May 3, 2011

Day 3, in one shot

Sunday dawned gray, and MrsZ and I slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, and finally rolled in to the show around noon. We spent some time wandering the main floor (what I termed the "beef jerky floor", because it felt much less like an expo and more like a traditional fun show), checking things out, and met up with Elmo Iscariot and one of his better halves briefly.

The whole show was MUCH less crowded than it had been the preceding two days, and I was able to spend some time really talking to vendors.

A stop by the Apex Tactical booth brought up some VERY interesting products, particularly for the competitive shooters.
First: a hammer/sear drop-in kit for 1911s, which runs about a hundred bucks and will bring trigger pull down to about two pounds. Their sample gun was VERY clean-breaking and light. Weerd and I played with it a bit, and discussed it with the reps. Short form: redesigned hammer/sear geometry crisps things up. It also will need some tuning of the mainspring and probably a new recoil spring, but for a race gun with light loads, it could be a great setup. Their rep did specifically say that a heavy spring set could cause enough recoil to slip the sear, which is a VERY BAD THING. So, neat, but use with caution. Clearly NOT a carry option.


The second piece they were showing was a tuned up S&W 627PC eight-shot .357. It had a new bobbed DAO hammer, new springs, and the action had been tuned to about three pounds. Yes, a DAO three-pound pull. Unbelievable. The rep cautioned that it requires handloading with Federal primers in order to insure consistent ignition. Still, a beautiful piece. Labor is $275 and the hammer and any other parts would be additional.


And the last thing on their table, arguably the most interesting to many shooters, was a new spring/firing pin set for S&W J-frames. Factory action on a J-frame is about 12-13 pounds; their springs bring it down to about nine, and smooth as silk. I asked about reliability and light strikes given the lightened springs, and they admitted to some light strikes during initial testing, but have since started shipping the kit with an extended firing pin that (supposedly) resolved the issue. For $25, this is worth considering. I picked up a set and will do some testing of my own over the next few weeks!


A swing by GunUp revealed Caleb showing the after-effects of the night before:

He may have been slightly under-the-influence still, as he tossed a set of Revision Hellfly eyepro to us with his compliments. I can't wear them (damn you eyeglasses!) but MrsZ can, and I'll be putting them in the range bag as extras for new shooters as well.

From there I scooted over to Charter Arms' booth and took a look at the "Pit Bull" revolver. This has been in the works and on the horizon for quite some time, and looks to be pretty interesting. Revolvers for rimless cartridges are nothing new (to wit, the S&W 940 and 625) but they've always needed moon clips to properly headspace and eject the cartridges. Charter has developed a beautiful spring-clip setup that holds the cartridges in place and ejects smoothly. I will be curious to see what happens with a torture test, however. We all know what happens with a wheelgun when a bit of unburned powder hides under the star - will the same thing happen with the clips on these? For $450 MSRP, it's a fascinating carry option and something I may look into testing out. (Also note the tight gap between the cylinder and recoil shield; it looks good!) (The fellow in the background of the pictures is Nick Ecker - the president of Charter Arms. On the show floor talking to customers. Kudos to him!)





I wandered back by Silver Stag's booth again and looked over their products once more. I fondled a few, and took a few pictures. The same fellow who had given me such attitude on Friday was now more interested in talking to me, and offered me anything on the table for half-price if I'd write a review on their knives. (Perhaps that "media" thing works after all.) I told him I'd think about it, and walked away. Short form: their knives are pretty, may be very functional, and are a very fair price for the materials involved, but the attitude of the managing partner soured me on EVER purchasing one of their products. Here's a big old Z-raspberry to Silver Stag Knives! :-P



From there I moved over another aisle to Black Rain Ordnance and looked at some VERY pretty AR-style rifles. No prices listed, but their site shows prices starting around $1500 and going up. I love the barrel profiles, the milled receivers are gorgeous ... but the flash hiders have a definite "WTF" quality to them.



I headed up to the media room and said goodbye to the folks that were heading out, and got a few pictures of everyone still there:
(Me, BredaMom, Breda, JayG)

(Mike W, Me, JayG, Newbius, Alan, Breda, WeerdBeard, David)

At that point the NRA shut down the media room and threw us back on the floor, so several of us meandered until show closing time, and ran across a few last things of note:

At the S&W booth, the E-series 1911s:

They're awful nice. For a carry option, that'd be tough to beat. Still, for $1300, they ought to be nice.

Also of note at the S&W booth, the display M&Ps had triggers like gravel. Honestly, the worst trigger I've ever felt on a production gun. I hope that's not indicative of the series. They had a PC Model 60 on the stand as well that had a 18+ pound trigger pull. I grabbed Weerd and said, "Hey, feel this." He did and his reaction was the same as mine: WTF? I grabbed a S&W guy who first tried it single-action and said it was fine, then I told him to try it double-action, and his reaction was, verbatim, "Wha... wow, that's fucked up." It was the last hour of the day, so they didn't pull the display model, but glad to know I'm not completely crazy.

At the CZ booth there was a rack of BRNO double rifles, with gorgeous wood and engraving:

And chambered in shoulder-breaking calibers (That's .458WinMag/.458WinMag.):

After the show floor closed at 5, the NRA was kind enough to let the bloggers handle some of the National Firearms Museum pistols:

That is one of the 1907 trial pistols, serial number 1, from _____. (Someone help me on make? I didn't note it!)

Yours truly rather upset Jim Supica, the director of the museum, by working the action on that one. (Someone hands me a gun, I clear it. Habits don't die.) Apparently it doesn't like to go back in to battery, and one of their folks will have to spend a while getting the action closed. Crap. :-\

They did, however, let me handle the others in the case, including the Luger entry, a Colt 1911 (serial number 4), and a C-series Colt 1911 that went to Guadalcanal, iirc. Amazing pieces of history, and what an honor to handle them!

Sunday evening, the remaining folks had dinner at a chain steak house, then retired to Newbius' hotel room to have a few beverages and play show'n'tell.


Old NFO said...

Nice report! I'm truly sorry I had to leave early...

Link P said...

That last picture would be the Savage Model 1907.