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Discussion Starter #1
All of this Bond talk, naturally associated with the PPK and P99, got me to pull the pin on a Beretta 1934 and 1935 as I posted elsewhere. And while Bond's original gun in the early novels, the 418, is planned, it stated me looking at some of today's contemporary pocket Berettas. This has all coincided with my father-in-laws comment that he really enjoys shooting a .25 auto. He's small in stature, and while he can handle a 9mm or .40 very nicely, he has the most fun with with my P22. So, with Bond on my mind and my FIL's comment, this past Saturday I ran down the the shop and picked up a cute little Beretta Model 21A in .25ACP, used but like new. I think my FIL will enjoy it as a guest gun when he visits from out of state in November. We (along with my BIL) will spend at least one day at the range, and as a host I always like to accommodate my guests :D Plus, I have really fallen for this little gun. I think that I may well add a Tomcat, the .32 ACP version with the more full slide. Add to that a DeSantis "Trickster" pocket holster and 60 gr. JHP or Winchester Silvertip JHPs and it isn't a bad little package.



http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/8363/3032smaxirm8.jpgTomcat
 

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Que: A quick question: You are more knowledgeable than me about all things Bond, so I must ask....did Bond use the Beretta you show in the picture? I always thought it was a single action Beretta that he used. Not talking about the movie stuff here...just the books.
Oh yeah...when I was in Nam a guy had the single action version of the pictured pistol. Guys were offering him outrageous amounts of cash for the gun. Everyone wanted a pistol of some kind either as a "bugout" weapon or for something to have in their back pocket when they went on R&R.

On a seperate note...you might want to reconsider the Beretta Tomcat. Searcher 451 just got back from the range with a Tomcat and it had a LOT of problems. Go check in the PP section under Dourdave's range report.

Dep



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Unaccustomed as he is to speaking in the third person notwithstanding, Searcher is highly annoyed with the Beretta Tomcat and is still growling about #*&#(^&# FTEs on every magazine and a trigger that crapped out after 66 rounds. Searcher sent a note to Beretta USA last night and is still awaiting a response. Searcher also took the Tomcat to a gunsmith last night who merely shook his head after popping the barrel and spotting three quick issues ... issues that never should have made it out the door.

Searcher is with is M and Que on this one: There was a good reason why Bond went to the Walther. Had Searcher been paying attention, he would not have repeated the mistake. Searcher therefore qualifies as a bozo, if not a bonehead :mad:

P.S. Searcher also has a Beretta .22 Bobcat NIB that he bought in the late '80s. After this most recent range experience, the Bobcat will remain NIB while the Tomcat gets its insides reamed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Que: A quick question: You are more knowledgeable than me about all things Bond, so I must ask....did Bond use the Beretta you show in the picture? I always thought it was a single action Beretta that he used. Not talking about the movie stuff here...just the books.
Oh yeah...when I was in Nam a guy had the single action version of the pictured pistol. Guys were offering him outrageous amounts of cash for the gun. Everyone wanted a pistol of some kind either as a "bugout" weapon or for something to have in their back pocket when they went on R&R.

On a seperate note...you might want to reconsider the Beretta Tomcat. Searcher 451 just got back from the range with a Tomcat and it had a LOT of problems. Go check in the PP section under Dourdave's range report.

Dep
Hey Dep, the 21A is a modern present production Beretta .25 ACP. Bond in the novels carried a modified 418, a gun produced earlier last century. It is a single action gun long out of production.

As to the Tomcat, as I'm sure Searcher did, I have looked into this gun a good bit and it isn't without issues, but overall there seem to be far more who like it than have had issues. The gun seems to be ammo finnicky and there are some rounds that work for no one causing a good number of FTEs. Some guns need a little effort to find what works. Based on what I've learned about the Tomcat I feel rather good about giving it a try.

Q
 

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Hey Dep, the 21A is a modern present production Beretta .25 ACP.
Glad to hear that the spirit is willing, Que, even if the mechanism is weak. If you stumble on a particular brand of ammo that works for you, do let us know.

I got this thing because my wife had trouble racking the slide on a conventional semi-automatic, ala the PPK/S. The Beretta's flip-up barrel seemed to be just the right ticket. And the thing was accurate out of the box; she hit what she was aiming at most every time. But the realibility of it was astonishingly poor -- a dead trigger after 66 rounds? -- and still no word from Beretta USA's customer service department after more than a day (say what you will, but that would never fly at Walther/S&W). Clearly I'm anxious to get this little guy working properly for her. It's got a ways to go, however. And if a change in ammo helps, well, why not?
 

