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Thread: Armscor .38 revolvers- review

  1. #1
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    Default Armscor .38 revolvers- review

    I posted a review on the "first shot" forum, but thought it might be useful here too.

    I'll paraphrase my original post, since it's still on the other forum......

    I bought the Armscor M200, the 4" .38 revolver made in the Phillipines by Armscor, also makers of the popular Rock Island 1911A1's.

    Overall, it's what I would call an awesome "training-practice-fun" revolver, but I wouldn't carry or keep it for protection, personally, because I have so many other better handguns, rifles, shotguns for that purpose, including S&W, Ruger and Colt DA .38 and .357 revolvers.

    I was pretty excited by the performance of the Armscor, it is an accurate revolver that feels good in the hand.

    However, what keeps me from putting this in the "personal defense" category is that my particular revolver will over-time (overthrow) the cylinder past the bolt stop on fast DA or if I really yank the hammer back in SA......a good revolver should not leave the factory this way. I contacted Armscor's US office in Navada and they said they would fix it free if I sent it back, good customer service but again, a new revolver shouldn't have this problem.

    I did take the sideplate off, and played with the bolt stop spring and it was a little off center in the groove where it rides. Thinking a weak bolt stop spring may be the cause of the cylinder overthrow, I decided to try to clean it as the action was caked in cosmo.

    It did overthrow LESS after I cleaned and repositioned the spring, but it still does it. I have ID'd the problem, though. I am going to take a chance and order a Colt Cobra bolt stop spring, since the Armscors are roughly copies of this revolver. Maybe a stronger spring will stop the over-throw and make this a 100% reliable revolver.

    Still, for a little more money you can get something better if you don't own many guns. I am an obsessive collector of service revolvers and couldn't turn down a 4" .38 for $250, and I think these are good buys overall and I have run 300+ rounds through mine already and it's lots of fun to shoot. Just a couple glitches I can fix myself and I'll have a nice little "knockaround" range shooter. I shoot very often, and buy as much .38 Special as I can, and don't like to put 1,000's of rounds through my nicer vintage Smith .38's. As much as I love my .357's I prefer the feel and pointability of a 4" .38 medium frame revolver.

    The frame is alloy, so we'll see how it holds up to lots of shooting. I woudn't shoot any +P's in this, but I don't see this revolver going much more than 5,000 rounds until something will need to be fixed. Maybe 10,000+ and there will probably be an issue with frame stretching. But, still, enjoy your nice vintage Smith and Colt revolvers and buy stuff like the Armscor for punching paper, it's more than up to task for this role, the jury's still out as to whether I would even keep it as a glove box gun though. I read that the Phillipines and other Asiatic countries use these as police and security sidearms, not sure what to make of that, but maybe I just got a lemon with a timing glitch. Still, I like it enough to look for the 4" all-steel version, supposedly these are made with tough tool-grade steel frames and barrels, and have no underlug. The reasons they went with an alloy frame for a 4" supposed "duty gun" doesn't make sense to me.

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up stantheman good timely write up.

    was wondering about these due in part to another thread thanks, keep us informed of the fixing of problems. <><dk
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  3. #3
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    Default

    I read that "some" Colt D frame grips will fit on the Armscor revolvers, not sure what "some" means......I would like to put a set of Pachmayr shorty "Gripper Jr.'s" on the Armscor, made for the Colt D frames like the Detective, Agent and Cobra. The stock grips are just cheap plastic, and I don't feel the need to put woods on this alloy frame revolver. I also think a set of huge Goodyears like Hogue or big Pachmayrs would ruin the look and feel. I may just try a set of aftermarket Sile grips, or try to get a set of the factory woods that come on the snubbies.

    It sounds strange, but I think they use frames that have been nicked in production near the grips or have casting imperfections for the 4" since much of the upper area near the grip frame is covered by the plastic "combat grip", not so in the snub. My 4" has a large nick right on the border of the grip frame, that has been parkerized over so it must have occured during production.

  4. #4
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    Default M200 update

    Still working on and off, when time permits, on the Armscor M200. Fixing it is not a priority, since I don't rely on it for carry or anything, but I did some tinkering with it.

