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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've owned a number of USGI 1911 copies (Springfield, Inland, etc.), but none of them were faithful reproductions-- they all had medium/long triggers, serrated hammers and mag release buttons, and slide serrations that were too far forward, among other things.

I know there's nothing like shooting the real thing, but I'm not too keen on the idea of potentially damaging my '44 Remington Rand, so I picked up on this USGI kit-build on an Essex frame in rough condition and tried my hand at sandblasting and parkerizing it. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out! This is about as close as it gets to shooting an authentic WW2-era 1911A1 without ponying up for the real thing.
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The Essex frame has its own accuracy issues, for a USGI clone, but it looks nice.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sure, the Essex isn't an ideal platform, but it'll do for the time being. I'll be keeping my eyes out for another frame (SA or similar) at the upcoming gun show, but I won't hold my breath. I've noticed the slide seems to be rubbing on the right hand side dust cover, and it's already causing a bit of finish wear in that area. My only other gripe is the trigger has to be pulled much further to the rear before it breaks than what I'm used to; I'll be darned if it's not almost flush with the frame before it fires! I'm not sure if this is an issue with the frame being out of spec or what.
 

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Looks pretty good... what Parkerizing solution did you use?
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks, dsk. I used the manganese parkerizing kit offered through Duracoat (blackening pre-dip, parkerizing solution, and post treatment oil). It truly could'nt have been an easier process; I found it to be very forgiving. I simply bead blasted the parts, degreased with lacquer thinner, and then put them in a colander of the solution for ten minutes at 180 degrees farenheit.
 

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My only other gripe is the trigger has to be pulled much further to the rear before it breaks than what I'm used to; I'll be darned if it's not almost flush with the frame before it fires! I'm not sure if this is an issue with the frame being out of spec or what.
You could try a medium length trigger but then that would defeat the whole purpose of the build, no?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You could try a medium length trigger but then that would defeat the whole purpose of the build, no?
Exactly-- I really have a love affair with the stamped and checkered GI trigger. In any case, I think I got things squared away. It's kind of a long story, but shortly after purchasing the gun -upon performing a function/safety check- I discovered the thumb safety would actually disengage and the hammer would drop upon pressing the trigger. I was obviously very concerned and puzzled by this; I had a leftover sear and disconnector from my Springfield Armory Mil-Spec after doing an upgrade, so I figured I'd try replacing those parts. After doing the swap, everything seemed to perform as it should, and I assumed I fixed the issue... the only problem was the unwanted side-effect of the incredibly long trigger travel. Anyway... I opened her back up this evening and reinstalled the original sear and disconnector, and lo and behold, I can't seem to duplicate the unsafe condition I had before, and the trigger has returned to a reasonable amount of rearward movement before tripping the sear. Bizarre! The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the sear spring was installed incorrectly when I bought the pistol.
 

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I can't seem to duplicate the unsafe condition I had before, and the trigger has returned to a reasonable amount of rearward movement before tripping the sear. Bizarre! The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the sear spring was installed incorrectly when I bought the pistol.
Over the years when I purchased pre-owned firearms I have learned to never assume everything was correct or had not been "customized". I once purchased a S&W Model 64 from a local LEO. He had carried it for his backup weapon, but it was a tad bit large (K-frame 6-shot) for an ankle holster. So I bought it from him. He claimed he had a S&W Factory Rep "tune the action". When firing it in single action the hammer would drop if I breathed on it. I took it to a "real" Gunsmith and he discovered the trigger assembly was filed down in multiple areas and one of the posts that held it in position had been bent. After installing new factory guts and straightening the post, the pistol returned to factory specs. My gunsmith made the observation that NO FACTORY GUNSMITH WOULD HAVE PERFORMED SUCH SHODDY WORK. Someone was not being completely honest, either the "Factory Rep or the LEO". Moral of the story, never assume a pre-owned weapon is original or correct until you can take it apart and have a qualified smith inspect it.

Glad you managed to get it back to normal functioning.

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Why wouldn't you shoot your Rem Rand ? We shot the crap out of them in the Navy, and never broke anything that I remember. e.g. I can see not shootin ( much) a 1913 original Navy Colt, but the WWII guns were made in the millions and were made to be fired. Nothing wrong with the copies, but they are what they are. I do have one - a 1911A1 Springfield that is one of the THE most accurate out of the box pistols I have ever owned. I had work done to it for competition use and still have it. Set up for 200gr SWC, and it is a joy to shoot. Got it for like $100 back in the good old days, owner needed $$ . It shot better than the Gold cup I had at the time - so much so I sold the gold cup. I never had it refinished from the Parkerizing, just shot it . It must have been made the day they put fresh cutters in the machinery and the great machine operators were at work.
 

