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Ardesa Vortek Pistol

Ardesa Vortek Pistol

Every so often, a gun comes along which is a little bit out of the ordinary, can appear a little quirky, and doesn’t seem to be applicable to any shooting discipline on this side of the Atlantic. Possibly dismissed at first glance by many shooters, further exploration often proves the old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover. The Ardesa Vortek pistol is just such a gun. Marketed under the Traditions banner, the model is aimed at the American market, where it will doubtless be utilised as a hunting tool.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to use several firearms produced by the Ardesa company from Spain. Their products are often viewed as being at the budget end of the market, where quality control might be expected to fall short of that from the larger and, it has to be said, more expensive offerings from other European manufacturers. My experience has shown me that this is not the case and the Ardesa products provide extremely good value for money and are particularly suited to those who are perhaps a little less serious in their shooting and are looking for some enjoyment without spending big bucks on a gun. Having said that, this pistol comes out in the same price range as the company’s in-line rifles, so some may consider it expensive. But whatever your reason for buying an Ardesa, you will not be disappointed.

The pistol is based on the successful Vortek rifles that Ardesa have produced for several years and which have proved a hit with American hunters. The version we have here is definitely meant for the outdoors, with its camouflage stocks and Cerakote finish to the metal. The stocks on this model are soft touch synthetic with a Realtree pattern, but for those who may prefer wood, the Henry Krank website shows this option at a slightly lower price. The grip is fairly large, so will accommodate those with big hands but it did not seem a problem for a lady shooter.

The photographs in the Ardesa catalogue show this pistol without fixed sights and fitted with a base and scope, while our pistol has a fairly basic but quite effective set-up. The front sight is a tapered blade topped off with a white dot, sitting on to a base with a sloping, serrated rear edge; the unit is screwed into the barrel and the rear is a neat little folding item dovetailed into the barrel and adjustable for windage and elevation. These can both be removed should you wish to fit some glass and the barrel is ready drilled and tapped for a base. If you decide to go down this route, then an ambidextrous hammer extension is provided to aid cocking.

Fit and finish

Ardesa describe the receiver material as LT-1 alloy, said to give strength with weight reduction, and the barrel is made from Chromoly steel. Both of these components have the above mentioned Premium Cerakote finish, which they describe as “the best coating on the market for resistance to highly corrosive black powder, cleaning chemicals and any weather that Mother Nature can throw at it, including salt spray”. The remainder of the metal parts are black, including the two-piece aluminium ramrod/cleaning rod, which is slung under the thirteen-inch tapered barrel.

The photographs will show you that this is a shotgunlike break-open design, and depressing the rather large button in the front of the trigger guard drops the barrel. This exposes the screw out Accelerator Breech PlugTM which accepts standard 209 shotgun primers. The plug is fitted with an O-ring to eliminate blowback and can be screwed out by hand in three full turns. Should you experience difficulty in removing the plug, then a tool is supplied to help.

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At the rear of the trigger guard is a cross bolt safety button which blocks the trigger. This is half of a two-fold safety system, the other being an internal hammer block that prevents the rebounding hammer from engaging the frame mounted firing pin unless it has been manually cocked. At over 18-inches long, this is a big pistol and although I think it has nice lines, trying to hold it with two hands and using that forearm proved rather awkward, unless you are shooting from the hip, something that might well be discouraged on most ranges. It would doubtless benefit from being used at a bench with a rest. Nevertheless, using a standard two-handed grip the pistol did not feel overly front heavy and was comfortable to shoot.

Fun for all

Fifty calibre handguns are, to say the least, not particularly common on UK shooting ranges, so it was little surprise that, on both twenty-five yard ranges where I took this pistol, almost everyone was intrigued and wanted to try it. While only a couple really expressed any interest in buying such a gun, everyone had a smile on their face after shooting it. On both occasions, I very quickly expended the 50 balls I had taken with me, so any thoughts of testing for accuracy disappeared. Around 95% of shots went on to a piece of A4 paper, regardless of the shooter, so there is little doubt that the pistol will be capable of a decent performance under more rigorous testing conditions. I would like to see what a competent shooter could wring out of this gun using the projectiles it was designed for – lead bullets in a plastic sabot – with a full powder charge and a scope.

