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  #1  
Old 04-15-2011, 10:47 AM
los los is offline
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AMT Back Up.45: I done did it..!




I purchased a AMT Back Up .45 last week and I brought it home yesterday.

I purchased the Piece after doing a lot of research and Even after reading all the horror stories regarding reliability issues. It appears that QC really suffered at the AMT factory which led to the issues that plagued these Pieces. Most of the reported reliability issues dealt with FTF and FTE along with reports of light primer strikes, and broken firing pins.

But along with all the negative reports I also located a good number of positive reports and information posted by many owners that documented how easy it was/is to solve these issues. Apparently FTF issues can be usually traced back to magazines that needed a little lip or follower tweaking. Another solution is to polish specific areas on the frame rails and the barrel feed ramp. I even found information on how to reduce the infamous 17Lb factory trigger pull down to 10-12 lbs without having to cut the mainspring. Many owners were cutting the mainspring to lower the factory trigger pull, but in doing so, it would compromise the Slide action and timing. This led to FTF, FTE and light primer strike issues. After that, the Back Up was pretty much rendered completely useless, unless of course, the mainspring was replaced. Most owners didn't bother. They gave-up.

What I've learned is that te proper way to achieve a lighter trigger pull on the Back Up is by polishing specific areas within the trigger mechanism and frame. I was lucky to find a tutorial [with photos] specific to the Back Up 45, on how to git'r done. It's a 15 minute job that was grossly neglected at the factory.

It appears that these Pieces just needed a little TLC before they left the Factory.

On a side note, Galena Industries, Inc. took over AMT's operation in Irwindale, CA when they filled for bankruptcy in late 1995. Shortly thereafter, Galena made a few design and cosmetic changes to the AMT Back Up. Galena designed and incorporated a firing pin safety block. This designed was flawed as the safety block had a propensity to contact, sometimes intercept, the firing pin after being struck by the hammer. This constant contact led to many broken firing pins. Galena moved there factory to South Dakota but filled for bankruptcy in 2001. Galena's assets were purchased by High Standard Firearms, Houston Tx in 2002.

The AMT Back Up 45 is the smallest semi-automatic 45ACP pistol ever produced. I'm fully aware that the Back Up.45 isn't a range gun, or a 50 yard tack driver. I extensively practice point shooting, so the trenched sights [and lack of traditional iron sights] will not be an issue. The Back Up has it's limitations. It's a specific purpose weapon and I will carry it as such.

The little bad boy is in pristine condition and comes with three factory magazines.

Here's a comparison chart featuring the AMT Back Up 45 against the micro-compact Ruger LCR (.380 acp). It captures the BUs diminutive size.








When I arrived home with the Piece my only thought was to take this bad boy apart for a good thorough inspection but I first wanted to give it a good look over before I started the disassembly.

My first impression was that the Piece looked absolutely new, externally. It had no visible scratches or dings on the frame or plastic grips. Absolutely no signs of abuse or misuse anywhere. Even the Grip Screws appear new, as if they've never been touched by a screwdriver. There were two extra Magazines that came with the package and they look pretty decent, too. All the factory papers are in pristine condition. So far I'm very satisfied with the acquisition. Now onto the disassembly..

I first removed the Mag and verified that the Chamber was clear and empty. At that juncture I immediately knew I didn't have a new pistol.The Chamber, Feed Ramp and portions of the Magazine well were very dirty with dry black sludge power residue. I'm talkin British Petroleum- Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, type dirty. This Piece had apparently seen a lot of range time, but very little maintenance. The entire Pistol was dry. No signs of oil or lube. None. Squadoosh.

Moving forward,. I decided to cycle the Slide a few times to check for drag or friction spots. The slide passed the test with flying colors. Smooth as butter with an aggressive snap into battery. The Recoil Spring and Mainspring appear to be excellent shape. The Slide demonstrates no looseness on the rails and actually demonstrates a tight, precise fit. the Barrel [exterior, chamber, bore and rifling] is in excellent shape with no signs of wear or abuse. The Frame Rails are in perfect condition with no indication of wear. On that note, I was surprised to find out that the frame rails are not equal in length. The left rail is much longer than the right rail. And both rails are relatively short. They are basically half the length of the frame. A design I had never seen on a semi-auto. The Extractor and Ejector also appear new with no visible signs of wear.

