Cheap as dirt 1911?


Deus Machina
September 16, 2008, 10:51 PM
So I have a friend who's been shooting for years, but never owned a handgun. He's expressed his want for a 1911. I want a hobby. :D

I have a pair of benchtop machines, the ability to use them, and plenty of mechanical but no gun-specific experience. I'm also only familiar with my S&W Classic pistol and my Ruger Mk3. Not a 1911 lover overall (that might change!) however much I respect them.

So, does anyone know a good spot to find use-and-abused full-sized 1911s? Nothing special--I'll just want something that's not falling apart quite yet, won't explode on me, and once I'm done with it, will be accurate as he is to about 25 yards.

Now, what should I really watch for (rattling rails and a pitted barrel would be a little out of my league, for example), and what could I realistically expect to pay for a rusted but relatively unpitted old beater?

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September 16, 2008, 10:55 PM
You will probably not be able to find a used 1911 for the price you could go buy a new Rock Island Tactical.

Aguila Blanca
September 16, 2008, 11:10 PM
+1 what SureThing wrote.

You also can't buy even low-quality parts and assemble a quasi-functional 1911 for what a new RIA with a lifetime warranty will cost. I know -- I've tried, and the numbers don't work.

Your friend's best bet is to buy a new Rock Island. Your best bet is to buy a slide and frame from Brownells and start working.

September 16, 2008, 11:11 PM
Finding a used one will be hard, and just not worth it.

September 16, 2008, 11:40 PM
Just buy a rock island to start and go shoot and enjoy.
"no gun-specific experience"
That has ruined many a good 1911 . They may look simple but they require knowledge of what your doing. .

September 17, 2008, 01:05 AM
you could roll with a new taurus 1911 ive not heard a bad thing about them and quite a few good things, they go for around 500

Deus Machina
September 17, 2008, 02:44 AM
Well, I have plenty of workable experience (various pneumatics and junk) but not an actual gun. I at least know enough when to stop doing something.

I haven't seen RIA's around here. I'll relay that to him. Maybe I'll build one up, or go in a Hi Power...

The original plan was to find a beater (I've seen him staring at rubbed and rusted old milsurps), fix it up as a garage project, then decide whether to make a birthday gift out of it or keep it for myself and point him at a Taurus. :D

Darn laws of economics. Plenty of demand, but it's not like 1911's are better than most everything else... ;)

September 17, 2008, 06:33 AM
I have Rock Islands as well as a Taurus PT1911 and some Springer's and Para's as well. You just can't beat the RIA's for bang for the buck, especially the tactical models. I haven't had my PT1911 that long but it's a good shooter and seems well made.

Taurus doesn't hold their value that well so a good PT1911 can be had in the $400 range - and it's a lot of gun for the money...

September 17, 2008, 07:36 AM
I got my Argentine Colt Sistema Model 1927 (1911 GOV) for 375 in excellent condition. It was a very good base to build what I want out of this platform:

I've personally cut frame tangs for beavertail grip safety, installed commander style hammer w/ matching sear, lowered ejection port, slightly knocked off all sharp edges (de-horned), and beveled mag well.

Once I get the slide back from the machine shop, I'll finish it with a flat black manganize parkerized finish and install the Champion lowmount NOVAK style front and rear tritium sights.

I can't wait to carry this piece again.

September 17, 2008, 08:45 AM
First thing I would suggest you need to do is pick up a copy of this ... and a copy of this...

These are by far the best books to purchase if you want to learn about the 1911.

You can find good deals on beat up 1911's but it will take time and a lot of looking around. I saw a very worn old colt (Not old like government issue old, but probably mid 70's to early 80's) for sale here at a gun show recently for 200 bucks. I don't have the time right now to put any money into it and there was already a guy looking at it for the purpose of restoration so I let him take it home...

September 17, 2008, 08:48 AM
Bought a Charles Daly for just a smidgen over $400. Seems like a decent gun (and has an ambi safety for Southpaws like me).

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