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Posted: 9/27/2011 2:46:16 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/27/2011 3:08:49 PM EST by DanTSX]
I think that I'm ready for my first full-custom gun, and that gun is going to be a Browning Hi Power.

I've seen some work from the typical BHP shops like Novak, C&S, Garthwaite, etc, etc. I am familiar with some of the 1911's that JoJo's has finished and think that they are among the best 1911 smiths, but want to know if they are able to stack up with the more limited number of top Hi Power smiths. Clearly, a more limited market. There are no caspian frames, very few vendors for hammers, safeties, triggers, etc.

I'm looking for anyone that can share any experiences or references that they had with BHP work at JoJo's. Anything from ownership, a friend owning one, to handling one in their shop. Reply directly or PM me.

Would like to have the finished gun back by this time next year.

Link Posted: 9/27/2011 5:20:53 PM EST
I can not answer your question but I would advise you to visit and talk to Jody.

He is very straightforward and honest. I have never had any big projects done by those guys but I believe if you talk to nail down a firm idea of what you want and expect
He will be clear as to what they can and can not do for you.

Even if not on a HP they can certainly show you examples of their work as far as fit and finish goes , what stuff they do in house and what stuff they send out.

Regardless if you decide on this project with them it will be interesting and worthwhile for future work. I like these guys

Communication is important in all relationships
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 11:07:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/28/2011 6:38:56 PM EST by Hawgleg44]
I would highly recommend calling Karl Sokol at Chestnut Mountain Sports. His prices are extremely reasonable and his work is very high quality. I'll look around, but I know I have the article from a few years back in Custom Combat Handguns that compared his work with Novak's and C&S. The description of his work was "Everything you need and nothing you don't".

Karl builds all of my custom handguns. For me, they are all revolvers and rifles, but he's built 1911's and BHP's for my friends. What I really like about having Karl build my guns is that he does everything. Most shops act almost like general contractors and send parts, or your whole gun, to others to have work done, and maybe do some themselves. With Karl, that's not the case. He does it all. That being the case, it may take him a little longer than some other shops that employ several people or send items out, but this way he has full control over every aspect of the build.

He really takes the build to heart and has an unbelieveable memory of them, too. I called him up a few years ago regarding a custom competition 686-1 he built for my father 25+ years ago. I couldn't find the original scope mount he used and couldn't match it up with anything and asked, even though it's a long shot, if he knew what he used on it. He named every modification he made to the revolver and knew the exact scope mount, too.

Since he's a one-man shop, he has limited hours to call and speak with him, but he'll spend as much time as necessary discussing your project with you. I believe you have to call between 3pm and 5pm to get him on the phone.
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 3:54:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2011 3:54:18 PM EST by DanTSX]
Good info guys!

Thanks for the additional reference Hawg!

I'm trying to figure out exactly what I "think" I want. The next step is to obviously talk to the gunsmith. I probably don't need everything that I think that I want and they probably can suggest a few things that I'm clearly leaving out.

Based on the previous work that I've had Jody do on my firearms, I'd be very open to hi suggestions. The tough thing is you look at pics online and talk to folks who have had work done, and you just end up wanting everything Obviously it ends up being a very personal choice, which is kind of cool. A lot different than buying a pistol off the shelf.

I'll still take references or referrals here or via PM. I'm still at least 3 months out from talking timelines with a gunsmith.
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 8:13:54 PM EST
Originally Posted By DanTSX:
Good info guys!

Thanks for the additional reference Hawg!

I'm trying to figure out exactly what I "think" I want. The next step is to obviously talk to the gunsmith. I probably don't need everything that I think that I want and they probably can suggest a few things that I'm clearly leaving out.

Based on the previous work that I've had Jody do on my firearms, I'd be very open to hi suggestions. The tough thing is you look at pics online and talk to folks who have had work done, and you just end up wanting everything Obviously it ends up being a very personal choice, which is kind of cool. A lot different than buying a pistol off the shelf.

I'll still take references or referrals here or via PM. I'm still at least 3 months out from talking timelines with a gunsmith.


Not the BHP work I mentioned, but this weekend, I'll be at S&W taking a snub class with Michael DeBethencourt. I'll be shooting a K-frame snub Karl built for me, and bringing another one of Karl's wheelguns as a backup, not that I expect to need one.

One of my friends is taking the class with me, and he has a Sokol Custom BHP. I'll see if I can get him to chime in here, and maybe post some pics. He bought the Sokol BHP 2nd hand from the gun writer Ralph Mroz, who also has Karl do custom work for him. He's built guns for Dave Spaulding before, and the last time I spoke with Massad Ayoob, he mentioned that his daughter's favorite revolver was built by Karl. Karl has a large SEAL following, along with a group of FAM's who he's working on custom 1911's for (not for their duty use, just something they want).

Karl built my first carry gun for me back when I turned 21. Before that, I had my LTC when I was 18 (the way MA law used to be), and I carried one of my father's Sokol customs.

I know I keep talking about him, but I really can't say enough good about him. I know Jojo's is closer to you, but it's a nice ride to Vermont to drop your project off to him! I'm sure Jojo's does fine work, but if you are going to invest this kind of money into what is really an heirloom that will last several lifetimes, I'd have to recommend a shop that has spent almost 30 years earning his national reputation. As a one-man shop, it says a lot when he has to ask gun writers NOT to write stories about him so he doesn't get overly backlogged.
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