9mm 1911 Project Part 4- It’s Aliiiive!

The point of this build was to see if it would work, and the answer appeared to be ‘No, it won’t.’ Bullets were tumbling like tumbling tumbleweeds and hitting all over the paper. Then I discovered that the bullets- cast 128gr. LRN from Aardvark- were tumbling even out of my Sig Sauer P-6 and Beretta M1951. Huh.

Original aluminum weight, well ventilated.

I ventilated the weight and changed bullets to a Berry’s 115gr TMC over 5.5gr of Unique and (drum roll please) they didn’t tumble! Huzzah! Of course I’d already reamed the aluminum weight to a fare-the-well and then perforated it, so it weighed basically nothing. That would obviously not do. I decided to make an entirely new weight out of steel. This time I decided to leave about 2mm clearance between the bore and weight so the initial shock of escaping gas might be less inclined to interact with the bullet’s passage; I didn’t want to ventilate the weight if I could avoid it.

Some sawing, much grinding, filing and fitting later I had my new weight. This time when I set out to drill the hole for the bullet to depart through I was careful to make sure the hole slanted towards the muzzle to match the bore. I drilled it out to 5/8″ and… it didn’t quite center properly. Well, adjustments can be made. I cut a dovetail for the front sight and mounted it.

I had more of the Berry’s 115gr loads on-hand so I headed off to the range. Mind you I did not expect it to work; I was pretty sure the bullets would tumble but I had to check before mucking about further. I got set up, ran a target out to seven yards and put nine rounds downrange in a bit of a hurry…

Not a key-hole to be seen. Yeah, it’s low and left but I can adjust the sights. I was thrilled, and proceeded to run through all of my magazines in succession. One will need the feed lips tweaked, but the other five ran flawlessly. Emptying magazines literally as fast as I could pull the trigger I found I had a tendency to string groups vertically, but I can work on that after I get the sights dialed in. Needed to try some double-taps next, so I loaded six rounds (I was getting short on ammo) and ripped off three quickly.

Three double-taps at five yards. Not at all shabby.

On my way out I stopped at McCallen Defense to borrow their trigger-pull gauge. Chris wasn’t there, but we figured it out. I was interested to see what the trigger pull was, and I am horrible at guessing. I thought maybe 3-1/2-4 lbs. I really am crap; three tries got three results just shy of two pounds! OK, I’m pretty blown away, and am not entirely convinced I was doing it right. Have to try it again when Chris is there…

So… finishing work now. I am considering adding a bit more weight to the dust cover; we’ll see. I need to clean up the checkering, strip the remains of the various original finishes, touch up a bit here and there and refinish the gun. I’m leaning towards rust bluing; I’ve a good bit of experience with it and am set up to do it at home already. Part of me wants to do a coating. Well, I’ll figure it out.

Pretty near it’s final form. Now for the finishing work…

I was on the verge of giving this up as a bad job, but thanks in part to reader’s suggestions I stuck with it and it works! Thanks to you all!

Stay safe, take care and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Michael Tinker Pearce, 21 December 2021

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