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1911  DIY gunsmithing : protect your finish


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Captain Will

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Posted March 31 2010 - 11:09 AM

Just some quick n' easy tricks to keep your 1911 from getting scratched up by the slide stop and thumb safeties (single or ambi), since I'm processing a new gun I figured I'd take a few quick snapshots and share my techniques.

1) Taper and polish the inner tang of the slide stop from the bottom to the top at the inside edge and rear edge. This allows it to fit over the plunger easily without wrestling with it, avoiding the feared "idiot scratch". Leave the bottom full so it engages the magazine follower correctly, otherwise your gun will no longer lock open on the last shot.
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Posted Image

2) Use #600 carborundum paper and a spot of gun oil as a lubricant and sand the back side  of the safeties where they contact the frame. The original parts on most production guns are a little rough and have microburrs that will scratch the frame finish over time. Just by lightly sanding the part flat using your finger and a bit of 600 grit, the edges will become smooth, broken, and very slightly radiused away from the frame. You will note a tiny bright edge at the perimeter. the safeties will now slide over the frame more smoothly and will not scratch even if subjected to (moderate) direct pressure .

Posted Image
Posted Image


As you can see in this case I'm also running a full polish on these parts. I may or may not use glass beads to bring them back to a nice matte finish, but the factory "brushed" abrasive wheel finish is a tad rougher than I like. If you want to emulate the factory finish, a 3M scotch-brite wheel or the red or gray pads will do it (red is coarser).

3) Remove the grip safety and gently break and polish the inner frame edges just above rthe mainspring housing. This avoids the scarring of the finish  and witness marks on the bottom sides of the grip safety.

(no picture)

Remember the  thumb safety blocks the sear and the grip safty blocks the trigger, so while you have the gun this far apart, might as well:

4) Remove the trigger and polish the sides of the frame's trigger inlet.

(no picture)


Hope this helps keep your new or refinished 1911 looking great for years to come!

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#2 Sparkz

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Posted March 31 2010 - 11:31 AM

Are we going to see the finished product?  

Before & after would be great.

Looks like you're doing a really nice job.

#3 Captain Will

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Posted March 31 2010 - 06:28 PM

Are we going to see the finished product?  

Before & after would be great.

Looks like you're doing a really nice job.


I posted the above because it's applicable to ALL finishes. If you are interested in a polish then see below (sorry I'm a lousy photographer and polished stainless shows oil and fingerprints very badly at first, the trick is to degrease it when you are all done and WAX them- this gun has not yet been waxed.)

**NOTE** The below pictures are for demonstration/instructional purposes only:

Posted Image
Bare frame polished to a mirror finish. I used white block compound, I find this works better as it's a softer compound than SCR and it tends to cut better IMO.

Posted Image
Reassembled receiver- rounds are left with factory beaded finish except for finger cut and grip safety. Hammer, trigger, safeties, mag release etc. all polished. Mainspring housing left beaded.

Posted Image
Still oily reassembly. Barrel, guide rod, bushing are also polished. You can see the factory finish (brushed finish) on the slide flats.

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Here is a little more cleaned up- I haven't decided what to do with the slide yet. I was thinking perhaps polish it, or perhaps throw it on the CNC mill and jewel it. Jeweling might be too G-Fab. I have to think about it some more. I could do some kind of engraving on the mill but I am not really into engraving and stainless is kind of risky since it tries to work harden when you  attempt to engrave it.

Posted Image
View from the Operator end. Yeah, that's a big 'ole thumbprint on the  grip safety. Waxing will come later, then the fingerprint situation should be greatly alleviated.

OK that's all for now. What do you think I should do with the slide?










#4 Sparkz

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Posted March 31 2010 - 06:43 PM

Nice job.

If it was mine I'd do the slide.  

I have a Gold Cup and I polished the entire slide, including the front end under the barrel.

Like you said, getting a good picture of the shine is difficult.  


#5 PowderBurns

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Posted March 31 2010 - 06:46 PM

Keep polishing until it looks like the pistol that shot Marvin in Pulp Fiction!  The whole magilla.

#6 cas

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Posted March 31 2010 - 07:04 PM

The secret to avoiding the idiot scratch is... don't be an idiot.  ;D
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#7 Captain Will

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Posted March 31 2010 - 10:09 PM

The secret to avoiding the idiot scratch is... don't be an idiot.  ;D


You have to use a tool to get the slide stop under the plunger on the stock gun. Unless you have long fingernails- it's a full tombstone, won't swing up from underneath without depressing the plunger (or pulling the thumb safety, which is tight as hell too).

IMO you can only use the guide rod or cap or mag floorplate so many times before you make an idiot scratch of your own.  A minor reshape of the stop and the thing clicks together nicely, won't affect the performance of the gun when assembled at all.

Another trick I learned is to install the sear and disconnector, put a string through half the frame, thread on the sear and disconnector, thread through the other half of the frame and pull the string tight toi draw the sear and disconector into alignment in the frame. Then draw the string out of the hole and drop in the sear pin. This is great for fat fingers like me, otherwise I need to go find a pair of needle nose pliers or spend five minutes cursing at the thing.

