So many bloggers did a 2022 in review post that it was boring. That’s why I didn’t do one. Instead, I thought it would be more fun to do a 2023 prospectus post. List what I would like to accomplish this year.

My wife doesn’t like SCUBA diving, my son no longer dives with me, and I haven’t heard from my other dive buddy in years. As a result, I can count the number of times I have been diving in the past 5 years on one hand. I have about $10k in SCUBA gear that sits unused in storage. The vast majority of my fun money goes into shooting now, and that is a huge change from ten years ago. I think shooting is where most of my wish list is going to go.

I have enough guns that the wife complains and says I have so many that I don’t shoot most of them now. I will grant her that. I have a few favorites, and aside from project guns like the skirmish rifle, I only shoot my favorites. Still, it’s fun to buy something new or at least different. My in-laws think I am nuts for owning as many as I do. Compared to my gun shooting friends, I don’t think I have all that many guns. Owning a lot of guns is a relative term.

Starting in 2020, I began making my own guns from 80 percent lowers. That’s been taken from me as a hobby. If I am going to be a manufacturer, I might as well pay the SOT and start making machine guns. I would do that, but I don’t want my house getting inspected and raided by the assholes from ATF.

I own pump actions, semi-autos, break opens, lever actions, and revolvers. Shotguns, rifles, PDWs, rifle caliber handguns, and all sorts of other handguns. I don’t want any more long guns for the time being, simply because it’s more of a pain in the ass to shoot them than it is a handgun.

So a handgun it is. I currently have, or have had, handguns from Beretta, Glock, Smith and Wesson, Sig, Taurus, Ruger, and more. Been there, done that. There are two noticeable holes in my current collection: I would like to own a .44 caliber revolver. I have been thinking of buying a Smith and Wesson Model 629 in .44 Magnum. I already own a 629 686 in .357 Magnum, and it’s fun to shoot. Having one in .44 Magnum would also allow me to shoot .44 Special. So there is that.

The other thing I have been thinking about is a gun I already owned four examples of, and found them wanting. The 1911 didn’t work well for me when I had them before, but I confess that I am drawn to the 1911, purely because I find them to be aesthetically pleasing. They are just beautiful guns.

I want to give the 1911 platform another chance. Perhaps I just need a really good one. I am thinking that it would be cool to have a custom Ed Brown Kobra Carry. Sure, it’s a $3,700 handgun and I know that I was against buying them in the past, but I have every other handgun I want (except that .44). It’s a beautiful handgun, and Ed Brown has a stellar reputation. It’s just a hefty price tag.

The problem is that I don’t want to put down that kind of scratch until I can get a reliable 1911 for less and make sure that I am not wasting my money. So perhaps I can start with another Kimber. If so, I would try a Kimber Ultra CDP. They “only” cost around $1200 and would let me try out another 1911 without laying down two weeks’ pay to get it.

The other possibility is a Suppressor for the Skirmish rifle. I am thinking a Dead Air Sandman.

So that’s my list. I don’t know if I will get them all, but it looks fun.

  • Smith and Wesson 629 in .44 Magnum ~ $900
  • Kimber Ultra Carry II in .45 ACP ~$1,200
  • Ed Brown Kobra Carry in .45 ACP ~ $3,700
  • Dead Air Sandman ~$900

So what do all of you think?

Categories: GunsMe


Joe Blow · January 3, 2023 at 5:45 am

I picked up a 686 4 in barrel in 357 a couple years back for 800. Yep, my fav, never knew I was a wheelgunner… see similair at shows for about 1k now.
As for the Dan Brown, I find me asking myself this hard question when I’m drooling over a performance center model: will it help me shoot better?
A gun is a tool to me, not a status sumbol (conceal carry, I do not open carry). It gets to why you own the tool. For self defense. Diamond crusted barrels won’t shoot any better, but if I spend that same $$$ on bullets to practice with or training to improve my skills, then it supports my end goal of staying alive.
I like Smith revolvers, no idea why… if I were to buy a pricey model, it wouldn’t be to shoot it. It would be an investment, or a baubel to keep on my desk since I like to play with them… but thats an unsafe habit to have, and will also wear the gun, so back in the case.
Just buy some kruggerands, and keep shooting the kimber.
Personally I never got the fascination with 1911s, but to each their own. I carry an M&P 9C because 1 extended mag has more than twice the bullets…. and I am confident I can put the round on target because I practice with it.

Bigus Macus · January 3, 2023 at 6:03 am

Walther WMP 22Mag, and a SW model 29 44 Mag along with a lever action rifle in 44 Mag.

Denis · January 3, 2023 at 6:28 am

If you like 1911s aesthetically, but have not been happy with them, I would try a BHP instead… there is even a new modernised version just out.

