Katrin Frye of Montana Public Radio reported on both the NRA Short Term Gunsmith program and the new full time college credit certificate available at FVCC in Kalispell, MT. The link below will take you direct to the audio file.
Category Archives: Pistol
Flathead Valley Community College is hosting the NRA Short Term Gunsmithing Program again this summer. 2014 will be the third year for this program at FVCC, the program has grown in attendance each year and this year should be no different. New classes are being offered so if you attended or looked at the offerings in the past there is probably something new for you this year.
Quality instruction is the name of the game at FVCC. The instructors for the Short Term Program are all top notch professionals who are well respected in the gunsmithing community. For instance, Lee Helgeland is one of the premier stockmakers in the nation. He has spent 30 years perfecting his craft and is a member of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild. Another instructor new to the Kalispell program this year, Sam Hatfield, certified NRA and Sig Academy Master Instructor. Sam was head gunsmith at Green Mountain Guns in Lakewood, Colorado and served as a member of the United States Army Marksmanship Unit as a gunsmith. Sam now owns Hatfields Gunsmithing Inc. in Manassas, VA.
To learn more about the instructors for this summers program check out this link:
New classes this year include “S&W Revolver Action Work”, “1911 Handgun AMU Accuracy Rebuilding” and “Accurate Reloading for the Hunter”. Perennial favorites like “Customizing AR-15 or AR-10” and “Introduction to Checkering” will still be on the schedule.
If you have ever wanted to learn more about gunsmithing but can’t take of the two years necessary for most schools, the NRA Short Term Gunsmithing Program is a great alternative. Classes normally run or one week, Monday through Friday. They are intensive hands on classes with small numbers of students, so you have great access to the instructor. This unique learning opportunity is set up as part of the Continuing Education Department of the College and the courses are non-credit.
If cost is a concern I noticed that the College has some Scholarships provided by NRA donations, details at this link:
An electronic copy of the brochure for these classes is available at this link:
At Shot Show 2014 Cabot Guns made quite a splash with their mirror image 1911 pistols. These two guns were true right and left hand 1911 pistols. The right had all the conventional controls, ie. safety, slide stop and magazine release that we are all used to.
The Left gun however was totally backwards (as you might expect) with the controls on the wrong side of the gun. Which makes sense when you see the scrimshaw by Darrel Morris on the grips. The Left gun has Piers Morgan on the right grip and Obamo on the left grip.
So when the two guns are muzzle to muzzle you have Morgan facing off with Nugent on one side and Obama with Bush on the other. The display highlights the great American gun debate.
The folks at Cabot Guns obviously have a sense of humor as well as a clear understanding of what will spark discussion. These presentation grade 1911 pistols show off the abilities of the company to produce high grade guns. These guns were the talk of the show, nearly everyone I talked to asked, “Have you seen the Right and Left guns at Cabot’s booth?”
Cabot Guns was launched in 2011. In a short time, the company has won two consecutive NRA National Pistol Championships. The Cabot 1911 has been described as “the Rolls Royce of 1911’s” by S.P. Fjestad, Author and Editor of the “Blue Book of Gun Values.
Kimber’s Micro .380 ACP pistols were not new for 2014 but they were available for testing at SHOT Show Media day 2014. The Micro includes many proven 1911 design elements that make them comfortable to carry, quick and safe to operate, and easy to shoot accurately.
Weighing just 13.4 ounces and with a barrel length of only 2.75 inches, they are ideal for concealed carry. Like most 380 pistols, the recoil was light and easy to handle. Sights were easy to pick up accuracy was good for a small pistol. If you have big hands this gun is probably not for you, I have average size hands and it was easy to control and manipulate for me.
Weighing less than 14 ounces empty. Slides on the Stainless and CDP models as well as all Micro barrels are machined from stainless steel for resistance to moisture and corrosion. All Micro frames are carved from aluminum.
In many ways the Micro is a miniature 1911, among the most important Micro design features is a single action trigger with a short, smooth pull that delivers accuracy and instills confidence. The thumb safety, slide release and magazine release are pure 1911.
Standard features include a lowered and flared ejection port for flawless ejection and a beveled magazine well for fast, positive loading. These are items that many shooters pay a lot of money to have added to a gun. Sights are steel mounted in machined dovetails for durability. Each Micro includes a flush-fitting 6-round magazine and an extended 7-round magazine is available as an accessory.
Here is a sad fact about emergency situations: Without extensive daily training chance are your initial reaction will be less than perfect. In the case of life threatening situations, because of fear, panic, or adrenalin, 93 percent of first shots fired miss the intended target. This is easy to understand.
In the best of circumstances we all have a slight twitch when firing a gun. The best marksman learn to minimize the flinch or twitch. For instance, if your twitch puts you just 2 degrees off target at 20 feet you will be 9.1 inches off your intended point of aim. Obviously that is enough to cause a miss.
These facts caused the folks at Multiple Impact Bullets to invent a bullet that makes if for more likely a first shot will hit the target. A bullet enhanced with Multiple Impact™ Technology (a prior-to-impact expansion technology) is designed to compensate for most if not all of the typical marksman’s error caused by Last Second Twitch.
