Tag Archives: 1911

Review – Craft Holsters LT 21/1 Appendix Carry Holster

Holsters are a very personal thing.  Most people who concealed carry will have a box or bin full of holsters because of the nature of holsters.  Most universal holsters end up being universally lousy.  So we end up getting holsters for individual guns and for various purposes.  That excellent drop leg tactical holster fits a completely different niche than a deep concealment holster for use with a suit.  Then there are all sorts of little things like how a holster may require wearing different size clothing.  Unlike for my normal rig, I had to buy a pair of pants one size larger to accommodate a 1911 in my waistband.  I’ve heard from women that there can be some issue trying to mesh good fashion and conceal carry, fortunately for me, fashion is not something I know.  In any event, it is always good to have multiple options for concealed carry.

We were contacted by Craft Holsters asking if we would like to do a review.  I hadn’t heard of Craft Holster before, so I look into them and learned that they are a distributor of several European brands.  I ended up getting from them a LT 21/1 black leather appendix carry holster for the Colt M45A1.  Craft Holsters also offered a variety of other options for the M45A1.

It took about two weeks for the holster to ship.  I received the Falco branded holster in nice plain easy to open packaging.  Right out of the package the retention was good, no fitting or stretching required.

The belt loop is mounting on a strap allowing you to tuck your shirt in over the holster.  I didn’t try doing this as I prefer to wear my shirts untucked.

Retention is very important.  It could range from awkward to disastrous if your pistol falls out of the holster unintended, yet you need to be able to quickly and easily get the weapon when it is necessary.

 

The classic test for retention is to place an unloaded pistol in the holster and shake it above a pillow.  This isn’t always a test that will accurately reflect how well the holster will hold a pistol, but it is considered the standard test.  This holster holds the pistol well and the draw is easy.  It has loosened up a little after the hundred or so draws I have done from it, but it still holds the pistol well.

Some inside the waistband holsters will collapse when the pistol is drawn, making holstering nearly impossible.  Not the case with this holster.  I found reholstering to be easy.

Appendix carry has grown in popularity recently, and there are some good arguments that it is the most superior form of concealed carry for the fighting handgun.  I don’t think I would suggest it for the pure novice as the muzzle stays near and points at parts of body we would rather not harm.  Once someone is competent and confident that they can handle a firearm doing tasks like holstering and unholstering with out shooting them selves, then appendix carry is something to look into.  Appendix carry keep the firearm in a location less likely to be touched by others in casual interaction, and provides a very fast draw even in adverse situations such as when in a grappling fight.

I believe it was Jeff Cooper that said something along the lines of, “Handguns aren’t suppose to be comfortable, they are suppose to be comforting.”  Now days we prefer to have both.  When you first wear a new holster, you are not going to be used it is, and it is likely to be uncomfortable.  This usually changes over time.  I’ve never concealed a 1911 before, so that is a fair sized chuck of steel next to my groin that I was not used to.  I found the LT 21/1 immediately comfortable when standing or laying down.  I even slept with it on.  Sitting was not so comfortable, I found my self slouching to try and get more comfortable.  This will change as I wear it more, and perhaps adjusting how far left or right it is worn.  When wearing a new holster, there is a bit of time when your body has to get used to it.  I hadn’t quite found the sweet spot.  But this is fairly common when trying out a new holster.  You need to take time to get adapted to it.

I usually find it easy to be critical of stuff I work with.  I didn’t find anything that I thought was an issue with the LT21/1 Holster.   I’d prefer for the magazine catch to be covered on a concealment holster, but adding leather there might make it harder to get a high firm grasp on the grip when drawing.  While wearing this I never had the safety swipe off or the mag catch get pressed.  So it is a non-issue.

I like this holster and would recommend it, but for me, I think I will stick to carrying my plastic wonder-nines.  But it is comforting to know that I have a good option for the 1911.

 

Inland MFG/Bond Arms “Liberator” Test & Review

 

Earlier this year I received the Inland/Bond Arms  “liberator”   derringer pistol.   With Inland making a lot of WW2 era guns over the last few years and them teaming up with other companies like Ithaca to make others,  it isn’t a surprise the name was brought back as a homage of the old single shot pistol dropped in occupied areas for friendly underground forces to use to  get something better.

So now we have a sort of tribute to the idea.     You can see the  liberator is still quite big for a two shot pistol.  Here is is beside a Colt Defender, sub compact 1911.  This being the first bond arms pistol I had done more than look at as I walked by a display, I was not prepared  for how heavy duty this things are .

Inspecting the piece you can see that they are made very well.

Above is the roll mark and name.  A moniker that pays tribute to the original cheaply made junk gun that was a single shot.  No doubt the Inland’Bond Arms is made to a much higher standard  to say the least.

The wooden grips have a nicely engraved Inland Logo. Though the down side side is , the grips making shooting  sustained fire painful. The beauty is, if you fire your two shots, the guns are strong and tough enough to beat some one to death with it.

Attention to detail is impressive on these pistols.

The trigger is as heavy as you probably guessed considering the type of gun this is and what roles its meant to fill.   I tried on and off for a few months to really master it off hand.  The idea was to get  as good as I could with it and  fire it like I would if I had to in a life threatening situation.    I did manage to keep  all the shots on a  FBI Q target, at the ranges you would use a gun like this after much practice getting use to it.    But that didn’t demonstrate the accuracy of the pistol so i went to the bench and punished my self.

Above is 4 shots of federal HST from 10 yards off the bench.   The trigger is tough to master so it takes a lot of concentration to shoot a type group but the gun can be accurate.

This is a 5 shot group at 15 yards from a bench.  I would have done just four rounds but I pulled one and though I could do better, so I fired an extra round to make up for it.  Easy to get tired with this gun as it is punishing to shoot and the trigger is like bending a nail.

Last we have 10 rounds fired off hand at 15 yards.  This was still slow fired.  I never could get the hang of doing the two fast shots like the guy on the TV commercials.  I squirm at the thought of having to shoot that gun enough to be that good with it.

Bottom line is, the gun is very well made.  The company takes pride in these pistols and their skill at making them. You can tell that by a close inspection.    While had to shoot fast, they can be accurate.  This one showed much potential and if I was the kind of guy who is used to bog bore revolver recoil, I’m sure I could have done better for everyone with it.   I’m not though, and the wooden grips and recoil of such a small gun firing full power 45ACP rounds was more than I could take for long period.    I do see why the bond arms guns are popular with a lot of people though.  They are nostalgic and certainly finely made.

 

KAHR ARMS P45 Part 2 Accuracy Test

The last time we took a look at the Kahr P45  in the first part to my review. I covered it’s various attributes and features.   http://looserounds.com/2017/05/21/kahr-arms-p45-part-1/

Now we will take a look at how the gun does in accuracy testing.  I did the testing in my usual manner. I shot 5 shot groups of various ammo I could get my  hands on at 20 and  25 yards from a a bench with sand bags.  Ammo was of the the type to be used for duty or self defense and some ball and target ammo handloads included.   All groups are shot slow fire  to the best of my ability to  try to give the gun every chance to show us what it has.

Per request I also started the practice of shooting handguns meant for defensive use at longer ranges. The idea being the possible need to stop a terrorist who may have explosives strapped to himself.

First off we have the Hornady 185 gr  SWC handloads.  A personal favorite accuracy load of mine that I won’t be sharing the load data for.  The load is a go to for accuracy testing and the gun loved it as much as most others.  The markings are the sharpie drawn square I drew for the target.    All groups are at 20 yards unless  marked.

The next load is my personal carry ammo.  The barnes 185 gr solid copper HPs in a +P load.   My 1911s shoot well with it and the extra weight of the gov model tames it.    The Kahr with its plymer frame and light weight made for painful shooting.  The gun also didn’t seems to like it as much as the M1911s.

The next group is a well know favorite of many.  Many of the local LE officers use it as their duty ammo.  I have never been in love with it to the same degree as others but  that’s just a personal choice.  This was group  is about what all other groups fired with the GD looked like.  I could not get it to shoot any tighter.

Next I tried some 230 grain lead practice and plinking ammo. It is common to use this as a plinking and practice load.  The gun didn’t like it to put it mildly.

Next up is another popular load.  The Winchester ranger T load,  a 230 gr HP that is basically the much hyped “black talon” without the evil black.  It was and is a common and popular police and carry loading that many still like to use.  It was so so.

 

The Federal HST is another common and some what popular self defense rounds at least locally..  I have never used it much beyond shooting it as a test load in pistol reviews, If you carry it and are thinking of a P45, here is how it did in the T&E sample.

