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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My good friend and ffl dealer called me last night to say that my Baer Thunder Ranch Special had arrived. Unfortunately we were in a flash-flood warning with lightning and thunder everywhere, so it would have been nuts to go get it. So I went anyway. I got it home last night and checked it out. It comes with 3 baer magazines, they kind of look like wilsons mags, and I don't know yet but I think I will end up preferring the wilson 7 rounders to them. Went to the range with him today. It was a real treat actually, this is my first really nice 1911 and my friend (Duke Hansen, he's on this board too) had recently gotten a wilson CQB in black and green. We figured we'd get to the bottom of this whole wilson/baer debate once and for all. Shooting was done mainly at seven yards as the primary goal was to just break the pistols in. My mags were totally new and I didn't think to load them up last night and let them sit so the springs could wear in a bit, that may have had an effect. The baer was so tight I had trouble retracting the slide, it took a very firm tug to open it. I was dry firing and doing some slow presentations from a rosen ARG IWB and I noticed that the checkering, (30 LPI) was already making my fingers a bit sore. I don’t work with my hands much so that is on me for having sissy hands. They will toughen up with shooting I am sure. I did bring a roll of white medical tape for the session as I planned to put 600 rounds downrange and didn't want to have to cut it short due to bleeding fingers. Much to my surprise it was not needed. In the actual shooting the checkering did a perfect job of keeping the gun immobile during recoil. Ditto for the wilson's checkering. Both worked great.

I shot the following ammo through it, in this order:

450 rounds of S and B 230 grain ball. Round 112 the slide failed to close all the way. Round 393 the slide failed to close all the way.

I then fired 50 rounds of blazer 230 grain ball. Round 462 the slide locked back with ammo still in the mag, but I am thinking I may have nudged it with my off hand.

20 rounds of hydra shok 185 grain, zero malfunctions

20 rounds of golden saber 185 grain, zero malfunctions

10 rounds of golden saber 230 grain, Round 547 the slide locked back prematurely again.

I'm not going to worry about any of this until I have another 500 rounds through the gun, which hopefully will be tomorrow. I will consider the gun broken in when it shoots 200 rounds without a hitch.

I shot both guns extensively and found them to both be remarkable pistols. I would be proud to own either one. Both Duke and I are seriously considering having our guns hard chromed at a later date. We both want to see how the factory finishes hold up first.

I didn't shoot for groups so I don't have that kind of information. I can say that shooting fast at 7, 10 and 15 yards most of the rounds were touching. The only rounds that weren't where they were supposed to be where due to poor pistol handling and had nothing to do with the guns themselves. I can also say that I have owned and shot quite a few glocks, sigs, standard 1911's (kimber, colt, springfield armory, detonics), HK's, hi-powers, etc AND, I shoot this gun much better than I shoot those guns. Both these guns were very easy to shoot well and this made me able to shoot faster than I normally can and still have the rounds nice and tight.

Observations on the wilson CQB:
You get a very nice video which covers lube points and proper care, also I think you get a nice pistol rug. I think it comes with one wilson mag.

The trigger on the wilson CQB seemed a little bit nicer to me, but it didn't effect my shooting one way or the other. The black finish on Duke's trigger was showing wear already, just on the left side of it.


Observations on the baer TRS:

Comes in a cardboard box, you get 3 mags which look to be pretty nice. They are stainless steel with black rubber bumper pads. They are advertised as 7 rounders but I inadvertently put 8 rounds in twice and they went in and functioned that fine. I am not advocating this practice by the way.

The slim line grips really felt good in my hands. I wouldn't say I have small hands, but I don't have bear paws either, so I preferred the slim grips, the gun felt like I had a really good hold on it.


I couldn't notice a significant difference in the sight picture of either gun, both had novak style sights with tritium inserts, both were all green dots. Both worked great for me and were right on target with no adjustments necessary.

