Monthly Archives: December 2021

9mm 1911 Project Part 4- It’s Aliiiive!

The point of this build was to see if it would work, and the answer appeared to be ‘No, it won’t.’ Bullets were tumbling like tumbling tumbleweeds and hitting all over the paper. Then I discovered that the bullets- cast 128gr. LRN from Aardvark- were tumbling even out of my Sig Sauer P-6 and Beretta M1951. Huh.

Original aluminum weight, well ventilated.

I ventilated the weight and changed bullets to a Berry’s 115gr TMC over 5.5gr of Unique and (drum roll please) they didn’t tumble! Huzzah! Of course I’d already reamed the aluminum weight to a fare-the-well and then perforated it, so it weighed basically nothing. That would obviously not do. I decided to make an entirely new weight out of steel. This time I decided to leave about 2mm clearance between the bore and weight so the initial shock of escaping gas might be less inclined to interact with the bullet’s passage; I didn’t want to ventilate the weight if I could avoid it.

Some sawing, much grinding, filing and fitting later I had my new weight. This time when I set out to drill the hole for the bullet to depart through I was careful to make sure the hole slanted towards the muzzle to match the bore. I drilled it out to 5/8″ and… it didn’t quite center properly. Well, adjustments can be made. I cut a dovetail for the front sight and mounted it.

I had more of the Berry’s 115gr loads on-hand so I headed off to the range. Mind you I did not expect it to work; I was pretty sure the bullets would tumble but I had to check before mucking about further. I got set up, ran a target out to seven yards and put nine rounds downrange in a bit of a hurry…

Not a key-hole to be seen. Yeah, it’s low and left but I can adjust the sights. I was thrilled, and proceeded to run through all of my magazines in succession. One will need the feed lips tweaked, but the other five ran flawlessly. Emptying magazines literally as fast as I could pull the trigger I found I had a tendency to string groups vertically, but I can work on that after I get the sights dialed in. Needed to try some double-taps next, so I loaded six rounds (I was getting short on ammo) and ripped off three quickly.

Three double-taps at five yards. Not at all shabby.

On my way out I stopped at McCallen Defense to borrow their trigger-pull gauge. Chris wasn’t there, but we figured it out. I was interested to see what the trigger pull was, and I am horrible at guessing. I thought maybe 3-1/2-4 lbs. I really am crap; three tries got three results just shy of two pounds! OK, I’m pretty blown away, and am not entirely convinced I was doing it right. Have to try it again when Chris is there…

So… finishing work now. I am considering adding a bit more weight to the dust cover; we’ll see. I need to clean up the checkering, strip the remains of the various original finishes, touch up a bit here and there and refinish the gun. I’m leaning towards rust bluing; I’ve a good bit of experience with it and am set up to do it at home already. Part of me wants to do a coating. Well, I’ll figure it out.

Pretty near it’s final form. Now for the finishing work…

I was on the verge of giving this up as a bad job, but thanks in part to reader’s suggestions I stuck with it and it works! Thanks to you all!

Stay safe, take care and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Michael Tinker Pearce, 21 December 2021

Go On Then, Tell Us How You really Feel

S&W 2nd Model hand Ejector in .45 Colt, modified for concealed-carry.

As readers here know I modify old guns. It’s a hobby with practical applications. I delight in taking old guns, particularly revolvers, that are on their way to the trash-heap of history and giving them new life as useful, practical weapons.

I buy them in bad, non-collectible or even non-functional condition, make them work and change them to suit my preferences. I am a skilled metal-worker and by this point a pretty decent amateur gunsmith. I use proper metal-working and/or gunsmithing tools and I do a good job. I take pride in craftsmanship, both in my day job and my hobby. The guns I modify are well done and good enough that I can and do bet my life on them.

‘Avenging Angel’ in .38 Colt Short, formerly a cap-and-ball reproduction and modelled after an historic example.

Readers of this blog seldom have an issue with these pursuits; I imagine it’s part of what you all come here for. But I post in gun groups on Facebook and gun forums as well. Folks on gun forums are pretty good about their responses. On social media most people are polite and considerate in their responses even if they disagree with my choices. But there always ‘that guy’ that has to make a snarky comment about Dremel Tools or ‘Bubba-ing.’ BTW, I know a gunsmith who is actually named Bubba, and I’ve never seen him do anything egregious to a firearm. But I digress…

Yet another priceless relic brutally defaced- a sporterized M38 7.35mm Carcano converted to a Mannlicher-style carbine for close-quarters hunting. Oh, the humanity!

These folks are mortally offended that a gun has been altered by a normal person, or indeed at all. I have defaced a sacred artifact; I am a vandal destroying our legacy and erasing history. The hair-tearing and gnashing of teeth is distracting, but typically I shrug and scroll down. Usually the worst I experience is a momentary sense of irritation before I forget about them and get on with my life.

