Graduation Present

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago (which was a while ago, sorry), My son graduated from Old Dominion University last weekend.

College graduation is a big deal in our family because relatively few of us have attained it.  I’ve only completed an Associates Degree myself.  I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 grade point average, but it took me ten years to do it.

My son is not a gifted student.  He’s always had to work very hard to maintain his grades and he’s always done so.  I’m very proud of his Cum Laude honors and the effort it took for him to maintain that level of excellence while, at the same time, working full time, going to school full time and supporting his wife and child.

But I digress.  The point of this post is the project I was working on for his graduation gift.  I wanted to give him something significant and meaningful, but didn’t have a bunch of money to spend…so I decided to use something I already had as a base for the gift and just put in the time to make it special.

He had gotten his concealed handgun permit as soon as he turned 21, but has never had the money to buy a gun to carry.  I happened to have a couple of “spare” CZ-82’s which are great little guns for concealed carry and are pretty much ideal for lefties (which he inherited from me), so I decided to do a complete rehab and refinish on one and give him that for a graduation gift.

As with my carry gun, I did a detail strip, sandblasted the major parts and parkerized it, lightened the magazine catch spring, did a basic trigger job and put a 16 lb Wolff recoil spring in it.

I’m very happy with the way it turned out and he was very happy with receiving it.  It’s not as high speed-low drag as many other handgun models out there, but I’ve found them to be reliable and accurate and I hope that the work I put into it will give it some sentimental value to him someday.


I didn’t have the money to buy new grips for it yet, but that will be in its future (maybe Christmas or a birthday?)


After refinishing the metal, I repainted the sights and protected the new paint with clear nail polish.

The only thing I’m unhappy about is that it actually came out better than the one I parkerized for myself.


Although I’m happy with mine and the finish has proven durable and lasting (I’ve been carrying mine daily for over a year now), the finish came out a bit lighter green than I was expecting.

I re-used the same parkerizing solution to do his and his came out more of the dark Charcoal gray that I expected with mine.

Either his gun ( a bit newer than mine based on the serial number) is made of a different alloy, or, more likely, the parkerizing solution just needed a bit more seasoning to get that full, deep color.

Now I’m considering re-doing mine to get it the color that I want.

One thing that was different about his is that the mainspring plug and lanyard loop is made of aluminum rather than steel so I couldn’t parkerize it.  I didn’t realize this until I was in the middle of sandblasting it so I already had it stripped.  I just used Birchwood Casey’s Aluminum Black on it to protect and match the finish as well as possible.  In the future, I’ll know to check that before I start going crazy with the sand blaster.

Here is a picture of all three of the CZ-82’s in my collection.

The top left one is the one that I haven’t refinished yet.  Its original finish is in the best shape of the three and I may leave it stock.

The middle one had the worst finish to start out with.  It was very beat up  when I got it.  That’s the first one I refinished and is the gun that I carry every day.

And the bottom right one is the one now residing in my Son’s gun safe and that I hope he will be carrying regularly from here on out.

I’m very satisfied with how it came out and I hope he’s as pleased with his as I am with mine.

BTW:  No, the serial numbers have not been filed off.  I used Gimp photo editing software to smudge them out in the pictures.


Guest Post

Because of my gunsmithing posts, I get a lot of e-mails from people asking questions, hoping for help with a problem, or just shooting the breeze about their experiences with their guns.

Recently, a reader and fellow CZ-82 owner wrote to tell me that my experiences with the “snappy” recoil of the CZ may indicate a worn out recoil spring. That actually had never occurred to me because I associate a worn recoil spring with feeding problems…which I’ve never had…but it actually makes sense when you think about it.

Anyway, he is experimenting with various weights of Wolff replacement recoil springs and I asked him to write up his experiences for a blog post. He has graciously provided the following information for public consumption with more to come as he continues his experiments:

CZ-82 Recoil spring replacement

Posted by Aeroc

Click all pix to make bigger

Curtis asked me to write a short article about my experience with the CZ-82 9×18 pistol and the replacement of the recoil spring. Now most people who have purchased this fine weapon do not realize that their gun may be 20 years old and never had the recoil spring replaced. One way you can tell is by the distance the brass is thrown after firing. If it goes 20-30 feet, you need a new spring. This problem also adds to the snappy recoil that is experienced by most owners, and can cause early wear on the firearm by having it literally beat itself up with each shot.

