The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 24, 2013, 04:37 PM   #1
shafter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 23, 2009
Posts: 1,119
Derringer question

What can you guys tell me about FIE derringers? I saw one locally today in 38 Spl and thought it was an interesting novelty. Has anyone shot one before?
shafter is offline  
Old April 24, 2013, 05:59 PM   #2
BigJimP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,218
I've fired a few different derringers....at least one FIE and some American Derringers, etc.....and the whole lot of them were pretty terrible little guns.

The one's I've fired were in .38 spl, . 45 Colt, .410 shotshell....and they all had trigger pulls that were so far above 10 lbs it was ridiculous.

They're meant as "belly guns" for close in work....and yes, I think Novely about describes what they are......every used gun shop, pawn shop I've ever been in has at least a dozen of them for sale...( and they don't sell many )...

at least dry fire it before you buy, see if you can live with the trigger that is in it..../ recoil is manageable for most any adult male...it isn't like you're going to put 50 rounds thru them....you'll just carry them in a pocket or whatever you want it for ...or as a novelty.

I have only one in my collection ...a 6" American Derringer...and its a "Novelty"...at best ! Its a model 6 ....if you want to look at their website...their website is a lot more cool than their guns....( I inherited this one / I didn't buy it ) !!!

http://www.amderringer.com/
BigJimP is offline  
Old April 24, 2013, 11:35 PM   #3
michael t
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 17, 2004
Location: Out back Ky
Posts: 3,451
I had a FIE long ago. Barn was safe even if I was inside shooting at it . Terrible gun Ir it works offer 20 bucks. They cost about 50 when new as I remember.

Modern Derringers are KelTec and other small autos Much better and more than 2 shots.
__________________
Colt Defender ,Colt Mustang ,Dan Wesson CBOB, PPK/S, American Classic,
Bersa Thunder 380
http://bersachat.comHome of Bersa
American Classic new home www.americanclassic1911forum.com
michael t is offline  
Old April 25, 2013, 12:41 AM   #4
Cheapshooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 2, 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 4,194
I've been thinking about one just purely for the novelty. That usually cost me money! Just haven't decided between a 22 rimfire, or a 38 spcl. Kinda leaning toward the 38. If it goes bang, and something comes out the end, I'll be happy. If it actually hits the target, I'll be elated!
__________________
Cheapshooter's rules of gun ownership #1: NEVER SELL OR TRADE ANYTHING!
Cheapshooter is offline  
Old April 25, 2013, 08:58 AM   #5
kcub
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2010
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,990
If you want a 22 or 22 mag get one of the old dao hi standards. Much safer.
kcub is offline  
Old April 25, 2013, 09:34 AM   #6
Cheapshooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 2, 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 4,194
Quote:
If you want a 22 or 22 mag get one of the old dao hi standards. Much safer
Safer in what way?
__________________
Cheapshooter's rules of gun ownership #1: NEVER SELL OR TRADE ANYTHING!
Cheapshooter is offline  
Old April 25, 2013, 10:47 AM   #7
BigJimP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,218
I don't really know anything about the FIE derringers - or any of their other guns.....but they do get smacked around on the internet....like this comment:

"Firearms International Export (FIE) was not a manufacturer but an importer of inexpensive and frankly very poor firearms. Many of it's products came from small shops in Spain and Italy, but with FIE it could come from anywhere, including Pakistan and the Phillipines. IMHO one should steer clear of any firearm with the FIE Marque"....from an unknown source.....but they may be right.

American Derringer is a quality gun ...if you really want one / they sell in the $ 300 - $ 400 price range used. New - most of them are $600 or so...
( and in those price ranges you have a lot of other options for small guns ...that will do way more things)...

http://www.amderringer.com/

About once a year I take it to the range for some laughs....with some "00" Buck in it ( .410 shotshells ) that I reload....and let some of the range safety officers and some of my buddies shoot it ...( 4 shots apiece is about enough thru the 6" stainless American Derringer I have - even as heavy as it is, with probably a 15 lb trigger pull - pull trigger with middle finger for more control )....you can hit a target at 6 Feet ...its not a problem hitting the target.

Last edited by BigJimP; April 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM.
BigJimP is offline  
Old April 25, 2013, 11:33 AM   #8
shafter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 23, 2009
Posts: 1,119
Cheapshooter, I ended up shooting on today and it wasn't as inaccurate as some make it out to be. I put up a target the size of a pie plate about 15 feet away and aimed dead center. My shots went high with one just nicking the top of my target. All of the shots would have been on a persons torso had I been shooting at center mass. 15 feet was probably maximum range.

