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Discussion Starter #1
...in the space of two weeks. Went a little crazy at auctionarms.com. I haven't had a chance to fire any of them yet but I bought one box of CCI Blazer FMJs and two of Silver Bear JHPs to try in them.

Here's what I've found so far:

Magazines
- The FEG came with one mag. Stamped on its baseplate was a number matching the last 4 digits of the pistol's serial number. I bought an extra mag from J&G Sales when I bought the Silver Bear. It also has a 4-digit number stamped on the baseplate but on the rear instead of the front. It's definitely a struggle to feed these magazines, especially the 6th and 7th rounds.
- The Bulgarian and Russian both came with two mags. No markings visible on the Russians. On the left side of the Bulgarians was engraved in European style numerals the last four digits of the pitol's serial number and "- 1" on one and "- 2" on the other. The mags are interchangeable between the guns but seem to fit better in the matching gun.

Safeties
On the FEG, down is safe, push UP to fire. The Maks are the opposite - like my Browning Hi-power - sweep DOWN to fire. Unlike my Hi-power, the safeties are all at least somewhat stiff to operate. The Russian is the easiest, the Bulgie so hard to work that it can not be done effectively on a draw. The FEG falls in-between, a little closer to the Russian.

Esthetics and Ergonomics
From the first time I handled them, I preferred the balance and feel of the FEG. The Maks are growing on me, though. A trip to the range should provide more data on which to base my choices.

Question-can I expect the safety on the Bulgarian to smooth out after time or is there an adjustment that can be made?
 

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Yes, the safety will become looser with use. You can just flick it off and on a few dozen times, and feel it soften. You will also notice a line wearing into the bluing beneath the safety lever. This is normal.

Your opinion of the Mak will improve, after your range trip. It's a remarkably intuitive little gun, and feels like it was meant to be an extension of your hand when firing. You will likely be quite pleased by the surprising accuracy, as well. PA-63s are a bit snappier, and do watch out for slide bite.
 

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the PA-63 will feel better than the Mak until you shoot it. Then you'll appreciate the Mak's steel frame versus the PA-63's alloy frame. The '63 will punch you sharply in the hand (not to mention be very wary of the slide biting you if you have big hands) whereas the Mak will just shoot comfortably. I had a '63 and put a lot of rounds thru it, but between the two I'd pick the Mak every time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update

Thanks for the replies and advice.

I've been diddling the safety on the Bulgarian and it does seems to be loosening up a bit. I'll keep at it and hope I don't go blind before I get to the range.

What's wrong with a P64? Nothing (in fact, my grandmother was from Poland so I may be in the mood to pick one up before too much longer. BTW - are they C&R eligible? I just sent in my paperwork for that today). It's just that I searched auctionarms for "makarov" and one of the results was the PA-63. The high bid on it was $95 so on a whim, I put in the next higher bid, just under $100, figuring for that I could hardly go wrong but someone else would surely outbid me. Nobody did and - voila!

The Russian was the next one I bid on, before learning much more about Makarovs. By the time I decided that I should wait for a Bulgarian, or better, and East German, I'd won that one.

Then the Bulgarian came to auction - available for a lower bid than the Russian. In for a penny, in for a pound, so I made that mine as well.

Back to the PA-63: there are posts on this site and elsewhere suggesting that a spring job will be a big help. After my range trip (hope to get there Friday morning) if I don't completely hate the gun, that may be the next step. Both makarov.com and Wolff Springs websites offer them. Any recommendations on which of those to use?

Thanks again.
 

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If you decide you hate the 63 let me know I'm in the market for a cheap one:D;)
 

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I'll second gg on buying your PA 63.

I have large hands (I normally carry a Browning Hi-Power) and I have Never had a problem shooting the PA 63, nor do I find the recoil to be at all uncomfortable. I actually like the way it fits my hand better than my chicom MAK, but then I used a PP 380 before the 63.

