I picked my frame up this morning from my FFL. It had arrived right before I did. It is S/N Proto 148. My FFL recorded the caliber as "unknown" as he knew it could be assembled as 9x19, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and/or .45 GAP. He asked quite a few questions about it. He also did not charge me to transfer the frame as I am a frequent customer (see below).
I also picked up a new 3rd Generation G17 I had on layaway as a parts donor for this test, and this gun was transferred to me on the same Form 4473. I spent about 3.5 hours this afternoon and evening stripping the G17, installing parts in the Timberwolf frame, testing, and recording impressions/issues. Someone who is more experienced in detail strips and assembly would have needed less time than me, but I am an engineer who is used to working slowly with new parts. Until tonight, I had never fully detailed stripped a Glock, so I was in no hurry to do it. Not to mention, it is still over 90 degrees here, so shooting was not going to be fun until the morning. The magazine catch and spring cost me close to an hour, and I spent a bit of time with the disassembly catch spring. I also played a bit with the slide stop.
This is a really nice alternative to the factory Glock frame, and so far it appears to not be suffering from the kinds of issues that have detracted from the CCF. The 1911 feel is an improvement over the factory frame. The magazine release button is easier for my short fingers to actuate. I really like the feel of the gun in the hands while shooting. It feels less "blocky" than the factory frame, and the trigger reach seems to be a bit shorter. I think shooters with larger hands will prefer the "swelled" grip insert.
For a Beta prototype, the TimberWolf is remarkably polished. It has exceeded my expectations. The fact that there are so few issues, all of which are minor, is impressive to me.
Overall appearance of frame
I like the looks of the frame. Very business-like. The RMS finish on the frame is a bit more matte than a factory frame.
Overall grip texture comfortable front, back, side
So far, so good. I need to shoot it in the morning to provide better feedback. [eta]Grip texture is good, but the parting line for the mold has mold flash. It is causing some abrasion, especially on the underside of the trigger guard near the relief to allow a higher grip. See my second picture for the mold flash. This is something I can easily fix, but the injection molding house needs to watch their process.[/eta]
Any discomfort (chafing) regarding the texture?
TBD[eta] No, the grip is surprisingly comfortable and provides good traction without abrading my hands.[/eta]
Spacing in finger grips comfortable
Yes, surprisingly so. I would prefer no finger grooves. [/eta]I really like the original 1st Generation frame without the finger grooves. The CCF frame has an edge here over the prototype TimberWolf frame. The grooves are less obnoxious than the 3rd Generation frame, so I guess this was a design compromise. [/eta]
Beavertail comfortable? Too long, short, just right?
I like how high I can get on the frame. It might be a bit too long for my small hands. [eta] The beavertail is comfortable for me. Quite controllable. It could stand to be a bit shorter as it extends quite a bit back from the rear of the slide. There is no way to get slide bite with this frame.[/eta]
Was the mag catch comfortable? Reliable?
Yes, quite easy to use and very 1911-like. I need to see how reliabily it retains magazines when shooting. It does seem to need less force to actuate compared to the factory frame and release. [eta]Mine holds the magazines well yet is easy to release. [/eta]
Does the color appear to be black?
Yes, it is a nice carbon black. Perhaps a bit more charcoal than the factory frame although the RMS differences make it hard to be precise. It is more matte than the factory frame, so it appears more grey.
If not, how would you describe the color
What colors would you like to see offered?
Not sure. My daughter would love a pink frame.
Were the grips easy to install? Remove?
Yes, the grips were easy to install. I needed a small flat blade screwdriver to remove the grips.
Describe the flat grip feel (similar to 1911?)
Very much like a 1911.
Describe the swelled grip feel (similar to XD?)
I have not tried an XD, so no comment on that comparison. The swelled grip reminds me of a S&W 4506 with the curved grips.
Which grip is your favorite flat or swelled?
Flat. [eta]Shooting reinforced the idea that the flat grip is better for my small hands and short fingers.[/eta]
Do you consider your hands to be large, medium, small?
Extremely small. Very short fingers.
Any issues with the grip accidently unlocking?
Not yet. More to follow after shooting in the morning. [eta]Grips are secure during shooting. The grip snaps nicely into the frame. On my frame, the magazines all seem to drop free. All of my magazines have the #6 follower. I wonder if I am not seeing the issue with the grip inserts unlocking because the magazines drop free as I have observed that tighter mag well dimensions, inferred from magazines not dropping free, correlate with issues with the grip inserts unlocking. [/eta]
Did you use your Glock receiver parts to build the Timber Wolf frame?
