By February 28, 2008

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

One of the really neat things about having a Federal Curio & Relic license is the ability to purchase historic firearms at low prices and have them delivered directly to my door. I’ve purchased about all the long guns I’m interested in for now, and have moved on to surplus hand guns. I have taken an interest in the two 7.62x25mm handguns that are prevalent in the C&R world, the Romanian TT-33 and the Czechoslovakian CZ-52. I purchased a CZ-52 from Southern Ohio Gun in early January. I followed up a month later with a purchase of two TT-33s from SOG. C&R handguns have to be overnighted, and before too long I had three pistols in my hot little hands.

The first things you should do when you purchase a new firearm are make sure it isn’t loaded, take it apart, and inspect it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fifty year old Communist-bloc sidearm or a brand new German super-pistol. Following this simple procedure may have saved my life, or at least my hand.

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The CZ-52 broke down easily. Everything looked good, and a quick bath in mineral oil made the pistol look like new again. I set it aside, and waited for my next paycheck to clear so I could purchase two TT-33s.

Fast forward to February. I placed my order, and a box of tomato sauce was overnighted to my doorstep. Hidden inside were two boxes, each one containing a TT-33. I have to admit, the TT-33 is a major pain in the ass to disassemble. A punch-like tool is necessary in order to take the pistols down, a pin has to be removed, and you have to hold your mouth right.

One step in the break-down procedure is to rotate the barrel bushing on the front of the TT-33 to the twelve-o’clock position. This allows the slide spring and barrel to come out of the slide and is absolutely necessary in order to clean the barrel. My first TT-33’s bushing rotated to the twelve and then seized. I tried rotating it clockwise (as instructed), then counter-clockwise. I tried pulling on the bushing while I turned it. I tried prying it gently in a clockwise direction. I couldn’t get it to come off.

After about an hour I put the first pistol down and picked up the second one. Twist, rotate to the twelve-o’clock, and it came right off. Eventually I was able to remove the bushing of the first TT-33 with a rubber mallet. I then discovered that the slide was slightly crimped. Even after getting the bushing off, I was unable to remove the barrel in order to properly inspect it and clean it. I was concerned that if I fired the pistol anyway that the slide would be unable to move freely and fully. What would happen in that event? Would the pistol fire and then mis-feed? Would it result in the handgun exploding in my hand? No idea.

Regardless, I was unable to properly inspect the pistol, so back to SOG it went. The lady on the phone was extremely helpful and quickly assigned me an RMA number. I sent the pistol back overnight and waited for my replacement.

And waited.

And waited.

I wrote them a week later to see what was up. SOG said they were still processing my return, and my TT-33 showed up a few days later.

The replacement pistol was even worse, I couldn’t rotate the bushing even a few degrees. I sent it back and asked for a refund. I decided to try my luck one more time and ordered a TT-33 from J&G Sales. The TT-33 looked beautiful and broke down easily and quickly. Everything looks great, and finally after a month and a half my 7.62x25mm handguns are ready to go to the range.

Stay tuned for range reports, and remember to always check your firearm before pulling the trigger. It just might go BANG in a way you don’t expect.

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5 Comments on "Check yourself before you wreck yourself"

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  1. Ninja Mary says:

    You know, you never fail to impress me with how careful and responsible you are.

    I have a car that is (maybe) just as lethal as a gun, and I don’t nearly as good care of it as you keep your weapons. Also, as a bike commuter, I have a close call with a dyed-blond (any sex or gender) in a Suburban about 2/month.

  2. drfaulken says:

    Thank you for the compliment. It pleases me a great deal to read things like that.

    I miss you both, I wish we could go back to the range some more. :)

  3. BobbyBoy says:

    In running a websearch for CCW pistols, I ran across your BBS on Kel-Tec compared to your old Guardian, etc. I recently purchased the Beretta Tomcat 3032 because it’s small and MUCH more comfortable and better made than the Kel-Tec. I’ve taken it to the range a couple of times and my only complaint is with the hard and rough trigger pull. I’m looking for a solution and, meanwhile, dry-firing it a few thousand times per day with the intention of wearing down some of the roughness.

    I like to plink in my backyard, occasionally, with BB or pellet pistols. One of my shoot’em guns is an E.German Makarov (in addition to S&W M&P and XD9 9mms and S&W 22A and SIG Mosquito). I’d like VERY much to purchase a Baikal Makarov MP654, but so far no one will ship, anymore, to the U.S. (Lexington, KY). Help?

  4. Adam says:

    :-) they don’t check to make sure they’re unloaded BEFORE they sell and ship them?!?!

  5. Brad says:

    Adam – They should, but it’s not always done. I have a FFL and have had a loaded handgun (live round in the chamber) shipped to me from another dealer.

    Got to check everything as soon as it hits your door.

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