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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bad Ass Blaster from CT Brian.  Thanks for sharing, Kent!

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

A couple of new pics.

Some very slick Custom Hi-Powers that meet my standards. 

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thanks to Roy Huntington and AH

Thanks to Roy Huntington and American Handgunner for allowing me to use several of their pictures on my blog. I have been greatly influenced by AH over the years and highly recommend it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I buy 1911's

I am interested in custom 1911's built by:


Pre-WW2 Colts
Pre-1970 Colts
.38 Supers
Combat Government Models

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another rarity-Andy Cannon Custom S&W Revolver

Many of my gun peccadilloes are inspired by the authors of my youth-Col. Cooper, Cameron Hopkins, Ken Hackathorn, Pete Kokalis, Chuck Taylor, and certainly Mas Ayoob. I don't know why, by Ayoob's brazen attitude towards the establishment and his love of customizing anything under sun resonated with me. He was a huge proponent of fellow NH'er and then game warden and part time revolver-tuner, Andy Cannon. Cannon quickly became the wunderkind of the 1980's custom 'compbat' revolver scene. Ayoob proclaimed him as the best to ever tune an action and after several spreads in various gun-porno, Cannon became a big deal. He eventualy left New Hampshire for Montana and opened a full-line gunsmithing shop. I recall calling Cannon in his heyday around 1987 and things seemed awful busy for him. He was building tons of revolvers, but had a crew building rifles, rudimentary 1911's and also doing general gunsmithing work. It seemed his goal was to get big fast. After a fallout with Apex barrels over what Cannon claimed to be "bad heat treat" (They claimed improper machining) and a lots of resulting warranty work on some .44 magnum revolvers he built, Andy closed up shop and went back to being a cop. Apparently he was a good one, too. A few years later he hung his gunsmith shingle out again, but after his earlier endeavor, always worked alone. I spoke with him during this period and he was excited about getting in the 'smithing business again and sticking with his love,revolvers. His 1911's in comparison were pretty mediocre..he died prematurely of cancer shortly thereafter.

I recently picked up this nice 629-1 that has had cannon's full package-action, accuracy, integral comp, round butt, sights and metaloy chrome (over stainless!). Perfectly timed and smooth as butter mixed with teflon the Cannon action lives up to its legend. I will shoot it some and report back. Moose antler/Damascus Hunting Knife by Alaskan bladesmith Adam DesRosiers also one of the best in the business.
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Monday, August 9, 2010

King's Gunworks Custom Colt '70 Series-Do your homework

This is a great gunshow find-an elderly gent had this sitting on his table at the last show.  At first glance it looks like a plain Colt '70 series but it is actually a King's Gunworks custom-note the King's 206C grip safety, hammer, bushing and thin slotted screws.  It also sports a lowered and flared port done in the King's style.  Internally, a match sear and King's 4-leg sear spring reside.  A beautiful bluing job with the lightest carry bevel tops it off.  A very classy, Colt retro custom.

After a few minutes it was clear the seller had no idea what he had.  I was certain what he had.  We made a deal for less than the going rate of a used, stock Colt.  When I got home I found it had a $50 WW2 magazine in the butt.  A good day at the show! One of those days where doing my homework paid off.  Now I remember why i have all those old books and magazines laying about....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jim Hoag Revisited

I have found a very minty Hoag "longslide", identical to the gun used in Thief-built on a 70 Series Colt Gold Cup. What a beauty..the work is excellent and the weld is flawless. I replaced the heavy steel trigger with a lightweight plastic trigger just for functionality. here are few pics of some Hoag guns and also James Caan using them in the classic Michael Mann movie, Thief.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ed Brown maxi-Comp circa 1990


The real deal..on GUNBROKER right now but NOT FOR LONG
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Jim Boland Article part 2...




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Jim Boland 1911 Steel gun in .38 Super-AH article




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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Doubletap 38 super FAIL

Chronoed some Doubletap .38 super ammo today. 115grain XPB advertised at 1425 feet per we could get was 1222 fps out a 5" 1911.
very inconsistent-from 1030-1222 the vids...

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Hoag custom 1911 on the way

A nice "Class A" from the 80's by the look of it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kel-Tec or LCP Sight Installations

Philip at is well known in the area for great class 3 and suppressor stuff but he is also a very good general gunsmith and machinist.  When I brought Philip my pet Kel-Tec 3AT and asked to him to make some sights he eagerly obliged.

