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View Full Version : Custom 1911 Options...HELP!


Sam
03-14-2009, 3:53 PM
I'm planning a custom 1911 with John Harrison and I'm stuck on a couple of options, the sights and the magwell options. This is for a carry pistol. I know there are at least a few fans of the 1911 here and I'd like opinions.

I know for the sights I want a tritium front with a white outline but I'm undecided on the rear. I know I want to go with a heine ledge sight so I can have the matching serrations with the rear of the slide but I don't know if I want two rear yellow lamps or one single green lamp or a green bar or nothing at all. Harrison suggested one single lamp in the rear so it doesn't get to complicated in the rear. I've done a little low light shooting and I didn't think the green front, yellow double rear lamps was that complicated. Anyone have any experience with any of the setups? Also, anyone have any opinions on the rear sight notch width?

The magwell situation is not nearly as complicated. He can do an integrated magwell using something like a Heine magwell that doesn't lengthen the frame length but that requires getting specialized cut grips. I like the idea of a larger opening with a stock frame length but I really like playing with different grips and the crimson trace grips wouldn't fit. He can also do an extended magwell, something like the Wilson speed chute or a S&A magwell. These can be used with all of my current grips and I can still have some grip fun. Of course this would open up the magwell but lengthening the length of the frame a bit. John says that if I drop the pistol they may bend trapping the mag in the gun which would be horrible if I was using it to defend my life. The third option and the simplest is to just have the stock magwell beveled. This wouldn't lengthen or widen the magwell area.

I might as well put up the rest of my spec list and if anyone has any other comments or suggestions about these options I'd love to hear them. I really want to make this pistol right the first time around. As you can see, I also have no idea on what brand to use for most of the parts.

Night Sights

Checkered front and mainspring housing at 30LPI

Undercut trigger guard

Serrate rear of slide and flatten top of slide and serrate

Beveled magwell with extended magwell

Beavertail grip

Wilson tactical ambi safety, right side modified to accept laser grips

Solid Trigger

Trigger job at 4 pounds/New internal components/new springs

Commander Hammer

Tactical Mag release

Frame to slide fit

Dehorning Job

Lower and Flare ejection port

Reliability Job

Match barrel/bushing/plug/crown the barrel

Recess slide stop into frame

Ionbond dlc with flats polished to 1200 grit

Extra slide stop/extractor

Reliability testing and zero in with 250 rounds of HST and 5 new Wilson magazines

EGW flat firing pin stop



thanks,
Sam

mtenenhaus
03-14-2009, 5:14 PM
Wow, what a great opportunity and experience for you.

For a combat/self defense/carry platform I'm a big fan of the Tritium night sight front sight with Warren tactical rear combination. Its not too busy and maintains a relatively low profile. A great gunsmith like Harrison can certainly match the sights to your pistol.

If i were to make a suggestion, i would probably go with a more aggressive checkering ratio...perhaps 20 - 25 lpi. My SA professional came that way and at first i thought it might be too rough on my hands....but i've grown to love it lending the grip a very stable and solid feel.

I'd also recommend staying with a thinner profile mag well, beveled if you really want to stay with the multiple grip options....but for me, i'd let Mr. Harrison play a bit....perhaps a very subtle bobtail.

Please let us know what you choose....photos would be fantastic and again, congratulations.

dgey
03-14-2009, 5:17 PM
what gun are you starting with...? this sounds pretty cool... and expensive.

Sam
03-14-2009, 5:31 PM
Wow, what a great opportunity and experience for you.

For a combat/self defense/carry platform I'm a big fan of the Tritium night sight front sight with Warren tactical rear combination. Its not too busy and maintains a relatively low profile. A great gunsmith like Harrison can certainly match the sights to your pistol.

If i were to make a suggestion, i would probably go with a more aggressive checkering ratio...perhaps 20 - 25 lpi. My SA professional came that way and at first i thought it might be too rough on my hands....but i've grown to love it lending the grip a very stable and solid feel.

I'd also recommend staying with a thinner profile mag well, beveled if you really want to stay with the multiple grip options....but for me, i'd let Mr. Harrison play a bit....perhaps a very subtle bobtail.

