View Full Version : 1911 project- Pic heavy

09-29-2011, 11:10 AM
Hey everyone,
So I just dros'd a wide-body, officers size 1911. This is going to be used for a long term build project. I had a few questions though since I'm mainly still in the planning stages as I want to have everything ironed out before i start dropping the serious cash i know is required for custom work. Right now its in a relatively standard officers configuration: .45 ACP, 3.5" slide, bushing bbl (ramped), and officer alloy frame.

My questions start with the ramped barrel... Theres a chance I may go with .40/10mm instead of .45 acp. I know its a huge pain to convert a non ramped 1911 to another caliber but aside from the ejector is there any mods i would have to make to the FRAME to switch calibers since its a ramped barrel? I cant think of anything but alot of you know more than i do. I know this wouldnt be cheap but my ideas for the project involve building a new top end anyways, so i figure the caliber change might not be that much extra.

Here's the goal: I wanted to build a compact, lightweight, good capacity, and unique pistol. So im starting with an officers para wide-body. I kind of want to throw a commander slide on top to lengthen the sight radius a bit and get a tiny bit more weight forward (if it will fit on the officer frame that, as im not totally sure). Next in will go a Schuemann Hycomp barrel, so the slide will have to be milled. Sights im not sure of yet but something fixed and will go into novak cuts. The finish of the gun is also TBA, but im thinking something black...and durable of course. .45 vs .40 is also up in the air, for no real particular reason really. i have waay more experience with .45 but i figure the compensation will work better with hot .40's and like i said, i want to build something DIFFERENT. Grips will likely be VZ"s new Predator green Aliens. I think they look kind of reptilian and im going for the whole fire-breathing dragon theme if you didnt catch that already :P . Any and all input is much appreciated and while the process might be slow, i'll post pics as i progress.

p.s. Any suggestions for smith's in socal that can help out with the slide milling?

09-29-2011, 10:19 PM
It sounds like you bought a Para Warthog or something similar. You mentioned that you want to go .40/10mm. Do you want a .40 S&W or a 10mm? There's a world of difference between the two.

What do you want to do? Self-defense, hunting, or a range gun?

Have you ever shot a Hybrid barreled gun? Hang around some of the local USPSA pistol matches and ask questions. Some people will be running a Hybrid barrel or a combined "Hybri-comp" set up. The competitors are usually liberal with their advice and would share their experiences.

If you did get a smokin' deal on the gun (like $300), I can see investing in the parts/gunsmithing you are describing. Be advised, that quality 1911 gunsmithing is expensive. A new top-end + labor would be like $1K (or more) Most gunsmiths in the local area are always backlogged.

Go to the 1911Forums.com to poke around and do research. BrianEnos.com will give you more opinions about Hybrid barrels, calibers, competition orientated sports, gear. Good luck!

Cyc Wid It
09-29-2011, 10:25 PM
A double stack CCO? Oh my... what you're after is going to be at least $2.5k of work when it's all said and done.

09-30-2011, 10:26 AM
Fatcat- its a P12-45 actually so a couple more rounds than the warthog. I dont know why i said 40/10mm, as i wouldnt go with a 10mm on that small of a frame. I guess more of an experimental defense gun? Majority would be just for fun, and aside from the slide milling and barrel fitting im going to try to do most of the work myself. I've have a little experience working on 1911's, and have fitted many small parts before just dont care to ruin a $300 barrel lol. I've done a rough calculation of parts for the top end and its about $650-700. so ya i know its pricey. thats without any gunsmith work... Thanks for the suggestions!

Cyc wid it- you're pretty much right on. I checked out some of the pricing on the custom feature i might want with a couple gunsmith shops and after all is said is done it should be around 2k if i go with all the the work. i may end up leaving out the front strap textures etc, since i'll be significantly poorer after this project haha. Basically this is going to be a higher capacity version of a Nighthawk T3 comp. why not just buy that gun?.... well its retail is about $3500, before i jump through the loops to get it in CA. and it wouldnt be double stack, so i figure im still under that price for a more personalized gun :)

10-31-2011, 11:03 PM
so... this project got stalled slightly but im ordering the new slide this weekend hopefully. Thing is I am still a little hung up on my caliber choice. I have this inconvenient love of oddball cartridges, so i kind of want to try .400 corbon. I think it would work well with my plan: the 40 cal bullet and case capacity should work better with the hybrid porting than the slower 45 acp but still have more power than a 40sw right? The logic makes sense in my head but i have no real experience with comped/ported bbls so just checking. I also like this choice over the .40 because fewer parts need to be changed since they share the same breach face. But if i understand correctly, could i get a short chambered .40 cal barrel and have it reamed to .400 corbon specs? I havent seen any factory barrels in that chambering with a clark/para ramp at 4.25", and the barrel I was looking at needs the chamber reaming anyways.

