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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After one of my buddies saw my rebuilt Kimber, he decided he would let me practice on his old Springfield. I’m not sure who is the real winner here, but we’ll see. The gun is from the early 80’s, when SA first introduced their 5" guns, and it still has the milspec dustcover and front strap. The cosmetics are pathetic -- crooked lines everywhere (uh, not unlike some old Colts I have, but there’s no cool horsie rollmark to make nice). It’s no wonder that SA was the red-headed stepchild when they first came on the market. They’ve come a very long way. Here’s a pic of the POS as it came to me, complete with some old Wilson parts slapped on by an unknown hack:



After ditching the lousy add on parts, I got to work with a mag funnel:



I had started this mag well on my Kimber, but took it off before selling it. The SA well is pretty hard, and material removal goes slowly. I tried a carbide burr -- BAD IDEA. I still have the tiny metal splinters embedded in my fingers. Ouch. The burr cut slowly anyway, and using Brownell’s aluminum oxide grinding bits made less hazardous metal dust instead of little needles and cut at the same speed. I scribed lines around the frame to guide my cuts, then matched the SA well to those cuts. A mill would’ve been nice. After roughing out the shape of the opening, I used some sanding rolls in the Dremel to touch up the contours. The back corner of the well has been reshaped, as has the outside edges. All of this was done freehand with some files, and was very much inspired by the Vickers gun in AH and Chuck Roger’s mag well, seen on his photopoint album. The final contouring of the opening and the outside areas isn’t finished yet, and I still need to finish pointing up the checkering on the MSH. I wasn’t able to bevel much up front in the well, as I’m not sure what front strap treatment is going to be done.

Next came the Wilson beavertail. Here is the frame before:



*Note the huge groove dug into the frame by the fabulously fitted (ha!) safety that came on the gun. No matter how bad I do, the original work on this monster was WAY worse!

Here’s what I used to fit the beavertail: a Wilson jig, an old Kimber safety with the sear stud ground off, a .010" undersized slave pin for initial fitting, and the ever handy Sharpie.



My lesson learned this time was to GET REALLY CLOSE to the fitting jig. This reduces painful fitting down the line. The grip safety was very oversized in all directions, and it required a keen eye to spot what needed trimming.

I was on a tear, so I installed a CMC trigger next. The trigger ways in this stupid frame were very tall and narrow, so it made for a less than perfect trigger fit. I replaced the stock mag catch lock with a Brown hex unit, and it seems to stick out pretty far. Not much I can do about that, I think.

Next I pulled out all of the trigger group components: the old hammer and strut assembly, an EGW sear, Wilson Ultralite hammer, and the existing disconnector and sear spring. All parts were deburred and polished with an EZ lap fine diamond hone (only needed for the very rough stock disconnector), then Spyderco medium and fine bench stones. Big stones = fast work. I popped out the old hammer pin and strut, stuck them to the new hammer, and went to stake the pin in place. Wham. My punch tip flattened. Oops. Maybe a bad punch, I’ll try another. Thunk. Another flat tip. Eh??? I pulled out an EGW pin set and inserted the hammer pin from that kit. The prick punch handily dimpled the center of each side of the new hammer pin, firmly staking it in place. I tossed the diamond hard stock pin into the bag of old/trash parts. Out came my new Power Series 1 sear jig, and I cut the angles on the sear using the jig. I pretty much followed the article published by Jack Weigand on the Brownells site, it’s a great resource for trigger work. I need to buy an India stone though, as my ceramic stones were too fine for setting the secondary angle on the sear. My EZ Lap hone did ok to start the angle (yes, yes, go ahead and cringe), followed by the stones until the secondary angle was about a third of the sear nose angle. A quick check with my 10x loupe confirmed that everything was in order, and I reassembled the gun and set the sear spring for a 3.5 lb pull. I think I like that Power jig, it’s pretty idiot proof to use.

The Brown ambi tac thumb safety was fit next. Turns out the thing was bent, possibly from wrestling in and out during the grip safety fitting (note to self: only use the dummy safety for rough fitting). I fixed this by simply stuffing the lever halfway into the frame, then using a small screwdriver to pry on the lever until it was perpendicular to the shaft again. For the life of me, I can’t remember what I did last time to fit the sear stud, but I thought of a faster way than the blind file and try. I stuck the safety in place over the sear, gave it a few taps with the 4 oz hammer, and removed it. A perfect shiny mark on the stud showed me where, how much, and at what angle to file. A couple minutes of quick file work and the safety was fitted perfectly.

The grip safety was final fit next. What a headache. It was still really tight, so more frame needed to come off to let it all the way down. The Sharpie marker was as essential here as my #2 Swiss file. Again, I couldn’t remember what I did last time to fit the extension on the beavertail. Again, I thought about it, and came up with a logical way. I left the sear spring and lockwork out, though some reference materials showed these in place for fitting. I looked inside the frame as I moved the trigger and grip safety around, then did the file and try. This worked, and being able to SEE the trigger block extension in action helped to speed up the fitting process. The sear spring and lockwork were extraneous to this.

I’m not saying I invented any magical new procedures for anything above, merely stating that getting the little hamster on the wheel means all the difference to this effort being UNDERSTANDING vs. merely repetition or mimicking the manuals.

