Educational Zone #52 – Parkerizing a Sistema

When the Sistema pistols went through the system, I was able to acquire 2 of them and refinish them by painting them. They turned out really nice and are great shooters.

I kept looking for another one, but they had dried up. I was disappointed.

I had gone to Gander Mountain to ask my friend in the gun department if he thought they might get some more. He sadly told me that there were no more to be found.

I walked away and was looking at some other new guns when I heard him tell a guy, “Talk to that guy over there”, and he was pointing to me. I walked up to the young man and he said, “Jack told me you might be interested in buying a Sistema pistol”. I said I sure would.

Long story short, he was a Sheriff’s Deputy and had bought one to refinish, but later changed his mind and wanted to sell it. I bought it on the spot.

Here it is in the original condition.

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Some Argentinean officer had made some home-made wooden grips for it.

They had seen a lot of wear. As usual, there was no finish left on the pistol, but it was mechanically sound.

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I decided to Parkerize it. I used some Parkerizing solution we got from DuraCoat Products called Zinc Phosphate Parkerizing Solution. 

I started off by blasting the pistol with a bead blaster.

Tman cut the hammer back to prevent hammer bite.

I then used my Very Fine Polishing wheel on my grinder to buff off any areas that weren’t smooth.

We then washed all parts in Tri Sodium Phosphate solution, to remove all oils.

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Then I rinsed the parts in clear, hot water.

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And a second quick rinse.

I will admit to a slight problem at this point.

We left the slide and frame in the water a little too long, not more than a couple of minutes, and it immediately started to have rust spots.

We quickly dried it off and re-polished it on the wire wheel, and then sprayed it off with Carburator Cleaner.

That seemed to work just fine.

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We then suspended the parts in the Parkerizing solution, which was mixed at a 1 to 5 parts water ratio.

It was heated in a stainless pot on the stove to between 185 and 200 degrees.

You could see the parkerizing solution “working” as the parts quickly had bubbles forming and coming off of them.

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We left the parts in for about 15 minutes and then removed them, rinsed them in water, and quickly dried them with an air hose and high pressure air.

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Being how this is Texas in the summer, taking them into the garage was enough to completely dry them in a few seconds.

We then quickly coated them with oil and let them soak for a while.

We were able to wipe them mostly dry and leave a film of oil on the parts and assemble the pistol.

I bought some white, simulated ivory grips from Brownell’s to finish the pistol.

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Here’s the finished product.

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I sure am satisfied with it. It looks great and shoots even better.

I had to polish the feed ramp to get it to feed wadcutters, but now it will eat anything.

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Another view.

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Conclusion:
The 1911, .45 ACP. What God intended a pistol to be.

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