Gun of the Week 24: Father’s Day Present of a Mini- Desert Eagle in .380

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Freddys Note:
Every week I try to feature a gun from my gun collection. This week it is a mini-Desert Eagle in .380 from Magnum Research Inc.  I had never even heard of this gun, until I got it as a Father’s Day gift on last Sunday.  Of course, I had heard of it’s big brother, the Dessert Eagle, but not this smaller version.  My 17 year old son thought I would like it (and he was correct) had his mother go to the gun store and buy it, so they could give it to me as a gift (That’s before the recent supreme court ruling, btw).
Magnum Research brought out this gun a year ago for $575 and I guess it did not sell well, because it is no longer listed on their website.  Which immediately makes this gun collectable.

You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

Description:
This is a great pocket pistol. It is the same size as my .25 Beretta Bobcat  but packs a bigger punch with the .380 round.  I actually thought this pistol would hurt my hand when I shot it, because of the size, but it was OK.  This is a great pistol to throw into a pocket and head out somewhere without having to put on the concealed holster.

This Micro Eagle is an interesting pistol that does differentiate itself from other .380 Auto sub compact pistols. It features what Magnum Research call “gas assisted blowback” The pistol has a dynamic breech, DAO trigger mechanism, and fixed sight. The pistol does not require any safety lever due do the DAO system. Its frame is made of a high strength aluminum alloy, the barrel and slide of steel. A comfortable and precise fire is secured by the use of a reverse gas withdrawal to slow down the slide (patented).

his Micro Eagle is an interesting pistol that does differentiate itself from other .380 Auto sub compact pistols. It features what Magnum Research call “gas assisted blowback” and what ZVI call “reverse gas withdrawal”. From ZVI:

The pistol has a dynamic breech, DAO trigger mechanism, and fixed sight. The pistol does not require any safety lever due do the DAO system. Its frame is made of a high strength aluminium alloy, the barrel and slide of steel. A comfortable and precise fire is secured by the use of a reverse gas withdrawal to slow down the slide (patented).

– See more at: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/01/08/new-micro-desert-eagle-380-pistol/#sthash.KqEGVuYj.dpuf

Specs:

Caliber: .380 Auto
Length: 4.52″ / 116 mm
Length of the Barrel: 2.22″ / 57 mm
Height: 3.71″ / 95 mm
Width: 0.90″ / 23 mm
Finish: Nickel Teflon
Weight: Empty 14 oz / 400 grams
Magazine Capacity: 6 Rounds
Trigger Mechanism: DAO
Safety: DAO (which I think means none)
Sights: Fixed/Non-Adjustable

– See more at: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/01/08/new-micro-desert-eagle-380-pistol/#sthash.KqEGVuYj.dpuf

Specs:
Caliber: .380 Auto
Length: 4.52″ / 116 mm
Length of the Barrel: 2.22″ / 57 mm
Height: 3.71″ / 95 mm
Width: 0.90″ / 23 mm
Finish: Nickel Teflon
Weight: Empty 14 oz / 400 grams
Magazine Capacity: 6 Rounds
Trigger Mechanism: DAO
Safety: DAO (which I think means none)
Sights: Fixed/Non-Adjustable

Specs:

Caliber: .380 Auto
Length: 4.52″ / 116 mm
Length of the Barrel: 2.22″ / 57 mm
Height: 3.71″ / 95 mm
Width: 0.90″ / 23 mm
Finish: Nickel Teflon
Weight: Empty 14 oz / 400 grams
Magazine Capacity: 6 Rounds
Trigger Mechanism: DAO
Safety: DAO (which I think means none)
Sights: Fixed/Non-Adjustable

– See more at: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/01/08/new-micro-desert-eagle-380-pistol/#sthash.KqEGVuYj.dpuf

his Micro Eagle is an interesting pistol that does differentiate itself from other .380 Auto sub compact pistols. It features what Magnum Research call “gas assisted blowback” and what ZVI call “reverse gas withdrawal”. From ZVI:

The pistol has a dynamic breech, DAO trigger mechanism, and fixed sight. The pistol does not require any safety lever due do the DAO system. Its frame is made of a high strength aluminium alloy, the barrel and slide of steel. A comfortable and precise fire is secured by the use of a reverse gas withdrawal to slow down the slide (patented).

– See more at: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/01/08/new-micro-desert-eagle-380-pistol/#sthash.KqEGVuYj.dpuf

his Micro Eagle is an interesting pistol that does differentiate itself from other .380 Auto sub compact pistols. It features what Magnum Research call “gas assisted blowback” and what ZVI call “reverse gas withdrawal”. From ZVI:

The pistol has a dynamic breech, DAO trigger mechanism, and fixed sight. The pistol does not require any safety lever due do the DAO system. Its frame is made of a high strength aluminium alloy, the barrel and slide of steel. A comfortable and precise fire is secured by the use of a reverse gas withdrawal to slow down the slide (patented).

