A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pawn Shop Circuit: Shiny Spanish Stuff

I hit the pawn shops today, thinking that I might have missed something during the gun show weekend.
When I walked into Neil's place, he asked about the gun show. I told him he didn't miss much. I wasn't about to tell him about my finds. Neil had sold the Ruger P89, as well as the Sig P220. He had something new in the case, a nickel Astra Constable. I did not check the caliber, I assumed it was in .380ACP. Tonight, I find out that very pistol also comes in .22 Long Rifle. It might be worth a second look. Neil was wanting $199 for the shiny white gripped thing.

Dave had the $300 Colt Army Special back in his case beside the Ruger Single Six. I guess the owner of the Colt had paid a bit on his loan and the gun was taken off the shelf for a while. That is why Dave was mute about where it went. It had gone back into hock.

Amber still had her Walther TPH, and a couple of Glocks.


1911 Ejection Ports

Springfield GI45 Ejection PortIn the beginning, there was the GI ejection port, and it was good. The GI type of port is high on the 1911 slide, and ejects reliably. It works well if you don't mind getting smacked in the noggin by brass once in a while. It works well if you do not reload and therefore do not care whether your brass is dented by your slide. The higher port is eschewed by the custom 1911 crowd, but if the truth is told, it serves a purpose. The higher wall helps prevent dirt and grit from getting underneath the barrel into the linking system and potentially jamming the gun. I retained the GI port on my carry 1911s for just that reason. It's not that I don't keep them clean, it's just that I like the extra protection.

Springfield Mil-Spec Ejection PortLater, as 1911s began to be shot competitively, and optics were added, there was a need for the brass to be ejected sideways. People who shot thousands of rounds on a single range trip did not appreciate the intimacy of brass occasionally kissing their foreheads. The port was lowered down the side of the slide, and an extended ejector was added to force the brass in a lateral direction.
Because many competitive shooters reloaded, a scallop cut was added at the rear of the port to prevent the slide from denting the brass. This type of port is often called the flared and lowered port, and it works very well for it's purpose. It is the usual port on off the shelf guns.

Polished Custom PortWith custom 1911s the ejection port takes on a whole new life. It is often massaged and melted. The forward edge is often tweaked to allow live round ejection through the port (the other ports will do this as well most of the time). Bringing an ejection port to this level of perfection is not the job for a kitchen table gunsmith. Many slides have been ruined by a Bubba with a Dremel.

As usual, a gunsmith will give a customer what he wants. Most customers believe a 1911 must have a hogged out ejection port to function properly. That is simply not the case. The M1911A1 prospered through several major conflicts reliably ejecting brass through a small hole all along the way. It was only when competitive shooters began making demands, and accomodating gunsmiths began tweaking the gun that the port was lowered. Know why the modifications are done to guns. Don't follow fashion. Form should follow function. If you foresee your 1911 being in dirty, gritty conditions, you might want to consider not lowering that hole.


Cindy Sheehan for Senator

The enemy of my enemy is my............Well, at least she's a useful idiot.

I never thought I would support a moonbat who swaps spit with despots for Congress, but if it means the retirement of a gun grabbing totalitarian then I might just consider it. After all, it's just California, who the hell cares? It's not like those fruits are going to elect Wayne La Pierre. A junior senator from Kalifornia will have a lot less influence once the honeymoon glow dissipates.


Pre-War Smith & Wesson Grips on Ebay

Pre WWII Magna grips
Current bid: US $281.00
Time left: 5 days 21 hours

Winning bid: US $461.00

Pre WWII Service Stocks
Current bid: US $227.50
Time left: 5 days 21 hours

Winning bid: US $255.00


Monday, January 30, 2006

Colt Trooper III Range Report

I have been looking for a quality full size double action .22 caliber revolver for some time. My mind has been set on a K-22, but at a recent gun show, I found a Colt Trooper III in .22 Long Rifle. For $365, I could not resist it. Colt Trooper III The Colt Trooper III is a finely polished, well fitted piece of ordnance. There is nothing second rate about it. The Trooper III also came in .22 magnum and .357 magnum. My particular gun is a blued example with a four inch barrel. It sports an Eliason adjustable rear sight, and a pinned ramp on the front of a matte black sight rib. This revolver is heavy. It is every bit a .357 magnum gun chambered for .22 LR. Nothing has been done to lighten it up. Everything has been done to retain the Colt level of quality. The blue finish is luscious. The cylinder closes with a thunk and locks up like a pit bull with tetanus.