10-31-2011, 11:10 PM
it may sound weird, but in the package you're describing, I would have Joe Chambers build me a tapered cone barrel for both 10mm and .40, that will give you a little more weight in your front end (since you mentioned making it a CCO for longer sight radius and weight)...here's a link to one of his recent tapered cone projects...


10-31-2011, 11:24 PM
thanks for the link thats an interesting idea... I'm pretty sure im going to stay away from 10mm though. I keep reading too much about it battering 1911 frames when loaded hot, and why have a 10mm if ur not gonna shoot it to its potential right lol. Besides my frame is an alloy so i know its a little softer and id rather not put it under undue stress. from what i've read the .400 corbon gives mid range 10mm performance without the high peak pressures. .40sw is definitely still on the table though and Mr. Chambers apparently has some amazing work.

11-10-2011, 1:58 PM
So i like the xs sight systems alot, but is it possible to order JUST the front sight from somewhere? everywhere i've looked they come as a front/rear set and i had something else in mind for the rear sight. I was thinking the standard dot not the big dot*

Lead Waster
11-10-2011, 2:13 PM
"I guess more of an experimental defense gun?"

To me "experimental" and "defense gun" shouldn't be in the same sentence!

Sounds more like an experimental range gun. And in this case, don't sweat "stopping power" when figuring out the caliber you want.

11-23-2011, 11:15 PM
^your right. I didnt word it correctly in my original statement, but i agree with what you're saying. I've since spoken with a couple gunsmiths and several other people, and i was talked out of going with the hybrid type barrel. it sounds cool and all but realistically it doesnt belong on a carry gun. and a compact frame/slide isnt a competition gun so a standard barrel/bushing is going to be incorporated. i've been lagging on ordering some other parts but i am currently experimenting with some DIY textures for the front strap. I have two that look promising, i'll update with some pics when im closer to a final choice. (dont worry im practicing on some scrap aluminum not the actual frame)

01-27-2012, 12:21 AM
Alright, this has taken longer than anticipated to get off the ground but these projects arent cheap and my money tree didnt bear fruit lol. Anyways, got the new slide in. Its a Fusion slab side, commander length, 45ACP breechface. Took very little fitting to get on the frame, (i think the para frame was a tad undersized on the rails so the slightly oversized slide matched up nicely.) I removed the old ejector and will be fitting a new one so i can blend it to the slide. Im fairly set on the direction im going with this pistol now, only decisions i havent made for sure are small details like safety levers and the like. Im going with a bull barrel in .400 corbon. I surprisingly was able to find the xs std-dot front sight by itself and am thinking of the Harrison Designs rear night sights. I installed a long flat trigger by guncraft, and a new mag release to replace the old plastic ones. As you will see in the pics i tried out blending the stock grip safety to the frame... i wanted to see what it would look like and maybe then add a bobbed hammer. well, i really dont like it. i never fully smoothed it out but with the high grip i like to get the web of my hand just bunches up by the hammer. got bit a couple times and even when i didnt it just wasnt comfortable. instead im going to go with an Ed Brown grip safety to get a better hold on the gun. well, enough talk here are a few pics. my camera charger went for a walk so cell pics will have to suffice.