The next two are both FMJ 230 gr ball rounds.  Not much to say about factory ball that you don’t already know,

This group is fired from my other self defense carry load.  This is the Corbon  185gr +P solid copper HP.  It is the same bullet as the barnes load without the grey/black coating.  This load shoots great in my 1911s and does well in this gun.   To no surprise  at all, it was rough shooting the hotter loads through the P45. The grip texture and the polymer frame are not comfortable to a guy like me used to the weight of the M1911. But it is an excellent SD load.

This is the Corbon  load in the 165 gr solid copper round.  It is again the same Barnes solid copper HP bullet in 165 grains  but not a +P loading.  This round is tailored for the shorter sub compact handguns with shorter barrels.  I use it as the standard carry  ammo in the Colt Defender.   It also works fine and is much more pleasant in the P45.  If i was going to carry the P45 this is the SD load I would use in it.

Above is a 10 round 25 yard group  fired with the target load of 185 SWCs.    The  loads are excellent in the P45.  Maybe it just likes 185 bullets period? It seems so on the surface anyway.

The same load fired a 50 yards as promised.  I fired two mags at the orange square not quite off hand but nor from bags and a rest.   It was more or less semi-supported as I rested my hands on something while standing up.   I would have shot 50 from bags and the bench but  didn’t realize that was the last of it I had until after I had shot this target.   Anyway, if you had to take an emergency  long range pistol shot I would think you would have to do it without sandbags and a bench anyways.    Maybe you could get into prone  to  steady yourself if you had time but who could really say?   It’s always worth seeing how a handgun or rifle would do offhand anyway.

 

The gun had no problems for me. I fired  896 rounds with no problems using a variety of bullet styles and  pressures.   I purposefully never lubed the gun and never had a problem.  The trigger is not what I would call great as I am of course a 1911 guy but I think it is fine for the striker style.  It took me considerable dry fire practice for 5 nights in a roll to get used to it.  No fault of the gun this is just a fact of life for a guy born with a M1911 in his hand.  All of the controls are easy to hit and I can’t fault it with anything.   It would make a good CCW pieve for the new owner looking for a solid reliable pistol without spending a lot.

 

 

 

Firearms Reverse Engineering : Best Of Weaponsman

Since the passing of our friend Kevin, AKA “Hognose”  we have been  running a “best of” spot of Kevin’s articles.   Best of being a bit of a misnomer as every thing he wrote qualifies.   We will continue posting Kevin’s writing as a tribute to him and an effort to make sure it always exists some where as  we are alive .

 

Firearms Reverse Engineering

One thing about the people of the gun: we’re conservative. By that, we don’t necessarily mean that we want 15 carrier groups back, eager to cut taxes and services, or sorry that mandatory chapel was gone by the time we went to college. There are actually card-carrying ACLU members and ivory tower socialists among us, but they’re conservative about their guns. For every reader who’s up to date on polymer wonder pistols, there’s about three who wish you could get a new Python. (The reason they can’t is that they don’t want it $3,500-4,000 bad, which is what an old-style hand-made perfect Python would cost to make today). Or a new Luger. For every one of you guys following the latest in M4 attachments (hey, let’s play “combat Legos!”), there’s a few who’d buy a new MP.44, if they could.

Every once in a while, gun manufacturers decide to satisfy these consumer yearnings with product. Sometimes, they succeed. Sometimes, the 10,000 guys who told them they were down for a semi-auto Chauchat turn into 10 guys who buy one and the businessmen get to undergo the intensive learning lab called Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The question becomes, if you are raising a zombie firearm from the dead: how? Even the original manufacturers tend not to have prints and process sheets for >50 year old products, and if they do, the documents are ill-adapted to the way we do things now. If your original product was made in Hiroshima or Dresden pre-1945, or Atlanta pre-1865, odds are the paperwork burned. If the company went tango uniform even ten years ago, rotsa ruck tracking down the design documents.

So, you’re sitting here with a firearm you know you could sell. You have the rights to reproduce it, because any patents and copyrights and trademarks are either in your possession or expired or defunct. Your problem is reverse engineering. It turns out that this is a very common problem in the firearms industry, and the path is well beaten before you.

Some Examples of Reverse-Engineered Drawings

People can do this with some calipers, a dial indicator, and some patience. Rio Benson has done that for the M1911A1.

Screenshot 2015-04-03 09.58.55

He explains why he thought a new set of documents were necessary in a preface to his document package:

Historically, when the drawings for John M. Browning’s Colt M1911 were first created, there was little in the way of ‘consensus’ standards to guide the designers and manufacturers of the day in either drawing format or in DOD documentation of materials and finishes. For the most part, these were added, hit or miss, in later drawing revisions. Furthermore, due to the original design’s flawless practicality and it’s amazing longevity, the government’s involvement, and the fact that in the ensuing 100-plus years of production the M1911 design has been officially fabricated by several different manufacturers, the drawings have gone through many, many revisions and redraws in order to accommodate all these various interests. These ‘mandated by committee’ redraws and revisions were not always made by the most competent of designers, and strict document control was virtually non-existent at the time. All of this has led to an exceedingly sad state of credibility, legibility, and even the availability of legitimate M1911 drawings today.

He modeled the firearm using SolidWorks 2009, with reference to DOD drawings available on the net, and his own decades of design and drafting-for-manufacture experience. The results are available here in a remarkable spirit of generosity; and if you want his solid models or his help producing this (or, perhaps, on another firearm), he’s available to help, for a fee.

findlay-stenIn a similar spirit, experienced industry engineer David S. Findlay whom we’ve mentioned from time to time, has published two books that amount to the set of documents reverse-engineered  from an M1A1 Thompson SMG and from a Sten Mk II. The limitations of these include that they come from reverse-engineering single examples of the firearm in question, and the tolerances are based, naturally, on Findlay’s experience and knowledge. So his reverse-engineering job may not gibe with the original drawings, but you could build a firearm from his drawings and we reckon the parts would interchange with the original, if his example was well representative of the class.

Nicolaus M1 Garand bookOn the other hand, Eric A. Nicolaus has published several books of cleaned-up original drawings of the M1 Garand, the M1D, the M1 and M1A1 carbines, various telescopes, etc.

Nicolaus’s books provide prints like the Findlay books do, but they’re not reverse engineering. They’re reprints of the initial engineering, cleaned up and republished. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Sometimes the Industry needs Reverse Engineering

A perfect example is when planning to reintroduce an obsolete product. Most manufacturers that have been around since the 19th Century never foresaw the rise of cowboy action shooting, but now that it’s here, they want to put their iconic 1880s products in the hands of eager buyers. Or perhaps, they need to move a foreign product to the US (or vice versa). In this case, reverse engineering the product may be less fraught with risk than converting paper drawings which use obsolete drawing standards, measures and tolerancing assumptions. You may recognize this reverse-engineered frame:

reverse-engineered_walther_frame

If you are exploring a reverse engineering job, there are several ways to do it. The first is in-house with your own engineers. (You may need to ride herd on them to keep their natural engineers’ tendency to improve every design endlessly in check). The next, is to outsource to an engineering consultancy that does this. The third is to use a metrology and engineering company, like Q Plus Labs, from whom we draw that pistol-frame example. They say:

[W]e offer numerous reverse engineering methods and services to define parts or product. Q-PLUS provides everything from raw measurement data to parametric engineering drawings that correspond to a 3D CAD solid model! We also offer reverse engineering design consulting to point you in the right direction.

  • Digitizing & Scanning
  • Measurement Services
  • 3D CAD Solid Modeling
  • Engineering Drawings

In other words, you can go there to have them do, essentially, what Rio Benson did with the 1911 with your product. They can digitize an item from 3D scanning, or they can take a drawing and dimension it from known-good examples. Given enough good examples, they can actually determine tolerances statistically and substantiate them to a level that will satisfy regulatory agencies such as the FAA. (This lack of a range of parts and statistical basis for the tolerances is, in our opinion, a rare weakness in Findlay’s single-example approach).

Reverse engineering has gone from something in the back alleys of engineering or attributed to overseas copycats, to something firmly in the mainstream of modern production engineering.

 

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

A Short History of Chrome Bores

Again this week we have a post from our friend Kevin O’Brien, owner and author of weaponsman.com.  Kevin AKA Hognose, passed away earlier this year and in a back up effort we will be running  “The Best of weaponsman”  which could be every technical article he  wrote. 

