Range Report 13 August: a Litany of Failure- and Success!

I had several guns that needed testing this time out.  The Cherub had a new firing pin, The Dandy had a new cylinder, as did an 1860-based Avenging Angel sleeved for .38 S&W. There was also the new-to-me Dan Wesson Model 15 VH .357 Magnum, and of course I pretty much always want to shoot the Detonics.


The Cherub- an 1849 Pocket sleeved and re-chambered in .22LR.

I started things out with the Cherub. It had had a problem with its firing-pin, and I had replaced it and was hoping it would fix the problem. It did… but a new problem manifested. The fired cases were jamming against the breech-face after a shot or two. Annoying, but it shouldn’t be too hard to fix; I already have some ideas.

Next up was the .38 Conversion.


As you can see in the photo this is a ‘long cylinder’ conversion; the cylinder is purpose-built rather than a converted cap-and-ball cylinder. I made the cylinder out of half-hard 4340, and made a thin breech-plate of the same material, pierced for the hammer-mounted firing-pin.

This gun was more success than failure- it worked quite well actually. Every shot went off, and things didn’t jam up at any point. Two problems; accuracy was not good at all, and the firing pin was piercing the primers. I may re-line the barrel, and I’ll need to shorten the firing-pin. Call it a qualified success; the important thing was that the cylinder functioned just fine.

Moving on to The Dandy-


This gun originally had a cylinder remade from a cap-and-ball cylinder and chambered for .44 Colt, but I made a new cylinder from 4340. The new cylinder is a five-shooter, chambered in .450 Adams. Once again the cylinder functioned fine and the gun worked well… until the sight-rib came off. I’ll need to solder it back on, and do a better job this time. Accuracy was quite reasonable- though the point of impact changed after the sight fell off…

7 yards with a six-o’clock aiming point

I also shot The Outlaw- I did some repair work on it and wanted to see how it worked out. It seemed to- but I could only fire one shot at a time. It developed a bizarre new tendency illustrated below-

I ‘d fire one shot and the gun  would jam up solid.  I broke the gun down and the empty under the hammer was stuck to the firing pin. This happened with both .45 Colt and .450 Adams. It’s never done this before, so I’m baffled. It wasn’t the loads, either; .450 Adams is very light, and the .45 Colt loads were very mild for that caliber.  The fourth time this happened it ejected the firing pin. I’m going to consult with the maker, Kirst, and see what they have to say.

Next up was the Dan Wesson Model 15 VH .357 Magnum. This gun has the 6″ barrel mounted; I’ll be looking for a short barrel and probably be making a set of custom grips for it. I’ve already ordered the barrel-wrench and tool kit.

I had a 4″ Model 15 in the 1980s that I used as a carry gun, and I’ve wanted another since approximately two minutes after I sold it. When I saw this one on the shelf at Pinto’s at a ridiculous price I snatched it up.

It did not disappoint; while the sights may need a bit of adjustment the gun works a treat. Of course this wasn’t immediately obvious… Using a box of old hand-loads about 40% of the shells failed to ignite even when struck multiple times. The primer-strikes didn’t look light, but I was concerned. I bought a box of Fiocchi ammo at the counter, and they worked 100%. Not the gun- good to know!

My initial 7-yard target. This was basically rapid-fire as I was having ammunition problems.

My final target. I may need to adjust the sights slightly.

The gun is shooting consistently low and right, even with single-action slow-fire. I may adjust the sights if this persists in continued practice.

Last but not least I shot the Detonics Mk.1 Combat Master. As usual it functioned flawlessly and was a delight to shoot.

Rapid-fire at 7-yards.

So- a day of ups and downs. There are some issues to deal with, but overall the important bits all worked out.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 13 August 2018

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