Sunday, August 31, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Take this "X" colored pistol and make it "Y."
In some cases, it is because the original finish is worn beyond belief; sometimes, because it is stainless steel and too shiny for the new owner.
In this particular example, it was both.
This is a fairly "young" S&W 1911 .45, The stainless slide & frame tactical rail model, with blued controls.
Well, they WERE blue when they left the factory. After only a very short time in a duty holster (weeks, not months) they became less than 50% blue.
My impressions of this .45 are very favorable. It runs like buttah, and if I had one I was keeping, about all I would do would be to polish out some of the cosmetic machining marks left on the controls, specifically the Ambi safety (which I suspect is an option or an aftermarket installed by the owner.) Here is the "After," and this is matte Black DuraCoat with a 3-layer matte clearcoat on top, after 5 micron aluminum oxide blastification:
Note that the "Retard Warning" and the logo overkill were removed from the left side of the slide & frame by request.
It goes together very tightly; an Insight M3 Light seats just peachy on the rail.
My only personal gripe is the slide release, but I gripe about that on most any 1911.
I would prefer something other than the aftermarket Hogue grips if it were mine, but then again, I put sandalwood grips on my S&W M&P .38, so you know I'm odd already. The original wood would have been OK by me.
Nice gun. I'm sold on the Smith 1911; I'm NOT sold on the price (for me- I'd rather build my own.) But I can see the appeal, and I would not hesitate to recommend it if someone were after a pricey .45 instead of a pure all-weather duty gun, like a Glock or a Springfield XD.
Based on this gun's controls, though, I just wouldn't recommend a BLUED one.
There are stainless, scandium, and melonite models available.
At $1100-ish MSRP, this is not over-the-top out- of-line too fancy to buy and use.
And no stupid integral lock anywhere in sight.
Bottom line: Me likey.
To be fair, I have not and likely will not shoot either of these 2 .410s that I just got in. .410 is just nothing exciting to me at all.
Introduced in 2005-2006, and imported under the Remington "Spartan Gun Works" name, these guns are basically Russian Baikal IZH-18M-Ms with a nickle-plated receiver and a vent rib attached. These 24" barrel single-shot .410s are currently priced at under $180 each.
The 2 examples I received in yesterday were noticeably different from each other, even though they are identical in model number ( a customer ordered 2.)
The 2 barrel assemblies were identical, with the exception of one barrel being laser-engraved under the chamber with "Read Manual Before Use." This could prove to be a real trick in itself, as the manual consists of paperwork folded up similar to a road map, and then stapled together. It seems that is should unfold so you can read it, but the pesky staples are in the way of opening it up all the way.
These guns are a hammerless design, with an opening lever behind the trigger guard and an action that cocks on closing. The safety is a cross-bolt design, and while ads say the trigger is titanium coated, they both look like that were hot salts blues to about a straw color- probably because of the rough finish prior to plating (or whatever was done to them.)The cocking indicator is a piece of off-white plastic "nub" that sticks up from the top of the receiver. (Red would have been better.)
One gun came with a nifty trigger lock assembly, a strange little plastic "dome" type doohickey that locks over the entire trigger assembly with a key that looks like a mini barrel busing wrench. I'm not sure why no such device was included with the second gun.
Both boxes had "Youth Handgun Safety Notices" included, which struck me as kind of odd. Perhaps the distributor adds them to all shipments.
Gun "A" has a blued trigger guard, really fat, with edges sharp enough to cut steak, and a crisp and decent opening lever at the rear of the guard.
Gun "B" has a plastic trigger guard, and the opening lever at the back of it looks like it was made from a leftover 10-speed bicycle brake part.
Back to the barrels: the finish is good on the barrels on both guns. The bluing is really nice-where there is bluing. The strangest thing to me about these little .410s is how nice the bluing is on the barrels, and how the muzzle end looks like it was terminated with a CHOP SAW. There is 0% Blue on the muzzle end of the barrel of either gun. Very odd; it is all I can do to restrain myself from hitting both muzzles with cold blue before delivering these.
