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CZ Accu Shadow 2

CZ Accu Shadow 2

Sometimes in life you owe it to yourself to get the best-of-the-best, whether that is a sports car, guitar, set of golf clubs, pair of binoculars – or a pistol.

Of course, no matter what the item, there will be experts out there that have their own opinion on #1, but most of the time, if those experts put aside their personal biases, they’ll come up with at least a short list from which to chose when you are looking for the very best.

In the firearms category, I may have finally found a pistol – that if it isn’t the best in the world, it certainly is on the short list for that title – the CZ Accu Shadow 2.

First, the bad news…you are going to have to explain to your better half why you just dropped about $2,250 on a piece of steel weighing 46.5 ounces.  To which you will reply that it is 9mm, has a magazine capacity of 17+1 (you can get some after market magazines that hold a little more), has an all-steel frame, a single and double action trigger, a fiber optic front and HAJO rear sight, a cold-hammer forged 4.89-inch barrel, an ambidextrous manual safety, and an overall length of 8.53 inches.

Your better half will reply that the weapon sure feels heavy, and you will respond that to anchor the muzzle in the slide, the weapon has a new ¼ turn 1911 style AccuBushing, that the custom hammer further lightens and smooths the DA and SA trigger pulls, and that the weapon is capable of sub-3” groups at 50 yards.

Again, your better half will point out that you are currently not capable of shooting that precise at any distance and you will reply – “BINGO, that’s exactly the point.  This pistol will challenge me to work as hard as I can to not let its reputation down, and with it I can be as good as I ever have the chance of being.”

Designed for target shooting, it is way too heavy and large to carry concealed for self-defense, unless you are a lineman in the National Football League.  It is not constructed to be a trail gun that you drop in your rucksack for a jaunt through the woods.  Having said that, if you have to make a bullseye on your final shot to win a pressure-packed competition, or have to absolutely ensure a hit against a dangerous animal or murderous criminal for your first shot – with no room to miss or you might die – you want to be pulling this trigger on this weapon.

CZ stands for Česká zbrojovka that translates to ‘Czech armory,’ and dates back to 1936.  The first products out the door were aircraft machine guns, military pistols, and small-bore rifles.  The Germans, who have always known a thing or too about firearms, forced the Czechs to continue producing CZ pistols after overrunning Czechoslovakia just before World War II.  After the war, the Soviets forced Eastern Europe to join the Warsaw Pact and for decades soldiers armed with CZ-75s faced other soldiers armed with Colt 1911A1s – and both sides felt confident about their chances, which they should have been.  CZ-USA is the exclusive US importer, importer of rifles and pistols from CZ.  CZ-USA puts the final touches on a CZ Accu Shadow 2.

In one of the most fascinating ironies of the former Cold War, the Czech Republic joined NATO, and in May 2021 the Czech-based parent company of CZ, CZG in Prague, completed the purchase of famed US arms company Colt after securing regulatory approvals in Canada and the U.S.  CZG picked up a 100-percent stake in the historic Colt’s Manufacturing Company as well as its Canadian subsidiary, the Colt Canada Corporation.  The sale reportedly involved $220 million cash and the issue of just over 1 million shares of common stock.

So what are you waiting for?  If you don’t buy a CZ Accu Shadow 2 for yourself, who will?

 

CZ Accu Shadow 22021-06-13T17:44:45-06:00

The Po Po Report Now Podcast

Paul Ciolino

Sometimes I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but once I found how easy it is to watch Podcasts, I was glad I did.  First, you can listen whenever you want; second, you can listen more than once; and third, for the ones I have found, all the commercials are cut out of regular broadcasts.

Take the Po Po Report broadcast that used to be every Saturday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on WLS Radio, 890 AM.  Led by Paul Ciolino, a former policeman and now a private investigator, the show delves into police, crime and punishment in Chicago, so you know that they are never at a loss for material.  They talk about street crime, transgressions by political bosses — giving kudos to special police officers and slamming crooks.  Po Po is just one of the nicknames for the police in Chicago, hence the name.

