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SHOT Show 2011: Primary Weapons Systems introduces its T3 Summit Rifle, a 10/22-based, .22 LR rifle with a really slick toggle action (think biathlon gun). It is one of the coolest, sexiest looking rifles anywhere with its carbon fiber tension barrel and sculpted, laminated stock. It’s lightweight, lights out accurate, and whisper quiet when suppressed. Yet, fast forward to a couple months ago and I picked up serial number 495 fresh off the production line. Seriously, WTF? This thing is freaking sweet. PWS should sell that many every month! Why aren’t they? Let’s go in for a closer look . . .


Easily one of the greatest things about the T3 Summit is that it isn’t just a rifle, it’s also a line of components that are available separately. Right on the T3 website you can order only the receiver, the barrel, the trigger, or the stock, or you can order some combinations of parts like receiver + trigger, or receiver + trigger + barrel. Actually, one of my go-to FFLs is one of PWS’ top 5 stocking dealers in the country, so if any of these parts or the whole rifle suits your fancy they’ll have low prices and free shipping on anything PWS (ask for Jeremy Ball or Nick Brown).


As the T3 follows the geometry of the most prevalent .22 LR in the country, the Ruger 10/22, all of its components are compatible with any other 10/22 components. For instance, get the receiver and use any 10/22 barrel, trigger, magazine, and stock you like.

Options. I like options. Ultimately, despite my true affinity for custom configurations and the gazillions of available 10/22 parts to choose from, I really couldn’t think of anything more awesome than the complete T3 Summit Rifle, so I got the entire shebang.

Toggle Action?

Why yes, that’s correct. The T3 Summit receiver may be 10/22 in every other way, but it ain’t no semi-auto. And it isn’t a bolt action, either. It’s a straight-pull toggle action, like what’s used in biathlon competitions (pro tip: don’t wear a ski mask while carrying a rifle unless you’re at a sanctioned event).

Lever forwards to chamber a round and lock the action. Lever back to eject the empty.


It’s compact, relatively light, and as fun to operate as it is novel. If you’re a dude, you’ll probably be able to fully cycle the action with only your trigger finger. Smaller folks will likely need to throw a middle finger into the mix or operate it more like a simplified, quicker bolt-action.


A manual action comes with a handful of benefits over a semi-automatic. To name just a few:

  • It allows for a tighter, shorter chamber. The bullet can actually be pressed into the rifling a bit when chambered. These things up the accuracy potential.
  • It’s quieter when suppressed, with no blowback whatsoever.
  • It’s almost certainly more reliable.
  • It stretches your dwindling, worth-its-weight-in-gold, .22 LR ammo supply.

Carbon Fiber Tension Barrel


I’d be interested in testing some different barrels on this action — Lilja, TacSol, Volquartsen, etc. — but absolutely wanted to run PWS’s carbon fiber tension barrel right off the bat. I mean, come on, it’s pretty freakin’ awesome looking. The gray/black carbon fiber looks great on its own, but it looks even better paired with the gray/black stock, black receiver and trigger, and gray bolt. It’s also much lighter than a bull barrel-diameter steel barrel would be.


To be clear, there is a narrow steel barrel inside of that carbon fiber sleeve, which adds rigidity and strength to what would otherwise be a very thin, pencil barrel. What makes this a “tension barrel” is the nut seen above at the muzzle and a similar, fixed block at the chamber end. As the nut threads onto the barrel and clamps the carbon sleeve in place, it effectively pulls the barrel and puts “stretch” force on it. Keeping it under constant tension is supposed to improve accuracy and consistency, and astounding accuracy was definitely my expectation.


A diameter-matched thread protector guards the 1/2×28 muzzle threads, and the tension nut provides an excellent shoulder for whatever accessory you might want to screw on there. Many .22- or rimfire-specific suppressors will be very close in diameter to this bull barrel, like the AAC Element 2 seen below:


Raptor Stock

It seems that people either really like or very strongly dislike laminate stocks. I love the look — same story with G10 laminate like my CZ’s grips — the light weight, and the lower cost as compared to stocks made of a single piece of wood. PWS has offered a few different laminate stocks for the T3 Summit over the years, but there are dozens of different shapes and styles of these stocks on the market, each in a dozen or so color patterns. At the time I got this T3, PWS was offering them with the Raptor stock and it’s an excellent choice for a right-handed shooter.