Trooper III Best TargetsI took the revolver to the range with a 550 count box of Federal ammo. Cheap Wal-Mart stuff, but not as cheap as Remington Golden whatever in the green bulk pack. I shot the revolver until twilight started to fall, and suddenly realized I had to take a photo with targets. The Trooper III is a pleasure to shoot in .22 LR. Recoil is negligible. The trigger pull was excellent, a little heavy for my taste, but consistent throughout the stroke. There was no perceptible stacking. The revolver was accurate. I could not do this gun justice. Perhaps with some trigger time I can live up to it's potential.

After approximately 19-20 cylinders full of ammo, I began to experience a sticky trigger, and finally a malfunction. The gun locked up. I diagnosed the problem as a tight cylinder gap, and theorized the dirty .22 ammo soot build up was causing the problem. Wiping the front of the cylinder off with an oily patch confirmed this, as the gun was instantly back to normal for another 100-150 rounds. I later measured the cylinder gap and found it to be .002 inches. I might have to open that up just a bit to resolve the issue for good.

This gun was a good buy. Being able to shoot a beautiful, heavy full sized revolver for a penny a shot is fantastic. Did the Trooper disolve my desire to find a K-22? No, like an appetizer, it only whetted the desire for more.

Trooper III Report on GunBlast


M60E4 & 850 Rounds of Ammo

Fatt Ass Old Man Update

276.0 pounds.
I reweighed this morning.
That's better.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

1911 Trigger Changes

I was asked recently why custom 1911s almost always have a skeletonized silver trigger. It is a fair question. After all, if the 1911 is supposed to have such a wonderful trigger, if that is the allure of the gun, then why do people always swap it out?

GI triggerOne of the beautiful things about Browning's brainchild is the single action trigger can be tuned to extremely light pull weights and extremely short strokes. In bullseye shooting, it is not uncommon for pistols to have triggers so light that hummingbirds hovering nearby can set them off (not really, but almost). Trigger pulls this light are desirable in bullseye to achieve extremely precise marksmanship.

A problem arose with the 1911 however. Under recoil, the heavy machined steel trigger would bounce, causing the pistol to shoot doubles, and sometimes triples at very light trigger weights. The wider trigger shoes often affixed to 1911 triggers in those days only exacerbated the problem. The first solution was to drill holes in the steel trigger shoe to lighten it up. A lighter trigger would not be so subject to bouncing under recoil. In those days, aftermarket parts were not available, and gunsmiths fabricated parts rather than swapping them out.

Vickers triggerSoon, three round holes in your trigger became the sign of a top flight trigger job. Then aluminum triggers came on the market. Of course, the new fangled lightweight aluminum triggers had the same three holes, so everyone would know you had a trigger job on your pistol. These triggers have a set screw in them for overtravel adjustment, but they have no provision for pre-travel. If I remember correctly, Videcki was the first out the chute with this lightweight "pow button", and Bill Wilson was quick to catch up. This type of trigger is today frequently seen in off the shelf pistols.

McCormick triggerOther, even lighter triggers soon appeared on the market. One of my old favorites, the Dlask trigger, has a magnesium shoe and titanium stirrup. It can be adjusted for pre-travel as well as over-travel. The Dlask trigger was my favorite for a long time, simply because of that adjustment capability. Then, Chip McCormick introduced his lightweight trigger which caused a sensation. It was a less expensive trigger than the Dlask, but allows the same adjustments. There are other triggers available with changeable shoe lengths, plastic shoes, and even shoes with ball bearings. None of these special triggers constitutes a trigger job by itself. A 1911 trigger job occurs on the sear and hammer hooks, not in the trigger guard. Like chrome valve covers on a hot rod engine, these aftermarket triggers are just visible indicators that a trigger job has been performed on the gun.

Solid aluminum triggerToday, most off the shelf 1911s have skeletonized aluminum triggers. These are usually of the three hole "Videcki" design, making the triangular holed McCormick trigger the sign of the custom trigger job. Ironically, many top flight pistolsmiths are moving back to the solid aluminum trigger today. The skeletonized aluminum triggers were and are all about fashion. The skeletonization is simply not needed in an aluminum trigger. Thus, the 1911 trigger has come almost full circle in outward appearance. What is old is new again.


Fat Ass Old Man Report

281.2 pounds.
I lost almost everything I gained. Or did I gain almost everything I lost? At any rate, I'm in square one again. That catfish was good though.

Flat Creek Catfish

I did not go back to the gun show after church today. The Flat Creek Debate society was frying catfish, so I went out to see Cussin' Bob, and run some ammo through my recent acquisitions. I think that catfish must have been laced with valium. I almost went to sleep on the way back home. Range reports soon.......

