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Pistol smith work.

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Registered Member
Sep 14, 2017
Hello all. Very new here. Very new to machining but not new to building pistols. I've been building 1911s by hand and file for quite some time.

I've inherited at mill recently. From the research I've done it is commonly referred to as the Harbor Freight #44991 but it's stamped as Central Machinery (not sure if it matters but it came from Canada).

I've been researching mills for a while, before this landed on my lap. I've come very close to a decision on a PM-25 with a DRO. I wanted the people's opinion on what to do. Should I drop money into the 44991 mill for upgrades? Can I make it a respectable machine or should I continue research. My only desire is pistol frame and slide work.

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Chief Tinkerer
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Mar 21, 2013
I'm not familiar with that Harbor Freight mill, but I had a PM-25. If they are similar machines, capacity-wise, it can work. Assuming no gross errors in quality/tolerances of course.

I built my first Steel Challenge 1911 on a Sherline lathe and mill. Doing them on the PM-25 was a piece of cake comparatively speaking. The biggest problem I had with the PM was the lack of Z axis when cutting frames for w/n (Wilson/Nowlin) ramped barrels. c/p (Clark/Para) are easier as you don't have to stand the frame vertically.

Rigidity is the main issue with these smaller mills. Stainless and titanium gave me some fits for example, as did a few harder than normal slides I ran across.

I finally managed to move up to a small knee mill and a good lathe so now I think I've died and gone to heaven. :)
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