It's Starting to Become a Gun...


Stephen A. Camp
May 28, 2004, 02:02 PM
Hello. I recently decided to build a longslide 1911 and ordered a Caspian frame and slide. The frame is the cast version (been shooting one similar for twenty years) and has 20LPI checkering. The slide has the Bomar rear sight cut and the Novak front dovetail cut. Has the serrated top and no front slide serrations. Barrel is a Kart EZ-fit.

So far, about 40 hours has the slide fitted to the frame and the barrel fitted to the slide and the bushing fitted to the slide.

The slide moves like glass with no perceptible vertical motion and very, very, very little horizontal. There is zero slide-to-barrel movement.

Hopefully this thing will be ready to shoot in a week or two.

These are not the greatest pictures in the world as I just took 'em inside and with the flash thing, but you at least get sort of a look.

Here's the top of the slide. It's still got oil all over it, but it was cleaned up by lots of draw-filing, flat-stone work, and then 1200 grit wet/dry sandpaper.
Those are not scratches on the feed ramp. Debri, hair, I don't know. Anyway, the fit is exactly as I want it between the slide and the frame.
Zero movement between the barrel and slide and the lugs are in full engagement. Looking through the rear of the slide through the firing pin channel with an empty sized case in the barrel, the flash hole is perfectly centered in the firing pin hole.
The bushing can barely be moved w/o a wrench. Took a while to get that fit, but it was worth it. The edges of the bushing have barely been "broken" as will be the edges on the front end of the slide. It's already been done to the dust cover.
Slide, barrel & bushing, and frame with slide stop pin in place. Hold the gun rearward forty-five degrees and the slide will fall to its rearmost position. Hold forward the same amount and it will fully go into battery and still w/o movement in barrel and slide. Several hours were spent bringing slide rails to desired specs and then more time spent hand-lapping the slide to the frame.


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May 28, 2004, 02:25 PM
Looks great...nice job.

It will be interesting to see the accuracy of the e-z fit bbl.
After installing one, what is your opinion of how "easy" it really is ?

Good luck and I'll bet it will be a tack driver.
No need to "buy" any more 1911's if you can build them. ;)

May 28, 2004, 04:36 PM
I have done two so far. The second was on a Les Baer prefit frame and
slide. God did that save time.

Just wait till you start fitting the hammer, sear and trigger. You will
have the main spring housing in and out about 100 times. :what:

But the end result is well worth it.

Please keep the updates coming.

Stephen A. Camp
May 28, 2004, 04:57 PM
Hello and thanks for both the kind words and the encouragement. I'm NOT a gunsmith so it took me considerably longer to fit the barrel and bushing: essentially a day.


May 28, 2004, 06:17 PM
Looks like a good start! I have been doing the same thing recently myself. I am working on a Caspian cast frame, with the integral mag well. I have hand lapped the slide to the frame. (Too much like work for me!)

I have an old Colt .38 Super slide and barrel. I will go ahead and complete it with the Colt barrel, if I am not satisfied with the way it shoots, I will resume the quest.

If you want something done right, sometimes you just have to do it yourself.:)

Chris Rhines
May 28, 2004, 08:50 PM
Very, very, very nice. I hope my 1911s come together so well.

- Chris

Stephen A. Camp
May 28, 2004, 09:15 PM
Hello, and thank you, folks.

I'm not going to whine about my gunsmith's prices and the time, anymore.


Dave Sample
May 29, 2004, 11:43 AM
Time should not be an issue when building a 1911 from parts. They are all oversized and undersized and as Gramdma said "haste makes waste". If you do not have time to learn how to fit frame to slide then you have missed a very important part of building a high end Custom 1911. Keep up the good work, Mr. Camp.

Stephen A. Camp
May 29, 2004, 11:46 AM
Hello. I agree. I'd rather do it slow and right than quicker and less precise. The results will be around, good or bad, for a long time.


Stephen A. Camp
May 30, 2004, 11:15 PM
Hello. Finally got the thing completed except for sticking on the Bomar rear and Novak front sights. Some cosmetic work still to be done and it will need to be refinished.
The gun's still in the "white", but the trigger has very, very little take up and overtravel is non-existant. I'll simply remove the set screw as it's not necessary. The grips are some plain old things just to slap on it for shooting.
The Ed Brown safety was fitted to the frame yesterday and that took most of it for me. I also blended the rear of the slide to the frame.

The gun still doesn't have sights on it, but I fired it for function today using the following ammunition:

Remington 185-gr. Flat Nose MC

Sellier & Bellot 230-gr. FMJ

200-gr. Precision Cast SWC/5.0-gr. Bullseye

200-gr. Speer JHP (old style)/7.2-gr. Unique

Remington 230-gr. Golden Saber

Once you got the hang of how to "look" or "quasi-aim" the gun, I did 4" groups off-hand at 15 yards with the pistol. I tried it on 6" steel plates at 7 yards just pointing; 6 for 6, but this was NOT fast shooting.

