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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:35 am 
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I don't show every gun I do, it kinda depends on what time of year it is (summer workload being a little heavier with traveling for classes), what the projects are, and, well, sometimes I feel like it and sometimes I don't. :mrgreen: Here's one of a few going on that's far enough along to show some of it. I would rather wait until it was done, but.... I felt like it.

A Colt Railed Commander. I don’t remember if Colt even makes this but we could not find one, so, my customer bought two brand new stainless Colts, a Colt Rail Gun and a Commander. He’s big on Commanders and Colts and stainless and wanted an integral, factory rail, so this was the beginning of the road to it.

This thread will be here on LTW only.

Slide rear serrations aren’t something that is “standard” with me but I will do them on request. “C” likes them. This pic shows the second extractor just done. In other words, the serrations were done with the first extractor in place; then the second extractor was installed and the serrations cut on it to match. You can barely see it at this point but once disassembled and everything is deburred, it will be back. 40 LPI on the slide rear matches the Shield Driver sight. The Shield Driver will be getting tritium and a wider notch... "C" likes a big dot front, too.
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Checking that the FRAG on the frontstrap and MSH-F synchs with the pattern on the VZ grips—yep it does. VZ’s have been thinned a little beyond already being “thin”.
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MSH-F with FRAG pattern and texture on top of each square. As it is not pinned in, it is a few thousandths short of being completely seated so you can see where the step in width is, sorta. Left column, second row up in the groove.
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The rail, with all its sharp edges and corners removed. Still plenty of mounting surface and recoil lug area but you can run your hands over it and not have to reach for a bandage. This is meaningful when you are going to be training hard and fast, and shooting a lot like “C” does. This gun is not for collecting…..

Also in this pic the mid-FRAG under the trigger guard is visible. Can’t really tell in the pic but I made a new recoil spring plug from scratch. Two reasons: one, I launched the original and the face of it got quite a dent. Looking it over I thought it might be a little soft but also it was shorter than it needed to be, plus, I determined that the flat wire recoil springs are slightly smaller in diameter so a little wall thickness could be gained. I made it from a piece of cut-off Colt AR15 barrel….. keeping it all Colt ya know….
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I’m not a big fan of ball cuts but in this case it was a little different, had to get the Commander slide cuts to match the Gov’t frame. And yes the Gov’t frame has been moved back to Commander specs where the barrel foot goes.
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And, the magwell. Note the Challis Grips hex grip bushings, I wished a long time for something like that, they work well.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:08 am 
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Neat! Looking forward to the completed gun pix.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:49 pm 
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Looking great Ned, love the MSH fit.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:05 am 
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After a little further work on the serrations.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:03 pm 
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Really nice Ned ! Love that Frag pattern of yours...........

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:51 am 
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Well I should hope so Arthur, glad to hear you haven’t changed your mind. Hope ya don’t mind if I throw out a link to your OACP, which I would dearly love to have for my own, just saying….
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9791

This railed Commander is for the same guy as in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8466

And this one, from ten years ago:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6801&start=30

Don't know yet if I'm going to use a store-bought Big Dot as in the second or make one from scratch as in the first.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:02 am 
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Hadda make a front sight to meet the customer's requirements and get the gun zero'd.
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Getting closer:
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:25 pm 
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This is the wide-open sight pic with these big fellers. The blue line drawn on the paper represents how the arced target helps get the most precision from them. Cheating maybe but one needs to know where the zero is. Anyway shooting a 2” black dot doesn’t cause groups to "go all to hell”.
Front sight will get a very large orange insert and tritium.
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Getting pretty close to done on this one.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:28 pm 
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Mr. Christiansen, you are a metal magician Sir; magnificent work....


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:18 pm 
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I never put this much into a front sight before, just an experiment.... trying to get a bigger glow out of it......

Orange Xenoy..... this sprocket was part of a package of molds I helped design some time ago. I saved one of them and about once a year I nibble a piece off and make some kind of front sight insert out of it.

From the front, there's a 3/32 glass ball recessed forward about .080, then a 1/64 disc of clear vinyl as a cushion, then the tritium element wrapped in polished foil to reflect the light back in as much as possible, then a layer of white paper as a thermal and shock insulator, then a disc of polished foil at the end of the element, then it's all sealed in the back with epoxy. It all goes into the orange plastic insert from the back, the hole is stepped to the "crystal ball" seats and seals on the step. Then this whole thing will be epoxied and pinned into the front sight after the front sight gets DLC'd with the gun..

The crystal ball will focus an actual beam of beta particles right into your eye enabling you to see the future while you shoot.

In actuality-- it makes the "lit" part of the sight a little bigger. Not sure it was enough to notice but it was worth trying.... now we know.

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Tapering the recess so the crystal ball is plenty visible.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:49 pm 
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Up stop welded onto the RH safety; downstop is pressed in to a step on the part, and riveted from the inside like a plunger tube. If it ever did come loose it would fall off the gun and not into it; but I was at the welder already for something else so I had him put some insurance on it.

The incredible amount of weight reduction gained by 36, 1/8" holes? About 97 grains / .211 oz. If you could take off ten times that again you'd still only be about 2 oz. down. It's a lot of work getting noticeable weight out of a 1911 but there are other areas with lower hanging fruit-- where you can get that much and more with less effort; I visited a couple of them, too. But if you weighed all the chips and went dollars per hour spent / ounces reduced, those chips could almost as well be gold. In other words, after doing the easy parts "it ain't hardly worth it" to go any further. On an aluminum frame, aluminum being about 1/3 the weight of steel, it is even less worth it!

