What would you upgrade on an ORM Colt Commander?


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Michael_2112
September 8, 2010, 04:51 PM
Let me preface this post by apologizing if this topic is a re-tread.

I have a box stock ORM 1991 Commander and would like some ideas as to what you would consider the essential (or desirable) upgrades to the pistol? I've had this commander for about 5 years now and it's been 100% reliable but, it's about time to have it refinished and I figured I might as well get some other work done at the same time.

I'm going to have it refinished and night sights installed. Also, being a south paw an ambi safety is something I really want to have installed.

Any particular ambi safety you prefer?

I'd like to switch the trigger out and also get a trigger job done. Any suggestions as to which replacement trigger, and the ideal trigger pull weight for CCW? I was thinking around 4lbs.

If you were going to switch out the hammer to one that is a little easier (grip wise) to cock... Which would you choose?

Is it worthwhile to switch out the MSH?

I haven't had any reliability issues... What other advantages to having the ejection port lowered? Ramp throated and polished?

How feasible is it to remove ugly (ORM Colt) roll marks from the slide?

What would you change if this was your commander?

Any suggestions on 1911 smiths? I'm not necessarily looking for the world renowned smiths... But those who do good work at a reasonable rate.

Thanks so much for your time... It's greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Mike

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rklessdriver
September 8, 2010, 10:02 PM
For night sights and the refinish I'd recommend Novak. His bead blasted blue finish turned out great on my Les Baer PII, turn around was fast and it was reasonable priced. He also knows a thing or 2 about sights...:D

I'm not a lefty so I don't know about ambi safety's.... however for aftermarket parts I usually only buy Smith and Alexander or Ed Brown.

All of my COLT's that had a nylon MSH on them from the factory still have it.... If it ain't broke I'm not fixing it.

If your COLT currently feeds fine - DO NOT allow anyone to polish or throat the feed ramp. This "service" is the biggest Waste of $$$ I have ever seen (outside of the fed govt) - and a lot of hack job "gunsmiths" out there have screw up thousands of perfectly good 1911's doing it. The ejection port on a 1991 Commander is already lowered just not flared. If your's dents brass and you reload it might be worth while to get the edge over the extractor layed back to prevent this.

That would be a lot of milling/sanding to get the roll mark off of some of those 1991A1 slides. It would be very hard to pull off correctly. 99% of the time I bet you would end up with an uneven looking slide... I wouldn't recommend you try it.

M1911 Smiths - I'd recommend John Harrison in GA and Novak in WV.

Good luck with your COLT.
Will

The Lone Haranguer
September 8, 2010, 10:57 PM
I'm going to have it refinished and night sights installed. Also, being a south paw an ambi safety is something I really want to have installed.

Those are worthwhile.

I'd like to switch the trigger out and also get a trigger job done. Any suggestions as to which replacement trigger, and the ideal trigger pull weight for CCW? I was thinking around 4lbs.

A gunsmith should be able to work with the stock components unless they are out of spec and cutting/stoning would make it worse. Four pounds, with a little bit of takeup and a smooth/crisp letoff, is about right, but don't go any lighter.

If you were going to switch out the hammer to one that is a little easier (grip wise) to cock... Which would you choose?
A spurred hammer (preferably wide and checkered, as found on early models) from a full-sized Government Model. This will preclude your adding a beavertail grip safety, however. (Although you didn't mention it, this is almost a de rigueur modification to customized 1911s, and a lot of factory ones, for that matter. But it also requires recontouring of the frame to blend the edges.) Round off any sharp corners to prevent snagging and tearing of your cover garment.

I haven't had any reliability issues... What other advantages to having the ejection port lowered? Ramp throated and polished?

A lowered ejection port makes ejecting a live round easier and reduces the tendency to fling cases at your head and beat up the brass for reloading. But, your gun may already have one. As for the ramp and throat polishing, if the gun is reliable I would not mess with it.

The Lone Haranguer
September 8, 2010, 11:04 PM
How feasible is it to remove ugly (ORM Colt) roll marks from the slide?

It isn't, IMO. The whole side - or at least the section containing the rollmarks - of the slide would have to be milled off, and to maintain symmetry or uniformity of appearance, an equal amount taken off the other side. This would no doubt weaken the metal.

