CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 13

This is it…the final post in this series. I know what you’re thinking: “About D@#$ Time!” Sorry it’s taken so long to get this done.

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 CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 12, we reassembled the slide and installed it on the frame.

In this edition, we’re going to install and review the fancy new grips I got from Marschalgrips and then discuss how I feel about the corrections I made and how it all turned out.

As a reminder, the reason I decided to replace the grips was because the original plastic grips had a tendency to move on the frame making it hard to be consistent. A commenter drew my attention to the fact that overtightening the grip screws can cause tiny cracks in the grips making them impossible to ever get tight again. With that in mind, and with an eye toward making the pistol a bit prettier, I ordered new grips from marschalgrips.com.

Marshalgrips has a very good selection of grip styles for the CZ, but I wasn’t looking for anything too custom. One problem is that I’m left handed, but my wife and kids like shooting my guns too, so if I got custom, finger groove/thumb rest grips made for me, they wouldn’t be able to shoot it comfortably. With that in mind, I went with the standard ambidextrous grips in checkered walnut, grey finish. The cost was $45 plus shipping.

I wasn’t expecting the turnaround time to be speedy and I wasn’t disappointed, it took over a month to get them after placing the order, but that is expected with a craftsman who makes each set individually.

When I did get the package, I took a picture because I’ve never gotten any mail from Budapest Hungary before and I thought it was interesting.

At any rate, I was very happy with the initial look. The craftsmanship is very good, the lines clean, the finish smooth and even and the screw holes were reinforced with recessed metal rings.

So far so good.

They installed easily enough, but I immediately ran into a problem: The magazine fit was now tight to the point that I couldn’t even insert the mag all the way without forcing it. I’m pretty picky about mags dropping free on their own after the mag release is pressed so that wasn’t going to do at all.

The problem was easy enough to identify. The magazine well inside the grip was just barely too small.

Not a problem, a bit of 600 grit emery cloth and some fitting took care of the problem with alacrity.

I had to remove a little from the front of both grips.

After fitting them a bit better, the mags inserted and dropped free perfectly.

But then I ran into another minor problem.

The safety on the left side was a little to close to the frame and the new grip was interfering with its operation.

This is a more significant problem because it required fitting on the outside of the grip…where the finish is.

I removed as little as possible from the corner to allow the safety to operate and didn’t mar the finish too badly.

Unfortunately, over time, the safety has caused some marring of the finish since I installed the grips. which I’m a little disappointed about.

I can try touching up the finish, but I’m afraid I won’t pick exactly the right color and it won’t blend well. It’s really not that noticeable and this is a working gun, not a wall-hanger, so I can live with it.

The only other thing I’m disappointed about is that I could still feel a slight bit of movement of the grips on the frame. I don’t think this is a hit on the grips themselves, I think it is a flaw in the design of the pistol. There is basically nothing holding the grips in place except the single mount screw and it is simply impossible to get the screws tight enough to stop the movement without damaging the grips. The Marschal grips were significantly better in this regard than the originals, but there was still some movement.

I did find a solution however. What I ended up doing is trimming a piece of double sided scotch tape for each side and placing it between the grip and frame at the rear over the mainspring well. Then I used locktite on the screw threads when I installed them.

After a couple of hours, the glue on the tape adhered well enough that I can’t feel the movement any more, but I still should be able to get the grips off with no problem when the time comes.

At any rate, here’s what the finished product looks like.

I am very pleased with the looks of the pistol with these grips and I am impressed with the workmanship and quality of the grips. The minor fitting problems I had did not surprise me overly considering that the grips were made some 4500 miles away from the frame that they were supposed to fit on. I wasn’t expecting a perfect, drop-in fit.

They get my recommendation.

I’ve now had this pistol for some time and have been carrying it regularly as my discreet carry piece. I’ve also used it to shoot in a couple of bowling pin matches and a steel plate match as well as many trips to the range.

To recap the issues that I had with it when I first got it: The trigger was creepy and rough, the magazine release was too tight making it difficult to release the magazine, the grips moved on the frame, the trigger bit my finger, and it was shooting a bit low and left.

