Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jimenez Arms JA32 range report

I took my new JA32 to the NRA headquarters range last friday night to try it out. while shooting at a distance of twenty feet, I noticed that my groupings weren't as good as they are when i shoot my Jimenez 22. after firing 30 or so rounds, I brought the targets in to see how I'd shot. The gun functioned great, but it was keyholing.

For those of you who might not know, keyholing is when a bullet goes out of the barrel of a gun and impacts the target sideways. Instead of making a nice round hole in the target, it makes a rectangular shape, sort of like a key hole.

This brand new gun needs to go back. You'd think I would've learned my lesson on buying brand new models right when they come out, but you'd be wrong. This gun needs to go back to Nevada. The problem is that Jimenez Arms won't pay for shipping to get it out there, so I have to find an FFL that will ship it out for me or I can send it myself using UPS for a sum of about fifty bucks.

Some of you may say that $50 isn't a lot of money. For me it is, especially considering the gun's retail value brand new is only about $150. It sucks that I have to send in a brand new gun, but hopefully they'll fix it. The strange part is that the barrel looks fine. It has decent rifling and the crown isn't screwed up.

Monday, October 25, 2010

ammo from the auction

I went to an auction about 70 miles from here on saturday morning. The auctioneer was combining two estates and auctioning off all their stuff. There were 3 boats, 3 trailers, about 10 guns, and lots of tools and junk. I bid on a few guns but didn't get any. After the guns, they auctioned a partial case of ammo. 12 gauge 2 and 3/4 inch #9 shot made by federal in paper hulls. I guess others at the auction were scared off by the fact that the shells were paper, but I knew they weren't that old just by looking at one of the boxes in the case. I opened the flap and saw the date code of 1997. Federal still makes shotgun shells with paper but they're expensive. I was the only bidder and got the partial case (7 boxes of 25rds) for $20. I got home and looked them up. that ammo is still made, but costs $9 per box or more. That's right folks, $63 worth of ammo for $20. I win.

I justified the purchase by equating these shells to what I can buy at WalMart. There I can get 4 boxes (100rds) of Federal or Winchester birdshot for about $22. I think $20 for 7 boxes beats $22 for 4 boxes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jimenez JA-32

I recently picked up a Jimenez Arms JA-32 at a local gun show. For those of you who hate on "saturday night special" type of inexpensive firearms, read no further. For the rest of you, here is a little post about the gun.

For a little background information: Jennings firearms was started in 1978 in California by Bruce Jennings. The guns Bruce Jennings produced were similar in design and function to the Ravens made by George Jennings. The Jennings name was changed to Bryco arms sometime in the 1980s and went bankrupt in 2003. Bryco went bankrupt because of a lawsuit where a child was paralized due to an accidental discharge. Why blame the parents who had a loaded gun in the house when you could blame the gun company? Paul Jimenez, the shop foreman of Bryco, purchased the company for $510,000, beating an anti-gun group's bid of $505,000. The anti-gun group's mission was to melt down all the remaining stock and close the company. All the guns Jimenez produces are old models of Jennings/bryco origin, just renamed.
The rare Bryco was a 32acp that shared the same frame as the 380. These were made in the 80s, but are hard to find today. jimenez introduced Bryco's rare 32acp in 2009, naming it the JA32. After seeing multiple failures of the 380 version, I thought I'd try a 32 instead. The 32acp cartridge does not deliver as much punishing recoil as the 380, so in theory the gun should last longer. I've fired a Bryco 380 and i was surprised at how much recoil it had. That's probably why the cast aluminum alloy frames and slides sometimes break. If this does eventually happen with the JA32, I'll be surprised. Lifetime warranty anyway, so I'm really not worried about breaking this thing.

I got the gun for free, in trade for some work. When found, they're usually about $150. That includes two magazines and a trigger lock. Looks enticing, eh? well the problem that these guns have is the materials. Some gun snobs will dismiss anything made of cast aluminum as junk. Whether its a Davis, Lorcin, Bryco, or Raven, they're all junk in some people's eyes. This gun isn't junk to me. Sure it doesn't have great fit and finish, but the thing works. I know a guy that put over 14,000 rounds through his Jimenez JA22 before the slide began to show signs of cracking. Each and every time he took it shooting he kept track of how many rounds he shout, which type, and the number of misfeeds or misfires. Another guy i know has a Jennings that claims to have 10,000 rounds through it. Because of stories like those, I don't dismiss any inexpensive pocket pistol as junk.

OK, onto my JA32. The build quality is fair. I've seen worse from Cobra Enterprises of Utah. They're the ones that ressurected old Lorcin, Republic Arms, and Davis designs. Honestly, this gun feels like a step up from the Cobra FS or CA models. I perfer the design of the Jimenez anyway. The Jimenez is less top heavy, better looking, and better feeling in my opinion. This gun isn't perfect though, it has some casting flaws on the slide. The finish isn't great, but its OK. they missed a spot near the magazine release.

The firearm came with two 6 round magazines. The mags are single stack and are crimped together. That's right folks, you can't take them apart to clean them. That kind of pisses me off, but its good to know that new ones are only about $13 or $14 each. The metal baseplate on each mag doubles as a finger rest which is a nice touch.

The magazine is released via a "european style" magazine release or "heel release". Its not the most tactical way to go, but I'm not tactical anyway. I bought this gun to have fun with, to shoot and enjoy. Whenever people bring up an inexpensive brand of firearm on any forum, users tend to jump all over the original poster saying they should save up for a better gun. You know what folks? i have better guns. I have real guns. I have thousand dollar guns. Its not an issue of me being a young shooter and misguided, its an issue of me wanting to try something different and have a little fun.

