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  #1  
Old 05-18-2020, 08:38 PM
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I realize these guns have seen Ďup and downí quality issues based on what I assume were related to ownership, manufacturing and management changes, but Iíve owned one in 22LR for more than 25 years and one in .380 ACP that I picked up 8 years ago in a Phoenix Gun Show for a very reasonable price, I have no complaints. Both have always fired multiple magazines of ammo without fail, so I apparently snagged two of the good ones! I want one in 45 ACP, but every time I sniff one out, I just miss it. I certainly donít need another 45 in the arsenal, but I just want to add another caliber into this series of AMT pistols. Itís now something I look for when going to gun shows, which are now coming back and when I donít have a grandchild playing in one sporting event or another. Itís now more the sport of the search than the gun, it keeps life fun! Any fans or detractors? Iíd welcome any and all input on these pistols, Iím just curious as to their time in the buying market because I donít know a manufacturing date on either. Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:58 PM
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Had the 45acp Back Up in the early 80ís. The hammer broke before I got 10 rounds off ( It broke just above the pivot pin).
When it came back from the factory, I traded it.
Problem was I really liked the gun, just lost faith in its reliability.
It was a fun (for me) gun. I purchased it for carry.
Not worth the $400 if you can find one. JMO

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Old 05-18-2020, 09:05 PM
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I had the .380. Hated it so much I gave it away. I do still have a .22mag that I bought and its kind of fun.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:10 PM
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I had one in .380 years ago, mid 80s. It wasn't reliable so I got rid of it. IIRC, it was kind of wide and heavy, but back then, the choices were a lot more limited.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:44 PM
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I had a 380 I bought in 82 or 83 or thereabouts. It worked OK. Weren't too many alternatives in that category at the time. I used it mainly as an on duty BUG. I shot it a fair amount for what it was. It liked hard ball and some HPs that weren't very. It wasn't safe in the back pocket without a holster as the safety would always become disengaged and if it's chambered it cocked. It doesn't take too many rounds for the bolt to get pretty beat up looking on the bottom. I eventually traded it in on the new (at the time) double action model. It was junk.

Yours look pretty new. They obviously didn't see much use.

I'd kinda like another of the original 380s just for nostalgia but I won't pay much for one. The only ones I've seen were either over priced, IMHO, or too beat up.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:49 PM
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[QUOTE=oink;140777691]I had a 380 "It wasn't safe in the back pocket without a holster as the safety would always become disengaged and if it's chambered it cocked."

This ^^^^^^^

On top of that and being very unreliable I even had a number of slam-fires.

Please, Please be carful with that gun.

Regards,

Kobsw
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:59 PM
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My experience is ..... feast or famine. You have a 50/50 chance of getting one that works.

Both of mine were excellent had they been designed as single shots.
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:16 PM
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I had a 380 Back Up that I kept for about 15 years.

Bought it new, and had an issue with like primer strikes. Sent it back, and never had a problem with it after that. Other than what felt like a 20 pound trigger pull. Mine didn't have a safety.

I moved to FL and my ex stayed in Ohio till our house there sold. Only brought 2 guns with me, the AMT and my Winchester 1200.

Took my carry permit class and had to use the AMT for the shooting part of the test. I passed so I guess it wasn't that bad.

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Old 05-18-2020, 10:30 PM
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I really like the Automag II's, 22 magnum. I have all three barrel lengths. They are a little pickey on the ammo brand but once you find what they like they are dependable & plenty accurate.
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:42 PM
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I had a "Lightning" (Ruger MK knock off). No problems and it might be why Ruger started making them in SS. AMT really advanced SS guns if nothing else. Traded it maybe 25 years ago for a Model 65. Joe
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:54 PM
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I think mine was a SA. The one above looks DA.

