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Old February 13, 2013, 02:41 AM   #1
Join Date: February 6, 2013
Location: Savannah, GA
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Was wondering what you use to polish the feed ramps on an auto and maybe some internal parts of a wheel gun as well as an auto.

Driving tool/motor
Type of wheels
Type of compound
When do you know it is finished

Also, what have you found was the biggest PIA to put back together?
Wheel gun

Besides the brass punches and a good set of screwdrivers, what other tools are in your shop?
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Old February 13, 2013, 06:14 AM   #2
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Dremel polishing kit, fine abrasive paste, vice clamp with a plastic barrel holder thingy, and PATIENCE.

I started on an old RIA I bought from a pawn shop.

As for what's the biggest PIA to put together? 1911 for complexity, or a Sig--because the damn decocker springs don't always work after you take it apart completely. I just got into the habit of replacing them.

Last edited by thedudeabides; February 13, 2013 at 06:23 AM.
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Old February 13, 2013, 07:07 AM   #3
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First question...what particular kind of semi-auto are you discussing?

Also, are you thinking about a certain type of revolver, as well?
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Old February 13, 2013, 10:39 AM   #4
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Powderman, not really sure. I have a number of different pistols and wheel guns. I was going to start with an OLD Charter Arms stub nose and maybe try my Springfield 1911 A1.
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Old February 13, 2013, 01:38 PM   #5
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You are going to take a Dremel to a firearm not knowing how to do what you are doing? Brave man.

There is more to polishing a feed ramp than firing up the Dremel. There is more to polishing an action than grabbing the polishing compound and putting on a felt bob. Good luck!
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Old February 13, 2013, 03:43 PM   #6
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Most important: Training. The tool doesn't know what it's doing- only you do.

Get a Foredom tool with the foot controller and the 1/4" drill chuck.
We had a variety of tools to do what you're describing. We might start with an abrasive roll, them go through the grits up to rouge for a final polish. Shiny is nice, but it's much more important for the shape to be correct and safe.

PIA? Colt revolvers like the Official Poilce, etc. I much preferred Smith and Wessons and Rugers. The Security Six and GP-100's are how revolvers should have been made all along, IMHO.

Autopistols: Things like Hi Standards or Colt Woodsman. I'd take a dozen Ruger Mk-II's first. Oh, also Smith and Wesson 39/59 series are pretty "part-rich" compared to a 1911.

Other tools: *Fitted* screwdriver tips, and a bunch that can be cut to fit. Starret 1/16" punches- you'll break them, but it's a frequently used tool.
A parts washer with Simple Green in it (don't let it soak). An air compressor so you can blow solvent out of parts- if you don't have to take that trigger group apart you won't have to spend any quality time on your knees under your bench looking for that spring that hit escape velocity and disappeared
(hint- use your magnetic tip screwdriver and listen for the "tink" to let you know you found it).

A sharp scribe- not a dental pick. A scribe that's about 1/8" shank with a 90-degree tip on it. You can shove the pointed straight end through things like trigger groups, line up all the parts with the pointed tip, push the pin in from the back and you're done.
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Old February 13, 2013, 08:07 PM   #7
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When we talk about "polishing" gun parts we DO NOT mean "like a mirror".
What we really mean is to SMOOTH parts.

The idea is to level any machine marks that might cause rough operation. All that's needed is to smooth the part just enough to prevent any catching or roughness.
All machine marks or roughness does not have to be removed.

So, why do custom guns have bright and shiny feed ramps??
Because the customer pays for a "polish job" and if he can't see his face in the mirror-like surface, he thinks the gunsmith either forgot to do it, or ripped him off by charging for something he didn't do.
The difference is, a real gunsmith can do a mirror polish job without ruining the part.

You know the job is done when it's smooth enough not to catch or cause rough operation. It will not be bright and shiny like a mirror.
That usually means that if you run a fingernail over the part your nail will not catch.
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Old February 13, 2013, 09:34 PM   #8
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Ditto Dfariswheel. Smooth and shiny are too different things. Smooth is critical. Shiny is not. Bob Dunlap taught us this at Lassen College. He now runs AGI.
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Old February 13, 2013, 09:55 PM   #9
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A good part of a polishing (smoothing) job, especially on an auto pistol, need not involve a wheel or Dremel at all. A little polishing compound on the slide rails and a few other points, with a bit of working the gun, will do wonders, with almost no chance of going too far and damaging something.

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Old February 13, 2013, 10:03 PM   #10
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Never had the balls to mess with handgun triggers.

Certain rifle triggers/sears- including two-stage military, I use Cratex wheels. As mentioned, you'd be surprised what a huge difference just "smoothing" the mating surfaces can make- without the risk of removing any material, or changing any angles.
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Old February 13, 2013, 10:40 PM   #11
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I've never used a cratex wheel on a trigger or sear. I stuck with stones.
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Old February 14, 2013, 01:12 PM   #12
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"...Was wondering what you use to polish the feed ramps on an auto..."
Which begs the question: Why do your feed ramps need polishing? If there has been no malfunction, then the real reason you want to polish them is because you just want to have the experience of doing it, or because you want it polished for the looks. If it is not broken, do not fix it. If you are going to shoot some rounds that may hang on the feed ramp, try them first. If they function reliably, the ramp does not need to be polished. Ask yourself; Is it required, or do I just want to mess with an expensive gun and risk damaging it? If it is causing a problem, use no power tools. Obtain a wooden dowel (as a backer), that matches the radious of the feed ramp and use 120 wet or dry, then 220 wet or dry and call it good.
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Old February 14, 2013, 02:30 PM   #13
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I was sorta wondering when we'd get around to wondering why the feed ramps needed polishing. Is there a malfunction in the feeding of a round out of the magazine?

The only time I mess with feed ramps is when there is a failure to feed.

As to the original question: Revolvers are usually pretty easy to re-assemble. Getting them to function exactly correctly can be more trouble than a semi-auto, especially on a Colt double-action (eg, Python) that someone has messed with. Revolver timing adjustments should probably not be made by shadetree gunsmiths.

Some semi-autos are a pain in the ass. The Beretta 92 series comes to mind as being a good way to launch small springs and detents all over the place. The Browning Buckmark isn't one of my favorites, either. 1911's are pud easy, with only some small nuisances added by the Series 80 parts.

Besides brass punches and screwdrivers, what other tools do I have in my shop? Too many to list here, but the all-in price is over $12K and climbing.

That number, BTW, doesn't include machines like lathes, mills, grinders, buffers, drill presses, sanders, etc. That $12K number is just small hand tools, fixtures, measurement instruments, gages, cutting tools, files, screwdrivers, punches, etc. Precision measurement tools are probably the biggest grouping of that number. If you want reliable, verifiable measurements, you need to pay for quality instruments, gages and reference blocks, and these aren't easily made in-shop. I can make screwdrivers, punches, jigs and fixtures all day long, but making a test indicator that can indicate 0.0001"? I can't do that easily, just one of them will cost over $200, and I have several.

Last edited by wyop; February 15, 2013 at 09:31 PM.
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Old February 15, 2013, 05:40 PM   #14
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The object is not to have nice shiny pretty looking parts.
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Old February 16, 2013, 01:18 PM   #15
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Get a set of stones and skip the power tools. I have used a cratex wheel on 1911 feed ramps. As far as trigger jobs you had better have a thorough understanding of what your actually doing before taking it on. You dont want a gun that fires when cocked or bumped. I have used a china stone on the sides of all my trigger components and you would be amazed at how much smoother things will get. When you move to polish the hammer and seer, as others have said, there is no "polishing" involved. Also very easy to make a dangerous gun by changing an angle.
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