Gunner’s Journal

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Archive for September, 2007

The Charles Daly Hi Power Compared To The Browning Hi Power

Posted by Gunner on September 30, 2007

Update from Charles Daly 2/13/08:

I’ve learned some sad news directly from Charles Daly this afternoon. The Daly Hi Power has been discontinued. I really hate to hear this news since I think a lot of this gun. There are still some out there at various distributors so if you want a new one now is the time to get it. Of course all warranties are still in effect so that should be of no concern to any potential buyer. After these are gone we’ll just have to locate them on the firearm auctions websites. I did check with some distributors and was able to locate some of these hi powers. The prices are around $330 (includes shipping) to your FFL. Daly has reduced the prices for the remaining inventory.

Information From Charles Daly

For your readers, serial numbers beginning with HP—- were completed by Dan Wesson. Serial numbers beginning with HPM—- were completed by Magnum Research.

I’ve been comparing the Browning HiPower with the Charles Daly version and come up with some interesting conclusions. Now some may say there is no decision to make you can’t beat the original Browning. If a shooter comes to this conclusion that’s certainly fine but here’s some food for thought. I was able to find a Browning HiPower at Bass Pro Shop for $595.00 which is a very good price for a blued fixed sight Browning. I also found a Charles Daly HiPower for $399.00. Ok, $200 difference between these two guns. I’m sure I could find a Daly for less money but lets just go with the $200 difference in price.
Lets make some comparisons between these two fine guns. First the Browning Hi Power is assembled in Portugal from Belgian parts. No big deal on that count. Daly Hi Powers are a joint venture between KBI and FEG of Budapest, Hungary. They
manufacture most of the components and Magnum Research (Desert Eagle fame) doing the final machining, finishing, assembly and test firing here in the US. The Daly Hi Powers are very well made. They weren’t always fine guns (the 1911’s) but in the last ten years quality has been greatly improved.
CORRECTION: I’m not one to try and hide my errors. I asked a gunshop owner I know who makes the Daly Hi Power and was given incorrect information for which I apologize to readers and to Mr. Kassnar. Mr. Michael Kassnar of KBI wrote me to correct my error. I submit the following correspondence from Mr. Kassnar by way of correction. “Just to correct the record, KBI, manufacturer, importer and distributor of Charles Daly firearms, is an American company (incorporated in 1989) located in Harrisburg, PA. Our Hi-Power was the result of a joint venture with FEG of Budapest, Hungary, who manufactured most of the components and Magnum Research (Desert Eagle fame) doing the final machining, finishing, assembly and test firing here in the US. There are no Philippine parts at all in our Hi-Power. Our 1911’s are made in the Philippines by Armscor (same manufacturer as the RIA). Perhaps that is where the confusion came from. Other than that, thanks for the great review on this pistol. We feel it is the great Hi-Power value in the market.”
On to the feature comparison. The Browning has the standard ambi-safety which for me could be improved. The contour and surface area leave something to be desired for positive function. It’s a hard safety to manipulate and many Browning owners change this part out with a C&S thumb safety. The Daly has a single thumb safety but is designed much like those tactical safeties for the 1911. It has a wide flat upper surface which the thumb just naturally engages. The safety is also crisp whether flipping it up to safe or down to fire. The tension is perfect and very positive to engage. The trigger on the Browning is as always very heavy with very perceptible stacking as slack is taken up. This is because of the mag safety which is a useless feature and shouldn’t even be called a safety feature. This can be remedied by replacing the factory trigger with a C&S trigger which has no accommodation to reinstall the mag safety. This greatly improves the trigger pull. The Daly uses the same setup but for some reason the trigger is much, much better even with the mag safety in place. Since all parts between these guns are the same you can also replace the Daly trigger with the C&S for an even better trigger pull. My personal feeling is that once you bring the gun home that’s the first thing I would do is change out the trigger. One consideration is the legal ramifications should, heaven forbid, you ever had to use your gun in a violent encounter. Lawyers love to hang anyone who disengages what they term a safety device. This is a big consideration when having any custom work done on a gun. I can live with the Daly mag safety whereas the Browning trigger is just awful with the mag safety. One minor consideration for me is the hammer. The Browning uses a standard hammer which can bite you pretty good. The Daly uses the commander type which is easier on your hand. Next lets compare sights. The Browning has the usual higher profile plain black sights. Not ideal sights but certainly usable. The Daly has the XS sight system pictured above. It uses a large white dot on the front sight with a v notch on the rear with a vertical white post. You just place the dot on target on top of the rear post and fire. These are also available with tritium inserts from the factory. They also have an option of a larger dot in the front if you prefer. I know some don’t like these sights but after speaking with Sheriff Jim Wilson he agrees that these sights are very fast to get on target. If you are approaching 50 years old your older eyes appreciate this setup even more. Sheriff Wilson has these sights on his Walther PPK and several other of his guns. He also owns a Daly Hi Power. After testing it he bought it:-) These are the basic differences between the two guns but they are major differences. As Jeff Cooper said what you need on a fighting gun are sights you can see and a good trigger. Everything else is secondary in my opinion.
Cosmetically the Browning with a blue finish is beautiful as always. The Daly is also blued but doesn’t have that deep blue the Browning has. One thing Daly did was to get rid of the silver highlight stamping on the slide. I always though that was a bit gaudy. The new ones still have the large name on the slide but has no color to it. It looks much better this way. Both guns are attractive but you have to give the nod to Browning on the guns with the deep blue finish.
Now for the question—do you want to pay the extra $200 for the Browning name and beautiful blue finish and the need to do some type of work for a serviceable trigger which of course means spending more money. Will you be satisfied with the Browning sights or would you rather have a sight system that is superior and very fast on target. Can you live with the thumb safety on the Browning or would you rather have a Daly which already has a fine thumb safety? In short the Daly doesn’t really need anything done to it it’s fine as is or would you rather spend the extra money on the Browning? What did I decide to do? I’m going to buy the Daly. I’ve shot both guns a lot. They are both very accurate and reliable. The Daly is a little more accurate but I believe that’s because of the good trigger. The Browning suffers in accuracy because of a heavy trigger. What would I really like to do? Buy both and have the work done on the Browning but for me that’s not an option. Being a retired police officer I’ve had to save and before retiring work all kinds of off duty jobs to get the guns I have. Some great fellow shooters can afford to do what they want and more power to them but for most of us we have to choose between guns and plan ahead and of course save money for our guns.
One last thing. Do I feel comfortable with the 9MM. In short a resounding yes! Over the last ten years or so ammunition companies have made great strides in developing better loads for all calibers. The 9MM has probably benefited more from these improvements than any other round. Give me a Daly Hi Power loaded up with Speer Gold Dot 124 grn +P or the Remington Golden Saber 124 grn +P and I feel very well armed! One last comment. Stephan Camp is an authority on the Hi Power and has his website listed in the blogroll. He also puts out a very nice book on disassembly of the Hi Power and other reference material. Give his site a look it’s very informative.

