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2new
08-05-2009, 11:30 PM
I was going to buy a Nighthawk Custom GRP at the beginning of the year, but the company I worked for went bankrupt, so I held off. Been looking at the semi customs from Bear, Wilson, NHC, but I hate when someone will post "I have that exact same gun"! I have a budget of around 3500, for the gun and work to be preformed. It will be used as a range gun, personal defense, and hopefully carry. Im not a colt expert, what year colt would be a good platform and fit my budget? Who would you guns recommend to do the custom work? Any imput will be appreciated.

cmace22
08-05-2009, 11:53 PM
What kind of custom work do you want done. You should be able to buy a custom work of art from the manufacturers you have listed. what else is needed.


If you want to build something from scratch. Get yourself a SA milspec 1911 and use the frame for your build. Pick the parts you want then send it off to the builder of your choice.

aplinker
08-06-2009, 12:18 AM
If you're spending that much in custom work, start with a base 70 series Colt.

Smiths are heavily impacted right now. VERY heavily. I don't know any top smiths who don't have waiting lists through next year and they're not accepting orders.

You'll want to look at examples from all the smiths on Louder Than Words.

I'm a big fan of Ned Christiansen.

Add in guys like Hilton Yam, John Jardine, Steve Morrison... the list goes on.

It's a big personal preference thing here.

What kind of custom work do you want done. You should be able to buy a custom work of art from the manufacturers you have listed. what else is needed.


If you want to build something from scratch. Get yourself a SA milspec 1911 and use the frame for your build. Pick the parts you want then send it off to the builder of your choice.

bin31z
08-06-2009, 12:25 AM
Don't go with Colt. The only quality Colt are the Series 70 guns, especially something like a gold cup national match. But those guns are so old now that its almost impossible to find NIB, and since we're in Kalifornia, I would say close to impossible. Plus, even if you do find one, its still a 30 year old gun. Its better to get a modern 1911 from a quality maker that utilizes the metallurgical advances of the last 3 decades like a Springfield Armory Loaded or even a TRP. I would go with the TRP because it has stuff like the magwell, checkering, durable coating already done at the factory. Those 3 things are usually very expensive and easy enough to do where I don't mind a factory doing them. Figure hand checkering costs 200 bucks, magwell is 200 installed, coating is another 150-200 for the entire pistol. And that doesn't count the months you'll have to wait for the gunsmith. What I consider to the a fine 1911 will have the following:

-high quality slide and frame
-hand fitted slide to frame
-Match type barrel, fitted to slide
-tool steel ignition compoents and trigger job
-checkering
-reliability package (polish feed ramp, throat barrel, tune extractor, deburr internals, polish breech face)
-durable coating
-novak or heinie sights (preferably night sights)
-magwell

now...if you were to buy a colt (prolly around 1200 bucks for a good series 70) or SA mil spec for 600-700. The total parts cost and installation will be:

-high quality slide and frame - acceptable quality on milspec and colts
-hand fitted slide to frame - not really necessary
-Match type barrel, fitted to slide - 350
-tool steel ignition compoents and trigger job - 250
-checkering - 200
-reliability package (polish feed ramp, throat barrel, tune extractor, deburr internals, polish breech face) - 100
-durable coating - 200
-novak or heinie sights (preferably night sights) - 200 installed
-magwell - 200 installed

So that's a total of 1450 on top of your purchase price.


Jim Hoag of Hoag gun works will take care of you, but the turn around time is not the greatest. Figure at least 6 months for this amount of work. That conservative, it could be as much as a year.

bin31z
08-06-2009, 12:33 AM
Mr. Hoag is based in Canoga park. Unlike the other big names, you can actually go in and talk to him in person. He's great guy, he'll take good care of you. I don't like the idea of just sending the pistol off to some smith with a spec sheet and who knows who does the work. With Mr. Hoag, you can walk in and discuss what you want and he'll often tell you what you do need and don't need. He's the one that told me that the frame to slide fit that so many marvel at as being "ball bearing smooth" probably contributes about 5 percent to the accuracy of a 1911 and is not worth it on a pistol that's already built because it cost you alot and it involves squishing the slide or welding on the frame. Its a different story when you are building a gun from scratch with oversize components. Then hand lapping will give you a buttery smooth action and good reliability without alot of hassles. He also let me know that the tighter the gun is built, the less accurate its going to be. Also, full length guide rods are only for feel and extending the life of the recoil spring.

bin31z
08-06-2009, 12:39 AM
BTW, 3500 is a TON of money to be spending on one 1911. These things aren't fine art, they are GUNS! Get it working right, shooting straight and looking good and that's all you need! You really don't need the french bordering on the slide, the 500 dollar high polish bluing, the engraving, the nitre blued pins and screws, the serrated and flatten slide top, the serrate rear of the slide, the shortened and recessed slide stop, and handmade grips. That's what 3500 dollars will get you!! But you know what, ditch all that useless crap and you'll have a fine 1911 that'll run you 2000 at most that you can depend you life on or go shoot a match with.