HuntAndFish
September 8, 2010, 11:50 PM
http://thehighroad.us/showthread.php?t=418506

I think I would try this ambi-safety from caspian. It looks like a good solid one.

bannockburn
September 9, 2010, 01:16 AM
A friend of mine recently had Meprolight night sights installed on his Kimber and I was very impressed by their illumination and construction. If non-illuminated, then I would go with Novak's sights. For my M1911's I prefer the flat mainspring housing; I have found for my hand, that shape fits me the best. I also like a beavertail grip safety, Videcki trigger (4 to 4.5 lbs.), and Colt's extended ambi safety.

Michael_2112
September 9, 2010, 01:57 AM
Thank you all for your responses.

If your COLT currently feeds fine - DO NOT allow anyone to polish or throat the feed ramp. This "service" is the biggest Waste of $$$ I have ever seen (outside of the fed govt) - and a lot of hack job "gunsmiths" out there have screw up thousands of perfectly good 1911's doing it. The ejection port on a 1991 Commander is already lowered just not flared. If your's dents brass and you reload it might be worth while to get the edge over the extractor layed back to prevent this.

One of my biggest concerns was that I don't want to screw up a reliable and functional pistol. I was thinking that I should take the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" stance. I just want to make sure I address as many items as possible the first time, to prevent multiple trips... I'll miss my Commander too much.

A spurred hammer (preferably wide and checkered, as found on early models) from a full-sized Government Model. This will preclude your adding a beavertail grip safety, however. (Although you didn't mention it, this is almost a de rigueur modification to customized 1911s, and a lot of factory ones, for that matter. But it also requires recontouring of the frame to blend the edges.) Round off any sharp corners to prevent snagging and tearing of your cover garment.

I was considering going the beavertail route, but the current grip safety seems to be fine and I don't really have any issues with it. I just hope this isn't something that I wish I had done after the fact. Anything similar in profile and function as a spur hammer that is made to work in conjunction with a beavertail?

It isn't, IMO. The whole side - or at least the section containing the rollmarks - of the slide would have to be milled off, and to maintain symmetry or uniformity of appearance, an equal amount taken off the other side. This would no doubt weaken the metal.

I thought this might be the case and I'm fine with that. It's really a working gun anyways and just figured I'd see if it was a possibly prior to having it refinished.


So far my list includes:

Refinish
Night Sights
Ambi Safety
Hammer
Trigger Job (4 lbs)

On the fence about:

Beavertail Grip Safety
Bobtail (which I'd imagine requires a different MSH?)

For those of you with a Bobtailed 1911... does it really make that big of a difference from an ease of concealment perspective?

Also, anyone familiar with and/or have any feedback regarding work by EGW, Jim Garthwaite, or Jim Milks/Innovative Custom Guns? I might like to have work done by a smith here in PA. I travel back and forth across the state and perhaps a drop off and pick up might be easier than shipping.

Thanks again,

Mike

MPrimo
September 9, 2010, 08:09 AM
Here is what I would do (and did, to some extent) ...

Cylinder and Slide Hammer/Sear kit (Tactical II)
Cylinder and Slide Long Solid trigger
Brown Thumb Safety (Ambi if lefty)
Brown Memory Groove GS
EGW Carry Bevel Bushing/Plug Combo
Heinie Straight 8 Sights
Bobtail Frame with Brown BT MSH (conceals a little better but feels really great in the hand)
Some sexy grips (just because)
Refinish with something tough like Ion Bond or Hard Hat

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc122/MPrimavera/DSCN0144.jpg

Or just leave it as it and shoot the snot out of it!:):):)

Michael_2112
September 9, 2010, 11:15 AM
MPrimo - That is a fine looking pistola. The more I think about it... The more I'm considering the Bobtail.

The Lone Haranguer
September 9, 2010, 07:03 PM
Anything similar in profile and function as a spur hammer that is made to work in conjunction with a beavertail?

Rounded spur hammers are almost de rigueur (there I go again:D) with beavertails. A standard long spur hammer will hit most of them. You can shorten a spur hammer, but this doesn't seem much easier to thumb cock than a round hammer.

If you decide you want a blended beavertail (so-called "drop in" ones are available but IMO they look like crap), decide before you refinish the frame.

Michael_2112
September 9, 2010, 07:10 PM
I sent off an email this morning to Jim Garthwaite at: http://www.garthwaite.com/ and he said I can call to make an appointment to come in and meet with him at his shop to discuss the project and go over the Commander. Is anyone familiar with his work?

Thanks,

Mike

The Lone Haranguer
September 9, 2010, 07:17 PM
While it is more of a "nice but not absolutely necessary" mod, you might want to look into a checkered or stippled grip frontstrap. But a well done checkering job looks so nice. :)

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