Category Archives: Pistols and Revolvers

Let’s Make CZs!

Thanks to Army-Recognition.com for putting this CZ plant video on YouTube. The guy leading the tour sometimes comes up short an English word, but he gets across what they’re doing.

CZ’s guns begin as parts, and the parts begin as wax patterns cast in a metal (looks aluminum) mold. Many identical patterns — the number depends on the size of the part — are attached to an armature, which is then coated with a sand/plaster material, which then is let to dry, has its wax melted out,and then the cavity where the wax was is filled with molten steel.

The same way a jeweler casts earrings or charms — just larger and higher temperatures.

Some other great stuff in the video, includimg a glimpse of the metrology lab.

Update

It was late, late, late when we drafted this and so there are a couple more points we should have made.

One of the silly debates that gun guys get into is “cast vs. forged”? While ceteris paribus a forging is a stronger part than a casting, in the real world ceteris isn’t paribus, and a gun doesn’t need to be stronger than every other gun in the world, like one of Colin Chapman’s cars it just needs to be strong enough. For a gun, that’s obviously more durable than a Chapman racer (if it didn’t just-barely-not-break by the finish line, he would grumble that he overbuilt it). Intelligent engineering doesn’t select materials based solely on what material has the best properties, it also takes into account the purpose of the part.

CZ is far from the only company using castings this heavily. Ruger not only makes most of its own receivers from castings, but has spun its casting shop off as a subsidiary that takes on work for other firms, including gun industry competitors as well as automotive and aerospace firms. In fact, it 3D prints some of its wax patterns (it may just be testing the technology as it has only bought a couple of industrial wax printers; that would certainly speed prototyping).

Investment casting can produce near net-shape parts at a much lower cost than machining. You can even use it to produce a machining blank for a part that gives you less machine time, tool wear, and scrap than starting from a rectangular billet. The same pattern can sometimes be used for steel and aluminum parts (you have to take account for the shrinkage of cast metal parts, depending on the alloy <1% to about 3%).

It’s an interesting combination, in the CZ version, of automation and of hand work. Note that two very critical jobs (building the armatures of part patterns, and pouring the steel) are done entirely by hand.

ArmyRecognition.com also has a related page with some explanatory language. Some of it appears to be quoting CZ press releases about the guns, not the manufacturing process, but there is this:

The excellence of Ceská zbrojovka’s products have created an image of high quality over the span of its existence both on the domestic and world markets; for this reason, the company considers its responsibility to be to ensure that the parameters of its products will be the best possible at all times.

The company’s technical development and production of military weapons, pistols, rifles, rimfire rifles, shotguns, and air guns constantly create a wide assortment of products Ceská zbrojovka invests considerable financial assets into the purchase of state – of – the art technology each year, especially in the fields of computer numerically controlled machining centers and computing techniques so as to improve their arms’ qualities and properties.

Thanks to the CAD designing of products, the company can quickly respond to the demands of the market with the development of new products with perfect qualities. For this reason comes to the market with new products every year.

We’d be astonished if they were not 3D prototyping their new products, and that explains how they can come up with such rapid model changes and some short-run versions and variants for different world markets.

It strikes us that investment casting could also be used to produce a near net shape injection mold for the polymer parts. Mold production is the tough nut to crack, in technical and financial terms, to get to the place where you can get the rates of returns manufacturers get on poly-framed pistols. A slightly undersized cast mold, with CNC touch-up, could be a real money and time saver for an injection-molding shop, and it could make previously uneconomic short-run injection molding a real possibility.

Auction Action: Bicentennial Colt Revolvers at Amoskeag

We’ve often featured lots from some of our favorite auctioneers, like James Julia in Maine and Rock Island Auctions in Illinois. It’s time to put the relatively local Amoskeag Auctions of our own New Hampshire into the rotation. And what better launch than this set of three commemorative Colt revolvers, issued during the Bicentennial Year of 1976. It’s Item 95 in the upcoming firearms auction, Amoskeag’s Nº 110, taking place at 0900 on 4 June 2016.

Amoskeag Bicentennial Colts lot 95

If you’re too young to remember, we who were there can tell you: America went Bicentennial Bonkers. Everything had a Bicentennial Limited Edition, from crappy Chryslers (all cars were crappy in 1976, unless you lived in Europe, and Chrysler and American Motors were competing for the bottom of the market) to chopsticks and placemats in Chinese restaurants. By the time the hangover for the Bicentennial Binge came due, around the swearing-in of Jimmy Carter in January of 77, we all had Bicentennial Burnout.

This was Colt’s top commemorative offering that year. Now, commemoratives, often mass-produced faux collectibles, seem to struggle in the market, but we suspect that these revolvers will sell for higher than Amoskeag’s high estimate of $5,500. The revolvers are three iconic Colts, the then-modern Python in .357 Mag, the century-earlier Single Action Army in, naturally .45 Long Colt, and the .44 blackpowder Third Model Dragoon. These guns are beautifully and tastefully finished (not the case with most Bicentennial chachkas).

The Python alone is a hell for rare variant with an unfluted cylinder engraved with the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty. The SAA has a case-hardened receiver and an ufluted cylinder, engraved with the US flag of 1776 and that of 1976. The Dragoon has the famous old indian-and-Texas-Rangers battle scene on it. Each gun’s left grip is inlaid with the Great Seal of the United States.

A School System Full of Weapons

(Not this school system's pile. This is a file pile).

(Not this school system’s pile. This is a file pile).

“A School System Full of Weapons”? Actually, that describes what we had growing up, where one of the teachers might bring in his Springfield and some old gear to illustrate something about the First World War, or a couple of us might have squirrel guns in our cars for after school. All the guys carried a pocket knife and a lighter.

Today, they’d probably throw us so far back in the school brig that we’d have to be fed by Wrist Rocket. And actually fire the teachers (but keep the pervy ones, because Vibrant Diversity® FTW). Then, they didn’t have a school brig. See what Progress® gets ya?

So that leaves us a little unsure how to react to this tale in the Daily Mail. It’s hard to get inside the minds of the uncredited reporter there; we suppose it’s a steady job, but he wants to be a paperback writer. Anyway, we’re not sure whether the best angle on this is:

  1. the sheer gun-fearing wussiedom of the schools;
  2. the degree to which Britons are aghast that Yanks have eeeeewwww guns. (We can assure our UK readers that they are not slimy, merely smooth and cool to the touch);
  3. the fact that all this keys off a notoriously mobbed-up union, the Teamsters, getting twaumatized by weapons in the schools (we’ll believe the Teamsters have turned over a new leaf when they give up the mortal remains of purged capo Jimmy Hoffa);
  4. the fact that the famously-violent union supposedly twaumatized by all these guns supported Andrew Cuomo and his SSAFE Act, which was supposed to usher in the era of the New Soviet Man or something;
  5. The laziness of reporters, which we bring full circle by writing a report based entirely on a Daily Mail report which is based entirely on a New York Post report which is based entirely on sniveling provided by the union goon. At least we’re self-aware; not sure if the paperback writers in Fleet Street are, also. If so, Troll Level: Journeyman at least.

Anyway, here’s the Mail, with some interspersed snark:

Terrifying haul of 2,000 revolvers, handguns, meat cleavers and daggers confiscated from children as young as 11 in NY schools in just 10 months… and the NYPD are trying to keep the problem a secret.

Um, revolvers are handguns. Would you write “Horses, animals, vegetables and minerals…”? Well, you actually mightn’t, but they very well might. It is the Daily Mail, after all.

1,751 guns, knives and other weapons were confiscated from children in the city’s schools between July 1, 2015, and May 8 of this year.

