MetalworkingFun Forum
1911 80% Frames - Printable Version

+- MetalworkingFun Forum (http://www.metalworkingfun.com)
+-- Forum: Machining (http://www.metalworkingfun.com/forumdisplay.php?fid=5)
+--- Forum: Gunsmithing (http://www.metalworkingfun.com/forumdisplay.php?fid=27)
+--- Thread: 1911 80% Frames (/showthread.php?tid=4089)



1911 80% Frames - rleete - 10-24-2019

I have been shopping for a 1911 for some time now.  The ones I really want (like Kimber) are premium models and therefore command a premium price.  Some of the cheaper options are sloppy at best.  I even looked at several used ones, and at least one was so loose that the slide rattled!

So, as a hobby machinist, I decided it was time to build my own, to make the fits as nice as the better examples out there, without the matching price tag.  Time is of no consequence, and if it takes me several years, that is just fine.  Just as a point of reference, this will not be for carry, but simply a backup woods gun when I'm hunting and a casual shooter/plinker other times.

As a result, I have been shopping the various frame manufacturers.  Aluminum, stainless steel, plain steel, steel with polymer grip/mag well; and that's just the materials.  Front grip already checkered or DIY, frame size, etc.  The options are somewhat bewildering.  I like the idea of aluminum for easier gunsmithing, but am somewhat concerned for strength and/or service life due to fatigue.  Thoughts and opinions will be welcome.

So, has anyone built one of these?  Which manufacturer/vendor did you go with, and would you use them again?  Parts kits (Rock Island, for example) can be bought complete, or each component can be purchased separately.  Recommendations for going either route?


RE: 1911 80% Frames - Highpower - 10-24-2019

My recommendation would be to pick up one or both of Jerry Kuhnhausen's "A Shop Manual" for the 1911. (Vol 1 & 2) Read though those first before you decide. Just saying.

A buddy of mine is an I.S.P.C. shooter and he tends to favor Caspian frames and components. (Less expensive.) I have shot his pistols and some I like, others I don't. I don't care for the double stacks personally. I have worked on his pistols for him and have no complaints with Caspian.

My view is aluminum is fine for limited carry, but regular use isn't going to make for good service life IMO.

I had a Colt Gov model that wouldn't hit the side of a barn - from the inside! Horrible fit and tolerances in that gun and I got rid of it.
I have a Star model B that shoots OK but I wouldn't want to have to trust my life on it. Almost as bad as the Colt.
My Kimber Super Match on the other hand was simply a matter of buy once, cry once, and yes I DO have the utmost trust in it.   Smile

Building my own from scratch? Not now. Maybe 20 years ago...   Big Grin


RE: 1911 80% Frames - TomG - 10-24-2019

I would offer the same recommendations as Willie. When I built my officer's model. I used a Caspian semi-finished steel frame and slide and Jerry Kuhnhausen's book as a guide. I actually scratch built very little on it because pretty much everything is available for very reasonable prices. Most of the time was spent fitting and customizing it all to make it unique. There is a thread on the project here in the gunsmithing section.

Tom


RE: 1911 80% Frames - Highpower - 10-24-2019

(10-24-2019, 05:31 PM)TomG Wrote: ... There is a thread on the project here in the gunsmithing section.

Tom

And well worth viewing because Tom did an outstanding job on that build. It's a beautiful piece born from a LOT of careful handwork - trust me. Thumbsup


RE: 1911 80% Frames - Dr Stan - 10-26-2019

(10-24-2019, 12:09 PM)Highpower Wrote: I had a Colt Gov model that wouldn't hit the side of a barn - from the inside! Horrible fit and tolerances in that gun and I got rid of it.

The problem I encountered while on active duty was that the 45's I was issued while standing watch is that they were just flat out worn out.  It wasn't poor machining during manufacture, but they were just way beyond their intended life span.


RE: 1911 80% Frames - Highpower - 10-26-2019

(10-26-2019, 09:45 AM)Dr Stan Wrote:
(10-24-2019, 12:09 PM)Highpower Wrote: I had a Colt Gov model that wouldn't hit the side of a barn - from the inside! Horrible fit and tolerances in that gun and I got rid of it.

The problem I encountered while on active duty was that the 45's I was issued while standing watch is that they were just flat out worn out.  It wasn't poor machining during manufacture, but they were just way beyond their intended life span.

Funny thing is people have been buying up those very same worn out (surplus) pistols from the CMP like crazy.

But that was not the issue in my case. I bought a brand new in the box Gov model (80 series) uh... back in the early 80's. That was when Colt decided to add their new firing pin block safety system to their pistols. The slide rattled on the frame, the extra linkages for the new firing pin block made for a lousy trigger pull, and the fingered spring tension barrel bushing was a joke (IMHO).

My very first thought was to start by installing a set of (real) sights on the gun. I took the pistol to a gun shop to have new Bo-Mar sights installed and they totally ruined the slide trying to 'machine' the new/modified dovetail into the top of it. They cut it too deep and too wide and right through a bore that housed a coil spring. From the look of it I'm pretty sure the only 'machines' they used were a bench vise and a couple of dull hand files. None of the cuts were straight nor flat. The first time I shot the pistol after getting it back the front sight flew off of the slide because it wasn't staked on properly.

That was the day I swore to never let another local "gun smith" touch any of my firearms again. It's also the reason I discovered machining forums. I started looking to buy a lathe and other tools so that I could work on my guns myself, and it grew from there. I did a lot of studying to build on what I had learned in high school metal shop, and now have more machines and tools than I know what to do with. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.   Rotfl

The Colt experience left a bad taste in my mouth for a long time but I eventually found the cure.   Big Grin

[attachment=16331]