A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Clark Meltdown

I have finally garnered the time to take a trip back to Princeton Louisiana with one of my Commanders. My plan for the pistol is a mild Clark Meltdown with a refinish in hard chrome. Click to enlargeI say mild because I do not want the big bushing or the full length guide rod that generally comes in the Meltdown. My preference for a fighting 1911 is the original bushing and guide rod.

I remember the last time I was at Clark's with the pistol. Jim Clark Jr. looked it over, said he could do it no problem, and then checked the chamber and dry fired the pistol a couple of times.

"Who did this trigger job?" he asked.

That kind of open ended question from a gunsmith is always dangerous. "I did," I replied.

"That's good....." was Jim's response.

Last night I took off the cocobolo grips for storage at home while the pistol was being worked on. I screwed on some old Pachmayr rubber grips instead. Click to enlarge (Serial number digitally altered in photo)I also pressed out the orange insert in the front sight and placed it in a zip lock baggie with the grips for secure storage.

Other than the trigger and reliability work, a lot of small details have been performed on this pistol to make it unique. The port has been lightly flared. The slide stop pin has been inset. The mainspring housing has been switched out in favor of a flat aluminum checkered one. The hammer is a Nowlin Speed Demon, which works great with the stubby Commander grip safety to eliminate hammerbite. Lastly, the sights have been swapped for a ramped front sight and a rear sight that predates the Yost Retro unit but resembles it closely.

It's raining this morning, but as I load up the Jeep, I'm looking forward to a drive back to Shootout Lane.



Anonymous Mr.Potato said...

Sweet looking gun.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Sutton said...

Hi Xavier,
What's hammerbite?

12:20 PM  
Blogger dropdownstairs said...

wish I was close enough show up at Clarks in person.
Can you tell me what the firing pin stop looks like in your Clark SR?
I have a Clark heavy slide Bullseye that has quite a large/long bevel on it....
not at all like http://tinyurl.com/beyr7g
I am sticking to LSWC but...
any reduction in flip is good for me.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

What's it mean to inset the slide stop pin, and why would you do it? Does it make it easier to remove the slide stop for disassembly? Does it make it harder?

2:03 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...


2:26 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...


My clark gun has a regular modern beveled slide stop, the kind you normally see. If you want to swap your's for a steeper bevel, I don't think old man Clark would mind.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Insetting the slide stop pin is done on the right of the gun. The pin is cut flush with the frame, and the hole it extends through is dished so it can still be removed with a finger push.

For a while, this was a popular modification on a custom 1911. It's done supposedly to prevent the finger from pushing on the pin nub and pushing the slide stop out under recoil. A speculative probability at best. I did the modification myself in a fit of wanting something different and so I could learn how.

Click on the secound pic to enlarge it to take a closer look.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Old NFO said...

You will like Jim Jr's work!

10:26 PM  
Blogger Wbdrey said...

I am thinking of getting an solid used ruger MKII to send to Clarks for their bullseye 22 treatment.

I take it you are more than happy with their work.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Mike Harbour said...


The slide stop mod is not speculation; it actually helps! I know this because, during a two-day tactical pistol course taught by Pat Goodale, I pushed the slide stop out of my S&W Gunsite Commander several times.

I ordered a modded slide stop from Nighthawk and the thing fit perfectly in my oft-carried 1991A1 Commander...now all I need to do is chamfer the right-side hole and I'll be set.

Mike Harbour
Helena, MT

10:41 AM  

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