Didn’t he just say 2,000? He did (look in the previous quote). Don’t know how to break it to the Math Is Hard Barbie reporter here, but 1751 ≠ 2000.

That is a rise of more than quarter from the same time last year

Forgive us if we find your estimate a bit dubious, without the underlying number. But it might be right, as the Ferguson Effect has many major-metro cops “going fetal,” to borrow Rahm Emanuel’s evocative condemnation of his own PD; a lot of places have crime up a quarter, and it’s a toss-up whether Rahm or De Blasio despises his cops more.

Shocking figures were released as school safety agents were thanked

Greg Floyd, the Teamsters local leader. Note union/Cuomo campaign signs.

Greg Floyd, the Teamsters local leader quoted in the article. Note union/Cuomo campaign signs.

The passive voice here hides the fact that the “school safety agent” is a neither-fish-nor-fowl level of city employee who isn’t a teacher, isn’t a cop, but is very well paid for a guy or gal whose occupational requirement is ability to fog  mirror. (Like TSA, but the upper crust thereof).

Revolvers, 9mm handguns, meat cleavers and daggers.

These are just some of the weapons schoolchildren are bringing into classrooms in New York City on a daily basis.

Boys and girls, some as young as 11, have taken them out to use during fights while others have used them to target other youngsters.

According to the New York Post, the dangerous items have been confiscated by faculty at schools, some of which don’t have metal detectors.

OK, now they’re admitting that the whole thing is really the Post’s report. Halfway down the page. (Not that the Post, either, is likely to employ someone who can identify a gun three times out of five at five paces).

An investigation has revealed how a huge number of dangerous weapons are being taken into New York schools on a daily basis. This revolver was found on a student at M169 on the Upper East Side.

NY School Revolver

“An investigation has revealed.” Hell of a way to say, “Union representatives, who are looking for a lever in contract negotiations, handed us a prefab story…” The junk revolver appears to be a die-cast zinc el cheapo, and the Made in Italy origin statement was enough for us to track it down. It’s a close cousin of this cheap Italian .22 blank starter pistol, the Mondial Model 1060, if it isn’t exactly the same thing. The one at the link sold at auction … for a penny. If the Mondial name was ever applied to a real firearm, news of such has yet to arrive in Googlestan.

I bet they don’t submit these to trace, for fear they’d raise Time to Crime numbers and undermine the push for New Laws To Punish Those Who Didn’t Commit Any of These Crimes.

This .38 caliber pistol was found loaded with a single bullet at PS 40 high school in Queens. Safety officials say they are being threatened with punishment if they release information about weapons being taken from kids.

NY School Hi-Point

Ah, yes, the mighty Hi-Point. Not only that, it had… drumroll please… “a single bullet.” (The guy would mean cartridge, if he knew what that was. Or maybe he does and has too little faith in the Mail readership. Of course, it can’t be an edgy report without an edged weapon, too:

NY School Dagger

This dagger was confiscated at Newtown High School in Queens. It was one of 1,751 weapons seized from schoolchildren between July 1, 2015, and May 8 of this year.

Ah, yes. The Mall Ninja Store blue-light special, this. Actually the deadliest weapon of the three, but like the Hi-Point with “one bullet,” it’s probably only good for one shot. “Hey, let’s put some weakening holes in here!” — said no knifesmith, ever.

Hard to imagine the blood of Churchill and Nelson and Shackleton running cold over this pathetic display, but evidently it does. One hopes Alfred the Great is not looking down at the moment, or he might be moved to weep.

But we finally do get to some numbers:

Between July 1, 2015, and May 8 of this year, safety agents and cops recovered a total of 1,751 guns, knives and other weapons in schools.

That’s a rise in 26 percent from the same period last school year, when 1,394 weapons were confiscated, according to data provided to the Post by the NYPD

Gregory Floyd, president of the safety agents union in the city, Teamsters Local 237, told the newspaper the NYPD are cracking down on people who tell the public about the weapons seized from youngsters.

Those who leak information to the press have also been threatened with docked vacation days.

Floyd told the Post: ‘The purpose is to intimidate and to make an example of them so other safety agents will be afraid to report crime.’

He added: ‘If there’s no information to report, (Mayor) de Blasio can come out with his skewed numbers that crime is down and schools are safe, and parents don’t get a true picture of what’s going on.

Now this makes sense in a twisted sort of a way.

‘We shouldn’t be in the secrecy business. We should be in the business of making sure weapons brought to school doesn’t happen.’

Well, with that command of grammar, he’d better stick with his union gig. Of course, we can’t expect too much from the guy, he’s probably a graduate of these same pathetic schools.

Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union told the Post: ‘It’s a cover-up, while putting the lives of our children and school staffs at risk.’

Families for Excellent Schools, an organization who has sued the NYPD for failing to protect their children at schools, says the latest statistics proves more weapons are being taken into schools on a daily basis.

Um, the police have no duty to protect anyone in particular. Established law, we’re afraid. And notice the reporter’s lapse into NYC Public School graduate grammar: “statistics proves.” Subject verb agrees should, no?

The NYPD defending its response to the seizures in a statement and insisting information that is ‘disseminated’ must be approved.

Then, the article shoots itself in the foot by announcing the following are “examples of dangerous weapons taken into New York schools in the last two months”. If you read them, you can see they’re more like “examples of dangerous weapons taken into New York schools in the last two months,” but this reporter’s innumeracy apparently extends to the differences between the various single-digit whole integers.

On March 15 – An 11-year-old boy sneaked a .38-caliber handgun loaded with one bullet into PS 40 in Jamaica, Queens. He was seen waving the gun at another student he had a beef with.

That’s the Hi-Point illustrated above. Note: the punk in question was eleven. Given New York’s attitude to crime and criminals, and the expected pace of medical advances, he could still be crimin’ in the 22nd century.

On March 17 – A 15-year-old student stashed a .38-caliber handgun in his backpack and smuggled it into York Early College Academy, a middle school in Jamaica. He was spotted flashing the revolver during a dispute with students in a stairwell.

This kid was Old School, with some cheesy alloy (Zamak strikes again?) .38 Smith knockoff, complete with round-noses and a shades-of-Joe-Colombo electrical taped grip (per criminal legend, defeats fingerprints). The Mail didn’t have the picture but the NY Post did:

loaded_gun_in_jhs_8_3_17_16

Seriously, that’s like a crime gun from 1966 that’s been in some kind of criminal time capsule for the last fifty years.

On March 22 – A 14-year-old boy at Dr. Gladstone H. Atwell Middle School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn took a 9mm pistol and two magazines of bullets in his backpack. When a dean questioned him about a prior fight with neighborhood kids, he admitted packing heat.

That’s this fine example of firearms technology, which appears to have been cared for appropriately:

NY School Jennings

It’s a “Jennings Nine,” made by the Southern California nest of junk-gun makers that anti-gunners have dubbed “the ring of fire.” Anybody who’s been a cop for a while has taken a Jennings or two into evidence, but the more common ones are the pocket pistols. Thing is, for all their use in crime, many tens of thousands of these kinds of cheap guns are used by people who can’t afford our tuned designer work of defensive art, but still have every right to defend themselves. Drive up the price of guns, and the only gainers are the criminals.

On March 29 – A 14-year-old student at Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports in Concourse Village in The Bronx pulled a steak knife on a 16-year-old boy.

We’ll go to the Post for this one:

steak_knife_urban_assembly_hs_3_29_16

We’re guessing that the “Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports in Concourse Village in The Bronx” sends more grads (and dropouts) to the NY DOC than to the NBA, NFL or MLB. And we wonder what sport in particular this young sport had in mind.

Now his mom’s one steak knife short. Think she’ll be mad when she finds out?

