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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:28 am 
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The sub-topic of gary r&g's recent 'old school' thread over in the Custom Pistols section of the forum brough to mind another facet of my country bumpkin background in custom pistol trivia. There are a lot of advantages to living in small town America, and certain things are available out here that one does not often find in the city (fresh air for example), but I have to tell you, 1911 Central it ain't.

That aside, one of my all-time favorite classic custom 1911s from an admirer’s point of view was the original Pachmayr Combat Special. I've never owned one, but I well remember fawning all over magazine pictures of them back in the early days of IPSC. Unfortunately, by the time my income caught up with my desire for one, the PCS was a thing of the past, and my attention turned to other things.

Although I attended many, many gun shows over the intervening years, I never set eyes on a Pachmayr Combat Special until the summer of 2007. In June, I drove 85 miles (one-way) to attend a show that usually consisted of no more than 50-75 tables. In fact, the show was so small it never produced anything more interesting than a Pre-Warning Ruger No. 1 in 45-70, and that was obviously a fluke. As such, I had long since stopped carrying much more than lunch money when I attended. In addition, bothering to bring any trading stock was out of the question so I had quit doing that as well. Moreover, I saw no reason to think the show promised anything 'special' this time around.

Man, was I about to be surprised.

Given the amount of walking money I had with me, I strolled around the place, examining every table in almost excruciating detail, looking for such useful and much-needed trinkets as NOS Tyler T-Grips for revolvers I don't even own and never will. I remember it was kind of like peering through a tunnel: My eagle-eyed focus on tiny treasures -- not to mention my preconceptions about what things might appear in my visual field -- had totally blinded me to the REALLY BIG PICTURE. Matter of fact, I'm not sure I even saw a single gun of any description during that first lap around the show. Amazingly enough, though, the guns were right there in front of me even though I didn't see them.

How do I know this you ask? Because on the way out of the show, while headed toward the door by the same aisle I entered, I happen to glance sideways at a table I had already thoroughly "x-rayed" on my way in.

And you know what? It looked exactly the same as first time I went by it: The only thing I could see that looked anything like the ever-elusive T-Grip was a pair of those lovely pallet-wood-and-rubber, finger-grooved grips Pachmayr used to make.

As I continued on my way, nearly reaching the exit, a dim light went on, and I heard a voice say, "Those grips are attached to a gun."

"Who cares?" I asked. "You should." insisted the voice.

Not being one to argue with myself (although I cheerfully admit talking to myself, even laughing at my own jokes, but then neither counts does it?), I did an abrupt about face, approached the table, and began yet another thorough inspection of those collector-grade custom grips.

The walls of the tunnel were beginning to close in again when the voice boomed, "Hey, dummy! See that ricky-tik-thingy attached to the slide!?! That's a bona fide Bo-Mar you bonehead!"

I shook off the rest of the fog that enveloped me, my eyes veered northward, and I began to see the light. Ye and verily, the voice was right: It was a Bomar!

As my gaze wandered from the slide down the grips again, I beheld the blasphemy that was the bumpy black rubber facade in front of me: The stinking grips that previously preoccupied my attention conspired to completely camouflage the front strap checkering (!) from view.

Then, just about the time I got around to noticing the inscription on the slide, it all began to sink in: For the first time ever, I was looking at a Pachmayr Combat Special. The base gun was a large-letter Series 70, and the pistol had been built to the more or less usual spec. The principal exception was the finish: It was FULL BLUE. I asked the owner about this, and he said he ordered it that way.

Next I asked him how much he wanted it for it. When the man said $1500 I thought I had fallen into a worm hole in the galaxy of gun shows on the grange: Just that fast, it was 1975-80 all over again (minus generic beer, thank you very much). I told the man his PCS was worth quite a lot more than that, and when I mentioned that "new" ones were over $4k, what did he do? Why, he proceeded to pull another out from under the table (!) and ask how much it would go for in the "big city."

By then I was beginning to get dizzy, but I ‘endeavored to persevere’: I fainted.

As the lilting scent of smelling salts filled the air, I awoke and saw that PCS #2 was much like #1, except for two things: The base gun was apparently a Remington Rand this time, and its finish was FULL HARD CHROME.

Anyway, to finally get to the point of this meandering mélange, those two monotone Pachmayr Combat Specials are the only I have ever seen. In contrast, I think most would probably opine that the "standard" PCS finish was TWO TONE (blue over hard chrome).

I suppose it could be mere coincidence, but this raises some obvious questions. For example, if the standard finish PCS finish was two-tone, and if only full blue and full hard chrome variations of the model appear at small-town gun shows, then what is the going price for pallet-wood-and-rubber, finger-groove grips on eBay? And what is it with those NOS T-grips anyway? I mean, just think about it for a sec: If you rearrange the letters, what do they spell? (That’s right: SNOT-grips!)

While we may never know the answers to these and other pressing questions of our time, you may rest assured that your ever-faithful correspondent vows to continue the quest for the all 3Ts: T-Ball, Tippecanoe, and Tyler, too.

Alrighty, then.

ArtCrafter :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:24 am 
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Location: Commonwealth of Virginia !!!
ART...I'm LMAO right now, thinking of similar experiences I have had out here in no man's land. It IS amazing what you can find at the smaller shows sometimes between the digestion of the early morning McD's sausage biscuit and a quickly eaten lunch of gun show polish-sausage dogs or MREs (same drastic and oft near-death result with either).
I am glad that you finally got to see your unicorn at a small show. Now a small suggestion for you-Head on over to Tenn. and go to a show with our good friend Kurt Vogler, who as best as I can determine could go to a show with the aforementioned lunch money and his kid's rubber-band gun and could make a trade for a S&W Scofield that actually belonged to a Russian Czar! (Kurt has invited me down to meet him several times, but truth be know I'm AFRAID to go!!). Now sit back and enjoy that plain tan can of "Cost Cutter" beer with the pull tab! Have a great weekend!-John

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"There is a true glory and a true honor, the glory of duty done, the honor of integrity and principle."--Gen. Robert Edward Lee


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:31 pm 
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I had exactly the same thing with Match Target Woodsmans, and I had always wanted a 2nd series, because of the "proper" mag latch location, and I never found a good one, finally a really bad show, with like twenty two tables of Nazi insignia, worn out books from the 40's and moldy leather, this guy had two NIB second series MTW's one a 4 and the other a 6 inch barrel. I had NO cash, like 4 bucks, and that was it, and he was offereing them for what I would have paid for one. luckily, I ran into one of my buddies who had serious resources who said you need how much? no problem. and i ran back to the table and bought them both, My buddy was a bit jealous, but he gave me a week to round up the cash without the wife knowing, so that worked out way better than it should have too.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:35 pm 
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I almost forgot one thing: Mustering up all the tact I could, I asked the guy, "So what's the story on those nifty pallet-wood-and-rubber, finger-groove grips anyway?"

He says, "The darn checkering always hurt my hand."

Then I says, "No, I mean how much will you take for them?"

I swear, for a second there it looked like the guy was gonna come completely unglued, but after a minute or so he calms down, and looking me right between the eyes, he says, "How about $4000 a pair?"

Sigh...

-ArtCrafter :mrgreen:


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