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How much (and what) DIY have you done on your 1911s?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MCMXI, Oct 22, 2010.

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  1. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    I bought my first 1911 about a year ago (a Kimber Tactical Entry II) and despite having no issues to report between 10 and 500 or so rounds, I decided to start "tinkering" in preparation for USPSA/IPSC matches. I ordered and received a number of Ed Brown parts and have started to swap out a few of the simpler pieces with plans to tackle some of the more difficult upgrades too. I can see how "tinkering" with these 1911s can become addictive, so what have you done to your 1911s over the years that doesn't include sending them off to a gunsmith? Any horror stories to report?

    :)
     
  2. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Colt Combat Elite bought new in 1990.

    I took off the rubber wrap-around grips and put on a pair of Hogue Ebony double diamond grips. The only modification I've made in 20 years.

    It doesn't need any other changes.
     
  3. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    other that changing grips I pretty much leave alone I have installed a couple ambi saferts but
     
  4. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    Not even new springs or other wear items?

    :)
     
  5. Damon555

    Damon555 Member

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    Nothing, my Kimber runs like a dream.....If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
     
  6. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I think the first changes I'd make, in preparation for USPSA/IDPA, would be to:

    1. replace the sights...rear: Warren or 10-8; front: Dawson fiber optic
    2. install a solid trigger
    3. blend the interior of the mag well into the frame
    4. replace all the internal MIM parts
     
  7. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    I'm working on #4 right now, not sure about #1 yet, can easily do #3 with TIG and have to ask why for #2.

    :)
     
  8. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    I don't follow that school of thought ... sorry! By the way, I hope you don't work for an airline! :D

    :)
     
  9. Old krow

    Old krow Member

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    Mine is a Kimber Stainless II. I've changed my springs out, all 3, and I've changed the grips. The trigger is fine and it runs well, so I don't mess with too much. I don't know of any internal MIM parts on mine. I'll waiting on sights.
     
  10. DasFriek

    DasFriek Member

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    Ive not fit a barrel or bushing.
    Never installed a bobtail.
    No frame to slide refitting.

    I just rebuilt my 1911 from the ground up and those 3 items are the only things i didn't do.
    But that doesn't mean i can build one from the ground up, Thats a whole new ball game imo.
     
  11. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    I haven't done much to my 3 Kimbers but change springs and grips. My SA Mil-Spec though I replaced the ILS parts and put in new C&S ignition parts. It is a sweet gun! Now a Colt Series 80 that I had in parts - the gun had a horrible trigger pull so I got together what I could find (it was taken apart years ago and we had moved since), ordered a bunch of parts from Brownell's and now it's a great shooter! I replaced the sear, disconnector, sear spring, hammer, hammer strut, grip safety (with a Wilson "Drop-In" BTGS that had to filed some), series 80 parts, recoil spring, mag catch and recoil spring plug. :D
     
  12. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    #2 is just a preference...I'd actually really like to try a flat trigger. It makes finger placement, on the presentation, less critical.

    The important thing about #1 is to get rid of the 3-dot sights...they slow down your recognition of correct sight alignment
     
  13. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    I'm allmost done with my Kimber. I still have to replace the sear, disco, and hammer with Wilson stuff, but I refit the stock Kimber parts for practice first. The stock parts were hardly fit well. Most of the trigger parts weren't square at all. Stock 6lb trigger pull is less than impressive. It's time to get rid of the more critical MIM parts anyways.

    Kimber CDP:
    -replaced stupid plastic MSH with Ed brown MSG
    -fitted bottom of frame to match EB MSG (cut the corners down)
    -recut the sear
    -squared up the disconnector and hammer
    -polished the ramps, recoil spring rod, and much of the barrel
    -polished the trigger, trigger channel, and mag release sides
    -removed the slow Meprolight sights, put on Heinie rear, Dawson front
    -removed the Series II FP safety
    -Ed Brown thumb safety (non-ambi)
    -Kimber tactical bump grip safety
     
  14. dmazur

    dmazur Member

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    On a 1991A1 Commander -

    • Replaced rear sight with Yost "Retro"
    • Filled white dot on front sight with black
    • Replaced plastic MSH with arched steel one
    • Replaced plastic trigger with magnesium adjustable overtravel trigger
    • Polished sear and hammer for 4.5# pull
    • Replaced stock guide rod with one-piece stainless FLGR
    • Replaced firing pin with titanium pin, stronger spring
    • McCormick magazine tubes with Pachmyer followers and 1/4" bump pads
    • Dehorned all sharp edges on slide

    The modified magazines are 7-rd instead of 8, but they are reliable.

