1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Black Beauty (Critique My Work!)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Joshua M. Smith, Jun 21, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith Member

    Aug 8, 2004
    Wabash IN

    I got what is probably the last item for the RIA, for a while.

    I just couldn't stand the military grip safety any longer. It was killing my hand, and I'm pretty sure the original hammer, before I bobbed it, has left permanent scars.

    I spent the day fitting this beavertail safety.

    This beavertail is the first one I've attempted on a "live" gun; meaning, a gunsmith mentor of sorts (who will not be with us much longer, I'm afraid) had a bunch of junked frames and would let me practice on those.

    A closeup of the fit. I need to blue the bare metal a bit more.

    It's an STI, as is the thumb safety.

    After I fitted it, I went out to try it. The hammer kept following. I had had this trouble before when it was new, and my mentor changed some angles on the sear and hammer hooks, as they were not fitted correctly.

    I bent the appropriate springs, and while it helped, it would still follow at times, and rarely, double.

    I played around with different combinations of skeleton hammers, sears, etc. I never found one that worked. What was happening was I was getting severe sear bounce. The hammer was able to come back further when the slide cocked it, and with no pressure on the sear, it flipped forward. I have Wilson springs in it; changing back to stock springs helped nothing.

    My solution to this was twofold, and I'm going to catch hell on the three or four boards on which I post for the fix: First, the appropriate mainspring fingers were bent. Second, and this is where you don't want to go unless you know what you're doing: I went ahead and did some sear and hammer hook work. I must stress that I changed no angles (and you shouldn't either, without the appropriate fixtures) but rather, I deepened the angles made by my gunsmith friend. This was actually a good thing; he had about 4lbs on it and the deepening of the angles took it up to about 6.5lbs.

    It is so black! That's powder grime!

    The only things I really want for this pistol now are these: GOOD sear/disconnector/hammer combo (preferably with a Commander hammer) and a Kimber or King's ambi safety.

    This is the shootin'est gun I've ever owned. It now sits in my hand low enough that I feel very little recoil, but I don't get slide bite. I'm overall very happy with it. The packerized finish is beginning to wear a bit, but that's to be expected. Nothing bites; everything is extremely comfortable, more so than any pistol I've ever shot. That's not because I did the work; it's my true impression. (I'm liking STI's stuff more each time I use one of their products.)

    Dare I ask, what is your impression of my work? We're packing a lot of learning into the time we have left together, and this is my first real pistol job.

    Josh <><
  2. Grizfire

    Grizfire Member

    Nov 3, 2007
    I like it
  3. Powderman

    Powderman Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Washington State
    Looks good for your first project!

    Now, here's some advice for your sear/hammer fix.

    First, measure the LENGTH of your sear. Your problem is caused by a short sear. The hammer should cock with the rearward movement of the slide, of course--but you also don't want it to move too far forward when the slide returns.

    Also, know and remember this: ANYTIME you are altering sear angles or the hammer hooks, you are REMOVING heat treatment of the part. Remove too much, and your trigger job WILL wear out--QUICKLY.

    I highly recommend and use Jerry Kuhnhausen's excellent manual, known as the Shop Manual for the 1911 series pistol. Study closely the relationship of the sear and hammer hooks--and also study and note the proper angles for sear engagement.

    Look at the stone you are using, too. The India Stone is good for rapid metal removal; however, I prefer a good ceramic stone for finish work. Remember to lube well--both the stone and the sear.

    Consider the purchase of some assembly pins to sit on the outside of the frame so that you can closely examine the relationship of sear and hammer hooks. I have found that hammer prep usually only takes one or two LIGHT passes on the engagement surfaces with the ceramic stone--any more and you risk cutting into the heat treatment.

    The work comes in when you are setting the proper primary and secondary angles on the sear. The primary angle is the sear engagement--that's what the hammer hooks sit on. The secondary angle is just as important--this is the "breakaway" angle that allows the hammer to start its movement forward and also helps to prevent sear damage and chipping.

    Anyway, read that Kuhnhausen's manual, and get the proper tools. You will need a good sear and hammer jig--I use Marvel's; others swear by the Powers rig.

    Good luck with your choice, and keep up the good work! Remember the cardinal rules of gunsmithing:

    1. Measure at LEAST twice--then cut.
    2. Do your work slowly and carefully--you can always remove more metal--but you can't put it back.
    3. Always cut on the CHEAPEST part first!!!
  4. maxxwilde

    maxxwilde Member

    May 3, 2008
    Northern, Az
    I too, have a permanent scar from my RIA biting. Havent got around too bobbing the hammer yet, I usually just stick some electrical tape on my hand when I'm shooting for prolonged periods. Wich, I usually forget, hence the scarLOL
    Question for ya. Hows the blazer brass work in yours regarding accuracy? I was shooting the Winchester White Box stuff from walmart and the accuracy was so-so. On a whim I got the cheaper Blazer Brass and it's much more accurate, assuming I do my part when using both brands. Your experiences?
    I just find it odd that the cheaper ammo would be more accurate, though im NOT complainingLOL

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page