Wednesday, February 20, 2008

S&W M34-1 2 Inch

I recently got this gun because another blogger, Xavier, had posted about his find in a pawn shop. I don't think I got away as cheaply as Xavier but it is a fine little gun. It came to me with Pachmayr rubber grips but I didn't like them and after trying several others ended up with configuration of the standard grips plus a Tyler "T" grip adapter. That is until that grip set-up was moved to my 642 and the "bananas" went on it (as shown). These feel just like the standard grips with the Tyler-T adapter but are a bit longer.

The "J" frame kit guns were a development from the Bekeart "model". San Francisco gun dealer Philip Bekeart placed a special order with Smith & Wesson for a .22 caliber revolver built on a .32 caliber "heavy frame" with 6" barrel, target sights and a special extended grip. Smith & Wesson obliged and produced a limited run of 1044 revolvers. Philip Bekeart received 292 from this first production and the balance went to other dealers. Later, more "kit" guns were made up on the "I" frame and then when the "I" frame was superseded, on the "J" frame.

I'd wanted one for a long time and had settled for the S&W M422 as more practical/less expensive and the Ruger Single-Six as more useful but still wanted one. Xavier's post sent me over the edge and I actually went looking for one. In the process I learned a lot about some sellers across the country and the vagaries of pricing. I think his post got a lot of others "thinking" too as there were a number of guns available before the post and many fewer after. I'm certain that he drove the price up. Anyway, I found this gun on GunsAmerica and made the necessary arrangements and sent off the money.

I was pretty happy when I got it and couldn't wait to shoot it. First thing through it was some Aguila Super Colibri. That ammo worked pretty well and I was able to keep walnuts rolling at 10-15 yards with no need to wear hearing protection. However, with standard rimfire ammo such as the Winchester PowerPoints or Dynapoints (modified to SGB profile, of course) this gun barks pretty good! However, I never got it to the range until 12 September 2007 when I finally managed to take this gun and my Bearcat to Hite Hollow Range and see how she does with some different types of ammo. Aside from unmodified Dynapoints, I tried some old, Russian-made, steel cased Junior.

Shooting small groups at 25 yards is an exercise with these guns requiring perfect sight alignment and very consistent trigger control. Single action I was able to keep almost all rounds in about a hand's breadth. One unanticipated problem was that the Junior ammo sometimes didn't "go" quite as vigorously. In other words, some rounds didn't have "full power". So, every once in a while, a round will sink considerable away from the group.

One other problem, common to the S&W kit guns is that as the gun got dirty it became harder and harder to extract all cases. This Junior ammo is particularly dirty and sometimes it appeared that I must have a small fire in my hands because the smoke really rolled! Of course that fouled the pistol quickly and so I had to clean it up in order to continue shooting.

As usual with the Winchester PowerPoint ammo, groups were consistent and among the best that this gun delivers. It is hard to tell, but this gun might just give better groups with the Winchester Dynapoints modified to SGB configuration. With this gun's short sight radius there's just enough doubt about my consistency to make me wonder which ammo is best. This is where the use of a rest like the Ransom would give one a definitive answer as to which ammo is more accurate and eliminate that nagging doubt over one's own abilities on any given day.

Marshall Stanton SGB

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

NRA Board Elections

I happen to think these are important. I think the board must (might be wishful thinking) give some guidance to the tactics and direction of the organization either directly or by judicious selection of the action people. Today I got my American Rifleman with the ballot inside. If you are a voting member, please take the time to vote.

I would like to suggest two things. First, that you only vote for the 5-8 very best people nominated or write-ins that you might have. If everyone votes 26 of the 31, I think that this ensures that the 26 least offensive will be elected with only the 5most unknown or most forgettable being unelected. By voting for only the best 5-8, the best vote getters will be obvious and it will ensure that the best ARE certainly elected. This is even more important if you are conducting a write in campaign.

Second, I'd ask that at the very least you examine the positions of those nominated. If they are in the least bit non-supportive of 2nd Amendment rights, as Jim Zumbo was, you should absolutely NOT vote for them even if you do vote for 20-25 of those nominated.

These folks are important because it is these board members who are going to face down some really anti-2A crap that will be coming our way over the next 4 years. Any one of them can, through an ill-considered opinion or phrase, damage our cause.

If you are a voting member, thank you for your dedicated membership.

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I've seen two or three recommendations by hardcore activists for Steve Schreiner. Any negatives? Other comments?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

S&W M25-2 "Effector" from John Jovino's Shop...

