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  #1  
Old 09-03-2004, 05:33 AM
TGR TGR is offline
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basic beavertail fitting

The best modification you can do to a 1911 is to Hi-grip it; of course that is my opinion. It has to work every time and be accurate enough for the application but for me it has to have a beavertail. I can just shoot better with one and more importunity I can draw and shoot faster when my 1911 has a beavertail. Anyway I thought I would show the forum my technique for installing a hi-grip. It is my opinion that anyone that has enough confidence in themselves could do a great job installing a hi-grip even on their first try. You probably already have the few tools it takes. You must take your time though. To do a great job it may even take you all day. It takes me two and a half to three hours to do a nice job.

The basic tools look something like this…simple stuff, lots of sandpaper, some old thumb safeties, magic marker (sorry all I had was pink) etc… I also use a dremel, a belt sander, and my favorite little tool is the two pieces of aluminum you see below. I use them to hold the grip safety in the engaged position while I wittle on it.


When you fit a GS you must have of course the frame, but you also need the MSH and the thumb safety that will stay with the 1911 permanently. If you change any of the parts latter the safety will most likely not fit as good. I will be fitting a SA today. I also like the Brown. Most every safety has its good points and bad. I am sure many good GSs are available.




I begin by putting on a jig and grinding away on the tangs. Don’t go too crazy; you do not want to go down to the buttons. I would also be careful not to over heat the frame. Definitely leave metal for hand fitting.




Now it is time to hand fit the radius. I like to use an ignition file to file the tangs. It is just a little file use to file points in a cars distributor. Use your magic marker on the tangs and put on the GS. I use a machinist scribe (or what ever its’ called) to act as the thumb safeties shaft pin. This works great because it is smaller in diameter that the TSs pin so even after I get the GS on and the scribe though the frame I still have a little metal on the tang for the final fit.





Just keep marking the tangs and trying on the GS. Only file the high marks on the tangs. It will take some time but just be patient. Put the scribe in the hole on both sides of the frame and tap the GS back and forth to mark the tangs.





OK it has taken tons of tries but I finally have the scribe thought the frame and the GS. Next I use old Thumb safeties that I have sanded down so the shaft tapers. I have lots of these with varying degrees of taper. I use vise grips to hold on to the old thumb safeties and just keep marking the tangs and filing them, only on the high spots. Start to try your permanent TS to see if it will start though the hole.


Last edited by TGR; 12-28-2006 at 10:52 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2004, 05:36 AM
TGR TGR is offline
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OK now the permanent TS is starting to go though the frame. Use it now and keep marking the tangs and just taking of the high spots. I take all this time on the radius because it makes the final fit of the GS so much nicer.





Once I start to mark the tangs with the permanent TS I like to just hit the high spots with a cratex wheel.






Ok now I have the GS on the frame and the TS on as well. It still is binding on the tangs a bit but I find that after I do the final shaping and clean all the grit off it some time works perfect. Other times just one more touch of the cratex to the tangs does the trick. The next pic is my homemade tool used for holding the GS in the engaged position while I grind on it.







At this point I replace the TS with just the shaft from a old TS. This way I can work on both sides of the frame with out the TS getting in the way. Fist I flush up the sides of the frame to the GS. Just use a file and finish it with sandpaper.





Now I start grinding the GS to the frame. I use a drum sander on the dremel. First I blend it in the up position both on top and near the tangs. Then I blend below the tangs with the GS in the in or disengaged position.





On this GS I did some major grinding and filing to get a higher hold on the frame. If this is your first time I would just contour the frame to the GS. You can always take more off latter. Just keep grinding the GS to the frame. You can progress to finer grits if you like. It is kind of a balancing act on when to grind the GS in the up position and when to grind in the in position. I like my GS to look like a perfect fit when you are holding and admiring the 1911. Of course you also have to get a good grip on it with out any sharp edges.

Blending the top….


Last edited by TGR; 12-28-2006 at 10:56 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-03-2004, 05:38 AM
TGR TGR is offline
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Blending in the up position…



Edges to blend when the GS is in the in or disengaged position.



Now is the time I like to fit the MSH. Guess that will have to be in another post. Just keep polishing the whole mess. I like to use cratex wheels then finish it up with paper rapped around dowels. Use whatever works best for you. I like to put a lose fitting pin though the frame and sand back and forth so while I sand the GS is moving though its motion. This kind of blends it all to together.







When you are all done it is nice to blast the whole thing. This helps find any scratches or waves in the metal. When I fit the arm I like to have it so it will be positive but not too much engagement. One tip I cold pass on is I always file the back of the trigger bow on the right side just a bit. This allows me to keep more material on the arm. This way if the trigger is ever replaced the GS will have enough material to refit the arm.

Anyway that is about what it takes to fit up a beavertail. If you are a DIYer I hope this helps. Much more could be said but this is a start. If you know of a better way by all means please let me know. Comments good or bad are always welcome. Have a great holiday every one. Oh yea I am too cheap to buy web space so my pics are hosted free for a month then they go away. So I guess this thread will self-destruct in 30 day

Just about finished up and trimmed out……………………..








