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Fixing the Berreta 1951 & Helwan 9mm by manufacturing new parts

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Wess Visser, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. Wess Visser

    Wess Visser Member

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    Good day Fellow gun owners,

    I'm Wess and I'm a gun parts designer from The Netherlands ( You know ...Amsterdam ) and I specialize in hard to find.. basically unicorn parts.
    My first successful project is the locking block for the Beretta 1951 & Helwan line of pistols.
    It has taken me 2 years to complete.. This is because I took me a very lone time to source 2 blocks to acquire the measurements and as in all starting companies.. Getting the right connections.

    Lucky for me I've found a collector based in Texas who really helped me out on my project, couldn't have done it without him..
    My first bit of luck was on Egun which is a website much like Ebay but for guns and accessorizes.
    A German seller put one up for auction and he stated that he didn't know what the block was for and that I did not fit the Beretta 92FS.
    From that moment I knew I had to grab it..

    And so I did..The second locking block came from my befriended collector in the USA.. Both were Egyptian locking blocks judging by the longer wings.
    For all of you who don't know there are two kind of locking blocks, a first generation with shorter wings and a second with longer wings.
    The Egyptians took the Beretta design and tried to make it more durable..

    The Next step was metallurgy, what to use ? After some reading online I found a company near my town here in The Netherlands who could examine a metal component with the help of an optical emission spectrograph.
    This machine / device burn small particles of the metal and sets out a report of the chemical composition.

    The report showed my that Beretta uses a low carbon steal, which surprised me at first but it made sense for mass production.
    Because low carbon steels are highly suitable for cold forging... Now I don't work at Beretta so I could be wrong but I suspect Beretta forges the locking blocks and machines them a bit afterwords.

    From the report fase I knew what the minimal requirements were but I wanted something which had higher strength factors of course.
    So I did the math and came to a type of steels which is used in the industry for cold forming die manufacture.

    It's an extremely durable high tensile steel that is at the top of it's class when it comes to high stress factors.
    The steel also came included with a chart in which manner it could be hardened and with the help of some experts I got the blocks hardened in such a way the the outer skin is 50 HRC but the inner core is a bit softer.
    When a metal component is exposed to stress and it's hardened true and true it will break or shear because there is 0% flexibility.

    Now it was time for improvements.. After scanning the blocks with a very high end Atos 3D scanner and draft a solid model it was time to make the design parallel. This was not the case in both blocks by a long shot..
    Keep in mind that CNC did not exist in those times and the Egyptians were no real craftsmen..

    After taking out all the kinks there was one final step to implement in the design.. And those were the radius cuts.
    The radius cuts relieve the fracture point in the blocks on which the usually sheer off.
    By dividing the stress over a curve instead of the classic corner shape it will result in a way more durable system.

    And all of a sudden the design was finished! My contact in the USA has tested multiple of my locking blocks in various types of pistols..
    Helwan Super, Helwan Cadet, Beretta 1951, Helwan A.R.E, Helwan U.A.E, Helwan Commercial and the Tariq.

    The testing resulted in the conclusion that the fit is excellent! So far the prototype locking blocks has passed 3000+ rounds without a scratch and I presume that many thousand and thousand of round to follow will not be a problem.

    However what a lot of people often forget.. And this is the case with many firearms is to replace the recoil spring every 5000-7000 rounds.
    Now I know that springs for the Beretta 1951 & Helwan arren't very easy to come by.
    But I heard that the recoil spring of a standard CZ75 fits great but has to be trimmed to 24 coils.
    Now I haven;'t tested this yet but I sure will in the future.

    I'll include a example foto of my creating in this post for you te enjoy!

    Thank you all for reading

    Wess from The Netherlands..
     

    Attached Files:

  2. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Wow, very cool! This has long been a "unicorn" part and more than one Helwan has been junked because of an irreplaceable broken block. I have never heard of a M51 Beretta breaking a block, but if I still owned one, I would love to have spare.

    Must say, Im a bit surprised that the M51 is legal for a civilian to own in the Netherlands........

    Thanks for your effort and the information!
     
  3. Wess Visser

    Wess Visser Member

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    Hey Nightlord, why does it surprise you that's it legal to own a M51 (1951) it's just a singe stack 9mm.
     
