Category Archives: Firearms Building and Gunsmithing

How to build and/or gunsmith on certain platforms.

How to do Home Manganese Parkerizing

The Following is a Basic Do-it-yourself Manganese Parkerizing Formula

A couple of friends online, Elkaholic and Ding, got me interested in parkerizing years ago and gave me a home brew formula and process steps they use.  I have been tuning that formula for a few years and thought I would share it as I use it both for blades and firearms.  It works great as either the base for a top finish, such as Molyresin or as a finish all by itself.  You may be wondering “why not just buy a premade formula such as the great parkerizing solution from Brownell’s” – the short answer is because tinkering can be fun and more rewarding.  I like to experiment and try different things.   So, with that said, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

– 2 gallons of distilled water  (it gives more consistent results because impurities have been removed – sold at supermarkets and drug stores)
2 “biscuits” of clean plain 0000 steel wool (thinner steel wool dissolves faster hence the use of 0000 grade)
– 1 cup of Klean Strip brand Phosphoric Prep & Etch (or other phosphoric acid etching solution around 35-45% concentrate per the Prep & Etch MSDS sheet. Dilute the acid if higher. For example, if 100% pure then go 60 water:40 acid – you can always experiment with the ratio that works for you)
6 rounded tablespoons of manganese dioxide (available at pottery supply stores, Amazon or eBay)

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Do this outside – never in your house or shop (unless you have a great vent hood).  If you do it indoors, you will likely make stuff rust fast!

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As you can see, I use a camp stove.  For the first couple of years I just used a Coleman stove but that was always a balancing act with my 48″ long stainless pakerizing tank that I used for barreled actions.  I found the above great Camp Chef stove at Amazon and it is fantastic but any heat source will work. I like propane because its portable and not electric (to avoid any chance of electric shock) and there are tons of propane camp stoves on Amazon.

Also, be sure to use stainless steel for your tanks.  I watch for sales or buy stuff off eBay.  The big cooker above is from Walmart and the rectangular pan shown below is from Amazon and is normally the water pan for buffet lines.

For tongs to move stuff around, use solid stainless.  I tried the plastic ones and they can leave a plastic residue on blasted surfaces and mess up your finish.

Just like baking, if you want more of the solution, take the recipe and multiply it by two, four or however many multiples you want. Just be sure you have a place to store it when done.  I use 5 gallon jugs and label them.

Steps to Follow

  1. Add acid to water in a stainless pan/pot and heat to 190F – don’t boil and waste it.  I use a baking thermometer clipped to the side of the pan.
  2. Spray each wool biscuit with brake cleaner to remove oils and allow each time to dry
  3. As the solution warms shred the steel wool into the liquid and add the manganese dioxide
  4. Let the mix simmer and dissolve the steel wool before adding parts
  5. I always blast my parts before I parkerize them – I’ve heard guys tell about using a wire brush on a buffer or drill press as well but I’ve not tried that.  Blasting removes the oxides and exposes the bare steel.
  6. Make sure your parts are very, very clean and degreased — only handle with rubber gloves after they are cleaned or oils from your skin can mess things up
  7. You can suspend your parts in the liquid with stainless wire.  Leave them until the fizzing stops or about 30-40 minutes.  The time varies.
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  8. Rinse the parts with boiling water thoroughly to remove the acid.
  9. Spray parts with WD40 to get the water away from the steel
  10. Wipe down with oil or apply whatever secondary finish you want – don’t do both 🙂  If you are going to apply a finish on top of the parkerized surface, use acetone or brake cleaner to remove any oils and then follow their instructions.

At the bottom of the post are links to Amazon products including long parkerizing tanks.

Cleaning Up

When you are done, let your mixture cool and strain the liquid through a coffee filter into a plastic can for future use. I use a blue kerosene 5 gallon container because it is a different color from all my other 5 gallon containers plus I label it.  Point being, you do not want to get confused and pour this stuff in when you meant to use a fuel, etc.

The precipitate, the stuff on the bottom, should be scooped onto a shallow pan, allowed to dry and be disposed of as a hazardous waste.  For example, where ever your community collects old paints, batteries, etc.

Brownells Has Great Parkerizing Solutions and Kits

Brownells sells very well regarded ready-to-use formulations. I have no hesitation at all to recommend the below items to you – they are top notch.

  • Click here for their manganese parkerization supplies. Their formula meets Mil Spec STD171
  • Click here for their zinc parkerization supplies
  • If you have a lot small parts you want to park, they have a bench top kit ready to go that you can buy – click here
  • Click here for their complete parkerizing tank system. This is a complete system for gunsmiths or others who need to park everything from small parts and pistols up to firearms and swords.

In Summary

I hope this helps you out. I’ve used the above many times and the results are solid.

Updated 2/13/24 with new sources and fixed some grammar issues.


