Archive for the ‘Things That Go Bang’ Category

Classic 1911A 45

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Well, to complete the lineup (for now ), there just had to be something traditional and big…

SpringField 1911A Custom

A classic 1911A 45 Cal with wonderful custom work (Ed brown beaver tail, stainless barrel and hammer, exotic grips, Heine sites, carbon fiber trigger, and full tuning job). Who could resist…


Guaranteed career for someone…

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Want a trade and career with: good prospects, ‘honest days work’ self employment, a good income, very strong long term prospects, and that doesn’t entail working for the Government or big industry? Does that sound impossible today? Well, to my surprise, it appears that it is possible, if you think a tad outside the box…

Consider this:

1. Gun owners in Canada are legion. Even restricted, and yes prohibited (but duly licensed) gun owners are huge in number in all regions and increasing.
2. Firearms can not, in general, be serviced or modified by the owner.
3. Most firearms require periodic service.
4. Guns owners like to personalize and customize firearms.
5. Skilled gunsmiths, particularly for pistols, are very scare.
6. Though there are many good gunsmiths available in the US, it is virtually impossible to have firearms serviced cross-border (Canadian, not US, border services are actually the problem).

From this you might conclude correctly that:

1. There is a large, fairly affluent populace of firearms owners in Canada who need gunsmith services and can not easily obtain them.
2. A good gunsmith is greatly appreciated.
3. There is a very large (and increasing) trade in firearms and services, with very few full service dealers with real interest in their clients.

All this points to the reality that the prospects for a gunsmith with good skills (particularly with hand guns) are wonderful in Canada. This is particularly true with the movement of trade to the Internet, which allows a business to be visible, known, and to service clients Canada wide almost as if they were local.

Good so far, but now the problem…

No full time community college in Canada presently appears to offer training in the gunsmith trade. Even within the related tool and die making trade training, where this would be a natural option, there is little awareness – even as their base trade declines.

This would appear to be mostly a politics and awareness problem, since this somewhat exacting occupation appeals to the same ‘geeky’ propensity that much of high tech work does.

The only training available is of the ‘correspondence school’ variety. Not to demean this, since I have no direct knowledge, but it would not seem to offer the same level or legitimacy as college, and one wonders about government licensing afterwords. But I may stand correct in this later, if someone can fill me in.

Any training seems to be of the traditional apprentice variety – meaning that you must find a gunsmith in order to become one. This is something of a catch 22 admittedly. That notwithstanding, some mechanical and tooling skills, combined with some research, should yield a training path.


So, folks, it appears that if one would like a challenging, rewarding, self-employed career, where are you greatly appreciated by your clients and have a solid income, look no further than gunsmith’ing and firearms sales.

This is definitely not a tongue in cheek post. I only discovered this situation when I started to own firearms and wanted the sort of skilled and personable service that I would expect in my own field (IT). I have been fortunate to find a wonderful firearms adviser and gunsmith, but I had to look 1500 miles west. This says it all…

Now, since I am curious I may investigate training options a bit more.


A Little Hard Chrome

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

I liked this as soon as I saw it. Hard chrome is the most durable finish (better than nickle) and looks so nice. This Para Ordinance LDA 40cal is a lovely gun.

This guns also adds heavier ordinance to the collection and make it feasible to use it in the high points division of IPSC or Defensive Pistol. It offers the higher power without resorting to the canon level recoil of a 45 cal.

The 40 cal will receive less use than the utilitarian 9mm, but is a great option. Since it is the same 1911 frame as my others, it is a good choice for easy transitions.

The magwell is very nice for a stock gun. The adjustable rear site yields good accuracy and also control when experimenting with different size ammo loads. Perfect for IPSC or Defensive Pistol.

The trigger is very smooth and longer than some. An interesting change.


Many shooters start to reload ammo at the 40cal level, to save money. Though it is an intriguing idea, the start up costs take it off the table…for now.


Everyone needs a 9mm

Monday, July 19th, 2010

As the title says, we all need a 9mm. Just about the standard for many years, though the police now carry something a little bigger, with more stopping power. The 9mm is a nice compromise of a serious hand gun but with manageable recoil if you you shoot a lot of rounds in competition. That combines with quite economical ammo cost when compared to 40 or 45 cal.

Here are some of the features that I found appealing:
– 1911 format
– great STI quality
– reasonable recoil
– very reliable
– fiber optic front and adjustable rear sights
– exotic wood grips
– skeletonized trigger and hammer


The only area where the jury is still out is the parkarized finish. Though it is superior to blueing for wearability, I don’t know if I like the look. I am considering having it hard chromed at some point. We shall see.

A shooting review will have to wait until I have put more rounds through it.


Buckmark review

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

A few anecdotal comments on the Buckmark.

Overall, it is a very nice pistol. I choose it over the more common Ruger models because:

1. it was reviewed as somewhat more accurate
2. it has adjustable rear sight
3. the price for the stainless model was competitive
4. the grip is much more comfortable than the Ruger.

In the end, a club maintenance guy commented that for club service, where many people shot 1000s of rounds weekly, he would choose the Ruger for servicability, rather than accuracy. For a private owner shooting a few 1000 rounds, the Browning was a better choice.

I have not been disappointed. The gun is very comfortable so shoot and I like it.

It does, however, have one small draw back – the feed ramp appears to be a tad rough. This can cause jamming if a full mag is loaded with the slide locked open, then racked. It is correctable but should not be the case in new gun.

I recently considered trying a Colt 1911 format 22 pistol, since that would replicate the shoot position of my larger guns. However, since I don’t really like conversion kits, this may be out of the question. The 1911 format 22 pistols that are available in the US are not available to Canadians…

So I will stay with the Buckmark and have Gunner at Armco polish up the feed ramp. A good compromise.


My first and smallest

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Like many shooters, I start with a 22 cal pistol. There are numerous reason for this:

1. Relatively inexpensive pistols

2. Clubs do initial orientation and qualification on 22 semi-automatics

3. Clubs often have numerous 22 pistols for members to use until they have their own.

4. Ammunition is very inexpensive

Even once one has other large firearms, the 22 pistol is the most inexpensive way to practice technique on an ongoing basis.

My present 22 semi-automatic is a Browning Buckmark, shown below…



There be guns…

Friday, July 16th, 2010

One of the other activities that I am interested in is sport shooting – specifically hand guns (for my opinions on hunting see my post Friends of the Moose).

Guns are neat and some people have asked about my admittedly small collection. I will post a few pics in this category with my toys and admittedly opinionated comments.

First a caveat on what many gun owners will consider a miniscule collection. If you are in the US, then responsible gun ownership is what it should be – relatively easy. This is good. In Canada, that is not the case. The nanny state does not trust its citizens to do anything for themselves nor take any personal responsibility. Shooting is even harder than private flying. As they say “Don’t get me started!”. With that I will leave more ranting for another day…

Anyway, shooting is lots of fun and is challenging for anyone at any age. As an aside, I have discovered through taking guests shooting that it is particularly empowering for women.