Heres the gun stock with only the trigger and mag release:

heres the attempted blending and showing how my web bunched up:

01-27-2012, 12:22 AM
and heres the new slide:

and the slide mounted:

09-06-2012, 11:49 PM
Alright.... Its been put on the back burner far too long. I've done alot of work to this build over the last couple weeks, but let me start with a little background info. I was dead set on setting this thing up to shoot 400 Corbon. I was sure I had figured everything out... I had the slide in, a couple small parts fitted, and even got lucky and jumped on a group buy for a Schuemann barrel. Perfect! i thought, I ordered a .40 cal short chambered, commander bull barrel. I figured i could have a smith ream it out and fit it to my slide. Very soon after I realized there were two problems with this. Firstly, I am stubborn and I had my heart set on fitting as much as possible myself without outsourcing to a 'smith, unless it was ABSOLUTELY necessary. Well for a guy without any serious machinery fitting an oversize ramped barrel and chambering it fell into that category. Secondly, I was ecstatic when i got the Schuemann barrel in! It was a fantastic looking barrel. Unfortunately in my infinite Noob-ness to gunsmithing, I hadnt realized that a .40 cal barrel would be made for a 40 cal breachface , not the .45 face that the 400 corbon required. Awesome setback #1. I searched Hi and low for a barrel in the specs i needed and came up with nothing. So after crying in the corner for a while i decided I'd try out .357 sig instead. Dont ask me why, but I was really hung up on a bottleneck cartridge. I decided I'd save up and order a Barsto semi-drop in barrel with all the specs I needed. Placed the order.... waited....waited....waited, and six weeks later I got an email saying that the barrel I ordered doesn't exist with the options I selected and that they just hadn't caught the mistake. Needless to say that was frustrating. Back to the ol' drawing board. Well... 10mm it is! lol The whole purpose of going with the 400 corbon was to get near 10mm performance... so why not just get the real deal?! Placed the order with Barsto, and while I waited in agony (can you tell I'm not patient?) I had to sell the old slide and barrel to come up with some funds for these "Oh so affordable" 1911 parts... Anyways, over the last several months I've been accumulating various parts and finally just got in the new slide and barrel. So with that said, thank you for letting me vent, and I'll get on with the build!

Ideally this is going to be my hunting sidearm. I wanted a reasonably compact pistol that could pack a punch, while still being able to manage recoil. Once I had decided on 10mm that meant careful planning of parts selection and fitting to help slow slide movement on the compact 1911. In addition, the p12 frame im using is aluminum so I'd really like not to batter it to death after all this work im doing. With alot of research I came up with a few ideas that should help with this.

So first on my list was improving that terrible grip safety that was on it. I went with an Ed Brown beavertail. This would be my first time grinding away at a pistol frame. Words cannot describe the squeamishness with which I began this process.

AHHHHHH!!! one of the frame ears is gone!

09-06-2012, 11:57 PM

Now remember that whole not patient thing? A wise man would advise a first-timer to go at this slow with a file... in about 15 seconds i decided that was too slow for me so i cut at it with wait for it.... a Hack-saw! Best tool for the job? definitely not. Did it work? yes


All i did was cut the ears close to, but not on the edge, of the fitting jig. Then the files came out and i began the painfully slow process of smoothing out the metal to fit the grip safety so that I'd hopefully be left with a nicely blended result.


09-07-2012, 12:05 AM
Almost there... at least on the jig!

File...test fit...file... repeat until head throbs and finally the grip safety will drop in and kind of look like it belongs there.


After it was close with files I decided to blend the lines of the frame with a dremel. I know, I know, it is the evil nemesis of amateur "gunsmiths". But I went slowly and started with just soft sanding bits. They are plastic and look like weird little dusters but man they do the job! They remove very little metal at a time and leave a smooth finish.


09-07-2012, 12:20 AM
That last pic is what the frame looks like when its all done. Here's a couple shots of the final blending for the beavertail:


*sigh* ok that was... fun... Now while we're talking about safeties, I originally thought I wanted an ambi safety. Nothing with giant landing strips of pads, but something that I could at least hit from either side. I tried one I got from brownells that was basically a GI thumb safety but on both sides. I liked it alot at first. At this point I was still using the gun with its factory top end. By the way, that Ed Brown grip safety is kick A** and made the gun feel so much better when firing. Anyways, I carry the gun a fair amount out on the family ranch and I noticed that when I carried it I felt like I had to keep checking to make sure the thumb safety wasnt tripped off when I would bump into things. Im glad I caught this early on, and now I realize why alot of the old-school crowd dont like them lol. No big deal, I just decided to clean up the finish and fit on the factory safety and its worked out great.

Next things I got in were the fire control parts and a few other goodies from EGW. I'd like to ad that the everyone I dealt with at EGW was a great help with my custom order and will definitely be ordering from them again. I went with their HD hammer and sear, as well as their ball head disconnector.

