A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dehorning the Commander

At first, I was a bit concerned regarding 'smithing my electroless nickel Combat Commander. Then, I ascertained that a satin electroless nickel Commander is really not as rare as the Blue Book claims, and that they often sell for less than a blued Combat Commander due to the expense of refinishing. I shot a hundred or so rounds through the gun, and found it to be reasonably accurate, and reliable.The rear of the Commander, however, was not comfortable to hold or shoot. The corners of the grip safety tang dug into my hand and needed some adjustment. I took a Dremel and some fine files to the corners of the tang, and the horns of the frame. I removed metal until I could shoot the pistol without discomfort. Then, I smoothed out my work with decreasing grits of crocous cloth.

By removing the metal, I removed the nickel finish, and I insured that I would be refinishing this pistol. Of course, I would have had to anyway, because the ejection port had been flared when I purchased it. I replaced the original hammer with a much lighter Nowlin Speed Demon hammer, which all but insured the pistol would not bite. I paired up the Nowlin hammer with a Nowlin sear. The Pachmayr wrap around grips are about my least favorite type of grip. They were beginning to crack near the triggerguard, so I removed them and took a scalpel to cut away the wrap around part. I still do not particularly like them, but they will suffice for now.

I replaced the short, solid Colt trigger with a longer McCormick adjustable trigger. The McCormick trigger allows for pre-travel adjustment as well as overtravel adjustment.

I continued to dehorn the sharp corners of the Colt. I worked the areas around the triggerguard and mag release, especially. I radiused the edges of the slide stop, and the underside of the slide. Finally, I carefully straightened the lines of the frame above the triggerguard. I will replace the thumb safety with an extended Ed Brown unit, which will also be dehorned for comfort. Along with the thumb safety, I will be ordering an inexpensive flat mainspring housing. I decided against the bobtail conversion.

In addition to smoothing out the edges on the right side of the pistol, I decided to countersink the slide stop pin. I have considered serrating the front strap, but I have never done that before. I do not like an aggressively checkered frontstrap, but I have learned to appreciate the serrations on my SW1911. I am loathe to pay someone to cut serrations, but perhaps I will have them cut prior to refinishing this pistol.

I just placed my order with Midway instead of Brownell's this time. Midway is clearancing some flat aluminum 20LPI checkered mainspring housings made for Smith & Wesson, and the price is $10.99. These come complete with the internal parts. I ordered two housings, along with the Brown extended thumb safety and a Cylinder & Slide sear spring. With the USPS shipping, it all came to $60.

Finally, I took the Commander to the range. I shot 400 rounds of ball and JHP ammo with no failures. That was good news, the gun was reliable. The Commander was not as accurate as I had hoped, however, and shot low until I adjusted for elevation. The front sight will likely have to be changed on the Commander as well as the bushing. I shot my Clark 1911 for a couple of magazines and printed cloverleafs where ever I wanted to be sure of my results. The accuracy problem was definitely the Commander and not myself. I shot the Commander until I ran out of ammunition, and I was pleased to find 100% reliability and a grip safety that did it's job. While not as comfortable as a beavertail, the combination of the radiused grip safety and the narrow Nowlin hammer prevented me from getting bit by the hammer no matter how high I held the pistol. It looks like I will be ordering an EGW Melt bushing from Brownell's. I suppose I should get a couple of checkering files too.

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Blogger ExistingThing said...

I saw that you favor those McCormick triggers. I picked one up for my stock mil-spec based on your repeated usage of them.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I prefer the McCormick trigger because you can adjust both the pre-travel and over travel out of it. Here's an article I wrote about 1911 triggers.

5:32 AM  
Blogger red said...

Are there any tips on how to dehorn sharp edges? I bought an Amrscor GI 1911 and the sights are like knives.

7:05 AM  

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