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sxshooter

Wife's 9mm range gun build

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I picked up my wife's new Springfield 9mm Loaded Target project gun a week or so ago. Shot 200 rounds thru a it using the two OEM mags + 3 Wilson ETM mags. I numbered them and shot full mags sequentially. Only one mag had any problems, the #2 OEM mag. It had 2 nosedives, one with the first round dropping the slide and one halfway thru that loading. No other malfunctions. Very pleased with the Wilson ETM mags.
 
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The gun was sighted very high left. As I shot each mag with the same point of aim for the whole mag and then adjusted sights between mags, it seemed reasonably accurate with 147 gr American Eagle. Some 10 round 10 yard groups were in the 1" range. At 25 yards, I didn't fare as well. Best groups were around 4" with me not being able to handle the heavy, gritty,creeping trigger very well. I'll do a trigger job right away.

This gun was intended as a fun gun for my wife (and I). I plan to do some work on it to tighten up the accuracy and put some gingerbread on it. I have a Leupold Deltapoint Pro for it and intend to low mount it. The slide will get serrations on top and black cerokote. The frame will get the front strap checkered, weld on magwell, extended mag release, Wilson BP semi-extended slide stop. Then it'll get cerokoted either a metallic titanium blue or metallic purple and get some thin black grips engraved with my wife's name on the outer show side panel.

I haven't decided whether to put a match Kart match barrel in it or not. I think I'll put a tighter bushing in it first and see how it does. The OEM bushing has .004" clearance on the barrel and .003" to the slide. There should be some accuracy to be had there.  The rear lockup appears tight and consistent even though the rear hood of the barrel has some extra clearance.  
 
 
I received some of the parts for my wife's gun this past week.  The Brownells order with the Cylinder & Slide drop in trigger job came in.  It has a "tool steel" hammer & sear, disconnector, sear spring, and heavy main spring.  The order also had a selection of light recoil springs from 9lbs up to about 13lbs and a STI short trigger. 
I installed and fitted the trigger.  Adjusting the forward position with the bendable stops on the bow and fitting the shoe in the frame.  
The "drop in trigger job" was almost drop in.  It needed the disconnector polished on the contact surfaces.  The leaf spring contact on the disconnector got some stoning too.  The trigger pull ended up pretty decent.  It has some "roll" or smooth creep, but it's minimal and it breaks at a pretty light pull.  I didn't dig out the gauge, but 3 1/2 lbs would be a guess. 
The thumb safety needed to be refit.  It needed removal of material from the contact point on the sear.  I was thinking I'd either need to weld the contact or get a new safety.  But it worked out.
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I was digging thru my box of old 1911 parts and found this bag.  It must be at least 20-25 years old.  I know it's not legal in IDPA, but I figured I'd put it on a gun and see if I liked it.  I can tell you, I don't think it's for me. 
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I also installed a Wilson Bullet Proof semi-extended slide stop.  I don't know if that's going to be long enough for my wife.  We'll see if she has the thumb strength to release the slide.   The short STI trigger is for my wife's smaller hands.  I like a long trigger.  But the STI trigger  I had in another gun was very comfortable.  So I went with one for her in a short version  It's coming along.  20161105_150503_zpse2kcgu8r.jpg
EGW is sending a new fitted bushing, firing pin stop, extractor, and ejector.  That should round out the reliability parts.
I've ordered some Slimline G10 grips from VZ Grips, black with laser engraving deep enough to fill with contrasting paint for her name. 
I think I want to have the front strap checkered and the front strap/trigger guard radius cut for a higher grip before I have a custom girly Cerokote job.  I'm going with a black slide and something flashy for the frame.  Maybe a metallic purple if I can find it.  Metallic blue if the purple is out of the question.

I mounted the red dot on a EGW mount temporarily to see if I really want a reflex sight on a handgun.   I'll shoot it a bit this way, but I'm not leaving it like this. It's setting 7/16" higher than if I permanently mount it by milling the slide. 
 
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The custom fit EGW thick flange bushing came in.  It does require some minimal work to install.  The edges are all sharp as received.  Except the front edge carries a healthy chamfer.

