Freedom Arms Packer - King of the Belly Guns!

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by pokute, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    I can't believe I haven't written yet about my FA Packer! Sometime in the early 90's, someone convinced FA to make a Model 83 with a 3 inch barrel as backup bear medicine. They wound up making about 200, chambered mostly in 454. There were 12 made in 44M, and I snagged one of those recently. Since it was made for full-house 454 loads, it can't be overloaded in 44M... Any bullet and powder combination that can be shoved into a cartridge will come out of the barrel. The gun weighs 44 ounces, is made of 17-4PH stainless steel, and every part of it is clearance fit, I can't get a feeler gage in anywhere. Bullets must be exactly 0.429" or they will not fit in the throats. Cylinder has recesses for the case head, and the case heads cannot protrude the least bit or the cylinder will not turn. However, I have shot 400 rounds through it with no hiccups. It doen't foul at all. No leading even with a Keith 250gr bullet over 22gr of 2400 (a compressed load - held down by a HARD profile crimp) - Which still poops out of that 3" barrel at subsonic velocity. Followed by a muzzle blast to rival a Howitzer.

    The factory test target showed a 3/8" group at 25 yards. No trouble hitting an 8" plate with it at 100 yards.

    Why did I buy something like that? Well, I keep hearing talk at the range about "compensation for the size of his d***", and since I blush easy, I Figured I should pre-empt having to hear that said about me :p

    FA fixed sight guns ship with a significantly oversize front sight. Folks rarely carve on them, so most fixed sight owners never shoot their FA's (hence most FA's sold used are NIB). It's a real crime. I carved off about a pound from my front sight (the job required driving 25 minutes each way to the range 4 times), and it finally shoots to POA with 250gr over 22gr 2400 AND 300gr over 20gr 2400.

    Pic is actually my gun, but was taken by the dealer I bought it from, that unmatched gentleman, JackTheDog.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  2. gumpy

    gumpy Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    1,144
    2
    0
    Didn't FA design and manufacture this gun because people were sawing the barrels off of longer ones to speed up readiness in Grizzly country? Seems like I read about it years ago.
     

  3. gumpy

    gumpy Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    1,144
    2
    0
    Ooops! Wrong gun! I was thinking of the Ruger Super Redhawk, Alaskan Toklat 454 Casull. Following the big bang theory! Lol
     
  4. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
  5. jflytle

    jflytle New Member

    46
    1
    0
    I love FA guns, but have to admit I had never heard of this one. Of course, now I want one.

    John
     
  6. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    There were only 12 made in 44 :(

    But there were maybe 200 made in 454 :D

    Excellent FA's are available at auction for around $1500 often. It's not the prettiest gun in the world, but it IS the most accurate.
     
  7. BigBlue

    BigBlue New Member

    22
    0
    0
    Very nice! Am I correct in guessin' that's a five shot? While I love the .44 mag. in a carbine, I don't fancy the recoil in a handgun, especially that size. I took a page or two from the .44 Associates and stick to up loading the .44 Special a bit. http://www.goodrichfamilyassoc.org/44_Special_Articles/44 Associates.pdf
    Here's my Vaquero in .44 Spec. along with a Marlin 444 Outfitter.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    Purty maple grips on that Vaquero! I see some other unusual things about it, how about a walk-through? I recognize those Keith bullets too - 7.5gr Unique?

    Yep, the FA is a 5 shot six-shooter, as John Taffin calls them.

    My, that pdf is hard to read... I'm printing it out now...

    That pdf is a nice summary of handloading practice for the 44 special, but now my eyes are bleeding!
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  9. BigBlue

    BigBlue New Member

    22
    0
    0
    That's a 3 1/2" barreled Vaquero and my only SA revolver at this time. The curly maple grips come from Private's Custom Grips. I also have a nice set of crotch walnut grips from him. I use 250gr. Keith style 429421 bullet from Marshall Stanton's Beartooth Bullets and load them with 16.5gr. of 2400, just shy of Keith's recommended 17.5gr.
    I know that PDF is a bit hard on the eyes, but it had been typed up back in 1945 and I thought it was worth keeping a PDF copy.
     
