Beavertails Now that you have picked the B.T. you want to put on your pistol, you must choose a fixture guide. I personally use the Krebs fixture from Brownells. It is designed to modify frames for the .250 radius only! (Fig-8). About the Krebs fixture; if you do not have access to a milling machine, this fixture is not the one for you. There are several other good alternatives, like the Ed Brown beavertail installation jig. It is designed to be bolted on your frame, and allows the excess frame material to be removed with a belt sander. Once you get the BT to drop in your frame and can install the thumb safety, you're not quite there yet. Now you should look like (Fig 1) notice there is much more material that must be removed from the frame. I usually remove the majority of this extra material with either a small half-round needle file or a chainsaw file. I also use a dremel tool with a stone attached, or sometimes a sandpaper roll. It's tedious work and takes a little skill to get it to look just right. You can see in (Fig 3) how the progress of removing excess frame material is going. For removing the material in (Fig-3), I use a dremel tool and a small round stone (1/8 diameter although you could probably also use a 1/4 stone just as easily), I then progress to a sandpaper roll. You will begin to see in (Fig 4) where I start to radius the frame to match the countours of the B.T.. It doesn't have to be done carefully, as you can see, just remove material dont worry
right now about scratching the B.T., as it will all be blended in the end. Now here is a good time to talk about your lines. As you can see in Fig 4, I rubber banded the B.T. to keep it from moving as I worked. Now also notice in Fig 5 the line where the frame meets the B.T. it should be a nice arc and it should be uniform, that is the sign of a quality job. Lets talk about the top of the B.T., you will notice that the pic. in (Fig 6) and (Fig 2) is not uniform; it doesn't quite flow. The sign of a quality job is the flowing of the B.T. to the frame it should appear the B.T. is a part of the guns frame, a extension of the frame itself. You will be able to see in (Fig 7) a nicely blended B.T. and frame. Now you will also notice that I filed the side of the frame and the side of the B.T. in (Fig 7). Most of the time either the B.T. or frame is a little wider than the other, so I attempt to make them flush. Once you are at this point, all that is left to be done is to remove the scratches from frame and beavertail. I usually use a Dremel tool and cratex bits on the rounded parts and a polishing stick with 400 grit paper for the flats. Well now you have the most difficult part done, the next part is fitting the Beavertail arm that blocks the trigger. As you can see in (Fig 9) I attempted to demonstrate how the beavertail blocks the trigger from traveling to the rear when not being depressed by your palm. The next picture (Fig10) shows the position the Beavertail is in when palm is depressing it (Trigger not pulled to rear). Now, sometimes the longest part of the B.T.arm might be too long, and hits against the back of the trigger. So, removing a little material from the B.T. arm is required. Once the beavertail is allowed to rotate in all the way, if the trigger can not be pulled to the rear, then the stairstep cut in the BT arm might not have been cut high enough. You can remove the left grip panel, and with trigger removed, attempt to depress B.T.; see if the bar will block the trigger's rearward travel, If so file to suit. All that is left to do now is refinish. One last note: many of the older Mil-spec Springfields will not have enough material in the right areas to allow a brown beavertail to be installed properly without a weld up being done first, IE might leave a cosmetic gap. Of course, this is a case by case basis and I have gotten away with doing several from time to time without a weld up. (Fig 11) is a pic of the last one I attempted to install on a Springfield; You will notice It did not go. Watch me put a Wilson on it in the Wilson BT chapter. If you have a older Springfield and are not sure go with the Wilson.
Good luck, Blindhogg
The Krebs Grip safety frame fixture is available from Brownells Phone # (641) 623-4000 and is part # 497-102-000 at a cost of $70.00. The Brown Beavertail installation jig is Part # 087-145-886 at a cost of $21.95.
BlindhoggAll rights reserved
Copyright© 2000 by Chris Williams