– See more at: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/01/08/new-micro-desert-eagle-380-pistol/#sthash.KqEGVuYj.dpuf

Gun of the Week #23: 1942 Soviet Russian TT-33 Tokerev

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My 1942 Soviet TT-33

Freddy’s Note: 
I try to feature a gun from my collection every week or so on this website from my collection. Those you that read this site realize I am into Soviet weapons. I collect Tokerevs and Makarovs and AK’s. Two of the holes in my collection have been actual Soviet models of the Tokerev and Makarov. I own many of both models from all the Soviet sister states and also Chinese made models.  But none of the original Soviet Models  They are both rare and both usually over $1000 or more in good condition.  Well I finally found a Soviet Tokerev right in my home state.

I monitor http://www.armslist.com for local sales every now and then. I have got a few good deals over the site. But usually there is overpriced junk.  Well, I could not believe my eyes when I saw an ad for a 1942 Soviet TT-33 Tokerev last Friday night.  I immediately responded and the owner sent me a few pics. I asked some questions and everything seemed right. So I drove 90 miles North West to the middle of freakin’ nowhere and waited for a guy in a supermarket parking lot.

Biggest problem I have had on Armslist is people who don’t respond to emails or don’t show up.  I was happy when the seller showed up a few minutes late.  When you are carrying cash and are meeting a stranger in a parking lot, you  show up prepared.  I had my Beretta 92FS in my waistband and last week’s gun of the week, my 1960 Walther PPK in my pocket.

Luckily I didn’t need them.  Met a great guy named Chris who was into Soviet Weapons as well. He didn’t want to sell, but was having money issues.  He bought this gun from GSP in Florida in 1982.  Upon research, German Sales Promotions (GSP) was selling Soviet Tokerev’s that had been refurbished in Germany and also Walther P1s.  They had sold many of them when the ATF closed them down, because the Tokerevs did not have a safety and did not qualify as “Sporting Weapons” Meaning these guns were not legally imported.  I am told the owner actually went to jail.

Whoops.  Anyway, Chris also had a C&R FFL, so we signed copies of our FFL certificates and I gave him the $650.  What a bargain. I have not seen a Soviet TT-33 in good shape for under $1000 in years.

This particular gun was made in 1942 at the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant (Russian: Ижевский Mеханический Завод, Izhevsky Mekhanchesky Zavod) or IZHMEKH (ИЖМЕХ) was a major firearms manufacturer founded in Izhevsk in 1942 for manufacturing small arms for WWII.

So I got to add it to my wall of Tokerevs.

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My Wall of Tokerevs

Upon research, turns out I am not done yet,  there is a gun called a  Tokagypt 58 is a Hungarian-made Egyptian semi-automatic service pistol based on the Soviet Tokarev TT-33. T. So now I need one of these.

You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

Soviet junior political officer armed with a Tokarev TT-33 Service Pistol urges Russian troops forward against German positions during World War II. The picture is allegedly of political officer Alexey Gordeevich Yeremenko, who is said to have been killed within minutes of this photograph being taken.

Soviet junior political officer armed with a Tokarev TT-33 Service Pistol urges Russian troops forward against German positions during World War II. The picture is allegedly of political officer Alexey Gordeevich Yeremenko, who is said to have been killed within minutes of this photograph being taken.

History
In 1930, the Revolutionary Military Council approved a resolution to test new small arms to replace its aging Nagant M1895 revolvers.During these tests, on January 7, 1931, the potential of a pistol designed by Fedor Tokarev was noted. A few weeks later, 1,000 TT-30s were ordered for troop trials, and the pistol was adopted for service in the Red Army.

But even as the TT-30 was being put into production, design changes were made to simplify manufacturing. Minor changes to the barrel, disconnector,trigger and frame were implemented, the most notable ones being the omission of the removable backstrap and changes to the full-circumference locking lugs. This redesigned pistol was the TT-33.  Most TT-33s were issued to officers. The TT-33 was widely used by Soviet troops during World War II, but did not completely replace the Nagant.

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TT-33

Design
Externally, the TT-33 is very similar to John Browning’s blowback operated FN Model 1903 automatic pistol, and internally it uses Browning’s short recoil dropping-barrel system from the M1911 pistol. In other areas the TT-33 differs more from Browning’s designs — it employs a much simpler hammer/sear assembly than the M1911, with an external hammer. This assembly is removable from the weapon as a modular unit and includes cartridge guides that provide reliable functioning. The Soviet engineers also added several other features such as locking lugs all around the barrel (not just on top), and made several alterations to make the mechanism easier to produce and maintain, notably a captive recoil spring secured to the guide rod which does not depend on the barrel bushing to hold it under tension. Production even machined the magazine feed lips into the receiver to prevent damage and misfeeds when a distorted magazine was loaded into the magazine well.

The TT-33 is chambered for the 7.62×25mm Tokarev cartridge, which was itself based on the similar 7.63×25mm Mauser cartridge used in the Mauser C96 pistol. Able to withstand tremendous abuse, large numbers of the TT-33 were produced during World War II and well into the 1950s.

