21 January 2007

Arts and Crafts

I have an old Argentine .45. It's not technically a 1911 - the design is a little different. It's one of several foreign knock-offs of the famous design. Mine happens to be a Ballester Molina. It's got the Argentine Army markings, and was made in the 40s.

I like it. It's old and it rattles, and it absolutely refuses to feed anything but FMJ. And the sights are traditional GI-style (that is, miniscule). That said, it's stone-cold reliable with FMJ, and it hits where I point it.

My pistol's problem? Rust. The instant we moved to Florida, it started sucking up surface rust. It happens here, what with the humidity, but this particular pistol was impervious to all attempts to rust-proof it. I assume that was related to its age and rough life - any vestige of protective covering (bluing, etc) was loooooong gone.

Rust on firearms makes Baby Jesus cry.

So, not being afraid to charge blindly into the unknown, I ordered a couple of cans of Aluma-Hyde II from Brownell's. I disassembled my pistol well beyond the point I'd ever gone. I stripped EVERYTHING.

I stuck the pieces that were getting painted in the oven to heat them (as suggested with Aluma Hyde). I shook the bejeesus out of the cans. Then I sprayed.

Well, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. One side of the slide has some texture to it. It's not bad at all, but I do notice. If it bothers me as time goes on, I'll strip the slide and do it again. You can also see on the forward portion of the dustcover where I whacked it before it was entirely cured. Doh!

I haven't taken it to the range since the paint job, but I think I'll do that this week. If this coating holds up well, I'll be very pleased with it.

Primary lesson learned: Plug all pin holes. Even if your gat rattles, a layer of this stuff will add enough thickness to moving parts that, well, it becomes difficult to move them.

Secondary lesson learned: I can do this, but for anything other than a total beater firearm, I'll probably pay a pro in the future. Duracoat looks way better and isn't all that expensive.

But this worked for me on this occasion. Ok, one more picture!