Friday, March 25, 2005

Rossi/EMF .45 Colt Carbine Arrives

I've finally (after ONLY 8 weeks) received my EMF Hartford M92 Winchester clone from Steve Young (aka Nate Kiowa Jones) of Steve's Gunz.

My new EMF 92 in .45 Colt

I haven't been able to get to the range, yet, but did get to shoot a few rounds and make a few observations.

The receiver, lever and hammer are all in color case.

Steve has a great program where he will sell you an EMF gun at 10% over wholesale, he does his race ready work and ships it to you for one price. In addition, I had him mount a Williams Foolproof Receiver Sight, replace the plastic follower with one of steel, and install a barrel sight dovetail blank to replace the removed rear sight. My total was $638.90 and I think worth every penny.

When I got to the local FFL to pick up the gun, the folks there commented on how slick this gun was compared to the Legacy, Navy Arms and Rossi guns that they had sold. It is slick! You can operate the lever, under load, with only your little finger. Further, it works at speed or as slowly as you can work the lever. I've yet to see just how long a cartridge it will handle but it did handle all the ammo I had on hand.

Now the ammo is an experience. I suppose that the major markets around here are for CAS shooters and those who wish to spend little money as everyone seems to have only the "cowboy" loads by various makers and CCI Blazers in the aluminum cases. There is one exception, most dealers seem to have large quantities of Winchester Silvertips which use a 200 gr. bullet. It is a good thing that I bought some 250 gr. Hornady XTPs and a couple of hundred new cases. I'm certainly not going to be able to explore the full performance range of this rifle with locally available ammunition.

The gun itself is pretty nice. While the color case is nothing as brilliant and bright as a Doug Turnbull it does have the appearance of well-worn well-cared for color case hardened metal. I don't know if that is the intent but it does give the appearance of a very well cared for rifle with faded colors. I should note that this is on this particular gun. I've seen several of the Navy Arms guns with a more intense color. Those of you who do this know that there can be variations in production guns and I don't know what process is used for the color-case on the Rossi made guns.

The metal finish of the blued steel parts seems pretty even with no dips or waves or color variation. However, even I (I've got color deficient vision) could see that the magazine tube and the barrel have a different finish. I'm not certain if the barrel simply has a higher polish but the colors and appearance is different. I did need a good natural sunlight on it to see it though. It is the magazine tube that is the odd duck as the rest of the blued steel parts seem to match.

The wood to metal fit is generally very good with only 2 exceptions. Both are where the butt meets the receiver and both are on the left side of the gun. One is where the wood stands a bit proud of the receiver boss and the other is where a bit of a chip (possibly) was taken from the wood along the tang. All the rest is very good even the buttplate which seemed to be a bugaboo on other guns I've seen from this maker (Rossi).

The wood itself is some sort of hardwood that mimics walnut but clearly isn't. Fairly unimpressive stuff, only the left side of the butt has any figure at all. I'm sure that many of Winchester's guns with the gumwood stocks looked no better than this.

I had Steve install a Williams Foolproof Receiver Sight as I thought that best for my purpose. I did consider a good fully adjustable tang peep sight but passed on that even though I'm a fan of them and just installed one on my 1906 Winchester (see below). Why? Because I thought it would get in the way and MIGHT be a hazard in high recoil situations with maximum loads. The second reason was unfounded despite the light 5 to 5¼ lb weight of this rifle. However, it would have been in the way.

This rifle is petite, so much so that when you wrap your hand around the wrist of the rifle your hand covers the whole wrist. I think that this would make a tang sight a big problem on what is a hunting rifle. Sometimes I have to control the rifle by holding by the wrist and this would be difficult indeed with the tang sight in the way.

The Williams Foolproof is a great sight and I have one on many of my rifles. It is light, strong, easily & accurately adjusted, without unnecessary protrusions to catch brush. Steve did a great job on the installation but I, in my ignorance, failed to make a specific request. That is, the sight should be mounted so that with the vertical adjustment in the lowest position the horizontal just clears the top of the receiver. It appears that this translates to having the top of the mount even with the bottom of the bevel on the receiver OR 1/8" lower than was done. Now I see why Steve mounted the sight mount even with the top of the receiver, but it doesn't give the full range of adjustment that users might find necessary. For my next rifle (I'm thinking .32-20), this is what I will have done.

For those who may not know, this is how the rifle (carbine) started.

I think that Steve did a wonderful job and I really like the gun. I hope that I'll get to wring it out including running all the ammo over the chronograph before too long.

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