While I was reading about my new purchase and read about the snappy recoil and came across a post stating that if you replaced the spring with a new spring, the recoil would soften up considerably. According to the poster recommended a 19lb. makarov spring. Available at Wolff springs as well as Midway USA. So I ordered the 19 lb. spring since at the time Wolff springs had nothing specific for the CZ-82.

When the spring arrived I noticed a few things. First the replacement spring was longer than the original spring as seen in picture 1; the original is on the bottom. Also it was a bit tighter around the barrel than the original spring but slid on well enough and still had plenty of clearance.

I took both springs to the range and compared the feel. I fired 1 magazine with the original spring to get a feel for the recoil again. Then I fired a magazine of ammo with the replacement spring. I found a definite reduction in recoil with the replacement spring by approximately 30%. But there were some cons, it was significantly more difficult to chamber a round (a female friend of mine could not pull back the slide at all). The first 40 rounds of Sellier & Bellot ammo fired without a hitch. But then some problems started happening on the last round of the magazine: feed errors started to occur and jammed the gun buy pushing the FMJ bullets up and catching on the top of the chamber. The spring might be too strong or I have a faulty magazine. Since me and my friend were out of ammo we would have to wait for another day at the range. My thoughts were first I hope it’s not the magazine. Second well if it is the spring at least it was only a couple of bucks and a good experiment.

I then went home, and checking Wolff springs page a few days later under their new product page was CZ-82 specific springs! I guess they got enough requests so they decided to start making them. One of the things I like about Wolff and its website is that it lists the factory rating for the original spring and which springs it produces for a specific firearm, which for the CZ-82 is a 14.5 lb spring. They were now producing that spring as well as a 16.5 lb. and 18.5 lb spring. You can buy them separately or you can purchase a tuning pack with all 3 included plus 3 extra power replacement firing pin springs.

I quickly ordered the tuning pack. It arrived just 2 days later (Wolff springs does an excellent job shipping things quickly) and I happily opened the package (See pic. 2). I did notice that the package for the springs had a 16 and an 18 lb spring not a 16.5 or 18.5 lb spring, not that it matters just wanted to point out the difference in the website versus the product received. The 3 little springs are the replacement firing pin springs.

As you will notice in picture #3 they are the same length as the original recoil spring. The directions state to install the 18 lb. spring then to work down to the spring power that supplies the slide behavior you wish. So I installed the 18 lb. spring and waited for a day to go to the range, and the money to buy the only available 9×18 ammo available in town ($27 for 50 rounds….ouch, that’s more expensive to shoot than most of my other guns right now) Now I did order some Brown Bear steel cased ammo for $9.95 but need some ammo to compare it to, so I also ordered some Fiochi ammo and will compare the 2 while firing to see if I can replicate the feed errors that occurred with the makarov spring using the new CZ-82 springs.


CZ-82 Parkerizing Part 4…finis

Here are the other parts for those coming in late to the game:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

After seasoning the finish, the only thing left was to clean up the few things that I wanted to and put it all back together.

As with disassembly, I’m not going to post the reassembly procedure because I already covered that HERE in my earlier series of CZ-82 posts.

I did clean up the trigger a little and I weakened the magazine catch spring as well.

Finally, I removed the parkerization from and polished the feed ramp. I was careful not to hit the feed ramp when blasting the frame…I didn’t want to make my job any harder than it needed to be…but the ramp did take the parkerizing somewhat.

To polish the feed ramp, I used this high tech setup.

Yes, that is a .30 carbine shell casing, a strip of 600 grit emory cloth and some packing tape.

When assembled into a high tech tool, it looked something like this.

I just left enough of the emory cloth exposed at the tip to hit the ramp. That way I wasn’t worried about marring the finish inside the magazine well.

Its use is pretty self-explanatory.

The last thing I did before reassembly was clean up some of the more beat up areas of the grips.

I did this with my dremel tool and some blue polishing compound which I bought at Northern Tool and Equipment.

Some of the gouges were pretty deep and it ended up making the grips a little wavy in places from the amount of material I had to remove to smooth them, but I think it helped.

I’m not overly fond of the plastic grips to begin with so replacing them is probably in the cards at some point.

And that’s it. Without further ado, some before and after pictures to show off my handiwork. I tried to get as close to the exact same shots as I could manage for comparison purposes.

I’m very happy with the way it turned out. I’m not overly fond of the black grips on the greenish gun, but the grips could stand to be changed anyway. Also, the mags don’t drop free as easily as they used to. I don’t know if this is a side effect of the parkerizing, or just taking everything apart and putting it back together…but I may eschew parkerizing the magazines in the future…just do the baseplates so they match, but leave the mag bodies black.