Enzyme
08-06-2009, 12:56 AM
I highly recommend Ted Yost of Heirloom Precision. I sent him a pair of current production Series 70s and after about a two year wait, I got them back like this.

http://www.heirloomprecision.com/photos/Ted_Yost/2008_Signature_Grade_Matched_Pair

They were not cheap, and are a little outside your specified price range, but if you don't care if it's a Signature Grade, you can spend less. Sadly, they no longer look quite as pretty as in the pics. They've been through a couple Pat Rogers classes strapped to my leg...

bin31z
08-06-2009, 1:10 AM
I dont know. I read a review on Yost custom a while back and the fit and finish was not great.

bin31z
08-06-2009, 1:11 AM
http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=3096

here's the review.

B Strong
08-06-2009, 5:02 AM
You'll be able to get pretty much whatever you want at that price point, short of gold embellishments or somesuch, so really it's just a matter of personal preference.

If you're really looking for a one-off custom, just start with a quality base pistol, and have a top smith build it from there to your specs - and be patient - quality custom work costs both money and time and there is no way around that.

I was going to buy a Nighthawk Custom GRP at the beginning of the year, but the company I worked for went bankrupt, so I held off. Been looking at the semi customs from Bear, Wilson, NHC, but I hate when someone will post "I have that exact same gun"! I have a budget of around 3500, for the gun and work to be preformed. It will be used as a range gun, personal defense, and hopefully carry. Im not a colt expert, what year colt would be a good platform and fit my budget? Who would you guns recommend to do the custom work? Any imput will be appreciated.

Miltiades
08-06-2009, 6:32 AM
This thread on Calguns from March 2009 has some good ideas:
Calguns thread on custom 1911s (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=162942)

Notice especially the posting by Paladin4415 regarding Rogers Precision:
Link to Rogers Precision (http://www.rogersprecision.com/)

And take a look at the pictures posted by Paladin4415 of his guns:

http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h144/paladin4415/MonolithHW1.jpg

http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h144/paladin4415/Bobs1.jpg

J-cat
08-06-2009, 7:13 AM
Springfield Professional

If you have ever had an opportunity to closely examine a Sig P210, you'll want a Pro. The quality of machining, fit and finish is that good.

Sam
08-06-2009, 9:39 AM
BTW, 3500 is a TON of money to be spending on one 1911. These things aren't fine art, they are GUNS! Get it working right, shooting straight and looking good and that's all you need! You really don't need the french bordering on the slide, the 500 dollar high polish bluing, the engraving, the nitre blued pins and screws, the serrated and flatten slide top, the serrate rear of the slide, the shortened and recessed slide stop, and handmade grips. That's what 3500 dollars will get you!! But you know what, ditch all that useless crap and you'll have a fine 1911 that'll run you 2000 at most that you can depend you life on or go shoot a match with.

This is all a matter of opinion. I personally like some of these high end features and don't like others, but then again, that's why it's custom. If you want the high end embellishments go for it. Just because it's a gun doesn't mean it also can't be a work of art. I seriously flirted with the idea of going with a full house custom build and was always told a base Springfield or Colt was preferred. Remember to post pictures when you get it so we can all drool over it.

Haha, I didn't even realize the above link was to my own ramblings. While I haven't forgotten or given up my customized 1911, I put it on the back burner until I finish law school. What a sweet graduation present it will be. I have a word document that is about 5 pages long with notes that I've written when I come acrosss something I want or don't want on my future 1911, it's become somewhat of an obsession to continue to fine tune my own personal specs. If you'd like any specific questions, feel free to ask. My first recommendation would be to make a list of things you like about your current 1911s (if you have any) and a list of things you do not like about your current 1911s. Go to shops and fondle the high end 1911s and see what you like and don't like.

Black Majik
08-06-2009, 9:44 AM
I dont know. I read a review on Yost custom a while back and the fit and finish was not great.