The pistol was tried with a McCormick Powermag and a MecGar 7-rnd magazine. Both worked fine.

The gun failed to feed one Speer 200-gr. JHP off the fully-loaded 8-rnd when it was being chambered by hand.
A retry and it worked fine. This was the only malfunction and occurred very early in the testing and not at all when firing.

Ejection was positive and consistent.

Other than the one failure to feed mentioned above, everything else worked 100%.

I'd estimate the trigger at 4 to 4 1/2 pounds. It is clean and requires no further work. I got lucky there. The thumb safety is quite positive on or off.

So, after about 150 rounds to see if it functions, I'm satisfied that it does.


Stephen A. Camp
June 10, 2004, 05:37 PM
Hello. I got lucky. I called my gunsmith yesterday to see when he was going to blue guns. He said, "Today." I took my Caspian Longslide to him. Less than 24 hours later....

Taaaa Daaaa!

The range was flooded due to heavy rains, but I did shoot it at 10 and 20 yards and popped some small targets lying on the berm at about 40 yards. The thing ran fine with ball, SWC's, and handloaded XTP's. Windage = perfect. Elevation was 2" high at 20 yards, but I didn't touch it today. This one will probably be sighted in dead-on at 50 yards.


Badger Arms
June 10, 2004, 06:41 PM
I am very impressed with the gun. Looks like a winner. If you don't mind me asking, what was the total damage? I know it doesn't mean that much to true gun lovers, but if I were to undertake an endeavour like yours, how much time, effort, and money would I have to invest? Were it me, I would have added... uh... well... maybe I would have just used stainless instead of blued and had it brush-polised.

One thing, do you have any elevation adjustment so you can dial it in or are you going to have to get a higher front sight? Maybe you can use lighter loads to get it to hit dead-on instead of a higher front sight? That is, if you don't have any elevation adjustment left.

Stephen A. Camp
June 10, 2004, 07:35 PM
Hello, and thank you for the compliments. I have loads of elevation so I'm in grand shape there. Total cost was roughly $950 and 70 to 80 hours.


June 11, 2004, 11:02 AM
What kind of recoil setup do you have in it? (spring/plug/rod/etc.)

Stephen A. Camp
June 11, 2004, 11:10 AM
Hello. It's a two-piece guide rod with a 17-lb. conventional recoil spring.


June 11, 2004, 01:43 PM
Uh...I'm thinkin' that you might oughta go into the pistol buildin' bidness
full time...Lookin' good!

Can ya see it? "Camp Custom Guns" Does have a certain "ring"...don't it?
Better'n "Travis' Tunin' & Tweakin":D

June 11, 2004, 01:56 PM
Very impressive! :) Would you be ok with telling us about the internals you chose for the gun?

Stephen A. Camp
June 11, 2004, 02:09 PM
Hello and thank you all for the kind words. Tuner, I appreciate the comments, but man, I'd starve to death as slow as I'm able to work. I'm not a 'smith.


McCormick trigger

Ed Brown Hammer and Sear

Caspian pins

I flat don't remember who made the thumb safety I wound up using. I'd had it a couple of years.

Kart EZ-fit bbl & bushing

Ed Brown grip safety w/hump

McCormick slide stop

Ed Brown 20 LPI flat m/s housing

Wolf recoil spring

The mainspring is either McCormick or Brown; cannot remember

McCormick disconnector


June 11, 2004, 06:19 PM
What kind of spring plug?
I had a plug custom made for my 6" that uses a 5" spring. I've been toying with the idea of using a more "standard" plug which would give the spring an extra inch of at-rest length. Unfortunately, a standard 5" plug leaves part of the spring exposed and roughens up the slide action, so I've been looking for a long 6" plug.

June 11, 2004, 06:39 PM
Hmmm ... sounds a great project Steve ...... but ... I had no pictures come down the pipe!!!!!:(

Or are they on your site? Ain't been over there yet to look.

Stephen A. Camp
June 11, 2004, 08:05 PM
Hello, and thank you. No, they're not on the site yet. I'll do a more detailed report there in the very near future.


Average Guy
June 22, 2004, 11:10 PM
I just noticed this thread and because I'm fixin' to buy my first 1911, I was very intrigued.

Now I just have to say, "Dayaaaamn! That is sweet!" I know what it's like to pour your heart into a project; I only wish the things I did had come out half as good as your 1911. That is a real work of art. You are a man of extraordinary magnitude. :D

Stephen A. Camp
June 22, 2004, 11:20 PM
Hello, and thank you. Speaking only for myself, when I was tempted to "speed something up" with a file when a stone or even wet/dry sandpaper was called for, I just oiled things up and put 'em away. Take you time.