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Thanks Que. I wasn't sure which was which. Good luck with the Tomcat. I thought about one but was cautioned about them...I think by 153. It will be interesting to see what kind of customer service Beretta gives Searcher. I've seen special versions of the 21A that had gold triggers and other stuff on them. Also a neat nickle version. I would be strongly tempted to get one of those. But I want it in .22 auto. :)



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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Hey guys, thanks for your comments and cautions. I've checked out many opinions on the Tomcat and there seems to be a hit or miss as to reliability (more hits than misses) and at least two versions of this gun, a first and second generation. There is enough of a dichotomy of opinion that this may account for what it going on.

Searcher, you didn't say if the gun was new or used, so it's age may be a factor. You also didn't (as I recall) mention which ammos you tried. Many folks have said the same two things about the Tomcat: 1. it is ammo finicky, at least initially, and, 2. it requires a break-in period. Many of the negative reports I've read go something like this: "I ran 200 rounds through the gun and expereinced X many FTEs. I'm through with this gun". That is premature for any gun. Some also think that a gun should shoot perfectly right out of the box, but many of these pocket guns have a record of requiring some break-in time.

A trigger breaking is another matter, but those things can and do happen with many guns, basically quality control flukes. It happens and isn't something I've heard about with other Tomcats (not to say that it hasn't happened). as an example, three Bersa Thunders came into the local shop with bad triggers that required repair before the guns could be sold. It happens.

But, as to the Tomcat, there are so many reports of this gun being perfectly reliable and surprisingly accurate that I can't dismiss it. If I pull a lemon then it will go back to Beretta. I've got plenty of other guns to shoot.

As to ammo, two that I've seen referenced as being excellent are Winchester Silvertips and Fiocchi 73 grain FMJ or 60 gr. SJHP. BTW, watch out for Sellier and Bellot as it is potentially too hot for the gun, or so I'm told. Considering the extraction system I'd avoid any aluminum cased ammo.

I've said it many times, and I'll say it again: using a gun is a system that has three components: the shooter, the ammo, and the gun itself. Like any system optimal function can be achieved with adjustment and compromise. Guns can be tweaked, ammo can be changed, and the shooter himself, probably the least adjustable, can bring about the best function by bringing about the appropriate change(s). Sometimes it takes work.

Q
 

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Good morning, Que. The Tomcat that I got was new; even had it equipped with a Crimson Trace laser. It's nifty and fits her hand well. And when it did fire a round, it was accurate enough. The ammo that we ran through it -- or tried to run it -- was Winchester white box FMJ. It's the same stuff that I run through just about all of my guns during their break-in period.

I'm not opposed to giving a gun a chance, nor to breaking one in -- and lots of them perform better after 200 rounds or 500 rounds than they do after 20 rounds or 50 rounds. But it was a struggle to get the first 50 through this #&^(#@&$ thing -- you did well, in fact, if you only experienced one FTE per magazine; more often it was two. And the start of the second 50 rounds on day two at the range, after a thorough cleaning/lubing the night before, was certainly inauspicious: three FTEs on the first magazine alone. Then the trigger failed the snap (no crackle or pop, either), and that was that. I'm still awaiting a reply from Beretta USA to an email, by the way -- and that doesn't make me happy, either. At this point, I'm thinking chugging sinker in fast currents, perhaps. But the local smithy might be able to work some magic yet and save the day; gawd knows I would not trust it to anyone at Beretta, things being what they are.

Allowing something like this out of the factory is not the way to win the hearts and minds of customers. In a word: frump. :mad:
 

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Okay guys...enlighten me. Doesn't the Tomcat use the explosive force of the bullet to extract/eject the cartridge? So if that's the case, there is no extractor like on a normal gun. The bang of the bullet is what pops the shell out. If everything else on the gun is okay (no burrs on the frame rails, etc.,) then wouldn't a more powerful cartridge in a system like that be better for extraction/ejection? If I am completely wrong feel free to call me a dummy :D

Dep



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I will offer these opinions on the little Beretta's currently in production:

Tomcat ....waste of time (Sorry, Searcher 451) Many better options out there.

Beretta 21A ..... Not bad, like all small autos in this size better in .25 than .22

Beretta 950, 950BS .....Excellent Pistols in .25!!! Could be a real life saver.

Yes Dep, there is no extractor on the little Beretta's and I believe the Tomcat functions the same way.
 

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Thanks for kicking me while I'm down, 153! You da man, as they say (especially after Tiger Woods hits his ball deep into the woods). :D

If you can provide some better options, please let me know -- I'm all ears, if not thumbs. But keep in mind that she doesn't have the hand-strength to rack a slide. She can pop the barrel on the Tomcat all right, but the mechanics of, say, a PPK are out of the question. And the wheel guns are a bit on the bulky side for her, sad to say, and in the lighter-weight metals generate too much recoil.

It's a fine line I'm trying to walk here; any help at all is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Hey Searcher. Well, I rolled the dice and put a Tomcat on layaway. While your gun sounds nasty I'll hope for the best. There are lots of people who swear by them and not at them. The same is true with the Kel-Tec, many calling them POS and others raving about them. Even though you tried WWB I'd still try another ammo or two just to make sure. On occasion I've heard some say that WWB doesn't do well in a particular gun, but admittedly not often.

