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Old 10-24-2014, 01:56 PM   #1
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Classic Custom 1911's

All,

As I navigate Nevada's bureaucracy to get all my business licencing to start my gunsmithing business, I've been thinking about offering a retro custom 1911.

Something like this:

Swenson style safety
Either an MS Safari arms beavertail, or make a Jim Hoag style beavertail (probably that)
Bo-Mar Sights (of course)
Bar-Sto barrel, because that's just right
Hammer should be bobbed Colt spur hammer, or a real Commander hammer.
Aluminum 3 hole King/Videcki style trigger.
20 lpi checkering of the front strap.
Squared trigger guard, 40 lpi checkering
Smooth, flat MSH checkered 20 lpi with checkering extending to the rear of the frame
Rear of the slide serrated 40lpi.
For grips, I think the Herrett's skip line checkered panels would be oh-so correct on that gun.

Two tone finish, hard chrome lower, blued upper.


So, your thoughts? Think there's any market for retro style 1911's?
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Old 10-24-2014, 02:28 PM   #2
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Not sure how many people would want a square trigger guard today, even on a "retro" gun. I know that would be a deal-killer for me.

If you really want to go retro, you need S&W sights. And no duck-butt grip safety--if you use a Commander hammer, just grind out a 1911A1 unit to fit it.

I already have my Retro 1911. Of course, it wasn't "retro" when I got it.

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Old 10-24-2014, 03:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Snake45 View Post
Not sure how many people would want a square trigger guard today, even on a "retro" gun. I know that would be a deal-killer for me.

If you really want to go retro, you need S&W sights. And no duck-butt grip safety--if you use a Commander hammer, just grind out a 1911A1 unit to fit it.

I already have my Retro 1911. Of course, it wasn't "retro" when I got it.

Yeah, very good point about the S&W rear sights. And yeah, I'm not a fan of the squared trigger guard, but they were rather prevalent back in the day. Aesthetically I can tolerate them, but the rounded trigger guards look much better. But my biggest problem with a squared trigger guard is how it complicates finding good gunleather.

I'd definitely have to let perspective customers know on that one.

But yeah, a S&W rear sight needs to be an option; how did I forget that?

Back in the day front sights were often Dan Wesson ramped blades with colored inserts. Maybe I could investigate something like that also.
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Old 10-24-2014, 03:23 PM   #4
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BTW Snake, that looks like a classic 1980's parts 1911; but done right. Looks like a GI slide mated to an Essex frame (I always liked Essex frames). Looks like a Forrest hammer and grip safety, probably a King trigger. I'll bet she's a solid pistol that works every time.
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Old 10-24-2014, 04:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Kevin Gibson View Post
BTW Snake, that looks like a classic 1980's parts 1911; but done right. Looks like a GI slide mated to an Essex frame (I always liked Essex frames). Looks like a Forrest hammer and grip safety, probably a King trigger. I'll bet she's a solid pistol that works every time.
You're close. I built it around 1973-74, not in the '80s. Remington-Rand slide, Essex frame. Dunno what the grip safety is, prolly USGI. I originally had a thinned Gold Cup trigger on it but replaced it with this one in the '80s--dunno who made it. I think the hammer is USGI too--you could still get good USGI parts in the '70s.

Of course you can't see the Fed Ord thumb safety I installed in the '80s, but you missed the Bar-Sto barrel, with original collett bushing.
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:55 PM   #6
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No squared trigger guard !

I really like Kart barrels and I think they're a bit less too.
Whose frame? Simply from the building perspective Caspian frame and slide probably give the most freedom for you.

I REALLY like beavertails and comander hammers but that could be another option

What about finish options? Are you going to set up for bluing or is there a source nearby?

I like S&W sights, but Bo-mar is easier to install and more presicise too...

I love the Swenson safety but you see a lot of posts from guys who don't like them... another option...
Do you want to work customer guns?
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:57 AM   #7
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Can anyone do bluing now days? The environmetal safety..
Geoff
Who was too junior to be allow to play with the bluing vat.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Charlie Petty View Post
No squared trigger guard !

I really like Kart barrels and I think they're a bit less too.
Whose frame? Simply from the building perspective Caspian frame and slide probably give the most freedom for you.

I REALLY like beavertails and comander hammers but that could be another option

What about finish options? Are you going to set up for bluing or is there a source nearby?

I like S&W sights, but Bo-mar is easier to install and more presicise too...

I love the Swenson safety but you see a lot of posts from guys who don't like them... another option...
Do you want to work customer guns?
Well geeze Charlie, you just talked yourself out of a classic gun.

So for a beavertail, I was thinking something like the Jim Hoag beavertail because that's right for the period. I'll have to make them myself, but they're not all that hard to make. Just sliver solder a couple of pieces on either side of the tang, shape to match, cut the radius and finish.


Yeah I'll work on customers guns once I get through the licensing and get the FFL. Nevada has proven to be a formidable bureaucracy. At this rate I probably won't have an FFL until after the first of the year...at the soonest; yikes.

But yeah, I'll take work on customers guns, working mostly on 1911's and Hi Powers. But I can work on all the new stuff also. I've done a few custom S&W M&P's, they're kinda fun to work on.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:43 AM   #9
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Can anyone do bluing now days? The environmetal safety..
Geoff
Who was too junior to be allow to play with the bluing vat.
Bluing isn't too problematic. It's easily neutralized in a manner suitable to the EPA, and when neutralized, can be poured right down the drain.

