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Posted: 10/17/2011 3:01:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/6/2012 11:05:51 AM EDT by unknownhavoc]
Hey guys,
I am working on building a tribute gun for my father. It will be a 1911 that I have been working on building myself, all done from an 80% frame. I am getting to the point of completion and want to give it to him for Christmas when I had a cool idea for it. This gun is to tribute his time in the Marine Corps, he originally joined in 1979 retired after 23 years.

I know this is a long shot, but I am hoping that anyone who reloads .45 ACP might be able to find some '79 Marked brass. It doesn't have to be the same headstamp (although that would be great) But I just want 7 pieces of 79 marked brass to reload and really bring this project together. Again, I know this is a huge long shot, but if anyone has anything that is seperated and could easily look through their nato brass, that would be great.

Thanks all!

ETA Would definentally be willing to pay.
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 3:16:45 PM EDT
I don't have any, but I would think anyone here that did would be more than willing to send it to you considering what you need it for. I wish I could help you out.

Tell your Dad I said THANKS

Link Posted: 10/17/2011 3:24:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2011 3:25:43 PM EDT by wilNva]
None of my brass is '79, but if you need an alternative you could take some brass, sand all the numbers off then very carefully stamp whatever you wanted with some small steel stamps. Not sure I would do it if you plan to shoot the 7 rounds as it may weaken the case, but as a last resort for a display item it might be worth a shot. You could even stamp them with his name and '79.

Something like this, I think 1/16 would fit but I'd measure first. It would be sorta expensive for one project, but if your a tool junkie they might be worth buying

Link Posted: 10/17/2011 3:45:00 PM EDT
Originally Posted By wilNva:
None of my brass is '79, but if you need an alternative you could take some brass, sand all the numbers off then very carefully stamp whatever you wanted with some small steel stamps. Not sure I would do it if you plan to shoot the 7 rounds as it may weaken the case, but as a last resort for a display item it might be worth a shot. You could even stamp them with his name and '79.

Something like this, I think 1/16 would fit but I'd measure first. It would be sorta expensive for one project, but if your a tool junkie they might be worth buying


Now that is a great idea! I was planning to reload them and give him the seven round group as part of the display, and then reloading them and having him do the same, before loading them for display only. But if I can't find any of this brass, I will definentally do that!

Thanks! That is an awesome idea!
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 4:30:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2011 4:43:41 PM EDT by hokeyplyr48]
Looking through a couple K now...

Couple hundred so far and I've only got about 10 with dates on them. 1 has '77 on it thought...so close
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 4:49:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2011 8:30:34 PM EDT by slanky]
I will check the few hundred that I have - the last batch I ordered had some 70's and 80's WCC brass in there, so I will look.

ETA: Sorry, what I have left only has a few pieces of stuff from the 90's
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 5:37:59 PM EDT
Wow, that's a tough order. I'll be loading a batch this weekend, if I see any I will let you know. Good luck!
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 5:49:18 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 5:50:40 PM EDT
Alright well I've got 5 77's and well you can turn the 7 into a 9 pretty easily. It's certainly an option..I know I used it a couple times in middle and high school

Link Posted: 10/17/2011 5:50:55 PM EDT
Tag for after I get through my bucket.
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 6:03:10 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 6:06:47 PM EDT
Ill dig through my buckets as well.
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 7:05:56 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/17/2011 8:23:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 1:04:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/18/2011 2:45:07 AM EDT by Chas8008]
I am in, I have some I can look though.

500 down and nothing, does he like Winchester?

Link Posted: 10/18/2011 2:18:42 AM EDT
I'll take a look through my pails o' .45 brass as well...

Thoughtful touch to a cool gift.

Link Posted: 10/18/2011 2:52:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/18/2011 6:38:41 AM EDT by nhsport]
I am thinking that being after we shut down in Vietnam things were on the downside
and the military didn't buy much 45 ammo (mf'er jimmy C and all)

Ding Ding Ding

I got 1!!!

Hey OP What was his first year in?
we should have a few of those also if we can find them

Please send me your mail address by e-mail so I can get this off to you

Ok , I originately read it wrong,79 is the year he went in,Tough time to serve I would think (catrer years to start)
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 4:13:43 AM EDT
Hopefully we can come up with the cases all 79 but a fallback would be a selection of cases all dated in years he served?
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 4:23:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/18/2011 4:25:20 AM EDT by Wils91]
wish i could help out with it as i would gladly send it your way but i only have commercial .45

Edit: beat to it.
maybe another idea would be finding one piece of brass for each year he served to load. 79, 80, 81, 82, etc. might have better luck that way?
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 5:18:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/18/2011 5:38:45 AM EDT by unknownhavoc]
I can't thank all of you enough! I honestly expected this thread to be on page two with just a couple replies. I can't say how thankful I am to everyone who has contributed ideas, and especially to those who have taken their time to look through brass. I will be PMing those that have had luck with 79 brass, it looks like so far two from ARFCOM, I am also a member over at Castboolits and have had luck, with two more coming in. So only 3 more are needed! If worse comes to worse I will try to get some of the 77 and change it over to 79.