Don Curton · January 3, 2023 at 7:33 am

I’ve heard on the Smith that the stupid safety lock can break under heavy recoil and jam the action. Robert Farrago reported on it back when he was gun blogging. However, the lock mechanism is completely separate from the rest of the internals and can be removed without affecting the function (other than leaving a small hole for dirt to enter. Of course, if you ever used it in a self-defence shooting (not very likely) then it might look bad.

Also, better to handload 44 mag cartridges to 44 special power loads rather than shoot the shorter special cartridges (although it can do both). After a while you’ll notice a burn ring in the chamber right where the end of the cartridge is, where it is first exposed to the hot gases. This can make chambering the longer magnum cartridges a bit more difficult. Again, stuff I’ve heard, didn’t experience that myself. I don’t see that issue with .357/.38, so may not be a real thing.

My personal list includes a Ruger Redhawk in .45 colt (if I can find one) and another Redhawk in .357 (if I can find one). Also a S&W kit gun in .22 rimfire. I also have a Rossi 92 level action in .357 that I want to spend more close personal time with. But that’s maybe a little too personal πŸ™‚

    it's just Boris · January 3, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    Re the hole left behind, there’s at least one place that makes a plug for it:
    When I have some spare time I want to do this on my S&W.

    Re looking bad, legally … remember that this is not a safety device like a striker pistol’s trigger safety, or a 1911’s grip safety. It’s more like a permanently-attached-to-the-gun version of the cheap cable lock all guns come with anyway. (Of course IANAL so YMMV.)

      Don Curton · January 3, 2023 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks for the link!

Pat H. Bowman · January 3, 2023 at 8:41 am

The Ed Brown pieces are quite nice. Back in ’17 or ’18, I spent nearly the entire NRA show looking at high-end 1911s. I had convinced myself that I wanted to spend $3500+ on a Nighthawk, Ed Brown or other similar piece of art. The high-end models are certainly magnificent, but after looking at other models in the sub $2000 range, I found it harder to justify the extra $2000.

I just scored a great deal on a Springfield TRP and it is every bit as nice as I’d hoped for. In your case, check out the Dan Wesson Commander Classic. Same basic form factor as the Kobra Carry, but about 1/2 the cost. Based on my subjective opinion, the DW guns are 90-95% of the Ed Brown, Nighthawk, Les Baer, etc. It’s the Pareto principle of 1911s.

I would never tell someone not to buy a high-end 1911; but for me, I’d rather have my TRP plus another really nice bolt-gun or a lighter AR-10 or maybe two Uinta Precision uppers than a single expensive 1911. YMMV.

nunya · January 3, 2023 at 9:30 am

I had 2 SA 1911s years ago and they were nice but the capacity and weight detracted from their usefullness for me. Lately though the 2011s from Atlas and Staccato have caught my eye. Lighter and better capacity seems to be a winner against my previous issues.

Elrod · January 3, 2023 at 10:05 am

First, I would not sell anything. Given the current political climate it could be anywhere from difficult to imnpossible to replace what you sell.

Second, RE: 1911s. Unless you want a “showpiece,” get a plain-jane box stock government model and have it worked over by a gunsmith with a stellar reputation on 1911s. I have a brace of 35-year-old parkerized 1911s from Springfield Armory that ain’t “Barbeque Guns” by a long shot but they’ve been faultlessly slingin’ lead in IPSC since I bought them and had them gone over. Pro Tip: “Two is one, one is none, and if it’s really important why don’t you have three?” is the watchword in competition because “parts will break” and even if nothing breaks you need a spare “just in case” and each will still go to the Gun Hospital annually for some TLC.

Third, and my apologies for being pedantic, but if it was originally manufactured in .357 Magnum it ain’t a “629.”.I’d guess it’s a Model 66 or the stainless version of the Model 28 (whatever Smith labeled it, can’t remember). Swing the cylinder out and look at the frame under the crane, the model number will be stamped there.

Fourth, YOU DON’T OWN A 44? Go get one, with a 6 inch barrel (that’s early 29s and 629s, at some point in production S&W went to 6 1/2 inch). If you’re going to carry it, get a 4 inch. If you’re going to carry it a LOT and shoot it onl a little get a 329. If you get a used 29 or 629, find a wheelgun ‘smith to look it over and tighten it up because if it’s been heavily used it wil have loosened up. And, search the ‘net for “revolver checkout” or similar to see what to look for when buying used wheelguns. The biggie is “do all 6 chambers line up perfectly with the bore when the hammer is cocked and the cylinder is (supposed to be) tightly locked in place?” Also, look down the barrel from the muzzle end under bright light for “angle problems” between the barrel and frame; decades ago when i was looking for a good Model 25 (45 Colt) I discovered that S&W messed up a BUNCH of them with misaligned barrel and/or frame threads causing a very slight “angle of departure” between the frame and barrel. Only visible from the muzzle end and only under good light with with sharp eyes; those guns shot OK but the tipoff was to get them on target the rear sight had to be adjusted all the way left.