Please let us know what you choose....photos would be fantastic and again, congratulations.

My only qualms about going with more aggressive checkering is I don't want it to gnaw at my skin or catch my shirt. I'll think about this, but I use smooth grips with 30 LPI and I don't feel the pistol is uncontrollable. I like the subtle bobtail, maybe a rounded butt so I can use standard grips. Mr. Harrison is suggesting with just a beveled standard magwell and I'm leaning towards this option too.

thanks, don't expect pictures for a looong time but it will be pretty once I post em!


what gun are you starting with...? this sounds pretty cool... and expensive.


Someone needs to kick start this economy! I bought a colt gov't series 80 for this project but if the NERF thing comes before I send away my pistol I'll buy a series 70 or a caspian frame for it.

Bongos
03-14-2009, 5:56 PM
My only qualms about going with more aggressive checkering is I don't want it to gnaw at my skin or catch my shirt. I'll think about this, but I use smooth grips with 30 LPI and I don't feel the pistol is uncontrollable. I like the subtle bobtail, maybe a rounded butt so I can use standard grips. Mr. Harrison is suggesting with just a beveled standard magwell and I'm leaning towards this option too.

thanks, don't expect pictures for a looong time but it will be pretty once I post em!



Someone needs to kick start this economy! I bought a colt gov't series 80 for this project but if the NERF thing comes before I send away my pistol I'll buy a series 70 or a caspian frame for it.

Keep in mind this is custom gun to you specifically, so get what you want, I personally like 30 lpi, Blended magwell is also nice. I also like bushinless 1911s, meaning using full match bull barrels... my next one is a long slide:thumbsup:

paladin4415
03-14-2009, 6:14 PM
The Ledge sight is a very good choice. I like a 3-dot set up, but the straight-eight works well also.
Just have John bevel the standard magwell opening and round the butt. I think you will like that better.
If you like smooth grips, I HIGHLY recommend that you have John send the frame and mainspring housing to Chuck (http://www.rogersprecision.com/) and have Chuck "golfball" them. You will get even better traction than 20 lpi checkering with absolutely NO roughness. John and Chuck have been friends for years so there won't be any issues there.
Chuck did this one for me.
http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h144/paladin4415/Bobs1.jpg
http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h144/paladin4415/Bobs2.jpg
Take a good look at Hilton Yams flat trigger. Bob Rodgers put one in a custom gun that I use for duty. It is the most amazing trigger I have ever used in 1911.
Here is that one.
http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h144/paladin4415/MonolithHW1.jpg
http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h144/paladin4415/MonolithHW6.jpg

Sam
03-14-2009, 9:01 PM
dang paladin, those are some real beauties! I like golfballs but that means I'd have to get a new slide as I couldn't possibly have serrations on the slide and golfballs on the frame...fashion misstep! I think gunner grips with the golfballed front and backstraps on the frame would look amazing. How does the flat trigger feel versus a rounded one? What do you feel specifically about the 3 dot setup in the dark? Too complicated for quick use? I like the three dot setup but I haven't played with any other rear sights. Do you use yellow rears? Your pictures really make me drool!

edit: Roger can do some amazing things on 1911 slides!

gdr_11
03-14-2009, 9:13 PM
That is one fantastic looking 1911; makes me want to throw all of mine in the nearest dumpster....almost!

Anyway, thanks for this thread; I have a new SAA GI model for which I am currently working up my parts and customization list and this discussion is very helpful.

Sam
03-14-2009, 9:24 PM
That is one fantastic looking 1911; makes me want to throw all of mine in the nearest dumpster....almost!

Anyway, thanks for this thread; I have a new SAA GI model for which I am currently working up my parts and customization list and this discussion is very helpful.

head over to louderthanwords.us and 1911 forums and m1911.org. Louderthanwords has some serious 1911 "pr0n" that I've spent many hours just drooling.

paladin4415
03-14-2009, 9:36 PM
dang paladin, those are some real beauties!

Thanks, I like them.

