FROCS Special – 4th Variation of Pocket Army
# FROCS Special or 4th Variation Pocket Army?
# Which Centaure to Modify?
# Prototype of the FROCS Special Project
# The FROCS Special is a Handful!
# FROCS Special – Collector’s Piece or Shooting Iron?
FROCS Special or 4th Variation Pocket Army? This was Panhandle Paden’s and my pet project for a couple of months during 2009 after the first ads of the special order Centaure Pocket Army had surfaced but before real life specimens of this rare New Model Army (NMA) variant were available for inspection and photographing.
The idea was to create a unique Centaure
# to commemorate this global research project,
# a shooting, very special NMA of limited availability only,
# for those who helped with the task,
# to own a Centaure that always reminds them of their contributions to the FROCS course.
Since nobody is giving us such a FROCS Special as a gift we have to have them made for ourselves.
The FROCS Special can be available to all interested FROCS provided modifications are legal in their home country. She will be a re-issue of the original Centaure Pocket Army, made today by a few experienced and ambitious gunsmiths, on both sides of the big pond. These smiths have to agree beforehand to execute the modifications in high quality within the frame of the guidelines required.
Which Centaure to Modify? Base gun for a FROCS Special can be any Belgian 1960 New Model Army in your arsenal. I wish to emphasize that it is not suggested to modify a valuable shooter or collector’s gun into a FROCS Special. Instead I propose to select this old junker of yours, worn out & maltreated Centaure from yesteryear that you were planning to retire as a wall-hanger, paperweight or even throw on the junk pile anyhow.
Post front sight on the Pocket Army (top) but functional blade on the FROCS Special (bottom) – ain’t these cool looking belly guns?
The plan is to have her rejuvenated, revitalized … following the contour of the original Pocket Army from the early 1960s, according to a list of mandatory modifications. These modifications relate to the barrel only. The list is available as a download below or from this website in both English and German.
After the modification your FROCS Special shall either have the barrel marking “1960 NEW MODEL ARMY” or no barrel marking at all!
If “1960 NEW MODEL ARMY” shall be engraved into an unmarked barrel like when a Marshal is chosen as the base gun care must be taken that the engraver is using the proper fonts.
The prefix FS for FROCS Special has to be stamped over the serial number on the barrel lug.
Prototype of the FROCS Special Project: RNMA #11477 1st variation, 2nd sub-variation from 1971 was selected because she had seen some hard times as an exhibition gun. The outside of barrel and cylinder looked pretty molested but bore and lock work were clean. She was sent to Karl Nedbal in Austria in Fall 2009 for the FROCS Special modifications and some restoration work to bring her back to shape. The final touch was to be his rust blue on barrel, cylinder and back-strap. Eventually the missus got involved when she was searching for a X-mas present. Below are a couple of pictures of what I found under the tree on December 24, 2009 together with the frog – which the war dept. suggests to use as a FROCS mascot … approval of FROCS #1 Panhandle Paden still pending in June 2013!
FROCS Special #FS11477: “1960 NEW MODEL ARMY” barrel marking (left), FS for FROCS Special stamped over #11477 on barrel lug (right)
#11477 left the factory with the barrel marking CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK “1960 NEW MODEL ARMY”. When Nedbal was done with her only “1960 NEW MODEL ARMY” remained. He mounted the original front sight on the shortened barrel and crowned the muzzle. As expected and despite these modifications, polishing and refinishing jobs the original proof marks were maintained.
FROCS Special #FS11477: barrel cut to 4“, blade front sight mounted close to muzzle (left), 2nd brass loading rod lathed from 2 parts (right)
Mandatory 90° cut of barrel lug, muzzle crowned (left), optional holes under barrel for loading lever close, slot for loading lever plugged (right)
The FROCS Special is a Handful compared to a Colt M1862 Police in the rare Trapper version which is the pistol that inspired the technicians at Fabriques d’Armes Unies de Liège when they designed the original Centaure Pocket Army. As mentioned before the FROCS Special was modelled after the Pocket Army.
Big is beautiful: FROCS Special vs 3rd gen Colt Police Trapper (left and right)
Paden or myself will issue a letter of authentication on the FROCS letterhead once the FROCS Special modifications of your individual pistols are completed and we have seen pictorial proof that the mandatory modifications have been executed in line with the guidelines.
Regarding names and addresses of cooperating smiths for this FROCS Special project for the USA check with Panhandle Paden at email@example.com, for Europe with Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org. We might be able to provide suggestions. Feel free, however, to check with your gunsmith of choice first if he or she is prepared to execute the modifications within the guidelines set and in the quality demanded, that you deserve as FROCS.
FROCS Special – Collector’s Piece or Shooting Iron? During the winter of 2011/12 the FROCS in the German heartland near Frankfurt ran a number of modern C&B Army caliber revolvers and conversions through a torture test to assess their suitability for cowboy action shooting activities. Guess what the testers commented on FROCS Special #FS114X7?
”…despite the short sighting line & barrel and the high tension of the original heavy duty mainspring this belly gun can be cocked without problems. Easy handling, very reliable shooter. This gun hits what you are aiming at!”
FROCS #99 Magic Joe puts the FROCS Special through the paces
After the very promising endurance shooting session with #FS114X7 the 4“ barrel of the FROCS Special was mated to the fully tuned frame and cylinder assembly of Centaure RNMA #13913, and another 3 strings of 5 shots were fired. Concludes Magic Joe, winner of the FROCS Hall of Fame 2013 Shooting Star Award and one of the testers: “… fully tuned a dream of a CAS pistol for the Frontiersman class!“