Starting a Home Gunsmith Project on My BHP. What tools do I need?


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SapperLeader
January 21, 2005, 11:22 AM
After being quoted a three month minimum wait from my local smith, I decided as a fairly mechanically handy individual to do some minor work on my hi power practical.
My initial mods are going to be changing out the front sight post for an Xs standard 24/7, removing the ambi safety and installing a c&s extended strong side, and removing the magazine safety. This summer I will possible change out the rear sight and gunkote the slide, but that’s not definite at this time.

Right now I have a good set of screwdrivers, Stephen Camps excellent takedown guide and the gun. I want to do a brownells order for my parts and any tools I need, so input is appreciated.
I am going to order the P500 UNIVERSAL SIGHT TOOL as soon as they come back in stock. It’s a little pricy but I think it will pay for itself on night site installation costs over my lifetime.
I also am planning on getting the dovetail file, and a brass punch set. Input on which brass punch set I should get would be helpful. I’m leaning towards: Masen Brass Hammer and Punch Set (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=8732&title=MASEN+BRASS+HAMMER+%26+PUNCH+SET)
Are there any other basic tools I should order? Thanks

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C. H. Luke
January 21, 2005, 12:03 PM
Many of the pins in P-35's are tapered and have rounded ends.

If you don't want to flatten or bugger them up, consider getting "Cup Tipped" punches from Brownell's.

Items like the OEM Ambi-safety have roll pins that are of very small diameter. Roll-pin punches will remove and install without destroying the roll-pin.

Fair amount of small pins in these guns so brass does not work well on them, above punches are of steel. Also tapered pins can be very tight in frame, etc.

Steve F
January 21, 2005, 12:06 PM
I might add, a Quality vice and some leather pads ;)

R.H. Lee
January 21, 2005, 12:07 PM
This is of great interest to me, because I have a BHP Practical with horrid adjustable sights. Is it possible to replace them with Novak or Heinie or some other low mount fixed 3 dot sights without sending the slide or the entire pistol off to some gunsmith?

SapperLeader
January 21, 2005, 02:22 PM
RileyMc - it depends on your gun I think. My practical model has dovetailed sights front and rear. My understanding is that I could tap in and out the standard sights, but tapping in a set of nightsights will crack the tritium vial hence my decision to spring for the universal sight tool. If I wanted to install non tritium sights, the punches should suffice for the dovetail.

C. H. Luke - so do you think the steel punches are better for this application of small pins? If so, which set? The ones with the removable tips?

To recap the buy list:
sight tool
dovetail file
brass set punches
Cup Tipped punches
roll pin punches
vice(have a small vice)
leather pads

Thanks guys, keep the ideas and advice rolling.

MrAcheson
January 21, 2005, 02:58 PM
Or you could just find another smith near you that is looking for work...

I don't live in an especially populated area, but I know of several gunsmiths nearby. If one is especially busy, you might just look into giving your work to someone else.

I tried taking the mag safety on my hipower out myself. I bought the punches and everything. Long story short I ended up scratching my gun up a bit and needing to take it to gunsmith for the work anyway.

BTW masking tape is important too. Use multiple layers to keep finish damage to a minimum. I think some people use electrical tape instead.

xv920j
January 21, 2005, 04:11 PM
You might want to ask that question at www.pistolsmith.com. There are probably some folks there that can help you. Good luck with your project. I've been thinking working over my Officer's ACP, myself. Let us know how it works out.

Dienekes
January 21, 2005, 09:37 PM
That mag safety removal can be a bear due to the very tight trigger pin. My Inglis is easy, but my 1996 FN Mk III was incredibly tight. You may want to go to www.fnhighpower.com to see various comments on it. Be sure to support the off side very well and protect the frame with some electrical tape as you may slip. Mine took about 150 solid whacks and I slipped a couple of times. It's easy to do.

I have a Brownell's punch with interchangeable tips; brass and nylon. I use it a lot, mostly the brass tip. They are also obtainable as parts when you wear one out.

As for other punches I use Staretts, from Brownell's as I recall. 1/16", 1/8", 5/32", plain flat tips and a couple of them for roll pins as needed. Don't have any cup tip punches but can see where they would be handy now and then.

I installed a C&S LH only safety on the FN as it was an Israeli with small tab safety. The engagement surface you will probably have to file is painted to identify it. Hence, proper file and a file cleaning brush as well...

You might want to talk to Brownell's tech help line. Good folks. Good company. Been ordering from them for many years and always good to deal with.

SapperLeader
January 22, 2005, 10:36 AM
Its funny, but when I started researching this project, I figured the thumb safety would be harder to switch out than removing the magazine safety.

I have been on fnhipower and pistolsmiths the last few days, and have a pretty good grasp of how much of a bear it will be to remove that trigger :banghead: . Im still feeling pretty confident that I can do this, just want to make sure I have all the right tools and parts to start off.

The guys on fnhipower mention putting a stronger trigger spring in after removign the mag safety. Any one have input on that?

Harold Mayo
January 22, 2005, 12:16 PM
Removing the trigger may not be all that hard...just depends on how tight the trigger pin is in the frame. Some are VERY hard to get out but most are no problem.

Order a two-coil trigger return spring from Wolff and install it while the trigger is out. There is a definite difference in trigger return when using it with the factory trigger.

Changing the thumb safety is easy. Fitting it takes time and patience but is no big deal.

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