OK. Sorry for the delay. Time to talk Don Williams and The Action Works. First thing to say is that Don is just a great guy to work with (as is Ted Yost of course). I consider myself not a total putz, although compared to many on this board and elsewhere I certainly have a lot to learn. These guys though are simply Encyclopedias of gun and smithing. Don spent some good time with me on the phone walking me through a sort-of philosophy. Gently nudging my bad ideas, and helping round-out my almost-good ideas. Work with him. You'll like it.
With Don's gun I wanted all function, no fancy. Well, fancy if it supports function. haha. I think the two best 'smiths out there for pure function P35's are Steve at MARS and Don at The Action Works (although I think from this discussion I might have to try Sokol out, especially him being in my home state of Vermont (how the fuck didn't I know that?)). This gun is to be the gun I go to for training, IDPA (along with my 9mm 1911), and generally beating and using hard. Initial Conclusion: Don built me the perfect gun.
The wide C&S Trigger is great. I really like it. It's got longer travel than the yost, it's also got a longer reset with more takeup. But it's still really fantastic. If the Yost is, in my book, the perfect trigger, this is 95% of that. So for all intents and purposes, no real difference when I'm shooting a lot and shooting well. Considering this gun's total cost was about 1/2 the yost, I'd say that difference in a fighting fun isn't worth the upsell unless you're a BHP nut like me. I can shoot the yost a LITTLE faster with the gold line site, control it a LITTLE better with the beavertail, and reset and follow up a LITTLE bit faster with the yost trigger. .
The one feature I now wish I had on all three is the front serrations. I really like them, and the are actually useful. I think they even look good.
So first look you can see largely what Don did:
- Reliability package
- C&S hammer
- C&S wide trigger
- machine and install Heinie straight eight sights
- Stipple front and back
- Don's "Tactical Package" which you can see on his site
- Don's trigger job
- Bevel mag well.
- Machine in the front serrations
- I added the VZ grips
- Finish in ION Bond DLC
So I avoided the fancy stuff. No rear serrations or checkering like the Yost. No flattening, barrel crowning any of that. It's simple, it works, and it's awesome.
The stippling works. I have no grip problems with lots of follow up shots. The VZ's help. They're freaking aggressive. After a 1,100 day I had a couple of blisters on the palm of my left hand (no friend jokes...) from the grips, and I don't have the wimpiest hands ever. They're a little grippy for concealed carry (catch on things) but I still carry them. I thought about sanding them with 800grain sandpaper, but they don't bother me enough.
The beveling really does make a difference. I had this gun before without the beveling, and I'm surprised at how much better a reload is. It's still not as fast as my 1911s, glocks, but it is better than a stock BHP.
This gun is my first with ION Bond. Some smiths won't do it anymore because of the hassle, and because it can be hard to get even finish. But it seems tough and really good looking. Here's a better pic of the finish. Externally you can't really see any wear after a good bit of shooting. Internally you can see some on the slide where the barrel locks up. that's it.
You can also see how the trigger widens out and is wide and flat. I really like this trigger. My finger lands just right, it's light, the pull is perfect, the break is as good as the Yost. The reset is longer, and takeup is longer. But man it's sweet.
The last bit of this gun is a bit of an oddity. It's the Cylinder and Slide Oversized/Wide Safety. It's a great part. It's the easiest of the safeties on my three BHPs to manipulate, but it has issues that I think would make it "not for everyone." It's wide as fuck. When I first got it, I didn't realize it but it was so wide I was sort of curling my thumbs around and activating/pushing down on the forward tab of the slide stop and activating the slide stop. For a while, I thought I had the world's most expensive single shot browning hipower until I saw what I was doing. I'm not sure why I do that with this safety, as I don't with the others. I did realize because of it that I was CLOSE to doing the same with the other guns. So after some serious retraining of my grip (keeping my left thumb lower), it was fine.
The other issue is leather. This thing is so wide it catches on basically anything you holster it with. So holstering in either of my Milt Sparks (Criterion and SS2) it catches on the lip of the leather. I have to sort of ride my thumb in as I holster and push the leather away. You can see it's relatively wide profile catching leather in the second photo. I still like it, but it's....different.
Otherwise, I love this safety from a pure manipulation point. Yes that appears to be German Shepherd fur in the slide rails. For those of you with German Shedders, you know how it goes.
Overall this gun is just outstanding. It's I'd call it 90% of the Yost for 1/2 the money. And if you want a real custom working gun, I'd pick Don.