I bought a Pardini SP New Rapid Fire pistol this past September as an upgrade from the Walther GSP I was using. The GSP worked, I had pushed into the high 570s with it, but it was time for a dedicated .22LR RF pistol.
After I did all the initial setup that you normally do with a new pistol, I determined that the grip angle was still too severe. I had the grip cut to fit my hand just fine, but when I lifted the gun, the front sight was way above the rear notch.
I decided to go the route of changing the angle of the inlet, rather than reconstructing the entire grip from the outside. What follows is how I accomplished that.
Step 1: Determining the Proper Angle
I really like the angle of the Walther GSP. I've been shooting that gun for almost 15 years, and when I pick it up, the sights are just aligned. It's like an old friend.
I knew that the angles were different between the Pardini and the Walther, but how much? With the help of a digital camera and the Photoshop Measure function, I figured it to be about 10º.
Step 2: Creating a Form of the Frame
Next, I needed to create a "negative" of the grip inlet; fortunately, this is just a replication of the portion of the frame that fits in the grip. I decided to make it out of 3/32" basswood, which is sturdy enough to hold up to the Bondo, yet easy enough to work with that I knew I could shape it however I wanted. I use Sobo glue instead of Elmer's or wood glue because it's not water-based, therefore it doesn't make the basswood swell.
I just traced the frame contour onto two pieces of basswood, then used consistent-width pieces to provide internal structure and external contour. This part of the process was not particularly difficult, just tedious and meticulous.
The overall width of the form needs to be exactly the same as the width of the frame. Don't forget to include the width of the basswood in your calculations (3/32" x2).
Step 3: Backfilling the Grip Inlet
I used Bondo to fill in behind the basswood form. I like to mix it until it's about the color of bubble gum. It dries in about 5-10 minutes. I just slathered the outside of the form with a release agent (Vaseline), slathered the inlet portion of the grip with Bondo, then mushed the form down into the grip and let the excess Bondo ooze out.
- A couple of pointers:
- Be sure to press down hard enough on the form so that it touches the wood of the grip in as many places as possible. It won't hit a bearing surface in the rear (that portion should be filled in with Bondo), but it should bear on the bottom of the inlet.
- Try not to fill up the mounting bolt hole with Bondo. I had to trim down a 3/16" dowel to fit, but it still got filled in a bit. It's easy enough to knock out the Bondo with a drill once it dries, as the Bondo is significantly softer than the wood of the grip
- It helps to lay out guidelines with a protractor on a large sheet of paper so that you can angle the basswood form properly at 10º. You really need to get the Bondo slathered, the basswood form inserted, and the angle set properly within 60 seconds or so of mixing the Bondo, so don't dally.
I approached this with much trepidation, but it turned out not to be too complicated. I've posted many more pictures of the process here.