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.



The Best Reference Book On Uzis

I recently wrapped up building a semi-auto Israeli Uzi in 9mm.  At the start, I researched about this iconic submachine gun and guys kept mentioning that I should get the book “The Uzi Submachine Gun Examined” by David Gaboury.  I ordered a copy from Amazon and must say I was very impressed. [Click here for Amazon’s page for the book].

Mr. Gaboury does an exceptional job giving the reader the historical context of what was going on in Israel with its fight for independence, the plethora of firearms they were using and then search for a new submachine gun.  Of course, this culminated in the creation and evolution of the Uzi design by Uzi Gal.

From there he covers the evolution of the weapon with the Mini Uzi, the Uzi Carbine, Uzi Pistol/Micro Uzi, Ruger MP9 and the Uzi Pro.  The book was published in 2017 and its coverage is very current.

One thing I did not know was how widespread the adoption of the Uzi was and Mr. Gaboury provides coverage of its use in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, China and other countries.

He then covers a number of other topics in the book that I’ll skip for the sake of brevity.  For me, the last section of the book was very, very helpful where he provides significant detail on the weapon including:

  • Operation, Disassembly and Specifications
  • Parts Identification
  • Magazines
  • Accessories

Being new to Uzis, his coverage of the firing cycle, fire control group and how it all comes together in the grip frame (what some call the “grip stick”) was worth the price of the book all by itself.  For me, it was really the history and this last section the detailing of the operation and assembly that were hugely worthwhile.  I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about the iconic Uzi.

Click here for the order page on Amazon to learn more and/or order the book. It has 68 ratings and is 4.8 starts – it’s very good!

Also, click here for a page that links to all of my Uzi posts for easier naviation.


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.



Need a compact hand stop for a Picatinny rail? Check out the Arisaka HS-P

When I built our a pistol with recoil, I worry about my hand slipping off the handguard and going in front of the muzzle. I recently bought a Stribog 10mm and that was running through my mind – so I started digging for hand stops that could mount on a picatinny rail.

I should point out I don’t like angled fore grips (AFGs) or anything that incorporates that design aspect. I like the bottom of the handguard to be flat. I also like hand stops that are small from an aesthetics perspective plus I don’t want the ATF, or whomever, arguing that I actually have a vertical grip which is illegal on a pistol.

I ran across an ad for Arisaka Defense’s HS-P handstop. It mounts on rail though I couldn’t quite figure out how from the website photos. Because I’ve had good luck with Arisaka products in the past, I gambled and ordered one. Guess what? I really like it and figured a quick post might be of interest to others.

So the HS-P is CNC machined from 6061-T651 aluminum and MIL-A-8625 Type III hard coat anodized.
The secret sauce that makes this so cool is that grey aluminum recoil lug. There is a screw attached that you can’t see that raises or lowers it into whatever Picatinny rail slot you want locking it in place. Simple and slick!
The front has slots cut into it. I suppose that could help if you want to use it on a barrier.
On the bottom is the hole for the screw. Use a 7/64″ allen key to tighten (push the lug up) or loosen (lower the lug down). Torque is 15 in/lbs – please note that is inch/pounds and not foot/pounds.
In this photo, you can see the retracted recoil lug. I then just slid the HS-P onto the handguard’s rail to where I wanted it.
I slid the HS-P on and then used my closes allen set with a 7/64 key to raise the lug into position. I brought it up firm but not crazy tight – I didn’t have a long enough key for my torquing screw driver handy (meaning it is “temporary misplaced”) so I opted for ballpark tight. They don’t include a 7/74″ allen key by the way. It doesn’t bother me because I have a bunch. Also, often times the “free” keys that come with something aren’t very good – I’ve torn things up many times in the past trying to use marvel mystery metal included keys so I don’t do it any longer.
The HS-P is rock solid.

Summary

It you are looking for a solid small hand stop that mounts on a rail, the Arisaka HS-P is great. I have no reservations recommending it.

Yes, I actually bought this. I was not paid to write this.


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.


Study looks at how well magazine springs hold up over time in storage and with use

Have you ever wondered how well your magazines are going to hold up? I know I’ve wondered that not to mention there are tons of armchair warriors on the Internet offering up their opinion or parroting others. So, what are the facts?

On the AmmoToGo blog called “The Lodge” is a very interesting report entitled “Magazine Spring Torture Test” that reports the results of an actual study they funded. The analysis was done by Applied Technical Services and is very much worth your time to read it.

