Thursday, November 24, 2011

Finished 1911

We got the slide back from the good folks at Coal Creek Armory, with their Isonite finish. A little final fitting, and adding the sights later...

Here is the finished gun.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shooting with Mr. Murphy

Since we couldn't make it to Jay's get together again LadyElf and I decided to go try our luck at the local bowling pin match.

To say it went poorly would be an understatement, between the two of us we had more ammo or gun related problems in the course of 150 rounds then I have had in the previous 18 months and 10K rounds.

Things that worked:
The truck, and the pizza place we stopped at on the way home.

Things that mostly worked:
The Kimber digested all but the most horribly malformed reloads.
My experimental 'U' notch sights were only 4" off at 7 yards, but the basic principal seems to work.

Things that did not work:
The STI Escort, it will get a detail strip and full check over, but I suspect crappy reloads had some influence here.
My TFO tritium/fiber sights, the fiber fell out of the front blade. I've had them on for about 6 months, trying to decide if they were rugged enough to survive life near me, and the answer is No.

Aside from finding Mr. Murphy then putting two rounds in his chest, then one more in his head just to be sure; I'll be detail stripping and cleaning everything. Some of the problems were clearly ammo, I've been cycling out my cache ammo of reloads, and it looks like I have a bad batch in there. Given that I've changed several things on my setup and not had trouble with any recently loaded ammo I'm not too worried.

On the sights I'll be ordering a set of 10-8 'U' notch sights, and sending them off to have tijicon inserts installed. Much as the TFO is a nice combination of Triji and fiber, its not very robust, and the green on green does not draw attention to the front sight. Triji green front and yellow rear, with a white outline on the front is not as bright, but it works well in all light, and doesn't fall apart.

Stay Safe,

Saturday, July 30, 2011

AR-45 Update

The barrel arrived from Green Mountain Rifle Barrels, they are not kidding when they say its a blank. It looks like a piece of round stock with a rifled hole drilled in the center.

Starting to put things together and determine overall length. Here is the bolt in the upper:

The bolt face is about half an inch into the receiver, when the bolt is locked, so I need a 17" barrel beyond the end of the upper to be legal.

If that looks long its because it is. Here is the same setup with my AR15 for scale, and to show how much the stock will add.

Crappy picture, but its clearly a long rifle, the AR15 has a 16" barrel, and is 32" OAL. Because the AR45 is based on an AR-10 receiver its two inches longer.

This leads to the obvious conclusion that this rifle will have to be a SBR, otherwise it will be too damned big to be at all 'handy'. That still leaves the question of suppressing it, but having a suppressor, and an SBR may not add much, other then a bigger check to the BATFE.

Finally here is the receiver with a mag installed. That's a converted AR-10 mag that will feed .45ACP.

The next step is a lower parts kit, a stock and a charging handle.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not Very Good at This Blogging Thing

Worcester MA area meet up: Thursday, 14 July 2011. At the Horse Shoe Pub, Hudson MA. The reservation is for Mr. Johnson.

Last weekend Lady Elf threw her sister a bridal shower and bachelorete party, the former lasting almost as long as the latter. Given the state of all involved when they were over I am unclear which was a wilder party. Neither got the coroner called, so they was less then a 3 on the 'Lady Elf throws a wild party scale'.

While all that was going on my Father in Law (FiL) and I went to the NRA and met with Old NFO. A good time was had by all, and a few C Stories swapped. Along the way I botched by Fairfax land navigation, but made up for it with a perfect 20 on Boston Driving :) Next time I'm using a damned map.

My FiL succeeded again in producing a marksman ship challenge everyone: shoot the numbered area on a dart board at 7 yards.

Old NFO produced a couple very nice 1911s for us to try, and my fingers have mostly recovered from the stippling on his Clark Custom. For a pistol that is not broken in its an amazing gun, and once again we are reminded why master craftsmen charge the prices they do.

Now its off to Boston again, we'll see if the TSA boy with the kind eyes is working Logan again.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Worcester MA Meet Up

I'll be in Worcester on July 14th and 15th, any one interested in a meet up at the Horse Shoe Pub in Hudson? Or some where in Worcester?