I was curious to see the trigger mechanism so I took the grips off. The trigger mechanism is located on the right side of the frame and is hidden underneath, and partly secured by the right grip. This trigger mechanism design is among the most basic form of mechanical engineering I've ever witnessed in any handgun. You have a trigger that connect to a trigger bar on one end, and the hammer on the other. And the trigger bar is held in place with the right grip. THAT'S IT. Nut'n fancy, Nut'n complicated. Real easy to take apart for cleaning or replacement.

Well I gave the entire frame, slide and barrel a good cleaning and oiling. Now it really looks brand new. Thw of the Mags are problem free. One needs a little tweaking to the follower. The Gun is [sling shot] feeding FMJ 230s and 165 semi-wadcutters with no hesitation, and I haven't even polished the ramp yet. BTW, trigger pull IS pretty stout, but not anything I would consider atrocious. It's a pretty good inherited safety feature of this DAO Piece, if you ask me.

Here's a few photos of my Back Up after the wash..





I really feel good about this Pistol. I'm hoping for a good , positive range trip tomorrow.

Oh, one mo' thing. Guy's, This pistol is small. I mean real small. the actual dimensions are smaller than the measurements I've seen posted anywhere. I used my old trusty stainless analog calipers to measure the Back Up. The dimensions are:

L-5.832", H-4.052" , W-.975 at Slide: W-1.048" at center of Grip.

This makes it the smallest 45ACP semi-automatic pistol, anywhere.

Please feel free to post your comments, negative or positive. I'm sure I've heard and read it all. Believe me, Nothing will surprise or offend me. In fact, I'm hoping to surprise a lot of folks with the function of this little Bad Boy..
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2011, 11:06 AM
Mark Fowler Mark Fowler is offline
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If The range trip goes bad you can give it to me as a wedding gift next month.
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Last edited by Mark Fowler; 04-15-2011 at 11:11 AM.
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  #3  
Old 04-15-2011, 11:17 AM
los los is offline
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LOL.

Mark, Congrats on finding your special lady.

If the Back Up fails miserably and has no chance of rehabilitation, I'll send you the coordinates to where it can be found.
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  #4  
Old 04-15-2011, 01:03 PM
tlong286 tlong286 is offline
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My 9mm never failed. They are kind of rare now and maligned constantly. Sold it for $125 years ago. Quite a handful. I bet the .45 is a beast.
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  #5  
Old 04-15-2011, 02:13 PM
los los is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlong286 View Post
.. I bet the .45 is a beast.
I'm sure it's got a good punch. I've shot many 45L revolvers and all sorts of 45ACP pistols. I currently carry a G30 and it's actually a nice shooter with controllable recoil.

A few years back I bought a Semmerling LM4, just for kicks (no pun intended). It was an estate item and I got it a great price. Sold it to a collector three months later.

Anyway, THAT baby was a BEAST to shoot.!
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  #6  
Old 04-15-2011, 02:47 PM
Johnny handgun Johnny handgun is offline
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I had one, 3 mags, owner had a full Polish on interior trigger parts as well as exterior trigger. Gun feds flawlessly. Gun was very accurate as far as point shooting went. If time was spent aligning trench it shot dead on. Trigger pull was very nice. I honestly wish!I would have kept it. Even thought about having night sights installed in it. I had seen one done in person and an article on another one that had been done. I decided that I wanted a small 45 but with sights so I sold it. Had I had more money at the time I would still own it. And, yes they are very small.
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  #7  
Old 04-15-2011, 03:05 PM
compact45 compact45 is offline
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AMT Backup 45

I searched for long time and finally found one at a reasonable price. I have shot it quite frequently with ball ammo with no problems at all and sometimes carry as a backup as for its intended design.

You have to love a 45 in that size pistol and yes it is brisk to fire but for such a small backup pistol package its not bad.

Enjoy
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  #8  
Old 04-15-2011, 03:10 PM
chovyman chovyman is offline
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amt

I had one for several years, carried it on duty in my back pocket. Ran 200 rounds through it cleaned it and had no problems. Shot it smooth triger smothed out.
Bigest mistake was sold it to another deputy. My loss.
Good gun, have fun.
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2011, 04:31 PM
1911 MAN 1911 MAN is offline
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I shot one that was my buddy's with Fed Hydra Shoks. I remember the recoil to be very violent and almost painful. It is one of those guns that you need to shoot often to be proficient with. Before that I thought I might want one. After that I crossed it off my list.
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2011, 05:41 PM
los los is offline
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Thanks a lot, Men.

It's nice to read positive stories from actual owners of these little cannons. I'm anticipating good brisk recoil from my Back Up.

