Saturday, October 22, 2005

Gun day

The weather today was crummy -- rainy and chilly. With outdoor activities off the agenda, I found myself at Surplus City this afternoon.

I've been considering giving the FAL platform another try, and wound up getting a new Century R1A1 FAL. The parkerzing job looks nice, it was clean inside, and the barrel appears to be new after running a couple of patches through the bore. I'm not sure if the thing on the muzzle is a brake or a flash suppressor, but I think it's the latter. It's no-ban style, i.e., it has the recesses to allow bayonet mounting. The cocking handle is obviously a used part and shows some wear. The lower reciever is originally from a full-auto rifle, and the selector will rotate all the way forward to the auto position, although of course the rifle will only shoot semiauto. There's a grenade launcher site mounted over the gas port adjustment. It came with two magazines, so I'll need to pick up some more. Luckily, FAL mags are cheap. The furniture is US-made. The butt is pretty conventional for a FAL, while the plastic handguards are styled after the steel handguard on the STG-58 FAL variant. One thing I find annoying is that Century doesn't put a sling swivel on the butt, so until I do so there's no way to attach a sling to the rifle. In any event, I hope to get it to the range before Thanksgiving.

I wasn't the only one to pick up a new toy today. My brother Josh went to Seneca Arms in Green Lane, and found a beautiful Smith & Wesson Model 19-3 made in 1974. It's still in the original box, with all the papers, including the protective wax paper that the gun shipped wrapped in. It had the merest trace of a turn ring on the cylinder. The gun looks new, even though it's 31 years old. It was so nice that if I'd bought it, it would be a safe queen. He also bought a box of Federal .38 Special 158 grain Nyclad HPs, which I convinced him to not shoot, as they are discontinued and will be a collector's item.

Since the Model 19 is his and not mine, after dinner Josh, my dad and I hit the indoor range at the Lower Providence Rod & Gun Club. The Smith shoots. He shot a 6 round group that could be covered with a half-dollar. Josh also had his Springfield M1911, which he's still working out extractor issues with, and a Browning BuckMark.

Dad brought his S&W Model 625. This is a recent production gun with the built-in lock and the frame mounted firing pin. The action has slicked up a lot since he got it (it was atrocious at first), but it'll never get to the level of Josh's or my 625s, which are older models with lighter hammer springs.

I brought my Springfield M1911 Loaded and Browning High Power Practical. Ammo was Sellier & Bellot FMJ in both .45 ACP and 9mm. I've had good results with S&B, up until tonight. The High Power ran fine, but the Springfiled kept choking on the S&B. It's extremely reliable with Winchester White Box and Federal American Eagle, but I experienced several failures to eject with the S&B .45 tonight. Several times, extracted cases became jammed in the magazine's feed lips, with two different mags. At the end of the night I had a single .45 round, which I fired after loading it directly into the chamber without a mag in the gun. It ejected downward, through the magazine well, which was simply bizzare. S&B .45 from the same lot has run just fine in my Ruger P90 and IIRC, my Marlin Camp .45. I think I'm going to standardize on WWB or FAE .45 in the future, though.

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