Yes. I stripped a never-fired Glock 17, serial number NLD0xx, that I picked up with the Timberwolf frame this morning.
Any issues installing the factory parts?
Yes, the locking block from the factory G17 did not fit. I spent 30 minutes trying and finally got the calipers. Luckily, I had ordered a spare locking block from LWD that did fit. The Glock locking blocks seem to not be as tightly controlled as one might expect as the locking block in the donor G17 is wider than the locking block I ordered from LWD. I expect this is going to be an issue for some as the locking block out of my new G17 was 0.002" wider. Yet, it slipped into and out of the donor G17 frame with no issues. I also watched the video showing the proper method of installing the locking block into the Timberwolf frame, so I tried to install the locking block from the donor G17 after the frame had already had another locking block installed. No dice; the donor locking block from NLD0xx is just too wide for the TimberWolf frame.
The trigger housing pin is a bit too long for the frame, so I played with it to get it centered in the frame. I guess that is one of the sacrifices needed for a smaller grip circumference. [eta] I will shorten this pin by about 0.010" to avoid irritation.[/eta]
Did you use any aftermarket parts to build the TimberWolf frame?
No, I used all OEM parts.
Any issues installing the aftermarket parts?
Did you use a factory slide or aftermarket slide? Manufacture?
So far, I am sticking with the factory slide. I do have a Robar/CCF slide that I will try once I finish testing the factory slide.
Any issues with the slide to frame rail fit?
No. The fit seems a bit tighter than the factory gun. I did use some Slide Glide on the rails to make it feel smoother to me. [eta]I did find a bit of mold flash on the right rear frame rail. I removed it with an Exacto knife.
Did you use a factory barrel or aftermarket barrel? Manufacture?
Factory G17 barrel.
Did you use a factory magazine or aftermarket magazine? Manufacture?
Factory magazines. I have 22 of them.[eta]No issues with any magazines failing to drop free. The magazine release is easy to use and seems to require less force than the factory release.[/eta]
What caliber did you choose 9/40/357/GAP?
Was the ammunition factory produced or reloaded?
Factory for now.
What was the bullet weight?
115-grain WWB and 124-grain Remington Golden Sabre.
What model did you build the frame into 17,17L,22,24,31,34,35,37?
Overall feel of the complete assembled gun?
Very nice. Much lighter than the CCF gun yet very 1911-like.
Does the gun naturally point on target?
Yes, it points like a 1911!!!
Did the trigger pull change?
No, pull seems identical. I need to polish my new parts.
Is the trigger reset acceptable?
Yes, very crisp for a Glock. Almost as good as my Robar Alloy Extreme.
Did you use the accessory rail?
What accessory was attached and who is the manufacture?
Did the accessory fit well, was it secure?
Did you shoot the frame with the accessory attached?
Was performance or reliability affected in any way?
Did you use a holster?
Who is the manufacture? Model#
Describe the holster fit, as intended, poor?
Good fit for me. More tomorrow. [eta]Holster fit is good. No issues with drawing or retention. [/eta]
Did the TimberWolf shoot well?
We will find out in the morning? [eta]Yes.[/eta]
Describe the muzzle rise, more or less than the factory frame?
N/A [eta]Much less muzzle rise compared to a Glock 17. Not as damped as the all-steel CCF frame, but no surprise there.[/eta]
Did you notice a change in recoil, better, worse?
TBD [eta]No change in perceived recoil.[/eta]
Did the bullet impact change?
How many rounds did you fire of each caliber
I plan to shoot five hundred round in the morning. [eta]I shot 583 rounds this morning out of the Timberwolf. I would have shot more, but the temperatures are over 95 right now. Too hot to concentrate.[/eta]
Did you experience any specific problems?
Locking block fit. The one from my new G17 is too wide for the frame. [eta]I had one engagement of the slide stop with 115-grain WWB in the magazine. I could not duplicate the failure. I did remove and reinstall the slide lock, but I saw nothing amiss.[/eta]
Do you have any suggestions regarding changes or additions to the frame?
It might make sense to ship the frame with the magazine catch and spring installed as the Timberwolf magazine catch is frame-specific.