There’s a great palm swell on the pistol-style grip.


An ideal place to rest your thumb.


And a comfortable cheek rest at the right height for a low-mounted optic.


The forend sports a flat bottom, which is ideal for shooting from a rest, but also works nicely for offhand use. My only gripe about the stock is that I wish it had a sling swivel stud up front. The T3 Summit screams for a bipod. As it’s also pretty light and definitely an excellent choice for varmint hunting, another stud on the rear would be nice for those who’d like to add a sling to it, too.


BX-1s — the factory 10/22, 10-round mags — fit flush, and a scooped-out section in front of the mag allows it to be plucked out forcibly if the need arises. BX-25s and aftermarket, 10/22 magazines work as well. Normally, even a BX-1 will simply drop free. Push forwards on the ambidextrous T3 magazine release lever to make that happen.


That mag release lever is included as part of the trigger group. Speaking of which. . .

The Trigger

You want this trigger. By showing the entire travel distance between completely off the trigger and hard against the travel stop after firing, this picture says at least a thousand words about the quality of the trigger pull.


Complete travel distance from zero to fire, according to the entirely amazing Dvorak TriggerScan that I’m playing with now (and hope to somehow afford so I can include TriggerScan data for all future gun reviews. TriggerScan review coming soon, too.), is just 0.028 inches. That’s 0.711 millimeters.

T3-fine-scale I can’t detect any overtravel whatsoever manually. The TriggerScan measures 0.014″ of overtravel, but it was also set to keep pulling until it hit 8 lbs of force. Since my trigger adjustment efforts have it breaking at about 1.9 lbs, when actually shooting the gun there’s no way I’m approaching anything close to 8 lbs of pressure after firing and any overtravel is entirely imperceptible.

Although this trigger is easily one of the shortest, crispest, cleanest [consumer-level] triggers imaginable, its coolest feature may be the ease with which it can be adjusted. A set screw in the trigger shoe allows for this adjustment. . .


by varying the amount of overlap between sear and hammer as well as the amount of compression on the trigger return spring. This affects both trigger travel distance and trigger pull weight, apparently allowing for adjustment between approximately 1 lb and 2.5 lbs. That isn’t the best part, though. The best part is a window in the housing that provides a full view of the sear engagement, making the tuning process dead-nuts simple.


On The Range

It may look like a heavy, benchrest sort of a rifle but it’s actually lightweight, well-balanced, and very maneuverable. Let’s call it nimble. Despite this, the excellent stock still allows the shooter to lock it down effectively from just about any position, supported or not, to make precision shots. And thanks to a 20 MOA cant on the integrated Picatinny rail, you can really stretch the range of those .22 LR pills.


We’ll look at accuracy targets shortly, but my first outing with the T3 involved some plinking at 50 yards out in the woods of N’Idaho. Shooting off a sandbag with a 4x scope that literally cost me $22 including rings, hitting shotgun hulls at this range was much too simple.


A dozen in a row and it was time to up the challenge, so the hulls were laid down and I started plugging them in the base.


Shot the primer clean out of a couple, but also missed a couple. I drilled .223, 7.62×39, .40 S&W, and even 9mm cases at that range, mostly through dead reckoning as the fairly thick crosshair completely obscured those small targets when they were even visible at 50 yards in the first place. Heck, I even hit a couple horseflies that made the mistake of climbing around on my target.

9mm case, 50 yards

The toggle action is a ton of fun to operate. It’s faster and slicker than a bolt action, but still solid and satisfying. I find it enjoyable to be more engaged with operating the rifle as compared to shooting a semi-auto .22.

Subsonic ammo is very quiet through this gun when suppressed. From behind the rifle, the bullet impact on objects 50 yards and beyond is noticeably louder than the gunshot itself.

Although the trigger travel is so incredibly short and the break weight so very light, it was easy to acclimate to thanks to its smoothness and complete consistency. I had no issues taking up the first stage and stopping against the sear, then rolling in just a few more ounces of pressure to break the shot. This rifle is a joy to shoot.


I headed to a local range with targets at distances out to 1,000 yards, but since this is a .22, I chose a stand at 50 meters (54 and change, according to the laser rangefinder) to shoot accuracy groups.


