Small carry pistol from a billet?

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by superc, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. superc

    superc Member

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    Like many Americans I have been exploring the AR-15 DIY billet craze. I personally like the billet80 80% version but understand other vendors also sell them. Easy enough. There are even jigs on the market for those who only have a drill press, but not a mill.
    There is at least one guy out there offering a similar product for a 1911, but I am shying away from that for now. This is because the 1911 is so persnickity about hole placement.
    What I am wondering (and speculating if I have to invent it) is, does anyone know of 80% billets for small carry pistols?
    Yes, I know you could probably 3D print a Luger or a Mauser 96 with the right CAD drawings, but I am thinking only of at home from a billet manufacture right now.
    What I would like to see on the market is a billet kit for a medium size pistol of a forgiving design. I am thinking of something in the 32 - 40 caliber size.
    Problem I am seeing is most of the designs are either not designed with do it yourselfers in mind, nor are they not terribly forgiving of manufacture variations.
    Fact is the only good candidates I see are the Tokarev and the old Ruby class of 32 pistols.
    I find myself not able to come up with any easy to make (but reliable to fire) pistols in the 9mm/40 caliber class.
    What I think I would like to see is a Do It Yourself Billet kit around 9mm or 40 caliber, semi-auto, with a Luger grip angle, with a Browning Hi-Power (ie, like a Glock or Sig 226) derived recoil mechanism, a coil spring main spring, and using off the shelf readily available internal parts from one or more guns.
    Aluminum would be nice, but I/we can work in steel too.
    Ideally it would be available with jigs like the AR15/AK kits are.

    So how about it, does anyone know of a kit like that already on the market?
     
  2. hiwall

    hiwall Active Member

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    Guns are not very good candidates for DIY building.
     

  3. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    If little kids with worn out files can build a pistol in an afghan cave, I see no reason why anyone with the drive couldn't do the same.

    Go for it.
     
  4. superc

    superc Member

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    Yuh. I am really not sure where Hiwall is coming from with that. I built my first working (single shot) pistol when I was 14 (40+ years ago). The technology is pretty simple, and strength of construction is the limiting factor for first forays. Hiwall, rather than me telling you that since our own Beloved Leader has proposed banning the things, sales of even only partially completed AR-15 and AR-10 receivers have been occurring at such a rate that 8 month delays of rough forging delivery is not uncommon, I will let you research that yourself. Go to http://www.darksoultactical.com/workshop.html and click on the vendor links towards the bottom of their web page. Note the backorder delivery times being quoted by those vendors. Conclusion? There are one heck of a lot of us successfully choosing DIY as a method of AR15/AR10 acquisition.
    [Neat thing about it is a billet, even when partially done for you, isn't legally a gun yet, so it can sit in your garage for years until the day you suddenly decide to put the needed holes in it and throw in some parts, which is why some folks are buying 4 or 5 at a time.]
    I think a more accurate statement is most Americans simply hadn't considered it worth their while to do it when all we needed to do was walk into Walmart to get an AR-15 (if we wanted one, I mean yuck, AR-10 rules). But once we changed that formula, coupled with the greater availability of mini-mills and lathes for the home, cheap drill presses in our garages, etc., why not make one yourself?
    If you are like me, you will find that once you have successfully completed one or three, and perhaps moved on to a 0% billet and completed it too, you will find yourself not quite as dependent on a source of pre formed billets (if you know where to get unformed blocks of steel or aluminum), and starting to speculate things like, why not build one from a steel block, or build a pistol? Which is what I am inquiring about. I don't need another 1911, not even one I built.
    [Incidentally, change the number of 1911 billet sources in my first post to 3 I know of so far.]
    So far I have found billets (and jigs) for 1911s, 10-22s, AR15s, and AR10s. All I am asking is where are the other handgun type billets?
     
  5. hiwall

    hiwall Active Member

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    Just so you know the amount of work involved(sounds like you do). I have made 3 guns from scratch(except for re-purposed the barrels). It is a substantial investment of time. Many say they built an AR but all they did was assemble one. Building from scratch is quite different.
     
