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Coonan Classic 357

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by 8strings8rounds, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. 8strings8rounds

    8strings8rounds Member

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    Curious how many might be around here with experience with these pistols?
    I picked mine up in September, 2017. It's the matte/brushed stainless model with a checkered backstrap and adjustable sights.
    It's a great shooter. Super smooth and accurate. The trigger is fantastic, light and crisp. The recoil is very manageable, however unlike anything else I've fired. The tac-driving accuracy makes it a very rewarding pistol to shoot.. and the looks and reactions it gets at the range are certainly amusing.

    Such a shame the company failed and folded, though. Glad I got the spare parts that I did, when I did. (Won some of them in the Coonan photo contest.) Would have loved a 6" barrel for it.

    Awesomely odd nut, this pistol. 20200216_203255.jpg Screenshot_2017-09-02-18-13-58.png
     
  2. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    I had one for awhile, but sold it because the depth of the grip was just too big for my hands. I could not keep a good grip on the gun for more than one shot in a row. I really loved the accuracy, but just couldn't control the gun in recoil.
     
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  3. 8strings8rounds

    8strings8rounds Member

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    It is sizable. Fits my hands fairly decently, though.
    I actually let a couple people try it out at the range this past weekend. One of them was an older gentleman with smaller hands and arthritis. He actually said, "I'll regret this, but that looks like too much fun to pass up!"
    He shot it well, but did have to readjust for every shot.
     
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  4. Frulk

    Frulk Member

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    You had me at Coonan.
     
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  5. Steve E

    Steve E Member

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    I had one back in the mid 90's and loved it and for some reason that I can't figure out I traded it off a few years after that. Probably my most regrettable trade.

    Steve..........
     
  6. Obturation
    • Contributing Member

    Obturation Contributing Member

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    Always wanted one, other guns always got in the way. I hated to see them go out of business.
     
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  7. U.S.SFC_RET

    U.S.SFC_RET Member

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    Very nice pistol indeed.
     
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  8. 8strings8rounds

    8strings8rounds Member

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    Dang. Yea, that probably was a model B. Would love to find one now.
     
  9. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    I also had one for a time, I sold it to a friend LONG ago...

    DM
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  10. Viper1357

    Viper1357 Member

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    I've owned maybe upwards of 10 of them over 30 years or so. In the mid-late 80's and early 90's before they went out of business the first time in St. Paul, MN, I worked just down the street from their tiny little building they marketed and manufactured from. Became fairly good friends with the original gunsmiths/workers, office staff, and Dan Coonan himself. I have the most embarrassing story about Dan teaching me about shooting pistols. I'd grown up shooting rifles and shotguns fairly proficiently hunting and such, and my first pistol was a Ruger MKII .22 lr that I shot very well, and then made the mistake of moving up to my first center fire pistol and cartridge, the Coonan .357 Mag Auto.

    So I'm guessing around 86-87 I saved up and got my first Coonan (having already made friends with all of them in the plant) and good ole' sarcastic Dan said to me, "Hah!, you're going to hate the gun when you shoot it, because you won't know how to shoot it." I thought I'll show him, and took it to the range a couple times and to a bowling pin falling plate competition that I'd always wanted to try out. Well he was right that I was starting not to like the gun. It had a fixed rear adjustable only for windage, and it consistently shot low and to the left. I learned to aim high and right to compensate, but this gun wasn't accurate. (you know where this is going don't you?)

    So the next Mon I brought it back after hours and met with Dan and the other smiths, and they asked how I did. I told them Dan was right except it wasn't me, but the gun is way off. Yep, I got the eye rolls from the guys and Dan said (always with a cigarette in his mouth smoke crawling up into his eyes), "ok, lets go downstairs and see what's wrong with it". They had a short range in the basement maybe 25' long like a tiny cement tunnel with a wall of railroad ties as the back stop for testing the guns before shipping, issues, etc. Anyway Dan just shot the first hole in a blank sheet of paper, and took his time the second shot and appeared to miss. I said there you go, off the paper. Same cigarette in his mouth he mumbled to go back up stairs as he knew what was wrong with the gun. (yeah he was gonna punish me good) So upstairs I asked what he thought was wrong with it, and he said "I know exactly what's wrong with it, Hah! it's the shooter, you!!" I asked how that could be when he missed the paper on the second shot, at which point he said sarcastically (Dan was always sarcastic in a weird funny way) "It went in the same hole dummy." Turns out Dan was an accomplished slow fire bullseye shooter. Then he said "see, I told you you couldn't shoot it correctly", and then he mumbled about the trigger being better than typical.. Anyway, after being the laughing stock for a few minutes and swallowing my pride, I asked if he would show me how to shoot it "correctly" I'd be grateful. He said "sure, it's actually easy, you have a flinch problem." So he basically taught me proper grip, stance, trigger control, etc.. Dan first taught me I really didn't know how to shoot a pistol, and then how to. I really improved at the pin and plate matches working my way from mid to last place all the way up to a consistent 3rd to 7th depending on the champion guys showing up or not. So yeah, I have some experience with Coonan pistols. I only have one Coonan Model B left from all the years. I really regret that now....

