As an outdoor writer and reviewer, I receive a lot of products for testing. Some are good, some are great, and many, I simply decline because I can see they’re not something I would recommend, so why bother? This week, I received a set of 5 Star speed loaders from Clinton Hartford, in Zion, Illinois. We needed a fumble-free system for my wife, Cherie, to load her Smith & Wesson M&P R8, the gun she plans to use this year in the Bianchi Cup.
When I opened the box, I was amazed at the quality and downright beauty of these loaders and the loading block that allows fast loading. They are machined out of 6061 billet aircraft aluminum. Internally, they have a durable O-ring to ensure a smooth twist of the key every time. The assembly hardware is made from high quality stainless steel pins, wire springs, and precision ground bearings. Assembled and hand tested to ensure quality with all the main components manufactured in house using over twenty state-of-the-art CNC machines, 5 Star speed loaders even have a small amount of lubrication captured between the O rings.
The range block is also billet machined to hold 48 rounds of .38/.357 and bears the same quality of machining and finish as the loaders. We ordered a range block, which comes with two loaders, and two extra loaders to allow Cherie to have enough loaders ready to run through the Bianchi course without needing to load another loader. In reality, the range block works so well she could have shot the match with only one loader, though for most action pistol matches this wouldn’t work because you have to move. In the Bianchi, the shooter stands in one location for each stage and you can bring your range bag with you.
To use the system, you fill the holes in the block with rounds and simply place the speed loader on top. You rotate the knob to the right to lock the rounds in. When you load the gun, you start the rounds in the cylinders and turn the knob to the left, a much more sensible approach than most loaders which operate in the opposite direction. This has never made sense to me since I learned “righty tighty, lefty loosey” when I was a small boy. Fortunately, Cherie has never used those backwards loaders, so she won’t have to unlearn anything.
Image by Cherie Jones