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Posted: 2/26/2006 8:54:13 AM EDT
I have a Springfield 1911A1 GI. Use it as a beat around gun and it works very well. I want a new beavertail and grips for it but hear all these horror stories about how Springfield can't take just any 1911 parts. Is this true? And if so, where can I find these parts? I looked at Brownells but was wondering if I can use Wilson Combat stuff. Thank for the help!
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 9:59:04 AM EDT
just get series 70 parts and go to town, man.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 10:15:46 AM EDT
You can use just about any 1911 parts on a Springfield. If there is a part that has a choice between Series 80 and Series 70, like tommygs said, go Series 70.

With regards to beavertails, the rear of the frame at the grip tangs is a different contour than a standard 1911. The top of the tangs is lower. When you cut the radius for a standard beavertail, whether it's a traditional .250" radius like an Ed Brown, or the compound radius like that of older Wilson, Clark or Caspian beavertails, the top of the beavertail sill sit higher than the top of the frame tangs. It's rather ugly, but it does not affect performance.

Smith and Alexander came up with a solution. They made a beavertail with a much lower top surface. To do so requires a cut smaller than a .250" radius. They went to a .220" radius. Wilson's latest beavertail is also lower, and they did not have to redesign their radius since the top of the radius is smaller than .250"

Bottom line is that you can get a Smith and Alexander .220" beavertail or a Wilson Combat High Ride. You could theoretically use an older Wilson, Clark, or Caspian, but you would have a lot of contouring to do. Most go with the S&A .220" as it has a constant radius that is much easier to cut than the compound radius found on the Wilson. Either way, they sell jigs for both.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 11:39:11 AM EDT
The only other odd thing is the firing pin. I had to go with a wilson .38super/9mm one. The .45 one was too fat to go in the slide of my USGI SA .45
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 11:49:08 AM EDT
Good point. Sorry I forgot that. They don't take the .45 pins. If you order a FP stop, you can still use a .45 stop.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 3:45:47 PM EDT
What is a jig used for? I'm not much of a gunsmith, is this something I can do on my own?
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 3:56:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rizzo1318:
What is a jig used for? I'm not much of a gunsmith, is this something I can do on my own?



The jig is used to fit the beaver tail safty, they may need some "fitting". I believer there is another jig to put something else in.

When I put my ambi thumbsafty in my SA GI. it need some minor fitting, jus a couple passes of a small file and it worked good.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 3:59:36 PM EDT
Can you? Yes. Should you? I don't know. There are fitted and "drop-in" beavertails. Drop in still requires fitting internally, but does not require that you cut the frame. Fitted means you need to cut the frame. They sell jigs to show you where to cut, and to let you file right up against them. Though you can get the beavertail installed and working with a jig, there is more to getting a cosmetically acceptable fit than just using a jig.

For instance, about .125" is cut off the back. The beavertail is mounted in the frame with the safety pin. Most beavertails have a .250" radius as measured from the thumb safety pin hole. To fit the beavertail, you can use an inexpensive jig that is essentially a pin the diameter of the thumb safety pin, and it has two .250" buttons on it. You place it in the gun, and cut right up to it. Once you cut close to it, you can finish by filing right up against it. At that point, you can mount the beavertail in the frame. With most, you are left with a generaous amount of material on the top and bottom of the frame tangs. This does not have to be blended, but it will not look good. There are quite a few brands where there will not be any frame material underhanging the beavertail, but there will be some above it. Wilson Combat just leaves it there on all but their top of the line guns, and it does not seem to bother most. I think it looks sloppy, but it's purely cosmetic.

Here is what it looks like with only the radius cut on an Colt with an Ed Brown beavertail:



This is the same gun after the top and bottom of the tangs have been blended:


Link Posted: 2/26/2006 4:04:13 PM EDT
There are several jigs..

One is for the radius on the frame for the beavertail-

2 types of jigs-




The other is for doing a trigger job-





Link Posted: 2/26/2006 4:17:58 PM EDT
So here's the big question - which brand of "drop-in" requires the least amount of fitting? And not to ask too similar a question, but do I have to use a jig? I'm not too overly concerned with cosmetics on this particular gun, but also don't want it looking terrible. And hobbs, where did you get those awesome grips?
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 6:37:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rizzo1318:
So here's the big question - which brand of "drop-in" requires the least amount of fitting? And not to ask too similar a question, but do I have to use a jig? I'm not too overly concerned with cosmetics on this particular gun, but also don't want it looking terrible.



wilsoncombat.com/a_beavertail_safeties_di.asp
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 6:37:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/26/2006 6:42:51 PM EDT by hobbs5624]
They are not my grips, but this is where they came from:

www.gripsandknives.com/category.html?UCIDs=1220094

More grips from the same maker:





These grips are all very expensive, but they are the best I've seen. There are quite a few other makers out there that are a lot cheaper, and offer wood that is very close. Look up at the top of this forum for the tacked thread of grip links.

The brand of drop in that most people I know like the most is the Wilson Combat drop in. King's also makes several. Past those two brands, I have no idea. You don't need a jog for a drop in, you just need to fit the finger on the inside.

Where are you located, and what kind of gun are you putting this all on (model and finish)? If you're in the Phoenix Metro area, I'll be happy to help you out sometime. I have every beavertail jig imagineable, and if you want to go the fitted route, you might consider getting the S&A .220" radius beavertail and leaving the top of the tangs unblended. A lot of do it yourselfers do that, and it looks fine.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 4:44:50 PM EDT
hobbs, you have truly been a wonderful source of information. I live in Prescott Valley, otherwise I would have you help me out. I think I will go with the Wilson Combat because on this particular pistol I am not too worried about fit and finish. Oh, and it is a Springfield Champion blued finish.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 4:56:43 PM EDT
Lucky you, the best is right in your town.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 5:54:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By hobbs5624:
I have every beavertail jig imagineable, and if you want to go the fitted route, you might consider getting the S&A .220" radius beavertail and leaving the top of the tangs unblended. A lot of do it yourselfers do that, and it looks fine.



Since Rizzo has made his decision, which is probably a good one for what he's going for, I've got to say I finally found something to disagree with Hobbs on. Not blending the top of the tangs doesn't look good. I'm not that good, nor am I a 1911 snob, but it really bothers me when a grip safety isn't blended in with the top and the bottom of the tangs, especially an S&A on an SA.

If a person can fit an S&A safety, they definitely have the ability to blend it in and IMO not doing so looks sloppy.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:37:37 PM EDT
Who is "the best" here in town?

Link Posted: 3/3/2006 9:31:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rizzo1318:
Who is "the best" here in town?




Chuck Rogers....
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