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


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.


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.

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


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.


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


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.

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.


An example of a Ortgies Pistol

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.


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.

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 #14: Beretta 21a

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My Beretta 21a

Freddys Note:
Every week I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a Beretta 21a in .25.  You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here. I bought this gun at my local favorite gun dealer a few years ago for $225.  This is the gun I carry when I need to quickly arm myself. I throw it into a pocket in a pocket holster. In the summer, when wearing a thin t-shirt and shorts, I will be carrying this gun.  I use defense ammo in this gun to increase the damage, it may incur because of the small caliber.  Note: my regular carry gun is it’s big brother, the Beretta 92FS, a former gun of the week.

The Beretta 21A Bobcat is a small pocket-sized semi-automatic pistol designed by Beretta in Italy. Production began in late 1984, solely in the Beretta U.S.A. facility in Accokeek, Maryland. It is a further development of the Beretta Model 20, whose production ended in 1985.

Beretta Bobcat 25

The Beretta 21A Bobcat is available chambered for either .22 LR or .25 ACP (6.35 mm) ammunition. It has a simple blowback operation, with a single and double action trigger mechanism, and exposed hammer. It has a magazine release button in the left side grip, located between the grip retaining screws. The frame is made out of aluminum alloy; the slide and barrel are either carbon steel or stainless steel, depending on the model.  Beretta claims that the pistol is intended for off duty police and pistol carry permit holders that seek a highly concealable, but reliable pistol. Thus in effect, the handgun is designed for self defense.


Unique features
One defining feature of this pistol is the ‘tip-up’ barrel. The barrel pivots on a pin under the muzzle so that the chamber may be loaded with the slide in the closed position. It is released by a lever on the left side of the frame, above the trigger. This simplifies loading, unloading, and checking load status, as the slide can be difficult for some people to retract by hand.
Also, the Bobcat was designed without an extractor, relying on pressure from the expanding gases of the fired cartridge to simply blow spent cases from the chamber. This makes it particularly sensitive to choice of ammunition relative to dependable operation.

The weapon design creates a unique ejection path. Instead of ejecting spent brass to the side as do most semi-automatic hand guns, the Bobcat ejects the spent brass backwards and up, usually over the head of the shooter, but occasionally striking the head of the shooter or entering the front of the shooter’s shirt.

Most styles of CCI or Federal brand .22 LR high velocity cartridge work well. Many users prefer CCI’s hyper velocity Velocitor or Stinger ammunition. Federal Spitfire does not function well, as it is slightly shorter than a standard cartridge. Most brands of FMJ (full metal jacketed) ammunition function well in the .25 ACP version.

The Bobcat 21A is available in either .22 LR with 7 round magazine capacity or .25 ACP (6.35 mm) with 8 round magazine capacity. The .22 LR version is currently available in either matte black (Beretta’s “Bruniton” finish) or stainless steel (“Inox”) versions. The .25 ACP model is available in black only.

In the .22 LR “Inox” version (introduced in 2000 only the barrel and slide are stainless steel, and the alloy frame has a matte light gray Bruniton coating. The remainder of the gun is unchanged.

Gun of the Week #13: Heckler and Koch USP .40 S&W



Every week on Wednesday, I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a Heckler and Koch USP in .40 S&W   You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

I bought this gun 4 years ago from a guy in a parking lot. Came with the case, no manual and no magazines. Yeah I know, but I saw his driver’s license and his Concealed Carry Permit, so I know he was not a prohibited person. He wanted $400 and took $350.  Turns out the guy was a liar about the gun in perfect shape. Ended up putting in a new firing pin. Bought a few magazines from former Navy Seal in another parking lot for $55 and I was in business.It was still a good deal. It was one of the first guns that I concealed carried until I got the Beretta. It is the only .40 S&W gun that I have owned.

The USP (Universale Selbstladepistole or “universal self-loading pistol”) is a semi-automatic pistol developed in Germany by Heckler & Koch GmbH (H&K) of Oberndorf am Neckar as a replacement for the P7 series of handguns.


HK USP Compact Tactical .45 ACP equipped with a SureFire flashlight

Design work on a new family of pistols commenced in September 1989 focused primarily on the U.S. commercial and law enforcement markets. In 1991, USP prototypes participated in rigorous testing alongside H&K’s entry in the Offensive Handgun Weapon System (OHWS) program requested by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and which would later result in the Mk 23 Mod 0. The USP prototypes were then refined in 1992, based on input from the OHWS trials, and the design was finalized in December of the same year. The USP was formally introduced in January 1993with the USP40 model (the base version) chambered for the increasingly popular .40 S&W cartridge, followed soon by the USP9 (using the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge), and in May 1995—the USP45 (caliber .45 ACP).

