I Really Don't Want to Bubba my 1911, but...


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Dionysusigma
October 19, 2007, 08:07 PM
... the %*#$&*^ :cuss: thing needs it! It's nothing special, an all-matching, all-original Sistema 1927, but I've been threatened with bodily harm if I go modifying it. :rolleyes: :(

The finish is awful. I tried (a couple of times) to re-blue it myself, but I've somehow lost that skill. I know they were originally matte blued, but I want to get it parkerized (cheaper and more resilient). I've had horrible experiences with fancy paints like Duracoat in the past, so don't even bother to mention them. The slide is the worst, as it looks like someone originally took a Dremel to it to get it back "in the white." :mad:

The rear sight is worn down unevenly with age. It still serves its purpose, but looks awful. I was thinking of having it replaced with a Brownells Retro rear sight, as I'm not much for fancy sights on 1911s.

The mainspring housing, grip safety, and hammer are conspiring to remove the web of my right hand! This is the area that would require permanent alteration, as the frame isn't "de-horned." I love the look of the wide spur, but there's no way I can keep it and my hand intact. The curved mainspring housing is fine, but I've always shot better with flat ones.

So here's what I'm thinking of doing, and in this order: Replace rear sight; order commander hammer, beavertail, and flat mainspring housing; have frame slightly modified (bare minimum) for beavertail; send off gun and all parts, including the new MSH, hammer, and beavertail parkerized at the same time to help ensure color match.

Any opinions/ feedback? I love my Sistema, but can't stand to shoot more than a box at a time. :(

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GunNut
October 19, 2007, 08:28 PM
Bubba it or retire it and buy something else.

There is no reason to use a gun that is not serving it's purpose, therefore it has to get up-dated or replaced, IMHO.

vanfunk
October 19, 2007, 10:00 PM
If you're going to parkerize it yourself, I highly, highly recommend the Radocy zinc phosphate solution. Assuming the metal is in good shape (no pitting), just degrease, dunk in a muriatic acid solution (you'll get more consistent results this way, trust me), rinse with water, and immerse in parkerizing solution for about 10 minutes. The Radocy solution produces a nice, even gray park color and it wears very well. I've found it to be easier to use than the Brownells zinc or manganese park solutions.

HTH,

vanfunk

Dionysusigma
October 19, 2007, 10:51 PM
I'm going to have it park'ed professionally, as I no longer trust myself to do an adequate job.

As far as retiring it and getting a new one, I'm a student. That should speak volumes as to my financial situation. :barf:

Euclidean
October 20, 2007, 02:01 AM
Dionysusigma,

You sir are in a rotten position. A nonfunctional gun is exactly that, nonfunctional.

IMHO it's quite all right, advisable even, to recondition a cherished firearm which is in need of it. Guns are machines and they wear down.

The problem I see is that by the time you dish out the bucks to recondition the gun to the point the sights and finish and other issues are resolved by a professional 'smith, you've belted out a lot of cash. Don't get me wrong I'd spend the money on that gun I think it'd be worth it, but I share your student status. I mean seriously, replacing the sights (at least $100), refinishing it (call it $100 it's surely more), replacing the guts ($$$), transfer and shipping fees (probably at least $30 one way because us peasants have to use overnight express), that's probably going to be at least $400 if not considerably more. I bet it's closer to $600.

What I would do, if it were me, is temporarily and honorably semi-retire the Sistema for a while, and get something that's durable and affordable to use in the meantime. Hear me out on this.

$400 will get you a very decent non 1911 pattern gun in a cheaper to shoot caliber like 9x19, easily. Now if you do that, you have a gun to use for now, and you can keep the Sistema as it is for the interim. Then some day when you have the money, you can get your Sistema reworked just exactly like you like it, and you'll have two guns!

Just a thought.

sm
October 20, 2007, 02:19 AM
Dionysusigma,

I agree with Euclidean.

I can empathize, being an older returning student myself.

redactor
October 20, 2007, 09:50 AM
Check out this link from the Box o Truth... http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/edu52.htm

He goes through the process of refinishing a pair of those...