I bought an AMT Mini Mag .22 Mag. It also was heavy and the grip was wide front to back. Not enough to be TOO wide, but it was clumsy. IIRC, it had a long barrel and slide, stainless. It would sometimes fire out of battery for some reason, enough so I could see fire. The chamber may have been dirty causing that.. I didn't keep it long enough to look into it, and if I'd liked it better, I would have kept it and had it fixed.

The main reason I sold it is it shot really high, and I'm talking feet here at 20 yards. Plus .22 Mag at that time was pretty expensive. It's a caliber I'm not fond of and I only bought the pistol because it was pretty reasonably priced.

I've not had good luck with AMT firearms.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:17 PM
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Does not look like a strong recommendation to buy. May everyone who has one enjoy theirs!
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:21 PM
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I have this one but it will most likely be traded for a revolver sooner or later.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:33 PM
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Anyone ever field strip one of the AMT Back Up's?

I watched a video on stripping one, I never could get the pin out of mine.

Thing was almost a 2 person job to clean the barrel, mine didn't have a slide lock.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:50 PM
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9mm Backup, DAO. Got it when they were about the smallest 9mm’s available. It was nice and concealable, but absolutely brutal to shoot. All stainless and pretty heavy. Grips, trigger, recoil, everything about it hurt. Qualified with it and carried it mostly for the cool factor (this was in the early 80’s) but eventually went back to a revolver. I’ve still got it, box and all, somewhere in the safe.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post
I had a 380 I bought in 82 or 83 or thereabouts. It worked OK. Weren't too many alternatives in that category at the time. I used it mainly as an on duty BUG. I shot it a fair amount for what it was. It liked hard ball and some HPs that weren't very. It wasn't safe in the back pocket without a holster as the safety would always become disengaged and if it's chambered it cocked. It doesn't take too many rounds for the bolt to get pretty beat up looking on the bottom. I eventually traded it in on the new (at the time) double action model. It was junk.

Yours look pretty new. They obviously didn't see much use.

I'd kinda like another of the original 380s just for nostalgia but I won't pay much for one. The only ones I've seen were either over priced, IMHO, or too beat up.
Working undercover narcotics in the late 70's, I had one I carried as a backup to my PPK/S, which was our UC gun. For warrant service and such, we carried 1911's, usually Combat Commanders. I've had the safety work it's way off while carrying in a hip pocket. I also knew of one guy who rearranged the geography of his backside when his went off in his hip pocket. That was enough for me; I went back to my Model 60.

Everything said above about the AMT was true; unreliable and unsafe. Add to that field stripping it for cleaning and maintenance was a PITA and subsequently didn't get done much. And, of course, the .380 in those days was not a barn-burner to begin with. We generally carried hardball and trained to empty the gun in the bad guy's face if we had to use it.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wood714 View Post
Anyone ever field strip one of the AMT Back Up's?

I watched a video on stripping one, I never could get the pin out of mine.

Thing was almost a 2 person job to clean the barrel, mine didn't have a slide lock.
Not in years but yeah I've field stripped the single action 380 many times. It is a bit of a pain but I got my routine figured out pretty good with it. Yep, you have to drive that pin out. I kept a wood dowel around for reassembly. Running the dowel up inside the magazine well to position the bolt during reassembly really helps.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:26 AM
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I've never owned or fired any AMT. At one point, I kinda wanted a .380 Backup, just 'cuz. Got a Grendel and that satisfied that urge. Wanted a .22 Mag later...hmm...another Grendel scratched that itch, as well. Then I wanted a .30 Carbine. I wonder if I could convince Kel-Tec to make one? I'd still like a .30 Carbine handgun. Have thought about a Ruger BH once or twice...but never picked anything up.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:50 AM
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Most AMTs I encounter used are peened/galled in several spots and some are even missing parts. I don't know what kind of SS they used, but it seems to be too soft.