These parts were beautifully machined and only required the tiniest bit of stoning to fit right. One thing i did find odd before any fitting of the above parts was the factory hammer. Check it out, it was the first and last time I have seen a hammer like it:

09-07-2012, 12:42 AM
Now the project was basically suspended like this for quite a while. I was able to shoot the gun but the improvements were more of a tease than anything else. Speaking of shooting it, or more specifically carrying it, I ran into another huge problem. I hadnt had problems before but i started to notice that the grip screws didnt have alot of purchase on the frame threads, and one of them was starting to strip the few threads it was contacting. This wasnt for lack of depth in the frame but rather that the screws were too short. And yes, you read that correctly, I said the FRAME. Para's apparently dont have grip screw bushings. This is a two-fold problem: Not only are the screws only catching just a couple threads, but the frame is aluminum. Steel screws....shallow aluminum threads.... do the math. I contacted Para about this and they said they'd fix it for $25 bucks PER GRIP SCREW. Plus shipping on my dime. HA!!!! I tried using blue loctite but the very next time I shot the gun I lost one of the grip screws in a field, never to be seen again. I figured out that the factory screws are size 10-48. Cool, except for the minor inconvenience that virtually NO ONE carries that size screw in any amount. Even the Para tech I spoke with chuckled when I asked him if he had heard of anyone locating an outside supplier for those screws. Well... I sure as heck wasn't going to pay $100 plus shipping both ways to fix grips screws (stubborn remember). They had said that the fix they performed involved a Heli-coil. For all I knew at the time that was some sort of alchemy. But I did my research and saw that it really wasn't rocket surgery, just basic drilling and re-tapping really. At this time I also decided to opt for a more common thread pitch to save myself later in the unavoidable event that my carpet eats a grips screw. Again with the ever-looming threat of demolishing my frame, I took power tools to it and installed the helicoils in all four spots:


There were a few kinks to work out. Firstly the supplied coils were too long for the relatively shallow holes. I fixed this by trimming the coils roughly in half BEFORE inserting them. Then I filed the ends smooth on the inside to not interrupt the magazine functions. This process was surprisingly easy and I feel much better about my grips not flying off now. I had to do quite a bit of fitting to the screws I bought from my local hardware store, but I took it nice and slow with some files and now I have the option to use all sorts of head types.

09-07-2012, 12:52 AM
Now that I was feeling extremely satisfied with my victory it was time to run into my next hurdle...
Magazines. The size I needed were the same used by the old para p14-40's, except those are discontinued and all the magazines have vanished from the universe. I found 2 random suppliers but before I could even ask if they would ship me to them as Rebuild kits (all were hi-caps) they told me they didnt actually have any, and wont get them back in. More research revealed that with a modified mag catch that standard STI tubes would function in my para although I'd lose some capacity. I figured I'd take the loss. But as my luck would have it none of the STI magazines are made in lengths that would be flush in my gun. My mags are roughly 115mm tall. i know 120mm tubes really wouldnt stick out that far.... but thats about 5mm more than my eyes will allow. More research... I come across a couple guys that modified para mags designed for .45acp to feed and function well with .40sw. Simple enough I figure, and a little bit of tweaking has turned on of my .45 mags to appear as though it will function with the 10mm dummy rounds. I hand cycled a couple today and what do ya know... it seems to work! but more on that later. ;)

The barrel came in!!!

09-07-2012, 1:05 AM

One of the reasons I went with a Barsto drop in is that I've read in many places that they actually do drop in to a vast majority of slides..... haha do I even need to say it? Of course it didn't drop into my slide! But I decided I'd fit that later, after all, as far as you know I didnt get my slide yet... :D

Ok ok i got the slide in a couple days later. Same thing as before but with the correct breachface. (did any of you catch that I sold a .40 cal barrel only to return to needing one for 10mm...? I know I'm awesome at planning) Anyways, I fitted my Ed Brown extractor without too much fuss, and the EGW oversize ejector is installed and fitted to let the slide operate but I haven't tuned the nose. Also, as part of my 10mm plan, I got a Wilson Combat Oversize Flat Bottom* Firing pin stop. They weren't kidding when they said it was oversized, but nothing my files cant fix.