When I fired my super smooth Smith and Wesson 64 and my Security Six afterwards it seemed impossible to miss!
shafter is offline  
Old April 25, 2013, 01:54 PM   #9
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,531
I've fired a derringer once -- a copy of the old Remington double barrel (don't know what make) in .38 sp. It was during a CAS match. I found it hard to handle, hard to shoot accurately (even at spitting distance) and with a truly lousy trigger.

As a novelty to play with at the range -- maybe. As a serous working gun -- why? Some of the small .380 and even 9x19 auto-loaders are almost as small but much more useful.
__________________
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old April 25, 2013, 02:38 PM   #10
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,131
Many modern CF double derringers are unreliable, with misfires common on one or both barrels. The problem is in the selector mechanism, which has to move the striker much further than in the old .41 RF guns, where it moved only about 1/8 inch, from the bottom of the top round to the top of the bottom round.

As to recoil, my limited experience has been that recoil in all except .22 RF and light .38 Special was awful. .45 Colt and .357 are way too much and .410 is over the top. I fired only one round from a .410 derringer and returned the gun to its owner; that was quite enough. The comments about trigger pulls are valid also; most are too heavy, plus the hammers are hard to cock.

FWIW, the original Remington double derringers have a spring that looks like it came off a Ford 250; they are very hard to cock. So the next time you see a Western hero draw his Remington and snap off two quick shots, putting the bullets in the same hole at 200 yards, just remember that it doesn't happen that way without help from a gunsmith (and the script writer).

As for carrying a derringer for SD, it would have to be the only gun available; I would prefer a .25 auto.

(I agree that the old High Standard derringer was good and in .22 Magnum would be a reasonable defense gun, but with the new .380 and 9mm autos, its time has passed.)

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old April 25, 2013, 07:08 PM   #11
kcub
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2010
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,990
I had an American Derringer 45/410.
Before I knew better I fired both barrels, then reloaded swinging those loaded barrels around on top of a protruding firing pin.

I was lucky. All it did was lightly dent the primer. Learn from my mistake.
kcub is offline  
Old April 26, 2013, 04:00 PM   #12
bikerbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 19, 2007
Location: Lago Vista TX
Posts: 2,346
Have to agree with those who advise against it, unless it is just a toy. I had a Bond Cowboy Defender in 9mm which I thought might work for SD .. but it weighed a ton, only carried two rounds and had to be cocked against a very heavy spring for each shot, reloading took forever and because of the grip shape, very hard to hold and aim ... finally traded it to my LGS, where it languished in their used case for more than a year ...

I believe Monty Python put it best ... "Run away!!!"
__________________
"If all guns were built with mechanisms that kept them from firing when held sideways, we could end gang violence." humorist Frank Fleming
bikerbill is offline  
Old April 26, 2013, 04:06 PM   #13
TailGator
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 8, 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,966
I was kind of intrigued by the novelty factor of a derringer for a while. Then one afternoon at the range a fellow loaned me one - kind of insisted, actually. It was an American Derringer that he had loaded with .410. Heavy pistol, heavy hammer, heavy trigger, heavy recoil - handed it back without using the second barrel. Completely over the idea after one shot.
TailGator is offline  
Old April 26, 2013, 04:40 PM   #14
shouldazagged
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 17, 2013
Location: Louisville, KY, USA
Posts: 273
Quite apart from the recoil, I can't imagine why anyone would want a six-inch, heavy gun holding only two rounds and with a lousy trigger, when a two-inch J-frame is only a little over six inches long, holds at least five rounds (a few hold six), and shoots a hell of a lot better. And can weigh fourteen ounces or even less, though I like the steel ones.

No offense to those who like them, but I really can't afford toys or novelties. On my income, a gun has to be one that can work for a living and save my elderly bacon.
__________________
"Don't let macho be your epitaph."
---Ed Lovette
shouldazagged is offline  
Old April 27, 2013, 12:26 AM   #15
ZVP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 20, 2009
Posts: 804
I have two, A Davis .22 Rimfire that accompnies me on many field trips just for snakes and feral dogs, and a Cobra .38 Special. I have had a friendload some special low velocity handloads to play with. These are about the equivilant of a ..38 Specoal CB CAP! Standard .38 Specials are a handful due to the small grips, you don't get much purchase on the gripframe!
The real secret on shooting a modern Derringer is to pull down on the trigger as the instruction book says to! The second thing about the triggers is that they need to be broken-in by shooting the gun. burrs and rough contact surfaces smooth out with use and the trigger will become pretty nice and manageable!
O shoot mu Davis @ 21 et and it shoots very high if you use the sights (the front is WAY too short) The best thing you can do is learn to instinct-shoot the little gun. it is afterall a last ditch gun meant to save your lif at very close ranges.
The .38 Special round is far more powerful than the original .41 rimfire was. In fact the .38 Special is comparable to a 2" revolver and is quite deadly at close range! I would consider it for a close-in belleygun as it could deliver a fight stopping blow.
The small framed .22 long rifle is likewise a fight stopper but you will have to learn to face or head shoot your attacked! At best it should be viewed as a knife with a long blade! Body hits are almost ineffective.
If I were to suggest purchas of a Cobra derringer, I would say ti get the large frame in either .22 Mag, .38 Special or 9mm. The large frame just gives more to hang on to, Powerwise, the .22 mag is at the bottom of the stack but due to the availability of good bullets in the factory loads, you can expect better results from body hits. Both the 9mm and 38 Special offer a bewildering array of bullets for all purposes so finding a favorite is possible.

