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!
First a disclaimer. I'm not a gunsmith, nor do I play one on TV. I don't know your level of expertise working on pistols, so I would say having a gunsmith fit parts together is always a safer bet. Many times even so-called drop-in parts need to be professionally fitted.
That being said, hammer and sear are drop-in items. You can get a beavertail grip safety either fitted or a drop-in. Having it fitted requires removing metal from the frame and will let you grip a little higher (closer to the bore line). Mine is a Wilson Combat drop-in and it's much better than the factory mil spec, and I didn't have to spend extra to modify the frame.
Barrels? I'm at a loss here. Why do you want to replace the barrel on a brand new gun? You want it more accurate? You may be able to squeeze a little more accuracy out of it with a match barrel but IMHO it would be a waste of money on a defense gun. If you're building a race gun, that's different. Barrels and bushings need to be fitted together for the best accuracy potential.
For night sights, I favor Trijicons. The front sight will have to be dovetailed into the slide, so have a 'smith do it. Even if it were a drop-in item I would recommend a 'smith because they're easy to break if you're not careful and don't have the right tools. I like the Novak sights too and have them on one of my other pistols.
I don't know about Ed Brown but the Wilson Combat beavertail grip safety matches up to my Mil Spec quite nicely. It's more of a matte black than blued. I don't know of anyone who sells parkerized aftermarket parts, but if that's what you want you can have about any part parkerized for pretty cheap.
Regarding magazines, IMO Chip McCormick mags are as good or better than Wilson Combat and they're cheaper. If you want Wilson Combat mags, the only way you're going to find them on the cheap is to buy used. Retailers have them priced pretty much the same.
There are a few things that I could recommend that aren't on your list. Have the feed ramp polished for reliability with different types of ammo. Maybe a 18 lb. spring if you're going to shoot hotter loads. The stock spring is 16 lbs. But I think the first thing you should do is to go shoot it and start breaking it in and see if you have any possible warranty issues. Probably not, but you never know.
BTW, almost forgot to say congratulations!
One more thing - with 1911s it seems ultimate accuracy and ultimate reliability are mutually exclusive. Speaking anecdotally, some tricked out match guns can too tight, jam frequently and be very picky with ammo. OTOH, I've seen 1911s that were so loose they rattled when you shake them, but they were very reliable. Seems you can have one or the other but not both. There are of course ways you can meet in the middle. I'm more of a reliability type than an accuracy type so any advise I give is along that thought.
Get a prepped hammer and sear, easy. Install a drop-in beavertail unless you can shape the frame to fit the new angle for other type beavertails. There is a 1911 website and you will probably find your answers there. Don't know the address mainly because I sold my 1911's after spending money for improvements. I still have a dropin officers barrel from storm lake machine and no gun. I agree on the breakin, fire the gun and it may just be to your liking as is.
Kurt, what you charge to install the Ed Brown beaver tail, hammer, sear, and trigger?