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Who is the best 1911 Pistolsmith in the USA?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by 2RCO, Jan 20, 2008.

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  1. 2RCO

    2RCO Member

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    OK folks here is the question-- Who is the best 1911 pistolsmith in the US not already employed by a manufacturer. The folks at 2RCO --That being me as chief cook and bottle washer-- are currently looking at the possibility of a production 1911. I already have sources for all parts (many of which will soon be available from WWW.2RCo.COM. However other than a run of the mill 1911 like everyone else is making I want to turn out something special.

    Standard features currently considering will be--

    Stainless or blue


    Match Grade barrel
    Extended Serrated Ambi Safety
    Extended Serrated Slide Stop
    Full Length Guide Rod/ Possibly Internal Laser
    Adjustable Trigger
    Extended Competition Mag Release
    Commander Style Hammer
    Muzzlebrake Bushing
    Checkered Mainspring.
    Adjustable Sights
    Checkered Fronstrap.

    All parts made in USA

    If I go through to production I would like to find the best 1911 smith in the nation and get them to help in the final steps/ accurization process.
     
  2. highorder

    highorder Member

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    wow, now thats a question! perhaps we need some form of NCAA style bracket/ playoff system, complete with Outdoor Network coverage ;)
     
  3. redneckrepairs

    redneckrepairs Member

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    I am sorry i cannot resist ..

    Well of course its ME ( bubba ) and my too friends ( Billy Raye and Bobby Le Roy . ) Heck we just went to Home Dept last week and got the HIGH PRICED Dremil kits and Billy's mom let us make our ninja ipsc shop in the basement . Besides we got the newese Brownells catalog . Now if yall need any advise or help yall just ask , and Bobby says he can steal a cross slide vice from his daddys girl friends brother ( whaterver that is ) if that will help .
     
  4. 2RCO

    2RCO Member

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    Maybe a bracket system would be good. I could do it like this I send out the frame and parts and whoever assembles the best gun gets a job. --Bubba's need not apply.
     
  5. gunnie

    gunnie Member

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    control for experiment.

    without some kind of "handgun tests" magazine format that would ensure the 'smithy didn't know this was other than just another cutomer, the resulting postings to this question will probably be just self gratification/assurance the responders spent their hard earned american inflationary notes wisely....

    gunnie
     
  6. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    I've handled a few custom guns but the ones made by Terry Tussy were true works of art. The lock up and fit was like nothing I've ever seen. He even had a GI style 1911 he showed me that he had put together on sort of a bet. He was told a tight 1911 couldn't be reliable so he put together a 1911 in which the tolerances were as tight as he could possible make it. He maintained that is the parts were properly fitted, it would still be reliable. It had NO play in it, anywhere. He told me that so far it had been totally reliable and he had yet to even give a thorough cleaning and it had fired several hundred rounds. He may or may not be the best, but he certainly deserves an honorable mention as a true artist in his field.
     
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    THE Best?
    I dunno, but all the guys on Louder Than Words are well thought of in the business. Maybe one of them could help you out.
    http://www.louderthanwords.us/

    By the way, offering a muzzlebrake bushing kind of hurts your credibilty, I have never seen any shooter to have a good word to say about it. The only use I ever got out of one was to make my Ace .22 fit the holster for my .45 with a real expansion chamber compensator.
     
  8. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed Member

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    The best pistolsmith in the country is Richard Heinie.
     
  9. 2RCO

    2RCO Member

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    Jim-noted on the muzzlebrake bushing. I had wondered on that one a bit myself but I have had considerable interest in the doodads from customers and they are one of my best sellers.

    Rinspeed- I believe Heinie to be allied with Taurus
     
  10. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    Sorry, but as you well know there is no one best 1911 gunsmith. And if you find one that thinks he is the waiting list will be 2 years+.

    There are a whole bunch of good 1911 'smiths, the LTW guys are really well thought of among others.
     
  11. 2RCO

    2RCO Member

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    Maybe I should look at more than one smith for the run.

    I do want to keep costs down but not sacrifice quality. The goal is an out of the box gun with custom features that the ordinary can afford.
     