If the Tomcat is a lemon I'll eat some crow.

That 418 is sweet. Is that steel finished with anything?

Q
 

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Discussion Starter #13
While I'm on the topic of little Berettas, I picked up my 1934 in .380. Comparing it to my 1935 there is a noticeable amount of finish difference between the 1934 wartime production (1942) and the postwar 1935 (1953) in terms of macjining marks. The 1934 is the same where it counts internally.

Question: there are some very light pits in the bore. The rifling is very sharp but there are a scattering of a few pits. Otherwise it looks very good, especially for 1942. How much will minimal pitting affect the shooting quality of the gun?

Q
 

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Que: If it's very light or even moderate pitting, I wouldn't be too concerned. The pistol isn't made to be a tack driver like a target gun.

HOWEVER....

I have good news. If the pitting really concerns you and you would like to have a BRAND NEW ORIGINAL BERETTA BARREL, Numrich Gun Parts has them.

Model: BERETTA 1934
Item No. 596690
Retail Price: $47.25

That price may not be the same one you see because I get a C&R discount from them. But at least you can get one if you want it.
Dep



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Hey Dep. Gotta love Numrich. They can be a bit pricey, but it's good to know that they are there.

I also looked at that Taurus .22. Kinda cool like the Beretta.

Speaking of Taurus, I'm now having second thoughts about that Tomcat. $360 is a lot to gamble. I get one switch with a layaway so I might walk away from the Tomcat and switch a Taurus 24/7 Pro in 9mm for it. The Taurus is actually a bit cheaper. I've had nothing but great guns from Taurus (PT92, PT111 MilPro, PT145 MilPro, The Judge). Searcher's use of WWB worries me. It's FMJ and should work fine. I've never had a gun even hiccup on WWB. That trigger problem also appears to be a little more widespread than I'd thought.

Bye-bye Tomcat. Just called the shop. Gone.

Thanks guys, I have a feeling you did me a big favor.

Q
 
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Hey Dep. Gotta love Numrich. They can be a bit pricey, but it's good to know that they are there.

I also looked at that Taurus .22. Kinda cool like the Beretta.

Speaking of Taurus, I'm now having second thoughts about that Tomcat. $360 is a lot to gamble. I get one switch with a layaway so I might walk away from the Tomcat and switch a Taurus 24/7 Pro in 9mm for it. The Taurus is actually a bit cheaper. I've had nothing but great guns from Taurus (PT92, PT111 MilPro, PT145 MilPro, The Judge). Searcher's use of WWB worries me. It's FMJ and should work fine. I've never had a gun even hiccup on WWB. That trigger problem also appears to be a little more widespread than I'd thought.

Bye-bye Tomcat. Just called the shop. Gone.

Thanks guys, I have a feeling you did me a big favor. Q

Gotta tell you, Que, that you made the right call. Wish I had the option to wave the magic wand over mine at the moment. But it is still at the gunsmith's. and there's STILL no word from the customer service folks at Beretta USA, which is even more of an anoyance. It's one thing to produce a piece of crap. It's another entirely to ignore the emails from someone who did for more than a day -- and we are well over a day and then some at this point. I mean, think about it: Someone who purchased a lemon might well be tempted to go online and write about that experience on a ... a gun forum. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Solutions aren't easy if the shooter determines that revolvers are too bulky and slides are too hard to rack. And based on the luck I've had with the Tomcat design, I sure wouldn't try a Taurus that mimicks the same type of engineering, even if those grips look good on the *#^(#* thing. If I can get the trigger fixed and the crimping repaired and the FTEs under control, I'll take up Que's suggestion and look for a different brand or two of ammo to run through the thing and see if that helps. But my optimism is flagging and my expectations are about as low as whale deposits. In a word: poop.
 

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Well before I place any orders I'm gonna do some extensive research. I know Taurus has a good rep as far as repairs are concerned. And a lifetime warranty sure sounds nice. But I'm still gonna check things out first. Searcher, keep us posted on the Baretta. ;)

Dep
You got it, Dep. I'm beginning to think that a .32 derringer might well be the only solution. Good grief: We can put men on the moon and cavemen in TV shows and can't make a reliable pocket semi-automatic in this day and age? Hard to believe. :confused:

I'd do some scouting around on Taurus and its customer service before I jumped in that direction. I have heard and read about on other forums (glocktalk, gundirectory, high road, et al) a lot of horror stories in that regard -- from guns sent in that get lost and never returned to weeks going by before a return is made to waiting weeks for a gun to be returned, only to find out that it wasn't touched by a smithy at all. It again points out how fortunate we are to have the folks at S&W running point for the Walther line in this country.
 
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