Ardesa’s recommended maximum charge for this pistol is 70-grains of black powder, which I presume would probably propel my 179-grain lead ball out to well over the range that I was using for this test. With the shorter range in mind, I dropped the charge down to forty grains, and although this is not a particularly heavy gun, recoil was minimal. The trigger has a fairly light let-off and broke cleanly with no creep.

Loading is very straightforward, powder followed by patched ball down the barrel, but the big plus is the ease of using those 209 primers instead of percussion caps. The gun closes with a nice solid feel and operated faultlessly on both occasions. A couple of patches were pulled through the barrel every ten shots, a job made very easy by the removal of the breech plug, which came out without the use of the tool supplied. This design would also prove to be an advantage should you need to remove a ball from the barrel for any reason. A big plus on these guns is that they are truly ambidextrous with no knobs, bolts or catches on either side.

Like a shotgun, removal of the forearm – held on by a screw – allows the gun to be broken down for cleaning or maintenance. There was only the barrel and breech plug to clean, as there was absolutely no powder residue blown back into the receiver. Out of curiosity, I removed the bolt holding the pistol grip on to the frame and could not help wondering if it would be feasible to make a detachable stock to turn it into a carbine. Then again, you could just buy the rifle version.

Conclusion

So, is this a bit of fun or a serious tool? In truth, it could prove to be both, particularly if you lived in the USA and wanted to use it as a hunting gun. Over here, the fun side would likely be uppermost and it does not disappoint in that department.

 

  • Ardesa Vortek Pistol - image {image:count}

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  • Ardesa Vortek Pistol - image {image:count}

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  • Ardesa Vortek Pistol - image {image:count}

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  • Ardesa Vortek Pistol - image {image:count}

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  • Ardesa Vortek Pistol - image {image:count}

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  • Ardesa Vortek Pistol - image {image:count}

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  • Ardesa Vortek Pistol - image {image:count}

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gun
features

  • Model: Ardesa Vortek Pistol
  • Type: Single shot percussion
  • Calibre: .50-inches
  • Length: 18-inches
  • Barrel: 13-inches
  • Weight: 3lbs 7ozs
  • Price: £483.00
  • Distributor: Henry Krank,www.henrykrank.com

4 Comments

  • Answers to questions.  I use a .50 self cast lubed lead wadcutter, and I don’t use patches.  I use Hodgdon 777 powder.  The gun will allegedly take 120 grains of black powder, which translates to about 100 grains of 777.  I have never gone near that load.  Biggest load I have tried is 50 grains, and believe me that is plenty in a hand gun !  Myself, and all my chums in the club, come away with awesome grins on our faces after shooting this pistol.  I also have it’s big brother, the rifle, which is essentially just a long version of the pistol.  I HAVE shot that with 100 grains of Triple Seven.  The army were shooting on the range next door, and after I fired my cannon there was a sudden silence from the army ranges.  I could just visualise them saying WTF was that ?!  A wee while later the army range commander came along with his camera and asked me to shoot it again so he could film it.  Both the rifle and this pistol are utterly awesome machines.  Very simple in operation, but the most fun I have ever had with a gun.  So easy to clean too.  Just remove the breech plug by unscrewing, and run an oily rag through the bore

    Default profile image
    Clive Wolf
    03 Mar 2020 at 03:42 PM
  • good day, please. can you send me Ardesa Vortek pistol to Slovakia? well thank you

    Default profile image
    Matej Kapľavka
    21 May 2019 at 12:07 PM
  • I am waiting for these to be stocked at Henry Krank.  They should be available in 2019, I have been told.
    Three questions…
    1 What size lead ball for this pistol?
    2 Can I avoid using patches
    3 Can I use a lubed lead bullet?

    Default profile image
    Tim
    16 Nov 2018 at 01:10 PM
  • y like this gun

    Default profile image
    desopper christophe
    07 Oct 2018 at 06:16 PM


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