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  #1  
Old 06-05-2012, 3:59 PM
Brandon04GT Brandon04GT is offline
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Default Jim Hoag lately? (updated 6/30, 9/04)

So I need to have a new extractor and firing pin top fully fitted and tuned on my recently acquired used SA champion. It seems like Jim Hoag is a name which frequently comes up and he is really close to me as well which is a plus.

I have heard claims that he is getting really old and this workmanship may be deteriorating. I've also heard that he usually takes much longer than quoted. There have been some reviews not more than about two years old featuring less-than-stellar experiences. My question is has anyone had work done by him recently and what are your experiences?

I know this is a relatively simple task for a pro but it's important for me that the job be done competently and cleanly. One thing I HATE about anything in life is work that is "rough around the corners." Nothing bugs me more than peening marks around pin holes, gouged up screws and etc.

I am planning on using a square-bottom firing pin stop so I will need to have the edge filed for a small radius and it's crucial that everything is square.

I gave Dave from Davesmetalworks a call asking for a quote and he sounded......intoxicated. It took a few phone calls to finally get in touch with Jim and he seemed like a REALLY nice guy over the phone. He quoted me what seems like the fair going rate for a job like this and said it shouldn't take more than about a week.


Thanks,
Brandon

Last edited by Brandon04GT; 09-04-2012 at 3:18 PM..
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2012, 4:41 PM
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I took this picture of Jim in April:

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  #3  
Old 06-05-2012, 5:04 PM
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I think for this type of work Jim will do a stellar job. A full house buildup is a different thing. He did do a pretty serious "old school" build on my S70 about 4 months ago - some hand checking on the frontstrap, blending the magwell, ribbed the top, reliability job, trigger job was perfect, "melted bomar" sights, reblue - it came out perfect so IMO he still has it.

If you do go to him, spend some time talking with him. He is the last of the "masters" left - came out of King's, shot with Cooper and Weaver and the guys that started combat pistol competition in Big Bear. He "invented" the beavertail and the longslide! A true legend and a sweetheart of a man.

Dave has a rough voice, but I've been in his shop often and never seen evidence of him being drunk. He does great work also - he did a full buildup on a Colt 9mm 1911 and it is fantastic as well.

Alan Tanaka is another 1911 smith that comes up all the time - I think he is in the OC somewhere. Will O'Hara is another great smith in Corona (who has one of my 1911s right now), but I read on here that he isn't taking any work right now. Not sure how true that is - a quick search will yield all their phone numbers.

Jeff
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  #4  
Old 06-05-2012, 6:21 PM
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Obviously, Jim is in fact of age, but that currently has nothing to do with his prowess as a World-Renowned, Master Pistolsmith.

Granted, and as Jeff noted, I have no idea if Jim is doing anymore full-house builds, but I do know that he is not particularly fond of having pistols shipped to him these days, so it seems that locals get the benefit of his Old-World Craftsmanship exclusively.

When I spoke to him, I inquired about having the longitudinal length of my slide beveled, and his response was the following:

Quote:
“Well, I’ve only been beveling slides for longer than you've been alive, but I think I can do that for you.”
In summary, Jim is just as spry, energetic and competent as any other Smith, and prices and turn-around times are comparable to anyone elses. As a stand-alone Master Pistolsmith, he turns work around quickly.
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  #5  
Old 06-05-2012, 9:40 PM
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I've heard nothing but good things about Jim and this is in the past year or so. I'll be looking for him to fit a new trigger in my Sig TacOps once I get it.
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  #6  
Old 06-06-2012, 4:33 AM
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Great, thanks for the reponses guys. I think I'll give him a shot. It's definitely nice that he is only a few miles away from me too.
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2012, 7:08 AM
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He did the trigger on my HP about 6 months ago...top notch work.
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  #8  
Old 06-06-2012, 12:32 PM
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Anyone know how long that rainbow colored mat has been on his counter? I know its been at least 20 years. Stuff like that is the charm of old school shops.
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  #9  
Old 06-06-2012, 1:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-forceJunkie View Post
Anyone know how long that rainbow colored mat has been on his counter? I know its been at least 20 years. Stuff like that is the charm of old school shops.
It's been there forever!
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  #10  
Old 06-06-2012, 1:56 PM
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Jim has done considerable work for me over the years. I stopped in and we chatted about one month ago. I would not think twice about having him work on any of my guns.