I am very happy with the results of my trigger job. By judicious use of a stone, I reduced the creep dramatically and smoothed it up at the same time. The trigger pull is now light, smooth and crisp.

By replacing the grips and using the double sided tape, I got the grips to stop moving around so that is no longer a problem.

When I reassembled the slide, I did adjust the rear sight a little to the right, which fixed the “shooting to the left” problem. It still shoots just slightly low, but I repainted the front sight and left the paint strip a little below the top of the sight, which encourages me to use more sight when aiming and brings the shots up where they should be.

One thing I forgot to mention is, before reinstalling the trigger, I did use a jewelers file to smooth and round off the edges of the trigger. Then I used 600 grit emery paper to smooth it and touched it up with cold blue. That cured the trigger bite problem. I didn’t have to take much off, just enough to round the edges of the trigger a little more.

One thing about the finish. As noted in the first post of this series, this gun did have some pretty significant holster wear, to the point where the finish was completely gone in a couple of areas. I did clean the finish up with cold blue, but I have to say that the bluing didn’t take as well as I’d have liked and isn’t proving to be very durable.

Finally, I’m VERY happy with the results of weakening the magazine catch spring. The mags are held securely when in use, but I can easily release them with one finger from either side of the mag release.

This little gun is slightly underpowered for a defensive firearm in my opinion, but it is a little hotter than the .380 which is the minimum I’d consider for defensive use. Because of the double stacked mag, it isn’t quite as concealable as it’s single stack cousins like the Makarov, but because of its relatively weak cartridge, I like the idea of having 13 rounds to work with.

The recoil is a little snappy, but not unmanageable and it is very accurate. I have been consistently pleased with its performance and have never had a failure to feed, fire, eject etc.

It is not too heavy (of course this is very subjective…my standard carry piece is a full sized 1911 that I carry openly so I’m used to a relatively heavy gun) and I am able to carry it with an IWB holster, even under a tucked shirt, without printing.

As far as disadvantages: it is hard to find parts for them because they’ve never been sold at retail in the US. This is alleviated by the fact that most CZ-83 parts (which are sold here) are identical and will work on the 82. Also, it does not have a decocker, so if you are inclined to carry condition 2 (round in the chamber, hammer down) and fire the first shot in double action, this is not a very safe firearm for that. The only way to decock with a round in the chamber is to use your thumb to lower the hammer while pulling the trigger; which is, in my humble opinion, a recipe for a negligent discharge. This is alleviated by the auto safety which ensures that the hammer cannot contact the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. In my opinion, this gun is safe to carry in condition 1 (cocked and locked) and that is how I carry it. I WOULD NOT carry it that way loose in a purse or pocket. It would be too easy for the safety to be inadvertently switched off and have something get caught in the trigger. I would only carry this firearm in condition one using a holster that covers the trigger completely.

In a nutshell, I like it. Especially for lefties, I think this is an excellent choice for discreet carry as long as you understand the limitations of the design and keep in mind that these are surplus, used pistols and may require some work to get them into shape.

In fact, I like this gun so much that I bought a couple more to play with. One thing I’m definitely going to do is try a complete refinish on them. I’m thinking Parkerizing. At any rate, when I get to that, I’ll be sure to post the step-by-step and we’ll see how it turns out together.

Thank you again for your patience in waiting for me to get this series finished. I hope you weren’t disappointed.

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The Onion Movie

I don’t usually do movie reviews, but this is more of a public service announcement/warning than a review.

My wife and I rented The Onion Movie. I’ve always enjoyed their web “news”, the previews looked entertaining and we thought, what the heck, how bad can it be?

Oops.

Don’t waste your money, or the required 90 minutes of your life that could be more constructively spent painting inside the crawlspace or alphabetizing the contents of the refrigerator.

Their brand of satire just doesn’t lend itself well to video. They tried to tie together their short skits with a plot…but failed miserably. Not only was the “plot” very contrived and lacking in…well…pretty much everything you’d expect from a plot…but the skits themselves were long on sophomoric pseudo-humor and very short on the intelligent, but irreverent wit that I’ve come to associate with the web site.

