<![CDATA[Jon Mac Arms - Blog]]>Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:23:02 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Restoring a 108 year old rifle]]>Fri, 03 Jun 2016 01:51:45 GMThttp://jonmacarms.com/4/post/2016/06/restoring-a-108-year-old-rifle.htmlI've posted about this Marlin 94 in 38-40 that is my Great Grandfather's that my Uncle is now the proud owner of before and I have the task of restoring it. This will be a complete restore, slow rust bluing and refinishing the wood. I will try to keep up with posting pictures as I go and share here. With this rifle being as old as it is rust bluing was the only way to go, anything else would have been an abomination, and I would fear the wrath of the gun gods. But I did not try to remove 100% of the nicks and scratches because this rifle has been in the family since it was new, those nicks and scratches tell stories from those already gone that used this rifle.This is what I have done so far:

Here is what I was starting with, zero bluing left and some slight pitting:

Here is it all blown apart, 108 years of grit and grim:

And all stripped, cleaned, and lightly sanded to get out some of the pitting:

First pass with the bluing, I'm using Laurel Mountain Forge Barrel Brown & Degreasers:

And after 3 hours rusting and 5 min in boiling water:

Round #2 Rusting!
Side note, anyone else thinks this would be an awesome mobile to hang over the bed? just me?

After the 2nd boil:
You can see how its getting darker and richer in color. I will do another 3 maybe even as much as 5 more rust and boil rounds to get it as dark and true as possible. 
<![CDATA[Gen 3 Glock 19 vs Springfield XD(M)]]>Sat, 23 Jan 2016 00:50:57 GMThttp://jonmacarms.com/4/post/2016/01/gen-3-glock-19-vs-springfield-xdm.htmlPicture
I have been wanting to do this comparison/review for a while now. I would have done a video review, but I have a face more suited for radio. Both the test guns are 100% stock. Nothing done at all to enhance, alter, improve or customize.

More than 70% of law enforcement officers in the US carry Glocks and it has become almost an alternative name for any semi-automatic handgun. So its been Glock versus the rest for the world since the early 80’s when it comes to semi-auto handguns. Springfield or rather Hrvatski Samokres (Croatian Pistol) entered the polymer handgun scene with the introduction of the XD (HS2000) back in the mid 90’s.

I picked these two handguns to compare against each other because it’s more of an ‘apple vs apple’ look. Let me make my case for that: Glock has 3 9mm frames (well 5, but we will not be counting the select fire G18 or the ‘competition’ G34) So there is the 17, 19 and 26; the 17 being the largest of the 3 and the 26 the smallest making the 19 right in the middle. XD(m) has 3 9mm frames (ok 4, but again, we’re not counting the ‘competition’ 5.25). They offer the 3.8 compact, 3.8, and the 4.5 again leaving the 3.8 right in the middle.

I have fired over 500 rounds in each, everything from Hornady Critical Defense 115gr FTX to bulk 124gr FMJ and handloaded 158gr JHP with never a failure to feed, or failure to fire, or failure to eject in either. So for reliability, I would say its even so far. Now for accuracy, I do not have any targets to show or an exact distance to report (it was about 25 feet), but both will shoot where you aim. I would give a slight edge to the XD(m), maybe it has something to do with the ‘match’ barrel, or the fact that it’s somewhat heavier or longer in the hand but I was hitting a 6" steel plate at 75 ft 8 out of 10 time with the XD(m) and 7 out of 10 with the Glock. Both are excellent shooters.

While we are talking about shooting, I find the trigger pull a little bit ‘cleaner’ in the Glock with a trigger pull weight of 5lbs 14oz but the Glock has a much shorter reset, only about .11 inches. The XD(m) has a slightly ‘squishy’ trigger with a pull weight of 5lb 8oz and a longer reset of .22 inches.* The nod goes to Glock.

Both can be ‘field stripped’ easily and are broken down to magazine, barrel, recoil spring, slide and frame. As for frame sizes, the thickest part of the Glock came in at 1.19 inches and the XD(m) at 1.29 inches. Not a big difference unless you use it as a CCW. Now the grips are where most notice a difference when picking them up for the first time. I have heard Glock grips referred to as a 2x4, well it came in at 1.19 x 2.31 inches, not a 2x4 but almost a quarter of an inch longer (front to back) than the 1.19 x 2.08 grip of the XD(m) (The XD(m) comes with interchangeable backstraps and the medium one is installed for this comparison.). The frame, minus the slide and magazine, of the Glock weighed in at 4.8oz and the XD(m) came in at 8oz, big difference but the XD(m) is taller at 4.32 inches where the Glock is only 3.65 inches. Both have an accessory rail in the frame under the barrel. The texture on the XD(m) is more to my liking than the finger grooves of the Glock but that is only a personal preference. Not sure who wins this round...