I remember shooting the Automag II some back in the '90s but always thought it was pretty damn big for what you got.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:13 AM
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I have one of the .45's
I've shot two mags through it.
It is pretty snappy, (harsh if you prefer) to shoot, very small mass for a .45
Sights are a trench in the slide but okay group at 15 yds.
It is DAO, no safety, no slide lock on last round, (because it has no slide lock)
I like small guns with big energy so when I saw it I thought I'd try it out.
Sig P220 same day was a kitty cat by comparison.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:43 AM
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amt skipper 45 acp
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:03 AM
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saw a new 357 Auto Mag in about 1974 for sale. Think the price was around 400. I passed on it.....
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandman4delta View Post
I have one of the .45's
I've shot two mags through it.
It is pretty snappy, (harsh if you prefer) to shoot, very small mass for a .45
I got one of those, but in .40. Lived pretty well in an ankle
holster. Shot ok, but tended to break firing pins. Wrote AMT
a nastygram the second time that happened, and they sent
a few.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:55 AM
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Ive got its BIG grandaddy...A useless Beast...throwing expensive fire and brimstone at every pull of the trigger....but for some reason I can't get myself to part with it..

It has been as dependable as some good autoloaders I own, and better than many I no loner own.

Makes cracking big holes in things....
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:03 AM
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Buddy of mine had a Hardballer. Very unimpressed, reliability issues with ball FMJ!

Great concepts, just poor execution.

I find it interesting that in my early 90s Wilson brochure (back in the day you sent him YOUR gun to be worked over) it specifically lists AMT as a gun they would NOT work on.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:16 AM
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I still have my AMT Hardballer , no issues whatsoever .
The Colt Commander and Colt Gold Cup went away ... they had the issues .
The AMT Hardballer and two Mec-Gar magazines remind me of the Energizer Bunny...they just keep on keeping on .
Not all AMT's are bad...most people who complain about them ...have never actually owned one ... it's always a friend who has had the problems .
I've owned this Hardballer for 28 years now , so this is coming from a owner ... not a friend of a friend of an owner .
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:26 AM
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Never owned an AMT pistol but had the Ruger 10-22 copy, Small Game Hunter. It was a great .22 rifle. Ruger sued AMT for patent infringement and started making the 10-22 in stainless like the AMT
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:32 AM
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My only experience with anything AMT is an early childhood memory. My uncle Steve came back home to PA from CA for a couple weeks every summer, and he always brought a couple of guns with him if he drove. It was the summer of '79 or '80 when I shot my first .45 auto. I was 10 or 11 years old and stainless autos were something pretty new. He lived in Monrovia and Arcadia was just down the street. The Hardballer was a tricked out .45 for a early '80s factory gun. I don't recall if I even hit the target, but that was the coolest gun it the world to me at that moment.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:50 AM
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Had a Hardballer that would not run at all. Took it to a gunsmith and left it for a week. When I went back, he said "my best advice is to get rid of it!". He couldn't get it to run either and said it was junk. Traded it off asap. I've had several 1911s over the years and never anything with so many issues. Your money, but I wouldn't spend it on an AMT. :-(
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wood714 View Post
I had a 380 Back Up that I kept for about 15 years.

Bought it new, and had an issue with like primer strikes. Sent it back, and never had a problem with it after that. Other than what felt like a 20 pound trigger pull. Mine didn't have a safety.

I moved to FL and my ex stayed in Ohio till our house there sold. Only brought 2 guns with me, the AMT and my Winchester 1200.

Took my carry permit class and had to use the AMT for the shooting part of the test. I passed so I guess it wasn't that bad.

Any idea what they did to you .380 backup
Mine has the light primer strike problem
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:39 PM
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I grew up shooting an AMT Backup .380. My Dad's gun that he's carried since the 80s. Absolutely can't stand that gun. Super finicky. Basically a coin flip as to whether or not it feeds the next round. Slide bite. Hard to break down. I wouldn't buy one for $50.

I have broken it all the way down before. Not the easiest of tasks.

