Moohoohahaha! It Lives

Spooky Stuff Indeed

Yeah, that’s a long gun in the photo, and this is HANDgunner. But when Roy-Boy, our Publishing Potentate slips, you jump on it. He’d been on the road, and I suspect, gargling “special” cough syrup when I told him about FrankenGun. He went woozy, burped contentedly and slurred, “So, uhh … Write it up!” Ha! I’d told him about it simply because I don’t get tickled easily, but Frankie tickles me into spontaneous incontinence. Besides, it reminded me of a FrankenGun 1911 I have — so it applies. Here’s the story:

My go-to gunsmith “K” doesn’t want his name mentioned because he’s already swamped with work. We’re 1,600 miles apart now, but phones and FedEx facilitate conspiracies. During one tele-whining session we bemoaned our teetering piles of orphaned AR parts. Try to sell ’em? Nah. We’d get some doofus in a tin-foil hat offering us two bucks and a possum in a poke sack. Then K bumped into Rob Sutton of X-Caliber Barrels. They chatted. Rob observed, “So you haven’t tried one of our barrels yet?”

Later, Rob delivered an 18″ beauty with a .223 Wylde chamber and 1:8″ twist; hefty but not heavy due to deeply cut spiral fluting fore and aft of the mid-length gas port. Jet black nitride covered the 416R stainless, but to K it sparkled like diamonds. He fired up his nuclear-powered FlugleTronic Laser-Peeper (whatever; that stuff is all Space-Cowboy techno-gullah to me), ’scoped the bore and chamber and declared it immaculate. Short of bucks but long on stupid and caffeine, we commenced dredging our junk bins and oily cardboard boxes.

“We Gotz Partz, Inc.”

The process was like magnetizing that barrel and draggin’ it through a junkyard: You get a little gold and a lot of garbage. I’d been evaluating three excellent HyperTouch triggers from HIPERFIRE, and needed a test-bed for a 24C, their competition model. K unearthed an Armalite gas block. I found a lonely, ignored FailZero bolt. From that point the makers, origins and quality became unknown factors. Most parts were unmarked and the majority were used and abused.

K retrieved a dirt-cheap receiver set, and fortunately, it miked out “straight.” So did a nickel-boron finished carrier from a company that was born, wheezed, and perished as an infant. The free-float handguard was a $30 clearance sale pickup. The only receiver tube I had was rifle-length, so we needed an A2-size buttstock to match. That deformed-lookin’ thing in the photo was a prototype of a design with a trap door compartment for a 20-round mag; odd but comfy.

The only other identifiable parts were a Spike’s Tactical melonited gas tube and a long-discontinued Brownells compensator resembling an elongated septic tank. Everything else, including pins, springs, buffer, latches, dust cover and miscellaneous widgets were UFO’s. Finally, the Frankenstein monster was complete. But was it … ALIVE? Moohoohahaha! (Envision lightning flashing, thunder crashing over mad Dr. K’s laboratory.)

But just because something’s assembled doesn’t mean it runs — and doesn’t cough, stutter, choke or maybe blow up. He met the other three Shootin’ Coots at his range for a fun-shoot. First, he explained, he had to test this monstrosity, and would they notify his wife if things went wrong? They laughed at it. Then he shot it. Then they shot it. K called me that night, happier’n a shoat in a slop trough. “You won’t believe this,” he said. The Shootin’ Coots all demanded FrankenGuns.

Some Kinda Heavy JuJu

A week later I received FrankenGun and their stack of targets. Half-inch groups. Three-quarter inch groups. Some one inch groups. I was pleased, but had a bellyful of qualms; big wiggly ones. K and the Coots are all seasoned competitive riflemen. I’m not a precision shooter. I’ll snap-shoot torso targets with the big dogs, but I’m not your guy for threading needles. K and the Coots had used a 1-4x tactical ’scope. To stack the deck, I mounted a Rapid Reticle 2.5-10x40mm RR-900 Tactical.

Time to face the music. I packed up the same four flavors of ammo used by the Coots and brought along my cousin Mac, to ride the spotting scope, witness my shame, daub my tears of frustration and laugh at me.

No Lead Sled, no sandbags; at 100 yards, just laid the handguard into the U of a Boyt screw-stand and settled in. Fired three shots. Mac wriggled on the spotting scope and murmured Geez … Now the center target. Another Geez. Now the right. Then Geez! Let ME shoot that thing! Yeah. We rotated for an hour.

The tactical ammo, with slugs from 55-gr. to 77, delivered 3-shot groups averaging 0.75″ and a fantastic 5-shot group of 0.687″! Our sole box of target ammo, 20 rounds of 69-gr. Federal Gold Medal Match produced five 3-shot groups running 0.5″ to 0.625″ and a 5-shot cluster of 0.625″ — with four shots overlapping.

Function was absolutely flawless. Folks with rows of gold cups may not be impressed, but us spastic combat monkeys? Stunned dumb. To celebrate, we shifted to “Steel Valley” and effortlessly, mercilessly pummeled plates from 100 to 500 yards until sunset. There were two tickled shoats in the slop trough that night.

Up until we shot it, we agreed that later, with more time and money, we’d dismantle this Franken-mess and build something decent with that cool barrel and nice trigger. Our new agreement is, we ain’t touchin’ a thing; not a single thing. There’s heavy juju goin’ on here — and cavemen don’t mess with magic. Connor OUT

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