    Jonathan · January 3, 2023 at 10:50 am

    I have a few comments and personal opinions:
    – I’ve shot 1911s and didn’t like them. I’m with the others; buy a decent but not high end one to make sure you like it before getting a high end one.
    – If you’re looking at a 44, be ready to pay high prices for the ammo or reload. Also, be ready for LOTS of recoil. I’ve shot them and can handle 44 mag but I prefer not to.

    As far as diving, I got my solo card and a pony bottle several years ago so that I could go without a buddy. These days almost all of my dives are solo for scheduling reasons.
    Yes, many boat operators will still require a buddy, but they also often have a buddy available.
    Go for the suppressor – they are great; I have 3 and am deciding which to get next. If you’re looking for a dedicated suppressor, you may want to look at an integrally suppressed upper to keep length down.
    80% lowers are still available, just somewhat harder to get. The ATF is trying to ignore their court losses with new letters…

    Divemedic · January 4, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    My mistake. The .357 is actually a Model 686.

greg · January 3, 2023 at 10:39 am

CDNN website has a Colt Anaconda 44mag for 2,200$

Anonymous · January 3, 2023 at 10:56 am

1911 fan here. Never could afford top end 1911s, but I got to shoot a bunch of them over the years. I was on the Cal. Army Natl. Guard rifle team 1984-6. Most of my buddies were on the pistol team, they had the best money could build. Fast forward to today, they have the best money can buy. My Springfield Commander Lightweight Operator (in their hands) shoots as good as the best. The top end guns these days seem to go with bushingless, bull barrels with fully supported chambers. This Springfield is the best 1911 I’ve had in 45 years of acquiring and horse trading. Springfields had some QC issues in the past but seem to have their program together now. I’m sure other brands than Springfield have super nice rigs in the sub $1500 range.
I enjoy you blog, happy new (gun) year.
Tree Mike

it's just Boris · January 3, 2023 at 12:28 pm

So how ’bout a lever gun in .44? Henry makes nice versions…

Re 1911s and reliability. I, personally, like 1911s a lot – even a bad 1911 trigger is better than almost any other gun’s best trigger, imo. I like the look, how they feel in the hand, and have had great luck using them to introduce new shooters to the sport.

As I understand it, just buying a very expensive 1911 will not guarantee reliability; thinking of some reviews I’ve seen re Cabot 1911s, for instance. Also from what I read, even with a high-end 1911 you might be spending some time to find ammo that the gun really likes, and you find acceptable for the intended use. That seems to be just in the nature of the design.

Argus · January 4, 2023 at 12:33 am

Take a look at the Dan Wesson Commander Classic. It’s also a bobbed commander sized 1911 very similar to the Ed Brown pictured and is half the price. DWs are well made and reliable. I have an older one that’s my BBQ gun.

dmlmd · January 4, 2023 at 6:54 am

Check out Witt Machine Company, now in Texas… nice little reliable suppressors for about $400, just enough to reduce the blast to ear-safe levels. Have one for my 556 and 308. Nothing fancy, just enough to increase the safety of shooting, comfort of my neighbors or the person next to me at the range….

And re “it’s not a silencer’… the original patent was indeed for a silencer. File that next to caliber wars….

    it's just Boris · January 4, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    I don’t have experience with WMC suppressors / silencers / whatevers, so can’t comment on them directly.

    But, for any non-DIY suppressor purchase these days you’re looking at the $200 tax stamp and around a year’s wait, on average. That raises the price of the WMT to at least the $600 range (+50%!), and seriously delayed gratification. Not saying don’t do it, but be aware of the buy-in costs in time and treasure…

Tsgt Joe · January 4, 2023 at 6:48 pm

I have a Dan Wesson .44 mag with 3” and 8” barrels, its the least useful of the various guns I own. My carry used to be a Kimber ultra carry.45 . 1911’s are cool guns but, for me its a lot of gun to have only 7-8 shots. As someone pointed out the Hi-power looks similar but you have 16 rounds of shooty goodness. Springfields version of the hi power (sa-35) is touted as having a good trigger. My personal experience is different, the trigger is horrible. It’s smoothing out with repeated firing and dry firing but its still not good. At the same time I picked up the springfield, I picked up the Girsan version (mc-35). Allowing for the magazine safety the trigger is ok.

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