Monday, March 8, 2010

Minimal Grip Fitting for my Tempest

Probably the last time I shot the Tempest was during the trigger job. I bought most of a set of target grips off Ebay (cheap) for this gun and never got around to making the missing palm shelf.

Not that the shelf would be all that difficult to make--it's just a host of things. The target grips are warped and are very poorly fitted. The grips are made from bolong-eta and trying to find a piece of matching wood is rather difficult. I bought some Gaboon ebony, but it's not quite right. The color is close, but might pass the 5 foot test.

The grip halves don't fit at all on the front strap. I'm sure I could make them fit, I'm just not that excited. These are really just too much grip on the Tempest and this isn't a target gun anyway. I sent Nick a Webley Hurricane over a year ago with a complete set of match grips and I think they better fit that larger framed gun. Of course, Hurricane's aren't target guns either but they look more proportional.

So I sourced some of these finger-grooved Tempest grips. I think Beeman used to call them "combat" grips. Yeah. Lookout. They're supposed to install with a super long M3 x .5mm bolt that goes through the center bushing and tightens into a small threaded bushing that is press fit into the left grip panel. The M3 bolt was too short to engage the threaded bushing and it was pretty wimpy anyway. I elected to use M4 x .7mm socket head cap screws and thread directly into the center bushing--just like the stock plastic grips.

The counterbores are too small in the grips for the M4 cap screw heads. Used a forstner bit to open the left side up.

While the left grip fit perfectly, the right side wouldn't sit flush on the grip frame. The grips have circular wooden protrusions that mate into round recesses in the frame.

What a stupid tough way to make the grips. Here are the recesses.

Pressing the grips into the frame left shiny marks on the high spots. Used a curved carving tool to take off some material.

Test fit. Grip still isn't quite flat on the grip frame.

Another view.

Remove a fraction, test fit, repeat.

Finally flat.

The screw cup for the M3 has to come out. (By the way, the threaded fitting in the left grip panel fell right out.)

Couldn't get behind it and it's really in there tight. I hit on the idea of tapping threads into the bottom of the cup. A #8-32 was a perfect fit.

Screwed in an #8-32 bolt.

A small punch then drives the bolt and cup out.

Went very slowly and deliberately so as to not split out the wood.

Ahh--it's knurled--no wonder it was in there so tight.

The right side grip didn't quite line up with the threaded center bushing. I adjusted the through hole slightly then counter sunk for the bolt head.

I just counterbored to the bottom of the existing hole. I think the bolt is too far below the surface of the grip. This hole is very slightly ovalized to line up the grip screw with the center bushing. If the head of the bolt is closer to the surface it'll better hide the oval shaped hole.

The left side grip screw is also recessed, but not quite as deep. I'll raise this side as well and try to make them match in height.

Found an extra M4 cap screw and a bunch of small brass washers.

The washers followed with two nuts to hold everything in place. Chucked into the Taig lathe and shaved the brass washers down until they were the same diameter as the head of the M4 bolt. Easy, didn't measure a thing.

Used a carriage stop so I wouldn't run the knife into the jaws.

Wasn't gonna try for that last washer. That's jaw protection.

Spacers finished.

Done. Needed three spacers under the right side grip screw and one under the left.

Looks OK from this angle.

Not bad on the front strap either.

Just a few really small ridges where the grips come together.

It's not worth it right now, but the next time I have a small sanding drum out for another project, I'll make this seam go away.

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