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Old 06-09-2006, 11:36 PM
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pistolwrench pistolwrench is offline
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Repairing an aluminum frame feed ramp....pics




This was posted on another forum in response to a welding question. That why some of the text is irrelevant. Ok?

Guys,
Well Tuner, I don't know if I repair feedramps EVERY day, but I have done a few.
To go back briefly on weld repairing aluminum feedramps......
yes, the feedramp area can be welded. The unfortunate result is a feedramp too soft to last long. Especially with aggressive hollow points. Aluminum welds can be strong when done correctly, but it is going to be relatively soft.
Perhaps the entire frame could be re-heat treated, but I doubt it. It would most likely warp beyond use.
As to welding 7075 Al, which is what Kimbers are made out of, well it is generally considered 'not suited for welding'.
Ramped barrels? OK, $150 for the barrel, $150 for competent frame machining and fitting, and then you still only have steel for the first .315" of depth. The aluminum frame beneath the barrel's feed ramp, is STILL a critical point in the feed process.
Just so happens that I had a couple on the bench for this very repair.

Two Kimber frames. The one on the right has been damaged by poor choice in ammo. Ranger SXT's are kind to aluminum feed ramps. Golden Sabers and most frangible designs are not. The one on the left really does not require repair, but that is what the gunsmith requested.

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  #2  
Old 06-09-2006, 11:38 PM
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Frame set up for milling a pocket into the feed ramp area.



Good view of the damage to one of them.



Both frames milled for the inserts. The inserts can be seen sitting atop the frames. I think George Smith from EGW first developed this method of repair, and inserts, with instructions, can be purchased from him. I prefer to fabricate my own from 416 stainless steel.



Drilling and tapping for the set screw. I locate the dimple in the insert, so that the conical point of this set screw pulls the insert down and into the pocket in the frame. The inserts are also lightly coated with JB Weld epoxy before final assembly.



All spiffed up and ready for business!



Another view of the finished insert.



The set screw is hidden by the slide stop.

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  #3  
Old 06-10-2006, 12:10 AM
RMPSTRAT RMPSTRAT is offline
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Chuck, great post as always along with the pictures to go with it. It's also great that you're willing to share your experiences and techniques with everyone so as not to make gunsmithing and fabrication some sort of voodoo (like we discussed though email a while back), if someone asks I tell them how I did it, they usually appreciate it more if they know what was done
Ray
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Old 06-10-2006, 03:32 AM
Canuck-IL Canuck-IL is offline
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Appreciate the tips based on experience...great photos too!
Thanks for taking the time to share that.
/Bryan
  #5  
Old 06-10-2006, 07:44 AM
capt_tast capt_tast is offline
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Wow. Not being a smith, I am impressed by the quality of the work displayed on this board. I don't feel it is anything I have an aptitude for, and that makes it all the more amazing.
Great job, thanks for sharing your trade with us.
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  #6  
Old 06-10-2006, 08:27 AM
herd48 herd48 is offline
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That was a great post. I also enjoyed last weeks. I hope this becomes a habit of yours. I appreciate it.
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  #7  
Old 06-10-2006, 08:45 AM
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RetiredRod RetiredRod is offline
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Fantastic! I didn't know that type of repair was available. Thanks for the great information and also the outstanding step-by-step pic's & description. Almost makes me wish I had an aluminum frame with feed ramp damage.

Good shooting.....Rod.
  #8  
Old 06-10-2006, 11:58 AM
Scot in Vegas Scot in Vegas is offline
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This was is a great thread, although I think the work repaired went way over my head!

Quick side question - what are some acceptable 230 hollowpoints to use with a LWT frame? I have a LWT Commander being built and usually carry Speer Gold Dot.
  #9  
Old 06-10-2006, 12:07 PM
m1match m1match is offline
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Thanks a bunch for the great pictures and explanations. EGW installed their steel feed ramp in a Springfield LW Compact of mine. It didn't need it yet, but I carry it and shoot it a lot and wanted the ramp insert for longevity. George makes his inserts out of carbon steel instead of stainless.
  #10  
Old 06-10-2006, 02:36 PM
Anthropy Anthropy is offline
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How much does a repair like that cost? I had a similar problem with my kimber, but took the route of gently buffing out the dent with my dremel (no grinding) and the problem has not come back, but I shoot a hollow point that is almost like ball ammo in its profile.

