by George N. Fisher
Project start date; 01/01/2003
click on the blue underlined links for Pictures
Makamutt- (Mak-a-Mutt) Noun, A Makarov pattern pistol built and composed of parts of various origins and countries of manufacture. Also may consist of one or more hand made, or custom parts.
All kidding aside, my project Makarov, which I named Makamutt, do to its mixed lineage, was an attempt to create a custom Makarov Pistol based on the features I liked and disliked the most from the various Makarov models. The one limiting feature was locating a spare slide, which limited my choice of slights greatly. I did however luck upon a Russian Baikal Commercial model slide sans the rear sight, and with the popular Fixed rear replacement sight, available thru Makarov.com as a starting point, I created a slightly improved version for my custom pistol.
The Goal of the Makamutt project is to create a Custom Makarov Pistol that could be used for CCW duty, General taget work, the occasional action match and as a trail gun when hiking and camping.
Parts Breakdown (click here for an Exploded View of the Makarov Pistol)
The Frame - The starting point for any pistol of course is the frame, the part of the pistol with the S/N and licensed by the ATF. I contacted Global Trades out of Texas, and obtained two unused Makarov frames thru my local FFL dealer.
Stripped Makarov frame, as received.
Both of the frames obtained from Global Trades were Russian Baikal Commerical models, and had very minor surface rust from storage, but were otherwise completely unused. Neither had ever been assembled into a complete pistol or had a barrel installed. Using OOOO steel wool (also known as 4O or superfine steel wool) I cleaned the frame chosen for this project and removed the slight surface rust and dirt. The frame was than checked for parts fit, and several ruff spots on the inside and mag well were smoothed with the help of a MotoTool and some fine stones. The magazine well was beveled slightly to speed reloads with a fine cut file and the MotoTool. At first I wanted to checker the frontstrap, but after checking into the cost of this, or the cost of the required tools to do this myself, I passed on the idea. While digging thru my "Misc Gun Parts Box O'Goodies" I did find a pressed steel checkered frontstrap made for 1911 pattern pistols. I measured and trimmed, and than trimmed some more, and fit this to the frontstrap of the Makamutt. The edges had to be reshaped, and folded around the leading edge of the frame, to allow the grips to seat properly. If after testing and use for awhile I decide I like this feature, the metal will be secured to the frontstrap with a high strength epoxy, but for now I left it detachable.
03/15/03 Update - After the first test firing, I decided I liked the checkered frontstrap so much, I went ahead and secured it in place with Brownells Acra-Quick Stainless Steel Epoxy Gel. This is a very high strength epoxy made for gun work, and can even be used to secure scope mounts in place. After the Epoxy set up, I trimmed the edges back even with the frame, and buffed all edges with the MotoTool. Checkered frontstrap cut to size and Epoxied in place.
The Barrel - A custom pistol deserves a custom barrel, and being one of those people who only really likes accurate firearms, the barrel required much thought. For me, the caliber choice was easy, original 9x18 Makarov. Surplus Stock barrels can be quite accurate, and the chrome lining does make maintance easier. However I choose a Stainless Steel barrel for this project. A stock length barrel did not allow me enough extra metal to rechrown the muzzle or add any kind of custom touch. An Extended and Ported barrel was choosen as the starting point, but since I didn't want the extra length when the pistol was used as a carry pistol. I cut it off, just behind the last port, to an even 4 inches, and reduced the muzzle end diameter a slight amount. The Muzzle was then recrowned and polished. Using a standard barrel press from Makarov.com, this barrel was then mounted to the frame. The feed ramp was polished and fitted to the frame, matching all edges and contures, to insure 100% feeding reliablity with all types of ammunition. Closeup shot of the Polished feed ramp and chamber. The Barrel Hood (sometimes called the Barrel Sleeve), the part of the frame that the barrel mounts in, was given a polish, and the barrel collar polished to match. These parts will be left bright, as will the full length of the barrel.
The Slide - The slide available for this project, and the only part of it that I did not have a choice of, was a surplus Russian Commerical slide, marked with the old B-West logo, Importers marks and ".380 ACP". The flats of the slide were polished by hand with the MotoTool and fine steel wool. I than used a flat 600 grit stone to restore the flat edges. Since the markings were acid etched in place, I only had to remove a very slight amount of metal. Both sides were done, with all of the markings removed, since upon completion this will no longer truely be an IJ-70 or "Made in Russia" as the left side markings suggest.
It should be noted at this point, that this type of work is ok with the slide, since it is not a licensed part of a "firearm". However removing the S/N and other markings from a pistol frame could land you in the pokey for several years. Also if this type of undertaking is done on a slide that has engraved markings, you could end up removing too much metal, and making the slide unsafe by the time you go deep enough to remove the markings.
Photos of the Slide in Progress
Trigger Guard - From my parts bin I had the choice of a a standard Bulgarian round trigger guard or a surplus Squared trigger guard, from an Arsenal Makarov. After trying both, I decided on the more common round trigger guard, but using the MotoTool and some medium stones, rounded off the edges, and polished the surface to remove any sharp contact points. This part along with the Frame and Slide will be refinished at a later date.
The Hammer - At first I was going to go with a Bobbed Hammer for this project, but it just didn't work for me on this pistol, even though my main CCW Makarov carries one. I finally decided on a "Commander Style" Hammer as the the best choice for looks and fuction. A look at the commander hammer installed in the frame.
