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Retired Moderator & Gunsmith
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Discussion Starter #1
What do you do when it's too cold to go shooting? Well, you order a brass grip frame from Brownell's and spend some quality time in the shop making it fit. The Liberty 357 Mag BH was looking a little bland so I also installed a SBH hammer. Despite the fact the brass grip frame was not at all what I expected (fit & finish), it turned out just fine.

 

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Good work and good taste!
 

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I really like the looks of the brass frame. Now you just need a set of Cary C's grips.:D
 

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Iowegan-
When you say the brass frame was not what you expected, you mean in overall quality, or oversized, (fit & finish)? It still looks a bit big around the lower grip and at the backstrap. Please explain. I have been considering the same conversion for one of mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Several years ago I installed Caravelle brass grip frames for customers. These were "premium" frames that could be fitted and finished in an hour. Unfortunately, Caravelle is no longer in business. Maybe I expected this brand to look and fit as well as the Caravelle.

This frame is a MK Technologies that I ordered from Brownell's ($99.95 retail, $89.95 wholesale). From the write-up in the catalog, I expected it to be a little over sized but this one was WAY over sized. I also expected the finish to be better. Instead, there were casting marks, discoloring, and some pock marks on the back strap and trigger guard. I was able to dress them all down so maybe it was good to have it over sized. I used a vertical bench belt sander with a very fine grit to fit the sides and ears. After I got it fitted, I used 400 grit sandpaper to dress down the fine scratches, then buffed it with 550 grit compound on a muslin wheel. This took me about 4 hours to complete. I must say, it turned out way better than I expected, considering what the grip frame looked like out of the package. The brass grip frame makes a huge difference in weight and balance.

One significant problem I encountered was the hole drilled for the grip locator pin was at least 1/8" low and 1/8" to the rear. When I installed the grips, there was a 1/8" gap between the top and front right angle area of the grips and frame. I had to drill new pilot holes in the grips to make them fit.

Your observation about the backstrap (actually the entire grip-to-frame fit) being too big is quite accurate. I did not alter the factory grips but I could have trimmed the grip frame down more. I actually wanted the brass to show from the sides. I did contour the edges so it feels great in my hand. My issue was, what good is a brass frame if you can't see it?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
John H. Fox, There's no modification to the gun at all. I can remove the brass frame and put the factory aluminum one on in a few minutes. I bought this gun brand new back in '76 and it still looks like new. Like a dummy, I threw the box away. As a "collector" gun, this model and barrel length is quite common so it would only bring about $50 more than a non-Liberty. When you spend money for a brass grip frame and SBH hammer, it might as well go on something "worthy".
 

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Do you coat the brass or use a polish with the tarnish resistant protection to keep it nice & shiny? Seems a lot of work if you have to remove it too often to polish up. Are the MK Technologies brass frames the only new ones available anymore?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
jimbo1096, I use silicone car polish on my brass frame. It keeps it nice and shiny until it is handled a lot. It only take a couple minutes to apply a coat so no big deal.

Brownell's sell a very nice Colt style grip frame made by Power Custom. I have installed a few of these but they are expensive and require 2nd or 3rd generation Colt grips. By the time you spend $200 for the frame and another $50 or more for grips, you could almost buy another gun. Ruger used to make brass grip frames but their prices are out of sight.
 
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