Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Old Dog gets new tricks. 1911 budget rebuild

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by JRH6856, May 10, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,828
    Location:
    Flower Mound, TX
    When this gun came to me some 30+ years ago, it was partially painted with Alumna-Hyde which someone had then apparently tried to remove with a file. The Aluma-Hyde was over chrome that was so heavy i think it was done in at Bubba's Bumper Shop back in the '50s. Before plating, the frame and slide had been crudely polished/buffed and almost all corners rounded--almost like an intentional "melt". The frame is pitted under the grips (originally some pearl monstrosities), and upon disassembly, the lower grip screw bushings were found to be rusted to the grip screws. The fact that the gun had been plated with the bushings in place kept them from rusting to the frame.

    The mainspring housing was also full of rust and the mainspring was rusted to the plunger caps. Almost like the gun had been sitting in an inch or so of water. The barrel was pitted but still showed good rifling, and everything else appeared functional, but I really wasn't sure what to do with it so it went in a box and sat in my garage until 2 years ago when I found the box, along with a lot of other parts. while cleaning out the garage. After a few months, I decided to do something with it. After soaking the mainspring housing in Hoppes for a day, I gave up and replaced the mainspring housing and spring and headed to the range.

    The gun shot better than I expected, producing 1.5" groups at 15 yards. OK, I had a shooter, but these were low power reloads and I had several FTEs. With full power loads, the FTEs went away but the groups opened up to 3-4 inches. The old 1911 slide was certainly not heat treated and I did not know how much it had been shot. Due to the pitting, I wanted to put a new barrel in it any way so I decided to replace the slide as well if I could do it without spending a lot of money. I settled on a serrated slide assembly from Sarco with a roto-forged barrel ($185).

    While waiting for the slide, I went to work on the frame. I removed the Aluma-Hyde with solvents, and tried to buff out as much of the file work as I could without going through the chrome. I went to the parts box and found a new sear spring, a new sear and disconnector, a stainless wide spur hammer, a electroless nickel wide tang grip safety, matte stainless ambi thumb safety and slide release, a long aluminum trigger with stop, and a Metalloyed mainspring housing that I had reshaped and stippled for a previous 1911 I once owned. After fitting the sear, hammer and safety, I have a nice 4# trigger with a clean break. Added some Hogue rubber grips, and when the slide arrived, I was good to go.

    I am very pleased with the Sarco slide. Lugs are tightly fitted to the barrel, and the slide went right onto the frame with no additional fitting required. The rails are tight but free with almost no shake horizontal or vertical.

    Back to the range. Two boxes of AE hardball, and I'm now holding 1" groups at 15 yards with no failures. All in all, it could look a bit better, but as shooter for very little investment, I was very happy. After over a year of shooting it, I still am.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  2. tarosean

    tarosean Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    5,403
    Location:
    TX
    good jpb
     
  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    14,177
    JHR6856

    Nice save and rebuild! My first M1911 build was with an old Essex frame that I picked up some time back for like next to nothing. Had it laying around for years before I finally got around to doing a build on it. Ended up finding a Colt slide and barrel assembly in .38 Super from some gunshop in Texas that had Colt parts for sale (and at a fairly decent price), from their ad in Shotgun News. The barrel to slide and slide to frame fit were great without needing much in the way of handfitting and the accuracy was pretty decent, considering all the different manufacturers parts that I used in it. Eventually I had to remove the blued finish off of the frame because it was starting to rust in a few places and just polished the metal and left it in the white. The gun still looks great to this day and is now fitted with a TacSol .22LR conversion kit.
     
  4. Fremmer

    Fremmer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    Messages:
    2,284
    Well done!
     
  5. ldsgeek

    ldsgeek Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    110
    Any idea of how old the frame is. I noticed that it is a 1911, not 1911A1. Just curious, any collector value vanished with the Bubba remake before you got it.
     
  6. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,828
    Location:
    Flower Mound, TX
    Based on all the info I can find, it was made in 1918 by Colt. And yes, even though all the parts I have appear to be original, or at least true to period (except the pearl grips), the pitting, aggressive polishing and plating pretty much destroyed any collector value. The only things not plated were the springs, the sear and the disconnect. Even the magazine was plated, including the follower.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  7. Zach S

    Zach S Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Messages:
    5,531
    Location:
    Western NC
    Ahhh, a "budget rebuild." Nice work, and good luck staying within the budget.

    Mine turned into a money pit, and I'm still not finished. So far, I probably have over $800 invested in an AMT frame topped off with a Ceiner .22lr conversion kit.
     
  8. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,828
    Location:
    Flower Mound, TX
    I've got nothing left that I want to do with it. Except maybe replace the frame. Then I can put the original parts back together and have two 1911's instead of one. :D
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page