Sunday, January 22, 2012

update

I have been meaning to update for a good week or so now, but I've been working on a number of other things.I'm still having issues with replicating the magazine for the HiPoint carbines, in part because I need a better sheetmetal brake and in part because the carbine mag well hasn't much room for anything larger than the factory magazine. When I built a few magazines for the carbine, they were thicker material than factory so I could keep the feed lips thicker than factory. This will allow for more spring pressure from the drum, which is necessary for the rounds to travel up the mag tower.
I may well be limited to using only slightly thicker than factory metal for the mags, but weld in reinforcing sheetmetal in the feed lip area. That is probably the only way I can get this to work. Bending a radius in the thicker sheetmetal is tough, but it was easier to tig or mig weld together. The thinner stuff is easy to bend but sucks to weld. This will take some work and redesign, but i suppose I'll get it figured out soon. I'll buy a new brake soon enough and get this project wrapped up. One thing I found out was that when I built a mag with the correct inner dimensions and welded it to the drum, I got everything to feed great, but it would not fit in the magazine well because the thicker sheetmetal made for too large of an outer dimension. Making the mag to the correct outer dimension kept the rounds from having enough room to travel freely inside the mag.
I'll see where this leads. I know that once I have a completed mag, it will work fine, when I first started this project I had a hacked up mag on the drum and that worked fairly well save for a few small problems.
More on this as I get to it, I suppose.

Irony has a way of entering your life when you least expect it. Last year I had an old Logan model 200 lathe that I started the .50 BMG project with. It wasn't the best lathe, but it worked fairly well for what it was. I sold it via Craigslist, and then made a marathon driving trip to Dallas and back to pick up an Enco 1351 lathe. After my decision to move back to the Dallas area, I had to sell a bunch of tools, in part because I had nowhere to put any of it.
Well, a couple months ago, I was perusing Craigslist for a new lathe, and happened across a Logan 200 lathe here local to me. I picked up the lathe and started to rebuild it, including stripping and repainting the whole thing. I was pretty happy with it once I got it rebuilt, but it wasn't going to work for me long term. It just wasn't long enough to chamber barrels with, so I started looking around for a larger lathe.
I was on Ebay one day and after digging around, found an Enco model 1351 lathe identical to the one I had in west Texas. Only problem was, it was in Georgia.
Guess where I'm headed this week?
Yup, marathon drive to Georgia and back with a good buddy over a two day period to pick up a lathe.

Also, here recently I took a trip down to Cabela's in Allen, about an hour from me. I hadn't been to that store before, and I figured I'd go see what they had to offer.
I've been in the market for a decent CCW holster for my XD9, and I really liked the tuckable Comp Tac Minotaur and the Crossbreed tuckable holsters I've seen around. Well, Cabela's had the Galco King Tuk holster on their website, and also in their stores. I read some of the review online for it, and figured I'd take a look at it. I really, really wanted a Dragon Leather Works Quantum, but the lead time kinda turned me off, much like the Crossbreed and the Comp Tac. This was right down the road and at 60 bucks, it was a good deal. A quick trip later, I had a holster in hand.
Right off the bat, I am not impressed with the screws that hold the belt clips on. The heads strip out easily. A better choice would have been some torx or allen head screws. The leather is one single piece, and is noticeably a cheaper grade than the other manufacturers I looked at. Pistol retention is excellent, and once I had the cant of the pistol dialed in where I wanted it, it disappeared. It carried well, didn't sag or move. I have been wearing it constantly for the last few days, and have the leather all but broken in. For the money, it's a great holster, but just going by pictures of other brands of tuckable holsters, the King Tuk leaves a bit to be desired in the overall fit and finish comparatively. It's a good price for what it is, but I think I will still look into a Quantum, Minotaur, or Crossbreed in the future.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Still plugging along...

I'm still recuperating from the holidays and haven't had much chance to blog, so I thought I'd update those of you following me and my work.
I'm still working on the Hi Point drum assembly. The magazines I made a few weeks back didn't work too well, they were so thick that the 9mm cartridges didn't travel in the mag freely, so the whole thing would bind up and didn't feed as good as I'd hoped. I think I will make a different mag tower out of 18 gauge material so the rounds will travel a bit smoother due to increased clearance. I will also forgo pressing the radius in the front of the mag, instead I'll just square off the front of the mag like most conventional magazines. This will require filing the inside of the pistol grip on the stock, but truthfully will be much easier to build and shouldn't have a negative effect on bullet feeding.
I had a few other formed magazines made and on hand, but they apparently grew legs and walked away. I'm not happy about someone stealing an otherwise useless part, I can't see why they would. However, the parts are gone and I suppose I'll just replace them and move on.

Anyway, life is still a balancing act some days here, and although things are better than they were, it's still slow moving. I'll update again soon once I build new magazines and try them on the drum. I can't believe that MKS can build their mags so cheap and chintzy but they work so well. I've had a heck of a time replicating them, that's for sure.
More as I get to it.