Thursday, October 24, 2013

Notes from the gun shop...

I put in another day at the shop to cover for Wayne F_________ so that he could care for his mother. It seemed like a fairly busy day and I actually sold a Thompson Center Impact muzzleloader.

This seems to be a good gun and I imagine that this is produced for about as low a price point as a quality gun can be made. Not my cup of tea but if you need a tool to take advantage of the muzzleloading season then this will do. No, I don't own one.

We had some .22 LR today and still had 3 boxes of CCI .22 WRM. Got some .30-30 in as well as some Unique, Red Dot, and other Alliant powders. Maybe 25 pounds of powder all together. That's not much.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Colt Concealed Carry Officer's Model .45 ACP

John M. Browning designed the Model 1911 pistol, our nation's service pistol for many years. Some thought it could be improved by making it lighter, hence the Commander with aluminum alloy frame and 3/4" shorter barrel and then shorter yet as the Officer's Model with 3-1/2" barrel. However, many noticed that the angles necessary to function the smaller Officer's Model resulted in decreased reliability. Also, while the shorter butt contributed to greater concealability, the shorter barrel was more a hindrance to accuracy than it was benefit in any other way. The idea of installing a Commander length slide assembly to an Officers' model frame was executed and the lords of the gun rags called it good. So Colt made some in 1998. Apparently, it was not a model that inspired enough buyers to lay out the cash. There is still a demand though and it is being met by the Gunsite model at $1395 (last I checked) plus tax plus shipping plus transfer fees or about $1460-1500 out the door and by the custom gunsmiths.

One of those smiths is Jim Garthwaite. I have read articles about him and/or his guns, indeed I've read all the articles shown on his website. He was the Pistolsmith of the Year in 2004. Mr. Garthwaite does work on 1911 and Browning High Power pistols. He also has been doing classes in which the participants build their own guns.

My friend, Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged Holsters, told me about a Garthwaite CCO at Bucky O'Neill's Guns in Prescott, AZ. Although rob said he'd get photos the work load at his shop was too great but he assured me that I'd like the gun. Knowing Rob, I took the leap of faith and called Dave at Bucky's to order the gun sight unseen. I am all into the gun for less than the price of the Gunsite CCO, which is simply a production gun. Further, the few of his guns I have seen for sale have been asking $2500 or more.

Well, it took a bit longer than expected. While they received my money, and FFL, in a timely manner, shipment was somehow delayed a bit and I didn't receive the gun until this week. Today was the first day I had time to shoot and photograph it.

As you can tell from the photo this gun is literally a Colt Commander slide (1991A1) on a Colt Officers' Lightweight frame. The front sight is dovetailed and a Heinie rear sight has been installed. The top of the slide was stippled and the rear of the slide was checkered. Also checkered was the steel (stainless I presume) main spring housing and the front strap. I'm personally pleased that the front of the trigger guard was not checkered. The trigger is like that on my Officers' Lightweight ACP but the feel is different. The gun has a National Match bushing. I haven't had it apart yet so I haven't looked at who made what component.

When you look at the first target you can see that I lost a couple of rounds due to the trigger. That should go away with practice. I really like the sights. Even with my currently compromised vision (cataracts) and bifocals I could see the sights well enough to be effective.

You'll note the vertical stringing and "lost" rounds outside the "group". That trigger is pretty light and crisp which I'm obviously not accustomed to! Then the stringing I think is due to the slight difficulty I had in shooting the gun quickly. Recoil seems to be snappier in this than in the Officers' Lightweight, I think because the gun is just about as light but the bullets are getting more velocity out of the longer barrel. That's just my perception. Recoil is not at all physically bothersome in that it is not at all painful. In comparison I think that a S&W M13 shooting full on 125 gr. .357 Magnum loads with the factory stocks can be painful.

The ammunition used was a mix of ball (Winchester white box) and Federal Hydrashocks. Nary a slip twixt mag and chamber or chamber and ground with any of it or any magazine (Wilson, Chip McCormick and Colt factory). I'll check 230 gr. Golden Sabers next.

- Massad Ayoob: The Colt Concealed Carry Officers and its niche-mates
- How About the CCOs by Wiley Clapp

Monday, October 21, 2013

Notes from the gun shop...

We had a pretty interesting day today. In some ways it was surprising because with blackpowder season around the corner you'd expect that we'd be selling more muzzle-loading guns and supplies. We did do 8 transfers. Also, because Vic didn't work I had to do a couple of repairs.

One was removing a case from a Remington 700 bolt. Not difficult, just levered it right out from under the extractor. The problem was excessive pressure. The case was a Remington (.270 Winchester) and the primer pocket was expanded to almost twice its normal diameter. The owner claimed it was all old ammo from the same box and no reloads. The primers were not consistent with factory ammo, some cases were Federal and the owner looked a bit squirrely. Whatever.

The next case was a messed up Star 9mm pistol in which a cartridge had been jammed backwards into the chamber. The man had gotten the slide assembly off the pistol but was lost after that. I got the case out and then had to re-assemble the gun and show him how it is done. Oh, yeah, I've gone big time.

Still short of powder, .22 rimfire, FMJ ammo for 9mm, .40S&W and .45 ACP or any sort of practice ammo for the .38 Special.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Squirrel hunting

They don't call it hunting for nothing.  I hunted, near Elkhorn Lake, but I only saw one squirrel and he/she vamoosed up a big pine ASAP after he/she saw me.  All fine with me though.  I had a pleasant walk.  Didn't dress for it, just wore my blue jeans and regular shoes, which are kinda like moccasins, and a light jacket.  Boy has that area grown up.  Clear cut back in the late 1960s, the pines were about head high when I was in my teens.  There were squirrels, grouse, turkeys and deer at that time and I saw them all.  Now it is pretty much a mature forest and there's not so much food to attract any of that game.  There are some crows in the area as well as small birds which feed on small plant seeds or insects.  Doesn't seem to be a lot of hard mast this year but that might be a local thing.  It is supposed to rain again tonight and tomorrow so I'll decide whether or not to go out, someplace else, tomorrow.

Carried my 1956 manufactured Marlin 39A Mountie and some old CIL Cascade .22 LR ammo.  Feeling pretty retro, as usual. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Notes from the gun shop...

Lots of neat guns have come in to the shop during the past 2 weeks. Smith and Wessons, Colts, some good quality rifles and some really good glass as well. We were very busy. Hunting season is here and the firearms season for deer is just around the corner.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Notes from the gun shop...

Walked in to discover a number of neat pistols had come into the shop from an estate.  Many Smith and Wessons, a Kimber and a couple of Ruger single-actions.  It was a pretty busy day.  However, not much of an improvement in the availability of ammunition.  We did have some .30-30 which is apparently very difficult to find in Augusta county.  VERY little .22 LR.  We only had 7 boxes when I left the shop.  Other than that there wasn't much of note.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Notes from the gun shop...

Worked an extra day at the shop yesterday to fill in for a friend who's mother is in the hospital. We had a pretty good day. Bought a Weaver K1 in pretty good condition. The ammo shortage continues. We apparently had the last 5 boxes of .30-30 in the county. .243 Winchester is apparently hard to get as well. We sold out of our .22 LR but we still have some .22 Short HPs. Lots of traffic, not so sure we had that much in sales due to the shortage of things to sell. This is pretty bad when we are about to start the main hunting seasons.