Thought of the Day

Thanks Tam!
Motivate yourself here.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Gun Show Night Excursions

After dinner tonight, I excused myself to return to the gunshow. The rain had ceased, and I had a couple of hours to wander the aisles. Not many people were there, the rain had chased them away. The "rare" Model 28 chambered in .44 Special had sold. The Seecamp Commander was still there.

As I was digging through a pile of holsters, someone poked me in the ribs. I turned to see a nurse I used to work with in the hospital. Along with her smile, Leigh carried a brown paper sack. We made a bit of small talk, and I remarked that I never expected to see her there. She laughed and said that she needed to sell a gun, but did not really know how. I asked to see it.

Leigh pulled an absolutely flawless Smith & Wesson Model 10-5 snubbie from her paper bag. Even the backstrap was pristine. There was a little soot on the front of the cylinder to show that it had been fired at one time. I asked what she wanted for it, and she said she did not know. She said she had found it in her mother's dresser drawer after her death. I gave Leigh my condolences, and told her that any of the dealers would likely offer her $100 or so for her gun.

I asked her if she wanted to keep it, after all, it was her mother's gun. Leigh said no. So, I offered her $200. I had long ago decided that I would pay up to $200 for a Model 10 snubbie if one ever surfaced. Leigh asked me if I was sure. I assured her I was, and broke out the cash. Then Leigh asked if it was legal. To ease her fears I waved over a Sheriff's deputy I knew for her to ask. Lester assured Leigh the sale was legal and she would not end up in Angola. Money and property changed hands.

At last, I had located a S&W Model 10 snubbie, and the irony is, it is so nice I am loathe to carry it! It is a 100% original gun, with a pinned barrel, and a deep lustrous blue that would make the Pacific jealous. I left the show with a spring in my step, and found the stars sparkling outside.

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Gun Show Day Two

The doors to the gun show reopened this morning at 10 AM. I was right at the front of the line to get back inside. The crowds were out this morning. It was an orgy of gun swapping madness.

One of the more uncommon pistols up for grabs was a Mitchell Gold Series 1911. It appeared to be a very well fitted stainless gun with Bomar sights, an ambi safety, and all the modern bells & whistles, including a tapered barrel/slide lock-up. Unfortunately, the seller was wanting $700.

Another seller had a Colt Peacekeeper. That's right, Peacekeeper. The Peacekeeper is a "J" Frame double action Colt, same as the Lawman MKV. It was only produced from 1985-1987. If I remember correctly, it was identical to the Lawman, except for the matte blue finish rather than polished blue. The seller was wanting $375 for it.

At one time I sought out Beretta handguns. There was something about the Italian steel that tripped my trigger back then. I still have a few handguns from Piero. On one of the tables was a Beretta Model 70 in .32ACP, priced at $225. To high, plus I no longer collect the Berettas.

Another pistol at this show, that I just keep going back to, is a Colt Defender. The bull barreled Defender has a stellar record among it's owners. It has a lightweight frame, making it much nicer for carry. This particular early example is just the one I've wanted. It has the low profile sights with a dovetailed front sight, an extended thumb safety, along with a fitted beavertail. It is new with a $749 tag. I would have to do very little to this pistol.......replace the grips, I despise those Hogue wraparounds, and give it a trigger job. Hmmmmmmmmmm....

The one gun that can almost be a standard for judging prices for other guns on a seller's table is the Springfield GI45. If the GI45 prices are fair, it's a good day in gunland. If they are high, expect all the other new gun prices to be high as well. The parkerized Springfield GI 45 Government Models were falling between $425 and $445 today.

Surprisingly, I am still seeing new Colt 1911s below the national price average. A new in box Colt Commander in blue with rosewood grips is selling for $649 at today's show. A stainless Government Model is $710 today. It is as though the Colt price hike of last year never occurred with this particular dealer. Maybe I ought to just go ahead and get one more....

A more interesting 1911 was a Seecamp/Colt Commander. This is a double action cross breed 1911 from the mind of Larry Seecamp. This particular example was an actual Seecamp gun. It has a ramp front sight with an orange insert, a S&W rear sight, the hooked triggerguard, and of course, that bizarre DA frame. The finish was good, even down to red painted areas on the sides of the grip safety. The seller wanted $1100, and he would not budge.

I began to watch the floor walkers. I looked at one fellow's Smith & Wesson revolver, a Model 28 chambered in .44 special. That was interesting.....He was wanting $450 because it was so rare. I let him keep it. Later, a dealer who knows I have a taste for S&W wheelies flagged me over. He had bought the walker's Model 28, tagged it rare, and placed a $600 tag on it. I looked the revolver over, noted that the barrel rollmarks were not centered, and handed it back. I agreed, it's a rare gun. Probably one of a kind. Much to rare for my stable of common wheelies. I expect to see that Bubba special on that seller's table for a few years now.