Moving on to the barrels, The Glock’s came in at 3.87 inches long and .12 inches thick walls, an overall diameter of .57 inches and weighs 3.8oz. The XD(m)’s barrel is 3.65 inches long, .10 inch thick walls with an overall diameter of .52 inches and weighs 3.4. Both have a twist rate of 1:16.
There is not a lot of differences in the slides other than cosmetic with the Glock being ‘boxie’ and the XD(m) having grooves on the front and rear. The further apart the front and rear sights are the more accurate they are. The distance between the sights on the Glock are 6.02 inches and the XD(m) are 5.95 inches. Both sights are adequate but there are better after market sights out there. In my opinion another notch for the XD(m),

So on to the recoil springs. This is where there is a big difference if you ask me. The XD(m) is heavier at 1.2oz and made of metal guide rod with a two spring setup. The Glock’s has a plastic guide rod and a single spring setup and only weighs .4oz. Now I know they sell an upgrade but this is a stock comparison. Hands down XD(m) on this one.

That leaves the magazines for last. The biggest difference in them is the round count. Standard Glock 19 magazine are plastic and holds 15 rounds and the standard XD(m) magazine is metal and holds 19 rounds. That’s 4 extra rounds from the XD(m) and if you are not completely sold on the lethality of the 9mm that extra 4 rounds could help you sleep better at night. 19 rounds is almost 3 times as many rounds as the old 1911 holds. Now the Glock 19 can use the Glock 18 33 round mags but that’s only practical for range use, if you ask me. At this time there is nothing that comes close to 30+ rounds for the XD(m). Fully loaded the Glock weighs in at 1lb 13.4oz and the XD(m) is 2lb 3.4oz.** I'm giving this one to the XD(m).

The best way to sum this up (and shortest now that I see how long this review is) is this: If I was only going to shoot at the range, out of these two, I would take the XD(m) but if I was only looking for a CCW I would take the G19 over the XD(m). If I could only have one, I would go with the XD(m), 4 extra rounds, fits better in my hand and the added weight is not an issue for me. Your results my vary. 

*All weights and leighs were an average of 3 pulls/resets.
**Loaded with Hornady Critical Defense FTX.

<![CDATA[A Model 94 in .38-40]]>Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:02:11 GMThttp://jonmacarms.com/4/post/2015/07/a-model-94-in-38-40.htmlPicture
On my bench this week I have a rifle that I have been trying to get my hands on ever since I found out it existed, about five years ago. It might not get a second look on a gun rack but it is my great grandfather’s rifle. My uncle inherited this rifle and asked me to do a once over to make sure it was in good working order and to fix the loading gate. He doesn’t want any other work done to it, which I can appreciate, but if you ask me, this gun is begging for a full restoration to help keep it in the family for another 100+ years.

It is a Marlin model 94 chambered in the somewhat rare .38-40 (more on this round later). This particular rifle dates back to around 1908 or so since Marlin stopped keeping track of serial numbers in 1906 till about 1940 something, and the numbers on this rifle are just barely outside the 1906 date range. My great grandfather was from rugged northern Maine, a farmer during the summer and a woodsman in the winter - and he used this rifle for the first half of the 20th century to feed his family. While the .38-40 is considered to be particularly not well suited to hunting larger game, my great grandfather took moose and countless deer with it (once again proving shot placement trumps caliber).

 One interesting fact about the .38-40 is in its numbering: The first number, ".38", is supposed to be its bullet’s diameter/caliber and the second number,"40", is supposed to represent the 40 grains of black powder that makes up a standard load. But, this cartridge actually uses .401 diameter bullet or more commonly known as a 40 caliber.  The round was introduced by Winchester in 1874 as the .38 WCF (Winchester Center Fire). The modest ballistics of the .38-40 makes the cartridge more appropriate for a handgun than for a rifle, so around 1878 Colt introducing the cartridge in their famous Single Action Army (Peacemaker) revolver. Modern factory loads push a 180 grain round lead nose at about 1160 ft/s. You used to be able to find factory “+P” rounds that bumped the ballistics up to around 1775 ft/s but people kept loading them into revolvers with disastrous results. 

I wish I had a picture or two of him with this rifle to attach to this post but I have not been able to find any. I did pick up a box of ammo so my son and I could shoot this piece of family history and we’ll take some pictures for sure. I am not next in line for this rifle but I’m honored to be working on it.

From left to right: 
44 special, 

<![CDATA[A gritty trigger on a Walther CCP]]>Sun, 31 May 2015 00:47:41 GMThttp://jonmacarms.com/4/post/2015/05/a-gritty-trigger-on-a-walther-ccp.htmlI had a customer bring me a new Walther CCP to see if I could smooth out his trigger. The trigger had a very gritty feel through the whole length of pull. I did a little research online about the problem and found it to be a common gripe about this model.

