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  1. #1
    Dcompton is offline Junior Member
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    RIA vs. Tisas vs. Girsan...

    I am an avid shooter, and have been building my own rifles for a few years now. I enjoy working with the actions, turning and threading barrels, etc. Lately, I have really gotten into handguns and find that I enjoy them as much as long range shooting. I have several new pistols, but I find that you kind of buy one you like and shoot it and that's it. I would like to try my gun building skills on a pistol and so I am looking for a cheap donor 1911 as i think this platform will have the most tinker-ability and parts availability. I am looking at RIA, Tisas and Girsan full size as the base for my project. Can anyone shed some light on what they think the best, cheap 1911 platform is? Also, which off brand will offer the best parts compatibility for aftermarket offerings. I just think it will be fun to take a $400 pistol and see exactly what I can do to it. Thanks in advance for all of your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    You'll get a lot more for your limited budget if you look for a used gun.
    You might even find an original Colt's on which to work. Maybe you'd have fun converting a Series 80 into something much better.

    Trigger jobs for the 1911 are not easy, but Brownells sells useful jigs and very nice stones that help you along.
    The main issue is: Do not cut the mainspring, or the sear-spring or trigger-spring leaves. Work only on the hammer/sear engagement angle, and their surface polish.


    (I don't know your skill level, so please forgive me if I'm "teaching my gran'ma how to suck eggs.")

  3. #3
    Dcompton is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your input. I understand what you are saying, but budget really isn't a problem. Basically the intent of this project is to take one of the budget friendly, entry level 1911's that are seemingly saturating the market right now and see exactly what can be done with one. Not really looking to buy a used Ferrari and then customize it, more like i want to buy a 69 VW beatle and then make a baja out of it. I guess i was just asking which of the three would be the best platform to start with based on other users experiences with parts compatibility. Sort of like the Citadels have "Novak Style" sights, but the sights or dovetails need filed and there is a gap and such when trying to swap sights on them, etc. Hope I have explained what my goal is a little better.

  4. #4
    rex
    rex is offline Senior Member
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    Go to 1911Forum - Powered by vBulletin and at the bottom is forums for manufacturer specific 1911s.RIA has their own and the other 2 would be in the "others" forum.You can get a good idea about there quality and how well the stay at or deviate from spec.I have no personal experience with any of those but have heard good reviews on the RIAs.

    Get both of Kunhausen's 1911 books,it's info is a little dated but it's still very good.Vol. 1 covers basics and Vol. 2 gets more into enhanced performance with original specs for all parts including original steel,heat treat and dimensional tolerances.It also has some of the best info on barrel fitting and timing.

    If you're going to do a trigger job,Chuck Warner's TR sear jig is the best made and eliminates problems caused by conventional jigs.It's surprisingly simple and pretty much foolproof.This is one area people screw up a lot and make dangerous guns,this jig helps immensely because you can't overcut the sear and make it too short.Another mistake is people taking out too much pretravel,or a combination of part's tolerance stacking limiting it.While some parts will drop in,don't expect it and even ones that do aren't always right.

    I love 1911s,if you need to know anything about working on them let me know,I don't know everything but if it doesn't require running a mill or lathe I can help.They are a pretty simple gun to work on but everything isn't always as simple as it appears on face value.

  5. #5
    tony pasley's Avatar
    tony pasley is online now Senior Member
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    I have the RIA and have had no problems with. I did a trigger job because I like a light pull. Before you get the gun get a good spec book on the 1911 safety first always

  6. #6
    rex
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    Tony,would you consider it a suitable base for a CC gun?I've thought about doing a reliability job on one to carry so my Commander isn't sitting in the evidence room if I ever need to use it.I'd rather a cheap gun be trashed and have an identical backup.

  7. #7
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    ...But then you'd give the cheap 1911 clone a trigger job, maybe lower the ejection port, maybe tighten-up the fit of the bushing, maybe improve the sights...and then you'd be back to having a gun that you wouldn't want to leave sitting in an evidence room.

    I suggest having two identical pistols, in case one does need to be impounded as evidence.

    (No, I am not following my own suggestion. I have two identical M1911s, but I no longer carry either of them.)

  8. #8
    tony pasley's Avatar
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    I have retired my Colts, US&S, Remington Rands from daily carry for that reason I personally know of one that got lost and the friend never got his pistol back.

  9. #9
    rex
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    Sucks your friend never got it back,some places are like that.

    I know what you mean Steve,but I could do it on the cheap.I've done it with Springfields before but they aren't that cheap any more since they stepped up in the 1911 world.

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