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Old February 19, 2021, 12:22 PM   #1
FunGramps
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My new pistol, tampered with before received. Still a mystery.

I'll try to make this brief, but it won't be easy. In fact it's not possible. One of those things that has made me shake my head in awe and disbelief for years.

I ordered a new Coonan Classic .357 Automag from the factory when the line first came out in the mid-2000's, I was on the waiting list for awhile, as they did not mass-produce them and had a small business and staff.

My FFL was a major sports retailer in Montana. I went on a two month vacation to Arizona, and was assured by my FFL that if the gun arrived while I was gone, they would catalog it and have it in their safe vault until I returned.

The Coonan arrived at the FFL about one month before I returned home. I checked the gun out visually out of the box before receiving it, and it was a beautifully crafted piece, without a single visual flaw to be found. Coonan prides itself on their dedication to hand-crafted perfection, and they are made in the USA to boot... 100% of the gun.

My friend and I brought our weapons to our favorite indoor shooting range. This is where I would give the Coonan its first trial run.

I sent my silhouette target quite a distance down range from my booth. Every booth to either side of me was active. The place was noisy.

During my very first shot, I hit the soundproofing on the ceiling, causing debris to flutter to the floor of the range, short of the target. Having been NRA trained as a 12 year old, 24 years in the military, and with many years of practice and many types of firearm ownership under my belt, I was not only shocked but embarrassed as hell! As was my shooting buddy. Everyone stopped shooting to see why I shot the ceiling. Like...who's the idiot?

This was unimaginable to me. I thought "what could I have done wrong?"
After a time, and after the range got back to normal, I pushed myself to try again, with a death grip on the gun which I really shouldn't have required, but the last thing I wanted to do was a repeat. So, I did a repeat! I shot the freaking ceiling again! More debris!

That was it. I was done. Humiliated and embarrassed. I brought the target back. It had two nicely placed holes in it. Both in the black. Turns out that Coonan was firing two rounds fully auto, and so fast that neither I or my friend could hear it.

Gun goes back to the shop and back to Coonan. Coonan calls me and says that they will not warranty the gun because it had been tampered with internally. They asked me what I did to it. It had crude grinding done, and the sear was ruined. It took me quite a lot of PR skills and my background to finally convince them that I had not, and never would do or even attempt to do what had happened inside the gun. I wouldn't know where to start, and had never gunsmithed in my life, nor had any ambition to. And especially since that Coonan cost me $1200.00 at the time...the most expensive gun I've had to date.

The fine folks at Coonan repaired the gun under warranty, although I still don't they believed my story 100%. I later sold the gun.

There are only two scenarios I can think of here. Either someone at the factory or the FFL store tampered with the gun. The reason why? I haven't a clue. Of course both parties say that there neither of them could have or would have done such a thing.

Okay, so much for my short story. Still a mystery, and a very odd one. If I were a betting man, I'd say the sporting goods store had some disgruntled worker or nut case who removed the gun from the vault during that month, took it home and screwed with it, then replaced it back into their vault.

Cheers!

.
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Last edited by FunGramps; February 20, 2021 at 12:15 PM.
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Old February 19, 2021, 02:36 PM   #2
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Occam's Razor says it was the FFL. Can't imagine a factory saboteur...
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Old February 19, 2021, 02:51 PM   #3
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Still trying to figure out a way that messing with the internals makes you hit the ceiling.

If the barrel is anywhere near parallel to the ground/floor then the bullet shouldn't rise that much. I have a hard time imagining that the barrel was messed with enough to point that high and still be in the slide.
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Old February 19, 2021, 02:58 PM   #4
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I can't imagine having a gun like that shipped into a "major sports retailer" and then having it set for a month. In fact, I can't imagine having any gun shipped into a major sports retailer unless they sold it to me.
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Old February 19, 2021, 03:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ballardw
Still trying to figure out a way that messing with the internals makes you hit the ceiling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FunGramps
I brought the target back. It had two nicely placed holes in it. Both in the black. Turns out that Coonan was firing two rounds fully auto, and so fast that neither I or my friend could hear it.
The first round was hitting the target. The second round of the "burst" hit the ceiling when the muzzle lifted in recoil.
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Old February 19, 2021, 03:40 PM   #6
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"Still trying to figure out a way that messing with the internals makes you hit the ceiling."

