Building a 1911
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:30 PM   #1
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Default Building a 1911

I've decided to go ahead and try to take on this project. It might take me months, it might take me years, but I'm going to start, piece by piece, as I can afford the pieces.

From you 1911 experts, can I get your opinions on makers of slides and makers of frames that I should start considering. I hear a lot of good thing about Caspian....

Thanks for your help.

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Old 11-04-2009, 02:46 PM   #2
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What 1911 do you want? Plinking gun? Carry gun? Competition gun?

Sounds like cost is a factor for you. Unless you just REALLY want to
do a ground up 1911 build, save your pennies and buy a basic gun.

Then modify it as needed to fit your idea of perfect. You can get a
mil-spec 1911 with a few bells and whistles for around $400, maybe less
if you shop around for a used one.

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Old 11-04-2009, 03:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillM View Post
What 1911 do you want? Plinking gun? Carry gun? Competition gun?

Sounds like cost is a factor for you. Unless you just REALLY want to
do a ground up 1911 build, save your pennies and buy a basic gun.

Then modify it as needed to fit your idea of perfect. You can get a
mil-spec 1911 with a few bells and whistles for around $400, maybe less
if you shop around for a used one.
I have 1911s made by Nighthawk, Les Baer, Ed Brown, Wilson, and Colt, so I'm not new to the 1911, plus I'm an experienced shooter. You can see that I've spent a good chunk of change on these pistols, but I don't want to say "money is no object," because it IS, as it is to probably almost everyone on this forum.

I like projects and I need a new one....that's why I'm taking this on. I don't want to go with cheap parts....but they don't have to be gold-plated, either
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:13 PM   #4
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Get the Brownell's 1911 catalog. You'll need a bunch of special tools & jigs to do a ground-up build. They have a huge selection of stuff in the catalog - same stuff online but it's easier to find in the catalog...

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Old 11-04-2009, 03:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NGIB View Post
Get the Brownell's 1911 catalog. You'll need a bunch of special tools & jigs to do a ground-up build. They have a huge selection of stuff in the catalog - same stuff online but it's easier to find in the catalog...
I will do that, thank you Sir!

I've owned a lot of things before that I didn't build, like cars and houses. If I were to build a car or a house, I would certainly tap in to the expertise of people who have much more experience than me in building those things.

That's why I'm asking you all. I've never built a gun before, but I know I have a great support system with you guys in the FTF and I'm handy enough that it's something I can pull off. Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:41 PM   #6
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When I started my 1927 Sistema project, I found that some of the fitting was beyond my talents and I'm a pretty skilled guy. Fitting the barrel was definitely over my head, so I wound up having a professional gunsmith do it.

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Old 11-04-2009, 04:43 PM   #7
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Big plus one on what NGIB and CA357 are saying.

Building a good quality 1911 is something that is more science than luck. And the tools are definitely not cheap.

The basics will be no problem if you can understand the basic uses of springs and levers. It's not brain surgery, but the custom fitting, like with the barrel, is something that is better left to real experts.

Tips like Squeezing the frame to get the tight tolerances aren't talked about much, which is why it might be better to find a true 1911 'Smith and work WITH him on your build for the first time out of the gate.

Kudos on undertaking such a big project though, it should lead to many eye opening events and make you appreciate the weapons you have already, that much more for their care and craftsmanship.

JD

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Old 11-04-2009, 06:53 PM   #8
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Thanks JD, good advice from all. As I said, this will be a very long-term project. I knew I could count on y'all for the right direction.

In the meantime, I've ordered the Brownell's catalogue as NGIB suggested, and I'll take this in "baby steps." I don't even know a gunsmith around these parts yet....but I'm going to move back to Arizona in around five years to retire and I'll probably wait to set up my bench until then.

Right now, I still gotta work to be able to retire in that time frame!

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Old 11-04-2009, 07:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonyaeger View Post
I have 1911s made by Nighthawk, Les Baer, Ed Brown, Wilson, and Colt, so I'm not new to the 1911, plus I'm an experienced shooter.
OK--that puts a little different light on it.

Unless you just REALLY want to fit a slide to the frame, I believe that
Caspian and STI both offer a pre-fit slide/frame combo. Beyond that the
sky is the limit. Brownell's is the ultimate wish list catalog, and you will
spend hours figuring out what you want. You can't go too far wrong with brand name components, and Brownells doesn't sell junk. It pretty
much comes down to personal preference and what purpose you want
the gun for.

To see what the competition guys are running, a visit to the Brian Enos
forums might be an idea. It's not all race guns---USPSA Single Stack
division is (somewhat) stock 1911's.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:25 AM   #10
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Thanks for that. Although I have some good 1911s and have a lot of shooting experience, I've never built one before. That's what I want to do. Appreciate the advice.

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