Which 1911 base gun for a project?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Girodin, Sep 20, 2011.

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  1. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    I've recently been considering a simple 1911 project. As of now I anticipate adding a bobtail MSH (and of course modifying the gun to accept it), grips, a set of sights (I'm still unsettled on what exactly), trigger work, front strap checkering and, perhaps at some point in the future, a barrel. And perhaps other stuff if I decide I want it (beaver tail, hammer, safety etc).

    Basically I just want a reliable, bob tail, 1911 with a very good trigger, and workable sights

    I have a CCW that I am happy with right now and I'm not sure this would really end up replacing it but I would like it to be up to the task should I want to use it for that.

    The candidates I'm looking at include:

    A $425 Norinco

    A $425 used Springfield GI

    New RIA GI $349 + shipping and transfer (probably $35-45 dollars)

    New RIA tactical I don't recall the exact price but $420 is I think + same shipping and transfer.

    The new Rugger I think they told me $550-ish + shipping and transfer (oh and they didn't have it in stock).

    I like that the Ruger and Tactical come with some of the other things I would want and thus might be less costly in the end.

    The GI RIA has an edge in initial price obviously.

    Also I have considered just looking for a semi custom gun with the features or most of the features I want. Maybe I'd be money ahead to get a Dan wesson, a TRP, a profesional or something else.

    Thoughts?




    I like that the norc and the springfield (i'm not sure about the Ruger) are up to handling a clark custom 460 rowland conversion.
     
  2. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Why start with a bunch of regular gun store 1911's for parts? It'll just end up looking like a regular gun store 1911 with a bunch of hack mods. I'm finishing up a custom build of a Kimber CDP. But at the end of the day it's just a lame Kimber that everyone has.

    Check out a kit from Fusion.

    I'd start with a LesBaer custom ordered with no billboards. A Dan Wesson Vbob might also be a good place to start.
     
  3. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    I don't agree with this at all. First off, you will learn a tremendous amount from a project gun but will most likely learn nothing from a high-end production or semi-custom 1911. Second, if you do a good job, you won't end up with a "regular gun store 1911 with a bunch of hack mods". What you'll end up with is a 1911 that performs 100% reliably with a variety of ammunition and magazines, and that you know inside and out. In addition, if you do it right, it will prove to be reliable for many, many thousands of rounds. I have two project 1911s that I've thoroughly enjoyed working on. I shoot one of them in matches so I put my work on the line every time the RO says "shooter ready ... stand by ... ". I now have more than 2,500 rounds without a single problem through one of my project guns, many of those in matches, using a variety of ammunition and magazines. Perhaps you can see why I take offense to the idea that only certain people should work on firearms.


    I agree with this suggestion. You can find new V-Bobs with the stainless finish for around $1,500 and used ones for less. If you buy one from Dave Severns there's a very good chance it'll show up in perfect functioning condition (unlike my two) and you'll end up using it as your primary CC firearm. I have to say that there is so much to like about the Dan Wesson Valor and V-Bob and they are very, very accurate. I still prefer Ed Brown 1911s due to the superb attention to detail which is lacking in the Dan Wesson line, but the Valor and V-Bob aren't that far behind.

    If you want to buy a frame and slide, take a look at Wilson Combat. They sell frames, slides and matched sets of both. The frame comes with front strap checkering too.

    http://shopwilsoncombat.com/Frames-Slides/departments/53/
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  4. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    Many 1911 on market come with every thing except the bob tail Buy on of them and then bob tail it

    Never saw reason to buy a barrel. Most 1911 out of box will shoot better than the owned can hold.

    American Classic Commander good starting point. Look for a used Dan Wesson bob tail Mine is a great 1911.
     
  5. viking499

    viking499 Member

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    Check out Remsport. I did a build with one of there frames and slides. Had it fitted and bobtailed before it was sent to me. Added Ed Brown and Fusion parts. Would not hesitate to do it again. Awesome parts and fit and finish.
     
  6. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I have not purchased a 45 ACP 1911 if many years, but about 20 some years ago I bought a Thompson 1911 in 45 ACP. It shot ok.

    One day, on a lark, I literally dropped in a well used Colt Mark IV Series 70 barrel. Accuracy improved greatly.

    So, I believe, low end 1911s could benefit from a properly fitted barrel change using a better barrel.
     
  7. VJ

    VJ Member

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    Of all the options you've mentioned, I'd go with Springfield without a doubt. If you're willing to spend more, drop the money on a Wilson kit or an Ed Brown kit.... but of all the options you've mentioned, Springfield will give you the best starting point.
     
