Commonwealth Arms

Commonwealth Arms Archives

Our Products
Gun Show Calender And Special Events
Gun Show Guide
Contact Us
Commonwealth Arms Technical Support
Bull Session
Policies And Terms Of Sale
About Us
Active In Our Community
Commonwealth Arms Racing
Back The Blue Scholarship Car Show




.....Sell Hi Points, or other ultra cheap handguns.
Simple.  We will not stock products that are proven to be of poor quality.  I know, I know, another dealer told you "Well ole buddy.  This gun is as good as a Glock, it just dosen't have a name brand on it."  Do not believe it.  If Hi Points were as good as Glocks for less than half the price, then why do no law enforcement agencies carry them?  I have heard people brag about how their Hi Point "does pretty good, it will only jam about every other clip"  Seriously?  Is that the kind of firearm you want to bet your life on for home defense?  I hope not.  For another $100 you can buy a brand new Ruger 9E.  That is right folks an American made Ruger 9E that has a LIFETIME WARRANTY, that will not jam, and will shoot well.  We do not sell junk.  Simple as that.
...Work gun shows instead of staying home.
I had a guy get real mad at us a few weeks back.  Because we went to a gun show, instead of staying home to sell him a set of scope rings.  He said we "didn't care about the folks back home".  The reality is we care about ALL of our customers.  The ones back home, the ones at shows, and our internet customers.  We offer the best quality firearms at the best prices in the Commonwealth.  Above all else we go out of our way to get our customers what they need.  We are not magicians, we can't put something in stock in a warehouse that is not there.  But rest assured that we do care about all of our customers.  We are a 21st century gun dealer, gun shows, and the internet are part of our life.  We go to gun shows because we sell between 35 and 75 guns a weekend at one.  I is simply good business.
.....Have many used rifles in stock
We just do not get many traded in.  A lot of folks pay way too much for their guns to begin with.  Often they want more for their trade than we sell the same model for new.  Folks, you have to buy smart.  A customer recently told me he had two pistols he wanted to trade for a SIG 220 at Gander Mountain.  I asked him the price of the SIG there and he told me $899.99.  So I said o.k, how much boot do you expect to pay?  He didn't understand, so I explained that Gander Mountain usually allows about 70% of the new value of a like new gun on trade.  Thus he would have owed about $150 difference.  I then priced the SAME SIG 220 to him at $779.99 and expressed a willingness to trade even.  He agreed and we did the deal, saving him at least $150.00.  The moral of the story?  You may get a bigger trade allowance elsewhere, but you will still pay more if the gun you are trading on is $125 to $200 higher than we sell it for.  Looking to trade?  Give us a call, we WILL save you money.
.....Do gunsmith work
We are not gunsmiths.  Nor do we PRETEND to be.  Sure we mount scopes, install sights on handguns, and do a little trigger work.  But that is it.  Neither Mike or mysefl have any formal training as a gunsmith.  The only COMPETENT gun smith in our area that is stil active full time (Jack Easter is doing very little, if any work, but he is a fine, and knowledgeble man) is Joe Hayes in Lewisburg WV.  Joe understands all types of firearms, does excellent work, has reasonable rates, and to top it off is ONE HELL OF A NICE GUY.  Give him a call at 304 645 1887 if you need work.  Mike and I do.