I kept watching people, eyeballing them for the tell tale ziptied orange tagged private sale gun. Then, at last, near the door, I spotted my private seller. He was carrying a big wheelie with a short barrel. As he left the zip tying table, I called him over with a "Whatcha got there Buddy?" I began to salivate as he revealed a Model 27-2 with a three and a half inch barrel. It had a turn ring, but was otherwise pristine. The ramp sight had a dab of orange painted on it. The gun was pinned and recessed. I inquired as to the price. $400. "Will you take $350" I asked. No way. I handed the gun back, and let the seller walk away. Then I thought better of it. The price was fair. Very fair, actually. I caught back up to the seller, asked to see his revolver again, and did a quick Jim March Revolver Checkout. It was good. I broke out four Franklins, and stuffed my new N frame in my belt.

A hard rain began pounding the roof of the auditorium, so I continued to wander and socialize. The water kept falling, and my belly began to growl, so I finally zipped my jacket over the Smith in my belt, and puddle jumped to my car.

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Jerry Miculek

Finding a Miculek gun for sale in North Louisiana is not unusual. They are fairly easy to spot. they have the huge Miculek grip, and are usually smeared with pine tar. The actions are slicked up,but they retain the stock springs. The triggers do not reset fast enough for Jerry if lighter springs are in the gun. Price? With a proven provenance, triple a normal example. The problem is, it's easy to stick a Miculek grip on a S&W 686 and smear it with pine tar.

Gun Show Check List

What to take, in no particular order:
Business cards
Bore Light
Pocket Magnifier
Comfy Shoes
Trade Fodder
Reference Books*
Price Guides*
Price Journal*
Snack Food*
Gun Boots*
Items with asterisks are left in car for use if needed.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Smith & Wesson Modelo 1917

One of the more interesting guns I found at the gun show today was a Smith & Wesson Model 1917 from Brazil. In 1937, 25 thousand Smith & Wesson .45ACP Hand Ejectors were purchased by the Brazilian government. These fall in the 181983-207043 serial number range. The Brazilian guns have a Brazilian star seal with 1937 beneath it. There were actually two separate shipments, one in 1938, and another in 1946.
These revolvers shipped to Brazil with plain grips, a serrated trigger, and a lanyard ring. In 1990, a large quantity returned to the United States, and bear the importer's mark. They generally sell for 50-75% under a US Property marked S&W 1917 according to Supica's Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson.
The example at the show had no remaining finish, and no importer's mark. It also sported diamond magna grips, and came with no moon clips to hold the .45ACP ammo. The seller was wanting $400 for his revolver. It was interesting, but I did not give a counter offer. I could not even come close, and I did not want to insult the man.

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Gun Show Day One

The doors of the "Boating and Outdoor" show opened today at noon. I made time between patients, and arrived at 11:45. I found Cussin' Bob waiting at the door. Bob had a Mini-14 Folder slung on his shoulder. Bob groused a bit about how he should have sold it a couple of years ago. I had to agree. The ladies stamping hands made us and several more early birds wait until exactly noon to enter. Unfortunately, Bob got hung up with the uniformed officers who were still waiting on a bunch of zip ties for entering weapons. I abandoned Bob to his fate and headed to the West wall inside.

The funk of newly unpacked cosmoline and mothballs was heavy in the air. One of the big sellers was on that aisle, with 12 tables of new firearms. Among other guns he had a Colt NRM Commander in blue for $649. He had a Colt Defender with the low profile rear sight for $749, and an XSE Government for $799. He also had a Colt NRM Government in stainless for $710, and hidden among all these new guns I spotted a mint Police Positive in .38 special for $349.

I kept moving. I waded through a few tables of Chi Com rifles, and beater shotguns. I was on a Smith & Wesson K-22 quest. When I reached Cowboy Bob's table at the back of the auditorium, I found some interesting stuff. Cowboy Bob had two Colt Trooper III's, both in .22 Long Rifle, as well as his usual Pythons, S&W K frames, and Colt SAA revolvers. One of the Troopers had a box. Bob was wanting $450 for that one. The other Trooper did not have a box, but was otherwise in prime shape. Bob was wanting $400 for the boxless Trooper. Who the hell needs a $50 box? Not me. I asked Cowboy Bob if he would take the boxless Trooper off the table for a dollar a minute. Bob agreed. I gave Bob $10 up front, and the revolver was placed under the table.