On April 4 – A 13-year-old boy reportedly threatened a female student with a .22-caliber revolver at M169 Robert F. Kennedy on the Upper East Side, then passed the gun to a friend.

That’s the cheesy zinc alloy revolver visible earlier in this report.

On April 8 – A 16-year-old boy was allegedly found with a medieval-style dagger at Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens. It was uncovered after a 17-year-old girl told authorities that he had put it to her neck.

That’s the mall-ninja toad stabber seen above.

And the soi-disant “students” have been expelled from school, charged, and convicted of SAFE Act violations, and sent to prison, right? Right? Anybody?

Don’t be silly. The law is meant to be used as a stick to beat gun-owners Upstate, not Downstate hood rat gangbangers in the school (and hood rat gangbanger wannabees, which is the feedstock of gangbanger production). It’s certainly not meant to be used on actual criminals. 

NY Post guns in schoolsClicking through to the Post’s story, which was the cover story (right), we see that Postie Susan Edelman, no more au courant on guns than her hoplophobic British opposite numbers, spins it differently:

These are the guns and knives Mayor de Blasio doesn’t want you to see.

A surging tide of weapons — including loaded revolvers, 9mm handguns, meat cleavers and daggers — has been confiscated this year from students in city schools, most of which do not have metal detectors.

But instead of praising unarmed school safety agents for grabbing the weapons, the NYPD is cracking down on them for alerting the press and public, according to Gregory Floyd, president of the agents union, Teamsters Local 237.

Ah, it’s all Bill De Blowfish’s fault. Have you ever noticed that for New Yorkers, especially New York media functionaries, the worst mayor in history is the one they have right now, compared to the one they had before him, who was second best — and the one they will support to replace this schmo, that next one is going to be the Best Mayor Evah.

Edelman is alarmed that only some schools have metal detectors, and that most of the weapons were seized in schools without. Amazingly, though, almost 700 weapons were seized in the schools with the detectors, making one wonder about those union dudes running. Here’s the number.

Of the weapons seized this academic year, 698 came from schools with metal detectors, the NYPD stats show. Students brought 1,053 weapons — 60 percent of the total — into schools unequipped with metal detectors.

The mayor is reporting crime in the schools is down, but it seems to be simply that juvenile criminals are not being charged.

Floyd also disputes the city Department of Education’s new discipline policy, which discourages student suspensions, and a pilot program to give “warning cards” to students for marijuana possession or “disorderly conduct” such as yelling, cursing, fighting and assaults. Some offenses previously might have warranted a criminal summons.

“In many cases, the children aren’t arrested, so the crime statistics are down, but it’s just not being reported,” Floyd said.

And we’ll close with a couple more of the little darlings’ playthings. The Post says of this catch:

On March 11, a safety agent at Fashion Industries HS in Chelsea found a 4-inch razor blade in a girl’s backpack. When she began to kick and scream, a report said, three agents restrained and handcuffed her before finding a 10½-inch meat cleaver in her bag.

NY School cleaver

That’s both of them in that grainy picture, the razor blade and the cleaver.  And then there’s this cleaver — it’s not the same cleaver, but its point of confiscation is unknown.

cleavergrover

Now against that, before you send your kids to the New York City Public Schools, you need to weigh the fact that these Dewey Factories prepare their students (at least the ones that survive to graduation) perfectly well to compete for the unskilled factory jobs of the 1890s and beyond, like at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory; or to work as slackjawed government clerks.

 

Poly-Ticks: Can’t a Hispanic Crime Victim Sell a Gun in America?

The answer is in, and it’s, “No.” Not if the the victim is George Zimmerman, who was defending himself from a brutal attack by young career criminal Trayvon Martin when one shot from a Kel-Tec .saved George’s life — and may have saved scores or hundreds of others from being robbed, injured or even killed by taking Trayvon off the thug track.

George would like to sell this gun, as it was tied up so long by the Justice Department — even after his acquittal on trumped up charges — that he replaced it. But George has a problem: like it or not he’s a public figure, and the publicity in his case is based entirely on media lies, lies so virulent that another thug, energized by this media malpractice, has taken shots at him since. So when he put the gun up for auction last week, the anti-gun left and the media (but we repeat ourselves) came unhinged.

CNN-george-zimmerman-gun-exlarge-169

The Zimmerman trial was a high point to date of dishonest reporting by the national media. Media tactics included a news blackout on Trayvon’s record of drug use and property and violent crime;  use of photos 5, 7 and 10 years old in lieu of more recent ones, all of which showed the little darling with gang tats, smoking dope, handling guns or all of the above; and, durin led to a hyperpublic trial — and then, to the shock of the media and their followers, go George Zimmerman’s acquittal. Because the judge and jury had to consider the actual evidence in the case, not the “facts” that the media made up, this caught people reading the New York Times or watching CNN completely by surprise.

The Times hated George so much they made up a new race for him, “White hispanic,” after initially selling the half-Peruvian-mestizo guy as “white.”

As a result, George Zimmerman may be the most hated man in America today. The media and their verbally violent fellow travelers attacked two successive gun auction sites, driving the gun off both sites (and making at least one delete George’s account).

GunBroker was the first to cave. Predictably, folding to the SJWs did not get the company peace, instead seeing the back-down as proof of GunBroker’s evil. Actually, it was more proof that GunBroker’s managers are spineless. They said:

Late last night, George Zimmerman created a listing on our web site for the gun from the Trayvon Martin case four years ago. Mr. Zimmerman alerted news organizations that began reporting on the listing first thing this morning.

Listings on the GunBroker.com web site are user-generated, exactly like social media posts. Mr. Zimmerman never contacted anyone at GunBroker.com prior to or after the listing was created and no one at GunBroker.com has any relationship with Zimmerman. Our site rules state that we reserve the right to reject listings at our sole discretion, and have done so with the Zimmerman listing.

We want no part in the listing on our web site or in any of the publicity it is receiving.

GunBroker.com prides itself in being a safe and legal way to buy and sell firearms online in full compliance with all Federal, State, and local laws. GunBroker.com proudly supports the Second Amendment rights of the American public.

GunBroker.com will not be fielding press inquiries regarding this matter.

As power users of GunBroker, we’re disappointed in this quivering collapse into cuckoldry, and therefore, we’ll be buying our next ten firearms outside of GunBroker, in light of their weakness on the 1st and 2nd Amendments. Let them sell guns to their pals in the Black Lives Matter criminal lobby. We’re pretty sure we spend a lot more on hardware for our collection than a entire prison wing full of Black Lives Matter cases spend on their Jennings and Raven cop-poppers, but maybe that’s the market Gun Broker wants to be in.

They may not get this, yet, but throwing the point-and-shriek swarms of the media a scalp does not appease them. It energizes them. Nothing GunBroker does is acceptable to the media, and they’ll be back for another scalp. Soon enough, the strategy of just outrunning the slowest guy leaves you with no slower guy behind you, just the ravenous wolf.  Then what?

This time, the flying monkeys lifted and shifted their fires to the next auction host, United Gun Group. We’d never heard of United Gun Group before, and based on their owner Todd Underwood’s commitment to the rule of law and principle displayed here, we don’t think they’re likely to be around long enough to be worth getting to know.

As an organization, we stand by the rule of law and, while no laws have been broken, we do not feel like it is in the best interest of the organization to continue to host this sale on our platform.

Our mission is to esteem the 2nd amendment and provide a safe and secure platform for firearms enthusiasts and law-abiding citizens; our association with Mr. Zimmerman does not help us achieve that objective.

Good, sign up Travyon Martin and his ilk, then, because you don’t deserve us as buyers on your United Anti Gun Group site. We’d say we’d dance (or something) on your grave, but to be brutally honest we didn’t notice when you arrived, and we probably won’t notice when you go.