Sunday, June 5, 2011


Dragon, over here, discusses his first, last, and only Kimber 1911. It makes me very glad I passed on the SIS when it first came out, albeit for philosophical reasons.

This brings me to the point of my Kimber: a Custom Classic series 1 (colt series 70 copy with out the foolish series 80 firing pin block. I got the gun used, already equipped with an Ed Brown barrel and bushing, everything else was MIM, so I presume original. The gun had been run hard, the finish on the front strap was worn noticeably where the shooters fingers hold the pistol. And it has continued to run very well while I run it hard.

As the holster wear might suggest I carry and shoot this gun a lot. Some where between 6 and 12 thousand rounds a year, and on my belt any time I'm not in a prohibited.

I've replaced all of the small parts, either for practical reasons (grips and trigger to make it fit me better, and and ambidextrous thumb safety for off hand) or for shits and giggles (everything else). Only the guide rod, barrel and slide/frame are original. And this has made absolutely no difference in reliability.

I'm not sure how common or uncommon my Kimber experience is, but given that I have just demonstrated the ability to build a custom 1911 for the price of a new Kimber, I don't think I'll be buying another one. On the other hand this one is not for sale at any price.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

1911 Build

The gun is basically done. The slide needs to be sent to CCA for coating, and the stocks need to be changed out for Crimson Trace lasers. Over 400 rounds though the gun, and function seems reliable. Thats a mixture of my hand-loads and factory ammo.

Here is the Mag-Well after bead blasting:

Here is the slide/frame/grip safety after bead blasting:

And here is proof I'm not going to be competing with Mr. Volk any time, every, as a gun photographer.

The next three show the barrel linking surfaces.

Top Lugs:

Bottom Lugs:

Back of the bottom lugs:

Stay safe,

Vacation Pictures

We didn't see the gators, but did get a yard full of deer.

These are the ones who stuck around after I walked outside to get pictures. There were at least 7 in the herd.

This one shows one of the two biggest, who will have very nice racks come fall.

Of course I'll be there again in November, but I suspect the neighbors will object to rifle fire.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Dog blogging

Because I'm uploading pictures from my phone: the latest round of dog pictures.

1911 Pictures

Here are some more pictures of the 1911 build. First up are the slide/frame fitting, with all parts blended, the next step is to bead blast to remove all tool marks.

Here is the magwell, blended to match the frame. This will also get bead blasted to match. I'm unimpressed with this style magwell, the joint between the magwell and the mainspring housing is not very tight, so the position when assembled is not as precises.

Stay Safe,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

AR-45 Pictures

My AR-45 project is starting to work. The goal is to build an AR platform rifle chambered in 45ACP, and feeding from a standard AR mag. Wally (of GBC fame) pointed out that this would require an AR-10 based build, instead of an AR-15 based build, and that has made life allot easier.

Here is the prototype magazine. You'll notice the follower is two pieces of sheet metal braised together. Aside from the spring I could build the mag from scratch this way, but but buying a mag body is easier.

And here are the internals of said magazine. The curved piece is the front block to keep the cartridges under the feed lips, and the feed ramp. The other flat piece is the back block to keep the cartridges stacked neatly.

The next step is to build up the lower, and order an upper. Then I can put the barrel assembly together.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The other question

The reason we debate Glock (and clones) vs 1911 is to answer the age old question* “what hand gun should I buy”, usually asked by a new shooter. I have three criteria I’d use to answer this: 1) will you be treating that gun like a lawn mower or a classic Porsche 2) what fits in your hand 3) what will your carry routine be?

Finding one gun to meet your requirements in all three categories may be impossible, so you’ll have to accept some tradeoffs.

That may lead to learning to maintain your 1911, which is frankly not rocket science, and if you can change your oil and a flat tire you can learn to maintain a 1911.

It might also mean learning to deal with the ergonomics of a plastic double stack.

The best case you can hope for is that it gives you an excuse to buy several guns and use the appropriate one for the appropriate job.