As this is supposed to be a supremely accurate rifle and I had already been enjoying good results with American Eagle Suppressor ammo, which is actually extremely consistent stuff, I dropped some coin on a few brands of match-grade .22 LR fodder and upgraded the $22 optic to a LUCID L5.

Unfortunately, my groups with the AmEag Suppressor ammo were only barely tighter than in the woods with the 4x scope. And while nothing to sneeze at, I have not yet found this rifle’s “lights out accurate” ammo brand. Maybe the expectation of one-hole groups at 50 yards was a bit much. At any rate, the most accurate round was Federal’s Gold Medal UltraMatch, which turned in multiple, 5-shot groups at about 3/4″ or 1.3 MOA:


Runner up was the AmEag Suppressor ammo, which was no surprise as I have chronographed it a few times and seen standard deviations of around 8 fps, which is crazy consistent for .22 ammo.


Then the rest of the match-grade field followed:


Worth noting: I ran into three duds in the first 25 rounds of Eley Club that I tried to shoot, and every single 5-shot group had at least one “flyer” in it. The group above was the best one. Not sure what happened to this box of ammo, as Eley’s a fairly highly-lauded brand, but was a total sh*t show that day.

I also shot Winchester bulk (555 box), Federal Target Grade Performance bulk, Blazer bulk, CCI Stinger, CCI Mini-Mag, Remington Subsonic, and Aguila Super Maximum through the rifle. None of these grouped as well as the American Eagle Suppressor ammo, and all came in between 1.25″ and 2″ at 50 yards.

For the record, at 100 yards I turned in some 0.6 MOA groups with another rifle immediately after shooting the T3, shot 1 MOA dead-on with my base model Adams Arms 5.56 piston upper, and then proceeded to hit steel targets out to 1/2 mile (880 yards) with that same upper shooting cheap .223 through 6x glass. It was a good shooting day, and it mirrored the results I had with the T3 on a few previous excursions with it.

Again, while this is solid accuracy, I have to say this rifle didn’t turn out the shoot-the-nuts-off-a-fly accuracy I was hoping for. There are plenty of semi-auto .22 LRs that can achieve this level of accuracy or better, and what I saw wasn’t up to the T3 Summit Rifle’s accuracy reputation. It’s possible that my barrel has a little flaw or something, and if I have the opportunity to try a different one on this action I’ll follow up with the results of that in a separate post (and will link it here).


Admittedly the T3 Summit complete rifle is one of the more expensive .22 LR options out there, but I’m still perplexed as to how it’s possible that only ~500 receivers — whether attached to other PWS parts or on their own — have been sold (at least in the U.S., as I know they’re quite popular in Australia but am not sure if those actions are serialized differently) over the course of 4-or-so years. I really cannot express how much that surprises me and, in a way, saddens me, because this toggle action is just so much damn fun to shoot. With its full 10/22 compatibility, I’m shocked that we aren’t bumping into herds of franken rifles built on the T3 Summit action.


Although a franken gun is my usual M.O., in this case I dismissed the idea right away. The look, feel, and balance of the complete T3 Summit Rifle couldn’t have been more to my liking. It’s my new, go-to .22 LR rifle and I’m very glad I’ve added it to my safe.

Specifications: Primary Weapons Systems T3 Summit Rifle

Caliber: .22 LR
Action: Biathlon-style toggle action
Weight: 5 lbs
Barrel: 16.1″
Overall Length: 34.75″
Magazine: Any 10/22 magazine will do the trick
MSRP: $799.95 for the complete rifle, $399.95 for just the receiver with bolt

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * *
Better than your average .22, but my example isn’t doing what it’s cracked up to do.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
The stock is spot-on in every way, the rifle’s balance and handling are great, the ambi mag release is just right, and the toggle action is simple and intuitive.

Reliability: * * * * *
Zero malfunctions that weren’t due to primerless cartridges. One benefit of a manual action, especially in a rimfire, is that it’s less finicky. Do your job and the bolt cycles completely to the rear every single time and locks fully forwards every single time. I felt instances where the feed angle out of the magazine wasn’t ideal and I’m positive it would have jammed up a semi-auto, but driving the bolt home by hand — I didn’t even have to smang it (giiiirl) — meant no issues overcoming that type of little hangup.