Perhaps it was just directed at a different demographic. I may have found it funny when I was about 15.

One positive thing I can say about it: They definitely did not worry much about political correctness. I guess that’s a positive. Too bad it otherwise just plain sucked.

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Midway USA does it again

I ordered my targets for the Gun Blog e-rifle league from Midway USA the other day.

While I was there, I also ordered some ammo and a fine ceramic triangular stone for trigger work.  
I got them yesterday and, sadly, the stone (which had been packed in with the ammo and not protected very well) was broken.
I called Midway USA’s toll free number.  After pressing a couple of selection numbers, I immediately spoke to a Customer Support agent…no hold time at all.
She cheerfully took my information, expressed apologies for the broken item and assured me that a replacement would be sent right out.  Before the end of the day yesterday I had confirmation that it had been shipped and I should have it in a day or two.
That, my friends, is how customer service is supposed to work.
Kudos to Midway USA (as usual) and their employees.  I’ve never had an experience with them that was less than outstanding.  I can’t recommend them enough.
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I dispise FEDEX

I’m tempted to just never do business with a company that only ships FEDEX.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had them deliver or try to delver packages to the neighbor’s house…it always seems to be the same neighbor too. How hard is it to look at the house number (that’s right there on the front porch in big black numerals) and think “hey, that’s not the right number”?

I mean, the last time I didn’t get something and it had been left over there, it had been put on a chair DIRECTLY BENEATH the numbers. The delivery guy had them right at eye level directly in front of him and less than 18 inches away when he put the package on the chair…is it too much to ask for them to actually, you know…look at them?

I’ve actually had to go to the FEDEX distribution office to pick up a package that required a signature because the delivery guy tried to deliver it to the wrong house THREE TIMES. How do you go to the wrong freaking house THREE TIMES and not bother to look at the house number on at least one of those occasions? I made it very clear when I spoke to the manager that I was not happy. Someone from their customer service called and apologized…but they don’t seem to have improved their reliability any.

I’ve NEVER had UPS deliver to the neighbor’s house.

The other thing I despise about FEDEX is their tracking system. UPS’ tracking system seems to be virtually real time. As soon as they pick up the package, they project the delivery date and I’ve only seen them have to change it once. At every stop in between the origin and my door, it’s location is updated so I have a very good idea of where it is and how long it will be to get to me at any given time. When the status changes to “out for delivery”, I am confident that I’m going to get it that day.

With FEDEX, the status can go days without changing. It seems to take forever for them to update it and when they do, it seems to be subject to change at pretty much any time, and the posted “delivery date” seems to be more of a wish than any type of actual prediction. Is Tom Hanks stuck on a deserted Island again? Who’s running the place over there?

Take my computer for example. Since it left Sacramento CA on the 18th, the “scheduled delivery” date has been today. There have been no updates since then. This morning, SIX DAYS LATER, it finally arrived in Hagarstown MD. And now, the “scheduled delivery date” is tomorrow. I have to wonder what it will have changed to tomorrow.

When the “scheduled delivery date” changes ON THE DATE that it is scheduled to be delivered…it’s not a “schedule”…it’s a “fantasy.”

UPS would have reported its location every time the package stopped somewhere. Why can’t FEDEX do that? It wasn’t apparent two or three days ago that it wasn’t going to make it by today?

Sigh…

Note to internet businesses everywhere: if I’m paying for shipping, I expect to have the option of paying UPS instead of FEDEX. If the only shipping option you offer is FEDEX and you aren’t paying for it, I’m going to purchase my products elsewhere. In fact, even if you ARE paying for it, I’m going to seriously consider finding another vendor rather than giving FEDEX any money even by proxy.

By the way…my employer uses FEDEX for most of their shipping…go figure.

So, even after I’ve instituted my new purchasing policy (like, as of right now) you can be pretty confident that there will still be future FEDEX rants for your edification and entertainment.

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Product Review 2

I’m going to do another quick product review on something that I actually bought a while back.

