Monday, February 14, 2005

Star BM test

As my previous post indicated, had a chance to try shooting one of these. It's a 9mm semi-auto pistol, one of those originally issued to the Spanish Civil Guard. First impressions were:
It's solid, steel frame & slide.
It's nicely fitted, no slop or rattles that shouldn't be there.
Lots of holster wear on the outside, but the inside was very good; looks like it was carried a lot & shot a little.
Big sights, wide front blade & rear notch to match, though the front needs some paint to make it easier to pick up.
The bore and chamber were spotless, with strong rifling.
And a very nice trigger. A little takeup, and then a clean break, no creep or drag I could tell.

Detail-stripped it to clean, and the insides were in quite good shape. The magazine disconnect, trigger & sear assemblies were not removed; there was no old, caked grease, nothing was hanging up, so wiped it all down, wiped it clean & lightly oiled it all. As noted previously, putting the trigger/follower/spring combination back in is a serious pain in the ass. As it was, the hammer strut slot & pivot had a little grunge, and there was a little on the spring, so it needed doing, but finding the way to put it back together involved some bad words. Field-stripping for normal cleaning is downright simple.

Testing used one box of CCI Blazer ball. There was one stovepipe in the second magazine(it came with two) and that was it; otherwise it ran through without a hitch, and the slide lock worked every time. Accuracy was quite good. I had no problem keeping shots in about 3-4" groups offhand at 7 yards in slowfire, and about the same starting from low-ready, up to fire and back down. With the aforementioned paint on the front sight to make it easier to pick up, I think I could improve on these groups.

One thing I did have to watch was the thumb safety. When the hammer is cocked and you thumb the safety on, the last part of the motion takes a real push. The safety actually cams the hammer off of the sear and blocks it from falling, and seems a very secure arrangement. If you don't push it all the way on and pull the trigger, the hammer won't fall then, but may well slip off the sear and fall to the 'safety' notch when you take the safety off; which means that if the sear slips over a worn or damaged notch, the gun will fire. It might be possible to polish the surfaces and make the safety take less pressure to put fully on, but I'm iffy about messing with it. I'd say just make sure you push it all the way on.

Overall, I liked it. It's solidly made of good steel, gave good accuracy- certainly capable of better, I'd say-, and I'd guess it will be reliable. Stovepipes like the one I had could be from a number of things, one of the most common being ammo. I'd try it with several brands to see what it liked best, especially in the case of self-defense ammo. And the price was quite good. I know of very good things said of Kimber and Wilson, for instance, but at prices starting around $700 on the Kimbers and about $1200 for a Wilson... This ran the guy about $185, and I think he got his moneys worth. So if you were looking for a 9mm pistol for target shooting and/or self-defense, and you're on a budget, take a good look at one of these. Wouldn't mind having one myself.

I am going to pick up some different ammo, including some good hollowpoints for further testing. I think I'm going to be pleased with the results.

Update: over at Shooters' Carnival, here's another test on this handgun. Even if you're not interested in this, check out the Carnival anyway, lot's of good stuff there.

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