Mals pistol upgrade

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Zombie Killer, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    I bought one of the recent qmx Mals pistols and when i got it it had a twisted barrel. I was going to send it back and QMX did offer to replace it but i have since decided to fix it myself. While fixing it i decided i might as well turn it into a project and upgrade it With working trigger and hammer and maybe some wood grips.

    First thing was to cut the barrel off. I used an xacto saw and went around the barrel sawing a little on each flat until it was around 5/16 threw and the rest snapped off.

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    Then using a palm sander with 180 grit i flattened the ends down. This left a slightly rounded surface. To fix it i sanded it down on a flat file. Pull the gun in one direction only, from the tip of the file back to the handle turning it 90degrees after each pull untill its flat. Then i did the barrel, blurry friggin pictures..

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    I then found some brass tube to give the barrel some support. I am guessing the prop is like this too but the finish is closer to copper color than brass. I know bronze has a tint but man thats copperish colored.

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    I then took this dremel bit and ground a hole into the end of the gun and barrel for the brass tube. I could have used a drill but i was worried that either piece could split or shatter.

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    .....and then i noticed that the barrel has slight upward bend to it too, i guess it wasn't noticable because the barrel was mounted twisted.

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    Take it inside and yup its bent.

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    I tried hot water from the tap but that wasn't really working so i boiled some water, let it sit a few minutes and then poured it to this plastic cup with the barrel inside. I let it sit for awhile and then bent it back as best i could and held it against a piece of angle aluminum. This way you keep it straight on 2 angles. While i held it on the alum i held it under cold running water. It did take a few times to get it right. I didn't want to force it and bust it.

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    I used an angle to check it's squarness and now that it's straight the end is slightly crooked.

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    A little file work and its straightish again on both axis.

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    Did a check on the gun for squarness and it looked ok. You kinda have to eye it here as the receiver is not straight.

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    Just setting it up there and it looks OK, about as good as i can get it. Looks a little crooked in the pic but its because i was struggling to hold it and the camera all steady and straight. I failed.

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    For those wondering, the screws in the grip are just big setscrews. If yours are crooked just unscrew them, they came right out. May have to glue them back but i will probably go with some allen screws.

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    and this is where things got interesting. A little carefull sticking of the saw here and there around the circumfrence and the grips came off. Had a tiny bit of damage where the glue was thicker but i am going to have to paint anyways. So now i have my grip templates.

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    No need to stop now, just some carefull twisting and pulling and prodding with a flat ended xacto knife and the rest of it came apart.

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    So the plan is to cut off the rounded grip part of the receiver and hollow the receiver out a bit. I am then going to make an trigger group of sorts out of 4 layers 1/8" aluminum sheet to hold a trigger and hammer and a spring. It will get glued into the receiver and then the silver edging can go back on. Or it will have to get attached to the silver trim then glued into the gun.

    I won this lot of Taurus parts. There is also a set of rossi parts in there but i think i they look the same as the 85. I'll update as soon as they come in. Need to find some wood for grips too......

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  2. ReproMan

    ReproMan Well-Known Member

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    good work on straightening your shaft lol, i see barrel twist on these is quite a common problem and i hope to get a mal pistol soon so thanks for the tutorial
     
  3. Serenity

    Serenity Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Best of luck with this; I hope the polystone material can hold up for the work being done because it could look pretty darn good when finished. It's too bad the magazine wasn't a separately cast part too...
     
  4. Garthok

    Garthok Sr Member

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    This is why our ZF1 parts are so incredibly accurate, your attention to detail and perfection is always mind blowing. You have some mad skills ZK
     
  5. JOATRASH FX

    JOATRASH FX Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great project! I'm thinkin' this will turn out pretty darn spiffy when it's done. (Y'all thought I was gonna say shiny now, didn't ya?)

    Moving trigger and a set of wood grips on that baby will make a world of difference.
     
  6. CJ 617

    CJ 617 Sr Member

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    Great work so far..can't wait to see more
     
  7. 74Draven

    74Draven New Member

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    Outstanding job!
     
  8. Filandrius

    Filandrius Well-Known Member

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    Stop giving me ideas! Seriously, great job. Can't wait to see it finished.
     