I love the idea of getting a piece from every year, but he served for 23 years, so I think that would be even harder!

I will give a little back story, my Father joined in 1979 fresh out of High School. He was active duty from 1979 - 1988, stationed in North Carolina, Georgia, and finally PA, before going reserve. He was actually going to be heading down to Hawaii but then choose to go reserve. He always tells me stories about the old "45s" he used when he was first in, before they quickly changed over to the M9. He said he Qualed with them, I believe twice, He would tell me that the 45s were from WW2, and when you would shoot them half the time they would hit the target next to you. He was never really interested in shooting until I started getting into the sport, he now owns several pieces, including his favorite SAA in 45 Colt. When I brought him my first 1911 he was in love with it, but quickly noted that it was very different from his old 45.

I have been tinkering with the idea of building him one, but have literally no experience with 1911s. I am fairly handy and picked up an 80%er with rails finished already. I have been slowly working it with just a single file and a little dremeling. It is almost complete except for a couple small things.

I plan to make it more of a show piece than a shooting a piece, although he will definentally want to shoot it. I plan to do a lot of the small pieces in gold (powder coat). I was going back and forth between how I wanted to do it, wether I wanted to really make it a wall hanger, or more something exactly like he had. After several gun shows all the guns he pointed out to me were the highly decorated ornate guns, so I decided to go with this theme. If I could engrave I would, but sadly don't have that skill. I plan to Park it, and have the gold accents.

Again, I can't thank you all enough, I am hoping to give this to him for christmas, as long as the parts kit comes back into stock. Thank you thank you thank you!!

ETA, I will post a picture as soon as it is finished!!

ETA again: Also planning an M16A1 build for him in the future. Although that will take a lot longer.
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 6:24:59 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 6:43:39 AM EDT
Sorry, I guess I really worded my OP poorly. He joined in 1979, and retired after 23 years in 2002. Just to clarify, sorry for the confusion.
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 6:48:53 AM EDT
I found 2 77's. Sorry I couldn't find ANY 79's. Must have been a slow year.

Let me know if you want the to try to make them look like 79s. They're yours if you want them.

Link Posted: 10/18/2011 8:11:55 AM EDT
I think I got a score over on CB. Guy has 26 on hand, and is sure he can get me another 20+. Thanks everyone for looking!! Really appreciate it!
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 8:22:13 AM EDT
Sounds great. Let's see pictures when you get it finished! Sounds like a fantastic, thoughtful gift.
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 12:12:47 PM EDT
Good to hear, I just had one '69 match case.
I thought I had mor mil brass but I guess not.
Link Posted: 10/18/2011 1:20:17 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/24/2011 7:24:50 AM EDT
Update coming this evening. Got my parts kit from Sarco, and put a lot of work into it. Will have pictures and update around 1800-1900 EST.
Link Posted: 10/24/2011 3:32:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/24/2011 3:34:39 PM EDT by unknownhavoc]
As promised here is an update.

I posted a video on Youtube showing my basic build thusfar. I still have two major things to do; cutting the slot for the Sear Spring, and then drilling the holes for the Plunger Tube. Once that is done most everything needed will be fitting parts together. I have gotten the the entire slide together, Except the firing pin spring (which Sarco didn't have). I've put it on the frame and it fits and cycles perfectly. It is a little tight, but from I understand this is desirable and will work itself out. So my list of things to do before it is done and ready to be given to my father;

Fit Trigger (Possibly find and fit a short trigger)
Work Magazine well (Doesn't drop mags 100% of the time)
Parkerize Frame and all small pieces that required fitting
Gold Powder coat certain small parts (Trigger, Hammer, Etc)
Electro-Etch Slide (any info on this appreciated, I know the basics, but need further help)
Gold Powder Coat Electro-Etching
Build Display Box
Load all Military Brass
Buy "Horsey" Colt Mags

Still a lot more to do, have about two more months, Hope I can get it done.