1.  8x57J/JS (8mm Mauser)    Germany
 I ask you to keep an open mind here.  This list is for the 10 MOST IMPORTANT centerfire rifle calibers, not the 10 most popular.  The reality is that the German 8x57, commonly called 8mm Mauser in the U.S. was the first high preasure, high powered smokeless powder cartridge in the world.  Introduced in 1888, the 8x57 rocked the military world.  Untill that time the worlds armies largely relied on large caliber black powder cartridges.  The British Empire had the .303 British, but it was also still a black powder cartridge and it came nowhere near matching the 8x57 in performance.  Originally utilizing a .318" diameter 200 grain round nose bullet the 8x57 was improved in 1905. This was to take advantage of the stronger Mauser 98 action, and most importantly the new 150g Sptizer bullet.  Bore diameter was increased to .323" and the cartridge was redesignated the 8x57JS, essentially the same cartridge that it is today.  The 8x57 served the German army in both World Wars along with numerous other nations.  Though one of the finest military calibers of all time the 8x57 has enjoyed limited success as a sporting cartridge in the U.S.   This is due largely to it's simularity to the widely popular .30-06 cartridge.  It's military record nonwithstanding though, the reason the 8x57 tops this list is because it is the basis for the 7x57 Mauser,.30-06, .308, and all other cartridges in those respective families.  The Mauser case is the most prolific in firearms history.  That is why it is number one.
2.  .30-06 Springfield    USA
U.S Cartridge Caliber .30 Variant of 1906..This cartridge can be described as the standard sporting cartridge of the world.  But make no mistake, German lineage nonwithstanding, the .30-06 is as American as apple pie.  No cartridge has taken more game, at the ripe old age of 102 this cartridge still tops the charts in both ammunition sales and reloading die sales.  The .30-06 was born out of the failure of the .30-40 caliber Kraig rifle.  The U.S Army learned a bitter lesson in the Spanish American War.  Obsolete weapons would not stand up against modern charger loaded Mauser rifles firing high performance cartridges.  Only superior training saved us from disaster, but we were murderously out gunned.  The U.S Army and the Springfield Armory took to the task of designing a new rifle.  The result was the Model 1903 Springfield rifle, a virtual copy of the Mauser rifle.  Springfield also took the German 8x57 cartridge, leingthiend the case sligthly, and necked it down the .30 caliber.  The result was the .30-03 caliber.  After seeing how well the new German 8x57JS cartridge of 1905 performed however Springfield modified the .30-03 in 1906 to incorporate a new 150 grain spitzer bullet.  The result was the .30-06 as we know it today.  The .30-06 could make the top ten on it's sporting merits alone, but it's success as a military cartridge propel it to number two.  This cartridge served us well through two World Wars and the Korean Conflict.  The quintessential American cartridge?  I think so.
3.  7.62x39 Soviet    Soviet Union
Perhaps the most prolific military cartridge of all time. The 7.62x39 Soviet cartridge easily ranks number three on this list because of the impact that it and the infamous rifle that it is chambered in have had on international military affairs since the end of World War II.  A lot of confusion exists concerning the 7.62x39 cartridge.  There is a lot of eroneous belief that it was brough out in response to the German 7.92 Kurtz cartridge, introduced in the short lived STG 44 "Sturmgwehr" assault rifle.  In reality the two were developed concurrently.  Soon after the start of the war the Soviets began working on a concept for a medium range semiautomatic rifle.  Something with more firepower than a submachinegun, but something handier than a full size rifle.  The result was the Simmonova Karabina of 1945, commonly called the SKS.  The SKS rifle saw only very limited use in World War II, but it's succesor the AK47 brought the cartridge into its own.  The 7.62x39 is only a moderately powerful cartridge, but it is ideally suited for a compact semi or fully automatic military rifle and it packs plently of power in the short range enviorment that it is normally employed.  Sometimes a rifle becomes legendery because of the cartridge for which it is chambered.  In this case it works both ways.
4.  .222 Remington  USA
The .222 Remington was the brainchild of Mike Walker.  Walker was a designer for Remington best known for desgining the Remington 721/722 rifles that evolved into the legendery Remington 700.  What is not as well known about Walker is that he was a world class competetive shooter.  In 1947 the type of competition known as bench rest was in its infancy.  Hunting rifles of the day tended to be based on the Mauser action.  A strong reliable action, but one that required signifficant tuning to produce the level of accuracy the new benchrest and varmint shooters desried.  The Remington 721/722 rifles were born out of this problem.  For the first time ever a hunting rifle was designed around a target platform.  In 1950 Walker introduced his .222 Remington cartridge for the new rifles and changed the way we look at varmint rifles forever.  Other varmint cartridges had more range than the .222, but nothing else could match it's accuracy.  Time and time again .222 shooters produced groups smaller than anything that had ever been seen before.  The .222 became the favorite medium range cartridge of varmint hunters for the next 35 years.  It also dominated bench rest shooting untill the ultra accurate .22 and 6mm PPC cartridges appeared in the 1970's.  Though the .222's popularity has wained some in recent years it is still far from extinct.  Most importantly, it has spawned numerous other calibers like the .223, Remington and the .204 Ruger.  As the most important varmint cartridge in the world, the .222 stands in at number four on this list..
5.  .375 Holland & Holland     Great Britain
The original magnum, although it was never called that. Magnum is something that got added later in this country.  The.375 H&H was introduced in 1912 as a purpose built African game cartridge.  Argubly one of the finest dangerous game cartridges ever conceived, the .375 H&H has also enjoyed considerable popularity among American and Cannadian Elk and Moose hunters.  Perhaps the most intriging, and missleading characteristics of the .375 H&H is it's beltd case.  Contrary to many a rural deer camp legend this was not done to add strength to the case.  The .375 H&H case has a very severe taper to it, thus making the case shoulder very shallow.  The belt was added to allow reliable headspacing.  The reason the belt appears on so many later Magnum cartridges is one of the reasons the .375 H&H is on this list.  It is the father of most modern Magnum cartridges.  The .300 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum, all of the Weatherby Magnums from the .340 down, and many more are based on this case.   The .375 H&H is to the dangerous game hunter what the .30-06 is to the American whitetail hunter.  A classic big game cartridge in at number five on this list.
6.  .30-30 Winchester    USA
The American whitetail cartridge of choice for nearly 100 years.  The .30-30 Winchester has only recently began to wain in popularity.  The cartridge was revolutionary when it was introduced in 1894.  The Model 1894 Winchester rifle and the new .30-30 cartridge offered the American hunter something completely different.  A light compact rifle chambered in, at the time, a very powerful sporting cartridge.  Both were an immediate success and in the coming years Marlin, Savage and others would embrace the cartridge as it's popularity soared.  The image of a father and son walikng away from an old Chevy pickup truck on a cool November morning.  Treking into the Virginia countryside with a pair of trusty Marlin .30-30's hoping to encounter a buck foolish enough to pass their way.  But even if no buck comes their way the experiecne together will make it a good day.  The .30-30 played such an important part in that little bit of Americana in rural areas all accross the country.  That is why is makes the list at number six.
7.  .223 Remington/5.56 NATO   USA
This cartridge is on this list not because of what an excellent varmint cartridge that it is, and it is a fine.  It is here because it has became the most successful military cartridge in the world in the last 40 years.  Heavily criticised early in it's life as underpowered as a military cartridge the .223 continues to redeem itself over and over in each ensuing new conflict.  With the advent of rifle barrels with faster rates of twist, allowing for use of heavier bullets.  The .223 is an effective 400 yard cartridge.  Only the 7.62x30 Soviet cartridge out paces the .223's pupularity with the worlds armies.  And the .223 delivers superior range and accuracy.  In the civillian maket the .223 was slow to catch on, due largely to the popularity of the .222 Remington.  In recent years however the .223 has become even more popular than the .222 was in it's heyday.  Either on the battlefield, on a ground hog hunt, or during an organized high power rifle match, the .223 is right at home.  Few cartridges are that flexable.  That is why the .223 ranks number seven on this list.
8.  .308 Winchester / 7.62 NATO     USA
The .308 Winchester was a splendid idea, although not a new one.  The idea was to utilize a shorter case with a faster burning powder to get near .30-06 performance out of a lighter weight cartridge.  It had been tried before, and it had failed.  But not this time, the .308 will go down in history as one of the greatest American rifle cartridges of all times.  As a military cartridge the .308's success was mixed.  The M14 rifle and Belgian FAL rifle's for which it were chambered were superb semi automatic rifles, but they wre lousy machine guns.  Of course, anyone who thought a 9 pound rifle could be controlled firing a 55,000 PSI cartridge with a 150 grain bullet obviously had a thing or two to learn about recoil energy.  The .308 served NATO's armies well, and continues to as a light machine gun cartridge.  But where the .308 really came into it's own was in the sporting and competetive shooting circles.  Winchester quickly released the .308 to the public in 1953 and the cartridge was immediately successful.  Now hunters could get near .30-06 performance in a lighter more compact rifle.  In competetive shooting circles the .308 qucily shattered every record that the .30-06 ever set, and was only recently bested bu the .223 at the national matches.  The .308 continues to dominate numerous competetive shooting disciplines.  Like the .223 the .308 is a very flexable cartridge.  Also like the .223 the .308 has a place on this list, at number 8.
9.  7.62x54R Russian    Imperial Russa
Introduced in 1891 the 7.62x54R Russian cartridge would be the standard military cartridge of Russa and the Soviet Union for the next 60 years.  Chambered in the Mosin Nagant bolt action rifles, and later the Draganuv sniper rifle the 7.62x54R served the Russians well through both World Wars and their allies well beyond.  These rifles can still be seen in the hands of guerilla fighters in third world countries.  Due to the recent mass importaton of former Soviet small arms a American shooters can now enjoy the merits of this powerful cartridge.  Like the American .30-06 the 7.62x54R also spun off numerous wildcat cartridges in Scandinava, particularly Finland.  This cartridge continues to be a popular sporting cartridge in that part of the world today.  The 7.62X54R's significance in history as a military cartridge place it on this list at number 9.
10.  .45-70 Government    USA
The only big bore black powder cartridge on this list.  It should be noted though that the .45-70 Government is also the only old big bore black powder cartridge that succesfully made the transiton to the smokeless era.  Now 135 years old it is more popular than ever now.  Introduced way back in 1873 in the Model 1873 Springfiield rifle, commonly called the "Trapdoor" the .45-70 was the United States Army's first succesful metallic cartridge.  Orginally built around a massive 500 grain lead bullet the .45-70 packed a heavy punch.  Though successful in it's early days as a military cartridge, the .45-70 quickly became obsolete due to the introduction of modern smokeless powder cartridges.  As a plains buffalo rifle howerver the rifle became legendery.  The -45-70's popularity wained during the first half of the twentieth century, but as it's reputaiton for close in power began to ease back into the mainstream, the cartridge enjoyed a massive comeback.  Today the .45-70 is as popular as ever, particularly with professionaly guides, bear, and boar hunters..  The old soldier refused to die or fade away.  The .45-70 completes our top ten
Please feel free to comment on my opinions.  That is why I posted this