A true old master - - Still capable of first quality work. Get him to talk about shooting in Big bear.

Last edited by 003; 06-06-2012 at 7:17 PM..
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  #11  
Old 06-07-2012, 5:48 PM
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Default Mr. Hoag's Reliabily Job

I have a new Kimber Eclipse (beautiful gun) that gave me numerous problems for the first 200 rounds. I talked to Jim and he said leave the gun with him and it will be ready the next week. Sure enough, 5 working days later, I get a call from Jim saying the gun was ready.

He had done a $95 reliability job on the gun.

Great - Let's see how it shoots! One FTF in the first 150 rounds. Today zero problems in 200 rounds.

I would say that Jim still has it. He was very pleasant to deal with and I'm going to have him put some new sights on the next time I'm in the valley.

Gary
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  #12  
Old 06-07-2012, 6:14 PM
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Try Alan tanaka in Torrence. He does great work and he's very anal about his work.
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2012, 6:30 PM
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Please keep us updated about Jim and his time frame.
One of my favorite pistols is one he worked over.
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  #14  
Old 06-07-2012, 7:28 PM
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Where is Jim located? I have lived in Big Bear for 43 years and would love to talk to him about shooting up here and also about some work on one of my 1911's.
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  #15  
Old 06-07-2012, 7:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv1911's View Post
Where is Jim located? I have lived in Big Bear for 43 years and would love to talk to him about shooting up here and also about some work on one of my 1911's.
Jim Hoag
Hoag's Gun Works
8523 Canoga Avenue, #C
Canoga Park, CA 91304
(818) 998-1510
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  #16  
Old 06-07-2012, 7:57 PM
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i wish i could say good things about hte work i've had done by jim, since he is an american legend and i have the utmost respect for the man and what he's done for the shooting sports and 1911 shooters.

but....

i have had terrible work done by him in the last year. i actually sold two 1911's i had invested alot of money in, at a huge losss, because i was so unhappy with jim's work.

he did reliability packages, installed and fit beavertails and mainspring housing/ magwells, trigger jobs, etc.

both guns had catstrophic malfunctions at IPSC and IDPA matches the first time i shot them after i got them from jim. one gun had the ejector actually physically break. he took them back, and put a cheap *** brass ejector in a colt i had spent over $1500 on, and gave them back to me with no other detectable changes. i was pretty miffed. but i respectfully thanked him and never went back.

the only plus to my experience was that they sold quick with him having done the work. whether he does good work or not, there are sure alot of people who think he does good work.

i now only trust my 1911's to jojo and jimmy vidanes in corona/norco. plus i shoot their IPSC match every wkend so if i have any problems, theyre right there to fix them on the spot. not that i ever have. their work is flawless. i'll give you there contact info by PM if you want it.
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  #17  
Old 06-07-2012, 10:11 PM
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Jim will build a 1911 however you want but if you ask him his opinion on things, he is of the very old school mentality of what is best is what is simple and works.

I'd assume he put a brass ejector in your gun because that is what it needed to work and be fixed. (unless you gave him specific instructions, I'm not sure why you'd be unhappy with him doing so).
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Old 06-11-2012, 7:35 PM
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Bobby Hated, damn.....not something I wanted to hear.

Well I called Alan Tanaka and he seemed really professional but he quoted double the price and said it would take twice as long.

Does anyone know if beveling/polishing/whatnot the extractor hook is standard practice when fully installing a new extractor?

