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Cheap Off-Brand Handgun That Turned out to be a Tack-Driver

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Tallball, Jul 27, 2019.

  1. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I have an odd assortment of handguns. The brands that I own the most of are Ruger, S&W, and Beretta... I believe in that order. However, I own a bunch of other cheap and/or oddball ones just because. Have you ever bought one of those that is laser-like accurate?

    I'm not talking about something like my Taurus G2 or a Star Super B. I have those. They were inexpensive. Mine shoot about as well as a "comparable" Glock or Colt, but not better. I'm not talking about a Ruger or S&W that were surprisingly inexpensive due to appearance issues. Yeah, I paid very low prices for my Ruger Standard and S&W K22, but it's not a surprise that they're extremely accurate. I'm talking about off-brand handguns that many would turn up their noses at, but your particular example is crazy accurate and people are just amazed when they try it out.

    I have had hit-and-miss luck with Taurus handguns. Some were pretty good, some were okay or mediocre, one was terrible. I didn't have a DA/SA 357 revolver with a 6" barrel. I lucked onto an old Taurus on GB that no one wanted. It was an "Old Model" with different parts and grips than the newer ones. Nobody was very interested, so I won it on a bid of around $300. When I went to pick it up at the LGS, my friend warned me that something might be broken inside; that's how light the trigger pull was. No, it's just an old model that has some kind of S&W internal hammer block instead of a transfer bar. It's absurdly accurate. I don't know if it's more or less accurate than my S&W K22 or Model 28, but those three are my best SA/DA revolvers out of dozens, and they will punch holes all through a bulleys until my arms get tired. Its grips were a little loose and made of unobtanium, so I stuck a folded piece of paper between the wood and the frame, and the problem was solved.

    I had heard good things about Tanfoglio C&75 "clones" and wanted another full-sized DA/SA 9mm in addition to my Beretta, but preferably with a steel frame. I saw a bunch of Israeli surplus versions from military-affiliated shooting clubs ("Cohai") and decided to gamble $330. After I got it, I realized that it had been shot a LOT. It has fixed sights and a marred finish. But this thing is ridiculous. Its DA and SA are absurdly nice for a service pistol, it shoots straight to POA, and it's slightly larger than the more modern CZ versions (good for my huge hands). It seems like everyone who shoots it wants to buy if from me or wants to buy one just like it. It's not for sale. After my FiL shot it for the first time he bought himself a new CZ75. He was disappointed that the frame was slightly smaller and the trigger wasn't quite as good, but it is still his most accurate center-fire service pistol (out of a couple of dozen).

    I had heard good things about a weird Rossi revolver, the Model 720. Apparently they made a nice 44 special revolver for just two or three years around the early 1990's. It was a little smaller than a K-frame, made in stainless steel, had a 3" barrel, and was available with fixed or adjustable sights, and SA/DA or DAO hammer. I ran across one for around $400. I had problems with it at first and took it to a local gunsmith. Apparently it was still full of 1990-ish packing grease, and someone had probably enjoyed flipping the cylinder shut like in stupid tv shows and movies. He was able to fix it up pretty well.

    Then the hammer-nose firing pin broke off! Apparently the same idiot original owner liked to dry-fire it a lot. There were no such parts available. My FiL, in an extreme act of kindness, carefully hand-fitted a S&W Model 10 nose-hammer firing pin until it fit properly.

    It is now a ridiculous revolver. The DA and SA triggers are extremely good. Its size and grips seem to fit both large and small well. Its sights are probably fragile (especially the plastic front one), but extremely accurate. I can empty a box of 50 rounds into a small hole at seven yards or a palm-sized hole at 15 yards. If there are a couple of flyers towards the end, that just means I'm getting tired.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  2. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    The Taurus "Golden Age" stuff made from the late 70's through early 90's was very nearly S&W quality, indeed during their very worst years of bankruptcy and restructuring, Smith and Wesson put out some dreadful shlock which was far below the Taurus quality of the same era.

    Nice gun!

    I dont know if Astra qualifies as an "off brand," but my A600 compares quite nicely with my Luger and Walthers in terms of fit, finish, and machining. Indeed, it will outshoot my P38 any day. Horror stories abound of these guns being inaccurate or uncomfortable to shoot, but I have never experienced any issues myself. Ive put perhaps 500 rounds down the barrel and the old "Pipe Wrench" has never hiccuped once.
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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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  3. Jim NE

    Jim NE Member

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    I have a 720 Rossi. I'd say it's the same size/weight of a K frame, more or less. They have a stellar reputation, but the general concensus is that you don't dry fire any Rossi revolver like you would a S&W. A little probably doesn't hurt, but avoid it as a precaution.