You might question our rhetoric, and you might question George in his implacable refusal to allow the media, the BLM criminal lobby, and the left (threedundant, we know) to define him. But he knows instinctively what Day has worked out theoretically and empirically in SJWs Always Lie and in the free excerpt that is Day’s guide to surviving an SJW swarmnever apologize, never back down. Had the managers of GunBroker, or the dunderheaded Underwood read the document, they might have found some traces of calcium along their spinal cords.

An example of the media reporting on this issue illustrates their complete disinterest in reporting facts. Gideon Resnick, a liberal Democrat and a supporter of the Black Lives Matter criminal movement, has a few opinions in his alleged news story at The Daily Beast (formerly Newsweek, before an unwise investor bought the failing propaganda mag for $1). Some of Gideon’s points:

  1. Zimerman is “the disgusting man who killed Travyon Martin.”
  2. Zimmerman’s firearm is “a gun he used to kill a teenage boy,” which is about like saying the SS used Zyklon B for fumigation.
  3. The “asking price is more than $65 million,” which shows that Gid doesn’t understand what an auction is. If Daddy’s trust fund buys you everything, which is typical for Beastweek reporters, you tend to be financially ignorant.
  4. “The killer of Martin flaunts the gun as a valuable item tied to history.”
  5. “…an opportunistic chance to hold on to history, as Zimmerman would garishly like to present it.”
  6. “…the gun…” [is potentially] “a source of racial intimidation or harm.”

Resnick managed to find — don’t they always? — some knob who “supports the 2nd amendment, but…” wants to buy the Zimmerman gun and, presumably, execute the deodand for the crime of the martyrdom of Saint Trayvon. The attention-seeker is a “lifelong gun collector”, he tells Resnick, who somehow can’t raise more than $5k by liquidating his savings. What’s he been collecting, Bubba customs?

“Most violent racists don’t have two dollars to rub together,” the media-whoring broke guy says. Well, he would know. You don’t get to “innocent Trayvon Martin” unless you depart from the full-on race-trumps-everything position.

No doubt if we searched on that guy we’d find him all over Americans for Responsible Solutions, the American Hunters and Shooters Association (remember them) and other Bloomberg-funded “we respect the 2nd Amendment, but” phony pro-gun gun-ban groups. He isn’t worth it; he’s just some fluid stain who wants to be on the news.

 

Jeff Cooper on Small Caliber Guns

Jeff Cooper and 45Col. Jeff Cooper was known as someone who believed that there was no point in a handgun whose caliber did not begin with .4. (Had he lived to see it, he’d probably warm up to the .500 S&W). He was very influential in the late-century police adoption of 10mm and .40 caliber pistols, and had nothing good to say about smaller rounds.

Of course, Cooper is an interesting cat. He was an entertaining gunwriter, an excellent shot and competitor, and an instructor with a massive and sometimes slavish following. He insisted on the title Colonel, and made broad hints about being some kind of secret squirrel, but as far as we know he was a reserve ordnance officer without combat service, let alone command. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; somebody had better be running the depots and making sure the gunplumbers stay organized and get paid.

While working up the book on Czech and Czechoslovak guns, it seemed like an amusing idea, given the European penchant for .25 (6.35 mm) or .32 (7.65 x 17SR) pistols as military and police sidearms, to contrast European, particularly Czechoslovakian, midcentury practice with Cooper’s preferences. We hit several varieties of pay dirt, in an excerpt below from an early draft of the book. And then, in this post, we move on to another famous fictional secret squirrel! But first, Cooper:

American pistolero and writer Jeff Cooper, Col., USMC (Ret.), once had occasion to meet Hans-Ulrich Rudel, a famous German Stuka pilot, best known for destroying over 500 Soviet tanks with a version of the  dive-bomber armed with two Rheinmettal-Borsig . Naturally, Cooper, a strong proponent of .45 and 10mm pistols, wanted to know what sort of pistol Rudel, a man facing a high risk of capture by what would certainly have been a furious enemy, carried on his combat flights. Cooper remembers:

I asked Rudel about this and he told me personally that he packed one of those miniature 25 caliber automatics on his antitank missions. When asked why, he replied, “Because I have never been a pessimist.”[1]

What Cooper said to Rudel on this occasion, he did not bother to record; but he’s on record at other times as referring to, the “25 ACP, which everyone knows is not sufficient to clear sinuses,”[2] and this aphorism in-the-round:

[C]arry a 25 if it makes you feel good, but do not ever load it. If you load it you may shoot it. If you shoot it you may hit somebody, and if you hit somebody – and he finds out about it – he may be very angry with you.[3]

Bear in mind that the “anemic” .38 special of Cooper’s day was once the “hot” round, replacing even lighter loads such as the .32 Colt and .32 S&W (interchangeable cartridges, the different names were marketing eyewash) and the .38 S&W, a round the Brits happily issued to soldiers as the .38/200 in World War II! He lived in a period of great firepower expansion, even before he gave it a push, but the old, small-caliber guns died hard, both in police agencies — NYPD stuck to the .38 special until they finally went to automatics, far behind other departments — and in the popular culture.

Ian Fleming wrote without irony, in Dr. No in 1956, and after consulting with a Scots expert in firearms, that the .32 ACP PPK with which Major Boothroyd — named after the expert — replaced James Bond’s preferred .25 Beretta, had “a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window.” Geoffrey Boothroyd had written to Ian Fleming:

I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that.[4]

Boothroyd (as has been recorded elsewhere in these pages) suggested several upgrades for Bond, including a Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special, but the book, Dr. No, and the film, set him up with the .32 PPK instead. Boothroyd’s lines:

Walther PPK. 7.65mm, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window. Takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swears by them.[5]

Bond and BoothroydIn the movie, Dr. No, Hollywood quotes the scene verbatim, but the producers and property master/armorer botch it by using a .380 Beretta 1934 — a more powerful pistol than the .32 PPK — as a stand-in for the .25 Beretta of the novel.

In both versions of Dr. No, at the end of the discussion, Bond attempts to leave with both pistols. But as Jeff Cooper might have told him, .32 + .25 does not equal .45.

Notes

[1] Cooper, John Dean “Jeff”. Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 14, No. 5, June-September 2006. Retrieved from: http://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff14_5.html

[2] Cooper, John Dean “Jeff”. Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 2, No. 2, 31 January 1994. Retrieved from: https://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff2_2.html The whole comment is brief and is worth reproducing here:

We hear of an unfortunate woman who, during an nighttime asthma attack, confused the small handgun she kept under her pillow with an asthma inhaler and proceeded to relieve her symptoms. It was not a fatal mistake, partly because she used a 25 ACP, which everyone knows is not sufficient to clear sinuses.

[3] Cooper, John Dean “Jeff”. Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 4, No. 14, December 1996. Retrieved from: https://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff4_14.html Again, the whole exchange is worth reproducing, although a bit longer than the last:

Our old buddy Gene Harshbarger from Guatemala reports a recent episode with the 25 ACP pistol cartridge. It seems that Gene’s cousin was set upon by a trio of car thieves who shot him once almost dead center with that dinky little pistol. The bullet entered at a very flat angle, however, proceeded laterally just inside the pectoral muscle, and exited after about 5 inches of traverse, continuing on into the target’s left arm.

The cousin hit the deck and started shooting back, whereupon the assailants split. When he stood up the bullet slid out of his left sleeve and bounced on the pavement. It penetrated the jacket, but not the skin of his left arm.

As we used to teach in the spook business, carry a 25 if it makes you feel good, but do not ever load it. If you load it you may shoot it. If you shoot it you may hit somebody, and if you hit somebody – and he finds out about it – he may be very angry with you.

