Thursday, March 09, 2006

Build gun

One of the things that I've wanted to do is to buy an el cheapo 1911 and go absolutely nuts on it with replacing parts and de-horning and reshaping whatever I want to. Xavier's post about building a floorboard 1911 has some inspiration and in looking around for a new gun that's cheap and can be reworked into something good, I'm leaning toward the Rock Island 1911 Government. It's dirt cheap at $320 and is a mil-spec gun that has a plethora of parts and none of the extra safeties that manufacturers are compelled to add to the 1911. This is one of the things that affects my Kimber, I love the gun, but that safety kind of hinders me somewhat in what I could do to it. Luckily, I'm happy with it as is. OK, I would like an S Magwell, maybe put stainless slide stop and safety on it, but that's it.

I researched what I'd like to put into a gun by reading 1911 forums on the RIA and Hilton Yam's website and seeing what parts he prefers. Mr. Yam makes wonderful looking 1911s and while I haven't shot one, they are very well thought of as tactical guns. He builds guns for tactical and duty use as the name of his website attests (10-8 being police code for "on duty"). I've no idea what one costs, I'm just pretty sure I can't afford it.

That brings me back to the Rock Island and my plans to make one run as good as a much more expensive gun, say a Springfield Professional or perhaps a Kimber Warrior. This parts list is as nearly complete as I could make it. A slide, barrel and bushing are all that are missing and I figure that if the gun needs those, it really shouldn't be a consideration for a tactical gun and I should pick another platform, like a Springfiled Mil-Spec.

Caspian Ejector $20.00
Caspian Extractor $25.00
Caspian Firing Pin $8.00
Caspian Firing Pin Stop $10.00
Caspian Plunger tube $12.00
Caspian Slide Stop $17.00
CMC Lightweight trigger $17.00
CMC PowerMag 8rnd Magazine $16.00
CMC Tactical Mag release $15.00
CMC Thumb Safety $16.00
CP Shock Buffs $7.00
Cylinder & Slide Tactical trigger set $99.00
Ed Brown 2-piece guide rod $25.00
fitting jig $17.00
S&A Hi Grip safety $35.00
S&A Mainspring/Magwell Flat $75.00
Sights: Trijicon CA02 tritium night sights $95.00
Wolf FP Spring $4.00
Wolf Recoil Spring 17lb $18.00
Grand Total $515

Now exactly why would I pour in that much money into a $320 gun? I won't, at least not immediately. The list is merely to illustrate what it would cost to replace pretty much every part on the gun with a high quality part. Now if the RIA 1911 has a good plunger tube, I won't change it, same goes for the trigger or the slide stop or any of the other parts.

What isn't covered by the list? The truley custom work, oh and tools. Reshaping the sharp edges and enlarging the ejection port, blending the mag well, polishing internals and finally, refinishing the gun. Refinishing brings up another issue entirely, since after replacing parts and reshaping others will require a new coating. Something like Gun-Kote oven cure finish or DuraBake finish would do. Or the gun could be sent off to have a finish applied by a professional refinishing house. Choices choices...

The gun would be a true project as I'd do it a little at a time as money allows, I have two guns right now that I'm comfortable carrying and don't "need" another, but a custom built by me 1911 would be really nice. Of course, would I ever run into the money, a Hilton Yam original would be the top of my list.

1 comment:

Judge Mint Day said...

The S&A Grip safety looks like it will reguire an alteration to the frame. The Ed Brown high grip safety looks like it will fit right in.