I have been thinking of building my own 1911 for some time now. I sat at my computer and made a list of everything I can think of (as far as parts) That I will need. Some things I do not wont to change Like the slide, Sights, and frame. I might change the frame if I can find a frame like SA operator. (not the STI)
Well hear is my list. I would love input on what can be exchanged (hopefully without increasing the price)
Because of the price this billed is going to take some time, possibly a year or so. This will also give me an opportunity to fit everything properly and possibly find some one to help with the more precise smithing.
Caspian Arms Government Slides 5” Stainless $235.00
Rear Sight Cuts Novak Lo-Mount $40.00
Front Sight Cuts Novak Dovetail $22.00 65°x330" dovetail
Bevel Package $22.00
Front Cocking Serrations $40.00
Ordnance Bomb Only $16.50
Springfield Armory Barrel 1911 Government 45 ACP 1 in 16” Twist 5” Bull Stainless Steel $92.99
STI 1-Piece Guide Rod 1911 Government Steel in the White $14.99
ISMI Springs 18CS - 18 lbs, chrome silicon $ 7.95
MMC Low Mount Tactical Carry Sights
Front Sight .150" x .125", Tritium Green $44.95
Rear Sight Orange $102.95
Wilson Combat Bullet Proof Extractor 1911 45 ACP Series 70 Blue $26.99
Wilson Combat Bullet Proof Firing Pin 1911 45 ACP Series 70, 80 Steel $9.19
Wilson Combat Factory Plus Firing Pin Spring 1911 $1.59
Ed Brown Hardcore Firing Pin Stop 1911 45 ACP Series 70, 80 Steel Blue $15.75
Caspian Arms Carbon Recon Receiver $260.00
Beavertail Cut .250 Radius $16.50
Checkered Front Strap $80.00
Custom Serial Numbers $45.00
Ed Brown Extended Ejector 1911 45 ACP Steel Blue $21.45
Wilson Combat Factory Plus Disconnector 1911 $14.09
Wilson Combat Factory Plus Sear Spring 1911 $3.99
ISMI 1911 Mainsprings 17MS - 17 lbs load, chrome silicon. $ 6.25
Ed Brown Match Grade Commander-Style Lightweight Hardcore Hammer 1911 Steel Blue $49.95
STI Premium Sear S-7 1911 $18.99
Springfield Armory Complete Pin Set 1911 Steel Parkerized $9.99
Ed Brown Hammer Strut 1911 $6.95
Wolff Plunger Spring 1911 $3.29
Ed Brown Plunger Tube 1911 Steel Blue $14.75
Wilson Combat Factory Plus Magazine Release Lock 1911 Steel Blue $2.59
Wilson Combat Factory Plus Magazine Release Spring 1911 $0.99
Wilson Combat Tactical Magazine Release 1911 Steel Blue $18.29
Cylinder & Slide Grip Screw Bushing 1911 Blue Package of 4 $3.79
King’s Ambi Safety Release $65.00
Chip McCormick Lightweight Trigger 1911 Aluminum Black $16.49
STI Beavertail Grip Safety 1911 Series 70 Steel Blue $25.99
Ed Brown Flat Mainspring Housing with Drop-In Maxi-Well Checkered 20 LPI 1911 Government, Commander Steel Blue $64.98
Wilson Combat Magazine with Extended Base Pad 1911 Government, Commander 45 ACP 8-Round Stainless Steel $24.99
Ed Brown Grip Screw Hex Head 1911 Blue Package of 4 $6.85
Falcon Industries ERGO Grip XT Square Bottom for Magazine Wells 1911 Government, Commander Polymer Black $21.99
Now I now that It will cost more than this because I still have to get laping compond, and a finish of some kind. (And God knows what els)
Anny ideas on how to bring the price down would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
You can do it right or cheap, very hard with the 1911 design to do both at the same time. Do it right once, or start with a good base pistol and add to it as time goes on.
So are you saying that this $ amount is normal for a custom built gun. (When I say custom I mean the way I wont it)
I have just recently read about some one on hear that built one for around $800
I know that I am going to spend probably $200 more on the frame and slide because of what I have chosen but what about the rest $500 more.
What about your tools? Do you have a barrel cutting tool, files, punches, stones and fixtures, etc?
Building a 1911 at home is great but if your not going to really fit the parts, then your just an assembler, which is fine if that's all your looking for but for that kind of money, you would be better served buying a production gun with a warranty or buying less expensive stuff to practice fitting and investing in some tools.
That said, if you want to build a 1911, check out brownells for some tooling and great tech articles.
As far as your parts selection, it's all great stuff but here is the route I would go/went:
Springfield WWII mil spec used $350-400.
