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Old April 25, 2013, 03:19 AM   #24
Senior Member
Join Date: September 7, 2001
Location: Washington State
Posts: 2,164
There has been much discussion now and in the past concerning the polishing of the feed ramp on the 1911 pistol. I'm not trying to flame the poster above, but simply trying to prevent the OP from making a potentially costly mistake.

First, as I mentioned before, polishing is metal removal. If you see a mark in the feed ramp and polish it out, congratulations--you have just altered the geometry of the feed ramp. It is a crap shoot at that point.

Even worse, I have seen people actually polish out what they thought were worthless "bumps" located on each side of the feed ramp. These are properly called "bullet guides" and they hold the cartridge in alignment with the axis of the centerline of the chamber as it is stripped out of the magazine.

A mirror bright feed ramp sure looks good--but that high polish disappears after the first few rounds. It gets all sooted up and looks just the same as if you hadn't polished the ramp at all.

Here's a hint--if the receiver is made from the proper steel, and the ramp is configured properly, the act of feeding a round from the magazine should NEVER damage the ramp. Lead bullets darned sure won't do it. Remember, that configuration is designed to feed 230 grain jacketed ammunition.

Still, some folks just LOVE that shiny ramp If you simply MUST do it, then use a felt tip with Simichrome polish ONLY. This will give you mirror brightness in a hurry--and will leave the metal alone.

For general polishing, a 3/8th speed VSR drill can be used with excellent results. It's top speed is around 3000 rpm--the same as a buffing wheel. As for polish, I use and highly recommend the Polish-O-Ray polishes, available from Brownells. It is designed specifically for polishing gun steel.

Make sure the work is secure, and WILL NOT TIP OR SHIFT. Load the drill-mounted muslin wheel with polish. Now, GENTLY move the running wheel over the work. Don't lay into it--let the wheel do the work. This is better done with a dedicated polish wheel, by the way.

Start with a medium grit on work with a good surface. I start with 320 grit myself. NEVER attempt to polish out a pit or a deep ding--learn metal contouring with a fine file and the way to properly use a draw file first. Give yourself a good, clear surface to start on.

Make sure that you move the work (or the mounted wheel) in one direction and one axis ONLY. Now, after you have completed the first "pass", change wheels for the next finest grit. Make your next cut at a 45 degree angle, and polish out all the wheel marks from the last grit.

Here's my method: As mentioned before, I start with 320 for good clean metal. 240 grit gets the nod on lightly scratched surfaces--there is also a 140 grit. Be careful! These coarser grits WILL remove roll marks and round edges, and dish out metal if you're not careful. I'll progress to 400 then 500 grit Polish O Ray.

Now, here's the secret to that mirror bright bluing job--555 polish, also from Brownells, done on soft, then hard felt wheels. 555 black goes first; then 555 gray, and finally 555 white. When done properly, after the 555 white that metal looks like the smooth surface of an ice cube--it actually looks wet, and has a true deep gleam--you can stand a ruler on it and see up to 6 to 8 inches.

Of course, there's the rust prevention measures, and then the bluing itself--but that's for another post.
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