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Posted: 8/27/2004 11:53:35 PM EDT
I am looking to build up a stock Government model Colt 1991a1, series 80. I won't be doing the fitting work myself; I am going to leave that up to the gunsmith I picked to put it all together. But I do want to buy the parts myself (his prices were sort of loopy!)

So I have a few questions:

1) Barrels.

My barrel has seen better days. It is certainly usable, but I figure that as long as I getting work done, might as well do it all. So where should I look for barrels? I am looking more for long life (I'll be shooting mostly just factory 230gr FMJ) and reliability. I am not really looking for some super match-grade accuracy, but I'll take it. (Hey, I may become a good shot someday!)

2) Trigger, beavertail, saftey, hammer, etc.

I'll probably just order up a mess of Wilson parts here, but I was thinking about getting the Cylinder and Slide 'USMC Profile' hammer and a Videki 'solid' trigger (no holes). Any thoughts about that? Also, what sort of beavertail do you guys prefer? USGI-style? Full-sized with 'memory groove'?

3) Caspian Recon Rail.

To let me use my existing lights, I was going to have one of these rails put on. Any thoughts? Would I still be able to use 'normal' 1911 holsters, or do they add too much size?

Link Posted: 8/28/2004 5:01:18 AM EDT
Only a few thoughts. The difference in the cost of a good barrel is small in the overall picture if you are customizing a 1911. Spend the extra bucks for a top notch barrel and fit.

The beavertail is more than just protection for the web while firing. It can be your index point during a draw or can be instrumental in completing the correct grip during the draw. The type of beavertail you select is a personal thing. I would not own a 1911 without one.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 9:16:56 AM EDT
You're getting into a big project here.

1. There is no such thing as a "drop in" barrel. Well, there might be, but Wilson's "drop in" required quite a bit of work on my Springfield. It wasn't impossible, but it did require the use of a high speed Dremel tool.

2. the beavertail will probably require grinding on the frame. There is a drop in part from Wilson's that fits the Colt. I've used it on my SA and it did as claimed. I've also fit a high ride on my GSR and it isn't easy, but not impossible either.

3. The trigger is easy.

4. The hammer and sear can be scary. I wouldn't screw with it. There's too much that can go wrong there.

5. Thumb safeties are not terribly difficult. I've done a few without problems.

Link Posted: 8/28/2004 10:10:34 AM EDT
My advice is to fix the trigger first. Shoot the pistol. I think you will be very surprised at how well you can shoot a 1911 with a good trigger.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 12:13:08 PM EDT

There are quite a few good barrel makers...Bar-Sto, Wilson, McCormick, etc. I like Wilson products myself. It will be quite an investment between the parts and the gunsmith work. Have you considered selling the pistol you have and investing in a higher end Kimber, Wilson, etc. It's not a bad project if your able and willing to do the work yourself. There's a lot of good reference material out there on the "How To" in tuning the 1911 pistol. It's very rewarding after it's finished to have an accurate pistol you built yourself.
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 1:18:49 PM EDT
Wilson seems to have the better rep for aftermarket barrels, IMO. Brownells should have the best selection & price so you can comparasion shop all in one stop there.

A good barrel, trigger & sights should allow you to have a much cheaper version of a Gold Cup, IMO.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 5:59:45 PM EDT
Wilson does not make their own barrels, they are made by Storm Lake. They are not a bad barrels but not the best by any means. Stick with a Bar-sto or Kart barrel and you can't go wrong. The barrel is only as accurate as it is fitted. A bad smith can ruin accuracy no matter who made the barrel. Beavertails- Wilson or Ed Brown, same with hammers and sears, thumb saftey- hard to beat Ed Brown and any light weight aluminum trigger.

just my $.02
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 6:15:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 7:29:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2004 7:33:54 PM EDT by Va_Dinger]

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
3) Caspian Recon Rail.

To let me use my existing lights, I was going to have one of these rails put on. Any thoughts? Would I still be able to use 'normal' 1911 holsters, or do they add too much size?

I don't think many "normal" 1911 holsters will work with the Caspian add on light rail. It just looks too large. You should look into the Dawson Precision light rail, most holsters will work with it.
Link Posted: 8/31/2004 12:03:24 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/31/2004 8:47:51 AM EDT
I'm doing the much the same thing, though not as involved, on a 1991a1 blued with wood grips. If you like the classic lines, Kings Custom makes a beavertail that will work with the stock spur style hammer. I had a smith put one on mine, and he ended up not charging me for labor. It just fit. No grinding, or anything, it took him less than ten minutes. The only thing I wish it had was a memory groove/pad but it hasn't been a problem. I also had an Ed Brown arched MSH put on it. The trigger was pretty darn good right out of the box. A little more creep than the Kimber Gold Match, and maybe half a pound heavier, but not enough to justify the price tag or hassle of new parts to me and it's a carry gun.

The only other thing I'm planning on doing is adding a set of Alumagrips when they get here.

If I can figure out how to post pictures, I'll be happy to show you how mine looks.
Link Posted: 8/31/2004 8:26:02 PM EDT
I don't know my Colt series 70 gov, that i bastardized, I mean customized started off stock back in the late 80's before Kimber existed. I had the following done:

Videcki speed trigger, beaver tail grip safety, taller sights dove tailed, full length recoil rod, ejection port lowered and flared, trigger/action job.

Now that box stock Colt series 70's goverments are going for $800 bucks i wished I didn't do all that. I did leave the barrel stock just because I could regulary(sp) put 5 shot in one hole. I woud advise that you do the barrel last, you would be suprised Colt actually made some good barrels.

One other thing, stock Colts have inherant value. Once you customize them you will actually loose value!! Unless you send the gun to Les Bauer, or one of the other renown gunsmiths and actually get them to put their name on the gun you will never get out of it what you put into it. Nor will it be worth what it was stock.

Springfields make great project guns tho.
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