 

For some 500 years it’s been known that rifling would impart spin and therefore stabilization to a ball or bullet. Spiral grooves probably evolved from straight grooves only intended to trap powder fouling; by 1500 gunsmiths in Augsburg, Germany, were rifling their arquebuses. This gave rise to an early attempt at gun control, according to W.S. Curtis in Long Range Shooting, An Historical Perspective: 

In the early 16th Century there are references to banning grooved barrels because they were unfair. Students of the duel will recognize this problem arising three hundred years later.

Curtis, 2001. Curtis notes that why rifling was twisted is unknown, and that it may have been incompletely understood. He has quite a few interesting historical references, including one to a philosopher who explained that if you spun the ball fast enough, the demon (who dwelt in gunpowder, which was surely Satan’s own substance) couldn’t stay on and guide your ball astray. (Curtis’s work is worth beginning at the beginning, which is here).

By the mid-19th Century, the Newtonian physics of the rifled bore had been sorted out, the Minié and similar balls made rifled muskets as quick-loading as smoothbores, and the scientific method allowed engineers to test hypotheses systematically by experimentation. So smoothbores were gone for quite a while (they would return in the 20th Century in pursuit of extreme velocities, as in tank guns).

Rifling had several effects beyond greater accuracy. It did decrease muzzle velocity slightly, and it did increase waste heat in the barrel. The first of these was no big deal, and the latter was easily handled, at first, by improved metallurgy. But rifling also helps retain highly corrosive combustion by-products in the bore; and corrosion was extremely damaging to rifling. Pitted rifling itself might not have too much of an effect on accuracy (surprisingly), but the fouling that collected in the pits did. Corrosion also weakened the material of barrels, but most military barrels had such great reserves of strength that this was immaterial, also.

Fouling and pitting have been the bête noire of rifles from 1498 in Augsburg to, frankly, today. A badly pitted barrel can only be restored by relining the barrel, a job for a skilled gunsmith with, at least, first-class measuring tools and a precision lathe with a long bed. Relining has never been accepted, to the best of our knowledge, by any military worldwide.

Chrome Plating is Invented: 1911-1924

One approach has been to use corrosion-resistant materials for barrels, but that has been late in coming (late 20th Century) because it is, of course, metallurgy-dependent. Early in the 20th Century, though, American scientists and engineers developed a new technology — electroplating. George Sargent, of UNH and Cornell, worked with chromium as early as 1911, and Columbia scientists developed a commercially practical process of using electrodes to deposit chromium by 1924. Meanwhile a New Jersey professor worked with a German process.

The two groups of professors formed start-ups, the Chemical Treatment Company and the Chromium Products Corporation. At this point, chrome plating has not been applied to firearms. Electroplating had been used for guns for decades, of course, but that was nickel plating — eye-pleasing, but soft and prone to flaking, not suitable for bores, and not remotely as corrosion-resistant as chromium.

(This article is rather long, so it is continued after the #More link below. We next take up the application of this process to rifle bores).

Chrome comes to bores in the lab: 1925-32

One thing that had held chrome plating back was lack of a practical quality control method. George Dubpernell discovered a practical test almost by accident: chrome would adhere to copper, but copper would not adhere to chrome. This was later supplanted by NDT methods, but it was essential to the growth of chrome in industry.

Olin’s and Schuricht’s patent of 1932 (not 1935, a rare error in Emerson),  US Patent 1,886,218, applied chrome plating to small arms and sporting weapons’ bores. They applied for the patent in 1927, and note, as is now well known, that bores must be made slightly oversized to account for the dimensional changes from chrome deposition. They also, interestingly, saw chrome plating as a way to restore worn rifling and eroded barrels. We’re unaware of any such use being brought into practice in the intervening decades.

Meanwhile, in 1937, T.K. Vincent noted that:

Chromium plating of small arms barrels results in longer accuracy life. However, the cost of plating is excessive compared to the results obtained.

The longer accuracy life results from taming the bugbear of bore erosion. By 1942, in a thorough study of bore erosion of guns large and small (from 3″ naval guns to small arms),  Burlew noted a report by Russell that considered chrome plate a “bad” material from a bore-erosion standpoint, except “when made very adherent”; in that case it was an “excellent” material, roughly five to nine times better than ordinary plating. Chrome-plated steel barely edged out bare steel, and all beat exotic metals like Inconel and Monel; the least erosion was found in the chrome-plated barrels with the thinnest chrome plating (0.0005″), although all these tests were of a 12″ naval gun, and their applicability to small arms might not be direct or proportional.

The technology of chrome plating continued to advance, even as weapons designers struggled to bring the technology’s benefits to bear on practical small arms.

Adoption of chrome by the world’s militaries — early adopters

The Empire of Japan was the earliest nation to chrome the bores of its rifles. The Japanese had different reasons, perhaps, than other nations. In Japan, supply of high-quality steel was insufficient to wartime requirements. This is especially true after 1940, when the United States imposed sanctions on the island nation, which depended on imports for almost all resouces; and even more true as unrestricted submarine warfare, which was ordered implemented even as the Pearl Harbor strike force was recovering on their carriers, began to strangle the home islands.

Casting about for a way to work with the second-rate steels they had, the engineers at Sagami Arsenal, which was used for ammunition storage and for war production (Japan’s only 100-ton tank was built here; it was too heavy to move to the seaport for deployment) set upon a 1937 patent. They concluded that chrome-plated mild steel could substitute for some high-speed and high-carbon steels, and from 1940 that’s what Japanese engineers did. The history of a Japanese firm explains:

The Japan Science Council reported then Government to recommend the policy to apply hard chrome plating on the low grade steel as the alternative to high grade one, such as special steel or high-speed steel, under the difficult external trade conditions to get them, the invention, Patent No.131175 (1937), “the method to deposit hard and thick metal chrome plating” by Minoru Araki, the former president of Company, being as the technical foundation. It was followed by the request to establish a specialized company of hard chrome plating (industrial chrome plating) from National Headquarters of Aviation, Sagami Arsenal, and customers.

As a result, the next rifle adopted by Japan, the Type 99 Arisaka 7.7mm rifle, had a chrome-plated bore. As David Petzal writes for Field and Stream, they were “the first military barrels ever to have this feature.”

The industrial and materials-science reasoning behind Japanese chroming is missing from most US sources. Gordon Rottman (a fellow SF veteran) writes that , “the Japanese had the foresight to produce the type 99 with a chrome-plated board to prolong barrel life, ease cleaning, and protect it from tropical rust.”

In addition to the Type 99s, all of which were intended to be made with chrome-lined bores, all Type 100 submachine guns, some late Type 38 6.5mm Arisakas, and some late Type 14 “Nambu” pistols had chrome-lined bores. By late in the war, ever more serious materials shortages meant that chrome bores were one of the features deleted from late production guns (like such Type 99 features as a monopod).

The United States initially chromed only large-caliber artillery bores. From Navweaps.com:

In the 1930s, the USN started to chrome plate the bores of most guns to a depth of 0.0005 inches (0.013 mm). This was “hard chrome,” which is not the kind that you find on your father’s Oldsmobile. This plating increased barrel life by as much as 25%. The plating generally extended over the length of the rifling and shot seating. Chrome plating has also been found to reduce copper deposits.

All along, as a large body of scientific papers at DTIC reveals, US small arms developers continued to work on chrome for small arms. US engineers were aided in this by their very great extent to which chrome was being used in the automotive industry. Springfield Armory developers would have had access to many papers being produced at the same time by the SAE, and Springfield of course worked closely with the developers, themselves, of chrome industrial processes.

But chrome was not standardized for US small arms bores until after World War II — in fact, not until the mid-1950s, well after Japanese and Russian adoption of the technology. As we’ve recounted here before, the first US weapon to be manufactured new with a chrome bore was the M14 rifle. Around the same time, chrome bores were used in developing a 7.62 mm NATO conversion kit for the Browning light machine guns, and replacement barrels that were manufactured for Legacy weapons like the M1 rifle, started to be manufactured with chrome bores as well.

Because chrome bores lost some definition in the rifling, and therefore some accuracy, National Match rifles continue to be produced with standard bores. But the advantages of chrome in the field could not be overlooked.

The M16 rifle was initially produced without a chrome bore. There are two reasons for this: first, the M16 was a product of a private industry initiative, and not the usual Army development system. The disastrous fielding of the M-16, with the bare bore combined with very poor maintenance practices and some units, led to the Army adding a chrome chamber, and then finally a chrome bore to the weapon.

