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View Full Version : milling stuff is hella fun (1911 sight upgrade + pics)


emilio
02-01-2011, 10:06 PM
my years-long 1911 customization project is entering the final phase: serious slide and frame work, then refinishing. this past weekend i finally put in a set of tritium sights, Heinie Straight-Eight Ledge and a Novak front, at my friend's shop.

this Rock Island started out as a standard 1911A1-pattern pistol, so i needed to run Novak cuts for the front and rear. i also flat-topped the slide and will do a ball-cut gutter down it in the future. it's just treated with cold blue for now, but it'll all be blasted and re-parked when everything else is done.

you can get the full story (and more photos, sigh) in this thread (http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=89679) at forum.m1911.org.

if you're curious, this pistol has been upgraded prior with a new trigger group, EGW match bushing & spring plug, oversize firing pin stop & 23lbs mainspring, ext. mag release, beavertail safety, grip panels & spacers, ambi safety, and Guncrafter lanyard pin MSH. planned for the future is a groove in the flat top, countersunk slide stop pin hole, undercut trigger guard, flush crowned barrel, and mayyybe a widened mag well.

on with the pictures!


the Bridgeport - hand fed! i used Brownells cryo-treated HSS cutters for the dovetails, they worked out very well and didn't wear much.
http://neurostyle.net/misc/ria/sights/ria-sight-cuts-1.jpg

all done with the mill:
http://neurostyle.net/misc/ria/sights/ria-sight-cuts-5.jpg

sights on, no cold blue yet:
http://neurostyle.net/misc/ria/sights/ria-sight-cuts-3.jpg

after stoning and cold bluing:
the cold bluing works beautifully when a part is heated up properly. i just laid the slide on a heater grate and it took two applications to get a very, very dark blue-black:
http://neurostyle.net/misc/ria/sights/ria-sight-cuts-7.jpg

the rear sight fits beautifully, it tensions just right in the middle. it's a tad forward of the rear, but i can blend that out:
http://neurostyle.net/misc/ria/sights/ria-sight-cuts-8.jpg

the front sight looks really good, but the dovetail is about .001" too big, so we had to peen it down. now it's nice and tight, and i'm going to try to put a set screw in the roll pin hole.
http://neurostyle.net/misc/ria/sights/ria-sight-cuts-9.jpg


i haven't test fired it yet, so they're just set to the center line, but once it's dialed in i'm also going to Black Max the dovetails. grr, belt, suspenders, and straps!

- emilio

straykiller
02-01-2011, 11:03 PM
nice man good job

Ryan in SD
02-02-2011, 1:10 AM
Looks just like the one I use, we just got one of those nice chucks too. I think we have 3 or 4 different ones.

emilio
02-13-2011, 2:44 PM
success!

http://neurostyle.net/misc/ria/sights/1911-new-sights-first-shot.jpg

i finally got out to the range, and this was the first shot - yeah, i know, not a group, but that's so pretty how could i not snap it? about 30ft, POA was a 6 o'clock hold, using my standard loads (Rainier 230gr ball over 6gr Unique). i think that's pretty good for basically eyeballing center for the sights...

problem was, it didn't last: after that picture i reeled it out to 50 feet and got a group off to the left! the front sight, of course, had gotten loose from the first shot (i lost the included roll pin, so it's just peened in). i re-set it and it turned out just as accurate at 50', shooting about 4" over POA. unfortunately, it kept working loose, so i've peened the dovetail down a bit more and put some blue Loctite on it. yes, just blue for now since i'll be doing some more work and then refinishing the whole gun. i still want to try putting a set screw in the roll pin hole, and no matter what i'll be using Black Max on it when it's all finally done. pity you can't silver solder these tritium sights.

i can see how the differences between the A1 sights and modern target-based combat sights were almost revolutionary. the 1911 was designed at a time when revolvers were still the dominant sidearm, and its sights were grounded in the combat tactics of the time. today's tactics are centered around combat carbines and close-quarters defensive pistols where the small, slow-fire, longer-range sights of yore are a hinderance.

- emilio

Roccobro
02-13-2011, 3:52 PM
Maybe you can pray really hard that the phosphating adds extra material to your .001" dovetail. :D

Good job man. Looks awesome. Nothing like the feeling of shooting something you had strapped to a mill and had the chance to end it's life with a flick of a wrist. :D

Back to the mill giving birth to AR's. :43:

Justin

Black_Talon
02-13-2011, 4:16 PM
i still want to try putting a set screw in the roll pin hole

Why don't you just put a roll pin in the roll pin hole? They work great! I suspect if you try and tap that hole you'll end up with a slight bulge on each side of the blade.

emilio
02-13-2011, 5:04 PM
lol that would be awesome if the parkerizing added a thou!

Why don't you just put a roll pin in the roll pin hole? They work great! I suspect if you try and tap that hole you'll end up with a slight bulge on each side of the blade.

heh, well, i lost it! i'd have drilled the detent and put it in if i did have it, and still looked at putting in a set screw.

- emilio

jamesob
02-13-2011, 8:00 PM
did you mill it with the chuck or did you put a collet in?

emilio
02-13-2011, 8:55 PM
did you mill it with the chuck or did you put a collet in?

we used a collet, the chuck was to hold a dial gauge to level the top.

- emilio

Rust
02-15-2011, 10:53 AM
If you have enough metal to work with just tap the bottom side of the sight for the set screw so it doesn't leave the rough lip of the first thread exposed. Drill it, tap with a bottoming tap (or one ground flat on the end) back the screw into the pocket and put it in place. It looks like you could fit a short screw in that way and not show the work.

emilio
02-15-2011, 12:53 PM
If you have enough metal to work with just tap the bottom side of the sight for the set screw so it doesn't leave the rough lip of the first thread exposed. Drill it, tap with a bottoming tap (or one ground flat on the end) back the screw into the pocket and put it in place. It looks like you could fit a short screw in that way and not show the work.

hmmm... that's a great idea! i was going to chamfer or countersink the top of the hole to help hide the threads, but then i would have had to cold blue the edge (not going to re-parkerizing a tritium sight). with your suggestion there wouldn't be any exposed metal.

there's just one big problem with this whole set screw idea: 1/16" set screws and taps aren't very common. it also may need to be a flat head, because you'd need a damn tiny hex head to drive a 1/16" screw!

- emilio

Rust
02-15-2011, 6:58 PM
4x40 is 0.111 thread diameter, takes .050 wrench and is pretty easy to come by. If that's to big there are 3x48, 2x56, 1x64, 0x80. But those are less common and take truly tiny .035? or .023? allen wrenches.