Brandon
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  #19  
Old 06-11-2012, 7:39 PM
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+1 on Jim. I had him do a reliability job and trigger job on my 1911 back in March of this year. He got rid of my FTF problem. 500 rounds later still running strong. BTW the whole job took 4 days to complete from time of drop off.
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  #20  
Old 06-11-2012, 8:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Hated View Post
i wish i could say good things about hte work i've had done by jim, since he is an american legend and i have the utmost respect for the man and what he's done for the shooting sports and 1911 shooters.

but....

i have had terrible work done by him in the last year. i actually sold two 1911's i had invested alot of money in, at a huge losss, because i was so unhappy with jim's work.

he did reliability packages, installed and fit beavertails and mainspring housing/ magwells, trigger jobs, etc.

both guns had catstrophic malfunctions at IPSC and IDPA matches the first time i shot them after i got them from jim. one gun had the ejector actually physically break. he took them back, and put a cheap *** brass ejector in a colt i had spent over $1500 on, and gave them back to me with no other detectable changes. i was pretty miffed. but i respectfully thanked him and never went back.

the only plus to my experience was that they sold quick with him having done the work. whether he does good work or not, there are sure alot of people who think he does good work.

i now only trust my 1911's to jojo and jimmy vidanes in corona/norco. plus i shoot their IPSC match every wkend so if i have any problems, theyre right there to fix them on the spot. not that i ever have. their work is flawless. i'll give you there contact info by PM if you want it.
Interesting.
I bought one of those colts from you before I knew jack squat about 1911's.
I have had a couple issues with it, one minor and the other I was able to resolve cheaply after getting a few pricey quotes. Got lucky.
One thing I have not addressed in depth yet is how poorly the beavertail is fitted. Not sure who 'fit' it but from your ad I thought it was Jim. One smith says the frame was cut wrong and can't be fixed, another says he'd have to take it apart before he could access the situation.

But...
Of the 1911's I have shot or owned since then (around 8), it's still my favorite 1911. The trigger is crisp and light and it functions nearly perfectly. It's a well used gun and the beaver tail is not a huge issue as it does function as it should. It's got a few scratches and I shoot the crap out of it!

On a side note, this is the 2nd time I have 'learned' of issues quite a few months after a sale from a calguns member.
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  #21  
Old 06-11-2012, 8:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon04GT View Post
Does anyone know if beveling/polishing/whatnot the extractor hook is standard practice when fully installing a new extractor?

Brandon
Yes, correct. The beveling you're referring to is actually rounding the hook of the extractor. You may want to test fit the extractor to see if it will protrude from the rear of the slide. In that case, you may want to consider having it blended to the slide. Of course, there would be an up-charge for that service.
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Old 06-11-2012, 8:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuneShoot View Post
One thing I have not addressed in depth yet is how poorly the beavertail is fitted. Not sure who 'fit' it but from your ad I thought it was Jim. One smith says the frame was cut wrong and can't be fixed, another says he'd have to take it apart before he could access the situation.
Your Smith is referring to the frame tangs. If the radius was cut wrong, overcut, or poorly cut, a competent Smith can weld-up the frame tangs and refit the beavertail.
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Old 06-11-2012, 8:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Press Check View Post
Yes, correct. The beveling you're referring to is actually rounding the hook of the extractor. You may want to test fit the extractor to see if it will protrude from the rear of the slide. In that case, you may want to consider having it blended to the slide. Of course, there would be an up-charge for that service.
Yeah...according to EGW, the back of the extractor was made a tad extra long to accommodate blending to the back of the slide. Is it something that can be done without having to refinish the slide? Cause I know typically you install the extractor and then file the back until it is completely blended.

I actually don't mind it sticking out a tiny bit with a radius around the edges...like how some guns come from the factory.
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Old 06-11-2012, 8:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon04GT View Post
Yeah...according to EGW, the back of the extractor was made a tad extra long to accommodate blending to the back of the slide. Is it something that can be done without having to refinish the slide? Cause I know typically you install the extractor and then file the back until it is completely blended.

I actually don't mind it sticking out a tiny bit with a radius around the edges...like how some guns come from the factory.
Yes, it will require refinishing. I had mine done at SACS, but since my pistol is stainless and only required bead blasting, the refinishing was free. Actually, I suppose it could be done without refinishing, but that would be some tedious work.
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Old 06-11-2012, 9:55 PM
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Here are some more opinions on both Alan and Jim

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...ad.php?t=29010
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:55 PM
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^^ Yup seen that ol' thread

Maybe it's a good time to have my gun refinished too. Does anybody know anyone who does good parkerizing in the Los Angeles area?
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  #27  
Old 06-12-2012, 12:23 AM
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Jim does, LOL.
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:29 AM
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lol well okay then...I'll ask him about that too.
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  #29  
Old 06-12-2012, 12:12 PM
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I think one problem with Jim is that people keep suggesting "Jim's great! Bring your gun to him and chat with him for a while!". All those people popping in to chat are what is stretching out the work for everyone with a job in the queue!

