Custom Gun Poll Part II: Final Feature Shopping!


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Sean Smith
June 24, 2004, 02:34 PM
Please vote on what features you think should be added to the custom project I'm having Ted Yost do for me once I get the frame from Caspian. This is an elaboration on an earlier poll, with alot of the old issues finalized (mostly in line with forum member suggestions), and some new ones added:

-Slide flats will be polished, rest of gun satin matte
-Lanyard loop mainspring housing will be added
-Finish will be blue (black, not carbonia, for reasons below)
-Stocks will NOT be ivory

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Here are the project details to help you choose:

Sean Smith’s West Point 1995-2005 Caspian Project

This gun is meant to mark the 10th anniversary of my graduation from West Point in 1995. It is also supposed to take the place of a gun I never bought, the original graduation guns made for my class by Colt. Since those were nothing more than really butt-ugly M1991A1 guns with “Class of 1995” stamped on them, I didn’t actually want one, but I like the idea of such a gun. So this gun will sort of look like that gun, only much better.

Caspian frame (serial number: “WP 527xx”) and slide, carbon steel

Fit provided Bar-Sto .45 ACP Match Target barrel
-Cut flush with bushing and re-crown
Long solid aluminum trigger
-Serrations dulled slightly
-No screw
-Crisp 4 lb pull
-No disconnector ‘click’ in pull
-Natural gray color
Beveled magazine well, hand filed
Dovetailed serrated front sight with gold line
Yost-Bonitz rear sight
Yost-Bonitz Flat serrated mainspring housing w/ lanyard loop
Colt Government Model-style spur hammer, bobbed & high cut
Colt Government Model-style grip safety, de-horned
Colt Government Model-style thumb safety
Colt Government Model-style recoil system (short rod & plug, not FLGR) w/ 16 lb Wolff recoil spring & CP buffer
Re-shape Caspian frame so it is less “blocky” (more like a Colt).
Very mild de-horn all over.
Other quality parts to finish the gun at Ted's discretion
Any maker’s marks go under the grip panels.

Random thoughts:

The Academy colors are black, gray, and gold, from the original components of gunpowder (charcoal, saltpeter and sulfur). The gun’s colors are also going to be black (blued steel), gray (aluminum trigger and stainless barrel) and gold (gold line front sight). The serial # is my sequence in the order of graduates.

The serial number is my sequence in the order of graduates, I'm graduate #52,700-something.

Everything else is a combination of what was on the Colt 1995 class guns and a military-issue 1911. Hence the blued finish, markings, and so forth.
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One thing I'm considering is that the gun might look better without adding a "West Point Class of 1995" markings to the slide. A "cleaner" slide would show of a high polish blue job better, too. For some reason I'm not so hot on the extra markings, but I'm not 100% sure either way.

On the other hand, I'm thinking some well-executing serrations here and there might look classy. This would add some cost, but nothing nuts. Then again, these would also make the gun look less mil-spec (not that high polish blue jobs are mil-spec :D , but the gun is supposed to look somewhat "traditional 1911" all the same).

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Black Majik
June 24, 2004, 05:45 PM
Those little details are what makes the gun beautiful..


First off, I do have to agree with you, those "class of 1995" markings MUST go! I wouldn't even want big letterings of custom name brands, such as Valtro etc on the slide, I would much less want "class of 1995" on it.

Next, I really do like the looks of the flattened top on the slide with the serrations. Those do make the gun look classier and not as much as a combat weapon IMO.

Now the little details. If you have serrations on the top, hell why not the back! Do those also. Its the little details that win you over in the end.

Since the slide is all serrated, might as well serrate something on the frame. That frontstrap is it!

Whatever parts you wanna use is up to you, its all personal preference. I do like the like look of the wide spur hammer. But, for a classy looking gun, for some reason I think a skeleton hammer would complete the look better.

