Author Topic: Kirst Prototype  (Read 431 times)

Online Abilene

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Kirst Prototype
« on: June 04, 2019, 10:34:24 pm »
Well, I didn't "need" another gun.  But like I always say, "what's need got to do with it?"  Raven (Jay Strite) put an ad in the classifieds stating he was retiring from gunsmithing and selling stuff.  Besides making some incredible pieces on his own (some seen in GOTOW Magazine), Jay worked with Walt Kirst for years, and one item got my attention right away.  It is a '61 Uberti which was the prototype for the Kirst .38 gated conversion around 15 years ago. 

The entire gun has been defarbed, and the only markings are Jay's Raven stamp near the wedge, and a tiny Raven/Kirst stamp on the top rear of the barrel.  Verrry sleek and smooth looking!  And serial number 1.  How cool is that?  Even the cylinder is #1. You wouldn't even know it is Uberti if he hadn't told me.  Jay also bonemeal case hardened the frame and charcoal blued the gun.  He calls it that, and it does have a blue cast but different than Uberti's CB.  What it actually reminds me of is what Turnbull called Carbonna Blue, which was a little more silvery looking but had a very similar satiny sheen.  The screws, wedge, and ejector head are bright fire blue.

Jay said: "Made about 70 guns of various models Each model starts at #1. I think I made 6 of the 61's and the one you have is the First of all of them ....so you have a double #1"

The main spring was too heavy for my tastes, so I put in a highly hourglassed spring that was cut by the late Bob Taylor (I have a few of his springs).  I use Federal primers but tried an empty case with a CCI primer to make sure it would set it off.  A #10 split washer is too thick for the arbor hole, but I got a couple of very thin flat washers to drop in.  There is almost no barrel to cylinder gap at all so it will need some attention to shoot BP I suspect. The max OAL for ammo in this cylinder is 1.42".  My main match 125gr .38's are about 1.44 and the nose of the round drags on the rear of the barrel.  I had some Bear Creek 105 gr with hollow base and loaded some up with a light load of Clays at 1.42" and took them to try out after a match last month.  My very first shot was a miss   :(   firing at a small tombstone shotgun target at about 10 yards.  Oops!  But then every other shot, duelist style, was a hit for about 15 rounds.  A couple other folks shot a few rounds, all hits, and then a buddy loaned me a cylinder full of his wadcutters.  For all of us, the gun shot a little high and a little left.  The bore is unlined and I had a small concern about accuracy.  The hollowbased bullets grouped very well but so did the wadcutters (not Hollow Base).  I think at CAS distances it won't be a problem at all.

I was unable to shoot again until Sunday, when I took the gun to the Plum Creek Shooting Society match and paired it up with my Cimarron '61 Type II conversion.  Results?  Clean match!  I couldn't tell where the hits were because the targets had not been painted after the Saturday match the previous day, but they all went ding.  On the next to last stage I had a round that would not seat fully into the cylinder.  They all go through a Lee Factory Crimp Die and I'm not sure what the problem was with this one but I couldn't push it in that last millimeter, then had to put in a little effort to eject the tight round.  As the round came out I picked it up and noticed it had blood all over it.  Huh?  Oh, my trigger finger is sliced open on the tip and bleeding profusely.  I'm still not sure what I sliced it on.  There is a somewhat sharp edge on the loading gate, and a sharper one on the right corner of the hammer nose. Or possibly the ejector tube opening where it curves (that's my leading suspect). Dunno. I made sure no blood got on the gun (I've heard of blood removing blueing) and got it cleaned up and bandaged.  Bandage got in the way just a bit for the last two stages but no misses.  BTW, the ejector fit is perfect and operates very smoothly, even moreso than the Cimarron Type II.

The action isn't quite as smooth as the ready-made conversions but not bad.  The trigger pull is crisp.  It sits further forward in the triggerguard, but that didn't cause any issue going from one gun to the other. I shot the gun two handed, cocking quickly, with no lockup problems. I don't care for the feel of the shoulder stock screws in the frame, but I think Taylors has flush-fitting replacements, need to call them.

It was interesting to note the difference in holster fit between the two guns.  The Cimarron conversion is definitely a little tighter fit in the same holster than the Kirst is, yet the Kirst cylinder is actually a very slightly larger diameter than the ready-made Uberti conversion.  Side by side you can see the slight difference in the barrel profiles even though both are Uberti. I think these two '61's make a good pair!

So the gun currently has 55 rounds through it (from me.  Jay said he shot it a little but mostly wore it to show off the Kirst system at shows).  I'm not sure how much I will shoot it, but it will certainly do the job with style.  I have a good friend who owns Cimarron ASM Richards conversion serial number 1.  Some time I would like to do a photo shoot of the pair of #1's   :)

When people talk about converting percussion Colts, I always think that if you go all the way and put the ejector on it, you are going to end up spending as much as an Uberti conversion which has better steel in the barrel, fits longer rounds, etc.  If you already have the gun, that does make a difference, and some folks like DIY which is also cool.  But having a chance to pick one up with all the finesse of this one plus the "historical significance" at what I consider a bargain price could not be passed up.  Thank you, Jay!

