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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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.

Helmet Wood Art Personal protective equipment Carmine


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.

Bumper Tin Gas Motor vehicle Bicycle part


Gas Wood Gadget Electric blue Bumper


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.

Automotive tire Tire Automotive exterior Bumper Rim


Automotive exterior Wood Bumper Auto part Rim


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 馃槂 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!

Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory Combat pistol shooting
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I used a .113" - at first I was torn on taking it closer and doing some more swaging...but since I had no idea what I was doing I decided discretion should be used. It came out perfect. I think I like working with metal and I am finding I may have a feel for it.

I read a post about a guy in the early days of modern 1911 smithing...Bill Wilson perhaps...?

Anyway it was stated that he was swaging a frame with no rail plates or anything, just hammering away. I suppose he knew a bit more than we do though hahaha.

I have some parts being picked out...deciding if I want to do a beavertail....about 75% sure I do.

My goals:

1. Frame to slide fit (so far so good).
2. Barrel
3. Safety
4. Sear/hammer tuning (so far so good).
5. New trigger (easy)
6. Beavertail
7. Frame and slide blending
8. Refinish - not sure what. Maybe DLC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Why? Custom 'smiths say a tight fitting slide is maybe 5% of end accuracy on a 1911, i.e., essentially a waste of time.
Because it's the 5% you pay for on a custom pistol. Do you think when a custom smith sells you a $5k pistol it's going to be loose and rattle when you shake it? No sir. It's the feel, the details, the quality you get.

It took me an hour or so and it feels awesome! It was easier than I expected and if you have the tools to do it, why not?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is why I do it on a 400 dollar pistol hehe. I probably wouldn't do that to say, my SA stainless Loaded. And using a rail plate to make sure it doesn't get as warped since the plate in there stops any one small area from being smashed further than the very limited space the plate would allow. And a large faced hammer so it contacts a larger area. I tried to spread the area as evenly as possible.

At least that's what I get from the theory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Well. The results are in. Between the well fitted bushing and the slide tightening the pistol shoots excellent. Initially it shot low left when new. I drifted the sight to cure the left bias, but it was still low.

Not any more. Dead on poa/poi at 10-15 yards . Ringing 5" steel plates like church bells. I am sure the bushing cured the low issue but hey, I'll take the extra 5%. The pistol just shoots damn well and the trigger is awesome. Caught a couple unintentional double taps when I was riding the reset LOL.

This is going to be a killer fun project pistol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Sometimes the reason to to something is because you want it. Another reason is because you can. I consider both reasons to be valid. It doesn鈥檛 have to make sense to anyone else.

I like very nice slide to frame fit. I doubt that it improves my shooting measurably. But I am happy.
Bingo. In motocross racing, I replaced brake and clutch levers often. Not because they broke, but because the repeated motion creates slack and that rattle trap lever felt like ****. Tight crisp lever action felt awesome and when you feel awesome, you often ride awesome.

Maybe a bad analogy. But damn! The pistol felt great today. And it shot great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I believe I will probably need to go through another cycle of this. I did a quick and "safe" process for my first attempt. I believe I can go further and get a better, longer lasting fit. But I will shoot this pistol as is until/if it gets loose. Very good learning process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Well Joe, I may have that tool covered, I am in the auto repair biz myself. On the other side, I've been a parts dept. mgr for almost 30 years. With a part time fill in as svc mgr (yuck 馃槅) and asst body shop mgr.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Ahhh! A reason for the metalwork fearlessness! I was 40+ years in GM shops. Last 4 as shop foreman. Never aspired to higher management posts, I get the yuck part鈥
Joe
I also give you kudos for working on customer vehicles for that long, I can do some of the work, but I hate it. So after going to college for 3 years of journalism...I hated it and went to work. It worked out well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
I was just glad to read that you did not use a "vice" and you used a new stainless claw hammer..........
Well, at one time I had a bad vice buying vises. Not to mention a vice about ugly vases, but I digress...

And once I figured out to use the flat end of the hammer instead of the claw end, I was golden.

:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Anyway, back on track. I didn't realize swaging the rails was doable. That's a handy piece of information to stick in the back pocket for later use. One of these days a set of those rail spacers might find their way into my hobby tool box.
Apparently it's old school but damn, it works. Probably looks a little crazy hammering on the frame rails.
 
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