The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Gun Pr0n and Range Report

Posted by Bill Nance on April 7, 2009

It’s been a while since I acquired this sweet thang, but it had some teething problems when I first got it that I wanted to sort out before I posted.

Smith & Wesson 4506

Smith & Wesson 4506

I picked up this gun at a local gun shop in February.  It’s a Smith & Wesson 4506, which is one of the whole series of S&W third generation semi-autos which are chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, 10mm and in the case of this gun, .45 ACP.

I’m a huge fan of the third generation guns which are all DA/SA semi’s. They are rugged, simply designed  and utterly reliable. This model in particular is built like a tank. It weighs a lot empty and when you put a loaded  8-round magazine in it it’s heavier still.  Some folks don’t like this, but I like to feel a pistol with some pounds on it. It just feels right to me.

Now to the problems.

When I bought the gun I had field stripped it in the shop and everything looked mechanically sound. The barrel was pristine, the recoil spring was very strong and the trigger felt ok, (I knew I was going to have to get a trigger job going on it before I ever picked it up since this had been a police department gun in the past and they are notorious for having very heavy triggers).

I took it to the range that night and…was very disappointed.  The trigger wasn’t heavy, it was like pulling an anvil.  and I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with it.  I was doing well just to place 6 rounds on the paper at 50 feet. I was really bummed out by the whole experience and went back home wondering if I’d just thrown $500 down the tubes. Still, figuring maybe I’d be able to repair whatever was wrong or have a smith do it if necessary for small money, I wasn’t going to give up.

When I got it to home to clean it I was amazed.  I have never seen a gun in such filthy condition.  I don’t know why I hadn’t realized the degree of crud inside the gun when I looked at it in the shop, but I hadn’t. There was powder residue and old gun oil baked to every interior surface of the gun.  I literally had to chip away at it with a screw driver in some spots as the wire brush didn’t touch it.

S&W doesn’t recommend detail stripping these.  And some gun forums I checked recommended just dipping it in some solvent. But that didn’t seem like a good idea to me so my wife and I proceeded to detail strip it and thoroughly clean every part. (I don’t recommend doing this unless you are mechanically inclined, married to someone who is or are willing to spend hours futzing with it to get it back together).

Once the gun was all clean and oiled, it was a new pistol. But it was still putting groups about four inches to the left of where I was aiming, so some sight adjustment was called for.  That done, it shoots like a dream.

I can safely say I now really enjoy this gun. It’s come a long way from that initial trip to the range, and the initial detail strip took care of most of the trigger problems.  While it’s still got some holster wear marks, after some brass polish and elbow grease it looks a lot better. I’ll probably get it bead blasted at some point to totally restore the finish.  Some Hogue grips also helped the cause quite a lot, as you can see from the pictures.

The gun as it looked when I got it

The gun as it looked when I got it

The 4506 is built like a tank and acts like one. when we reload some .45ACP that’s a little long or just a tad too fat, we put it through the 4506 with no complaints, ftfs or other issues.  Like the kids in those old Life Cereal commercials, when it comes to .45ACP: Give it to the 4506 it’ll eat anything.

UPDATE:  This gun is at the gunsmith for a little TLC to the trigger, some work on the crown and a bead blast to remove that last bit of holster-wear and Cop Graffiti.

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