack a scale accurate enough to determine weight variance between .22 rounds.

    As for your comment, if that was your first comment on the site, it was automatically held in moderation until I could release it, which is not always as fast as you or I might like. Otherwise, the site experienced approximately 8x normal traffic yesterday, so everything was moving a bit slowly.

    @ me: Aside from hangfires, that perfectly describes my experience with GB rounds as well.

    @ Gregory Markle: I will admit I was not riding the reset of the trigger while I was testing this particular firearm, so it is doubtful the problems I experienced with the MiniMags regarding the striker reseting is due to that.

    Is that kind of problem possible with this kind of arrangement? People smarter/more topically educated than me seem to think so.

    @ Will: At the time, I attributed the small amount of dirt/blackening I saw to test fires from the factory, since most firearms I purchase are shot at least once or twice at the factory to ensure everything is working.

    As for keeping brass, I will probably have to invest in an interesting little net gadget my father found – trying to keep up with .22 casings at an indoor range that does not technically let you keep your brass is challenging…

    @ Wade: An average day sees about 500 hits on this site as a whole. Yesterday netted in excess of 3000… on this post alone.

    @ PK: The cartridge not seating in the chamber but the firing pin/striker setting it off when you pull the trigger anywise is an almost perfect description of an out-of-battery discharge.

    @ Derek D.: This gun never went FA on me; I distinctly remember one trigger pull, one shot.

  • [...] Linoge on usfa zip – not a review [...]

  • phil

    @ Linoge: I heartily agree. They need to fix that. I wanted one of these and passed on a locally listed one. Now I’m glad.

  • Linoge wrote:

    @ Derek D.: This gun never went FA on me; I distinctly remember one trigger pull, one shot.

    Or sometimes two or three trigger pulls one shot?

  • Tam

    @ McThag:
    Discontinued revolvers in favor of this? You have got to be sh!tting me. Did the company change hands? Did the CEO have a stroke? WTF, over?

  • @ Joat: Ahem. Plus having to yank out the magazine (it does not fall free), shake the gun around some, hold the bolt back while I try to extricate the jammed rounds, and various other contortions…

  • KD

    Good Article.

    I’m a fan of Remington Goldies as well. They’re cheap and go bang all the time in my Ruger 10/22 and Sig Mosquito.

    I find it ludicrous when manufacturers specify certain types of ammo and nothing else. In general, that’s bullshit. IMHO any firearm should be able to fire any ammo that it’s designed for. Sure, it might take a little ramp polishing and a basic out of the box tune-up, but it should go bang.

    In all my years of shooting I’ve never seen a Goldie break apart.

  • [...] So, it looks like Linoge got to test and evaluate one of US Firearm’s new ZiP guns, and things did not go well at all.  You can read his write up here. [...]

  • [...] Well, they got the name right… | Guns, Cars, and Tech on usfa zip – not a review [...]

  • @seafarinman: “I have had multiple .22lr rounds fire out of battery with my Sig Mosquito.”

    Wow, I guess I won’t be getting a Sig Mosquito either. The fact that a barrel replacement fixed it is probably just lucky: the new barrel may chamber rounds easier, but it won’t alter the action that allows the striker to fall when the bolt is out of battery.

  • @ KD: I tend to share your opinion. Unless we are talking about specifically-built, custom-fabricated, match-grade tackdrivers, if a firearm is chambered for X, it should eat pretty much any for of X you can shove into it. It might not shoot it well, but it should shoot it.

  • Stanley3Smith

    My reaction to seeing the ZIP “handgun” in person was, what the hell is this? Looking at the ZIP “handgun’s” design, materials, and construction I determined it to be a hammered shit amalgamation of previous failures in gun design. Naming a junk gun a ZIP gun should ensure almost immediate failure, that any distributors actually sell this nightmare is troubling, very troubling. Hammered shit.

  • Lorin Light

    Very interesting to see this. About a two months ago I purchased a zip 22. First, in its defense I love the design and concept. This is the kind of gun I have wanted for years.

    Now, the bad. Like most people, I had many jams, failures to feed, failures to eject and failures to fire due to the striker not reseting. I did read that the zip came with two sets of springs and that the high velocity springs where the ones that it came with. The first thing I did was switch to ‘target’ springs which helped. I eventually got it working at about 80% reliability. My gun was part of the lot of SN#’s listed with too tight of tolerances.

    After receiving the upgrade kit I immediately suffered a slam fire or double fire. One trigger pull, two shots fired. I sent an e-mail to Zip and the next morning I got a call from Doug Donnelly. We talked for almost an hour, mostly about the zips design. He spend some time assuring me that an out of battery detonation was impossible. This seemed odd to me since that was not a problem that i had experienced and I wasn’t worried about it happening (at the time) He did offer to take the zip back for diagnoses and repair and sent me a pre-paid Fedex box.

    My zip has now been at (presumably) at USFA for about three weeks, I haven’t heard anything back from them yet.

    This is all very troubling since an out of battery detonation is much more disturbing than a double fire. Guns.com has also experienced this double fire problem and posted a slow motion video of it occurring on their website.

    It seems now that this may be a deep seated problem with the zip, which is very unfortunate because like I said, if the zip worked as advertised it would be a very nice gun. Its the first genuinely new design I have seen in thirty years.

    BTW, I’ve shot thousands of rounds of Remington golden bullets through my 10/22 with zero malfunctions.