Again, I would be very proud to own either one. If I had to choose I think I would go with the baer, but what is important to me is that both guns seemed like I could bet my life on them to work when needed.

The TRS is still a bit tight, but I can cycle the slide much more easily now. I swabbed the barrel and lubed lightly on the barrel hood and rails, but I am not going to strip it for cleaning until I have another 500 rounds downrange. As I understand it the baer comes with some wearing compound on the rails that helps to break it in and it is a mistake to remove this stuff until the gun is broken in.

That is all gentlemen (and ladies). My experience here is a modest one, but I thought I would share it in the hopes that it may benefit someone.

Good shooting. Jake Salyards
 

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Jake, thanks for taking the time to post your information. gosh, the life-threatening weather was kinda overated when I went to get my gun after being fixed for a big match also, just kept it between the white lines, Lightning actually helped me see the road! LOL It is good to see info like yours without any Chevy/Ford /mine is bigger bias. I have been fortunate to have smiths locally that do the caliber of work that is standard on this forum, and I appreciate hearing about other's experiences. Thanks again, DougC
 

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# ** # !!! WOW.....I had the opportunity to shoot my new CQB and Jake's Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special. Folks, I thoroughly enjoyed them both. I'm by no means a wealthy fellow, however, I may sell a glock or two of mine to finance a Thunder Ranch Special. The thin grips made it comfortable to hold. The 30 LPI on the frontstrap were actually pretty comfortable. Sure beats the 20LPI on a Springfield. I shot 200+ rounds without any malfunctions. It was beginning to loosen up a little after 500+ rounds. I was quite comfortable with the pistol. My CQB easily shot the Selliot & Bellot 230 gr ball ammo without any hiccups. I would notice the thicker standard grips when I'd switch from Jake's gun to my CQB. The action was smooth on both guns. The front strap on the CQB is smooth with no checkering. My Wilson has 500 rounds through it now and is a delight to shoot. The green/black "Tuff Coat" is wearing ok after 1 day at the range. More on that later. Honestly, I can't sell one gun over the other. I'm impressed with the triggers and actions on both guns as well as the groups I got at the 21' target mark. Both Jake & I are happy shooters.......Help out the economy and buy one!! Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Went to the NRA range in Virginia again today and put another 600 rounds through my TRS. I was expecting some malfunctions since I did not clean the gun at all last night, wanting to leave the mystery wearing compound (or whatever it is) on the rails. 600 rounds today for a total of 1175 in 24 hours and NO malfunctions today. That puppy was dirty, but the brass kept flying and the rounds were going right exactly where I was aiming. Mind you, not always where I wanted them to go, but right where I was aiming. I caught myself developing a little nose dive flinch, which was wreaking some otherwise beautiful groups. 5 rounds all making one hole and then another one 5 inches out, but I knew it was me. When I slowed down a bit the thing was like a surgeons laser. Another fellow wearing a Baer SRP (? I think that's the name, the baer FBI one) came up and started staring a little. I invited him up to try it out and he put them all in one hole with head shots. I was thinking I was John Wayne, but then I figured out that actually it was this guy. Anyway, it gives me something to strive for. Rounds fired today were 500 rounds of 230 grain S&B, 50 rds of winchester white box 230 grain ball and 50 rounds of yellow box UMC 230 grain ball. I think the gun is now broken in. I can press check it easily and I don't have to really bear down on it to retract the slide. Still absolutely zero play in the slide. No wear anywhere on the pistol yet, including those little marks you get on the slide right in front of the frame where it wears off finish from cycling. I would have to say this is the nicest and best made piece of any kind of gear I have ever held in my hands. Granted, my experience is limited. I am quite sure that a Heinie or Burns gun would be even better, but this one is mine and this is the one I need to learn to master. This next question is not a smart ass one, I really want to know. Is there a gun that is better than this? Not that I'll be switching out guns any time soon, but I want to keep learning. Also, I think the trigger on this gun spoiled me for life. I was firing another gentleman's robar high power and the trigger felt like absolute garbage to me. Not a slam of their work I promise you, just that maybe the inherent difference between the two types of guns is evident here. Lastly, just to bring me down to earth a bit, Duke Hansen brought two fellows along from his work to introduce them to shooting. One had the hi-power from robar, the other had a plain jane auto ordinance that had been roguarded and NP-3ed. The guy with the auto ord had not fired a gun in 5 years, he fired 250 rounds and by the end of it he was shooting at least as well, and maybe better than I was with his plain jane 1911 with the factory barrel. So really, I need to remember that it is the person doing the shooting, and not so much the gun that will get the job done. Still, there is a small swagger in my step.
Good shooting, Jake Salyards
 