OP explained that the gun was double tapping, firing two rounds almost simultaneously. The recoil from the first shot raised the barrel as the second shot was fired, causing the shot to go high. At least, that is how I understand his post. ?
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Old February 19, 2021, 05:45 PM   #7
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I totally understand what he’s saying about shooting high. I had a custom built 38Super built on a Les Behr frame that did something like that. In my case it fired almost, or all, of the magazine. With two shots you can easily not tell it fired twice it’s that fast. If your gun was built as an original Coonan (back when Dan Coonan owned the company) you might have gotten one that was built during the time he and his wife were separating and he was out of the picture. I bought two of his guns and I had to send them both back for repairs. The second one was held up from being returned while the divorce lawyers divided the assets. His wife, Gerry (Geraldine?) was running the company and lots of stuff wasn’t up to par. It took me about a year to get my gun back. I have no idea what was going on there at that time, but another friend of mine had his tied up as long as mine was. Coonan, like Dan Wesson, is a name anymore, not a founding company. FWIW, my second gun came back and was about perfect. It would shoot five shots of full power loads into 1.5” at 35 yards repeatedly. I’ve seen others that were not even close to that.
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Old February 19, 2021, 08:48 PM   #8
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Your gun was assembled on a friday afternoon by a worker that had a couple of doubles at lunch. I have a hard time believing anyone would intentionally sabotage your gun.
Humans are not infallible and the Coonan guys are no exception. They didn't want to admit the mistake and probably canned the guy who did it unless he was a relative of someone in management, another possibility.
I can't imagine selling a Coonan unless I was ready to die or loose a roof over my head, I shoot a friends original Coonan frequently, amazing pistol.
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Old February 20, 2021, 11:31 AM   #9
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Isn't Coonan Arms out of business? A search shows them closing shop in 2019. Their web site is no longer there.

"Coonan Arms Inc. is a gun manufacturer owned by Dan Coonan that manufactures custom 1911 handguns and FAL receivers and is based out of Blaine, Minnesota. By all indications as of December 10, 2019 Coonan Arms Inc. has gone out of business."

Edit: My bad, the subject pistol was bought years ago. Sorry.

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Old February 20, 2021, 11:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shurshot View Post
"Still trying to figure out a way that messing with the internals makes you hit the ceiling."

OP explained that the gun was double tapping, firing two rounds almost simultaneously. The recoil from the first shot raised the barrel as the second shot was fired, causing the shot to go high. At least, that is how I understand his post. ?
That's exactly what happened. I was most likely giving it a limp wrist, and indeed, the 2nd round hit high and short into the ceiling.
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Old February 20, 2021, 11:52 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Double K View Post
Your gun was assembled on a friday afternoon by a worker that had a couple of doubles at lunch. I have a hard time believing anyone would intentionally sabotage your gun.
Humans are not infallible and the Coonan guys are no exception. They didn't want to admit the mistake and probably canned the guy who did it unless he was a relative of someone in management, another possibility.
I can't imagine selling a Coonan unless I was ready to die or loose a roof over my head, I shoot a friends original Coonan frequently, amazing pistol.
My OCD was hard at work. I didn't want to keep the gun after the internals were "machined" twice...once to ruin it, and a second time to repair it. I wanted it unmolested.
Now I realize what a mistake that was. I'm sure the Coonan value has skyrocketed since then. And BTW, it was a gem of a weapon. The fit and finish was amazing, and for the few rounds I managed to place on the target...very accurate. Wish I still had it!
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Old February 20, 2021, 12:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mike38 View Post
Isn't Coonan Arms out of business? A search shows them closing shop in 2019. Their web site is no longer there.

"Coonan Arms Inc. is a gun manufacturer owned by Dan Coonan that manufactures custom 1911 handguns and FAL receivers and is based out of Blaine, Minnesota. By all indications as of December 10, 2019 Coonan Arms Inc. has gone out of business."

