Charles Daly Hi Power match barrel

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by LDBennett, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    Being wise when I was looking for a Hi Power I excluded the real thing for a Charles Daly Hi power clone. A mistake-the gun is a little cruder than I would like, the sights are special tactical sights that are hard to line up for accuracy, the trigger was terrible, and the accuracy is a bit down. But the price was low.

    I can live with the lower finish and fit levels, the sights are replaceable since they are mounted to the gun with known dovetails, I did a neat trigger job on it and included a frame mounted overtravel adjustment, but the accuracy limit is much harder to overcome. Then at a gun show I found the Fire Dragon Match barrel for Hi Powers. But some clones are clones and other clones are not.

    There were small difference in the locking lug locations and the height of the barrel lug that determines how far into the slide the barrel lugs project. After some false starts at the range and a trip for the barrel back to the manufacturer who promised to make it fit and then did not, I finally got the barrel into the frame, seating correctly both vertically into the lugs and the lugs machined down to fit into the recesses in the slide.

    The lugs required lots of measuring, comparison to the ill fitting original barrel, modifiying those measurements to get a tight lockup and finally some iterative machining of the barrel lugs. But the barrel now fits the slide tightly and with full engagement. But it turns out having the lugs the right size is not enough. The Hi Power uses a horizontal pad under the barrel lug to push the barrel into the slide and keep in all tight. The Fire Dragon barrel was 0.025 inches too short.

    For this it was required to add material to the pad of the barrel lug without distoring the barrel or loosing any of its hardening (stainless steel at Rc39 to 41). Some one on the internet suggested submerging the barrel in a water bath except for the pad. My welder also suggested that and did it that way. I machined and filled the lug back to the right size and shape. It now fits like a glove, but not too tight.

    A trip to the range brought out another problem---the chamber is right at minimum specs and if you don't get the sizing die set up perfectly some of the ammo will jamb as it tries to feed into the chamber. I have tons of 9mm brass from all manufactures well mixed up. Some can be made to fit the chamber but one out of a 100 will not fit regardless of the sizing dies adjustment. I also found that the RCBS sizing die that has a generous radius into the sizer portion will not always work. The Lee sizing die that has a less generous radius into the sizer portion works better.

    I need just one more trip and success in firing to get through this accurizing episode and the conclusion is next time buy the real thing, not a cheaper clone. I think it now shoots better than the original Charles Daly barrel but the work was absolutely not worth it. Fire Dragon should have known the Charles Daly would not take their barrel and should have put in more effort including firing it in the gun (their owner had a new Charles Daly to fit the barrel to and fire). They failed and had a no-money back policy so I was forced to make their barrel work or loose my substantial investment in their barrel.

    We live and learn.

  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    OK! The modified barrel in the Charles Daly went through more than 50 rounds of correctly sized ammo with one failure to extract (reloads with mixed brass picked up off the ground at the range----so I can not blame the gun for that one).

    Next is trying to put adjustable Target sights on it. It is suppose to have Novak Low mount dovetails in the slide. I think I found a couple of choices at Brownells (might require some mill work but I got that covered). The choices are Novak or MMC adjustable sights. I'll have to test the gun after installing the rear sight to determine what sight height I might need. This seems to be a never ending process!

    Anyone got any ideas on a way to tighten the barrel in the fornt of the slide since the gun has no removable bush there? I do not want to use a gunsmith but do the work myself.


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