Safari Arms Matchmaster Project part two


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DammitBoy
August 8, 2012, 02:09 PM
I started this thread last year: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=7737208#post7737208

Since it's so old, I can't resurrect it, but I have resurrected my project gun!

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6037/6339961731_b40858186a.jpg


I got the Matchmaster back from the gunsmith yesterday. Good news and bad news.

The good news: all the scratches and dents are gone! The new finish looks awesome, and the bushing compensator matches the gun perfectly. The new barrel is in, the new sights are installed and the trigger job is silky smooth. It's like a whole new gun and it shoots very well. It fed all 16 rounds I ran through it - various hollowpoints and roundball from various brands ran through it like crap through a goose. Not a single failure to feed or any other problem. The Chip McCormick 8 round magazines functioned perfectly.

The bad news: the gunsmith says he could not install my new grips, my smith and alexander arched main spring housing, or the stainless magwell I bought for this project. They are standard 1911 parts and this is supposed to be a standard 1911 frame. My gunsmith says otherwise. He claims that this safari arms frame is out of spec to the point these parts will not work. I wish he had informed me of that over the last 9 months he's had my firearm in his shop.

I'm working on the grips, which almost fit. Almost. Seems like the gripmaker was a tad off on his hole spacing, but they should fit with some minor filing - which makes me question why this gunsmith couldn't do such a simple task? Especially over 9 months time.

Part of the problem was we tried to go through Olympic Arms and I tried to buy their complete parts kit as advertised. After waiting over three months, we finally gave up on that idea and luckily I got my money back. I will never try to deal with that company again. Horrible customer service!

I'm considering taking it to another gunsmith, who comes highly recommended from my buddies at the shooting range - the guys who warned me about the guy I used (after he already had the pistol). Maybe he can work some magic on the remaining parts I want installed? I sure hope so...

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DammitBoy
August 8, 2012, 08:36 PM
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6120/6340710130_9c414ee690_m.jpg
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6113/6340710166_9c408fda40_m.jpg

These are pics from before the repair so I can post new pics for a comparision

tekarra
August 8, 2012, 10:19 PM
It sure looks nice and it is always nice to read this type of psot.

DammitBoy
August 9, 2012, 12:06 PM
Thanks tekarra, but I think it looks much better now. I apologize for the horrible quality of these pics, but I promise to do high quality pics once the new grips (still filing on them!) are installed.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8281/7746750708_41eed939a6.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8303/7746750530_684b176211_n.jpg

Even in this poor quality shot, you can see all the scratches and dents are gone and doesn't that bomar style sight look much better than the ill-fitting novak sight that came with the pistol?

I love the way that the comp and the new rear sight changes the profile of the Matchmaster, but those grips have got to go! :cuss:

DammitBoy
August 9, 2012, 08:26 PM
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6216/6340736140_98863e57fe_m.jpg

These are the grips that I'm filing on right now, to get them to fit the Matchmaster. Either the guy who made them needs a new jig for his hole spacing, or the Matchmaster has the screws in the wrong place...

I'm about terrified I'm going to screw them up, so I'm going slower than christmas to be as careful as possible not to destroy such beautiful wood.

DammitBoy
August 10, 2012, 11:45 PM
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8437/7756364598_3ae30c0236.jpg

Success! I was able to get the grips to fit without destroying them, put the new hexhead stainless grip screws on and install the extended magwell.

I think I spent a total of an hour or so to get everything to work, so while I'm pleased with that - not so pleased with the 'gunsmith' who said it couldn't be done.

I don't think I'm going to try and install the smith and alexander arched main spring housing on my own though, not even sure all that process entails...

Now I need to work on getting some pics that do this beauty justice!

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
August 11, 2012, 12:27 AM
Dammit, I had almost forgotten about this! Shame on me. Beautiful pistol, my friend! Absolute beaut.

dcarch
August 11, 2012, 01:05 AM
Beautifully done, sir. Congratulations! I eagerly await the full range report.

bannockburn
August 11, 2012, 07:50 AM
Very nice indeed! Looks fantastic, especially with the "before" and "after" pics. Good work on the grips; I would have definitely taken my sweet time getting those to fit just right.

Jim Watson
August 11, 2012, 07:55 AM
The grips were probably ok for a real 1911.
MY gunsmith, like yours, says the Safari Arms are out of spec in several dimensions.
Not just that one, all of them.

DammitBoy
August 11, 2012, 11:17 AM
Thanks to all for your comments, here's a much better picture I took this morning, outside while the sun was just coming out. (great advice from a fellow THR poster!)

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8308/7758664234_c0577a5143_z.jpg

She shoots like a dream, the trigger pull is now 1.75lbs with zero travel, I put a mixed up batch of round ball and hollow points from various brands through it with not a single hitch in her giddyup. The comp was really just for looks, but it actually works pretty darn well.