But, overall, I think the experiment was a success. Only two more to do.



CZ-82 Parkerizing Part 3

The other parts in this series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

Once the parts are blasted, they need to be cleaned of all grit and dust as well as thoroughly degreased before parkerizing. Any grease or oil can prevent the parkerizing from working in that spot and cause a mottled, uneven finish.

For this task, I chose Tri-Sodium Phosphate. It is a heavy duty degreaser used commonly by painters to remove grime and oils before painting.

First I heated a gallon of my distilled water to boiling. I poured half a gallon in each of my two tubs. The mixture for TSP to water is 1/2 cup per gallon, so I added 1/4 cup to one tub with of 1/2 gallon of hot water and stirred.

The other tub I left the water clean for rinsing.

After the TSP completely dissolves, cleaning is pretty straightforward. I used an old (clean) toothbrush to scrub the parts with the TSP solution.

Then rinsed in the hot clean water.

Because this metal is now completely clean and grease free, it will rust almost immediately so it is imperative to dry it completely as quickly as possible.

I used my air compressor and a pressure sprayer to blow them dry. The 80psi air dried the parts off within seconds.

If you don’t have an air compressor, several cans of compressed dry air should do the trick.

A blow dryer might even work, though it would take much longer to dry the parts and you might have some flash rust appear before you can get them dry. Pressurized air is the best bet.

Once all the parts are cleaned and dried, it’s time to set up the parkerizing solution.

I use those red plastic bowls to keep the parts organized. Many of the pins and springs are very similar and its easy to get them mixed up so I tend to keep all the trigger parts in one bowl, the hammer/sear parts in another, etc.

For the Lauer parkerizing solution that I used, the mix is 1 part solution to four parts water. I used another full gallon of the distilled water and a quart of solution. The stainless steel stock pot I used is an 8 qt pot so the 5 qts of solution filled it up just past half way. That was perfect for being able to completely submerge all the parts without having any touch the bottom.

The solution is heated to 170 to 185 degrees. That’s why the candy thermometer is important. The temperature has to be maintained pretty consistently. I had to really keep an eye on it because my stove is so touchy. Bump the flame up just a touch and the temp would try to go up above 185; bump it back down and it would try to drop below 170. I had to keep a close eye on the temp to make sure I kept it in the right range.

After getting the solution up to temp, drop a buiscuit of coarse steel wool in and let it “season” for 30 minutes. The steel wool will become parkerized and the solution will start working. Remove the steel wool and you’re in business.

I used some scrap wood and stainless steel safety wire to hang the larger parts.

For the frame and barrel assembly, I actually drilled holes in the wooden bore plugs for the safety wire to go through, I used a third wire in one of the mainspring plug pin holes to hold the grip off the bottom.

The instructions say to leave the parts in the solution for 5 to 15 minutes or until they stop bubbling.

I’ve seen information on the internet that said to keep it in the solution for up to 45 minutes, but I was sticking to the instructions that came with the solution.

I noted that the bubbles stopped after about 8 minutes. I decided that, for consistency and to try to make sure all the parts came out the same color, I would leave them all in the same amount of time so I left them in for 10 minutes each.

When they came out, I was actually surprised by how light the grey color was, I was expecting it to be darker.

It did cover evenly and thoroughly however, so I didn’t start second guessing, I just went with it.

For the small parts, I used the stainless steel mesh strainer.

Bending the handle and flattening the mesh as I did worked perfectly. On hindsight, I should have cleaned the rust off the rim to prevent contaminating the solution, but I simply didn’t think about it at the time.

A couple of times throughout the process, I topped off the water in the pot with a little from the remaining half gallon of distilled water. I didn’t lose much to evaporation since the solution wasn’t hot enough to boil…but it was steaming and I did lose some. I pre-heated the water before adding it so I wouldn’t screw up the temp of the solution in the process.

I had my tub standing by with another half gallon of hot, distilled water for rinsing.

I dropped the parts in immediately after pulling them out of the solution.

Then, I again used compressed air to blow them dry quickly. Since the parts now were coated, drying them this way might have been a bit of overkill, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

Lauer makes a post parkerizing solution that Midway USA sells along with the Zinc and Manganese phospating solution itself, but I was trying to keep costs down. I was pretty sure that the water displacing and lubricating properties of WD-40 would work just as well…and I already had that…, so the next step was to drop the parts in a plastic bag…

And then spray them down with WD-40.

