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But you have spoken hypocritically here. Anybody reading Cooper knows he was concerned with practical shooting and practical accuracy, not world class bullseye shooting. You have quoted him out of context and then insulted him. For Col. Cooper, practical and defensive shooting was important. And, quite frankly, I don't know anybody who would refer to Col. Cooper as either cute or dumb.
On the contrary, I quoted the complete passage, verbatim. Furthermore, I took issue with the words, not the man. Lastly, my main point was that every shooter should be free to concern himself with the full range of possibilities afforded by his weapon, from employing it in world class bullseye shooting, to waxing and polishing it on a portable pedestal, as legitimate alternatives to "practical shooting and practical accuracy", whatever our anointed authorities suppose that practice to encompass.
 

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On the contrary, I quoted the complete passage, verbatim. Furthermore, I took issue with the words, not the man. Lastly, my main point was that every shooter should be free to concern himself with the full range of possibilities afforded by his weapon, from employing it in world class bullseye shooting, to waxing and polishing it on a portable pedestal, as legitimate alternatives to "practical shooting and practical accuracy", whatever our anointed authorities suppose that practice to encompass.
Sir,

You write fancy. You also have the juevos to put your name, address, e mail and phone number in your by line.
That, I believe, is a first, and for that you are excused for writing fancy.:)
 

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Zeleny, bravo for your posts. Erudite and entertaining at the same time.
 

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I paraphrased Cooper not with the intent of belittling the Korth but rather I posted that thought in its defense - not that the Korth requires me to come to its aid. I should have stated this in the earlier post. Others had had previously stated that the Korth while supremely built was not worth the cost due to the practical accuracy of the Korth not being supremely improved over, say, the SW Model 27. I disagree with that notion in that I would not buy the Korth for an extra 1" or even 2" improvement in a group of shots that I had fired but rather I would buy it because it is a much better built device, and for its modular design that allows for different barrels. Analogous to this argument would be in the realm of timepieces. An Omega watch for me would not be a more practical timepiece but it sure is a better (and more intrinsically valuable) timepiece than my Seiko.
Most on this forum are of the thought that better built is indeed better, hence the preoccupation with top level custom and semi-custom 1911 pistols as compared to the standard production 1911.
 

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I too have been a student and hobbyist of revolvers and their internal mechanics for over forty years and find it very rare to read anything as informative as the post by zeleney.

My compliments to you sir for a well written and largely unbiased analysis of the subject.

The great old revolvers manufactured by Colt and Smith & Wesson (as well as a few others) have their place in history as do the European counterparts from Korth and Manurhin. However, from my observations and experience, for shooters in the United States both the rarity of the European revolvers and greater scarcity of parts and accessories, together with the lack of gunsmiths knowledgeable in the repair and service of the same, are negatives added to the cost of these imported revolvers for those of us who enjoy the function as much as the art.

Now, having said that, the reality is that these days parts for Colt Pythons and pre-MIM Smith & Wesson's are becoming difficult and expensive to source, as are gunsmiths familiar with the intricacies of the likes of the old Colt double actions. This seems to narrow the comparison to the art more so than the function for practical purposes as today revolver shooters may be better served by the more serviceable albeit somewhat more pedestrian modern offerings.

As for accuracy, I will imply my own small bias by noting that Colt Pythons have been acclaimed by knowledgeable marksmen for their barrels if not their mechanical durability, and I seriously question whether any other make exceeds that across the board. With all things, it has been my opinion that there is never a best in all circumstances but a difference in quality almost always becomes evident to the informed. :)
 

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Concerning Python accuracy, Colt used to advertise its Python Elite as accurized to shoot a 2" group at 15 yards. By contrast, Manurhin tested the MR73 to shoot within 25mm (<1") at 25 meters (>25 yards). I am not sure whether or not this disparity in factory requirements makes Pythons less than a third as accurate as their Old World competitors. To the contrary, thus spake Massad Ayoob:
How accurate? From a Ransom rest with Match ammo, the Python will generally deliver about 1 3/8" groups at fifty yards. This is about what you get out of a custom made PPC revolver with one-inch diameter Douglas barrel. My 8" matte stainless Python with Bausch & Lomb scope in J.D. Jones' T'SOB mount has given me 2 1/4" groups at 100 yards with Federal's generic American Eagle 158 grain softpoint .357 ammo. The same gun, with Federal Match 148 grain .38 wadcutters, once put three bullets into a hole that measured .450" in diameter when calipered. That's three .38 slugs in a hole a couple of thousandths of an inch smaller in diameter than a single .45 auto bullet.
I am not sure what to make of this testimonial. Please stay tuned while I gear up for my own round of Ransom rest testing. As for the Korth, here is the official factory statement:
In order to give a statistically covered statement of the shooting performance of our weapon, numerous test series need to be performed. Single shooting results are therefore subjective. For this reason, we abstain from including an original target.
As an aside, this worry didn't prevent SIG from including an original target with its early P210 pistols, putting ten shots well within a 50mm circle at 50 meters. On the other hand, as I previously mentioned, Willi Korth used to guarantee his revolvers to maintain "the same accuracy even after 50,000 shots fired". I cannot fathom how this guarantee comports with the more recent disclaimer by his successors, of "a statistically covered statement of the shooting performance of our weapon". Be it as it may, in an otherwise inaccurate review, Gun Tests reported five-shot groups fired from a bench rest, measuring at the most between 1.6" and 2.2", depending on the ammunition used. While I cannot duplicate these results with a Korth by aiming each shot individually with iron sights, I can easily do so with a 6" MR73 topped with a Docter sight.