Another assembly of the M-16 was chromed, and this led to a lot of problems. The part in question was the entire bolt carrier group. Early on, a number of the bolts and bolt carriers failed. This turned out to be due to metallurgical problems, specifically with heat treating (that will sound familiar to anyone who has followed the M14 history), the deficiencies of which were masked by the plating, and also with hydrogen embrittlement of the steel carrier during the chroming process. The specification was changed to require the bolt to be Parkerized, except for its internal expansion chamber, and the inside of the bolt carrier key, which are still chromed (chroming only a single surface of a part does not risk hydrogen embrittlement).

Early chrome BCGs that were properly heat-treated and passed testing were allowed to remain in M16A1s by the Army, but they were not allowed to be deployed OCONUS. The reason given (in the M16 maintenance manual, TM9-1005-319-23&P) is simply to prevent glare off a chrome bolt carrier from exposing soldiers’ positions.

The USSR‘s reasons for introducing chrome plating (whether for corrosion control, ease of cleaning, or metallurgy) are unknown to us, but extensive collector interest makes it clear when the feature was added: 1950. No known 1949 SKS or AK rifles have chrome bores, some 1950 models do, and almost all 1951 and subsequent guns do. Chinese AK and SKS rifles were produced with chrome bores from their introduction in 1956. Some satellites’ bores were not chromed, notably Yugoslavia’s pre-1970s. (Yugoslavia was technically not a “satellite,” but it was a Eurasian communist country).

For practical purposes, this means that all Soviet and Chinese spec AKs will have chrome bores. In addition, gas pistons are also chromed. This greatly facilitates cleaning, and prevents corrosion in a highly corrosion-prone part of the system.

Russian small arms of larger caliber, including the 37mm tube of the RPG-7V, are also chromed.

Adoption of chrome by the world’s militaries – later adopters

Belgium, a small country that looms large in world firearms exports thanks to FN, was not an early adopter of chrome bores. The entire production of the FN-49, including all ABL, SAFN, and AFN rifles, left the FN factory with conventional steel bores. Much later, metric pattern FALs received, first, chrome chambers, and later chrome bores. What makes FN interesting enough to comment on here is their  use of chrome extended to the internal parts of their MGs and the insides of their receivers, making MAGs and Minimis very easy to clean.

US variants of these FN guns don’t have these parts chromed. The initial MAGs and Minimis purchased using using special funding vehicles by select US special operations units, had these features. In subsequent US production, the chroming was eliminated, and those parts of the M240 and M249 are Parkerized. We don’t know if this was done to save money, because the Army simply preferred the Parkerized coating, or because of the Army’s bad experience with chromed bolts on the M16A1.

Britain adopted chrome bores well after World War II, including some retrofits like the L4 Bren Gun from at least the L4A4 version to the final L4A9. As noted above, Britain’s inch-pattern FALs did not receive chrome bores.

Chrome chamber vs Chrome bore

Industrially speaking, each of these had its own pros and cons. Chroming the whole barrel was more expensive, increased demands for both manufacturing and inspection precision, required the rifling to be cut slightly oversize (to allow for the chromium deposition), and led to much greater waste. Chroming the chamber was a compromise that enhanced extraction — a sticky problem with many automatic arms — without the costs and problems associated with full-length bore chroming.

But the US experience showed that half a loaf (chroming the chamber only) didn’t get the job done. While the chamber became very resistant to corrosion, GI’s inspection of the bore often stopped with a glance in the chamber area, and if the chamber was gleaming, they’d assume the rifle was good to go — eveb as combustion byproducts and deposits ate away at the rifling.

Meanwhile, chrome bores let the manufacturers do things that were difficult or even impossible with conventional manufacturing processes. As noted above, the Japanese were able to use chromium plating to substitute for lack of chromoly steel. In the USA, Springfield Armory discovered that by slowly withdrawing the barrel, chamber first, from the chromium bath they could create a squeeze-bore effect due to the higher deposition of chrome on the parts of the barrel that were in the chrome bath longer. (Methods of altering the depth of chrome depositions produced at least two patents, 2,425,349 and 2,687,591; the second is Springfield’s process).

Chrome’s cost rises

In the 1970s, the chost of chromium suddenly went through the roof: the two greatest producers, Rhodesia and the USSR (ironically, two defunct nations, today) were locked out of the US market, the former by sanctions and the latter by international politics. (Note that around 1974 the styles of American cars began to use less chrome plate and more body-colored and black molding. This fashion was driven in part by costs).

Today, the biggest driver of rising plating costs is new environmental regulations. Chromium, like most metals, is something you really don’t want to breathe in.

Quality chrome plating is still expensive, and cheap plating produces a lot of waste. Some gun parts makers have chosen to, essentially, ignore the waste and ship products with poor (or zero!) nondestructive testing and inspection, sacrificial sample examination, or other valid QC.

Chrome plating today & tomorrow

Plating has to fight to maintain its place vis-a-vis other anticorrosion technologies, including noncorrosive metals (i.e. stainless steel) and superior steel coatings like Melonite, but it has a very strong position as an erosion fighter, particularly in barrels subject to high temperatures (think automatic fire).

Some scientists are working on electroplating as a means of additive manufacturing. Laugh if you like, but the plating industry of today was entirely based upon laboratory discoveries.

And gun engineers continue to apply new kinds of chromium treatment to bores. A recent patent application by Rheinmettal covers depositing a different thickness of chrome in the lands and the grooves of a rifled barrel.

One of the biggest changes is that a chrome-plated bore, if made with sufficient care, may be as accurate or more accurate than a bare bore. (For example, SAK manufacture M16 replacement barrels seem to outshoot many target barrels). But this may not be as big a change as you think. According to Emerson, in 1962 Springfield Armory made a small quantity of chromed National Match barrels. They discontinued the practice not because the barrels were bad, but because they were much more expensive to make than bare barrels, and they were not any better. But they were atdid fully comply with national match standards at the time.

Chrome-lined barrels are currently the standard in military small arms. This will change if and when something better comes down the pike – and not before.

References

Burlew, John S. The Erosion of Guns, Part One: Fundamentals of Ordnance Relating to Gun Erosion. Report No. A-90 Progress Report. Washington: National Defense Research Committee, 8 Sep 42. Retrieved from: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a422462.pdf

Burlew, John S. The Erosion of Guns, Part Two: The Characteristics of Gun Erosion. Report No. A-91 Progress Report. Washington: National Defense Research Committee, 31 Oct 42. Retrieved from: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/b280242.pdf

Curtis, W.S. Long Range Shooting, An Historical Perspective. Research Press, 2001. Retrieved from: http://www.researchpress.co.uk/longrange/lrhistory.htm

Dubpernell, George. History of Chromium Plating. Products Finishing magazine, 13 Nov 12. Reprint of Plating & Surface Finishing from 1984. Retrieved from: http://www.pfonline.com/articles/history-of-chromium-plating

Emerson, Lee. M14 Rifle History and Development. Online Edition, 2007. 

GlobalSecurity.org. Sagami Depot, Japan. n.d. Retrieved from: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/sagami-depot.htm

Koka Chrome Industry Ltd., Company History. n.d. (2011 or later). Retrieved from: http://www.koka-chrome.co.jp/en/company/history.html

Olin, John, and Schuricht, Alfons. Gun barrel and process of finishing the same. Washington, 1932: US Patent No. 1,886,218. Retrieved from: http://www.google.com/patents/US1886218.

Rottman, Gordon. Japanese Army in World War II: the South Pacific and New Guinea, 1942–43. 2005: Osprey Publishing. (p. 36).

US Army, Technical Manual: Unit and Direct Support Maintenance Manual (Including Repair Parts and Special Tools List): Rifle, 5.56mm M16A2; Carbine, 5.56mm M4; Carbine, 5.56mm M4A1. Washington, DC, 9 Apr 97

Vincent, T.K. Development of Chrome Plating of Guns. Abstract only (have been unable to find the full text). Aberdeen Proving Ground: Ballistics Research Labs, 1937. Retrieved from: http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?&verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=AD0701179

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

 

Colt’s New Lightweight Commander Part 1

The   of Colt light weight Commander  has been  around for a long time.    It was the first major variant of the M1911 that colt brought out to the market and while a lot of the big names associated with handgun use and training and gun writers  at the time considered  close to perfect for carry, it did not take off in popularity at the time.