You're probably thinking of the Springfield with the one *** to risk package, yeah it was pretty abismal quality when in comparison to the Brown and Wilson it was up against.

IPSICK
08-06-2009, 9:48 AM
I'm not sure what their prices are but SVI makes their own very high quality frames, slides, and parts and they do custom work. I'm recommending them because of the quality of their parts.

+1 on the smiths from Louder than Words. Look at the pics, I am a big fan of John Harrison, CT Brian, and Stan Chen.

Also add John Jardine and as a dark horse for me there is Don Golembieski.

http://www.kodiakprecision.com/images/HOME_SINGLE_STACK.jpg

buffybuster
08-06-2009, 10:05 AM
I'd probably try to locate a unmolested bare Caspian or McCormick frame. Then buy the slide, barrel and other parts that I want. There's not much sense to buying a whole pistol, when you're going to throw everything out, except the frame and slide. And there's the cost to rework the rails, sightcuts, gripsafety, etc.

IMO, better off starting with a unmolested bare frame for a full custom build. Then find a smith (not parts changer) that specializes in the type (competition, carry, goto war, etc) of pistol you want.

It takes some looking but they're still out there...... in someone's project box.

Don't buy someone's "half completed" project frame. You'll spend more money to make it right. It's usually "half completed" for a reason.

JTROKS
08-06-2009, 10:28 AM
Get a Les Baer and be done with the barrel fitting, and slide to frame fit. They will shoot better than you can.

Model Gun Type Barrel Length Caliber Exp Date
Concept I (1.5" Group) / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Concept I / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Concept II (1.5" Group) / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Concept II / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Custom Carry (1.5" Group) / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/25/2009
Custom Carry / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/25/2009
DCM National Match Hardball 5" / Carbon Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 9/12/2009
PPC Distinguished (1.5" Group) / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
PPC Distinguished / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Premier II (1.5" Group) / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Premier II / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
S.R.P. (1.5" Group) / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
S.R.P. / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Super Tac (1.5" Group) / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Super Tac / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Thunder Ranch (1.5" Group) / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 11/14/2009
Thunder Ranch / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 11/14/2009
Ultimate Master Combat (1.5" Group) / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009
Ultimate Master Combat / Steel Pistol 5" .45 ACP 10/30/2009

elSquid
08-06-2009, 11:54 AM
I was going to buy a Nighthawk Custom GRP at the beginning of the year, but the company I worked for went bankrupt, so I held off. Been looking at the semi customs from Bear, Wilson, NHC, but I hate when someone will post "I have that exact same gun"! I have a budget of around 3500, for the gun and work to be preformed. It will be used as a range gun, personal defense, and hopefully carry.

My preference would be for something with a firing pin safety, and it would be Commander-sized with an aluminum frame.

Sadly the Colt Lightweight Commander isn't on the roster; that would be my first choice. If I were in your shoes, I'd buy a basic stainless Combat Commander and then send it to a smith to get modded.

http://www.coltsmfg.com/products-c5-q99-COLT_PISTOLS.aspx#

-- Michael

leelaw
08-06-2009, 2:37 PM
If you want to go fully custom, start with an unfitted frame and slide from Caspian Arms. Figure out what size you want, then the customizations for the slide (slab-side, ball cut radius, normal radius, flared ejection port, bevels, sight cuts, etc..) and customizations on the frame (bob tail, rails, etc.) and send it off to a smith for customization and a final build.

I'd recommend going to brownells for a matched hammer, sear, disconnector, spring set from Cylinder and Slide, and whatever other parts you want in a specific design (slide release, magazine release, safety, sights) and possibly a barrel (standard, bull, ramped, etc.) and accommodating recoil assembly.

Harrison Custom did some work for me, and I was very pleased with it. Caspian offers work done at the factory for competitive pricing (sight cuts, bevels, checkering) but if you want something more specific (like scalloping on the slide, go with a custom smith).

Figure out what kind of finish to put on it. I'm fond of Melonite, hard chrome (black or silver), and NP3.

Choose a good set of grips (G10, micarta, wood, aluminum - the composition you choose will etermine where to look)

For $3,500 you can get a very nice, custom pistol built. Please let us know what you're considering doing, and post specifications and finished product once you get it.

cmace22
08-06-2009, 3:00 PM
If you want to go fully custom, start with an unfitted frame and slide from Caspian Arms. Figure out what size you want, then the customizations for the slide (slab-side, ball cut radius, normal radius, flared ejection port, bevels, sight cuts, etc..) and customizations on the frame (bob tail, rails, etc.) and send it off to a smith for customization and a final build.