The USP marked the first time Heckler & Koch chose to incorporate many traditional handgun design elements, such as those of John Browning’s M1911, in one pistol. Two principles guided its development—the first being the use of a molded polymer frame, and the second being the creation of a “pistol paradigm”. Heckler & Koch observed the strong points of its previous successful pistols for insight in developing the USP. Previous H&K pistol innovations include the unique squeeze-cocking mechanism of the P7, the precise roller-delayed blowback operation of the P9S, and the plastic frame and double action only trigger system used in the VP70Z. In contrast to these ambitious designs, the USP uses a Browning-style cam-locked action, similar to that developed by John Browning for use in the Hi-Power and M1911 pistols.


USP Expert .45

The USP is a semi-automatic pistol with a mechanically locked breech using the short recoil method of operation. This rather conventional lock-up system has a large rectangular lug over the barrel’s chamber that rides into and engages the ejection port cut-out in the slide. When a cartridge is fired, pressures generated by the ignited powder drive the cartridge casing back against the breech face on the slide, driving back both the barrel and slide as they remain locked together in the manner described above. After 3 mm (0.12 in) of unrestricted rearward travel, the projectile has left the barrel and gas pressures have dropped to a safe level. A shaped lug on the underside of the barrel chamber comes into contact with a hooked locking block at the end of the steel recoil spring guide rod, lowering the rear end of the barrel and stopping the barrel’s rearward movement. The recoil spring assembly is held in place by the slide stop lever’s axis pin and a round cut-out at the front of the slide. For enhanced reliability in high-dust environments, the locking surface on the front top of the barrel’s locking lug is tapered with a forward slope. This tapered surface produces a camming action which assists in positive lock-up in the presence of heavy fouling and debris. In this way, the USP shares many design features with the M1911 pistol, although apparently updated for easier operation.

One of the most significant features of the USP is the mechanical recoil reduction system. This system is incorporated into the recoil spring assembly, located below the barrel and consists of a heavy, captive coil spring around the guide rod. Designed primarily to buffer the slide and barrel and reduce recoil effects on the pistol components, the system also lowers the recoil forces felt by the shooter up to 30%. The USP recoil reduction system is insensitive to ammunition types and does not require adjustment or maintenance. It functions effectively in all USP models. Using this same recoil reduction system, one of the related H&K Mk 23 .45 ACP pistols fired more than 30,000 high pressure +P cartridges and 6,000 proof loads without damage or excessive wear to any major components. Abuse and function-testing of USPs have seen more than 20,000 rounds of .40 S&W fired without a component failure. Milspec environmental tests were conducted in high and low temperatures, in mud, immersed in water and in salt spray. In one particular test, a bullet was deliberately lodged in the barrel and another bullet was fired to clear the obstruction. The barrel was successfully cleared with only minor structural deformation and continued to produce consistent groups when test fired for accuracy.

Major metal components on both the USP and Special Operations Pistol are corrosion-resistant. Outside metal surfaces, such as the steel slide are protected by a proprietary “Hostile Environment” nitride finish. Internal metal parts, such as springs, are coated with a Dow Corning anti-corrosion chemical to reduce friction and wear.

The USP is composed of a total of 54 parts and is broken down into 7 major components for maintenance and cleaning: the barrel, slide, recoil spring, recoil spring guide rod, the frame, slide stop and magazine. This is done by retracting the slide back to align the slide stop axis pin with the disassembly notch on the left side of the slide and withdrawing the axis pin.

The USP was adopted in Germany by the Bundeswehr (German armed forces) as the P8 in 1994.The P8 has only minor differences from the standard USP model, these being translucent magazines, a reversed safety/decocker lever (on the P8, down indicates ‘safe’, and up indicates ‘fire’ — this is the opposite of the standard USP), and the ‘S’ and ‘F’ letters being printed onto the frame instead of onto the lever itself. The P8 has a traditional lands-and-grooves barrel instead of a polygonal barrel.

The P10, adopted by many German State Police forces, is in fact a USP Compact with the addition of a spurred hammer.[21] Both P8 and P10 are chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum (9 mm NATO) only.

On August 24, 2004, SIGARMS and Heckler & Koch/HK Defense won major pistol contracts with the United States Department of Homeland Security. The contract was valued at $26.2 million.n The HK pistol models chosen were the HK P2000 US, HK P2000 SK Subcompact, and the USP Compact/LEM (Law Enforcement Modification).  The LEM trigger is basically HK’s version of SIG’s DAK trigger and vice versa. According to the company, the LEM trigger allows for faster follow-up shots (repeat shots) on target than a standard double-action-only system, due to a lighter trigger pull (7.3–8.5 lbf) and shorter trigger reset than standard DAO trigger systems. The LEM trigger utilizes a two-piece “pre-cocked hammer” composed of a cocking piece and an external hammer. The hammer is pre-cocked when a round is chambered (slide is cycled). The LEM system supposedly also provides for more reliable primer ignition, since it utilizes a stronger hammer spring.

The LEM trigger can be installed on existing USP Compact pistols that were purchased before the LEM trigger came on the market—either by a certified gunsmith or by sending the pistol directly to Heckler & Koch. In addition, the USP Compact pistol can retain its external safety even with the LEM trigger—making it the only modified double-action pistol with an external safety.