I put all the parts in a subgroup together in a bag…all the slide parts went in with the slide, all the magazine parts went together, trigger parts, etc.

This worked just fine, I didn’t have any problems with doing it that way so there’s no need to use a separate bag for each little part.

Doing it this way prevented me from getting the parts mixed up which may have happened if I had just dumped them all into a tub of WD-40…and it also saved some money because it didn’t take as much WD-40 to coat the parts in individual bags as I would have used filling a tub to immerse them in.

I let the parts sit overnight. Actually, I finished parkerizing on Sunday night, so they sat overnight and all during the workday on Monday. When I pulled them out Monday evening, this was what I found.

The WD-40 had seasoned the finish nicely which darkened it up and even created that greenish hue so characteristic of older parkerized guns.

I really didn’t think the WD-40 would do that, but it did. I would imagine other products (like the lauer post parkerizing solution) would have had a different effect, but the WD-40 worked just fine and I like the color I ended up with. It’s very similar to the color of my parkerized 1911.

On Monday night, I wiped the WD-40 off and cleaned the parts up. I then tried Xavier’s baked on vaselene trick that I alluded to in an earlier post. I’m not sure if Xavier’s instructions were a bit off or if I was doing something wrong, but I ended up only baking the parts at 350 degrees for about a half hour. Then I backed it down to 250 for another hour, at which point I’d had enough and turned the oven off.

Basically, the 350 heat started cooking the vaselene. The kitchen filled with waxy smoke, even with the vent hood on high. I had to open windows, turn on fans and it was still pretty thick. I checked the parts to see what was going on after about 30 minutes and the vaselene was basically cooking off. The parts were still shiny with it and there was still a little melted in the bottom of the pan, but the majority had already cooked off. That’s when I turned it down to 250. That helped cut down on the smoke and slowed the “cooking off” process, but it was still smoking some. The smell is…um…unpleasant. After another hour at 250, I was beginning to think I was just going to end up baking burned up vaselene into the finish and the whole thing was still smoking so I’d had enough and just turned the oven off.

I do think it helped and I think the concept is sound, I just think 350, or even 250 was too much heat. The melting point of vaselene is about 85 degrees or so. I’d say the oven on 150 or maybe 200 would have worked pretty well and when I do the next one, that’s what I’m going to try.

At any rate, the vaselene did coat the pieces pretty thoroughly and did seem the impregnate the finish well. It was a bear to clean off though. Helpful hint: Hoppe’s number 9 does a pretty good job of dissolving vaselene. Denatured alcohol doesn’t work at all, it just moves it around.

That’s it for this post. Next I’ll wrap things up and post some detailed before and after pictures.


CZ-82 Parkerizing Part 2

The other parts of this series:

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4

***Update: I forgot to mention that OBVIOUSLY, the next step is actually disassembling the pistol. I’m not going to cover that in this series ’cause we’ve already been there. For a refresher of how to detail strip the CZ-82, go HERE. I did remove the front sight which I didn’t do previously, but it was a simple matter of drifting out the pin and lightly tapping the sight forward and off the slide. Nothing complex there.***

After gathering all the equipment, the next step is metal preparation.

That entails bead blasting and thoroughly degreasing the metal surfaces that are to be parkerized.

This stage is the most critical in that the preparation of the metal for parkerizing is what determines how smooth, uniform and thoroughly the parkerizing solution will electrochemically convert the surface of the metal into the corrosion resistant substance that is desired.

One thing that you most definitely don’t want to blast or parkerize is the bore and chamber. To protect them while blasting and parkerizing, I bought a piece of 1/2″ dowell rod to plug the ends with. Of course, 1/2″ is way too big so I had to reduce the diameter of the rod to fit into the bore and chamber.

To do this uniformly, I cut the dowell rod into two sections about 4″ in length, chucked them into my drill press and used sandpaper as they were spinning to reduce them into a semi-cone shape that would fit securely into the muzzle and chamber.

Then I cut them down to about 1 1/2″ in length for use when blasting and parkerizing. I didn’t take another picture after cutting them to length, but I’m sure you can imagine it.

The one marked “R” is the chamber end. You’ll notice that the “ramp” isn’t as steep as the one for the muzzle end and you may be able to tell that there is a bit of a “lip” from the sanded portion to the body. I did this to help block the blasting media from the feed ramp and the edges of the chamber as well as from getting into the chamber itself.

