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Ok guys, a while back I got the 1911 bug. Rather than doing the sensible thing and buying a decent gun, I snatched up this little guy from a local pawnshop. Now I did so with it in mind to use it as a guinea pig gun to learn the platform, how to make minor modifications, fit parts, ect. I truly enjoy tinkering and figured better to mess up this thing than a decent sringfield.

So, it's one of the good ole colt slide/essex frame guns. Colt military barrel. It actually ran wrfectly fine when I bought it other than bouncing brass off my forehead.

Just thought I'd share my progress and ask a few questions. So far iv installed a wilson trigger, hammer and drop in beavertail, lowered the ejection port to .49" above bottom of slide, cut a flare, and attempted to undercut the trigger guard. I didn't like doing the undercut due to there being no real reference points. It seems to be kind of an "eyeball it" thing. But I think i did fairly well save for the idiot with a dremel scratch on the slide. :eek:

Here is a before


And current


First off, any advice or criticism to my sad attempts so far?

And now for the questions. My ejector and extractor look like crap and brass lands on my shoulder now. Should I stick with the GI ejector or go extended?

Also going to switch to the ed brown grip safety and radius the frame to fit it.

I have big wide hands but short thick fingers, so I really have to crane my thumb up to ride the thumb safety. Are the low ride type thumb safety recommended? If so which one in particular?

Looking foward to what you guys think!!
 

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First off your 1911 looks pretty as is. try a ED Brown (at Brownells) for the extractor and ejector. They make good solid components for the 45. If you don't have to stay away from the ambi thumb safety. I have two 45's, one is a 1943 Ithaca and basically in stock condition and the other is a Springfield armory with all the bells and whistles. When I first started shooting steel plate matches those little sights were hard to pickup.. So the new Springfield armory had a high front sight and click adjustable rear sights made by STI. All I shot during my foray for the steel plates was the 230 hard cast lead, mixed brass,win LP,and winchesters win super target. Haven't changed anything except different hard cast bullets. I sure wish someone would put the mag release on the right side of the frame instead of the left. I have short fingers. My Baretta 92FS you can swap the trigger to the right side in about 3 minutes. I see no use for ambi safeties. The one on the left works just fine. Frank
 

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Good morning
Looks good enough to carry and have a fun afternoon with.
Years back I bought a cheap 45 ACP to do the same with. It was fun and back then military parts were cheap. One item I learned real fast was not to shorten the ejector. That unit would eject a fired case straight up 20 feet. I could tilt the 45 just a bit and drop hot fired cases on shooters down the line. Not during a match though. But did all the modifications up and down and still have that 45. It sort of is special to me.
Hard cast.... I do My own cast bullets and at 45 ACP pressures hard cast is not necessary. I use plain old range scrap (soft) at any velocity I want. No leading by the way. Far more important is diameter. Too small "hard cast" will wobble down a bore. Skip, slide, wobble ... it will happen. So do measure those bullets to be sure they are groove diameter. I prefer at least .001 over bore as I do not shoot tight chambers in a defense hand gun. Diameter and lube is the first consideration.
Mike in Peru
 

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There's a 1911 site that has all the mod tips. It's the John Moses Brown 1911 site not the other 1911 site.

Search for tuning the extractor. You funnel the bottom side of the extractor so the shell case rim goes into easier. A nice chamfer. Follow the instructions.

Next a disconnector ramp on the bottom of the slide. If you take the empty slide and install it on the frame and cycle it you will feel this bump when the square edge below the firing pin hole hits the disconnector. On the bottom of the slide you will see wear marks from the disconnector. Mark the height of the disconnector with the slide on the frame. Do not go any deeper with this ramp than is needed.

Polish the feed ramp to a mirror finish.

Next is installing and fitting a national match barrel bushing. IAI MN bushing from cdnn investments. If u need instructions there's info on the net or ask me.

Next is installing a FLGR with 18# recoil spring.

You will end up with a very accurate low budget race performing 1911.
My only problem now is I was looking for a shooter, beater, truck, 1911, my norinco 1911 project isn't it now it's turned out better than I wanted. She shoots clusters and cloverleafs at 25yds. using Russian wolf ammo. The original barrel bushing was so loose in the slide I had to change it. I installed a new USGI Surplus $59 barrel too. I wanted to see how accurate a cheap low budget build could be.
 

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Cool project. A 1911 is on my bucket list. An old Colt with some patina and old oily walnut grips would suit me just fine.
 

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I bought every 1911 DVD and vhs on how to work on them. I got Jerry k's book a shop manual too. Being a machine builder, ex auto and truck mechanic plus a lead engineering tech for the world engineering of Otis elevator. gunsmithing isn't that hard to understand.

I have 100% barrel lockup in full battery with no barrel spring in either direction. The lug engagement is within spec with no movement when I push down on the chamber area when it's in full battery. Looking at the barrel bushing from the side we have four sections. Top front, top rear, lower front, lower rear. The top rear and lower front sections hold the barrel snug in full battery. The top front and lower rear are clearanced for the barrel to hinge down to load the next round. Once the nm barrel bushing is fitted to the slide. I like the bushing wrench for that last 1/8 turn on the barrel bushing. Not too tight not loose snug. Next step is to get the barrel to sit on the same plane of the bore in the slide. Trim the barrel bushing to achieve this. Next step is to clearance the barrel bushing for the movement. With no barrel spring.in either direction.
After its fitted I lap the barrel into the barrel bushing so it's a 100% lockup in full battery.
It's not hard to do. Watching the videos isn't hands on but gives some understanding. The rest is my assembly knowledge. I'm not a gun Smith. But I do my own work one gun at a time.
 

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I had bought a Wilson sear, trigger and hammer. Bought a sear jig to stone the sear at the correct angle and stoned the hammer notch. Kept assembling it to try it until I ended up with an awesome trigger pull. You could fit a different safety also. I also think that good sights are a must. I also built mine with reading different how to materials. I even bead blasted the frame and other parts and did a spray on teflon molly oven cure finish from Brownells that I'm very happy with. If you take your time, and pay attention to detail you can build a nice 1911. There is lots of how to info out there to be had. BTW. I suggest you get rid of the drop in beavertail. Buy a jig to cut the frame and fit a beavertail. Its really not that hard to do, and the very first one I did came out great. Its a much easier job than undercutting the trigger guard. If you want you could also get a mainspring housing that is checkered. Flat or arched. Try a gun with each first to see what feels right. You could also bevel the mag well. Lots of stuff you can add, that costs lots of money. I know I could have bought a custom 1911 for what I have in mine, but it was fun doing it, and I know I have a better trigger than anything over the counter.
 

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Good advice from Frank46 on the Ed Brown extractor and ejector. Brown produces excellent parts. I'd stay away from full length guide rods. Elder John Moses Browning would have used them if they were superior to the standard guide rod and plug he designed. The M1911.org forums are a great place to get all the info you're looking for. Also, PM sent to you by me.
 

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Look on the 1911 forum site and read about the EGW firing pin stops. The series 70 is the original JMB design. I fitted one to my 'series 80' Kimber and noticed a drop in felt recoil and a split second quicker target acquisition for double tap type shooting. The fitting was done with a couple of stones and not at all difficult. There is also a really informative stickey there about timing.....just a few thoughts.
 
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