All posts by RoninsGrips

We're a small business made up of myself and my wife working nights and weekends to hand make items for AK and related rifles as well Nepalese khukuris! We've been in business for over four years and pride ourselves in providing quality products and exceptional customer service.

How To Convert Para P16 Magazines For Your High Capacity Rock Island 10mm Pistol

In the first post, I outlined the problem that high cap Rock Island Armory 10mm magazines (OEMP164015B) are next to impossible to find right and and shared some of the research I did. I also let the cat out of the bag that I figured out a way to successfully convert Mec-Gar Para P16 magazines (MGP164015B) for use in the RIA pistols.

Safety Comment – Use Dummy Cartridges / Snap Caps

I said this in the first post and it is so important that I want to reinforce the message – I knew I was going to need to do a ton of cycling of rounds. Using live ammo is risky because you have the very real risk of a negligent discharge. To avoid this, order yourself in a bunch of dummy cartridges. There are sellers on eBay that will sell you 10+ at time. Order yourself in 10-20 rounds. You are going to smash the crap out of them due to the heavy recoil spring a 10mm uses. I trashed at least 10-15 of them. Most were due to the bullet being smashed back into the case, one dented the case pretty bad and one deformed the case right at the mouth.

I can’t even guess how many cycles I did – especially starting out. I’m going to hazard a guess and say I averaged about three cycles per dummy before something failed on the dummy as I worked out the kinks and I would load three rounds per magazine to do the testing.

I can’t stress it enough – get dummies to tune your magazines.

Comparing the RIA and Para Mags

Per the first post, Armscor’s RIA mags are actually made my ACT-Mag. Since my pistol did not come with a mag, the seller was able to get Armscor to send me a OEM mag so I had a baseline to compare to. I definitely made sure it function tested properly before doing anything else. Never assume something works until you test it – I can’t stress that enough.

To let you see the differences, here are photos with comments in teh captions of the two mags:.

The RIA model has a plastic baseplate and the the Para model (right) has a steel base plate. Look at the top – the feed lips are much longer on the Para. The magazine locking slot is the same.
RIA on the left – see how the baseplate is stepped. This clears the big mag well funnel on the RIA pistols. The longer flat metal base plate runs right into the funnel and prevents the mag from seating. The RIA model has “40 SW Made in Italy” – the 10mm uses the same mag. Now the Para mag has more marking. On the left edge of the mag in the photo you can see “-A-” and on the right lower-edge in says “MG P16 .40-15”. The followers are a tad different and again the different length feed lips are apparent.
From left to right: Para, RIA, empty Para tube. The RIA follower is slightly different. I found that they work okay but I wasn’t sure at first.
Top is the RIA base plate and the bottom is the Para. The Para’s metal plate is too long but can easily have the front ground down to fit the mag well. The tapered top of the RIA base plate can clear the funnel. The Para’s plate is more like an immediate shelf or duck’s bill that hits the front of the funnel. The other three sides of the Para base plate are fine.

What Needed To Change?

There were two things that needed to change for sure and one maybe:

  1. The feed lips on the Para were too long thus preventing the round from pivoting up to align with the chamber. Fortunately the Para lips need to be trimmed. It would be far harder, if not impossible, to lengthen the lips if they were too short.
  2. The base plate needed to either be trimmed or replaced to fit in the mag well funnel
  3. This was the “maybe”: The followers were slightly different and I didn’t know if the original Para follower would work or not. I figured that I would address the first two points and then decide the next steps. Let’s start with the easy one – what to do with the base plate.

Changing The Base Plate

You have two options here and either one works – it’s up to you. When you remove the Para base plate you will notice that the tube of the magazine’s body rests in a cup. You can remove that front tab off just shy of the depression. I left about a 1/4″ in front. This serves to stop the plate and located it properly on the plate. Seriously – just file, sand, or otherwise cut the extra material off. I used my big 2×72 Esteem grinder to remove the extra material and round the edges.

On the left is a modified base plate and on the right is an original. I reprofiled the plate on my grinder but you could use any tool you are comfortable with. Just remove material until the magazine seats fully. The above modified plate has about a 1/4″ or a tad more of material on it. You just need to leave enough for the plate to be positioned appropriately on the magazine. Yes, the mags do drop free.

The pro of the above is that it is fast, easy and cheap to do. The con is that the bottom of the magazine sits further into the mag well than I would like. You could easily add .100-.200 of material on the bottom using somethign like Kydex or G10 and some quality epoxy or a stiff rubber with an adhesive tape. In all cases be sure to drill or punh the hole out so you can remove the plate in the future – I had that mistake many year ago and learned a lesson – it is way easier to make the hole before you install it and need to remove the baseplate!