The next thing I did was clean all the parts that were to be blasted with denatured alcohol. I like denatured alcohol for this because it is a pretty reliable solvent/cleaner/degreaser but it dries quickly and doesn’t leave a residue. I’m going to clean and degrease the parts more thoroughly before parkerizing, but cleaning before blasting helps to prevent contaminating the blasting media with oil or grease.

From this point on, I never handled the parts with bare hands. I used the nitrile gloves, the sandblasting gloves inside my makeshift cabinet, or the rubber chemical gloves.

Always wear a respirator when blasting. Even though the glass beads are non-toxic, they can still be a pretty severe irritant and can cause you to go into respiratory distress.

From there, the blasting part is pretty straightforward.

The metal grate in the bottom is just some metal shelving material. I’ve got it nailed to a couple of 2×4’s on edge to hold it up off the bottom of the tub. This keeps the work off the bottom so that the used media has somewhere to go and doesn’t cover up any pieces you have in the box waiting to be blasted.

I didn’t take a picture of this, but I used a small magnetic parts tray to hold the small parts so they wouldn’t be blowing around in the cabinet and I used a pair of needle nose pliers to hold onto the small parts while blasting.

I, of course, dropped some of the small pins and parts while working with them…that’s another advantage to using the cabinet; dropped parts are contained in the tub. When I emptied the media from the tub back into the blaster, I ran it through a piece of screen which not only helped keep from contaminating the media but also allowed me to find any parts that I’d dropped while working.

And here is the end result: one naked CZ-82.

As I mentioned before, there were some parts I didn’t blast and parkerize. Those included the springs, the extractor, the firing pin, the bore and chamber (of course), the locking tab on the safety, things like that.

I know I promised the whole process start to finish, but the post would just be too long to do it all in one so I’m going to close this one and continue in another post.


CZ-82 Parkerizing Part 1

The other parts of the series:

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

As promised, even though I’m not completely finished putting the CZ that I refinished back together and haven’t test fired it yet, I’m going to get started posting on my experiences with refinishing the CZ-82.

As always, click all pix to make bigger. As you can see in this picture, the CZ that I chose as my first victim is pretty beat up. I will say that it shoots very well and is extremely accurate. The only problems with it right now is that the trigger is a bit creepy, the ambidextrous mag release only works from the right side, and the finish and grips are pretty beat up.

As you can see, the mags don’t look too bad, but I’m going to refinish them anyway, just so they’ll match.

I chose parkerizing because I like the way the finish looks, it seems like something very doable for the hobby gunsmith at home, wouldn’t require a huge amount of equipment or materials that I don’t already have, and in researching the procedure, didn’t seem overly complicated.

Parkerizing is a process that uses either Zinc or Manganese phosphate to electrochemically convert the surface layer of ferrous metals into a corrosion resistant material. The Zinc Phosphating process was commonly used on military firearms during WWI and WWII but results in a slightly thinner finish and is considered slightly less corrosion resistant than Manganese Phosphating. Currently, Zinc Phosphating is more commonly used as an undercoating for other surface treatments like Duracoat. Zinc Phosphating typically results in a light grey surface and Manganese Phosphating in a dark gray to charcoal colored surface. The typical greenish tint seen in older military firearms results from the interaction between the Zinc Phosphate parkerized surface and the heavy cosmoline used to preserve the firearms while in storage.

In order to be most effective, Parkerized guns need to be protected with oil or grease. The Parkerized surface accepts and retains oil well which increases corrosion resistance even in harsh conditions, but a parkerized surface free of oil can still corrode.

There are some pretty simple recipes out there for a “from scratch” parkerizing solution, but I decided to go with something pre-made to better my chances of success. I also chose Manganese Phosphate both for the darker finish and for the thicker, more effective finish as I am not planning on using any other surface treatment (other than oil).

The first step in the process was to gather the materials and equipment that I would need.

I already have a pressurized sandblaster that I got from Harbor Freight tools several years ago. I also have a 5hp, 30 gallon DeVilbiss air compressor that I’ve had for at least 15 years. I think I bought it at Sears if it matters.

If you don’t have a sandblaster, there are plenty of siphon style or gravity fed units that can be had for a reasonable price (~$30). If you anticipate using it very often, I’d recommend getting a pressurized unit as feeding of blasting material is much more reliable and consistent. I have a portable siphon style unit that I use from time to time, but I end up having to shake it every couple of seconds to get the media to feed. It can get very frustrating after a few minutes.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I already had some blasting media, but I was afraid that it was too coarse for what I needed. I decided to buy something that I knew would work rather than taking a chance on ruining the firearm with something inappropriate. I bought a 25lb bucket of “medium” glass beads from the local Northern Tool and Equipment.

