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1911 Colt project Beavertail

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by OregonJohn, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. OregonJohn

    OregonJohn Sutherlin, Or Bronze Life Member #1 Lifetime Supporter

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    I traded into this Colt from a member here on this forum. It had a some damage to the slide where it had been dropped. I was lucky that the damage was in a place that was easily removed by doing a simple meltdown to the slide and frame. I plan to use this as my new carry gun and love the meltdown look. So, this worked out great. I bought a Les Baer beavertail and a fusion MSH with magwell. Any thought I had on these parts being drop in was quickly shot down. The magwell had to be fitted to the bottom of the frame and the well had to be beveled into the frame. It took me about 2 hours for this. The beavertail was a major project. I had no idea what I was getting into. I took it out of the box and there was no way this thing was going into the pistol. :confused: After a little research, I found out why. It needed to be hand fitted to the pistol. A better statement is that the pistol need to be cut to fit the beavertail. 6 hours latter I had it done. Just need to hit the pistol again with the bead blast. So, if you take pride in your own work, give it a try.
     
  2. BigBull 301

    BigBull 301 PDX almost Well-Known Member

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    Looks great!! Good job!!
     
  3. huntpotter

    huntpotter SW WA Negotiator Bronze Supporter

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    Looks good from here.
     
  4. OregonJohn

    OregonJohn Sutherlin, Or Bronze Life Member #1 Lifetime Supporter

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    Thanks you guys. I will post a new picture when I get a chance to re-blast the beavertail and the back of the frame and hammer. I was not going to make this post because of all the negative associated with anyone working on their own guns, especially a 1911. If you touch a gun and are not "ordained", you are Bubba. With all the information on the internet, and a semi skilled hand, I think it is OK. Gun passed the click test, beavertail works, trigger is fine. I used a Dremel and a very good high quality fish hook file. Thanks, John
     
  5. ricsha

    ricsha Oregon Coast - Lincoln City Member

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    Nice craftsmanship, you obviously know what you're doing. You give me confidence to tackle a couple of 1911 frame modifications I've been thinking about. Good job.
     
  6. codeman583

    codeman583 Central OR Member

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    people do freak out over this, your right.....

    however where the beavertail tucks into the frame I doubt you'll find anyone to get it looking better then it does in the picture... the seams look very tight and clean.

    can't wait to get mine!
     
  7. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I am glad you DID post about doing it. As long as one is realistically confident in their own skills then go for it - you only have yourself to blame for any mistakes you make. I do all my own gun work and I consider myself a "pretty good novice" I recently repaired a friends old AMT 1911 by turning and fitting a new barrel link pin for it where some previous 'Bubba" tried to fix it by staking it and screwed it up - wrong technique for that part. I have also machined my own FLGR's for my Commander and 1911 A1. Ironically I am about to do my own first beavertail grip safety mod as you did - and yours looks great. One question - did you use the prescribed 'jig' to shape the frame? - you did not mention using one. If not how did you manage to get the proper radius for the safety? Please advise.
     
  8. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    I think the 'Bubba' thing comes from people that only 1/2 do the job.

    You've done it well...looks great from here!
     
  9. OregonJohn

    OregonJohn Sutherlin, Or Bronze Life Member #1 Lifetime Supporter

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    RVTECH, go for it. There is a sticky post on 1911forum.com on how to fit the beavertail. All the information you will need, except the information on fitting the arm on the beavertail to the trigger. The best way I found to do this was to put the trigger in the bare frame, then the beavertail. You can then look down into the top of the frame and see what is going on. The trigger needs to clear the arm with the beavertail pushed in. One problem I did have was the beavertail arm was for a series 70 and I had to file the arm thinner to clear the series 80 guts. The sticky recommended you remove a little material from the trigger bow in the very last part of fitting the arm, so if you replace a trigger latter you can have extra material on the arm and not come up short. You just need to remove it, just a little over the width of the arm and not the whole bow. I did not have the jig. I would have had to order one. This would be the way to go. I did not have one and did not want to waite for one. The radius on the beavertail I had was .250. That means that the center of the thumb safety hole to the outside radius is .250 inch. The jig is a cylinder .50 inch, one on each side of frame, with a pin running through the center. With the right jig you just cut down to the jig heads. I just did it by hand. I used my file to cut down to the lines. From there it is all fit and file. A black permanent marker will show you where to remove metal. The fish hook file is super sharp and cuts very little on each stroke. The key is to make it as seamless as possible.
     
  10. OregonJohn

    OregonJohn Sutherlin, Or Bronze Life Member #1 Lifetime Supporter

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    Got the blasting done today. I need to pick up a nice grip set to fill out the magwell, and a rear sight.
     
  11. codeman583

    codeman583 Central OR Member

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    pics don't work..... oh nevermind.... work computer doesnt like'em.
     
  12. OregonJohn

    OregonJohn Sutherlin, Or Bronze Life Member #1 Lifetime Supporter

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    Just need to let them load.
     
  13. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    I dub thee "Sir Not Bubba"! :D
     
  14. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    That's just wonderful. What a great job of turning a cosmetically damaged gun into a work of art. :thumbup:
     
  15. OregonJohn

    OregonJohn Sutherlin, Or Bronze Life Member #1 Lifetime Supporter

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    Thank you. I would have never had the nerve to do this work, if the gun was not damaged first. But now, I am thinking of other projects. I think I could even do a bobtail on a 1911. I had a Dan Wesson cbob. Loved the feel of the bobtail, just not impressed with the Dan Wesson.
     
  16. RickB

    RickB Greater Seattle area Member

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    Very nice beavertail install.
    Not that it matters, but something that you'll notice about how beavertails are fitted, is that since the blending can be seamless only when the safety is either completely depressed or at rest, some people like to blend the top of the beavertail with the 'tail in the on/up position for looks, and then blend the bottom with the 'tail depressed for comfort. Others like to blend both with the beavertail on/up for best cosmetic appearance. I like to blend both with the beavertail depressed fully, as that's the way it will stay after it's been pinned in that position. :)