Back to the barrel! The hood was slightly oversized (as it should be) so I started there to let the barrel into the slide. Heres a couple action shots:


This went very slowly, for once out of planning. I was NOT going to screw up this barrel or slide. So I checked for fit often and removed very little metal at a time. As an interesting side note, Barsto drop in barrels have a little extra material on the sides of the first barrel lug recess to adjust fit, much like the Kart EZ fit barrels have those two little pads on top. Im actually still not done with this but I had to take a break because it was driving me crazy that I wasn't done with it yet. And I'd rather step away for a day rather than rush through that process.

09-07-2012, 1:11 AM
As for sights, I selected the XS small dot, front night-sight. I went with the Harrison Designs rear ledge sight with single tritium lamp in the center. Installation was mostly straight-forward, though the slide dovetails seemed unusually tight. That or both sights had alot of excess material to fill the void in older slides. Either way, I got them in and they look awesome. Love the way they point and that front dot pulls your eyes in FAST.


09-07-2012, 1:16 AM

Looks great so far!!! I can't wait to see it finished.

09-07-2012, 1:22 AM
Well once those were in, I of course had to assemble the pistol and see what it feels like as far as weight and pointability. This would be the first time this happens, and the parts couldnt come together fast enough. Now many of you will have noticed by now that I have left out details about a few small parts fitting, but I just decided to write about those later because I hadn't snapped any photos worth sharing of those yet. One thing I haven't done though is machine the recoil plug tunnel for my reverse plug. I had a custom plug made by EGW to fit my slide and work with the Sprinco recoil reducer I had ordered (another effort to mitigate the 10mm recoil, muzzle climb, and frame wear). If you look closely at the following pics you'll notice the recoil assembly sticking out the front of the gun.

Here's a pic showing the fit at the back of the slide. I will blend this later after final barrel fitting and such. It's actually not too bad:

Parts are mostly unfinished still until basic function tests can be performed, but if you look closely you'll catch the couple of the colors I will be coating the gun in.

09-07-2012, 2:00 AM
Interesting sights combination. I guess your rear sight works better than XS' factory front-rear combo?

09-07-2012, 7:31 AM
Tag for a very cool 1911 project.

09-07-2012, 7:56 AM
Glad you guys like it. I went with this rear sight for a couple reasons. Firstly, the xs rear sight didn't seem to allow for precise aiming. Its just a v-notch like on old school buckhorn sights. Im sure with practice you can shoot well wit h them, but Im used to target style sights already. I get the vertical dots now, with a nicer serrated face, and a ledge to rack the slide. I felt that the ledge on the sights would kind of make up for the sprinco guide rod, so I still have some options for one handed slide racking.

09-07-2012, 1:14 PM
Tag for a very cool 1911 project.

I'm going to have to do the same:cool2:

09-07-2012, 2:15 PM
Some other info about small parts I used:
I fit an Ed Brown slide stop and then cut it flush to the frame. A little bit of chamfering got me the cool "FBI" style nub. I did this for purely cosmetic reasons, and I dont think I'll be able to have another 1911 without it. Ill take a close up of it later but you can see it in a few of the last pics.
I Also swapped out the factory plastic mainspring housing for a Smith and Alexander unit. It's got nice checkering and actually e,tends below the frame of the gun. Now, I didnt really want to make the gun less compact, but the benefits outweighed the little extra length. It gives me just a little more grip in the palm and acts like a mini mag well at the back of the opening. Plus it makes a nice flush look with the basepads on the mags.
Now the grips could have been a whole write up of their own. I regretably didn't take pics of the process but it began with some S&A p12 grips. They need some paint but the checkering is nice. They needed extensive fitting though after I reshaped the frame for the new beavertail. This was another drawn out fit and check process, but the final product fits amazing in my hands. Checkering is just enouhh fonon slip grip without rubbing my side raw when I carry it. I'll snap a picture of those when I get a chance.
The original project had an Aftec extractor which I loved. However I opted to go with a basic Ed Brown this time because frankly, the cost was already high without spending the extra 60 bucks for the Aftec. The one I purchased before now sits in my Springfield, and I am very fond of it. Maybe I'll get one for this later on down the road.