Your second option is to buy an aftermarket base plate. I bought some plates from Dawson Precision that I really like. Their +100 plates sit flush with the mag well, the +200 extends just below/outside of the mag well and the +300 sits further yet. All three work and it comes down to preference.

Here are two Dawson extended base plates on the left. The top left is their +300 model and below it is the +200. My modified plate is in the magazine. The Dawson plates are CNC machined and fit perfectly. I like both.

Changing The Feed Lips

This step is slightly more involved than the baseplate. In this step we need to shorten the longer Para feed lips. Again, I was really happy they just needed to be shortened. I was expecting to need to change the angle but shortening them isn’t as bad as you may think.

This is where having an original RIA mag to compare to the Para mag was invaluable. I needed to remove the same amount of material from the front of both feed lips. After watching the pistol load the mag and feed dummy rounds as closely as I could, I decided to use my grinder to remove material in a straight line from the front top edge to where I wanted the new front of the feed lips to be.

Rather than measure and transcribe, I used a steel divider (compass) that was my grandfather’s. I like doing stuff like that when the occasion suits. A divider wants to spring open and a small thumbscrew allows you to adjust the gap between the two points. In the case of the feed lips, I could use it to duplicate the length of the feed lips to each new magazine I needed to cut down using the back of the feed lips as the reference point.

Adjust the divider so the points are at both ends of the RIA magazine’s feed lips. This makes it extremely easy to scribe the mark for where the feed lips will be trimmed to on the Para mags. Yeah, these dividers are old. They belonged to my grandfather, then my dad and now me. Using tools reminds me of projects with my dad and the importance of family.

I would then use a scribe with a carbide tip to etch the distance and a small steel rule served as a straight edge from which I scribed a line at an angle from the front top edge of the magazine tube back to the length I just scribed.

Two things – first you can see the line I will grind down to marked on the magazine body. Second, the scribe has a carbide tip that cuts right through the finish and makes a real easy line to see. The first scribe I tried had a hardened steel tip and it didn’t make a very clear line. The carbide tipped one bit right in and easily scored the finish. Get a carbide tipped scribe if you can. I tried varying the angle it didn’t seem to make a big difference. I tried to more closely follow the original edge of the magazine with latter magazines.

Everything above that line needed to be removed. Again, I used my big 2×72 belt sander, or “grinder” as knife makers call them. I squared my work table to the belt, used a 80 grit belt and removed the offending steel by carefully pushing my scribed line towards the belt in a parallel manner. In English, I sanded off the metal above the scribed line 😉 Any kind of sander would make short work of this but it will be way easier if it has a flat table that will enable to you feed the magazine towards the sanding belt or sanding disc in a controlled manner. I would not do it free hand – same goes with a file but I’ve also seen guys wield a pile of files to do work I only thought could be done by a mill so to each their own. By the way, take care not to overheat the lips when sanding.

This is my 2×72 Esteem grinder (belt sander) and it’s simply wicked. I bought it after my dad passed away and it whipped the extra material of the mags with speed and ease. Because the work platform is trued to the belt’s backing plate, I found I could trim the mags in one pass by putting the flat edge on the platform and feeding the magazine into the belt to remove material. I think it’s an 80-ish grit belt and it left a burred edge that definitely needed cleaning up. Note, these big grinders run cool due to the long belt and a variable speed drive that let’s me dial down the speed so I don’t burn the metal. You don’t want to hurt the heat treat so an easy gauge for novices is to not let your work piece get hotter than you can touch. You can let it air cool or have a dunk tank – just be sure to spray it with WD40 later to displace the water.

Slow down removing material as you get close to the line. Double check all of your measures and scribed lines. It is way easier to take more metal off than to remove too much.

With the coarse cut made, you need to go in and remove all of the burrs and round the sharp steel edges over. I used a specialty flap sander known as a “sanding mop” at 180 grit and then a rubber polishing cone in my Dremel.

I used a type of flap sander known as a sanding mop to do the initial deburring but you could use small files, stones, or whatever you are comfortable with. Here, I am using a rubber polishing bit to clean things up and ensure there are rounded edges on all of the newly trimmed steel.

Last, blow out the tub, wipe it out and clean the body too. You don’t want abrasive materials jamming up the magazine or the pistol. After that, reassemble the magazine and check the action of the follower and that everything seems ok.

After blowing out the tubes. I used a purpose built Arredondo HiCap Mag Brush to ensure the insides of the tubes were clean.

Las step was to function test the magazine with at least three dummy rounds. Four would be even better because you will test feed from both directions as the follower pushes the rounds up from the bottom of the magazine.

Feed Lip Measures

I measured the first few magazines I converted and they were fine so I stopped checking every mag unless I ran into a problem during function testing.