I had found that the little Kel-Tec shot way better than it should and was only really hampered by the non-existent sights.  I have hit a man-sized steel silhouette with my old p-32 without sights and got some pretty decent benched groups with the 3AT so I was prepared to give my little pocket protector some sights I could see.

Philip dovetailed a SIG 239 front sight and machined a new rear into the Kel-Tec slide.  It now has a great sight picture and I can amaze my friends by running the plate rack at the club with a Kel-tec .380.

Oh the joy of sights!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The BEST Custom 1911 Pistolsmith ever?

Jim Boland is my favorite pistolsmith and I am always looking for Boland Guns to buy.  They were ahead of their time in every way.  I know of no one building guns today that could duplicate his efforts.  I would estimate at least 100 hours of work in every Boland comp gun like the gun shown above.  Boland was the master of the welding torch-and no part was left untouched by its flame. He welded up frame pin holes and relocated them to suit his idea of where they should be.  1911 barrels were likewise welded on every conceivable bearing surface and completely redesigned.  The beavertail on a Boland gun or "Spring Board Tang" as he called it was complemented by "Gas Pedals" (Welded Swenson safeties), "Mud Flaps" (Thumb Guards) and the "Jungle Lips" magwell.  Add other esoterica like square wire springs, welded ejectors and mag catches and lots of machine cut checkering you have a Boland Masterpiece.  RIP Mr. Boland.

Jim Hoag Custom 1911 Longslide

Here are a few pics of Hoag Longslides-Hoag's speciality was welding a slide extension onto a 5' slide for greater sight radius and reduced recoil.  He is a Master!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Hidden gem for 1911 lovers-The Astra A-70

If you ever run across one of these Spanish beauties in a pawn shop, go for it. 8+1 capacity, Single action, very reliable browning style operation.  About the size of a Kahr K9, the only real negative is the chunkiness from the steel frame and a few errant sharp edges.  The sights could be improved also.

These pistols were produced from 1992-1997 and were originally part of a contract for the official Spanish plainclothes service pistol along with the very similar but nowehere near as good, Star Firestar.  Astra later "improved" the design with a decocker and double action trigger and dubbed it the A-75.  Also a neat gun, but not as cool as the A-70.

This is an EASY gun to shoot.  With some ergonomic changes and better sights it would really be a keeper. Hmmmmmm..

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Matt Lamey Damascus Bowie

Killer temperline Damascus fighter, ebony handle, damasuc guard with spacer


Friday, January 29, 2010

The results are IN. It's a tie?

Best semi-custom 1911 builder POLL.

Wilson Combat 7 (33%)

Les Baer 7 (33%)

Ed Brown 3 (14%)

Nighthawk 4 (19%)

Votes so far: 21

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

100 Custom Handgun Holsters and Related pics

From the best holster makers like Alessi, Sparks, Bulman, DelFatti, Garrity and others.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bruce Gray Custom 1911 Springfield Armory .45

Here is a classic old singlestack comp gun built by Bruce Gray during the late '80's.  Some dingleberry "deburred" the sharp 20 LPI checkering, but the precision is intact.  This gun is one of the best fitted 1911's I have ever encountered. The slide and frame are incredibly mated and feel as if they are riding greased bearings. Super trigger and huge welded up and swaged magwell.  Lots of little touch like fineley serrated slide top and 50 lpi checkered rear of slide. Bruce welded and recut the feedramp for flawless feeding. Check out that retro seamless beavertail. This gun is a one-holer.  Bar-Sto bull barrel and Swenson speed safety.

WANTED-Custom 1911's by Pachmayr, Rogers, Boland, Devel, Gray, Nastoff, Hoag, Swenson, Garthwaite, Vickers, Yost, Liebenberg, Giles, Pittman,

Wanted-Unique custom 1911's by the best makers-old and new.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Even the Wilson bushing and plug get blended and blasted

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Radiused trigger, mag catch and slide stop

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Blended safeties

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The Springfield 9mm 1911 is COMPLETE

So I took a plain jane and made it plainer :)

But better! Mostly accomplished with a belt sander, files, stones and GOOD QUALITY parts.