Glass beads being a bit more expensive than aluminum oxide or sand, I wanted to be able to maximize my use of it. In order to more effectively contain the beads for re-use and prevent them from becoming contaminated, I needed a blasting cabinet to work in. I decided I couldn’t afford a real one…besides the fact that my space is limited and I don’t have a place to put it if I bought one…I decided to make something that would work.

Basically, I made one out of a rubbermade tub, a piece of plexiglass, an old pair of rubber sandblasting gloves and some scrap wood I had lying around.

It served the purpose. I will say that the plexiglass fogged up from abrasion fairly quickly and made it a challenge to see what I was doing, and it didn’t completely contain the media and the dust…but it did a pretty good job and enabled me to do the whole job by re-using the initial 25 lbs of media several times.

As far as the parkerizing process itself, the only things I really had to buy were a stainless steel pot (Big Lots, $8) and a candy thermometer (Walmart, $3).

I also bought a pair of stainless steel tongs (Big Lots, $1.50) but they weren’t really necessary. I already had an old stainless steel mesh strainer for the small parts and a roll of stainless steel “safety wire”.

I bent the handle of the strainer to enable me to hang it from the lip of the stock pot into the solution. I also flattened the bottom of the mesh so that pins and small pieces wouldn’t roll toward the center. This worked extremely well for the small parts.

You’ll notice that the rim of the strainer is rusty. It obviously is not stainless, but the mesh is so it didn’t matter. The solution actually parkerized the rim while I was working but because I didn’t bother taking the rust off, it didn’t do a very good job. I may sandblast the rim before I do the next gun and get a good parked finish on it to preserve it for later.

You’ll need something to heat the solution with. I just used my camping/hurricane survival setup (no, I didn’t have the tank that close to the stove while it was lit).

A couple of tubs for cleaning and rinsing and a dish drainer from my camping gear came in handy.

And, of course, we can’t forget safety gear. Rubber gloves, respirator and goggles. My safety glasses weren’t “chemical goggles”, but they did the job for me. YMMV.

I wore the respirator while using the parkerizing solution as well as when blasting. The warning label on the bottle said to avoid breathing the fumes. My filters are not made for chemicals and I could still smell the solution so I opened the garage door and turned on a fan to ensure plenty of ventilation. I’m going to get some charcoal activated chemical filters for my respirator before doing the next one.

And, finally, the consumables. I used distilled water for the cleaning, rinsing and for cutting the parkerizing solution to prevent any minerals from compromising the process. Three gallons was enough. I used the denatured alcohol to clean the pistol parts before bead blasting. The TSP is Tri-Sodium Phosphate. It is a heavy duty degreaser/cleaner that is commonly used by painters. I got it at the corner hardware store so it’s pretty easy to come by. The parkerizing solution is Lauer Manganese Phosphate that I got from Midway USA. They recommend using their own “post parkerizing” solution, but I decided that WD-40 would probably work just as well. The steel wool pads are for “seasoning” the parkerizing solution before first use.

One thing I forgot to take a picture of is latex or nitrile gloves (non-powdered). I have a box of blue nitrile gloves that I bought from Harbor Freight a long time ago to keep from getting greasy when doing automotive work. I used them on this job to keep from contaminating the cleaned gun parts with skin oils during the parkerizing. That may have been overkill, but I didn’t want to take any chances on ruining the work.

That’s it. Other than the bead blasting equipment, nothing complicated or hard to come by. I already had most of what I needed and the stuff I didn’t was easy to find and relatively inexpensive.

If you don’t have the blasting equipment, it probably wouldn’t be cost effective to buy the setup just for this job. I wouldn’t imagine it would be ridiculously expensive to get the parts blasted by a pro. As an added benefit, the bead blasting was the most difficult part of the whole thing so getting that done by a pro would greatly simplify the whole process.

Next time, we’ll detail the parkerizing process from start to finish.


Glass beads vs Sand

Updated to add: I probably should mention that I habitually use the term “sandblasting” as a generic description regardless of the blasting media used. Sort of like calling any brand of adhesive bandages “band-aids” or any cotton swabs “Q-tips”. Sorry if that created any confusion. /Update

In comments, Fred Carter mused:

Just thinking out loud-would glass beads work better than sand? I have used both and like glass better. I had access to a shop full of equipment and did the work on lunch break. Today somebody would probably call swat.