Customization: * * * * *
Entirely 10/22 compatible. The toggle action T3 receiver will accept any 10/22 barrel, trigger, magazine, and stock on the market. The integrated Pic rail leaves optics options wide open. If you go full-PWS like I did, the trigger is adjustable and the carbon fiber tension barrel is threaded 1/2×28 for the muzzle bling of your choice.

Overall: * * * *
I love this thing. Still, I’m docking it a star because it’s pretty dang expensive and it isn’t as accurate as I expected. Frankly, it seems like my particular example may be a slight outlier there (or maybe I just suck). Hopefully I can test a different barrel and see if that might be the culprit. Then again, I’m hitting flies and 9mm cases at 50 yards with a decent success rate, so how much more accurate does it need to be?

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  1. .22lr is no longer “worth its weight in gold.” I was in Cabelas. Hamburg, earlier this month. Loads of it at 6.7 cents per round.

    • I bet it wasn’t any of the brands used in this trial. And I’m not surprised by his results with Eley Club. Has the Eley name but I didn’t find it to be that great.

    • That’s a good price – most of the Internet ammo hunter engines show about 9 cents a round at best.

    • Well the stock is optional, of course. You can get only the toggle action and put whatever 10/22 parts you want onto it. Since the action is the serialized part, though, even if they sold bare actions I’m assuming they’d be in the same serial number series… so I think it’s 500 receivers manufactured for the U.S. market total in 3+ years, and I think that’s crazy. The toggle action is a ton of fun to run and it’s efficient, reliable, and quiet as well.

  2. Maybe it hasn’t sold because it hasn’t ben marketed well? This is the first I’ve heard of it and now I really want one!

    • Yeah I wasn’t aware of it until I visited the PWS booth at SHOT Show this January. I picked it up and was like “holy crap.” Basically love at first sight haha

      • Agree with OP, I’ve never heard of it before. I’m not scouring the internet for .22 rimfire rifles, but their marketing seems to be the weakest link here.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Four years on the market, and I’ve never heard of it before this review.

      $800 might be a bit much for a 1.5 MOA .22LR rifle, though. You could probably build a sub-MOA 10/22 for the same money.

      That stock isn’t my particular cup of tea (I’m not into that plywood look on rifle stocks), but the geometry and ergonomics look very well thought-out. The toggle action looks pretty cool, and if the receiver alone were a bit cheaper, I might build one out just for the novelty of it.

  3. You know I read this article and kept dreading to see price. In all honestly I was still expecting to see $1000 or more. But thats a solid price. I may have to look into this more…

  4. I own one of these rifles and I love it. It is so light weight and mine, I think, is more accurate then the test results above. Can’t wait till the ATF signs off on my suppressors so I too can put my AAC elements 2 on it. The action on the gun is smooth and unique but mine need to be ran with some authority to make sure everything extracts smoothly.

  5. That is crap accuracy. Something is definitely wrong. You should be able to cover the groups with a dime at 50 yards. Looks kool, though.

    • I concur. $400 will easily get a 10/22 that will outshoot that one– just throw on any one of many aftermarket barrels. For that kind of money, it ought to be shooting MOA at 100, not 50. In my experience, anyway.

      • If it shoots MOA at 50 it would likely do it at 100 as well. MOA at 50 is effectively 0.5″ spread and MOA at 100 is a 1″ spread (actually 1.0471996″ but most people just round it off). MOA at 200 yards is a 2″ spread and at 1,000 yards it’s a 10″ spread. “Minute of Angle”… imagine a narrow cone that gets larger starting from the muzzle. Yes, I’m being a bit pedantic here and I know what you mean (it should shoot 1″ groups at 100 yards, not 1” groups at 50 yards), but that isn’t actually what MOA means…

        FWIW, the test groups were shot at like 54.7 yards (50 meters).

        • Jeremy: I don’t think extrapolating MOA to longer distances than tested (for a given weapon, cartridge) is legitimate. This is especially true at longer ranges. The fact that a bullet behaves well at 50 or 100 yards does not mean that the spin and other balance attributes will maintain the same degree of stability at 200 yards. Longer ranges and different bullets place different (often greater) demands on the barrel. That’s my experience.