Thanks to friends Phillip and Jenny at my blended external parts are perfectly blasted.

A little lube and bit of spring tweaking and I have a great, basic 9mm 1911 that now runs 100%. More testfire to come.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

How to shoot, or rather HOW TO AIM A COMBAT PISTOL

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I often get asked, typically by people who should know better where a combat gun/carry  should "shoot", or rather where they should aim their "gat" at fighting distances to hit their targets. In my opinion, ALL fighting pistols should have a Point of Impact (POI) exactly or close to the Point of Aim (POA) from 7-25 yards(Sight image 2). The crosshairs superimposed over the crosshairs show the point of impact (POI).

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Transforming a Springfield Armory Loaded 9mm into a better mousetrap

Recently I was able to come in to a Springfield Armory Stainless loaded 9mm with fixed sights.

Springfield guns normally don't appeal to me for a variety of reasons-a multitude of sharp edges, non-standard dimensions (Brazil uses the Metric system after all..) and lots of low bidder parts (ie:MIM) begging to be replaced. This gun was no exception-gritty and sharp, it exhibited zero fitting, but after a tedious extractor replacement it was reliable and accurate enough for a little home gunsmithing.

I have been digging through my parts box and have replaced most of the flash chrome plated carbon steel parts (WHY?) and just about everything else but the barrel and have come up with a pretty decent 9mm loaner or range gun.

So far I have:

Replaced the trigger, hammer, sear and disconnector with Wilson bar stock parts.


The original trigger pull was about 8 pounds. SA uses a very funky hammer/sear angle that defies home gunsmithing to get any semblance of a good trigger pull. The parts looked liked they were cooked in an easy bake oven and sprayed with silver krylon. The original trigger had lots of up and down play and an impressive amount of pre-travel.

I have also replaced the ILS housing with a Wilson 30 LPI ss mainspring housing. The ILS is a bad idea in so many ways-it uses a short mainspring which never quite feels right and you usually immediately lose the little key that unlocks the thing. Bad JuJu.

The ambi thumb safety went in the trash also. Poorly fitted, the right side would barely disengage the safety and the left side was sharp enough to clean your nails with. Sorry, I hate most ambi safetys as a rule. Replaced with a properly blended, radiused and fitted Kings cast part.

The MIM slidestop was replaced with a Greider stainless part. The slide stop is the most important pin in the gun-it is the bedrock for the barrel/slide fit. Don't use MIM here-ever.

The firing pin stop was replaced with a Wilson bulletproof square bottom and the extractor was replaced with an SVI barstock piece. It took forever to fit since it seems the extractor tunnel was a bit far away from the centerline of the breechface.

Replaced the mim, plated mag catch with a Greider unit, deburred.

Replaced the chrome plated bushing and plug with stainless parts, also from Wilson.

Replaced the chrome plated grip screws with a set of VZ Slex screws.

Replaced the Titanium firing pin with a real steel one.

Replaced all chrome plated pins with Wilson stainless pins.

Tuned the ejector to clear live rounds. Restaked the grip screw bushings and plunger tube.

Oddly, the gun feeds 100% after the extractor work. The slide and frame fit is sloppy, and the barrel is a drop-in fit that doesn't lock up like a real fitted job, but who cares, this is a beater. A range gun that will likely be loaned out to others to shoot cheap 9mm ammo in.

PS-I also have a Kimber take off .38 super barrel that fits like a glove. :)

Pics to come after I get the small parts bead blasted by Phillip at Innovative Arms. Hopefully tomorrow.

PS-Please don't add up how much all these parts cost. I might cry if you do.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Smart Part-Liebenberg Designed Pistol Dynamics ISS 1911 sight system

