Upgrading a Colt Government.

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing - Assembly - Finishing' started by fieldgrade, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    @Beef15

    I did not buy the Hi-Force brand, as referenced here. But I'm thinking 96% tin and 4% silver can't change that much from brand to brand. I hope not, anyway.

    Here's what Brownells says about this solder.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 2.11.45 PM.png
     
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  2. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I soldered the front sight in today. What a pain in the hindquarters, and I don't know if it will hold or not. Guess I'll find out. I don't recommend this. My precision process for soldering the sight in was similar to what you could imagine if a one armed man was hanging wallpaper.

    The trouble is, a steel slide is an enormous heat sink, and it's hard to get it hot enough with a soldering iron to get the silver solder to sweat into the hole around the tenon, plus it's such a small area the iron is in the way. To use a torch risks ruining the finish, as well as affecting heat treat.
     
  3. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Finished.

    HiViz front sight
    10-8 u-notch rear sight
    new recoil spring
    fitted Wilson beavertail
    fitted Wilson thumb safety
    VZ grips
    Smith and Alexander one piece mag guide/mainspring housing
    trigger adjusted to 4.5 lbs pull

    fullsizeoutput_91f.jpeg
     
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  4. Friday

    Friday Polite-Knock raid Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Oh boy that's a wow.
    Nice job. Looks great.
     
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  5. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I don't know whether to put it in the safe, or shoot the snot out of it.
     
  6. Friday

    Friday Polite-Knock raid Charter Member Supporting Member

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    What would Dad do with it?
     
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  7. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Three days before he died, we were discussing his guns and what to do with them. He said, "Where I'm going, do you think I'll need 'em?"

    We laughed hard.
     
  8. Slappy McTrigger

    Slappy McTrigger My Own Safe Space

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    The latter!
     
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  9. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    First range report.

    The grip, and thumb safety fitting were a triumph. Gun ran great till round #10 of 230 grain ball when the front sight flew off.
    The slide is already stripped and in a box headed to Novak's to be dovetail cut.
     
  10. Jeppo

    Jeppo Very LARGE Member Supporting Member

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    My vote is...
    Shoot the snot out of it...
    Put it in the safe...
    Rinse and repeat.
     
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  11. lowcountry

    lowcountry Member

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    What site stake tool were you using so I know which one not to get.
     
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  12. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    It's not the sight stake tool at issue. Brownell's is the only I know who makes one specifically for staking. The fiber front sight is too fragile to handle staking unless you build yourself a tool like this.

    I expect if I was trying to stake in another non-fiber, or non-tritium vial blade type sight I'd be okay.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  13. Friday

    Friday Polite-Knock raid Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Lol. Plan C.
    It's what's meant to be. It ain't you.
    And figure this, all the stuff you did under the hood worked great.
     
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  14. Sneakymedic

    Sneakymedic Super Moderator Staff Member Charter Member Benefactor

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    You got some balls. More than I would have attempted with that pistol. Good work!
     
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  15. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Thanks. It took me a couple of years to work up the nerve.
     
  16. lowcountry

    lowcountry Member

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    I assume you were using this on?
    https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-...y&utm_campaign=itwine&utm_content=080-817-000
     
  17. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I contemplated purchasing that tool but read reviews that it is very hard to swage in the HiViz fiber sight with any tool.
    So I winged it with a regular center punch. You just can't smack that HiViz front sight with a hammer and any punch as far as I can tell. Too fragile to be banging on it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  18. Friday

    Friday Polite-Knock raid Charter Member Supporting Member

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  19. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Strobel makes (made) a great tool for front sight staking, but it appears to no longer be available on their website or anyplace else.
     
  20. lowcountry

    lowcountry Member

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    Could you provide a link to the front sight you got from Amazon? Are you using a Dawson rear?
     
  21. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I’m on my phone. Just search Hiviz sights. Best price was on Amazon. The rear sight was a 10-8 u-notch.

    I just had Novaks dovetail cut the slide for their own sights.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
  22. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Just got the slide back from Novaks. How 'bout them dovetails front and rear.

    Haven't shot it yet, but the machining and the condition they returned the slide to me in is exceptional. There were some existing scratches on the polished slide's flats that are still there, but they are hard to see now. It's almost like the slide has been reblued, but without losing any character.
    fullsizeoutput_93b.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  23. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Gonna send some 230 grain hardball downrange today to see where they go with the new sights.

    fullsizeoutput_946.jpeg
     
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  24. Amp Mangum

    Amp Mangum Member

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    Save the brass for me!:D
     
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  25. scmoose

    scmoose Member

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    Got some LPP I'll trade ya.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
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  26. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Since you asked nice like...

    fullsizeoutput_949.jpeg
     
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  27. Amp Mangum

    Amp Mangum Member

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    Sights work ok?
     
  28. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Yup. Not sure yet if I like that bigger fiber that comes on the Novak front sight, but I'm going to run it for a while. My thought was it might help in quicker target acquisition. We'll see.
     
