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  1. #1
    TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
    TedDeBearFrmHell is offline Senior Member
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    now its time for me to ask some advice.....

    i have never owned a 1911A1.... i worked on a few way way back but they just were not my thing....

    lately i have been thinking about getting a basic blued inexpensive model as a base for my own build up. i want to get a complete gun and use it to see how it preforms after i refine it.

    the frame and slide will be the only mandatory parts that i keep.... i plan on taking the original gun, refitting the slide to the frame (by tightening or lapping as needed), cleaning up (deburring and polishing) all the parts and then reinstalling to see how it improves and then replacing the major sub-parts with aftermarket barrel, hammer, trigger, grip safety, springs and grips to see if it gets better and if so, how much?

    not trying to build a race gun but just a slick, reliable stock A1....

    since i will refinish the entire gun after the rebuild, i am not worried about factory finish or tool marks etc.

    so my question here is basically the metallurgy of the low end 1911s

    the thompson/ao , the ria, armscor/charles daly

    i realize that the ria is probably the best of the group but does anyone have personal knowledge of frame or slide failures of any particular brand? and if so, what ?

    since my time is free, i wanna see what the best gun i can make with the minimum out of pocket is.....

    yep, i need yet another project.

    thanks in advance

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  3. #2
    VAMarine's Avatar
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    RIA, ArmsCorp, and CD(out of business) were all on cast frames. The AO is still forged I believe. While I'd preferably use a Springfield Stainless GI or MILSPEC (what I'd really like to use is a Colt Series 70 repro.) for a build...whatever floats your boat but I'd take a forged frame over a cast frame.

  4. #3
    TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VAMarine View Post
    .... I'd take a forged frame over a cast frame.
    if i may pick your brain, why?

    btw, it doesnt matter if the gun is used, just looking for a low end, unaltered make....

  5. #4
    VAMarine's Avatar
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    Forged frames are thought to be more durable and may take machining better. As for low end, why build up a turd? The frame and the slide are going to be the bedrock of your project, why base it on materials that come from the bottom of the barrel?

  6. #5
    TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VAMarine View Post
    Forged frames are thought to be more durable and may take machining better. As for low end, why build up a turd? The frame and the slide are going to be the bedrock of your project, why base it on materials that come from the bottom of the barrel?
    the project is to see if i can use basic gunsmithing to convert a turd to a decent gun....

    i have read about the casting process and see that they are not as highly regarded based on density. but i am not sure if that necessarily excludes them from my needs unless they have a high failure rate.

  7. #6
    FNISHR is offline Member
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    Ted,

    Most of the "breathed upon" 1911's you hear about in my neck of the woods are either Colts or Springfields. The Mil-Spec is probably the most common starting point, but you see a variety of things if you keep looking.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by FNISHR View Post
    Ted,

    Most of the "breathed upon" 1911's you hear about in my neck of the woods are either Colts or Springfields. The Mil-Spec is probably the most common starting point, but you see a variety of things if you keep looking.
    nope, colts and springfields are too good, looking for a turd

  9. #8
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Hey, Ted;
    One of my almost-twin Government Model 1911s is built on an Essex frame. I believe (but don't know) that it was investment cast.
    My shortie 1911 is also an Essex-frame pistol.
    (Both are steel.)
    Back when they were built, the skinny was that Essex frames were, um, turds. But the guy who built them, Chuck Ries, made them into reliable, accurate jewels.

    Instead of working up a new-made dog into a useful 1911, why not work on a very old, much abused gun? Or an older investment-cast-frame gun? Either would be easier to find cheap, I think, than any newer version.
    Another plus would be that they would not have a firing-pin-safety "feature" to work around.