The TT-33 omitted a safety catch other than the half cock notch which rendered the slide inoperable until the hammer was drawn back to full cock or pulled back to full cock and then lowered manually, which made it unsafe to carry when loaded. It also had a tendency for the magazine catch to accidentally release the magazine while drawing or firing the weapon, if the magazine was damaged in any way.

Usage
Interarms marketed World War II-surplus Russian-made Tokarevs in Europe and the United States as the Phoenix. They had new wooden grips with a phoenix design on them and were overstamped INTERARMS on the barrel. Later gun laws banned their sale due to their lack of a safety.

The TT-33 is still in service in the Bangladeshi and North Korean armed forces today while police in Pakistan still commonly use the TT pistol as a sidearm, though unofficially, as it is being replaced by modern 9 mm Beretta and SIG pistols. The TT-33 pistol is also occasionally supplied to the People’s Armed Police under the name Type 54.

The Tokarev is popular with pistol collectors and shooters in the West because of its ruggedness, reliability and ready availability of cheap ammunition (in the US).

However, some complaints include poor-quality grips (which are often replaced by the wrap-around Tokagypt 58 grips) and a hand grip which extends at a vertical angle awkward for many Western shooters.

Another complaint is the poor placement of the post-production safeties installed to comply with US import regulations; many shooters disassemble the pistols, remove them and restore the Tokarevs to the original configuration.

Nonetheless, the Tokarev, as well as its variants in 9mm, are renowned for its simplicity, power and accuracy.

Gun of the Week #22: Polish Radom PA-64 in Markarov caliber

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My Pa-64

Freddy’s Note
This gun was the first C&R handgun that I purchased.  It was my first Makarov caliber gun as well. I now have 6 9X18 hanguns.  I paid $225 for it over 3 years ago at Collectible Arms and Ammo in Merrimack NH. It my carry gun for a while as well.  I stopped carrying it because would occasionally do a sort of slide fire and it would fire a second round accidentally.  has a spring issue.   I have since replaced the spring and it fires ok now. Some people say it is a ripoff of the Walter PPK.  I post the following photo of my PPK next to the PA-64.  You be the judge. It is a cheap ok gun.  I like my Walther PPK much better.  You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

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Top PPK. Bottom PA-64

The P-64 is a Polish 9mm semi-automatic pistol designed to fire the 9x18mm Makarov cartridge. The pistol was developed in the late 1950s at the Institute for Artillery Research (Polish: Zakład Broni Strzeleckiej Centralnego Badawczego Poligonu Artyleryjskiego, which later became the Military Institute of Armament Technology, Polish: Wojskowy Instytut Techniczny Uzbrojenia w Zielonce—WITU) by a team consisting of: W. Czepukajtis, R. Zimny, H. Adamczyk, M. Adamczyk, S. Kaczmarski and J. Pyzel. The P-64 is also known as the CZAK[1] (an acronym of the designers’ last names with the exception of J. Pyzel, who joined the team after the name had been established).

Development

The P-64 was drawn from a competition for a new service pistol issued in 1958. At the prototype stage, two versions of the CZAK pistol were created: the Model M (Milicyjny), with a magazine capacity of 6 rounds and chambered to use the .380 ACP (9x17mm Short) cartridge and the Model W (Wojskowy), with a longer barrel than the Model M, a 6-round magazine capacity and chambered for the 9x18mm Makarov round.

Design
During the evaluation phase which took place in 1961, both pistols were compared and the Model M was selected over the Model W.  It was then rechambered for the Makarov round and improved with a modified slide catch (the external catch button was removed) and better ergonomics. In 1965, the P-64, manufactured at the Łucznik Arms Factory in Radom, entered service with the army, police and security forces under the official designation 9 mm pistolet wz. 1964 replacing the 7.62mm TT pistol.The P-64 is no longer produced, and is being replaced by the WIST-94 pistol in 9mm NATO caliber. However, the P-64 remains in the inventories of the Polish Armed Forces and the police services.

The gun has made it’s ways into many surplus vendors around the country. At the time I published this article, it was available at most of usually surplus vendors again, after being unavailable for over a year.

 

Gun of the week #21: 1960 Interarms Walther PPK/S (updated with video)

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New to me, 1960 InterArms Walther PPK

Every week (when I publish)I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a mint condition InterArms 1960 Walther PPK/S that I bought off a local NH vendor off gunbroker.com. I have been looking for another PPK for a few years.  My first handgun was a newer PPK/s made by S&W in Maine. The gun was one of the one under a recall for a defect.  I never did get it fixed.  The gun did not shoot well and so I traded-in to a local gun store ( I think the gun barrel was out of spec and and slightly warped). I was a big James Bond fan growing up, which is why my first handgun was a PPK. So anyway, I was browsing Gunbroker last week and found one with no bids and 1 day remaining.  The price was $550, for a mint vintage InterArms PPK/s with the original box and paperwork. It was a steal and since it was over 50 years old, I used by C&R for an easy pickup from the local home based FFL dealer.  It shoots well and I now am using this as my summer concealed carry piece.  I carry the Beretta 92 in the months where we wear more clothing in New England. You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

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Gun came with original box, export paperwork, original factory target , warranty card and manual.

