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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm working on my first build using a stainless steel slide and frame from Caspian. I've got the barrel fitted, the front strap checkered, etc. but I've ordered two beaver tail grip safeties from Brownell's. The first BTGS has already been returned to Brownell's and I'm ready to return the second one.

The problem is, when I receive the new BTGS, someone (either Brownell's or the original manufacturer?) has already been grinding and polishing on the exposed surfaces of the BTGS and the width is narrower than my frame tangs.

The 1911 blueprints say the frame should measure .762 -.005. My frame measures .760".

The first BTGS, from S&A, measured .753" wide.

The second BTGS, from Les Baer, measured .742" wide.

Neither one of the BTGS's was wide enough to allow me to blend the BTGS in with the frame tangs the way I've seen done on professionally built custom pistols.

What gives? Is there something I'm missing? Does Brownell's grind and polish the BTGS before they repackage it? Where do the professional smith's get their BTGS's from? Shoiuld I order a BTGS directly from the original manufacturer? What brand of BTGS do the professionals most often use?:confused:
 

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I've never had any problems with grip safeties from Brownells. Custom 'smiths usually weld up the tangs on the frame to eliminate the gaps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It isn't the gaps that will be a problem, I haven't filed down the frame tangs yet. The problem is that the "flats" of the frame and the "flats" of the BTGS aren't flush with one another because the BTGS is narrower than the frame and I can't make them flush without removeing material from the flats of the frame.
 

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I have done business with Brownells for over 15 years. Brownells is not altering the grip safeties in any way.

What you are seeing is normal and removing metal from the frame is necessary if you want a "perfect fit".
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmmm, I've always been told to remove metal from the cheapest part. That sure ain't the frame!

The last BTGS I fitted was a Caspian, I chose the Caspian because the frame of my Colt has already been given the Wilson contour and I ordered the Caspian BTGS with the Wilson contour. That particular BTGS was slightly wider than the frame and allowed for very good blending with the frame.

Wouldn't this be the more desirable method?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The blindhogg article is a good article on fitting, but he doesn't address the "flats" of the frame and BTGS. Those are the surfaces I'm having trouble with. I'm already familiar with the techniques described by blindhogg, I've done this before.

The question I'm asking is "Why is the BTGS narrower than the frame (width) and what do I do about it?"
 

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I don't fully agree with that post. Fig-9 shows what looks like the frame and the grip safety being blended with the grip safety depressed. Don't you want the frame and grip safety blended with the grip safety in its final resting position before depressing it. Otherwise there will be a step at the interface and the GS will be higher than the frame until you depress the GS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Uh, do like you did before and put a Caspian part in a Caspian frame, maybe?
I'm strongly considering that. I was wanting to use the more typical profile BTGS with a pad at the bottom, but the Caspian with the enlarged rib down the center of the BTGS is comfortable also.

I'm also considering contacting Brownell's by phone and asking them about the width of the grip safeties. I was hopeing some of the pro's here on the forum would chime in and say what they do about this.
 

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woodwrkr, Unfortunately, this is a common occurence. In fact, I suggested to Wilson some years back that they make their beavertails wider so they could be blended to match the frame, not vice-versa. However, the problem remains, and most of us are left with having to gently blend the frame down to match the beavertails instead. Another problem that crops up that is related to this is the frame width on either side of the hammer cut, which isn't always dead center in the frame. In these cases, you have one side of the grip safety flush or slightly below, and the other side overhangs a bit. Until some maker starts manufacturing their grip safeties about .010 wider on eiach side, we just have to deal with it I'm afraid. Best,
 

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I don't fully agree with that post. Fig-9 shows what looks like the frame and the grip safety being blended with the grip safety depressed. Don't you want the frame and grip safety blended with the grip safety in its final resting position before depressing it. Otherwise there will be a step at the interface and the GS will be higher than the frame until you depress the GS.
This explains it much better than I ever could
http://www.harrisoncustom.com/TextDesc/Beavertail.htm
 

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Ditto, DonW! I've tried two Wilson GS's before, both in Caspain frames, and both were so loose side-to-side in the middle and bottom that it drove me nuts. In fact, Mr. Rogers ended up silver soldering to high heaven to get them to stop wiggling.

