Sunday, April 06, 2014

Things That Go Bang!

My normal policy is not to let everyone know just what I have - I think not paying attention to the reputation that built up helped cost me some stolen guns. So I've never posted some of my guns before. But what the hell, here goes:

I loaded up the other morning and headed out to a very good friends' place to exercise both some guns and myself.


Clockwise from the upper right: first up is a Rock Island Armory GI style 1911. This puppy has a very soft spot in my heart - the gentleman who owns the place I shot at also has two older brothers, one a year older than me, and one I've been friends with since we were four. Their parents were of the "extra" variety to me - I was always welcome, encouraged, and helped from time to time. There are camping trips in our past. They were one of the first families to have a C-Band system, and I spent many an hour on the floor watching stuff no one else got to see - HBO and the like. I consumed many a meal under with my feet under their table, and even more cool - I got to shoot all their latest go bang toys over the years.

When the place burned down, I got a call not long afterwards from the youngest brother. I was to stop by his house and see he, his wife and his mom. I figured I'd be getting some money or something, but I wasn't sure, naturally. So, when I arrived and relaxed, M started in recalling those times growing up and how close we all were. And he brought up a very salient point - that they were not like other families. That they could recognize needs beyond just having cash - anyone could give me cash, but they weren't like that. He and his brothers knew that I had a Kimber Eclipse stolen, and that I also had Citadel 1911 fairly dressed out that perished in the fire, so that left me without a 1911. Well, that simply would not do - a gentleman always has a 1911 to arm himself with, so they got together and got me one, plus a box of ammo with some cash stuffed in with the shiny new hardball.

That firearm has far too much sentimental value to ever go bye bye for whatever reason. And besides, it shoots too well, too. I've always held that my eyes don't appreciate the tiny sights, but the truth is I do pretty well with 'em. The sight picture just seems a tad more precise than the blocky Novak style. I also prefer far more checkering on the grips and front strap, but this one ain't goin' nowheres. It has a charm all it's own.

Next up is a Ruger Single Six in .22LR. I've also got the 22 Mag cylinder but have no ammo. Single action six shooters are a favorite, and having one in .22LR is just a bonus. It's a sweetheart to shoot.

Then we come to another Ruger - a New Model Vacquero in .357Mag. You'll notice it's not .45Colt. Since .357 is a caliber I already have, it just made sense to me that when slightly rebuilding my collection to do without so many different calibers - concentrate on a few for simplicity's sake. Of course, with the ammo shortage and all, .45Colt shows up at the local Wally World with amazing regularity, and .357Mag and .38Sp are like hen's teeth. So much for that strategy.

When shooting a double action like a 29 variant in .44Mag, it always feels like the backstrap is trying to hammer the web of my right hand, compared to a Blackhawk in the same caliber rolling in your wrist. Those spade grips sure seem recoil friendly to me. Not that I mind the recoil of the double action style unless we're talking some little five rounder with a two inch barrel. That size pistola in .44Mag would make an awesome self defense gat, but you'd never get past five rounds of practice with the thing. Or I wouldn't.

Ruger has a well earned rep for quality, overbuilt revolvers, and the single actions are not any different. I've had several over the years, and they've all performed flawlessly.

Then we reach across some mags to one of the reasons I'm writing this post - the Sig-Sauer Spartan 1911. Clearly, I bought this thing because it looked so freaking cool. I'd talked myself into buying one then turned around and talked myself right out of one for some time, but Sig had other plans. The Spartan was one of the full size 1911s that Sig decided to include in their "Buy One Full Size 1911 And Get This 1911-22 For Free. The tan 1911 in the back there is actually a .22 that appears to be 90% equal to a full size. It looks as big, but put 'em side by side and you can see the slide and frame are slightly narrower, and from the grip it's shorter as well.

But that's what it took to jar the money from my billfold. I'll be talking more about the Sigs here in just a minute.