[4] Packard, Scott. Inside Bond’s Weapon of Choice, the Walther PPK. Gear Patrol, 9 November 2012. Retrieved from: http://gearpatrol.com/2012/11/09/defense-journal-bonds-gun/

[5] ibid.

Original and Reproduction Liberator Pistols

A few years ago — well, maybe a quarter century ago — Liberator pistols were extremely rare. Originals are still uncommon. While many thousands of the disposable firearms were made, with the intention of dropping them onto occupied territory there is little evidence any were so used.

FP-45 Liberator for Sale 2

Two things could be gained by dropping arms like this behind enemy lines: the first is that they might be used against the enemy as intended. But the second, more subtle, intent was psychological: certainly some, probably most, of the dropped weapons would fall into the hands of the enemy, inducing a great worry about partisans, perhaps even a debilitating paranoia. (There are several historical examples of faux guerrilla operations used either to bedevil enemies or to get loyal enemy leaders shot as traitors).

In the end, the US and UK conducted massive airdrops to partisans in France and Norway, but the drops were of more militarily useful American and British arms and ammunition. (There were also airdrops to “partisans” in Holland, but these turned out to be pseudo networks run by Abwehr counterintelligence. Most of the agents dropped by SOE were interrogated and shot on arrival. It’s that kind of business).

FP-45 Liberator for Sale 1

The Soviets dropped supplies to the partisans they supported in the East, but we have seen no evidence they dropped any lend-lease weapons, or were privy to the classified Liberator project — at least officially. The Liberators were sent, in small quantities, forward, to OSS elements in the China-Burma-India theater and the Mediterranean at least. None of these seem to have done anything but tinker with them, and those samples seem to have been the source of all existing free market Liberators.

Business end. Original Liberators were unrifled, unmarked, and intended to be used at contact range.

Business end. Original Liberators were unrifled, unmarked, and intended to be used at contact range.

This example is offered on GunBroker. The auction text (from the reputable collector-gun dealer, Jackson Armory) asserts that these guns were dropped to resistance elements. While we agree that they were made for that purpose, we’d need to see evidence that any were so dropped — and we haven’t seen any such evidence.

Calling the sights "rudimentary" is an insult to rudiments.

Calling the sights “rudimentary” is an insult to rudiments. (Actually, they’re more prominent than on many contemporary pistols, but any alignment they may have with the path of the unstabilized bullet is a matter of coincidence).

The sellers say this of the gun:

RARE WWII FP-45 “Liberator” .45 Pistol. Stock # MMH282805RT. No Serial #. This is a genuine (NOT a post-War reproduction) FP-45, .45acp “Liberator” pistol, a crude pistol made by the Guide Lamp Division of General Motors. These guns were air-dropped to Resistance Fighters in Europe during WWII. The all-metal pistol has lots of patina and tarnishing, the bore is dark, the action functions correctly

via Genuine WWII FP-45 “Liberator” Pistol .45acp. 45 : Curios & Relics at GunBroker.com.

The question arises is, is it genuine? Now, in 1990 the answer would have been “definitely.” It  was considered, at that time, too hard to copy, having been made by an industrial stamping process that would require very expensive dies.

Then, there were a small handful of Liberators circulating among collectors and museums — no more than a couple dozen, maybe at a stretch 100. (Some say a couple thousand, with about 300 still new in the box, but that seems astronomically high to us). These had all passed through some grey area between manufacture under US Government contract and present modern ownership without any sign of an official, legal sale; they were never sold through the NRA or DCM, unlike .45s and M1917 revolvers, but they may have been given away by officers with authority to dispose of surplus property while winding up operations. We are not lawyers here and are not about to teach a class in property law, but we’d just like to point out that many firearms passed through such a valley of shadow in their history; it doesn’t so much weaken the claim of the current owner — in our distinctly non-legal opinion — as it simply introduces a break in provenance.

Trying to prove provenance of a firearm like this, that was conceived in darkness, stockpiled by two clandestine agencies with an interregnum in between, and proceeded to the civilian market by unknown paths and in unknown hands, is a challenge like proving one’s descent from classical antiquity: the conventional wisdom is that it can’t be done. Somebody may be running around with Julius Caesar’s blood in his veins, but you can’t prove it’s you.

The risk of fakes finally arose with the production of new Liberators.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vintage Ordnance Liberator reproductions

The makers of the reproduction, Vintage Ordnance, who actually reproduce three versions of the Liberator, including the final production version (like the original one for sale by Jackson Armory) and two engineering prototypes (!), are keenly aware of the utility of their product to fakers, and so have taken measures to make their reproduction harder to transmogrify into a fake.

Our reproduction has a rifled barrel and discrete markings to comply with Federal law and hopefully prevent it from being unscrupulously sold as an original antique. We mark the serial number on the front of the grip frame and our company information, model and caliber designation on the underside of the barrel behind the trigger guard. All characters are the minimum 1/16” high.

Some of these, like marking and rifling, are required by law; the OSS didn’t need no stankin’ laws (and the marking law didn’t come about until 1968). Other changes in the materials and manufacture of the reproduction make it, while good enough for a Hollywood close-up, different in physical properties from an original.

Liberator for Sale in the Linked Auction.

The Vintage Ordnance repro in Hollywood close-up. This one is cocked.

These measures complicate the life of any low-life intending to convert a Vintage Ordnance reproduction to a phony “authentic” Liberator (indeed, they compound his fraud with the felony of defacing a serial number), and give the inspector something to look for; but even with a seller we trust (Like Jackson Armory), we’d want a hands-on inspection before laying out $2,400 for this firearm.

Shooting a Liberator was once one of the perks of going through SF weapons school, but a funny thing happened: over the years, they all broke, and no replacements were forthcoming. (After sitting for years in a warehouse, most of the Liberators had been scrapped). The zinc alloy (Zamak-3?) cocking piece is subject to both fracture and corrosion.

Zamak cocking piece is the firearm's weak point.

Zamak cocking piece is the firearm’s weak point.

The Liberator was designed to be, literally, disposable; the intent was to fire one shot and then throw it away, in favor of whatever the fellow you shot had been carrying. If you needed to reload it, you’d better have brought your friends with their Liberators to cover you.

Breech open. Seen here on the reproduction (note telltale rifling).

Breech open. Seen here on the reproduction (note telltale rifling).

It is all at once unpleasant to fire, with tremendous muzzle blast and recoil; slow to load; inaccurate beyond contact range; and, not remotely safe. It’s not only not drop safe (indeed, it’s likely to fire if dropped in a loaded state!), but it’s also liable to fire if the cocking piece slips out of your fingers. There’s no real “safety,” you can just rotate the cocking piece to the side… it makes the “safety” of the Mosin-Nagant rifle look like something from the pages of the Journal of Contemporary Advances in Human Factors.

The way to get through a whole box of ammo with a Liberator? Bring enough friends! Or go to a busy range. Everybody wants to shoot it once.

The availability of both originals, occasionally, and reproductions make a Liberator collection something to consider. For under $5k you could have new models of each engineering version, plus an original for the authenticity cachet, and with some placards you’d have a show-winning display (if there are any shows that welcome educational displays any more).

In the end, it’s a novelty gun, a footnote to history, for the price of a nicer 1911 variant that will provide much more durability and comfort to the shooter.

Before There Were Many 9MM Ultra Compacts, There Was One

Devel ASP 12Before there was the current rich supply of ultra compact 9 mm pistols, someone had to have the idea for the first time. In fact, the idea of a small 9 mm carry gun was widespread long before any factory produced one.