Edit: My bad, the subject pistol was bought years ago. Sorry.
I certainly believe that. It's difficult enough for the big boys to stay in business, even when outsourcing parts and weapons for that matter. Coonan made a weapon which many would consider a novelty gun, which didn't help them. And making a superior product with superior material and workmanship, as well as paying American craftsmen American wages in America must have been very costly. That, and their inability to churn out large numbers of weapons didn't help either.
To me , it was no novelty, but a sweet and heavy 1911 with one hell of a punch.
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Old February 20, 2021, 12:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by NoSecondBest View Post
I totally understand what he’s saying about shooting high. I had a custom built 38Super built on a Les Behr frame that did something like that. In my case it fired almost, or all, of the magazine. With two shots you can easily not tell it fired twice it’s that fast. If your gun was built as an original Coonan (back when Dan Coonan owned the company) you might have gotten one that was built during the time he and his wife were separating and he was out of the picture. I bought two of his guns and I had to send them both back for repairs. The second one was held up from being returned while the divorce lawyers divided the assets. His wife, Gerry (Geraldine?) was running the company and lots of stuff wasn’t up to par. It took me about a year to get my gun back. I have no idea what was going on there at that time, but another friend of mine had his tied up as long as mine was. Coonan, like Dan Wesson, is a name anymore, not a founding company. FWIW, my second gun came back and was about perfect. It would shoot five shots of full power loads into 1.5” at 35 yards repeatedly. I’ve seen others that were not even close to that.
When you say that your fired nearly the entire magazine that way, do you mean it fired them all fully auto?
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Old February 20, 2021, 12:09 PM   #14
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I can't imagine having a gun like that shipped into a "major sports retailer" and then having it set for a month. In fact, I can't imagine having any gun shipped into a major sports retailer unless they sold it to me.
Believe me, I didn't want it sitting in their vault. It took upwards of a year on a waiting list for my gun to be made, and their was no exact time frame for that to happen. Retailers didn't stock them, period. They had to be ordered from Coonan and sent to a FFL, and the FFL who received it was well liked by shooters, LEO's, etc, and known for their gun sales and handling.
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Old February 20, 2021, 12:15 PM   #15
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Occam's Razor says it was the FFL. Can't imagine a factory saboteur...
Oh, how I wish I knew! I tend to go with the FFL as well. I spoke on the phone with the quality control guy at Coonan, and he said they would NEVER have put out a weapon which had been, as he called it "butchered" the way this gun was. He said he'd never seen anything like it before.
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Old February 20, 2021, 03:42 PM   #16
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If this were to be investigated like a crime; what's the motive of the person who messed with it?
We have the double-martini by the manufacturer theory; what about someone at the retailer?
Remove a pristine gun from the premises, disassemble, file or grind on the internals, then return to the safe? That's the what, but what's the why?
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Old February 20, 2021, 05:31 PM   #17
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If this were to be investigated like a crime; what's the motive of the person who messed with it?
We have the double-martini by the manufacturer theory; what about someone at the retailer?
Remove a pristine gun from the premises, disassemble, file or grind on the internals, then return to the safe? That's the what, but what's the why?
Why? The mystery that will never be solved. I never had a cross word or run-in with anyone at the gun counter before that, and no enemies in the store, and was a good customer. I'd purchased a few of their new weapons prior to the incident.
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Old February 20, 2021, 11:56 PM   #18
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I bought a Charter Arms Boomer a few years ago. I was in a hurry and didn't do a detail check out at the GS. When I took it to the range, it started binding after the first shot. Turns out the exposed ejection rod was bent. And rather severely too, like someone did an old fashioned skull cracking with it. I felt stupid not having noticed.

I called Charter. They claimed it could not have been damaged at the factory, but with their excellent customer service, they paid shipping both ways and did the repair for free. I doubt they believed I had nothing to do with it.

My opinion is that someone in the supply chain thought it was a cool little gun and did something stupid with it. Of course, I'll never know.

It has been flawless since the repair, although it is carried frequently, and shot rarely.
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Old February 21, 2021, 06:29 AM   #19
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I would worry about the future and forget about the past . Nothing ads up with your theory ,I will leave it at that.
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Old February 21, 2021, 11:57 AM   #20
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I would worry about the future and forget about the past . Nothing ads up with your theory ,I will leave it at that.
Makes for a reasonably good "who done it" story though, and unique for sure.
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Old February 21, 2021, 12:05 PM   #21
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Certainly a fascinating story. One would certainly understand why it is still mystifying.
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Old February 21, 2021, 02:42 PM   #22
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A bit of history here. After the two original owners of this company (Dan & wife) split up she ended up running/owning the company. It went belly up and was bought out by a couple of other friends/partners who again started making the “same” guns. ANYTHING may have happened when the last few guns were assembled and shipped out of the original factory. Depending on the time frame here, the OP may have gotten a “leftover parts/last run” gun with some junk innards. I’d be more inclined to think this is what happened. FWIW, the new/next owners didn’t succeed in this business. I’m always amazed at company names being sold and everyone thinking they’re getting the same guns made by the same people with just the owners being the only change. Charles Daley, Dan Wesson, Charter Arms, etc, etc, etc....
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Old February 21, 2021, 05:43 PM   #23
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My guess? Coonan screwed up and gave you a story to cover their ineptness. Unless the OP was there at the factory when the gun was tore down, he is at the mercy of the guy on the other end of the phone line.
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Old February 21, 2021, 06:28 PM   #24
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Quote:
FunGramps
Turns out that Coonan was firing two rounds fully auto, and so fast that neither I or my friend could hear it.
I've never heard of cyclic rate so fast that you couldn't tell when more than one round fires.

Quote:
It had crude grinding done, and the sear was ruined.
I'll bet.
I'd be interested to know how such alterations to a semi auto pistol was done that allowed only two rounds at a time to fire. Usually when someone monkey with the sear the firearm empties the entire magazine.



Quote:
Either someone at the factory or the FFL store tampered with the gun.
I would put my money on it being Coonan. Dan Coonan was happily taking buyers $$$$ right up until they shut their doors. Those buyers never got their guns, never got a refund.
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Old February 21, 2021, 06:32 PM   #25
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Dain Bramage

I called Charter. They claimed it could not have been damaged at the factory, but with their excellent customer service, they paid shipping both ways and did the repair for free. I doubt they believed I had nothing to do with it.

My opinion is that someone in the supply chain thought it was a cool little gun and did something stupid with it. Of course, I'll never know.
My favorite Charter return was the one where they had not completely bored each chamber in the cylinder all the way through. .38 Special rounds would not go all the way in. Yet it came with a fired case. Charter returned a completely new revolver.
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