I'm semi joking of course.
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Old 06-13-2012, 4:02 PM
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He did some work for me. I was less than pleased. His work is not up to his reputation. I had to have another smith fix it because I was not going to leave my weapon with Hoag for another 5 months.
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  #31  
Old 06-13-2012, 9:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdrmorales View Post
He did some work for me. I was less than pleased. His work is not up to his reputation. I had to have another smith fix it because I was not going to leave my weapon with Hoag for another 5 months.
Care to elaborate on that?
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  #32  
Old 06-14-2012, 9:27 PM
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Yes. The trigger bow was not properly adjusted or fitted. The magazine would not drop from the weapon. I asked for french borders on the slide, but it looked like he took a chainsaw to my slide. The 30 lpi checkering on the front strap was horrible.
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Old 06-14-2012, 9:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Press Check View Post
I took this picture of Jim in April:

That looks a hell of a lot like my 45... Mr Hoag is pretty spry and he is the last of the original 1911 tuners. He should be able to do anything you need. He did my action job and a friend of mine takes his pistols there routinely with no issues. He is not one for a lot of bells and whistles and will not attempt to sell you anything that you don't need. If that is in fact mine, he's not sleeping or tired, he's looking at a broken MIM slide stop.

Last edited by Pete1979; 06-14-2012 at 9:57 PM..
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:34 PM
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I think I'm gonna swing buy and drop my gun off tomorrow. Just a moment ago I got bored and tried to put in the EGW stuff just to see how it would look. To my surprise the firing pin stop fit the slot very nice and tight. I guess my slide is on the looser end of the tolerance spectrum. Looks like it just needs a radius cut and the bottom shortened a bit to be at the same height as the slide rail.

The angle of the rear of the EGW HD extractor also matches the SA slide perfectly and sticks out just a bit as expected but not anymore than the stock extractor. I'll see if he can radius the edges of it just like the stock one and i'll be happy with that.
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Old 06-30-2012, 5:09 AM
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Hey all,

Well a couple days ago I picked up my gun from Jim after leaving it with him for a little over a week. I dropped it off with an EGW square-bottom firing pin stop and EGW HD extractor to be installed.

When arrived at the shop, I greeted Jim and he went to the back to get my gun. He brought it out with the slide locked back and the invoice attached to it with a string. I'm guessing this is his standard way of doing things.

When I picked up the gun the first thing I noticed was that the edge of the firing pin stop was not worked on. I mentioned that I thought there should be a small radius made. He said no, it's supposed to be like that and square bottom firing pin stops is some new trend growing. This was already a bit disappointing because when I brought it in, I told him that I wanted a small radius and he quickly acknowledged me as if he was an every day thing for him so I just left it at that.

I then tried to ease the slide forward and then noticed that it got stuck about 2/3" from battery. It was locked up tight. I was like huh? and tried to persuade it but wouldn't budge at all. I then pulled the slide back again and pulled out the slide stop to see if that would do anything. It didn't. Jim took it off my hands and tried to figure it out and then told me to hang on for a moment while he went to the back.

He spent about 5 minutes at the back. I started to hear hammering sounds and filing sounds. He came back out and said "Alright we're good again." I asked him what was wrong and he said the ejector was binding with the firing pin stop. I noticed that he filed away the edge at the back of the ejector. I found it kind of odd that he didn't even try cycling the gun once after working on it as he surely would have noticed the bind up.

Anyway, we had a short friendly convo and I paid him what was due and I went on my way. When I arrived home I kind of had a bad feeling already. I decided to go ahead and field strip the gun and disassemble the slide and clean everything (which was something I planned on doing after getting my gun back regardless). Apart from seeing some metal shavings underneath the slide, when I tried to take the firing pin stop out, it wouldn't budge at all. I then dropped CLP over the entire area hoping it would seep around and help. I stuck an allen key (coated in tape) into the FPS hole and tried pushing down as hard as I could but it wouldn't budge. I then put the slide against my wall and even went as far as inserting the allen key and then gently using the butt of a screwdriver to hammer the allen key to get the FPS out.