I'm actually hoping to go home with right hand discomfort and empty boxes of ammo.
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  #11  
Old 04-15-2011, 05:44 PM
los los is offline
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I took the liberty of weighing my Back Up to get a few accurate readings.

According to my digi-scale....:

Back Up.45 without Magazine: 22.8 oz.
Back Up.45 with empty Magazine: 24.5 oz.
Back Up.45 with loaded Magazine(5x230gr FMJRN): 28.2 oz.
Back up.45 with loaded Magazine +1 in the Chamber: 29.0 oz.
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  #12  
Old 04-15-2011, 06:06 PM
FXWG FXWG is offline
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I had one many years ago and it was really fun to shoot.
If you have the fortune of shooting it at an indoor range,
make sure you have good, I mean real good hearing protection.
After the first magazine through mine, I stopped to look
at my target and I immediately noticed how quiet the place
was. As I looked to my right, all I saw was a half dozen
sets of eyes looking over at me. Finally one of those sets
of eyes asked, "What in the heck are you shooting??"
I just said, "A .45 with a really short barrel."
Enjoy!
And I must add my name to the "wish I didn't sell it" list.
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  #13  
Old 04-15-2011, 06:44 PM
los los is offline
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FXWG, THANKS for the tip, and for the story.

Short barreled 45, it is indeed. I measured it with my calipers at 2.80". That measurement obviously includes the chamber, as well.

Very short indeed.
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  #14  
Old 04-15-2011, 07:43 PM
AreB AreB is offline
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I, too, have an AMT BackUp .45 DAO. Had the action tuned by Teddy Jacobsen soon after I bought it. Ordered a side plate to cover the trigger draw-bar after I saw the plate on a later-model High Standard version. It is a challenge to shoot but mine is dead-bang reliable and I am reasonably accurate with it, though not for long. Yes, it's very loud, especially if you try a few +P rounds.

It is not, however the smallest .45 auto ever made. I thought it was, until I ran across some info on Semmerling designs that I was not familiar with. If you look deep ito the following thread:

http://forums.1911forum.com/showthre...=215115&page=2

in post #37, you will see a Semmerling XLM, a never-seen semi-auto version of the seldom-seen Semmerling LM-4, which was a pump-forward manually cycled .45 dimensionally smaller than the AMT. The high front sight and threaded barrel on the XLM enabled the use of a silencer canister, for the XLM was designed for and only supplied to the intelligence community. The whole thread is a hoot to read.

Anyway, my AMT gets carried ocasionally. Aker pocket holster or "Thunderwear" pouch carry. You can get the loaded weight down a bit by carrying CorBon or some other lightweight frangible ammo.

Once saw a .40 S&W AMT with a full-length magazine modified to fit the little gun-a notch had been cut in the back side of the long mag for the heel latch to engage. And then the whole package was refinished in some kind of black. Pretty creative.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:24 PM
los los is offline
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Hello, AreB.

The Trigger Bar Cover (side plate) was actually designed by Galena after they took over AMT operations. It was one of two cosmetic changes they incorporated into their BUs. The other cosmetic change was a new trigger design that featured a less aggressive shoe angle.

THANKS for the correction that the Back Up is not the smallest made semi-auto in 45ACP that was ever made. The link you provided is a great read full of wonderful information and photos. Thank you for that, as well. That little Semmerling is really sweet. I was lucky to own a LM4 a few years ago and that little tank was painfully small.

I guess a fair and accurate statement is that the Back Up.45 is the smallest semi-automatic 45ACP pistol, in current production.

Glad to hear from another satisfied Back Up owner..!

Last edited by los; 04-15-2011 at 08:27 PM.
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  #16  
Old 04-15-2011, 09:46 PM
AreB AreB is offline
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I mostly know the LM-4 from the gun rag articles when it was new. "Guns" magazine, then and now, had photographers that could make the biggest POS look like a beauty pageant winner. The Semmerling, in their photos, looked like it had been milled from a solid block of unobtanium. Made my then-young heart race. As did Automag .44s, on the other end of the size spectrum.

Only seen a 3D Semmerling once, many moons ago, at a insanely well stocked gun/hardware shop in Dallas-maybe someone else will help me remember the name, wasn't far from the fashion district. Pistol was in the "we'll check your bank balance before we pull a gun out' display case and since I didn't even have a bank account at the time I didn't ask to fondle it. I'd be a little brassier now though my bank account still won't stand much scrutiny.

