This one arrived at the club on Thur and I picked it up this morning. It looks to be about a 1998 model per the DF1436 serial number, factory refurbished at some point per the 'U' stamped on the trigger guard. Disassembly and inspection revealed a gun that looks, to my eye, like it's not seen 1,000 rds in its entire life, although I believe it's been bead blasted at least once after it first left the factory.
First up, I loaded 6 rds of handloads into the magazine. These were 180gr lead bullet loads with 1.125" overall length, truncated cone. None of these would cycle properly, with the slide not able to go fully into battery after the first shot. So, dropping the slide initially, no problem--but after the first shot it looks like the bullet ran into a very short leade.
The only other ammo I had on hand was two boxes of Federal Champion (Walmart) ammo, and all 100 rds fed without any issue. I started out shooting fairly slow, trying to put together some groups at 7 yards. I had everything in 2" groups with a few fliers--nothing great, nothing terrible for a first showing either.
Ejected brass looks to be battered worse than I've ever seen in any auto--with a severe flattening of the side of the cases from the mouth back about 1/4". Could be maybe the ejector needs to be shortened up a bit? I can get the cases through the press--it just makes no sense to let the gun run this way and risk a failure to eject.
When I got to shooting from a low ready position--raising the gun and firing at 7 yds as quickly as I could, the first 3 rds hit about 6-8" low--real nasty trigger jerk, I assume. After I settled down a bit, things looked good.
The small grip is having a few undesirable affects right now--the first is the strong hand (right) middle finger knuckle area is really taking some abuse from the trigger guard. The second is the weak hand forefinger, just behind the big knuckle--the skin on the finger being rubbed nearly raw from that sharp-edged slide stop. The 3rd issue is that the trigger reach is so short that my trigger finger keeps wanting to wrap around the trigger--I found myself pressing the trigger at the first joint of the finger.
Anyway, the slide stop I can fix easily by putting a nice radius around the edge, and I can see myself getting a spare one to do this with. I might even remove the serrated area entirely--I really have no need for the slide stop in terms of using it as a slide release, and see no need for it sticking out so far.
I'm likely going to buy the wood grips after all because I've read here that they're a bit fatter than the stock rubber ones, and I'll be taking a shot at making a set from some beautiful black linen Micarta I've got on hand. If I go that way, I'll be shooting for some significantly fatter grips in an effort to make the gun a bit more comfortable. My hands are 'average' with fairly short stubby fingers--even so, this thing is mightly small-feeling in the hand.
So...so far I'm extremely happy with it--it's all I expected and then some, and I have no doubt I'll be able to shoot it well enough for it to be a carry gun here shortly. I'll likely just go ahead and order 1,000 plated 135 gr bullets for handloading, but may also try running a shorter OAL on the lead bullets so there's no exposed shoulder ahead of the case mouth at all. That should stop the failure to go into battery.
LOVE this little gun. I have no doubt it will grant me much smaller groups than I need with some practice and better trigger finger positioning.