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My First Attempt At Gunsmithing! (Springfield Mil-Spec 1911)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by brockgl, Dec 11, 2008.

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  1. brockgl

    brockgl Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    I bought my stainless Springfield Mil-Spec this year with the intentions of doing a few upgrades on it when I had the time and built up the nerve. Last week I decided to go ahead and order the parts and give it a whirl. I was very nervous, and I received a LOT of help and advice from folks here and on other forums (the most useful advice came from rcmodel here at THR's gunsmithing forum and from Unclenick at TFL's The Smithy forum).

    It is a very common statement that a Dremel usually does more harm than good to a 1911 in the hands of a newbie, but that was the only tool I had to accomplish the job of cutting on my frame, and I am very thankful it turned out great!

    I did get a lot of not-so-encouraging advice from forum posters who reiterated more than once that I should let a qualified professional gunsmith do to my gun what I was planning to do myself. And while I understood their concerns, I was glad I ignored their advice. The sense of accomplishment of doing it myself was a far greater reward than merely paying someone to do my mods for me. I will add that I took my time before and during every modification. I made sure to read as much about the part I would be modifying as possible before taking file in hand. I also checked for proper fit VERY frequently to make sure I wasn't removing too much metal. That being said, it really wasn't as hard as I was anticipating.

    The parts I added to my gun were the following:

    1. Trigger (Wilson Combat)
    2. Hammer (Wilson Combat)
    3. Sear (Wilson Combat)
    3. Beavertail Grip-Safety (Smith & Alexander)

    The trigger was cake. I had to file off just a tad-bit of metal to fit it to my gun, but for the most part it just dropped in.

    The Hammer and sear were also very easy. They were bought as a matching set and had already been mated to each other by Wilson, so they fit together perfectly without any modification. The only fitting I had to do to the hammer was to sand the sides of it just slightly to get it to fit into my frame. It came with just a tad bit of extra material on the sides to make it tightly fittable.

    The beavertail actually required NO modifications to itself. I bought the Smith & Alexander beavertail from Brownells that was made to fit Springfield's and their .220" radius. I did however have to modify my frame to allow it to fit my gun. For this I just used a Dremel with a couple different sized grinding and sanding wheels. I did this VERY slowly, checking for fit and shape after every small amount of metal removed. I did NOT have a jig of any kind. I got lucky, and my tangs look to be almost perfectly shaped for this beavertail, but I would probably use a jig next time just for peace of mind. I also polished the tangs with Mother's Mag Polish when I was done so that they were nice and smooth for quick action. Here are some pictures of the beavertail and frame tangs.



    The main problem I ran into that took me a while to figure out was my Thumb Safety wouldn't go back in. So, I installed my sear, disconnect, and hammer, and then I installed JUST my thumb safety (without the grip safety) so that I could see inside my frame to witness what was happening (this was after some good advice from nice forum-goers). I was then able to see that I needed to file off a hefty chunk of my thumb safety's stopping lug to allow it to clear my sear. I did this very carefully, but I finally got it to clear, and it works great now. I have dry fired and worked all the parts to ensure proper functionality MANY times, but I have yet to take it to the range to do the real test (that is coming tonight hopefully!).

    My Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights were filled up with gunsmithing work, but I am proudly able to post the end-result today.

    Here's a picture of final result:

  2. Daniel1120

    Daniel1120 Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Wow it all looks great. Now get to the range and fire the piss out of that bad boy!

    Gunsmithing, like any smithing, is easy. Knowing how to do it is what can be hard, not to mention the skill needed.
  3. JZ06

    JZ06 Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    I love that look! I know the reason behind the small beaver tail, big hammer etc. Snag proof. But it's like Cindy Crawford in a g-string as opposed to jeans and a wet shirt! :cool:

    The pistol looks MINT!!!
  4. Geneseo1911

    Geneseo1911 Member

    May 6, 2005
    South of I-80, PR of IL
    Beautiful. I might come looking for advice one of these days.
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