The parts list:

Parrish bushing compensator
Kensight rear sight
Ed Brown match barrel
Ed Brown 2-piece guide rod system
Chip McCormick 8-round magazine (2)
Wilson Combat stainless steel magwell extension
Wilson Combat stainless steel hexhead grip screws
Custom amboyna burl wood grips
Smith & Alexander arched main spring housing (not installed, yet)

@ Jim - I'd have to agree, it was some serious work getting that magwell extension to fit and it's supposed to just "drop-in". I got it to "drop-in" by beating the hell out of it with a rubber mallet. :o

Detritus
August 12, 2012, 03:15 PM
don't think I'm going to try and install the smith and alexander arched main spring housing on my own though, not even sure all that process entails...

If it's a standard MSH, ie not a S&A "mag-guide" (all in one MSH+Well) style, then fitting is fairly easy, just takes time and patience. it's really no worse than fitting those grips. pull the old housing, test the new one in the frame to see where you need to remove a little metal, file/stone/whatever (i used Automotive wet/dry sandpaper) those areas a little at a time, try the fit again, repeat untill satisfied with the fit. with a Stainless part there's even less worry because, unlike me you're unlikely to make a visible mark in the finish of the housing :uhoh::o

biggest pain for me was swapping the "guts" from one housing to the other, but that's because I'm a clutz that kept dropping the retainer pin.

DammitBoy
August 13, 2012, 12:29 AM
biggest pain for me was swapping the "guts" from one housing to the other, but that's because I'm a clutz that kept dropping the retainer pin.

Yeah, that's my main concern, the sanding/fitting, not so much. I already have a mag well guide, so it's a standard msh, just arched instead of straight.

Don't know why I want to swap the straight msh for an arched one, just personal taste I guess. Maybe I'll give it a shot? I've got plenty of time on my hands right now between gigs...

Detritus
August 13, 2012, 12:56 AM
Yeah, that's my main concern, the sanding/fitting, not so much.

maybe it'll help your confidence if i fully define "Klutz" as applies to me. I have a measurable fine motor skill deficiency, my choices when dealing with small parts are slow and deliberate or Drop something and spend the next 5 to 10 minutes chasing it. first time i tried this my grip relaxed on the MSH while holding it on the punch, there is now a lanyard-loop shaped divot in my ceiling. :o

now that I've done the chore 3 or 4 more times puting the "guts" in takes about minute including clamping the punch into the vise.
drop guts into MSH, Invert on tip of punchand grip with left hand (if righty) making sure that the inside face of the MSH is facing you and the pin hole is accessible, compress "guts" as far as you can and slide in the pin, ease tension on mainspring until spring cap comes to rest against pin. install MSH assembly in frame

As long as the Nail/punch/long machine screw/whatever choose to compress the mainspring with is held firmy in place and upright, the job LOOKS harder than it is.

Don't know why I want to swap the straight msh for an arched one, just personal taste I guess

I swapped mine because the arched MSH makes the gun just generally fit my hand and "feel" better. I don't understand why the majority of today's 1911s come with a flat MSH and a long trigger. seems to me that that config. would be least likely to fit most shooters.

DammitBoy
August 13, 2012, 11:13 AM
I swapped mine because the arched MSH makes the gun just generally fit my hand and "feel" better.

That was my thinking as well. My daily carry is a Para-Ordnance P14 and it fits my hand perfectly. The single stack 1911's always felt too 'skinny' to me.

The gorgeous amboyna burl grips I put on the Matchmaster are much 'fatter' than your standard 1911 grips and make a huge difference on how the pistol fits my hand.

DammitBoy
August 14, 2012, 02:49 AM
http://www.therpf.com/members/kiddo/albums/random/5244-800px-wantedsamm-1911-3.jpg

This is the Matchmaster that Angelina Jolie carried in the movie, 'Wanted' that was the germ of the idea for my gun. I think mine looks better than the original, but I admit I might be slightly biased...

DammitBoy
August 18, 2012, 11:14 PM
Just a short update: I work in the movie business in Louisiana. I just finished working on a film, "12 Years a Slave" produced by Brad Pitt. At the wrap party last week, Mr. Pitt showed up with his stunning wife.

I couldn't help myself, when I was introduced I mentioned to Mrs. Pitt that I had just finished a gun project based on her carry piece in "Wanted". She was actually interested and said she liked that gun so much, she bought one of the three used in the movie from the armorer (Dave Evans) to add to her collection! She said she also has a pair of the pistols she used in "Lara Croft, Tomb Raider" and that she and Brad love to shoot.

She asked if I had any pics and I was able to show her the one with the red background, without acting like a total starstruck goofball (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). I still can't believe I talked guns with one of the hottest women on the planet! We only talked for 2 minutes, but I'll remember that convo for the rest of my life.

Oh yeah, if anybody needed to know - Brad Pitt does not use deodorant and the funk damn near made my eyes water. :scrutiny:

dcarch
August 20, 2012, 01:21 AM
Sir. That. Is. Awesome. :what: I probably would have fainted on the spot. Congratulations.

DammitBoy
August 20, 2012, 01:27 AM
I'm sure she thought I was a retarded stalker. I got an autograph, which I might get engraved on the slide?

But you really aren't supposed to act like a star-struck buffoon at these functions. She was very gracious. I think my ears were bright red.

And smokin' hot, just sayin'...

If you enjoyed reading about "Safari Arms Matchmaster Project part two" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!