  9. Darph Bobo

    Darph Bobo Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that thing comes apart nicely! Very tempting!

    (Gotta finish my Serenity build first!)
     
  10. marsattack

    marsattack Sr Member

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    HOw amazing is this guy???
    Its like a freakin tutorial.
    Good job mate!
    Mars
     
  11. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Thanks for the compliments guys. i found some 3/4" red oak hard wood and hope to have the grip parts cut out today. Then the shaping process begins. Going to try to hollow out the frame today as well.
     
  12. pennausamike

    pennausamike Sr Member

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  13. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Very true Mike, nothing like giving it your own touch.

    Day 2.

    Today i cut some grip pieces to shape out of red oak. I was going to shape them too but i figured i better try to hollow the gun out first just incase it wanted to self destruct. No need in making grips if i don't have a frame.

    Here are the grip plugs.

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    First thing i tried was cutting the frame with an xacto saw. It went OK, i am suprised i didn't break the ears off though so i didn't go too far.

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    Then i got the cutoff wheel and cleaned out as much as possible before the die would hit the gun.

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    Next up was the high speed die grinder and the mill bit on the left.

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    and with a bunch of time and cussing i was able to open it up. I still will have to go back and clean it out but i am spent for today. There are a few chips and rub marks from a turning cutting tool but it went better than i thought. It's still in one piece. Once the trigger frame is epoxied in it should be strong again. It is fragile right now though. I need to get the trigger and hammer now to make the trigger group housing. Hopefully i will be able to work on the grips tomorrow. Got a headsup from dr_slurpee on some cnc wood grips and maybe some metal thumbwheels. I would really like to get the metal thumbwheels.

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  14. Chrisisall

    Chrisisall Sr Member

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    Glen, you are a master of fixing polystone! I salute you.:thumbsup
     
  15. WarPig

    WarPig Sr Member

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    I'm not sure, but I think Robstyle may be able to point you towards metal thumbscrews...

    This is amazing.
     
  16. Muttleysdad

    Muttleysdad Active Member

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    wow ZK thats some serious work there, I only had the nerve to Remove the barrel and straighten it up, I wouldn't dare go this far. I'm going to watch this project with great interest.:thumbsup.
     
  17. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Thanks again guys, today i ordered all the screws and setscrews on this thing so those will have to come off and either drill and tap or drilled oversized and i'll glue the screws in. I worry about taping this stuff. I will do it when the screws show up.

    I also pulled out my hi tech table sander, also known as an upside down belt sander and did the main sanding on the grips. They are still a tad big but that will get tweeked with the dremel and drum sander. Today i was just trying to get it all roughed up. I need to dress the top were it meets the receiver then i can sand them to fit the shape closer. I am pretty happy with them so far. I could have picked a better wood for grain pattern but they will do. At this point i will wait for the trigger parts and screws. No need to rush and i need to get that trigger group done before messing with the grips anymore.

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  18. DrMcoy

    DrMcoy Sr Member

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    shiny!
     
  19. greylocke

    greylocke Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    If you want to modify the grain pattern a bit, you can do a trick we did at the Gunshop I used to work at. We specialized in Black Powder and muzzle loaders so to get variations in grain for stocks we would literally paint wood ash mixed with water into a paste and paint it on the stocks with a small brush in the pattern we wanted, then we would take a propane torch and singe the wood lightly. the ash paste kept the covered section of wood from singeing and when done we'd lightly sand then steel wool it and then go on with our staining and final finishing. We had quite a few customers who would come from several states away to have us refinish their stocks and ram rods.
     
  20. gyoung2993

    gyoung2993 Sr Member

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    WOW.................very nice work
     
  21. Mrkipling

    Mrkipling New Member

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    Amazing work, can't wait to see it finished :D
     
  22. Sundowner

    Sundowner Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Those grips turned out great!
     
  23. propstuf

    propstuf Well-Known Member

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    Grips look great! Are you going to bevel the bases (the QMX grips are incorrect, and should have a bevel)? Nice work! :thumbsup
     
  24. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Thanks for the comps guys.

    Greylocke, thanks for the tip. Thats a neat trick. Once i have the grips to their final shape i will see what i have. I may use that.

