Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Quest for the Perfect Carry Gun

 This is the story of my neighbor's quest to find the perfect carry gun. Many have probably heard or witnessed similar stories.

First let me say, my neighbor is a cheap skate when it comes to guns, he has never owned an expensive firearm, unless he was able to get it for a steal of a price. 

He also doesn't like using holsters, he prefers to carry in his pocket and chooses his jackets that will allow for pocket carry. Carhartt jackets and vests are among his favorites....

So here is the story of the guns my neighbor has purchased and then sold in his quest for the perfect (and cheap) carry gun.

For years my neighbor did not carry a gun except in the woods, then he would carry his 44 Mag. This was also his nightstand gun for years. He didn't own anything small enough to carry.

When the 80's became the 90's crime seemed to be getting worse in our neck of the woods, he began the journey that I will describe below.

He started with an FEG PA 63 pistol in .380 ACP, this gun is a clone or copy of the Walther PP. He picked it up at a gun show from a dealer who specializes in surplus weapons.

It had a bare anodized aluminum frame and blued steel parts...not very pretty in my estimation.

The gun was introduced in Hungary in 1963 and became the sidearm of the State Police and Military of the Soviet Satellite State.

The guns were fairly light, weighing 21 ounces, but was not exactly small. While smaller than most full-size pistols, it was too big to carry in a pocket, especially with the strange thumb rest grips.

Capacity is 7 rounds, the blow back action, take down mechanism and styling are pure Walter PP.

He traded this gun off and went in search for the next best gun

He came across a used model 83 Bersa at a gun show, the price was right, so he bought the pistol. The gun was also a copy of the Walter, but this one was made in Argentina.

The Bersa was also chambered in 380 and weighed a bit more than the FEG at 24.5 ounces, the frame is steel, and one would think that would add more to the weight, but no.

While neighbor Joe loved the Bersa, it wasn't going to work as a carry gun.

Still enamored with the 380 cartridge, he sold the Bersa and bought another Walther PPK copy the Accu-Tek AT-380.

The AT-380 was all steel, stainless steel in fact, a gun that was smaller than his two previous pistols, but still weighed 20 ounces. The gun was also uncomfortable to shoot, and he was not happy with the ergonomics.

As before he put the gun up for sale and went in search for another pistol.

During this time I had purchased a Beretta 21A Bobcat on a lark, it was at the gun show and priced at $150, so I bought it.....he fell in love with the little gun and bought one...

He then traded the gun to a friend for a Charter Arms Undercover 38

He never carried the Charter Arms that I know of and asked me to help him sell it so he could buy another Beretta 21A

He tried a different approach and bought a Ruger SP-101 357 Magnum. He mainly bought the gun to be his nightstand gun but thought he could carry it. He did (and still does) carry it from time to time in a Glaco shoulder holster. The 5-shot revolver weighs in at 26 ounces empty.

Then something happened to the gun industry, a fad...a frenzy took was the Cabbage Patch Doll of the gun industry....

In 2008 Ruger introduced the LCP, standing for Lightweight, Compact Pistol. The gun had a polymer frame and was chambered in .380 ACP. This gun actually lives up to its name....lightweight, it only weighs 9.4 ounces and compact at just 5.16" long and 3.6" high and less that 1" wide, it easily fits in a pocket.

Now Ruger didn't wasn't the first to come up with the idea, in fact Ruger copied the Kel-Tec P3AT, introduced 5 years prior....but Ruger did start a trend and soon every manufacture began making pocket 380 pistols.

Of course my neighbor had to have took some time as there were waiting lists for the gun for a while.

While he still owned the LCP, he ended up buying a Ruger LCR in .38 Special. His thought was that the gun was light and pretty compact, but also did not have a hammer, so the gun could be fired from the pocket without having to draw it. This seems like a good tactic, although I don't know if it has ever been deployed by anyone.
At any rate, the gun weighs in at 13.5 ounces, so heavier than the LCP, but lighter than the other .380s he had owned. He still owns this one...I know because I have tried to buy it from him.

