by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Interesting update on the Pump-Assist for the Benjamin 392/397
Bob Moss, the inventor of the Pump-Assist modification, contacted me regarding the velocity of his guns. He tested each gun before modifying it, but since the wood forearms were sent off for modifying, he used a different steel pivot pin to hold the original pump lever for this test. All his .22s registered around 580 f.p.s. before the modification. But after reading the comments to our report, he just tested the guns with the factory roll pins installed, and they’re now registering 620 f.p.s. with 8 pumps. The test pin he used was a few thousandths smaller than the factory pin and apparently that was all it took to drop the pressure. Bob is retuning all his pump-assist guns in both calibers to equal factory velocities with Crosman Premiers.

He’s going to retest the pump force with the new setup, but he feels confident it will remain the same. Only the length of the pump stroke in which the effort has to be applied should change. Bob is sending me a new .22 to test for you, which I will do as soon as it arrives. This story isn’t over yet.

Now, to today’s business. It’s been longer than three months since I touched this story, and people have both written and asked me in person (at Roanoke) when I was going to write another installment. Today’s the day.

With a subtitle about the truth emerging, I bet you think I’m going to slam Taurus. Well, I’m not. Yes, I think their advertising is misleading, as you will learn in a moment, but the PT 1911 is actually a good value for the money. I paid $500 for mine, but I see the street price starting to increase. I would not pay over $600 for this gun, knowing what I now know, but it’s still a good valve for that money.

What’s a firearm doing in an airgun blog?
If you are just tuning in now and wondering what I’m doing reporting on a firearm in an airgun blog, here’s the deal. There aren’t many surprises left for me in airguns. I’m just not as susceptible to false advertising and inflated claims as a new airgunner. Therefore, when I found myself in a similar situation with a firearm – one in which I wasn’t very knowledgable and had to rely on written reports, I used it to relate to everyone coming into airguns for the first time. The Taurus PT 1911 is my Gamo Hunter Extreme, so to speak.

In the first report, I was extremely dissatisfied with the pistol. It proved very unreliable, which was something I will not tolearate in a handgun. I said then that I would find out how good the Taurus lifetime warranty is, but subsequently I decided to go a different direction. Since I used to work on 1911s in the 1970s, I though I’d try my hand at fixing this gun and learn more about it as I went. I’m glad I made that decision, because I’ve learned that the Taurus PT 1911 really is a good basic handgun. Mine just had some problems that it shouldn’t have had.

Where they mislead
Taurus says this gun is hand-fitted, but that’s either a lie or there is no quality control. I suspect the latter, because the gun is basically fitted very well. But there should not have been a huge burr on the extractor if they looked at the job after they did it. The lesson there is that companies who sell on the basis of price alone (Gamo, Chinese guns, etc.) do not have the time nor the inclination to check their work. Once it goes through the assembly, it’s boxed and shipped. Companies like Weihrauch, on the other hand, do take the time to shoot the guns before shipping. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just a fact that the new buyer has to know.

 

Burr on extractor (huge pointy thing slightly out of focus on the right side) should never have slipped past a quality inspector.
Also, there was far too much tension on the extractor – about double what is called for. This alone is a classic cause of the type of misfeed I was having. I backed the tension down to around 25 ozs. I also removed the burr. I noted that misfeeding is the most common problem reported for the PT 1911, so Taurus needs to look at that part of the job – the same as Diana needs to get serious about producing a scope mount for their seriously drooping barrels. The Diana problem will soon be solved, I hope, but I can’t speak for Taurus.

The gun also shot too far to the left. Some of that can be blamed on me pulling the trigger instead of squeezing it, because shooting to the left is a problem right-handed pistol shooters all have. Since the rear sight was all the way to the left in its dovetail, I decided to center it to see what effect there might be.

Where am I?
On yesterday’s trip to the range, there was a single failure to feed from the last round in one of the two Taurus magazines. The Wilson Combat magazine fed reliably. I fired a total of 151 rounds, so the failure rate has been drastically reduced. All 100 of my handloads fed reliably. The one failure was a 230-grain Remington hardball round that has the reputation of feeding perfectly in most guns. So, I’ll credit that one failure to the Taurus magazine with its too-weak mainspring.

Instead of telling you where the sights ended up, I’ll show you. This target was shot rapid-fire at about 10 yards. There are 40 shots on this target. I used a center hold with the combat sights, so the sights are pretty close!

 

A center hold with the popular “8-Ball” combat sight (white dot in front held above white dot in rear) produced this group at 10 yards. 40 shots fired rapid-fire. Shots on the left are from a flinch that I’m still working on. This is minute-of-bad-guy for certain!
I’m not done
There will be more to this report. I want you to see how I deal with a problem that was a catastrophe in the beginning. Over the course of the past six months, I’ve done extensive research on M1911A1 designs, gunsmithing techniques and modern shooting techniques. I have even learned how to shoot two-handed, though I prefer one-handed and do better that way, so far. I’m telling you this so you can relate as you progress into airgunning. You will no doubt encounter many similar problems along the way, and I want you to see that they happen to everybody. The only way to get through them is to plod ahead with a purpose.