Here's my ordeal with the "Wilson Wiggles" - starts about post #5: http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?p=1633293

As for potential remedies, there are some GREAT threads here by the pros showing how they silver solder blocks, or weld little spots, at various places to firm things up.

If you aren't a silver-solderer or welder, then you might consider this shim: http://powercustom.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=777

Best,
Jon
 

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I don't fully agree with that post. Fig-9 shows what looks like the frame and the grip safety being blended with the grip safety depressed. Don't you want the frame and grip safety blended with the grip safety in its final resting position before depressing it.
It's a matter of aesthetic preference only. Some folks like to blend for "all business (the lines line up top and bottom only when the safety is depresssed), others like both top and bottom to line up with the safety is engaged (out), and others like to blend the top for when the safety's at rest, and the bottom for when it's depressed.

Otherwise there will be a step at the interface and the GS will be higher than the frame until you depress the GS.
Nope. Remember, the safety is fitted TO the tangs, and it doesn't lift up off the tangs. Instead, it rotates around an axis, which is the TS pin.

P.S. - Actually, the axis the Wilson rotates around is a hair below the center of the TS pin, but same result to this issue - it won't lift up because it rotates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm not a welder, (wish I was) but I have done a bit of silver soldering. I'm getting ready to order a third BTGS directly from S&A and if this one is the same as the first two I guess I'll just bite the bullet, break out the silver solder and see if I can find some stainless steel scrap or bar stock. I really, really don't want to try to remove material from the flats of the frame. I can just imagine what kind of results I'll end up with.:barf:

Thanks for the help everyone, and if you discover a manufacturer who makes a wider BTGS let us all know!
 

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Actually, the bottom blending of the grip safety is done with the grip safety depressed (lower registered), as in the blindhog photo. If you blend the btgs with the frame in the undepressed position (upper registered), you won't be able to depress it.

As far as the upper part of the btgs goes, that is the choice of the artisan doing the work. Also, where the lines on the side of the beavertail join the frame at the side of the frame tang, both upper and lower lines can be upper or lower registered. You choose.

On my keeper guns, I actually relieve the grip safety on the sides and blend a small section of the frame to it. This is totally a functional need, combined with other factors, so I can consistantly depress the grip safety with a high thumb hold. See pic.
 

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woodwrkr, I would give Brownells a call and ask them to hand select one. They have done this for my in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I just spoke to S&A on the phone and they were very helpful, in fact Mr. Alexander will talk your ear off, he's a great guy.

It seems there are quite a number of 1911 blueprints floating around out there and very few, if any of them agree with each other. He said he doesn't know why the current frame manufacturer's are making their frames so wide but he would do whatever he could to hand select a BTGS for me that would come as close as possible to matching my frame.

In fact he gave me some pointers regarding grinding the frame tangs, namely how to protect the flats of the frame using masking tape before installing the .250" radius jig. Even though the .250" jig has nylon washers between the frame and metal parts of the jig, occasionally a metal shaving will get in between the nylon washer and the frame and leave a deep gouge in the frame underneath the nylon washer. Protecting the frame flats with masking tape will help protect the frame while filing the frame tangs.

I'm going to send S&A a snail mail and a check with all the frame tang measurements and they're going to get me fixed up.

Davidalyn was correct, the grinding and polishing on the outside surfaces of the BTGS are done by S&A, not by Brownells. Also, S&A supplies the BTGS's that are used by the Colt custom shop on all their custom shop guns.

So, as it now stands, Caspian BTGS's, or at least the one I installed was wide enough to be blended into the frame of my Colt and both Brownells and S&A will hand select a BTGS for us when we need it. Perhaps silver solder won't be necessary. I'm also hoping the Power Custom shims won't be necessary but I'll check the fit of the grip safety and see if I need the shims.

I wish McCormick grip safeties were still available in SS, that would be another option for us.

When I get the new grip safety in hand, I'll be filing the frame tangs and blending the grip safety to the frame in the top registered style.

Thanks to everyone for your help.
 
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