Well after a whole lotta dancing and yelling at FedEx my Mil-Spec Springfield 1911A1 arrived. Now its time to customize and I have some questions.
1. I found a hammer that I like at both Wilson Combat and from Ed Brown. How hard are these to install?
2. I would like on of the extended beaver tail safety's. Is there a bid difference between the one that requires a gunsmith to install and the ones that drop in? Also how hard are these to install?
3. Barrels, who makes a good one? Also, do the barrels come with a new bushing that matches the barrel so you dont have to machine the old one?
4. Sights, whats recommended? I would like a nice set of night sights. I know I will have to have these installed.
5. All the companies selling parts; Wilson Combat, Ed Brown, etc, only advertise blued or stainless finishes. How well do these match up to the parkerized mil-spec?
6. Magazines, I've heard lots of people rave about the wilson combat mags. Does someone else make their mags? Can I save a few bucks buying direct?
I love my new Springfield and cant wait to play with it some more!
I almost forgot! The trigger on the mil-spec feels much better than that of my loaded. I was also suprised to see that the mag well was beveled on the mil-spec.
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Classic 1911 syndrome. Spend several hundred dollars on a gun, then start spend several hundred more on parts. Never have understood this.
Shot the thing for year then decide what you want/need to do with it.
I went through the same thing,bought a S.A. mil-spec,had it for 6 months, it shot low, had to file front sight down to get it to shoot to P.O.A. anyway, after about 6 months, I figured out that this wasn't what I really wanted, so I traded for a Kimber Custom Classic, with an adj rear sight, I love it! this is more along what I had in mind,Suggest you shoot your pistol for a few months, and think about what mods you really want/need, and if cost,and installation of mods is worth it, compaired to upgrading to another pistol with the mods already installed, it may be cheaper to swap for something that has the mods you want and pay some$$ rather than to buy all the parts and have them installed, 1911's are like AR's.... endless customization available.
First of all, spend $50-60 and buy BOTH of the 1911 gunsmithing manuals by Jerry Kuhnhausen for the 1911. Worth their weight in gold. Then buy all of the tools necessary to make the mods yourself. Will this be cheaper than paying someone? NO...but you'll know your gun inside and out. The key is GOING SLOW. Never take the short/easy route on gunsmithing...it will minimize or eliminate mistakes, and will turn out a better finished product.
1. Wilson's been accused of selling surplus parts at premium prices...maybe unfounded. Can't go wrong with Ed Brown, but Wilson has some good stuff too.
2. Extended beavertail is a must. Drop-ins will never be as good as ones that require a frame cut and hand-fitting. Ed Brown's "Memory Groove" beavertail is the best out there, IMHO.
3. In the words of Larry Vickers, "You can not shoot out a 1911 .45acp barrel." If properly installed with barrel/slide/frame fit...there's no REAL need to replace it. Bar-Sto makes awesome barrels though, if you want to replace.
4. MMC tritium sights...get the rear-adjustable snag-free sights.
5. Parkerized is a matte black, so neither blued nor stainless will match perfectly. Sometimes you can get parkerized parts if you ASK (not always advertised as it's in less demand).
6. IMHO, Wilson makes the best single-stack 1911 mags. I personally stick with 7-rounders (read Dave Lauck's book "The Tactical 1911"). Les Baer has some good mags too...look to be similar quality. DON'T CHEAP OUT ON MAGS. You can get Wilsons for about $22 each.
Congrats. 1911 is a way of life!
STOP! Before you order anything go to pistolsmith.com and search around under custom makers for info on Dane Burns new BCP Ignition System or go to Burnscustom.com and e-mail or give him a call. This guy builds top notch working guns and his new hammer,sear and connector are thought by many top smiths to be the best ever.
Schapman43 - I wouldn't make allot of changes until you're very familiar with the gun and 1911s in general. Shoot the gun for a while in order to get hands on experience to help you decide what you like and don't like, what certain mods will do, and whether you will actually want them once you have a good working knowledge of the gun.
Cutting hammer hooks can be tricky especially with out the proper tools or past experience. Like Tailgate suggested buy both of Jerry Kuhnhausen's books and start reading before performing this mod.
"Drop in" beavertails won’t fit nearly as well as a beavertail that requires frame modification. Consequently they won't work or feel nearly as good as a properly fitted beavertail that has been blended high into the frame.
You probably have no need for a new barrel and in all reality the gun is probably more accurate than you are (no offence meant). However, a barrel can be purchased with or without a bushing but that doesn't mean it will just "drop in". Fitting a barrel correctly is not a thing you can just jump in to. In addition to the bushing to barrel fit, the bushing needs to be fit to the slide, the locking lugs have to be correctly fit to the slide, the barrel lugs have to make full contact with the slide stop, and the barrel hood has to be the correct length and angle in relation to the breech face.
As far as sights go, I prefer either Novak or Heinie sights. On your gun, both will require the slide be milled to fit the sight dovetails.
If you want the best mags go with Wilson Combat #47s. Don't be cheap with magazines. Even if you don't need them in a life and death situation, having good magazines that feed reliably will save you frustration at the range when your gun won't feed with the "cheaper option" mags.
One last thing, Slidelock1 had a great suggestion. Dane Burns, aside from making magnificent Government Models, produces a wonderful ignition system that, IMO, is well worth the money. I've have been using his ignition system routinely in a Kimber since he introduced them and can tell you first hand these components are top notch. They are rather expensive (around $170) so probably not for everyone but if you want a great set of parts these will work for you.
Good advise here! Pretty awesome topic. Here’s my 2 cents:
Third the suggestion re: Kuhnhausen’s books, esp. the first one. Ed Browns “1911 Bench Reference” is also good, though not as good as Kuhnhausen’s. Don’t care too much for Wilson’s books.
Layne Simpson’s “The Custom Government Model Pistol” is a bit old, but it has of lots of ideas on modifying 1911’s. However, it’s an idea book, not a gunsmithing book.
Working on a 1911 ignition system is not for the faint of heart or the mechanically uninclined. Kuhnhausen’s book can really help you here. An improperly fiddled with 1911 can go full auto on you!
Ed Brown sells a fairly inexpensive jig that makes installing a beavertail grip safety pretty easy. Brownells carries it.
Kart has what is supposedly an easy to install “Easy-fit Barrel Kit”. Brownells carries it too. Kart makes excellent barrels.
If you replace the barrel, you’ll definitely want to replace the bushing too. Getting a barrel with a pre-fit bushing will save you some fitting.
Personally, I prefer the Heinie rear sight. I also like an extended thumb safety (but definitely not an extended slide stop).
Take your time and plan this out, otherwise you’ll wind up with a drawer full of unused 1911 parts as you keep changing your mind!
The reason I am jumping into all the mods is because this will be my carry gun. I know for sure that I want the hammer and the beaver tail. Everything else is fine. I appreciate all the info!