Last edited by TGR; 12-28-2006 at 11:00 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2004, 06:14 AM
steven t steven t is offline
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WOW! Beautiful work TGR thanks for sharing. Great work on the pictures as well!
Steve
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2004, 07:39 AM
blindhogg blindhogg is offline
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TGR
Great post, I like the way you shim the beavetail out when blending.
I also like how you taper old Thumb safeties for fitting, great idea I hope you do not mind me trying that.
PS Keep this up and I will put you to work writing articles for my website.
Chris
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2004, 08:22 AM
Sully2 Sully2 is offline
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BRAVO! BRAVO! Great job and the included graphics REALLY make it just that much better...
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2004, 12:54 PM
Thumper47 Thumper47 is offline
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Really great post, TGR!
A "how-to" that even I can understand...
Thank you.

Thumper47
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2004, 03:18 PM
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pistolwrench pistolwrench is offline
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TGR,

NO ONE does a nicer grip safety fit!!
Thanks for sharing with the forum. Many will now appreciate why a world-class beavertail fit is not a $50 task.
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2004, 05:21 PM
JeffC JeffC is offline
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Gone in 30 days No way, host them from Photobucket.com, they are a free site also.

Beautiful job by the way
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2004, 07:10 PM
Bodeen Bodeen is offline
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Excellent post with some great ideas that I'm going to incorporate in my next BT fitting job.

Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

BTW, nice job too.
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  #11  
Old 09-03-2004, 09:35 PM
Big Daddy Big Daddy is offline
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Wonderful job and thanks for sharing your pictures & techniques.
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  #12  
Old 09-04-2004, 02:46 PM
s4Waters s4Waters is offline
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Unbelievable. Now that is a perfectly fit beavertail. Time and attention to detail. I am certainly jealous. Thanks for posting.
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  #13  
Old 09-05-2004, 10:45 AM
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10ring 10ring is offline
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Thanks for the detailed description! I wish I would have had this when I did my first installation last year. Very nice looking installation too!
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  #14  
Old 09-05-2004, 11:01 AM
Sully2 Sully2 is offline
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A side note!

I copied all this data...text...pics...etc and created an "MS Word" document of it all. If you supply me with an email addy...I'll be glad to send it to you..BUT...you best have an internet connection BETTER than a std "dial-up"....the document is about 1 meg in size and will "gag" a dial-up" line.
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  #15  
Old 09-05-2004, 04:29 PM
Tim-L Tim-L is offline
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TGR,

If you need free photo hosting, try photobucket.com. They provide it for free and it is permanent.

Tim

PS. Good work!
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  #16  
Old 12-28-2006, 11:11 PM
TGR TGR is offline
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I know this is an old thread but the pics have been gone for a very long time. I just took the time to add them back to the thread. I only get a chance to surf the forum occasionally but every time I poke around I see questions on beaver-tail fitting. Thought the pics may help.
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  #17  
Old 12-29-2006, 01:16 AM
DHart DHart is offline
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TGR... magnificent job and a huge thank you to you for your wonderful effort in sharing your skills and knowledge with all of us!!! With guidance from your treatise I may well take on the task of fitting a beavertail to one of my 1911's. Thanks again.
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  #18  
Old 12-29-2006, 07:40 AM
Big Daddy Big Daddy is offline
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Good idea on updating the pic links. I saved the entire thread back when you first posted it but I know a lot of people either weren't members then or didn't think to save it.

Great instructional post.

Josh
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  #19  
Old 12-29-2006, 09:26 PM
gmcretz gmcretz is offline
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Anyone want the pics in an email

TGR,
This is a great visual step by step of how to install and properly fit a grip safety. Hope you don't mind, but I have copied all of your pics and will email them to anyone who wants them (if it is alright with TGR). They are about 750k.

Ron
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:50 PM
wrgbarnebee wrgbarnebee is offline
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Thats it....

I was planing on trying my hand at doing this..... Now... NOPE I'll take my 1911 off to a gunsmith....

Billy
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  #21  
Old 12-29-2006, 10:39 PM
Spartan117 Spartan117 is offline
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Beautiful!

Fantastic work.
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  #22  
Old 12-30-2006, 12:44 PM
Smokers Smokers is offline
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Beautiful job. Makes my beavertail work look like c***! But they all work. The best part is telling people, I did it myself.
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  #23  
Old 12-30-2006, 09:58 PM
blue jacket blue jacket is offline
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Great Post. However, mine will be going to the smith as well. It it involves grinding on frames, slides or barrel I am out.
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  #24  
Old 12-30-2006, 10:05 PM
wrgbarnebee wrgbarnebee is offline
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Blue Jacket,

Me too. I thought that "Fitting" involved filing and trimming of the beavertail, not the frame ! I'm not going to waste my frame on a <$50 part.... I will give it to a good smith.... I hear the guy at the local Gander MTN isnt too bad...(Hobart, IN). I'll have him dovetail my slide for new sights while he's at it.... I need to save up.....This darn gun addiction is EXPENSIVE! Better than fly fishing, but not by much!

Billy
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  #25  
Old 12-31-2006, 08:59 AM
MSgt Dotson MSgt Dotson is offline
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Looks as if Ed Brown himself had fitted it on his personally owned pistol!

I.E.,...Nice work!
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