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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:40 am 
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Firing the first shots is something of a reward for me. I never rush into doing it. I never say, "I think it might work now, gonna fire a few rounds and find out". I want the gun almost completely done before I put it on the bags, and no functional "maybe's". Everything has to be right before round one because it's a big reward for me to have it work from the get-go and not have to go back and tweek this or that, but also, I love being able to tell the customer that in test firing I put X-number of rounds through it and from round one it has been utterly reliable. But I do need to know how high the front sight needs to be so I can install it accordingly..... so I shot this Commander a few days ago prior to installing the new front sight. The original front sight is nowhere near high enough so there is a temporary front sight in place. I happened to guess pretty close to right on it's height in this case.

Targets 1 and 3 below were fired with this Commander. 2 and 4 were with another gun, a 5", that also just happened to be getting its first shots fired the same day. As you can see that one was shooting pretty high but the adjustable rear was way up from the previous barrel so I was able to dial the sights in on that one. Both are Kart barrels.

In both cases the very first round out of the barrel was well within a group with the following five shots, and I typically find this the case. I have never found the "first round flyer" thing to be true, that is where they say the first hand-cycled round will go to a different point of impact. But then I'm not shooting from a mechanical rest at 50 yards-- maybe it would show up then but on a well-fitted gun I still don't think so.

Group 1 is with a 200 SWC handload. Group 3 is with Remington 230 Golden Sabres..... groups fired from 28 yards off bags. A perfect sight picture for great groups used to be.... easier. The front sight is less crisp for me these days so I took some advice from my good friend and sometimes boss Jeff Chudwin and used some drugstore cheaters, like 1.25X glasses. That front sight was perfect, and I could barely discern the trapezoid bullseye..... but it worked-- group three is 1 5/8, not bad for me these days. When the weather is better I need to shoot some groups with and without the cheaters and quantify this.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:18 am 
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You'll notice in the last pic, this Commander has a FLGR (full length guide rod). I'm not a big fan of these generally except on the shorter guns..... a Commander is kinda in the middle and I can't remember the last time I delivered one with a FLGR but this one is set up for the flat wire recoil spring from EGW. A Commander does use a shorter recoil spring and shorter is never better..... now on a Commander it's not such a huge issue, they can run fine with the standard setup, but knowing this client as I do, he's going to shoot the hell out of this gun and the flat springs do offer a way to get more spring into the shorter available area, which does increase spring life. Anyway I am delivering the gun with the stock Colt setup too, so he can see the dif and pick from the two or alternate, maybe the flat spring for a 300-round day at the range and the stock setup for carry.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:55 pm 
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Ned are you left handed?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:23 am 
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Ned. Well acquainted with the "fuzzy" front sight now. I only on occasion try for the groups I used to shoot. If I can hold a fist size, I am happy. Part of the "go home at end of shift" mind set. Be able to function with and without glasses. Having had them knocked off in my past line of work.

The gun is a shooter.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:24 am 
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I'm right-handed Greg. Don't tell me why you're asking, give me a hint first-- I want to see if I can figure out what you picked up on to make you think I was a lefty.

Yeah Terry, that blurring front sight does not help when we know a crisp one is the best way to get it done!

I'm working my way to "done" on this one and enjoying that phase. It's a little irritating sometimes, the things that come up as you get closer to the finish, little niggling delays and things that you don't see until they are revealed by something else. If you had seen this Commander in the display case at a gun store you'd have said it was a fine looking gun. But as I got to working on the top of the slide-- making sight cuts, a serrated flat leading to the front sight, etc..... that's when the belt-sanded-on imperfections start jumping out. It's not uncommon and as I say usually not a big deal until you add some feature that makes it pop. So in this case the slide top radius was way off center. The junction of the radius and the slide flats was fully 1/16" lower on the right side of the slide. That's not the worst I've seen and believe it or not most people would not spot that. But throw in the other features and it starts to show. It's like, the more you perfect one area, the more the imperfections elsewhere jump out at you. So I recut the whole top radius. I won't go into detail how I do this, there would be many approaches to it and "I used one of them". :mrgreen:

The radius was also pretty wavy. I was lucky in that the slide is pretty straight and parallel. I've seen a great many that were far from it-- sides maybe .008 out of square from the bottom, left side one way, right, the other, and switching as you go down the length of the slide..... oh yeah and relative to the slide ways, "bent" or arcing maybe .005 or .010 (assuming the ways are straight which they often aren't). Again these are things one would not notice and indeed are meaningless most of the time..... until you start trying to do further work on it.