XS Sights
Cylinder & Slide
Charles Daly
As always if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always glad to help in any way I can.

Posted in Charles Daly Hi Power, Hi Powers | Tagged: , , , , | 25 Comments »

G10 Grips

Posted by Gunner on September 24, 2007

Mil-Tac 1* Grips on my Springfield Armory Operator

First lets see what G10 is. This is a laminated composite of woven glass fabric, carbon graphite fibers and epoxy resin. In short that’s what G10 is. I guess you would have to be a chemist to know what all that means but in practical terms it means a material that is extremely durable and has an operating temperature of -50F to 180F with a maximum temp of 284F to destruction. That’s tough stuff!
I use these grips on all the 1911’s I own. Most come from MilTac. I also have grips made by VZ(VZ’s are Micarta not G10). There are several other sellers of grips with this material as well as so many knife makers using this material it would be impossible to list them all. Gunner Grips have a golf ball type dimple pattern and are very popular. As I said I usually buy mine from Craig at Mil-Tac. He is very easy to work with as well as being a very patriotic man who donates a great deal to our troops overseas. Any grips on his web store can be ordered with several variations. You can have them with the thumb cut out on the left grip panel to make it easier to reach the mag release. Most all companies offer the G10’s in a traditional shape as well as a flat bottom to allow use of a mag well. Mil-Tac is also licensed with Gary Paul Johnston to apply the 1* symbol on the grip panels. If your not familiar with this it means “one ass to risk” pretty neat idea.
One thing I have noticed is that the VZ grips do get a little dirty whereas the Mil-Tac grips don’t. This is because VZ grips are made of Micarta and not G10. It’s easy to clean these grips whether they are Micarta or G10. All you really need is a stiff bristle toothbrush or nylon gun brush and some dish soap. Water the grips down (once they are removed from the gun) then put on some detergent and scrub until you break up some of the worst surface dirt. Rinse, then do the whole thing over again until you are satisfied with how clean they are. All G10 grips are impervious to any and all solvents. You simply can’t hurt them without a tremendous blow of some sort. I’ve never damaged mine and that includes hitting them on door frames, grinding them on gravel while getting a suspect under control (before I retired) and just general long term use. I know many people who would never use anything but wood grips and I respect that but these are attractive grips and will last a very long time and still look great. Also, for those in the military and law enforcement Mil-Tac offers a law enforcement discount. If you are a Browning Hi Power fan you can also get G10 grips from Mil-Tac for the Hi Power and most clones of the Hi Power.
You can’t go wrong using these grips especially on a working gun! Whether wet or dry they give you an excellent grip surface that is not abrasive at all.