The LCP was sold after he purchased a Kel-Tec P3AT. He claimed he liked the ergonomics better, and the fact that it came with a magazine extension/grip which gave his pinky finger a place to rest. The gun weighs only 8.3 ounces when empty, the lightest of the carry guns he has owned 

He carried this gun for quite a while, then Ruger went and did it again, they introduced the Ruger Max 9 and of course my neighbor had to have one.....

This new gun has a 12+1 round capacity, real sights, a lightweight polymer frame and a smooth striker fired trigger mech.

The gun only weighs 18.4 ounces and is about as close to a compromise between a pocket gun and a "real" side arm.

The Max 9 is only one inch (give or take) longer and taller than the LCP. It is right in between the size of the LCP and the Glock 19.

photo courtesy of The Handgun Hero

We will have to see what Joe thinks of his new pistol....on paper it looks fantastic...I am actually thinking about getting one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Future Projects

 I moved earlier this year and have been living out of boxes for a while. My tools and gun parts are still boxed up and I am not sure when I will be able to refinish some more guns.

In the mean time I will continue to post my featured gun articles, my firearm factory of the month, gun porn, interesting firearm photos, themed guns as well as my other gun related posts.

Those of you who have come to love my restoration posts, fear not....I have many projects waiting in the wings...

Here is a list of the guns that I currently have waiting to be refinished.

The first one I bought in a lot of guns from an estate a few years back, it is a Hi-Standard model B, manufactured in 1935 (4th year production). The gun is rusty on the right side of the gun, which is better than the left as that is where the roll marks are.

Here is what the gun looked like when I got it:

Another project is this Springfield model 83. Springfield was a trade name used by Stevens/Savage. This little single shot .22 rifle was made sometime before WWII. Both the wood and metal need refinishing.

I bought a bunch of guns from a gun shop that was liquidating their broken or ugly guns, I only paid $10 for this J.C. Higgins model 36. It needs a new take down screw and a complete refinish.

This little revolver is a 1968 vintage Hi-Standard Sentinel .22 R-107.

I picked it up at a gun show for just $80. It is functional, but looks like it has been through Hell.

The frame is made of cast aluminum, so if I do end yup refinishing this gun, it will most likely get a Cerakote finish.

This next gun was gifted to me by a local forum member. He never got around to refinishing it and decided it would fare better in my hands.

The rifle is a Remington model 513S Matchmaster, this gun left Ilion in 1946. It will need complete refinishing, including recutting the checkering and replacing a few missing parts.

Here are a couple of lever actions that I have owned for a while, I just haven't got around to refinishing yet.

This first one is a Winchester model 94 in 30-30. It was made in 1951 and probably took its fair share of deer. It shows the wear of many 'o hunt. It is not a high priority on my list, which is why I haven't messed with it yet and also it is a classic with some honest I am torn on the issue of refinishing it.

This 1894 Marlin is chambered in 44 Magnum, anyone who reads this blog often or knows me personally, knows my affinity for the .44 Mag.
Anyway the gun was made in the 1970s in the North Haven plant and could use refinishing both the wood and the metal.

This project started out with my appreciation for another gunsmiths work and having him write a guest post for this blog. He mentioned that he had another project he would be willing to sell. It was a classic Remington Rolling block contract gun. Made in 1872 under license by Carl Gustav in Sweden. This project will require having a modern barrel fitted to the receiver or rechambering/barreling an original barrel.

The Winchester model 47 below was found at a yard sale for just $15, I probably overpaid as there are few salvageable parts on the gun.....fortunately the rifling looks better than the outside of the gun.

This next rifle was also a gift from a forum member, it is a Meriden model 15, made sometime between 1912 and 1916. The gun was originally nickel plated. The wood on the butt stock is something to behold. 

I need to find some parts for it so I can get started on this project

This next one was purchased on a whim, it is a 1999 Ruger 50th Anniversary Mark II pistol....well part of one. I purchased the receiver and barrel. I will need the bolt, grip frame and associated parts to complete the project

Another Winchester, this one a model 74, a .22 autoloader built in 1949. The gun is missing the bolt (arn't they all?), but the $25 price tag meant that I could afford to spend the necessary duckets to get this gun looking and running good again.