    My 720 is fine, but it's blown away (in terms of accuracy and fit) by the same era .357 Rossi 971 stainless. It's essentially the same gun as the 720, only different cal. and 6 shot instead of 5. The latest (Taurus era) 971's are blued only, but this gun is from the late Interarms era, which was generally the best for Rossi. This would've been late 1980's into the 90's, I think. I generally distinguish late Interarms era from earlier Interarms era by the serial number on the frame by the cylinder and rubber grips (on snubbies, at least.) Early Interarms era can be fine, too, but if you get into really early guns - like the pre-Garcia era - some Rossi revolvers can be pretty cheaply made...and not worth owning, IMO. My best Rossi's are functionally equal to most of my vintage S&W stuff, though I would exclude the K- Masterpieces from that characterization as they are typically competition level guns. (I'm talking more carry type guns.)

    Better than my Rossi 720 is my Taurus 445 in .44 Special. Very well made and excellent shooter, but it only has a 2" bbl. The 720 has a 3".
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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  4. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I had a Rossi 971 and liked it a lot! :)

    I wish I had a Taurus 445. I've only heard great things about them.
     
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  5. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    Not exactly an off-brand, but a Taurus 669 w/6" barrel that I once owned was something I found surprisingly accurate each time I took it out to the range. I shot it substantially better than the 6" 686 I also owned at the time (both long since sold, unfortunately).
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  6. kozak6

    kozak6 Member

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    Believe or not, a Bryco 9mm. The first shot in the magazine would shoot exactly to POA every single time. It was awful to shoot, and might malfunction on every single remaining round in the magazine, but when it shot, it shot.
     
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  7. AZAndy
    • Contributing Member

    AZAndy Contributing Member

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    During a time when I was inexplicably smitten by the Makarov cartridge, I had all the commonly available pistols-- Makarov, Radom, CZ-82, P64, and PA-63. The best of the lot was the CZ, but the most accurate of them was the P64, despite its being unpleasant to shoot. I couldn't hit anything with the first shot, since the double action ran about 127 pounds, but everything after that was nearly perfect.
     
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  8. jar

    jar Member

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    I'm pretty sure these qualify as somewhat unusual and so maybe worthy of the topic.

    My Savage 1907 that was made back in 1913 is still one that I find gets far more than it's fair share of pocket time. Not only does it look far more like something you'd see in a "B" space wars flick, it's crazy accurate and really pleasant to shoot.

    standard.jpg
    Even though it's a turn of the 20th century design it is still a double stack magazine (decades before the HiPower), has a loaded chamber indicator, striker fired, removable firing block and control assembly, 10 + 1 32acp, drop free magazines and a manual striker-recocker that looks like a hammer.

    My Bernardelli Model 60. It's a single action 32acp from the 1950s & 1960s, one of the models that was killed off by the 1968 stupidity. It's a Walther PPK sized gun and about its only flaw is that the plastic grips make the safety sound cheap. Once you look at the mechanism it is clear it's far from cheap and actually over engineered compared to what we see in controls today.

    standard.jpg
     
  9. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    I bought a Taurus Model 44 , 6.5 inch barrel for a very low price. I liked it so much that when my wife wanted a 4 inch barrel .357/38 Special+P we looked at Ruger, S&W and now included Taurus because The Taurus 44 was such a good revolver for us. Well the Taurus Model 66 won her over. She is the best shot in or house and she really liked how accurate she was with it right out of the box. Her other favorite revolver is a Colt Trooper MKIII 6 inch barrel in.357. She has stated she likes the Taurus Model 66 as much as she likes the Trooper. She actually prefers shooting the Taurus more often. We are sold on Taurus. Maybe we just got lucky with the ones we ended up with. But for the price It's hard to justify buying the more expensive guns.
     
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  10. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    I once had a little 22 semi called a "Unique." That was the brand name. Made in France in the post war years it was a typical European semi. Solid steel frame and slide (everything else too I suppose), nice blue job, phenolic grips, heel mounted magazine release, and a very nice blue job. I paid $99.00 back in the early 2000's for it and that's the only reason I bought it. I figured how bad could it be?

    Well that thing was a shooting trick. I don't think it ever jammed, and hit like a laser bean. I kept it for a while, didn't shoot it a lot really, at the time I had about a dozen 22 handguns, and eventually sold it to another fellow who liked it. I've never even seen another one. If I do I might buy it.

    I also had a Taurus 82 I think it was. Basically a knock off of the Model 10, heavy barrel. I got it brand new back in the late 70's or so, for I think about eighty bucks. Nice looking gun, decent trigger, UGLY grips. Looked like they'd been hacked out of a 2X4 with a Swiss Army Knife. But with a Tyler T-grip they worked. Man I shot that thing I don't know how often with 38 wadcutter reloads. Local shop sold them for about two, three bucks a box back then, and I saved the brass and bough a 38 Special Lee Loader. Man, I was in the big times.

    Then I got bit by the IPSC bug and had to have a 45 automatic...and that's when it really started.
     
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  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    While I don't really think of Star being an off brand it was relatively inexpensive compared to a Colt Government at the time. Totally reliable with FMJ ammo, accurate, and easy to shoot it was my go-to range gun (especially for beginners), for many years.
     
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  12. jar

    jar Member

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    My Star UltraStar is another super accurate handgun. It was introduced though right at the height of the WonderNine Era and the magzine limit so while about the same size as my S&W 469 it is only 9 + 1 while the 469 is 15 + 1.

    medium800.jpg
     
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  13. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    jar

    My brother has an UltraStar in 9mm. that I use to borrow on occasion as a car gun. Not all that expensive, well built with a decent trigger and sights, the only thing I didn't care for was the slide mounted safety.
     