WLS was OK, but when the pandemic came, the radio station cut back and started making demands that Paul was not prepared to live with.  So Po Po became a big time podcast, that is far more real than following rules from a radio station.  In fact, the only rule is that the subject has to be interesting!  And it is every week.

Paul is my age; in fact we were in the same infantry company in Germany in the mid-1970s.  Being the only two guys from Illinois, I would swing by the company arms room, which he ran, and checked what the latest was in Chi-town.  A few years later, Paul got out of the Army and went into law enforcement, finally becoming a private investigator.

Let me sum him up: if I ever was arrested for a major crime I did not commit, Paul Ciolino is the private detective I would want on my side.  He has been involved in the OJ Simpson Case, the Oklahoma City Bombing Case, the Amanda Knox Case in Italy, and several capital murder cases in Illinois that proved that the wrong people were sitting on death row, which led to a policy change on the death penalty in Illinois.

Right now, Paul is working on the mysterious death of boxer Arturo Gotti, who died on July 11, 2009.  Brazil and Canada have weighed in over the years on the cause of death, with a lot of so-called experts settling on Suicide.  Once again, Paul is the voice of reason in an increasingly irrational world, and is working on a special network presentation that Arturo was murdered.  If you are out in Las Vegas anytime soon, take Murder and give the points.

Now Paul is the savvy old-timer; his partner on the show is Lupe Aguirre, a younger lawyer and police officer; my guess is early 40s, so he knows the current state of play in the police department (like how a police lieutenant can take a nap on duty), as well as the Millennial scene, not that too many listeners care about the latter.  You want Chicago accents, often politically incorrect language, and stuff on crime you won’t find anywhere else.  This is it.  You hear about murders every weekend in Chicago.  You’ll hear about them here too, but you will also hear that there is probably a serial killer loose in the city that may have murdered 51 women in Chicago.  That’s right, 51 women and a whole lot of the media hasn’t bothered to really cover it.

They talk about the abysmal arrest rate on murder cases and why that is so.  They hand out the “Jagoff of the Week” which is derogatory street slang meaning a person who is stupid or inept.

The guys also give you tips about using Uber drivers and other things to keep you safer in Chicago.  Supposedly the show even has a following in Statesville, the replacement prison in the state for the infamous Joliet Prison.  It is worth your time, so go to the podcast.  In a perfect world, you could have a couple of beers every week with Paul at a Chicago watering hole; this is the next best thing.

The Po Po Report Now Podcast2021-06-15T14:52:05-06:00

Denial — Hector “Macho” Camacho

Macho (right) in happier days

Boxing great, Héctor Luís “Macho” Camacho Matías, is a central character in Denial.  His actual murder outside a bar, in a parked Ford Mustang, in Bayamón occurred just before we began writing the novel and served as the principal background event for the story.  We interviewed several persons who had been at the scene of the tragic crime and think we have it accurately portrayed, and like many things in the book, it may have some information that you never knew.  Héctor Camacho was well-known throughout Puerto Rico and beloved by a tremendous number of people.

In this photo, one of our nephews is shown on the left with the champ.  Wilson is the leader of an excellent band on the island and Héctor loved salsa music.  You can’t understand modern Puerto Rico without understanding “Macho” Camacho and Denial is not only a great story, but also a unique guide to this remarkable island.

And it’s not Pay-Per-View!!!  You can read it for free.

Denial — Hector “Macho” Camacho2021-07-09T10:01:03-06:00

eBook Denial Online and Free to Read

Denial: A Crime Mystery Novel of Puerto RicoDenial, a novel about an unusual crime, some unique detectives, and a lot of local color about the island of Puerto Rico, is now available for you to read in its entirety — right here on the website and for FREE.

Many thanks go Olga’s family members for helping get all the details about the island accurate and timely.  There are three options for downloading.  In the PDF download, the book is 211 pages long.

Whether you’re looking for something to read on vacation, or a good read over a weekend at home, you’ll learn a lot and have fun doing it.