And to paraphrase the Box-o-Truth guy (I think he was talking about an Enfield)... If you want to restore that piece to the condition it was in when you got it, you could always strip-off the finish, and go bang it up against a telephone pole a couple of times....

redactor
October 20, 2007, 10:00 AM
Also, Wilson Combat now has a "drop-in" beaver-tail grip safety: http://www.wilsoncombat.com/a_beavertail_safeties_di.asp

I've never tried one, but they say it will work. Most of that other stuff, you could do yourself... It isn't hard to install a new hammer or mainspring housing. You could then find a local gunsmith to install the sights and do the park job. My local Ganter Mtn. offers those services... I think a park-job on a handgun was like $65....

jjminch
October 20, 2007, 10:06 AM
What about just getting a Rock Island .45 for under 400 bucks as a shooter? Throw the old one in the safe till you get the inclination to restore it.

JLaw
October 20, 2007, 10:12 AM
Go ahead and fix it up, I did and am glad that I did...

http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/6010/newsistema7xt8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/6010/newsistema7xt8.5716278f2a.jpg (http://g.imageshack.us/g.php?h=504&i=newsistema7xt8.jpg)

JLaw

joffe
October 20, 2007, 10:49 AM
Fix it up if you're using it and not keeping it in a safe. There's no need for everyone who happens to own an old gun to be a walking, talking museum showcase just because someone who handles their guns with medical gloves say so.

By the way, 'bubbaing' is to destroy the gun by attempting to do advanced operations with instructions from the internet and a dremel. Adding functional sights and other peripheral parts is not, despite what aforementioned rubbergloved individuals may tell you.

XavierBreath
October 20, 2007, 11:34 AM
The way I see it, you have several choices. You can either have the work done by a professional, by an amateur posing as a professional, by a buddy, or by yourself. If you do the work yourself, you benefit from the experience, developing knowledge of the 1911 that will be an excellent resource in the future.

Choice #1: Do nothing. Let others tell you what to do with your property. Place it in a safe to preserve it in hopes a beater Sistema might increase to $500 in value in the next 20 years. Who knows? It might. Meanwhile, you avoid hammerbite (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/08/hammerbite.html) and the enjoyment of your gun. I own a Sistema I treat like that.

Choice #2: Do only what is necessary. That might be nothing but loading it and shooting it. It might entail rounding off the rear of the hammer with a file or Dremel. It does not take much on a Sistema hammer to eliminate hammerbite (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/08/hammerbite.html). Next, radius the rear of the pistol beneath the grip safety, where the web of your hand fits. Enlarge the notch in the rear sight a bit for quicker acquisition. Cold blue what you have worked on. Do a trigger job on it. Finally, if the accuracy is not up to your standards, replace the barrel. The weathered finish will be fine for a beater type carry gun. Who cares what it looks like if it shoots like a house on fire? An example of a Sistema I personally worked over like this is Cussin' Bob's gun (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/04/cussin-bobs-gun.html).

Choice #3: Go a more complete route, with a make-over that changes the appearance of the pistol while enhancing the functionality. This can include new sights, a new mainspring housing, a beavertail, extended thumb safety, and more. An example of this is my carry gun (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/03/evolution-of-custom-carry-gun.html). If you go this route, and if you only make changes with a purpose as opposed to fashion, then you will have a true custom.

Choice #4: Purchase a .22LR upper, and have it correctly fitted to the pistol. Make this pistol a training tool for another 1911 that fires a 45. Refinish the pistol as you like. Enjoy shooting for pennies.

Choice #5: You can drag it behind your car down a gravel road, install cardboard grips with sheetrock screws (trim them off inside), install SKS sights on it, and have some fun. If you do this, install a Kart Match barrel, zero in those sights and enter some hot rod IPSC matches. I haven't done that.........yet. :evil:

Choice #6. Install a six inch 9mm barrel with a compensator, grind some louvers in the slide and etch some flames on it. Then chrome it. No nickel......chrome. Install some leopard skin grips and a 30 round magazine. Post pictures of you pistol at Glock Talk, and bask in the adulation you receive.

But most of all, it's your gun. Enjoy it. It's not such a singular precious relic that the world will suffer in it's absence. If you want to change it, just tell the naysayers that you are only making the other Sistemas more valuable. Money comes and goes, and you will not recoup much of it speculating in the curio and relic gun market. The personal satisfaction and enjoyment you will have lost from not doing as you please with your own property is more significant than the money you will have garnered or the pistol you preserved.