ETA: Can anyone tell me if my build is mostly correct for an M1911A1? I know the trigger is wrong, but is the hammer correct? The safety? This is suppose to be a 1979 reproduction.
Link Posted: 10/24/2011 4:38:39 PM EDT
nice video
Link Posted: 10/24/2011 5:52:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/31/2011 9:34:03 AM EDT
First off, major thanks to all in helping me out. I have been insanely lucky with the very generous people at ARFCOM and CB. In my journey to complete this project a member over at CB was over-generous and sent me 7-10 pieces of brass for every year from 79-1999. Since I have the brass, and someone already mentioned I should try to get every piece from the years my father served, I thought that in the display case I would have a single piece of each year loaded, headstamp up, to show his accomplishment. I just got the massive amount of brass sent to me, and originally he stated he would include everything up to 1999, but to my surprise he also has some brass from 2002 and 2003! So now I am on the hunt for those last two pieces, a 2000 and 2001 to complete the brass collection portion.

Now onto the good part. 1911 Project is coming along exceptionally well, I am working on trimming the rails to meet with the slide, last night I was able to complete one, and it flows seemlessly, it took me about two hours, but boy does it look good. So either tomorrow or Wednesday I will work on the other and throw a picture up of the rails meeting the slide. I still need to pin the Ejector into the frame, and cut the Sear Spring hole (hopefully I'll do that Wednesday) and it will officially be time to do a test fire, I will be starting with a brass piece with only a primer in it, then work up to a plastic bullet, before finally some factory FMJ. If all goes according to plan, I will have a video up very shortly.

Stayed tuned, and once again to every single person that has helped me work on this project, it is hard to put into words how much I really appreciate all your help.
Link Posted: 11/2/2011 7:04:55 PM EDT
Sounds like a great project. Looks like you have your bases covered, I just stopped in because I found a WCC79 in my .45 stash and remember seeing this thread yesterday. Glad everything is working out.
Link Posted: 11/3/2011 7:23:43 PM EDT
Allright, here it is. I cut the sear spring slot the other night, and took it out today to see if it would fire. You will see the first couple clips are all from the cheap Chinese mag that was included with the kit, then it really starts warming up with the Mccormick mag. Enjoy, and once again, thank you everyone who has helped me with this project. I still have a long way to go, but this is a major turn for the best.

Link Posted: 11/3/2011 8:36:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By unknownhavoc:
Allright, here it is. I cut the sear spring slot the other night, and took it out today to see if it would fire. You will see the first couple clips are all from the cheap Chinese mag that was included with the kit, then it really starts warming up with the Mccormick mag. Enjoy, and once again, thank you everyone who has helped me with this project. I still have a long way to go, but this is a major turn for the best.


Nice vid sir. Congrats on making it this far. Look forward to seeing it finished.
Link Posted: 11/4/2011 7:25:15 AM EDT
Sweet. Nice job! Can't wait to see it complete.
Link Posted: 11/4/2011 5:46:33 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/18/2011 9:05:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/18/2011 9:09:09 AM EDT by unknownhavoc]
Alright ladies and gentleman. Over the course of the last week I have been working on getting her to 100%. Now when I say 100% I do not mean completed and ready to give to me father, instead I mean 100% functional and complete as a pistol. I drilled the plunger tube holes, tapped the bushing, assembled and tested everything and it is all good. I have been testing it with a lot of different mags and ammo and they all feed very nicely. I do have occasional trouble with HST feeding, though this may be due to the cheap recoil spring, which I plan to replace. I am planning to install a wolff 23# MS and a 16# recoil spring along with an EGW oversized firing pin stop. My buddy and I sandblasted it yesterday and it turned our gorgeous, we will be parkerizing it with a zinc phosphate park, to get it to the grayish color. Things that still need to be done include:

Staking plunger tube (need the tool)
Staking grip bushings (also need the tool)
Gold plating small pieces
Engraving (will be electroetching if I can figure out how)
Building display box
Possibly making custom grips

It is getting closer and closer to be finished, and I'm hoping I can make it on time for Christmas.

With no further ado, enjoy the pictures.

ETA: Okay, I apologize I can't seem to get pictures to work on my phone...I will update with pictures added tonight at 10pm EST when I get home.
Link Posted: 11/18/2011 12:51:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/18/2011 1:42:16 PM EDT
Ok -very cool

I realy like the some brass from every year he served idea

Are you still missing any years?
Link Posted: 11/18/2011 1:59:51 PM EDT
Yes I am, I still need 2000 and 2001, but was lucky enough to get all the other pieces from a very generous gentleman over on castboolits.con
Link Posted: 11/18/2011 6:14:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/18/2011 6:17:56 PM EDT by unknownhavoc]