Yost rear sight: $30
Novak front sight cut: $40
Novak tritium front sight: $50
Jerry Kuhnhausen Vol 1 and 2: $50
You'll have something you can shoot and then make little upgrades here and there, buying the parts and tools as needed. You can handle all the fitting, just source out the heavy machine work unless you have a mill or lathe.
Just my .02 cents.
P.S.: you can even have a rail added to the frame latter if you'd like.
I do not have all the tools and I know that I will have to have a smith do some for me.
Is it possible that I can buy the slide, frame, sights,ext and then have a smith finish it out with the rest of the parts and fitting?
If sow who do I look to and How much more am I looking at?
Thanks for the replies!
Just looking at your list tells me your way over your head.
Trust me, you haven't a clue on what parts to buy, which tells me you know how to installed them even less.
To save you a good raping by a smith (read they will do what every you what, be it good or bad, since it's your money) look at the Springfield Armory higher end lines. You should be able to buy a factory new unit for the money your list shows you want to spend on parts. Then, if you feel something is sub-par on the pistol, you can just change out the few parts at will.
Sorry to rain on your parade , BUT , I think you have the "Fever"
Your Price/parts list puts you into the "custom gun" price range , but you could end up with
just a pile of parts unless you really know what you are doing.
If you need to even have a decent smith "work" on your completed project , you're looking at
a couple hundred more $$.
I agree with what was said previously - buy a nice "loaded" 1911 , and swap some parts,sights, grips.
As embarrasing as it is, I went through the same phase you did. I wanted to build a 1911 and didnt know much about it. Didnt ask, didnt read, no research at all. I just had a bunch of money at the time. The difference with my build though is I went with cheapo parts bought at gunshows and some chip mccormick parts. Tools I used what I had on hand. You can imagine how much time and aggravation goes with that!
Needless to say, I stopped tracking cost after 1000 (if I think about it I'm probably at 15 or 1800 as it stands). End result. the gun works but it shoots badly past 10 yds because of an improperly fitted barrel, finish leaves a lot to be desired (lately its covered in duracoat so at least it looks presentable) and I'll never be able to sell it for half of what I spent on it!
Looking back, I could have gotten a really nice custom with that less the hassle and aggravation. Or even a mid range (read 750 and up) 1911 for that matter!
Bottom line, if you dont know how and dont have the tools its better to start off with a base gun then make gradual changes. If you still feel the need to build later at least you will have more knowledge on whats involved.
Don't make the same expensive mistake I did!
I wont to thank everyone for there input. I am In over my head! I think I will just get some books and start reading about smithing and if I still have the bug then I will buy a GI model and slowly change out parts.
Now because I still have the bug for a custom 1911 I am going to see if I can find a recommended smith in my area that will build a pistol on the frame and slide that I wont.
Anny good ideas on what a scratch build can cost, and what besides word of mouth from gun stores and gun owners should I look for in finding the right smith?
I wonted to thank everyone aging for there help!
I agree, buy a good base gun, like Springfield Mil-Spec, after you shoot it a while decide what YOU want to do with it. Learn how to maintain the pistol yourself, then start working on fitting parts. Then start worry about bigger things like trigger jobs, bushings etc. You said that you were willing to spend $1520.99 on parts for this project, lets look at that amount in another way.
Springfield Mil Spec $500.00 (Shouldn't be to hard to find one for this price)
THE COLT .45 AUTOMATIC a Shop Manual by Jerry Kuhnhausen $27.95
080-120-330 #120-3 BIT
080-086-181 #81 SOLID HANDLE ONLY
080-240-540 #240-5 BIT
080-434-045 MAGNA-TIP .45 BUSHING DRIVER BIT
080-644-000 1911 AUTO GRIP BUSHING STAKER
080-045-200 1911 AUTO ANODIZED BUSHING WRENCH
818-600-100 156001 1" NYLON/BRASS HAMMER COMBO
498-100-200 BLUE PISTOL BENCH BLOCK
827-525-790 52579 565 PIN PUNCH, 3/32"
827-525-780 52578 565 PIN PUNCH, 1/16"
164-800-000 RANSOM MASTER MAT
Total Tool Cost $133.35
Total of $661.30
If you take your budget of $1,520.99 subtract $661.30 for tools, book and a WORKING pistol, not just a box of parts, invested the balance of $859.69 in either a progressive reloader or ammo, I would be willing to bet that in a few months you would be a much more accomplished "pistolero."
As a novice 1911 owner, you need to bone up on the gun, maintenance, and operation of it to enjoy maximum success. Become a dedicated student and knowledgeable user of the system, and you will find out why we (1911 fanatics) say the 1911 is the best pistol available for the advanced end user.