And to Charlie's question. To begin with, I won't have bluing tanks, but once I get up the cash, I'll set them up. But I need to buy a dedicated shed for the tanks because they will rust anything and everything near them. So all together, it will cost around 5k to get setup to blue.

In the mean time, there's a guy local who can do bluing for me.
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:06 PM   #10
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Speaking of classic beavertails, the grip safety Pachmayr used on their Combat Specials was pretty sweet. I think the first ones appeared around 1977 or '78.
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:31 PM   #11
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Speaking of classic beavertails, the grip safety Pachmayr used on their Combat Specials was pretty sweet. I think the first ones appeared around 1977 or '78.
Yes it was, I'd love to know what it was.
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Old 10-27-2014, 05:02 PM   #12
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Pachmayr sold it as a separate part for many years. My earliest memory of it is the cover of the December 1977 issue of Guns & Ammo.
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Old 10-27-2014, 05:39 PM   #13
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If one wanted to offer new builds with the option of either a square or round triggerguard, it strikes me that it would be handy to start with a frame that had enough material in the triggerguard to do either. I'm picturing something like the triggerguard on the STI Master single-stack frame. If the customer wanted a traditional round triggerguard, you'd round off the exterior corner. Likewise, if you need a Hoag-style squared triggerguard, you'd trim the material out of the interior of the corner.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:04 PM   #14
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Maybe I'm off base, but I'm having a hard time defining "classic."

I guess I have a few, but the stuff I shoot all the time is relatively new. I was really happy with the basic features Kimber used and fitted Kart barrels, did trigger jobs and general touchup. I've always put accuracy over cosmetics. All are shot routinely and often.

I confess that I have been shocked at some of the prices I've seen asked for guns that seem rather ordinary.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:47 PM   #15
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Charlie Petty,

EXACTLY SO. = Fyi, I personally saw a "plain vanilla" (sold at retail for 125.oo a few years ago) Bulgarian Makarov sell for 375.oo, a Series 80 Colt's GM sell for 750.oo & a Sig-Sauer P6 (just like my 210.oo one) sell for 450.oo.

TRUTH is, I've QUIT buying handguns, unless it's a SCREAMING DEAL.
(My last purchase, perhaps for a long time, was a brand new 12 gauge riot-gun by ASI for 200.oo, out the door.)

When BHO is G-O-N-E, GONE on 20JAN17, I expect prices to "take a nose-dive" & many people, who have paid "Obama prices", to lose their shirts.

just my OPINION, sw
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Old 10-27-2014, 08:39 PM   #16
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Kevin, just out of curiosity what does the state of Nevada have to do with you receiving an FFL? Good luck in your new venture by the wy.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:55 AM   #17
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Kevin, just out of curiosity what does the state of Nevada have to do with you receiving an FFL? Good luck in your new venture by the wy.
You can't get an FFL until you have all your state and local licenses. One of the biggest things they're concerned about is conflicts with state and local laws, ordinances, or zoning. So I have to have my LLC, state business license, federal tax ID, county business license, county zoning permit, county special zoning permit, proof of not owing child support, proof of workers comp insurance, and the list goes on and on.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:58 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Daniel Watters View Post
If one wanted to offer new builds with the option of either a square or round triggerguard, it strikes me that it would be handy to start with a frame that had enough material in the triggerguard to do either. I'm picturing something like the triggerguard on the STI Master single-stack frame. If the customer wanted a traditional round triggerguard, you'd round off the exterior corner. Likewise, if you need a Hoag-style squared triggerguard, you'd trim the material out of the interior of the corner.
Daniel,

You sir are a genius, I wasn't aware of that frame until you just mentioned it. That would be WAY easier than heating and squaring a trigger guard, because no matter how careful you are, sooner or later you're going to pull through one, and that's just a pain. Thanks.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:19 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Charlie Petty View Post
Maybe I'm off base, but I'm having a hard time defining "classic."

I guess I have a few, but the stuff I shoot all the time is relatively new. I was really happy with the basic features Kimber used and fitted Kart barrels, did trigger jobs and general touchup. I've always put accuracy over cosmetics. All are shot routinely and often.

I confess that I have been shocked at some of the prices I've seen asked for guns that seem rather ordinary.
Understand the concept is for a retro custom. Like you, I really like many of the more modern parts, but the nostalgic side of me likes the old ways too.

So let's see, maybe it would help to define what wouldn't be on a "classic custom".

Modern high rise beavertail grip safeties that has a channel for the back of the hammer.
Magazine wells
Basically any other sights but the S&W revolver or Bo Mar style adjustable
Dovetailed front sights
Full length guide rods
Carbon fiber triggers, or any other "designer" triggers
Most modern safeties, back in the day the Swenson was about the only one until the Kings came out.
"Designer" hammers, basically anything but a modified spur or a real commander style hammer
"designer" checkering (chain links, fish scales, etc)
Grips other than traditional checkered wood, meaning no deisgner materials or designer checkering.
No under-cutting of the frontstrap of the frame.

I may have missed some things, but you get the gist.
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:49 PM   #20
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Well, I agree with almost all. I positively hate FLGRs, mag wells, plastic triggers etc.

Actually like dovetail front sights but no fiber optics. Both the beavertail and undercut trigger guard help make the gun feel better (to me). Also like checkering on the bottom of the trigger guard... although I realize that is heresy.
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