Feed LipRIA MagMGP164015BModified
Length0.482″0.599″0.436-.438″
Front Gap0.356″0.354″0.362-0.364″
Back Gap0.340″0.364″0.336-0.370″
Measures are approximates. I had one RIA mag and measured two MGP164015B mags and averaged the measures. The length was a challenge as I had to make a judgement call as to where the actual front part of the lip was at given the angle. The length was measured from the back forward. I measured three modified mags after fine tuning. Each mag was tuned until it reliably fed.

Fine Tuning

Trimming the lips gets you in the ballpark but more work needs to be done. Every magazine was deburred and had all top surfaces deburred and polished. The inside of the magazine was treated with Dupont Teflon. The feed lips were adjusted until four rounds fed reliably into my RIA 52009 10mm pistol. The final round was tested four times.

To tune the feed lips, use snap ring pliers or chandelier chain pliers to open the feed lips ever so slightly and test. In general, it does not take much. Your goal is to get the bullet pointed towards the chamber as much as possible. Go slow and test – it really does not take much to spread the lips and change the angle.

This fine tuning gets you in the ballpark – you then need to actually go to the range and shoot them to see if any final tuning is needed and then brings us up to the last topic – you need to number your mags so you can keep track of what mags are having problems so you can work on them.

Note: I purposefully fit the mags to use the supplied Mec-Gar followers that can lock the slide open. There are aftermarket Arredondo followers that are really nice and are angled to point the round more at the chamber. The downside is that they don’t lock the slide open – while a person in competition doesn’t need that, I do like to know when I fired the last round.

Number Your Mags

A lot of feeding problems are actually caused by the magazine – notably the feed angle and that is controlled by the feed lips and the follower. The feed lips can get bent when they are dropped, sat on, or whatever. The follower is plastic and will wear over time – not fast, but it will wear.

You need to put a unique number on each magazine so you can track the ones that are having problems and need some tweaking. I’ve seen guys use engravers, paint pins and stickers. What you use is up to you. I’m currently using waterproof stickers on my mags.

I am using waterproof stickers to track my mags. You could use an engraver or paint pen. I find that permanent markers rub off way to easy. The paint pens are a bit better. The method that holds up best is an engraver if you are good enough at it.

Conclusion

I now have my original RIA magazines and a nice back up selection of mags for hunting, going to the range, bear protection, etc. How did they turn out? So far, so good at the bench. I expect most will do really well at the range as well and I am waiting for a chance to go.

Left is the original RIA mag, in the middle is a converted mag with a Dawson +200 base plate and the mag on the right is also a converted unit but with a +300 base plate.
This is the mag well on the high cap pistols. It’s big and I really like it but it really does mean that you need to have a longer baseplate and just a piece of metal like the Para P16 originally had. You can make your own by adding something to the Para plate or buy an extended plate such as the ones from Dawson Precision that I use.
Pistol with the original RIA mag fully inserted. It is almost flush with the bottom of the mag well.
This is the +200 Dawson base plate. It stick out far enough that I can firmly seat / smack / beat the mag into place if I need to. Not much to grab onto though but all of the mags easily drop free – at least during bench testing they do.
The .300 base plat stick out a tad further. Dawson’s number is the length in tenths of an inch – 0.100, 0.200 and 0.300. I ordered some 0.100 plates but they haven’t arrived yet. They will likely be very close to the polymer plate that RIA has on their mags.

I figure there must be guys like me who have one of the RIA high cap .40 or 10mm pistols who want spare mags and hope this will help them out.

After I worked out the process, I converted a bunch of mags for use on the RIA 10mm pistols. You can order one (or more) by clicking here. Not to mention they are way cheaper than the GunBroker listings.

4/1/2021 Update: Added dimensions for the modified mags and info on fine tuning.

3/22/2021 Update: I took them to the range and they worked great with both Ammo Inc 180gr TMC ammo and a variety of Underwood HPs.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


PSA Has 10mm Range and Hollow Point Ammo In Stock!

FYI: Palmetto State Armory (PSA) has a fair amount of 10mm ammo in stock. The Ammo Inc brand 1q0mm ammo is getting good reviews. Click here or on the photo.

Are You Having A Hard Time Finding OEMP164015B Rock Island 10mm Pistol Magazines?

Ok, so I wanted to get back into the high capacity 10mm 1911 game. Generically, these are often referred to as 2011 pistols. The first maker I know who used that label was STI back when they offered both 1911 single-stack and 2011 pistols. At some point, the Philippine firearms company Armscor entered the fray with higher capacity Rock Island Armor (RIA) models based on the Para design. Notice how I say “based on” because not everything interchanges. So with a bit of history, let’s skip forward to my 52009 pistol. It’s a nice solidly made pistol and you can usually say that for their pistols. However, I ran into a snag – there are no spare magazines anywhere in the US. I kid you not.

Folks, I seriously scoured the WWW for the magazine the high-cap RIA 10mms use – the OEMP164015B. Nobody has them – not even the Armscor parts website or Gunbroker.