I hurriedly walked through the show and made sure no S&W K-22s were on any other tables. I saw a Model 18-4, but it was priced at $500. No way Jose'! I went out to the car and consulted my Blue Book and grabbed my bore light (I had forgotten it). I saw Bob's .22LR Trooper was priced at the top of the spectrum, but I considered two things. First, it was a .22 caliber gun. That makes it cheap to shoot and less prevalent than the .357 Trooper. Next, Colt just announced they will make no more revolvers. The time is right to buy Colt Revolvers.

When I made it back to Bob's table, the boxed Colt Trooper had already been purchased. Bob told me he would apply my $10 to the price if I bought the other Trooper. Good Deal. I performed Jim March's Revolver Checkout and asked Bob straight out if he would take $350 for it. He countered $380. We settled on $365. That worked for me, as that was about what the Blue Book stated it was worth.

The Colt Trooper has the weight and feel of the Colt Python. It sports the Eliason rear sight with a plain rib terminating in a pinned ramp front sight. The blue is deep and lusterous, every bit as beautiful as my Python. The cylinder is recessed, and closes with the heavy Colt thunk.

True, this Trooper is not a K-22, but it is a finely crafted .22 Long Rifle revolver none the less. If cared for, it's value will only increase. Unfortunately, I had to continue seeing patients, and I was not able to go by the range to shoot it today. I'm still in the market for a K-22, at the right price, of course. This .22 Colt wheelie will keep me happy until I find that K-22 though.

Tomorrow, I will go back to the show. I still have some rat hole money, but I also have an XD9 that needs to find a new owner. There should be a few more dealers with tables in the morning, a lot more floor walkers selling guns, and a bunch of friends to see.

Colt Trooper III Range Report


Carnival of Cordite .45

UHC LESOFT-904 Government AirSoft Pistol Review

First the video.........

Damn, it looks like that guy is having fun with an accurate representation of a 1911 doesn't it?
I placed my order for this airsoft pistol to Pyramid Air on January 21. On January 26, Fed Ex began leaving notes on my front door. It seems the folks at Pyramid Air thought they were shipping a firearm, and they required an adult signature. I wasn't going to hang around all day waiting on the Fed Ex guy, and I finally told him on the phone that he could just send the package back. He was willing to work with me after that, but honestly, I wish he had returned the package.

Now here is what you don't see in the video.........
The LESOFT-904 by NeonFire-UHC is made of plastic. I was expecting plastic, but not the cheapest plastic extruded in Taiwan. I expected the polymer to be more substantial than a floppy disk. It is not. In fact, I would not be surprised if old floppy disks were melted down to make this thing.

The video shows a cocked hammer. The hammer does not cock. The hammer is molded in place, and the slide slides over it. The thumb safety does go up, and it does block the trigger. The instructions, however, tell you not to test the system by pressing the trigger with the thumb safety up. The instructions explicitly state that doing so will break the pistol.

The video shows an ejection port opening when the guy racks the slide. There is no ejection port on this pistol at all. It's a molded in decoration.

The video shows a magazine that is the size of a 1911 mag. The magazine on this thing is a skinny tube that falls out the bottom of the pistol frequently. The magazine release is just a molded on decoration, the tube is held in by friction. I shot six magazines of ammo through this thing, and the magazine fell out every time.

The video cleverly hides the fact that the slide must be racked for each and every shot. I was expecting that, but why conceal the fact?

When the shooter is down to his last six pellets, he must invert the pistol and rack the slide upside down to get them to feed. I can understand why they concealed that little tidbit.

I was hoping that at least the grips might be removable, so I can install real grips. They are, in fact, removable, but they are hollow, and hide weights on the frame of the pistol. Real grips can be screwed on, but you will have to discard the weights. Then the pistol feels like crap in your hands. Oh, by the way, it does not weigh the same as a Government model, not even close, no way no how.

All of these faults might be acceptable if the pistol was accurate. I loaded up the pistol and shot at the sticky target from ten feet away. TEN FEET! My groups were six inches wide. Six inch groups at ten feet. Now I'm no bullseye shooter, but I can do better than that with a .22 caliber zip gun I made out of a television antenna! With this kind of dismal accuracy, a cat would chuckle instead of run from my front porch.

So, my conclusions are the UHC Airsoft 904 is shoddily constructed.
The UHC Airsoft 904 is inaccurate to the point of being worthless.
The UHC Airsoft 904 is falsely advertised in this video.

I would return this junk to Pyramid Air. However, shipping is $8.92. Pyramid Air does not refund shipping costs. So, I would be $17.84 in the hole just trying to return a $18.90 turd. Then, Pyramid Air would charge a restocking fee of at least 15%. That's an additional $5.96.

