Friday, May 28, 2010


The top picture shows the Pachmyer Presentation rubber revolver grip. It is my favorite revolver grip. I've carried them for thirty years, and my accuracy and enjoyment of shooting revolvers, particularly powerful or light revolvers, increased exponentially since I began using Pachmyer grips in 1981. Basically, if a pistol of mine can have Pachmyers, it does.
Glocks, other plastic handled pistols and other types of guns for which no Pachmyers are made or will fit on do exist, of course. But over the years, various Pythons, Hi-Powers, Commanders, a wide range of revolvers and even several Thompson Contender pistols.
So I was able to shoot the venerable Smith and Wesson Model 1917 in .45 A.C.P. that I've written about before. It does attract attention at the range when I pull that out because of it's vintage self with modern grips on it. I mean, it looks just like any other S&W N Frame when you put Pachmyers on it because that's what it is, the first of the N Frames.
Of course, the 5 and 1/2 inch barrel and the unique front sight attract the attention. The watchers, who own Sigs and HKs and Glocks and come to the range with their guns in the little cases they bought them in and who have never owned a revolver, are fascinated with the full-moon clips I used to load and then eject a smoking heap of six spent cartridges on the table. It is the most amazingly quiet big bore gun I've ever shot, and it kicks about like you're shooting a .380 size shell instead of a .45 ACP round.
El Fisho Jr., of course, goes to town on the gun, which catches their interest even more, as he double action fires as fast as the range folks will let him, and makes a decent size group at 20 feet.
El Fisho Jr. would gladly go through a box of ammo with this gun every session if he could, it's that fun to shoot.
And I've solved the point of aim problem. The top part of the front blade sight on my gun is bent, and after talking to several experienced revolver gunsmiths they tell me to try to deal with it. No one wants to mess with it and break it.
So tonight I found that if you let the front blade reside fully in the rear notch as normal, but let the blade touch the right side of the notch, to the immediate left of the blade is the point of impact. I shot a rapid fire DA group of about 3" at 15 feet once I figured out how to hit a point of aim. So the sight will be fine. I showed it to El Fisho Jr. and he adapted right away and then shot a better group than I did with the gun.
I just wish I had this same gun with a 3" barrel so it could be carried. Yes, you can buy lighter .45 ACP snubbies, but the 325's seem wider to me in the cylinder area than my 1917. As it is, what a surprise that my dad had this gun and moreso that it's a great shooter.
If it could talk there would be some interesting stories this pistol could tell, after years in Brazil (either in military or police or guard service), and then all the hands it passed through getting it's way to my dad, probably at a gun show somewhere for about $100 after it had been refurbished and parkerized.
By it's serial number and a man named Roy Jinks from S&W, I know it didn't see WWII service, since it was part of the 1946 shipment of guns to Brazil, although the gun could have been laying around in any state since the frame was stamped in 1938. What is known is that it was shipped new to Brazil in 1946.
We shot the 1917 several times and again, once we figured out where the point of aim was, it's a dang accurate gun and a sheer pleasure to shoot. The most fun big bore pistol I've ever shot. It doesn't even SOUND like a big gun when it shoots. It goes "KA-POW!!!", instead of KAPOW!!!!! like most other big bore or powerful guns sound when shot.
We wear hearing protection, of course, but you can clearly discern a massive decrease in volume between the M1917 and a 1911 or Glock/HK/SIG in .45 ACP. It is far quieter than the 6" barreled S&W Model 25-5's that I owned in my twenties and thirties, and the M1917 shoots better and kicks far less than it's heavier N Frame breathren. I do not understand why it kicks less than all of these other guns shooting same or in some cases, smaller cartridges, but I'm so glad that it's recoil is extra mild, and I'm not kidding.
Maybe it's the 1917's frame? The metal it was made of? It's a lot lighter than the modern Model 22, and because of the tapered barrel it's a lot more compact of a gun. If I had traditional wooden grips on it instead of Pachmyer Presentation grips, it'd be even more compact. But the grips alone don't make it a big gun. IT IS a big gun.
There are two ways I could carry this weapon. Either in some sort of FBI cant speed scabbard strong side or in a low-slung 60's style "under the left breast" shoulder holster, with an open front and a strong spring around the cylinder holding the gun in the holster.
This old school design I'm talking about is probably the lowest profile shoulder holster you can get for a large frame revolver, and it's a much better design than the kind of holster that copies the "Dirty Harry" style shoulder holster, which rides much higher and to the front, and harder to conceal. I don't know what to call the old school design, but in movies in the 40's through the 60's where actors were packing big guns like the M1917, you saw those holsters.
My dad had one, and one day the spring broke and it just fell apart and became a useless piece of ripped leather with the end of a spring sticking out. I still have the harness, just need a holster.
So along with reveling in the performance of a gun that is right at 64 years old since being placed in service, we also shot a Sig P250 Compact with medium sized grip in 9mm, a very new design with some interesting features and
Billy Ray was there in fine form, shooting his Sig P250, as did I, as well as a dang nice Centennial j frame .38 special he's had for years in lightweight stainless.
The DA only of the P250 takes a bit of getting used to, and I didn't get used to it. I fired about 2 mags through it and it's my first experience with a DA only semi-auto. I've shot lots of revolvers in DA, but it's a different beast in the P250. I'm still thinking how much I like DA only in an auto. I'm not saying I don't like it, I'm just not sure what I think.
I think DA only is very safe with a hammer block safety like it has. I also think that with more shooting one could become familiar with the more mechanical feel of the trigger path. It's hard to explain. It's an excellent smooth trigger, I just had a hard time knowing exactly where it was going to break, but again, I think I need to shoot it some more.
Despite my having to get used to the DA ONLY trigger, which admittedly is not a new concept by any means, it's just I've never encountered it other than in stores and magazines.
I did fire one magazine of several two and three round bursts DA style at a combat distance of 7 feet, and got nice small groups where I intended them to go, the best group being about 5" in size. The first shot of each burst was quick aimed and following shots were more point shooting close range, following the bullet hole in the target. I give the gun an A+ for pointing well. Very well.
Other than that, it was accurate as heck on my first mag load through it. Billy Ray enjoys it and I'd like to have one too, although I think for me one grip step smaller would be best. Billy Ray has the Compact frame with Medium size grips.
Really, on the Sig P250 Compact with Medium grips, like the Glock 19, once you get shooting it, you don't seem to notice the grip being a bit larger than what you're used to if you're from the dark ages like me and learned auto shooting on single stack autos with slim grips.
The Sig P250 9mm with crap grade range ammo, basically one step above reloads, kicked less than either a Browning Hi-Power or Sig P239, and about the same as both the H&K PSP and P7M8 that I have owned. It was as accurate as the HK's for sure. Kicks a little less than a Glock, but not much.
Unfortunately, we had some FTF's (failure to fire) with the P250. I'll write more about that later, but we're concerned at this point because we each had a 10% rate of misfires with new moderate level 9mm ammo.

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