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Some light WECSOGery for a retro mod custom

Impala_Guy

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So I bought a standard Govt Model as soon as CZ took over production and was pretty pleased with it. Then I bought the Limited Edition they came out with a few months ago that had features like a checkered frame, undercut trigger guard, Novak sights and a blued barrel. I have an inability to leave generic non collectible 1911s alone and I liked the pre Series 70 markings of the standard govt model so one day I swapped uppers and lo and behold it also gave a better, tighter fitup on both guns. I also added some bone grips that I think I paid 40 bucks for:

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Decided to rumage though the parts bin and went through several stainless bushings till I found the tightest fit in the slide, and what was probably an old SA cast bushing fit the bill. It needed to be slightly opened it up to the barrel dia with a few minutes work with emory paper wrapped around a rod on my electric drill. Used the emory on the front of the bushing by dragging it across a glass top table using a draftmans ruler as a guide to give a nice vertical brushed finish. Swapped stainless guide rods and plugs around until I had a near zero play combo. Ended up breaking all the rather sharp factory edges on the nose of the slide and dustcover about 1/32" with files. Touched up with a couple applications of Black Magic rust bluing and pressurized steam.

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Dont know what spurred me to do this other than maybe I am sick of looking at all these ridiculous curly high ride beavertail grip safeties, so with a combination of a benchgrinder, Dremel sanding drums and files I did this for a more retro look. The hardest most nerve wracking part was removing the huge hump on the back, reshaping the tail under the hammer was actually less work. I removed some material from the mainspring housing stops on the back of the safety which allows the grip safety to be pushed further back by the flat spring which then allows you to remove some material from the trigger stop, giving a more positive grip safety function since i removed the hump that normally helps in the event of a poor firing grip.

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The grip safety was sanded smooth and then taken outside and matted with a cheap POS airbush looking blaster made for glass art and jewelry. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004KNAH06/?tag=akfnfal-20 These are slow and arent real aggressive, but they can be used for matting the finish on small parts. Dont do this inside unless you have a collection booth and respirator, they use aluminum oxide powder.

Finish was several applications of Black Magic followed each time by boiling the safety in water in an old bean can on my camping stove and carding off the black rust with paper towels. This is a permanent blued finish that looks "factory" not a typical cold blue job....thats glare not wear in the photos. The play in the grip safety was GI sloppy and was removed by building up the internal flats of the safety with about 1/64" of Dura Coat epoxy paint. Sounds cheesy but DC is tough and this wont wear off in my lifetime.

Sides of the commander style hammer were dragged across some emory paper like the barrel bushing face. I decided not to dick around with the back of the frame, you can see that even when depressed the grip safety looks "blended" enough.

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The grip safety still completely eliminates hammer contact with the web of the hand, even with a GI spur hammer I tried. I ultimately thought the Commander hammer was retro enough:

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Short GI trigger was replaced with a long solid trigger, the sear and disconnector with Ed Browns Perfection parts and the backstrap with a checkered one that Ive had on a couple other guns over the years so that it would match the checkering on front strap. Grip screws are Torx type from the part box, also stainless to go with the trigger / hammer / bushing.

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I like paradoxes so the retro milspec style thumb controls were kept

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Last thing to do will be to replace the rear sight with this Harrison drift adjustable one:

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Pluribus

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That looks really nice! I also share some of your distain for some of the features that are now so common on a 1911 like those stupid Beavertail grip safety with a high curly ass up in the air. Ain’t no way you’re concealing that under a shirt or coat. One of my current projects that I’m building on a Caspian frame and, 4” RIA slide/barrel in .38 super I’ve been similarly. It’s at the old place so whenever I get back over there I’ll take some pics to share. I have another .38 super target pistol project with a Fusion frame/slide and, Sig .38 super barrel I’m working on and trying to go retro bullseye style with it. I intend to use an abbreviated spur hammer but, I bought one of the Wilson deep cover grip safeties and, I’ve been trimming it back to be in line with the Beavertail of the frame which will be rounded as well.
I currently don’t have an air compressor and as such, don’t have a way to operate a small blast cabinet that I have. Someday but, in the meantime, I’ve been managing to get away with small blasting jobs using a Preval sprayer. The aluminum oxide eats them up fairly rapidly but usually, I can get the job done on small gun parts and, they’re cheap enough that when they go toast, I toss ‘em then, get another.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CPNBYGO/?tag=akfnfal-20
 