The EGW bushing fit based on the measurements I provided was perfect and will wring out all available accuracy from that component. 

From this picture, it became evident I should do a modern crown treatment on the barrel.  

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At the range with the fire control components, bushing, and the reflex sight, I got some decent results.  Still, I think these groups would be halved by a good shooter.  

Ammo was American Eagle 147 gr flat nose fmj.
The center group was the first shots after the work.  It was a full 9 shot magazine fired offhand at 10 yards.  The subsequent groups were from a rest at 25 yards, beginning at the upper left. I made some sight adjustments between groups.  The third group and subsequent were 10 shot mags/groups. 

The two impressions I came away with are:
1. The reflex sight makes putting the gun on target sooooooo much easier.
2. The gun is surprisingly accurate with a good trigger and tight bushing. 

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The following target is the 10 yard rapid fire results from the low ready.  I fired roughly 50 rounds on this target, mixed rapid fire full mags, double taps, triple taps, etc..
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Prior to the range trip, I also took some time to polish the barrel ramp with a Cratex rubber abrasive and a felt wheel with rouge.  The gun had no malfunctions of any kind in the 100 rounds fired from all 5 mags, including the #2 Springfield mag that had 2 nosedive FTF malfunctions last trip.

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Congrats Chuck,

Looks like you cured the high and to the left it was shooting.  That last target is worth hanging.

 

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22 hours ago, TonyS said:

Congrats Chuck,

Looks like you cured the high and to the left it was shooting.  That last target is worth hanging.

 

Thanks Tony.  It's the wife's 60th.  I thought I'd get her this.  Not sure this is the right gift.  I might have to get flowers and a card too.  Maybe a diamond necklace laying on top of it would make it look better to her.  LOL

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1 hour ago, sxshooter said:

It's the wife's 60th.  I thought I'd get her this.  Not sure this is the right gift.  I might have to get flowers and a card too.  Maybe a diamond necklace laying on top of it would make it look better to her.  LOL

I'm sure she would like the diamonds but the gun is a beauty also.

OrneryOlMofo357 likes this

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1 hour ago, ShooterJohn said:

I'm sure she would like the diamonds but the gun is a beauty also.

I agree John.  I'm just not sure she will appreciate it as much as I.  She has been shooting a lot lately with the classes we've been taking, and she seems to be really enjoying it.  I wanted her to have a gun she can be proud of and use in any further training and maybe some organized shooting like IPSC or IDPA. 

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2 hours ago, ShooterJohn said:

That is a fine gift and something that is very useful.

Well, I caved and got her some jewelery too.  Some kind of tennis bracelet thingy. Not diamonds.  That was a few years back. 

Got her a new phone too.  She's been complaining about her current phone.  So, I bought her a Note 5.  Not sure I'm going with the gun tonight.  Maybe Christmas...its still project in work.

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I had taken it to the range before and it performed well.  But I knew it had more in it and I just wasn't getting it out with the trigger at around 4 lbs.  I tweeked the sear spring and checked it at 2 1/2 lbs. :) I don't want to give her the gun that way, Im thinking more like 3 1/2 lbs.  But it was an opportunity for me to try some accuracy testing with a very light trigger to see if I could wring out some tighter groups.    It did. :D I think I'll not worry about trying to wring out any more accuracy with a match barrel change, etc.. The ol' Springfield barrel seems just fine.  :D

Also, Im at about 600 round with it and it has only had 2 FTF stops in the OEM mag in the first session of 3, none since I polished the ramp to nearly a mirror. All the other 4 mags (3 ETM Wilsons, and another OEM) have been flawless.  The gun has been super reliable and I haven't touched the extractor, although I have a EGW extractor and ejector waiting to be installed.  I really like this gun.  Maybe I should keep it for myself.  :rolleyes:

The groups in these pix are all 5 shot.  All rested unless stated otherwise.   I'm really impressed with this gun.
Here's tonights efforts.
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That's good shooting Chuck but even at 3 and a half pounds that is awfully light.  By light i mean if used for self protection because in a stressful situation it could go off early injuring her you or an unintended target.  As a target gun only that's a good weight.