    I found a Wolff spring, looks like a firing pin spring, for one of my auto pistols that I guess I never installed, and replaced the stock bolt stop spring on the M200. It was thinner and longer, but it works well and the revolver no longer "overthrows" on a hard SA hammer pull. It still does it periodically on fast DA, but now it "under-throws" on DA, where the cylinder now stops between chambers sometimes. The fact that it doesn't so it on SA means I think I'm making headway. My next step is to try and install a Colt Cobra, Agent or Police Positive bolt stop spring, all of which are available from Numrich for $2 or so. The makeshift spring works, but I am not comfortable shooting it much with a bolt stop spring that is not the right size. I test fired it with 18 rounds, but I hope a Colt spring will fix it.

    In short, the stock bolt stop spring was a piece of crap! It looked cheap like something you would find inside a cap gun.

    By the time I get this gun 100% I'll probably have had the sideplate off 50 times and have had various springs in it. Good thing I bought this as a "blaster" or I would be unhappy. Once I get it working 100% I think I will be happy with it, but in the future, if I want to get a new revolver as a "shooter" I will be looking for a used Ruger! I spent $250 on this "NIB" Armscor and it no doubt will be outlasted by a Ruger Speed Six I bought used (very used!) recently for $300, that already probably has had more rounds through it than any Armscor could take without falling apart and no doubt will last through any amount of rounds I will put through it. So, be wise with your "gun dollars" and don't be afraid to buy used!

  5. #5
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    I won't miss a beat getting a used Ruger or Smith (without the Hillary Hole). Others, not so much, unless I can tell for sure that they have a lot of life left and are reasonably priced. I always like to dry-fire them (if possible) through all six (or however many) chambers, both SA and DA. If there's a little too much slop in the cylinder I'll pass, but I've never found that in a Ruger or Smith.
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  6. #6
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    Here's a review of the Armscor 206 38 spl.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/i.../t-468457.html

    It seems to be a steel revolver, not alloy, and is investment cast. One reviewer found a defect in the lockup pin mounting, its loose, but nobody else has complained about it.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

  7. #7
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    Default M200

    Mine is pretty tight, actually tightened up with the new bolt stop spring. I am anxious to see how a spring from a Colt DS/Agent/Cobra works in this revolver.

    The frames are advertised as a cast alloy. The frame attracts a magnet, for what that's worth, but most of the info I have seen say the 200 and 206 have an alloy frame. The M102 or whatever it is, the earlier model with no underlug, is all steel.

    Given the cheaper construction I don't think I would buy another Armscor, unless my M200 really starts impressing me. I like the revolver, came close to loving it, as a fun shooter, if I can "break it in" and get it to work 100%.

    I do not like to put many thousands of rounds on my nicer revolvers, particularly those not made anymore like my older Smith Model 10's or Colt Police Positive, so look to those made by companies like Armscor or Taurus for "range-practice-fun" guns.

  8. #8
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    I know this is an old thread but I think my info is pertinent. Bought a 206 from Numrich through Auction Arms. Took it right out to the range after running a dry patch through barrel and chambers. Fired first six rounds. Shot well, very slightly below point of aim at 10 yards but centered. When I attempted to remove the spent cartridges they would not come out. Had to pound them out. Only shot 24 rounds. Took the gun home and cleaned it. In each chamber there were striations. Looked like corduroy. Took it took a pretty good gunsmith in my area the next day and asked him to look. He said that it appeared to him that the chambers were never finished. Emailed Numrich and told them I was going to give them at least neutral feedback. They emailed me back and said sorry and they would let management know. In other words, pack salt. I emailed Armscor and got a totally different reaction. They said they would email me a slip to FedEx it back to them and they promptly did that. While I'm disappointed with the revolver I'm really impressed with the Armscor customer service. I really hope they can fix this revolver or send me a new one. It reminds me so much of a second gen Colt Agent which I very foolishly sold and the first revolver I was ever issued, a Colt Cobra.
    Last edited by Budatduke; 03-15-2014 at 03:12 PM.

  9. #9
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    Filipino revolvers, mostly other makes, got a pretty bad rep years ago and it looks like Armscor hasn't corrected all the problems. the quality, even the Ok ones, is so far below their 1911s that I wonder if they aren't contracting them out.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

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