  14. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Nightlord - Now I want one of those Astras!

    Jar - Now I want one of those Savages! And I almost bought a Bernadelli like yours a week or two ago, but had already spent too much on guns this summer. Now I'm kicking myself, since it was obviously going to go for under $200.

    Oh, well, it's nice to have a wish list. :)
     
  15. BlueHeelerFl

    BlueHeelerFl Member

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    I have Taurus 445 Ti with the Matt blue finish. Its a great gun. Very easy to point and comes back to point of aim during rapid fire, giving nice tight groups.

    It's was one of the guns I refused to sell back during some rough times since I'd never be able to replace it
     
  16. jar

    jar Member

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    The Bernardelli was always seen as what someone bought if they could not afford a Beretta yet the quality and accuracy was pretty much the same with my Bernardelli maybe being just slightly more accurate. I had a Beretta 70 about the same period as the Bernardelli and had many similarities and quirks. Still have the Bernardelli. Would like to find another Beretta Model 70 but with the later thumb safety.

    Both kinda locked open on an empty magazine but when you removed the empty magazine the slide closed. The Beretta had a magazine release button in the lower left grip and a cross-bolt push button safety at the top of the grip and in an awkward place to use one handed. My Bernardelli safety is placed on the frame before the grip and is easy to use one handed and with either hand while the magazine release is classic European heel release. Both are single action and designed to be carried "cocked & locked". Trigger feel was about the same on both and both were just plain reliable. The 70 looked like a Beretta while the Bernardelli is far more Sig/Walther in appearance. Take down of the two is quite different. The Beretta is the classic barrel with the guide rod and spring below the barrel while the Bernardelli is a classic fixed barrel with a surrounding spring which may be why I found the Bernardelli slightly more consistent shot to shot than my Beretta.

    And the Savage is pure joy and I must admit, garners comments. The one I hear most often is "Is that a real gun?"
     
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  17. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    My oddball "impressors" have been a Jennings J22 from 1987 and a FEG AP22 made in 1998 (and imported by Interarms, making it one of the all-steel versions.) I bought the J22 new, with no idea it wasn't supposed to work. Apparently, it didn't know, either. The FEG has a DA trigger pull that's almost unusable, but I can make it work and it puts 'em where I point 'em. I think I'm actually better with it in DA mode than in SA, but that may be because I was always a DA-shooter first, even carrying a wheelgun as my first duty sidearm (issued later the same year I got my first handgun myself, also a DA wheelgun - and also a "golden-age" Taurus M66.)
     
  18. Eddietruett

    Eddietruett Member

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    9D8B920C-0CF1-47F2-940C-9EEA4E9692FF.jpeg B8D527B5-39A0-4DCB-8009-6AF3029EDEAB.jpeg I found a Taurus M66 with 12” Barrel. Might not be the off brand the OP was asking about, but even with the extra long barrel, it is a lot more accurate than I thought possible. One of the greatest things about this particular gun is it will shoot a couple of lead bullets great that I could never find a load that any of my regular shooters liked. I bought a bunch of 148gr and 158gr Cast Performance Lead bullets that have been taking up space for several years. The Taurus loves them.
     
  19. jar

    jar Member

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    One of the things I like about the Star UltraStar is that since the slide rides inside the frame instead of over the frame the bore axis is quite low.

    Sig P2009 vs Star UltraStar at the working end:
    standard.jpg
    Since the slide is set so deeply in the frame I'm not sure it would be possible for the safety to be frame mounted.

    The sights are very good and the controls all easy to reach.

    standard.jpg
    standard.jpg

    Ambi safety standard:
    standard.jpg
    And it did come with two magazines as standard.

    standard.jpg
     
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  20. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    Not the cheapest, but my 10mm RIA tac is an absolute laser with 200 gr xtp at around 1150 fps.

    By far my best shooting pistol outside of 20 yards
     
  21. jimherb

    jimherb Member

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    I have two Star BM's. One shoots pretty well--the other will knock a gnat's eye out.
     
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  22. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    I bought a High Standard 922 as I didn't have a .22 revolver. I figured it would be a good plinker but it turned out to be very accurate. I loaned it to a CCW instructor I know (She normally uses her 9mm CZ or .38 Taurus but sometimes needed to start someone on a .22 for whatever reason) and she commented on how accurate it was.
     
  23. entropy

    entropy Member

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    The CZ82 I owned was very accurate, even with a ring in the barrel.
     
  24. 5-SHOTS

    5-SHOTS Member

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    Unique are nice pistols. If I remember well is similar to a Beretta 34/35.

    I have a couple of cheap surprising accurate guns: a Norinco TT-Olympia and a Weihrauch Target Trophy .22L.R. revolver.
     
  25. bgw45

    bgw45 Member

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    I have a Tristar T-100 that has proven accurate and reliable. It is always handy in my home.
     
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