4/3/21 Update: Some OEMP164015B mags just showed up on GunBroker from one seller with three listings. One is an auction for 3 mags with a buy it now price for $244 (just over 80 bucks a mag), one is for two mags at $170 (so $85/mag) and the other listing is for a single mag for $90. This is the first time I have seen any for sale in the 4-5 weeks I have been searching.

Back when I had my 52000 Rock Ultra, you could get aftermarket ACT magazines that worked great and I bought a bunch. Unfortunately, when I sold my Rock Ultra, I sold the magazines and to make matters worse, Greg Colte was out of stock on those as well. I literally visited probably 25-50 vendor web pages that were all out of stock. Argh!

Time to Research

I had the 52009 pistol inbound from Reed Sports – great group by the way, the threat of new gun control regulations and wanting more than one mag all were pushing me to find an alternative source of magazines. I read tons of forum posts, had to sort through a lot of useless data and came away with some important nuggets:

  1. The RIA pistols are based on the Para design so if you own one of the following 10mm models, read on:
    • 51994 TAC Ultra MS 10mm
    • 51914 TAC Ultra FS 10mm
    • 56862 TAC Ultra Threaded 10mm
    • 52000 PRO Match Ultra 6″ HC 10mm
    • 52009 Rock Ultra FS HC 10mm
  2. All RIA high capacity 10mm (and .40 S&W) pistols use the same magazines
  3. ACT-Mag makes the OEMP164015B magazines for RIA (The ACT-Mag USA site links to the RIA-related Advanced Tactical site for that mag.
  4. Mec-Gar, another magazine manufacturer, sells aftermarket Para P16 Magazines that are for both the .40 & 10mm – MGP164015B
  5. It seems like there were some older P16 magazines from Mec-Gar that had some problems and guys posting in blogs mentioned to look for the newer ones that are made in Italy.
  6. The Para P16 Mec-Gar magazine MGP164015B is not the same as the RIA OEMP164015B made by ACT-Mag — but boy is that numbering similar. It made me wonder about the design relationship – what changed?
  7. There were some very vague comments of guys modifying the P16 magazine to work in their RIA pistol.

My conclusion after a ton of reading: I was betting the P16 design was close to what I needed and hopefully I could make it work with some tinkering. It was time to order in some of the Mec-Gar P16 magazines and see just what the differences were.

The good news – there were a number of website with Mec-Gar MGP164015B Para P16 magazines in stock. I went ahead and ordered in some from Numrich Arms to do my experimenting.

Keep reading – it takes modification to get the mags to work. The P16 mags will not work in a RIA high cap without some changes. You can read to the bottom of this post or jump to the post with the modifications by clicking here.

Small Delays

The pandemic, winter weather and gun regulation fears have all created a bizarre environment to operate in these days. For me and Ronin’s Grips, we’ve been crazy busy for a number of months and that is why you haven’t seen me post much – I haven’t had the time to tinker or write!

In terms of this project, Winter weather in Memphis screwed up all FedEx over night shipments for almost two weeks. Then when the pistol arrived, there was no magazine in the case. I found Armscor to be completely unresponsive for whatever reason whereas Reed Sports got a hold of their new Armscor rep and were able to get me one magazine. Kudos to Reed Sportsthey are a big seller on Gunbroker in addition to their own stores – I would do business with them again and certainly recommend them as well.

Numrich was fast to ship – I had their mags even before the pistol arrived. I did try one out of the box and it absolutely would not feed. The bullet wasn’t remotely pointing at the chamber if would smash into the feed ramp or shoot up at a 45 degree angle and get seriously stuck. I couldn’t do anything until the RIA OEMP164015B magazine arrived.

Finding the Para P16 Mags

They are scarce but they are out there. My normal go to vendors are sold out such as GunMagWarehouse, PSA, etc. In checking Numrich right now, they are sold out. The following are links to places that claim to have them and I don’t know any of them to be clear:

Do You Really Care About The Finish?

If you are striking out on the blued version of the magazine – MGP164015B – and don’t care about the finish, you do have another option – there is a nickel version that is identical other than the finish and its part number is MGP164015N. Note how all that changes is the last character of the part number from “B” for blue to “N” for nickel.

I don’t know about you but if I needed a spare mag and my choices were no mag or shiny nickel, I’d rather have a spare mag! You could either just live with it or refinish it. Seriously, I’d opt for anything other than just having one mag.

One other option is to get a 10 round version of the magazine. What Mec-Gar did for those was to use a press to press in dimples that prevent the follower from going down all the way. You can drill out those dimples and the magazines will then hold their full capacity.