The pandemic has really caused an upheaval in all our routines.  Its about time that you get an opportunity to forget about those troubles and not have to pay anything for the experience.

Have a great read!

French

PS.  If you like it, let me know and I’ll bring Detective Sergeant Antonio Ponce out of retirement for another adventure.

eBook Denial Online and Free to Read2021-09-05T12:15:20-06:00

New Book on Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk 1943 Published !

This man knocked out 77 enemy armored vehicles in World War II as a panzer gunner.  Do you really want to take him on in tank combat?

I always wanted to write about Kursk, and not have “just another” recount of the fight.  Not a rehash of Tiger tanks at Kursk but a whole new treatment of the machines and men at this pivotal battle: Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk: The Men of SS Panzer Regiments 1, 2 & 3 in Operation Citadel, July 5-15, 1943 which is published by Schiffer.

They were as hard as Krupp steel and as swift as greyhounds, the men who crewed the Waffen-SS Tiger tanks at the Kursk Offensive in July 1943.  Primarily enlisted men, not only did they fight – and fight well – at one of the largest tank battles in history, they also later formed the nucleus of Tiger operations in key future battles.  Franz Staudegger, Michael Wittmann, Bubi Wendorff and Bobby Woll became household names as the men who rode the Tigers to victory, but over 200 other crewmen had fascinating careers as well.

The SS men who fought in these Tigers were not ten feet tall, although the Russians may have believed that during those few days that the Tigers shook the earth at the attack on Kursk in central Russia.  No, these men were far more ferocious than huge physical goliaths.  These soldiers had no concept of defeat.  This is their story.

At Kursk, often described as the “Greatest Tank Battle in History,” the Wehrmacht fielded a total of just 120 Tiger tanks, including 35 operational Tigers from the 2nd SS Panzer Corps in its powerful Leibstandarte, Das Reich, and Totenkopf divisions.  The Tiger became a legend, but any tank is only as good as its crew.  For the first time, we know the identities of over 220 Waffen-SS Tiger crewmembers at Kursk – not just the few dozen officers, but the enlisted men as well.

Their biographies are stunning: some were veteran panzer men; others were previously in the infantry and a few had just transferred from the Luftwaffe.  Eight would win the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross; others would receive very few medals.  Eighteen would die at Kursk, while thirty-five would be wounded.  And the survivors?  Unfortunately for many an American, British, Russian tank crew, these SS Tiger men in their black uniforms would go on to form the deadly nucleus of the Waffen-SS Heavy Panzer Detachments that fought at Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin.

Daily battle maps show the location of each of the three Tiger companies in the 2nd SS Panzer Corps.  Original German Luftwaffe aerial photos show the terrain taken within days that the Tigers rolled over it.  Over 110 photographs of Waffen-SS Tiger tanks, crewmen, award documents, anti-tank ditches, including many from private archives never before published show you what life was like from combat to eating a meal.

Before the offensive, German Colonel General Heinz Guderian, one of the “fathers” of modern armored warfare, who wanted the offensive postponed, dramatically chided the Führer, Adolf Hitler, to his face with this acerbic question: “How many people do you think even know where Kursk is?”

You are about to find out.

Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk: The Men of SS Panzer Regiments 1, 2 & 3 in Operation Citadel, July 5-15, 1943

New Book on Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk 1943 Published !2021-05-15T12:26:51-06:00

American Hangman Published!!!

American Hangman

(September 23, 2019)  American Hangman: MSgt. John C. Woods: The United States Army’s Notorious Executioner in World War II and Nürnberg is published and you can start ordering now.  The book is fabulous; the price of $29.99 is an excellent buy considering that it has 108 black and white photos from the period, several of which are from the family with their kind permission, and where he resided that I guarantee you that you have never seen before.  The work is 256 pages, with endnotes and sources that dispel all the myths surrounding this fascinating character.  Most importantly, this is what I call a “one off” book.  Once you read this, you will know everything you would want to know about the “American Hangman.”  There are no other books about him.  There are a few magazine articles, first published in 1946 and continuing occasionally to today, but most of the information in them is extremely inaccurate which you’ll see.