Overall a giant PITA. Do not recommend. SO MANY other better options out there now there's no reason to settle for an AMT Backup .380 in the year 2020.

YMMV.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:18 PM
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I like mine.

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Old 05-19-2020, 01:23 PM
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I have a .45 "backup" and a .44 Automag. The backup works fine, for what it is. the Automag is cranky, but I knew that about them before I got it, so I'm okay with that.
I was following the new production Automag for a while, but haven't looked into it for about a year- seemed a situation of always promised, never delivered.

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Old 05-19-2020, 02:04 PM
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I had two of the single action .380 Backups in the '80s. The key word there is "had" because I couldn't get any reliability out of either of them. It could have been the awful .380 cartridge or the guns. Probably some of both.

Now with the great subcompact 9mms on the market, there's no need for one.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:33 PM
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I bought a 380 AMT in the early 90's. It was not the cool little backup gun the ads in the gun magazines made it out to be. Mine bit the web of my hand, recoiled enough the wife wouldn't shoot it (well, just that one time) and I could only get two fingers wrapped around the frame.

I ran across a nickle Makarov and suddenly had myself a new 380. It would bite occasionally, but It was much easier to shoot. I don't recall the little AMT ever acting up though, it just wasn't a fun gun.

My cousin bought one in 22 mag, and the frame cracked within the first month. That was it for me & any AMT.
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:24 PM
gregintenn gregintenn is offline
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I had a 380 Backup years ago. It worked great. I liked it. I can't recall what went with it, but I do not think I have it anymore.
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:31 PM
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My last ex (yes, yes, more than 2, less than 4) had an AMT .380 when we met. I recollect that it was a mite heavy for its size and had a really difficult trigger. I stayed away from it. Her gun; her problem. She was a grown-up Texas lady so I never interfered in her business.

At one point, I did buy her a used, Wells Fargo turn-in, 4" Model 10 with a heavy barrel - she wanted a "trunk gun" in case she got car jacked/kidnapped. I was happy to let her have that for whatever purpose she wanted.
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:45 PM
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Ah, good old AMT.

Arcadia Machine and Tool.

Back in the 80s, I thought they were cool for producing an entire line of stainless guns when the major manufacturers were just beginning to dip their toes in the water.

I never owned one, but of course I have my own "I knew a guy" story, so here goes:

Around 1990 (IIRC) a local "catalog warehouse store" (remember those?) had mistakenly priced some Winchester 22 Magnum ammo at 22 LR price.

They fixed their mistake quickly, but not before a very close and long time friend and shooting buddy (now deceased) could pick up a few thousand rounds.

He had been burning through an inheritance at the time, and chose a new AMT Automag II to burn up his new found ammo fortune.

I was with him on its "maiden voyage" and on the very first mag, it spit about half of its firing pin back in to his face, just below his left eye.

Luckily he wasn't seriously injured, the dealer took back the AMT, refunded his money, and he sold the 22 Mag ammo to a mutual friend with a rifle.

After hearing more stories about sporadic AMT quality, I started to think there was something to them.

John
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:20 PM
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When the first Hardballers first came out a buddy dragged me to a gun shop. The owner let us field strip the pistol. It had metal shavings in it from the manufacturer. Since then, I've seen other AMT products and the lack of quality never let me spend hard earned money on any of them. There is a reason they aren't still making handguns. It always interests me though when someone will come along and tout them these days. I suppose that most gun folks under the age of 50 don't know anything about them, so would be taken in by claims that the AMT's were ok.
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnB View Post
9mm Backup, DAO. It was nice and concealable, but absolutely brutal to shoot.
^^This. I still have 2 from the 80's, when they were all we had. They are reliable but I still cringe thinking about shooting them.
I went to Kel-Tek and never looked back.
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:00 PM
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This is strictly a range gun.
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:41 PM
Walter Rego Walter Rego is offline
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A buddy and i each bought an AMT Hardballer around the same time back in 1980. His was a standard model and always ran flawlessly. Mine, a Longslide Model needed to have the extractor tuned and the barrel throated to feed a H&G #68 cast bullet or the Hornady truncated cone 200 grain hardball. Then it worked just fine.
I also have one of the Automag II's. It is ammo sensitive, it works great with most brands of 40 grain bullets but doesn't like a couple of brands and doesn't like the 30 grain hyper velocity loads. I believe that is tied with recoil impulse and powder burn rates. It is quite a flame thrower at the range and a lot of fun.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wood714 View Post
Anyone ever field strip one of the AMT Back Up's?