        • .22’s usually consistent still at 100 yds as long as it’s a still day. My feeling is that this rifle would shoot the same MOA at 100 yards as it does at 50 if there’s no wind. The only reason I chose to test at 50 was to lessen the impact of any slight breezes. At any rate, that was really just to help explain the MOA vs. inches thing and maybe I misunderstood what John meant, but it’s really common for folks to think that “MOA” means a 1″ group regardless of distance and that’s what I inferred from John’s comment…

  6. Looks like a cool gun. Perhaps a few less bugs will make it more accurate? It’s hard to punch tiny holes with a horsefly sawing on your neck. Did they leave you alone when you were shooting .6 MOA?

    • Yeah that day at the 1,000 yard range was bug-free. I think I can zen out and ignore them though as long as there’s no biting or stinging going on (which has never actually happened out there). A bird did body slam me in the head about a month ago because I apparently walked too close to her nest haha

    • There are always lots of folks struggling to get by. That doesn’t mean we can’t have nice things.

      • You can have whatever you want that’s within your means. I can afford this rifle. But I have a russian made Toz that was marketed under the Winchester name that will do everything I’ve seen this rifle do. For 300 bucks with a cheap chinese scope.

        Maybe there are more folks like me out there.

  7. If you want to lock the bolt on your 10/22, just push the tip of your right thumb up against the back of the reciprocating bolt handle as you fire it. Free instant optional use bolt lock and it does make the gun much quieter, at least while using subsonic ammo, even more so if you have added a threaded barrel and a suppressor to your gun.

  8. Neat.

    As to why it’s not selling well … Well, I can only consider my own case.

    First, I didn’t know about it.

    Second, I’m guessing it just has limited appeal to a large fraction of the current gun-buying population.

    See, us suburban commando types will look at that price and note it’s most, if not all, of the way there to a decent-to-nice AR or AK variant. Or maybe an M1 carbine if we’re feeling old-school. At that point, since it’d only be a range toy, why not just go for the bigger bullet? Pretty much anything I buy can shoot better than I can – by far – so what do I care about accuracy except as a notional bragging point?

    And an AK variant is likely to get me into more conversations with my tacticool fellows at the range in any event – what do those guys care about how accurate a piddly little .22LR is?

    • Me too. I’ll see what I can come up with. Hopefully I can get my hands on another PWS T3 barrel and then maybe I’ll pick up one from the other manufacturers mentioned in the review.

  9. They aren’t flying off the shelves for a few of reasons. One, it is a little pricey when compared to what you can do with a stock 10/22. Two, it isn’t as accurate as a good bolt gun. Lastly, it’s a niche gun. It is touted as being quieter than a 10/22 suppressed(yes, it really is), and suppressor ownership isn’t high.

    • It *should* be as accurate as a bolt-action .22 LR can be, and should appeal to all the same buyers as a bolt-action .22 would. It has all of the same benefits but in a faster-to-operate action that, for people with long enough fingers, can be cycled with only the trigger finger while maintaining a full firing grip.

  10. Just looking at the prices of the parts vs the rifle, I see why not many people build their own. The complete rifle is a damn good value.

  11. Shut the front door!!!! TAKE MY MONEY. This is EXACTLY what I have been looking for for years. Calling my local guy today.

    • In theory it should be more accurate, as I’m fairly convinced something is screwy with my particular example based on this rifle’s reputation. If your guy doesn’t have a good way to get PWS, call my guy (linked up in the “Options” section). As one of PWS’ largest dealers they are supposed to have every single PWS part number in stock and they ship all of them free of charge.

      • Thanks, I left an email with your guy. Waiting to hear back. The T3 website has almost everything listed as out of stock. I am psyched.

  12. I’ve been seriously considering one for a couple of years now – but every time I think about actually spending the money, I look at the Anschutz biathlon rifle that I’d REALLY like and decide to save my money.

    As a fancy plinker, I think PWS was on to something with this design – ideally it should appeal to target shooters, but the higher-priced, more seasoned brands probably have a lock on that market.

  13. I have one, number 396, and it loves cci standard velocity. On my best days it gives me about .75 moa. I had the luck of finding it on the shelf of my LGS with a black Hogue stock for 650. Rarely do I go to the range without it, its easily my favorite rifle

  14. I had not heard of this gun before today, so they need so serious marketing. Second issue, $800 for a 22lr with good, not great accuracy? I’ve got 3 22lr rifles that will shoot that well and they didn’t cost near that much. Is there a left handed version? That carbon fiber wrapped barrel looks very cool though.