The market answered, after a fashion: cut-down versions of pistols were produced. Some of them weren’t cut down much, like the P-38K and the Colt Commander. Others were not really practical, like Baby Lugers, and always appealed more to collectors than self-defense carriers.

SW-semi-model-chartBut the natural host for these first-generation pocket nines in the 1970s and 1980s was America’s first pistol designed for what was then a European cartridge, the 9 mm Smith & Wesson Model 39. The M39 was a postwar design that sought to blend European and American design concepts, and not only did that but produced an attractive firearm at the same time. It combined a Browning-style tilting-barrel, and a Walther-like SA/DA operating system with a slide-mounted safety/decocker. Mag release and slide stop were also Browning style, and the barrel was positioned in the nose end of the slide by a collet bushing modeled on the one in the Colt Gold Cup.

The M39 was single-stack before single-stack was cool, and entered the market in 1954-55 after years of development. If you want to foray into the weeds of Smith auto pistol history, Chris Baker took a shot at decoding Smith’s nomenclature mess with the M39 and its legions of successors at Lucky Gunner Lounge last year, also producing the infographic on the right, which appears correct but incomplete.

But the reason that the M39 yielded those early conversions were (1) it was readily available, and (2) there was nothing vital and hard to relocate in the parts of the gun that a compact conversion hacked off. This picture from an S&W forum shows three cut-down 39s: from l-r, an Austin Behlert special on a Smith 59 (basically, a double-stack 39), a full Devel on a 39 with ambi safety, and a full devel (no ambi safety) on a 59.

Behlert Devel Devel

The first, and most exotic small Smith was the ASP, made beginning in 1970 by New York artist and espionage agency hang-around Paris Theodore, who partnered initially with George L. Nonte. This ASP picture comes from the same forum as the shot above, and illustrates the somewhat industrial finish on ASPs.

asp2

The magazine was patented, specifically for the unusual laid-back pinky rest. The open side made the transparent/translucent segment of the grips practical.

One of the ASP features that will never show in a side view is that about 40% of the width of the reshaped trigger guard was milled away on the strong side of the customer, to provide faster access to the trigger. Theodore claimed that an ASP had 212 modifications from the factory M39.

Theodore’s spy stories seem to have been cut from whole cloth, but he died young — here is an interesting, if credulous, obituary in the late, lamented New York Sun. A definitive ASP was trimmed in height and length, dehorned and softened in its angles, and fitted with a patented “Guttersnipe” trough sight and see-through grips to facilitate round counting.

The Devel was devel-oped (you may groan) by Charlie Kelsey. They tended to be better finished and often had fluted slides to reduce weight. Here are three Devels, a 59 and two 39s.

Three Devels

This is a Devel on a Smith 39-2 from a current GunBroker auction, but supplied with two ASP magazines.

Devel ASP 09

The seller says this about it:

Smith & Wesson Model 39-2 Devel Custom chambered in 9mm with a 3.5″ barrel. Used but in good shape! Frame and slide have some handling wear, couple scratches, and little bit of finish wear around the edges. Comes with two hard to find ASP magazines! Please look at the pictures for details.

Devel ASP 05

The cut-down for Devel and ASP alike was usually 3/4 of an inch to the barrel and slide, and about a half inch to the butt. The package usually included replacing the collet bushing with a plain bushing, on reliability grounds, and bobbing the hammer.

Devel ASP 06

As you can see, the gun is not only shortened but also “softened” or “dehorned,” but it’s not what Devel called a “full house” custom, as it lacks the squared-off trigger guard and lightening flutes in the slide.

Factory compacts like Smith’s own 3913 crippled the market for these niche firearms, and both ASP and Devel folded, victims of the success of their own product.

Like Paris Theodore, Charlie Kelsey died prematurely, but while Theodore lost a long and debilitating battle with disease, Kelsey was found shot and burned in a ditch in Georgetown, Texas. While there were indications he may have been suicidal, he certainly can not have set his own dead body on fire. His murder has never been solved.

 

Of course, true Dedicated Followers of Browning would not be caught dead with a 9mm flyswatter: their pistol-shrinker of choice was Detonics, or Behlert (who called his bobbed .45 the Bobcat). But that’s another story!

 

Names for Malfunctions

“I’ve never had a malfunction on paper.”

George M. Chinn

On this page at the international website all4shooters, we noted the following paragraph from Andrea Giuntini:

American experts invented names and achronyms for all kind of gun-related malfunctions, yet there isn’t one that suits this. That was definitely not an FTF (“Failure to Feed”), as the round were fed and fired properly, nor an FTE (“Failure to Extract) since, as a matter of fact, the case was extracted and ejected; nor it is a stovepipe malfunction − if it was, the case would be stuck vertically in the ejection window.
May you, ALL4SHOOTERS.COM readers and followers, invent a name for this kind of malfunction? Tell us about it, and about any peculiar kind of malfunction you may have experienced in your everyday shooters’ lives!

The article actually looks into a screwy, one-off malf of a Glock 17, in which a fired casing got turned around backwards and jammed the slide from going into battery on the next round:

Glock-jamming

We couldn’t duplicate the jam with a G17 and dummy rounds in the office, but Andrea traced it to a piece of metal debris under the extractor (his Glock was brand new).

A gun is a machine, and a machine does the same thing every time, given the same input; therefore, a machine never fails for no reason, and the reason is always discoverable, given the right theory, concept, and inspectional technique. Basic troubleshooting, which worked for Andrea Giuntini and should make a good post here some day. But meanwhile, it got us thinking about what are the types of malfunctions?

Most of what an Internet search will find is the same stuff repeated endlessly, which probably comes, ultimately, from Cooper. We leave finding it in Cooper’s voluminous bibliography as an exercise for the reader; his Commentaries are online, for example.

Cooper, in turn, followed Chinn. But an even earlier taxonomy of malfunctions comes from then-Captain Julian Hatcher and his assistants, Lieutenants H.J. Malony and Glenn P. Wilhelm,  at the Machine Gun School of Instruction at Harlingen, Texas in March, 1917.

Jams, Malfunctions, Stoppages

Distinguish carefully between these terms, and use them correctly. Any accidental cessation of fire is a stoppage. It may be due to a misfire, or to the fact that the magazine has been emptied, etc. In this case it is not a malfunction.

A malfunction is an improper action of some part of the gun, resulting in a stoppage. For example, a failure to extract the empty cartridge case.

A jam is some malfunction which causes the mechanism to stick or bind so that it is difficult to move. Do not use the word “Jam” too much. Most troubles with the guns are merely temporary stoppages due to some malfunction, and real jams are comparatively rare.1

An alternative version comes from the Royal Armouries of England and Great Britain. In the 1960s, its standard report format (which we saw in the Vz 58 report) contained this boilerplate key2 to malfunctions:

ABBREVIATION STOPPAGE OR MALFUNCTION DESCRIPTION
1. b.f.c. Breech Block fails to close. The round has been fed into the chamber but breech block not fully home.
2. b. f. r. Breech Block fails to remain to the rear. When the trigger is released the breech block fails to engage on the sear.
3. d.t. Double Tap. When the mechanism of the weapon is set to single shot firing two rounds are fired with one pressure of the trigger.
4. f. e. Failure tc Eject. This occurs when the round is correctly fired and fired case is extracted from chamber but not thrown clear of the weapon.
5. f. e. c. Failure to Extract Fired Case. This occurs when the round is fired correctly but the fired case is left in the chamber when the breech block moves to the rear.
6. f. f. Failure to Feed A conplete failure of the breech block to contact the base of the round and remove it from belt or magazine i.e. breech block closes on empty chamber. Position of round in magazine or belt indicated where possible i.e. 19th
7. hf.      Hangfire This occurs when the time interval between the striking of the cap by the firing pin and the firing of the round is apparent to fixer. Definite time lag in milli seconds is however used by Ammunition personnel.
8. l. s. Light Strike This occurs when the cap of the round receives a slight indentation from the firing pin which is insufficient to ignite the cap composition.
9. p. f. f. Partial Failure to Feed or Malfeed. This is a partial failure in that the round has beer taken partially from the magazine or belt by breech block but has not chambered.