It is no secret that over 65% of our business at Commonwealth Arms is handguns.  Some customers are looking for target guns, some are looking for hunting handguns, but the majority of our handgun buyers are looking for something for home pretection or personal defense. 
The most important consideration in a personal defense handgun is reliability.  If you cannot count on it to work ALL OF THE TIME then you cannot count on it when you need it the most.  The second consideration is comfort, if it does not feel good in your hand, you will not shoot it.  And if it is not comfortable to carry you will not carry it.  I often get asked, what do I reccomend?  My reply is always the same.  Come on down to the shop and look at some of the different models available, there is no "one size fits all"  in this market.  I only stock quality handguns, but I stock a large variety of models.  What do I sell the most of?  Springfield XD's,, Glocks, and Smith & Wesson Airweight revolvers.  These are all well made 100% reliable fireamrs, but not everyone has $400 to $500 to spend on a new handgun, I realize this.  All to often I see dealers take advantage of unknowing handgun buyers on a tighter budget.  Offering them something like a Hi Point semi auto pistol for $150.00 and telling them something like "Well ole buddy this is a good gun, I sell more of these than any other model."  Folks this can be convincing to a lot of potential handgun buyers.  I am not out to down another manufacturers product, but these ultra cheap off brand semi auto pistols simply cannot be considered a viable choice for self defense. 
So what to buy if you need a personal protection handgun and are on a budget?  Lets say you have $300.00 to spend, your SOL right?  No, not the least.  Charter arms sells a line of quality American made .38 Special revolvers for UNDER $300.00.  These are well made, lightweight small revolvers with a lifetime warranty.  Commonwelth Arms also typically has a variety of used police trade in fireamrs on hand.  These are typically Smith & Wesson, Glock, and Beretta semi auto pistols, and Smith & Wesson and Ruger revolvers.  All of these guns have seen use, and show some wear from carry, but like most police guns have seen little actual use, and are in excellent mechanical conditon.  We typically sell these guns for between $250 and $350 depending on the model, a fraction of their new cost.  Now you may also ask, what if I cannot even swing $300, what if I need a gun for $250 or even less.  The situation is still not hopeless.  Bersa and Kel Tec both make reliable .380 ACP caliber semi atuo pistols for not much over 200.00, again, these are solid, reliable guns that you can count on for personal protection.
If you are in the market for a handgun by all means come by our shop and look at the over 75 handguns we have in stock.  We are always happy to talk to you and answer any questions you may have.

