I'd been thinking about assembling a 1911 for several years. I came across a deal on a complete stainless slide assembly for $150, with Millett sights and smooth sides. The seller threw in a few other stainless bits in with the deal.
A few months later I caught a deal on a Foster stainless blem frame with integral spring housing, for $150. The "blem" was a tiny pit on the tail; I can live with that. Foster also had stainless beavertail grip safeties for $10.
I picked up some stainless grip bushings from eBay for $4, a set of stainless grip screws for $4, and a Pachmayr wraparound grip for $20. The grip on my old Norinco is probably 25 years old, and is smooth-sided. This one has "thumb swells" which turned out to be as ugly and uncomfortable in real life as they looked in the pictures. The latest Pachmayrs have big medallions cast in, too. I'm still looking for one of the old grips, or something similar. I just like the look and feel of the old-style wraparound.
Things stalled out for a year or so, and then I managed to scrape together enough money for an order from Brownell's. A Storm Lake gunsmith fit stainless barrel in .45 ACP, a stainless barrel link, a stainless standard-pattern Wilson slide stop, a Wilson stainless pin set, Brownell's beavertail safety cutting jig, and their barrel lug cutter. And while I was at it, I threw in an EGW titanium spring plunger and an STI titanium hammer strut...
I don't even have enough parts to fit the barrel yet, and I'm already close to the price of new pistol.
I've decided to go with the Briley spherical bearing instead of the normal barrel bushing, but I can't order that until the barrel comes in. It's back-ordered for 45 days. The Briley bushing has no real advantages over a hard-fit bushing, except it looks like it turns hours of painstaking fitting into simply measuring the barrel and slide and ordering the correct parts. Maybe. I'll find out, I gues...
While I'm waiting I need to gather the rest of the tools I'll need for the "gunsmith fit" barrel. Unlike a drop-in, these have "fat" lower lugs that have to be cut and profiled to match the geometry of the link and slide stop.
I really, really thought about .400 Cor-Bon, but I think I'll stay with .45 ACP and .45 Super for now.
There won't be much to report until the barrel and bushing get here.
"Gee, it only took the guy in the video a few seconds to cut the underlugs... I wonder if I can weld mine up and try again?"