Video of my shooting it at the range
This is the first time I shot this gun. This video was of the 3rd and 4th magazines I shot in the gun.

The PP and PPK
Walther introduced the PPK in 929 and the PPK was introduced in 1931; both were popular with European police and civilians, for being reliable and concealable. During World War II they were issued to the German military and police, the Schutzstaffel, the Luftwaffe, and Nazi Party officials; Adolf Hitler shot and killed himself with his PPK (a 7.65mm/.32 ACP) in the Führerbunker in Berlin. Moreover, the Walther PPK (also a 7.65mm/.32 ACP) pistol is famous as fictional secret agent James Bond’s signature gun in many of the films and novels: Ian Fleming’s choice of the Walther PPK directly influenced its popularity and its notoriety.

The current James Bond holding a PPK

The current James Bond holding a PPK

History
The most common variant is the Walther PPK, the Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell (Police Pistol Detective Model), indicating it was more concealable than the original PP and hence better suited to plainclothes or undercover work. Kriminal refers to the police detective (criminal) division.Sometimes, the name Polizeipistole Kurz (Short Police Pistol) is used; however, the accuracy of that interpretation is unclear. The PPK is a smaller version of the PP (Polizeipistole) with a shorter grip and barrel and reduced magazine capacity. The PP and the PPK were among the world’s first successful double action semi-automatic pistols that were widely copied, but still made by Walther. The design inspired other pistols, among them the Soviet Makarov, the Hungarian FEG PA-63, the Argentinian Bersa Thunder 380, the Swiss SIG P230, the German Mauser HSc, the Spanish Astra Constable, the American Jennings J-22 and Iver Johnson TP-22, and the Czech CZ50.

Post War
Walther’s original factory was located in Zella-Mehlis in the state (Land) of Thuringia. As that part of Germany was occupied by the Soviet Union following World War II, Walther was forced to flee to West Germany, where they established a new factory in Ulm. However, for several years following the war, the Allied powers forbade any manufacture of weapons in Germany. As a result, in 1952, Walther licensed production of the PP series pistols to a French company, Manufacture de Machines du Haut-Rhin, also known as Manurhin. The French company continued to manufacture the PP series until 1986. In fact, all postwar European-made PP series pistols manufactured until 1986 were manufactured by Manurhin, even though the pistol slide may bear the markings of the Walther factory in Ulm, since German law lets manufacturers use the final assembly point as the place of origin.

US Manufacture
Ranger Manufacturing of Gadsden, Alabama was licensed to manufacture the PPK and PPK/S; this version was distributed by Interarms . This license was eventually canceled. Starting in 2002,Smith & Wesson (S&W) began manufacturing the PPK and PPK/S under license. In February 2009, S&W issued a recall for PPKs it manufactured for a defect in the hammer block safety.

Walther has indicated that, with the exception of the PP and the new PPK/E model, S&W is the current sole source for new PPK-type pistols.

1972_Walther_PP

Difference between PP and PPK
The PPK/S was developed following the enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA68) in the United States, the pistol’s largest market (Hogg 1945:164). One of the provisions of GCA68 banned the importation of pistols and revolvers not meeting certain requirements of length, weight, and other “sporting” features into the United States.

The PPK failed the “Import Points” test of the GCA68 by a single point. Walther addressed this situation by combining the PP’s frame with the PPK’s barrel and slide to create a pistol that weighed slightly more than the PPK. The additional ounce or two of weight of the PPK/S compared to the PPK was sufficient to provide the extra needed import points.

Because United States law allowed domestic production (as opposed to importation) of the PPK, manufacture began under license in the U.S. The version currently manufactured by Smith & Wesson has been modified by incorporating a longer grip tang (S&W calls it “extended beaver tail”),[8] better protecting the shooter from slide bite, i.e., the rearward-traveling slide’s pinching the web between the index finger and thumb of the firing hand, which could be a problem with the original design for people with larger hands or an improper grip, especially when using “hotter” cartridge loads.

Gun of the Week #20: Bulgarian Ak-47

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My Ak-74 on a bench at my gun club.

Every week I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a Bulgarian Ak-74 that was assembled by Tennessee Guns Incorporated( TGI). I think have changed their name to Waffen Works since I bought this gun.  I bought his gun 18 months ago from Classic Arms for the bargain price of $500 including shipping.  This was before Sandy Hook and the dramatic increases in gun prices..  It is my favorite AK out of the 3 AK’s that I own.   I own a Romanian WASR, and a Bulgarian SAR3( In .223) . The picture above shows it with a Russian Surplus Bakelite 45 round magazine that i got from AimSurplus. With the .545x.39 round this is very little kickback when firing a round. Unlike my AK-47.You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

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My AK collection. Top AK-47, Middle Ak-74, Bottom Sar-3

History
The AK-74 (Russian: Автомат Калашникова образца 1974 года or “Kalashnikov automatic rifle model 1974”) is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM (itself a refined version of the AK-47). It uses a smaller intermediate cartridge, the 5.45×39mm, replacing the 7.62×39mm chambering of earlier Kalashnikov-pattern weapons.