The FPS is stuck in the slide as if he freakin' superglued it. I will say that when I first got the EGW parts, I tried to test fit the FPS and noticed that it would physically fit in the slide very very snug side-to-side without any play. When I put the EGW extractor in there, the extractor channel was a bit to narrow and the FPS wouldn't go into it. I figured this was normal obviously and fitting was necessary. It now almost seems as though hammered the FPS in there without much filing and it's like held in there by immense friction.

The firing pin stop just isn't even budging and I can't get it out. I tried muscling it with the allen key until my hands started to shake but it wouldn't budge a hair. I should also mention that not only did he not file any radius on the FPS, the edge seems to be very rough as if it was scrapped up a bit. I'm not a 1911 pro but this just doesn't seem good AT ALL for my hammer if I were to shoot the gun like this. Also, I noticed that the firing pin seemed like it wasn't sticking out of the FPS as much as it should be.

After inspecting the slide on the frame, I am not sure why he even filed down the edge at the back of my ejector because it doesn't look like it was close to binding against anything. All I see now is a bevel at the back of it and it looks a bit uglier but this is the least of my worries.

Now onto the extractor. It looks like he did absolutely nothing to the hooks except for filing a small bevel on the bottom edge of it. I also noticed that the hook seemed a bit far away from the breech-face so I decided to take use a live round and check the tension. Now i'm no expert, but when I try and slide the round under the extractor, it just falls in without any tension whatsoever. It can't even hold the round square against the breech-face. The slightest wobble and the round would just fall out.

I just took some pics of all this to try and show what I mean. The firing pin looks completely flush in the pic but that's because some tape got stuck inside. I have since managed to get it out and it's sticking out a bit more now but not as much as I believe it should be.

I really, really hate to report back like this because Jim is such a nice guy but I just don't know what to make of all this. Everything just seems to be drastically wrong?














I have since spent the last two days trying to get the firing pin out to no avail. I have gone as far as sticking the allen key (coated in tape) in there and trying to hammer it to get it out. It simply won't budge. The more I try, the worse it gets. I've now put a nice ding at the back of my rear sight from having the allen key slip despite being as careful as I could.

Last edited by Brandon04GT; 06-30-2012 at 7:38 AM..
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  #36  
Old 06-30-2012, 7:21 AM
mtenenhaus mtenenhaus is offline
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Wow, thank you for posting. If i might suggest perhaps give Bruce Gray a call, shipping a slide is very inexpensive and i'm certain Bruce will do a great job. He's built a number of pistols for me and they're brilliant.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:25 AM
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redcliff redcliff is offline
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Sad tale, sorry to hear it. Age catches up with us all.

Instead of a tape coverred hex key to push in the firing pin and trying to leverage down the firing pin stop perhaps a proper sized punch would work better; thats what I use. I would also use a vice with soft jaws to hold the slide while I got the firing pin stop loose to prevent slipping and inadvertent scratching. It sounds like its time for a hammer and punch to drive the firing pin stop down while positioning the punch to also keep the firing pin out of the way.

Its not uncommon for loaded rounds to not sit straight against the breach face when doing the extractor test as there is no support/alignment from the barrel, that would not overly concern me initially but very light extractor tension may cause failures to extract once you finally get the pistol running.

Edit: you might try posting your problem in the gunsmithing section here; you may find someone with the proper tools locally to you willing to help you out.
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Last edited by redcliff; 06-30-2012 at 10:37 AM..
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  #38  
Old 06-30-2012, 11:12 AM
Brandon04GT Brandon04GT is offline
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I'm just extremely disappointed right now. I'm also wondering if it was even Jim who worked on it. I don't get how the slide was not even hand cycled once to make sure it wasn't seriously binding up like it was when I took delivery of it.

Unfortunately I don't have a set of actual punches but I did use a hex key the same size as the hole and the firing pin stop simply won't come out. I had the slide up against my wall and I pushed the hex key in and tried to hammer it as reasonably as I could but the stop simply isn't even moving a hair. Before all this I was able to remove the factory stop with a bamboo chopstick and that method worked well for me because it's soft on the gun and doesn't leave any marks. Granted I know a fitted stop would be a lot tighter but something's just wrong here. It's as if it was welded to the slide; it simply won't even budge.