As for the relative strength, in my experience Colt Python, Manurhin MR73, and Korth frames are immune to stretching commonly observed in S&W frames. I am sorry to report having personally experienced a forcing cone fracture in my prized 1957 Python. Regardless of round counts, I've yet to see such breakage in a Korth or an MR73, despite their dimensional similarity to the notoriously fragile S&W M19. In GIGN service, none of the S&W revolvers could handle the daily practice regimen of 150 rounds of Norma 158 grain .357 S&W Magnum ammo. The MR73 was originally tested with this ammunition. Its torture test was abandoned without observing appreciable wear after firing 170,000 full power Norma .357 rounds. Numerous published tests witness this capacity. According to an article in Cible No. 342 on the MR73, its rectangle of shot dispersion remained the same after firing 20,000 Magnum rounds. The writer concluded that it would take at least 300,000 Magnum rounds for the bore to begin to wear. Several French police armorers confirmed this estimate from their experience with high round counts in service revolvers. Make of their claims what you will.
 

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Is Korth still in business? I am seeing references to it closing in 2009.

Regards,
Greyson
 

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Is Korth still in business? I am seeing references to it closing in 2009.
They showed and pre-sold some Damascus steel revolvers at IWA this year, so they better still be in business.
 

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They showed and pre-sold some Damascus steel revolvers at IWA this year, so they better still be in business.
They ever show up at SHOT? I will make it a point to stop by. Honestly...I don't know much about them. And for their prices, I am probably not interested retail. But if I got a deal on one used, and I could still get service, I might pick one up one day.

They seem like a small shop. I read 100 units a year or less.

Regards,
Greyson
 

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I didn't see them at SHOT 2011. I doubt that Korth USA sells any guns here at over $10,000 apiece, but you can find them on GunBroker now and then. They sell a good number of them in Europe, more than a hundred a year but probably fewer than a thousand. The Damascus revolvers cost 25,000 Euros apiece, and find their buyers. I prefer blue steel or plasma finish for a small fraction of that cost.
 

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That revolver sold for $5,500. Not too far off from a high end AR or 1911! I can only imagine how nice they would look and feel in your hand. I might not ever have one, but I certainly want one!


Now really, I need some pictures from owners. This thread got over 1000 hits and nobody has one to show off?

 

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Zeleny, you are awesome. Could you please post more?!?! WHOA!!!!!
 

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That revolver sold for $5,500. Not too far off from a high end AR or 1911! I can only imagine how nice they would look and feel in your hand.
Symmetrical wraparound Nill grips on the linked specimen are ambidextrous and nicely hand-filling. I am getting the last two made by Nill for post-1986 Korth revolvers, and have their likes installed on my five favorite Manurhin MR73 revolvers. Original Korth grips have an open backstrap and a shallow thumb rest just big enough to block a speedloader. They offer a nice rolling fit for the right hand; not so good for the left.
 

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Cool video. Reminds me of the good BMW ads.

You can buy it now for $5000+ which is more money than all 5 of my pistols are worth. And I thought Colt's were out of my price range...I guess when I start driving a Beamer, I'll need one of these to go in the glove box. Like young, thin women, I don't meet many guns I don't want/like. :)
 

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slight off-topic Mr. Z, but if you are familiar with it, what do you think of the "ruggedness" of the Smith 945-1 semi-auto?
 

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slight off-topic Mr. Z, but if you are familiar with it, what do you think of the "ruggedness" of the Smith 945-1 semi-auto?
Sorry, I sold my only S&W semiauto, the 10mm 1006. It's a fine gun that somehow never managed to appeal to me.
 

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This is an early Gendarmerie Manurhin MR73 revolver, characterized by a ramp front sight and slightly rounded corners of the rear sight blade.






