Mousegunner's Archived Observations

June 2011

Beretta Neos pistolJune 14, 2011 -- Comparing Five .22 Semi-auto Pistols...First, I apologize for being slow to post the comments I am receiving this week. But I still have pneumonia, and I'm tired all day long, and just not up to doing much. But, passing time yesterday before seeing my doctor, I spent a few minutes at Books-A-Million reading gun magazines. I can't remember the name of the magazine (maybe it was Guns and Ammo), but there was one with a very interesting article that compared and reviewed the Ruger 22/45, the Browning Buckmark, the Walther SP22, the S&W 22A, and the Beretta Neos. The Ruger and Browning came out on top, and they gave the best marks to the Browning Buckmark. Some time I ago I was shopping for either the Ruger or Buckmark, and finally bought a stainless Ruger MkIII. I think now, instead of waiting for the Diamondback DB9 to show up, I will venture out and get the Buckmark to add to my collection. I LIKE shooting .22s. They are accurate, and the ammo is still inexpensive.
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A Comment from MV..."First get better and donít push it too much. Give the Lord the opportunity to get you well without any additional problems. Second, several folks at the range I frequent have the .22 pistols and I have shot them, though I donít get the thrill that others obviously do. If all you're looking for is time on the range they certainly serve that purpose and evidently, with some pleasure. As for myself, I haven't owned a .22 pistol in over 30 years, though I do still have a 50 year old rifle my brother gave me when I was 12. When considering the cost (I'm told they start at about $250 and go up) I'd rather concentrate on larger calibers. I realize it's simply personal choice, and certainly donít begrudge anyone their 'particulars.'"

Kel-Tec P-11 trigger spring and bar kitJune 13, 2011 -- Replacement Parts from Kel-Tec...Last week while I was in Virginia, the replacement parts for my P-11 arrived. My trigger spring had been jumping out of its groove in the trigger bar. Kel-Tec sent me not only a new trigger spring and trigger bar, but also a new hammer, hammer spring, and a pin. (Click on the photo for a larger view.) Even though I bought the gun second-hand, there was no charge from Kel-Tec, and they also paid the shipping, which was only $1.56. When I feel better, and have time between CT scans and visits to the doctor for my pneumonia, I will install the new trigger bar and trigger spring. I don't think there is anything wrong with my hammer or hammer spring, so I will leave those alone and just save the parts.
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A Comment from DH..."I'm surprised you have issues with yours. I've put about 200-300 rounds thru mine, and it's a clock. Not one mis-fire, with a variety of gun food. If I could only grab one gun, it might well be the littlest 9. (or the S&W 38snubby)."

A Comment from A in Texas..."I look forward to reading your posting each day. Hope you are feeling better soon."

db9 firearmJune 12, 2011 -- Still sick but moving on...Sometimes you just have to make yourself do things, so here goes. I want to make a few more remarks about the Diamondback DB9. I had corresponded with DB Firearms quite some time ago, because I wanted a DB9 for testing and evaluation. They responded that they would put me "on the list." I have a feeling that I'm waaaay down on the list (and that's OK). Also, since then there have been some really good and thorough reviews done by others. Gunblast did a great job, as did MousegunAddict (fantastic photos and thorough range report). So, I have decided to quit waiting for the DB9 and to spend my gun money on other things. There's no need for my review. It's already been reviewed as well as could be wanted. I have also made up my mind finally that the best gun for front pocket carry is either the Kel-Tec P-32, or one of the many Kel-Tec P-3AT clones. Notice that I did NOT say that the P-32 or the P-3AT is the best gun for concealed carry. If you can carry a GLOCK 19 in your waistband, or a Kimber 1911 in a shoulder holster, then more power to you, and way to go! For me, front pocket carry is what works. And as always, these remarks are just my personal opinions.
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A Comment from Bob..."Gabe Suarez put out a relatively new dvd called Pocket Pistols which I just finished watching. It did not feature GS but one of his instructors who spent most of the run time trying to convince the viewer that a Glock 26 was really a pocket pistol. The instructor even put the G-26 in his front pocket (for a second) and said "see". Too bad there isn't some sort of universal law regarding pocket pistols and concealed carry. If there were, I'm sure the P-32 would rank much higher than the G-26.
PS - Glad to hear that you are on the road to recovery. My wife has been under the weather for 4 weeks, and I'm just starting my 2nd week of an uncomfortable cold and I never get sick."