    These changes are OK for IDPA. A titanium FLGR wouldn't be.
     
  15. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    Thanks everyone for your comments. I'm just about done with my Kimber (for now) and I have to say that I found the whole experience extremely educational and enjoyable. I was told to send the pistol away since many of the parts are not drop-in but I wouldn't learn anything that way so I did all the fitting and "tuning" myself. The only parts that I didn't change are the frame, slide, barrel, grip safety (for now), magazine release (for now), sights and main spring housing (nice checkered steel piece).

    The factory trigger was 5lb 7oz ... the Ed Brown trigger is now 3lb 12oz. I used mostly Ed Brown parts but used a guide rod, recoil spring and spring plug from Wilson Combat along with a set of G10 grips from Cylinder & Slide. I removed the firing pin safety system, and I have to say, this is one sweet 1911. I've set it up to be close to my new Ed Brown Special Forces in terms of the trigger (Videki NM) and thumb safety (tactical extended). I plan to upgrade to an Ed Brown grip safety (memory groove) at some point but will coordinate that upgrade with painting the frame since I'll need to cut/file the frame a little.

    I'm already planning my next "build" for want of a better word. I like the idea of buying 1911s with good frames and slides but with run-of-the-mill internals and then upgrading the parts. I think it's more fun to do it that way rather than buy a high-end 1911 with good parts from the get go.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010
  16. wally

    wally Member

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    Added Dawson Precision or Novak's fiber optic front sights to my range favorites, ambi safeties to most than didn't have them out of the box, change the recoil springs when necessary and replace the occasional broken extractor.
     
  17. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    I'm a big proponent of being self-reliant whether it's my cars, my house or my firearms. Gunsmiths and mechanics have their place and there are many things that I won't attempt (cutting a chamber in a new Krieger barrel for instance), but I try to do many things myself. Fitting the thumb safety was the only tedious part but I got it to be PERFECT and I think better than the Kimber safety. There's zero movement of the sear with the safety engaged. I did hone the sear a little too. Another thing which interested me is the barrel link. The link that came with the barrel from Kimber is oversized slightly compared to the new Ed Brown link that I installed. In other words, there was quite a bit of clearance between the slide stop pin and the link whereas the Ed Brown link has significantly less clearance around the slide stop pin. I think the barrel locks up a little tighter now based on barrel movement when pushing down on the outside of the chamber ... any thoughts?

    :)
     
  18. hey_poolboy

    hey_poolboy Member

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    Bought my first 1911 in April. It's a Springer GI. I have modified my hammer, installed a new FPS, made my own, thicker grips, performed a trigger job to get it to a nice 4# pull. I have installed an EGW angle bore bushing, and installed grip tape on the front strap. It's only got about 1300 rounds through it right now.
    I'd still like to install a long trigger. After that I think I'll leave it alone. I may buy another 1911 later that has some other goodies on it.
     
  19. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    I've been shooting the same Colt Gold Cup Series 70 since 1980. I've replaced the flat mainspring housing with an arched one and installed a heavier recoil spring for shooting 230 gr. ammo. That's all I've done in thirty years.
     
  20. milq

    milq Member

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    I bought a stainless Springfield GI earlier this year as I wanted to have a nice pistol but not drop all the $$ at once on a Loaded or other model.

    Since then I have done the following:
    Extended thumb safety
    Ed brown grip safety (took more time to fit/blend this than anything)
    Mainspring housing, chainlink, flat
    Hammer, trigger, sear fitted for crisp 4#
    Appropriate springs for above
    3 dot sights (staked front, NM rear...no mods to slide)
    Basic deburring over the gun, no real polish on feed ramp or anything, it works well as is.

    Then I taped off the brushed areas and re-blasted the places I had worked over on the frame and rear of slide, that was the most stomach churning part for me...just seems weird to put those nice pistol parts in the blaster.

    Still working on getting the ejector right, I'm trying to get it to quit sending brass banging into the ejection port. I've heard many say that a lowered port is not needed if the ejector is right on, so I'm working towards that little by little. I may end up lowering and flaring it one day but it's been fun trying to get it just so. It hasn't stopped the gun from running but it does dent brass up.

    I'm a machinist by trade and work closely with a gunsmith, so I have some experience and access to the proper tools. That made a big difference!
     
  21. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    I've only done the simple stuff
    new bushings, grips, grip bushings, triggers, MSH, grip safety (minimal blending and tweaking needed) slide release (again minimal fitting needed) springs, and things of that nature. basically plug and play stuff, or things that require little skill to fit properly.
     
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