Fig. A shows my problem. In a fit of utter madness I rounded off the tangs on my Kimber Pro Carry HD II! Ever since I have been looking for a low cost but effective way of fixing the problem. TIG welding the tangs and reshaping to the correct configuration (Fig. B) was the ideal solution, except that it was way, way too expensive! Plus I may have had to have the gun refinished by hard chroming it! SO my search continued. While looking at the Brownell's on-line catalog For beavertails I came across some that had a 0.220" radius. The Radius of the Kimber tangs is 0.250" Not much of a difference but I thought it just might be enough to do what I had in mind! With the help of a benefactor I was able to purchase the parts which included a Smith & Alexander 0.220" beavertail and the installation jig.
The parts arrived in very short order (see fig. C). Once they arrived I installed the jig without the Teflon washers as I wanted to get the jig as close to the metal as possible (see fig. D) and began filing away at the tangs with a 6" bastard file! The progress was slower that molasses in winter! I was not making headway at all! So I scraped up enough cash to buy some badly needed Dremel supplies and tackled the problem again! The Dremel make short work of grinding and reshaping the tangs (see fig. E) Once the tangs had the correct radius it was time to fit the new Smith & Alexander beavertail grip safety.
I knew that there would still be a gap between the grip safety and the tangs, but I had a solution to make it look a little better. While sanding and reshaping the beavertail I flattened the curve of the tangs! This gave the tangs a tapered look rather than a rounded one (see fig. F) I also narrowed the width of the spoon on the beavertail to match the width of the reshaped tangs at the narrowest part, the back end (see fig. J). The result looks great! The narrowing is noticeable but it looks very good! After fitting the arm of the beavertail (or so I thought) I set out to reshape the beavertail and fit it to the frame. This took a lot of time as I was constantly putting the part back into the frame to check the fit. At one point I thought that I was finished but I wasn't happy with the way the gun felt in my hand, so I continued to reshape the beavertail. I ended up reshaping the frame and the thumb safety as well(see fig. G). Everything was now ready for polishing (or so I thought).
I polished the parts using 3 different compounds from course to fine. I produced a mirror-like finish on the beavertail, which felt very smooth in my hand when installed on the gun (See figs. H, I & M). I Then went to reassemble the gun and see how it felt and functioned. To my utter surprise and heartbreak the arm of the beavertail failed to rise the push rod, a part of the Swartz-style internal firing pin block safety. I had to re fit the arm to the gun! I didn't like having to file on the arm of the beavertail as I was afraid of messing up the end of the arm in such a way that it failed to keep the trigger from moving backward when the hammer was cocked and the thumb safety disengaged! But I managed to fit it properly! So when I go to reinstall the push rod, It's gone! I grew wings and flew away! All that work and rework was going to be all for naught if I could not find the push rod! But find it I could not!
Without the push rod the gun will not fire as the Schwartz-style safety is one that blocks the firing pin from moving until disengaged! Both the Colt Series 80 and the Kimber Series II line employs a different style of this "solution without a problem" safety. Kimber's system uses a forged part that is pushed up by the same arm that prevents the trigger from moving backward when the hammer is cocked and the thumb safety is disengaged. The curved bottom of the push rod rides atop the arm of the grip safety. It's a delicate balancing act to get the arm to push the rod up enough to disengage the safety while allowing the slide to move without encountering the tip of the push rod. But wait! There is a way to defeat the Swartz safety in a Kimber since the safety can not be removed without removing the rear sight! (The safety can be removed from a Colt and aftermarket parts sold to fill the gap left by the removal of one of the parts). All one needs to defeat the Schwartz safety in a Kimber is a standard firing pin. So I switched out the firing pins with the one available to me, my SLE. It works! It works like a charm!
I did call Kimber this afternoon and said that I needed to buy a push rod, expecting the salesman to tell me that because it was part of the safety that it was a safety item and thus could not be sold! But this guy is going to send me a new one gratis! Sweet! But I like not having that part not in there! As soon as I arrives, I'll install it.
My brother in law and his wife are coming for a visit in late April/early May and we will be going shooting. I'll give you a range report on both my Kimbers at that time.