I had already straightened the lines on the frame. Yet to do, the very ends of the slide flats are quite different on each side, and far from straight. Giving it ball cuts would be the easy, do-it-at-the-same-time way but I'm not the world's biggest ball cut fan and the client did not request them so it'll call for just a little more care and stoning.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:15 am 
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A little before and after on the front of the slide. Pretty common to have this cut be higher on one side than the other—even if it’s as much as 1/16” it is hard to notice. But it’s also common to have it anything but straight, and this is easily noticed. The before pic is actually of the side that was the least crooked; you can see how it appears to run downward as it progresses toward the front. This can also be from the flat of the slide being essentially belt sanded more in this area but in this case the slide was fairly flat and parallel.
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“After” pic—much straighter (OK, totally straight) after a little time with a ball end mill, blending and stoning.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:16 am 
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As an obsessive detail kind of a (crazy) guy, I love the thought of that sort of thing ^

Better, a bit better, a little better than that and always getting just ever so slightly closer. Great stuff Ned, these things can never be too perfect and that journey is all we have.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:09 am 
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More in the way of little fixes. Make a cutter, measure the existing, locate, make the moves and try real hard not to make a mistake.

"COLT"S COMBAT COMMANDER MODE" doesn't cut it. Mighta been OK on a stock gun at the store but a gun with this much work into it-- no way.

I was lucky it was the "L" missing-- a simple X/Y move. Glad it wasn't the "B".

How it was.
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OMG! WAY TOO BIG! No, just burred up. This kind of cutter does not cut freely and efficiently.
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Burrs stoned off, new letter filled with black Sharpie for a good comparison. The "E" was a little light too, so the "L" looks heavy. Things like this you can chase around for..... days. This will do, would never be noticed normally.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:54 pm 
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Nice stuff Ned, the left handed was related to the groups you were shooting. Still in the " minute of bad guy" zone. Nice groups.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:27 pm 
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You're a brave man

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:33 am 
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Ned Christiansen wrote:
...I'm going to put up some carefully selected ones as I go along on this Colt......
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Interesting slide stop window treatment. What's up with that? Just because?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:21 pm 
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Just a little crack prevention, I do it everywhere.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:24 pm 
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The end-users Ned has as customers will crack a frame in places you'd scratch your heads to figure out.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:21 am 
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I've been gonna post a picture like this for years. From this Commander, a condition known as "FRAG hand": :shock:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:36 am 
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At least you aren't bleeding.

My first trip to Gunsite, by Tuesday afternoon we all had swathes of tape on our hands, because of the razor-sharp checkering en vogue at the time.

Which reminds me, I have to get a gun to you to get the Frag treatment.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:00 pm 
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Any new pics?? This is one of my favorites.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:24 pm 
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It's just going out for chrome and then DLC over that. Customer had it for about 3 weeks for a little pre-finish trail, making sure everything was to his liking....


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:23 am 
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Among the last-minute touches prior to finish-- I textured the individual pads of the reduced FRAG pattern on the safeties and slide stop. Added a fair amount to the traction on these parts.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:55 am 
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Progress can be so slow on something like this where practically every square millimeter of the gun gets something done to it. Re reading the thread I see that a year ago I said what progress I was making..... well it still isn't what you would call done. Thought this pic might be a good place-holder as it should be back from DLC in a month or so.

In the interim, I let Rob have it for maybe 8 weeks and in typical Rob fashion, he really wrung it out. I'd have preferred that he just "test fire" it but he really ran it, and some areas had to be re-addressed when I got it back to make sure it would look "new" again after refinish.

Then it went out to chrome. Metaloy specifically. Turnaround was good but a fair amount of time in final prep, careful packaging, an inventory list of parts-- I count and recount parts, checking them off as a package them-- nothing worse than getting it all done an finding I forgot to send a part. It came back from chrome, more of the same, unpackage, check off parts to make sure they're still all present. Of course every time I send it out it also has to be logged in my FFL book as out to so-an-so and when it comes back, received from so-and-so.