But don’t worry; his actual life is more interesting than the myths about him were.

You will be able to read, from primary official documents, the details of every man for which John Woods was the assistant or primary hangman.  He did not, as magazines claimed, hang 347 men, nor did he hang, as he once claimed, 200 men.  Some were American soldiers; others had been  German or Austrian war criminals.  Then there were the last ten men Woods would ever hang, the top Nazi war criminals that had been condemned to death at the International Military Tribunal at Nürnberg.  Only Hermann Göring cheated Woods as he took poison just hours before his schedule execution.  You’ll read about that too and also about how Woods hanged Julius Streicher, one of the ten men, after Streicher had “disrespected” Woods on the scaffold!

But the story goes much deeper and reveals his young days, his short stint in the United States Navy about 1930, almost missing his wedding ceremony just after Prohibition was lifted, his brush with the law bouncing checks, driving a truck for a hearse company, joining the United States Army in 1943 and fighting at the Easy Red sector of Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 as men died in bunches around him.

Did you know that John Woods could smoke a cigarette and blow smoke out of his ears?  Well, his nieces remembered that and a great deal of additional information about a man who adored his wife, loved dogs, liked to make officers uncomfortable, had an affinity for Wild Crow bourbon whiskey, had a storehouse of entertaining stories to tell his friends and who botched more than a few hangings, the reports of which made it back to the War Department in Washington, DC.

After reading this book, you will feel that not only do you know about John C. Woods but that you would have enjoyed having a beer with him.  In fact, one of the characters in this book used to do just that in various pubs at Le Mans, France almost every day for six months in 1945.  He’ll fill you in on details that the US Army never knew about the “American Hangman.”

But beware, it might not stop with a beer; as John might tell you: “I never saw three quarts of whiskey disappear so fast in my life.”  (Said to True: The Man’s Magazine at Fort Dix, New Jersey in November 1946, concerning his team having a few drinks after the Nürnberg hangings.)

An easy read, in deference to my Army Buddies, American Hangman sheds crucial light on the death penalty in the US Army in Europe in World War II, the execution of Nazi war criminals, and the effects of participating in an execution on the part of those ordered to carry it out.  And his mysterious death?  Well you’ll just have to hold off reading that last chapter till you get through the rest of the book!

For much of World War II, history books have described the influence that commissioned officers have had on shaping significant events.  Now it’s time for you to meet the man that went from private to master sergeant in one day and who had officers, from lieutenant to brigadier general, dancing to his tune.

 

 

American Hangman Published!!!2020-10-28T14:10:51-06:00

The Murder of Tsar Nicholas II and His Family 1918

The Murder of Tsar Nichols II and His Family 1918

(July 11, 2018)  After a lifetime of research, and final research lasting a decade, the Romanovs’ Murder Case: The Myth of the Basement Room Massacre solves the mystery of the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family is finally out.  And what a book it is.  The Romanovs’ Murder Case destroys the myth that the entire family, plus a number of personal servants, were shot together in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918.  Lawyer and author T. G. Bolen, using architectural analysis determines that the basement murder room simply was not wide enough to allow for the Bolshevik version of events.  Enlisting a state police forensic handwriting expert, he has concluding that the last entry of the Tsarina into her diary was probably done later by another person, thus putting the accepted timeline into question.  Finally, he presents the fascinating career of an American Army military intelligence officer, Major Homer H. Slaughter.

