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Custom Built 1911s. Who builds the Best?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Michael A Ferber, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Ca survivor

    Ca survivor Member

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    Ed Brown, Wilson, Baer are not customs ? please elaborate............
     
  2. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Most people in the biz would call them factory customs or semi-customs. There is no doubt a lot of hand fitting goes into them and they are awesome. I'm partial to Ed Brown (and Dan Wesson) myself.
     
  3. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    You order table d'hôte, rather than à la carte
     
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  4. tark

    tark Member

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    To me, a true custom gun is one that is bespoken and made from start to finish by one craftsman who does all the work himself. High end 1911s like Brown, Wilson, Baer and others are built by several different craftsmen. They may be expert at what they do and even have cross training at other jobs, but They usually do only one or two jobs. Mine was fitting frames to slides and checkering. I have fitted over 20,000 frames and slides in my 21 years.

    This semi-custom "production line" approach can and does result in a pistol every bit as good as a true one man custom gun.

    Consider my avatar. I would put it up against any custom 1911 ever built by anyone at any time. The engraving is hand chiseled the old fashioned way. The grips are real ivory. The bluing is the old fashioned charcoal bluing, with the small parts being nitre blued. It locks up like a bank vault and will put bullets almost on top of each other at fifty yards. Or so the gun writer said. He requested a gun to write up so Les sent him this one as a prank. He called back and said there must be some mistake. He couldn't possibly shoot this gun. Les told him to "Shoot the snot out of it." If you know Les you have probably deducted that he didn't use the word "snot" So the writer put 200 rounds through it and I shot seven more, just to say I DID shoot it. This picture doesn't even begin to do it justice.

    When I croak it will go to my son.
     

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  5. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    Dan Wesson
     
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  6. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    NHC is a "one gunsmith" company. All my Nighthawks were built by the same person (Joey Lehr) I do seek out his guns cause all mine run.
     
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  7. johnmcl

    johnmcl Member

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    I have a Baer Ultimate Tactical Carry (I hate that name) on which tark did the checkering and slide fit. Across more than 40 years of 1911 carry, professional and personal, this gun is the finest defensive firearm I own. This gun is nothing but all business, and it runs like a fat boy after an ice cream truck.
     
  8. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    I'd prefer it runs like a skinny kid after the ice cream truck.

    I spent one summer in my youth driving an ice cream truck and it's my experience that the fat kids don't run so good.
     
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  9. Tom-R2

    Tom-R2 Member

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    I'm kinda partial to the one I built myself. My brother and I bought two kits from 1911builders and built them together. Mine is a steel government model, his is a LW commander. I did a custom rust blue finish, his aluminum frame was Cerakoted with a stainless color, reasonably matching the stainless slide. We also had them custom laser engraved. They are very nice and function well. They don't have some fancy name, but they are ours. That is worth a lot.
     
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  10. Shipwreck

    Shipwreck Member

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    I have shot Tarosean's T3. It is super sweet.I really like it.

    Besides several numerous, standard production 1911s, I've previously owned two Ed Browns previously, a Springfield Custom Shop 1911, and 2 Dan Wesson Valors. I would never buy another Springfield Customshop gun, unless it was on the shelf, and I could inspect it beforehand. I had some issues with the one I ordered, and they never really got fixed satisfactorily IMHO.

    The Ed Browns were awesome. But the two Dan Wesson Valors I owned were awesome, for the money. I realize the Dan Wessons were not in the same class, but they really were awesome.

    The problem with owning 1911s like that is that once you do, you cannot go back to the cheaper ones. You always find some issue with the cheaper ones....
     
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  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Kind of like scopes? :)
     
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  12. Ca survivor

    Ca survivor Member

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    if you think Wilson in a $4,000.00 + gun is not a la carte, great for you for having so much money and taste.
     
  13. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    You're taking my response out of the context of the question which I was responding to, however...

    Comparing a $4k Wilson to a $4k Chen isn't even apples vs. apples. There is a reason Stan has a years long waiting list...and it isn't just because he doesn't have a bunch of employees building them for him
     
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  14. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Beautiful. The edges of the front strap checkering look a little sloppy to my eye though. ;)
     
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  15. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    Pretty funny thread

    If you want the best 1911’s in the world, you sure as hell don’t buy one from a company like Brown or Wilson that produce several thousand guns per year. They are high end production/semi custom. They aren’t custom guns.
     
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  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Manufacturers and gunsmiths are scrambling for business in a crowded market.
    Look at the brag pictures on the gunboards and www advertisements. Good quality is no longer enough to sell a gun, we see all manner of styling exercises. We are getting back to the Louis XV rococo era. I saw one recently from a well regarded one-off shop that was almost completely covered in dimples and divots. "Raceguns" are commonly highly styled reminiscent of actual hotrods.
     
  17. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    In NYS there is a REAL custom builder.

    His name is Dan Bedell,and I have seen his stuff and it is used on the actual shooting competition shows that are run by the real runners & gunners of the shooting trade.

    He is my go to gun smith [ not just an armorer ],so take a gander at his stuff if you want a true custom gun.
     
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I have read of him, good stuff.
    BUT: Those "bottleneck" FCS jobs are just too cute.
     
  19. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    what are these shows you speak of?

    Sure he builds some awesome Open guns.. somehow though, I dont think that is what the OP was looking for.

    I always thought they were upside down bowling pins???
     
  20. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    WC is not going to fit Harrison Fire control parts, EGW parts, McCormick safety, etc. They will use their own parts bin and do what they want from an options list. Some people want more than whats on that "list" or "menu" as 9mmepiphany alluded too.

    As I stated in the beginning it eventually gets down to what you personally prefer.
     
  21. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    Is a $4,000 Chen the frame or the slide?
     
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  22. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    For semi-custom guns, I like Ed Brown, Nighthawk and Les Baer. Slight edge to Brown just because it feels really good in my hands.

    I own only one truly custom 1911. It began life as a Springfield Armory G.I. model but all that remains original is the slide and frame. I sent it and a box of parts, along with a written list of my wants/needs to Jess Gypin at OnTarget Custom Gun Works. He has since retired due to health problems, unfortunately. It's the most expensive pistol I own and it's also the most accurate and so reliable as to be boring. The trigger is... Well, I won't let people shoot it without dry firing first. A trigger that good needs to be appreciated.
     
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  23. snuffgulley

    snuffgulley Member

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    Armand Swenson, God rest his soul. Followed closely by his nephew John Jardine.
     
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