1911 Build

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by kville79, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. kville79

    kville79 Active Member

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    May 24, 2008
    Austin
    Every time I see a 1911 I pretty much drool. They're beautiful guns, only one problem though... there's so many variations to choose from that I'm at a loss to choose from them.

    So I pretty much decided that I'm going build one from scratch. Now I've been looking into this for some time now and I've seen stripped frames priced from $70 to $300 a piece. So yet again I'm stumped.

    Right now what I know is I want to build a 1911, more than likely a commander, not full sized. I don't want to buy top of the line stuff, just in case I decide I want something different. At the same time I don't want some POS frame that's going to develop burs down the rails after 500 shots. In regards to finish, that point is probably moot since I intend to refinish it regardless.


    Any suggestions?
     


  2. Texas1911

    Texas1911 TGT Addict

    May 29, 2017
    Austin, TX
    I think alot of it is the material and construction in regards to the frame. Many on the high end are forged steel with front stippling and a finish. The lower end ones seem to be a mild steel or tool steel that was pressure cast.

    I personally would spend the extra on a good frame. It's the basis of the entire gun.

    There are a few places I would invest in a 1911.

    - Frame
    - Seer
    - Barrel
    - Magwell

    The rest is just fit and finish.
     
  3. kville79

    kville79 Active Member

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    May 24, 2008
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    thanks for the info. Any suggestions on decent priced manufacturers for frames?
     
  4. Texas1911

    Texas1911 TGT Addict

    May 29, 2017
    Austin, TX
    Try ordering one locally from STI, through say McBrides? It's serialized so you have to keep aware of the shipping / transfer.
     
  5. kville79

    kville79 Active Member

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    Well with McBrides $50 dollar transfer fee's plus tax, I actually think I'll probably go through someone else to get my receiver. I heard Essex is decent, and they're a bit less expensive... this is my first build so if I screw around I'm not going to out a lot of cash.
     
  6. Shorts

    Shorts TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    Essex is decent and will build you a shooter - both slide and frame, but the fitment of parts has to be even more precise. I have built a 9mm Commander using a Colt frame and an Essex slide (top half for the Oacp .45). For utilitarian efforts, it worked just fine and shot straight. I used parts from Brownells, mixed up some Wilson, Wolf Springs and CmC parts, King's BT,

    I think if you're looking at a frame, I would go with a Caspian. Not terribly more and you won't regret it. The frame matters. Slides you have a little room on in regards to which you get, but you've got to be extra diligent in slide to frame fitment and very importantly, barrel to slide fitting.

    Which brings me to barrels - get a quality barrel.

    Ok, seems like, for all these pasrts, don't go 'cheap'. You can pay a decent modest amount without completly breaking the bank. But as always, building a 1911 is n ot cheaper than buying a complete entry level 1911 :happy0001:
     
  7. kville79

    kville79 Active Member

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    I was contemplating getting an RIA, but decided against it. Maybe I'm a little bit stuck on aesthetics but I want a plain smooth look to the slide... not something with big fat letters all over it. I also want to be able to choose what kind, how wide, and how many grooves are on the slide. But all that's moot to discuss.

    Frame and slide fit, barrel quality, and barrel slide fit will be my top priority... those are major factors (other than ammo and user) that effect accuracy.

    Fitting the slide to the lower is the first thing I'm probably going to do in the build, anyone have good experience with this, or do most just take it to the local gunsmith?
     
  8. Shorts

    Shorts TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    If you have not got your hands on this already I highly recommend you do: The Colt .45 Automatic, A Shop manual, by Jerry Kuhnhausen. I could not have, would not have attempted a build without this book. There is also a second volume which goes into further detail, but the first is a must have.

    If you want the full on experience and chance to "build" your 1911, then you build it. Don't take it to a 'smith unless there is some machining work that you absolutely know you cannot complete (most slide/frame manf will machine dovetails and cuts for you when your order for a nominal charge). If you want to customize a gun but still choose parts, then by all means, by your parts and take it to a 'smith. Though I'm of the side where putting the thing together by your own hands is a very cool experience. It is challenging. It will try your patience. You will pull your hair out. You will get frustrated. You will spend money. But you will get a lot of personal satisfaction, know-how and a little pride from completeing the build and taking it on a maiden range trip.

    The choice of taking it to the 'smith or doing the work yourself is dependent on what you want out of the project altogether. So, answer that first ;)
     
  9. kville79

    kville79 Active Member

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    That's an easy answer... I'm a do-it-your-selfer :)
     
  10. Shorts

    Shorts TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    :bowdown:


    Get the book, get your tools, order your parts and have fun! :texas:
     

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