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1911Pro.com • View topic - My Caspian projects....

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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:58 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Columbus, OH

Post Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:33 pm 
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A few months ago, I decided to take on a new project. My biggest "crafting" hobby for the last several years has been building guitars, but I am no longer in a situation where I can do that. And I have been wanting to get back to competitive shooting for a couple years. I still have the Caspian .45 singlestack I built nearly 20 years ago but it is getting old and I'm pretty sure I can do a better job this time. And I really wanted to do a double stack.

So, after much thought and planning, I ordered a frame and slide from Caspian to build a .38 Super race gun. And a few weeks later I decided to build a new .45 as well. I knew Caspian was already backlogged on slides and frames, but I thought they might have a single stack Race Ready frame and slide in their Foster line. So, I called them again and... Frame, yes... Slide, no. No worries, I can get the slide I want from Brownell's for a few bucks more. And I can get it started quick. The Hi-Cap frame and slide were going to take 8-10 weeks (or so I was told) and I was itchy to get started on something.

The slide and most of the small parts for the .45 arrived from Brownell's first and a week later Caspian called to tell me the frames and slide from both orders were going to ship the next day. EXCELLENT!!!



First a little background on how this is being done. Due to events of the past two years, I now find myself living in a very small one bedroom apartment. No room for a CNC mill even if I could afford one.

The Hi-Cap Frame I had fitted by Caspian. The .45 I had to do myself as I ordered a Foster frame from Caspian, but due to their backlog status I ordered the slide from Brownell's.

In the past I have fitted a grand total of two slides and frames. These were done very carefully and tediously with files, stones and emery. The first one worked but it was a sloppy job. The second was MUCH better but still not perfect. The problem in both cases was keeping the rails straight, parallel and square. I have learned a lot from those guns and learned other techniques that would keep everything straight and square. But would still be very tedious and time consuming.

Then I had an epiphany. I have three Dremel tools. I have several attachment that I thought would work as guides and keep it all tight. But after a few dry runs I realized it was just too risky. But I had heard of a router table attachment for the Dremel. And after calls a trips to Lowes, Home Depot, Ace Hardware and Menards, I finally aquired one. (also got the drill press)



With the flat surface and the guide fence I could see this was going to be very good working solution, both for the sides of the rails and the top. So after measuring all the slide dimensions a dozen times and doing a dozen dry runs, I started.

With a grinding bit set to just touch the rails as it passed, carefully holding the top of the frame flat on the base and the side tight against the fence and making one pass at a time on each side I slowly made progress until the dimension was was only .001 off.



Then I started on the rail height using the same basic principle. Again going down to .001 from spec.



From there using 600 grit emery on a 1/2" square steel bar I took the rails down til there was just a slight resistance moving the slide all the way forward and back. Then switched to 1200 grit to finish it off.

The result was much better than I expected. The Hi-Cap that Caspian fitted is tight and smooth, could not have asked for better. But the .45 is is just plain silky. And I haven't even given it the graphite treatment yet.



The rear contours of the frame and slide don't quite match up but that can be cleaned up once the barrel is fitted. But I really wish I had a video camera with sound so I could show you just how smooth it is and no play in the fitment. :S

Also working on the roughout for the grip safety and that should be done this weekend.

Also polishing parts and areas of the frame on the Hi-cap to get it all ready for assembly.

I'll update again when I make some more significant progress.

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Last edited by Dranoel Dragon on Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:45 am
Posts: 239

Post Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:25 am 
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Thanks for the pics. That Dremel table looks promising for the home hobbyist.

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Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:53 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Florida

Post Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:37 pm 
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Subscribed for this one. RNGR1

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Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:32 pm
Posts: 84

Post Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:58 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Columbus, OH

Post Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:40 pm 
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You may know a thing and it is not true, but in understanding that thing there can be ONLY truth.

