Springfield Armory 1911 Mil-Spec: home gunsmithing upgrade


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October 9, 2004, 04:01 PM
I recently picked up one of the Springfield Armory Mil-Spec 1911 pistols. This inexpensive model already has a beveled mag well, a relieved ejection port, and three-dot sights - so it makes a great base for the "Home Gunsmith." Springfield also sells a "loaded" model that has a lot of neat features as standard, but there's nothing like doing it yourself.

http://www.uzitalk.com/images/user_posts/sa_mil-spec_medium.jpg

I added: Smith & Alexander Palmswell Grip Safety (Brownell's #849-009-027)
Cylinder & Slide Tactical Match Trigger Pull Set (Brownell's #206-103-050)
Lew Horton Cocobolo grips (from eBay)
Brownell's 3-hole V Series (Videki) trigger (Brownell's #377-000-002)
Ed Brown allen head grip screws (Brownell's #087-011-004)
The grip safety installation required cutting the frame. This was easily accomplished using Smith & Alexander's installation jig (Brownell's #849-009-000). All you need to do is strip the frame completely, install the jig (bolt it through the existing grip safety holes) and cut (grind/file/sand/polish) your frame until it matches the radius (.220") of the jig. I urge you to take your time during this step.

The trigger pull set (hammer, sear, & disconnector) was a drop-in installation; Cylinder & Slide really makes an outstanding product. The trigger itself was a different story. It is sold oversized to allow the installer to custom fit it to his pistol. All this requires is patience, a file, and some 600 grit sandpaper to smooth it up. I also used a Brownell's Trigger Track Stone (#080-721-230) to clean up the tracks where the the trigger bow travels.

Another goal was to remove the stupid Springfield Integrated Locking System (ILS), which requires a key to be inserted into the mainspring housing to enable the pistol. I used the following parts to accomplish this:
Ed Brown blued arched mainspring housing (Brownell's #087-000-025)
Wilson Combat mainspring cap (Brownell's #965-011-161)
Wilson Combat mainspring cap pin (Brownell's #965-011-165)
Wilson Combat mainspring pin retainer (Brownell's #965-011-163)
Colt mainspring housing pin (Brownell's #160-116-133)The Cylinder & Slide trigger pull kit included a new sear spring and hammer spring, which are also necessary to complete the ILS elimination.

I prefer the feel of an arched mainspring housing, but if you would rather have a flat housing, you can use the Ed Brown (or another brand) flat mainspring housing (Brownell's #087-816-120) in its place.

I'm pretty satisfied with how it turned out - so far. I'm still considering a set of night sights, and perhaps a slightly longer thumb safety.

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Mad Man
October 9, 2004, 05:49 PM
Thanks for the report. It's one of the most interesting and informative things I've read here in a long time.

Two questions, though:

1. How much did the parts cost? Is it more cost effective to buy the parts and do-it-yourself (if you don't consider the time spent as a "cost"), or just buy one of the Loaded models?

2. When you make the cut for the new grip safety, is any re-finishing required?

Not that the thought of re-finishing bothers me. I recently came across a great post by "Stickman" on how re-finish a 1911 at http://www.glocksunlocked.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10478 that looks so simple even I can do it.

tc300mag1
October 9, 2004, 06:01 PM
very nice ive been trying to decide do i got with a stainless mil spec and do what you did or do i go with a loaded im just worred about cutting the beavertail

cookie
October 9, 2004, 08:21 PM
The total cost of the parts (excluding shipping) outlined in the first section was $166.56. This was for the: Smith & Alexander Palmswell Grip Safety (Brownell's #849-009-027)
Cylinder & Slide Tactical Match Trigger Pull Set (Brownell's #206-103-050)
Lew Horton Cocobolo grips (from eBay)
Brownell's 3-hole V Series (Videki) trigger (Brownell's #377-000-002)
Ed Brown allen head grip screws (Brownell's #087-011-004)
Smith & Alexander installation jig (Brownell's #849-009-000)
To eliminate the ILS, I spent an additional $39.36. This was for the: Ed Brown blued arched mainspring housing (Brownell's #087-000-025)
Wilson Combat mainspring cap (Brownell's #965-011-161)
Wilson Combat mainspring cap pin (Brownell's #965-011-165)
Wilson Combat mainspring pin retainer (Brownell's #965-011-163)
Colt mainspring housing pin (Brownell's #160-116-133)When you add the amount I spent for parts to improve the overall looks/performance, it puts me over what a new Springfield Armory Loaded would cost. I just happen to own one of those as well and - aside from the sights - I like the Mil-Spec better (since I've modified it). This Mil-Spec has a much nicer trigger pull than my Loaded and of course there's the "I did it myself" factor.

I do need to refinish the frame where it was cut for the grip safety, but this is a very small area. I'll probably tape off the rest of the frame and spray this area with matte GunKote, then bake it. After all, you can barely see it.

Thanks for the compliments, and I hope this helps.

1911Tuner
October 9, 2004, 08:41 PM
Nice work! Those grip safety jigs sure speed things along and make for a nice installation. Just curious...Does C&S supply any information on the
load rating of that mainspring in the trigger pull kit?

cookie
October 9, 2004, 08:46 PM
Thanks for the compliment.

Here's the Cylinder & Slide unit that I purchased (though I got it cheaper through Brownell's): https://shop.cylinder-slide.com/ccp5/clickcartpro/cgi-bin/cp-app.cgi?usr=50X1485595&rnd=6440124&rrc=N&cip=12.218.89.70&pg=prod&ref=79&cat=43

They don't give specifics on their site, but according to Brownell's it's 18 lbs.

1911Tuner
October 9, 2004, 08:51 PM
cookie said:

They don't give specifics on their site, but according to Brownell's it's 18 lbs.

Aha! :cool:

cookie
October 26, 2004, 11:32 PM
I thought I'd let you guys know that I tried it out last weekend, and it shot great! The function was 100% reliable with a mixture of ammo, and the trigger is far nice than my Springfield 1911 Loaded.

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