This product is what convinced me to actually try out Midway’s house brand range bag. Normally, I wouldn’t expect much from such a reasonably priced product (even if it was at a special dealer price) but I had purchased another of Midway’s house brand products and I was extremely happy with it so I thought I’d give the range bag a chance…I’m glad I did.

Anyway, the other product was their Shooting Mat.

I had been looking for one for quite some time and every time I found one that looked decent it was $80 or more. I happened to run across Midway USA’s offering when it was on sale for $24.99. It is on sale for that price right now (and, honestly, seems to be available for that price on a regular basis). Basically, I was looking at a mat for about $50 less than anything I’d seen anywhere else. I decided, what the heck, I might as well give it a try. Even if it only lasts me a season or two, I’ve got something to use for now.

After getting it, I was very surprised by the quality of the product. It was at least as good as many I’d seen match competitors using that they’d paid four times as much for.

I’ve had this mat for going on two years now and it has held up extremely well. It is well made, of good quality materials and suits my needs perfectly.

As I said before, the quality of this product is what made me comfortable with trying their range bag. I have to say that, based upon these two items, I’m pretty much sold on Midway USA branded textile products. These products are easily as well made and functional as the most expensive on the market for a fraction of the price. Unfortunately, these are the only two products of this type in their current lineup. They have a couple of rifle soft cases listed as “coming soon”; my question is: when are they going to expand their line and offer other competition shooting products…namely shooting coats and gloves? As soon as they do, I’m in for one of each.

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Product Reviews

I’m starting a new category (of which this is the first post) called “Product Reviews”. I’ve reviewed products before, but generally embedded in the post to which the product purchase was related.

There probably won’t be a huge number of posts in this category as I’m simply too poor to purchase that many new products to review…if any companies out there want to submit free samples for review, I’m available.

Click all pix to make bigger. The pistol is included in some pix for scale.

Anyway, what is prompting this is the fact that my range bag was getting a bit ratty. I bought the cheapest one I could find a few years ago and re-discovered the old apothegm “you get what you pay for.” The zippers began ceasing to function shortly after its first use. It was also a bit too small and the outside pockets were too small to really be useful.

Always on the lookout for a bargain, I noticed that Midway USA had their house branded large range bag on sale, reduced from 59.99 to 39.99. It was a “dealer special” last month so because I have a C&R FFL, I got an even deeper discount which I won’t reveal lest you become jealous.

The BBTOJ came today. As you can see, it is significantly larger than my old one. I used a ruler and some imagination to visualize the overall size of this bag before ordering but the sheer dimensions just didn’t sink in until I took it out of the box and had it in hand. It is a very large bag. I like it at this point, but It may become a bit unwieldy to carry around. Time will tell.

The best thing about it to my mind is that it comes with lots of goodies. It has three large external pockets, two on the front and another on one end. The other end has a smaller pocket and a drink bottle pouch.

The rear has a single very large panel that completely opens to reveal a row of pouches perfect for pistol magazines and an elastic shell/cartridge/tool holder on the flap. There is also a long pocket behind the magazine pouches. This would be a perfect place to carry paper targets, shooting logs, paperwork etc to keep from having to roll, fold, spindle or mutilate them too much as well.

Opening the bag reveals two padded, zippered pouches for handguns or other small storage needs. The roomy inner compartment features pouches on both sides for more organization.

It also includes a removable inner bag that has movable dividers that are attached with Velcro and a clip on, mesh bottom cartridge case bag.

At first blush the bag seems to be very well made with solid stitching and heavyweight nylon handles and straps. The zippers are very beefy (albeit plastic) and open and close smoothly. The clips that hold the cartridge case bag and the carry strap in place are metal, not plastic, and the nylon sides are heavy with good padding and hold their shape even when empty.

Only time will tell how well this bag will hold up to use, but I am extremely pleased with my purchase at this point. I’ll keep you updated on it.

On an unrelated note: Is this one of those “You might be a gun nut if…” observations? I buy Hoppes No 9 Solvent by the quart and it still doesn’t seem like it lasts long enough.

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