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  29. lowcountry

    lowcountry Member

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    There is nothing like a nice pistol that you personally had a hand modifying it to your liking. I need to get back to tinkering with my beater 1911. Nice work.
     
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  30. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Thanks. It ran like a champ today at the Deep River match.
     
  31. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Alright. I shot the Colt side by side with my SA Range Officer. I'm making slightly better groups with the Range Officer, and I'm not liking the front sight I had Novak's install on the Colt. Not sure if it's the front sight, but it's getting changed.

    Novaks keeps theirs in stock so I thought I'd give it a whirl since they cut the slide for me and would install it as part of the price of cutting it. I like the "form" of the front sight. Very sturdy, but the function doesn't follow form and it doesn't gather light well, and the fiber is too big for my tastes. The rounded bulb where you melt the end of the fiber is so big no matter how small you try to make it that sunlight reflects off of it and has a slight glare.

    I just ordered a Dawson front sight. A larger diameter (.120) than most folks run, but it's the largest "partridge" cut, and slightly smaller than the Range Officer front fiber (I believe .125), which really works for me.

    Novaks sight.

    fullsizeoutput_95c.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  32. ronn47

    ronn47 Where's the Scotch? Charter Member Benefactor Life Member

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    Have you tried different colors to see if that makes a difference with the Novak?
     
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  33. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I did.

    I've run both the green and red in it, plus almost used up the extra fibers trying to melt the shooter facing end of the fiber as small as possible. If the back of the Novak sight was "partridge" cut versus ramped, or at least the hole for the fiber recessed so that the sun didn't glare off the fiber "bulb" that would solve a big part of my objection.

    I ordered the Dawson last night and after I get it drifted in I'll see if I can shoot any better with it.
     
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  34. Friday

    Friday Polite-Knock raid Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Now that you point it out that FO tube does look big as hell.
     
  35. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Some people actually like them, and Novak makes an even bigger fiber front sight called “super dot” or something, but I figured I’d try the smaller one pictured. Won’t be the first time I spent forty bucks on something that wasn’t “optimal”.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  36. Windini

    Windini Plank Charter Life Member

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    Uh huh. I certainly get that!

    Hm. Maybe it's time for me to check out the "Box o' Parts" thread!

    Looking forward to the Dawson Report.
     
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  37. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    So, call me crazy but it just occurred to me that one of the best scores I've put up with a 1911 was with this fat Novak fiber front sight. Or maybe all the other guys were just having a bad day. Who knows.

    Anyway, I took the last of the green fiber in this mammoth diameter, melted as small a "bulb" on one end as I could, then took one of my wife's nail files with a very fine grit and gently twisted the fiber between my thumb and forefinger, with the edges of the bulb rotating against the file to slightly reduce the diameter of the "bulb". Then gently filed the surface of the "bulb" to "rough it up" just a smidge to see if that will reduce glare from the sun since the "bulb" no longer has a shiny surface. We'll see how it runs this Saturday.

    fullsizeoutput_962.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  38. Windini

    Windini Plank Charter Life Member

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    Yer gettin' creative...

    Just curious: by 'bulb,' you mean that end of the light tube that faces your eye, so you see a colored circle, right? I was going to suggest mimicing a lathe with a cordless drill & spinning the light tube while grinding or cutting away some of the diameter... then i thought that would be a dumb suggestion since, when viewed end-on, you'd still see the entire diameter even if it was reduced at the end. If you reduced the entire diameter, then the LT would fall out of the sight 'socket.'

    I get roughing/dulling the light transmission surface of the cylinder to reduce brightness. Just ponderin how to dial down the 'dot' size w/o a new light tube 'holster.'
     
  39. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I've already got the Dawson ordered. Installation should be fairly easy. I was just recalling how well I did with the current set up two weeks ago, and how poorly I did with the Range Officer this weekend, that I shot better side by side with the Colt at the range running drills.
     
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  40. BatteryOaksBilly

    BatteryOaksBilly Well-Known Member Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    Been following you since you started. Your thought process was perfect and predictable for the results you finally ended up with. I don't know how much machine work you have done in the past but that grip safety turned out great. I started at one point to suggest sending your slide to Wayne Novak, but knowing what that costs, I held back. He has been doing stuff for me for 30 years. The first hand carried by Ken Hackathorn. Novak is pricey but the results are always good. he just finished installing his sights on 2 Colt 1903s for me. I didn't know if you had an adjustable trigger or not, but when your pull jumped to 7 pounds it sounded like that could have been the problem. Anyway, you sorted it all out by yourself and the results are grand. I know you want that "glow" sight, but if you would reconsider and try Novak's narrow post front with a Gold Post I'm sure you would like. Gold post fronts are over a hundred years old, but they don't break and they work. I am sure you don't need compliments from me for your life to be complete, BUT good job!
     
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