I do know that my 10 yr old Niece & 11 yr old Nephew both like to shoot it. We were out last month and after shooting all 9 of the guns I brought along, when I ask them at the end of the day what they wanted to shoot again BOTH said the Ruger Bearcat AND the PA 63. Neither had ever fired any hand gun before and yet Both wanted to shoot the horrible PA 63 again. So they both put another mag thru it.
After that I wonder what it is about the PA 63 that makes some grown men whimper?
Someone please explain????
Sarge
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Update again

Had enough time for a quick trip to the range Monday morning and went through one box each of Blazer 95 grain TMJ and Silver Bear 94 grain HP between the three guns.

PA-63 - even after the warning about the heavy DA pull I was amazed at just how hard I needed to squeeze to get that first round off. Yes, it did kick quite a bit; easy to see how unpleasant it would be to shoot for any length of time. My hands are not large, so slide bite was not a problem. Despite comments I'd read somewhere about how it might not like the HPs, there were no problems feeding or ejecting them. This one will likely stay in my safe until I can change that spring.

Makarovs - First, a note on pronunciation. Most Americans will naturally stress the first syllable. Makarov.com says, no, it's mah-KAR-ov. I have a good friend with a 20+ year career in the Air Force, most of that time as a Russian Translator. I wrote the name for him and asked him to pronounce it.
He said, "mak-uh-ROV." So nobody agrees on that point.
Both of these kicked more than I expected, but not as much as the PA-63. I think the Bulgarian was a little harsher than the Russian. Twice the slide on the Bulgarian failed to lock back after emptying the magazine.

Based on this limited experience, any doubts I had about the potency of the 9x18 makarov round have diminished. If nothing else, all those sparks flying out of the muzzle will convince most BGs to run the other way.
Sadly, none of these pistols was as accurate as I hoped. It might be the tiny sights or my lack of practice with this size weapon. Firing at a fairly rapid pace, at 15 yards I can get a 4.5" pattern from my Browning Hi-power. Even taking more time with these, I was lucky to keep them all on the paper.
 

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Brutus: The P64 is not C&R eligible, the first year of manufacturing was either 1964 or 1965. We got a few years to go unless you have some connections atthe ATF or better yet a curator at a firearms / weapons museum.
 

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Brutus - don't give up on the Mak too soon. I've been shooting mine for a couple of years now, and find them to be EXTREMELY accurate, although admittedly not as quick AND accurate as my Browning Hi Power on IDPA type scenarios. My favorite targets at our shooting range are about 12 inch square plates at 50 yards - instant feedback, and you don't have to wait for a target change to start shooting. Anyway, I can his those virtually every time with either my EG or Russian Mak, with Wolf FMJ or my lead reloads, if I take my time. I'm certainly no better with the Browning.
 

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"Sadly, none of these pistols was as accurate as I hoped. It might be the tiny sights or my lack of practice with this size weapon."

BF- Just wondering what type of weapon you primarily used prior to firing the Mak? I shot 1911's almost exclusively before my 1st Mak and it DID take me a little bit getting used to. For some reason, my trigger finger position had to be slightly different from how I shot the 1911. But I agree with wrangler5...get comfortable with it and it is a really accurate little weapon. And they break-in as you shoot them. And their addicting! I'm on my 4th.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
"... BF- Just wondering what type of weapon you primarily used prior to firing the Mak? I shot 1911's almost exclusively before my 1st Mak and it DID take me a little bit getting used to. For some reason, my trigger finger position had to be slightly different from how I shot the 1911. ...
What I'd been shooting was the BHP 9mm I referenced in that last post. Interesting that you mention 1911s; I've pretty much decided that my next handgun purchase, unless I find a truly smokin' deal on an EG Mak sooner, will most likely be a 1911. Now there's an addiction with many pleasures to sample. The blackened stainless steel Springfields I've been seeing lately are beautiful pieces, but I'd rather start out less ostentatiously - and much more cheaply - with a parkerized Mil-Spec or maybe even a Rock Island Armory Tatical.

Don't worry about my giving up on the Maks. With 9x18 available at under $8/box plus shipping on the web, I'll be getting plenty of practice in.
 
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