Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

A TOUGH FINISHING QUESTION

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by ithacaartist, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. ithacaartist

    ithacaartist Mecklenburg, NY New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2
    I have several Erma pistols, made in Germany between the 60's and late 90's. Some more than others, cast Zamak parts abound--the frames, at the very least, if not the uppers and some parts of the action.

    My question is, does anyone know of an appropriate chemical or electrolytic process that would impart a new finish to this material? I'd prefer not to paint, coat, or bake on a finish because the markings have minimal depth already, which will decrease if the zinc alloy is sanded, filed, or buffed to clean it up for the new finish. No, I'm not going to glass bead it, either--for the same reason, and that it's shiny/smooth now, and I'd prefer not to change the surface texture, or add to it.

    One thing I've heard is that cold bluing, heated to about 180 deg., and pre-heated parts put into it will result in an acceptable blackening of the zinc.

    Anodizing may work, I've also heard, as there may be enough aluminum in the mix to make the process successful.

    Black chrome would be an option, but who does it, ala FFL?

    I've considered Cerakote, but this project does not warrant such an expense.

    Has anyone successfully refinished a cast zinc gun?
     
  2. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,196
    Likes Received:
    4,393
    You might look into anodizing.
    It won't be as tough as bluing on steel, but neither is the parent metal.
     
  3. ithacaartist

    ithacaartist Mecklenburg, NY New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2
    I've checked into anodizing and found it something that I could do in my shop. The color is applied to the fresh oxide with--are you ready for this?--RIT dye. It can be rubbed to the desired gloss. It sounded promising, before, and might just do some experimentation on some broken front toggles made from this material.
     
  4. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    Of topic question--

    I have an Erma 22 LA that I need a front sight for. Any ideas? Numrich has been "out" for a couple years now.

    Mine has a nice finish, I just want to repair the front sight that broke off several years ago.
     
  5. ithacaartist

    ithacaartist Mecklenburg, NY New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have some ideas. Ask Tom Heller, the "lugerdoc" , a member of Lugerforum.com, may have some, as he has worked with Ermas in the past and I know he has some parts. hellerarms@webtv.net

    Alternately, I found a source in Germany and bought two spares, and I think I have an extra used one in a parts lot I bought. The new German ones are pricey, I'd need about 30 bucks for one of them, including postage. If I have a used one, $20 would persuade me to sell, same deal. Keep in mind that Erma is long out of business. Bob's Gun Parts seems to have bought up most of their NOS parts. When Numrich, Sarco, and Bob are out of them, they are really OUT, with no prospect of renewing their stock. One more option is to wait for an La or Ep (sights are identical) to be parted out and offered on Gunbroker, ebay, etc. I've accumulated other Erma parts--grips, internals, etc. so you could check with me if you need anything. I'll eventually be offering some improved original wood grips--the checkering will be extended all the way to the edges of them after they are contoured to have smooth curves and feel at the perimeters, and I intend to install brass tops to the insides of the left grips to present a smooth, dissimilar metallic surface for the trigger system components to ride against instead of chewing out the wood, and doubling as a top tab that will not crack/break/chip off. They won't necessarily be cheap, but they do address these two common issues, and would be a nice addition for a shooter otherwise in great shape, to remedy or prevent these problems. They'll be nice.
    David Parker
    ithacaartist@gmail.com
     
  6. ithacaartist

    ithacaartist Mecklenburg, NY New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2
    LuckyLuX - CDS LLX ERMA EP22

    This page seems to offer the same Erma parts as the place mine came from; the two may be connected somehow because the list of available parts is identical, including the "*all parts because of limited" on the bottom line. Interestingly, the front sight is translated on this page as "grain", the other site lists it in German, "korn". Anyway, I have not checked with these folks as to whether they export to the US, but the price is the same, 15 euros, about $18. You'll find the related expenses will add up to justify my asking price for a new one.
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    Having seen the scarcity of this part, and the costs of those that are available I've decided to revive one of my old skills. I used to be a "model maker" for a major airplane manufacturer. I hand made lots of small parts for the models that were "flown" in the wind tunnel.

    Shouldn't be much more than a week of filing, fitting, polishing and bluing. Not for a restoration anyway, just something to shoot now and then.
     
  8. ithacaartist

    ithacaartist Mecklenburg, NY New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2
    Well, another guy after my own heart! I suspect the dovetail area will be a bit demanding, to say the least. The shape made me realize that I probably didn't want to do it for $.75 per hr! But before I scored the ones I did, I tried to find an aftermarket front sight that would fit, or be close enough to modify, and did not have any results up to that point. I'm not sure if the dovetail groove on the barrel ring is proprietory or some sort of standard, or what standard it would be--another question for someone who knows what they're looking at?
     
  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    Hey, I'm retired. $0.75/hr is more than I make now:cool:
    I'm actually going to start with a "cast" of the dovetail so I can have some measurements to start with. "Wax" the inside of the dovetail using a GI cleaning brush (small end) then fill with Devcon.

    The trick is to have patience and some pattern files. I've at least got the files and will be no doubt testing my patience.
     
  10. ithacaartist

    ithacaartist Mecklenburg, NY New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2