Good luck on the pistol and I'm curious to see how it turns out. The DE you have is gorgeous. :D

Sean Smith
June 24, 2004, 06:02 PM
The "Class of 1995" markings weren't going to be that big, but the more I think about it the more I like the idea of a clean slide. Hmmm...

farscott
June 24, 2004, 06:20 PM
Some thoughts that may or may not help.

1) I want everything on a custom pistol to be part of the theme. My latest pistol had two themes, CCW and serrations. Those themes drove the design of my pistol and I used serrations just about everywhere that it added to the pistol's function as a CCW piece. Your theme is the anniversary of your graduation from West Point. Since West Point graduates are part of the "Long Gray Line", the serrations, especially those on the top of the slide, could represent your place in that never ending line.

2) In the past you have mentioned that you dislike checkered front straps and prefer the "basic" 1911 feel. Thus, I am hesitant to recommend serrating the front strap even though it is my personal choice. I guess it depends on the grips. If your grips are smooth, the front strap should get some type of grasping treatment. If the grips have some traction, the front strap can be left bare.

3) I would leave the slide flats unmarked. I think that any slide markings, unless they are have a prancing pony as an element, detract from the beauty of a 1911.


Sounds like it is going to be a great pistol. Congrats and thanks for your service to our country.

Sean Smith
June 24, 2004, 06:28 PM
Since West Point graduates are part of the "Long Gray Line", the serrations, especially those on the top of the slide, could represent your place in that never ending line.

Good idea, too bad they wouldn't be gray though. They'd just be Moderately Long Black Lines. Fluting the stainless barrel would give you long gray lines, but a .45 ACP 1911 barrel is thin-walled enough as it is.

Of course extra lines could represent age, but I'm too dang good looking for that sort of thing. :D

45auto
June 25, 2004, 10:51 AM
If it were me, I would add "the class of 1995" somewhere on the gun. Otherwise, it's just a nice custom 1911. Which is okay by the way.

Perhaps, small script lettering on the dust cover side for example. It won't "jump out at you", but it makes the gun special...memories and all that stuff.

rbernie
June 25, 2004, 11:19 AM
I think that the WP '95 markings need to be on the pistol, but maybe not on the slide. How about on a set of custom-etched Alumagrips instead?

SapperLeader
June 25, 2004, 11:42 AM
I would definitly leave class of 95 off of the slide. Have you thought of putting it on the grips though? Seems like that would be a interesting place to put something commerative like that. Perhaps whatever symbol west point uses on one side, and 1995 on the other? I would leave the spur hammer for agun likethis. If it was a carry gun of sorts, without the theme Id lean towards yost's hammer. I do like the looks of the yost hammer, but dont think its very traditional looking.

Barry in IN
June 25, 2004, 02:34 PM
Neat project!
Belated congrats on you graduation.

On to "business"-
I agree that the original "West Point Class of 1995" marking is a tad long, but I think you need something. I understand that you know the meaning of the S/N, but I'm thinking of the great-grandchildren here!
Why not something like USMA 95?

Or, I've seen plenty of "U.S." laser engraved grips. Maybe something like that, but with "U.S.M.A.". The advantage to grips would be that if you didn't like them, changed your mind, found something better, etc- they come right off.

Sean Smith
June 25, 2004, 02:52 PM
Who actually does laser engraving of wood handgun grips?

That might be just the ticket... USMA cest on one side, Class of 1995 crest on the other. :cool:

BluesBear
June 26, 2004, 06:46 AM
Military 1911A1s had markings on right the frame, straddling the slide stop, that said;
UNITED STATES PROPERTY * M1911A1 U.S. ARMY (* being the slide stop)
like this
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=1083380

You could have yours marked in a similar style;

WEST POINT * CLASS OF 1995

or

UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY * WEST POINT 1995

or

US MILIRARY ACADEMY * CLASS OF 1995

You get the idea.
This way you can have the markings but not have them be too obtrusive.

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