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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:58 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Columbus, OH

Post Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:17 pm 
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Update:

I have most of the internal parts for both guns fitted and set to work on fitting the grip safety on the .45. This I did on the router table as well as it allowed me to lay the frame flat and work slowly but constantly while keeping it all square. Once I got it down to a rough shape close enough to get the thumb safety in with the grip safety cocked upwards, I coated the back of the grip tangs with sharpie and moved the GS down into position. (Or as close as it would go) Moving it back and forth a few times wore the sharpie of the high spots and and I took those down with a coarse diamond stone. Recoated with sharpie and repeat process until it was getting pretty close to fit, the worked everything smooth with a fine ceramic stone until the GS has the proper range of motion. Sorry I didn't think to get pics of the process but here was the result:







Now it's down to hand work: Used the Dremel with a coarse grit sanding drum to reshape the GS and frame to match up then switched to a fine drum to even it all up. After that it was all sanding sticks. I have it down to 600 gr now and will prob'ly leave it at that for now, 'til I decide whether to polish it all or take it across the street and have it bead blasted.





Also fitted up the slide stop on the Hi-Cap. I had ordered a Wilson extended slide stop but then found the plunger tube was wider than a singlestack frame and I would need to remove material from the back of the lever extension to fit it. The Wilson wasn't wide enough to be able to take enough off and have any width left to the lever. So I ordered a John Masen slide from Brownell's and it had plenty of width to work with.



So that leaves me waiting for the mainspring housings and the barrels to get these ready for the initial test firings. Hopefully That will all come in the next couple weeks.

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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:58 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Columbus, OH

Post Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:25 pm 
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BTW: I also had my first and hopefully ONLY Oooops with these projects. While fitting up the trigger for the Hi-Cap frame, I forgot to check and ensure the trigger pad was in proper alignment with the stirrup. It wasn't. It was tweaked to the left about 5 degrees. So there I was rubbing the sides of the trigger pad on a sanding block and test fitting and it just didn't seem to be getting any better. So I coated the entire trigger pad with sharpie to find just where it was rubbing. Lower left front and upper right back of the pad. :S So I tweaked it back and it all slid into place just fine. But now it's a little looser than I would like. Si I ordered a new one from Caspian and I may experiment with this one and try to fit an SVI pad to the Caspian stirrup.

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Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:45 am
Posts: 239

Post Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:58 pm 
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Similar to the problems I had fitting my trigger on my latest build. I was filing and stoning and filing and stoning only to find that the shoe wasn't the problem at all, the frame hadn't been machined enough and the stirrup was wedging into the frame. After filing both sides of the frame and finally getting the trigger to fit, it was looser than I wanted, so I ordered a new one. Just one of those things.

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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:58 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Columbus, OH

Post Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:33 pm 
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Sorry it's been so long without an update but sometimes other things get in the way. Had a few guitar repairs for paying customers. (Money comes before hobby) And with people taking vacation at work I had some overtime. Overtime is good when you also have some medical bills to pay. (don't need them repossessing my spleen. :shock: )

Anyway, through all of this I did make some progress. The .45 is now fully fitted and ready to fire except the grips. With everything that has been going on I only had an hour or less here and there to get things done and didn't get pics. :? But most of what was left to do was all with files, sanding sticks and stones. I did put about 20 rounds through it test firing (before I mounted sights) and everything functions properly.

I did have one hitch with the grip safety. Never seen or heard of this before, but the hammer would not cock at all unless the grip safety was fully depressed. Part of me said that was a good safety feature, the rest of me said it wasn't right and needed to be corrected. What happens if I loosen my grip just as the gun fires and the slide tries to move a hammer that says no way? Thanks to Log, who made the obvious suggestion of coating with sharpie and looking for the wear marks. Found where the hammer was rubbing at the strut pin and relived the grip safety accordingly.

I still need to clean up some lines and do a little polishing on the feed ramp and the mag well before I blue it, and I have ordered a new set of carbon fiber grips. I have a set of Pachmayr wraparounds that I was going to use but they don't want to stretch around the frontstrap enough to get the screws in both sides. So this is the set I ordered from Prestige:



But here it is as it stands:







I've also got the Hi Cap .38 Super frame all fitted up. It is just waiting for a barrel and some slide lightening from GansGuns. ( as soon as the budget allows. But I have kind of put the .45 as the priority for now and hopefully the .38 will be shootable by the end of the month.

I'll get some pics up of the .45 as soon as it's finished and try to get some pics of the .38 once the barrel is fitted.

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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:48 am
Posts: 21

Post Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:52 am 
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Your Menards setup gives all the Lord Finchleys in the world, myself in primis, potentially bad ideas. I'm envious, and of your work as well. Best,

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