Here’s some pics of the parts all slapped into the gun:





Note that the right side of the frame tang is not the same size as the left side of the frame tang -- compare how the beavertail sits in relation to the frame tangs. This stinks. The top can be recontoured easily enough, but not the bottom. I dislike this gun a little more each time I see it.

Still to come:
-thorough recontouring/dehorning of entire pistol -- this will be extremely time consuming, more so than the simple mechanical function aspects that were completed so quickly today. This is what will make that pile of parts feel like ONE pistol. Countless contour lines and buggered up scratches, etc. will need to be fixed.
-lots of work on the slide: ejection port cuts, extractor, misc. polishing
-make my buddy decide what sights and front strap treatment he wants.
-fit bbl, lap slide. This thing still feels really rough.

Approximate time invested so far: 9 hours total -- 4 hours experimenting with the mag well, 1 hour cutting the frame for the beavertail, 3 hours fitting trigger, lockwork w/trigger job, thumb and grip safeties (yeah, this all went really fast). This is probably a third the time I took doing the Kimber.


_________________
DBS

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Hilton Yam on 2001-09-02 21:30 ]</font>
 

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Hey HiltonYam,

You need to go over those details a bit more slowly - the trigger group fitting. The Jack Weigand article no longer exists on Brownell's - perhaps you could send it to me ?

I have been gaining some tweaking expertise on this new KimberEclipse. I have found that polishing all the interface surfaces of the trigger and trigger.bow, disconnector and sear make a Big difference in pull smoothness without the need to touch the sear-hammer areas (of which I am untrained to attempt). I also have polished the sear spring contact surfaces.
The MIM parts are really trash in their 'raw' state with mold marks and unfinished areas everywhere.

Kimbers + a bit of ElbowGrease create a pretty smooth shootin 1911.

Any opinions on main spring tension? One guy has told me an increased tension will make for a glasslike break - another has said less tension will create a smoother break ( "cut the spring so only 2 coils show beyond the MSH case" ).... hmmmmm ???

Ya'll ever get to Orlando ??

Best :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The Weigand article is available at:
http://www.brownells.com/benchtalk/04au ... 20Pull.asp

For some reason, this material exists on their domain, but there is no other way to access this directly from their site.

If you haven't already, I recommend that you buy and read the Kuhnhausen books on the 1911. Some of the material, particularly in the first book, is very dated, but much of it is quite valuable. Check old threads for other resources.

I use 19 lb mainsprings with 17 lb recoil springs in all my .45's. This was a setup passed along to me by Steve Nastoff. It makes the gun cycle smoothly without a lot of pogo stick feel. I'm sure there's other good setups, but this works great for me. Increased mainspring tension gives a different break sensation, crisper to some. Lower weight trigger pulls can be difficult to set up with heavy mainsprings, but that may be moot with 4 lb pulls. In this day and age, there is no reason to cut factory mainsprings. First, you have no idea what tension the original spring is, and Wolff makes the springs in the right length and tension.

Stephen:
Thanks for the kind words. It's no fun working on all this stuff if you can't show it to people. My buddy definitely owes me a side of beef or something.
 

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Nice work Hilton;)

By the looks of that one, it must be from the first year of production. That is an old boy...It's lookin' good,but you better enjoy those quick fit parts...like you were saying, it's gonna' slow way down now....Have your buddy drop into the forum so we can let 'im know how much he owes you!!!

Hang-in
 

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You can even out the under side of the frame/beavertail fit easily. I simply zip tie the bt "down" and match the contours on each side using 120, 220, then 400 grit shop roll sandpaper. If they are real bad, a few clean file strokes will solve the problem with some clean up.

Good Job, and very good description!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Matt:
Thanks for the zip tie idea. If you look carefully at the frame tangs, you'll see that the horizontal flat cut underneath each tang is actually a different height. The left side will blend without a gap, but it looks like the right side will have a gap. I told my buddy that it must have been a "Friday gun."

The frame and slide are now off to EGW for a Novak rear sight cut, dovetail front sight cut, and front strap checkering @ 20 lpi. George advised that they have a new 3/16" endmill to radius front strap high cuts like the Kimber, so I'm excited about that. I'll post when it gets back. I'm otherwise not real super keen on this project for now (it's going to cost me a fortune in new stones and abrasives to fix what the factory did wrong), so it's getting put away until the other parts get back.
 

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Hilton, I just got done fitting an S&A beavertail on a new milspec springfield. I had the same trouble with the right side. The flats under the tang seem to be the trouble. Maybe this was a friday gun too. I done alot of recontouring and I still have a slight gap on the under side of the beavertail. I wonder how Vickers gun turned out so perfect if this is a common problem. does anyone know what BT he used for the AH gun.

Regards

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My best guess is that Larry used a Wilson for his AH gun. Sorry to hear that you had the Friday gun too. Stinks to put in all that time and effort only to be thwarted by an errant line cut at the factory.

Oh, the "unknown hack" that boogered those parts onto the SA turns out to be the owner... Oops. I gave him a stern talking to about how misfitting and/or mishandling the parts caused some of the cosmetic problems that I have to fix.

_________________
DBS

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Hilton Yam on 2001-09-10 21:10 ]</font>
 
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