Kel-Tec Fluff and Buff
by Chandler Bates III
A few KT's do not work real well right out of the box. This happens with other modern, light, compact weapons also. Malfunctions discourage owners from depending on weapons. However, the design and other characteristics of the Kel-Tec the reasons you bought it in the first place are excellent, so you need to give the gun its best shot at pleasing (protecting) you. Performing the following "Fluff and Buff" procedures, then lubricating correctly, before you ever fire your gun, will increase your chances of having a really good running gun right from your first experience.
Check out the following URL's at the Kel-Tec Owners Group web site for suggestions on disassembly/assembly and more specific instructions for individual procedures. Working on the KT's is a joy. They are really fairly simple for the mechanically minded, handy people. Having the right tools and supplies helps, of course. These include:
- 400 and 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper (auto parts stores, hardware stores)
- Dremel tool with polishing accessories
- Small, fine file set
- Magnifying glass or hood
- Chore Boy stainless steel pot scrubber
- Wooden dowel (smaller diameter than your barrel)
- Pencil erasers/instant bonding glue (nail glue)
- Blue Loc-Tite
- Drift pin/roll pin set
- Hammer spring removal tool (see TecWerks for suggestions)
- Cold blue, rubbing alcohol for degreasing, Q-tips
- Magnet to find lost, dropped parts
- Dummy rounds (snap caps) in your caliber(s)
- A tool box big enough for all this stuff
If you do not feel confident enough to do this work, or if you do not have the time or tools, you can print these instructions and take them to a gunsmith who will do it for you (or just give him the web address). Negotiate the fee to be reasonable for you. It is possible also that Kel-Tec will do it for you. Call them.
Whenever you clean or work on your guns, follow intelligent safety precautions: Unload the gun and put the ammo in another room. Use dummy rounds for function checking. Keep a clean work area. Have good lighting.
Other more expensive weapons usually have hand finishing work like our Fluff & Buff done at the factory. Custom gunsmiths do this to weapons they work on. Because of price, KT does not do this finish work. Supposedly the guns are designed to work without it being done, and surely there are many out there that work fine without any Fluff and Buff. Yet if you do this work carefully and slowly, you are bound to improve the functioning and reliability of your gun. A complete Fluff and Buff takes me about four hours.
A F&B (Did I say something bad, Mommy?) will finish areas of both metal and plastic that have manufacturing marks that might interfere with perfect, comfortable operation of your weapon. Many also "buff" the exterior surfaces of the slide and barrel to a nicer polished look, but this is not a functional enhancement. Some actually use machines to round all exterior edges of the slide, also called "melting". Doing so on a blued model will require some kind of refinishing or metal treatment to protect the exposed, smoothed metal. Stainless steel, such as the barrel, does not need to be refinished after buffing.
Machine tools that cut metal leave small ridges. Cast parts often have pitting. On a KT feed ramp, for instance, ridges run laterally across the ramp. Each of these ridges can act as a little brake as a bullet tries to slide vertically up over them. Especially in a light weapon, adding friction to any part of the loading/firing/ejection sequence can magnify problems, because there is not as much mass to overcome it.
Using a magnifying glass (a good one, or better yet, a $6 magnifying hood from a tool store) on machined or cast parts will show you how rough these surfaces can be. Reducing or removing ridges or pits will reduce friction, wear, heat buildup and all other kinds of nasties in conjunction with proper lubrication. Remember, though, real smooth surfaces without proper lubrication can cause problems too. (http://www.ktog.org/tecwerks1.htm#Lubrication)
When we talk about "polishing" (or fluffing and buffing) a surface, such as a barrel feed ramp, our real goal is to reduce or remove ridges and pits, but no metal after that. So, first try to reduce the ridges by using a mild abrasive 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Wrap a little around the end of an eraser (or some similar object with a resilient backing) and work the sandpaper up and down the ramp vertically, thereby cutting down the ridges. You can overdo this, especially in the middle, so keep checking with your magnifying glass. You will actually begin to see little scratches the sand paper will leave. On cast parts with pitting you will often have to use a fine file first.
Once most of the feed ramp ridges have been reduced, you are 75% there. Feeding will be remarkably improved just by doing this.
The next even more professional step is to remove all remaining scratches/ridges by using a Dremel or similar tool with a felt "bullet" tip and some polishing compound. There are many different kinds of polishing compound. Some are rather abrasive for removing metal, others are more gentle for just a final polish. I use one that is a step or two above the "just polish" kind, since I still want to remove a little metal to get to a 100% smooth, shiny, slick ramp. I use the Dremel at high speed, all over the ramp, not just in the middle, until under
magnification everything looks right.