The original Commander with the ally frame  lead to  the Combat Commander with the steel frame.  The all steel frame commander is  a fine gun. It handles superbly and  some people, lie my brother, find they can shoot the combat commander better than a full size 1911.   I have owned both and love both but I have come to prefer the original commander over the CC. The reason for that is that if I am going to be carrying a smaller gun, I may as well have a smaller and lighter gun.  For all of my adult life I always preferred the full size M1911 for carry and I still do. But with the  Commander ( I will refer to the alloy frame as what it originally was , the commander and the steel frame later model as the CC , for Combat Commander )I get a M1911 a little shorter and considerable weight savings.  While the Colt Defender is a sub compact, it  doesn’t give the sight radius or full grip of the commander.  The subcompacts also require careful accounting of how often you replace springs.  Of course that isnt’t a deal breaker or a negative, it’s just the trade off for having such a compact gun.  Just like rotating tires and changing oil.

With all that in mind, when Colt brought a Commander back out in specs that are much like my beloved XSE models, I bought one as quickly as I could.

Like all Colt handguns it came with two Colt factory mags in the same finish as the gun.  They are of course full sized mags because the commander has a full sized grip.  Both mags are the 8 round type sure to give an upset tummy to the 7 round mag purists I have no doubt.

 

A very nice touch on this new model is the grips.  This is a big upgrade Colt has been adding to its current pistol line up because they are the  very tough VZ grips.  As you can see the grips are made with the Colt logo made into the checkering and it is very attractive to my eyes.  I like checkered wood grips on CCW guns and these look and feel the same as wood checkering and are a lot tougher.  Unlike wood checkering these won’t wear down and smooth out like wood, keeping the gripping texture the same.

The commander comes with the an  extended combat safety.  I am not 100 percent but I am pretty sure it is a wilson combat model.  I still prefer the STI safeties that came on the XSE series, but I have no complaints with this one and I doubt I will ever change it out.  The temptation to go ambi is strong though. I have a hard time understanding why anyone for not want a safety they could deactivate with either hand when it comes to a gun they think some day they may have to fight with.   That said, it is not a must and I will leave this one as is.

You can see the current commander comes with the hammer type that was introduced when the original commanders came to market.  A lot of people really like the look of this “rowel ” style hammer and will add one to their guns.  For a long time I was indifferent about this but in recent years it has grown on me.  It is however slightly heavier than the rounded hammer that is more common, so it does have an advantage beyond classic good looks.

You can also of course see the now standard S&A grip safety.  I am pleased to say this is something colt has started doing since 09 and it was long awaited by me.  There are a lot of grip safeties out there but this one is the one I always opt for when I have a choice.

The commander also comes with the standard sights for Colt’s combat and carry pistols.  Those of course are the Novaks. I know there is a move towards rear sights that can be used for cycling the gun by hand if wounded in one arm but I find that there are plenty of other edges on a 1911 that  can be used for this.  The front sights, the edges on the ejection port are a couple of examples.   I love the look and lines of the novak sights. I also like the non snag lower profile.  It’s been around forever and more than 2 million have been sold.  There is a reason for that.

Another very welcome touch is the front strap.  Like the Colt Gold Cup target pistols, the commander has the front strap cut for gripping grooves. With the VZ grips, and the matching MSH, this makes for  a very solid and sure grip.

And of course the scalloping cut where the trigger guard meets the front strap is there.  This little bit of detail makes a big difference for me.  The way I grip the guns benefits a lot from that little bit of metal being removed.  I know it makes no difference for some people’s grip, but it does for me and its a very nice touch that used to be a custom gun only detail.

Like every pistol Colt has made for carry use since 2009, the commander has the edges dulled for carry and comfort.   The front sight can be seen and its the Novak front.

The commander also uses the standard, original recoil spring guide and plug.  No full length guide rod. I can remember a time when the standard  JMB system was good enough, then it wasn’t and we all had to have guide rods, and now we are back to the USGI original parts being the preferred and wise choice.  I agree for what it’s worth but it’s funny how things go back and forth.   Of course the commander uses its own parts for this as its shorter than the government model.

On the topic of recoil springs, the commander uses the now standard dual recoil spring system.   The original 10mm delta elite came with a dual recoil spring system and it was brought back when that gun was resurrected.   The next gun to get that treatment was the  M45A1 made for MARSOC.  This  dampened recoil and wear and tear on parts so much it was made standard on a lot of the new models.   It does help,  I noticed the recoil of the new delta to be tamed greatly and it makes a big difference with this light alloy framed commander.    I have no doubt it will eventually be the recoil spring set up in every colt gun in the near future.  It adds not complication in taking the gun apart nor does it hurt function.  It does soften recoil.   I am considering changing over to  dual springs on my guns that are already comfortable to shoot like my full size government models in 45 ACP.

The crowning on the barrel of this gun is interesting.  The picture doesn’t show it well  but It has a very nice crowning job.  I don’t mean it’s just a competent job done on an assembly line, I mean it looks to me like it was given special care.  I have carefully compared it to my other Colt’s of this years vintage and it has a crowing job you would expect from a gunsmith.  I have not confirmed this is a new standard Colt has started to phase in, but I hope so, I will update this post when I learn the answer to this.

The barrel is the stainless steel Colt barrel seen on all modern guns save for the models that come with the Colt national match barrel. Of course it is shorter than the full size gov model.   The standard slide release is seen on the right side as well as the three hole competition trigger.  Unlike the XSE models or Gold cup this 3 hole trigger is  not adjustable for over travel.  This isn’t a problem because the truth is, the new triggers from Colt are excellent.  They are crisp and break clean.   That is not to imply they are 2 pounds or lighter, but they are  greatly improved from the triggers from pre 09.   I have purchased five Colt M1911s since 2014 and the triggers on these guns are all I could ask.   I have never bought into the complaints about the series 80 triggers anyway, but the factory has really upped their game on putting out fine fire control parts on their pistols.  I can only  imagine how good the new series 70 competition series 1911s  are.

The roll mark on the slide is the now standard style that is a throwback to the commercial vintage models.  It has always been my favorite version.   I’m glad to see they are sticking with this marking system for  the time being,   The right side roll marks are of course the lines that denote  the specifics of the model as always.  In this case the light weight commander.

Right side also shows  larger flared ejection port.  Another now standard feature on all models not meant to be retro.  The new style cocking serrations can be seen.  These first showed up on the MARSOC M45A1  USMC gun and it looks like they are here to stay on every gun that is made to modern styling.  A few models have the legacy serration pattern or something else but every gun that is meant for tactical/CCW use now has this pattern.   If I could change only one thing..       Not to say I hate it or have to avert my eyes, but I simply like the older style  or the serration found on the older XSE models not extinct but for the Combat Elite.    Some will rejoice that there is not forward slide serrations.   Looks-wise,  I don’t really care.  Do some models look better without them ? Yes.  Do some look fine with them ? Yes.    If I am going to have them I would rather have the older style if I had a say in the matter.  But having them, not having them or style  would not make me buy or not buy.    For the record I do think front cocking serrations are a nice thing to have on a gun that may be used for the most serious of environments and having options in emergencies are always good.   I like them on my XSEs, I like not having them on some other models.   I just like 1911s .

Just for comparison,  pictured below is classic serrations and XSE style.  I use XSE  as a expedient term not only for angle of the serrations but spacing of each cut  as well as  forward serrations. This angle of the serrations of course existed before the XSE line, but  the amount of serrated cuts and size  varied.

This is the more classic retro original style.

And below are the XSE type seen on a Combat Elite.  All styles are fine with me.   But, as I said before if it was up to me, I would have stuck with the XSE style.   I’m sure the change over came because it was easier to make some using the new system that was came about for the specs of the M45A1.   It would have been a waste to have a set up just for one model pistol that came about because of the wants of the most flaky and fickle of customers, the US Gov.

 

 

 

Not pictured because I forgot, is the standard Colt slightly beveled magazine well.   A little better than no bevel but not really enough to reach the same benefits of an extended beveled well.   I have not felt any real pressing need for an extended beveled well added since I stop competition.    For carry or fighting guns I like being able to quickly load mags that don’t have a bumper pad,   My thinking is, you never know what mag you may have to use in an emergency and I want it to lock in immediately without worrying because it doesn’t have a pad and I didn’t eve think about it because I am used to my personal mags having the extended bumper.   Without the extended well It’s not an issue for me .

As usual, part 2 will be accuracy testing.  I have been carrying this gun for about 3 months in a variety of holsters and carrying options.  The gun already has 1500 rounds through it with no problems.  Accuracy has already show to be excellent with my carry ammo so I expect it to do well with other types and brands.    Formal accuracy testing beyond what I carry has not started as of this writing but it will be coming with a few weeks,    Please come back by for Part 2.

