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Drop in what??

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by DC Plumber, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Well-Known Member

    Hey guys,

    I'm trying to fit my Wilson drop in beaver tail grip safety for my Colt Combat Commander.

    Well, it isn't drop in by any stretch of the imagination. I've done lots of filing and grinding on the new grip safety. I can't even get the pin to go in. I can see where it is binding up, but I've had to do so much metal removal that I don't think I'll like the gaps.

    Any suggestions? Is there a better grip safety out there that actually drops in?

  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

  3. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Well-Known Member

    It definitely looks like I got the right one. If I look into the hole, I can see that is not quite in by such a small amount. If I take it out, the pin drops right through both the gun and the grip safety. It hits where frame extends back, and on the factory grip safety, obviously without the beavertail (and wide sides) the frame is free to allow the grip safety to slide further in and allows the holes to line up very nicely.

    The shapes mate up nice, but it doesn't go in far enough. I'm not going to do any grinding on the gun. If I can't get it to go, oh well. I'll keep working on it slowly.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Is it a real Colt Commander?

    Or something else like a Commander?

  5. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Well-Known Member

    Good question, ya it is a real Colt Combat Commander. Remember, it's the one I was asking all of the questions about the finish, chrome, nickel, stainless, etc.....

    Ends up it was made in 1978/1979, it has the blue finish serial number, but it's "silver".

    I just got MidwayUSA's #35 catalog and looked up grip safeties. They have one listed as a "colt" and it's stainless and for a commander. I wonder if it is actually one that they manufacture. It does say "gunsmith installation", so being a drop in part must be rare.
  6. smokjunkee

    smokjunkee Active Member

    I just went through a similar experience a few weeks ago. I bought a C & S
    grip safety(not a drop-in). A .220 to fit my Springfield GI. I was determined not to do any grinding/filing on the frame, so I just had to work on the GS. Many hours of grinding, filing & sanding and I finally got it to fit. Then, more work on it to make it operate. I have about 100 rounds though so far without any problems. Unfortunately, It's ugly as hell, I am definately no artist at work bench. At least I stuck to my guns(ha ha), & did not alter my frame, just a $36 part. Not sure if I will try it again anytime soon without a class or some instruction.:eek:
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    WAIT A MINUTE? You fit a beavertail safety without cutting the frame horns? :D You know, you just ended up taking the longest way 'round to create your own drop-in bevertail safety!

    The whole point is to cut the frame horns to that radius (.220" for the Springfields) -- they even sell guides to help you make the cuts. That's why the radius is important in the first place...

  8. smokjunkee

    smokjunkee Active Member

    Yes I know, when I purchased the GS, I was also going to purchase the .220 jig but, they were out of stock. So, in the meantime I researched in the forums to get opinions as to which is better, fitting the frame or the GS. It was obout 50/50. 1/2 said you must fit the GS & the other 1/2 said(strongly) do not work on the frame. So I decided to alter the less $$ of the two.
    I love the learning process!
  9. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    As an aside - I was of the impression that most beavertail radii were set at .250" (using the centerline of the safety cross pin hole as the datum) and that only Springer used a .220" radii.

    Dunno for sure - that's just what I recall...
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    You got pictures of this installation?

    Since SA does not make guns to Colt specification, there is no halfway decent looking dropin beavertail like the Wilson as made for Colt. An adaptation not requiring alteration of the gun would appeal to a lot of people. (Not me, I want the sucker to FIT.)
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    I would like to see those, too. Not to try and deride your work! I'm just having trouble exactly imagining how the geometry of the cuts would work out. Unless they're just clearanced out of the way of the horns like the standard "drop-in" BT safety.
  12. smokjunkee

    smokjunkee Active Member

    I'll try to work on some pics(will bob & weeve the ridicule). I will say that halfway through the job I was seriously contemplating scaping it & taking the loss. But, I plowed ahead & made my main objective getting it to fit & function. I knew it would not look pretty and it doesn't.
  13. moxie

    moxie Well-Known Member

    Mine just dropped right in my 1980 Commander. Love it.
  14. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Well-Known Member

    moxie, which brand did you buy to get it to drop in?

    Horns! Ya, if it's not the "actual" term, it does fit well. That's where mine is hanging up too. I agree though, I'd rather butcher a $40 part than do any grinding on my old Colt.

    Right now it's getting used without the beavertail. I'm going to mount my grinding bit in a drill press and hold the beavertail and slowly work at it. No hurry at this time.
  15. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    As said, there are two styles. One is a part which gets mated to the gun. The gun has to be cut to fit correctly so that the safety hinges around the radiused frame horns as seamlessly as possible.


    Then the part can be blended -- the frame and the safety get ground to create the highest possible grip and smooth, flowing surfaces.

    I like to smooth the top of the safety when it is in the released position:


    And blend the underside of the safety and frame when it is in the compressed position:


    I've seen some ground up so high they got into the thumb safety pin hole, but I didn't want that.

    The drop-in version just has gaps that let the tail of the safety stay away from the horns
    far enough.

    Like this: http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=11294&stc=1&d=1155405009

    Or this: http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b241/NRosano/Colt Combat Elite/Colt009.jpg
  16. Hk Dan

    Hk Dan Well-Known Member

    Solve the whole problem without filing! GLOCK 21.
  17. moxie

    moxie Well-Known Member

    dc plumber,

    It was the Wilson Combat Drop In from Brownell's. No problem.
  18. smokjunkee

    smokjunkee Active Member

    Took a little longer than I thought to get back to some pics. BTW, so far, so good with the function anyway...I have put 150 rnds. through the gun. I put a .22 conversion unit onto it and will put many more through it before I am satisfied with the action(not the looks).
    Springfield GS HackJob.jpg

    Springfield GS HackJob (2).jpg

    Springfield GS HackJob (3).jpg

    Springfield GS HackJob (4).jpg

    Go easy on me guys! I'm learning.
  19. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Well-Known Member

    It looks like it'd be painful to shoot. How do you avoid pinching the web of your hand when you shoot it?
  20. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Well-Known Member

    For reference, here's some pics of a grip safety that has been properly hand-fit and installed. While most of the modifications were made to the frame of the pistol, I did do some blending of the grip safety itself as well (and have decided to do a bit more blending after taking those pics just now and looking at it up close... looks like I'll be re-parkerizing again soon lol). The work was all done by hand, using files. The only exception is the first radius cut on the frame, which was done with a jig and a dremel tool.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

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