I like the idea of the insert for the durability factor, but I would wait until it became necessary.

Also, I wonder if he tapping the steel insert and drilled the clearance hole in the frame? I would think it would be the best way to hold it tight, but could be wrong. The JB weld is a nice touch.

Last edited by Anthropy; 06-10-2006 at 02:39 PM.
  #11  
Old 06-10-2006, 09:28 PM
m1match m1match is offline
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EGW charges about $135 plus return shipping to install a steel feed ramp insert in an aluminum frame. You only need to send them the barrel w/link and the stripped frame, so shipping costs aren't as high as sending a complete gun. Additionally, EGW will take a $50 deposit to hold a spot in their waitlist and will call you for shipment of the gun a few weeks before they're ready to begin work. That way the gun is out of your hands for only a few weeks.
  #12  
Old 06-10-2006, 10:44 PM
paladin4415 paladin4415 is offline
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Hi Chuck,
You are "Master", "Artist", and "Guru" all rolled into one. I'm sure glad mine is one of the ones in your shop thats pushing the pistolsmithing bar ever higher.
  #13  
Old 06-11-2006, 07:24 PM
DANCESWITHGUNS DANCESWITHGUNS is offline
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Pistol wrench, Really nice work and a craftsman you are. I was wondering about putting two dissimilar metals together and the effects (electrolisis). Is there any bad that goes with the good here?
  #14  
Old 06-11-2006, 07:55 PM
mgraff mgraff is offline
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Very cool!!

Thanks Chuck..you "da" man!!!

Mark
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  #15  
Old 06-12-2006, 09:11 AM
MattK MattK is offline
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Wow! That's really great work.
  #16  
Old 01-13-2012, 04:57 PM
mity2 mity2 is offline
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I know this is really an old thread, but I'm really interested in doing this to my frame...
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  #17  
Old 01-13-2012, 05:02 PM
mstusc mstusc is offline
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Thanks for the post Chuck - you spoil us wih these great posts!
  #18  
Old 01-13-2012, 05:10 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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Yes, Chuck. For a full FIVE YEARS you've spoiled us with that post.

  #19  
Old 01-13-2012, 05:13 PM
billiardcue billiardcue is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DANCESWITHGUNS View Post
I was wondering about putting two dissimilar metals together and the effects (electrolysis). Is there any bad that goes with the good here?
Electrolysis will occur, the JB Weld may be enough of a barrier to prevent electrolysis. A coating of loctite or good finish will probably work.
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  #20  
Old 01-13-2012, 05:50 PM
Butters Butters is offline
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That's a neat insight.

I'm sure it only takes what... 15 minutes from start to finish???

As always, thanks for taking the time to teach.
  #21  
Old 01-13-2012, 06:02 PM
log man log man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billiardcue View Post
Electrolysis will occur, the JB Weld may be enough of a barrier to prevent electrolysis. A coating of loctite or good finish will probably work.
I'll bet after 5 years it looks the same!
Very low action between these dissimilar metals, SS is the preferred fastener for alum. An electrolyte must also be present for any electrolysis to occur. Normal operation would not expose it to an electrolyte. The frame, 7075 alloy alum is subject to corrosion cracking all by itself if subjected to a corrosive condition. A firearm frame isn't one of them.

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  #22  
Old 01-13-2012, 06:56 PM
6point8shooter 6point8shooter is offline
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Darn fine work Chuck,.....seems you can fix nearly anything.
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  #23  
Old 01-13-2012, 07:08 PM
DevilDave1911 DevilDave1911 is offline
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chuck, enough inserts already, I think you should focus on getting your truck running.

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Old 01-13-2012, 07:48 PM
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