Posted in 1911 Grips | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

S&W Model 19 Refinished in DuraCoat

Posted by Gunner on September 20, 2007

Here is another example of the DuraCoat finish. Here are the before and after pictures. A very good friend of mine sent this S&W model 19 off and had it done by a company that specializes in gun refinishing. They did a very good job with this gun. It was cured over a one week period which is a good idea. The finish is certainly more durable as time passes. In my experience it hardens considerably after a couple of months. This is not to say you can’t shoot your gun until it cures that long. I shot my 1911 I refinished after two days with no problems at all. I just noticed the finish has gotten less likely to scratch after a period of time. When you clean and lube your gun these scratches go away and don’t come back. Now it’s almost impossible to scratch! I’m convinced that this is one of the best finishes you can apply to your gun. There are a great number of colors available as well.
One thing I neglected to mention when I covered refinishing my RIA 1911 is that the amount of hardener used will determine the amount of gloss in the finish. If you do this yourself you need to keep this in mind. You have to use the amount of hardener indicated but not to much:-) If you want to have your gun refinished with DuraCoat there are many companies that offer this finish. This model 19 was done by Jim’s Gun Supply (law enforcement discounts available). Another good source is your favorite gun forum. If you don’t have a gun forum you participate in try There are lots of good people on the forum as well as a wealth of information on any topic you can think of.

Posted in S&W Revolvers | 4 Comments »

The perils of carrying your primary weapon in an ankle holster!

Posted by Gunner on September 15, 2007

“The Ultimate Sacrifice”

I just finished reading Jim Wilsons article in
Shooting Times about carry rigs. This one hit my hot button! Sheriff
Wilson agreed in his article that the ankle holster for your primary
gun is not a good idea. Not only do I agree it’s not a good idea it can
get you killed!
Back in 1980 at approx. 12:14 AM my very good friend
( he was also in my rookie school class years before) and now Detective at the time of the shooting
Noel Don McGuire of the Little Rock Police Department was parked on a
closed gas station parking lot in an unmarked car. A pickup pulled onto
the lot a short distance away. The passenger approached Don and asked
for directions not knowing he was an on duty officer. Don was I’m sure
curious since the truck had out of state license plates from several
states away. The occupants were both pretty young at 15 and 16 years
Don identified himself and told them to wait and asked for ID.
Don was very trusting which I for one was always worried about. Don ran
the ID’s and both came back as runaways from Ohio and the truck they
were driving was stolen. What Don didn’t know was the 16 year old told
the 15 year old that if the cop made a move to arrest them they should
take him. Both boys were armed with stolen handguns. Both were 22’s if
I remember correctly.
Don approached the boys and told them they
were under arrest. The suspects ran a few steps back to the truck and
grabbed the guns. Don, in the meanwhile, is reaching for his S&W
model 36 in his ankle holster. The two suspects were able to get their
guns and start firing on Don before he could even begin to get his gun
out of that damned ankle holster. Don was able to get out a radio call
before passing out.
When we all arrived the suspects were gone and
Don was lying across the front seat of his car with the radio mike in
hand. He was gone——– at 24 years old. I had lost the first of five
friends killed in the line of duty at Little Rock PD. It was never
determined if he got his gun out of it’s holster since no shots had
been fired by him.
The suspects were caught a short time later
attempting to rob a convenience store at the edge of town. As far as I
know they are still in prison. The ankle holster may have been used
after that by other detectives but certainly not for the primary weapon. If you use an ankle
holster you might as well leave your gun at home.
If you would like to see Dons information here is the link to the Police

Posted in Police Topics | 1 Comment »

Springfield Operator Milt Sparks Holster

Posted by Gunner on September 12, 2007

This is a variation of the 55BN holster modified to fit the Springfield Operator 1911 with a rail system. The holster will also work on most railed 1911’s. The size of the holster isn’t much different than the original 55BN. If you look at the back of the holster you’ll notice it has two loops for a belt to go through. This is the same setup the old Bianchi Askins Avenger holster used. This holster holds your 1911 closer to your body than any other holster ever made. It’s very comfortable to wear for long periods of time and fits the gun like a glove which is typical of all Milt Sparks holsters. The mouth of the holster is reinforced so that reholstering is straight forward and very easy to perform. The holster is available in an FBI cant (butt slightly forward). The materials and construction of this holster is top notch all the way around. You may purchase this holster from Milt Sparks directly or you may find one in stock at Craig and Audrey own this company and are fine people to deal with. I’ve been able to get two of my Milt Sparks holsters from them which were in stock and received within 5 days.

