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American Handgunner March/April 2010 - Page 36
TAFFINTESTS John Taffin This trio of Taffin’s grandsons like to help Grandpa and he is doing his part to introduce the young ones to shooting. Are you? THE SIXGUNNER HIMSELF: GUNS, GEAR AND MORE Attention-Getting Affordable 1911s Top left clockwise, the Eagle, the 1911-A1 and the Hawk. Superb group fired with the Iver Johnson .45 Eagle. Iver Johnson’s eagle and hawk ne of my favorite old western movies is from 1950 and is entitled The Eagle and the Hawk with John Payne as the hero and the excellent character actor Thomas Gomez as the Hawk. Someone at Iver Johnson must also be a fan of old movies as they are now offering 1911s, two of which are named The Eagle and The Hawk, respectfully, along with a 1911-A1. Iver Johnson has been around since 1883 and has been mostly known for low-cost, DA revolvers. Back in the 1970s they were also importing Uberti Cattleman SA revolvers. I had their 71/2" Target Model Buckhorn in .357 Magnum and it was an excellent shooter. Very little has been heard from Iver Johnson in recent years, however they are now part of the 1911 scene importing semiautos from the Philippines. I requested and received all three versions: Eagle, Hawk and 1911-A1. All three of these were pre-production test guns so it was not surprising to find a problem or two. All three have trigger pulls which are way too heavy for my tastes, ranging from 63/4 to 8 pounds. This is not a major problem and easily fixed, but nonetheless, I was told it would be fixed on production models. The major problem was with the sights. The problem was not the quality of the sights nor the style but rather how they were affixed to the Eagle and Hawk. Both rear sights, adjustable on the Eagle and fixed combat style on the Hawk, were fitted into dovetails. The first time each gun was fired the rear sights came off, that is, they slid right out of the dovetail. I took them to my gunsmiths, Mike and Tom at Buckhorn, and with a little measuring they easily discovered the dovetail slot on the frame was not the right size for the male counterpart on the bottom of each rear sight. They did some welding on the dovetail slot to obtain a proper fit and also made a new, larger diameter, elevation adjustment screw for the rear sight on the Eagle. They now work perfectly! work and the magazine drops easily when the magazine release button is pushed. The Eagle, as the other two test versions, fed everything flawlessly and shot well with more than typical accuracy. The Eagle retails for $657 in high polish blue and $625 for the matte finish. The trigger pull on the Eagle measures 7 pounds. It was test-fired with nine different loads with five shot groups at 20 yards running from 13/8" to 23/4". The most accurate factory loads were the Black Hills 230 FMJ at 825 fps, Cor-Bon’s 200 JHP+P, 998 fps and CCI Blazers with the 200 JHP at 964 fps and the 230 FMJ at 892 fps. My all-time o Taffin chose a pair of Leather Arsenal inside-the-pants holsters and the latest paddle holster from Safariland. The Iver Johnson .45s are equipped with excellent factory grips. Differences he Eagle starts as a basic 1911 and comes in two versions, one with a matte finish and the other high polish blue and my test gun is the latter. The sights are excellent, with a fully adjustable rear sight mated up with a post front sight. Both are serrated and the rear sight slopes to the rear while the front sight slopes to the front. Both the trigger and hammer are skeletonized. All the controls are on the left side; the slide release and thumb safety are both of the extended style. The safety is very easy to T Continued on page 85 36 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MARCH/APRIL2010