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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I have been fooling around with my XSE Commander a bit the last few days. I have done a few things to it to improve it and make it look better. As it is now it ain't too bad at all.

After I got it back from Bead Blasting I took some emory cloth and polished the frame rails and ways and the matching areas of the slide. It feels really nice now. I can't detect any rough areas in the slide to frame fit. There is one area that I would like you all to advise me on. I am not sure what the part or area is called, it is the flat "rail" on the bottom side of the slide where the hammer rides when the gun is cycling.

When I cycle my gun to feel and check for any roughness the only thing that I detect is the roughness of the hammer against that "rail." It has kind of a hitch in it when it gets all the way to the end and before it starts back. This whole area is just not as smooth as the other areas of the slide and frame.

Is this an area that should be polished? Can it be smoothed out to improve the feel and eliminate the roughness I am feeling? I am NOT a gunsmith and i don't have a mill or lathe, I am NOT talking about going in and actually removing metal from that area. I am curious if it is a good idea to take a fine, flat file or some finer grit sandpaper and try to get it smoother than what it is now? When I look at it now when I have it field stripped I can see and feel sort of circular type machining marks the entire length of the "rail." Should these be removed or reduced?

Any advice for me?

Thanks for your help and time.

BD
 

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That part is called a number names. I call it the disconnector rail, others the timing rail, others give it names that allude to its function in cartridge feeding. It should be smooth, and flat. You don't want to remove any more material than necessary, as it can compromise disconnector funtion. I'll usually go lightly over it with a small stone to knock down any burrs or high spots, then polish it with fine emery cloth wrapped around a file. Another place to look is the leading edge, below the firing pin; there should be a small bevel there, to act as a camming surface to help the slide smoothly pass over the tip of the disconnector. Some slides will have a square edge, and that can be knocked off and polished.
 

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Funny you should bring this up. I have posted this on this site before. I had a stainless Colt series 80 pistol that would fail to feed occasionally. You couldn't get 3 magazines in a row to feed reliably. Sometimes it would fail several times in ONE mag. Anyway, the slide would stop just short of going into battery and jam things up. Sometime a good whack on the back of the slide would close it, but who wants that on a SD pistol.

Anyway, after polishing the feed ramp, chamber, beveling here and there with no luck, I took it to Bruce McArthur, a smith near my house who operates the Flint 'N Frizzen. He has helped me with other things, and is well know in the class3 world.

He inserted a loaded magazine and slowly worked the slide several times and lo and behold, it jammed tight. So he showed me what was up. It seems that on stainess guns, they are stamped with a little "S" on that rail we are talking about. During manufacturing, both stainless steel, and carbon steel look very similar without the finish. So Colt stamps an "S" so they can tell them apart easier. You could run your thumbnail along the "S", and it would catch on the sharp edges of the letter. So he told me to LIGHTLY dremel the edges of the "S", and then stone the whole rail down with a hard stone. NO charge.

So I went home and did exactly what he said, and about 5,000 rounds later, I have yet to get a failure to function:). I now stone that area on all my pistols.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Glad to know that area, whatever it is officially called, can be smoothed up. I DON'T have any of those stones though, well none that are that skinny and would fit in the opening.

I guess I'll just use some emery paper on a small block and smooth it out.

Thanks all.

BD
 

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Just go slowly, the head of the disconnecter rides on this and taking too much off would be a bad thing.
 

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After I got it back from Bead Blasting

Any competent gunsmith worthy of the name would have masked off that area to protect it from being blasted in the first place. I would be highly pissed!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey again all,

Are you talking about the frame rails and ways that got blasted? Should that not have happened? I have never used a gunsmith before and I sent him my gun totally stripped down so he wouldn't have to do it and therefore save me some money in both his time and the shipping to and fro. It wasn't that bad and didn't take long to smooth it back up like it was before. It's fine now.

As for the other thing I posted about, I done a bit of work on it this evening. I field stripped it and wiped it totally down. I then went to Wally to get some Emery cloth and ran across these 3M sponge like thingies that have a sandpaper like surface on them. They come in coarse, medium and fine grits. I got the FINE. When I got back I cut off a piece that would easily fit between the rails and ride on top of that "area." I went back and forth with that "sponge" for a while until it is nice and smooth. Since it is a sponge type thing, it will mold itself to whatever surface you put it on. So I went ahead and polished the frame rails and ways and done the same on the slide. Just lightly though. They are now smoother than before. And lastly, I used the sponge to polish up the surface of the hammer where it rides on that "rail" that I talked about.
I lubed her up and re-assembled and she's fine. She feels better than when I started so I am happy how it all turned out.

Eventually I want to replace the trigger, hammer, thumb safety, mag release, sights, barrel bushing, switch to a GI guide rod and maybe have a beavertail actually FITTED instead of using the "Wilson Drop-in that I have now.

So I'm sure I'll have more questions along the way. I won't be doing all of this stuff at once. I have to work from a budget so I'll have to take small steps. It'll give me something to do and occupy my thoughts for a while anyway.

Thanks for the suggestions....

BD
 

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Since it is a sponge type thing, it will mold itself to whatever surface you put it on. So I went ahead and polished the frame rails and ways and done the same on the slide. Just lightly though. They are now smoother than before. And lastly, I used the sponge to polish up the surface of the hammer where it rides on that "rail" that I talked about.


BD
I've used those before, and while they are great for getting into nooks and crannies, you have to be careful, as it doesn't so much conform to what you are polishing, as what's pressing on it. That is, if you are using your finger tip to apply pressure, you are polishing unevenly, with the most pressure at the finger tip, then less around the edges. If you are polishing a flat surface, you want to back the polishing medium - cloth, sponge, whatever - with something that is flat, that will provide consistent support across the entire surface. Unless you go at it aggressively, it's not going to be a big deal, but a flat backer helps keep flat surfaces flat, and will help flatten imperfect surfaces.
 
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