The .45 ACP in the revolver is the result of wartime exigency. The U.S. entered WWI and discovered they had insufficient stocks of the 1911 pistol for use in the trenches of France. S&W and Colt were asked to produce a revolver in the issue cartridge, the .45 ACP. A genius came up with the idea of the half-moon clip to allow the simultaneous ejection of the rimless service cartridge. Early Colt revolvers had chambers bored straight through the cylinder and required the half-moon clips (holding 3 rounds), S&Ws had a proper chamber with shoulder on which the .45 ACP case could headspace without the clips. These revolvers which made it home from the war were reissued to banks and post offices during the roaring '20s and/or sold as surplus. Many civilian shooters disliked using half-moon clips. For this reason, in 1920, the Peters ammunition company introduced a rimmed variation of the .45 ACP cartridge under the name .45 Auto Rim. It allowed both versions of the Model 1917 revolver to fire reliably without the clips.

The military service of the M1917 did not end with the First World War. In the mid-1930s, Brazil ordered many thousands of M1917s for their military. Now out of service and sold as surplus, Brazilian M1917s are sometimes seen in gun stores in the United States. They can be identified by the large Brazilian crest stamped on their side plates.

S&W saw a market for the guns and produced competition guns like the Model 1950 as well as other sporting configurations. Later, with the advent of stainless steel use in the firearms industry, it was inevitable that S&W would produce the old 25 using the material and the 625 was born. There have been several configurations of the 625 using barrels of 2-6½ inches and round-butts along with other features. the model number has even been applied to guns chambered for the .45 Colt.

When a friend offered to sell me his S&W 25 I "suddenly" got up a great deal of interest in the guns. I've read about the S&W .45 ACP chambered revolvers since I first picked up a Riviere's "The Gunner's Bible" a way back in 1965. I must have seen a couple of the commercial guns or a 1917 because my impression was that I would never, and I mean never get my hand around one of those or be able to shoot it. It must have been a strong impression because it took me a number of years before I took a chance on my S&W 629. I've documented my search for grips for that square butted frame revolver and that kinda put me off the N-frames (despite a nagging lust for a M-58) for years. Then, about 9 months ago, a close friend showed me his packing pistol, a "Lew Horton" 25-2 with 3" barrel.

Frankly, this is the first N-frame gun that had a grip with which I felt I could shoot DA or SA without some sort of contortion of the shooting hand. In other words I could reach the trigger and shoot it DA without my stubby little fingers needing an extension. I liked it. Unfortunately, we had an ice storm this week so we had to delay the transaction until this week.

I'm rather pleased. The big, blued, N-frame gun is a handful but with either the Pachmayr or wood grips (which I've found are for an N-frame gun), the K-frame round-butt makes it a gun I can handle and feels better in my hand than my M629. It makes me think I should have had my 629 given a K-frame round-butt. The serial makes this of 1982 (or 1983 at the latest) manufacture. I've been told that it was not a Lew Horton but a John Jovino "Effector", and I'm now convinced that is correct. I know my buddy was convinced that it was a Lew Horton but after seeing my evidence he's agreed that this gun came from the Jovino shop. There are no barrel markings and the blue is even and the same color on the whole gun. It is very well done by whomever and locks up tight with very little end-shake but there is a bit of "chatter" on the muzzle. It has the trademark Jovino ejector rod detent ball but the barrel is not marked "Effector" as some apparently are. I got it with a Galco holster (as shown) which seems to have been made for it. Whether this was provided by the Jovino shop or not, I can't say.

Of course I needed some moon clips to use in the gun and being the impatient sort I went to eBay and ordered from Old Sarge's Drop Zone from whom I got 100 for $34.60 shipped. That's a darn good price, S&Ws being 3 times that price and no better so far as I can tell. I also ordered 15 more plus a de-mooning tool from TarHeelGunner at $16.99 shipped. The clips from TarHeelGunner are the same as those from Old Sarge's Drop Zone and the tool is of the older, pressed sheet metal style which works a treat. TarHeelGunner also includes written instructions for the tool and an e-mail address to request an illustrative photo! I think that's pretty good service.

With my load of Unique under the Hornady 200 gr. CT-Match bullet, the gun shoots minute of pine bole at 15 yards. I really need to work it out some and have plenty of ammo loaded. Just need time for real range work.

In the video that follows Jerry Miculek is shooting an S&W 625 (the stainless 25) when he fires six shots, reloads, and fires six more shots all in 2.99 seconds. A revolver is actually faster than a semi-auto... at least in Jerry's hands.

- Brownells - a variety of moon clip products
- Cheaper than Dirt- full-moon clips
- RimZ Moon Clips-the plastic moonclip
- TK Custom and Moonclips-moonclips and clip tool
- Reloading The .45 ACP Part 2: Sixguns by John Taffin