Impala_Guy

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That looks really nice! I also share some of your distain for some of the features that are now so common on a 1911 like those stupid Beavertail grip safety with a high curly ass up in the air. Ain’t no way you’re concealing that under a shirt or coat. One of my current projects that I’m building on a Caspian frame and, 4” RIA slide/barrel in .38 super I’ve been similarly. It’s at the old place so whenever I get back over there I’ll take some pics to share. I have another .38 super target pistol project with a Fusion frame/slide and, Sig .38 super barrel I’m working on and trying to go retro bullseye style with it. I intend to use an abbreviated spur hammer but, I bought one of the Wilson deep cover grip safeties and, I’ve been trimming it back to be in line with the Beavertail of the frame which will be rounded as well.
I currently don’t have an air compressor and as such, don’t have a way to operate a small blast cabinet that I have. Someday but, in the meantime, I’ve been managing to get away with small blasting jobs using a Preval sprayer. The aluminum oxide eats them up fairly rapidly but usually, I can get the job done on small gun parts and, they’re cheap enough that when they go toast, I toss ‘em then, get another.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CPNBYGO/?tag=akfnfal-20
The easier way to do the safety would have been to buy the Ed Brown "concealment" grip safety and just remove the little duck ass on the back. EBs uses a standard 0.25" radius centered on the safety shaft which is what Colt also uses. The Wilson is NOT centered on the shaft and guns already filed to a 0.25" radius might not be able to be reshaped using Wilsons jig, but I'm not 100% sure. But even though the EB safety looks better it still has the hump and it costs $80 plus tax and shipping. Plus I have my own sweat and tears in on the gun now.

I build models so I already have a small little Iwata artists air brush compressor....you dont need a big 3hp pancake compressor. Its just slow as shit so you have to sand ALL your filemarks out and finish up with nothing coarser than 400 grit otherwise the fine AL oxide powder will never get the scratches out.
 
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Impala_Guy

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I probably should have blended the back of the grip safety out to keep some height on it when I removed the hump and I probably removed more than should have to create that old school look.

So you can see how relieving the stops on the grip safety gave it more travel so it can push back under spring pressure further from the stock position. This allowed me to remove some material from the trigger stop and now the grip safety frees up the trigger with about 3/32" of travel left over at the bottom. The grip safety spring arm engages way up near the pivot point so this didnt reduce spring pressure by any measurable amount. Ole Browning was a genius.

I hate those high ride humps but grinding off the trigger stop completly and disabling the safety upsets my engineers OCD, even though its really a superfluous gadget that Browning put on to keep the military happy.

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Pluribus

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Impala guy: I think I did mean the concealment one. I was probably remembering from their ad saying something about deep cover for detectives, operators or, some shit like that. Yeah, that’s the way I went with by just trimming the back off of it, and knocked off the little bit of upward flare that was on there. I’m still in the process of moving and haven’t got my tool bench and all my tools and some of my projects moved yet. If I remember, when I can, I’ll get some pictures. Anyway, nice Roscoe. I like the GI thumb safety as well.
 

Pluribus

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It turns out I did have one phone pic. But it’s only on my ruff in, it’s not the final blending. It’s on the .38 super that I’m setting up as a target pistol with Kensights.
949E58DF-E19B-49C2-AE07-58B30DB0688B.jpeg

The parts pile. Since this one is a scratch build, all new parts from the beginning. A bit of my preferred.
B63AD41E-A2DE-4A35-A9C8-09B236E2071D.jpeg
 

Impala_Guy

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It turns out I did have one phone pic. But it’s only on my ruff in, it’s not the final blending. It’s on the .38 super that I’m setting up as a target pistol with Kensights. View attachment 323320
The parts pile. Since this one is a scratch build, all new parts from the beginning. A bit of my preferred.
View attachment 323321
Is that the Wilson concealment safety? Radius looks not concentric with the pin and its thinner with no scallop for a commander style hammer. The EB safety has the scallop.

I'd like to replace the f'ing ugly grip safety on my Ed Brown factory Classic two tone with one of their concealment safetys but I wonder how good the fit will be in web area or will I have to blend the safety. I think they used to blend these while they were hung on the gun with sanding drums..... this is an early one right after they started making every part on their guns. Want to buy a new Ed Brown stainless concealment safety with no tax or shipping in case it doesnt look nice as a drop in? Lol


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Pluribus

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Is that the Wilson concealment safety? Radius looks not concentric with the pin and its thinner with no scallop for a commander style hammer. The EB safety has the scallop.

I'd like to replace the f'ing ugly grip safety on my Ed Brown factory Classic two tone with one of their concealment safetys but I wonder how good the fit will be in web area or will I have to blend the safety. I think they used to blend these while they were hung on the gun with sanding drums..... this is an early one right after they started making every part on their guns. Want to buy a new Ed Brown stainless concealment safety with no tax or shipping in case it doesnt look nice as a drop in? Lol


View attachment 323329
View attachment 323330
Yup, it’s the concealment safety. It seems to be on sale at the moment. No scallop for the hammer at all.
I had to relieve it just a little bit at the front edge to clear the hammer and then, that little bit of the back to get rid of the tail flip. It’s meant to be used with their concealment commander style hammer but, I’m using an abbreviated spur.
 

Impala_Guy

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Yup, it’s the concealment safety. It seems to be on sale at the moment. No scallop for the hammer at all.
I had to relieve it just a little bit at the front edge to clear the hammer and then, that little bit of the back to get rid of the tail flip. It’s meant to be used with their concealment commander style hammer but, I’m using an abbreviated spur.
I bought a 25 LPI checkering file and the Brownells jig, I'm going to try doing the frontstrap on an old SA Inc Hardballer pistol from the 80s. I might use it to try to serrate the rear of the Colt slide, I wonder if I could do the ejector too or would it have to be done before hardening....I assume the ejector is hardened? The ejector on my EB factory pistol was serrated along with the back of the slide and almost disappears. It looks really great.

