Friday, June 08, 2007

"Yeah... that'll do the job"

You Magnificent Bastards... Thank you so much. I can't begin to describe how overwhelmed I am, and how much I appreciate this... I'm speechless, and for me, that's saying something.

...Oh, wait, some of you don't know whats in the box:

This past weekend at the NoR conference and shoot, some of my best friends, and my chosen family, decided to give me something I don't deserve, for the work I've done for the NoR over the past few years.

That is a full custom, from the ground up, 10mm 1911; built by Hank Fleming to my ideal specifications (as I've written about before on the NoR forums, the forums, and on this blog).

So heres the story...

About 9 months ago my friend... my brother... CC contacted a bunch of folks from the forums, my other friends, my wife; and got them all together to pull one over on me. They got Mel to send pics of my family coat of arms, and they started discussions about 1911s... It was a hell of a put up job.

Now, here it is...

I'm just overwhelmed... there's nothing I can say; as you can see in this pic of me receiving the pistol:

The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail on this pistol is AMAZING. Take a look at the S/N:

... BYRNE 001 ...

Man, I can't believe that.

Ok, getting into details here, this is what's in the gun:

Frame: Caspian custom race ready frame with integrated magwell, milled down to a low profile tactical magwell. Full bevel job. Cut checkering on the front strap. Integral plunger tube. Hand cut and lapped rails to match the slide.

Slide: Caspian slick slide (no roll marks) with single set, classic fine, slanted serrations. Full bevel job. Milled serrated flat top. Hand cut and lapped rails to match the frame.

Barrel: Ed Brown match barrel, bushing, and link; hand cut and lapped into frame and slide.

Recoil: STI full length guide rod and plug, with 24lb Wolff recoil spring.

Sights: MMC adjustable combat sights with tritium inserts.

Fire Control: STI square speed hammer, Videcki adjustable ultra-short trigger, Chip McCormick sear, disconnector, and firing pin. 3.5lb trigger job.

Hard parts: Reshaped and hand fit Wilson beavertail, shortened and re-curved to match the STI square speed hammer. Caspian arched mainspring housing, machined and checkered to match front strap and hand blended into magwell. STI extractor, firing pin stop, extended ejector. Wilson ambi-safety, Wilson slide stop with hand checkered pad (instead of serrated).

Grips: Custom Alumagrips with Byrne family coat of arms laser etched in.

All the machine work, hand fitting, finish work, and assembly is by Hank Fleming. He hand cut and lapped the frame and slide rails, hand cut and fit the barrel and slide lugs, hand fit the mainspring housing, reshaped the beavertail to match the new hammer, and hand fit it...

Basically all the major components were purchased oversized and unmachined; and Hank did all the final machining and metal to metal fitting.

Then, the entire gun was cryogenically treated to relieve internal metal stresses; and refine the grain structure of the metal. This should increase the life of the gun; as well as make cleaning it a bit easier.

Oh and thats a Bob Mernickle custom holster it's riding in.

This gun locks up tighter than any 1911 I've ever felt... or any other gun for that matter. It is so perfectly fitted, you just can't believe it. There is no rattle whatsoever, but it's not so tight that it binds. It's just so smooth and solid; it feels like it was hand chiseled out of solid granite, and polished to glass. The sound of the slide locking home... it's like a hollywood movie sound effect.

So, how does it shoot?


Here's me establishing my grip:

And here I am in "full recoil" with a high forward grip (I tried high and low forward, low works better):

Let me tell you, this is a hell of a view:

I fired about 250 rounds through it, and the gun is so finely finished and finely fit; that even after 250 full house loads with Unique, I just wiped the fouling right off. The rails are dead perfect smooth, and the ramp and throat are mirror smooth and polished. When I say mirror I mean it was like looking into a piece of highly polished glass... almost liquid looking.

I didn't get any grouping pictures unfortunately, but I put two full mags into 1-1/2" at 10 yards, fast as I could reacquire sight picture. CC had it out the day before to break it in before giving it to me, and he had 8 shot groups of 1-1/2" at 25 yards with pretty much all the ammo he tried.

...So, it's a funny story how I came up with the title for this post:

We were out at TDSA (Texas Defensive Shooting Academy) getting instruction from Len Baxley (great stuff by the way, I'd recommend Len and TDSA to anyone); and he's showing me a slight grip modification and trigger control modification, to improve my accuracy at speed.

He moved my support hand maybe 1/4" and had me pre-stage my trigger during my recoil recovery so that I had the takeup out of the trigger by the time my sights were realigned. I tried 4 rounds slowly to get the feel of it, and then he had me fire as fast as I could get the gun back on target; then speed reload and put a full mag downrange again as fast as I could re-index.

Basically he got me to cut my speed shooting group size in half; from 4" to under 2". Of course to him, from 10 yards I should be in one hole... at least with a match .45 or .38 super anyway...

So I fired my 12 rounds into a 1-1/2" group centered on the bridge of the nose at 10 yards, and he turned around and looked at the target, then turned back to me and said "Hmm, 'salright... Hey, that guns a little snappy, a bit loud... you're shooting a hot .38 super right?".

So I said "Nope, that's full house 10mm, 180gr XTP at about 1300 feet per second or so".

Lens expression changed quite a bit then... "Well now... a 10mm eh..." he turned around, looked at the target again and said "Yeah... that'll do the job".

Yeah, I think it will...