Coonan Classic Part 2 Range Review

| May 1, 2011 | 2 Comments

First of all, I apologize for this report being late. Lot?s of things popping up this last week that seemed to steal more time than I had to give. Anyway, on with the report??..
On April 4th, I took the Coonans (along with a few other pistols) out to the range. I occupied my lane and started off getting loosened up with a .45 bobtail that I dearly love to shoot. I did this to get ?the groove? going and get comfortable. The usual tight groupings from this pistol assured me that things were good to go, so I broke out the first of the two Coonans. This day, I wanted to put 100 rounds through each ? 75 of the 125 grain jacketed soft points, and 25 of the 158 grain jacketed soft points. I loaded up the first magazine and started putting rounds down range. First overall impression on the first shot out of a Coonan was, ?WOW! I expected MUCH more recoil out of this thing!? The recoil was surprisingly comfortable. The report however was a different story. LOUD and attention getting. I noticed the firing from other lanes slow down as guys stepped back to see where this was coming from and what was making it. That first shot started a steady stream of guys walking behind my lane to observe the Coonan in action. Betweeen magazines, I would stop and let them see the Coonan and give them the basics of what they are. Many of them had heard of them, but didn?t know they were back. I?m normally a giving and sharing kind of guy, but not this day ? those 200 rounds were ALL mine.
After every 25 rounds or so, I would change the target out. The targets were 8? circle targets and were placed at 25 yards for all shots. This is NOT a report on accuracy, as that in not fair in my opinion for a pistol straight out of the box. I may post an accuracy test of sorts once they have the appropriate number of rounds through them to ?wear the parts together?. Having said that, the accuracy on these was not bad for being brand new. The picture below is pretty typical of all the targets that day. All shots were taken from a standing, unsupported, two hand hold. Other than a few flyers that I instantly knew were my fault, all rounds were pretty much contained in the 8? circles from start to finish. My .45 VBOB used in between .357 magazines just to make sure I was still on, would keep it?s rounds in about 4? consistently. The Coonan manual recommends between 200 and 500 rounds for break in of the Classic.

I said in my hands on review, that I would like to see frontstrap and MSH checkering added as options when ordering on the site. After shooting them, I would still like them to be optional, but honestly, they are not needed. One of my Coonans has the smooth stock grips, and one has the Coonan aluminum checkered grip panels. I didn?t notice a real difference in hand when firing. These pistols are VERY easy to shoot. Yes, they look big, and are big, but if you?re used to shooting a government style 1911, then you should have no problem with these. When I did switch back to the VBOB, I noticed that it seemed small in my hands, but the Coonan didn?t really seem large, so it?s an easy transition. At least for me. The planning that was put into these Coonans in the weight distribution with the heavy slide and the full dust cover really pays off in recoil management. As I said, the Classics are quite easy to shoot. I now understand the youtube videos showing the shooter emptying a magazine in 2-3 seconds. You really can do that with these. Overall, they are flat out FUN to shoot! The small crowd that always seemed to be gathered behind me was impressed also.
I was tempted to adjust the windage of the sights, but with the groupings being as large as they were, I?m not about to change anything until these get fully broken in. I?m sure the patterns will improve as the internals of these pistols wear in and smooth out.
While we?re here, the pistols did shoot quite smoothly. After only 100 rounds each, the slides were already losing the initial small amount of grittiness that I noticed right out of the box. By the end of the 100 rounds, the groupings were starting to tighten up a bit. I want to compare what they are after about 500 rounds down the tube on each of these. During shooting, I kept the rails wet with the supplied FP10 lubricant. Wet, but not enough to sling it all over me with every shot. I will continue to do this until at least 300 rounds through each.
I wish I could say the everything went off like silk, but there was ONE problem. One of the Classics had a failure to return to battery. The slide stop actually grabbed the take down notch and stuck the slide short of battery. This resulted in the next round in the magazine being shoved forward, but not seated and obviously, stopped the pistol. A simple slight movement of the slide to the rear and release pu the slide home and all went normally from that point. This occurred in the first 75 rounds of 125 grain, and was the only snag I ran into with either pistol. I examined the half moon on the slide when cleaning them, and there doesn?t seem to be any damage to it from the incident. I have received pistols before that needed a little stoning on the back edge just to round it and blend it a little better, but not in these pistols. I?m not sure why the hang up occurred, but I won?t worry about it as long as it doesn?t happen again.
After the rounds were all gone, it was time to go home and rip both pistols apart. My pistols are consecutively numbered, so they followed one after the other down the line (I assume). On stripping the pistols down, I didn?t notice any undue wear, or rubs that I wouldn?t have expected to find in an early break in pistol. I saw varying amounts of tool work and tool marks on various internal parts which caught my eye immediately. I started holding up matching parts from both pistols and noticed light, handmade numbering on a number of them. This to me says that there is a good amount of hand fitting going on in these pistols. A great sign that the builder takes pride in what he?s doing, and isn?t simply throwing parts together, but making sure they meld well and match as they?re supposed to.
Overall impressions on these pistols is that they?re a LOT of fun to shoot! They are too large, in my opinion, for any practical personal carry pistol, but when they come out with the Compact model, that my fit that bill much better. I can?t wait to get these back to the range and have more fun with them. From what I?ve seen and experienced with these pistols, I think the new Coonan Classic is right on value for the money. In my opinion, they are worth every penny I spent on them. I also believe that in their current configuration (the full size Classic model) they are a niche weapon because of their size. I hope we hear more from Coonan on when we may see the Compact version coming up. The quality that I?ve seen in both of these leads me to believe that I will have to work very hard to wear them out, and I have no doubt that one of my descendants will have to finish that job for me. If you want to have fun at the range, pack a backup pistol for that long gun hunting trip, or just want to draw a crowd, I feel comfortable in recommending the Coonan Classic to you.
If you have any questions that I haven?t answered here, please feel free to ask, and I?ll answer them if I?m able.
Thanks for reading this, I hope you find it somewhat helpful!

Written and authorized by Sarge Exotic wood addict and grip maker

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2 Comments on "Coonan Classic Part 2 Range Review"

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  1. Deja vu says:

    How is the aluminum grip. I kept the standard wood one but I am now looking for some slimmer grips…

    I know this review is about the Coonan and not your sight be I will say that the grips on your sight look great and I hope to see Coonan Grips there soon.

    Now where was I? Accuracy is better than I have ever shot from one of my Revolvers in 357 magnum. You are not kidding about the recoil. I admit that I was wondering what the kick would be like but it is very small. I think my revolvers kick more.

    I keep hearing that the bullets are faster from the Coonan than from a revolver. If that is the case then some thing like the Buffalo Bore 125 grain would have a lot of energy… Possibly more than you could fit in to a 10mm and may be approaching the lower end of 41 mag energy.

  2. Ryan Payne says:

    DeJa vu – Just put the first five sets of Coonan Classic grips on the site tonight.

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