Friday, June 19, 2009

Who is Pau Ferro? And why can't he spell "Paul"?

When the boss lady at the gun shop where I work ordered a Sig Sauer P229 SAS Gen 2 .357 Sig pistol for me, I asked her to see if the Sig factory rep would get me a pair of those nice Rosewood grips that Sig put on the SAS Gen 1. He said he'd try to get me a set. It's been about two months now and no Rosewood grips have yet appeared and I got tired of looking at those black plastic grips on my P229. That's it in the top photo at right.

So I googled around online a bit and found some nice Hogue wood grips I liked and could afford called Pau Ferro. Which raised my curiousity. Who is Pau Ferro? Some grip designer who can't spell Paul? Not really. Wikipedia sez:
"Pao ferro" or "pau ferro" (Caesalpinia ferrea or Machaerium scleroxylum Tul.) is an exotic tree found in Brazil and Bolivia. Its wood is often used for making fingerboards for electric basses and guitars. It has a similar feel and similar tonal attributes to rosewood, but is harder and has a slightly lighter colour. The wood may also be used for flooring, fancy furniture, and handgun grips. It is also known by the names morado, palo santos, caviuna, Brazilian ironwood, and Bolivian rosewood, though it is not actually rosewood.
I read a little further and found that "Stevie Ray Vaughan's Signature Fender Stratocaster comes with a Pao Ferro fingerboard."

Hey, if it's good enough for the best rock guitar picker since Jimi Hendrix, surely Pau Ferro is good 'nuf for me. They're quite lovely on my new Sig and I'll give them their baptism of fire at the range tomorrow.

Another candidate for blasting tomorrow is my new-to-me EAA Witness P-Compact, which I purchased as a .45 ACP. The previous owner glued some Mahogany panels to the grip, so it looks OK. But I've been wanting a .38 Super pistol for some time, so I ordered a .38 Super conversion slide and mag from EAA last week. I ordered a blue-steel slide to match the frame, but they sent me a matte-stainless-finish slide instead. Hey, it's even better looking than a blue one for the same price. I'll take it gladly.

So I've rounded up some .38 Super ammo and the Witness P-Compact will get its baptism of fire tomorrow, too. And if it is shoots .38 Super good, then I'll order some 9x23mm ammo in FMJs and hollow-points and that will be my carry load in the Witness P-Compact. IMHO, faster ammo with more foot-lbs. of energy delivered is better than slower ammo with less foot-lbs. of energy put on target. And .38 Super is about identical to 9mm +P while 9x23mm is right there with .357 Sig, if not a bit ahead of it in both departments.
Caliber Grains Type Mfg. FPS Muzzle Ft.Lbs. Muzzle
357 Sig 125 JHP Gold Dot DoubleTap 1450 584
9mm 124 JHP Gold Dot DoubleTap 1301 473
.38 Super 125 JHP Winchester 1240 427
9x23 124 JHP Winchester 1460 587
10mm 180 JHP Gold Dot DoubleTap 1300 676
.45 ACP 230 JHP Gold Dot DoubleTap 1010 521

Here's a little comparison table I put together of my favorite pistol calibers with the hottest loads I could find data on, trying to keep the grain weights as close as possible for comparison purposes.

I had an "experiental" .38 Super barrel from Lone Wolf briefly for my Glock 20 10mm. I shoulda known a guy who can't spell experimental is not a good candidate for trying out a new product. It was experiential indeed, as it jammed about half the time with .38 Super and about a third of the time with 9x23. The two rounds are virtually identical in dimensions except that .38 Super has a small rim, called semi-rimmed, while 9x23 is a true rimless. And that semi-rim does tend to cause feeding problems with .38 Super. But 9x23 not only feeds smoother, it's also hotter.

My daddy always said I lived by the philosophy that if a little bit was good, a whole lot was more better. He was right. I guess that's why I have a love for all those oddball pistol calibers like 10mm, .357 Sig, .38 Super, 9x23 and also the true 9mm Magnum, 9x25mm. I swapped the "experiental" .38 Super barrel for a 9x25 barrel from Lone Wolf and lived happily ever after.

Range report coming tomorrow if the Good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise.

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