One thing I'm glad I did was chamfer all the sharp edges on the dust cover and slide nose. Oddly, Colt does put a very nice looking chamfer the bottom edges of the slide, thankfully, but thats the only place.

Breaking the edges really improves the appearance of the gun immeasurably. Wil do the bushing edges next.

1000005582.jpg
 

Pluribus

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I bought a 25 LPI checkering file and the Brownells jig, I'm going to try doing the frontstrap on an old SA Inc Hardballer pistol from the 80s. I might use it to try to serrate the rear of the Colt slide, I wonder if I could do the ejector too or would it have to be done before hardening....I assume the ejector is pretty hard steel? The ejector on my EB factory pistol was serrated along with the back of the slide and almost disappears. It looks really great.

One thing I'm glad I did was chamfer all the sharp edges on the dust cover and slide nose. Oddly, Colt does put a very nice looking chamfer the bottom edges of the slide, thankfully, but thats the only place.

Breaking the edges really improves the appearance of the gun immeasurably. Wil do the bushing edges next.

View attachment 323360
I’ve never run into an ejector that wasn’t so hard I couldn’t file for any clearance fitting or, adjust for ejection angle so, you should be able to file the back with a checkering file. I say go for it. I agree that it looks good when they blend in with the back. I’ve never checkered the back of the slide face though, I’ve always just left them with course grit finish or, blasted the back so that it had a matte appearance. As you pointed out, unless it’s a 1911 collector piece, do whatever you want. It’s like hot rodding a Chevy any which way you want.
 
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Impala_Guy

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I’ve never run into an ejector that wasn’t so hard I couldn’t file for any clearance fitting or, adjust for ejection angle so, you should be able to file the back with a checkering file. I say go for it. I agree that it looks good when they blend in with the back. I’ve never checkered the back of the slide face though, I’ve always just left them with course grit finish or, blasted the back so that it had a matte appearance. As you pointed out, unless it’s a 1911 collector piece, do whatever you want. It’s like hot rodding a Chevy any which way you want.
Which way do Colt sights normally drift out? Left to right viewed from the rear?
 

Pluribus

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Which way do Colt sights normally drift out? Left to right viewed from the rear?
Colts are supposedly left to right for removal, right to left for installation. Other manufacturers don’t necessarily follow that rule but, it’s hard to tell who does and, who doesn’t. If you have a pair of dial calipers, try to measure the width of the dovetail if possible on each side. Also BTW, when I fit that Wilson concealment grip safety, I started from scratch and used the .250” plate type installation jig for the radius.
1B1AD09F-D2BC-4345-BB81-4E0B31A8CD13.jpeg

42247C85-A2ED-43B4-B232-6B017B6FD39C.jpeg

952252D2-7486-45AF-B85F-842D8604DD5D.jpeg
 

Impala_Guy

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Colts are supposedly left to right for removal, right to left for installation. Other manufacturers don’t necessarily follow that rule but, it’s hard to tell who does and, who doesn’t. If you have a pair of dial calipers, try to measure the width of the dovetail if possible on each side. Also BTW, when I fit that Wilson concealment grip safety, I started from scratch and used the .250” plate type installation jig for the radius.
View attachment 323711
View attachment 323710
View attachment 323709

Yeah I have a .250 radius jig and have done the frame mod on the SA I am going to be checkering. Its surprisingly easy to do with the hardened jig though it can damage the file if your arent careful with your final strokes. I just used cheap Chinese flat needle files to finish up.

One thing EB does is they really blend the web portion of the frame and safety so that the web of your hand gets as high as possible. The contrast with my Colt is obvious. Problem is the scallop for the hammer loop is too close to the underside of the beavertail now and I dont think I can bob it without the scallop showing in the back.

pix793339603.jpg
 

Pluribus

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Yeah I have a .250 radius jig and have done the frame mod on the SA I am going to be checkering. Its surprisingly easy to do with the hardened jig though it can damage the file if your arent careful with your final strokes. I just used cheap Chinese flat needle files to finish up.

One thing EB does is they really blend the web portion of the frame and safety so that the web of your hand gets as high as possible. The contrast with my Colt is obvious. Problem is the scallop for the hammer loop is too close to the underside of the beavertail now and I dont think I can bob it without the scallop showing in the back.

View attachment 323712
Yeah, you can chew up a file pretty quick if you’re not careful. I have pet files that I’m very, very careful with. When I get down close, I put a piece of masking tape or, electrical tape across the jig to minimize any possible damage to the file and then, do like you mentioned, use the cheaper files for the finish. This is the jig that I used. I don’t think I bought it from Midway, I just grabbed their picture. Sssh, Don’t tell gunplumber.
 

Impala_Guy

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The retro Colt slide stop has checkering that was little more than a stamped grid that wasnt well defined as the surface is concave. Some old Colts look like they have flat checkered SS and some are concave like this. Anyway I enhanced it with a needle file. Might make one more pass but its much improved.

Before:

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After:

1000005759.jpg
 
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