I think one thing that people seem to get mixed up on is the difficulty of building a 1911.
Many have built AR-15's here. Although there are things to watch out for and procedures to follow, I think the building of an AR is WAY easier than a 1911. Building an AR is an "assembling of parts" for the most part. You can get the parts you need and assemble them. Many times there is no machining or filing needed at all. Putting together a 1911 is a whole nother ball of wax. Some things are rather easy, others can be quite time consuming, menotinous, patience testing, and KNOWLEDGE intensive. If things aren't done right you can end up with something that could be a very large hazzard.
I'm happy to hear that you decided not to jump in with both feet Boz.
I did think It would be like building an AR or a kit knife. Thank you all for setting me strait.
Now to my other question. Is it possible to find a smith willing to build a 1911 using some specific parts(slide, frame, sights, grip safety, ambi safety, and trigger). And if so what do you all think i would be out of pocket to compensate the pistol smith?
I know that the amount can very from smith to smith and project to project, I'm just looking for a ballpark guess.
Thank you all again!
If you supply all of the parts most smiths, if they decide to accept the project, will charge you $1,000.00 to $2,500.00 for assembly
Another thing, I did not look at your list very hard, but I did notice that your firing pin is not compatable to the slide you are wanting to use.
When it comes to custom builds by smiths, make sure that one of the end result of the pistol will be that it is guaranteed to group 1.5" @ 50 yards or better (read get it in writing that the pistol will be Ranson tested, and corrected at the builders cost until it does group, or find another smith). This will weed out the 1911 hacks/parts assemblers from the real builders/smiths.
I know that all the parts may not be compatible. I was still planing on doing some home work in that area.
It looks like I would be better off for now just buying a comperable pistol and learning on a gi model or something.
Again thank you all for the replies and If you wont you can delete this post as not to waste anyone else's time.
That is nice if you are shooting bullseye, but what does that have to do with real world performance? If you are wanting a parts gun built, you will be looking for a smith for quite some time.
All posts are good for info. I would hope I speak for the others and say you didn't waste anyones time. That is what the forums are here for, duscussion.......
BOZ - 1911's are what I build for a living. If you were to give any gunsmith a list of the specifications that you want the pistol to meet that is what a good 'smith would do. If you were to give them a list of mis-matched or non-compatible parts and demand that the pistol you want be built a good 'smith would say NO and tell you why.
This is not cheap or easy work and it does take a lot of time to do it correctly. It also takes a lot of time to learn to do it correctly. Shop around and make a list of 'smiths that you may want to work with. Then check their references and reputations on the various internet boards.
Make a decision AFTER you have done this research and you will have a high level of confidence that you will get what you want. I doubt it will be cheap so set a realistic budget based on something other than a dream sheet. Good luck. Charles the Gunsmith.
Very good advice.
I just wont to thank everyone again for there advice. I makes me feel good that I am a part of the ar15.com family!
(even though I am not a team member)
These guys are probably right and you are way over your head, but I just wanted to say that it can be done.
I had never owned or even seen the inside of a 1911 and decided I wanted to build one.
The basic parts were an Essex slide already cut with Novac front and Bomar rear cuts, A KT frame, cut and hand lapped just for this slide, and a KART barrel. The rest of the parts were pretty much all Chip McCormick.
It was a real fun project. The gun came out great, lots of compliments on it, and I couldn'y ask for a better fit or feel.
I'd hate to add it all up, but I think with the shopping around (Essex Arms stainless slide for $75, it was on the specials page, they said it had a slight cosmetic blemish, I still don't know where) I did it's probably around $1000-$1200 with tools (had some) and parts.
I realize I could have bought one for that price, but you can't put a price on the pride and feeling, knowing you did it all yourself
The scratch built one is the upper
You're getting a lot of good advice here and this is a great thread for those thinking about building themselves. One other thing to consider is buying a used gun that has a couple of upgrades, but still has a cheap price. Last week, a guy had a Springfield for sale that would make a perfect platform for a custom project. It was an older Springfield and the guy had added a dovetail front sight and Heinie rear. He had also lowered and flared the ejection port and installed a nice looking but older (no memory bump) high ride beavertail. The price was $575.
That's the kind of gun you can really make something of. Even if the internals were all junk and the barrel was shot out, you would have a good quality slide and frame that wouldn't need milled for sights and you could likely get by without replacing the grip safety. A guy could have a Kart barrel installed and all the internals replaced on a gun like this and have a VERY nice custom pistol for around $1000.
A gun like that is also a good one to learn on. There's no collector value in it and its a good shooter as it sets. A person looking to get into the 1911 platform could do a lot worse than getting a starter gun like this to tinker with.