The magazines tested is quite a list:

  • Magpul Gen 2 Pmag (30 round)
  • Magpul Gen 3 Pmag (30 round)
  • Magpul Gen 3 Pmag (40 round)
  • Amend2 AR-15 Magazine (30 round)
  • Lancer AR-15 Magazine (30 round)
  • USGI AR-15 Magazine (30 round)
  • Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm Magazine (8 round)
  • ETS Glock 17 Magazine (17 round)
  • Glock 17 Factory Magazine (17 round)
  • Magpul Glock 17 Magazine (17 round)
  • Glock 17 Factory Magazine (33 round)
  • USGI 45 ACP 1911 Magazine (7 round)
  • Wilson Combat 45 ACP 1911 Magazine (8 round)

Click here to go to their site and read the report. Note, they provide a PDF where you can read about the data from all magazines tested – you definitely will want to check that out also.

Hope this helps you out – I found it very interesting. Finally results from a real study that you can review. Kudos for them to take the time and money to produce and share this!


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.


My Favorite Wood Grips Are Made By Browne Works

I sent out an email newsletter the other day with a photo of my RIA 51679 Rac Ultra in 9mm with wood grips. I also mentioned they are the only wood grips I have ever liked and was being honest. What surprised me was the number of people who emailed me asking if I had more photos and I do.

Mark Browne is the owner of Browne Works, Inc., located in Pasadena, MD, southeast of Baltimore. He has a wide variety of offerings for the Ultra and Tac Ultra both FS and MS models. He also has them for the A2 HC (like I needed) plus the BBR. The pricing is very reasonable also and he has a variety of materials you can choose from – click here for his website. If you want more info, I did a blog post about them a while back so click here for that to open in a new tab.

Otherwise, here are the new photos:

This is one of our new 10 round 9mm mags. The round count is limited by the dimples the Mec-Gar factory pressed in. The base plate is a Dawson +200 unit.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.


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.



Do you want replacement grip panels for your RIA A2 HC pistol? Check out Guuun Grips

In the first post, I told you about Stoner CNC for grips made from G10 composite, in the second I told you about a great option for wood – Browne Works and in this third post, we’ll cover a firm with a unique name and good grips.

The firm is called Guun Grips and they make custom G10 grips for bunch of pistol models and different styles of grips. You can find their offerings on their own website as well as tons of listings on eBay and Amazon. It’s my understanding that the grips are made in China and then sold in the US via Aurora, Colorado. So much is made in China these days that I’m not very surprised – it is interesting to note that when you search on them there are lots of satisfied 1911 and CZ.75 owners running their grip plates.

For the RIA A2 HC pistols, I could not find a listing on either Amazon or eBay but you can buy them directly off their store in either a black or grey color.

The grip plates are machined from G10 composite and available in either black or grey.
The back of the plates show good attention to detail. All edges are well formed and smooth.

Installation was very straight forward – unscrew the pair of grip screws and put on the new panel. I did need to do some light filing on the right side to get the G10 panels to sit flat and the holes to line up accordingly. Oddly enough, the left side went right on.

The plate does not want to sit flat or line up with the holes in the frame. These are indications that fitting is needed. It doesn’t take much filing to get them to fit.
The G10 files easily – use a dust mask as you really shouldn’t be breathing composite dust. Go slow and take your time – file, test fit and repeat until the plates sit flush.
The left two plates are the Guuun models and the right is the original RIA. You can see the slight differences in the number of divots and grooves as well as the depth of them. The Guuun grips actually feel quite good.
Once the plate is seated nicely flat on the frame the grip screws are reinstalled.
You know, I like the feel better than the original RIA plates. “Feel” is a subjective thing – but I do like the way the plate feels in my hand.
A closer view
And of the other side.

Summary

The Guuun grip plates are nicely made. To be honest, I didn’t expect them to be made very well but they are – the material, machining and finishing are all very good.

So, here’s another option for you whether you want to stick with black and have a different feel or opt for their grey color.


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.



Do you want wood replacement grip panels for your RIA A2 HC pistol? Check out Browne Works

In the last post, I told you about Stoner CNC for grips made from G10 composite and in this one, I want to tell you a great option for wood – Browne Works, Inc.

Mark Browne is the owner of Browne Works, Inc., located in Pasadena, MD, southeast of Baltimore. He is a true custom grip maker and sands and finishes them by hand with a very wide offering for pistol models including the 1911, Beretta 92, Hudson G9, Llama, SIg Sauer and, of course, the Rock Island single and double stack pistols.

For Rock Island pistols he has a wide variety of offerings for the Ultra and Tac Ultra both FS and MS models. He also has them for the A2 HC (like I needed) plus the BBR. The pricing is very reasonable also and he has a variety of materials you can choose from – click here for his website.

The wood is Brazilian Rosewood. Mark added hardener and did a double diamond pattern on it. There is a satin finish sealant on them as well. I think they look amazing – the photos don’t do them justice.
Mark can do laser engraving if you want. He does engrave his logo on the back of each panel plus it shows you the attention to detail in terms of the finishing he does.

