Flaring the ejector port (aka: Roll over notch)
After yesterdays adventures, I have more confidence and so I decided to attack the most challenging part so far. I want to create a roll over notch for the ejected cartridge. Most of my other custom 45’s have a notch, and so I examined them closely before I started. I will be using a special set of grinding stones that I bought from Brownells a few weeks ago. These stones are listed in the catalog for just this purpose…….So, on with the show……….
I started out by reading the instructions that came with the grinding stones (big mistake, but more about that later). The instructions show the 2 different shape of stones, and they say to use the B51 (the long thin one) to start the cut. The instructions go on to say that the entire job can be done using only the B51 stone, but that they recommend using the B42 stone to bring the port to final length and depth. This picture shows the two stones I am using.
I tried doing it that way on the first Sistema, and almost ended up ruining the whole slide…..BIG MISTAKE !! I don’t know if the instructions are wrong or what…..but after inspecting the 2 stones and looking very carefully at the instruction sheet, I am now convinced that the written instructions are right. But that the labels are totally backwards. The instruction sheet labels the two stones like I did in the picture above. However…..if you reverse it and use the short fat one first, and then use the long thin one to bring it to length….everything works fine. Bad, Bad, Bad instruction sheet. The other thing that they say to do in the instructions is to draw the outline of how you want the port to look after its done. The idea is that you can use the pencil marks to shape your notch…..once again I have to say Bad, Bad, Bad instructions. It simply doesn’t work like that.
Here is an example that may help to explain what I’m talking about. Imagine that you have a 2 x 4 and you want to cut it with a hand saw (you remember hand saws don’t you?) The trick to getting a good cut is to “Start” the cut correctly.(the very first couple of teeth will start it) Once you get the first downward stroke of the saw…you are pretty much committed for the rest of the cut. If you start the cut at an angle, you will pay hell trying to get it straight again, because the saw blade naturally wants to follow the line of the initial cut right? If you messed up, you need to start the cut again. Ok so what does this have to do with anything?…..
The same thing applies to your initial cut with the stone. I did it all wrong on the first gun, but figured it out on the second one. This picture shows the “initial cut” on the second gun (the one that turned out right).
Look closely at the picture and you will see a shiny spot where I just barely started to grind. This cut takes on the shape of the bottom of the stone and makes it hard to control the stone in any angle other than the one I just set. Also notice the line I drew on the picture. It shows the correct angle that you should hold the stone when you make the first cut. If you do it right, then the rest of the process is really, really easy. You simply use the same stone (the fat one) and stay in the same spot until the notch gets deeper and wider. The stone will do all the work because it is shaped just for this purpose.
Here is another picture That shows you what I mean. I didn’t move the stone or change the angle….I just left it in one place and let it dig in a bit. ** Warning ** If you do as the instructions say and try to “freehand” it you are asking for big trouble. I did that on the first one. I was able to kinda fix it, but it will never be quite right. The instant that I started moving the stone around, all was lost. Because I could never get back to the original shape of the stone. Once you go outside the lines it’s too late.
This picture shows a close-up of the one that I did correctly. Notice the shape of the notch. It’s the exact dimensions of the Fat stone….I didn’t even use the thin one at all. I did the whole job using the B42 stone. If I had chosen to do so, I could have then switched over to the B51 (thin one) to lengthen the opening. See what I mean…..they have the instructions 180 degrees backwards. The instructions say to use the B51 for the whole job….trust me folks THEY ARE WRONG !!!! (bad, bad, bad instructions) Here is a final picture of the notch after I applied some cold blue (to keep it from rusting while we continue working on the slide)
What did I learn?
Ok everyone, up to this point I have done mostly “text book” stuff. What I mean is that all the modifications that I have performed are pretty well documented and are simply a matter of correctly following a set of instructions and measurements. However…. today I attempted something that simply can’t be explained with words alone. The grinding of a roll over notch is more of a “skill” or “Art form” than simply taking a few measurements and doing a good job of setting up. It’s these little things that can only be learned through actually doing it.
** Important Warning ** Be very careful to stay away from the opening where the extractor comes out of the breechface. If you cut too deep or too close to the opening, you can grind into it. If you do that it is nearly impossible to salvage your slide. You will need to leave yourself at least 1/16 of an inch of metal between the extractor opening and the edge of your roll over notch. Keep checking it every couple of seconds and stop if you get too close.
I must admit, I’m a little bit pissed about the instruction sheet that came with the stones. A simple labeling error on the part of Brownells nearly cost me a slide. Luckily, I was able to catch it early and get it “mostly” fixed….but it will never be as nice as the second one.
Here is a picture of the first one that I screwed up. I fixed it the best I could…….Lots more to do and see, but until then……….
(hey, did you notice how nice the Bake-on finish looks….look at the closeup picture again…only the frame, we didn’t do the slide yet.)