*Other than being bored, and having nothing better to do then argue on the internet.

Asking the wrong question

All the discussion of the 1911 platform over the last couple weeks got me thinking, and 4 pages of statistical analysis, discussion of abusing the central limit theorem, and questioning the link between the reliability of a pistol design to the reliability of the one in your holster* right now I came to this:

Magazines are the weak link for self-loading firearms.

If this assumption is, true does the Glock/XD/M&P vs 1911* reliability debate really come down to an inherent reliability advantage in double stack magazines over single stack magazines? This could come from two things: 1) a mechanical advantage to the double stack, because of the feed lips, the tapered upper mag body or the wider spring or 2) most of the mags for these guns are made by the company which designed the gun and the mag as a matched pair.

*I'll spare you my sleep deprived analysis.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gun Blogger Conspiracy Christmas

This year I participated in the GBC Secret Santa.

I got John the Texaner some parts for his AR build, and one of my 'training mags', basically guaranteed to cause at least one good jam per range trip, providing the user a training opportunity.

Wai got me an awesome vacuum mug. Shown in its natural habitat keeping my coffee warm during our southern Virginia winter.

I'll be keeping that present close at hand until we get around to summer weather again.

Thanks to Wai for a great Christmas present, and PDB for putting it together for us.


1911s vs the World

I've been agonizing over this for a bit, because I think Lady Tam has a valid point about gear arguments on the internet, but Phlegmy's first soliloquy during the VC new years show convinced me to share.

GunNutmegger wrote a bit on why the 1911 sucks, and on the whole missed the point. He's got a couple things right on technical issues with the platform: many of them ship with shitty magazines, and there are boatloads of the same for sale in the after market; on the gun-smithing issue I'm unconvinced that most 1911s are less reliable or require more worth to get right than other auto-loaders. That said, the cheaply made guns, and the very top end highly tuned guns are exactly as reliable as you'd expect. My experience running a couple thousand shooters through IDPA stages is that Wheel guns are the most reliable (only ever have ammo or speed loader related issues) followed by the Glock or XD (rare mechanical issues, but average for ammo and magazine related issues) followed by all other auto-loaders.

Far and away the most common failure is Magazine related, usually either they break into multiple parts or just jam up from dirt and filth. No auto-loader is immune from this. Maintenance is the only solution here.

Those are the averages, some people just had either bad luck, or too much time to monkey with their guns. Every club has that guy, and no matter what gun he has it doesn't work, and design doesn't seem to matter.

One clear advantage of the Glock or XD design is the lack of cleaning required, but a 1911 with proper tolerances (see highly tuned or cheap above) is probably good enough for the casual gun owner who cleans the peace after shooting. Personally, the Kimber I carry every day gets cleaned every month, or every 1000 rounds.

And yes, it feeds hollow point or any other ammo you can find, with out issue, after more then 1000 rounds of my reloads (230gr at 950 FPS).

Now for the area's where I disagree with GunNutmegger:

Single action is no more or less safe then any other. NDs happen when people pull the trigger and heavy trigger pulls don't seem to make that much difference. I've yet to see any study done but from all the stories I've seen its across all designs. The 1911 itself doesn't seem any more or less safe, and if 95% of owners were unsafe we'd see it on CNN.

As for the thumb safety being too hard to operate: the folks who get confused by the thumb safety also get confused by the slide locking back on an empty gun. Practice with the platform corrects this issue fairly quickly. The amount of practice needed to properly operate the 1911 is the same as the amount needed to operate any other semi-auto.

The bottom line, and why the 1911 pattern still sells, is that it fits allot of shooters. The combination of a big steel frame, and the slow .45 bullet make for very manageable recoil. The single stack grip and the short trigger make it easy to hold for normal sized hands. The grip angle works for a lot of people. These are not universal statements, I've had several students who said all the same things about the glock and hated them about the 1911.

It seems more about what works for you then about there being a single right answer. To paraphrase Lady Tam: "The best gun is one you'll practice with and carry". And thats where I'll leave it: the right gun is the one that works for you.