  6. superc

    superc Member

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    We are in 1,000% agreement that taking a bag of mil spec parts to include a milspec receiver and throwing them together while often referred to as a build is a long way from a true build.

    Of course mixing mil spec parts with commercial parts that aren't quite milspec brings us closer to a build as we get into fitting issues. I note with amusement on several posts on other Boards the howls of protests over non-milspec billets vs. milspec parts kits or vice versa. Kind of reminiscent of what we used to hear during the 1911 clone wars.

    [Back in the 80s I acquired a Browning 1900 with all of the parts, except the barrel. A year or two later I got a barrel for it. Imagine my joy at learning the screw in barrel which was manufactured after the FN fire in the new FN plant was metric threaded while the early 1900 frames made at FN before the fire were English threaded (i.e., inch scale). Very close, but no cigar. I would call that one a build by the time I figured out a way to mate them anyway.]

    I think, if a person is good with machine shop tools, understands how to use a micrometer, what a jig is and understands mechanics, and it is legal where he/she is, and they understand the dangers of doing it wrong or with the wrong materials, and has put together a few guns from kits and part bags, then hey, why not come join the big boys? There are about 30 decent videos on you tube that take the viewer through the steps of dealing with an 80% billet.

    I have been looking for most of the day for billet pistols. Didn't find many. Mostly 1911s and AR15 pistols. Don't want those. Looking for a better paradigm. Trying hard to create something new for Feinstein and Bloomberg to cry about. Looked through my old Triple K catalog at different pistol designs too. I still think, since internal parts can be found, the old Tokarev designs would be good billet candidates if one had a set of blueprints for them. {Anyone with blueprints listening?) Moving up in power I also like some of the Sigs for a candidate as again parts can be found, but who has the blueprints? Too soon to go with the new Sig modular pistol. The ribs of the stamping for the FCU look easy enough to make, but until SIG starts releasing the internal parts to that for sale, fuhgedabout it. Blueprints for a SIG 228 would be really cool cause internal parts are easy enough to find. Uncle might have the blueprints stashed someplace because we used them in DoD as the M-11 pistol. That would be a cool 80% billet project. :)

    As someone else said.. Building a gun is just knowledge of information. Once enough of us know how and do and share the info, they can't confiscate the information. True that.



    [A total irrelevancy, I am watching 'Marked for Death' (1990 Segal) on AMC as I write this and just noticed a sequence with an old version 2 Chicago Palm Pistol. First time I have seen one of those in a movie. Not exactly a common piece.]
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  7. superc

    superc Member

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    Okay, I just found M11/Sig 228 blueprints on Scribed. Multiple versions there. Reviewed em. Nope, let us not go there. Sheesh, those are some complex cuts. Been too long since I played with one of those. I hadn't paid that much attention to the milling when I was carrying one. A shame. Something a little less complex is desired. :)
     
  8. Jericho1911u22

    Jericho1911u22 New Member

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    I was thinking of doing a small .22LR there are a lot of zip gun videos on youtube they are all crude designs. I was thinking something a little nicer. More little saterday night special like gun probably with a pin in barrel instead of a press in barrel though. Move up in caliber as I improve my skills.
     
  9. Intheshop

    Intheshop New Member

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  10. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    Huh, interesting. The second guy in that link certainly has a hair across his ass about the word "Billet". Seems if we all use it in the same way, and all agree to the way we use it, no problem.......

    I work in a machine/sheet metal shop, but alas, no toys in the garage. If I was to try something like this, I'd start with a barrel and magazine, and design around those. Take something existing, and change it to suit my needs. (Could a P938 be made simpler?) I have no doubt a skilled machinist could come up with something, but what about the cost? Parts? Finish? Heat Treating? (Other than the barrel, IS there heat treating involved?) Paying Chumlee from Pawn Stars to shoot it 1st..........:D

    Very cool, idea, though.....
     
