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View Full Version : Need help in customizing my Colt Commander


USN CHIEF
07-09-2008, 12:22 PM
This was my first gun that I purchased 14 years ago. She has been very reliable and has not once given me any trouble. I would like to repay her by getting some upgrades for her. I please need your help in getting a good trigger/sights/beavertail and anything else that you can recommend that would make her look prutier and perform better. Here are two pics. Let me know if you need close up pics of her to make it easier. Thanks in advance for your help.

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii260/USNMAC/DSCN0042.jpg

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii260/USNMAC/DSCN0041.jpg

FlyingPen
07-09-2008, 12:24 PM
Fitted match grade barrel and bushing, dark wood grips, night sights, then leave as is. Please don't bling it up.

Saigon1965
07-09-2008, 12:29 PM
14 years and now you want to give her some loving.

Stay basic.

USN CHIEF
07-09-2008, 12:31 PM
Fitted match grade barrel and bushing, dark wood grips, night sights, then leave as is. Please don't bling it up.

O.K, that sounds good. I know I will be getting the grips from here http://www.vzgrips.com/grips.html . Where would be a good place to find a fitted match grade barrel, Bushing and Good Night Sights?

FlyingPen
07-09-2008, 12:34 PM
I think the big names are Barsto, Ed Brown, and of course Wilson. I would get an oversized Barsto and have a good gun smith fit it.

Of course if you have less than 10,000 rounds on it, I don't really see the point of a new barrel. The Commander was never meant to be a match grade gun... I would just save the money towards a Les Baer or something :)

JTROKS
07-09-2008, 12:36 PM
This is what I did to mine. I had a Wilson speed chute to augment speed reloads with mine. The barrel is still stock on mine the 4" group at 25 yards is more than adequate. I did polish and throated it, with a radiused ejection port to save the brass. The trigger has been worked on to give it a nice 4 lb trigger pull using the stock parts. Nothing extended on this one except for the grip safety. Yeah! Yeah... FLRG, but the recoil reducer came like that. It works and I like it.

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh257/joshuatroy/DSC00953.jpg

USN CHIEF
07-09-2008, 12:37 PM
I have maybe about 3k rounds through her. The only things that I really want to change is the grips/trigger/sights and add a bigger beaver tail to her.

I know what you mean about saving the money for a nicer gun, but unfortunately I have many nice guns already and this one kind of feels out of place amongst them.:(

Saigon1965
07-09-2008, 12:42 PM
Dude, different tools. If you feel that bad, sell her to me.

USN CHIEF
07-09-2008, 12:48 PM
Saigon, I will never sell any of my guns. Especially this one. Come guys/gurls recommend me some good parts for her.:)

Saigon1965
07-09-2008, 12:50 PM
Go down to your local smith and start talking to him/her. They'll have some package pricing.

USN CHIEF
07-09-2008, 12:51 PM
Go down to your local smith and start talking to him/her. They'll have some package pricing.

I did that yesterday, the only problem is that he does not have the parts. He told me to get the parts that I want to put in her and he will do it. That is why I am asking all you experts here.

BigRich
07-09-2008, 12:52 PM
Chief,
If you decide to replace the barrel, have the smith polish the inside of the slide where the locking lugs are before fitting the barrel. From the picture it looks like the lug area is rough and is doing a lot of scuffing to the barrel hood area. This rough machining is typical of Colt pistols. Polishing will make the gun smoother and longer wearing.
My 0.02 would be some general smoothing of the internals, a new barrel, bushing, link and pin from Barsto, better sights, a nice high ride beavertail, raising the front strap under the trigger guard (checkering the front strap if it is in the budget, a better quality trigger unit and a trigger job. Some nice thin grip panels with engraved screws would finish it off. I, personally would stay away from extended controls. Keep it low profile and elegant. 600 grit polish and blue looks classy but doesn't wear as well as something like brushed finish hard chrome or NP3. You would then have a handsome companion to shoot and be proud of for the rest of your life.

Overkill
07-09-2008, 12:54 PM
Colt has what they call the "O" package that they can perform on your pistol. The package includes a fitted beavertail grip safety, installation of Novak rear sight and dovetailed front sight, dehorning of the pistol and a refinish. I think that the package costs $375, which is a pretty good price considering what they do. You could have them install a match bushing while they're at it.

USN CHIEF
07-09-2008, 12:59 PM
Thank you Big Rich for the advice.

Overkill, I never taught of contacting Colt. I will give them a call right now. Thanks.

FlyingPen
07-09-2008, 1:01 PM
You can send it to Springfield or Colt Custom Shop for a complete internal deburring and polishing. Maybe also get the slide fitted to the frame for that on greased glass bearings feel.

If it was me, I would just get sights for it and enjoy an American classic.

