Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Para P12-45, Colt Cobra .38 and S&W 65-3 .357 Mag. showoff time

In the spirit of "It's my blog and I can show off if I want to" I finally got around to taking some new photos of my latest carry pieces yesterday, so here they are.

My new-to-me Para Ordnance P12-45 is first up, along with the Galco shoulder harness with double-mag holder which was purchased along with the pistol from the former owner, a retired Navy chief corpsman.

The P12 has several custom features, including ambi thumb safeties and a 3-hole adjustable trigger, which I presume was done by Cylinder & Slide since that shop also customized the chief's former P14-45, which I'm in the process of purchasing also.

I didn't appreciate the customization fully until I tried to order a set of wood grips and discovered that stock P12 grips are not fitted for ambi safeties, like mine. So either I find somebody who can custom fit some grips or just stick with the black Para grips that have already been custom fitted to the pistol. Probably the latter.

Then there's my new-to-me Colt Cobra .38 Special snubby, which is almost paid off. I took the liberty of finding some new grips for it after discovering the painful truth that the original grips fit too high and the back of the trigger guard raps your knuckle when you shoot it.

I have test-fired it with a new set of wood grips, shown installed, and they work fine. Also got a set of rubber grips which I haven't tested yet, but I suspect I'll stick with the new wood grips. I'll be carrying it with my small-of-back Galco holster, belt holsters or a new Bianchi shoulder rig, shown with the Colt.

My Colt Cobra, according to Bluebook, was made sometime prior to 1972.

COBRA (FIRST ISSUE)- .22 LR, .32 Colt NP, .38 Colt NP, or .38 Spl. cal., first issue, 2, 3, or 4 (square butt on early model, later models had round butt) in. barrel, blue or nickel finish, similar to Detective Special, only alloy frame and available in .22 LR, very early guns had plastic grips with silver medallions, changed to plastic w/o medallions, and finally changed to wood grips. Mfg. 1950-72.

It has a square-butt frame, which makes it an early model, but it came with wood grips, which makes it a later model? Go figure. It's old, that I know for sure, and it has a great trigger so it will be a fine backup carry piece. Plus it's a D-Frame Colt, same size as a K-Frame S&W, so it's a 6-shooter, not a 5-shooter, like the Smith J-Frames. I'm math challenged, but I am pretty sure 6 shots in a snubby beats 5 shots.

And last but certainly not least is my new-to-me Smith and Wesson 65-3 with 3" barrel, a great set of grips and a custom trigger job from the S&W Performance Center.

Bluebook says this about it: MODEL 65- .357 Mag. cal., stainless version of Model 13, K-frame, has 3 (round butt, disc. 2000) or 4 (square butt) in. heavy barrels, satin stainless steel, current production uses Uncle Mike's grips, fixed sights, 35 oz. Disc. 2004.

The grips may be the "smooth Dymondwood combat grips" which Bluebook says came on the Model 65 Ladysmith. Whatever they are, they fit my hand perfect and shoot great. I love the 3" barrel, which carries great and shoots great too. I have learned that shooting really hot .357 Magnum loads, like 180-grain Cor-Bon, is not a good idea with a K-Frame. Save those for your N-Frame Smiths. It shoots just fine with 110-grain .357 Magnum loads, which are more than adequate to stop anything short of a charging rhinoceros.

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