When you see this tag on a pistol, you know things may get interesting:
Can’t read it? Here’s the text:
This gun is unique in many
ways. Do not handle and/or
fire it without having read
the instruction manual.
If there is anything you don’t
understand, seek advice
from someone qualified in
safe handling of firearms.
Of course, we didn’t have the instruction manual. Details, details.
Here’s the tag in context:
The Wildey is one of those interesting experimental guns dating back to the 1970s. It uses a gas-operated system at fairly high pressures to fling a substantial slug at high velocity: the .45 WinMag version we shot is supposed to move a 230gr bullet at about 1,600fps, for about 1,300 ft/labs of energy. Now, that’s about 40% more power than the .45 Super or .460 Rowland cartridges out of a similar length barrel, so it is definitely nothing to sneeze at.
Even more interesting, the Wildey has a collar behind the barrel which allows you to adjust the gas pressure for different loads or to manage recoil while minimizing malfunctions. Well, at least in theory.
Why do I say “in theory”? Well, because in practice the thing was very finicky. Which certainly could have just been a matter of it being a brand-new gun in the hands of inexperienced shooters (well, inexperienced in shooting a Wildey … the three of us shooting it were the BBTI team, and I think it’s fair to say we have more than the typical amount of handgun shooting experience). But check out this video of Ian from Forgotten Weapons putting a Wildey Survivor through its paces and you’ll see what I mean:
He has all kinds of problems with it, rarely getting off two or three shots before experiencing a malfunction. That was exactly our experience with the gun.
Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I hated the gun. I don’t have enough experience with it to have that much of an opinion, having only run a couple of mags through it myself. But all three of us had major problems with the gun, even after we consulted online resources to get tips on managing the malfunctions and tweaking the gas adjustment.
It is a cool, innovative design. It’s very well made. You pick it up, and you know you are holding something high quality. And hey, it was even a movie star. How can you not like that?
But at 4 pounds+ weight, and a substantial grip size, it is, as I said, a bit of a brute. And interestingly, as Ian notes at the end of the video above, the thing is all sharp edges just asking for a blood sacrifice. In fact, the BBTI member who took it home to clean it sliced up his hands while doing so.
An interesting gun. I’m glad I got the chance to shoot it. But I wouldn’t want to own one.
This content originally appeared at text and was written by James Downey This content is syndicated and does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of The Liberal Gun Club