Position of round in magazine or belt indicated where possible, i.e. 19th round etc.

10. mf. Misfire. This occurs when the cap of the round has been correctlv struck but fails to ignite the charge and fire the round.
11.  r. g.  (3),(4),(5), etc. Runaway Gun. No. of rounds in brackets. When the mechanism of the weapon is set either at single shot or auto and continues firing after release of trigger,
12. s. c. Separated Case This occurs when a portion of the fired case is left in the chamber, the remainder being extracted normally. The succeeding round will fail fully to enter the chamber and breech block will fail to close.
13. s. n. r. Snubbed Nose Round. This occurs when the nose of the bullet does not enter the chamber correctly but on striking the barrel face is crushed by the foiward movement of breech block. This snubbing may take place at various points on the barrel face or lead in and where possible, is indicated as SN 3 o’clock SN 9 o’clock etc.
14. t. f. c. Trapped Fired Case. This occurs when the fired case is correctly extracted but on ejection the fired case rebounds into the mechanism and is trapped between some portion of the moving parts (usually the breech block) and the body of the weapon.
15 Failures through Breakages These will obviously cause stoppages and will be described in full.

The fact is, malfunctions are conceptualized differently by the engineer, by the armorer or gunsmith, and by the firearms operator. From the operator’s-eye view, you don’t need to get wrapped around the axle trying to name them al. What you really need to know is what sorts of malfunctions a particular weapon is prone to, and how to correct them. And there is no better way than experience to master the art of malfunction correction.

Notes

  1. Hatcher, et. al. p. 1.
  2. UK Ministry of Defence, Inspectorate of Armaments, Woolwich, Small Arms Branch Testing Section, RSAF Enfield Lock, Form 7248/1. Retrieved from: http://weaponsman.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/RSAF-SATB-Small-Arms-Trial-Report-Vz58-1966.pdf

Sources

Hatcher, Julian S., Wilhelm, Glenn P. and Malony, Harry J. Menasha, WI: George Banta Publishing Co., 1917.

UK Ministry of Defence, Inspectorate of Armaments, Woolwich, Small Arms Branch Testing Section, RSAF Enfield Lock, Form 7248/1.

Keeping Your Remington .45s Straight

10x10_Remington-Logo_V01We recently read an article by Philip Schreier that corrected a bit of confusion that we didn’t even know we had about “Remington” made M1911 and 1911A1 pistols. The article was a sidebar to an article on Remington’s 200th anniversary in the current (April, 2016) American Rifleman. 

Remington is the oldest industrial firm in the Americas still making its original kind of product, which reinforces, perhaps, how important firearms manufacturing was to early American industrial development. But the company’s long and tangled history explains how three different runs of “Remington” 1911s have come to exist.  Here’s a timeline:

 

remington_history_and_1911s

Note: Timelines ending in “2017” are ongoing. Who knows where they will end… or where they will go next?

Simple, eh? All the corporate history is in the lower part of the timeline — at the top, you can see the three 1911 production events, including the two wartime production contracts. The first contract was actual for half a million .45s, but on the German surrender in 1918, the contract was canceled and only 22,000 Remington .45s had been made, making it a relatively rare GI .45. These pistols were made in Remington’s ancestral Ilion, NY plant. This rather battered example, Serial Number 2900, has retired to the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia:

Remington UMC M1911 Nº 2900. Source.

Remington UMC M1911 Nº 2900. Source.

The Bridgeport, Connecticut plant whose location was marked on this slide was one of four 1,000,000+ square foot plants constructed by the company between 1914 and 1918 (the others were small arms plants in Ilion, Eddystone, PA, and an ammo plant also in Bridgeport). Both of the Bridgeport factories were destroyed in approximately 2010-13. As the National Firearms Museum recounts, Remington-UMC did not find it easy to fulfill its contract. Prior to 1917, only Colt, Springfield Armory (in very low quantities), and the Norwegian State Armories had produced the .45 pistol, and the Norwegians didn’t expect their modified pistol to interchange with American 1911s. Colt’s technical data package was wanting:

Colt provided technical assistance in the form of sample pistols and production drawings, but problems quickly arose. In addition to numerous discrepancies, these drawings contained only nominal dimensions and no tolerances. Finding it easier to make their own blueprints based on measurements obtained from the Colt-produced sample pistols rather than reconcile more than 400 known discrepancies, Remington-U.M.C. created a set of “salvage drawings” that were later used by other contractors as well. The Army suspended its contract with Remington-U.M.C. on December 12, 1918, but allowed the company to manufacture additional examples to reduce parts inventories on hand. All told, nearly 22,000 M1911s were delivered to the government before Remington-U.M.C. shut down its production line.

In the summer of 1919, the company turned over its pistol manufacturing equipment to Springfield Armory, where it was placed in storage until the Second World War.

The problem with the data was that Colt processes in 1917 were little improved from processes in the Civil War, with drawings mediated by the tribal knowledge of skilled workmen and foremen on the shop floor. For a modern, high-throughput plant with less-skilled labor, this wasn’t going to work.

In the grand scheme of things, the trickle of pistols from Remington-UMC in 1918 was a thunderous success; other contractors failed to produce anything, produced only hand-fitted prototypes (North American Arms of Quebec), or produced only parts (Winchester and Savage, to name two). Winchester had a contract, like Remington’s, that initially called for half a million pistols; like all WWI production contracts, it was voided after the Armistice, and the parts produced went into spares bins at Springfield Armory. And for the rest of the 20th Century, Remington Arms and its gun-making successor firms would not make another .45 auto.

Remington-Rand, on the other hand, was the spinoff of the sewing-machine-and-typewriter part of the company. (It’s also the company that gave us the Remington electric shaver, not part of this version 1.1 graphic). In World War II, Remington-Rand got a contract to make M1911A1 pistols, and they definitely delivered, thanks in part to a far superior technical data package. Remington-Rand was set up not far from Ilion in the larger industrial city of Syracuse, NY. Remington-Rand was the largest single producer of WWII M1911A1s, with 900,000 produced. Here’s one of them:

Remington Rand M1911A1 Serial 091674. Source.

Remington Rand M1911A1 Serial 091674. Source.

Ergo, there are no Remington M1911A1s, and no Remington-Rand M1911s, except insofar as GI rebuilds and part shuffles have created mixmasters.

This was all pretty simple, straightforward, and easy to keep track of, until Remington, which hadn’t made pistols since the excellent Model 51, re-entered the pistol market in 2011 with a bang — from a .45 caliber 1911. These pistols, available in several models and finishes, are not GI .45s but incorporate many currently popular features, especially in “enhanced” trim. Even the base version (shown) has larger, more visible sights.

remington_1911_r1

The initial run of 1911 R1s was produced in Remington’s ancient plant in Ilion, New York.

At the insistence of the triumvirate that ran New York at the time, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-Too Big To Jail), Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-BOP Inmate Number Pending), and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-BOP Inmate Number Pending), Remington relocated 1911 production and the associated jobs to Huntsville, Alabama in 2013. The 1911 R1 remains in production there.

Sources

“JPM, Jr.” M1911A1:The Homepage for the Collector of the Model 1911A1 .45 Cal Service Pistol. Retrieved from: http://www.model1911a1.com

Remington Outdoor Company. Remington History, n.d. Retrieved from: http://www.remington.com/about-us

Schreier, Philip. Remington, Typewriters, M1911s and The Rand Co. The American Rifleman, April, 2016, p. 82.