Paul Liebenberg is a smart guy. After shaking up the custom 1911 world while an innovator at the famed Pachmayr gun works in the 80's, at the S&W Performance Center in the 90's, or now at his own Pistol Dynamics, Paul is always brimming with ideas. IMNSHO One of his best ideas is his ISS interchangeable sight system.
In his words:
Our proprietary interchangeable sight system (ISS) is the only fully secured
replaceable front sight design available for the 1911. This unique design relies
on a precise press fit of a dedicated dovetail sight to a matching longitudinal
dovetail machined into the slide. The front sight is also trapped by a retention
tab integrated into the design of either a solid or spherical Pistol Dynamics
keyed bushing. The fit of the front sight to the slide is precise enough to
ensure that the sight will not dislodge during field stripping and cleaning. A
tombstone-bushing wrench is supplied with the system. Numerous front sights
options are available that include height variations and a myriad of inserts.
System includes one standard front sight ..............$195.00 installed, plus
shipping The ISS System is available as a factory install only. We will need your slide and barrel assembly in order to fit the system. Please call for a compatibility check before mailing your assembly.
This is a VERY slick setup and allows easy front sight changes in the field depending on conditions and/or height adjustment depending on POI. Brilliant! My Ned 10mm wears this sight. I love it-I would change all my guns over if I could.

Monday, December 28, 2009

.22 Conversion Kit Redux

After a good showing today I think that for now I am going to stay with the Marvel 1 and 2 for Steel Challenge -they are reliable enough after my mag tuning efforts and are well known for their intrinsic accuracy.  The Advantage Arms Target Unit had a few bobbles that I believe were related to a heavyish mainspring in the particular frame I installed it on.  Will try again..for best results you should use a 19 or 20 pound hammer spring with .most 1911 22 Kits. I am also not too keen on their polymer mags-hard to load... I will stay with metal for now....just call me a Luddite.
At any rate, the I am ready to take on all comers with my iron sighted .22! LOL

Here is the one I really want

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Further testing .22 1911 Conversion Kits today

.22 1911 conversions have been an interest of mine for 20 years.  I have owned just about everyone available: Kart (5" and 6"), Day, Colt, Ciener, Marvel 1&2, Pachmayr (yuck!), Jarvis, and Kimber.  One thing you immediately learn when messing with these things is that they are incredibly finicky. My most reliable unit is a Marvel Unit 1, but it doesn't fit in a standard holster, so I typically shoot the unit 2, that fits the holster well but gives me some sort of bobble about every 75 rounds.  Not good enough for match winning scores in my opinion.

My new pistol shooting passion is Steel Challenge with my iron sighted 9mm EGW gun.  Part of my practice regimen is using the .22 unit to lessen the expense and try to "push the envelope".  My best runs are typically with the .22, but not always.

To optimize reliability I use only CCI Mini-Mags.  They aren't the cheapest, but they are clearly made to a higher standard than most other .22 ammo and have enough energy to cycle any unit briskly.

My metal mags (Marvel) have all been tuned in accordance with Bob Marvel's protocol-what a pain in the butt.  I have 3 polymer mags to test-Marvel, Kimber and Advantage Arms.  I think the Advantage will be the winner, but we shall see.  If these don't perform to my standard I am going to bite the bullet and buy a Tactical Solutions.  Their mags are rumored to be the best.  I have handled them but never used them...will report back...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How to test a Tactical Folder-Videos!

Andrew Demko the designer of the Cold Steel folders with the TriAD lock shows us how he tests his creations for strength and repeatability.  I have long advocated properly produced alternative locks to framelocks and liner locks and these videos easily prove my point.  Andrew shows us that his lock design can hold over 2000 pounds of force at the pivot with zero damage.  Lockbacks, especially those by Cold Steel or Spyderco RULE.  This test would easily EAT your Strider, Emerson or Sebenza for lunch!

What is old is new again.

Anyone interested in custom 1911's should know the name of Bruce Gray. One of the tenured talents of the 1911 world, Bruce has worked at such famous shops as  Devel, Behlert Precision, and for a spell worked with the smartest guy to ever work on a 1911, the late Jim Boland. Bruce has been a consultant to many companies in the industry like SIG, HK, and Lasercast bullets.

 Bruce is well known for his analytical skill and prowess with welding torch and checkering file.  I own a Gray compgun from the late 80's and will share some pics soon but for now take a look at this: The Gray "Hardtail" conversion.  Bruce has been doing these for years-I will assume that he learned this from Boland as many of the Boland guns were built with a vaguely similar, but non functional "SpringBoard Tang" as he liked to call it.

The hardtail is functional and elegant-it is actually easier to consistently depress than a standard grip safety.
I covet this! My dealings with Bruce have always been informative and pleasant-he is a real gentleman. Even though he is doing more SIG and HK work these days than 1911 stuff, I am real tempted to have him build me somethin'! I got the "gotta haves" real bad for this!