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Thread: Clerke 1st

  1. #1
    Administrator mr surveyor's Avatar
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    Clerke 1st

    gosh, what a fine piece the Clerke 1st 32 cal S&W was. From Clerke Technicorp in beautiful Santamonica, CA, it just probably didn't get any better.

    And I thought my RG14 was a cheap POS. I still shoot it at the range every month, and carry it in the field with snake shot.

    I had the priviledge to be in the home of a lady friend tonight, one of my wife's running buddies that we pal around with, along with one of my old buddies. Anyhow, she mentioned that she had a "shiney .32 revolver" that an ex-boyfriend gave her 25 years ago. She said she had never even shot it, and when she took it to a family get together with her brother, son and nephews, none of them would even consider shooting it. This lady has felt safe and secure with that thing in her house for 25 years, and even mentioned she had had it in here hand many times answering the door late at night. Now that's scary. The gun was at least left with only 4 rounds in the wheel, and empty cylinder under the hammer spur. It took me a couple of seconds to figure out that the pin just pulled out, with a very light touch (no threads), and the cylinder fell to the right. After I unloaded the 25 year old rounds and re-assembled the gun, it took a bit of wiggling of the cylinder to release the hammer to cock the gun. The DA trigger pull probably was never woman friendly either.

    What a really dangerous piece of crap for a single woman to depend on for home or personal defense. I'm planning a range trip for her to shoot my wife's P-32, and will then try to find her one. I'm still amazed that her family members that wouldn't shoot the POS would even let her take it back home, knowing that she actually thought it was a functional weapon.

    I had better made die-cast cap guns back in the 50's, and no doubt byron had much better than that back in the 90's (18's that is)
    *************************
    ???

  2. #2
    KTranger EJKaye's Avatar
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    So, can we see a picture of this steaming pile? I take it that they are on the order of a Lorcin or Raven?
    -Joseph
    NRA Life Member
    Calibers supported:
    9mm, 357 Mag, 357 Bain and Davis, 41 Mag, 44 Mag, 45 ACP, 454 Casull & 480 Ruger
    223 Rem, 243 WSSM, 308 Win, 30-06, 300 Wby Mag, & 50 Beowulf
    Soon: Some wildcat in 6.5mm

  3. #3
    Administrator mr surveyor's Avatar
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    I will get my hands on it again and take a couple of pics. I wouldn't doubt but what she will just give it to me to get rid of anyway, once I get her a P32 or other replacement. It will also require several range trips before I hand her a weapon, and possibly a trip every other month or so when I take my wife to "practice".

    I'm not sure I would compare the Clerke to a Raven, Jennings, Lorcin or any other "ring of fire" produced weapon, but for all I know about it, the Clerke may have been part of the "ring". I really do not know, but I bet Flyer does. From what I could tell, the Clerke was, as I said, made with just about the same quality control as the cap guns I had at age 7.
    *************************
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  4. #4
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    The so-called "Ring of Fire" companies:

    -AMT
    -Bryco (formerly Jennings)
    -Davis
    -Lorcin
    -Phoenix
    -Sundance

    All produced inexpensive pistols designed for self-defense, except for AMT which really shouldn't have been included in this list IMO. AMT made 1911 clones in stainless steel, as well as Ruger 10/22 rifle and Mark II pistol clones. They made some mid-priced self-defense weapons of their own design, but not cheap on the level of a Raven or Davis for example. High Standard recently started producing some of the AMT line again. No Clerke, though.
    Former Member May 2005 - April 2011

  5. #5
    Administrator mr surveyor's Avatar
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    from what I had read about the "ring of fire" companies, they were all from the same mother company, and I do remember most of the names you mentioned.

