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Electrolysis and Elbow Grease
March 6, 2013 7:14 PM   Subscribe

This playlist documents the restoration to operable status of an early US Army 1911 (1918 pattern) pistol. The 1911 was recovered buried in 3 feet of mud in Tennessee alongside an old bootlegging road. Wanna see the 1911 in action? The incomparable hickok45 gives a run-down of its history and fires a few mags.
posted by cthuljew (25 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's amazing how something introduced in 1911 still looks modern and contemporary over a century later: like something from the future was planted in the past.
posted by Flashman at 7:26 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This looks like a lot of fun- I get a huge kick out of fixing up old, gunky machinery.

I'm currently in the midst of fixing a 30-year-old motorscooter that had been left abandoned outside for ten years, and it's been way, way too much fun cleaning the centimetres of caked-on gunk off the engine, grinding off rust, taking everything apart and re-lubricating it.

I might still be a bit apprehensive about firing that thing. I was under the impression that firing old, worn-out guns was a good way to lose a thumb.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:38 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nice. Just goes to show those things will take a beating. Mine was issued in 1912 and while it's worn (though nothing remotely approaching the one shown here), it still shot nicely the few times I've actually put a round or two through it. It's something of an heirloom, so I rarely get it out of the safe.
posted by rhythim at 7:41 PM on March 6, 2013


Oh, and if you're interested in playing with a 1911 for a lot cheaper than the real thing, check out Wolfire Games' Receiver. (You also get Receiver if you preorder the (already fantastic) alpha of their next game, Overgrowth.)
posted by cthuljew at 7:44 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's amazing how something introduced in 1911 still looks modern and contemporary over a century later: like something from the future was planted in the past.

Firearms after the advent of smokeless powder were immensely advanced compared to other tech of the time (except, perhaps, submarines). Political bullshit means the M1911 pistol and its descendants are no longer US standard issue, but the M2 .50 Caliber Heavy Machine Gun is still mounted atop every armored vehicle in the 'Stan, despite being designed for the First World War.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:44 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


When I was in the Army, a psychiatric technician stationed at the 121st Evac. Hospital in Seoul, we all rotated through the distribution of company payroll. This consisted of sitting at a table at the hospital with a list of names and a box full of cash. There were two people at the table, one distributing the money, the other sitting there with a .45 pistol.

Although we had all gone through basic training and had spent a lot of time with an M-16, for some reason having a .45 strapped to your waist in a holster was tantamount to being given a four day dose of Viagra. I doubt there was anyone who pulled that duty that didn't have that fleeting desire to have someone attempt to abscond with the payroll in order to be able to cock that .45 and pull the trigger. There's something very empowering about that piece of metal!
posted by HuronBob at 7:50 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, guns can be used for bad things, but I like them because it's a huge amount of fun to blast holes in inanimate objects.

I don't have any respect for people who own them with any fleeting fantasy of using one on a person. But blasting cinderblocks apart? That's quality entertainment.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:51 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


The 1911 is still used by many of the Special Ops troops. It is much more deadly than the standard issue 9mm Berettas.
posted by shnarg at 7:51 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pff. He installed a new barrel, so there go my concerns about losing thumbs.

Although antiquing the barrel? That's downright silly. Just install a new barrel. The parts not looking like they fit together is part of the story.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:54 PM on March 6, 2013


What's sad is that he's able to order brand new parts that fit his 1911, but you can't get parts for my 30-year-old motorscooter for love or money.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:57 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is much more deadly than the standard issue 9mm Berettas.

The .9mm gives you more rounds per mag, and was a NATO standard... but, yes, the .45ACP was the better round in most real-world situations. Both are obsolete.

The Belgian FN Five-seveN has both the .45ACP and 9mm beat - a lot of powder behind a tiny little projectile with excellent ballistics, and 20 rounds fit in a standard magazine. It can punch through armor and light cover, and you can send enough lead downrange in a controlled manner to overcome any "stopping power" limitations.

Most Glock and 1911 owners don't wannna hear that, tho. They also don't wanna hear I want a legally mandated 7-round cap on civvie pistol magazines, either.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:07 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


"This type of .45 Automatic pistol was invented by one of my tribe, nearly four hundred years ago. Learning its use is a New Canaanite rite of passage"

Apparently New Vegas got the durability of the M1911 design just about right.
posted by Grimgrin at 9:18 PM on March 6, 2013


Slap*Happy-

In a P90 with the military ammo and a 50 round magazine perhaps. The FN pistol is a vanity item.

Having used all 3 weapons, I'll be staying with the 1911. Mine was made in 1913. Still going strong-

The 5.7 round out of a pistol is less powerful than a .22 Hornet, the ability to punch lower classes of armor is of no use to me. Especially as the ammo that could actually do that isn't available to the common man.

As Ivan Chesnokov said:

MAIN POINT OF SELLING BELGIAN FIVE SEVEN PISTOL IS EXTREME PRICE OF WEAPON AND CARTRIDGE.

BELGIAN FIVE SEVEN IS WEAPON OF MAN WHO WEARS EXPENSIVE ITALIAN FASCIST SUIT OF HAND SEWING, DRIVE HUGE EXPENSIVE NAZI MERCEDES OF A.M.G. SHOP, SAIL ON MASSIVE YACHT TO GREEK ISLANDS. I THINK YOU GET PICTURE. BELGIAN FIVE SEVEN IS WEAPON THAT SAYS IS NO SUCH THING AS CONCERN OF MONEY.