Just remember this is 1860's technology even when loaded with mofern ammo.

HTH,
ZVP
ZVP is offline  
Old April 27, 2013, 02:21 AM   #16
Powermwt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 20, 2000
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 267
I have several Derringers. Back long ago now; in the early 1990s I carried a Davis .38. I did not have a lot of money for a carry gun back then and the Davis was cheap... $60 if I remember correctly, and small with enough power.

I have put thousands of rounds thru my derringers and while they are rather unique... they are really not that much different than other single action revolvers. The main thing for me was to remember which way the safety pushed. It took time to get use to the way it shot and handle the recoil. I spent many enjoyable hours shooting my .38, usually a box of 50 rounds a session. Hehe takes some getting used to loading only 2 rounds at a time.

The main drawback was you had to draw, cock and push the safety off... a lot slower than drawing and squeezing the trigger on a Glock.
Powermwt is offline  
Old April 27, 2013, 11:52 AM   #17
crw34
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 7, 2013
Posts: 3
I have an American Derringer M-1 in .40 S&W, I was a LE and carried it for years in an ankle holster as a last chance gun. The first time I fired it was loaded with 165 gr Golden Sabres and I thought I broke my hand, couldnt believe it could recoil that much. I broke open the action and saw both primers had been fired. Sure enough, somehow the selector had stuck in the middle and struck both primers. I lubed the selector and made sure it ran smooth and touched off just 1 round, followed by the other. That I can handle and yes the trigger is heavy, but if you need it that bad, you wont feel the weight. Can keep both rounds in the kill zone at 7 yards, beats throwing rocks anyday.
crw34 is offline  
Old April 27, 2013, 11:57 AM   #18
Cheapshooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 2, 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 4,194
Quote:
Quite apart from the recoil, I can't imagine why anyone would want a six-inch, heavy gun holding only two rounds and with a lousy trigger,
Where I'm sure the size, weight, and trigger aren't an issue, the two shot limitation along with the $500-$800 price tag may be what has kept the Double Tap modern Derringer on the ground for a couple years. The last they said they will be shipping in the first quarter of 2013. Now in the second quarter, and I haven't seen any yet. Not that I am intending on buying one.

http://www.heizerfirearms.com/index.shtml
__________________
Cheapshooter's rules of gun ownership #1: NEVER SELL OR TRADE ANYTHING!
Cheapshooter is offline  
Old April 27, 2013, 02:34 PM   #19
seeker_two
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 31, 2002
Location: Deep in the Heart of the Lone Star State (TX)
Posts: 1,691
Quote:
Quite apart from the recoil, I can't imagine why anyone would want a six-inch, heavy gun holding only two rounds and with a lousy trigger
Having a pocket pistol that can fire 3-4 000 Buck projectiles at once per trigger press does have a certain charm.....
__________________
Proud member of Gun Culture 2.0......
seeker_two is offline  
Old April 27, 2013, 03:04 PM   #20
shouldazagged
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 17, 2013
Location: Louisville, KY, USA
Posts: 273
Quote:
Having a pocket pistol that can fire 3-4 000 Buck projectiles at once per trigger press does have a certain charm.....
For me, so does having five rounds of .38 Special +P 158gr. LSWCHP, but to each his own.
__________________
"Don't let macho be your epitaph."
---Ed Lovette
shouldazagged is offline  
Old April 27, 2013, 06:45 PM   #21
richardcorey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 4, 2009
Location: SW Ok
Posts: 113
SHAFTER: I know the derringer that you are talking about, I had one years ago, bought it cheap for novelty more than anything. I had the best luck using the old 38 Spl wadcutters, fairly light recoil for only a one-finger-grip, not very accurate past six feet, but at that range I could put both shots in a paper plate. It was never a real defense issue for me, just a What The Hey pistol, bought it used and cheap, and sold it the same way. I have tried the Davis, and didn't like the safety button at all. But we do like our toys, don't we? Nuff Said.
__________________
sometimes your shadow leads,
sometimes your shadow follows,
BUT when your shadow says "Cuidado!!"
LISTEN!!!
richardcorey is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12245 seconds with 9 queries