Last Updated :: 7/10/2007 6:31:51 PM EDT
As most of us know, practice is the only way to improve our shooting. Handguns for me require more practice than shooting clays, knocking down silhouettes or hitting the bull at 200yds with an M1. Large caliber heavy recoiling handguns are a real test of my accuracy and consistency. Practice with such guns can be expensive, tiring, and sometimes can reinforce bad habits, such as flinching. My concealed weapon of choice is a "commander" sized 1911, Springfield Champion Stainless loaded, in .45ACP.of course.
I have found that without practice, my first shot is usually right on the bull, but continued strings of shots tend to start drifting left. I decided I needed a practice gun that would allow me to hold the gun as close to the same feel as my Springfield, but with the pleasant recoil of the .22lr, and of course the substantial savings of my ammo fund. Thus, I decided the Ruger 22/45 was the gun I needed to purchase. It's 1911 style grip and ergonomics were a perfect fit to my needs.
Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the cheap feel and looks of the plastic frame on Ruger's answer to my needs. It wasn't until I found this modification for the grip that I took the financial plunge for another .22lr handgun. This seemed to make the 22/45 more attractive, and a closer feel to the 1911. I appreciate, and stole all of my ideas for this project. Most of my information came from this website.
It is very, very well done, and helped me figure out how to do this successfully.
Here is the ugly little fella..I stole the photo from Ruger's website..
Here is a list of tools that you will need to complete this project
--Dremel tool- it's possible to do this with out one, but it will take you longer.
--Masking tape, or painter's tape
--Drill and drill bits
--Regular screw driver
--1911 grips-I selected the Slim Tech grips to match my 1911
--1911 grip bushings and screws- again, I selected a set to fit the Slim Tech grips, sold at the bottom of the page linked above. 064-110-004 Slim Tech Screws & Bushings
If you intend to paint the frame later, here is what you will also need.
--Castrol's Super Clean-found at hardware store
--Brownells Aluma-Hyde II-in a color of your choice
First off, it must be stripped down to the bare frame.
Here is the website that was very helpful to me in stripping down the 22/45.
The first thing that must be done before doing any sanding with your dremel is to tape off the area around the grip. Several layers of tape will make it more resistant to scratching. You don't want scratches all over the frame, and the plastic will scratch easily. You should punch out the Ruger red labels on the grips before you start sanding them. Someone with a bit of time might try to inset them into a new set of 1911 grips. It would probably look very cool, and give your gun a nice custom touch.
Next, I started with the dremel tool, and a rough sanding drum that came with my kit. Go slow, and take your time. Don't try to take it all off with one pass. Once you get close to being flat with the rest of the frame, the flat file comes in very handy in finishing the sanding process and leaving a nice flat area. I came back again with the dremel, to clean up any areas that didn't look even, or fit flush with the grips. Try not to scratch the rest of the frame during this work. The tape will get torn, just replace it with new tape. I found that several layers of tape helped to keep the cutting edges of the file and dremel, away from the frame. Place the grips on the frame to check for fit. You want the grips to fit flush all the way around.
Here is the grip after being sanded down to accommodate the gov size 1911 grips. Brownells Slim Tech Rosewood. Notice the taping around the frame to keep it from getting gouged or contours sanded that didn't need to be.
Now it's time to lay your grips on the frame and find the centers of your holes for the grip bushings. I used a pencil to draw a circle around the inside of the grips holes. Make sure you use the frame/grip factory groove to align the grips. The full-size grips should cover the entire groove, except a small area at the rear/bottom corner of the frame.
Once you are sure you have the holes laid out correctly, it's time to drill your holes. I always start out using a bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the bushings. The bushings screw into the frame, and you don't want them too loose. I made a slight error with my alignment and had to move the hole slightly. When I did, I had to use some 5 minute epoxy sold at the local hardware store to fill up the space and keep the bushing tight. If your bushings are loose, you might have to do something similar, but make sure the grips fit WITH THE SCREWS INSTALLED before you glue anything. The grips may fit on the bushings, but won't fit with the screws installed. Test it before you decide you are finished.
Here the grip has had the 1911 grip studs installed.
Here is what it looks like with the grips installed. Pretty good. Tons better than factory, and now it feels just like my 1911. I almost left it right here, but I saw someone else's that had painted the frame..so...if you are so inclined, here is what happens next, if not, you're done!
You will need to grind off a little of the grip below the slide release, as it makes it harder to get a grip with your thumb. The Dremel tool is a natural at this with a good wood cutting bit. My pictures don't show this alteration to the grip, as I did it after the pictures were taken.
After a good blowing off with the air hose, here it is getting degreased. My favorite new product of choice for this. It works well on cosomlined stocks too! People have warned me that it does not treat aluminum well, so be warned! After scrubbing the frame in the Super Clean, it is rinsed off with water. I wore rubber gloves to keep my finger prints off the frame before painting.
I chose Aluma-Hyde II to paint the frame. It has worked well for me in the past, and does not require cooking, which would not be real great on the plastic frame. I don't like the drying time required, but it is pretty durable after fully curing. This might take months if you use thick layers, so think long and hard before you decide to do this. Do you have the patience to let the thing sit for a month to fully cure? Each time I've used Aluma-Hyde II, it took about that long for it to cure. Once it cures it's pretty resistant to scratches, and won't come off with solvents.
I used a wire to hang the parts that I wanted painted. You can't touch them at all for quite some time, so figure out a way to hang them up. Thin layers will dry much quicker. Stay about 12 inches or so away from the part being sprayed, so you don't get any runs. Shake the can well before starting. Follow up coats are ok, but don't come back the next day and try to recoat the part. The epoxy will cause the uncured paint to bubble and crackle. It isn't pretty. Read the directions on the can.
Here I am drying the Aluma-Hyde II in the schools kiln, only at 90 degrees or so. It does not require the heat, but it will help to cure it a little faster, at least it made me feel like it was drying faster.
A close up of the frame ..
Notice that the threads of the bushings and insides of the frame are protected with paper towel that is rolled up and pushed into the frame to keep over spray from building up and altering the interior dimentions of the frame. It will also allow your screws to thread into your bushings with out a lot of profanity.
I did the sights too, along with the Weaver Rail that came with it. It should look good on the blued barrel/receiver..it did on someone elses.
22/45-$250 out the door
Slim tech Rosewood firstname.lastname@example.org with studs and screws
Aluma Hyde IIemail@example.com can
Time....do I have to include drying time. Not really sure.....couple hours to grind down the old grips.....hour or so putting in the studs........couple hours painting.....way too dang much time drying.
¬© firstname.lastname@example.org 2007