Torres Occasio, Keila. RemGrit Buildings Set to Fall. Connecticut Post, 1 April 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/RemGrit-buildings-set-to-fall-3451511.php

Uncredited. Remington Knives. All About Pocket Knives. Retrieved from: http://www.allaboutpocketknives.com/remington_knives/  (This information was used in the timeline only).

 

Everybody Loves a Baby… 1911.

Michael Bane's shot of a "real" 1911 and the Baby Rock.

Michael Bane’s shot of a “real” 1911 and the Baby Rock. This picture seems to understate the size difference.

Micro-1911s are all the rage now, as compact carry guns, and Michael Bane has got a great post on ’em on his blog. He compares in depth three .380 ACP micro-1911s, the Rock Island “Baby Rock”, the Colt “Government Model,” and the Browning 1911, and mentions at least in passing everything from the old Colt Pocket Hammerless .380 and the late lamented Llamas to the SIG Sauer P238. The post is good enough to Read The Whole Thing™… keep going or you’ll miss the zinger in the specs.

But before there was even the first Colt Mustang, before there was a Llama (the Spanish/Basque guns, not the Andean camelid), Colt made a completely different gun that has been called the Baby 1911… because it is, exactly, a scaled down 1911, in a smaller caliber. It was the Colt Model 1910 in 9.8 mm.

Colt 1910 98 RIA 01

The 1910 was Colt’s name for the pistol that the Army would adopt as the 1911. In hopes of landing European contracts, Colt made 7/8 scale 1910s in a 7/8 scale round, a proprietary 9.8 mm cartridge (also called a .38, it measured .380 across the bullet, not the .357 of typical American “.38s”). While a quantity (perhaps as few as a thousand rounds) of ammo was made, only a few guns were hand-crafted. At least two of the firearms were left in the white at Colt; one was in the Springfield Armory collection (and may still be), and one, Serial Number 4, later passed into the collection of Edward S. “Scott” Meadows, who had it professionally refinished (!). Curiously, Meadows’s book, US Military Automatic Pistols, says that only Serial Numbers 1-3 and one unnumbered piece are known. Colt 1910 98 SN 4 icollector

Colt 1910 98 RIA 02

In any event, Serial Number 4, whatever its provenance, is generally accepted as authentic, and was sold by Rock Island Auctions in September, 2012. This is the RIA description (noting that RIA later corrected the description, noting that the finish was a reblue).

The experimental Colt Model 1910 pistol was developed by Colt as a possible replacement for the Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer Pistol and to compete against Fabrique Nationale in Eastern European markets. Although Winchester manufactured several thousand rounds of 9.8 MM ammunition for the experimental pistol, it did not enter production and only five examples of this pistol were manufactured by Colt circa 1911. Four of these ultra-rare handguns are in museums and private collections. An example of a Colt Model 1910 9.8 MM Pistol is illustrated and described on pages 472-473 of “U.S. MILITARY AUTOMATIC PISTOLS 1894-1920” by Edward S. Meadows. The 9.8 MM Experimental Pistol is a scaled down copy of the very rare Colt Model 1910 .45 ACP Pistol. The slide is shorter and narrower and the 4 1/2 inch barrel has four concentric locking rings. The hammer has flat sides and a checkered spur. The slide has the early rounded rear sight. The slide stop and safety lock appear to be Colt Model 1911 Special Army components. The magazine is a modified Model 1902 Military magazine with un-marked floor plate and a full blue finish. The checkered walnut grips have small diamonds surrounding the screws and are similar to those on the Model 1911 Special Army. The pistol has the high polish Colt commercial blue finish on major components and the bright niter blue finish on the rear sight, hammer, slide lock, trigger and other small components.

As noted, RIA was contacted by a smith who noted that he had blued the gun (not “reblued” because it had never been blued. Because the slide stop and safety of the pistol-in-white shown in US Martial Handguns were also 1911 Special Army parts, this may be the same gun.

The right side of the slide is marked “AUTOMATIC COLT/CALIBRE 38 RIMLESS SMOKELESS” in two unequal lines. The left side of the slide is marked “PATENTED/APR.20.1897.SEPT.9.1902.DEC.19.1905” in a two-line block followed by “COLT’S PT. F.A.MFG. CO./HARTFORD.CT. U.S.A.” in two lines. The left side of the frame is hand-stamped with the serial number, “4” above the trigger guard. “40 CAL/MODEL” are stamped in two vertical lines beneath the slide stop; “40 CAL” is hand-stamped and “MODEL” is stamped with a single die. “RAD 40” (Research and Development) is hand-stamped vertically above the magazine release. “98” is stamped on the lower left side of the barrel chamber above the lug. The pistol is complete with two cartridges with the head-stamp “W.R.A. CO. 9.8 m/m A.C.” and a “U.MC. .38 A..C.P.” cartridge. Included with the pistol are a First Place Award from the 2007 Colt Collectors Association (CCA) Show at Reno, Nevada, a CCA 2007 Display Award, a Texas Gun Collectors Association Spring 2008 Most Historical Award, a Texas Gun Collectors Association Display Award and a notebook entitled “LOST BABY FOUND/COLT’S 9.8 m/m AUTOMATIC PISTOL” which contains the specifications of the pistol and copies of articles written about the pistol’s development.

The nice color pictures are from the Rock Island Auction and illustrate how one might never tell this pistol from a 1911, without having them side by side.

Colt 1910 and 1911 RIA

Serial Number 3 showed up in a June, 1988 American Rifleman article by William H.D. Goddard, who noted at that time only two complete guns, counting one held by Springfield that was made of parts. He did use several A-B comparison pictures.

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Goddard took an interesting view of the Colt project. In his view, it was never that serious a product for the Hartford firm; instead, it was a bargaining chip to be use to pose a credible threat to what Fabrique Nationale saw as their home market for Browning designs, Europe. Colt representative Eugene Reising (later of H&R and the Marines’ least loved weapon, ever) was  a distinguished marksman and demonstrated the pistol at Bucharest, Romania, outperforming entries from Luger, Mauser and Dreyse, as well as a hapless Steyr entry that failed immediately.

Whether the 9.8 and Reising’s trip (“nothing looked so good to him… as when the Statue of Liberty flashed into view” on his return) was a bargaining chip or not, FN executives, who’d been dragging their feet, quickly cut a new non-compete deal with Colt dividing up the world into two spheres of influence again.

The Romanians? They bought Model 1910s…FN Browning Model 1910s, a simple, sweet blowback pistol. Later, they bought Model 1922s, the same basic gun with a longer barrel and grip.

FN took a similar path to make a gun that they called the Grand Browning in a different proprietary caliber, 9.65 mm. The sources disagree about how many of them were made, but they were made in 1914 just before Herstal and Liège were overrun by the Kaiser’s merry men, which put paid to the idea of production. It is possible that the Grand Browning was another entry in the Colt vs. FN cartel wars, as the five-year agreement concluded after the Romanian competition was signed on 1 July 1912, and would have been up on 30 June 1917. As it happened, the war intervened and made a mess of all orderly arrangements to divide up arms sales.

Still, you can’t look at the 1910 and not want one, although perhaps in a more popular caliber. “We can lament that this design was not produced in quantity, as it is a most appealing size and weight,” Goddard wrote. Indeed. If anyone made them, we bet Michael Bane would race us to be first in line for one.

Sources

Not in the office at the moment, so we’ll give you .pdfs of the relevant pages of US Military Pistols and American Rifleman, June 1988. If we get to the office we’ll replace these The original .pdfs have bee replaced with OCR’d versions.