Sunday, July 5, 2015

7 Signs an Amateur has Worked on Your Gun

I often tell people that I am not REALLY a gunsmith, I am more of a gun mechanic. I am still just a student of gunsmithing, but I am a good student. I do research and listen to advice by people who have gone before me.

After working on another gun that had been the victim of backyard engineering I decided to write this post showing 7 signs left behind by amateur gunsmiths (or gun owners).

1. Buggered Screws
The number one sign is buggered up screws. I have fixed numerous screws (see my blog post here) that were mangled by someone using the wrong screwdriver.
2. Idiot Scratch.
While I do not like the term "idiot scratch". It is the parlance for this common problem. 
Way too many 1911 pistols feature this drag line on the left side of their frame.
It is caused by the person reassembling the gun and swinging the slide release lever into place rather than pushing it straight in. The mistake is so prevalent that I believe this is a design flaw on the part of Mr. Browning.

Some enterprising fellow came up with this nifty idea, you can find them here idiotscratch.com
3. Disfigured pins.
Sometimes you find multiple mistakes made on the same gun....This S&W model 19 had a hard life and the person who worked on it before me had taken some short cuts.
They decided to take the entire gun apart to parkerize it. In doing so the used the wrong punch to remove the pins. The head of these pins should be nicely rounded, these are not. They were flattened when they were beaten into place with a flat ended punch.
4. Destroyed knurling
When removing the ejector rod from some revolvers, you need to unscrew it from the cylinder's ejector plate. Many amateurs will use a pair of pliers. The correct way is to put the knurled part in a padded vise. 
This ejector rod was from the same S&W model 19 as above, the knurling (checkering) was heinously removed from this ejector rod.
This one is a S&W model 686 that belongs to a friend.

5. Dished Holes
When polishing the surface of a gun you must be very careful not to dish out the roll marks or holes. I refinished a 1911 a while back and found someone had blued the gun before me, an amateur who used a buffer. The result was ob-longed holes.

6. Improperly installed recoil pad
Recoil pads come in two styles, grind to fit and pre-fit. The pre-fit ones are designed for factory stocks (although sometimes they don't quite line up, see my post here). The grind to fit ones require some work and if done correctly will appear to be part of the stock.
Notice how this recoil pad was not fitted, the angle on the toe doesn't match the angle of the stock and the top is not flush with the comb.
It should look more like this one (see my post here)


7. Poorly applied finishes
There are times when painting a gun with standard spray paint makes sense, and then there are times where you scratch your head and wonder WTF??...Let's hope these are air-soft guns....