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I read a post a while back from Pete Single (a.k.a. Metal Smith on the 1911Forum) in which he noted the following with regard to checkering BHPs:

"BROWNING HI-POWERS: BETTER MEASURE BEFORE YOU CUT OR YOU MAY BE SORRY. Hi-Powers are very thin where the F/S meets the grip panels, average .025 to .032 not counting for a low spot. I once had a customer that had to have a checkered Hi-Power, he sent at least 10 before I measured one that was .038 not counting a .005 low spot. Lets say you have .030 to work with and put 30 lpi on it at .022 deep. Well, what’s left of your F/S is about thick as a beer cans, a whopping .008 at best. Go with 40 lpi at .017 deep that leaves you with .013, big deal, sheet metal on cheap car is thicker then that. BEWARE if it is a newer Hi-Power with a cast frame, these are the ones coated with black epoxy paint and serrations at mag-well opening. I’ve heard of people checkering these and when finished giving the grip a good squeeze and the F/S crack and fall out. There are way to correct all these deficiencies above and are easier said then done. To correct the Hi-Power it will set me back the better part of a day in labor. In short, to correct: You will have to fabricate a new F/S, if you are going to do this modification and make a new F/S do what I do and make a bar of them while you have the machine set-up so you’ll have 2 or 3 extra. Make them extra thick so you can checker them any lpi you wish. I make an aluminum backer the size of the mag-well with removable copper shim plates to back the weld, V out the welds joints for 100% weld fill. If the F/S has a serial number in the center you have more problems, you will have to get the BATF involved to relocate the serial number, good luck and hope you get a very understanding agent."

I have been wanting a BHP with checkering done and this does raise a few concerns. Pete does all the checkering for Novak's shop, so he does speak from considerable experience with BHPs. I know Garthwaite has moved serial numbers. Is it really that big of an ordeal? Which frames are the best candidates for checkering? I have never had 40 lpi checkering on a front strap. It seems like that would be too fine. Anyone done 30 lpi on their BHP?

DD

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Desert Dog on 2001-04-13 10:04 ]</font>
 

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Well, to avoid the hassle, you could find an older BHP. I have a 69C model which doesnt have the serial # on the front strap. I have been debating between Novak's hand matte front strap or checkering though.
 

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Hello. Like you, I've heard of this and looking at the front strap, it does sound reasonable. I've seen 30lpi and it didn't bad at all nor did it appear to cut too deeply into the frame. I had an older one done with 20lpi and it did look a bit deep.
I've never seen one break, but I sure believe that it could. I personally think that the stippling looks better on the HP than checkering, but that's subjective.

Best.
 

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I saw/read Pete's post with some interest as I've wanted to checker a HiPower for about 20 years, but was concerned with the thin strap.
Kim Ahrends also relocates numbers according to his price list ( full house/package gun only). One of his HiPowers with the relocated # was on the cover of Guns or AH some years ago.
 

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The so-called "practical" models come with the serial number on the side of the frame, rather than on the frontstrap. You'll incur an extra charge for stripping the chrome these are finished in, but there'll be no serial number hassles.

Rosco
 

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I have a fullhouse BHP from C&S that has stippling on front and back straps. it is finished in Black-T so it smoothes it out a little. (the weld on beavertail is a little too big though).
IMO a standard MK II is a Beautiful weapon w/o any mods.
I have seen BHP with checkering and I like stippling better on them. on a 1911 I prefer the look of checkering.
 

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Hello, Shay. I, like you, prefer stippling on the BHP and checkering on the grand old 1911. Right now, I'm doing pretty good with plain old (cheap)skateboard tape. By the way, I don't recall seeing you here before, but I'm simple-minded and often forget. In any event, welcome.

Best.
 

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Great thread. FWIW, I called the ATF in DC on this very topic. One agent said you could do whatever you wanted as long as the serial number was somewhere on the gun.

A second agent in the technical section said that removing the serial number (checkering over it) was a federal offense :sad:. The only way to re-stamp the number was if the number was accidently defaced to the point it could not be read.

I have 30 LPI on my .40 HP and love it, looks great and no problems :grin:.

Mike

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MAP on 2001-04-13 21:17 ]</font>
 
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Alex Hamilton told me he feels the metal in the grip front of a BHP is too thin for checkering. I bow to his knowledge and ability as a gunsmith. I personally do not see a need for checkering if you have good grips. Regards, Richard
 

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So is the overall feeling out there is that the HP front strap is too thin to be checkered? If so, how come so many great gunsmiths like Garthwaite and others offer checkering?

Also, if checkering is to be done, is doing the front strap enough or is checkering both front and back strap recommended.

Just wondering because I'm gearing up to do a HP. :smile:

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Hoser on 2001-05-11 12:24 ]</font>
 

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Hello. Were I going to checker the grip strap on the HP, I'd do both front and back. I would NOT go less than 30lpi on the front
strap and would be sure that the 'smith understood or noted that the front grip strap is kind of thin.

Best.
 

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I was at the shop of Alex Hamilton, proprieter of TenRing Precision having some work done. I noticed a checkered frame HP that he had done. When I inquired about the # on the grip strap, he showed me how it was moved to the side of the frame. He used electrochemical engraving to relocate it and then checkers away. As for the gripstrap being a bit thin, I learned that lesson while attempting my first stippling job with a spring punch. (It turned out alright but you could feel the indintations on the inside of the mag well. A little more pressure could have spelled disaster.)
Those interested in Alex's work can see his site at tenring.com he is the former President of the American Pistolsmith's Guild and turns out some really lovely work.
 
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recondoc, I am glad to see there is another fan of Alex Hamilton on this board. I became acquainted with him through Hamilton Bowen and I have enjoyed knowing him. Regards, Richard
 

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the newer (mk III) hp's have cast, case hardened frames. from what i gather the best thing to do is to anneal the portion of the frame to be checkered (using heat control paste to keep the heat from migrating to areas you dont want hot etc.).

Matt.
 

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checkering the hi pwr

You are right in that the front strap on a hi pwr is too thin to checker. This is why I brought out the first machine checkered front strip to be tig welded on. It was so popular that I was selling them to dealers and came out with similar strips for 1911s and most other popular model pistols. Most of my ex smiths also offer them. They will also cover up some bad work on front straps
 

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I sent Ted Yost my new Silver Chrome HP in .40S&W it has the serial number up on the frame, and he suggested to me that he could checker the front strap at 40 lpi. I agreed, and I also am having him do the rear strap the same way.

When I get it back I'll post some pics. :) If I like the checkering I have a NIB 9mm Silver Chrome waiting for the same treatment. :wink:

Joe
 
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Joe's .40 is .063" thick at the thinnest point on the frontstrap. Plenty material for 40lpi. All the 511 and 513 frames I've measured exceed .060", and should pose no risk except to my eyesight. Too many more of these, and I'll be shopping for a dog.
 

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I've checkered all of two BHP's. In both cases the frontstrap is done to less than full width due to the the thinness issue, and the checkering is done around the serial number. Coulda moved it-- ATF once told me restamp it elsewhere and then the original can be removed. Thing with them is not to call and ask because nobody knows, and/or they'll give you a personal opinion which could be wrong-- try and find it in print.
 

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I had my MKIII stippled front & back. I like it, but I'm going to try tape next time...
 
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