It's like having an E30 M3 in the garage that's full of new Ferraris and Lambos. Sure, it's not as nice but in terms of cool factor, it's just as good if not better.

jmlivingston
07-09-2008, 1:10 PM
This was my first gun that I purchased 14 years ago. She has been very reliable and has not once given me any trouble.

14 good years out of her. If she's still running strong why mess with a good thing? If you want something different, go get something custom.

My $0.02.....

John

JTROKS
07-09-2008, 1:17 PM
Go to brownells.com and just type in 1911 and you'll see a mirage of custom parts. Or it might be easier if you order a catalog.

Black Majik
07-09-2008, 1:19 PM
Chief,

As balls out as the new Wilson is, the Colt is a different animal. My honest opinion is to leave the commander as close to stock as possible. It's a superb feeling shooting a semi-custom, but once in a while you get that very satisfactory, nostalgic feeling shooting a plain jane, box stock 1911 in close to it's intended form also. The original barrel still has a lot of life left in it. Swapping out barrels, sights, and modding it up can add up in price really quick. I can give a huge list of items to change and modify, but I feel that a simple trigger job can bring new life to the gun and make it enjoyable to shoot next to your new Wilson CQB.

But, if we want to revamp it just a tad, I think new Heinie straight 8s, trigger job, a brushed hardchrome finish, and undercut the triggerguard a little would turn out nicely. Fronstrap checkering if you like it, since a refinish is in order anyways.

But, I vote to keep it as close to stock as possible. :)

oddjob
07-09-2008, 2:29 PM
I have a Lt Wt Commander with Ed Brown amby safeties, Ed Brown beavertail, S&A mag well, med length trigger, a Trijicon front night sight, and a Yost low profile fixed rear sight. Its my everyday work gun (LEO). The standard barrel & bushing has been just fine. Its runs like a champ.

ojisan
07-09-2008, 3:58 PM
Chief's got 1911 fever! Careful everyone...you might get it too! The urge to customize is irresistable, and it will cost you! I'm infected, stay away!
Chief: Ed Brown beavertail is the highest cut / grip. Best IMHO. I like the King's ambi safety...not to big and a unique retaining method. odd job's sights sound good, I use basic black. Checker and plate yes but $$$. Pick trigger length you like best. Reliabilty tune up but if already working 100% ???
But even though it's a 1991...Colts are going up in value...best if original.

mauritz45
07-09-2008, 4:54 PM
i would suggest going to ed browns website http://www.edbrown.com/ he has everything you need to make the lil darlin look all grown up.
if you want to have someone do it, i would not hesitate to recommend ray harms, www.harmscustomdesign.com he has my hi-power right now and has a very nice, reasonable package, as does don williams at the actionworks.com or marianne carnak.
have fun--cam

JMB1911
07-09-2008, 6:29 PM
Hey Chief. I say keep it stock. She was after all your first one. But if that doesn't work for you anymore, send her to Wilson Combat and get her transformed into a Wilson Combat CQB Compact except in proper Commander length.

USN CHIEF
07-09-2008, 6:35 PM
Well my friends, thank you for all the great advice. I guess I will just leave her the way she is then. I have been doing the research for the last 3 hours and just looking at the $$$ that it would cost me to do it right I could easily buy another one for the collection for that price. She shall remain original. Once again, thanks again for all the great inputs and ideas.

99medic
07-09-2008, 6:45 PM
According to Alan Tanaka Colt makes a pretty good barrel so there is no need to change out the barrel if its not shot out. Just replace the barrel bushing for a tighter fitting one. Get the barrel OD measurement with a caliper and order from EGW a bushing that has a .02 ID clearance from your barrel OD that should tighten up your groups. As for the sights I would go with the King's hardball sights. Also, for the grip safety I would go with Smith and Alexander. Hope this helps.

FlyingPen
07-09-2008, 7:05 PM
How do you get around the problem that the finishes are different between safeties and such.

big50_1
07-09-2008, 9:51 PM
I would recommend leaving it basic (as is) with maybe a trigger job and grips. Especially if you only have 3K through it. BUT if you gotta' spend the money on it, send it to Barsto for a fitted barrel and trigger job. Had one of those done to a Springfield loaded 9mm and it came back scary accurate. May cost some, though you will not be disappointed.

ar15barrels
07-09-2008, 10:11 PM
Get the barrel OD measurement with a caliper and order from EGW a bushing that has a .02 ID clearance from your barrel OD that should tighten up your groups.

I think you mean 0.002" clearance. ;)

99medic
07-09-2008, 11:34 PM
I think you mean 0.002" clearance. ;)

Thanks for the correction.

ar15barrels
07-09-2008, 11:43 PM
Thanks for the correction.