Thanks for tolerating the thread drift. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
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  #17  
Old 04-15-2011, 10:10 PM
J.Solo J.Solo is offline
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I was lucky to stumble on one for sale a few months ago but have not had a chance to shoot it to date.
I have hand cycled full magazines of every style of ammo through it and it "Hand" functions great.
I know this is not a true indication of how the gun will perform with live ammo fire. I will find out soon how it really shoots.

Like yours, mine looks new and was dry as a bone with three factory magazines. I've cleaned it and used stainless lube to prevent any gauling between moving stainless parts.

Thanks for the fine informative post. - J.Solo
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  #18  
Old 04-15-2011, 10:51 PM
1911 Mike 1911 Mike is offline
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Semmerling

I think your wrong on your post, the Semmerling would be the smallest 45 caliber ever made. 19.77 ozs. in weight (loaded) That would be 4 in the mag and 1 in the pipe. I own one and I'm pretty sure it holds that distinction as being the smallest 45 ever made. 3.7" length and 1" in width and .85" width with the (thin kit) Only 600 were ever produced and are capable of 3" groups at 25 yrds. It is a handful to fire and I have been lucky to own one that my father left me. It is in beautiful condition and I also have the holster that came with it. Just a little FYI And as this Semmerling is a handful to shoot, I'm sure your AMT is also. Years ago I did own the AMT 45 and as you said, they had problems as mine did, and that is why I do not own one today. I sold it and I know where it is today. The man I sold it too still has it and he says he has worked the bugs out of it now. If ever he wants to sell it, he said I would have first chance to buy it back. Enjoy your new 45 as I love the small canons also..
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:19 PM
1911 Mike 1911 Mike is offline
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I stand some what corrected on my post. After reading your post I started mine, not reading the others. But I do believe American Derringer still will make one upon request. From now on I will be sure to read all the posts before I send one down range. Sorry for the fast draw on your post.
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  #20  
Old 04-15-2011, 11:30 PM
AreB AreB is offline
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Apples and oranges. If you want to see the world's smallest .45 pistol, this probably qualifies:

http://www.gundirectory.com/more.asp...9&gun=Revolver

---Single shot, 12 ounces, size of a standard playing card

Here's what I think is out there:


---Semmerling LM-4: smallest .45 repeater

---Semmerling XLM: smallest .45 semi-auto yet

---AMT DAO: smallest .45 semi-auto that a reasonable human being might be able to find and pay for

1911 Mike, would love it if you'd post pictures of your dad's old Semmerling. I remember the "thin grip kit" as well, was a couple of sheet metal panels held on by button-head allen screws.
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  #21  
Old 04-15-2011, 11:57 PM
los los is offline
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I have a few rare and vintage articles on the Semmerling LM4 and other Semmerling Models. They're from GUN WORLD magazine dated June/1978 and GUNS & AMMO magazine dated June/1977.

If you fellas would like to have them just provide your email addy and I'll be glad to send them to you. I also have a large collection of Semmerling LM4 photos.
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  #22  
Old 04-16-2011, 12:38 AM
AreB AreB is offline
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American Derringer has a lot of stuff on their website, including the old High Standard D/A derringer in .22 mag and a similar design(forget who made it first) in .38 Special or .40 S&W. Only American Derringer products I've ever seen/handled have been the S/A style.

And it bothers me that they spell the name "Simmerling". Wish someone could explain that to me.
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  #23  
Old 04-16-2011, 06:22 AM
cz223 cz223 is offline
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I have two or three questions.

First, are these currently being produced? It looks like they may be, with several NIB guns being sold on Gunbroker right now. Second question, will these work with 1911 mags? Looking forward to your range report.
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  #24  
Old 04-16-2011, 07:41 AM
los los is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cz223 View Post
First, are these currently being produced? It looks like they may be, with several NIB guns being sold on Gunbroker right now. Second question, will these work with 1911 mags? Looking forward to your range report.
Good Morning, CZ.

The AMT Back Up is in production They are being built by High Standard in Houston, Tx. From what I understand, High Standard has taken old stock (frames, slides and parts) from AMT and Galena and are putting these pistols together. Take note how the slide sides have been milled and re-stamped.

Standard and extended capacity 1911 magazines will definitely work but they have to be modified by creating a notch on the mag spine in order for the magazine catch to obtain a solid hold. It's pretty easy to do if you're handy with the Dremel.
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  #25  
Old 04-16-2011, 07:54 AM
los los is offline
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No Problemo, 1911 Mike. It's all good. My e-draw is sometimes faster than Billy The Kid's.!

I appreciate your commentary. Thanks for your participation..!
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