All Of These Quality Concealed Carry Handguns Are In Stock For $425.00 Or Less


Now this is a hot topic of late.  How do the Springfield XD pistols compare to the Glock semi auto pistols?  Well, lets look at a few things.
Is typically very similar between both guns.  Glocks and XD's are capable of very respectable accuracy for a combat pistol, and I did say "combat" not "match".  If you are looking for a gun to shoot sub 1" groups at 25 yards I would suggest something like a Para Ordnacne 1911 style pistol.  That is not to say the Glocks and XD's won't shoot groups that tight, I am just sayng not to expect it all the time.  Glocks and XD's typicall are capable of two inch groups at 25 yards fairly consistantly with good ammunion.  Although not marketed as a match pistol, both of these guns are an excellent choice for practical style shooting competitions such as IPSC or IDPA.
Superb in both.  The Glock gets a very slight edge here only because it perfoemed better in the militaary sand test.  You know the one where they bury the pistol in the sand, shake it off, then shoot it.  The XD is a bit more likely to fail here, but unless you are planing on burying your $500.00 pistol in your kids sandbox I don't think it is anything to worry about.  Under normal circumstances I would expect either of these guns to outperform just about anything else on the market in just about any conditons.  And remmember, faulty magazines are the culprit in over 80% of semi auto handgun malfunctions.  Poor reloading habbits can also make a gun jam, and jam often.
If you have been in my shop you have probubly heard me say that a monkey could field strip a Glock.  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  I would go so far as to say a Glock is easier to clean than an AK-47 (and if you come by the shop I can tell you a good one there, but I am not positng it on this site).  XD's take down a bit different than Glocks, not any more complicated, just different.  I honesty can say both of these guns are two of the lowest maintainance handguns that money can buy.
As you can see these pistols compare very favorably.  I think a lot of the decission to go with either a Glock or XD is a matter or personal preference.  Either way you go, you are getting a class one handgun
                                                                                Robert Floyd