Interviewing Colonel Slaughter’s family,  the author found physical pieces of evidence that support that Homer Slaughter was actually in the Ipatiev House withing hours of the crime, and that Slaughter determined that some people were murdered there, but that murders occurred in at least two rooms.  Slaughter’s personnel file at the National Archives in St. Louis, revealed that Slaughter received a promotion to Colonel and in the 1930s was the chief of Army Intelligence for the Far East.  A master of many languages, an expert map-maker, with probably a photographic memory, Homer Slaughter was America’s “James Bond” without the glitz or pretension.  During his career, he intercepted a proposed treaty between Japan and Russia, appeared throughout Asia in the most dangerous places and face great dangers.  Once, in Harbin, China, he was being followed by a Japanese secret service agent.  Slipping away to his Chinese contact, he informed him of the problem.  The next morning, Homer heard a knock on his hotel door, but when he opened the door, no one was there — only a medium sized box.  He took the box into the room and opened it.  Inside was the head of the agent who had been following him!  In true Slaughter style, Homer closed the box, dressed and took the closed box downstairs to the hotel concierge with instructions to deliver the box to the Japanese consulate!

However, the most important contribution to history by Homer Slaughter was not exposing a treaty or engaging in the “Great Game” of the 1930s between the intelligence assets of the United States and Japan, but in an innocuous small, glass slide used in presentations to selected military audiences in the 1930s.  It is a depiction of an architectural drawing of the second floor of the Ipatiev House, the floor in which the Russian royal family resided during their final stay in the Ipatiev House.  Homer personally modified the floorplan, and it is this modification, shown in the book as Plate 4A, that will forever change the way in which historians view the final moments of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

The Murder of Tsar Nicholas II and His Family 19182018-07-11T12:32:01-06:00

Occidental Hotel

Occidental Saloon

(October 2, 2017)  For my money, the best historical hotel in the United States is the Occidental Hotel in Buffalo, Wyoming, so it was quite pleasing to see that Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gold and Guns is now being sold in the hotel bookstore.  That may be, in part, because the book discusses the Legend of the Lost Cabin Gold Mine and part of that legend occurred along Main Street in Buffalo just yards away from where the hotel stands today.

Everywhere you walk in this famous hotel, you will be walking where many famous people of the Old West walked – the young Teddy Roosevelt, Butch Cassidy and the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill Cody, Tom Horn, General “Little Phil” Sheridan, sheriffs Frank Canton and “Red” Angus, numerous figures from the Johnson County War, as well as more modern figures such as Ernest Hemingway and Owen Wister.

Occidental Hotel Lobby

In the rip-roaring days of early Wyoming, the Occidental Hotel saloon was famous far and wide as the lawful and lawless played faro and poker, talked up local ladies, consumed way too much hard liquor and beer and occasionally shot up the place, just like many of the gold-hunters on that 1874 Yellowstone Wagon Road and Prospecting Expedition in the book.  One visitor in the early days, the establishment opened in 1880, called the Occidental Saloon “a regular gambling hell,” where high-stakes poker games could last for days, before being ended by a gunshot.  In 1908, the original rough barroom was replaced with one of the most elegant saloons in Wyoming, which is what you see today; but the raw underbelly is still present as are 23 bullet holes in the tin ceiling.

View from Hemingway Suite at Occidental Hotel

There is a trout stream right next to the hotel.  In fact, if you stay in the Ernest Hemingway Suite, you can walk out the back door to a small porch, and if you are a good fly-rod caster you can fish right from the porch.  There is a hotel museum, but really the entire hotel is a museum.

We stay there twice a year; you can get excellent food in the saloon or try and really gourmet meal at the hotel restaurant, known as The Virginian.  Elk filet, buffalo steaks and other fabulous entrees are served in a unique atmosphere.

It is certainly not an overstatement to say that the Hotel Occidental (and all its features) simply has to be on your personal bucket list.  Maybe you can even pick up the trail and find your own Lost Cabin Gold Mine.

Occidental Hotel book store

 

For more information, go to: http://www.occidentalwyoming.com

 

 

 

Occidental Hotel2018-07-11T12:30:35-06:00

Freedom Arms Model 97 .45 Colt

Freedom Arms Model 97 in .45 Colt

“If we couldn’t build a better gun than the rest of the industry, we wouldn’t stay in it.”