  4. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I think our general impression of Continental gun ownership, especially after the EU came along, is that most civilians are limited to rimfires, shotguns, and perhaps target revolvers locked up a club. I am always surprised when our European members talk about owning automatic arms of any type.

    Unlike the M92, M51 Berettas are actually quite rare in the states. Even Helwans are uncommon.

    A small batch of surplus M51s was imported a few weeks ago, but prior to that they have not been generally available here for many years. Indeed, I visit my local gunshop almost daily and attend 2 or 3 gunshows a year and have not seen a M51 or Helwan in at least a decade.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    theotherwaldo likes this.
  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    The best IPSC shooter in the world is a french dude who lives in France. The last World Shoot was in France.

    Their laws are very different than ours re: guns, but wealthy and law-abiding people in many (not all) European countries can have "real" guns. Can't carry them, often aren't even allowed to use them for home defense, have to let the government know they have them, etc. But a lot of them have laws that recognize far more shooting sports than the U.S. laws do. For instance, in all the current gun control debate, you don't hear a single person talking about an exception for the guns used for sports like USPSA/IPSC/IDPA. Yet IPSC is a sport that, if you participate, will give you a legal basis for pistol ownership is many countries.
     
    theotherwaldo likes this.
  6. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Welcome.. and nice job!

    I have a Helwan, I shot it about a month ago and it shot very well. :)

    So far I haven’t had any issues, but with any 50+ year old surplus gun there’s always a chance of parts breaking. I am glad you were able to solve the locking block issue and get your pistol back into operating shape :thumbup:.

    Stay safe.
     
  7. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Wess Visser

    Nice work in replicating and improving on the Beretta Model 1951 locking block!
     
  8. drk1

    drk1 Member

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    Wonderful and thank you! But that all leads to a few questions. First, ehere can one of these be purchased and how much is the cost? Second, what is your next challenge? There are many Erma Werk M-1 carbines that are useless becasue of broken parts that were made of pot-metal. Please keep us posted on your next project.
     
  9. sevt_chevelle

    sevt_chevelle Member

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  10. Blkhrt13

    Blkhrt13 Member

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    I’m not sure I would use tool steel for the locking block. I feel like you have underestimated a few things here. The block should either parallel or or be a lesser than material to Re frame or the locking block will beat the frame to death. The locking block was meant to be a sacrificial lamb to the machine. You want it softer than both the barrel and frame. If you make it too much harder of an alloy than the rest the wear will move to everything else.
     
    RevolvingGarbage likes this.
  11. Wess Visser

    Wess Visser Member

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  12. Wess Visser

    Wess Visser Member

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    Yes they can be bought true Ebay, just look up Beretta 1951 or Helwan locking block.
    My next challenge is working on modernizing sights for surplus pistols because those are in high demand (fiber optic).

    As for replacement parts I have a couple of requests to look into extractors for Spanish Destroyer carbines which I will look into by the end of next year.
     
  13. Wess Visser

    Wess Visser Member

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    Hey there, Thank for the great reply.

    My mentor had a similar thought but I did not agree with him on softer material, however I did decide not to make the locking blocks to hard in oder to prevent cracking.
    The locking blocks does not contact the frame in a stressful manner, the only time it does contact the frame is when it pivots down into it and by that point all the force has been absorbed by the wings and the slide.

    I do understand what you are pointing at and i've taking much care into providing the perfect lockup between the slide and the locking block.
    A lot of people over the years have used Beretta 1951 locking block's in their Helwan pistols. and in that case you would be correct that a locking block of superior quality will destroy the other components such as the slide in time.

    The Beretta 1951 locking blocks have a short style of wing and the Helwan pistols have a larger relieve cut into the slide.
    This combination will lead to battering, which has happend to a lot of people.

    If you have a locking block like mine, the lock up is 100% and that's also the reason why I made the locking block's in two styles.
    one with larger wings and one with shorter wings for both generations.

    The test model has passed over 2500 rounds so far without a scratch in a Helwan and I expect many thousand of rounds more without any problems.
    Also important is the replacement of the recoil spring every 5000-7000 rounds and keeping the internals of the pistol oiled, a lot of people neglect this and after a while it will put more stress on all the components.
     
    theotherwaldo likes this.
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