The new design divides a single projectile into 3 interconnected segments that will spread to a predetermined orientation and finite diameter when fired. Once deployed, the segments of the proprietary Wide Envelopment Bullet™ (W.E.B™) are tethered together (like a spider web), to offer the shooter a much wider impact zone, reducing the occurrence of missed shots and thereby reducing the risk of collateral damage. (A standard .45 cal slug is .452 inches in diameter and remains that way until it collides with something, where as a T3™ round of the same caliber can be made to expand (instantly upon leaving the barrel) to a predetermined diameter (range 6 “ to 16 “ or greater).
This one of a kind Accelerated Radial Spread™ makes possible a wide spread pattern that ensures a high hit probability for each and every shot, resulting in unprecedented accuracy/hit probability, ensuring the shooter a greater tactical advantage.
Taurus is showing a new variation on their model 85 called the “View”. It sports a translucent panel where the side plate would normally be, allowing a view of the mechanism as the gun is cycled. Designed for concealed carry it utilizes an aluminum frame and a titanium cylinder to hold weight down.
Chambered for 38 Special this ultra-light revolver holds five rounds. Empty it weighs in at only nine ounces. With a snub nose 1.41″ barrel a round but and spur-less hammer this revolver would be easy to carry. The side plate is a gimmick but one that many shooters would like. Top it all off with a double action trigger pull of 10 pounds.
Magnum Research is offering a new compact version of the 1911 for 2014. Dubbed the “Undercover” model, or the 1911U this variant is a Series 70 style. The DE1911U is built on an ultra lightweight frame made of aircraft grade aluminum alloy and features a 4140 high carbon steel slide and adjustable rear sight for windage and elevation. The .45 ACP DE1911U has 6+1 round capacity, an overall length of 6.85″, a 3″ barrel, height of 5″, and weighs just 25.8 oz.
Standard features include checkered front and back strap, double diamond checkered wood grip, and stainless steel hex screws. The DE1911U also has a high-rise beavertail safety, skeleton hammer, and an aluminum trigger. It comes standard with two 6-round magazines.
New from Chiappa, the PolyLite™ Rhino was shown to wholesalers at the (NASGW) Expo. The new revolver is a variation of the existing Rhino line, obviously seeking to capitalize on the CC market. This lighter gun with a relatively slim profile may well find a niche with self defense folks.
The PolyLite™ Rhino will be available only in .38 Special, unlike the other revolvers in this series of guns which come in 357 Magnum. Pre SHOT Show, it’s not known if the revolver will be rated for +P, or standard pressure ammo only. The six round cylinder appears similar in size to the existing Rhino revolvers. Expect a shortened cylinder to prevent loading of .357 cartridges.
A 2″ barrel model will be introduced first. No indication whether longer barreled PolyLite™ revolvers will be produced in the future. Black is the only available color for the new design. If the guns sell well, other frame colors are always a possibility. The guns use a red fiber optic front sight and a fixed rear notch.
We will try to get a look at this one for you at SHOT.
The newest addition to the NRA Gunsmithing Schools is at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana. This school is being ramrodded by Brandon Miller, who ran the NRA School for Murray State College in Oklahoma for a while. So, you have experienced management and the instructors are very experienced as well, with a wide variety of expertise.
Everything from Basic Gun Safety, to machine shop, glass bedding rifles, and classes on the 1911. Much more is listed in the brochure which you can download from the web site linked below.
These short term classes allow professionals to take a little time off from business to expand their abilities, or for the hobbyist its a great way to learn the specifics your interested in. Either way its a convenient way to learn with classes normally running for 5 days or less.
Check out the list of Classes being offered at FVCC this summer at this link. I just talked to the staff at the college, and as of today there is still room in many of the classes. Take a vacation and have some fun.
The staff at 4D tells me this all grew out of the Savage pre-fit barrels they are selling. They custom chamber these barrels for clients in any caliber that they have tools for, and boy do they have tools, well over 600 chamber reamers on hand. Fred said, “We have no desire to hold an FFL so we will not accept actions in the shop, only barrels. We can rechamber them to any cartridge that is appropriate for the barrel in question. Of course we respect the pressure limits of various actions and will not put a cartridge in a barrel that cannot handle it. Accuracy is normally as good as it was originally and in many cases it’s better because we are careful about proper set-ups and tool alignment.”
Things to consider when thinking about rechambering a single shot barrel.
1. The bore diameter must be the same for the new cartridge as it was with the original, unless you are willing to rebore the barrel as well. (Reboring is cheap).
2. You must pick a chamber that is larger than the original chamber, ideally, larger in diameter and at least a little longer. Sometimes the original neck diameter was on the large size in the factory chamber and when you rechamber it leaves a small groove or mark in the neck area. Normally this is not a problem for function, but it leaves marks on your brass.
3. Ackley Improved cartridges do now work well for single shot rechambers unless your starting from a much smaller case, like a 22 Hornet to a 22-250 AI. This is because of how they are headspaced.
4. If you working with rimmed cases then an Ackley design is fine in a single shot simply because the rim handles headspace.
5. The twist rate of the original barrel should be compatible with the bullet you will likely be shooting in the new chamber.
For ideas on rechambering options see this page at 4D that offers suggestions.