Safety Comment

I knew I was going to need to do a ton of cycling of rounds. Using live ammo is risky because you have the very real risk of a negligent discharge. To avoid this, order yourself in a bunch of dummy cartridges. There are sellers on eBay that will sell you 10+ at time. Order yourself in 10-20 rounds. You are going to smash the crap out of them due to the heavy recoil spring a 10mm uses. I trashed at least 10-15 of them. Most were due to the bullet being smashed back into the case, one dented the case pretty bad and one deformed the case right at the mouth.

I can’t even guess how many cycles I did – especially starting out. I’m going to hazard a guess and say I averaged about three cycles per dummy before something failed on the dummy as I worked out the kinks and I would load three rounds per magazine to do the testing.

I can’t stress it enough – get dummies to tune your magazines.

Next Post – Making the Modifications

In the next post, I’ll go through the details and what you need to do to modify the Para P16 mags to work – yeah, I let that surprise out. They do work but you need to alter them. Click here for the next post.

By the way, if you go to buy the Mec-Gar Para 16 mags, make sure the vendor has them in stock or you are comfortable with how long they say you will need to wait.

After I worked out the process, I converted a bunch of mags for use on the RIA 10mm pistols. You can order one (or more) by clicking here. Not to mention they are way cheaper than the GunBroker listings.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


PSA Has 10mm Range and Hollow Point Ammo In Stock!

FYI: Palmetto State Armory (PSA) has a fair amount of 10mm ammo in stock. The Ammo Inc brand 1q0mm ammo is getting good reviews. Click here or on the photo.

Update On My Springfield Armory 10mm 6″ Pistol – Answering Some Questions

H folks – I’ve had a few questions come in about my Springfield Armory TRP Operator 10mm 6″ pistol. I answered the emails but figured a blog post might help others out so I am going to list the question and my answer to each.

Was it reliable out of the box?

The short answer is “no” and for the price you’d expect better reliability out of the box. This is my third 6″ 10mm 1911 style pistol – I had a Rock Island Big Rock (their Tac Ultra (arguably a 2011-style given the double stack magazine) and a Dan Wesson Bruin. Only the Bruin was flawless in terms of operation out of the box. I wish I hadn’t sold it actually.

I am to the point in life where I trust nothing out of the box and have found that ammo, lubrication, magazines, and design factors all can impact reliability. The TRP Operator had issues until I sent it back to Springfield Armory for repair – the slide was randomly locking open so they replaced that and I also noticed the magazine release button was far stiffer. I’d heard that they go over the pistols carefully when they go back for repair and I guess they do. I lubricated it carefully, took it to the range and only then did it run without any surprises. It does run very well now.

At any rate, I learned from my friend Scott Igert what I needed to do to improve chambering for the Big Rock and wrote a blog post about it. I did the same to the TRP and it did solve the chambering problem. I did a blog post on that too.

It does beg the question why did I need to do this in the first place – the TRP wasn’t reliable with any model of mag I had or any type of ammo including FMJ. What it tells me is that they really didn’t put a lot of care into assembly. It also reinforces that you should never trust a pistol out of the box for something critical – hunting or defense – ever.

Note, I am to the point where I also immediately replace the mags of 1911s which leads us to the next point.

What magazines do you run?

I’ve had so many feed problems caused by 1911 magazines over the years that I always replace the mags that come with the pistol with Wilsons or Tripp Research Cobras. I did not have magazine related problems with the 8 round magazines.

I did write up a blog post if you are interested.

What ammo works best and worst?

Guys ask this quite a bit. My go-to ammo maker for 10mm is Underwood. They have a number of offerings and a great reputation. So, I have a number of HP and hard cast rounds from them and they all work just fine. For range ammo, I use 180gr S&B FMJ and it all works fine,

I simply can’t afford to buy a ton of brands and types of ammo to test – the above is just my experience.

Does it use a barrel bushing like a traditional 1911?

In short, no it does not. A match bull barrel is fitted to the slide.

There is no barrel bushing like a traditional 1911 uses. The bull barrel fits directly into the slide. The three piece operating rod and free spring make re-assembly a challenge at first but you get used to it after a while.

Does it use a captured recoil spring?

No, it uses a unique setup of a rod, spring and end cap (see the above photo) that fit together but are not held together in any way. I’ve not seen this setup before and while it makes re-assembly a different experience, it does work and I am used to it now. I would gladly have replaced it with a captured model but I was unable to find anyone who makes one for the 6″ TRP.

Is the 6″ model worth it vs the 5″ model?

I’m to the point that a 6″ pistol really is for hunting and I’d prefer shorter for easier carrying. The weight and balance of a 6″ 1911-style pistol, including the TRP, really soaks up the recoil of the 10mm and makes it easy to shoot – even heavy loads. I really like the 10mm cartridge and think I will get either a 4.25″ or 5″ 1911 model in the future. I may just get a Rock Island and plan on tuning it up out of the box – they are good base pistols in my honest opinion.