I watched a video on stripping one, I never could get the pin out of mine.

Thing was almost a 2 person job to clean the barrel, mine didn't have a slide lock.
I had to build a jig to do it, it was a 2 man job.

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Old 05-19-2020, 07:51 PM
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I had two of them in the early 1980's - a SA 380, and the small .22 (don't remember if it was SA or DA). Sold the .22 very quickly as it was unreliable, and inaccurate.

The .380, I kept for a while, and put maybe 300 rounds thru. Bit my hand, was never 100% reliable, accurate enough for a hide out gun. BUT, I noticed the slide started getting "sticky". Closer look found significant metal galling on the slide/frame rails. Sold it. This was before the internet, and it wasn't until much later I found out that this was a problem with at least some of their guns. I guess SS manufacture was still in its infancy in firearms, and the metallurgy was off.

Always wanted one of their .30 carbine long slide pistols for the "cool" factor, but based on my experience with the other two, didn't want to risk it.

If you want to purchase additional examples to go with your collection, nothing wrong with that. They were very innovative for their time. But for actual use, there are better choices out there..

Larry

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Old 05-19-2020, 10:43 PM
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Back about 1979 I bought an AMT Hardballer (.45 ACP) second handed. Serial number under 200. Dang thing would not run. Tried various oils then greases. Quickly had a hammer failure. Sent it back to factory. Took six months for a simple parts replacement. Did not run better when it came back. Somewhere along the way I got stupid and had a good pistolsmith replace the rear sight with a S&W K revolver sight.

The stainless frame and slide would gall against one another. Fix for that back then was to hardchrome the frame rails; I did not want to throw good money after bad.

I understand the later production of Hardballer may have fixed the metallurgy issue. Still I would not own another one. Too many good .45's out there.

I owned an earlier AMT single action .380 that did work and shot well. Could not leave it cocked and locked as their mainsprings springs were no good and would quickly take a set. Just could not trust it. Too many good, dependable .380's out there today, like the Ruger LCP II.
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:46 AM
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I had heard all the horror stories about AMT's but found a Hardballer Longslide in a pawn shop back in 2009 that was to cheap to pass up. It's not one I shoot a lot, maybe 1000 rounds total, but I've never had a problem with it. I have no idea what work might have been done on it before I acquired it.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:00 AM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hittman77 View Post
My experience is ..... feast or famine. You have a 50/50 chance of getting one that works.

Both of mine were excellent had they been designed as single shots.
My experience too. They were not quality firearms no matter what anyone says.........
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
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I had one in .380 years ago, mid 80s. It wasn't reliable so I got rid of it. IIRC, it was kind of wide and heavy, but back then, the choices were a lot more limited.
Ditto for me.
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  #49  
Old 05-28-2020, 09:05 PM
J. R. WEEMS J. R. WEEMS is online now
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Thumbs up AMT

Lots of stories around about them at one time. I have this one and load for it. 10MM it is. Never has given me a problem of ay kind. Stocks are Sambar Stag, but lighting is bad. it wont fit in my back pocket.

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Old 05-28-2020, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
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I really like the Automag II's, 22 magnum. I have all three barrel lengths. They are a little pickey on the ammo brand but once you find what they like they are dependable & plenty accurate.
I have one. I think they "require" CCI Maxi's.
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