I recently won this revolver on eGun.de and expect to receive it in my next shipment around four months from now. The serial number is K19XX, where the K prefix indicates revolvers with adjustable sights, originally fitted with a 4" barrel. According to Manurhin, adjusting the rear sight by a click (⅛ of a full turn) on the MR73 is equivalent to the following correction of the point of aim at 25 meters, according to the model and barrel length:
Sport model in .357 Magnum / .38 Special
  • 4" barrel, correction 7.7 mm
  • 5¼" barrel, correction 6.3 mm
  • 6" barrel, correction 5.7 mm
  • 8" barrel, correction 4.4 mm
Match model in .22 l.r. / .32 S&W Long / .38 Special:
  • 6" and 5¾" barrel, correction 5.2 mm
If I weren't told the serial number range that places it in the mid-Seventies, this revolver's vintage could be inferred from the top sideplate screw, deleted on subsequent variants. Later on, the rear sight tang would be widened from 8mm to 10mm. Much later, the ejector ratchet would be changed from this "insular" configuration corresponding to a pointy-nosed hand, to the current "star" pattern corresponding to a blade-nosed hand, and the solid front sight retainer pin would be replaced by a rolled pin.

One variation that cannot be distinguished without removing the sideplate is the changeover from the "safety pin" music wire spring tensioning the hand in an early model of the MR73, to a flat spring that performs that function in the later models.

American-style handgun shooting reached Europe in the Sixties with Raymond Sasia, a judo instructor employed as a bodyguard by Charles de Gaulle, who was sent to study the shooting techniques of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He returned to France with an FBI certification and founded CNT, a shooting school in Paris that taught range officers, French nationals at first, then foreigners. The latter, upon returning home, taught new range officers. Thus the method "Sasia" promulgated FBI's revolver shooting techniques throughout the Western world.

One of the drills was the 7 meter fast response. It goes as follows: the gun is loaded with five .357 Magnum rounds and carried in a belt holster; in the pocket the shooter has 5 more loose .357 Magnum rounds. At the sound of a whistle, the range officers are given 25 seconds to fire the ten cartridges at the target located 7 meters away; the instructors have only 20 seconds. It turns out that in order to have the time to reload and fire the other five rounds in the allotted time, the first 5 rounds must be fired in less than 5 seconds to satisfy the requirements; no more than 3 to 4 seconds can be allowed for top placements.

At this rate of fire, in the original MR73 design that tensioned the hand with a "safety pin" spring, the hand did not have enough time to return to the ratchet and rotate the cylinder, and consequently it slipped over the ratchet, causing the firing pin to strike the primer of the last expended shell. Owing to the inertia of the hand thrown backward by Magnum recoil forces, the music wire spring was not strong enough to return it forward in time to engage the teeth of the ratchet of the ejector and ensure the rotation of the cylinder. Manurhin's engineers were slow to understand why this happened to some police shooters, because the factory testers never managed to replicate the malfunction. Shooters training with S&W M10, M13, or M19 under similar conditions never experienced this malfunction. My 3" MR73 Defense & Police revolver numbered B1254 has the music wire spring. I never managed to replicate the malfunction, either.



Subsequently, the MR 73 design was modified with the new, stronger flat spring that required a milled relief cut inside the sideplate, and was not suitable for retrofitting without this difficult and costly modification.
 

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A few words on close clearances. Tight chambers yield better accuracy. Given that revolvers are no longer used for combat, there is no reason to build them with clearances required for reliable operation in the dirt, which would degrade their accuracy. As Bill Jordan put it, “Speed is fine but accuracy is final.” I never had any problems in chambering, cycling, or ejecting good quality ammo in the Korth or Manurhin revolvers. There is only one legitimate reason to make handloads that cannot be chambered in them, and that is to use heavier bullets that cannot be seated deeply enough for the loaded round to fit inside their chambers. You would then be limited to the models endowed with longer cylinders. Otherwise, if you resize and trim the fired brass to the SAAMI spec, it’s all good.

I have used Meyer minus gages to measure the chambers of two representative French and German revolvers, along with their American counterparts. On a 4" MR73 Police and Defense number C37705, the .382" gage enters only at the mouth, whereas the .381" gage goes all the way in. On a 6" Korth Sport number 32126, the first gage to enter the throat is sized .382", whereas the first gage to go all the way in is sized .379". By contrast, on a 6" S&W Registered Magnum numbered 50138, registration 1829, the first gage to enter the throat is sized .383", whereas the first gage to go all the way in is sized .380". Lastly, in a Colt Python numbered 2894, the first gage to enter the throat is sized .382", whereas the first gage to go all the way in is sized .379", though the one sized .380" makes it almost all the way in. I think the previous owner was more fond of firing .38 Special than .357 Magnum.
 
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