One of my future 10/22 projects is a post-apocalyptic build, using a beat up factory beech wood stock, a rusty factory barrel, a broken factory aluminum trigger housing and a home built receiver

Another future 10/22 project is a lightweight budget project. using a mixture of factory and aftermarket parts we hope to build a 10/22 for less than $300 that weighs around 4lbs  

an 80% receiver from Tactical Innovations

A factory lightweight plastic stock

and a factory taper barrel that was cut down to 16" on a previous project

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Firearm Factory of the Month: Remington-Rand

This month's firearm factory is another war-time gun maker that had been making a different product but tooled up to fill government contracts.

The Remington-Rand Company produced some 875,000 M1911A1 pistols during WWII.

There have actually been three 1911 pistols to wear the Remington name. 
Remington-UMC of Bridgeport, CT produced M1911 pistols during WWI

Remington-Rand of Syracuse, NY produced the M1911A1 during WWII and Remington Arms currently produces the R1 1911 pistol. 

All three companies share the same roots in Ilion, NY.

We will start with the Remington Arms Company. Founded as E. Remington and Sons in Ilion, New York in 1816.

During the post Civil-War industrial boom Remington decided to get into the typewriter business. From 1873 to 1886 Remington made typewriters based on several patents.

A side note, the Remington typewriter was the first to use the now standard "QWERTY" keyboard arrangement.

In 1886 Remington sold the typewriter business to a new company formed by former Remington employees. The new company was named: The Standard Typewriter Manufacturing Company, the sale included the rights to use the Remington name.

The Standard Typewriter Manufacturing Company changed it's name in 1902 to The Remington Typewriter Company. Then in 1927 they merged with Rand Kardex (a maker of index cards). The new company was named Remington-Rand.

Remington-Rand had several factories in New England and during the depths of the Great Depression had to close some of them. One of those plants was on Dickerson Street in Syracuse.

The United States went to war on December 8th, 1941 and soon a War Production Board was established to control what products could be made for non-war use. 
On March 6th, 1942 the WPB established limits on the productions of typewriters with production to completely end by October of that year.
Ten days later (March 16th, 1942) Remington-Rand was offered a contract to produce 125,000 M1911A1 pistols. 

Remington-Rand created a new division called the "C" division and the re-opened their shuttered factory at 111 Dickerson Street in Syracuse. 
Tooling was brought in from various places and machines were reconfigured to produce pistol parts. Early on they had to purchase some parts from High Standard, Colt and others to get the pistols completed. By November of 1942 they had 255 pistols ready for inspection.

Remington-Rand M1911A1 Serial #1, a test pistol, never issued.

Workers assembling M1911A1 pistols

Throughout 1943 and 1944 Remington-Rand's contract was extended to produce more pistols. 

When production ended in March of 1945 Remington-Rand had produced 875,000 M1911A1 pistols, this was considerably more than the other two contractors (Colt & Ithaca).

Considerable efforts were made to produce the best pistol for the lowest cost. They hit home runs on both. The Remington-Rand pistols were considered the best quality of the three contractors and by the end of production they had lowered the cost to the U.S. Government to $23.92 per pistol and $.74 per magazine.

What Remains

After the war, Remington-Rand continued to focus on business machines and in 1950 they acquired the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, makers of the first electronic "computer". In 1951 they produced the UNIVAC.

In 1955 Remington-Rand was acquired by Sperry and in 1986 Sperry merged with Burroughs to form Unisys.

E. Remington and Sons have been bought and sold many times since their days of making typewriters. They still manufacture guns in Ilion and in 2010 (just in time for the 100th anniversary) they introduced a commercial M1911 pistol, dubbed the R1

The factory building at 111 Dickerson Street in Syracuse no longer exists, the factory grounds are now part of the campus of the Rescue Mission Syracuse