I like golfballs but that means I'd have to get a new slide as I couldn't possibly have serrations on the slide and golfballs on the frame...fashion misstep!

Not at all. That gun was kind of an experiment. It has "golfballs" in places that were never tried before or after. I have seen many a 1911 with a golfballed front strap and mainspring housing, and standard slide. They look and work great.

How does the flat trigger feel versus a rounded one?

For a defensive pistol, there is nothing better IMHO. The entire face of the trigger is the "sweet spot". Your trigger finger does not have to find the exact center to feel "right". Those fractions of a second you save, may make the difference in the fight.

What do you feel specifically about the 3 dot setup in the dark? Too complicated for quick use? I like the three dot setup but I haven't played with any other rear sights. Do you use yellow rears?

I really like the 3-dot. I don't find them slow to use. I use a green front and yellow rear.

edit: Roger can do some amazing things on 1911 slides!

Chuck Rogers is truly an artist. There is no 1911 pistolsmith anywhere that builds a better gun than he does.

wildhawker
03-14-2009, 9:57 PM
paladin, quite impressive! Just gorgeous, and they probably shoot better than they look (which is damn nice!).

leelaw
03-15-2009, 12:07 AM
Very nice setup. John does awesome work - you will not be disappointed!

CRTguns
03-15-2009, 12:32 AM
You forgot the Ballistic Guidance Computer. They might be hard to find these days- you know, sold out, backordered, etc.... But keep an eye out for one. I put one on my last custom 1911- nice little addition.




;)

JTROKS
03-15-2009, 8:30 AM
Straight 8 is hard to beat they line up quicly in the dark.

As for the magwell I'd say skip it and just have the well bevelled.

Any grip enhancement is welcome, those golf balling looks very neat.

gdr_11
03-15-2009, 12:25 PM
head over to louderthanwords.us and 1911 forums and m1911.org. Louderthanwords has some serious 1911 "pr0n" that I've spent many hours just drooling.

Thanks for the links..... eye candy does not begin to describe them.:thumbsup:

I was just thinking how great it would be to assemble photos of this quality into a 1911 calendar. Does anyone know if such a calendar is available?

I have seen some with generic 1911's but never an assembly of custom work.

Miltiades
03-15-2009, 1:36 PM
Regarding your magwell question - I think it is hard to beat the stock Smith & Alexander magwell/mainspring housing unit. As you know, S&A has the patent on that concept and it looks cleaner than the various alternatives others use.

I recently had S&A magwells, Wilson grip safeties and Wilson hammers put on two older Colt Gold Cups that I own, and the results have been excellent:

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o25/pogo2/ColtGoldCup82.jpg

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o25/pogo2/ColtGoldCup74.jpg

Overkill
03-15-2009, 1:46 PM
I've had John do some work to a Colt Commander of mine. Mine was for concealed carry also.

I'm not a fan of three dot systems, plreferring the straight eight system or dot front/serrated rear the most. MUCH easier to pick up quickly, especially in a very dark environment.

Regarding the frontstrap, have you considered John's chainlink treatment? I think I've seen him mention it's his favorite for carry guns. It aids the grip, while not being corse at all - something that no type of checkering can claim.

I would not conisder an extended magwell for a carry gun. The government frame is long enough - certainly no need to make it any longer. The real chance of needing a relaod in a defense situation is slim. I had John open up the bevel on my frame. It was fantastic, and a significant improvement over the factry bevel. I must admit though that I've always been smitten by the Heinie magwells.

Sam
03-16-2009, 12:34 PM
I figure I'll go with a beveled magwell and a blank rear. If I need to make any changes later I'm sure john will take my money again! Those golfball pictures are making me lean towards a full golfball treatment. Thanks again!

Sam
03-16-2009, 12:41 PM
You forgot the Ballistic Guidance Computer. They might be hard to find these days- you know, sold out, backordered, etc.... But keep an eye out for one. I put one on my last custom 1911- nice little addition.




;)

there are three problems with this. First, like you said, they are rare. Second, they are bulky for iwb wear. Third, I don't need it because I can make the bullets curve ala Angelina.