A Comment from DJ..."Hope you feel better, if possible you should do the review, after all your speciality is mouse guns."

statue of NeptuneJune 7-11, 2011 -- Going gunless in Virginia...This morning I will board a US Airways flight for Virginia Beach (Norfolk International) via Charlotte, NC, and will be in Virginia Beach (at the Convention Center) this afternoon, home of the giant bronze Neptune statue. I suppose I could take a gun with me in my luggage, but from what I read about it, it is just too much of a hassle. So I will be unarmed except for my trusty ballpoint pen, and whatever is at hand. If my flight is boarded by Zombies, I will roll up my in-flight US Airways magazine, and smite them with it. My denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America holds an annual "General Assembly." We move around every year, and have met in Dallas, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Orlando, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, and many other places. I've only missed one meeting in the past 22 years. We are strongest in the Southeastern USA, so we orbit around the South, generally. There will be about 1200 pastors in Virginia Beach. How would you like to spend four days with 1200 pastors? I will enjoy myself, though I'm sure it is an acquired taste! I will not be home and able to "blog" anymore until Saturday morning, so this will be my last post until then.
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A Comment from PW..."I hope you enjoy your General Assembly meeting. While it may be an acquired taste, it is important to fully participate, so God may use you to accomplish His purposes. In our denomination, the Presbytery is tedious, but good things often come from General Assembly. I submit you are not unarmed (pen and magazine aside), because you have your "wits about you." One of the things that you bring to the table among gun enthusiasts on the Internet, is that you include an appropriate amount of reason and logic to guns as weapons, history, and art. This perspective makes you a good advocate and champion of handguns, particularly small guns, that is difficult for detractors to defuse. Your congregation might think General Assembly will be good for you. I submit that you might be good for General Assembly."

A Comment from PB..."Too much of a hassle to take a firearm in checked luggage? What nonsense!! I've traveled all over the United States with my pistol in checked airline luggage. Only once (in San Francisco) did I have any problems, and that time it only was an extra 5 minutes to straighten things out."

Stephen CampJune 6, 2011 -- Stephen Camp Has Passed Away...Stephen Camp was man who loved guns, especially the Browning Hi-Power. He reviewed scores of guns, and he was always informative and and accurate in his reviews. I read his website from time to time. He had a lot of common sense. His website is HERE, and you should take a look at it before it disappears. Here's some information about Mr. Camp from the Star-Telegram newspaper (May 30, 2011): Stephen Allen Camp, 59, of Krum passed away on Friday, May 27, 2011. Steve was born on June 18, 1951...Mr. Camp was a Christian, and a member at Birdville Baptist Church in Haltom City. He retired in 1998 from the Denton (Texas) Police Department after 25 years of service. He had a passion for guns that was legendary. Target practice was a part of his daily life, and he was known as the premier expert on the Browning Hi Power. Read the whole obituary HERE, if you are interested.
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NAA The EarlJune 5, 2011 -- Looking at "The Earl"..."The Earl" is a five-shot, single action, 1860's- styled mini- revolver chambered in 22 magnum, and manufactured by NAA (North American Arms). It is named after the NAA gunsmith who originally developed the product to resemble the old percussion revolvers. The Earl's loading lever merely secures the cylinder pin. The Earl is finely crafted of 17-4 pH stainless steel, and the barrel is four inches long (overall length is 7.75 inches). The gun is only 3 1/8 inches high, and only 7/8 inches wide, weighing in at 8.6 ounces, with a suggested retail price of $289.00. The NAA revolvers (and some are smaller than The Earl) are the most "pocketable" revolvers available. True, the length is a bit long. However, for pocketability the length is much less crucial than the other measurements. The Earl will be MUCH easier to carry in a front pocket than even the lightest Smith and Wesson .22 caliber air weight revolver. The Earl is safe to carry, even with a round in every chamber. The .22 magnum cartridge is a respectable self-defense cartridge, especially from the long four inch barrel. The only drawback I see with the NAA revolvers is that they are all single-action only. In other words, you cannot pull the trigger until you first cock the hammer, and this would be true for all five shots. Gunblast.com did a nice review of this gun. If any of you readers own The Earl, please send me a comment, and let me know your experiences.
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A Comment from RF..."Just one point - the 'Earl' (and all NAA revolvers) is NOT safe to carry with all chambers stoked unless secured to protect the hammer and the cylinder from turning. The 'safety notches' are anything but. A slight brush of the hammer will release the cylinder, and it is free to spin the hammer down on the rim of a live cartridge. Hammer down on an empty cylinder locks the bolt into the cylinder cut and thus is secure."