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Jake,Thanks for the posting.I am saveing up now for a nice 1911 and I want a Baer or a Wilson.Please keep me posted on your Baer and Dukes Wilson and let me know how both the guns are after you shoot them for a couple of weeks.(If you don`t mind)Thanks again for the post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
38 Sup: You got it brother. I am wearing that TRS in the Rosen ARG you sold me right now. That is one nice holster, I can't figure out why you sold it, but I figure you must have had something even better. Keith is ordering up another 1000 rounds of S&B ball for me. I don't think I'll be launching 1200 rounds downrange in two days again, but that was fun while it lasted. Now that I have it broken in I am going to slow down and work on the draw, mag changes, weak hand, etc. Let us now what you get too. Jake
 
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Jake I will let you know what I get when I purchase one or the other.I still want to check into both a bit more before I spend all that bread.I sold the Rosen because I use Summer Special and Alessi Talon now.They both are more comfortable and easyer to take off and put on.I still carry my Commander in my Rosen ARG and find that more comforting than the fullsize ARG DL.Hopefully I will have enough money to get my new 1911 in 3 more months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
38 Super: If you go the wilson route you may want to think about hard chrome or the grey finish. I have no first hand experience, but my reading tells me the green finish is more durable than the black finish and the new wilson grey finish is much more durable than even the green. I personally like the look of a blued 1911, especially with some good honest wear on it. To me it has the same look as a well worn baseball mitt. An imacualtely clean but very well worn 1911 says something about the user in my opinion. Good luck. Jake
 
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*Note also posted under CQB finish thread, but I thought it appropriate to post here as well.

Ok,
I will admit that after the slew of email you guys sent me on Wilson including the ones from Wilson’s I went to the range yesterday to reevaluate the CQB and give it an "honest chance".

The results are in and I will admit that I am planning to keep my CQB (compact) and will expect to own a very good gun after it returns from being hard chromed in lieu of "Armor Scuff".
I had written the little gun off after being so disillusioned (pissed) over the finish.
It is a really good little gun and I will probably order a new full size in hard chrome (Terry?).

This does not mean that I will be retiring the TRS or my Baer pistols but given an honest chance again (I'm allowed to make mistakes and correct myself at times) the CQB is a very good gun, I would rate it above the Springfield TRP Pro and just a hair below the TRS and a few points below the Baer SuperTac but eons above the other "factory/custom" guns from Kimber and Springfield.

I need to remind myself to be realistic as I carry Heinie and Brown true custom guns so frequently that I can become a “pistol snob” and forget to evaluate the “other” guy’s guns realistically.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
David, I am glad that the gun is back on your good side. I don't know that it really needs it, but I would like to have my TRS hard chromed at some point. I am going to wait until the blue is looking battered enough that it is necessary to keep the gun protected from the elements. I did find a pin head spot of rust on my TRS from carrying it in the summer in a Rosen ARG with no t-shirt barrier. It was located on the left side of the frame right below the magazine release button. I like a mildly worn blue job, but I abhor rust. I berated myself for not taking better care of the gun and decided I better check it every night as I lock it up. In any case, which company's chrome are you going to go with? Price? Most importantly - turn around time? The dilemna here is that I do not want to sacrifice quality by trying to find a place that will do it cheaply and quickly; however, I have one center-fire pistol and the TRS is it. I sold off pretty much all I owned to buy this one so while it is gone I am going without. Anyway, if you find a good chrome I would like to hear about it. Thanks.