  11. superc

    superc Member

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    Well there are at least two folks on you tube who start with square blocks of metal, be it aluminum or 4140 and make a gun. I have been playing with it here and it is an educational hobby. It seems to be kind of like the old apprentice machinist exercise wherein the apprentice is given a one pound block of iron, a T square and a file, pointed at a vise and told come back with a perfect cube, perfectly square on all corners and sides. It usually takes the apprentice a year. By then he/she has learned a lot about working metal.

    I am on my 3rd pistol slide attempt. Working without blueprints. Judging by eyeball (okay, an occasional dip into caliper land). I get a little further along each new attempt. LoL, wasting a lot of metal too. Most fun is figuring out the sequencing of cuts to be made (or why a factory did this or that). Can;t do one until you do the other. Figuring out which one needs to be first is fun. Guess wrong and it is all scrap.. Some designs are easier than others..
     
  12. AZdave

    AZdave Active Member

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    @superc Please keep us inform.
    I would think a semi with a barrel fixed to frame (R51) would be an easier build, for those of us without mills.
     
  13. superc

    superc Member

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    I agree kind of.
    This is not 1950. Today small lathes and mills designed for usage inside the home's basement inside the US (i.e., they run on 110VAC) are available for less than a grand as Internet purchases (check out littlemachineshop. com or micromark for a for instance). Their quality (like 3d printers) has improved enormously since they were first introduced. Are they the equal of a Bridgeport? Heck no. Not even in the ball park power or stability wise. However the newer ones, with only a little modification, can handle 4140 steel like we handle a stick of butter. Sort of, anyway, LoL. The first generation had to strain to handle aluminum. The new brushless motors and switching to belt drives rather than fragile gearing made a difference. And there are plenty of after market mods, both in kit form and or with instructional videos on the Net, so that mine handles steel fairly well. If an old fogy like me can figure them out, anyone can,

    I looked at a lot of pistol designs. Like you I zeroed in on the fixed barrel pistols. Low power mostly, but they work, and they are doable. I decided (to the horror of many) to clone one of the Ring of Fire pistols. Along the way I been making improvements and changing direction from their original design too.

    The R of Fire pistols are all Zinc alloy junk.. Pursuing lowest cost, they made errors in the sear/disconnector trigger placement too. They slam fire sometimes too. Over soft barrels, etc. Fixing all that nonsense.

    This is my current concept slide. Made of steel (4140). Concept 3. I probably will scrap this one too. Small errors, and where I want it to go keeps changing, but no major mistakes in it yet.. :)

    What I am finding is each attempt goes further, and it gets easier. Once you have done something a few times, you get more comfortable with it.

    One problem fhe Jennings, Davis, Lorcin, et al is failure to eject. So one of my approaches is an enlarged ejection port. I may open it up more, maybe completely like a Beretta, not sure yet. Etc., etc. yada yada..

    Another decision I am making, more of a labor saving than anything else, is to going to experiment with lost wax aluminum castings for the frame. At first I was going to use steel. A little thought and checking designs however, and I am asking why? We have home made 80% AR 15 lower receivers being made of plastic tpday and they hold up for hundreds of rounds. The Glock, Sigma, etc. Ring of Fire pistols got away with Zinc alloy throughout. Yes, their slides cracked, but the stress on the frame is minimal and for the most part I haven't seen any frame failures with them. So like Colt and Ruger, I am thinking go aluminum.

    Billet carving a large block of metal down to size (as I do with the slides) is wasteful of time and material. Melting down some aluminum poured into a generic mould is much quicker and saves material.

    Yes, exact cloning of a pistol would be easier I guess, bu since I know the types I am copying has bugs due to cost saving measures wrongly applied to make more profit, I need to explore other design variations within the generic form. Work progresses slowly, but hopefully I will come up with something worth throwing plans on the web. Meanwhile I would like to se emore Americans playing with the concept of home brew pistols.

    <Shutting up now so I can focus on the debate.. :) >
     

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