The editor shows us how his friend developed his CO2 handguns
The editor knows of a superb couple of Walther CP88s – and they’re for sale
Ihave a pal who can never do anything by halves. If he’s going to do something then it’s all or nothing, and when I was Iron Plate Action Shooting ( IPAS) Nige came along to see what it was all about. Within days, he was buying CO2 pistols, sights, pellets, magazines and working on his technique. He works with a special effects team in movie making and has a workshop that would be a complete dream for anybody who likes to make things. Every possible piece of equipment is on hand to cut, shape or weld almost any material you can think of, so when he wants to work on his guns he’s as well equipped as any gunsmith.
His first pistol purchase was a Walther blued CP88 in the standard length – a lovely little gun, and a fine choice for IPAS. It was soon stripped, polished and precisely lubricated before being very carefully rebuilt and having the rare wooden grip panels attached. The trigger’s action was improved and everything moved with a slick action that made it all the more pleasurable to use. Like me, his eyesight isn’t what it was and he soon asked me about the Nikko Stirling red- dot sight I was using on my Colt 1911. Having tried my gun, he felt that he’d like to try a red- dot himself, so in true Nige fashion, he bought a second pistol to wear one.
His eye was soon drawn to the competition version of the CP88, available in a bright nickel finish, which was right up his street. He liked the long ‘muzzle brake’ and extended barrel and the highperformance looks, so he bought one. This received all the same touches as the first pistol before investigating just how a red dot could be attached.
We searched for CP88- specific mounts, but we couldn’t find anything suitable at that time, so Nige made the decision to mill the slide to become a Weaver rail, a difficult and potentially damaging process. If he cut too deeply, the slide could be ruined, but with careful measurements, it looked like it would be a success. A secondary benefit of attaching the sight directly to the slide was that the sight would be as low as possible to the bore, which helps the pistol’s handling.
After clamping the slide into the vice of the mill, the cutter came up to speed and metal began to fly. Tiny cuts were made and the width measured again and again and the rail began to form before my eyes.
With the final measurement taken, he slid the sight onto the rail and we breathed a sigh of relief. It was a success and the competition gun wore a holographic red- dot sight for the first time.
Nige found the optical sight not only more accurate to shoot with, but also much faster to get on to the targets. Now, it’s true that you don’t need the highest standard of accuracy to clang a one-foot square steel plate at 10 yards, but when you’re shooting as fast as you can, any advantage is very welcome. However, he still enjoyed shooting with open sights, so he made a plan to carry both pistols to the competitions. This would allow him to decide on the day which one he’d use.
To keep them safe in transport, he chose a stalwart of the movie industry which is the Pelicase, one of the toughest cases you can buy. Inside he created pockets for the pistols, magazines, lubricant and plenty of pellets. This was on two
“Nige found the optical sight not only more accurate to shoot with, but also much faster”
levels, and the combination of a tough case and high density foam ensured that even if you dropped the case onto concrete, no harm could befall the contents. Better than that, it simply looks great. James Bond would be proud to open this as he set off on his next mission. It also means that you pick up the case, your holster and some CO2 and you’re ready to compete. He re- employed one of the pistol cases supplied for the CP88s to carry capsules, keeping them clean and safe. If ever something looked professional at an air- pistol competition, then surely this was it.
When I stopped competing in IPAS, so did he. He went back to his great love of field target shooting and wouldn’t you know it, was busy modifying a Walter LG300 with a new regulator, a titanium reservoir and a stock, custom- fitted to his body. In no time, the standard gun was unrecognisable and, of course, it lives in a custom- fitted Pelicase, with all its accessories. Beautiful!
I asked him recently what he planned to do with the pistols and he said he’d sell them. I was surprised that after all the love, care and money he’d lavished upon them he wasn’t more attached, but no. He’s moved on and they’re up for sale, so if you’re interested, send me an email at [email protected] archant.co.uk and I’ll put you in touch.
ABOVE: A place for everything and everything in its place
LEFT: Ultra- careful machining was needed to cut this scope rail
BELOW LEFT: The lower level holds the standard CP88 BELOW RIGHT: The Pelicase is one of the toughest you can buy
TOP: You can see just how thick the foam padding is here ABOVE INSET: Finding these smart wooden grips took a lot of time and effort