    Propstuf, i appreciate that. I have some good pics of both Firefly and Serenity guns and never noticed the upward bevel on the bottom of the grips. So yes i guess i will be fixing that.

    Looks like some trigger parts showed up and i will pick them up tommorow. Hopefully the screws will come in tommorow too. I will make a template for the trig frame next.
     
  25. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Got some screws in today. They all match up well with what is on the gun. Also got the trigger parts. Even had some blinged out gold plates jobbers in there. I did find one trigger that matches up nicely. Not sure about hammers though. None of these look like they have enough material to make what is on the gun. I may chop off the finger part and weld on a tab that i can drill and shape into what is there. Well see. I'll at least have a spring loaded trigger.
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  26. masterjedi322

    masterjedi322 Sr Member

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    Schweet! :thumbsup

    Sean
     
  27. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Got a little done today, i was able to drill and tap all the holes and get the real screws in it.

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    Also cut the blanks for the trigger housing. I cut 4 pieces 1/8 thick. I need to clean up the receiver a little but it should be a nice fit. Now i need to figure this trigger/hammer positioning out. Either that or i'll just give it a spring loaded trigger and be done.

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  28. gyoung2993

    gyoung2993 Sr Member

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    With great interest ,watching how this finishes up , great work........
     
  29. Muttleysdad

    Muttleysdad Active Member

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    Very nice work, I really like how the screws worked out, I think I'll raid the machine shop at work come Tuesday.
     
  30. robstyle

    robstyle Master Member

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    You may want to invest in a couple cinder block halves or make a quick jig because upside down belt sanders are hi'larious when they turn right side up.
     
  31. Muttleysdad

    Muttleysdad Active Member

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    If you dont mind me asking, how did the polystone react to tapping?
     
  32. Birdie

    Birdie Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great work :thumbsup

    Must have been a tough job cutting through that metal plating :angel
     
  33. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    It was not bad at all. I made sure i let the tap hang straight down so as not to put any sideways pressure on the polystone. I am a bit miffed by the term polystone. When you drill or grind it it smells like polyester boat resin. If polystone is polyester resin then i was thinking it was something else.

    Had to put this down for a bit while i took care of some other projects. Today i was able to grind down the aluminum and fit it into the grip. This thing is going to have some weight to it that for sure. I need to get some flat head screws to hold the plates together and i need to clean out the receiver hole a little for it to fit in all the way. Unfortunatly we are having a rain delay at the moment.

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  34. Muttleysdad

    Muttleysdad Active Member

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    Looking good, thanks for the heads up on the tapping, going to have a go sometime soon.
     
  35. mc1681

    mc1681 New Member

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    Nice work Zombie Killer. I too received a Mal pistol with a warped barrel. I'm still deciding whether I should exchange it or attempt a rebuild like you. If you don't mind me asking, where did you acquire the screws and the taurus parts? Keep up the good work!
     
  36. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Hi mc1681, the Taurus parts were bought on ebay. The screws were bought at Mcmaster-carr.
     
  37. Goodwolf

    Goodwolf Sr Member

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    Apparently this twisted barrel is a very common problem with this product.

    Is it going to have a hammer that moves back when you pull the trigger?
     
  38. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    That is the plan. It will have a spring loaded trigger for sure and hopefully a hammer that can be pulled back and springs forward when the trigger is pulled. I am trying to work out the positioning of the parts. It is something i will be working on this weekend. The hammer is a bonus if i can make it work but it is not a must have.
     
  39. Goodwolf

    Goodwolf Sr Member

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    That would definitely make it a one of a kind piece, and pretty neat. It's a little beyond my skills though. :behave
     
  40. Berliner

    Berliner New Member

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    This is beautiful work.
     
  41. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Thanks, got to work on this today. Pretty happy with how it's coming so far.

    First thing i did was get rid of the temp screws and put some flat heads on it. Then i ground down the frame and filed the receiver hole until it all fit.

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    Then i cut the center 2 plates in half where the trigger/hammer parts will go with an angle grinder and used it to grind most of the metal.

