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1911 build

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by beavernation1, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. beavernation1

    beavernation1 Salem Member

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    Has anyone around ever built their own 1911? Is it more cost effective to do it yourself than buy it already done? Is it difficult to do or difficult to find the parts? Any experiences would be welcomed.:D
     
  2. PhysicsGuy

    PhysicsGuy Corvallis, OR Resident Science Nut

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    Never built one, but from what I researched into it, its definitely not as easy as an AR or any rifle. Since there is much more fitting involved, its best to have a mentor, or take a class. It can be more cost efficient if you learn to do it right. Parts are common and easy to find.
     
  3. AndyH

    AndyH Keizer, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I agree with PhysicsGuy.. Good 1911's are crafted not built. I looked into it once and buy the time you buy the parts and farm out the pistol smith and finishing work you have gone way over the purchase price of a comparable manufactured pistol form the likes of Springfield, kimber or Colt.
     
  4. k7grc

    k7grc Banks, Or Active Member

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    Hard to modify this.


    I'm looking for a good one to build. What would be recommended as a starting platform?
     
  5. AndyH

    AndyH Keizer, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Take a look at Fusionfirearms.com. They sell several high quality kits that provide a good starting point for the determined do it yourselfer.

    BTW... Thats a great looking old 1911. Best to leave that one alone.
     
  6. Sea_Chicken

    Sea_Chicken Whidbey Isl. New Member

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    The Springfield Armory GI 45 is a great base model to build from. I'm actualy gonna pick one up myself to build up.
     
  7. HappyRoman

    HappyRoman Sherwood Forest Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Have built 2 custom 1911's using STI frames and slides that were in the white when starting project. More expensive to build yourself, than buy a finished gun. The difference being that I have 2 completely custom very nice 1911's. Estimated cost when completed, including polishing and custom deep hot bluing and including the Crimson trace grips is around $1,250 ea.
     
  8. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Have built and upgraded many 1911's.

    The parts are easy to find, the problem lies with quality. If you get cheap junk parts, your outcome will reflect that. You'll fight some that are out of spec., which makes the whole job a pain.

    Same with using cheap tools, stay away from harbor Freight and the like. There are some things you can get by with, others you must have.

    You know the old saying...garbage in...garbage out. Don't cut corners.

    It's definitely not like putting an AR or the like together. There are tolerances and specs that must be adhered to. AR's are very forgiving in this area.

    I would suggest you obtain some books, like Kuhnhausens Colt 45 shop manuals Vols I & II. Ed Browns Bench Reference Manual. Wilsons, Combat Customizing the 1911, even some of AGI's DVD series on building a 1911.

    My shop will be finished soon, and you're welcome to come up and we can go over everything if you wish.

    I never wish anyone luck in building a 1911, I wish them much patience.

    It's not hard, just detailed.

    pats1.jpg


    pats4.jpg


    pats7.jpg
     
  9. AndyH

    AndyH Keizer, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Well put Wichaka.
     
  10. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Thank you sir.

    Not trying to scare anyone off, but have made much money fixing others' 1911 projects.

    I would rather explain the price of quality work, than apologize for something less. I read that somewhere years ago...just can't remember where.

    But in the end, you'll be less frustrated and more happy with a pleasurable 1911 to own and shoot.
     
  11. beavernation1

    beavernation1 Salem Member

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    Thank you for the insight! That is kind of the reason I was thinking of a build was because I can do it over a bit of time and find the parts I want as I go and as I have the cash for so then in the end will have exactly what I was wanting and have the piece of mind knowing it was through my research, other's help and patience that it came together.:thumbup:
     
  12. pr787lv

    pr787lv somewhere in the NW Member

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    Agree 100% with wichaka.

    And, to answer the cost question directly, no, it is not cheaper to build your own, at least not the first one by a mile. May the 3rd o or the 4th :D after you've figure out what tools and acquire the skills you need and tossed away several junked parts.

    You build because you love doing it, not because it is cheaper. You may never be able to build one cheaper. Just check what individual high quality parts cost and add them up! I bought a milspec 1911A1 and have been gradually customizing it. I tossed parts not because I junked them but because they were junk to start with. For the money I've spent on it I could have bought a Kimber Elite II. Now it is not a milspec, neither it is a super nice custom gun, at least not as nice as something off the shelve. And custom shops cost an arm and a leg.

    Finally, I took it to a local fellow who calls himself a gunsmith to have nice Novak sights installed (eyes too old for mil spec sights) and I got more than I bargained for. It was a good thing I was not carrying and had no 45acp ammo at the time I picked it up, if you catch my drift.:gun21:
     
  13. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Anyone recommend a good 1911 gunsmith?
     
  14. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    What do you need done?
     
  15. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Probably a sear, or maybe a hammer, but I'm really guessing here. Releasing the slide stop after reloading and the hammer falls to the safety notch 90% of the time.
     
  16. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Do this simple test...on an empty gun...no magazine;

    Lock the slide back.....drop the slide using the slide stop.....does the hammer follow?


    Lock the slide back....pull the trigger....drop the slide using the slide stop....does the hammer follow?

    Standing by...
     
  17. snew

    snew Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    incomplete post
     
  18. snew

    snew Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    I just sold one I was going to do the same thing with. By the time I added up all the parts and jigs I needed as well as knowing I needed to refinish the gun (a satinless gun would have eliminated this step) I realized I could have a ready made gun for the same price as my frankengun. I'm not sayin I would have done a bad job but no one other that the manufacturer respects a bubba'd gun.

    And I'm betting my first attempt would have left a little to be desired. Know what I mean?

    If you're going to start with a base gun, at least get one with the slide and sights about where you want them. Sights are expensive and lowering and flaring and cutting bigger dovetails and/or flats for novaks or another sight all have a margin of error involved. At least if the slide were done then you only have to refinish the frame. :thumbup:

    How many people have bought and resold 1911s to get another feature that they think they really want?

    That all said, I'm sure there's a certain sense of satisfaction to doing it yourself. If you go that route, take pictures and bring us along. It's somethignI've wanted to do, other also, I'm sure, but just can't see doing right now.
     
  19. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Do this simple test...on an empty gun...no magazine;

    Lock the slide back.....drop the slide using the slide stop.....does the hammer follow?


    Lock the slide back....pull the trigger....drop the slide using the slide stop....does the hammer follow?

    Standing by...


    Yes to the first question.
    No to the second.
     
  20. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yes to the first question.
    No to the second.