 

 

 

KAHR ARMS P45 Part 1

With Trump winning the election. A few things have come to pass.   Gun buyers ( wrongly)  have assumed the danger  of a possible “assault rifle” ban has ended for a while, the rush to buy those guns has subsided ,  there has been a sharp alarming rise in radical left violence  and CCW promotion has been on the march.   With growing carriers  and more states “allowing”  permit less carry, those new to CCW need guns to carry.  Most of the new gun owners  wanting a handgun have  more interest in  smaller more compact and lighter pistols for carry.  In fact a lot of veteran Concealed carriers want those things in a carry gun if the last few years  have taught us anything.  I suppose not everyone is like me and insists on always having a full size government model on the at all times.  Who knew?

 

With that in mind, when Kahr arms graciously  offered me my choice in pistols to review, my first selection was the P45.  Assuming I don’t explode the p istol in my own face, you will be seeing us reviewing more firearms from Kahr.

https://www.kahr.com/Pistols/Kahr-P45-w-Night-Sights.asp

Caliber: .45 ACP
Capacity: 6+1
Operation: Trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; “Browning – type” recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect
Barrel: 3.54″, polygonal rifling, 1 – 16.38 right-hand twist
Length O/A: 6.07″
Height: 4.8″
Slide Width: 1.01″
Weight: Pistol 18.5 oz., Magazine 2 oz.
Grips: Textured polymer
Sights: Drift adjustable, tritium night sights
Finish: Black polymer frame, matte stainless steel slide
Magazines: 3 – 6 rd, Stainless

 

With the specs listed above, lets take a look at the gun with my observations.

The gun is indeed flat and compact.  It has the now standard polymer frame common on modern pistols.   The rear  of the grip has a textured checkering that bites into the hand when as soon as  you grip it. It is  not sharp or painful but it is effective.  I found it to work a lot better than the type I have encountered on the various glocks I have shot.

The front has the same type of  checkering as the rear and  once you grip the gun, it is staying put.

 

P45

The front strap also has a undercut where the trigger guard meets the front strap.  This allows a higher grip and is something I have on all of  my serious use M1911s.  The trigger guard also has a contour in it that helps lock the alternate shooting  hand into place once you wrap it around your firing hand.  At first glance I didn’t know what purpose of this was but it became pretty clear quickly.  I don’t know that it will perfectly match up to everyone’s  hand shape and size but it did mine.

The magazine release button is where you expect and works perfectly.  It has some checkering on it but not as aggressive as the grip.  With the size of this gun it should be no problem for even small hands to hit  it without having to change the firing grip.  Same goes for the slide release.  The release is made with some slotting to make it easier to operate but being a 1911 I prefer something with more of a ledge on it personally.  If you are a “slingshot ” kinda Guy or Gal or something in between, I doubt it will matter.  Administrative operation of the slide stop is still easy and positive.

As I tried to show in the picture above, the machine work on the slide is pretty impressive.  If a lack of any tooling marks matters to you then this pistol will make you feel happy your hard earned dollar was spent on something  with quality looking craftsmanship.  It doesn’t do a very good in the picture above but I will try to get better close up pictures in later parts of the review and test. ,

The sights are nigh sights as listed in the specs and they work well.  Front and rear are the same color green though if that is something that concerns you.   They sights are dove tailed in place though so changing should not be a problem if that is your wont.  The rear is also made to facilitate operating the side with one hand if the need arises.

The pistol came with three stainless steel mags.  The extended magazine being the 7 round mag. I’m glad to see the gun come with three magazines because it is my policy to carry a handgun with at least 2 spare mags.  I think this is just smart policy no matter how many rounds the guns magazine will hold.   All three have worked perfectly in dry runs and dry fire.   

Now as for size.  I have take a picture of the P45 besides my various CCW guns most people are familiar with. I hope this will give an idea of its  compactness.   First off above is the P45 beside a Colt Defender. The defender is the subcompact from Colt with the 3 inch barrel  and holds a standard of 7 rounds of .45 auto.

Below is the P45 beside a Colt lightweight Commander.  The commander uses the same frame as a full size government model but with a slightly shorter slide. I should mention now that  yes the Commander will have a review up soon .

The P45’s trigger is like most triggers of its type. Not as good as a M1911 trigger of course  but a lot better than a DA/SA. It is workable and I am hoping with use it will improve even more so.

As is my custom this is the first part in a 2 to possible 3 part review.  Accuracy testing will be in part 2 and part 3 will be reliability endurance testing if  it is not included with the accuracy review.  I will shoot a variety of hollow point and self defense ammo through the pistol and it takes time to gather up.  That is the reason for a delay and the reviews being done in parts  for those that have asked in the past.    Please keep and eye out soon for part 2.

The Inland MFG. Model 37 Trench Shotgun Review

A  special note for everyone reading this  post the change over to our new website.  Like  a handful of other  older articles, the pictures in this one got lost in the change over.   And sad to say, I deleted most of the pictures from my computer since I did not think I would ever need them again.. yeah I know..     I have managed to scavenge some from various places like the FB page and tried to fill in the blank spots with at least something so you can at the very least see the gun.   Some of the target pictures are probably miss matched because I can’t remember which was which after 2 years. I apologize for that.  The rest I just left blank because  I would seem to look insane if I just put random nonsense pictures in that spot where a pic of a target was supposed to be .   I will post a bunch of the left over facebook only pictures and stuff from instagram  at the bottom since they  were never taken for the purpose of fitting in the article review.    Sorry again. 

 

I first spotted the Inland M37 shotgun when on the Inland facebook page around SHOT show earlier this year.  I was intrigued instantly.  So when I got to the NRA 2016  show, I made sure the Inland booth was one of the first places I stopped at.  I wanted to see that M37 in the worst way. I was not let down.  After just a few minutes of handling it, I asked for a T&E sample.  After a month or so, the demo gun showed up.

The “trench gun “and police “riot guns” have  taken off as collectibles over the decades.  The Winchester Model97 being an example that is really hard to find these days.  Finding original examples can be pretty tough.  The combat shotguns stayed in military service a long time.  From before WW1  to the Vietnam war all the way  until recently.  Some are well known like the M97 mentioned above , some are not as well known, like the Remington 7188 full auto shotgun.

The Ithaca M37 is an example that is well known by casual firearms historians as a police or riot model and sporting weapon of high quality.   The Ithaca as a military “trench gun” is likely not as well known by many. The action of the shotgun would look familiar to a lot of hunters out there.  Though the first thing you may think when seeing its action is the Mossberg 500, it and the 500 are really a simplified version of the most excellent Remington Model 31  shotgun. The M31 itself an evolution from the M17. The Model 17 designed by no less than John Browning himself.

The M31 is in my opinion  one of the smoothest pump action shotguns of its time.  Replaced by the cheaper to make and sell M870, the M31 action lived on in its ancestors.  If you are a fan of smooth as silk shotgun actions, tracking down a M31 is a must. I consider the new Model 37 to be as smooth as the M31and I don’t give that compliment out often. If ever.

The M37 has been one of those  martial  shotguns talked about, and sometimes seen in places like the American Rifleman and other places that reflect back on US service arms, but not really seen very often. Thanks to Inland MFG and Ithaca, we can now own one of the more rare trenchguns from US military history.

The Inland M37 Trench Shotgun all-American-made combat shotgun is faithful to the original from its bead sight, Parkerized finish, oiled stock, and ventilated hand guard to its hard-to-miss bayonet lug that fits the long 1917 bayonet.

The Inland M37 Trench shotgun is manufactured in a joint effort with the Ithaca Gun Company, Upper Sandusky, OH.  The original steps of shotgun manufacture that was originally used by Ithaca during WWII has been carefully duplicated utilizing modern technology and CNC machining which yields components that are precise and accurately reproduced.

The Inland M 37 is based on the original Ithaca Model 37 Trench Gun which was a variation of the Browning Model 17 and features the following”:

Gauge: .12 gauge / 3″ Chamber

Magazine capacity:4+1

Barrel length: 20″

Total length: 38.5″

Barrel Choke: Cylinder Choke .730

Action: Manual Pump, Bottom Load & Ejection

Weight: 6.7 lb

 

The new Model 37 combat shotgun is first class in my opinion. They really did it right.   After using it for several months I find it really hard to put it down.  Hundreds of rounds have went through the gun this summer without a problem. Birdshot, 00Buck, 4BK, slugs, you name it.  The solid walnut stock really helping make it bearable to shoot the stiffer loads.  Being use to tactical shotguns of modern times with their synthetic stocks, I dreaded testing.  It is still a 12, but wood stock goes a long way towards a healthy shoulder.