Fire Control Parts - These include the trigger linkage, sear, Hammer, etc. If you were starting this kind of project from zero, Makarov.com has a parts kit that contains 100% of what you need in this department. I happen to purchase a full parts kit some time ago however, and so I had the chance to sort thru many parts and pick and choose those that gave the best fit, and smoothest trigger pull. This was done by first hand fitting the parts, checking each against the other for interaction. During this phase of the project, I assembled and disassembled the internal workings of the pistol about 65 times. All of the selected parts were than assembled on the frame, and the pistol dry fired about 300 times to "break in" the parts. All of the parts were than again removed, and all of the contact points and wear points polished using the handy MotoTool and a fine stone in the case of the sear and hammer engagement surfaces. The resulting trigger pull weighted out at 9-10 lbs double action, and 4 lbs single action. Trigger Job Before Picture - Trigger Job after Break-in - Final Trigger Job after Polish and Stoning
03/15/03 Update The Trigger Job Revisited - I had received some samples of a New Product at the 2003 Shot Show, Called Sentry Smooth-Kote. This is a two part Lubricant that is applied to dry and cleaned parts, allowed to dry and than the second part applied. The result gives the parts a silvery gray finish, and is very slick. I had tried this on another pistol as a test, and liked the results so well I had to give it a go on the Makamutt. The parts were removed from the frame, cleaned per directions included with the kit, and given a coating of the first part of the kit, which comes in liquid form. This is allowed to dry for 2 hours, and than the second part, a dry black powder (pure Molybendum ? its not graphite, I even asked) that turns silvery gray when it is worked into the dried liquid. I used a common Q-Tip to apply the second part. The parts were than re-installed and the trigger tested. The revisited trigger job is now smooth as glass, and the DA is an even 8 lbs. The SA stayed about where it was at 4 lbs, but even it feels smoother. Look for this stuff at Makarov.com soon.
The Grip - This was the easy part of the whole project, as I am very fond of the Pearce Rubber grip on the Makarov. Also it worked well with the Checkered Frontstrap, with the checkering pattern matching on both.
The Rear Sight - I started with the drop in Fixed Replacement Sight from Makarov.com, but added a bit more bevel to the leading edge, and contured the front to match the slide profile. The sight was than refinished in Matte Black Alumhyde and afixed to the slide.
The Front Sight - At first I was going to use the stock front sight, but as the project progressed, the existing front sight seemed more and more out of place and harder to use. I finely decided on a new front sight, a custom made dovetailed in semi-ramped Target design. This is something I have done on several other IJ-70 owners, and the improved resulting sight picture never ceases to impress me. The sight was milled to shape and refinished along with the rest of the slide. The resulting sight picture is very crisp and clear, suitable for target work, but quick enough for quick sight alignment if needed.
Magazines - With the proven success of the the Custom Carry Magazine, this was also an easy choice for the project, however I wanted to have two sets of Magazines, one for field and target use, and one for Carry use. I selected 4 magazines for field use, and 2 for Carry Duty. All the mags were given the normal polish, testing and inspection that I use when assembling CCW mags for customers, however the four target magazines were refinished with matte Gray AlumHyde, while the Carry mags were done in the original matte black.
Due to the somewhat storage worn condition of the Frame and slide when received, all parts would need to be refinished.
I considered a Two-Tone appearance, but not being a big fan of the look, I decided on a somewhat standard Matte Black finish to be done with the AlumHyde Epoxy coating used on the Custom Carry Magazines. The great thing about the AlumHyde however, is that if someone decided on a Two Tone, or even a custom Camo color scheme, it could be done with very little trouble.
The Frame, Slide and Trigger guard were hand polished, degreased and heated over a vent. All of these parts were than given two light coatings of Matte Black AlumHyde, allowing a full 72 hours between coats, with each coat baked on for maximum hardness and durability.
Finished parts after two coats of AlumHyde
This fairly durable finish will give rust protection and improves the appearance of the Pistol 100%.
Other Pictures of the work in progress:
All most done, still needs new front sight and refinishing.
X-Ring Rubber Bullets and loaded X-ring Cartridges used in test firing.
Various Types of ammo used in live fire testing.
The End Result - The finished Makamutt Leftside view Rightside view
and the Complete Package.
Before and after pictures
How did it turn out ? - To test the finished Makamutt I ran the following tests, click on each number to see the results. All of the Following targets were shot after a 100 round break in period except Target 1.
Target 1 - 7 yds, Draw and fire from concealment, one round Double Action (DA). Total 8rds all shot inside with Primer powered X-Ring Rubber Bullets and a proper backstop.
Target 2 - 15yds, First round DA, next 7 SA, rapid fire, Tiger 95gr JHP, total 16 rounds.
Target 3 - 25yds, A mixture of several differant types of ammo, including Sellor & Bellot FMJ, Tiger JHP, Tiger FMJ, Barnual FMJ, Barnaul FMJ, Master JHP, Corbon JHP, and Handloaded SWC. One Magazine of each, total of 64 rounds. Rear sight needs adjustment, as the groups are tend to be a bit left of center. The target is a B-27 50-foot reduced NRA target, not the full size B-27.