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Old 11-25-2008, 02:12 AM   #11
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I bought the standard GI model with the intention of upgrading as needed.

I'm a lefty so it got an ambi safety first thing.

The hammer and grip safety were drawing blood (I'm stubborn and have a couple scars from that) so I fitted a beavertail grip safety.

Wood grips just didn't cut it, so it went through another design phase. You see, in the summer, I work my retriever quite a bit, and do a lot of fishing. The pistol rides in a Fobus holster under water a lot in the summer. I began looking around at "tough use" 1911 designs, and settled on the MEU pistol (early model).

So what it ended up with, as a second starting point, was an Ed Brown slide stop, EB beavertail grip safety with no speed bump, Pachmayr grips, Wilson mags, and a few other things. I left the sights stock - I rather like the fine bead they draw. I increased trigger pull weight from 3lbs factory to 7lbs, then slowly brought it down to 4.5-5lbs, where it's perfect for me.

The Pachmayr grips weren't doing it for me - they didn't provide as much support for the right side paddle as did solid grips, they didn't feel right in my hand, and they didn't help support the plunger tube.

Radical Concepts provided the grip. These grips are like the Pachmayrs, but much harder rubber and much more aggressive in their grip.

The ambi safety was changed from STI to Wilson. I just like the Wilson better, and they're easier to cut on and make look good. Thinner paddles for carry is a good thing, I think.

The MSH moved all over the place, so it got replaced with a Brown MSH.

I didn't mess with the accuracy; I could already take out Coke cans at 50yds. Plenty good enough for me.

Here's how it looks at this point:


I redid the safety's coloration to look casehardened. I like the character it gives.


Same deal with the right side. Just enough safety to ride.


I got tired of press checking. The more a gun is messed with throughout the day, the greater the chance of a ND. After discovering my chamber empty ONCE, it became habit to press check before I strapped it on in the morning, and once before bed. I figured a window would be safer.


I had a Hydra-Shok hang on the feed ramp when it was totally dry. There were small machine marks under the bluing, which had worn off, so I polished it. Subsequent chamberings have scratched it up a bit, but it feeds as smooth as butter. Also polished is the extractor and breech face.

Since my sweat has roughly the same PH as HCl, I keep having to reblue the grip safety. The MSH is beginning to look a bit rough as well. I want a new trigger, so I believe it will be getting

1)EGW trigger. These have an overtravel stop, but not the screw in sort. You file it to fit and call it good. As well, it's longer than this trigger and just feels better.

2) Stainless MSH due to the sweat issue.

3) Stainless grip safety, again due to the sweat issue.

But not for a bit. The trigger comes first.

As well, I think I'd like a slightly wider right side safety for my left thumb to ride on, so I'm looking for a right side paddle ("high ride" Wilson's calls it). Wilson will not sell me just the paddle, and I do not need a whole new safety, so that leaves me with the option of finding someone who has one aftermarket.

My opinion of these pistols is this: They function fine from the factory. If I get another, I'll likely carry bob the hammer and radius the grip safety, or (preferably) fit an original 1911, pre-a1, grip safety as they are contoured to the frame. I have some WWII plastic grips laying around here and they'd go on there fine, providing support for the ambi safety I need.

This pistol has been a gem to work on and shoot, and I've learned quite a bit. It's very user friendly and feels at home in my hand, lending itself to instinctual shooting as well.

A final thought on these pistols: If anyone besides the US has a right to make the 1911 pattern pistol, it would be the Filipinos. Look at their role in WWII.

Josh <><

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Old 11-25-2008, 05:26 AM   #12
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Dang nice attention to details Josh.

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Old 11-25-2008, 02:34 PM   #13
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Thanks, Doc. Came at a price though. I never owned a 1911 before 03/08 or so, and had no idea what I wanted from one.

I went with conventional wisdom - for example, the Wilson 47D - and found that a lot of the conventional wisdom simply wasn't what I was looking for. In the case of this magazine, it's a 7rnd mag body made to fit 8 rounds, and it began failing early.

I was sent (anonymously) a 1911 book for armorers and professional operators, and they recommended the standard 47, with 7 rounds. I ordered three and I've had zero problems with any of them.

Most of the work really is internal though - MIM isn't my thing, so I replaced those. I polished everything, and have a very smooth runner.

I'd really like to make it into a dark blue like the old S&W revolvers, but the process they use for that required about 600*F bath sustained. I don't have the stuff to do that here.

Someone turned me on to a cold bluing chemical that will let me rust blue it with the same results as how they would do to muskets - a dark plum color that is very long wearing. From what I'm told, it takes three coats or so, but after that, you get something that looks very nice (I saw his 1911 he did that to) and is very durable.

Just put the casehardened look onto the trigger at around 7, and made a few improvements (there were gaps that were bugging me). Also had to go out back and shoot it for function. Ran just fine.

Anyway, I'm getting tired and rambling.

Thanks again!

Josh <><

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Old 11-25-2008, 05:02 PM   #14
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Tinkering is fine, that's how we learn. If you mess with something that you have no experience with, you need to have it inspected by a professional before using it, especially when explosions are involved.

The information contained herein is the work of an untrained individual and is not endorsed by Firearms Talk or it's moderation staff, administration or owners.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:05 PM   #15
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Matt,

I'm trained in gunsmithing. The 1911 was just a new platform to me. I should have been more clear.

I was also working under the supervision of another gunsmith for most of this time.

Regardless, I do understand the disclaimer. No problem there.

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Old 11-25-2008, 11:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua M. Smith View Post
Matt,

I'm trained in gunsmithing. The 1911 was just a new platform to me. I should have been more clear.

I was also working under the supervision of another gunsmith for most of this time.

Regardless, I do understand the disclaimer. No problem there.

Josh <><
I just don't want to see anyone else hacking on the chamber of their gun in their garage.

What heat treatment or heat control measures did you use when cutting the metal? What did you use to cut it?
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt g View Post
I just don't want to see anyone else hacking on the chamber of their gun in their garage.

What heat treatment or heat control measures did you use when cutting the metal? What did you use to cut it?
Needle file, elbow grease, and machine oil. Heat treating was not affected. I don't personally believe in power tools for gunsmithing except for very gross modifications before finishing. (An example would be welding the barrel hood up for a better fit: sink that sucker down into wet sand before welding!)

That is not part of the chamber; it's the barrel hood. The chamber is further forward.

Here is an illustration:


http://ezine.m1911.org/POPX1445S_frame.htm

We have this going on two different threads now...

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Old 11-26-2008, 04:08 AM   #18
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Just bought my second one today. A 3.5" CS, it's even better than my GI. Nicer trigger, Commander hammer, I can not wait to shoot it. Hopefully it will feed, fire, hit, and eject with the same vengeance as my first.

Pics and report forthcoming.

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Old 11-26-2008, 04:27 AM   #19
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Looking forward to it, bgeddes.

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Old 11-28-2008, 03:27 AM   #20
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A few questions please....first though I really love the wittness hole idea and plan to do it to my GI RIA. Now how much did you take off of the regular hammer? I haven't yet been bitten but the sharp line on the grip safety caused a small cut that bled. I assume I can radius the edge some and make that not happen again. What did you use to reblacken the edges and hammer after alteration? I am thinking about the Hogue wraparound grips and a longer adjustable trigger. I find the short trigger too short to make me happy.

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