Reviewed By: Stuart S on 03/17/2013
Rating: [2 of 5 Stars!]
I really wanted to like this gun. I've had it for a year and I just can't recommend it. Maybe I got a dud, but it's been very frustrating as I seem to find a new thing wrong with it every month. I sent it back to Magnum Research for some warranty work and asked them to fix the stoppage issues listed below. They returned the gun saying they beveled the chamber, adjusted the extractor, fired 45 rounds, and everything is fine. The gun still exhibits all the stoppage issues listed below.
I've probably run about 1500 various brand rounds through it over the last year, and there have probably been in the region of 50 stoppages. (1 out of 30 rounds or so on average.)
1) Looks awesome
2) Based on CZ-75/WAA-Witness design and a lot of parts are interchangeable
3) Spike Spiegel's gun from Cowboy Bebop
4) Haven't had a single stove-pipe jam.
5) Solid/heavy construction.
6) Made in Israel (how cool is that?)
7) Owning such an obscure gun with limited parts and information made me a better amateur gunsmith.
1) The double action trigger pull is really heavy. If you add a softer hammer spring, you'll get light-strikes.
2) The finish is terrible. It scratches when anything touches it. The finish on the frame is especially terrible (maybe refinished by Magnum Research after they stamp it?) The slide is a little more resilient
3) Failure to extract occurs more often than is acceptable. (Leaves empty brass in the chamber and tries to feed the next round.) This is the worst possible type of jam.
4) Failure to feed occurs more often than acceptable (Next round being fed gets hung up just before being fully chambered. Maybe sensitive to overall length of ammo, but this happens with factory ammo as well as reloads.)
5) The factory magazines are terrible. When the mag is full, there is a huge gap in between the nose of the top most round and the next round. As the slide closes, the top round dives into this gap and causes a 'nose-dive' jam with hollow-points. The nose crashes into the bottom of the feed ramp and gets stuck. There is also a large gap (a couple millimeters) between the base of the handle and the base of the magazine. The magazine can 'wiggle' up and down in those couple millimeters. The factory magazines are stamped with a T-- made by Tanfoglio.
6) The slide-stop doesn't quite latch the slide back far enough to insert a new full magazine. If you push the top round in the magazine forward a little before you insert it, then it clears the slide and you hit the slide release to chamber the first round. If you don't push the round forward a little, the back of it gets stuck under the slide and the round points to the sky when you hit the slide release. If you get lucky and the round somehow gets pushed forward on its own, there is chance it will also push the slide back slightly and it will automatically trip the slide release. (I usually slingshot the first round so I just noticed this one tonight.)
I tried so many things with this gun:
1) A few months after purchasing it, I added a Wolff extra power extractor spring to try to fix the FTE issues. This made the FTF issues worse so I went back to the factory spring.
2) After I got the thing back from Magnum Research and it still gave me FTEs, I replaced the extractor with an EAA witness extractor. I just did this earlier in the week and put 100 rounds through it, no FTEs yet *crossing fingers*
3) Still experiencing FTFs. I don't know if anything will fix this. I'm assuming this is what Magnum Research was attempting to fix when they beveled the chamber.
3) Bought a number of Mec-Gar CZ-75 magazines; these fix the hollow-point nose-dive issue. I had to grind down the front of the mag bases a little so they're flush with the Baby Eagle base. (Con #6 is still an issue w/ these mags so it seems like the problem is with the gun itself.)
Notes about Magnum Research:
I submitted a service request to Magnum Research via their web site and received an email informing me to pay to ship the firearm to them and they'll pay to ship it back. Since I'd be paying $80 on shipping, I asked if I could also commission them to give it a trigger job and lighten up the double-action (I really wanted this gun to be great...) They informed me they don't do custom work, just warranty service and decided to take pity on me and pay for shipping both ways; I appreciated that gesture. I sent them the Baby Eagle as well as the factory magazines describing the types of stoppages that I experience. As I mentioned before, they beveled the chamber, adjusted the extractor, said the mags are in spec, and returned it to me. They also noted that the finish had a lot of scratches (thanks for noticing!) Again, I still experience all the prior mentioned stoppages after I got it back.
This gun is good for the range. I trust it more with expensive self-defense rounds and the CZ-75 magazines, but I can't bring myself to recommend it. Maybe I was spoiled by my Glock, maybe I just got a dud, either way I think the reliability and durability of the Baby Eagle that I purchased is inadequate for a firearm.
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