I'd recommend going to brownells for a matched hammer, sear, disconnector, spring set from Cylinder and Slide, and whatever other parts you want in a specific design (slide release, magazine release, safety, sights) and possibly a barrel (standard, bull, ramped, etc.) and accommodating recoil assembly.

Harrison Custom did some work for me, and I was very pleased with it. Caspian offers work done at the factory for competitive pricing (sight cuts, bevels, checkering) but if you want something more specific (like scalloping on the slide, go with a custom smith).

Figure out what kind of finish to put on it. I'm fond of Melonite, hard chrome (black or silver), and NP3.

Choose a good set of grips (G10, micarta, wood, aluminum - the composition you choose will etermine where to look)

For $3,500 you can get a very nice, custom pistol built. Please let us know what you're considering doing, and post specifications and finished product once you get it.

The only problem with that is finding a Caspian frame to start with. If you have some Idea's let me know. Ive been looking for one for a long time.

leelaw
08-06-2009, 3:41 PM
The only problem with that is finding a Caspian frame to start with. If you have some Idea's let me know. Ive been looking for one for a long time.

Any parents or children live out of state? Friends with any LE who get bored with project guns quickly?

aplinker
08-06-2009, 5:31 PM
You can also use the single shot exemption using a Pachmayr Dominator or Springfield SASS.

There are CG members who have them and would likely allow you to borrow them. Try posting a new thread asking about it - or posting in the WTB and say rental.

A matched slide/frame is an excellent way to go if you don't want to use a colt - it has some advantages, as well.

I would not buy any internal parts (or some external) without talking to your chosen smith. Many have strong preferences and reasoning for what they choose. You can still decide to disagree, but you're paying them $$ for their expertise - use it.

Given the time you'll need to wait for the build, you could also consult with your smith on the unbuilt vs. Colt build - they may have things they prefer and think of, as well. Again - their preferences can save you $ and yield a better product.

cmace22
08-06-2009, 5:35 PM
Any parents or children live out of state? Friends with any LE who get bored with project guns quickly?

Can LEO purchase it and if they get bored or want to move on to something else, sell it to me.

aplinker
08-06-2009, 5:59 PM
Can LEO purchase it and if they get bored or want to move on to something else, sell it to me.

yes, of course.

nobb
08-06-2009, 6:24 PM
If you are willing to spend that much get a Springfield Custom Carry. I don't think you'll be dissapointed. And Springfield has great customer service.

mtenenhaus
08-06-2009, 6:58 PM
Bruce Gray is building a gun for me. It has been a fantastic experience.....infact i'm so pleased with it i've asked him to build something very special for my Dad.

One of the wonderful experiences in the build process was having the opportunity to shoot a few hundred rounds with the pistol while it was about 2/3 done (fitted match barrel and slide, checkered, custom grip safety and mag well work, match grade trigger and sights etc.). I took a class with Bruce and so it made it very convenient.

That allowed me to fine tune some aspects and choices.

The whole process takes a while but i couldn't be more pleased. The more hand work involved, the longer it takes....the more machine work, the less time.

So much depends on what you really want from the build. For myself I really asked him to err on the side of function over form....Bruce being the perfectionist that he is made sure it satisfied both requirements while addressing my preferences.


Really figure out what is truly important for you and carefully communicate these preferences. The final result as well as the ultimate expence will strongly be affected by these choices.

At the same time, you might consider giving the craftsman a bit of leeway to express themselves and to effect what in their experience has proven well.

I think you'll have a great time commissioning the work.

J-cat
08-06-2009, 9:12 PM
Does the OP want to wait 3 years?

2new
08-06-2009, 10:37 PM
Thanks for all the replies! Obviously, the most important thing is reliability. I need to be able to shoot 1000 rounds a week if needed(zombies, or range). Aesthetically, I want stippling/matting and not checkering, I don't know what coating is best, for a blued look, yet extremely durable. It won't be a safe queen. I don't mind waiting one year, but two would be pushing it(hell it took 18 months to get my Doberman). Just the tipical work, match barrel, reliability package/ trigger job 4 lbs, beveled magwell, night sights, etc. For some reason I want to go with an older colt, series 70, seen some nice ones for sale on CG's lately! Thats a big question, what years would be best, with out breaking the bank (the older the better? reminds me of a old hotrod/muscle car being brought back from the dead with more personality than anything new). That flat solid trigger looks good (maybe have aces and eights laser engraved on it)! Thanks for the heads up on Jim Hoag. Guess I will have plenty of time to stock up on ammo (is that hoarding)? If I come in under budget, more money for ammo.