Nice sparkz- are those grips rebated for a magwell?

#8 Sparkz

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Posted April 01 2010 - 07:10 PM

Nice sparkz- are those grips rebated for a magwell?


No, it's the picture.  I have a Wilson Combat mag in it and for some reason the image makes it look like the magwell is really wide, it's really just stock. Those are just ordinary Hogue grips.



#9 Captain Will

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Posted April 04 2010 - 11:44 AM

Completed- for now. I may decide to glass bead the matte to brighten it up a bit, still undecided on that. It would require sight removal and some other BS best dealt with if/when I do a sight swap in the normal course of things.

Posted Image
Posted Image

#10 Sparkz

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Posted April 05 2010 - 09:25 PM

After seeing how nice your Springfield came out, I'm really thinking about polishing up the frame sides on my Gold Cup.

#11 pooch692000

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Posted June 13 2012 - 04:24 PM

I've got a brand new Ruger SR1911 with only 50 rds thru her.  Can the thumb safety be removed without taking the gun down?  If not, what other steps or parts need to be removed after a basic field strip.  Thanks in advance.  Wanted to polish the underside of thumb safety to avoid any wear.  I also have a dremel and can use that to polish the underside of safety.

  

Just some quick n' easy tricks to keep your 1911 from getting scratched up by the slide stop and thumb safeties (single or ambi), since I'm processing a new gun I figured I'd take a few quick snapshots and share my techniques.

1) Taper and polish the inner tang of the slide stop from the bottom to the top at the inside edge and rear edge. This allows it to fit over the plunger easily without wrestling with it, avoiding the feared "idiot scratch". Leave the bottom full so it engages the magazine follower correctly, otherwise your gun will no longer lock open on the last shot.
Posted Image
Posted Image

2) Use #600 carborundum paper and a spot of gun oil as a lubricant and sand the back side  of the safeties where they contact the frame. The original parts on most production guns are a little rough and have microburrs that will scratch the frame finish over time. Just by lightly sanding the part flat using your finger and a bit of 600 grit, the edges will become smooth, broken, and very slightly radiused away from the frame. You will note a tiny bright edge at the perimeter. the safeties will now slide over the frame more smoothly and will not scratch even if subjected to (moderate) direct pressure .

Posted Image
Posted Image


As you can see in this case I'm also running a full polish on these parts. I may or may not use glass beads to bring them back to a nice matte finish, but the factory "brushed" abrasive wheel finish is a tad rougher than I like. If you want to emulate the factory finish, a 3M scotch-brite wheel or the red or gray pads will do it (red is coarser).

3) Remove the grip safety and gently break and polish the inner frame edges just above rthe mainspring housing. This avoids the scarring of the finish  and witness marks on the bottom sides of the grip safety.

(no picture)

Remember the  thumb safety blocks the sear and the grip safty blocks the trigger, so while you have the gun this far apart, might as well:

4) Remove the trigger and polish the sides of the frame's trigger inlet.

(no picture)


Hope this helps keep your new or refinished 1911 looking great for years to come!



#12 Mak44

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Posted February 08 2013 - 09:53 AM

Nicely done. That is a beautiful Springfield. I would also polish the slide. Is there a glare from the shine while shooting?

#13 777 mark

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Posted April 01 2013 - 05:29 PM

I just got my SA 1911 A1S.S. loaded ,took it apart and cleaned it up,with mothers wheel & mag looks great but not like that, now I know what to do , total strip every nut & bolt and full job , did you do it by hand or with a wheel ?

#14 Captain Will

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Posted April 02 2013 - 06:31 AM

I just got my SA 1911 A1S.S. loaded ,took it apart and cleaned it up,with mothers wheel & mag looks great but not like that, now I know what to do , total strip every nut & bolt and full job , did you do it by hand or with a wheel ?


I used 600 wet/dry sandpaper with oil on a surface plate to take the rough finish off the flat surfaces while keeping them flat, then a wheel with white block compound (diamond dust), being careful not to round off any edges.

#15 crufino

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Posted May 09 2016 - 09:31 AM

Gentlemen,
As a new member of LIF I am not sure if I am doing something wrong, but I cannot see the pictures in this post. I can see them in other posts, so I don't think it's my computer. Please advise, with thanks. Just got a new Springfield TRP 1911 and tuning it up...

#16 Shotgun682

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Posted May 09 2016 - 09:52 AM

Gentlemen,
As a new member of LIF I am not sure if I am doing something wrong, but I cannot see the pictures in this post. I can see them in other posts, so I don't think it's my computer. Please advise, with thanks. Just got a new Springfield TRP 1911 and tuning it up...


It might because this thread is 6 years old

#17 bert5556

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Posted June 16 2020 - 05:18 PM

to prevent the idiot scratch I use a old credit card 






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