When you get to be my age, you appreciate quality.  My wife of 37 years has attained absolute perfection, for example.  My close friends all deserve to be best friends and we all count on each other through thick and thin.  I always wanted a Jeep Wrangler with a World War II Army green paint scheme, so one sits in the driveway as I write this; it is our only vehicle.  On an unaccompanied Army tour to Germany, I skimped and saved enough to buy a set of Zeiss binoculars.  The same feeling goes for firearms.  It is flat amazing shooting a Shiloh Sharps .45-70 rifle, a Smith & Wesson Model 627 .357 Magnum revolver and a Walther PPQ M2 .45 ACP.  The same experience happens with a Johann Fanzoj combination 16 gauge shotgun over a 7X57R Mauser rifle, made in 1962 in the Ferlach valley of Austria, or with a similar “drilling” made by master gun producer Ludwig Borovnik at the same location (and which you can read about on this website as well.)

Freedom Arms Model 97 .45 Colt with additional .45 ACP cylinder

Freedom Arms revolvers have a well-deserved reputation as the Rolex watches of single action revolvers and while I thought I understood that comparison, until I extensively fired one I did not realize just what fine machines they are.  Built of space-age stainless steel to remarkably precise tolerances for production pieces, they are extraordinarily durable and accurate.  Parts are machined in batches; more complicated parts are made in smaller batches.  Once all the batches are completed and the all the parts for a model are ready, the highly-skilled Freedom Arms machinists put the revolvers together by hand.  Then, other experts assemble the revolver and test it for accuracy at 25 yards – think a shot group as small as a dime to a quarter.  You’ll get the actual group shot with your weapon when you buy it.

Close-up of Freedom Arms Model 97 with .45 Colt cylinder. Tolerances are extremely fine.

Then the pieces go to the finishing room.  The exterior finish is just as precisely made, with polishing that is the envy of the industry.  While stainless steel heat-treated in the 45 R(C) hardness range is almost impervious to the elements, it is also almost “invulnerable” to classic bluing, engraving and color hardening.  Tolerances are extremely fine.  Some reviewers compare the movement of the trigger, hammer and cylinder to the locking mechanism of a bank vault.  Being an old Army guy, I would use a different comparison and just say that the action reminded me of the breech block locking in a 120mm cannon in an Abrams tank, just before the round is fired down-range at a speed of about a mile per second.

Finish on the Freedom Arms revolvers is excellent

Freedom Arms really geared up in 1978, under the direction Wayne Baker and Dick Casull, of  with the Model 83 chambered for the .454 Casull pistol cartridge, which for a while was the most powerful handgun cartridge in the world.  The company expanded the range of its offerings from the ubiquitous .22 Long Rifle to the monster .500 Wyoming Express and filling in with many hi-performance revolver round in between such as .475 Linebaugh, .44 Magnum, .41 Magnum and .357 Magnum.  In what one reviewer called the “thermo-nuclear calibers,” the pistols are “cold, calculating, killing machines.  If you suffer from a terminal case of the wheel-gun warm-and-fuzzies, they may not be for you.”

The box tells you exactly what options are on this firearm.

In 1997 Freedom Arms may have sensed this feeling and introduced a down-sized, handier version of the Model 83 chambered for high-demand cartridges such as the .17 HMR, .22 Long Rifle, .327 Federal, .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Special and .45 Colt.  Known as the Model 97, in the last twenty years this model has compiled an enviable record both in the field and on the range.

Determining how many revolvers the company [307 883-2468] produces is a difficult proposition.  Waiting times after ordering can last in the vicinity of one year.  A BATF report of revolver production for the company in 2007 was 376; the BATF in 2012 reported that Freedom Arms manufactured 404 revolvers for the year. For 2015, the total had risen to 499 revolvers.  Think about that for a minute.  There are approximately 262 work days per year.  So for all practical purposes, the men and women at Freedom Arms make only two firearms per day.  Production by caliber, of course, is even smaller.  My guess is that the company may produce only twenty-five Model 97 Colt .45s because, in my opinion, the monster calibers, such as the .454 Casull, probably take the lion’s share of production.

