February 7, 2022

How to polish feed ramp without Dremel

You can polish the feed ramp without Dremel using your hand. Use a dowel. Wrap a 400 grit abrasive paper around it, in and out in the direction of the barrel to remove machining marks without changing the shape of the ramp.
Use a dowel about the same diameter as the feed ramp. Wrap it with 400 grit wet and dry coated with some light oil, and polish in an up and down motion until the machining marks are reduced.

Move to 600 grit for the final polish. Feed ramp polishing does not make the ramp shiny but removes the side to side machining marks that can catch or slow the round feeding into the chamber. If you do decide to attempt polishing the feed ramp, set the original parts aside and buy new Dremel parts to learn on. You can put it back together with original parts without damaging them.

If you cannot polish it at all, send it to one of the well-known Smiths with a selection of ammo you want to use because if you do it wrong, you destroy it. Never undermine the case support at the end of the chamber.

Can you polish the feed ramp without a Dremel?

Yes, you can polish the feed ramp without a Dremel, and use sandpaper. Do not ruin the ramp in the name of polishing because it might not be necessary to polish when there is nothing wrong. The absence of a Dremel does not mean you cannot polish the feed ramp. Use available or more affordable tools that keep the ramp in its state.

How to do it without a Dremel

Buy sheets of 600 and 800 grit sandpaper, tear off a small piece of the 600 and place it grit side down on the feed ramp. Rub the sandpaper over the surface of the ramp using the eraser end of a pencil.

When the sandpaper is worn, replace it and repeat the process 6-8 times with the 600 and the same with the 800. When using such fine sandpaper, the chances are low for you to do any damage, and the ramp will be smooth and shiny.

A handy sanding block to use is a spent 45 case, and do not change the angle of the feed ramp, do not round off any corners, and do not aim for a mirror polish. Smooth the tool marks. A light smoothing is ideal, and 1k-2k grit paper. A few light strokes to knock off the high points help. Remove strokes of the high points. Do not remove excess metal, do not use power tools, remove the minimum needed to accomplish the job.

How does a Dremel do it?

Make sure the gun is disassembled and running reliably with ball ammo. Clean, lube, and start with the hollow points you wish to use. If you have feeding problems, try a different brand of ammo before you start working on the gun.
Some guns have tool marks on the feed ramp and feed fine. Some have smooth-looking ramps, and will not feed some bullet styles. Try everything before you start working on the gun. Stay away from power tools, unless you want to buy another ramp or even a whole new gun.

Polished feed ramp benefits

  1. Polishing the feed ramp makes a huge difference but only when done correctly. It gives a smooth feed when you slowly let the slide down and does not hang up like it used to.
  2. The slide closes smoother when it is dropped into the battery as well.
  3. Polish a feed ramp and internal trigger components on a standard production gun makes it feel smoother and smooths out the trigger pull. If you know exactly what, where and how much to polish. If you have no idea how to polish the feed ramp and control the tool, stay off the ramp before you ruin it. If you are new to guns, it might be best not to experiment with a pistol if it is not experiencing any issues. When curious, buy some parts and do plenty of research to find out what parts to polish and why.

Other ways to polish the feed ramp

Use a tube of flitz

Get a tube of flitz, put a dab on a clean patch and use the pad of your little finger with light pressure. Polish in an up and down motion, top to bottom about one minute. Do not make it shiny, but a little smoother.

Use your hand/hand polish

Wrap the file with abrasive paper for polishing and work your way up through the grits until I reach the desired shine. Hand polishing shows its value when working on a flat-sided receiver. It does not matter whether it is an old gun, to get a smooth flat surface is done by hand, using an abrasive backed by a flat-file.

When you have worked on a few flat-sided receivers you will see how irregular these surfaces are. Unpolished guns after leaving the factory have high and low spots due to buffing. Using your file and abrasive can make these surfaces flat.

Bear in mind that every stroke of the file leaves a narrow, flat strip the length of the gun. To avoid creating flats on the gun, overlap your file strokes. Keep the edges of the screw holes sharp and distinct.

Take a strip of abrasive and shoe shine the barrel, working from one end to the other. Do not over concentrate in one spot, or you will get a low area and have ripples on your barrel.

With the next higher grit, wrap the abrasive around a flat file and work back and forth along the ramp. Repeat the process until you have eliminated grit marks or scratches from the previous grit abrasive that went along the ramp. Do not forget to overlap your lengthwise strokes to avoid flats. Finish with a circular, or shoeshine, polishing motion around the ramp.


It is always better to first use a file. A 10-inch smooth-cut mill file to remove pits. You are allowed to modify the file by rounding the edges so the sharp teeth on the side will not dig into your workpiece. Use plenty of blackboard chalk on the file. Prevent metal from clogging the file teeth and then creating gouges or deep scratches as the file is used. To perform finer polishing for a smooth, flat surface on a flat do it by hand using abrasive paper backed by the file.

David D. Hughes
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