Enough talk, how 'bout some pics?  The ones with the red and white background are from Jay.




















« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 10:47:55 pm by Abilene »

Online Abilene

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2019, 12:17:23 am »
I guess I should modify my description.  Looking back on my info from Jay, he never called this one a prototype, although another gun he had was.  He just said it was the first one he built.  I guess a better title would have been First Kirst. 

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2019, 08:46:49 am »

Thanks Abilene   ;D

Conversions are just so absolutely KOOL   8)   Your Knew two Ewe Strite gun is just the Beez Kneez.  I think I'm Jealous   ::)

Offline Crow Choker

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2019, 08:08:09 pm »
Nice gun and purchase Abilene. Be a 'goody' to have. I just saw the note from Raven on the Classified Section the other day. Sorry to hear about Jay's medical problem. Always enjoyed his posts and information when he posted on CAS. Wish I had seen the posting when Jay/Raven first posted back around the first of May and had seen all he had for sale. Sounds like he doesn't have much left now. CC
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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2019, 11:59:15 pm »
Sweet!  Those are nice enough for me to start shooting 38s!
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Online Abilene

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2019, 04:05:42 pm »
Update: The Raven '61 now has another match in the book with no misses.  I was shooting Cody Dixon Lever with rifle targets at 50-70 yards and I misses a couple (44-40 carbine). 

That .38 round that wouldn't chamber and made me get my finger sliced?  I decided a couple days ago to see if it would chamber in the Cimarron.  Dropped right in.  So I got the Kirst back out.  Dropped right in!  So I have no idea now why it was too tight before.  I did look it over before and didn't see any anomaly.

These rounds I'm shooting in it are very light!  The 105gr bullet has 2.7gr of Clays behind it.  With the long barrel .38 being pretty heavy, this is the first time I've shot a cowboy gun with zero recoil!  I plan to up the powder in the 105's, and already started seating my 125's deeper.  Those are not light, but medium powered (4.5gr Unique).

I am unsuccessful thus far in finding flush-mount shoulder stock screws for the frame.  Taylor's doesn't carry them any more (their parts guy says he's been there 3 years and never heard of them).  VTI responded that they have never carried them.  I have a query in to DGW.  Anybody have a source?  Yeah, I know, not too hard to cut or grind down a stock screw and cut a slot in it, but my machine shop skills and equipment are pretty minimal.


Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2019, 04:33:53 pm »
If you'll send me those screws, I'll "fix" um for ya. I turn them into "buttons" that screw in from the inside (so there's no slot showing).

Mike
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 04:52:24 pm by 45 Dragoon »
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Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2019, 06:37:11 pm »
Oh My Abilene, you do cut a fine figure ....

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Online Abilene

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2019, 07:00:18 pm »
Mike, that is a  jim dandy idea!

Perfesser, my motto has always been that it's more important to look good than shoot good.  It would be more correct if I said "than shoot fast."  But that doesn't roll off the tongue as well.

Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2019, 09:10:40 pm »
Thanks Abilene, P.M. sent.

Professor, I agree, he do look a dandy!! Lol!!

Mike
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2019, 09:19:33 am »

PLUS ONE to Abilene for the Shoulder Stock Screws.  And good on ya Mike.  I found a while back, when I firsted started down the never ending path of the DARK SIDE and Cap Guns, those annoying Shoulder Stock screws were ....... REALLY ANNOYING.

So I stick em in my machine vice and file them down to really really thin.  Then buff em smooth and cold blue em.  In this configuration (new big wurd) they (the screws) don't bother me at all.

Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2019, 01:37:03 pm »
Thanks Mike er .  .  .  Coffin.  I usually offer that to customers just cauz most of the time they don't think anything can be done about it or just never thought about something being done about them! It's a nice way to "remove" the problem and have a nice "accent" piece in place of .  .  . !  I even had one customer say " nah, I'll just take um out !" I said "so you'll have a hole in your frame?! ?   He said well .  .  .  .  ok,   ( um .  .  .  ya think?!!) Lol!! 

   Anyway, Abilene, I will harden them and fire blue them so they should match what you have. I'd put a little blue locktite on um as well.

Mike
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Kirst Prototype
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2019, 09:39:09 am »

Speaking of a little blue LocTite.  The attachment screws for the Shoulder Stock are "to me" a Royal PITA to get threaded back into the bore after you take one out by mistake.  So .... on my personal guns and those I have done for my customers, I "personally" put the little buggers back in with RED LocTite.

It may be noted .... I hate those little screws.  First for Scratching my hand when shooting and then for being such a pain when you take one out instead of the Hammer screw.  Not, you understand, that I ever did that  :o   Normally the screws on my customers guns went back in with Blue LocTite.  Did I mention I hate those little buggers??  I probably should.

The Other Mike   8)