Arguably I’m asking for it. We all know what social media is about and how it works. Let’s face it, my motivation for posting these things is hardly pure; yes. I am sharing with fellow enthusiasts but I am also, frankly, showing off. Approval seeking. Mia culpa. I ‘m not perfect and we all have our little flaws. If this were my biggest flaw I’d feel pretty good, actually. It should also be obvious by this point that I let one of these clowns get under my skin, or else I wouldn’t be posting this. Oops- still human.

If I am going to post on social media I need to pull up my big-boy pants and accept that people are gonna be shits sometimes. Grow a thicker skin, and get better at shrugging and scrolling down. It will be better for my blood-pressure, my state of mind and my life if I simply overlook the trollish, Fudd-virtue-signaling jerks that have to snark to because they have no other reason to feel good about themselves or their lives.

OK, it’s a work-in-progress. I’ll keep working.

Stay safe and take care

Michael Tinker Pearce, 20 December 2021

Czech, Mate!

I had a couple of 12-gauge doubles I wasn’t interested in anymore and stopped by Pinto’s to see what they’d give me for them and… well, Pinto’s. I spotted something in the case, then Linda looked at it and thought it was adorable and that’s all she wrote.

Before it was the CZ Duo it was the F.Dusek Duo. This particular gun was made in 1944, thus the mark on the left side of the slide.

In the first half of the 20th C. the .25 ACP cartridge was very popular for tiny semi-auto pistols for self-defense. Designed by John Browning as a center-fire, more reliable cartridge than .22 Rimfire for pocket autos the .25 ACP is now largely obsolete. It was always frankly pretty marginal as a defensive cartridge, but the guns were so small and convenient people seemed to think the trade-off was worth it.

Frantisek Dusek was a Czech gunmaker and importer. Initially he imported Spanish pistols, mainly copies of the Colt 1908 Vest Pocket like the Ydeal. In 1938 he began production of his own pistol, the Duo. This was a near-copy of the Colt, but lacked that pistol’s grip safety.

When the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938 Dusek refused to cooperate with them, and the Germans took over management of the factory. The small pistol was popular with Nazi officers (though they had to purchase them for themselves) and to select civilians under their rule. The pistols could be purchased with a leather flap holster that held the pistol and a spare magazine for wearing on a uniform belt. By the end of the war the factory had produced 110,000 of these guns.

After the war production continued, and in 1948 the factory was nationalized. At that point these became CZ Duos. All told these pistols were made for around 50 years before being discontinued.

The pistol is a single-action striker-fired blowback pistol. It has a six-shot magazine and a manual thumb-safety that is also used to disassemble the gun. The hard-rubber grips have a basket-weave pattern and a molded medallion with the word Duo in the center.

To disassemble the pistol you remove the magazine, set the safety, rotating it 180 degrees to the rear, then you withdraw the slide until safety clicks up into a recess and locks the slide about 1/2 from being in battery. You can then rotate the barrel 90 degrees to the side, release the safety and move the slide forward off the pistol. Care should be taken to insure the springs for the striker and main recoil spring don’t depart for places unknown.

Last evening I popped out in the shop and loaded some ammo for it. I used a 55gr. LFP bullet over 1.1gr. of Red Dot with a Federal small pistol primer. This afternoon I set out for the range to have a go.

Fully field-stripped.

Shooting the Duo

First impression is that this is a very well made little pistol; it gives up nothing in quality to the Colt and FN pistols it was copied from. The magazine has witness holes and is pretty easy to load. The sight, if it can be dignified with that term, is a simple groove running down the top of the slide to the muzzle so aimed fire isn’t really this gun’s forte.

This gun was designed to be used at an arms-length, so to start I ran a target out to 3 yards. I loaded the gun and blazed away one-handed, as fast as I could pull the trigger without aiming.

One-handed mag dumps at three yards.

Accuracy was, um… OK, it was non-existent. Sure, you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end, but yeah, it works about as well as you’d expect. Next I tried aiming using the groove and that went rather better.

Fired quickly at three yards, but with an attempt to aim.

Even though it’s not really intended for it I ran a target out to seven yards and fired one shot per second, again trying to aim.

One shot per second at seven yards.

It’s not going to win any bullseye matches, but it’s seriously not too bad. If it had proper sights I suspect it would be pretty accurate. Recoil was basically non-existent, as you might guess, and the trigger pull isn’t bad at all. Even though I have large, meaty hands the gun did not pinch or bite anywhere. It’s really very pleasant to fire. Over the course of fifty rounds there was not so much as a bobble; the gun seems quite reliable.

This is a nice little gun. It’s cute, it’s fun and I am very happy we got it. No, it ain’t gonna drop a bull elephant (or even a really big squirrel) in it’s tracks but I like it.

Stay safe and take care.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 19 December 2021

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