Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Garage Gunsmithing

This series caught my eye, and I am looking forward to each installment.

Why?  He is going into the project without the training I had, but he may well have much deeper background skill from his 'engineering' day job.  Rick Dembroski is approaching the project as an enthusiastic amateur, like I did, but is taking a more daring path than I.

He starts out getting a vary basic tool set, from Midway and Harbor Freight, a what looks like the GI style modelk1911 from Springfield.   He has a list of upgrades to customize this pistol more as he'd like it.  None of the upgrades are TOO ambitious.

And step one is a new, very snazzy mainspring housing.

Now before I continue, I have often joked noticing that is you change one thing on a 1911 you may have to make modification one you are sure is a totally unrelated part of the gun on the opposite side of the pistol.  So if you swapped the mainspring housing you may need to change the barrel bushing.  That sort of thing.

But then again, you might not.  The part may just fit and be fine.  And in this case, that seems true.  Trouble comes when the slots or tabs where the part meets the frame are too tight or way too loose, or the piece doesn't go all the way into the frame before binding.  And the grip safety has to meet the top of the housing.  I had to file away bits of the my grip safety to get the safety to release.

Rick is also test firing after each change, hoping to catch hidden problems, scientifically, after each change.  Perhaps overkill, to me, but nonetheless a valid strategy.  We shall see.

I did notice in the 'before' picture, the mainspring housing pin before he does anything is in backwards.  Someone has already been inside this gun.

Next up, he does a new oversize slide stop.   Another good idea.  He does attack the tip with needle files.  Probably didn't need to, and I'd worry about bringing the taper too far 'down' the shank.  I'd have just used the sandpaper to bring the whole diameter down, being careful not to take too much.  I might be a little more aggressive than 800 grit though.  Micing the diameter often, after cleaning the grit off, is a good practice.  Just to know, at a minimum.  Watch out you don't mic on a mold seam with MIM parts.  Looks like he got a non-MIM replacement from Ed Brown.  Good.

Second installment... a new Grip Safety!

Ugh.  He has a jig, and I don't have any experience with them.  Even my Guru hates doing work fitting a new grip safety.  It can be aggravating.  With my gun the area rubbing was the 'bottom' of the recessess that goes onto the frame.  But it took me too long to notice with lamp blacking, so I am dissatisfied with my fitting job,  Hope you had better luck than me, Rick.   It's hard.

After it's fitted to the frame, then there is it's function as a safety to consider.  You don't want the bottom to wedge on the trigger bow, and you do want the tab to tough the trigger bow when in the ungripped position, obviously.  And the half moon relief on top is for the convenience of assembly/disassembly.

Hey Rick!  To get those file marks off maybe get a cratex extra fine on your dremel?

I noticed in the second installment that like most modern day Springfield 1911 the ejector is not pinned in place.  Just glue.

Next up for Rick is the REALLY hard part to get right.  Hammer/Sear.  Don't tell him it's the hard part til after he does it.  He is cruising on some decent confidence and it will help carry him through if he is successful.  If not successful, he just needs another hammer and sear to play with.

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