Installation was very straight forward – unscrew the pair of grip screws and put on the new panel. I did need to do some light filing to get the wood panels to sit flat and the holes to line up accordingly.

I did need to remove some off the bottom. I used a smooth file and would take a tad off in a straight line along the bottom and test repeatedly until the panel fit nice and snug.

Now I need to insert something here that Mark did that really helped me out. The photos in this post are actually of my second set. On the rear of the grip is a tab that covers a slot. I don’t know what happened but it cracked on my original right side plate. I contacted Mark and he told me he would make a new one and add hardener and use the cool double diamond pattern and he didn’t charge me! He had no idea who I was or that I planned a blog post – I never said anything. He took care of me and that speaks a lot about him and his customer service right there.

The grips look great!
And the other plate is fitted – the screws were next on the to-do list.
These grips are really nice. I never thought I would go with wood but I am leaving these plates on my pistol.
Both in terms of looks and how they feel, these

Summary

I’m not always a wood fan but to be perfectly honest, I like these – a lot. The checkering really gives you a nice grip without biting into your hand. They are staying on the pistol!

When it comes to Browne Works for RIA A2 HC pistols – I definitely recommend them based on my experience.


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.



Do you want replacement grip panels for your RIA A2 HC pistol? Check out Stoner CNC

Because we sell customized magazines for the Rock Island A2 HC pistols – their staggered magazine pistols based on the Para design that hold 14-17 rounds depending on caliber – I am often asked if I make grip panels – the slabs that go on each side of the magazine housing. The short answer is no – I don’t make them. The next question is usually – do you know anyone who does and again, I’d answer no.

Well, if I get asked something enough eventually my curiosity perks up so I started digging. There are a couple of key things you need to know:

  • The Rock Island A2 HC pistols have very wide magazine wells so they use relative thin proprietary grip plates that are not compatible with regular 1911 pistols.
  • The bushings that are normally replaceable in a 1911 part of the A2 HC frame and can not be easily relaced. I don’t know for sure but I think they did this to keep the thickness down
  • They use unique screws – the screws are #10-32. Overall length is 0.205″ and the threaded shaft is about 0.145″. Advanced Tactical (the online retail business unit of Armscor) sells replacement screws and sometimes they pop up elsewhere. The key point is that they are not standard 1911 grip panel screws.
Here’s a good view if the integral bushings that are part of the frame. Probably to keep the overall thickness down, costs as well I bet, separate bushings were not used.

So who sells grip panels? Option 1: Stoner CNC

I found three vendors and ordered in panels for testing. I’m doing this first post on the first box I opened – no super secret selection crtieria. This first set came from Stoner CNC.

Matt Stoner is the owner of Stoner CNC located in Archbold, Ohio, and makes grip panels from G10 composite for just a ton of pistols – 1911, Kimber, Ruger, Springfield Armory, Beretta, RIA and more. I ran into one small snag – I couldn’t find any recent reviews, his Facebook page was last updated in 2019 and nobody answered emails from his website while I was searching. I kept digging and what I found out is that he also sells on eBay and on Amazon so I went ahead and ordered two sets of panels from eBay [Click here for the listing] and they arrived six days later — by the way, he also did reply to the email just before they arrived I think. My guess is that he’s like a lot of small businesses (including mine) – stretched thin trying to keep all the balls in the air – manufacturing, emails, Facebook, etc.

As of my writing this, he doesn’t have them listed on eBay or Amazon but does have the panels that you need on his website. He only offers one series of plates that he calls “Slash & Burn” under the 1911 doublestack listing on the main page. From there you can pick the color and specify what model frame the panels will go on. The RIA Short is for pistols with the factory mag well flare (the big bell bottom on the A2 HC pistols) installed and the Long model is if you have removed / don’t have the flare.

These are the “Slash & Burn” grips for double stack 1911s and they are for the RIA Short (Magwell) meaning the factory mag well flare is installed. He does offer a long cut if you do not have the magwell flare installed.
The machining of the G10 is nicely done. It seemed plenty strong from what I could tell.

Installation is very straight forward – unscrew the pair of screws and put on the new panel. I did not need to sand anything to fit. You’ll notice the holes are a little on the large side so you can move the panels a hair if you need to. If you must trim them to fit, look very carefully at the bottom at it may be hitting the flare and just need a bit of material removed. Again , mine went right on.

The far right plates are the Stoner Slash & Burn in Black. The middle plates are the originals from RIA and, of course, you can see the blue ones on the pistol.

Summary

They are well made, affordable and give you different color options. There is a little bit more of a positive feeling meaning I can feel the ridges and get more of a grip whereas the original RIA plates seem a tad smoother.

Bottom line, if you want something other than black then Stoner has you covered. If I had it to do over, I would have gotten another color for the second set other than black.

Would I recommend them – yes and I hope this 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.