The rifle first saw service with Soviet forces engaged in the 1979 Afghanistan conflict.[Presently, the rifle continues to be used by the majority of countries of the former USSR. Additionally, licensed copies were produced in Bulgaria (AK-74 and AKS-74U), the former East Germany (MPi-AK-74N, MPi-AKS-74N, MPi-AKS-74NK) and Romania (PA md. 86) besides former Soviet republics and eastern European countries, Mongolia, North Korean Special Forces, and Vietnamese People’s Naval infantry use AK-74s.The rifle was originally developed, in 1974, by Russian designer Mikhail Kalashnikov.

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Ak-74 and the now banned russian surplus 5.45

The AK-74 is an adaptation of the 7.62×39mm AKM assault rifle and features several important design improvements.These modifications were primarily the result of converting the rifle to the intermediate-caliber 5.45×39mm cartridge, in fact, some early models are reported to have been converted AKMs, re-barreled to 5.45×39mm.[ The result is a more accurate and reliable rifle than the AKM.The AK-74 and AKM share an approximate 50% parts commonality (interchangeable most often are pins, springs and screws).

 

Gun of the Week #19 : H&R 1895 .32 Short Top Break Pistol

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Freddy’s Note:
I am back after two weeks being away. Every week I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a H&R 1895 .32 short Top Break Pistol.  I have a fondness for these old revolvers. I own 4 different .32 caliber revolvers.  It is hard to find .32 short ammo for these guns. I think I paid $100 for this gun at a gun show.  it is in great shape for such an old gun You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

The original H&R firm was in business for over a century from 1871 to 1986.

Frank Wesson started a firearms manufacturing firm in 1859, sharing an early patent with Nathan Harrington. Wesson produced two trigger rifles and spur trigger pistols and pocket rifles/shotguns popular for short length holster models such as the discontinued topper compact pocket shotguns. He started a brief partnership in 1871 with his nephew Gilbert Henderson Harrington, as Wesson & Harrington, until Harrington bought him out in 1874.

In 1875 Harrington and another former Wesson employee, William Augustus Richardson, formed the new Harrington & Richardson Company. In 1888 the firm was incorporated as The Harrington & Richardson Arms Company. Their original capital investment was $75,000. Harrington was president, Richardson was treasurer, and George F. Brooks was secretary. After the deaths of Harrington and Richardson in 1897, Brooks became the manager and the company was held by heirs Edwin C. Harrington and Mary A. Richardson.

In 1894 the company opened a new facility on Park Avenue in Worcester, Massachusetts. The factory was expanded again after a few years. The firearms produced through this time to 1911 carry extreme value as original antiquities. Original rifles and shotguns from these dates are scarce because of their limited production and discontinued parts.

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This particular model is the Top-Break Auto Ejecting it was made in .32 S&W or .38 S&W cal., 5 (.38 cal.) or 6 shot cylinder, hard rubber grip panels with floral design, 3¼ in. barrel, modified American Double Action mechanism and frame, nickel finish, First Variation marked on top of barrel with company name and address only and two guide rods for ejector (1885-1886), Second Variation patent date 10-4-87 marked on top of barrel along with company name and address, extractor does not have extra guide rods (1887-1889). Mfg. 1885-1889.

It is a nice little gun. I wish I had more .32 short to use in it and several of the other H&R guns that I own.

Weapon of the Week: Texas Raiders B-17 Bomber

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 9.56.06 AMI was at Sun ‘N Fun 2014 at Lakeland Florida recently and saw many old Warbirds.  This one was one of my favorite.  I am making it Weapon of the Week. Instead of Gun of the Week.

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History of the B-17 Bomber
Over 75 years ago, the Boeing Airplane Company designed the B-17 for a contract that called for 200 of the aircraft, and by the end of production, Boeing had built a total of 6,981 B-17s. The Douglas Aircraft Company and the Vega Aircraft Corporation (a subsidiary of the Lockheed Aircraft Company) together built another 5,745 B-17s under license from Boeing. About 50 assorted B-17 variants survive today, most being on static display at museums or on air force base air park displays. Of those numbers, only about 10 are flyable at any given time.

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“Texas Raiders” was built in 1944 by the Douglas Aircraft Company at their Long Beach, California plant. Both the Boeing and the Lockheed Vega companies had already closed their production lines by this time. She was one of the last 20 B-17s built by Douglas, which makes her the youngest of the B-17s currently flying.

