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Thread: very slow 1911 build

  1. #1
    TRX
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    Default very slow 1911 build

    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?"

  2. #2
    NoWorkCamp4Me railbuggy's Avatar
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    I lost my nickle plated Norinco in a breakin in 2010.I thought about building a SS 1911 until I found I could get a brand new Taurus PT1911 for 650$ out the door.My bigest concern was screwing up the build and having Peter Garrett in Newport Ky finish my screwup.
    Garrett Gunsmiths Inc
    838 Monmouth St Newport,KY 41071
    (859) 261-1855

    Mr Garrett,Pete is a master gunsmith.He takes his time,his prices are fare.
    not trying to steal your thread TRX.Just letting members in my AO know about Pete.
    SOON-We already lost the war. You are the resistance.

  3. #3
    TRX
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    No problemo.

    I originally planned to do a plain steel build and Park it, but getting that stainless slide substantially increased the cost and hassle. <grin> And then Foster had the stainless frames on sale for less than the carbon steel frames... I was doomed.

    I sympathize about your Norino. I have one of the early Parkerized ones. The only mod is one of those Pachmayr grips I mentioned. The gun is "point and shoot"; I feel almost like a competent shooter with that thing in my hand. I vowed never to change a thing on it, which is why I decided to build another 1911 to play with...

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    Gunco Addicted for life j427x's Avatar
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    you'll love that foster frame--

    any way i can con you out of it?--LOL!

    building a 1911 was never "cheap" there are a few less expensive parts out there from S&W,colt and SIG. i have got some fine PI parts too mostly charles daily --but i think that supply is about gone.

    my last build i used a sig 45acp barrel from numrich and a used USGI slide.

    even using a RIA frame and my well known cost cutting abilities i still can't finish a 1911 for less than about $5 bills--

    they sure do shoot good though.

  5. #5
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    The Storm Lake barrel showed up today. Pretty, pretty... now I need to mike the OD so I can order the bushing. Once that shows up, I'll be ready to use the lug cutter.

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    Gunco Member wpage's Avatar
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    Sounds like a nice project...

    Be certain to post some pics as you put it together,
    God so loved the world He gave his only Son...
    ...Believe in Him and have everlasting life.
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    Gunco Member wpage's Avatar
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    Sounds like a nice project...

    Be certain to post some pics as you put it together,
    God so loved the world He gave his only Son...
    ...Believe in Him and have everlasting life.
    John 3:16

  8. #8
    TRX
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    10-4. The beavertail cutting fixture showed up today. Maybe I'm having trouble visualizing the way the grip safety curves, because it doesn't look like filing straight across would work well. I'll try to take some pictures.

    Meanwhile, I need to order some safe-edge files and start sketching a milling fixture to hold the barrel so I can cut the hood. Of course, the barrel hood is huge, and my slide takes the later narrow hood.

    I also found a place on eBay that's selling "real Colt" wraparound rubber grips, without the medallion. No thumb swells, no giant advertising. Other than the hole for the medallion, they look pretty much like the antique Pachmayr on my Norinco. I figure I can come up with some black plastic or black painted aluminum to fill in the medallion holes.

  9. #9
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    Just got off the phone with Briley. They're sending an oversize stainless steel bushing with a .581" ring to match the Storm Lake barrel, which is .5803". They recommended taking the barrel down to .5800" for best operation; their recommended ring to barrel clearance is .001". I also ordered the "bushing mandrel", which is supposed to be threaded to accept the spherical bushing so I can cut it down to size on the lathe. Seemed like a bargain for $7.99. I had a moment of "what the hell" and got the aluminum bushing wrench too.

  10. #10
    GuncoHolic twa2471's Avatar
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    COME-ON TRX,,,real men spin them bushings off with there,,,,,,

    teeth!!!!

    Don't need no stinking wrench's !!! pussy!

    No wonder it's coming slow,,,you couldn't have picked a much worst time to build something,,,,,,,high prices, and low availability,,,,,,,,,it must be a pain. I mostly used the Chip McCormick stuff and it's damn hard to beat,, even there beaver tail dropped right in, fit perfect and worked perfect on my Springfield,,, no muss no fuss,,,,I loved it.

    Good luck on the project,,, links and lugs, those can be frustrating sometimes on those damn 45's,,,,get ready. Have a selection of links on hand,,,,, it's well worth it. A bit of Patience don't hurt either.

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