I actually have about 50 lbs of aluminum oxide that I could have used, but what I have I think is probably too coarse. I decided to go ahead and buy something a bit more fine and, since I was buying new anyway, I figured I may as well go with glass.

Glass is a little less aggressive than aluminum oxide and leaves more of a “matte” finish rather than the more “grainy” appearance left by aluminum oxide.

Sand, I don’t use at all. I used to use sand years ago (it’s probably been close to ten years since the last time I used sand). The main reason that I stopped had nothing to do with how well it works…it works fine. The problem is that sand is hazardous. I don’t have good, sealed equipment and my work area is my garage. The dust created by sand contains silica. Silica causes silicosis. Silicosis is bad.

Even wearing a good respirator (which I do), I can’t afford a completely sealed blasting cabinet. Some dust escapes into the garage. With sand, that dust is hazardous long after the blasting operations are done. For weeks after blasting, I’m still sweeping dust up and stirring it into the air.

Glass beads are non-toxic, do not contain silica and, although breathing the dust should be avoided and I still wear a respirator, cause no known long-term health effects. That’s the main reason I chose glass over sand.

I just thought that was important enough to put on the front page.

I finished parkerizing last night. The parts are soaking in WD-40 as we speak. I was very happy with the way the parts came out. We’ll see what they look like after soaking in oil for a while, and I’m planning on trying (fair warning…the following link is light text on a black background…gives me a headache every time I look at it) Xavier’s trick of baking the parts in grease for a while to really impregnate the finish.

The parkerizing process was easy and effective, but time consuming. I’ve still got to complete the conditioning of the finish, polish the feed ramp, adjust the sear to hammer engagement to clean up the trigger pull, weaken the magazine catch spring and reassemble the whole thing.

I may start posting pix before I finish the whole thing, but I’ve still got quite a few steps before I’m done.

BTW: I went ahead and bought a new blasting nozzle for my pressurized sand blaster rather than try the siphon feed one…I’ve never had much luck with the siphon feed system. Also, I’m certain now that I’ve lost a pin. I have no idea how that happened. I’m very meticulous about handling the parts and keeping them organized. The fact that I had some pins in with the wrong parts speaks volumes to the fact that I was tired and not paying enough attention. I searched my work area again after I finished parkerizing…no joy. I’m going to have to make or buy a replacement.

Oh well. Not a disaster. Just an inconvenience.


that was fun

I just spent all day sandblasting (or, more correctly, glass beading) the CZ-82 I’m working on parkerizing.

What a pain…especially considering my makeshift blasting cabinet and my cheapo sandblaster (that I’m having problems with).

‘course I’m probably going a little overboard…I’m doing all the tiny little pins and parts as well as just the big stuff. The only things I’m not going to parkerize are the springs, the disconnector, the arm on the safety that locks it in place and (of course) the bore and chamber.

I couldn’t get the rear sight off. It is peened and they did a bang up job of peening it. I used the biggest hammer I’ve got and it wouldn’t budge. I was beginning to ding the metal (even using a brass drift) so I finally decided that that sight’s just gonna have to get parked “in place”.

I also think I lost a pin. I cleaned everything with denatured alcohol before blasting to keep from contaminating my beads any more than absolutely necessary. As I was getting ready to blast the hammer, sear, ejector, etc…I noticed that there was an extra pin. then, I realized that the only pin in with the trigger, trigger bar and slide stop was the trigger guard latch pin (which is removed and installed with the slide stop)…no trigger pin and no trigger bar pin.

Upon further review, the extra pin with the hammer and stuff…and one of the other pins that was with them, belong to the trigger and trigger bar…which means now I’m short an ejector pin.


I have no idea how the mix up happened or what could have happened to the ejector pin. I searched everywhere in the area that I was working and couldn’t find it. Maybe I’m just tired and missing something and it will turn up before I get it all back together. If not…pins are easy to come by. If nothing else, I’ll buy an appropriate diameter roll pin at Lowe’s and cut it to fit.

I guess it’s inevitable for things like these to happen from time to time.

Anyway, I had to quit because the shutoff valve on the blasting head stopped working. I couldn’t shut it off, which resulted in blasting a small hole in the side of my cabinet (you’ll see how that’s possible when I start posting pix and you see my cabinet). I’ve got a smaller, venturi fed sandblaster that I’ll try to finish it off with…all that’s left are the hammer and hammer arm, sear, ejector, trigger, trigger bar, slide stop and a couple more pins…everything else is done.