Texas Raiders appears at airshows around the country. Fee’s for a 30 minute ride vary from $500 for a normal seat, to $800 for the Bombardier seat. For more information http://www.gulfcoastwing.org/

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View from the Bombardier Position while under flight

Built under contract number AC-1862, she was one of the last 20 B-17s built by Douglas and was delivered on July 12, 1945 to the U.S. Army Air Corps as B-17G-95-DL 44-83872. Her fuselage number was 2987, and factory number was 32513. Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) had past, and the USAAC did not have a need for more of the heavy bombers, so on July 21 of 1945, all 20 of these Douglas B-17s were transferred to the U.S. Navy to serve as PB-1W Patrol Bombers. B-17G #44-83872 was assigned the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics Number (BuNo) 77235.

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Texas Raiders joined the air show circuit in 2010, just in time to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the B-17. She has traveled to the world renown Experimental Aircraft Association EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow, where she was featured in AeroShell Square.[2] She has also participated in the Gathering of ‘Fortresses at the Thunder Over Michigan air show, and as a tribute to the unit that she memorializes, appeared at the 381st Bomb Squadron’s reunion. In 2012, she participated in the airshow at Dyess Air Force Base. TR was hosted by the 436th Training Squadron, which is the unit whose linage goes back to the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron that Texas Raiders commemorates while performing in the Tora Tora Tora act.

Armament on the B-17

Guns:
13 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns in 8 positions (2 in the Bendix chin turret, 2 on nose cheeks, two staggered waist guns, 2 in upper Sperry turret, 2 in Sperry ball turret in belly, 2 in the tail and one in the nose)

Bombs:
Short range missions (<400 mi): 8,000 lb (3,600 kg)
Long range missions (≈800 mi): 4,500 lb (2,000 kg)
Overload: 17,600 lb (7,800 kg)

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Tail Guns

 

Gun of the Week #18: Custom Built Ar-15

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My custom Ar-15


Freddy’s Note:
Every week I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a custom built Ar-15 that was built for me by my son.  It looks like one of the SIg Patrol Models but that is because it has the same Magpul hardware.  My son wanted to a built a AR-15 a few years ago and he ended up building a nice one for himself.  I liked it and asked him to build me one.  Unfortuately this was around the time of the Sandy Hook shooting and Ar-15’s and parts for AR-15 disappeared. It took a few months to get all the parts, but he ended up building me my favorite Ar-15 out of the 3 that we own.  It is extremely accurate at 25 to 100 yards. Now that I am wearing glasses all the time, now I will try and shoot it at further distances.  Had to recently accept the fact that I needed eyeglasses for all the time use. I should be able to now see what I am shooting at much better.  You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

I have got questions over the parts used in the build.
Here is the list:

  • Ar-Stoner Bolt Assemby
  • DPMS Forward Assist Assemby
  • Windham Weaponry Barrel and Gas Block Assembly
  • Spikes Lower Parts Kit and Buffer Parts
  • Ar-57 Lower Stripped Lower Receiver
  • AO Precision Stripped Upper Receiver
  • All Hardware is Magpul Flat Dark Earth

I sourced the parts that were available at the time.  Since all Ar-15 parts were impossible to get, I used whatever I could find. Since the picture was taken, I have acquired several MagPul Flat Dark Earth Magazines matching the hardware. You can’t seen it from this picture, but the dusk cover has the Join or Die Snake Logo and Words on it.

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Ar-15 On display in my gun room

The AR-15 is a lightweight, 5.56 mm/.223-caliber, magazine-fed, air cooled rifle with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation. It has been produced in many different versions, including numerous semi-automatic and selective fire variants. It is manufactured with extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.

The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a small arms rifle for the United States armed forces. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt. After modifications (most notably the relocation of the charging handle from under the carrying handle like the AR-10 to the rear of the receiver), the new redesigned rifle was subsequently adopted as the M16 rifle.  Colt then started selling the semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle as the Colt AR-15 for civilian sales in 1963 and the term has been used to refer to semiautomatic-only versions of the rifle since then.Although the name “AR-15” remains a Colt registered trademark, variants of the firearm are independently made, modified and sold under various names by multiple manufacturers.

Gun of the Week #17: 1921 Ortgies Semi-Automatic Pistol

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My gun, bought last weekend

Freddy’s Note:
Every week I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a semiautomatic Ortgies hammerless pistol in .32 ACP. I just bought this gun last weekend at a gun show in New Hampshire using my Curio and Relic FFL license. (No background check required)  It was only $250. It is an interesting little gun originally manufactured in Germany between the years 1921-1924.  One of the interesting facts about his gun is that legendary gangster John Dillinger carried one.  I have yet to fire it. All the ranges at my gun club are still frozen. With the weather getting better, I should be able to fire it in a week or two. You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

Origin
The Ortgies 7.65 mm pistol was a hammerless semi-automatic pistol produced in Germany in the years immediately after World War I, first by its inventor Heinrich Ortgies and then by Deutsche Werke. Inexpensive, but of good quality, the pistol achieved considerable success at contemporary shooting competitions[1] and, as an export product, was popular in North, Central, and South America.