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John,

Agreed.  This gun won't be used for self-defense.  It's purely a range gun for fun.  The Sigs are for that job.  Besides, I'm not a big fan of 9mm as an intentional choice for a home D gun. 

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2 hours ago, ShooterJohn said:

For home defense I like shotguns, .45's and AR's.;)

Hard to argue against that.  I'm in favor of 45s as well.  However, I've standardized the house with the Sig 40s in consideration of my wife's ability to use them.  That may change if she takes to this 1911 and gains proficiency with them.  I'm also looking at getting an Aero Survival carbine in 45. 

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John, I know you being a 1911 guy will appreciate this level of customization.   I'm keeping it legal for IDPA  ESP just in case I can convince her to shoot a bit of that.  Our self-defense pistol instructor curriculum brings you thru a series of classes that give you enough to step into IDPA or USPSA.  We have a couple more classes and I thought this gun would be nice for her in case she gets the bug. She has already told her friends and relatives she's been having a great time shooting in these classes.

I paid a smith in NH to checker the front strap a week or so ago. Got it back and I'm running out of time.  But, I have a goal of making this a Christmas gift.

I've started into some of the more labor intensive work.  I'm doing this more to put my personal touch on it and make it unique for her.  I find it always gets more appreciation from my wife when I make or do something for her, rather than just buy something.

The frame got a magwell from Briley welded on.  It still needs a lot of shaping.

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I'm not so happy with the shape.  More shaping and polishing before off to the Cerokote guy.

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Then I wanted to flat top the slide and do something unique, so I decided to checker it.  Lots of mill setup and run time.

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It still needs deburring and chasing the checkering with a riffle.  But I'm pretty happy with the effect.

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It's going to be a crunch to get this done for her Christmas present. 

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Chuck, I am impressed with all of the work you've put into this project.  The wife should be very happy with this when she gets it.  I would be happy to add this to my group even in 9mm. :good:

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John , tinkering with stuff and especially guns is a form of therapy for me.  As they say: 'everybody needs a hobby'.  It's gratifying when something turns out nice.

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4 hours ago, ShooterJohn said:

....  I would be happy to add this to my group even in 9mm. :good:

Wait till I'm done before you commit to that.  I'll post a picture of it completed soon.  You might change your mind.  

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3 minutes ago, ShooterJohn said:

Just don't color it PINK!

Uh oh...

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5 hours ago, sxshooter said:

John , tinkering with stuff and especially guns is a form of therapy for me.  As they say: 'everybody needs a hobby'.  It's gratifying when something turns out nice.

I can use some therapy like that...

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The VZ Slim 320 grips came in today.  I really didn't like the Briley magwell shape, but I didn't want to do anything until I fitted the grips. 

I fitted them up pretty quick (for me) and started marking the magwell.   I don't know about the rest of you, but it takes me quite a bit of time to figure out how I want to sculpt something like this.  Sometimes it just kind of develops. 

I started with a 12" disk grinder and got the big stuff off.  Then I picked up a file.  First thing that struck me was the pretty checkering that was gonna get gouged up.  I put a strip of duct tape on it.  Still worried.  I have a huge 18" wide roll of .010" aluminum adhesive tape.  I cut a tiny piece for protecting the checkering.  You can see the file marks in it. 

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This is the shape I ended up with. I'm not very good with organic shapes.  But I really pleased myself with the shape.  It had to have a forward extension from the frame since the well has some chamfer forward. 
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I'm never happy with my file work.  I'll hand sand it to remove the file marks and smooth it tomorrow and get to the inside again.  I had my friend TIG it again on the inside after I ground about thru all the welds. 

I really gotta kick it in gear and get this to the Cerokote guy tomorrow afternoon.


Sneak peek
still has the mask on it from the laser engraver.  I have a plan for this.

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With the gun off to the Cerokote guy, I'm still not done.  This was today's work.  I'll put some finish on the grips to darken them evenly.  Gotta have some bling. 

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