That is what I fired, a Model 97 in .45 Colt.  This particular example has a 5.5-inch barrel, overall length of 10.75 inches, adjustable sights (with an interchangeable gold bead front sight,) black Micarta grips, and a factory trigger/hammer adjustment to a three-pound pull, all weighing in at 2.29 pounds (36.64 ounces.) This configuration gives the firer a sight-radius of 6.75 inches; for reloaders, the barrel twist rate is 1-24 (the number of inches the bullet moves along the bore while the bullet rotates one full turn, in this case 24 inches.)  It also had an additional .45 ACP cylinder, that like the .45 Colt cylinder, is line-bored in which the frame and barrel are assembled, and then a cylinder “blank” is fitted.  That is then drilled out for each bore through the barrel.  As a result, the alignment between each chamber and the barrel is absolutely perfect; in fact each cylinder is marked with the same serial number as the frame, so you know the exact pairing that should be made.

To test the weapon, I chose the seven following factory rounds, as I am not a handloader: Winchester Super X (Cowboy/Target) with 250 grain Lead Flat Nose bullets; Winchester Super X (Target) with 255 grain Lead Round Nose bullets; Ultramax with 250 grain Round Nose Flat Point bullets; Ultramax with 200 grain Round Nose Flat Point bullets; Hornady Critical Defense FTX 185 grain bullets; Black Hills 250 grain Round Nose Flat Point bullets and Sig Sauer Elite Performance V-Crown 230 grain Jacketed Hollow Point bullets.

My first impression was that the Model 97 .45 Colt is a “blast” to shoot.  The big bullets make big holes in the paper targets.  They should, as anything over 218 grains is over half an ounce of lead.  The recoil pushes more than it snaps the hand; the trigger guard did not slam back into my fingers.  The second impression is that this firearm will expose batches of ammunition that lack consistency.  Using a sandbag rest, the firer will instantly be able to assess which factory rounds are consistent in powder quality and quantity, and also the flight dynamics of the bullets themselves.  It can be a harsh verdict and with more than one factory load on that first day and days since that I concluded that I was not going to waste my time or money on firing rounds which were inferior to this revolver’s capability; and for this .45 Colt, the 25-yard accuracy shot group as tested at Freedom Arms was just 0.68 inches center-to-center (shown in top photo.)

As mentioned, you will wait several months after ordering.  If you just cannot wait that long, Gunbroker.com usually has several dozen Freedom Arms on auction at any one time. GunsAmerica.com and GunsInternational.com have dozens more for sale, often by regional Freedom Arms FFL-holders who serve as dealers.  Two of these that usually have a wide selection of Model 83s and Model 97s are First Stop Guns in Rapid City, South Dakota (605) 341-5211 and SMJ Sports (owned by Steve Bredemeyer) in Columbia City, Indiana (260) 396-2349.  I drove 275 miles each way to visit Steve and he patiently showed me several 83s and 97s in a variety of calibers.  If you wish to purchase one of these new pistols – and I’d like to meet the shooter who declines after actually holding one of these masterpieces – Steve will promptly ship it to your local FFL location.  Instead of a year, you’ll be pulling the trigger in six days.

I do not hunt with a revolver, although it seems to me that this .45 Colt would make a great wild pig weapon.  It packs easily and could be used in a pinch for self-defense – the caliber being more than sufficient to drop an attacker with one shot to the center of mass – although considering the five-round cylinder and carrying with the hammer over an empty cylinder gives you only four rounds.

I’ll update this as I find the rounds that work best.  After firing twenty-five of each of the seven factory rounds mentioned above, the Sig Sauer Elite Performance V-Crown 230 grain Jacketed Hollow Point bullets and the Ultramax with 200 grain Round Nose Flat Point bullets showed the most promise for accuracy.

If it turns out that hand-loads are far superior, that’s what friends are for and I hope they won’t mind loading for me, especially if I let them shoot this great pistol.

Freedom Arms Model 97 .45 Colt2017-10-02T12:53:37-06:00
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