After I had worked on it and got it very smooth, I looked to see if there was any videos on this problem and the only thing I found was clips on how to field strip the weapon, nothing with more detail. So I made a video to show a more complete dis-assembly and reassembly. Since this is for informational purposes only, I did leave out some of the steps but still showed all the parts and where they go.
<![CDATA[Another Colt]]>Sat, 14 Mar 2015 16:31:51 GMThttp://jonmacarms.com/4/post/2015/03/another-colt.htmlPicture
I love old Colts! I had another 1911 on my bench this week that I wanted to share. It is a 1953 Colt 38 Super. Colt more or less rebranded the 38ACP as the 38 Super in 1929 and claimed it would take down any animal in North America and that it was more powerful than the 45ACP. Colt made 202,388 1911’s in 38 Super from 1929 to 1971. While not rare, they are not super common either (see what I did there? Super common? because it’s a 38 Super? A little gunsmith humor, we don’t get out much).

The 38 Super has made a comeback in the last 35 years with competitive shooting. It’s a great target round! Easy recoil for follow up shots, flatter shooting for better accuracy, and slightly smaller than the 45 so a few extra rounds in the magazine. Custom built 1911’s are the most common gun to find chambered in 38 Super nowadays. It’s a great round and I can’t figure out why it has not caught on more. A little louder than the 45acp but not like a 10mm. Most people that shoot it for the first time get a smile on their face like they know they just shot something special.

This one came in to have the extractor fixed then tuned, trigger lightened and shortened, and a new finish with Cerakote.  As you can tell by the photos, the finish is far from perfect. If it were mine, I would re-blue it, but the owner wants Cerakoted. Now the customer just needs some new grips.

<![CDATA[Gun Safety]]>Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:18:28 GMThttp://jonmacarms.com/4/post/2015/01/gun-safety.htmlPicture
I want to take a few minutes and talk about some basic firearm safety.

I think this is something that should be taught to EVERYONE no matter if they have firearms in the home or not, especially kids. And it does not have to be a long drawn out boring lecture, even if it’s just the four cardinal rules.

Rule number 1. Always treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.

                This rule is to help get you in the mindset that you are holding something that has the potential to take a life, and to help you take the next two rules very seriously. This is especially true if you are unsure if it is loaded or not and even if someone tells you it is not loaded, you should still treat it as if it is. The number one thing people say when they accidently shoot something/someone they did not intend to is: “I didn’t know it was loaded.”

Rule number 2. Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.

                You might think that’s harsh wording but I don’t. It doesn’t matter if it’s an old vase, or the TV, or family pet. If the gun is pointed at something you are not willing to destroy and it goes off, it’s too late. If four rules for gun safety is too much then at least heed this one. If you always keep it pointed in a safe direction and it goes off then it should be a learning lesson that everyone can walk away from.

Rule number 3. Always keep your finger off the trigger (until you’re ready to shoot).

                Guns are set up ergonomically and it’s only natural that your finger wants to go inside the trigger guard and rest on the trigger. Be aware of this and make it a point to keep your finger off the trigger. Even if you are sure the gun is empty, still, resting on the trigger is the best way to have the gun go “bang”. If you happen to be handling a firearm around others, keeping your finger off the trigger will help keep them at ease that you know what you’re doing.

 Rule number 4. Always know what your target is and what is behind it.

                This is the only rule that actually has to do with the shooting aspect of firearms. You should always know what you’re aiming at. Not just aiming in a direction because you heard a noise or thinking it’s a squirrel and it turns out to be the neighbor’s cat. Always know what is behind your target. If your target is paper, it will not stop the bullet, so what will? Make sure you have a backstop that can stop the round you are shooting, a hill side, berm, shooting pit, large logs, etc. We would all like to think we can hit the backstop with every shot but what if you miss? Where is that round going? All things you need to think about before pulling the trigger.

<![CDATA[An Old 1911]]>Sat, 17 Jan 2015 19:47:46 GMThttp://jonmacarms.com/4/post/2015/01/an-old-1911.htmlPicture
So I thought I would share this with others who would appreciate it. A customer brought me this and just wanted a once over to make sure it was safe to shoot. I asked the gentleman what he knew about the gun, and he replied "not much, my father-in-law was in the Navy during WWII and this is what he carried." I looked up the serial number, (as I usually do for my own curiosity) and found it was a Colt Model 1911A1 Military from 1924 (Transition year). Only 10,000 were made that year and last 1,000 of those where reserved for National Match use. (this one is not part of the last 1,000) Colt did not make another 1911 for the US military until 1937. 

The WTG is an inspector's mark enclosed within a double circle are the initials of Captain Walter T. Gorton, Inspector of Ordnance from December 5, 1921 to March 3, 1926. H and G on top of frame, H above firing pin stop plate, G inside slide. This one has all the right marks in the right place. It even has the fully checkered walnut grips. The barrel looks correct but has not markings so not 100% sure it is the original. Even the magazine has the right aging on it too.

I thought all this was really cool and the oldest 1911 I have ever worked on. When I called the customer to tell him all that I had found out he said "Wow" followed by "so, I can still shoot it right?" I explained that the gun was very solid even with some slight blemishes to the finish and that it still had oil in the right spots and it is in very good working order. 

Happy customer and a very cool gun, I just wish it could talk!