Time to build a 1911?


December 6, 2012, 08:57 PM
Good evening folks,

Well, it seems like winter is finally settling in up here in Maine, and I've decided I need a good project to work on. It occurs to me that building a 1911 from parts would either be a great project, or one that will turn me into raving lunatic!

My gunsmithing experience is minimal, but I have solid technical skills, can read plans and diagrams, and am comfortable taking my time and doing things as best I can. This doesn't need to be a high-dollar tack-driver, and really shouldn't be for my first build. I do know an excellent 1911 'smith from a few towns over, and will have him go over it with a fine tooth comb before I ever drop the hammer on a live round!

I would greatly appreciate any and all advice y'all might have, especially directions and suppliers to head to should the concensus be "go ahead"!

Thanks in advance - I can't wait to hear what you think.

If you enjoyed reading about "Time to build a 1911?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
December 6, 2012, 09:04 PM
I think you can buy a working Springfield Range Officer for less then half to a third what a decent quality build will cost you.

And I'm thinking it will shoot rings around any first build too.

If you want to "build" something build an AR-15.
It's child's play compared to building a good 1911, and you can have a real decent rifle when you get done.


December 6, 2012, 10:05 PM
A good book on the 1911 may be a good start. There are numerous ones out there that cover all aspects of the build for a 1911.

Here is a free read I think that might be an OK thing to start with.


December 7, 2012, 02:23 PM

mnrivrat - Thanks so much for that link - I am now petrified of building a 1911.

rcmodel - I'm beginning to think you are on the right track!

Again, wow.

I've been known to bite off more than I can chew on occasion, but a guy has to know his limits.

Thanks for the heads-up!

December 7, 2012, 03:09 PM
If you are going to "build a 1911" I would suggest two or three items you leave to your gunsmith buddy two towns over.
I would not suggest that a first time builder "fit a Barrel" or "do a trigger job". Those two items of the build should be left to a professional. The correct tools to do that cost more than what you pay a professional to do them. The third thing that an amateur may not do easily is attach the plunger tube.
There is not much difference in the parts cost of a 1911 and that of a "tack driver 1911" and let a professional take care of what you can not do easily.. You may buy a RIA kit and get by cheap but if you buy quality parts the expense of the Quality parts is 90% of the cost. Buy a good barrel and let the professional fit it up.
But a matched frame and slide or an "oversized" frame and slide. That saves you a lot of work and not much more expemse in parts. Also buy the slide machined for the sights you are going to use. That takes care of a major amount of work as opposed tho buying any ole slide and then having the slide modified/machined for your sights,

December 9, 2012, 08:37 PM
I have a friend that built his first 1911. It took him about 3 years. It's a beautiful gun and locks up like a bank vault, but 3 years.

If you enjoyed reading about "Time to build a 1911?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!