Jennings Bryco Model 48June 4, 2011 -- Cheap Guns...Last week I saw a Jennings/Bryco Model 48 (.380ACP, long slide) for sale at a local pawn shop. The Bryco Model 48 came with several finishes: black, shiny nickle plate, and a low shine "stainless steel" finish. This one was the low shine version. It looked almost new and unused, and I was sorely tempted to buy it. The price tag was $150; but I see on the internet that they regularly sell for between $70 and $100. I may go back next week and offer $100 for it. My personal take on these guns is that they are good to go, except for the 9mm pistol. I believe that the straight blow back function, and the zamak material, is less suited for the more powerful rounds. The history of Jennings, Bryco etc is interesting. In 1968 Congress passed a "Gun Control Act," banning the importation of low-cost pocket pistols. The Jennings family stepped in to meet the demand, starting Raven Arms, Davis Industries, Jennings Firearms, Inc., CalWestco Inc., Lorcin Engineering, Sundance Industries, Bryco Arms, Phoenix Arms, and B.L. Jennings, Inc. Bruce Jennings and his wife started Jennings Firearms, Inc. in 1978 to manufacture and distribute a pistol called the J-22. They divorced in 1985, and the corporate assets of Jennings Firearms, Inc. were sold to plant manager Gene Johnson, who continued to manufacture the J-22 under the name CalWestco Inc., using the same building, employees and equipment. Bruce Jennings continued as in-house consultant to CalWestco Inc. By 1990, Bruce Jennings was manufacturing pistols under the name Bryco Arms, a Nevada corporation nominally owned by Janice Jennings and his children's Nevada trusts. Through these various companies Bruce Jennings has manufactured millions of inexpensive pistols. Bryco Arms went into bankruptcy in 2003 as a result of losing a lawsuit filed in Oakland, California which resulted in a jury award of a record $24 million judgment against it. Bryco's former foreman, Paul Jimenez, bought the bankrupt Bryco Arms for $510,000 in August 2004, and renamed the company Jimenez Arms. These guns are not on the same level as a GLOCK. But you can today buy a Jimenez firearm for less than $150. They come with a lifetime warranty. Even a poor man or woman can exercise the right to keep and bear arms.
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A Comment from PW..."Excellent history of the infamous 'Saturday Night Special' handguns. I completely agree with your assessment that these are a low cost means of self-defense alternatives to going unprotected. I'm not sure that 'cheap' guns is an entirely accurate description. I think they are, more accurately, 'Inexpensive' guns, well suited to their intended purpose of arming an individual who cannot afford the price of a higher quality handgun. (Without invoking the discussion of 'defensive caliber' or 'what is the value of your life.') I think they are often maligned more than they deserve, especially in .22 and .25 mouse gun calibers. I routinely encounter these low cost pistols that are often 50 years old and still fully functional. They do not take abuse well, and they will not function if not properly cleaned and maintained. When they are, they are generally better guns than the reputation that often proceeds them."

A Comment from Bob..."The J-22 caught my interest because of its small size and light weight; and it was in my favorite caliber, so I called the Jimenez website phone number to locate a dealer nearby. I was given another number by a Spanish accented fellow who seemed surprised that his phone number was still listed. Before calling the new number I checked out the Bryco, Jennings, Jimenezarms forum on-line, and read some disturbing posts about gun reliability and warranty service problems, and decided to pass on pursuing this gun. I expect Glock reliability but in a smaller package, and at a more affordable price. So far, my Kel-Tec P-32 appears to meet those standards, but not cheap guns."

A Comment from DJ..."Inexpensive options are good, but dependable cost effective options like Kel-Tec are better."

Sad baby faceJune 3, 2011 -- Temporary Failure...Well, I took my P-11 to the range Thursday afternoon, hoping for the best. I had replaced the trigger spring, and dry-fired it about 70 times, and all seemed good. The first two magazines fired off without a hitch! The gun shot smoothly and accurately. I thought my amateur gunsmithing had really worked. But, then the trigger pulled all the way back to the grip, and the spring popped out of the groove again, and that was that. What a let down! Many men would give up on this gun and bury it, or use it for target practice! But I have faith in Kel-Tec, and I'm determined to get this thing functioning well. (Even if I wanted to get rid of it, I couldn't sell it in this condition.) There are two things I want to do: 1) I'm going to call Kel-Tec today and order a new trigger spring and trigger bar; and 2) I'm going to figure out how to repair the old ones. There must be a proper tool to deepen that very thin groove in which the trigger spring rides. I think that must be the key to the problem. When the new trigger bar gets here, I will see if Kel-Tec is making new bars with deeper grooves. I bet they are. I wonder where I can get a VERY skinny file?! Also, I promise to quit bothering you all about my P-11 until I've achieved ultimate success, or sent it back to the "Mother Ship."
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A Comment from CS..."Tell us how this works out. The P11 was going to be my next purchase from Kel-tec; and by the way, I just experienced the same problem with my wife's Taurus p22. It was new in the box, unfired, and the trigger went dead. It is on its way back to Taurus now. Thanks."

