In our last visit with the IZH-46m I’d just begun to reshape the grip. Here it is after several iterations with rasp and sandpaper:
I’ve tapered the grip towards the rear, thinned the wood at the top of the grip, and carved finger grooves. Quite a bit more to do but it’s already a significant improvement. The tool I used to do this was a Nicholson #49 Cabinet Makers Rasp, a very fine rasp with hand-cut teeth. A hand cut rasp has an irregular, almost random pattern of teeth that cuts very fast yet still cuts much more smoothly than the typical machine cut rasp. Unfortunately Nicholson moved production to Brazil a few years ago and their rasps are no longer the fine tools they once were. There are still good hand cut rasps available, though, from companies like Aurier and Liogier in France.
I also moved the trigger rearward about a quarter of an inch, which makes it easier to pull without rotating the gun. Dry firing, I noticed that I tended to rotate the gun ever so slightly to the left as I depressed the trigger- barely noticeable, but enough to push my groups left.
Next step is to further taper the grip, deepen the grooves, and refuse the shape until I get a perfect glove-like fit. Then I’ll sand out any scratches and work it down to a 320 grit. Last, I’ll add a Tru-Oil finish and when that sets up, apply stippling with a punch.
The taper from front to back turns out to be especially critical. By varying which side tapers more you can fine tune how the gun points and the sights align.