My two Sistemas:
http://www.bayourovers.com/SistemaPair67.jpg

nicholst55
October 20, 2007, 01:09 PM
Go for it; they ain't THAT special. Just do good work, and use quality parts. If you have someone else do the work, be certain that they're not a gun-butcher.

jjminch
October 20, 2007, 01:29 PM
Choice #6. Install a six inch 9mm barrel with a compensator, grind some louvers in the slide and etch some flames on it. Then chrome it. No nickel......chrome. Install some leopard skin grips and a 30 round magazine. Post pictures of you pistol at Glock Talk, and bask in the adulation you receive.


LMFAO. That is so true, it's almost sad.

sm
October 20, 2007, 05:59 PM
XB Wrote:
Choice #5: You can drag it behind your car down a gravel road, install cardboard grips with sheetrock screws (trim them off inside), install SKS sights on it, and have some fun. If you do this, install a Kart Match barrel, zero in those sights and enter some hot rod IPSC matches. I haven't done that.........yet. :evil:

ROTFLMAO!


First annual Suck Heads, and Shoot dem Fast Match.

Gotta watch them Cajuns...;)

Dionysusigma
October 20, 2007, 09:06 PM
XavierBreath: I like option #2, as I love the original look of the gun, but have that main complaint about the hammer bite. (that, and the video you linked regarding "sleeper" had me giggling insanely :D )

From your blog:
I bobbed the wide spur hammer a bit and radiused the GI style grip safety to take the bite out of the pistol.

Exactly what did you do here, and how? To what specs? :confused:

And for those of you who say "keep the beater finish," would you like a 1911 that looks like a Parkerized version of a case-harden done by a blind gnat? :scrutiny: :D

If it was an actual case harden, though... :rolleyes: :D

dralarms
October 20, 2007, 10:07 PM
I personally would buy the parts to repair it and make it a reliable firearm and then bead blast the entire thing and cerma coat it (this is easy to do and you bake the gun in the oven (unloaded of course)

XavierBreath
October 20, 2007, 11:13 PM
Dion.......

First assess your gunsmithing skills. If you think you're ready, go ahead.

Trimming the hammer simply involves taking a file or Dremel and removing about 2mm off the rear of the wide spur Sistema hammer. Take a look at how the untouched hammer contacts the grip safety when you pull it all the way back. It is actually quite a little chisel to nip you on recoil. There is a fair chance that trimming the hammer will do the trick. Maintain the arc across the hammer so it will still look right. Some hammers may need 3mm, others only 1mm. Let the area that contacts the top of the grip safety be your guide. There is a good chance that all you will need to do is trim the sharp edge off the back of the hammer. In the photo below, you can see about what it should look like, although that gun is a stainless GI45. (note, I did not radius this grip safety, I just trimmed the hammer. The GI45 grip safety does not have the pointy end that the Sistema grip safety does.)

To radius the rear of the gun under the grip safety, look at how it fits into your hand and how the frame tangs and grip safety fit together. The lower edges of the grip safety protrusion can be brounded into a curve instead of a corner, and the frame tangs can have the sharp corners removed too. Take jeweler's files or a Dremel on medium to low speed with a sanding barrel to smooth things out. Keep the pistol assembled while you do this. Work slowly, it doesn't take much. Once you have removed all sharp edges back there, take a wol buffing wheel on the Dremel, a bit of rouge, and polish things up. Finally, disassemble and either Cold Blue it, or re-parkerize it.

To learn how to do a trigger job, go here (http://www.blindhogg.com/gunsmith/triggerjob.html). If the sear looks good, save it. Sistema small parts are tool steel, and very good quality. Don't stone the sear without the correct jig. Youcan use a feeler gauge to stone the hammer hooks if necessary. I usually just trim the hammer hooks by laying a .020 feeler gauge on a stone, and running the hammer across it. Next, stone the trigger stirrup sides and rear. You will see where the wear marks are, that's the places to stone. If it's all silver, then color it with a marker, install it and dry fire it a bit. It will be readily apparent where stoning needs to be done on disassembly. Hope this helps some.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=65787&stc=1&d=1192935721

Dionysusigma
October 20, 2007, 11:35 PM
Thanks. :) I might just have something to do tomorrow... :p

Small files: check
Arkansas stone: check
Dremel, stoning wheel and buffing wheel: check
Polishing compound: check
Patience: ... eh... :D

sm
October 21, 2007, 09:10 PM
Patience: ... eh...:D

Well there is that Option 5 to fall back on ...:p

Dionysusigma,

Keep us posted and best of luck!
XB, great postings with assistance and sharing!

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