Posted in Holsters for the 1911, Springfield Armory | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Refinishing the Rock Island Armory Tactical with DuraCoat

Posted by Gunner on September 9, 2007

Rock Tactical


I’m sure by now you all know how much I love Rock Island Armory pistols. A short while ago I decided to refinish my Tactical model using Lauer Weaponry’s DuraCoat. It was a fun project and one I can recommend to anyone with even a moderate amount of experience with 1911’s. I chose the DuraCoat finish after doing considerable research on the net and determined this was the best finish out there for durability and good looks. If you need help in disassembly of your 1911 check my video at the top of any page on the blog on “disassembly of the 1911”.
To begin you need to get all the materials you’ll need. I ordered a 4 oz bottle of matte black liquid DuaraCoat from MidwayUsa. It comes with a 2 oz bottle of hardener. I also ordered Lauer thinner just in case the liquid was to thick for my airbrush. I got on the internet and found an airbrush with airtube for $8 plus shipping. At this point you have a choice of using an air compressor or canned air from Lauer. I already had a modeling air compressor so it was no problem for me. The airbrush arrived with two sizes of bottles for the DuraCoat as well as a small wrench to take the airbrush apart for cleaning (very important). I also purchased some 1200 grit wet dry sandpaper to rough up the parkerized finish on the gun. I now had all I needed to start the project. One thing I need to add at this point is something I left out on the original post that someone on the M1911 forum pointed out and that is degreasing the gun before you start to put on your spray coats. I use Break Free Powder Blast. This is much easier on you than most of the other products that are frankly pretty toxic especially if you have a breathing disorder. Break Free Powder Blast doesn’t burn your skin or cause breathing problems. After you liberally spray the frame, slide and other parts they will turn a lighter shade of gray with some areas lighter than others. Not to worry it won’t harm the gun or finish. Also, after you use the sandpaper, detailed below, you need to degrease again to remove any loose articles left behind.
If you have a non parked gun (blued) you will need to use a little rougher grit sandpaper to strip the finish down so the DuraCoat will adhere to the steel. Once the finish is almost completely removed go back to the 1200 grit and smooth things up a little. Of course you must tear the pistol all the way down and set all the internals off to the side. You will be working on a bare frame and slide. If you don’t know how to do this don’t be tempted to spray it with all the parts in the gun unless you feel comfortable putting tape over any opening the spray will get into.
Once you get all of this done it’s time to mix the DuraCoat. The mix is 2 tablespoons of DuraCoat with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of hardener. Practice some with the airbrush before going on to spraying your gun. Just use some cardboard and practice from different distances as well as adjusting the amount of air you use. Before long you’ll get the right combo of air and distance. Normally about 5 to 6 inches away from your gun will be about right. You want to use light coats. Don’t be concerned with covering the entire gun the first coat you put on. If your spray is to heavy it will effect the way the slide fits to the frame as well as filling in all the nomenclature on the slide as well as filling in the serial number. After you spray the slide, frame, mag release button, grip safety and thumb safety place the small pieces on some tin foil after it dries enough not to rub off when you put it onto the foil. As you spray move the spray gun back and forth in even smooth strokes. For the slide and frame use two pieces of coat hanger (plain not painted) and bend them so you can hang the slide and frame on the oven rack. Have your oven heated to 110 degrees. After the coats are applied place them in the oven for 15 minutes. Then you remove them and hang them up to cool down. After cooling apply another coat. Remember, light coats! On my gun I applied a total of four coats. Yours may vary depending on finish. A parkerized finish is ideal for this type of refinishing.
A couple of hints. As you spray you may notice the spray coming out erratically or no spray at all. At this point you need to stop place the parts in the oven as if you completed the whole part. You need to use a regular paint thinner, take the airbrush apart and clean it completely. Put it back together and test spray to get the same setting you had before cleaning the airbrush. Another small problem that may crop up is the airbrush clogging often. If this happens use 1/4 teaspoon of Lauer thinner and add it to your mix. Normally you won’t have to do this. I didn’t on mine. If you have an instance where the finish gets some gunk sprayed on it not to worry. Let it dry and sandpaper the area and just spray as usual. You’ll never know it was there. Now it may seem complicated but it really isn’t. I just wanted to make sure I covered any and all gltches you might run into.
After you finish the gun and are satisfied with the results let it cure overnight before assembling the gun. I would also advise you wait about a week before putting the finished gun in a holster or shooting it. I know the Lauer website doesn’t include some of this information but from my experience it’s a good idea to be patient and allow the finish to cure even though you used the oven to cure it to some degree. The finish gets harder and more durable as time passes. It actually penetrates the steel to some degree making it adhere better over time. Mine has had approximately 2000 rounds fired through it since I refinished the Tactical and the finish is tough. There are no marks or signs of wear at all.
I hope you have found this helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to post a comment and I’ll email you and help as much as I can.

Posted in 1911 45's, Rock Island Armory | 15 Comments »