|08-27-2006, 06:42 PM||#1|
Nighthawk Predator Review
My Nighthawk Predator review (as posted on m1911.org)
This pistol is not accurate. It's stupid, ridiculously, movie-like, laser-like accurate. My girlfriend who can't hit a steel plate with anything other than her Browning Buckmark .22 knocked six 3" falling steel plates down at 15 yards using just 1 mag on her first try. Keep in mind she's not a serious shooter and she's 95lbs and 4'9". Here's how to hit with my Predator. Place the front sight on the target. Pull the trigger. That's it. It's as easy as that. I started calling my shots on hanging scuba tanks at 68 yards. With the Predator barrel double taps aren't easy. They're second nature. They're automatic. Before you know it you're back on target and the pistol's firing again.
I fired mainly local range reloaded semiwadcutters (Winchester brass and 230 grain SWCs) with a couple of boxes of Blaser ball and several boxes of Winchester White Box. There was a few failure to extracts, mainly when using Wilson mags and of course when using a mixture of said ammunition which I made a point of doing. I'm not the type that documents every malfunction; I know if the pistol's unreliable and to me, 5 or 6 problems during a day of shooting mixed reloads using factory and non-factory mags is a non issue especially considering the amount of gunk that built up on the pistol. The only maintenance that I did was apply FP 10 twice. Craig recomended it over the phone though the owner's manual recommends grease. So I'll probably use Gun Butter next range outing. (Gunbutter did NOT work out, went back to FP10).
At the range I go to, it's a private range that you go to by invitation. The guy who runs it is a Windrunner salesman and a retired BATF agent. He's one hell of a shot and we routinely compete on falling plates and games of who can shoot the aluminium can the farthest with one magazine. I've never beat him. He shoots a very expensive completely custom S&W .38 revolver on a .357 frame with custom competition barrel, sights, lockwork, etc and he only uses .38 handloaded wadcutters. Shooting this revolver is like shooting a .22 in recoil and the double action trigger is so light that's what he shoots that rather than single action. I've come close to beating him using my Series I Kimber Pro Carry. I also have a Kimber Custom CDP II but the bull barrel on the Pro Carry seems to be more conducive to accuracy hence my impending sale of the CDP II.
Yesterday was different. An impromptu double tap competiton was a decisive victory (the semi-auto action was a big help). The falling plates were 50:50 but I had 2 malfunctions that lost me $2 (we bet $1 each time). Keep in mind this guy has competed for 30 years and his weapon probably has even more $$$ invested in it than my Predator. Anyway, no one's ever even come close to doing what I did against the guy yesterday in my 2 years of shooting with him. I think once I find the right ammunition, he's mine
My biggest beef with my Predator yesterday was the slide burning my left thumb from the 96 degree heat and all of the hundreds of rounds through it!
Cleaning it today has been a breeze except for some stubborn fouling in the barrel. I've been alternating with Hoope's #9 and Montana 50 BMG using a patch wrapped around a nylon brush. The rest of the pistol was a bloody breeze to clean up. I was a little disconcerted when I snapped a grip screw with very little pressure but I've read of a faulty batch of grip screws on Nighthawks and I will bet all of you $5 that Craig will ship out some new ones ASAP tomorrow. (he did)
Quick question: Any recommendation on getting rid of this fouling?
One thing that surprised me is the extractor. It's an AFTEC and I didn't order it I really like how it's tight but not too tight and the extreme simplicity of the whole mechanism. I will be using it on all of my 1911s now.
The PermaKote finish is awesome. I should have scratched it reasembling the pistol and when I checked for my first "idiot mark" from the slide stop, it wiped off! I was surprised to note the entire barrel had been PermaKoted as well. Another extra I didn't pay for from Nighthawk Custom
I wholeheartedly recommend having your rear sights opened up a bit to have generous bars of light around your front sight. I asked Nighthawk to do this and the result is noticeably easier to acquire targets with and hit accurately with. POI was POA everytime with this pistol, even at extreme ranges.
In closing (after rambling so much), this is the finest pistol I've ever shot. I believe the Predator barrel is an unfair advantage almost and the worksmanship of the Nighthawk is right alongside the 1911s I've seen from custom gunsmiths. The entire crew at NHC made the process easy from every facet to include my custom requests, next day delivery, and even faxing me a copy of the order to speed up my 10 day waiting period. Not to mention the pistol being done and shipped in 6 weeks. The new grip screws were shipped in 1 day flat with the initial email being responded to in less than an hour.
There may be a Predator III in my near future.....
|08-27-2006, 06:56 PM||#2|
Join Date: Oct 2004
Nighthawk Predator Review
Hi there littlelebowski,
Thank you for the very informative report on your Nighthawk Predator 1911.
It is probably the most comprehensive report on the Nighthawk that I have ever read from one of its customer's and is a testimonial to the crafting of this pistol.
For the fouling question, I suggest Kroll Oil (the oil that creeps) to be mopped in the barrel and allowed to "rest" before mopping out. The cleaning for removing fouling is probably the easiest I have seen in a long time and cuts down on "scubbing" the barrel.
Please keep us updated on this fine handgun!
Old school and proud of it!
|08-27-2006, 07:48 PM||#3|
Nighthawk Predator Review
It's had another 1000 rounds through and performed phenomenally. Using the NHC ACT mags makes the pistol rock solid reliable with Winchester white box, range reloaded SWCs, and Winchester Ranger rounds. I replaced the grips with red VZ grips bearing the NHC logo. Here's a terrible pic of said grips which are a great investment.
I'd like to mention NHC was wonderful to deal with. Every time I said "I don't want this factory standard feature on my pistol", Craig said "OK, that'll knock off $50-150 (whatever) off the bottom line." I was given a discount for my military service and the pistol showed up 2 weeks earlier than promised. So opting for no rollmarks (Stephen Camp might appreciate that), no checkering on the rear of the slide saved me money!
I did approach one of the biggest names in the custom pistol business and he told me straight up it would take longer and cost more to produce a like pistol but there would be more custom features. So the monetary savings, NHC's exceptional customer service, short wait time, and ability to spec out the pistol the way I want (even to setting the trigger to 3.5lbs) made the choice easy.
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