  10. #9
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    ted
    from my research on said "turd" i have seen rock island firearms to be pretty popular on the low-end 1911 framed pistols. i have no real experience with them but i have read good things about how well of function and somewhat descent accuracy. only real flaw that i have read about is that the finish doesnt last too well, but you said you plan to refinish it anyways so it shouldnt be a problem for you, i have seen a few and they seem to be pretty well built guns but i am how you say, not a 1911 owner as i do hope to change sometime in the near future. but good luck keep your eye open im sure youll find something to tickle your fancy. but id suggest looking into the rif more to see if its something youd be wanting for your play-toy.
    45Sidekick

  11. #10
    45Sidekick's Avatar
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    hope it helps

  12. #11
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    Rock Island, good or bad ? hopefully youll find this somewhat informative

  13. #12
    TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Hey, Ted;.........

    Instead of working up a new-made dog into a useful 1911, why not work on a very old, much abused gun? Or an older investment-cast-frame gun? Either would be easier to find cheap, I think, than any newer version.
    Another plus would be that they would not have a firing-pin-safety "feature" to work around.
    idealy i would like to find a little used piece of crap that is known for reliability issues.

    and thanks, i hadnt thought about the firing pin safety.

    i dont think i want an abused gun, i think the idea i am going for it refinement as opposed to restoring. the abused gun may have metal fatigue or stress issues as a result of long term use.... i thing a fresh frame and slide turd is the way to go.

  14. #13
    45Sidekick's Avatar
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    hope you find what you like i think a RIA would be a good gun for your project

  15. #14
    TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45Sidekick View Post
    hope you find what you like i think a RIA would be a good gun for your project
    i am looking at ria but it has a pretty good rep for a low end gun.... i may have to use one but still hoping someone can come up with more info on the "turds" (thanks for the nomenclature VA)

  16. #15
    45Sidekick's Avatar
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    yeah i think itd be a good project gun though for what your looking to do, are you looking for a full-sized 1911 or compact? or do you even care? not gonna lie they are about the cheapest other than interstate arms corp

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45Sidekick View Post
    yeah i think itd be a good project gun though for what your looking to do, are you looking for a full-sized 1911 or compact? or do you even care? not gonna lie they are about the cheapest other than interstate arms corp
    what is this compact that you speak of??? nah, full size only.... 1911A1 clone only... blued only

  18. #17
    45Sidekick's Avatar
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    well i ran across a handsome one in a local gun shop awhile back it was a 1911 framed compact about a 3" barrel if i had to guess based on memory, nickel plated, it was a RIA. she was a sharp lil gun but i was hesitant on getting it cuz i had never really heard anything about the company. but another cheap one is the interstate arms corp, but sadly i have no real info to back up the company as i have no clue about how well they operate

  19. #18
    VAMarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedDeBearFrmHell View Post
    what is this compact that you speak of??? nah, full size only.... 1911A1 clone only... blued only
    If you're dead set on "blued" only, a Metro Arms American Classic is probably your best bet. pretty sure all of the others are Parkerized or other finishes.

  20. #19
    TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45Sidekick View Post
    well i ran across a handsome one in a local gun shop awhile back it was a 1911 framed compact about a 3" barrel if i had to guess based on memory, nickel plated, it was a RIA. she was a sharp lil gun but i was hesitant on getting it cuz i had never really heard anything about the company. but another cheap one is the interstate arms corp, but sadly i have no real info to back up the company as i have no clue about how well they operate
    actually this IAC might just be the gun i am looking for

  21. #20
    TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VAMarine View Post
    If you're dead set on "blued" only, a Metro Arms American Classic is probably your best bet. pretty sure all of the others are Parkerized or other finishes.
    perhaps i misspoke.... i would take parkerized also..... no nickel or stainless tho ... and thanks for the link too

  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedDeBearFrmHell View Post
    actually this IAC might just be the gun i am looking for
    been looking into these for a few hours..... looks like all the professional reviews are positive for fit, finish, reliability and accuracy..... too good for me to refine.

  23. #22
    45Sidekick's Avatar
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    Well I don't know what else to tell you other than to find some old janky a** pistol 2nd handed cuz those are about the bottom of the barrel 1911 framed pistols but good luck

  24. #23
    VAMarine's Avatar
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    If you're wanting a gun that could really use the sprucing up, find a used Auto Ordnance and have at it. It should be done to spec and be plenty rough enough for you to smooth out and if you totally mess up you won't be out much $$$.

