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Hey, let’s hear some war stories about guns you’ve encountered that really shouldn’t have been working, or shooting straight; but did.

Having worked for a small arms importer in the ‘80’s, I have a ton of stories, but I’ll tell you about two of my favorites.

1 – Swede 96 Target rifle in 6.5x55. This rifle had these beautiful fully adjustable target peep rear sight and globe front that altogether gave a stunning sight picture. But looking at the bore, there was obvious pitting, and some of it was deep pitting, and some deep pitting in the chamber. When fired rounds were extracted, the brass looked horrible where it expanded into the pitting. This was back in the late ‘80’s and back then the only 6.5 ammo you could get your hands on was Federal Premium with Nosler Partitions at some hideous price. So I boresighted, loaded up and the first group from the bench at 100 yards with open target sights measured .90”; I just couldn’t believe my eyes. Next group was .93 and the following was .90 again. So much for rust and pitting ruining a barrel. Admittedly it was a chore to clean, but it was a joy to shoot…made me look downright good.

2 – M2 Carbine imported from China that had a hand made, field expedient bolt. The grass roots Chinese gunsmith did a great job, but he put the extractor in the wrong place, rolled too far up to the top, so when you pulled the trigger, all the brass would conveniently eject right into your forehead. Still, hand made bolt, with the extractor in the wrong place and obvious signs of a “Bubba” (or is that Budda) gunsmithing job: Regardless, it all worked even though every fiber within you was saying it shouldn’t.
 

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Back in the '70s, a neighbor gave me (the price was right!) the original top half of his GI Ithaca-made 1911, which he'd had rebuilt into a NM gun with hard Drake match slide. I soon used the nice slide in another 1911 buildup but the barrel had a huge "ding" on the muzzle that actually extruded metal into the bore, so I set it aside and used another barrel on that gun.

Several years later, I discovered that my 1911 parts cigar box had enough extras, spares and takeoffs in it to build another whole gun, if I had a frame. I ordered one (Essex) and went to work. Only "free" barrel available was the muzzle-dinged one. I went to K-Mart and bought, for $2, a set of five rotary grinding stones, one of which was a cone. I put that cone-stone in the muzzle and turned it by hand until the ding was ground completely out.

Long story short, that junk-parts-box 1911, with its once-dinged muzzle, turned out to be the most accurate 1911 of any kind I've ever shot. With its GI WWII sights and its 7+ pound trigger, it's not an easy gun to shoot, but hunker it down on a bench and watch those tiny sights and it will put all rounds through the same hole at 25 yards. I wish my Bar-Sto 1911 barrel were as accurate. Or even half as accurate.
 

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Spanish Llama in 380 if you would shake it with the mag out it sounded like rocks in a coke can.

It was a blast to shoot and was very accurate.
 

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Yeah., one of my latest acquisitions. A 43 Underwood Carbine.After I refinished the Stockset(It had varnish on it in globs) it looked really good from the back edge of the barrel-band back! from the Band forward is another story. The Type 3 Barrel band and the Underwood barrel(Original) are a study in corrosion under a park Plus, the barrel has a slight ring in it about 1-1/2" back from the muzzle. Can't tell it from the outside but, you can see it plainly if you shine a light up the barrel from the breech. But, I only paid $450.00 for it due to the ring.
It shot this first time out with Federal Factory ammo;
 

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First was a really pitted SMLE III no 1 that had a bore so dark no light made it thru. but with WRA ammo headstamped 1943, it would shoot sub 2 inch groups at 100 yards with the crappy issue sights.


Next was a 303 savage in a 99,, I do believe it was left abandoned in a barn, as it had mouse chews all over the stock, The bore was thoroughly clogged with spider balls, straw and filth, yet that too shot a 3 inch group the first time I shot it, using highly suspect ammo. Later a find of limited run WW brass, I was able to load using Ken Waters Pet loads as a guide and added a lyman receiver sight, lo and behold the first group was right at 1.2 inchs for six. The next group was quarter sized. I never equaled that, but inch and a quarter was common.

Now some will say ahh but, A local big box was getting out of the gun business and they had several 700 ADLs for sale for 199. I bought one each in 22-250, .243 and .308. The first shots from the .22-250 were in one hole, using a known accurate load. A week spent prairie dogging had people muttering as that gun kept reaching out and killing the little critters.


A few weeks later at the 200 yard range, that gun and a old 12 power lupy scope turned in a 1 inch group......well, 4 of the shots went into .3 and the last after I saw what kind of a group I was shooting was pulled 3/4 of an inch high. Pretty darn good for a clearance plain jane ADL.
 
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