09-12-2012, 2:39 PM
So good news! I got my camera back up and running so no more cell phone pics! However, with every step forward there must be two back... I was having trouble fitting my barrel. It didn't seem to want to cycle dummy rounds. the clearance on the sides of the barrel hood was a little tight so I filled down a bit there but still no improvement. I checked contact points half a dozen times and nothing really stood out. I triple checked my dummy rounds. I tried them loaded to both the max and min OAL and it didn't matter... As I scratched my head I noticed that the lead bullets had a ring now engraved into them at the case mouth.... This can't be good. Confirmed that bullets were proper size, check. Then I got upset... The headspace had to be correct, its a semi-custom barrel. Looked up saami specs that stated the min chamber depth of 0.992". Now Barsto usually is on the tighter side of this for the sake of accuracy, but mine measured 0.852"! They chambered it to 40sw..... Awesome. I can either leave as is and finish it off as a 40 or they said they would ream it for me to true 10mm.

Cyc Wid It
09-12-2012, 8:16 PM
So good news! I got my camera back up and running so no more cell phone pics! However, with every step forward there must be two back... I was having trouble fitting my barrel. It didn't seem to want to cycle dummy rounds. the clearance on the sides of the barrel hood was a little tight so I filled down a bit there but still no improvement. I checked contact points half a dozen times and nothing really stood out. I triple checked my dummy rounds. I tried them loaded to both the max and min OAL and it didn't matter... As I scratched my head I noticed that the lead bullets had a ring now engraved into them at the case mouth.... This can't be good. Confirmed that bullets were proper size, check. Then I got upset... The headspace had to be correct, its a semi-custom barrel. Looked up saami specs that stated the min chamber depth of 0.992". Now Barsto usually is on the tighter side of this for the sake of accuracy, but mine measured 0.852"! They chambered it to 40sw..... Awesome. I can either leave as is and finish it off as a 40 or they said they would ream it for me to true 10mm.

Figures that the barrel spec would be the last thing you check and be what's wrong. Going to stick with 10mm? Good work thus far.

09-12-2012, 8:24 PM
Tag. Very cool project.

09-12-2012, 9:50 PM
Ya you'd think by now I would have learned to check everything as soon as I get it. Oh well. I think i'm still going with 10mm. I'm anxious to finish this without having to wait for the barrel to turn around... But I know if I stuck with 40 I'd eventually do the conversion to 10mm anyways. I have to order a reverse plug reamer still, so I can take care of that while I wait. And thanks everyone for the compliments!

10-01-2012, 10:35 AM
I got the reamer in for the recoil plug. Took quite a while to turn it by hand, but the process is pretty straight forward. Here are a couple pics of the muzzle end, I love it!

10-01-2012, 10:42 AM
The other one came out fuzzy so I'll retake it later. I did run into a massive problem with the mags. Despite reports of success from others, my converted .45mags did not function. The rounds got jammed up Withe the follower because the mag tubes are missing the ribs for 40cal. I did however test cutting down one of the 45 mag tubes to see if I could trim the mag and still have the floor plate function. That actually went well, so im going to order som p16-40 mags and cut them down.

10-01-2012, 4:45 PM
Very nice 1911 project.Keep us updated.

10-15-2012, 4:35 PM
Well I caught a lucky break the other day. I was about to order the full size mag tubes, but decided to see if a local shop had any first. And what do ya know... I came across the actual size I needed. I didn't know they existed because the brand marketed them incorrectly. They're promags which i'm not very fond of but i'm trying them out. After test firing the gun with Critcal defense and some handloads I found that I am having a ftf on the last round in the mag. The round does not make it under the extractor. If Ipull the slide back a bit and let it go it chambers. I did notice though that I need to work on the slide release. The mag followers start to engage it when there is one round left in them.

10-15-2012, 10:00 PM
Awesome job so far!

10-15-2012, 10:21 PM
Nice project. I handled a P13-45 at my LGS and was on the fence about getting once. Settled for a original CCO instead.

10-15-2012, 10:24 PM
Sexy little gun!

Keep it up!

10-15-2012, 10:31 PM
Subbed and rated. :D


11-01-2012, 9:54 PM
Alright guys, got busy and took a little break but did some more test firing with the same results. No problems until the last round in the mag. Tried filing a high point on my slide lock and all i did was prevent the slidelock from moving all the way vertically into its slot on the slide on the empty mag. Heres a pic of what it does with one dummy round in the mag:

I even tried one of the old 45 mags with the factory slidelock in place... And it does the same exact thing when it never did before. Am i missing something?

