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fixxer 10-27-2010 05:45 AM

80% 1911 receiver even do-able?
Following the complete build of my AR, I was kinda disappointed in how little was needed to complete the project. I over estimated how involved I would need to get. No hand fitting of parts basically. Next project is going to be a 1911. I have one SA1911 government in the safe. Its just a sense of accomplishment thing I guess. Anyway, I keep seeing this auction for an 80% complete receiver. Stainless government with some machining required." It needs the rails cut, mainspring housing slots, disconector, plunger housing, and ejector holes drilled, etc. No FFL needed, this is considered an unfinished casting." Is this even do-able for a normal Joe? I had also thought that one needs licensed from BATFE to serial # a weapon? I dunno here. Any thoughts? I don't have a machine shop handy just yet. Maybe in the future. This would definitely be very involved...

spittinfire 10-27-2010 11:16 AM

I've been playing with the same idea and right now one thing that is holding me back is finding a frame. I want stainless and haven't been able to come up with one.

fixxer 10-27-2010 12:46 PM

Yeah, and the price point is right on that one too. I just don't know if I will be able to finish it without extensive high $ machine work and if it would even be legal to finish. Once it functional, I would have to either keep it unregistered (bad idea since I know that is going to be a problem) or assign a local S/N. I like the idea of having my own serial number but don't think it would be legal to do so without some kind of license. I could be wrong about that. It might just be a matter of applying for a serial and waiting. Hmmm. Maybe a visit to Caspian and a look at their recievers again... Oddly, 1911 receivers are not any easier to find. Some of the tried and true receivers are no longer made because the company is too busy pouring AR's and AR lower receivers on the market. Others are now looking for a small fortune for their junk. It's depressing in a way. Used to be an less expensive alternative to buying a high end out of the box.

spittinfire 10-27-2010 12:55 PM

If you can buy it you can build it. You'll never be able to sell it but for your own use it's OK. (I'm not a lawyer, if you have any questions ask one) I have access to several lathes, mills and machining tools so that's not an issue for me.

stalkingbear 10-27-2010 02:44 PM

Fixxer, unless you have complete access to a machine shop and possess the skills to use those machines, building a receiver from 80% is out of your league. I'm not trying to insult you or anything, just coming from someone who has been there. Ask Spitty how much machining was required on his AR lower. It IS legal to build a firearm for your own use-just never sell it. A 1911 has enough hand fitting required to keep you happy by buying a completed bare receiver & bare slide and building from there. That's what I'd advise to do.

Dillinger 10-27-2010 02:49 PM

I have to agree with Bear here fixxer. A 1911 from scratch is a serious undertaking as there is a lot of hand fitting that goes into it's fine tuned construction.

Until you actually take one down to skin and bones, I would hold off on ponying up the cash on an 80% frame.

The process is not a grand undertaking, but your average garage setting just isn't going to have enough stuff to make the full transformation from block to runner.

Good luck and post pictures as you go no matter what you choose please as we love to follow along on these builds. ;)


fixxer 10-27-2010 06:24 PM

Thanks for the honest replies, no offense taken. I'm in the planning stages so I thought I would ask some folks that are more knowledgable than I am about building 1911's. It sounds like it would end up being an expensive paper weight right now and that is what I was wanting to know. If I had the mill access... That's just not going to happen anytime soon. I just moved into the local area, I don't even have a friend of a friend that can get me there yet. Maybe in the future when I'm a little more "networked" I will get my foot in the door of a shop with a mill and competent operator to help me out. It sounds like hand fitting a slide and receiver will be enough to keep me occupied. When I took on the last project, I was expecting to make a rifle and forgot that I was just assembling a bunch of mil-spec parts. DUH. When I was done I thought "gee, this isn't such a big accomplishment. Anyone who can follow an exploded diagram could have done this". It actually turned out really good but I don't feel like I can take any credit. All the HARD work was done at RRA, Bushmaster, Magpul, Yankee Hill, etc. All I had to do was research parts I wanted and throw it together (I didn't even headspace it myself). So far, I have done a couple trigger jobs, restored a bolt action rifle and built my AR. I'd have to say the restoration was hands-down more satisfying.
Thanks again.

Highpower 10-28-2010 12:33 AM


Originally Posted by fixxer (Post 375601)
So far, I have done a couple trigger jobs, restored a bolt action rifle and built my AR. I'd have to say the restoration was hands-down more satisfying.
Thanks again.

I agree that DIY projects, if successful are very satisfying. Keep in mind though, there can be different levels of what it may take to do a restoration or a build.

spittinfire 10-28-2010 12:53 AM

.023"....that's loose as a goose!

CHLChris 10-28-2010 12:58 AM

I loved my AR build project. I particularly enjoyed that every part from any manufacturer will pretty much fit when it comes to AR's. I do wish that were true for 1911's.

If one could just buy a "1911 lower" or a "1911 frame" or something and just buy sets of parts, a slide, grips, etc., and then easily assemble the parts...that would be great.

It's too bad that 1911's haven't evolved into specified standards as the AR-15 platform has.

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