  12. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    you really don't want the best 1911 pistolsmith around. they are used to making guns perfect through handfitting each one...not extremely practical for production.

    i only bring this up because a large company did this awhile back and hired a well know 1911 smith as their advisor. he spec'd their 1911 and selected suppliers, he was used to dealing with to supply parts for them. the resaultant 1911 really hurt the company's image for quality

    i think you should look for a 1911 smith who has experience with production guns.
     
  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Pip has a point. Maybe you could check the retirement communitites and find the shop foreman for Remington Rand. He had to satisfy an Army inspector.

    "Features" are easy. Look at a Springfield Loaded or Taurus. They have all the bells and whistles... done as cheaply as possible. Kimber has fine quality barrels, slides, and frames... and a lot of criticism for cheap guts.
     
  14. 45auto

    45auto Member

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    Crowded marketplace.

    I'd decide what "segment" of the marketplace you want, then from the retail price, work yourself back to see if you can make any money...realistically.

    And, why someone would buy yours, instead of a "known" maker. What is it that you offer to sway a customer...since you can't do it on price!

    That's not being negative, simply basic questions anyone in any business would ask.

    You don't have to look far from here to get "expert" advice on working 1911s.

    Tuner!! ;)

    Adding beavertails, extended safeties, etc is "simple stuff" IMO, compared to "producing" a properly "speced" 1911. Meaning, if it's done right, then adding the "extras" is a no brainer.
     
  15. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Best for what?

    There are some very good 'smiths who specialize in competition guns, others specialize in hard use guns. I wouldn't let a race gun guy build my next CCW piece, and the reverse is also true.

    Every 'smith has their own particular style. I'd look at who offers the kind of work you want done and the general uses of their end products.

    If you're looking at what amounts to a production run, you'll likely have to "settle" for a lesser known gunsmith who has the time (not three to five years of backlog) to do it. I said "settle" in quotes because there are in fact some very good 'smiths who just haven't gotten either the big break or publicity yet. I've got a 1911 built by a fellow who's a relative unknown and I'm extremely happy with the piece.
     
  16. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    2RCO, I admire your enthusiasm. But, let's step back for a moment and examine this. The pistol smith should be one of the last things on your list. First, you need to examine what need/want/niche your gun will satisfy. Then, how do you plan on getting it done to whatever price point you choose.

    Sounds to me like you plan on building an STI at a lower price. STI tried that, and had to outsource the bulk of the work to the Philippines to get it done.
     
  17. CWL

    CWL Member

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    I think that a "top" gunmith would need to know you for a few years before they will lend any endorsement to your product.

    There has been a growing trend of "specialty" guns where a smith will authorize a production model of his custom design, but these will come from established gunmakers like Springfield, NightHawk...
     
  18. harmonic

    harmonic member

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    I've used several smiths, and the best one in my experience is Clark Custom Guns. When I used them, Jim Clark Sr was still alive and active. He was a world class competition shooter which is where he developed his standards/technique for modifying handguns.

    BTW, they do outstanding work on all types of guns, not just 1911s.
     
  19. Bob Hostetter

    Bob Hostetter Member

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    How many pistols per purchase order do you want? What price range are you looking at?
     
  20. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed Member

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    Not sure why but that strikes me as very funny. :)
     
  21. lbglocker

    lbglocker Member

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    I have personally dealt with most of the top pistolsmiths and I say most because that is not all and by far the best and quickest is the 1993 world IPSC champion Matt McLearn at M2I custom Tactical.
     
  22. Conqueror

    Conqueror Member

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    Richard Heinie, Bill Laughridge, Ted Yost, CT Brian, Matt McLearn, Dave Lauck... the list is extensive, and I don't think you'll ever identify a clear winner.
     
  23. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    It was Matt McLearn in #21 who helped Sig-Sauer get started making 1911 mutants. Maybe he would help you out. Maybe he has learned better; SS had a lot of teething troubles and he has a gunsmithing package to straighten them out.
     
  24. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    does anyone else see a conflict in designing/spec'ing a pistol for manufacture and then offering a package to "straighten them out"

    why wouldn't you design it right to begin with? i can see offering an enhancement...due to product liability...but, to get them to feed?
     
  25. trbon8r

    trbon8r Member

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    I'm sorry to report that my experience with custom 1911 gunsmithing would only qualify me to tell you which big name smith NOT to go to. :uhoh:
     
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