FOR MAN WITHOUT EXPENSIVE SUIT, BIG BLACK MERCEDES, AND MASSIVE YACHT, BELGIAN FIVE SEVEN IS FOR PRETENDING OF BE RICH LIKE BLACK GANGSTER OF AMERICAN CITY WITH GOLD CHAINS OF LOW QUALITY AND JEWELS OF COLORED GLASS. WHEN YOU EXPLAIN USE OF BELGIAN FIVE SEVEN PISTOL IS ONLY FOR SHOOT MAN WITH BULLET VEST WITH CARTRIDGE ILLEGAL TO CIVILIAN, THIS MAN HAS NUCLEAR RAGE. WHOLE IDENTITY OF THIS MAN IS SPENT IN PRETEND PISTOL SHOWS HE IS RICH. IS VERY AMUSE.

FOR REST OF WORLD THERE IS 9 MILLIMETERS OF LUGER WHICH IS SAME WOUND FOR COST LESS.



.
posted by bert2368 at 9:59 PM on March 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


I can't read that Ivan Chesnokov bit without my brain randomly putting the words "MOOSE AND SQUIRREL" scattered about in there.
posted by chambers at 9:59 PM on March 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


Funny thing about the .45 ACP is that, if you're in very bright light with a high-contrast background (e.g. in a well-lit indoor range) and firing target loads, it's actually possible to see the round go downrange.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:05 PM on March 6, 2013


Kadin2048: In the hickok45 video, you can see the rounds when he's shooting at the gong. Blew me away when I noticed that.
posted by cthuljew at 10:09 PM on March 6, 2013


For anyone thinking about doing electrolysis on their old rusty things, it works a treat but don't submerse the battery clips like that in the solution. One of them is going to get completely eaten up as happened to dude. You can either use wire to make the connection (I've usually just hung both pieces with some fencing wire on opposite sides of a barrel and it's fine) or rig up something that suspends the sacrificial plate in the solution with the clip out of it.
posted by mcrandello at 10:31 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's amazing how something introduced in 1911 still looks modern and contemporary over a century later

It might seem futuristic partly because it is and always has been popular in comic books and on pulp fiction covers. It was the firearm of choice for the Shadow, the Spider and the Batman, and also the gun that killed Batman's parents.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:17 AM on March 7, 2013


I can't read that Ivan Chesnokov bit without my brain randomly putting the words "MOOSE AND SQUIRREL" scattered about in there.

I hear lie bot
posted by flaterik at 2:15 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


After getting more than halfway through it seems he figured out the whole thing with the clips. I really like this post just because along with watching someone restore something from a literal lump of rust to an object functioning as it was designed to, you get to see the guy learning and developing his shopcraft to deal with new and unique demands.

Dunkadunc, part of me is with you on just letting the new parts be. Kind of like the Japanese kintsugi repairwork. On the other hand, the thing is kind of a hot mess to start out with, and there's a certain beauty to nasty old pitted metal, so having it all match sort of makes sense too.
posted by mcrandello at 2:18 AM on March 7, 2013


Although antiquing the barrel? That's downright silly. Just install a new barrel. The parts not looking like they fit together is part of the story.

I agree. The shiny new parts on my car and motorcycle are like the shiny new skin covering the holes I've occasionally inadvertently created in my own body: They are there to throw the worn and used condition of the rest into sharp relief.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:26 AM on March 7, 2013


The best irony is that the Five-seveN is a military pistol. Of course pretend-Russians hate it, they're really American "gun enthusiasts" - concerned with "Stopping Power" and "Cost Effectiveness." It's an unwelcome intrusion into the never-ending flame wars pitting .9mm against .45ACP.

If you need a side-arm that is easy to maintain, and fires rounds that will punch right through body armor and light cover, and will give you 20 rounds to play with before needing to reload, and will fit in a normal holster, you will have a FN 5-7. If you are a civilian who cannot purchase mil-spec ammo, you will sneer at it, like fox with grapes of sour, no?
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:27 PM on March 8, 2013


All this gun nerd talk goes whooshing right over my head.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:40 PM on March 8, 2013


If you are a civilian who cannot purchase mil-spec ammo

Perhaps not in other places, but in the US you can buy 5.7 ammo just fine; both Hornady and Speer sell factory loads. The only thing you can't get are the SS190 rounds, and they're dumb anyway — the only thing they're good for is penetrating body armor, and they perform worse against targets not wearing it.

Which is probably why the Five-seven hasn't really gotten that much interest even from the military, and certainly not police, here in the States: the whole design is very Cold War (the round was designed beginning back in the 80s in response to a NATO request) and was designed to be used in PDWs like the P90; the pistol was an afterthought. And a key part of the design was the assumption that the people you'd be shooting at (Soviets, presumably still glowing softly from their trip through the irradiated Fulda Gap) would be wearing body armor.

That assumption basically fell apart with the end of the Cold War. If the modern soldier, but even more so the modern police officer, shoots at someone who's wearing body armor, odds are it's by mistake. The AP ability of the round is thus a huge misfeature: the result is a weapon that's more lethal in a friendly-fire situation but paradoxically less lethal when used on a typical target.

Far from being some sort of ideal weapon, the Five-seven is almost certain to be an evolutionary dead-end (though probably very collectible). There aren't enough situations where someone is likely to be surprised by baddies wearing IIIA armor — and it has to be 'surprised', or else you'll just get an actual rifle — that they need an AP-capable handgun.

FN has done a nice job marketing it, and I will admit there are some limited situations where it might make sense (backup weapon for SWAT/HRT/anti-terror/etc. teams, executive or diplomatic protection where you really could be surprised by baddies with body armor), but the idea that it somehow represents the be-all and end-all of handguns is silly.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:09 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Back in the days when robbing banks got you fame and glory–and ultimately a body full of FBI bullets–John Dillinger was rigging his 1911 the full-auto way.
posted by Artw at 10:08 PM on March 12, 2013


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