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An example of a Ortgies Pistol

Design
The pistol was produced in 6.35 mm, 7.65 mm, and 9 mm variants. Although not expensive, at the time it was of advanced design and high quality construction with relatively few parts, well sealed against dirt. Metal components were forged or machined, and assembly in general made no use of screws, even securing the wooden grips with metal clips, although some examples do incorporate a single screw for that purpose. The hammerless action depended on a spring-loaded striker to fire the cartridge. As in early Colt and Browning pocket pistols, the Ortgies striker also operated as an ejector as the slide traveled backwards after discharge.

Unusual design features included the safety and the magazine. The safety was a lever inset into the back of the grip and, with the gun cocked, forced backward out of the grip into the “safe” position by spring tension from the firing pin upon depression of a button under the slide. Thus, engaging the safety simultaneously reduced tension on the firing pin spring. To disengage the safety, a shooter simply would squeeze the grip, pressing the lever forward and locking it flush with the back of the pistol.

At least the earlier Ortgies magazines could accommodate both 7.65 and 9 mm ammunition and were interchangeable between pistols of either calibre. One side of the magazine was marked for 7.65 mm and featured seven holes showing the positions that cartridges of that size would occupy when loaded; the other side had similar holes and markings for 9 mm cartridges.

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John Dillinger’s Ortgies (circled) From some museum

Ortgries-Pistols 1921–1924
Heinrich Ortgies designed the pistol while living in Liège, Belgium during World War I.  After the war, he moved to Erfurt, Germany, where in 1919 he commenced production of the pistol in his own factory. The weapons bore the mark “Ortgies & Co. – Erfurt” on their slides and a circular brass insert in their grips marked with a stylized “HO.” Ortgies died later that year, and eventually production of his pistol passed to Deutsche Werke, a shipbuilding company headquartered in Berlin. For a short time thereafter, the slide marking was changed to “Deutsche Werke Aktiengesellschaft Berlin” before changing again to “Deutsche Werke Aktiengesellschaft Werke Erfurt,” ultimately shortened to “Deutsche Werke – Werke Erfurt.” Deutsche Werke pistols continued to feature the “HO” brass grip inset until relatively late in their production, when they substituted one with a new trademark depicting a stylized crouching cat with long tail forming an S-curve over its back.

In keeping with prevalent economics in Germany at the time, factory finishes were limited to bluing or, rarely, nickel. The latter finish could be either matte or bright. No Ortgies pistol was produced with a chrome finish or, aside from one known salesman’s sample, with factory engraving. Production ceased in 1924.

Performance
The Ortgies was a well-balanced, sturdy weapon that found considerable favor in competitive shooting. In 1921, prize winners at some 70% of principal shooting competitions had chosen Ortgies 7.65 mm pistols, and the winner of the German championship on September 26, 1921, at Halensee, Germany, took the prize firing an Ortgies. At the other end of the user spectrum, outlaw John Dillinger carried an Ortgies, and several hundred Ortgies pistols saw service with Finnish prison authorities through the World War II period.

Gun of the Week #16: Czechoslovakian CZ-52 Military Surplus Pistol

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My CZ-52

Freddy’s Note:
Every week I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a semiautomatic CZ-52.  This is one of the 7 guns that I own that use the 7.62 X 25 caliber round. The rest of them are all Tokerevs, This one is a different gun and a different design.  Many of the people that I know that work in the security business like this guns because of the round.  The 7.62 x 25 round can piece many models of body armour. I just liked the look of the gun.  I bought it a few years ago from Collectable Arms and Ammo for $365. It was the Russian’s owner’s personal gun.  It does have quite a muzzle flash. You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

History
The CZ 52  (also known by the Czechoslovakian military designations vz. 52, for “model of 1952”, and CZ 482) is a semi-automatic pistol designed by two brothers, Jan and Jaroslav Kratochvíl, in the early 1950s for the Czechoslovakian military. Around 200,000 vz. 52s were made by Česká Zbrojovka in Strakonice from 1952 to 1954. The vz. 52 replaced the 7.65 mm Browning caliber (.32 ACP) Vz.50, which had acquired a reputation for unreliability and was underpowered for its role as a military service sidearm. After 30 years of military service, the vz. 52 was eventually replaced by the 9×18mm Makarov caliber vz. 82. Cz-USA began importation into the US market in January 1998 with the designation CZ 52.

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Description
The CZ 52 pistol is a roller-locked short recoil-operated, detachable box magazine-fed, single-action, semi-automatic pistol chambered for the 7.62×25mm Tokarev cartridge (the gun was originally designed for 9 mm Luger caliber but due to political pressures had to be redesigned for the Soviet then standard pistol cartridge). It weighs approximately two pounds unloaded. Military models feature either a parkerized finish or a gray oxide coating, while some CZ 52s were arsenal reblued in the 1970s. These re-finished guns are usually marked as such.
The CZ 52 has a deep (front-to-back) but slim (side-to-side) grip, as well as a low “hump” which meets the web of the hand at the rear of the grip. These ergonomics cause the barrel and slide to sit rather high above the grip, resulting in very strong felt recoil. The CZ 52 is also well known for its very sharp report and great amount of muzzle flash. Due to its muzzle energy, higher pressure FMJ ammunition fired from the CZ 52 pistol will penetrate even NIJ II rated ballistic vests, or the PASGT helmet.

