LAR Grizzly - Yet another different 1911

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by pokute, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    A fellow named Perry Arnett filed a patent in 1981 for a 1911 type pistol specially designed to simplify cartridge conversion. By the time the licensee, LAR Manufacturing, ceased production in 1999, conversions were available in 8 different calibers, from 9mm to 50AE (and including rimmed cartridges like the 357 and 44 magnum!). The largest number of LAR Grizzly pistols were chambered for 45 WinMag.

    The Grizzly was essentially a beefed-up 1911, sharing many parts with the standard 45acp 1911. The extractor, while similar to the standard 1911 internal extractor, was designed to handle all of the cartridges without change or modification. The barrel chamber for each caliber was designed to center the round and position it properly for the extractor.

    The Grizzly was very expensive, over $1000 in 1983, but was extremely well fitted (essentially a semi-custom gun) and an accurate shooter.

    The weight and balance of the Grizzly make it quite manageable, even in the more powerful calibers, and the pistols are now sought after by handgun hunters and collectors. It's a truly spectacular gun:
     

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  2. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Okay, here's mine that I just started the paperwork on. It's a 1985 L.A.R.Grizzly Mark I in 45 WinMag. It has a 5.5" barrel with a factory bushing compensator that is probably designed to slow the slide down more than to deflect gas. It is not exceptionally heavy, being overall about 15% bigger than a govt 1911. The slide is 5.5" long. The finish is a very nice satin blue. Price in 1985 was $675 (It seems the price I quoted above was for a 3-barrel kit with 45 acp and 357 barrels). Price today is a bit more.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015

  3. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    There are 10 parts on the Grizzly that LAR said were non-standard. Otherwise it's a 1911!

    The 10:

    • Frame (big magwell, otherwise scaled up)
    • Slide (extra long because it has to open up to eject long brass)
    • Magazine (extra wide)
    • Barrel (odd length)
    • Trigger (extra long bow for oversize magwell)
    • Grips (extra width for oversize magwell)
    • Recoil Spring (non gov't length)
    • Extractor (specific to caliber)
    • Ejector (specific to caliber
    • Bushing (Commander size)

    There were 5 generations of the LAR Grizzly pistol:

    • Mark I - 44 WinMag, 45ACP, 357M (other calibers followed - 9,40,10,44,50)
    • Mark II - Same with parkerized finish (sold for $100 less)
    • Mark III - Never produced
    • Mark IV - Sold with 44M fire group by default
    • Mark V - Sold with 50AE fire group by default
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
  4. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    There's an interesting twist with the grizzly regarding parts availability. Because LAR made a vast number of conversion kits, you can get a complete set of new spare parts for $400 on ebay. Quite a bargain compared to the Omega, Bren Ten, Wildey, etc.
     
  5. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Finally got to take it to the range. Loaded up 100 230gr FMJ's over... 24gr of 2400. That should be right about 1500fps. It was a blast. Recoil was very manageable, and muzzle blast was awesome, as expected. I let a whole bunch of folks shoot it, and everybody was surprised how manageable it was.

    I wound up with a terrible flinch after a piece of brass came back and cut my forehead right through my hat. If the fireball looks kinda wimpy, consider that the pic was taken in open shade on a bright, sunny afternoon.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
  6. Geezer

    Geezer New Member

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    Nice fireball. 24 gr? I'd like to hear those bullets smacking the steel.
     
  7. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Actually, you just hit on the one big disappointment. At 1500fps, the FMJ is barely holding together, and when it hits the steel it atomizes, so not much plate swinging effect. It was kind of interesting to see the two plates on either side of the one I was shooting at swing just a tiny bit. I suppose that if you were to shoot some animal with this load, it would have a dinnerplate size exit wound. I have heard that HP's at these velocities fly apart as soon as they exit the barrel.

    I think I'm going to be zeroing this sucker at 200 yards, since at any closer distance the fireball makes it impossible to see where the bullets hit.

    So, the big winner for steel plate whacking is still the 45LC with a 320gr 20:1 bullet poking along at 1100fps. The plates swing right up over the bar. But if you were being attacked simultaneously by two bears and a pack of wolves, the Grizzly would be a good pistol choice. It lays down covering fire like a Ma Deuce. 7 shots at 2 second intervals and the range was mighty quiet afterwards. Best comment was: "That must be a .40!" from some guy with a 9.
     
  8. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Powder burn was very good. No old maids (Orville Redenbacher was quite a handloader, don't you know), and clean cases. I have come to feel that 2400 is the right powder for magnum loads in barrels up to 6 inches. But H110/296 makes a much bigger muzzle blast.
     
  9. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    And here's what happened to the Sprinco unit. Yes, this is the unit designed specifically for use in the LAR Grizzly:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    The sheared off Extractor tip on the Grizzly, due to increased slide speed after Sprinco failure:
     

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  11. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    There is some evidence that there was a void that nucleated the failure of the extractor.
     
  12. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Just took 'er to the range and blasted 50 more blue pills though 'er. Took it like a lady, even with a GI recoil assembly. Another pic:[​IMG]
     
  13. Geezer

    Geezer New Member

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    Hard to beat a GI set up.
     
  14. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Sprinco is being very defensive about my $70 claim to cover the cost of welding up the extractor. Sigh. If I were them I would be effusively apologetic, and very eager to get the failed spring back so that I could find out why it failed. I paid $100 for a spring, I should be treated like a paying customer. Folks in Texas are usually more agreeable. It's folks in Kansas that are normally ready to go to the mat for a few bucks (Pokute makes bald attempt to garner support from the excessive number of Texans in this forum).

    Wow. The Sprinco guy turned out to be a first class jerk. He is insisting that the recoil spring I used was too long for a govt 1911... The Grizzly is not a govt 1911, and uses a longer spring. Use a Sprinco at your peril.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
  15. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Extractor - From broken to, uh, usable (The weld metal was so hard it wrecked my file):
     

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