Saturday, May 12, 2012

Zen and the art of Browning high power maintenance :or: Talk to your kids about font size before somebody else does....

My only 9mm (non conversion) pistol I own is a Canadian Inglis Browning high power built for the Canadian military. Recently I've had some problems with it  bulging cases and the safety gets snicked on and off at random while I am shooting and while its riding in my holster...not cool or safe. I found a weak recoil spring was why it is bulging cases, the gun was unlocking too soon and the barrel was not supporting the entire rear of the case during the firing process. A stronger recoil spring is the answer for that, specifically a 18.5lb Wolff spring. I highly recommend Wolff springs for all firearms that they can be had for. I've used them as replacements in revolvers and automatics as well as some rifle. If you can field strip the can replace the spring.

Ok, so the spring is the easy fix, the harder fix being the safety going on and off when not intending to do so. Firearm controls should be positive and smooth. The low profile safety on this gun was smooth in going on and off when I didn't need it to and it was positively a pain. Knowing I would like a slightly larger safety on the gun I looked at getting an extended safety I could fit to the gun and would have better control over. I ordered through midway a Cylinder & Slide extended BHP safety that would be required to be installed by a competent gunsmith......yeah not a drop in part. But I got lucky, installation was easy on my particular gun sear and safety engagement was good, the only problem was the ejector insert when pinned back into place caused the ejector to lift significantly to the point it was binding the new extended safety. Some fitting will be required to allow the safety to move freely. Upon closer inspection after test fitting the new safety I found the place on the shaft where the ejector was rubbing. It turned out there was a high spot on the part that would need to be removed.

Here we see the ergonomic differences offered by the C&S extended safety.

To sum everything up, certain gunsmithing projects can be fairly straight forward if you take your time and don't rush. I am not a gunsmith by profession and I am not a expert....I'm still learning and will continue to do so till the day I die...which will probably be the day I learn about how  to piss off a Cape Buffalo. With care and skill and taking the time to learn and research before starting most gunsmith tasks are fairly straight forward. Read, re-read, watch, learn, practice and improve....its how we do good work. Even though the instructions for the safety had touched on fitting it if the sear blocker did not work we ran into a issue that was not addressed in the instructions. We noted how the parts interacted and test fitted many times before removing any metal. Only taking a few strokes at a time we did the job right the first time. I could have modified the ejector plate but that was not the issue...there was nothing wrong with it and I would have been making a part fit another part that was not the correct dimensions. Go slow with a steady hand and most of the time you'll have a job you'll be proud of. Or make sure other parts cover it up....

The wear spot being marked by a yellow dot needs to be uniformed with slow even rounding strokes
with a file. The result should take off the high spot and allow proper function of the safety.

Leave the power tools to the idiots on TV....assorted small hand files will do a lot of jobs well.

The author finds this self made gunsmiths block very helpful when disassembling and assembling
handguns and parts groups for various firearms. Note space for small parts and punches.  

Finished part buffed with Dremel wire wheel to blend and clean up the  tool marks left by the file.
(SOME power tools are "ok")
Here we can kinda sorta see the issue, imagine the plate part being forced up counter clockwise causing
the shaft of the safety to bind.
Installed and properly fitted the new recoil spring and safety should bring  this firearm back into service without any further problems....and I pray I don't break an extractor...cause those are hard to find for these Mk 1* guns.

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