The Model 37 is a combat shotgun so testing was done with combat and police loads.  Target below  was fired with low recoil OO buck from 25 yards standing with no support. This was a bit of a warm up for the real test, to get a feel for possible recoil.  Much relief was felt by all at how the gun managed to tame recoil a bit.

 

 

Above is a target with 3 slugs fired from 50 yards.  After two test rounds, the shooter got a little flinchy on the trigger.   Shooting a 3″ magnum slug round from sitting is hard. Hard and painful. I sure  did not want to do it, and we only had 5 rounds anyway.  Even as much as the heavier solid wood stock helped, it can’t help that much.    With some one more willing to eat the recoil and hold steady ,the M37 would likely hold all 3 slugs in the head of the Q target at 50 yards.

With that done, we got serious about testing the shotgun for pattern at usual distances using a variety of shot and police buck loads.  The target below was one round of OO Buck at 25 yards.  The large hole is from the wad hitting the target.

The next target shows a second  and third shot into the same zone.   Again, large holes are from wad hitting and punching through the cardboard.

Target below shows hits from  4BK from 25 yards out. The 4BK was fired into the upper chest.  Bottom  circled group is from standard OO Buck round fired from 35 yards.   The “40 yards was written in error.

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The next target is  OO Buck from 50 yards out.  Two rounds were fired at the target  off hand standing. I know a lot of people, experts and average Joes have all kinds of things to say about what the best shotgun load is for whatever distance. Obviously it’s best to test the shotgun out with each load to determine what you want to use, in whatever situation, before generally deciding.  I think if I were a full convert to the tactical shotgun as a general purpose tool I would trust this one with OO buck to make a 50 yard shot if background was not a concern.  We do have video of me knocking down a steel popper plate from 60 yards with the OO buck round.  Once it is uploaded I will insert it into this post.

 

As promised here is the video of buck fired from 50 yards.  Camera  lens and angle makes it look much closer but it is indeed 50 yards

The short riot/trench shotgun is a pleasure to handle. It’s fast and easy to work with and the slick action is as fast as lightning.   The original M37s would indeed “slam fire”  but this one will not.  As I understand it, this was done at the request of Inland when having the guns put together for them by Ithaca prior to the converting to “trench gun.”  I know some will gripe about this, but let it go. It’s a fact of modern America that lawyers and sue happy anti-gun activists would salivate at trying to prove the gun defective in court.    For those who do not know,” slamfire” refers to the lack of a disconnector in the originals that lets the hammer fall as long as you hold the trigger back. Just like the M12 and M97 etc

The gun does have the infamous “barrel shroud”!  Not to be confused with the shoulder thing that goes up.   The  ventilated shroud functions as the bayonet lug and sling swivel as well.  It marginally protects the hands from being burned by a hot barrel.  It will work for a while, but heat will transfer after enough rounds.   I think no one  other than a liberal can deny it looks cool.  Sad to say I don’t  have a bayonet to mount  for your gratification. The front sling swivel is nice. Very  big and tough.  You can attach about anything you want to the front and rear. I originally mounted a USGI leather sling to the gun as seen in pictures, but went to the  M1 cotton sling for easier use.

The Model 37 ejects and feeds from the bottom.  Handy for both left and right handed users. It can take a bit to get used  to if you have only ever used the M87o or most other pump shotguns out there.  The gun kicks out the empties with enough force to send them about 20 yards if you turn the gun sideways while operating the action . So no worries about any fired case getting hung up.

Pictured above, I fired that gun while wearing a WW2 belt with M1911 , holster  and mag pouch with a Pacific Canvas& Leather  WW2 shotgun shell pouch I purchased only to be used with the M37  for the full experience.  The shotshell canvas pouch holds a dozen rounds in loops in two rows.

When the gun is empty, reach down and open the flap and strip rounds out of the loops to load into the gun.

img_6480

I have  seen some old timers turn the gun upside down and tuck it under the firing arm while loading to maintain solid control over the weapon while moving.  So I tried it out.  Please no comments about how Chris Costa says to load a shotgun. I am aware.  Process and gear used for nostalgia purposes only.

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When loaded, got back to making it empty again.

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Inland MFG has really been on a role the last few years.  The M1 Carbine I tested earlier this year was a faithful reproduction that was beautifully done. The M1911A1 made by the same company equally impressed me, and you know how hard it is for a company to impress me with a 1911 if their name isn’t colt.  The Model 37 is another hit with me.  Inland has turned into one of mt favorite gun companies in recent times.  All of us have seen a rise in demand for “retro” guns in the last ten years and while several companies make Ar15 retro models, few have offered quality reproductions of the weapons commonly used in WW2 and after leading to the AR15.

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Inland has gone a long way to meet that market of retro and nostalgia.  Now that easy M1s from the CMP are about to be gone and the M1 carbines being  long gone, prices  for originals are continuing to sky rocket. Repro guns are a great choice for those who want one of the old firearms but can’t afford or can’t find and original. Or just to have one to use hard without hurting the value.

Hopefully  Inland will keep expanding its line and one day we can buy a M1903A3 or A4  new production.  I would like to see  Inland produce a faithful M1911 to join the M1911A1 already in production.

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Long Term, Hard Use FootWear

Today we have a guest post from sporadic contributor and quasi-Looserounds member  “CJ”, about his favorite topic. 

 

Prepping – Some thoughts… A lot of gun enthusiasts seem to justify their hobby as some sort of preparation for armageddon. Sure, when the aliens invade I won’t deny the usefulness of an arsenal. But let’s not deny the usefulness of other items. Food storage is commonly thought of. Less commonly thought of is footwear. Unlike other looserounds contributors, I didn’t grow up around firearms. My parents’ household to this day is a “gun free zone,” complete with the usual objections to self defense. But I did grow up hiking, camping, and backpacking. I may have as many years of experience being serious about footwear as Shawn has being serious about the 1911.
Footwear cannot be neglected. Anyone who is a fan of the Walking Dead (I’m assuming the majority of Looserounds’ readership) should realize how much walking people are forced to do in a zombie attack. In our normal daily lives we take these things for granted. In an apocalyptic scenario, we may need to walk long distances regularly and we will need to avoid injuries (sprains/blisters/etc) while doing so. Our feet, like a good 1911, should be something we can rely on. I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences in this area and will limit the discussion today to boots.
First, let’s realize that we aren’t going to become like the Confederate soldiers who marched long distances barefoot overnight. If you’re the type of person who has managed to build up a quarter inch of leathery callous on your feet, you’re probably already barefoot and you probably don’t have internet access and probably aren’t reading this. Two of the three people who have done this are somewhere in the Amazon rainforest and the other guy is a Kenyan persistence hunter. That just simply isn’t realistic right now for us today. We need footwear that won’t fail us today, but more importantly won’t fail us tomorrow when we might not be able to buy new shoes.
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The first pair of shoes/boots I want to introduce is the Salomon Quest 4D GTX. Let me first say that these are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn, right out of the box. They require zero “break in.” I recommend them for daily wear, but they will not last and you should not count on them as a long term solution. The boots pictured here have about a year’s worth of wear, there is a hole in the sole, and they’ve been glued back together twice. Next, I want to introduce their polar opposite.
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The Raichle Montagna. In this picture there are 3 pairs. Two of them are new and the one on the right has 3 times as much wear as the Solomon boots above. They really are indestructable. But they’re heavy, hard to break-in, and very hard to find today. This is closer to what I’m talking about. You may not like them at first, but long after the Salomons are gone they’ll still be fine. This matters if civilization ends tomorrow. In fact, I’ve stockpiled these for just such an event. Some minor discomfort caused by their admittedly heavy weight is not going to injure you, and provided you have a pair that is broken in, the benefits are very clear. And if they aren’t broken in, soak them in baseball glove conditioner and just wear them every other day until they mold to your foot. Alternate with something else to avoid injury. They’re priceless.
Similar boots have also been made by Lowa, Scarpa, and Vasque. In fact, the Vasque Montana is almost a direct copy. Vasque is a great company that made my first pair of hiking boots (the Sundowner II). I wore these on roughly 30 serious backpacking trips over approximately 10 years and about half the time during the week to work/school. I still have them somewhere. Today I wear a pair of Vasque St Elias boots (hown in the 3rd picture) every day. These have the same wear as the Solomons above, but they’re still in great shape. They’re a good compromise between comfort and ruggedness. I would also trust them over the long run (pun intended). Shawn tends to favor Merrell boots, and I’ve tried them as well, but I put them in the same category as Salomon. They’re certainly comfortable and that is valuable. But this comes at a cost–light/flexible construction. I personally don’t trust them for anything other than work. Without a decent pair of boots, you need to realize that you will quickly be reduced to trying to cut sandals from used tires.
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The New 2016 Colt Delta Elite 10mm Review Part 1