Also, I have not been able to get back to the range in the last 10 days. I have 1K rds of S and B ball ordered and plan to do more shooting as soon as I can. Active duty military service, 3 kids and a pregnant wife do make it somewhat complicated, so I have been working on my draw. On that note I have noticed that the 30 LPI checkering is wearing down a bit. It had initially done a pretty good job of shredding my sissy hands, but I think the points have worn down just a bit so it seems perfect now, either that or my hands have begun to toughen up a bit. Either way, this gun continues to grow on me.

Good shooting to you Sir.
 

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I would suggest that you stick with Les Baer for the hard-chrome treatment. Read Dane Burns' and others' horror stories of improper prep and resultant problems with the finish - and the inevitable finger-pointing back and forth as to who was responsible for the problems. You currently have a warranty with Baer, so why change? Regards, Andy.
 
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I would have to agree with Andy as the HC on my TRS I purchased from Allan Yost is very good.
I now have two pistols out being HC each at a seperate plater to compare the finishes when they return and I will post the pictures w/ a brief review.
 

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I agree on the HC, and with David. If you want a hard chrome TRS, order one through Allan Yoast--he's got a few coming in, I believe. It's a great finish. Welcome to the TRS "club". That's the one gun I'd put in my Rosen if I had one choice before I took the family up in the hills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Andy, First off, I would invite you to go shooting and stay with me if I was going to be in town. I am leaving on a deployment to Tashkent, Uzbekistan for 7 weeks on 02 August, so that is unfortunately out. As for the sights I would say try to hit the Smithsonian musuems if you can. The holocaust museum is supposed to be very good. Also I know that the Air and Space museum is quite good. There are any number of battlefields to see if you care for that type of thing. As you mentioned, the NRA museum is supposed to be quite good, I haven't been to it myself. I always seem to be coming or going and most of my time I spend trying to make up to my kids for my career choice. Watch out when you're here if you head down to the DC area. I don't like going down there without a gun and carrying one is illegal there, so I try to avoid it when I can. Pepper spray could be your best friend here. As far as Virginia proper goes there are good folks here, the only problem being that it is growing very, very fast; and when you get a bunch of folks in an enclosed area there are going to be problems. The law enforcement here all seem very good fellows to me. Never had any trouble with them and they are quick to help when they can. If you get to Leesburg you may want to go to Loudoun Guns and have a look around. They stock Baers and some other high end stuff that you normally don't see. Prices are not good but the scenery is. I hope your trip goes well. Jake
 

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Thanks for the offer and the info, Jake. The "G" is paying for my trip, and I will be packing either their Glock or my Wilson Protector everywhere. Last I heard, my authority still included D.C., but things change...
 

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Jake, I was in Tashkent, in '98. Interesting place from what little I saw of it. Uzbekistan is really beautifull when you get outside the urban areas. It's also very sad to see the way they still live, and to see the "babushkas" working the fields by hand.

Makes you glad and proud to be an American.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you not to drink the water. :wink:
Good luck and take care.

Pete
 

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At least those babushkas usually have a mom AND dad to go home with. Try hiking about the Appalachias, Blue Ridge Mtns., or rural New Mexico (and any of the "res.", for that matter). The Third World is right in our back yard. More kids are going to bed hungry in America than you would believe. A lot (if not most) of their parent(s) look pretty well-fed, though - have booze, cigarettes, and recreational drugs, too. I look at my kids and think about the hell-holes I've seen where kids their age (2 & 4) are struggling just to survive. America can look pretty sad in places, too. As good as it is here, we still have a lot of work to do at home. Just a thought to keep it all in perspective.
 
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