The wood on both guns is very nice, I'd say about an 8 on a scale of 1-10 (for what these guns are.) The forearms, I like- the stock, specifically the grip section, pisses me off. It is so thick that a kid or a petite lady would likely have a hard time keeping a secure hold of this shotgun. I do not have massive hands myself, but can handle a full sized 10mm Glock with no problems- yet holding this .410 feels kinda like holding on to a 2x4.
Weight on this gun is excessive; I'm guessing because of the wood, and the extra beefy receiver (guessing the same as the 12 gauge receivers on other Baikal single-shots.) The actions on both guns are very stiff right out of the box; many kids would have problems getting these opened OR closed. There is an ejector "override" switch on the bottom of the receiver, which is kind of unique.
The packing was secure; but you would think that Remington or Baikal would bother to inspect the nickel for plating "spots" and actually remove the machining gunk, oil, and debris from the assembled actions prior to packaging (apparently not.)
If I was Remington, I would want some serious improvements on the QC on these before my name was attached to them- at the VERY least, in the arena of cleanup prior to shipping.
Will this gun shoot? Most certainly. After all, they are single-shot .410s, and as they are brand new, ok acquisitions if you can get them for under $200. Given my druthers, though, I would hunt pawnshops for a 60 year old plus American single-shot .410, and get by with paying $100 or less on something that can be refinished the way I want it, and easily repaired by any 'smith with some common sense. Overall, I'm very "John Kerry" ambiguous on this one-I can take or leave the SPR100.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Or is he?
I am unclear.
The new BATFE ruling (PDF File here) equates many basic gunsmithing functions with manufacturing, and would seem to force many current Type 01-Gunsmith FFL holders into re-upping ASAP as Type07 FFL manufacturers, or face being in violation of a shipload of regulations. So, without futher racket, here is the text of the letter I sent to ATF, looking for clarification.
Firearms Technology Branch
244 Needy Road
Martinsburg, WV 25405
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to request clarification regarding the ATF’s current legal stance regarding firearm refinishing conducted by a Type 01 FFL- holding gunsmith, specifically refinishing processes performed on weapons brought in or sent in to the gunsmith by the current individual owner for the purposes of rust proofing, Parkerizing, plating, epoxy coating, camouflaging, and/or heat treating.
The ATF ruling “Manufacturing of Firearms” dated August 15th, 2008 (enclosed “attachment A”) clearly states (item 14) that “ATF has determined that both colorization and heat treating of firearms are manufacturing processes The companies performing these processes are required to be licensed as manufacturers.”“firearms or firearms receivers ands send the firearms/receivers out for colorizing (bluing, camouflaging, phosphating, or plating) and/or heat treating. HOWEVER, this response was to a question (also Item 14) which refers to a COMPANY that produces
My concern is that a Type 01 FFL Gunsmith who performs a heat treatment, or a refinishing procedure on a worn or damaged firearm (or receiver) finds themselves potentially misclassified as someone who should hold a Type 07 manufacturing FFL, when there is no viable manufacturing of a complete receiver or firearm occurring.
Without clarification, this ruling might be misinterpreted to reclassify a licensed gunsmith who:
A) Repaints a front sight on a handgun when the paint has worn off, or
B) Changes or replaces a fiber optic insert on a front sight from one color to another, or
C) Heat treats a slide, cylinder, or even a serialized frame or receiver that has been through a fire, for restoration and safety
D) Re-parkerizes the same fire damaged firearm, or
E) Nickel plates an antique family heirloom firearm for a customer, or
F) Camouflages a firearm for duty usage for a local Law Enforcement agency, or
G) Finishes a firearm for a customer who has legally made his own firearm for personal use, having filed the appropriate ATF E-Form 1 (5320.1) or
H) Epoxy clear-coats a rifle to prevent its rusting, or
J) Plates a worn part to increase its thickness and make it serviceable again, or
K) Refinishes a pink “girls” rifle to a blue “boys” rifle, or
L) Refinishes an upper receiver and lower receiver on a firearm so that the colors match.
As you can see by my examples, the possibilities for misunderstanding in this situation are quite numerous.
It is also my understanding that as of the time of this writing (August 20th, 2008) that firearms refinishing is not a taxable event for the purposes of collecting Federal Excise Tax, per
(Below the heading of “Gunsmiths,” exact text of TTB webpage section is included on separate pages as “Attachment B.”)
With the above being true, it would seem illogical for a type 01 FFL Gunsmith to be reclassified as a Type 07 FFL Manufacturer solely on the basis of performing a “manufacturing process”on a firearm/receiver brought in to a gunsmith for repair and/or refinishing. (Much as actual firearms manufacturers will likely need to be or employ gunsmiths and finishers, not all gunsmiths or refinishers being manufacturers; as a person that repaints an automobile is not a full automobile manufacturer, yet an auto manufacturer will surely employ painters.)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
But obviously, my wanderlust is kicking in, as now I realize how pissed off I am at missing the Campaign for Liberty rally that will be going on at the same time as the RNC freakshow next week.
Guess I'll just crank the Aimee Allen tunes after lunch.
I think I'll let the Alice Cooper play for now, though. Maybe Alice will cheer me up.
Even the thought of the Ron Paul Autographed 7.62 Colt isn't giving me adequate warm fuzzies, right now.
M-O-O-N. Back on the phones in 30 minutes or so. ugh.
But, as has been said before, you have to survive the short run to get TO the long run, and getting out of debt and preparing ourselves and families for an eventual move require me to presently have "frozen sales monkey butt." As it is lunchtime, I will likely go out back and stare at the parking lot...more cityscape and perhaps F16 jet traffic above, if I am lucky (go Vipers!)
It saps the will to function right out of my soul, though, when I think that I could be in our "driveway," looking at this:
...and working towards our ultimate goals.
We we there now...
Instead of going back to a rental home to figure up bills and write checks, I could blow off the afternoon and evening plans, grab the Mrs., and go to the lake...
But realistically, I'd even prefer to have a safe full of Glocks, Beretta 92s, Mossy 500s and AR15s to work on in digital camo, (even though THOSE get somewhat dull!) VERSUS having to sit around getting fatter for the next 4-5 hours. Aaaargh!
Anybody know what I could get for a kidney? ANYTHING to speed up this process.
Monday, August 25, 2008
So, this is what I do for fun & profit. I take dull, run of the mill weapons and camo the heck out of them. I also do a fair share of firearm rehabilitation-"cosmetic surgery," if you will, on rusty, fugly, and well-used guns. Pits filled, holes plugged. All by request. Many firearms purists despise this type of work and finish- I am not in a position to reach out to those folk's happiness just yet. I am already set up to black manganese parkerize, DuraCoat and do a bit of electroless nickle; until I move in a couple of years, I will not set up to hot blue or Zinc park. When I do, though, hold on tight-it will kick smurf arse. Meanwhile, I have plenty on my plate to keep me at the shop for 20-plus hours a week.
This shining example is a "snakeskin" type camo, usually applied by folks using the good old fashioned GI laundry bag or sniper veil. While those produce pretty cool results on their own, I prefer various other netting sources. This Remington 870 started out as a 4-color pattern; once I got my heart into it, though, it rapidly evolved to seven.
Here is Stretch, the shop assistant/apprentice, posing with the partially assembled remmy:
Stretch is a good kid, and she had fun working on stuff this summer, learning tools.
It beat the snot out of mowing lawns & cleaning gutters, I suppose...or worse, detassling corn.
I gave her a WalMart face, until such time as she decides she's not shy. I mean, how self conscious were you at 12?