The next weapon is another full size 1911 variant from Kimber - the Eclipse Custom II. I like the sights the way they are - even though about all I use it for is target practice, I'd rather not have to carry it with target sights should that become an option. It's got all the goodies I want - low profile night sights, sharp, well defined slide serrations (don't need the front ones, but I suppose it's more stylish with 'em), skeletonized hammer, extended beavertail grip safety, checkered front strap and nice checkering on the flat mainspring housing, a bit of beveling on the mag well, skeletonized long trigger and the cool polished blackened stainless flats contrasting with the flat black matte finish - it's one of my favorite gats (The other being a 686 six inch barrel Smith with Hogue grips).

Then we roll around to the 1911-22:


It sure looks like a full size, but you can see with the extra pins and such that the internals are gonna be different. I haven't read the disassembly instructions yet. The mainspring housing is a WWII style palm swell variety, the trigger, ambi safety, the beavertail grip safety, mag release and trigger are all plastic. I'm sure there are more. It's really a shade more tan, too.


The mag release and plunger tube appear to be steel. For being a matte finish, it is pretty smooth. Came with one mag only.


I couldn't get the front sight to line up and my super slow phone camera to capture it to save my a$$. But, low profile night sights. Yes!!!


The one mag and the slide locked back.

I had been shooting Winchester Super X ammo, and it ran in my Mark II just fine, no hiccups. Not this baby. I think I had every kind of jam there was - it just refused to cycle completely. Which is why is kinda irks me when a new gun is issued with just one mag - if you run into problems like this, you have no way to determine if the mag or the ammo is at fault. I've got another one on order, but I'd not know  right away what the issue might be, unless one has different ammo available.

Which I did - I just happened to have a box of Remington Viper with the truncated cone, and it blasted things quite nicely. I got lucky at Cabelas once earlier this year and was able to purchase that stuff - it's all they had, so I took it with a smile. And looking at the specs, the Viper is 280 fps faster at the muzzle than the SuperX. Maybe the truncated cone is easier to feed - I just dunno. My thinking is that should you purchase one of these little jewels, best be equipped with some fast .22.

It shoots great - the trigger is quite nice, and it's just like a slightly lighter and smaller 1911. A person couldn't go wrong getting one of these things to practice shooting a 1911 a tad less inexpensively.



So let's check this bad boy out. Skeletonized long trigger, beavertail safety with memory bump, skeletonized (and a rather odd shaped) hammer, aggressive checkering on the mainspring housing, front strap checkering, taller mag release, low profile night sights, and that awesome oil rubbed copper burnished finish.


Hey, looky there! An external extractor! The Eclipse that was stolen had a external extractor, ,as did most Kimbers. Oh the uproar. JMB (moment of silence, please) must have been spinning in his grave. Sales were down and the forums were full of hate and discontent. If you had a slide that had problems and you sent it in for work, you'd get it back with an internal extractor.

So where are the internet hordes now? Shouldn't this be as big a travesty to the memory of JMB (moment of silence, please) as a Kimber with the same?

Personally, I could give a rat's a$$.Both varieties have their advantages and weaknesses, and either way is fine with me. I just think it's kinda funny.

This puppy ran fine on 230 grain FMJ, as did the Kimber and the RI Armory model.

How well did I shoot? Let's just say I got in some valuable practice and leave it at that. I had not been shooting like this in well over a year. Handgun shooting skills are nothing if not extremely perishable. I was about halfway through before I remembered how to breathe correctly.

And I was at this for at least five hours. I overdid it big time - I went shooting on Saturday and I'm still recovering. After I was done, I went to the grocery store at home and found out just how shot I was.

If I don't push myself beyond my limitations, I'll never get better. I just about didn't go, because it had been a crappy day so far - I felt like crap. I felt at the time that I just needed to push on through it, and I'm glad I did. I didn't have anyone to shoot with, so that was a little different.

I just know I'm gonna do it again.

3 comments:

threecollie said...

Sorry you felt like crap afterwards, but what a good thing to do. Nice guns.

lisa said...

Now that is my kind of post! The hubby likes the long arms and I love the side arms :D

B said...

Actually, in later years, JMB said that if he could do it again, he'd have gone with an external extractor.