Oh…and I need to hit one of the magazine bodies again because I didn’t do it well enough the first time.

If my little blaster doesn’t do the trick, I’ll have to hit harbor freight or Northern and buy a new blasting head valve. Another 20 bucks or so…

Anyway, just keeping you up to date. I’m well underway on the parkerizing job so step by step posts are coming soon.


Drum Roll Please

Now introducing my long awaited SKS trigger job instructional video.

The entire thing ended up being about 45 minutes long. In order to upload it onto YouTube, I had to split it into 5 segments:


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Part One

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Part Two

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Part Three

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Part Four

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Part Five


[Update] David at Vote for David, clued me in in the comments that he has a post up on improving the SKS trigger as well. One aspect that he covers that I don’t is decreasing the first stage or takeup. But he doesn’t talk about decreasing the creep at all…different strokes for different folks. At any rate, David’s post is worth taking a look at just to get a different perspective and also he has some very good pictures that could help if something is unclear to you. [/Update]


CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 12

In the first post of the series, we Introduced the CZ-82 to our collection and identified the areas that needed work.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 1, we discussed the loose grips issue and disassembled the slide components.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 2, we disassembled the magazine catch and lightened the magazine catch spring tension.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 3, we removed and disassembled the safety and disassembled the slide.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 4, we removed the slide stop and spring, and then the trigger, trigger spring and trigger bar.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 5, we removed main spring, hammer, sear, and associated other fire control parts.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 6, we covered the basic trigger job.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 7, we reinstalled the hammer strut, hammer, sear, auto safety, ejector, and disconnector.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 8, we reinstalled the trigger, trigger bar and trigger spring.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 9, we reinstalled the mainspring and plug and the safety assembly.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 10, we reinstalled the slide stop and trigger guard latch pin.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 11, we reassembled the magazine catch and reinstalled the trigger guard.

In this edition, we’re going to reassemble the slide.

The slide reassembly is pretty straight forward. I didn’t remove the front sights so I don’t have pictures of reinstalling that.

The extractor spring goes into the well on the right side of the slide.

Then the extractor goes over the top of that.

I know that this picture is fuzzy, I apologize. After placing the extractor and spring into the slide, I used a punch through the extractor pin hole to hold the extractor and spring in place; then I clamped the slide into the padded jaws of my vise. That holds the slide and also keeps the extractor aligned properly for reinstalling the pin. Once it is clamped tightly, the punch is removed from the hole and the pin is driven in place. The hole in the slide may be peened or swaged at the bottom, so it will probably be easier to install the pin from the top.

Once seated correctly, the pin should not protrude past the top of the slide…

…nor should it protrude past the bottom. If it sticks out too much on the bottom, it will interfere with the movement of the slide.

Next is the firing pin and spring.

The “pointy end” of the firing pin slides into the spring, then the are both placed into the hole at the rear of the slide.

Then use a punch or some other tool to push the firing pin in enough for the firing pin stop to go in. It goes rounded side toward the top of the slide.

Once the stop is far enough down, remove the punch and then push the stop all the way down until the rear of the firing pin locks into the hole in the stop.

Then drive the rear sight in from right to left and center it on the slide.

As I said, I didn’t take the front sight off, but it is simply tapped into place and the roll-pin driven in.

Finally, put the slide back onto the frame. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take pictures of this while doing it because I’d recently finished my “CZ-82 Field Stripping” Video…which includes this part of assembly. It occurred to me that, for the sake of thoroughness, I should include reinstalling the slide onto the frame in these posts, so I went back and took pictures later. If you notice that the grips are already installed in these pictures, even though we haven’t covered that yet, that’s why.

Installing the slide onto the frame is simple. First, ensure that the trigger guard is pulled down into the “unlocked” position.

Slide the recoil spring over the barrel.

Catching the recoil spring and compressing it with the slide, slip the barrel through the hole in the front of the slide.

The slide will stay angled up as you move it rearward, compressing the recoil spring.

When the slide is completely to the rear, the rails will engage the frame and it will pop down into position.

Release the slide and allow it to return to its fully forward position.

Press up on the trigger guard to lock the slide in place. You should feel a definite “click” and the front of the trigger guard should move up a good quarter-inch or so.

And there you have it.

Next time we’ll install and review the Marschal grips that I bought for it and I’ll review and evaluate the changes, corrections that I made and I’ll discuss how I feel about the pistol now that I’ve had it for a while, been carrying it regularly and have put a few hundred rounds downrange.

Final Post of the series.