Next, repackage for DLC. It went out with a few other projects..... actually, this one sat for three-four weeks waiting for some other things to be ready for DLC. More inventory list, more careful wrapping, another logout.... talk to the DLC source (Springer Precision, they inform me they are no longer offering DLC after this)..... send a check and FFL with box o'guns.....

The Metaloy job was so beautiful, it was all I could do not to call Rob and beg him, let's leave it chromed! Seems a shame to cover it up with DLC but I know he wants black and the combo has in the past been a really, really good way to go.

So-- as it looked a month ago when I sent it to DLC. Wish I could have taken the time to fully assemble it chromed for a look but.... everything takes time.....

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:48 am 
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Oh, MAN! Does that look good HC'd!!! Really wish you could've taken a pic with it assembled. Nice stuff. Don't forget the DLC'd pics when it returns!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 8:00 pm 
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OK, things are about to pick back up on this one….. everything is back from chrome, two different sources, and as of yesterday everything’s back from Ion Bond / Springer Precision.

The parts that I typically leave chromed for what I find to be a pleasing contrast that mimics traditional “in the white” but with the added brightness of chrome, and with a few parts added. Trigger is not chromed but the aluminum trigger shoe is a fairly close match to chrome in color and adds to the suite of contrasting parts. The hammer strut is blasted but then polished on the bottom where it contacts the mainspring cap, and shined up a little at the top where it will show in assembly. I like a fine crosshatch on the barrel tube and hood, and a decent polish on the hammer face and sculpted ring of the barrel bushing.
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Parts as received from Springer Precision. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get parts packaged so very carefully. Nothing is worse than opening a box full of carefully-crafted gun just back from an outside finishing service and finding all the parts carelessly thrown together in a bag that has been bouncing around inside the box all the way from the other side of the country. Springer did it up very nicely:
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 6:32 am 
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Looks great Ned, can't wait to see it all together. I bet you feel like a kid on Christmas morning opening up he box from the finisher, I know I do!

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 8:56 am 
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I do Greg, or I do once I've counted all the parts in against my inventory sheet and been over it all with a loupe to make sure there aren't any new "features". Especially with one like this, where it's been to several different places for refinish. Chrome source 1-- bushing, barrel, hammer strut and hammer. I send them to a separate guy who will chrome them as received, where I've done the polishing. hatching/blasting. Chrome II-- Metaloy did an outstanding job on everything else and also is great at "handling with care" and packaging it back up like it matters. Their work was perfect and a shame to cover it up. Then to Springer, who unpacks it, pre-processes every part, tags every part, then sends it all along to Ion Bond. Then back to Springer, then back to me. Short of a royalty-grade gold plating this surely is among the most expensive ways to refinish a gun-- this one is up over $700 by the time we count shipping in all directions and that is without counting my time in writing instructions, doing inventory sheets, boxing, booking, unboxing, unbooking..... come to think of it I somehow wind up not getting paid for that, hm, need to rethink a few things around here.....

And it's for a guy who is a shooter, I mean a real shooter; not a rich guy, he's just a workin' stiff but it so happens that part of his work is firearms training.... he's not old but has been the police for a long time. His equipment really matters to him, so when necessary, he doesn't mind paying extra. Kinda like, I guess, a real lumberjack, I mean a guy who makes his living in the forest, probably doesn't buy his chainsaws at WalMart. On the other hand he's definitely at a level where he can work with just about anything, as long as it works. It's the same guy whose Operator I've been chronicling: http://forum.ltwguns.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9204


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:01 am 
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It is done, zero'd, grouped, checked, double checked, cleaned, test fired, lubed, re-re-checked, checked out, picked up, and on its way home.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:11 am 
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Nicely done Sir...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:17 pm 
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Looks fantastic!!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:09 pm 
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Wow, that looks great! I think I'll definitely be sending mine back for a set of those grips.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:23 am 
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I would be glad to test the texture of that trigger. so neat.

Great work.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:51 am 
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Sick MW and SS....recall a DLC over HC LTW Springer some years ago...cool stuff

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:23 am 
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Thanks.

Rob must be slacking due to the weather, round count since he took delivery is just under 800, so with the 300 he put through it during the "inspection period", plus what I put through it, we're at maybe 1300 on the barrel.


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