After reblueing any previously blued parts, the last thing I do, after thoroughly cleaning all surfaces I have worked on, is to put on a light coat of Militec-1 (or other metal bonding lubricant). I rub this in well, then I bake the part in my pre-heated oven at the lowest setting (200 degrees) for about 10 minutes. The heat helps bond the Militec to the metal for greatest lubricity and protection. Do not do this with the plastic parts, including the grip!
This, BTW, is an operation that will benefit metal parts of any weapon, especially the feed ramp. If you have other guns, check out their ramps with your magnifying glass and see if you can improve them. At least the Militec treatment will help even if the ramp and other metal mating surfaces are already perfectly smooth.
A true Fluff and Buff will include all other areas of your KT with mating metal surfaces involved in feeding, firing and ejection as well as some "grip" enhancements (the plastic part of the gun). Other areas in KTOG Tec Werks cover most of these.
Follow similar procedures for these other areas, and remember to cold blue all areas (even stainless if you want, but it does not turn out real well, just buff off if you don't like it) you have worked on both for protection and to see wear patterns later.
- Run a few strands of a stainless steel "Chore Boy" pot scrubber (available at a grocery store) through the chamber and bore using a dowel about 6-10 times. Fit should be tight. Cuts down machining marks in barrel and chamber. Will NOT hurt the bore. Cleaning will be easier & quicker, bullet velocities will rise a bit.
- Polish Polish Polish (not a person from the country) feed ramp, chamber and hood ramp (the part of the barrel above the feed ramp that the bullet often bounces up against on its way into the chamber).
- Gently round any hard edges that have to slide against each other, like the front of the barrel hood and the slide lock up area.
- Check and reduce the tool marks on the back of your barrel hood where it contacts the breech face. Be careful: Removing material here could adversely effect your lock-up.
- Polish the barrel bell and mating surface inside the front of the slide.
- Polish the inside of the barrel lug & reduce the sharp edges of the barrel lug.
- Check the breech face. Ooooh. Ugly. File gently first, then polish. [You'll be wise to do the firing pin channel cleanout after polishing the breech face (http://www.ktog.org/tecwerks4.htm) .]
- Check your slide rails (on the steel slide, not the aluminum frame!) both the groove and the rail (way ugly a lot). Use a popsicle stick and the w/d sandpaper. No need to Dremel. Do not do anything to the aluminum frame rails.
- The hammer/slide interface (most ugly a lot!). VERY IMPORTANT to polish this areathere is a lot of friction during slide travel here. (http://www.ktog.org/tecwerks6.htm)
- Slide/barrel lock up arearound the inside (front) sharp edge a little. Do not remove a lot of metal, just soften the hard edge.
- File for shape and polish the slide stop/slide interface if closing the slide is difficult.
- Polish any rough, bright spots along the steel slide rails. Note particularly where the assembly pin or slide stop contacts the slide.
- Clean out firing pin channel and polish firing pin. (http://www.ktog.org/tecwerks4.htm)
- Polish magazine lips and inside of magazine if necessary. Polish the cast trigger bar if necessary (not on newer ser. No.'s from about 55000+).
There are some places on Kel-Tecs where the plastic has leftover molding ridges, or where for reasons of comfort or convenience you may want to alter a plastic part (the grip, trigger and magazine follower being the primary targets.)
Although tough, this plastic cuts VERY easily. It is NOT metal. Heat produced by high speeds of a Dremel will melt it and make a mess. Plastic adjustments should be done by hand, slowly and carefully. In most cases, I first use a small, fine file on the plastic. You can get a set of these at a tool store or gun show for under $10. I generally finish up with some 600 grit w/d sandpaper. Sometimes I only use the sandpaper.
I re-shape my trigger at the bottom so there is not so much curve, and remove the small molding ridge inside the trigger guard (older models).
I open up the bottom of the grip above and in front of the trigger to allow my permanently installed trigger shoe accessory out of the grip when I remove the frame. (http://www.ktog.org/tecwerks8.htm)
Reduce the molding ridge inside the magazine well of the grip to help the empty mag eject better (http://www.ktog.org/mags.htm), round the edges of the mouth of the mag well for easier feeding, and round the sharp edges of the magazine follower.
This, friends, is the Kel-Tec FLUFF AND BUFF! Follow it with the addition of accessories recommended elsewhere in Tec Werks, particularly the White Trigger Stop (http://www.ktog.org/tecwerks1.htm#White) and the trigger shoe, fire 500 rounds to learn trigger control, and we will allow you into the clubhouse!