A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, September 02, 2006

J.E.Clark 1911 Unveiled

Several people have emailed me wanting to see the inner modifications that James E.Clark Sr. performed to the Clark 1911 pistol which I recently purchased. Here are some of the gunsmith modifications from that time.

The rear sight dovetail was filled and contoured to match the top of the slide. A Smith and Wesson K frame micrometer rear sight was placed in a groove cut to accept it. The S&W rear sight is attached with a screw and vertical roll pin. It is fully adjustable for windage and elevation.

The second lug recess on the Colt barrel was welded and precisely fitted to the slide. The barrel feet were recut to gain a solid lock-up late in the chambering cycle, thus retaining reliability while achieving a lock up tighter than a spinster school marm's panties. The rear of the barrel hood is radiused to allow quick release from lock-up, and the chamber is throated to allow JHP and SWC ammo.

The trademark J.E.Clark stippling on the frontstrap would not draw accolades in today's precision checkered and serrated world. Clark simply took a cold chisel and hammer and eyeballed his way along the front strap raising burrs of metal. The result is an uneven, but highly effective surface that will not slip.

The original Colt trigger was rebuilt by Clark to achieve a precise movement. He welded a shim on the rear of the stirrup to remove all take-up from the trigger. He then drilled and tapped the shoe for a set screw to remove almost all overtravel. The sear and disconnect are recut and polished, and along with precise hammer hooks on the hammer deliver a consistent three pound glass rod trigger.

Along with the pistol, Clark supplied a bushing wrench which he fabricated himself from a piece of pipe. The bushing of this pistol is a solid one, which fits snuggly, but not overly tight. The accuracy is achieved by fitting the rear of the barrel to the slide and frame. The bushing just supports that effort. Clark stippled the mainspring housing in the same fashion as the frontstrap. Along with these modifications, he fitted a King's extended thumb safety and slide stop. He straightened the lines, bobbed the hammer, and fitted a ramped front sight with an orange plastic insert.

As I look this pistol over, I see more and more minor touches that must have been done by the old man. The extractor is perfectly contoured for reliability underneath it's nickel plating. The ejection port is lowered. The magazine well is beveled. There is an attention to detail that is prevalent throughout the workings of this pistol. Every part of this pistol seems to have been gone over by J.E.Clark. That is the difference between a true bespoke custom gun and a off the shelf gun. This one is a keeper.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Don said...

J.E. clark should read rule number three :)

11:06 PM  
Blogger catfish said...

that is a helluva nice pistol.

kudos to you for:
A. picking it up
B. knowing what you got

Enjoy it!

8:27 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Yep Don, I was waiting for that!

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Jack Schrader said...

I have a Clark 45 I purchased in the late 60's with an extended front sight. It is the finest 45 I've ever seen.

Jack

8:57 PM  

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