I guess they got me. It's a shame. I ordered my IZH 46M from Pyramid Air and have been absolutely thrilled with it. I will not order another product from Pyramid Air. I will simply continue to shoot this piece of crap and see how long it takes to tear it up.

The Springer Professional

Tam on The Porch has a post up illustrating not only one of the finest 1911's available, and the proper use for such a gun, but why the 1911 itself is still a top dog among gunnies instead of a memory fossilizing in a tar pit.

I had to swipe your pic Tam, it's just to damned good. The bath pics are even better. Take a trip to Tam's place to see.


Idiots with Guns #16

In recognition of the Year of the Dog, we present Iddy Yot with his twin Glock gangsta cap yo ass attitudz.

The purpose of Idiots with Guns is not to humiliate, but to educate. Over the years we have seen photos of people who, upon picking up a gun, just cannot resist pointing it at something they should not, with their finger on the trigger. This is usually the camera, another person, or themselves. These photos are often difficult to google up, because of the pages they are shown on. If you have archived any of these photos, feel free to send them in to bayouroversATjamDOTrrDOTcom

The Four Rules
1. All firearms are loaded
2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless your sights are on the target
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it


Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Springfield Mil-Spec

Between patients today I stopped by the range to run a few rounds through my Whitney Wolverine. I have been doing a little tweaking to get rid of light strikes.

On the used gun rack was a Springfield 1911, the GI45. This was a consignment pistol, with a McCormick trigger, and a Wilson magazine. It was the parkerized Government Model. It had a $400 price tag on it, and included the original magazine and a nylon holster. I almost bit........until I remembered the gun show this weekend. I might find a Colt for that money.........

Today, I am a die hard Colt fanatic, but my first 1911 was a Springfield Mil-Spec. I do have a soft spot for the Springers. I still own my first Springfield 1911, although it has gone through some changes, and is essentially retired. I just can't bring myself to let it go. My Mil-Spec recieved new grips, a Colt trigger, along with a trigger job, a King's bushing and hammer, an Ed Brown ambi safety, and a McCormick rear sight. I have over 10,000 rounds down the pipe with this pistol, and I have only experienced one malfunction. One.

I recommend the Springfield Mil-Spec right alongside the NRM Colt as the perfect choice for the 1911 novice. It is affordable, reliable, durable, and incredibly addictive. Even if you never loosen a grip screw, you will find this pistol to be an incredible value. People have taken it straight from the counter to IDPA matches, with little more than a squirt of CLP on the rails, and found it to be 100% reliable. In the past, Springfields have taken a hit compared to Colts and Kimbers at the trade-in counter. One must remember, however, you buy the pistol for less to start with. Also, to take the hit, an owner must trade in the pistol. I don't ever expect to trade mine in, so it's a non-issue for me. For the person who wants to venture into the world of John Moses Browning's 1911 brainchild and see if they will enjoy a gun of infinite possibilities, undisputed effectiveness, and incredible value, the Springfield Mil-Spec is a $500 ticket to never seeing any handgun in the same way again. The 1911 raises the bar for all handguns. The Springfield Mil-Spec raises the bar for affordable 1911s. Get one. You will not regret it.

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Smith & Wesson Air Pistol on ebay

There is a Smith & Wesson 78G air pistol which mimics the Model 41 up for bids on ebay at present. It looks to be a nice package with a starting bid of US $199. Buy it now price: US $359.

"Mint in box .22 cal vintage late 70's air pistol complete with all manuals, original S&W brand CO2 cartridges and original S&W brand tin of .22 cal lead pellets. Styled to look like an original Smith & Wesson Model 41 or Model 46 target gun. Box a bit battered but complete. These are quite rare in this condition. Sold as a collector's item only."
Does that mean it's broke?


Gun Show Strategy

I'm starting to get that anxious feeling......that feeling of expectation.....that feeling of a new gun.......the gun show's coming! A while back, I posted my Gun Show Rules. Here is how I intend to apply them this weekend.

Rule #1: Go in the door knowing what you want.
My present buy it now gun is any Smith & Wesson K-22 in shooter condition for $350 or less. This is a holy grail gun for me. I will scan the tables quickly when I first walk in, but chances are, it will be brought in by a private seller if at all. The next gun is another holy grail gun, a GI 1911. Again, there will be next to no chance it will be on a table at an attractive price. If it were, another dealer would snatch it up before the doors opened. I will look for those, but not really expect to find them.