    • I do believe my example is an outlier. Most feedback I’ve seen (like Matt’s comment right before yours, which would have translated to ~0.4″ groups at the range I was shooting instead of 0.75″ groups) relates much better accuracy. There is no left-handed T3 action, but there are myriad ambi or left-handed stocks that will work on it (the T-Rex stock PWS is including on the rifles right now is ambi).

  15. I like the rifle, but the accuracy is quite depressing. My 15 year old Volquartsen will shoot .25″ @ 50yds all day long. My Ruger American Rimfire, which was $250, will outshoot this PWS. That’s sad.

  16. It is a really neat rifle.

    Honestly, however, the accuracy you are getting is the same – or maybe a little worse – than my 10/22 T with Kidd trigger and Vortex scope.

  17. I can only imagine the relatively high price and limited marketing are what’s holding this back a bit. I had to admit I’d never heard of a “toggle action” except in relation to the Luger pistol. Pretty neat, and especially so if you’re going to run a suppressor. But for now I just want that stock and that barrel. And that’s the problem – neither one is available or in stock on the PWS website. I sure hope that changes soon, as I can’t even remotely afford a complete rifle at this time.


  18. Nice review Jeremy. Too bad it doesn’t shoot better.
    I’d prefer to see 100yd groups on rifle review, even 22Lr, if they are supposed to be accurate- just my $.02

    • I think little gusts and breezes often play with .22 too much at 100 yards to show what a rifle is capable of. It ends up half rifle and half luck with the elements. If I had a really still day I likely would have gone for it, though, as I agree with you that rifle groups at 100 yards are preferable. (although worth noting is that I think every major firearms publication groups .22 rifles at 50).

      Additionally, the velocity differences between the ammo I was shooting is enough to change POI by like 5″ at only 50 yards. Out to 100 yards it would be a nightmare to test multiple brands of ammo. As-is, at 50 yards I split the ammo into two velocity categories and used a second target to re-zero the scope for each category to create those groups. Otherwise the fast ammo hit so much higher than the slow ammo that groups would almost overlap.

  19. Ive known about these for at least a year or so, been wanting to buy one ever since i saw one. The BIGGEST issue is that everyone that I know (3 pple) that have them end up having reliability issues in less than a years time. It has to do with the linkage not keeping tight even with the provided shims. I would love to see an update in a few months with some high round count since ammo is findable again.

    • The shims are for the barrel-to-receiver fit. The action itself isn’t adjustable. It’s steel with large pins and seems fairly solid. I know it can be bent if you install the barrel with zero shims, meaning the chamber is too far into the receiver and the bolt has to be forced closed (puts too much stress on the linkage). When adjusted properly it should close very easily and not “snap” into place. Basically, just enough that it stays closed when firing and not more than that. PWS has a spec that the bolt will retain a 0.04mm shim (closed on that shim it cannot be removed w/out opening the action) and it shouldn’t be any tighter than necessary to do that. It’s suggested that you start w/ 4 shims on the barrel, I do believe. That is, if you’re assembling it yourself and not buying a complete rifle, in which case PWS tunes it properly.

      Anyhoo, I’ve put a few hundred rounds through mine at this point. About 400. It’s in the mail right now headed back to PWS so they can check out the barrel to see if it’s all in-spec, but when it comes back I’ll continue shooting it and will update in a couple months when it’s closer to 1k rounds.

      I was hitting sporting clays out to 130 yards with it yesterday… subsonic ammo. Love the rifle.

    • Was there an auto play advertisement or something? Please let us know if you saw one, as that’s not supposed to happen and we’ll inform the ad partner. I’m assuming you aren’t talking about my YT video in the review, as that definitely is set to NOT auto-play.



  20. You are not alone. I ordered # 501 today. Plan to mate with my Kidd Ultra LW barrel and an Element 2.

  21. I have the pws summit. I believe it’s inconsistent grouping is due to the bolt scoring the following round as the round in front is pushed into the breach. You should check your own by cycling through your mag and looking at your projectiles.

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