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I think you did a great job at refinishing your pistol. It looks terrific for a sandblasted and home stove parkerizing job. And now it works as it should. Even better!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Why wouldn't you shoot your Rem Rand?
I realize it's a controversial topic, whether or not one should shoot these old warhorses... If your conscience will allow you to, more power to ya'! Mine won't. To me, my '44 RR is a priceless treasure, and I don't think I'd ever forgive myself if I damaged it while firing. I've got plenty of other 1911s that I can and get my kicks from out on the range; shooting a 77-year-old relic just seems foolhardy. I don't mean to belittle those that feel differently, but I see myself as a steward of this firearm and want to preserve it for posterity. What's more, if these guns are so plentiful, why are they so ungodly expensive? I have yet to find one for under $1,800 that hasn't been molested or altered in some way.

I guess you could say I've been a little gun shy (no pun intended) since I had the frame crack just forward of the recoil shoulder on a Series 70 Colt (1974 model year, if I remember correctly). I had paid $800 for the gun initially and ended up coughing up another $800 to Colt for a new frame and a refinish of the slide to match. That gun appeared to be in excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition, and I never saw a catastrophic failure like that coming. Where would I even begin to look for a replacement frame if something like that happened to my '44?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, filson! I appreciate it, man. It was a fun and interesting learning experience, and now I no longer have the same level of trepidation in taking on future projects . On the contrary... I'm seeing the possibilies for breathing new life into some of these old, battered, and unwanted guns I see at various pawnshops and local gun trader websites.
 

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(BTW), Hot tank (or hot pan) Parkerizing is a serious procedure. Those that do this professionally, parkerize in specialized rooms with specialized Exhaust Fans. It should Not be done in structures that are lived in. If done outside, one should use a fan(s) to blow away the fumes coming off the hot solution, to prevent them from being Inhaled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I appreciate the info, stan2. That's interesting... you'd think there would have been a warning printed somewhere on the bottle or on Duracoat's online instructions. I'm no stranger to working with caustic chemicals, and they virtually always affect you in some way, either causing a watering of the eyes or breathing difficulties-- there's never any question that you're working with toxic stuff. There were times when I found myself standing directly over the pot of steaming liquid, and you would've thought it was nothing more than boiling water-- it didn't impact my senses whatsoever. I'm not implying I'd want to take a big whiff or immerse my hand in the stuff, but still... one would think that using reasonable care, and doing it on a small scale (a 12" stockpot, in my case), in a kitchen with the windows open would be sufficient.
 

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I just read their instructions online, which are pretty skimpy. They make no mention of doing it in a well-ventilated area, but then again they also didn't leave any warnings not to drink the stuff either. Somebody needs to tell them they might want to accept the fact that lawyers are real and that they should probably take steps to cover their arses.
 
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I built up a number of Essex frames with GI parts years ago, and never experienced the trigger fit issue that the OP is experiencing. Now I'm wishing I could examine that gun in detail to see where the problem lies!

And I totally agree - Parkerizing is not something to mess about with. Army instructions require a respirator and other PPE.
 

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I made my "GI shooter" out of a Sistema that I paid only $700 for. Tonight I looked on Gunbroker just for the halibut to see what they're going for, and even beat-up or refinished ones are at least $1200 now. If this keeps up I might have to preserve even my Sistema and go find a Hi-Point to use as a shooter. :unsure:
 
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"Parkerizing is not something to mess about with. Army instructions require a respirator and other PPE.",...Spot On !

Know of a guy that Parkerized several times on the Kitchen Stove,...had to replace All the Hardware on the Cabinets, the light fixtures, etc. And, the Corrosion kept showing up Years later on hidden items. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I'm sorry, guys, but I'm just skeptical of this anecdotal evidence. Even Brownells doesn't make mention of utilizing a respirator during the parkerizing process (though they do make reference to using a face splash shield and gloves/apron). Let's be honest... it's a mild acid we're dealing with here. If I was doing a high volume of stuff day in and day out in a small enclosed area, I could certainly see taking the necessary precautions, but we're not dealing with radioactive material here. At 180 degrees, the solution's not even boiling, and I observed virtually no vapor.
 

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I'm sorry, guys, but I'm just skeptical of this anecdotal evidence. Even Brownells doesn't make mention of utilizing a respirator during the parkerizing process (though they do make reference to using a face splash shield and gloves/apron). Let's be honest... it's a mild acid we're dealing with here. If I was doing a high volume of stuff day in and day out in a small enclosed area, I could certainly see taking the necessary precautions, but we're not dealing with radioactive material here. At 180 degrees, the solution's not even boiling, and I observed virtually no vapor.
If I remember, I'll dig through the documents at the shop tomorrow and see what I can find. I'll try to scan whatever I find and post it. Of course, the Army is pretty anal about things like that, but we'll see.
 
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