During that first quick walk through, I will also be looking for any Colt 1911 priced at or under $500, any Smith & Wesson Model 17 as long as it's pinned and recessed and under $350. I will have an eye open for any attractively priced .38 special Smiths, any Model 27's with a good price, and any interesting .22 caliber handguns. I'd probably buy an early Dick Special with the unsupported ejector rod if I found one for $250 or under. A shooter grade Luger for under $500 would be snatched up by me as well. Price makes a helluva difference. I don't tote around a Blue Book, but I keep one in the car at all times. I will consult it if necessary. These price limits are my own though, Blue Book be damned. This will all be done in the first twenty to thirty minutes of the show. That's my business time. The remainder is socializing bullshit time, while watching the private sellers coming in the door.

Rule #2: Be ready to negotiate, but not argue.
OK, I'll wear my Dr. Scholl's gel insoles. I don't need any gun in there. I have enough. More than enough actually.... I'd like to get one for a good deal. I believe I will. If I can't, I'll still have fun. I'll carry a couple of trail bars to keep my blood sugar from dropping, and keep me away from the over priced wiener wagon. This time I might take my Springer XD9 as trade fodder.

Rule #3: Arrive early, and arrive again late.
Because this show is also a "boating and outdoors show", it traditionally opens on Friday afternoon. I will be there Friday if I can. In the past, the gun dealers have not really shown up until Saturday. Guaranteed, I will be there when the doors open Saturday morning. I expect to run into Cussin' Bob at the door. When we get in, he will take the west wall, I will take the east. We will run the tables, meet in the middle, exchange information, and then follow through. The key is to find the sweet deal before the next fellow. K-22s and Colt 1911s sell quick unless they are overpriced.

Rule #4: Carry cash. Carry cash in $20 increments, in several different pockets.
Check. I have enough "rat hole" money to pay cash for what I want. I save tens and twenties and later cash them in for fifties and hundreds. Once they reach a hundred, they are designated gun money. This time I have enough to purchase a nice 1911 at the asking price if necessary.

Rule #5: Look for the private sale.
Yeah Baby! That's where I'm going to find a GI gun or a K-22. I missed on a K-22 at the last show, and the private seller let a dealer have a K-22 Outdoorsman for $100. I almost screamed. The dealer shamelessly and immediately stuck a $900 price tag on it and tabled the revolver.

Rule #6: Make friends. Make the show enjoyable.
Of course I expect to see Cussin' Bob, but for many gents in my area a gun show is a social gathering. Chances are I will see quite a few friends. On Sunday, after I have bought what I want, I might nab Lee and take him with me. Most of all though, I'm looking forward to blogging on an enjoyable weekend.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dealing with Gunsmiths

A gunsmith is a rare mixture of Orville Wright, Henry Ford, and Raphael. They come as ill tempered as a rattklesnake with esophageal errosion, and as patient as Martha Stewart's contractor. The choice is yours. Disposition is not an indicator of skill. A good gunsmith is a jewel.
Michael Bane has written an excellent User's Guide to Gunsmiths. If you are considering hiring a 'smith to customize your piece, give it a read. Hell, give it a read anyway!

Cooper on Mini .45s

Colt Compact"This proliferation of reduced size 45 autos is an interesting development. There are those who insist that increased recoil, which must be an aspect of miniaturization, is a step backwards. I used to think so at one time, but no longer. The essential element of a defensive handgun (apart from reliability) is convenient portability. This is more evident in the case of the private citizen than with the soldier. Of course there are plenty of people in the eastern megalopolis, and in Europe, who feel that a private citizen has no business with any sort of handgun, but we need not talk to them.

Reduced weight increases recoil, and there are plenty of people who feel that the standard 1911, at 39 ounces, kicks too much as it is. Much of this idea is the result of "sea stories" brought back from World War I, and it is largely basura. The miniature 45s do kick more than the GI version, but I hardly think that matters. A defensive pistol situation is normally experienced at arm's length, or a little more. You do not have to shoot target groups if your adversary threatens you across the room, but you do have to hit him hard - hard enough to stop the fight immediately. We cannot expect 100 percent perfection in this regard, but with the 45 ACP cartridge in its military version, we will achieve what we want about nine times out of ten. By messing around with improved loads and better bullet shape, we can increase our probability to about nineteen stops out of twenty tries - provided we place our bullet on the right spot. A man who works at this can achieve what he wants with one of these "pocket punchers" about as well as he can with the full-sized gun. Thus the reduced bulk and weight of the "snubby" may be a definitely good thing, for certain lifestyles. These little pieces do not need sharp sights nor target triggers. They are not "fun guns," but rather strictly business, and should not be put down because we do not win matches with them."
Col. Jeff Cooper

Pictured: Colt Compact customized by Xavier

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Gun Show Head Scratcher

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to blog on the up coming gun show. I'd like to do it like the pawn shop circuit, with pics of guns, and maybe the crowds. Unfortunately, that is verbotten by the management.

