Kimber Problem and the Fix

Discussion in '1911 Forum' started by onelonegunman, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. onelonegunman

    onelonegunman New Member

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    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  2. onelonegunman

    onelonegunman New Member

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    55 views and not a single comment? And there were those who wanted me to do the post! Sad. Very Sad. :(
     

  3. KG7IL

    KG7IL New Member

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    We are still viewing the pictures, reading the text and soaking it all in.

    Don't be sad, be glad!
    It's kinda like when it get's quite at dinner. Everyone is enjoying their food.

    I like the fix, it turned out great.
     
  4. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired

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    I am glad you got things to work!

    Be careful with the Dremel. There are times that hungry beast will take off more than you want it to.
     
  5. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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  6. Pasquanel

    Pasquanel Proud to be an American

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    I own a Kimber Pro Carry 2 and still do not understand what you did and why?
     
  7. KimberFan

    KimberFan New Member

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    Me too....:confused:
     
  8. onelonegunman

    onelonegunman New Member

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    It's hard to explain why I did it, let's just say I had a moment of insanity brought on by fear and desperation as well as disappointment and frustration. What I did is obvious in pic "A". I took a Dremel and rounded of the tangs, trying to make a beavertail grip safety fit when it was never intended to fit. This was due to blindly trusting a man whom I thought was a gunsmith who in reality turned out to be a fraud, a machinist passing himself off as a gunsmith.

    So I had a disfigured frame that needed to be fixed. But the best fix, TIG welding the tangs and reshaping them was way out of my reach financially. So I hit upon the idea of reducing the length of the tangs, thus minimizing the gap between tangs and beavertail. I bought a .220" radius jig and B/T. When I sanded the curves of the tangs flat, at an angle, from greater to lesser towards the back of the gun this allowed me to narrow the spoon of the B/T and blend the B/T and the frame in a more pleasing shape. If I do say so myself, it was a success and I could not be more pleased with the results.

    Does that help?
     
  9. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    I'm sorry, but it didn't help me understand the "why" part of it. Was this a concealment mod? Performance? Comfort? What was the eventual goal?

    I can see what you did, and it looks like you did a great job. I'm anxious to hear your range report.
     
  10. onelonegunman

    onelonegunman New Member

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    Hopefully the range report will come sometime between the last of this month to the first of next month. I'm anxious to shoot them as I have concerns about the modified Wolff recoil springs in both of them.

    Why did I do what? Why did I round off the end of the tangs? Or why did I reduce the damage done my shortening down the damaged tangs so I could put a beavertail grip safety on the gun without the gap between the round tangs and the beavertail look like a replica of the Grand Canyon. The mod not only restored the ability of the gun to be fired but restored the look of the gun. I had to narrow the spoon of the beavertail to match the width of the now angular tangs.

    Why did I round off the tangs in the first place? Stupidity.

    Answer your question?
     
  11. goldngun

    goldngun New Member

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    Me three...:confused:
     
  12. onelonegunman

    onelonegunman New Member

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    Are the pictures not clear? One last time...

    I screwed up the frame by taking a Dremel fitted with a drum sander ad ground away metal from the tangs, you know, the back end of the gun where the grip safety goes! Instead of them being nice and flat and curvy they were rounded, like a fat man's beer belly! When I put a beavertail that was meant for a Kimber on the gun, it looked horrible! The round tangs did not match the cut-outs on the beavertail! There was a sizable gap between them. The result was that the exposed part of the beavertail would dig into my hand if I had used it that way.

    To fix the problem and put a beavertail back onto it I changed the radius of the tangs! Instead of the frame having a radius of .250 inches, it now has one that measured .220 inches! It's shorter now, and had less round ness to it. When I installed the .220 inch beavertail I did 2 things: I ground away even more material from the tangs by making them flat, bit tapered towards the rear of the gun giving them a trapezoid shape. I then narrowed the spoon part of the beavertail to match the narrowest part of the tangs, the rear portion. This eliminated any gaps, other than what's normal. The gun now looks almost like an original, un messed with Kimber.

    I do not know how to explain it any better. So I won't even try!