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    Using files and test fitting a bunch i ended up with this.
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    Here is the action at rest.
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    Pull trigger back, hammer goes back.
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    When you pull the trigger far enough it releases the hammer an it flys forward. When i get springs in it that is.
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    Release the trigger to reset it. Rinse and repeat.
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    I assembled it to check for problems. Its a bit tight and needs more filing to make it work smoother. Something is rubbing. Nothing major just some clearancing. Once i do that i need to figure out what kind of springs i am going to use. Need one in the back to keep pressure on the hammer and one on the trigger to spring it forward. Looks like this is going to work just fine. I hope to get it done in a few days and get a video of it going pow pow.
    I am done for today.

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  42. cephalopodprods

    cephalopodprods New Member

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    That's awesome, it's a great idea to retrofit "real" pieces into a cast plastic prop and you're doing it pretty well!
     
  43. Chrisisall

    Chrisisall Sr Member

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    THIS is how I define shiny.
     
  44. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    Really makes a difference with the real screws. Have thought about investing in such for my Philippes cast.

    You are really going all out... and it's a pleasure to watch your progress.
     
  45. greylocke

    greylocke Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    What are you going to use for the hammer mainspring?
     
  46. gyoung2993

    gyoung2993 Sr Member

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    That is incredible engineering and retrofitting for this prop ................Speechless......
     
  47. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Thanks again gyoung.

    greylock i am using the ones below. I wanted to make it all clean looking and use coil springs but that is just too much of a pain to get the right spring. Coils sized and spacing, wire diameter and hardness, too much playing to get the right one. These little springs are nice and easy. Squish them and they have alot of travel, dont bend or bind and have a nice consistant feel throughout their travel. I ended * up the first trigger trying to fit the spring on the side but this time i put the spring in the slot in the center of the trigger. I used a dremel with a cutting disc to deepen it enough for the spring. This works better. I wish the spring had a bit more tension though. I was having a problem getting the trigger to reset properly. It needed more spring. I tried adjusting the lever on the hammer but i just ended up * up the hammer too. Glad i bought a few. It works better now with the spring in the center. It still fails to reset once in a while but i am not really worried about it. I think it will loosen up after awhile. I still have to drill this new hammers pivot pin too but need to wait to get it to a drill press. The steel is too hard to do with a hand drill. Also need ot grind the hammer top part round and drill a hole in it too. That'll be fun. Then i will cut the holes in the silver trigger guard for the trigger and hammer to poke through. Got some other projects i need to do first......

    Here is a video i posted on photobucket. For some reason whenever i upload to them i get frame drop like crazy. You can hear the hammer fall everytime i pull the trigger but you don't see it. I don't get it. Out of all the trigger pulls i do maybe 3 don't reset but it looks like the hammer doesn't do much. I was going a bit crazy but i was trying to see if it would fail. Once this is glued in place it's done. I'll have to break the gun apart to fix it.

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    Here is the hammer spring. I had to grind some space on the side and also on the cover for the spring to fit.

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    Here is the trigger spring. Like i said earlier i had to dremel the groove deeper for the spring to set in it far enough for the pin to clear.

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    I also had to grind a groove for the hammer lever. If you don't the trigger has to push the hammer back a tad for it to reset. Like this the lever is free to swing and lets it reset.
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    Here it is somewhat assembled
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    This is where the trigger spring gets held in place, the other side presses against the trigger just behind the pin.

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  48. greylocke

    greylocke Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  49. JOATRASH FX

    JOATRASH FX Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    One thing just came to mind. Have you thought about how the vibrations from the hammer and trigger clicking together might damage the polystone? I would think that since it's so brittle, the shock could put stress on it and cause cracks.
     
  50. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Thanks greylock. I think i have some AK, AR and H&K springs i can try but it seems to be OK now that it is assembled a bit more. It may fail to reset every once in awhile but its fine. My life is not depending on it.

    Joe, this stuff is not that fragile. It should be fine. All the shock goes into the aluminum housing. The hammer never actually hits any polystone.

    Went to my parents yesterday and drilled out the hammer pin and ground down the hammer. This steel is hard as heck. I tried my best to get a drill bit to penetrate the hammer so i could drill the hole but all i could do is get little divots.They look the part. It took me 1hr of tearing up bits to get them this far. I have to tend to the grips next. Once i get them done i need to look at paint.

    Here is another video of the action.

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