Customizing a Colt 1911 – Part 1 of 16

Installing a commander style Hammer

Let the adventure begin ! Ok I received a few of the parts that I want to install today so I decided to jump in and get the ball rolling. the objective for today was to fit the new trigger, sear and hammer to each of the Sistemas. Since the only Milling work will be done on the slide it seems logical to go ahead and fit the new frame parts. the only thing I don’t plan to install today is the new beavertail grip safety’s. The safety’s will require fitting and I don’t have the fitting Jig in yet from Brownell’s, so I plan to save that for another day.

So with a clearly defined plan in mind I set about the task at hand. Since my wife was not home I decided to use the opportunity to do the disassembly and fitting in the Kitchen instead of brave the heat of the garage. The only part I had to use the garage for was the polishing. (I can just see her face if she came home and caught me polishing metal on her counter….haha)

Starting

Here is a picture of what I started out with. Everything laid out neatly on the counter. I started by completely disassembling both guns. Here are a few pictures of the disassembly process.
Starting
Step one – shows the Sistema taken down to about the level of “Field Stripped”. The slide and grips are removed and set aside. We will be focusing on the frame anyway, because that’s where all the parts that we need to change are located.
Starting
Step two – with the gun field stripped I used a 3/4 inch PVC cap as a rest to punch out the mainspring housing pin. Works well because the pin falls into the PVC cap and doesn’t get lost.
Starting
Step three – I remove the mainspring housing and continue to disable the gun down to it’s smallest parts. Here are a couple more pictures for those of you interested in the full disassembly process.
Starting
Starting
Starting

Ok so the guns are both torn down and we can start inspecting the parts that we are gonna put in. I noticed that the Triggers were both Kinda…hmmm how do I say this. Rough looking. As you may recall I wanted to install Videki triggers but Brownell’s was out of stock so I bought these to try em out. They look like fine triggers but not quite up to my personal taste. Hey what the heck, it’s my project so I want it to be MY WAY. Here is a picture of how they looked right out of the package.
Starting

I decided to polish the side rails to a mirror finish and to check the way they slide in and out of the “trigger ways”. I noticed that when I inserted the trigger and then turned the gun on end the trigger stayed in place (kinda a tight fit). I got out the old Dremmel tool and bits and started polishing. I used a Black and Decker polishing set that I found for $14.95 at Walmart (hey I needed polishing bits and didn’t have time to order them.) they worked Great too ! I started with the Brownish ones then moved to the blueish ones then finished with a felt wheel and some polishing compound paste. ALL of this came in the one little plasitic case I got from Walmart for $14.95 This is how it ended up. This picture doesn’t do it justice…..this thing is like glass now.
Starting

I put the newly polished trigger into the trigger ways and turned the gun on end and whammo out drops the trigger…slick as grease baby. Note to self ** when polishing tiny pieces of metal with high speed bits do not hold them in your fingers. they get really HOT **

With the new triggers polished and in place I turned my attention to the hammer and sear. I do not have a stoning Jig for putting the correct angle on the sear and trigger so I thought what the heck, lets see what we get by just using the stock out of the package parts. the guy at CDNN says they are a set and as such they work well together. (the sear and the hammer). So I installed them just to see how it all works without stoning. I used a small punch-pin to align the sear and disconnector and to hold them in place while I put the pin back in. picture Note to self ** All pins push out from the right and are inserted from the left ** With the pins all back in place I then started re-assembling the frame. Here are some pictures. If you are real quick to notice things then see if you can find the error in my thinking for today. Here’s a hint it’s in the first picture that you notice a “Little snag” in my logic.

Starting
Starting
What did I learn?

All back together so lets try this puppy out see how she pulls…… scccrreeeeeeeeech. we come to a complete halt. I failed to think about what the new rounded hammer spur would mean when combined with a mil spec grip safety. The two parts were NOT made to work together. the hammer hits the safety horn before it can engage the second notch on the sear. So the hammer will not cock all the way to the rear. ooops. Also the slide can not be reinstalled because the hammer will not lay flat enough to get out of the way of the slide coming back. I guess that’s why you always see dished out grip safeties being used with commander style hammers DOH. Ok here’s what I mean.
Starting
This works fine but this is an oversight. No harm done….I’ll just have to wait until the grip safety Jig comes in. Should be here in a few days…….until then…………..

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As a side note. I did install the new trigger in the second gun along with the new sear but I left the old Hammer, this gave me at least one of the two guns to use as a test bed to see what difference the new parts make BIG DIFFERENCE BABY !!! Keep in mind that all I did was to change out the trigger and sear with good quality after-market parts. the new setup gives the most awesome crisp light trigger pull I have seen. ** Note to self, order a trigger pull gauge to see how good it really is ** I’m guessing about 4 lbs. Same old mil-spec hammer but new sear….must be a good combo or something. Sure hope it’s the same with the new hammer.

Jeweling Patterns

Some observations about Jeweling patterns

After I completed the Jeweling modification on the 80% Commander project, I recieved a couple of interesting e-mails from visitors that wanted to share their “recipes” with me. This got me to thinking about just how cool the whole process really is. Here are a couple interesting things to consider…..

About 15 years ago my grandparents took a trip to Europe and visited a bunch of countries. When they got back they gave me a nice vest that had a bluish/green plaid pattern all over it…….now don’t get me wrong, it was a nice looking vest but I couldn’t figure out what on earth made them think of me when they saw it hahaha…..as it turns out, they bought the vest in Scotland.

They told a story about how all the old families (known as Clans) had their own plaid pattern, and they could tell what clan you belonged to by the pattern and color of your plaid…..pretty cool huh? The pattern they brought back for me was the pattern of our ancestors from way back in the family blood line……..so what does this have to do with Jeweling…..I’m getting there…..

I didn’t notice at first, but each different formula for jewel swirl spacing is very unique…..never noticed it before really. I always just kinda looked at the piece and thought wow that looks cool. Same thing with plaid….I never paid any attention to the patterns before my grandparents brought me that vest….but now I can recognize my family pattern pretty easily…….Your jeweling pattern can be sort of like a signature.

Little did I know it at the time….but it seems that I have just created the very first Roderus custom signature customization…….you can do the same thing with your own personalized pattern.

Jeweling

If you start at the bottom right and work your way right to left each time….you end up with a diagonal pattern. If you use my formula you end up with a curvy pattern. If you do not “stagger” the swirls as you go down….you end up with a straight pattern….the list goes on and on…….Just think about it…….

Jeweling
Jeweling

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