    Sorry for the long story, but your post made me remember it. So here's a couple pics.

    This was my competition pistol from around 92-96. I designed the 2 chamber 6 port compensator and Danny built it for me. Yeah it was pricey even back then. That was also some of the first TiN coating in MN I could find for the bull barrel.

    lft_frt1044.jpg

    lft_open1047.jpg

    cmp_open1049.jpg


    This is a 35mm camera shot from the late 80's a friend took of me shooting..

    357 MAG 80s2.jpg


    And this is the only Coonan Model B Custom I have left with a stock 5" barrel and also a 5.5" barrel with a compensator that can be switched out.

    coonan_orig3004.jpg

    Coonan_Bauer807.jpg

    "
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  11. 8strings8rounds

    8strings8rounds Member

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    This is great! Thank you so much for sharing.
    That competition gun was amazing. I wonder where it is now?
    I've seen a lot of pictures of Dan shooting with a cigarette in his mouth. Haha.
    I was in Facebook group with Kathleen Coonan (I think his sister) and she shared some similar anecdotes about Dan's personality.-She had also hinted that there may be a reason why none of the most recent inventory had gone up for auction when the assets were all sold last year.. be interested to see if some iteration of the company ends up popping up in the future.. who knows.
     
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  12. silvermane_1

    silvermane_1 Member

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    I always wanted one of the original Cadet models, also one of the 41 mag ones.
     
  13. 8strings8rounds

    8strings8rounds Member

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    I almost bought a used Cadet a while back, but passed on it. Kinda regret it, but I believe they were far more finicky with ammo. I know they didn't shoot 38spl, at least.
    Unfortunately, what I understand from Kathleen Coonan, the 41mag never actually existed. It had been conceptualized I guess, but never brought to fruition. There's a lot of info floating around the internet on them, even a photoshopped picture or two, but all based on rumor.
     
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  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Liked the concept and the construction of the Coonan; it's just that with my small hands I couldn't get a decent grip on it. Had a similar problem with the LAR Grizzly Win Mag pistol.
     
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  15. silvermane_1

    silvermane_1 Member

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    Interesting there 8strings, I thought that Coonan actually made a 41 mag version or a conversion kit.
     
  16. silvermane_1

    silvermane_1 Member

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    Well if you have a M1911 you could have a 38/45 Clerke conversion barrel and get near 357 mag power with warmer loads.;)
     
  17. DS-10-SPEED

    DS-10-SPEED Member

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    This thread reminds of the time I met with Dan Coonan. My son in-law was college friends with his daughter and I happened to meet her one day when she visited my daughter and son in-law when they lived in Indiana. She told me her dad made her a pink .357. She suggested that I go to the Coonan factory sometime and meet her dad, my daughter happened to move to Blaine MN (just a couple miles from Coonan) the next year so I stopped in to Coonan when I went to visit them. Dan was very nice and gave me a tour of the complete factory and we talked for over an hour, he even took me to his office and let me hold Coonan 0001, it was a blend of a Browning High Power and a 1911, very cool! When I told him that his daughter said he gave her a pink .357 his voice got very loud, "IT"S NOT PINK!!!! IT"S FUCHSIA!!!!", we both had a good laugh. We briefly talked about his time with Magnum Research, I believe he was one of the original designers.

    I always wanted to get a Coonan someday but never did (I did get a T-shirt like Dan's though) , It's too bad the company had problems later, I haven't heard anything about it since.

    A couple pictures he had on his web site:

    dan_coonan_2822__1_.jpg

    dansupervising600.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  18. 8strings8rounds

    8strings8rounds Member

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    I had spent some time looking for one as well, even just a video of one, but apparently it never happened. :(
     
  19. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    silvermane_1
    I remember a number of years ago an article in Guns and Ammo magazine where the author (Jan Libourel I believe), made a 5 in 1 1911. Started with a Colt Government in .38 Super. Added a 9mm. conversion, a Colt Ace .22 conversion, a .38/45 Clerke conversion, and found that a Colt Commander slide in .45 ACP would also work on the .38 Super frame.
     
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  20. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Cool gun. Always wanted one but the timing and money were never right.

    So I moved on to 10mm auto. But I’d still love to own a 357 Coonan.
     
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  21. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Indeed, a real beauty!

    Like the others, a Coonan was one of those “I’m a-gonna get me one of those someday” guns...that I never a-got :(.

    Stay safe.
     
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  22. silvermane_1

    silvermane_1 Member

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    That 5 in 1 1911 sounds like a interesting project. ;)
     
  23. Dain Bramage

    Dain Bramage Member

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    I don't shoot mine much anymore. I broke the magazine catch and had Coonan fix it while they were still in business. It still functions somewhat gritty, and I'm worried it will break again.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Viper1357

    Viper1357 Member

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    I'm more than certain that (at least on my older model B) the mag catch is interchangeable with standard or upgraded 1911 style ones. I can't imagine the newer models would be any different.

    "
     
  25. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Dain Bramage

    Those are some beautiful grips on your Coonan! What are they made of and who crafted them?
     
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