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Old 02-27-2004, 07:04 PM   #1
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Auto Shop Combat Commander

Question for Dane

What can you tell me about the work done by the smiths of the defunct Auto Shop in Culver City, CAL?
I am the new owner of a 70 Series Combat Commander done by them.

Keith
 
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Old 02-27-2004, 07:24 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Issaquah, WA
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Short version:

Pachmeyr hired a kid named Craig Wetstein right out of gunsmith school. Pachmeyr became known for their 1911 work through a couple of generations and amazing rifle work to boot. Jumping ahead here a few years. Great ideas came from the Pachmeyr Gunworks but idea and completion of the Pachmeyr Specials goes to to Tom Dornhaus and Craig Wetstein who though up the gun design (Dornhaus) and the guy who made most of them (Wetstein). Wetstein went on to duplicate and IMO better those guns in his shop in the early 80, "The Auto Shop" of Culver City Ca. Two IPSC World Championships were won with Combat Specials built by Dornhaus and Wetstein while at Pachmeyr, Ray Chapman in 1975 and Ross Seyfried in 1981. The original "Combat Special" has to be on of the most copied 5" 1911s ever built.

Wetstein also built the guns for Askins, Cooper and a couple of others that have been much talked about. Craig still lives in the LA basin but no longer builds guns. He is the one who has supplied me most of this info.

That said I had a 5" full house gun from Craig's "AUTO SHOP". It was done in the early '80s and bettered many of the modern maker's work by a good margin.

My opinion is the guns are a exceptional find.
 
Old 02-28-2004, 06:53 AM   #3
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Thanks Dane

Dane:

Thanks for the prompt reply. The pistol is what I woul like to call a Conservative rendition of the modern combat pistol.

It has some unusual milling inside of the slide, apparently to lighten it. Should I follow any special precautions as a result?

Keith
 
 
Old 02-28-2004, 07:22 AM   #4
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Photos! We want photos!
 
Old 02-28-2004, 02:48 PM   #5
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Photos

Dave:

Photos will have to wait until I can access them on my other computer, most likely on Monday.

Keith
 
Old 02-28-2004, 07:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
It has some unusual milling inside of the slide, apparently to lighten it. Should I follow any special precautions as a result?
Sorry, no idea. It might be something as simple as a Colt LWT slide which is milled out on either side of the disconnector raceway. Or something that Craig came up with. Nothing would surprise me. Pictures would be fun.
 
Old 03-02-2011, 01:59 PM   #7
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This is the first time I have done this sort of thing but as I was just looking around on the internet, I ran across this website. I was not aware of the distortions of the the fact over time. On my desk, in front of me is a 1911 pistol. I was lucky to get a employee's discount of 15% from Frank Pachmayr. He had no idea what I was going to do with it. Without his knowledge, I turned it into the very first Combat Special. I had been competing as a member of the Southwest Combat Pistol Club & had a chance to see first hand, what a practical combat pistol should be. AS I did everthing to this 1911, I noted how long it took to preform all the improvments & arrived at what I considered a fair price for the work. I even hand cut the pantograph stencil of Frank's last name & had it engraved in to my slide. Most of the work was done at lunch time & after work. When I was ready, I took to Frank's office showed Frank the pistol & the cost of each option & how much profit it generated. He inspected the piece & the financial info & gave me permission to start selling The Pachmayr Combat Pistol. This started more than a year befor Paul Liebenberg was even hired. If there is any one out there reading this, I would be happy to answer any questions reguarding any fact about the Combat Special. I would just ask you to keep it to this topic & not the Bren 10. Thanks
 
Old 03-02-2011, 07:45 PM   #8
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Welcome Aboard!
 
Old 03-02-2011, 09:15 PM   #9
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SouthWest Combat Pistol Club...Now that had to be the days....Back then, ever so often somebody from Louisiana or East Texas would come back from a trip out west talkin' about How good that bunch was...Some talked of seein' Thell Reed load 3 at a time in a single action....Do You have any Photos of those times and HANDS....Rob Latham was tellin' Me some stories when I used to see Him at the Handgunner match about the early days of Him and Brian Enos goin' to Calif. and shootin with those people

Wild Bill
 
Old 03-03-2011, 10:20 AM   #10
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photos

Yes I do. I am going to gather them togeather & show you guys in the future. Years ago, beacause of some health problems, my family had to move me from one loction to another & they did not know what was what so I have to do a lot of searching to find them. I hope they did not throw them out. Case in point, One day Ray Chapman came to my bench at Pachmayr, and handed me a target with 5 bullet holes. He had written on it, fifty yards, prone, Combat special. The group measured 1-3/4 inches, center to center. He said that I might want to keep it, & then he said, I am keeping the best one. Made my day!! I hung it on the wall in my garage workshop. A have a photo showing Frank & me presenting the pistol to Ray for winning the worlds first combat pistol match.
 
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