02-05-2013, 1:18 PM
Alright, alot has happened to this project of the last few months...

I finally resolved the Magazine issue... I also destroyed two mag followers, one mag tube, and two slidelock levers in the process lol. Here's the deal: I remember now why i dont like promags. Because of the double-stack design, the function of the magazines is dependent on a very finely tuned interaction of the follower and slidelock. However, the feed lips of my magazines fed the rounds just fine. The issue was that they allowed the follower to engage the slidelock while there was one round left in them. I tried trimming the tabs on the followers, and also the tab on the slidelock. Both of these eventually resulted in disabling the slidelock function altogether. FAIL. I decided to start fresh, and ordered two dawson .40 followers and an EGW HD slidestop (which was reported to not need tuning.....ya right). These parts seemed to help a little but did not resolve the issue during test firing. I ended up having to bend the feed lips on the mag tubes to hold the round slightly lower in position. This prevented the follower from engaging the slidelock prematurely, and allowed my to smooth out the feeding of the rounds into the chamber. Unfortunately this means i'll likely have to tune each mag i get in the future individually, but oh well. More importantly, the gun functions perfectly now and havent had a single issue in about 300 rds.....

well, at least not with feeding or ejection.

02-05-2013, 1:31 PM
well after that rather satisfying accomplishment I was due for another problem.

During test firing I found that a good majority of the empty cases had pierced primers, even my low pressure reloads. The gun cycled fine, and accuracy suggested that pressure was consistent. I checked the firing pin for sharp edges and correct dimensions, nothing stood out. This also occurred with several brands of primers so I eliminated that factor. Then while removing the firing pin stop, i happened to notice that the firing pin was depressed far to easily. I compared it with my springfield to confirm. This surprised me since I had used a brand NEW Wilson combat extra power fp spring.... another fluke I guess. I happened to have a few Wolff extra power fp springs on hand and those felt much better as far as resistance to depression.

Another test firing showed improvement, but still some primers were pierced. I concluded that I needed a softer mainspring. Alas, this oddball gun doesnt have a lot of choices as far as aftermarket spring kits go. I had to take the plunge and trim the mainspring myself. I removed about 1.5 -2 coils and went out for another test firing. Finally! all rounds fired since then have had zero pierced primers, even some hot 200gr loads. The fp still seems to be hitting a little on the hard side, but i think it will wear in nicely as opposed to trimming more and getting light strikes later down the line. Sigh... my last hurdle.

of course it wasn't.

02-05-2013, 1:53 PM
I had planned to Gunkote the gun myself some combination of FDE and Satin black. I put together a little airbrush setup, and painting box. The application seemed to go well. However, during all the aforementioned test firing high friction spots were already showing bare metal and I didnt like that. Also, the flat FDE held on to dirt and grime. The satin black held up better, but still not quite as well as I was hoping. I its defense, I think the durability issues I had were due to a lack of good sand blasting. I had access to a light blaster using 200 grit media, but I think it was too smooth for good adherence. In any case, it protected the parts while I ironed out all those wrinkles. Unfortunately, I dont have pics of this process, but honestly it wasnt anything too exciting.

It was time to find a better finish. I pondered about cerakote, but priced around to see what the whole gun would cost. After weighing all the pros and cons, I decided to Hard chrome the gun (minus the AL frame). It was cost effective, and I know it holds up well. I got the parts done at Techplate since its local for me, and for $120 I got the slide, and every single small part done in matte chrome. I was only going to do a few small parts, but the min. charge is $120, so I figured I'd do all parts if I was going to have to pay that either way.

I really like the results:





Sorry they're phone pics. :o Only thing left to do is refinish the grips and frame. The grips are just rattle-can black right now, and I havent decided what color to do the frame. I found a guy locally to Cerakote it for me once I decide. Any suggestions? I was kind of partial to Blue Titatium. I promise I'll actually take quality pictures when its all said and done. :D

02-05-2013, 1:57 PM
oh yes and new SS grips screws are under way. The brass ones were easier to make but they are a little too tall for my taste and now the color is all thrown off lol.