Saturday, July 13, 2013

What Was The Worst Gun You Have Ever Owned...

...as in the unmitigated most poorly constructed or designed piece of junk that you have ever shot a bullet, shot or slug through. While I have owned several guns that I have really liked, others that were okay, and a fair amount of others with which I was not pleased, you might think it would be really easy for me to select which among them was the worst clunker. Yet, it is sort of a tossup between two or three of them and I thought each a piece of junk for different reasons.

The first real piece of garbage gun I ever owned was in fact the very first gun I ever owned. I should have thrown my money into the trash can for all it was worth. It was an RG 25 auto, a diminutive pocket pistol that I bought while living in Las Vegas. I would have been very lucky indeed to have been able to have gotten off 5 or 6 shots in a row without it having a failure to feed or to extract or to eject. Being I was a newcomer to buying guns, I did not know what to look for and the guy behind the counter who sold it to me was no help there. Live and learn. I wound up taking the gun apart and disposing of its pieces fairly far apart by throwing them into a deep channel, in salt water, far from Nevada. By the way, in case you were wondering what the initials RG stood for, I think they meant Rotten Gun.

My next firearms purchase did not come for a few years after that but as I recall it was a either a Beretta 70S or a Beretta 950BS (one was followed shortly by the other). At least my second purchase was made with some forethought; I studied up on what to buy and bought quality guns made by a world renowned gun manufacturer. No problems with them, in fact they were great and the 70S still is great. (Well, I have my 2nd one that replaced the first when it was stolen back in the early 1980s.) After that first piece of junk, the RG 25 auto, I had made up my mind to become more knowledgeable before buying any more guns and I pretty much have stuck to that for almost all of the guns I have bought in later years. There were a few bought on impulse but I have to point out I already knew the reputation of the manufacturer if not the specific gun I was buying. After reading that last sentence you might think that I would never again have bought another clunker but you would be wrong.

I guess the next piece of junk gun I bought was actually two of them since I bought two different versions of the same model revolver. When I was in the Border Patrol, we got a deal offered to us by Smith & Wesson for a direct sale from the manufacturer on S&W Model 66 revolvers with 2.5 and 4 inch barrels. How could I resist,  bought one of each. My anticipation while waiting for them was pretty intense and I was full of excitement as I opened the boxes for each. I took out one of them, checked it over, made sure it was unloaded, pointed it in a safe direction and dry fired it. The clinking noise it made, when the hammer fell, was almost as high pitched as a sonar ping. It had also made a grating noise as the trigger traveled rearward. Something fell out of it when I opened the cylinder to check it again. That something landed in my hand and had apparently fallen out of the opening in the frame through which the trigger goes; the something was metal shavings. A quick shaking of the pistol revealed more shavings still inside the works. The 4 inch model was somewhat better but also contained metal shavings, made grating noises until the shavings were cleaned out of it and also made two twangy pings each time the hammer traveled rearward. In other revolvers, that twangy ping would have been a set of  a low pitched clicks. I sold both of them. I am not two sure those were worse than the RG 25 that I had owned previously but they were just as disappointing if not more so. Smith & Wesson was supposed to have been a manufacturer of high quality firearms but they were junk as far as I am concerned. I was not the only one with those problems; as I recall, every one of my coworkers who bought them had the same issues with them to one extent or another.

Sometime after getting back to NY after my Border Patrol days, I decided to buy a Ruger Mini 14. I used them at work often and was a fairly good shot with them. I liked just about everything about them, in fact I liked then more than an AR. So, I got myself one. I could not hit paper at 50 yards and believe me I was shooting at a big target. I adjusted the sights over and over again and finally was shooting a widespread group of about 15 inches or more at 50 yards. I sold it to someone by way of either GunBroker.com or AuctionArms.com. I warned the guy to whom I was selling it about me not being able to hit the target with it. He shot it and got back to me telling me it was a virtual tack driver! I did not get it then and am not sure I get it yet but think that maybe it was the ammo I was using - which may have been the wrong grain weight for the Mini-14. I have shot others since, all with no problems, in fact was an excellent shot with them. So, I am not sure it was the gun that was a clunker but for me, at the time I sold it, I sure thought it was one.