October 17, 2005, 03:55 AM
Going through the Archives regarding 'Kart', I found your post. Printer is running as I type....

I ordered a barrel from Fred Kart last week. I've read so much about new production 1911 clones that are being offered for sale by major 'name' companies that were, in actuality, assembled by nothing more than an 'assembly house', that I bought a slightly used 'Rinco.

Conversations with 1911Tuner regarding Norinco pistols being truer to Army Ordinance and JMB specs with dang near everyting except the barrel headspace prompted me to call Fred Kart. Well that, and I do have too much time on my hands lately. Not that much grass to cut these days.

I hope I can maintain your level of paitence when I try to 'fit' the barrel without having a 'fit'.

New Saeco mold from Fitz enroute also. Gonna see if my Star sizer, and press still work.

The BHP that we fired is still 'ticking' right along. Bought some new in the box Mec-Gar 15 rounders for it...Strangely enough, ball Wall-Mart ammunition doesn't chamber reliabily from slide lock...Cor-Bon and Federal 9CBP does not share that characteristic...Sling shot chambering works with everything that I have fed..In whatever mag/ammo is in the mag well...The dang thing is omniverous in 'sling-shot' mode. Cor-Bon ammunition, as well as Federal Classic 9BP works just dandy no matter how the round is chambered.. New (to me) slide from e-bay, your barrel, a trip to Novaks to have the Millett sights removed and replaced, the new mags, Cor-Bon, and Federal Classic 9BP have rounded out the package.

Now if I could replace whats left of my shoulder and bicep ligaments, maybe I could 'hold' the dang thing rather than 'wave' it at the target, I'd be happy. While I'm in a wishful mode, maybe I could wish for more hair as well..Grin..

Thanks for your help, and it was a pleasure to make your aquaintence. If I can return the favor, please let me know.


Byron Quick
October 18, 2005, 12:30 AM
That thing's pretty, Steve. Good work. Color me envious.

October 18, 2005, 09:13 AM
Excellent work,

I'm hoping my rebuild turns out that well.


Stephen A. Camp
October 18, 2005, 09:46 AM
Hello and thanks very much. The best of luck to you.


October 24, 2005, 09:41 PM
Mr. Camp,

Did you do this pistol project as part of a class, or under the tutelage of a gunsmith, or is it just something you know how to do?

I would very much like to put together my own 1911 someday, but I have no idea what I'm doing... heck, I don't even know how to detail strip the one I have. :o

Any details you could offer would be much appreciated.


Stephen A. Camp
October 24, 2005, 10:20 PM
Hello. I am not a gunsmith, but have tinkered with 1911's and Hi Powers for decades. That included some successes and many failures...that a real gunsmith had to correct.

I have a couple of good friends who took Dave Sample's on-line class for building what he describes as the Patriot 1911. They were kind enough to invite me to take part when they each built a second gun. I was so impressed with the quality of their first guns that I did just that. I was sort of a parasite on what Mr. Sample had taught them, but I didn't use all of the same parts that were used in his class gun.

I would starve to death as a gunsmith. I have to work so slowly not to mess anything up.

Since then, I did another gun very similar to the first, but it is a 5" gun. The finish work on it showed improvement over the first and both guns continue to serve well and w/o malfunctions at all. I managed to take a deer last season with the long slide.


October 25, 2005, 10:15 PM
heck, I don't even know how to detail strip the one I have.Shame on you!

Here's how Colt says it should be done. (
It's amazingly simple.

If you can figure out how to post a message on an Internet bulletin board you can completely strip a 1911 pattern pistol.

Oh yeah it's here too. (
But it's harder to find since it's not a sticky over here.

October 25, 2005, 11:02 PM
Thanks, BluesBear. I appreciate that link. :)


October 26, 2005, 11:16 AM
Two things about building/rebuilding a 1911.

1) get books and read them and read as much about 1911's on THR as you possibly can, i'm talking hours and hours (there is a pletora of information on here from 1911tuner, old fuff, and many others)+.

2) Once you build up the courage to actually start on it (and i hope you already have some tools cause you'll need them) WORK SLOW. If you rush you WILL make a mistake until you know the process very well. Take your time, work slow, be mindful of what you are doing, and check it often, and you'll probably be okay.

So far i haven't screwed up any parts of my mil spec rebuild and it is my first time (fingers crossed that it shoots okay). I just gotta fit the ejector and it'll be ready to fire.

Remember slow and steady wins the race.

October 27, 2005, 08:45 PM
Okay, BluesBear -- I broke the pistol down completely last night, and did it again today. It wasn't as hard as I thought it might be. :)


October 28, 2005, 12:48 AM
Good for you!

It is elegant in it's simplicity isn't it.

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