As far as the extractor, it's kind of hard to show it with the pics but there is basically zero tension and the case will just fall right behind it. The round will only stay this way for the pics because it's barely just wedged between the hook and the breech face. The slightest shake and it will fall right out.

As far as the edge of the firing pin stop, how anyone could think a 90 degree sharp edge without any radius is not a bad idea is a bit beyond me.

Again i'm so sorry that I even have to post this. Jim is a really nice guy but frankly i'm just dumbfounded right now. Again, when I first bought the parts I tried to put them in just to see how far off everything was. The stop dropped into the slide very, very snug and didn't need any filing as far as the side-to-side fit. I should mention that even so, it was still removable easily with my improvised chopstick tool. The groove in the extractor for the stop was just too small so now i'm thinking instead of the groove (or stop) being properly filed, it was just filed maybe a little bit and the stop was hammered into place and held by serious friction. However until I can get the stop out, I cannot see what was done inside.

Last edited by Brandon04GT; 06-30-2012 at 11:14 AM..
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  #39  
Old 06-30-2012, 11:37 AM
Press Check Press Check is offline
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Nice guy or not, if you have an issue with the work completed, take the pistol back to Jim.

Traditionally, an oversized FPS will be an extremely tight, tap-in fit. As you know, the primary function of the FPS is retention of the FP assembly, but more importantly, maintaining the extractors exact position to prevent clocking. Generally, repeated hammer strikes to the FPS, in addition to the overall shock asociated with the pistol being fired will slightly loosen the FPS so that it can be pried out during dissassembly.

Assuming that the extractor tension is tuned correctly, that particular area of the top-end should become void of detail-stripping until the extractor needs to be adjusted again simply based on the fact that prying is in fact required to remove it. If you wanted a slip-in fit, which can in fact still prevent clocking, that should have been specified.

Moreover, if you speak to George at EGW, he would tell you that the FPS should have a slight bevel, or can be left completely squared, but the traditional or pronounced radius would completely defeat the purpose of their FPS in particular. The goal is a notable reduction in felt recoil, and to prevent the slide from opening prematurely. When dealing with a radius, the goal appears to be delayed unlocking. For instance, a .130 radius.

At minimum, I would ask Jim to bevel the corner you intended to have radiused, and there's a substantial difference between the two, which may have confused Jim based on his statement regarding the trend, which happens to have been around since 2006.

Regarding the extractor, other than beveling, polishing and adjusting the tension, there's not more that can be done with this particular part. If the extractor is loose, and it does appear to be, although hard to speculate without the pistol being fired, that's a good excuse to have Jim remove the FPS, bevel the FPS and have a few more thousandths shaved off before reassembly.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:41 PM
Brandon04GT Brandon04GT is offline
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I specifically asked for a small radius and didn't get it. I was told it was supposed to be left like this. The edge also seems to be scraped up a bit and I can already see a bit of scapping on my hammer. Maybe I should have repeated my concern about that several times when I picked up the gun.

Correct me if i'm wrong but i believe 1911Tuner was the one who first made it popular from around 2006 onwards and he says it is primarily to increase reliability by slowing the slides reward speed and impact. The reduced recoil is just a welcomed side effect. Also, here is a comment by log man about leaving it square: http://forums.1911forum.com/showpost...44&postcount=5

As far as the FP stop, even with my slide securely positioned, and a good sized hex key being used to push in the FP, the stop still won't even budge even with me pounding it with a hammer. Maybe it will move if I had better tools and pounded it as hard as I possibly could but I would think it shouldn't have to come to that.

Aside from what appears to be a slight filing mark on the lower corner of the extractor hook, I do not see any polishing at all. Extractor tension I am pretty positive is near non existent.

I originally went in to have an EGW FPS and extractor put in. Are you saying I should go back and ask him to please radius the stop as I originally requested and then also tune my extractor? I heard that with Jim, "you don't ask, you don't get"....but I thought proper extractor tensioning should have been done without saying.

BTW, is there any reason why you didn't want to reply my PM?
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