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The Colt Delta Elite  M1911 has been around since the  1980s. It was  Colt and the Delta Elite that came in at the last minute and saved the 10mm round from death.  While never a huge best seller it has come and gone over the years since the first models hit shelves.  It did go away for a while but as recently as a few years ago was brought back by colt in its original retro form and sold pretty well.  While it was a great gun and true to its original issue, it was a bit bare stock for now a days.   In May of this year, all of us who wanted a Delta Elite in a more modern combat carry package without having to send the stock model off to a gunsmith, got what we had been waiting for.

https://looserounds.com/2016/06/03/first-look-at-colts-new-delta-elite-10mm/

The new Delta is everything I personally wanted for a long time. It has all the refinements I want in a M1911 that I plan to use for more than setting in the safe.  It has my favorite Novak Combat sights. It has an extended safety, the under side of the trigger guard is cut for a higher grip. it has a competition trigger and a beaver tail grip safety and is de-horned for carry comfort in addition to other upgrades.

Before I get into a deeper look at the piece, I should add right away that I did change a couple of things as I am want to do.  While I like the safety that comes from the factory and think its a fine part, I much prefer the feel and size and shape of the STI extended safety be it single or ambi.  Colt used to provide the STI on its XSE and upgraded guns until recently switching to what I believe is the Wilson Combat safety.  I replaced the Wilson part with my personal preferred safety.

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The Next change on the gun that I make on almost all of my 1911s is a part that I have had a long standing love affair with.   That is the S&A stainless steel checked main spring housing.  Again, the factory has so issues and I can not fault it. I just have my personal  quirks like we all do and when given a chance I can not resit making tiny changes to a 1911 to make it more my own.  To see the gun in its unaltered form, I provided the link to my original first look over review of the Delta from a few months ago posted above.

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Now that we got that out of the way so no one will wonder why their Delta looks different than the one reviewed here, its time to take a look.

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The new Delta is standard Colt 1911 with some obvious slight changes. It comes apart just like any other Colt and Colt’s apparently millions of copiers.

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The recoil spring is the new double spring system. It is the same concept as used on the USMC’s MARSOC  M1911 recently adopted and also made by Colt. You can find a review of it here as well.  It does not have the full length guide rode that is essentially pointless.

The recoil that results from the new dual spring was a huge surprise for me.  I have had several older Deltas over the years and full power 10mm ammo is  not exactly something you would want to pound yourself with all day long. But this makes it pleasant and I could barely tell a different between the 10mm ammo and 45 ACP. The lower power 10mm auto loads are very pleasant to shoot with the new recoil spring set up.  This seems to be a new standard practice on most of the more combat and competition 1911s from Colt now and I’m liking it a lot so far.  I confess I have not attempted to take these two apart from each other because I have no inclination to see how much of a pain it may or may not be at this point. I most likely won’t do it either until they need replacing from normal use.

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The cut out for the slide release is the full relief. This is pretty common now a days but there was a time when it was not standard. It was originally done because of the cracking that would appear on the old light weight commanders after long term hard use. A crack in the area effected nothing but some anal retentive types (like the kind of guy who loses sleep over brass marks or dings on his AR15s case deflector) ability to sleep at night witohut worrying over it.  Obviously it is expect especially on a  1911 in this round as it is a powerful round and some of the loads are very hot and hard on a gun.

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Yes. It is the so called “series 80.” Deal with it.    There is nothing wrong with that, I have been using series 80  guns for 30 some years and never had a problem. The trigger is  crisp and breaks clean. Anyone who tells you not to buy a gun if it has the series 80 style safety is an idiot that can be ignored or treated like  your liberal mother in law.

 

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The barrel is standard 1911. I know some people moan and grown over this because they want to shoot rounds  that are super hot.  I don’t care one way or the other.  I do not load the ammo  to pressures high enough to need to worry about it.  The hotter self defense loads from the factories work for me. In my mind, if you want that kind of performance out of your 10mm, buy a revolver or send the gun off and have it fitted with the barrel you want. I think if I was going to do that I would go ahead and go all the way and have a 40.SW and a .357sig barrel fitted for it at the same time and have the use of all the rounds.  otherwise, the standard, original barrel fills all my needs.

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Here is another look at the under cut.  This is such a nice little enhancement that it should always bee standard on anything that is not a retro nostalgia repro.  The strange thing about this is that I thought for many years it was appreciated by everyone until I mentioned it to some casual 1911s owners and they never noticed it.  I guess that goes to show how far enhanced production 1911s have come since the days when this sort of thing was a custom gunsmith  only feature.  In my opinion, M1911s from factories and gun smiths are the better than they ever where including some of the custom guns from back in the day.

While it may only be a personal taste, I really like the new black trigger against the SS gun. I noticed this trend with the Colt Defender a couple of years ago and really like hot it contrasts and looks with the black sights .

Another change  is the new grips. For years the Deltas always had the standard wrap around rubber grips.  These are still rubber, but obviously do not wrap. I like the slimmer grip though all day pounding of full power ammo does make the older wrap feel pretty good.  Of course the grips have the iconic Delta Elite triangle. The wrap around rubber grip with red triangle have been on the Delta for a long time.  A older catalog shows some from days past below .  The wrap around grips are almost an institution for the Delta but I really like the look and feel of the new grip.  I have an original wrap grip that I put on it for a while to compare before taking it back off and I am sure some will miss it.  Maybe Colt will offer up the older grip as a factory part at the online store for those who want it.

For those curious who want to see the older original grips, below the catalog is a picture of my ultra-rare Delta Elite Gold Cup in blued steel with original wrap around rubber grips.

If you can not wait till part 2 and the accuracy test/review, yes the new Delta out shoots the original Gold Cup Delta,and the GC Delta is Very accurate already.

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The mags are the standard Colt mags. Same design used for the Super .38.

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They of course are marked 10mm Auto.   Thanks to Hunter at Rangehot.com. I learned that the standard  magazine for  45 ACP will cycle and feed in the 10mm gun.  I admit to having no idea about this but after he mentioned it to me, I tried it and could not believe I went all these years not knowing.  Now, I don’t know if all mags for the 45 guns will work perfect all the time and always lock back when empty. And I would not carry 45 mags for the gun if I thought I was going to have to fight with it. But they will do in a pinch. If you are at the range and need more mags for whatever reason or you lose or destroy the 10mm mags or if you just want some more mags and can not afford the pricey purpose made mags, the 45 ACP mags will work.  I tried Wilson Combat 45 ACP mags and standard Colt 7 and 8 round mags and they worked no problem what time I used them.  Use that info however you want.   But I recommend sticking with the purpose made 10mm mags if you are going to CCW.

On another magazine note, I have tried one other  company’s 10mm  mags.  I picked up 4 Kimber mags from a local gun store and all 4 had problems.    In my experience this is typical of kimber mags.  I was not very surprised and was glad I did not pay the full price for the things.  They do seem to work about 3 out of five times though.  Otherwise the standard USGI  45 ACP mags work better in the gun and of course the mags that came with the pistol are flawless.      I say all that to say, you can use other mags other than ones specifically marked “10mm”  if you need to or are having trouble finding extras, but keep in mind the potential for mischief.

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I have fired  the new Delta quite a bit so far and it is everything I hoped it would be when I was first told by Colt they  had sent me one  before the NRA show.  It feels good. It really is hard to explain but it feels really good.  As we stood around the booth for it at the NRA show I heard people comment on how great it felt over and over.  You’d think  that’s crazy as it is a 1911 like other 1911s, just in 10mm but its true.   It indeed has a lot of enhancements over all the early Deltas, and in my opinion is nicer than the nicest of the older Gold Cup Delta Elites nice as they are.   It is not tricked out for competition since who really wants to use 10mm all day in 3 gun or IPSC or whatever. it is set up for carry or hunting and it is very nice.  I have been daily CCWing it since it arrived and its rubber grips and de-horning make it comfortable. And the thought of the power of the 10mm and the hornady ammo is very comforting.

 

Part 2 of the Delta Elite review will be up soon with accuracy testing, handling and  longer range shooting to take advantage of the rounds  flatter trajectory and speed.