I fit my barrel bushing to 0.002" clearance and it seems perfect.
The barrel gets completely tight in the bushing when the lugs engage the slide.
It's so tight that you can't turn the bushing when the breech is locked.
I have to retract the slide about an inch before I attempt to rotate the bushing.
That's a nice fitting job.

JTROKS
07-10-2008, 6:41 AM
Colt makes a pretty good barrel so there is no need to change out the barrel if its not shot out

Colt does make a nice barrel, but they don't fit their barrels like Kimber does to get the accuracy.

Mac Attack
07-10-2008, 7:18 AM
I am having a similar decision to make. I was basically gifted a mint 9mm Colt Combat Commander (CCC) from a friends family. Thei father had passed and no one in their family were gun people so the asked me if I wanted it. This was 6 years ago and I have put less than 2 mags through her. She shoots fine but with factory sites, barrel and trigger she was not the most fun gun to shoot.

I have considered customizing her but some people tell me to leave her stock. The only upgrades I would NEED: a crisp trigger job with a long trigger, new sites either Novaks or Heinies, high ride beavertail. Upgrades I would LIKE: undercut trigger guard, front strap checkering, new safety, NP3 finish.

Others have told me to just sel my CCC and use the money to finance a Wilson, Brown or other custom pistol.

99medic
07-10-2008, 7:42 AM
I am having a similar decision to make. I was basically gifted a mint Colt Combat Commander (CCC) from a friends family. Thei father had passed and no one in their family were gun people so the asked me if I wanted it. This was 6 years ago and I have put less than 2 mags through her. She shoots fine but with factory sites, barrel and trigger she was not the most fun gun to shoot.

I have considered customizing her but some people tell me to leave her stock. The only upgrades I would NEED: a crisp trigger job with a long trigger, new sites either Novaks or Heinies, high ride beavertail. Upgrades I would LIKE: undercut trigger guard, front strap checkering, new safety, NP3 finish.

Others have told me to just sel my CCC and use the money to finance a Wilson, Brown or other custom pistol.

You will kick yourself a few years down the line. Colts gain in value while other brands decrease in value.

Mac Attack
07-10-2008, 7:50 AM
I know but it's a 9mm and I really don't shoot 9mm. I figure if I had a nice handgun it might change my opinion on that caliber.

Black Majik
07-10-2008, 8:20 AM
I know but it's a 9mm and I really don't shoot 9mm. I figure if I had a nice handgun it might change my opinion on that caliber.

Ooh... Mark can you bring it out on the 20th.

That sounds pretty interesting. :)

JTROKS
07-10-2008, 8:27 AM
[/B]

You will kick yourself a few years down the line. Colts gain in value while other brands decrease in value.

Yup! Who would've thought that my Mustang will be worth more than my commander.

JMB1911
07-10-2008, 8:34 AM
Others have told me to just sel my CCC and use the money to finance a Wilson, Brown or other custom pistol.

I'll take it if you decide to sell it!

Sorry for hijacking your thread Chief but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do...to get what he wants. :D

USN CHIEF
07-10-2008, 8:37 AM
I'll take it if you decide to sell it!

Sorry for hijacking your thread Chief but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do...to get what he wants. :D

Oh no worries, I have decided that she will remain as she is. Good luck on getting that CCC.:D

Colt
07-10-2008, 9:24 AM
Yeah, but I PM'd about buying the CCC before the post about buying...

ar15barrels
07-10-2008, 9:25 AM
I know but it's a 9mm and I really don't shoot 9mm.

:Ivan:

Colt
07-10-2008, 9:29 AM
Chief, another option would be to send it to someone like John Harrison or Don Williams (ActionWorks) - they can tweak and still keep the appearance stock-like. I have done that and was very pleased with the work of both gentlemen. The Yost retro rear sight with a white dot front is my favorite. As mentioned, you may not need new barrel, but do well with a new fitted bushing. If you want a larger grip safety there are many choices. John also fits a larger than standard but still standard looking thumb safety if I remember correctly.

If you send out, think about a reliability job, trigger job and maybe lower and bevel ejection port (and maybe also flute the port if you want).

Good luck!

1911su16b870
07-10-2008, 11:48 AM
Chief,my commander was my learner 1911. I have her set up with meprolight adjustibles, a 5" match-ported barrel/bushing, extended slide stop, and will do a beaver tail safety when I figure out how its done. I've read about installing the beaver tail safeties, but somehow want to see one done first.

tazmanian devil dog
07-10-2008, 4:20 PM
You might want to look up Terry Tussey of Tussey Custom in Carson City NV.

There web address is www.tusseycustom.com

Terry has done two of my 1911's and a Browning HP and I have been nothing but pleased. Terry also exclusively works on Actor Steven Seagals' guns. Check him out.

Tell them Rob sent you. They'll hook you up.