  8. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Why specifically is a Springfield a better starting point than the others? I'm not challenging I'd just like to understand the reasoning behind that statement. Thanks
     
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    If it were me, I'd start with the Norinco...because it is a great base gun with excellent steel.

    I should mention that I don't do my own work on the 1911 platform. Either, I know too much about it to feel comfortable doing my own work or I've seen too many Master's work on them to ever be happy with anything less.

    Not that I'd discourage you to do your own work, as 1858 mentioned, you'll learn a huge amount from it...and there is a certain satisfaction in doing it. If I were you, I go with the cheapest initial investment...knowing that you'll never get out of it what you have invested
     
  10. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    At the recommendation from seasoned match shooters, I started out with a Norinco that got heavily fortified with Wilson Combat parts, but the metal is very hard to work with.

    Starting out, I would vote for RIA Tactical.

    Keep in mind that you can change out all the parts, but can't change the slide-to-frame fit.

    My friend just bought a RIA Tactical and its slide-to-frame fit is on par with my Sig 1911R - very tight and you can't hardly move the slide side to side on the frame, yet the slide cycles smoothly without any grittiness or snag.

    Out of the box, it was very accurate and I think the price difference from the GI model is well worth the extra components it comes with. I mean, at their price range, I don't think you can do much better than the Tactical model.

    After cleaning and shooting the RIA Tactical, it almost made me wonder if the frame/slide were the same ones Armscor is supplying STI to build the Spartan model. Perhaps someone can confirm this for me.

    I have handled and shot other RIA Tactical models past 1-2 years, but the latest batches I have seen the past 6 months all seem to have tighter slide-to-frame fit and much smoother slide action.
     
  11. bdb benzino

    bdb benzino Member

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    The slide to frame fit on my 2005 Charles Daly is a little tighter than on my 90's Colt. They both run flawless and shoot great, just saying. Armscor does seem to fit some of their weapons real well.

    For the original question, I would vote to customize a Norinco or find a used Colt.
     
  12. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    What would lead you to believe this?

    Or were you referring to the OP's skill level?
     
  13. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    This.
    I have spent a lot of hours on my Norinco with diamond files.

    I am hoping to save him some grief. :D

    Peace.
     
  14. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Well, changing the slide fit by wacking the frame with a hammer is kinda lame. Nothing near as good as two pieces smooth and tight the whole length of the rails and lapped to fit with 0 play.

    That's why I recommended starting out with a high end pistol or kit. Building a 1911 is a serious pain in the neck. Minus well build something worth bragging about.
     
  15. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Fixed it for you. My hands are threatening to start squirting blood at the simple thought of even getting my Arkansas stones out. From now on, more Dremel tool, less file and stone.
     
  16. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Thanks!

    Now that you mention it ... it was waaaay more than a few hours. :rolleyes:

    My mentor would not let me use the Dremel.

    ... memories ... of sore hands and twitching fingers ... ah, good times though. :D
     
  17. shinyroks

    shinyroks Member

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    Rem R1 fits the bill for me...

    actually picked up a Remington R1 last year (was my christmas present to myself) and it outshot me out of the box. after getting used to it, a polish job dropped the groups easily under 1" freehand at 25, and clay pigeons at 100yds were not too illusive, considering it for a 460 Roland upgrade. I consider it a very upgradeable piece, and think the value superb for the $550 pricetag. the only problem I had with it was the premature need to replace a rear sight (after about 2000 rounds), but I was going to replace the sights anyway for ccw.

    btw, bds, I do like my dremel quite a bit... just have to be careful not to get into trouble too fast... :D
     
  18. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    I'm in the market for a used Colt Commander with steel frame to bob the MSH on. Then other than checking the internals and replacing as needed, I expect that to be it.. UNTIL I get my next hair brained idea. :)
     
  19. iron horse

    iron horse Member

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    "Basically I just want a reliable, bob tail, 1911 with a very good trigger, and workable sights"

    Key word being reliable. I recommend getting an 80 series COLT (new or used) and add custom "touches" to it and your done. The Colt 1991A1 (80 series) is known as the economy Colt (both of mine are black parkerized and 100%reliable since I bought them in the late 90's). However, it has a reputation for being very reliable and it is. Good Luck.

    See the following link. The author rants quite a bit but provides some interesting info you may wish to consider for your project

    http://actionsbytx.blogspot.com/2004/10/1911-feeding-extraction.html
     
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