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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Transforming a Springfield Armory Loaded 9mm into a better mousetrap

Recently I was able to come in to a Springfield Armory Stainless loaded 9mm with fixed sights.

Springfield guns normally don't appeal to me for a variety of reasons-a multitude of sharp edges, non-standard dimensions (Brazil uses the Metric system after all..) and lots of low bidder parts (ie:MIM) begging to be replaced. This gun was no exception-gritty and sharp, it exhibited zero fitting, but after a tedious extractor replacement it was reliable and accurate enough for a little home gunsmithing.

I have been digging through my parts box and have replaced most of the flash chrome plated carbon steel parts (WHY?) and just about everything else but the barrel and have come up with a pretty decent 9mm loaner or range gun.

So far I have:

Replaced the trigger, hammer, sear and disconnector with Wilson bar stock parts.


The original trigger pull was about 8 pounds. SA uses a very funky hammer/sear angle that defies home gunsmithing to get any semblance of a good trigger pull. The parts looked liked they were cooked in an easy bake oven and sprayed with silver krylon. The original trigger had lots of up and down play and an impressive amount of pre-travel.

I have also replaced the ILS housing with a Wilson 30 LPI ss mainspring housing. The ILS is a bad idea in so many ways-it uses a short mainspring which never quite feels right and you usually immediately lose the little key that unlocks the thing. Bad JuJu.

The ambi thumb safety went in the trash also. Poorly fitted, the right side would barely disengage the safety and the left side was sharp enough to clean your nails with. Sorry, I hate most ambi safetys as a rule. Replaced with a properly blended, radiused and fitted Kings cast part.

The MIM slidestop was replaced with a Greider stainless part. The slide stop is the most important pin in the gun-it is the bedrock for the barrel/slide fit. Don't use MIM here-ever.

The firing pin stop was replaced with a Wilson bulletproof square bottom and the extractor was replaced with an SVI barstock piece. It took forever to fit since it seems the extractor tunnel was a bit far away from the centerline of the breechface.

Replaced the mim, plated mag catch with a Greider unit, deburred.

Replaced the chrome plated bushing and plug with stainless parts, also from Wilson.

Replaced the chrome plated grip screws with a set of VZ Slex screws.

Replaced the Titanium firing pin with a real steel one.

Replaced all chrome plated pins with Wilson stainless pins.

Tuned the ejector to clear live rounds. Restaked the grip screw bushings and plunger tube.

Oddly, the gun feeds 100% after the extractor work. The slide and frame fit is sloppy, and the barrel is a drop-in fit that doesn't lock up like a real fitted job, but who cares, this is a beater. A range gun that will likely be loaned out to others to shoot cheap 9mm ammo in.

PS-I also have a Kimber take off .38 super barrel that fits like a glove. :)

Pics to come after I get the small parts bead blasted by Phillip at Innovative Arms. Hopefully tomorrow.

PS-Please don't add up how much all these parts cost. I might cry if you do.

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