    Was the "Clerke" actually manufactured in Santamonica or was it made in some place like Haiti and imported? (I'm sure it was not Haiti, but Haiti just sounds like a place that could produce such fine workmanship)

    No, from the ring of fire produced handguns I've seen, the Clerke wouldn't even measure up to their high (choke, choke) standards
    *************************
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  6. #6
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    I think the GCA of 1968 put an end to the importation of such firearms. The Phoenix Raven/Sundance BOA/Lorcin were all very similar, and the Jennings wasn't too much different. The Davis was like a Raven scaled up to .32 and .380. All basically pot metal striker fired with crappy safties. AFAIK, they were all different companies. Some are still in business. I know Phoenix is.

    edited to add: Santa Monica is not far from where Sundance was made IIRC. Maybe they became Sundance at some point?
    Former Member May 2005 - April 2011

  7. #7
    KTranger EJKaye's Avatar
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    That's right - it was a family buisness! I forgot about all of that! Shamelessly ribbed from PBS's web site (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl.../families.html):

    If it wasn't George Jennings it probably would have been someone else. Capitalizing on a provision in the Gun Control Act of 1968, which banned the importation of cheap, poorly-made handguns, Jennings created his own design for a small caliber, easily-produced pistol.

    That design launched a domestic manufacturing empire which churns out high volumes of handguns commonly referred to as "Saturday Night Specials." This extended family of businesses has been dubbed the "Ring of Fire" by critics, and now consists of five southern California companies which in 1993 produced almost 900,000 handguns.

    A machinist by trade, George Jennings founded Raven Arms in 1970. His son Bruce Jennings joined Raven two years later, but left in 1978 to start Jennings Firearms. In 1982, George Jennings helped his daughter Gail and her husband Jim Davis, formerly the office manager at Raven Arms, start Davis Industries. Jim's brother John Davis, a machine operator at Raven, also went to work at Davis Industries.

    In 1985, faced with the prospect of losing his Federal Firearms License for a felony assault charge, Bruce Jennings sold Jennings Firearms to Calwestco, owned by a his former office manager, Gene Johnson. After plea bargaining the charge down to a misdemeanor, Bruce Jennings converted Jennings Firearms into a firearms wholesaler and established a new company, Bryco Arms, controlled by his ex-wife Janice, to manufacture firearms. Jennings Firearms, the wholesaler, bought guns from both Calwestco and Bryco Arms, and resold them to distributors. In 1991, Calwestco closed.

    In 1987, John Davis left Davis Industries to start his own gun manufacturing business, Sedco Industries Inc. John Davis was in business for only three months before a $45 million dollar lawsuit alleging he stole trade secrets was filed against him by George and Bruce Jennings, and his own brother, Jim Davis. Sedco closed in 1989, and John Davis declared bankruptcy three years later. That same year, a nephew of George Jennings started Sundance Industries.

    Jim Waldorf, a childhood friend of Bruce Jennings, set up his own gun manufacturing business in 1989, Lorcin Engineering. He brought in John Davis as plant manager and by 1993 Lorcin was making more pistols (341,243) than any gun maker in the U.S.

    The original Jennings company, Raven Arms, was destroyed by fire in 1991. But soon after the company re-emerged as Phoenix Arms. Phoenix is equally owned by Bruce Jenning's ex-wife Janice, his three children, Jim Davis' four children, and Raven's former general manager, Dave Brazeau. George Jennings has since died.
    -Joseph
    NRA Life Member
    Calibers supported:
    9mm, 357 Mag, 357 Bain and Davis, 41 Mag, 44 Mag, 45 ACP, 454 Casull & 480 Ruger
    223 Rem, 243 WSSM, 308 Win, 30-06, 300 Wby Mag, & 50 Beowulf
    Soon: Some wildcat in 6.5mm

  8. #8
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    Good find EJKaye! I still think it is pretty unfair that AMT is lumped in with the rest of this group. And we haven't solved the Clerke mystery yet, either.
    Former Member May 2005 - April 2011

  9. #9
    KTRangePro birdman's Avatar
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    According to the "Blue Book" the Clerke DA revolvers were available in .22s,l,lr & .32 S&W long. They sold for $15 in 1971. Another reference I have does not mention the revolvers but shows a copy of the Winchester Hi-wall that goes for $650 if NIB down to $100 if all beat up.

    Allan
    Our FREEDOM rests firmly on 4 boxes: Soap, Ballot, Jury, and Cartridge

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    Is this it?



    Flyer

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