I am really happy with how the Thumb Safety came out, I didn't want to spend a massive amount of money on a replica thumb safety, so I took the one I had, and ground off the safety just to leave the older style look. I know it should be more rounded and should be checkered. But I don't want to take off to much material, and don't have the proper file to checker, so it will have to do.
Link Posted: 11/18/2011 6:20:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/19/2011 6:08:43 PM EDT
Have watched your project. Keep up the good work.
Link Posted: 11/30/2011 6:18:13 PM EDT
Thought I'd post an update for everyone. I really wanted to get the Caswell Dip and Plate kit for the small parts, but funds just don't allow me to do that at this point, and even if they did within the next week or two, I don't think I'd have enough time for shipping and then finally plating. So I was really trying to figure out what to do, bought the '18k gold' turned out really crappy, then a friend suggest Gold Leaf. I tried it, and its okay. I honestly am not super happy with it, but at this point it is better than paint, and will just have to do...

As you can see, I have not done the frame yet, stupid stainless steel. So I have DuraBake coming tomorrow, and will be redoing the slide and frame and small pieces all in it. Hopefully it turns out okay.

Here is a close up of the actual leafing. You can see it isn't nice and smooth and consistant, or shiny. I am not super happy with it, and will most likely buy a plating kit after christmas, and redo these small parts for him, but time and money don't allow me to do that now.

Here are the grips, well...grip. This is a prototype grip that I made, I do not have ANY wood working tools, and did this entirely with a triangular file, and flat file. It took about 4 hours to get to what it is now. I did the prototype in popular, but have some really nice Red Oak, that will be the final grip. I was also playing around with the idea of having JUST the chevron, I did 2 different cuts, one with the chevron completely cut out, and then another with the square bottom. I want to work on filing them down to the correct shape, staining, and painting, and seeing what I like best. I think I will most likely go with the design I have here, as I really like it. On one side of the gun will be the MSgt rank, and then the other will be his service stripes.

Still have a lot of work to do, I am working on the presentation case, and still have to figure out what to do about engraving...that will be an issue...
Link Posted: 11/30/2011 7:05:12 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/1/2011 3:11:46 PM EDT
That's PDC!


Pretty Darn Cool
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 11:10:49 PM EDT
Any update? Really want to see the finished pistol...
Link Posted: 1/6/2012 6:13:50 AM EDT
Hey all,
Sorry it has taken so long to get back to everyone, I just got a second job and have been working doubles and sometimes triples every single night, needless to say I am rather exhausted, and haven't had much time to spend on the computer. Well today is my day off from both jobs, so I am lucky enough to post.

I'll start with pictures and go on from there.

Well first off, as most of you can probably tell, it is not finished. My buddy (Bane762) and I ended up spending 14 hours on Christmas eve, into Christmas day, working on getting it together. I can easily say without hesitation, had he not volunteered his time and help, it wouldn't have been done (the two job thing kind of put a hamper on my time availability to finish) I was not able to make the grips out of the Hard Redwood Oak, and in fact didn't even get to finish the other side. The engraving was finished, however when we went to gold plate the engraving it started to wear off the finish on the slide (durabake) so we had to stop the gold plating on the engraving, and will have to redo the slide, and then try to (more carefully) gold plate the engraving.

We had hand made the case at about 3am on Christmas, and rolled all the ammo, in the commemorative cases (thanks everyone!!) at about 5am.

All of the gold you see is actually gold plating, via a Caswell Plug-N-Plate kit. It turned out amazing. I can't begin to explain to everyone how grateful I am to everyone here, and the other sites I used, the help has been monumental in my completion of this project.

So in total there is still some that needs to be done, not much but here it is;

Re-Finish the slide
Gold plate all the engraving
Make Grips, using Hard Red Oak
Find the last two pieces of brass, I still need 00 and 01

I was able to present this to him on Christmas, and when he opened it it really took his breath away, and he didn't know what to say. The thing that really touched him was the small engraving I put on the dust cover, you may be able to see it in the pictures but it says "The Ultimate Dream, Jr". While I made this entire gun around his Marine Corps Career, I added this small touch as a father-son thing. Back when he was my age he would build cars, and his very first car was a 1962 Impala SS. Well he nicknamed it "The Ultimate Dream" and has it painted on the back in a Stencil pattern. So I nicknamed this project "The Ultimate Dream, Jr". So that he could have both his ultimate dream and mine.

Again, I can't go about explaining how grateful I am to everyone here who has helped me out, and I really hope you enjoy the pictures. I will be hopefully posting some new pictures of the complete project once I get there.
Link Posted: 1/6/2012 6:39:26 AM EDT
Awesome project!!!
Link Posted: 1/6/2012 6:52:34 AM EDT
That is awsome!!!

Great job !!!!
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