I do have a custom shoulder holster from Tucker Custom Gunleather that is a work of art but your’s truly who stands 5′ 8″ is maybe 2-3″ too short to pull it off comfortably. I’d go with a 5″ or even a commander next time if I wanted it for EDC. I have a Blackhawk Spec Ops chest holster that works great for the TRP for field use.

Why did you replace the grips?

The short answer is that I have carpal tunnel and rubber grips are way easier on my hands.

I find Hogue wrap around grips really help my hands.

Do you like your TRP Operator and would you recommend it?

This is a weird question for me to answer. The reliability sucked out of the box and really disappointed me – especially given the cost. It runs great now though and I think I am to the point that I trust it. I only have maybe 100 rounds through it since it came back from Springfield Armory to fix the random slide locking open issue and want to get 100-200 more through it before I decide for sure.

After I did my tuning and SA did the slide lock repair, the pistol ran great. It also needed lubrication when it came back from repair but during the last range trip it worked great with all the magazines I bought and types of ammo including FMJ and HPs.

I will say that Springfield Armory’s customer service was good but the repair turnaround was slow due to all of the pandemic buying – I sent it in for repair in late June or early July and got it back in about six weeks. No telling how long it would be now if someone needed to send in their pistol. I always have a “can I trust this now” thing going on in my head when a pistol comes back from repair.

So I am thinking as I write this. I guess I would say the TRP Operator is a decent pistol but it does not wow me – especially for the cost and what I needed to do. If you buy one, I would absolutely recommend you test the hell out of it before relying on it. That’s a recommendation I would make regardless of weapon to be fair. In conclusion, I do think it is reliable now and may very well keep it – we’ll see how it performs over time.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Pandora’s Box Is Open: 3D Printing Of Firearms

You may be thinking I am kind of late to the game with a post about the 3D printing of firearms but you’d be a bit wrong yourself. This domain is alive and exploding with designs that range from almost entirely 3D printed to sophisticated hybrid designs where some parts are printed and some key parts are leveraged from off the shelf suppliers such as Glock slide assemblies and AR uppers.

Just look at these examples:

This is a rendering of the FMDA DD17 Glock 17 compatible frame STL file.
This is a rendering of the FMDA DD19 Glock 19 compatible frame v1.2 STL file.
This is a rendering of the Mac Daddy frame STL file.
The authors of the Mac Daddy project provide the above photo in their Zip file as an example of the finished weapon. Note, this is not mine – I don’t even own a 3D printer!

There are just tons and tons of designs – AR receivers, AK receivers, vz Scorpion receivers, modern polymer pistol lowers … the list goes on and on.

It’s interesting to look at this vibrant community as a one step removed observer. I am intrigued by the innovation and the designs but I also have zero time to learn 3D printing at this point. Between my day job, Ronin’s Grips, family and the need to sleep at least a few hours every night, there is no free time. My wife also made it clear to me in no uncertain terms that I am not to buy a 3D printer — which really doesn’t phase me because I have no time as I mentioned.

The reason I wanted to take a moment and write this post is so that those of you who are curious can dig into the many how-to guides and access the tons of designs that are accessible at this time. It’s hard to say what way the winds of regulation will blow in the United States or a given state for that matter. In some countries, even the possession of these 3D design files would get you in huge trouble.

With that said, the following links are provided for educational purposes only. Please understand the laws and regulations in your area before you download anything or try to build a weapon. You assume all liability.

Getting Started

The first place you will want to visit is CTRL+Pew. They also have their own getting started guide online that you will want to read plus links to other guides and tutorials.

Where to find the files?

In addition to CTRL+Pew mentioned above, there are tons of download links where people are sharing/replicating a huge “Print2a” repository plus have photos and links to individual designs:

Don’t ask me questions!!

Honestly folks, I am not kidding. I find this topic fascinating from an engineering perspective but I have no plans to get into it. Consider this blog post as an introduction and you will need to take it from here.

For all the authors cranking out these amazing designs – rock on! I seriously enjoy seeing them.

Lastly, why did I mention Pandora’s Box in the title? Because I highly doubt the proponents of gun control will ever be able to close the box again.


Again, the above links and information is provided for educational purposes only. Please understand the laws and regulations in your area before you download anything or try to build anything. You assume all liability.

All renderings and the photos of the Mac Daddy are from files that claim to be in the public domain. I do not own them.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


NOCO Boost Jump Starter Batteries for Cars and Trucks Are Totally Worth It

So I went out to move my wife’s 2000 Camry with a V6 engine. It had been sitting for about a month, it was about 20 degrees outside and, of course, the battery had discharged enough that it wouldn’t turn the car over – I could hear the solenoid click and the starter would just begin to crank and then stop. Great…..

