View Full Version : Am I wasting my time?

Joe Portale
April 11, 2001, 11:13 PM
The quick and dirty of it. I bought a used Llama 1911 clone in .38 Super as a project gun. The gun shoots okay, that's all I can say. My plans are to work on the gun as a summer project and try to take from okay to good or decent. There are no dreams of a high performance race gun, I just want a good shooter.

Right now, the gun is a real rattle trap, everything is sloppy and loose. The bushing even wobbles in the slide. I checked with a couple other web sites and by the serial number, the gun is supposed to be one of the "better" made models...can't tell that from the machine marks on the innards.

Well, it seems that I am confusing myself with all the bad things that keep popping up about Llamas. Then, I'll hear how people snatch them up as fast as they show up in the used case at the gun shops. Please offer your opinions.


George Stringer
April 12, 2001, 06:35 AM
Joe, I don't think you're wasting your time. With a little work the pistol can be turned into a great shooter. If you do the work yourself it probably won't cost much at all. George

Alex Johnson
April 12, 2001, 12:44 PM
I bought one of the MicroMax .380's last year and I still have plans for it. Sure the steel is a bit on the soft side on them, but the gun is very tight and I've put several hundred rounds through it already. Something that I didn't expect was that it is extremely reliable, with Blazer hollowpoints I have never had a single jam with it. Ditto for most of the generic brand ball ammo too. I probably will put better sights on it and give it a complete dehorning and refinish it with a rust blue. I already made a set of thin panel grips out of some really pretty maple burl and it looks really good right now. Actually, it's one of my favorite carry pieces.

April 12, 2001, 05:11 PM
Llama's come in two versions. Those that work and those that are....well, junk. A friend brought one to me a couple of years ago he had picked up that fell into the latter catagory. I told him it would cost more to make it work than a decent gun would. But when a person gets one that works they are a great gun and worth some time, effort and money. From what you say yours goes bang every time and functions as it should. Look at it this way, it will make a good practice project.;)

BTW, I have a friend with one in .45 that is built into a race gun that he swears by. I've shot it and the gun is sweet. Go figure.

Art Eatman
April 12, 2001, 07:38 PM
The rails can be tightened with a lot of gentle tap-tap-tap with a very lightweight ballpeen hammer. Once you get them a smidgen too tight, fine valve-grinding compound and backing-and-forthing gets the perfect fit.

Dunno about what to do for a larger OD bushing. A too-tight barrel fit is nothing more than a bit of drudgery to enlarge the hole a bit. Maybe a match bushing? George would know.

Nothing like a project to turn nothing into something...

:), Art

James K
April 12, 2001, 10:46 PM
IMHO, you are wasting your time. If you can improve the gun a bit by putting in nothing but some of your labor, you might come out ahead. But if you plan to buy parts, fit a match barrel, install a new hammer, trigger, sights, etc. you will soon have hundreds of dollars in a worked over gun that is still poorly made and soft, and will never bring what you have in it. I could, if I wanted to get killed, give you the names of a couple of people who went that route with Llamas and regretted it.


Joe Portale
April 13, 2001, 09:49 PM
Thanks for the replies fellas.

FWIW, there are no dreams of building this into a super shooter. It is only a keep me from playing in the street project. Given the fact that a matched Bar-Sto barrel and bushing will cost more than the gun cost, I don't think so. The only thing planned on being changed out is probably the bushing and trigger. The gun came with one of those short triggers, my hands like the longer type. And I would like to get some better groups out of this thing. It does okay out to about 15 yards, then the patterns fall apart.
IMHO, the accuracy is poor because gun is very loose and rattley.

All in all, this is not been a bad pistol. It eats anything that I feed it, commerical, lead or fmj reloads, mild 800 fps poofers to big bang Blue Dot fire breathers. I have run about 1000 rounds through it with only a few of failures. Most of these failures were stove pipes caused by me. The others failures happened the other night. The gun had a couple of extractor problems. Again, my fault the gun has never been cleaned since it came into my possession. Cleaned out a hunk of gunk under the claw and we were rockin' and rolling agin.

The plans for this gun are real simple, tighten everything up. Change the bushing to one that doesn't wander around in the frame, maybe a group gripper, a new trigger and maybe, a big maybe a reblue...maybe.

James K
April 13, 2001, 11:11 PM
The bushing is not the only thing on those guns that wanders around. Check out the barrel lockup and link.


Art Eatman
April 16, 2001, 11:21 AM
If you're going to get a long trigger, you'll then have the old one with which to practice: I hate "foreplay", takeup in the trigger before engagement of the sear.

I brazed some material onto the back side of the trigger "bar", and then filed it down until there is only maybe two or three thousandths of takeup before engagement. Sure made shooting multiple, rapid-fire shots much, much easier!

Dunno how much brazing you've ever done, of course. I ground the head of a large bolt to fit inside the trigger and act as a heat sink. Clamped gently into a vise, there was no warpage. After that it was just the drudgery of file, assemble the pistol, disassemble, file...No $, just labor...

:), Art

April 19, 2001, 08:09 PM
if ya like doing the work and ya have fun at it then it won't be a waste of time!!!!thats what we do !!!we shoot em ,fix em, rebuild em and start over again...fun!!!some folks go to the movies or watch baseball!!!!!!!