Then there was the Marlin 9mm Camp Carbine (commonly called the Camp 9). It was a 9mm carbine that was advertised as being a great defensive weapon. I read review after review about it being an excellent firearm. It had a number of features I liked such as being fairly short, using the same caliber that my then work issued pistol fired, it also used the same magazines that the S&W 6906 (which was our work issued pistol at the time), the safety was at the forward area of the trigger guard, and as I remember - it was not too expensive. Again, it was touted, by the gun gurus, as an excellent choice for self and home defense. How could I not buy one and yes, I bought one. As soon as I took it apart for a thorough cleaning I came to hate it and realized one of its design features was one of the poorest I have ever seen in any firearm. It had a pivoting feed ramp. I guess the fact that the ramp pivoted was not too bad, it probably assured good feeding although I have never see a pivoting ramp in any other firearm I had handled. It seems that this novel design required something else that was novel in the form of a tiny coil spring that had to be set under the feed ramp just right in order to assure that it pivoted into place properly each time it fed a round. The spring gave a small amount of upward pressure on the ramp. Why it was designed like that is beyond me, you would think there would be no need for the ramp to pivot if it had been designed properly in the first place but there it was and there was no getting rid of it. What was easy to get rid of, although not intentionally, was the little spring I just mentioned. The first time I cleaned it the spring fell out of the nook in which it was seated and it took me hours to find it. Yes there it was, shown on the diagram of the rifle but there was no notation explaining that it was not permanently seated or held in place by anything and that it would just fall right out if you were not extremely careful. Once I found it, subsequent to a lengthy search after it had fallen out, I realized that getting it back into place just exactly right was no joy either. If you decided to clean this gun while afield and dropped that spring in leaf litter, forget about finding it unless you had a good magnet with you or had as much luck as a group of at least 14 Leprechauns. That one design feature alone made the Marlin 9mm Camp Carbine worthless to me as something upon which I would depend to defend myself. I sold it and do not miss it in the least. Since I had mine, I have heard several complaints from other owners of them about that same dratted spring.

When I think of it, I do not know which of the above, excluding the Ruger, were the worse pieces of junk, it is a difficult decision to make. The two S&W revolvers, the RG25 and the Marlin 9mm Camp Carbine each had pretty bad flaws. Considering that the S&W revolvers and the Marlin carbine had great reputations as being very good to excellent firearms, I can easily say that they were much more disappointing to me than was the RG 25. I paid all of about $40 to $45 for the RG, out the door and brand new. It was a fine example of getting what you pay for. As for the others, I paid  decent amount of money for each and should have gotten a much higher amount of quality than I got with the RG. So, while quality was lacking in the RG, I have to say it was also pretty much absent from those S&W revolvers too. The Marlin Camp 9 seemed to be of fairly high quality but had that tiny disappearing spring and that was one heck of a terrible design feature as I see it. I guess when it comes down to it, the RG 25 and those two specific S&W Model 66 revolvers (note I have owned another since then and it was greatly improved) tie for the worst guns I have owned. The Marlin 9mm Camp Carbine edges them out as a better gun just by a tiny bit, an edge smaller even than that pesky little spring.

Then there were the guns that I almost owned but avoided after a little bit of checking them out before taking the plunge. Some of them were the not so fine pieces as a: Jennings 22, Erma KGP-69 (a .22LR Luger look alike), a High Standard Sentinel (steel framed combination gun with cylinders for .22LR and .22 WMR), High Standard Derringer, Marlin Camp 45, but I suppose I am getting away from the original topic.

So tell us, what was the worst gun you have ever owned?

All the best,
Glenn B

 
 

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