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I believe it was Chuck Rogers who I first saw do a down stop for an ambi.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:54 am 
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Just got this one back from some of it getting DLC'd and some bits getting NiB-X'd. Some bits from another Commander were also out for NiB-X.

So I gathered up the Series 80 parts (NiB-X'd) and gave the active surfaces a little final polish, and, clumsy me, I dropped them all. They landed like this :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:45 pm 
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Back from DLC, I used WMD Guns this time. Dear DLC people: please leave it polished where I have it polished and leave it blasted where I have it blasted. They did this….. that’s a big deal.
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One of the few spots where a hole gets a worth-it amount of weight out. I mean, it’s still not much weight but for the effort, you get a measurable amount.
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Smooth, flat, shiny, and hard like diamond…. makes for a smooth-running pistol that’s smooth-running for a long, long time. Probably well beyond the life of most of the rest of it. My FallArrest™ Hammer and S80 parts have been plated with NiB-X. An up-stop is laser welded to the top of the RH safety paddle, visible here.
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RH side of EGW safety and its down stop— pressed, riveted and laser-welded in. Hex bushings are from Challis Grips, I’ve been diggin’ these for a couple years now.
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“C” asked for a particular mod to the grip safety tang and showed me some pics from John Jardine’s site. I said I could do it, sure, but…..

Flashback maybe a decade, maybe twelve years. I’m at the SHOT Show and hailed by a guy in a white cowboyish hat. It’s Pete Single whom at the time I’ve never met. I guess he read my name tag. He welcomes me like an old friend. Wants to introduce me to somebody else—it’s John Jardine, who also treats me like an old pal. I’ve met and chummed with many of the pistolsmithing greats, and been treated well by all, even the ones that are generally said to be, well, curmudgeonly…. I’ve been lucky this way. But with these two guys I was in the presence of a special, understated, subtle, behind-the-scenes kind of greatness and I’ll never forget how warmly they welcomed me and how great the conversation was.

So—back to the present time.

I am critical of copycat gunsmithing and I could not do that to John. John is hard to reach so I wrote him a letter—you know, in the mail. I told “C” that he’d have to do without the mod unless I could get John’s blessing or better yet, get John to do it. John responded that he would do it and I was very pleased with that. We had a nice conversation and I sent the requisite parts back to “C” who also knows John and has some of his work—hence the request for this mod. “C” brought it to John, picked it up when done, and sent it back to me! Might not seem like such a big deal to many but getting John to do the narrowed and rounded grip safety tang mod on a gun done by me, well, I consider it an honor.
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 7:50 am 
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Getting DLC done on this one took quite a long time and was very, very expensive. I have been discouraged with this finish in some ways over the years—the trials and tribulations of getting it done, for one: I’m always on pins and needles when a gun with many, many, (many) weeks’ worth of work into it, gets sent out to people I don’t know, for refinish. Communications are usually not up to my comfort level; the way most outfits are set up, you can’t send the gun to the people who will be doing it, you send the gun to the people who will send the gun to the people who will do it. More chances of losing a part. More chances to drop a part. More chances to lose it in shipping. Twice the shipping costs, more weak links in the chain of communication. Rust resistance is low, but this is a stainless gun.

For this one I went to WMD Guns. It was all the above BUT the work was done perfectly with one exception noted below. They left it polished where I wanted it polished and dull where I wanted it dull, in short, my instruction to DLC as-received was followed. I have not always been afforded this and indeed, in the past I have been shocked to find that the finish “broker” was blasting the gun and then when it arrived at the actual House Of DLC, it was blasted again. WMD treated it as I had prepped it. Much appreciated and the result is awesome.

But for some reason they could not get the slide to take the finish right. With the several links in the communications chain I never could find out exactly what and where, but they twice blasted off the finish and returned the slide to me for re-prep. The slide is very carefully glass beaded on the flats and very matte everywhere else (except the polished breech face, rails and disco rail), so this thrice-done process burned a lot of time. Before I returned it to them for a third attempt my frustrated, long-waiting customer directed me to not use them again for the slide. I scrambled to find another source and found one that was willing to work with me, got it done in about a week, it’s done perfectly and is a perfect match. Not saying who in this case as I am developing a relationship with them.
Whatever it was about the slide that was giving WMD trouble, well, it was not prepped any differently from other parts but I don’t really hold that against them—you’ll have these things sometimes I reckon.

Some contrasts shown. One mag was left with more or less the factory polish and dull-blasted at the bottom, the other is dull at the bottom and glass beaded on top. FP stop is left polished at the bottom where it rolls over the hammer.
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Working areas of the slide left polished:
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 2:24 pm 
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Finally all together.

Once upon a time in the Osage Orange hedgerow……

Shield driver, top-down.
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Front sight—it shows up well, day or night-
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Magazine base plates firmly laser-welded in place, trimmed off, edges rounded. Yep, I should have had him do a 100% weld. That's the problem when you take imperfect and make it better-- the improvement accentuates the remaining imperfections.
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There is no issue getting the slide stop up manually/
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 4:02 pm 
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Well . . . danged impressive!


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 10:56 am 
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A very, very cool gun Ned!

I very much like the way you accomplished that front sight and I can empathize with your DLC experiences. It is a great finish when done right, but sometimes getting it right is harder than it sounds.

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