In the old days, I would have wheeled my truck or tractor over with jumper cables, given the battery a bit of a charge and the started the car. Starting some years back, I started using various battery backs with jumper cables – man do they come in handy.

I’ll tell you though, I had a bad experience with four DB Power 1200 battery packs. I wrote about them back in February 2019 and it’s interesting that I can see people searching my blog 2-4 times per month about why their DB Power pack will no longer work. Don’t buy one is all I can tell you.

What was my go-to unit with my wife’s car and in general now? A Noco Genius Boost GB40 1000 amp starter. I’ve used it to start our lawn tractor, my 1996 Land Cruiser, her car once or twice — it’s reliable and it works. I fished it out of another car where it had sat for a month in the cold and it started her car no problem.

This is my GB40 jump starter – I bought it and a storage case to protect it when bouncing around in our vehicles. It has never failed me. I do get it out before a long trip and charge it just to be safe but it’s never empty and it has always worked when I needed it.

I bought the GB40, a storage case and the combination is always with us when we go on trips. They certainly make other models as well so you can pick the combination of size and price that works for you. For our regular cars and trucks – the GB40 has worked just fine. I definitely recommend the Noco products.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Recharging The R134A Refrigerant In A Glacer Bay VWD5446BLS-2 Water Cooler

Years ago we invested in a water filter unit that sits on top of a regular water cooler. This lets us have clean good tasting cold water – at least it did until about a year ago. My wife was the first to notice that the water wasn’t getting as cold and finally it got to the point where it was only just a tad cool first thing in the morning. Because this thing was older, my first thought was that it was low on refrigerant because we’d had this happen before with old fridges.

Refrigeration systems are sealed but over time the seals age and slowly the refrigerant leaks out. At some point, there isn’t enough left to effectively cool whatever it is in questions – a fridge, freezer or a water cooler.

So, step one was to pull the cooler out and look at the manufacturer’s sticker on the back. Glacier Bay is a Home Depot house brand – no surprise there. The refrigerant used was R134A – definitely needed to know that, which was nice because I keep R134A around for use on cars. The sticker also told me the unit was made back in September of 2014 — yeah, this thing was just over six years old and we bought it new way back when.

This is the manufacturer’s sticker off the back of the unit.

Note: If you need R134A refrigerant, go to your local discount car parts store. Odds are you can get a can cheaper there than mail ordering one.

Now there’s one thing I have learned – do some research on things that need to be repaired before you make the wrong assumptions and really screw things up. Boy, I’m glad I did that in this case because these small refrigeration units work at way, way lower pressures than a car or truck.

Watch this great video

What helped me out the most was an amazing video that a fellow put together about how to recharge small fridges. It was exactly what I needed to know and I only made a few small adjustments to his recommendations:

What I did

The first thing I had to figure out was how to get to the low pressure line to attach the bullet valve. While you may think to come at it from the back, which was my first thought, it will be a nightmare. It turns out that you remove the water tray by pulling it straight out and you are then looking at the one screw you need to remove to then pull off the front lower cover – voila – you are looking right at the lines.

Pull the water drip tray straight out and you will see that single philips screw in the middle. Remove it and then the front metal cover pulls off. You are then looking right at the low pressure line – it will be the one that is cool and/or wrapped in insulation.

I got my bullet valves off Amazon and you definitely need to back off the valve or it will pierce the line when you clamp it on. The gentleman mentions it in the video and I just want to reinforce you better make sure it is backed off.

This is the way the tap looks when I first disassembled it for installation. You can see the hardened steel point is extended. If you don’t first use the supplied hex wrench to back the valve out, this point will pierce your copper line while you are trying to install the valve and you don’t want that.
Seriously, this is a wickedly simple elegant valve. Everything you need to tap into the line is there with the exception of using sand paper or a brillo pad to clean any oxidation off the copper line where the piercing tap and the green rubber o-ring seal will go.

The line you need to attach the valve to has the insulation on it. I slid the insulation out the way, installed the valve assembly so it was just barely snug and then did the final positioning so I had easy access to the valve hex screw and could also attach the refrigerant line.

I moved the valve around until I found a good spot for it where I would have easy access to the valve screw where the hex head wrench is in the photo and also be able to easily get to the refrigerant line. Make sure your copper line is clean. I’d recommend using very fine sandpaper to make sure there’s no oxidation that will interfere with the seal.

The compressor was drawing a vacuum and it appeared to be working and holding the vacuum so I did not use a vaccum pump to draw down the whole system. For me, this worked.

The fellow mentioned these things run at 1-3 PSI on the suction side so I opted to slowly fill it until it was at 2 PSI. Note, I did purge my manifold line before I opened the valve so as to get rid of any air first.

