Gunsmithing Q&A with Ken Brooks

kenBrooksAGI Gunsmithing Instructor and Master Gunsmith
Ken Brooks operates
 PISCO Gunsmithing in Oregon.

Members of the Gun Club of America know that Master Gunsmith Ken Brooks, one of the AGI instructors, spend hours each week answering their questions and helping them become better and more successful gunsmiths. Here are a few more of his answers to their questions.

Question 1:

Mauser 1903 Pistol 25 Cal. This pistol is in very good shape. The problem is the extractor. It is loose in the slide. It will not extract the empty shell when fired. I can make the extractor move in and out just by turning the pistol form side to side. without touching it. I need to put a bend on the extractor much like the 1911 is done. The extractor is about 2″ long and harden and very thin. I do not know if is case harden or oiled harden. I am thinking about putting it in the vise and heating the area I want to ben. Then after I get the ben I want. Then reheat it again and dip it into oil to reharden it. Is this a good call to do. I do not want to bend it cold, It is very thin. Thank you for your time again Ken.

Ken’s Answer: OK, you can probably bend that without heat. NOW WITH THAT SAID, you may want to heat it up and bend it. That has to do with your comfort level. I clamp the back end in the vice and rest my finger against the front and tap the extractor in the correct direction with my finger that is resting against the extractor as a buffer or cushion. If you decide to heat and bend, you will have to temper afterwards. Heat and bend to the shape you want. Heat to red hot and quench in oil. Carefully polish the extractor to bare white metal. (Be careful as the extractor is now brittle hard). Now you can anneal/temper the extractor. Warm it up so it turns a light blue in color and that should be the correct hardness. Ken.

Question 2:

Mossberg 500 play. I’ve got a Mossberg 500 that the action slide assembly has about 1/4″ to maybe 1/2″ twist movement from left to right when working the action. Is there anyway you can tighten the action slide assembly to remove the looseness?

Ken’s Answer: The Mossberg 500 series has a fair amount of slop or play to it. You can add material to the forearm so it rubs against the barrel and won’t allow itself to rotate as much. Be careful as the barrel is tapered and the forearm will get tighter the further toward the action it moves. Ken

Question 3:

Removing Brazed Muzzle Devices. Some folks think nothing about heating up a brazed-on brake or flash hider to remove it. Considering the 1100 – 1200 degree temperature to melt the solder, this practice would seem ill-advised. Is this, indeed safe?

Ken’s Answer: Silver braze needs to have the barrel and part heated to cherry red so the braze will flow and loosen. This ruins the temper in the barrel and is a no-no. It would have to be machined off. If it is soft soldered that is a whole different affair, they come off without temper issues. Ken.

Question 4:

Ruger .380 LCP loose breach. I have a Ruger.380 LCP with a loose breach. Have fired only 50 rounds through it and it is already showing minor sings of wear. I wanted to have my wife carry this as her concealed carry due to the size. How can I fix this? Is it worth fixing or should I go another route?

Ken’s Answer: The fix is to extend the hood or back of the barrel so it bears against the slide face so the barrel is tight back and forth when locked up. It can be fixed fairly easily. If Ruger knows what it is and will fix it under warranty go that way as its free. Ken.


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