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by VAMarine View Post
    If you're wanting a gun that could really use the sprucing up, find a used Auto Ordnance and have at it. It should be done to spec and be plenty rough enough for you to smooth out and if you totally mess up you won't be out much $$$.
    this is exactly the thing i am wanting to do..... i shouldnt mess it up unless i crack the slide tightening it up (if needed) .... everything else is just patience and following a few basic trigger job techniques... and for that i will be using a jig....

  26. #25
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    Hi. New guy here.

    I actually DID pretty much what you are planning to do, ill make this as quick as i can, but i started with a Taurus PT1911 Duo tone. I began with swapping the 14 lb slidw spring for a 16 when i noticed excessive burring on the barrel loop mounting piece that slams against the frame rather than buying a shock buffer. From there i just went nuts.
    I replaced all the bulky taurus stuff- put on a wilson combat slim profile slide stop, a one sided ed brown slim profile safety, a wilson combat lightweight skelotonized hammer, a wilson combat titanium firing pin and spring kit, as well as a new mainspring. I didnt replace the extractor, barrel or slide.
    Aesthetically i swapped out grips for hogue aluminum powder coated black on black flame grips with a pierce grip rubber combat finger grooved insert that went UNDER the alumigrips so i could still have the combat grip effect and the cool aluminum grips. I even picked up one of those barrell bushing swap out compensators for it (that didnt last long) and a 10 rd extended mag.


    Heres a couple pics of it:


    2010-06-05224805-1.jpg picture by john2393 - Photobucket

    2010-05-05164652.jpg picture by john2393 - Photobucket

    The first pic is how i used to carry it. The second is with all the crap on it before i bought the pierce grip insert. I polished the slide and all that. So alltogeather... i paid 700 plus tax for the gun, grips- 65 +20 so 85 for both, the hammer was 30, safety was around 30 too i think, slide stop was 20, firing pin was (i want to say) 45 all the springs togeather were around 25 total (3 different spring kits)

    Plus my time. And i also shot at least 100 rds through it after i replaces something but BEFORE i replaced something else. So whats all that? Around 900 total? Now...i didnt set out to do all that, i also honed and polished, de -burred, etc... all the internal stuff with my dremmel as well as took a frogs hair off the sear and polished it too (trigger job.) I actually just started making changes and got addicted to it somehow!
    And two things happened 1) i learned a lot about 1911s, and 2) i wound up with a thousand dollar gun that was still only worth 500 bucks used.

    Finally i got tired of monkeying with it n sold it. (For 500 bucks) and went back to revolvers.

    I never liked the 2000.00Kimber thing which is why i went with a taurus in the first place, but i couldnt hit a damn thing with that taurus. I have since shot a buddies Colt Commander and it shot awesome. So it may have been THAT taurus, maybe not. But i have been looking at 1911s again recently and i was thinking of doing the same thing you are but on purpose this time, and i can tell you one thing for sure. That taurus disnt shoot ANY more accurate the day i bought it or the day i sold it. So if i were you, i wouldnt go TOO cheap to start. And befire i sunk one thin dime into it i would make sure it shoots fairly well to begin with.

    Personally im looking for a springfield M1911A1 bare bones to start this time. I liked how the Colt shot but theyre too damn expensive. Ive seen used speingfields for 550-750 .
    Just my two cents.

    The other thing is this: most gun shops that have Kimbers and Sig Saur1911s and all that, have them new for like 1100-1800, BUT a new Kimber Custom II blued retails for like 800-850 on their website.

    And a Custom II is a pretty loaded 1911. So you COULD just order a brand new Kimber for leas thaan a grand. (Thats just what i have been thinking for ME)

    Actually after dinking around with 1911s so much, i also was thinking (this again is just for ME) about curbing the whole 1911 thing and checking out a CZ90 .45, theyre around 7-800 buxks too and ive always been curious about them. I hear good things.


    Anyhoo, im rambling. Hope i helped a little. Good luck either way

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