I finally picked the pistol to start my custom project on. I was going to do the Tisas Service Special I bought a couple months ago, but it shoots so well and the fit is pretty darn good...I decided to leave it alone.
So I picked my latest Tisas Tank Commander. It has a looser frame/slide fit and I carry commanders more often. If you shake the pistol it rattles pretty good. I know, I know, the original 1911's rattled, but this is my project in 2023, we have the technology, and I want to improve every aspect of this pistol. So I want a custom, no rattle fit.
Anyways here we go. I measured the frame and slide and ordered the appropriate thickness frame plate. I suppose you could do this with no plate but this keeps you from going overboard with the hammer. I did not use a vice (edit 1-25-23 VISE haha got me!)
to hold the frame, electing to go old school and hold it. Using the workbench as a base I was able to quite easily keep the plate in the frame groove/hold the frame and get to work with the hammer. I used a new stainless claw hammer.
Apparently this is called swaging and @Oldpistol
convinced me to tackle it. I tap-tap-tapped (which became bang bang bang) each part of the 4 rail "corners" - avoiding the open middle where the magwell is. Then you see how the slide goes on, then tap bang tap bang some more. Rinse and repeat. Now I feel the fit getting tight. I flip the slide backwards and attempt to start it at the rear of the frame once it gets too hard to slide it all the way from the front.
At this point I have reduced the clearance so much that I have to lightly tap the slide with a deadblow hammer to get the slide on very far. I figure this is enough to start with.
Now I get the perma marker out and mark the rails and start the slide. It's very tight and I have to tap with the deadblow hammer. It leaves witness marks where the high spots are. Oil up a 240gr stone and lightly/carefully start hitting the high spots. Wipe off and test fit. Repeat.
Now the slide starts to fit and working it back and forth by hand, it leaves more witness marks and you file those again, repeat as necessary. Go easy. Remove a little at a time, clean the grit off, and test. After a few cycles it is almost there! Sliding it back and forth there are a couple of spots where you can feel a bit of drag, even though the slide will "fall" through the full range of motion under gravity. So now I switch to a 600 grit stone and carefully work across those 2 areas. Still using marker to check. Clean everything off and now the slide is butter smooth through the entire travel. The fit is noticeably tighter than when I started and instead of a rattle, it has the tiniest wiggle of play. There has to be some play, necessarily, as nearly identical dimensions will have high friction and gall/stick. So let's see what happens with the pistol assembled and lubed properly.
Holy crap. Is this the same pistol? There is no rattle, and I mean NONE. It cycles smoothly. I am SO impressed with the end result. I can't believe I was hesitant to take a hammer to 1911 frame rails 😃 I had fit a spare EGW angle bore bushing a couple weeks ago to tighten up the front end, now along with the frame/slide job, this pistol feels ready to run. Shooting tomorrow!