  10. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    I have to save all the 2400 I can get for magnum loads. I have a lifetime supply of Unique, so I shoot Skeeter's load in 44 special. 22gr 2400 for magnum. Only found 4 pounds of 2400 in the last two years.

    Very pretty Vaquero. Must be nice having an ejector! So, that's the old sheriff's model, right? Did you regulate the front sight for your load? The grip frame looks nice and generous. The grip frame on my flat-top 44sp Blackhawk (New Model) is too small.

    I'm not ignoring the rifle, I just don't know squat about rifles!
     
  11. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    Just checked out Private's Custom Grips. Very nice grips at great prices. Only a bit more than what I paid for some bad fitting Hogue micarta grips. If the Hogue grips were oversize it would have been okay. They're undersize.

    I bought some fake ivory grips once that flew to pieces on the first shot! Trying to cheap out on grips doesn't pay.
     
  12. BigBlue

    BigBlue New Member

    22
    0
    0
    I have just a little less than a pound of Unique and 2400, but about 4 pounds of Bullseye. All will work for loads in the .44 Spec. with greatly different results. Judging by results from an old article by Brian Pearce, the 16.5gr. of 2400 should give me about 1200 FPS with the 250gr. bullets, while using Bullseye I can only get about 810 FPS. With the current availability, or should I say lack of availability, of various powders I hate to adjust the height of the front sight for one load. The gun was a Ruger Talo distributor exclusive. They seem to take a bit more time with the exclusives, especially with the bluing.
    Every time I look at your Packer I'm amazed by the tight the metal to metal fit.
     
  13. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    If you can't find Unique and you need some, I can sell you a pound. I can't get 2400 here at all. When I last got it, the price was terrible.

    Brian Pierce is terrific! Nobody else does pressure testing.

    The packer shoots great, but it's ugly. People compliment me on my Blackhawk, and think the packer is some piece of junk!
     
  14. BigBlue

    BigBlue New Member

    22
    0
    0
    Meanwhile the Packer is probably worth at least 4-5 times the price of a Blackhawk. You see some 83s for sale, but few in the Packer configuration and then they're chambered for the .454, not the .44 mag.
     
  15. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    The sad part is, I doubt anybody shoots them. I might pick up a 454 packer (if I can find one with the 45 Colt cylinder), because the muzzle blast must be even more epic than that of the 44 ;)

    Last time I fired up the Packer at the range (last weekend), the three people to my right all turned green. One had to sit down, and they were all muttering about their teeth hurting. I tried to be nice, and compliment them on their nice collection of little guns, but they just looked at me like you would look at the ass-end of the Huey as it flew back to reload.

    On days when I mostly shoot 22, I listen for the jocks who ho-ho about how awesome their 9's and .40's are, and I "make a mental note" about likely candidates for the next scorched earth operation.
     
  16. BigBlue

    BigBlue New Member

    22
    0
    0
    Too bad it isn't ported, you could rattle their teeth and singe their ear hair at the same time.
    Cary at CLC makes the nicest Ruger SA grips, but judging by his prices, he likes them more than I do.
    http://www.clccustomgrips.com/
    [​IMG]
     
  17. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    I could plumb a "T" onto the end of the barrel. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Cary's grips look pretty nice to me, but for that kind of money I would expect a little more style. They look about the same as Private's. If John does a smashing job on my 1911 and AMT grips, I'm going to order some Ruger grips from him, smooth but shaped like Roper's.
     
  18. stevejr454

    stevejr454 New Member

    11
    0
    0
    Freedom Arms US Deputy Marshal

    The only 3" Freedom Arms harder to find than the Packer is the US Deputy Marshall.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    Welcome!

    I never saw one of those before! Looks like FA tried to get rid of those 3 inch guns any way they could, huh?

    So, I hope you're here to tell me that you can't stand shooting it and want to sell it. Right? Only thing better would be to hear that you shoot it and love it! Man, it would be a hoot to stand up next to you with mine and clear the firing line on a Sunday!
     
  20. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    1,620
    2
    0
    Hey, I found some other pics of your guns online. Care to tell about that old nickel plated job?