Operation
The CZ 52’s operating controls consist of a single-action trigger, an external hammer, a magazine catch located at the heel of the grip frame, and a combination de-cock/safety lever located on the left rear side of the receiver aft of the left grip panel. The manual safety blocks movement of the sear, which prevents the hammer from releasing and firing a round. A second safety, in the form of a spring-loaded firing pin block, prevents the pistol from firing unless the trigger is pulled fully to the rear; this feature renders the pistol “drop safe”. However, if the firing pin block spring has become worn, the pistol may be rendered unsafe in the event of a muzzle down drop, or in the case of other internals being worn, it may be drop safe only when “cocked and locked”, for instance. Care should be taken when handling firearms of uncertain origin, and only a competent gunsmith should be relied upon to verify the safety mechanisms of surplus guns are intact. Because the sear must overcome the additional spring pressure of the firing pin block, an inherent feature of the CZ 52 is its unusually heavy trigger pull, often in the 8-10 pounds range. The hammer is of the rebounding type, meaning that it does not contact the firing pin while in its uncocked position, and cannot do so unless the trigger is pulled, another safety feature.

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The CZ 52 utilizes a fairly uncommon short recoil operating system in which two vertical rollers are used to lock the barrel and slide together, via a cam block. This is similar to the system used in the German MG 42 machine gun, which itself hearkens back to a Polish patent of the 1930s. This arrangement results in an unusually strong lockup which, conventional wisdom holds, allowed the Czechs to load ammunition for it to higher pressure levels (and therefore, higher velocity and energy) than compatible ammunition manufactured in other Warsaw Pact countries. This oft recited “fact” is, however, debatable. The bottom of the CZ 52 chamber measures 0.058″, whereas the supposedly weaker TT33 Tokarev pistol measures 0.125″ at the bottom of the chamber.

While in battery (meaning the hammer is cocked, a round is chambered, and the pistol is ready to fire), the recoil spring, positioned coaxially around the barrel, provides the pressure necessary to lock the barrel and slide together via the rollers. When a shot is fired, the barrel and slide recoil together while the cam block is held stationary by a lug in the receiver. After traveling rearward a short distance (about 0.16″ or 4 mm), the rollers are allowed to disengage from the slide via recesses in the cam block. At this point, the slide is free to continue rearward, cocking the hammer, extracting the spent case from the barrel’s chamber and ejecting it clear of the pistol. After reaching the end of its stroke, the slide is returned to battery by the compressed recoil spring, again collecting a fresh cartridge from the magazine and inserting it into the chamber along the way.

When the magazine is empty, its follower presses against a catch, holding the slide open. The magazine catch is located at the heel of the pistol grip. It is pulled toward the backstrap, releasing the magazine from its well. A potential problem arises in that there is now minimal pressure on the magazine spring and the magazine catch is also under constant pressure from the mainspring, forcing it into contact with the rear of the magazine. This means that magazines do not drop free and occasionally take a few seconds to remove from the pistol. Releasing the slide catch is done by removing the empty magazine (or inserting a loaded one), then retracting the slide and releasing it. There is no thumb-operated lever to release the slide (though an aftermarket slide release lever is available).

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Ammunition
Surplus 7.62×25mm Tokarev ammo from China, Russia, Austria, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic as well as current commercial ammo produced by Sellier & Bellot all measured 42,000 c.u.p. at the lab at Accurate Arms in 2000 by ballistician Ted Curtis. He measured the surplus Soviet ammunition averaging 31,000 c.u.p.

The Czech ammunition was manufactured for use in the CZ52s, while the other countries were manufacturing ammunition used in Tokarevs. Accurate Arms then sold load data in 2000 listing 42,000 c.u.p. loads for CZ52s. By 2004 Johan Loubser Ballistic Lab manager at Accurate Powders reduced the loads to less than 2400 bar or 34,809 psi, and those reduced loads were made complementary from AA on their web site. While the 86 gr AA#9 load is said by AA to be reduced from 41,300 c.u.p. to 33,851 psi, Quickload software calculates that AA’s loads went from 57,158 psi down to 28,551 psi. Loads by Sierra at 90 gr AA#7 specifically for the CZ52 remain at 22,385 psi as calculated by Quickload.

By the late 1990s, after the popularity of the surplus CZ 52 had started to increase, hollow-point ammunition in 7.62×25mm became available from custom shops. The pistol proved capable of handling extremely “hot” loadings, and many shops sell custom or hand-loaded ammunition.