I thought about sneaking a small digital camera inside, but if I were caught surreptiously taking photos, I could be banned from this and future shows. That's no good. So........I'll likely use images of guns lifted off the web to illustrate what was there. That sucks.

If anyone wants me to gather prices on any particular handgun, then post it here. I will check. Otherwise, I will just post about the ones that interest me, much the same as the pawn shop circuit.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Colt Combat Elite

Click to enlargeI am always alert for used Colts. At a gun show last year I spied what looked like a two toned Gold Cup. The pistol in question turned out to be an enhanced Combat Elite with Accro target sights. I was not familiar with this pistol, although the price looked good. I asked if I could field strip it, and got the go ahead. The inside of the pistol was like new. It appeared to have been fired very little if at all.

The barrel and breechface were pristine. The gun came with a 8 round Colt magazine with a McCormick follower. It had non-original rosewood grips. The seller was out of zip ties, so I volunteered to retrieve some for him if he would take the gun off the table for 15 minutes. While I was away, I grabbed my Blue Books out of the car and went searching. Enhanced Combat Elites were not listed with target sights. Fixed sight versions were though and I saw that I would be getting a decent deal for his $650 asking price. I brought the seller some zip ties and offered $600 for the gun. He agreed, and then I learned he was a private seller. No tax! I took the pistol home for $600 out the door.

When I got the pistol home, I did a detail strip, cleaning and lubing. I dug up an old polymer flat mainspring housing and installed it, along with a trigger with an overtravel screw. I adjusted the trigger and took off for the range. The pistol shot reliably, and reasonably accurately. I ran 400 rounds through it with no failures of any sort, using the factory magazine and Wilson magazines. Looking at the groups, I decided to add a Wilson or a Brown barrel bushing to my Brownell's order.

While I waited for parts to arrive, I did a bit of research on the Combat Elite. Many people thought it was a gun similar to a Gold Cup, calling it a "Poor Man's Gold Cup". I disagree. Above are pictures that compare my enhanced Gold Cup and Combat Elite. The slides appear to be remarkedly similar, the difference being that the Gold Cup National Match has an Eliason rear sight while the Combat Elite has an Accro rear sight. Both sights are attached with a roll pin that has a reputation for breaking, although I have not experienced that yet. The real difference comes in the reciever. The Gold Cup takes a wider trigger unique to itself, as well as a sear depressor and spring inside the frame to prevent sear bounce. The Combat Elite has none of that, it takes a standard trigger and has standard lockwork.
So, which one is better? That is hard to answer. My Gold Cup is more accurate in my hands, but it is set up the way I like. The Combat Elite has a lot more choices in regards to trigger and sear selection, and it to rivals the Gold Cup in accuracy after I finished it. I really think the telling difference for most people like myself is whether you prefer the wider Gold Cup trigger.

When the parts arrived, the first thing I did was install the Wilson match bushing. It was a close fit from the start, and all it took was a little hand lapping and it went into place.

One modification that I always want on a 1911 is an Ed Brown grip safety. This grip safety gets my hand higher behind the bore axis, and allows better control of the gun as well as protecting me from hammer bite. I use a Ed Brown jig and a Dremel to cut down the frame and install the safety. I put electrician's tape under the jig to keep from scratching the frame. The jig fits through the thumb safety hole, and is hardened steel. Once I get the basic shape with a Dremel, I switch to files for the finish fit. I fit the grip safety tight, and then install it with some lapping paste in the joint and go shoot the pistol. This results in a joint that is almost imperceptible.
On the right you can see the frame colored with a blue Sharpie marker to tell me where to file. You can also get a fair idea of how much metal the Ed Brown grip safety requires to be removed. The Ed Brown grip safety requires metal to be removed both above the grip safety and below it, to about half way down the piece. If the gun recieving the part is not stainless, refinishing is a must. On a stainless gun, however, the job can be finished with a bead blaster or with a buffing wheel.

Click to enlargeHere is the grip safety installed on the pistol. It's a much nicer job than what was originally on the gun. I dug out a McCormick trigger, and installed it along with a Ed Brown thumb safety and a 20 lpi checkered mainspring housing. I polished up the Colt slide stop and stoned the hammer hooks to 0.020. I did not touch the sear.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with this shooter. I polished the bead blasted rounds to a satin texture, which shows scratches a whole lot less. I had to trim the top of the left grip to clear the extended thumb safety, and I installed a Nowlin sear spring along with a Wolff 18.5 pound variable recoil spring. In the end I got a reliable, accurate, unique and good looking Colt for under $750. That's hard to beat.

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