Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Things I Love and Hate

Things I Love to Do: go shooting with the men from my church.

Things I hate: cleaning guns afterwards.

Things I really hate: trying to reassemble a Colt Mustang after cleaning.

Every time I reassemble this gun, I find it takes way too long.  Unlike an M1911 or the Mustang's big brother, the Colt Government Model .380, there is no bushing at the front of the slide.  The recoil springs (two) ride on a recoil spring guide made of a plastic that feels like acetal.  You are supposed to put the recoil guide and recoil springs in first, then the barrel above it in the slide through the hole in the front of the slide.  I finally succeeded after 90 minutes of misery.

The barrel barely fits into the slide: a sign of someone trying to make a gun with high accuracy.  You can put it in easily enough with the recoil guide and springs not installed.  The recoil spring guide will fit in once the barrel is installed, but with the recoil springs on the guide, you have to simultaneously depress the springs on the guide, and slip it in once the barrel is in place.  This is not easy if there is any oil on your fingers and the springs.  It is also not easy to slide the barrel in above the recoil guide unless it is fully depressed.  At the same time, while holding the front of the receiver and pressing the guide forward, you can't block the barrel orifice on the front of the slide, or the barrel won't go into its little home.  The guide isn't flexible of course, or it would make the gun unreliable.  I see a pressing need for a tool that compresses the back of the guide and holds the front of the receiver with plastic or wooden jaws so you can drop the barrel in, then release the recoil guide.  I may have to make one.

UPDATE: At the suggestion of a reader, I emailed Cylinder & Slide about their stainless steel guide and ambidextrous thumb safety.  Their email to me bounced as often happens, but they called me up on the phone to say that many customers install the ambi safety themselves without problem.  Then he explained the process, and the $71 for fitting it suddenly sounded pretty reasonable.  It is not even close to being as simple as an M1911.  I may call Boise Gun to see if they have the ambi safety and what they would charge.

Concerning the recalcitrant recoil spring, he suggested that I turn the springs until I can't see it through the guide hole and that generally solves it. Cylinder & Slide: above and beyond the call of duty.


  1. (1) Get a pistol that doesn't need to be cleaned every time it's fired. If you still feel morally bound to clean it every time that's on you.

    (2) Cleans the STUFFING out of pistols.

    I had 2 glocks that I had *never* cleaned. One had about 5k rounds on it (rough estimate), the other was north of 8k. I ran them through my ultrasonic cleaner twice. The first time the water got blacker than a socialist politicians soul. The second time the water was only slightly murky.

    Now I clean all my pistols like that once every four or five years whether they need it or not.


  3. IIRC, Cylinder&Slide makes a steel replacement guide rod for the Mustang, with a Wolf spring. It may have a cross hole for a pin to hold it compressed. It's been twenty years since I set up a Lightweight Mustang for a sister, so the memory is a bit fuzzy on some details.

    I do recall having to do a typical 1911 throat and polish to the barrel ramp to get it to feed hollowpoints. After that, it would eat anything.

    C&S also made an ambi thumb safety for the .380 Colts.

  4. Sell the mustang, get a a Ruger LCP II or a Glock 42

    Here is the Ruger: