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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A blast from the past, the Coonan 357 auotloader was produced by Dan Coonan until their bankruptcy in 93. All stainless steel and built like a tank, they were not known as "junk" but well made guns.

Coonan still services the pistols and makes FAL receivers according to their website here: http://www.dancoonan.com/coonan_357.html under the business name DCI, Inc.

An officer I knew a few towns over from where I worked had one and would bring it to the range quite often back in the early 90's. It was a blast to shoot with lots of horsepower on tap [ two different mags would hold either 7 and 8 rounders depending on when they were made ].

Standard recoil spring weights range from 22, to the more accepted 24# which was factory standard.

The gun was specifically deigned around two cartridges. The 125 and 158 grain loadings for that era. Either weight could be shot without changing springs.

Yes, they are getting quite collectable lately. This one came through the shop, it's number was run on the hot sheet [ clean ] and then to myself.

What's expensive are the mags. I've located several to put away with this one. I don't bite the bullet now on these, they'll be harder to find and much more expensive. NO ONE is making aftermarkets for this one and I've secured 4 mags at 150.00 each from a guy in Texas.

I sent this one off to be refurbed------got the Coonan back from the man who refurbs them and was the primary builder for Dan Coonan when they were in business.

Here's a couple of shots of the Model B now in the safe. I'm told by the gunsmith who worked on this one that it's one of the finer examples he's seen, clean, taken care of and not shot a whole lot.

This one is now worth about $1800.00-2000.00 with the 4 mags that I've got for it. Mags are about 200.00 each if you can find them.

Anyone ever see or get to shoot one of these pieces?

Brownie
 

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Very nice specimen...do you also have a Falcon Arms Portsider to round out your collection of oddball 1911s? :D

I would be tempted to carry something like that if it could be fitted with a beavertail, ambi safety and different sights...are those parts interchangeable with a standard 1911?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Afternoon deadeyedick,

None of the parts are interchangeable with the standard govt model 1911's.

.do you also have a Falcon Arms Portsider to round out your collection of oddball 1911s?

Not yet, but I'm working on it:rolf

Brownie
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jkwas,

That's correct, it fires 357 Magnum ammo [ like revolvers ] and prefers the 125 and 158 grain bullets.

38 special can be fired in it, but it doesn't like it much.

Brownie
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, he continues to lean back off balance with each shot. His feet didn't move, but he allowed the recoil to affect his upper body balance.

7 shot magazines are standard with this gun, but there were some 8 round mags made for it [ extremely hard to find ]. No one ever made after market mags for that gun.

The energy delivered from the 5" barrel is on the order of 548 foot pounds with a 158 grain bullet traveling 1250 fps.

The energy delivered from a 125 grain bullet is on the order of 524 foot pounds from this gun traveling 1375 fps.

Quite impressive ballistics to say the least.

Brownie
 

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I really wish those were still available. Would love to get my hands on one.

I shot one years ago when I was in Maine. Had a grin that wouldn't go away. A handful, to be sure, but not unpleasant at all. Mr. Coonan did things right.

You be a lucky man, Mr. Brownie! :drinks Next time I'm in AZ, I'll stop by to say Hi. Have the pistol handy.....or ELSE! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
has a bit more zip than the .357 sig yes?

It does have more zipitty do da at the muzzle and at the receiving end.:D

Brownie
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The original Coonan's were very good, the mags were hard to find and are expensive now. I have no idea on the quality of the new releases.
 

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I wonder if the new mags will fit your gun? years ago one of the Customs officers that was searching my boat had a Coonan on his side. we briefly chatted about it. he said he liked it a lot. I would have liked to check it out better but due to the circumstances, I was glad he kept it holstered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The link stated that the new mags may fit or may need fitting to work in the original guns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Here's a review from gunsamerica on the new Coonan 357 mag 1911. Thought others would enjoy the article as well. Mine that I ordered 4 months ago should be heading my way by the end of the month. I had night sights installed, checkered wood grips and two extra mags [ it comes with 2 so I'll have 4 mags for it. 7+1 of 357mag ].

http://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/coonan-arms-classic-357-magnum-1911-pistol/

Coonan Arms
http://www.coonaninc.com/

What do you call a giant stainless steel .357 Magnum 1911 pistol? Well, if you listen to Coonan Arms, maker of this righteous beast called the Coonan Classic .357, the answer is that it may be many things, but it is for sure…

Not Your First Pistol!

The .357 Magnum is considered by many to be the most effective handgun round for human sized targets. But unfortunately the cartridge was created for revolvers, not pistols. So for fans of 1911 and other auto pistols, the .357 Magnum isn’t practical. It has a rim around the back of the case, unlike a .45ACP or 9mm that are flat and don’t. The extra lip that sticks out of the .357 Magnum and other rimmed cases creates trouble in semi-auto pistol magazines, and the .357 Magnum case itself is very long to fit lengthwise in the grip of a pistol as well.

This leaves 1911 fans who are also devotees of the .357 Magnum in a lurch, because though you can carry several guns at one time, you can only shoot one gun effectively at a time. Until now you had to choose between a 1911 and a .357 Magnum revolver. The Coonan Classic .357 seeks to combine these two choices, and they have done a really great job of it. If you are fan of both the 1911 and the .357 Magnum, you will be pleasantly surprised with this gun. It definitely isn’t for the uninitiated, but with a proper understanding of how the gun works and why, it isn’t a gun to be afraid of as a novice shooter . It works really well and is also a lot of gun for the money.

The Coonan Classic .357 features a linkless barrel in a 1911 frame. That means it field strips more like a modern auto-pistol than like a 1911. The barrel still comes out the front like a standard 1911, with the front barrel bushing that turns so you can slide the barrel out, but the link you have to line up when you reassemble the gun is not there. This is a pure recoil operated gun, like a standard 1911, and I think that Coonan stresses this because the only other .357 Mag. pistol on the market is the Desert Eagle, and that is gas operated in part, as we explained recently in our review of the .44 Mag. version of the gun. A recoil operated gun is cleaner than a gas gun, and it is subject to less maintenance.

If you look in the pictures, you will notice the steep incline of the rounds in the specialized magazine for this gun. This is so that the rims of the .357 Mag. cases will absolutely not bind up by overlapping each other. For other gunmakers out there, I’m sure this was a case of “why didn’t I think of that,” because it does 100% solve the rim problem with the .357 Mag. case. The Coonan Classic .357 feeds flawlessly, as long as you use real .357 Mag. ammo, which I’ll get into in a bit.

The grip on the Coonan Classic .357 is big, but though most of the circumference is lengthwise, it overall is not really bigger than my Para P-14, and I even compared it to an old Smith & Wesson 659, which is a double stack 9mm from the 80s, and it is about the same size. At a circumference of just over 5 5/8ths inches, it fits my stubby fingered hand just fine. In fact I would argue that the design of the grip is made specifically so that finger length is not an issue. Your hand isn’t going to go all the way around unless you have Eddie Van Halen freakishly long fingers, so wherever the fingers rest is where they rest, regardless of your size hands. I was able to shoot it comfortably.

Physically the gun is flawless. Coonan sells the Classic .357 for $1,249 as you see it in the pictures with black grips and fixed sights, and they offer upgrades on sights, grips, Duracoat, and extra mags above that. But the appearance and function of the gun is that of a much more expensive 1911. The action is butter smooth, the trigger crisp and light, and after hundreds of rounds of .357 Mag. and .38 Special the breech face and internals of the gun were about as dirty as a most guns I shoot after 20 rounds. This is a well made, close tolerance gun that will last you a lifetime. You can buy several brands of 1911 off the shelf for more money than this Coonan and they will not be this clean and tight in their manufacturing and performance.

The ad campaign about the Coonan Classic .357 not being your first pistol is just that, an ad campaign. You do have to read the directions on this gun. It comes with a pin to help you load the magazine effortlessly, and as I was loading the magazine I did envision bumbleheaded posts to the gun forums about how much of a “thumbuster” the Coonan .357 magazines were, when you were never supposed to load them with just your thumb to begin with. There is no accounting for stupid, and I think this is part of why Coonan adopted the “not your first pistol” approach, to steer the gun away from people who wouldn’t use it properly. It is definitely a gun geek gun, but you shouldn’t let that scare you off if you are new to shooting but comfortable with the guns you already shoot.

To me the gun wasn’t punishing whatsoever. It is 42 oz. empty, and this is plenty of weight to offset the recoil of a full snot .357 Mag. I shot it with Hornady Critical defense, and though you will see a huge fireball on the Coonan Arms webpage, I didn’t note this at all in my tests of the gun. Critical Defense utilizes the same powder blending technology that you find in Hornady Superformance. The .357 Mag. Critical Defense is engineered to not produce a big fireball with even a 2″ Ruger LCR, and the Coonan Classic 5″ barrel is more than enough burn time to optimize the most velocity with the least muzzle flash. The 125 grain Critical Defense clocked at just over 1500 feet per second, and it shot easily into about an inch at ten yards.

Some may find the romance of a huge kick and brilliant muzzle flash a great reason to buy a .357 Mag. pistol, but as a certifiable gun geek, I think this pistol stands on its own merits very well as a really functional and high quality pistol for a reasonable price.

The only thing I didn’t find as promised in the Coonan Classic .357 was that it is supposed to be able to shoot .38 Special with a second spring that comes with the gun. I installed the spring and tried it with Hornady Critical Defense in both regular .38 Special and the +P loads, as well as some Fiocchi .38 Special I was out testing a cowboy gun with, and none of it cycled reliably even with the lighter spring. I don’t think that people buy a gun like this in hopes that they will be able to punch paper with the .38s, but each to his own. Though it was disappointing from a nerd perspective, I don’t feel this hurts the viability of the Coonan Arms Classic .357 as probably the nicest .357 semi-auto pistol ever made.

If you try your own pistol with the .38 Special spring, make sure to swap the spring back when you switch back to .357 Mag. The gun will work fine with the lighter spring and the more powerful ammunition, but the heavy spring was installed as the default to protect the frame of the gun from unnecessary battering. This is yet another reason why I’m sure Coonan had the idea to advertise the Classic .357 as “not your first pistol.” If you don’t follow the directions you will only frustrate yourself, and you may damage your gun over time.

It holds 7+1 rounds of .357 Mag. (or .38 if you can get it to shoot), so as a carry gun the firepower is about the same as a standard .45ACP 1911. Our test gun came with two mags, but on the website it appears that for the $1,249 base price you only get one. It also comes with a bottle of FP-10 lubricant, and a nicely made custom soft zipper case, as well as a lock and the pin to help load the magazines.

“Nothing Left to Envy” is the Coonan Arms tag line, and I think it fits this gun a lot better than “not your first pistol.” Side by side with just about any other 1911, there is nothing left to envy, and as long as you understand that you have to slow down and follow the directions with the Coonan Classic .357, there is no reason it couldn’t be your first pistol. Devotees of both the 1911 and the .357 Magnum will find a nice blend in this gun, and I can pretty much assure you that nobody else at the range will have one.
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It's only 3 ounces heavier, unloaded, than a standard steel govt 1911 with 5" barrel. Ballistics look like 125 grain at over 1400 fps with fpe near 600.
 

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Look how far we have come. Now you can by a .357 revolver that holds 7 or 8 rounds. 8 for sure! :) Nice gun and read an article about it recently in a gun mag looking back at guns of the past that did not make it to the present.
 

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The Coonan was a great pistol. Unfortunately, it had three major drawbacks; it was expensive when compared to .357 magnum revolvers, it had only a 2 round ammo advantage and, the biggest factor, the grip circumference was too big for most hands to shoot comfortably, due to the length of the cartridge. But, it was a great shooter. And, if you ran out of ammo, it was big and heavy enough to beat a bear to death with. I'm glad to see it is coming back. It would be nice if it stuck around awhile, this time.
 
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