A Comment from BL..."Obviously, this thing is a piece of junk. Buy a Ruger or Glock, something that really works!"

Remark from Mousegunner: "I like my GLOCKS and my Rugers. But I also like my Kel-Tec P-11. I'm having fun fixing it, and I believe it will eventually be running 100%. If I had to limit myself to only one pistol, it would be a GLOCK. But luckily, I can enjoy many pistols, and I like tinkering! The P-11 is not a 'piece of junk.' I wouldn't say that about even a lowly Bryco. Cheap guns are what they are, and you need to buy them with your eyes open, realizing their limitations."

Do It YourselfJune 2, 2011 -- The Satisfaction of Doing It Yourself...After supper yesterday I got out my tools, and got to work on my P-11 with the "dead trigger." My wife is away, so I had the kitchen table to myself, with no complaining about getting it dirty. I set up a bright light on my work area. I had already searched with Google, and the search function at the Kel-Tec Owners Group, so I had a pretty good idea of what needed to be done. My main question was: is my trigger spring broken, or has it only slipped out of place? It turned out that it had only slipped, and needed to be put where it needed to be. It only took me about thirty minutes to take it apart, set it right, lube it up good and put it back together again. After getting it all together, I chambered a 9mm "snap cap" and dry-fired about 70 times, and it seems to function correctly. I hope to get to the range very soon and see if it continues to do well, even under the stress of actual gunfire. But, I'm feeling pretty good about doing this work myself. I feel like I have learned a few things, and saved a few dollars, too. You can see photos and read all about the trigger fix HERE.
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A Comment from TS..."Thanks for those great detailed and big pictures. This will certainly be a help to more than one person, and may encourage folks to work not only on their P-11 but other guns they might own. As I've said before, and will probably say again, thanks for this site; and PS: I like mousegun revolvers so maybe a thought or two? or more?"

A Comment from Bob..."A great DIY report; and I agree whole heartedly with TS, but I gotta tell you I wouldn't be happy with a gun that did that. Not a self-defense carry gun -- and if my P-32 ever acts up in that way, its gone. I also second the motion on revolvers, as I'm just $600 short of buying a S&W 43C..."

Pin Punch SetJune 1, 2011 -- Becoming An Amateur Kel-Tec Gunsmith...Yesterday I took my "new" Kel-Tec P-11 to the range to try it out. After about 16 rounds the trigger pulled all the way back to the frame of the gun, and refused to spring forward and reset. I pulled the slide off the gun, and sure enough, the trigger spring (part #256) is sticking up between the polymer frame and the aluminum block that holds the trigger group. I suspect it is not broken, but just "jumped the rails." But to find out, I'm going to have to do a pretty thorough dis-assembly of the pistol. I admit I was slightly disappointed in my P-11; however I quickly decided to change this little mishap into a learning opportunity. I bought the gun on consignment at a gun store, slightly used; so I can't demand free warranty work. But I believe Kel-Tec will probably send me any parts I need for free. I went to Wal-Mart and bought a set of pin punches (made in China, imported through Mexico, cost: $11.00), and I have been downloading and studying internet descriptions of how to fix this little trigger problem. This afternoon I plan to construct a little wooden table with holes drilled in it, so I can punch out those pins. I find that I am really looking forward to taking everything apart, and putting it back together again. I will also be polishing all the trigger parts, and hoping to end up with a P-11 with a better trigger than normal. I'll post some more about this tomorrow. (I wonder how this will compare to field-stripping my Ruger MkIII pistol!)
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A Comment from Bob..."Sorry to hear about the P-11 troubles but I would be more than a little disappointed! However, you did buy it used and it could have been misused. I've only bought one gun in the last 30+ years that was used (not counting a Davis derringer) but it was a Taurus that has a lifetime warranty on all their guns and that is the lifetime of the gun! Still it cost money to send it back to the factory for warranty repairs. I'm looking forward to hearing about your gunsmithing adventure. By the way have you done a websearch for similar problems with the P-11?"

Answer from Mousegunner..."Yes, there are several good web pages about how to fix this problem with the P-11. And Kel-Tec has great customer service. I'll write more on June 2."