Sam
08-06-2009, 10:43 PM
Aesthetically, I want stippling/matting and not checkering, I don't know what coating is best, for a blued look, yet extremely durable.

Take a look at the DLC finish that John Harrison offers. I know that it's not his finish and he has someone else do it, but there are pictures on his website. I think it looks beautiful in a high polish.

Enzyme
08-06-2009, 11:10 PM
You're probably thinking of the Springfield with the one *** to risk package, yeah it was pretty abismal quality when in comparison to the Brown and Wilson it was up against.

That was a troubling read. Then again, that was an $1800 pistol built on a standard loaded (I believe) Springfield 1911, and I have to hope that a $5000 pistol built on a Colt Series 70 will be better. :)

cmace22
08-07-2009, 2:31 PM
yes, of course.






:clap:

bin31z
08-07-2009, 9:43 PM
Maybe just get a Springfield Professional. Its a little more than 2k and a year wait. Its an awesome gun by all accounts.

Colt
08-08-2009, 12:17 PM
I just saw two original Series 70 Colts for sale at a range for 1100 each. If your budget is $3500 you can do really well. I'd look for an older Colt, something between 1950's and the end of the Series 70 run (there's a reason most of the high end smiths always seem to use Colts), and send it to one of the guys here:
www.http://www.louderthanwords.us/ or at least one of them that is still open. I have had work done by Don Williams and by John Harrison. They are both outstanding smiths and also true gentlemen.

Good luck!

2new
08-08-2009, 9:16 PM
Holy budget busters Batman! Took a look on louder than words, loved the retro builds. It did seem like a majority were on Colts, time to start reading up. Any reason not to go older than 1950? What condition should I be looking for 75% - 80%? I don't want to get a LNIB if it is going to be built and refinished. After I get a better idea of a base gun I'll stop by and talk to Hoag, hell Tempe isn't too far away either!

J-cat
08-08-2009, 9:40 PM
Any reason not to go older than 1950?

Back then the slides were soft.

bin31z
08-09-2009, 1:16 AM
I'd say get a oversize Caspian slide on a Mil spec frame for that kind of money. If you are planning to shoot a ton, a 30-40 year old frame and slide is not really ideal.

Colt
08-09-2009, 5:15 PM
I'd say get a oversize Caspian slide on a Mil spec frame for that kind of money. If you are planning to shoot a ton, a 30-40 year old frame and slide is not really ideal.

As with anything, it depends. I have a Colt Commercial Government Model from 1951. I'm the second owner. The first guy didn't shoot it much, and I be it outlives me (and I shoot it). It's also incredibly well made (those post war people were happy and still making them by hand, basically) and shoots incredibly accurate with no work done to it (yet).

you can find older Colts that will hold up - you just need to know how to look.

Good luck!

As for pre 1950's - they're harder to find and many will not be commercial models - they'll be Government issue and may be very pricey. Many of those, including the commercial models just may be too valuable to cut on.

bin31z
08-09-2009, 9:42 PM
As with anything, it depends. I have a Colt Commercial Government Model from 1951. I'm the second owner. The first guy didn't shoot it much, and I be it outlives me (and I shoot it). It's also incredibly well made (those post war people were happy and still making them by hand, basically) and shoots incredibly accurate with no work done to it (yet).

you can find older Colts that will hold up - you just need to know how to look.

Good luck!

As for pre 1950's - they're harder to find and many will not be commercial models - they'll be Government issue and may be very pricey. Many of those, including the commercial models just may be too valuable to cut on.

I'm sure your colt is good quality. But if you just think about all the metallurgical and technological advances in the last 50 years, you'd have to agree that a modern gun will hold up much better to extended use. Of course, almost ANY pistol, no matter when it was made will prolly last for at least 10k rounds with the correct care. Just think engines. Old flatheads and even small blocks probably only lasted 50k miles at most before a rebuild. Nowadays, engines will basically outlast the rest of the car. Think metallurgical advances in the piston rings and liner material and lubrication. But I guess gun manufacturer aren't really using super high tech steels in guns though. I wish they did.

J-cat
08-09-2009, 10:32 PM
They do.