Now when I say slowly fill, I would add a bit with the cooler’s compressor running and then wait a few minutes to see what happened. I did this over and over for almost 30 minutes until the pressure gauge read 2 PSI. Don’t try to do it all in one step.

This is the Master Cool model 66661 air conditioning manifold gauge set that I use on cars and the low-pressure blue side started with a low enough marked increments on pressure and vacuum to work. You can definitely use what the fellow has in the video – I just used what I had. The red hose was not needed in this case.
The blue gauge shows vacuum in inches of mercury (In Hg) colored green down in the lower left and then it switches to pressure in PSI in black above the 0. Again, you just need 1-3 PSI and I stopped at 2.
The cooler is working great once again and it’ll be easy to add refrigerant again if needed.

In conclusion

It’s been two weeks and the water cooler is still working just great. I have a spare bullet valve should I need it but other than those, since I already had the gauge set and the R134A, the repair didn’t cost me anything. Even if I had gone with complete repair kit, it would have been cheaper than having a repair person visit.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Running Your Garage or Shop Oil Lubricated Air Compressor in Cold Weather – below 32F

A fellow asked me the other day how I can run my shop Ingersoll Rand (IR) 2340 compressor, which is an oil lubricated 60-gallon compressor, in the winter in my unheated shop. The reason he asked is that as the compressor gets colder and colder, the oil gets thicker and thicker. The end result is that many compressors will not even start below 32F (0C) – the motor tries to spin the air pump, there’s too much resistance, the motor draws too many watts and trips the breaker… or burns out the electric motor. Because of this, many air compressor companies will tell you not to run your compressor when it’s below freezing. I’m going to tell you what I do and you can decide what works for you.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I just said that last part and it’s because I will not be liable for any problems you may have. I’m going to tell you what I do, or have done, and then you need to do some research, conduct some tests and decide what works for you.

Run synthetic oil – not conventional oil

The first thing I will tell you is to run a good synthetic compressor oil and not the basic Petroleum 30 weight oil that probably came with your compressor. I use Ingersoll Rand’s All Season Select Lubricant because I bought it in bulk a few years back. It’s pretty good but you do have other options as well. Note, it does need a crank case heater to not trip the 30A breaker my 2340 is connected to when it gets really cold (down in the teens or lower).

Another option is moving to the thinner 10W30 Mobil 1 Full Synthetic engine oil in your compressor. I did this some years back with a Husky compressor that I eventually replaced with the bigger IR unit I have today. Some guys go even thinner to 5W30 but I have a hard time recommending really thin stuff like 0W-whatever but there are definitely guys out there who do it on smaller compressors – I’m just saying that I would not do so personally. Note, we are talking about full synthetic oils here and not regular engine oil.

Regularly change your oil

If you have never changed your oil or don’t follow the maintenance schedule of your compressor and oil combination, you really need to. Contaminants and what have you can make it harder for the motor to turn the pump over – even in good weather let alone cold weather.

Run heating pads on your pump

A trick I learned some years ago for stationary compressors is to put one or two of the small oil pan heaters on the pump alongside the oil reservoir. I run one Kat’s 24025 25 watt heating elements that measure 1×5″ on each side of my pump. No more tripped breakers for me.

This is a Kat’s 1×5 25 watt heating pad. It has an adhesive backing to help position it. Clean the pump off first with brake cleaner so it will stick. I then add aluminum HVAC tape on top to hold it in place. There’s another one on the opposite side.
It has two layers of 3M 3350 HVAC tape on top to hold it in place and help distribute the heat into the crankcase. I’ve used a number of these aluminum tapes over the years and the 3M seems pretty reliable as long as the surface is clean,

Be sure to keep your tank drained

Condensation is more of a problem in the winter. The relatively warm moist air can condense on the walls of your tank and then go through your air lines causing your tools to freeze up. It usually happens when the weather really sucks and you need the tools the worst.

Start With No Load

One trick to try in a bind is to start with little to no load. In other words, empty the tank so the motor isn’t fighting both thicker cold lubricant and pressure in the line as well.

The thought process is that your bleed off valve that empties the line from the pump to the tank and to the pressure switch might be frozen up from moisture or bad/failing. For example, the switch on my IR 2340LF-V is a real cheaply made POS – I’m miffed about the quality and am not going to mince words about it. I’ve replaced it once already and as of this writing it’s starting to fail again about a year later after the last time and I already have a replacement on hand.

Also, one trick I learned from an old timer is to add more line or a reservoir between the pump and the tank so the motor can get a running start before it encounters resistance. Here’s a post I did some time back about that.

Conclusion

You definitely can run an oil lubricated compressor in the cold weather. It just takes a little planning and preparation is all. It’s my hope that the above gives you some food for thought and you can then research what will work best for you. You’ll notice that if you do some Googling around, you’re in good company with a ton of other folks trying to figure out what to do as well.

I hope this post helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.