These guns don't always work 100% right out of the box. I don't come to expect much from a gun that costs the end consumer $150 brand new, retail priced. On this gun I havn't had to do anything to it, but on other Jimenez products I've had to smooth out certain areas to make the slide glide freely against the frame. Also, magazine feed lips occasionally require slight tweaking to get the cartridge up to the right height.

The design of the gun is simple and effective. Honestly, I consider this one of the best firearm designs in history? Why might you ask? because it uses relatively few parts, its simple, cheap to make, cheap to buy, and easy to fix if needed. My favorite feature of the Jimenez has to be the ability to field strip it without any tools. I've seen 22s that require a mallet, paperclip, or allen wrench just to field strip. No thanks folks, I want something that's better engineered so I can take it apart on the firing line without needing to fumble with tools. Another interesting freature about this gun that sets it apart from some other cheap guns is the ability to replace the barrel if needed. It is pressed into the frame and held in place by two locating pins. Raven and Phoenix guns have barrels basically melted into the frame. That means once the barrel is worn out, the gun is done.

The box gave me a chuckle. Instead of getting new boxes made that say 32acp on them, they used old .380 boxes and put stickers over where it used to say .380. Its cheaper to get a few sheets of stickers made than it is to go get a bunch of boxes made.

So far I have shot S&B 7.65mm ammunition through this gun. Don't be worried folks, 7.65mm is the way Europeans identify .32acp. This ammo was cheap ($12 per 50rds) and came packaged in 25rd boxes. The primers as well as the projectiles are sealed with a red paint and the projectile appears to be cupronickel. Cupronickel was used extensively by the Turkish people as well as a few other countries because the material is not only a great gliding metal for gun barrels, it also won't corrode in a saltwater environment.
Overall, I am really pleased with my free gun. I won't reccomend that everyone go out and buy one though. This gun would be perfect for the gun collector who wants something a little different that isn't going to break the bank. The owner should be able and willing to tinker with the gun a little bit to smooth out the rough edges and get the thing to work well. Also, a firm grip is a must with these things.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

got some magazines

On Xaturday October 2nd, I was visiting my girlfriend in Fredericksburg. After an action-packed morning which involved hitting up the scrap yard to sell an old motor and a trip to sheetz for hot dogs, we hit stopped in my favorite pawn shop on the way home. After walking in, I quickly noticed that my favorite guy (the employee I always talk to) wasn't there. I did however see a plastic rubbermaid tub that had a bunch of magazines in it. the box was out ontop of one of the glass cases, so i assumed the stuff was for sale. I started rummaging through the box and no one stopped me.

In the box of magazines I found a lot of neat stuff. I don't know about you guys, but I really like rummaging through boxes of shit at gun shows and pawn shops. I just enjoy trying to identify magazines. In the box I saw at least 5 of the single stack AK mags from Romanian clinton-era WASR and SAR rifles. There were a bunch of used Glock mags as well as some old metal magazines. the ones I could identify were Tokarev, CZ52, Star 9 Largo, and some 1911 mags. Also, there were at least five 380 mags for bryco/jennings/jimenez 380 guns. I wish I had seen this box-o-mags when i was buying my friend a new magazine for his bryco 380. I also saw a couple of the Davis/Cobra 32 and 380 mags as well as some 22LR magazines for rifles. I picked out a few that struck my eye and went to ask what they'd cost me.

I put the 5 magazines down in a row on the counter infront of the employee. He asked the boss, who promptly came over. The boss looked at them for a second, paused, then said "40 for all, with tax it'll be 42." I had to think about it for a second. I'm not that quick when it comes to doing math problems. I was quickly trying to do the math in my head to figure out how much that'd be per magazine and then decided I'd take 'em. For those of you who don't want to do the math, that's 8.40 per magazine with tax included. I didn't get the change part of the equation, but I knew they were eight-ish bucks each.

I went to pay for them and my girlfriend said she'd get them for my birthday. Good stuff. Here's a breakdown of what I got: the one on the left is a very late Bryco arms J22 magazine or a Jimenez arms JA22 magazine. The next is an early to mid production Jennings/Bryco J22 magazine. You can tell because it has the large window. Both mags have black followers. Replacements are available through cheaperthandirt (sometimes, they've been sold out for a good 6 months) for like 7.99 each for aftermarket mags. Both of the ones I got are the real deal, not aftermarket. To get mags from jimenez they're either 12 or 13 each plus a flat shipping of $5 per order.

Next up are two Makarov magazines. These are either Russian or Bulgarian. Since they're not electropenceled with a gun's serial number and have a rather good finish, they're probably from a commerical production Russian Makarov, namely the Baikal IJ-70. I know for damn sure they're not German because the German ones have a bumpout where the bottom of the follower hits the floorplate when the mag is fully loaded. These have a notch in that place that goes all the way to the floorplate, no bump. They cost $18 each plus shipping from

Next on the list is a Browning 22 magazine. I bought it thinking it was for my Buckmark, but it didn't break down the same way as my other Buckmark mags do. The ones that came with my Buckmark have a slide off floorplate. This one has a crimped floorplate. To get the thing apart i had to slide the follower all the way down, then slide out the little nub commonly used to retract the follower while loading. Because of this, I think the mag may be from the precurser to the buckmark, known as the Challenger or Challenger2. Here's the good part: that magazine costs 27 new from midwayusa, not including shipping.

If I went to buy these mags, I would've paid 24 + 36 + 27 plus shipping on each order. that's $87 plus shipping of 10 to 15. The crazy part is at gun shows I see magazine sellers trying to get like $15 for raven or davis mags and $16 for jennings j22 mags which aren't even original equipment. The prices on mags at gun shows can be totally nuts, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, this pawn shop seller really hooked me up. This was probably because I've been in there at least ten times over the past 2 years. Its good to know people.