So this co-worker of mine (lady who knows that I shoot often) comes in my office and tells me that she has "this gun" that is broken. It is a small .380 and "supposedly" years ago, her son (who is older - in his 20's now - I guess at the time he was 17 or 18) was "playing" with it and slammed the magazine in it (but it was unloaded/unchambered) and it just fired by itself and put a hole in her wall. I told her that this was impossible. No gun can fire unless it had a round chambered - your son had to have chambered the round. Anyway, she said that she has always been "terrified" of the gun and this just made her more so. She took it to some LGS and a guy looked at it and told her it was "broken" (had a part that was broken). He handed it back to her and she had kept it over the years but never touched it again. She asked if I could look at it and determine if it was broken - if it could be fixed - if the broken part could be ordered etc...
At this point, I had no idea of the brand - just a brief description of the gun. I told her sure - bring it me. We exchanged from my trunk to hers in the parking lot and at this point I saw and told her it was a Bryco Model 38 (rollmarked on the slide). Anyway, she asked me about the brand then. I had heard all the notorious stories but before had never seen one of these guns. I was pumped to finally see one in person and get to take it apart etc...
Got it home and dissassembled it. It was in bad shape - had not been cleaned or lubed in years. The slide had significant pitting. When I got it apart I could see how it was meant to work. Had a very long firing pin with a raised ridge or flange on it. Firing pin (striker?) under spring pressure was meant to be held back at the ridge/flange by a spring loaded hook sitting on the frame. This hook was meant to hold the firing pin back in a cocked postion when the slide was racked back. The trigger then went through a couple of levers to pull down on the spring loaded hook (when pulled) to release the firing pin and fire the gun. I could see the "concept" and the design was not a particularily bad one - the problem was in the execution of the assembly and tolerances of the build of this gun.
The slide to frame "fit" was horrible - worst that I have ever seen. The slide (when moved forward - after racking - in the normal "in battery" & lockup position) had over an 8th of an inch play (up and down play). When under recoil spring pressure the slide would just take the least resistance and move up to the maximum up and down play position. This in turn would automatically release the firing pin or striker because the total up and down play of all of this would be greater than the distance for this hook to hold the flange and keep the gun "cocked".
Net effect of all of this - a gun that would immediatly go into uncontrolled automatic fire when loaded with a mag and a round chambered.
THE most dangerous firearm that I have ever seen.
I went back to work and reported all of this to her. Told her that her son had to have chambered a round but the gun did "fire by itself" after that. It had no broken parts but was totally unsafe. I recommended that she hold on to it until the next gun buy back by the local police and take it to them. She told me that it scared her so bad that she didn't even want to do that and told me to keep it.
I did not want to deal with waiting for buy back. I threw the small parts in the garbage can and took a hammer to the frame/barrel/slide. All were broken up and destroyed before they hit the trash can.
It was fun for me to check this gun out...
Interesting side note - same woman wanted to sell me 100 rounds of .22 longrifle HP's that she had and 100 rounds of .380 for her Bryco that she had no need for.
.22 is still very hard to find here so I jumped on that for $10bucks - asked her how much for the .380 and she said "I don't know - there is a receipt on the bag with it for $70bucks"
I said $70 bucks for 100 rounds of .380??? No way. She said oh it was years ago - I said, "then it should have been cheaper than it is now and it does not cost that now"
She said - well I don't care - how about $20 bucks - I said, deal.
So bring her $30 bucks next day. For that I get 100 rounds .22 ammo - 100 rounds .380ammo - a hard small shooting case with brand new shooting glasses & brand new earplugs (or at least never used - new old stock) and a Hoppes Pistol Cleaning kit that had never been used (with full bottles of solvent & oil).
I think I did pretty good!!
My wife asked/informed me that "why did you buy .380 ammo when you don't have a .380?"
I told her, "hey the first sign of obsession/sickness is when you start purchasing ammo for guns that you don't own yet?
Then, "I guess I will have to buy one now."
The look of mock disgust and rolling of eyes made it all worthwhile!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PS - Turns out the 69.95 plus tax receipt was for the gun itself (not the ammo). I told her that she paid $70 bucks for a gun in 2004 that was meant as personal defense. Not a wise choice. She said it was her ex-husband's idea and purchase and "he was always a cheap SOB". Didn't surprise her that the gun as a POS (like he was).