Need Advice on 1911 GI

Need Advice on 1911 GI

This is a discussion on Need Advice on 1911 GI within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My Springfield 1911 GI is starting to show its age. It never been a show piece, but a really reliable EDC gun for much of ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    Need Advice on 1911 GI

    My Springfield 1911 GI is starting to show its age. It never been a show piece, but a really reliable EDC gun for much of its life. After seeing a lot of the pics here on DC, I know many have sent there's off for makeovers.
    What I would like to know is, being a mil spec gun, can it be tuned up. Maybe a trigger job,or some type of refinishing ? Or should I start thinking about a new one, like a Colt or a Kimber?

    Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
    Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!
    -Tony Soprano


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by varob View Post
    What I would like to know is, being a mil spec gun, can it be tuned up. Maybe a trigger job,or some type of refinishing ?
    Generally speaking, yes on both counts.

    If its going to remain an EDC, a trigger job is generally not a good idea. Too light of a pull can be bad for obvious reasons, as well as being fodder for a potential DA.

    As far as the refinishing goes, since it is a GI, I'm assuming it's parkerized. It can be either sanded or chemically stripped. After that, pretty much any finish is possible (except stainless). You could nickel plate it, blue it, re-park it, use a spray-on like Duracoat, etc.

    Other options are to add upgrades (i.e. beavertail and commander hammer, better sights, magwell, checkering, etc. Also, some good looking grips go a long way aesthetically

  3. #3
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Well, plenty of 1911 fans here to help you answer your question. Other than tightening the slide to frame fit, you can do most popular upgrades yourself with a good parts supplier, some time, and some tools. Match barrel and bushing replacement, guide rod, springs....etc. If your pistol is not to the point of being unsafe, then you have plenty to work with IMO. Refinishing the exterior? If absolutely necessary. Looks aint everything, and it's a pistol you trust. Be that as it may. You don't have to keep up with the Jones's.....just remain confident in your pistol. Lest your 1911 be banished to the island of forgotten, never to be held again 1911 pistols.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array HK Dan's Avatar
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    In almost any case you're better off having the factory do the mods that you want done to a 1911. Taking a base model and adding the extra 'nice parts' will lomst always cost you more.

    HK Dan
    "What does Marcellus Wallace LOOK like?"

  5. #5
    Member Array diverdown247's Avatar
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    Varob,

    You could buy new if you want a production custom or you could have that one-off custom build of your own that meets your specific requirements and feel. Hope you're ready for more options than you can resist. Sounds like you are ready to give the firearm a good make-over. Google 1911 parts and you'll find a lot of stuff. King's Gunworks is supposed to have some great stuff...Ed Brown is always a staple in the 1911 community.

    Wilson Combat has a lot of goodies as well as The 1911 Store. I purchased most of my GI Champion make-over parts there. Make sure to visit Brownell's as well.

    I must warn you in advance, there are parts that will fit the Colt and other clone 1911's, but may not fit the Springfield. Make sure you check fitment charts and most definately talk to a quality pistol-smith about having the work done prior to ordering parts, the smith may have suggestions that could save you time and money.

    I started with a GI Champion (all stock). Finished with a GI Champion with an STI long-skeleton trigger, full custom trigger job, ILS removal and replaced with flat main spring housing, beaver tail grip safety, skeletonized lightning hammer, milled in the Novak cut night sights from Champion Gun Sights, barrel link adjustment, ejector tuning, extractor tuning, ejection port lowered and flared...didn't refinish mine as it's my alternate carry. Total price including firearm, parts, labor: $1300 Not bad since it's fitted to my requirements and needs.

    The 1911 forums have several board members that have used Armor-Kote to refinish their 1911's. I'm not experienced with that product, but other members here might have some first-hand experience with it.

    Good luck and happy shopping for goodies! If you're going to go night sights, be sure to check with Champion Gun Sights, they run specials from time to time...I picked up 2 closeout front night sights for $10 each and they're extremely bright, included warranty.

  6. #6
    OD*
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    varob, call Springfield's Custom Shop, they do excellent work.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Terrorists: They hated you yesterday, they hate you today, and they will hate you tomorrow. End the cycle of hatred, donít give them a tomorrow."

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for all the tips. I've been looking around, and the amount of stuff out there is dizzying. So far I'm sure about a new trigger, hammer sights and grips.
    Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!
    -Tony Soprano

  8. #8
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by varob View Post
    My Springfield 1911 GI is starting to show its age. It never been a show piece, but a really reliable EDC gun for much of its life. After seeing a lot of the pics here on DC, I know many have sent there's off for makeovers.
    What I would like to know is, being a mil spec gun, can it be tuned up. Maybe a trigger job,or some type of refinishing ? Or should I start thinking about a new one, like a Colt or a Kimber?

    Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
    What can be done? Damn near anything you want, just search for threads started by Pistolwretch, most of his guns stated life as Springfield GI's.

    I have an older Springfield Full Size (think predecessor to the Loaded) and when I totaled up all the work I wanted done to it, it was actually cheaper to buy a new gun with the features I wanted. I'm not saying it will cost you that much for what you're talking about doing. I basically want the entire pistol rebuilt the way I want it.

    The gun will be going back to Springfield here sometime soon as the plunger tube came loose and I think this will be an opportune time to have some upgrades done to the gun while it's back home.

    I know this is not what you want to hear, but if I were you, I'd buy another gun the way you want it and have that on hand if you send the GI out for work (if you don't have another gun to carry that is) if you've got a good stable of guns to carry, send the gun out. As OD said, the SA custom shop does nice work, there are a good number of other places to do the work as well, if you want to go down that road, there would be enough info to start a whole other thread.

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Here's my two cents but it depends on the size of your GI. Is is the compact one or the Commander size or the full size? If it's a compact size and reliable then I'd definitely work on it but I'd keep it simple and only do some basics. You can spend a LOT of money and end up with something that you won't notice a lot of difference on.

    There are lots of places you can have this work done. I'd consider lowering the ejection port, better sights, smooth the trigger maybe but isn't it pretty good? Then I'd consider checkering for the front strap to help with the grip and perhaps adding a Wilson tactical one side safety (they're great on a carry gun) and then have it refinished. Even with only doing this, you may end up having more in this work than the gun cost. I'd also consider a Wilson drop in beaver tail as they can help the recoil feel a bit different/better.

  10. #10
    Member Array diverdown247's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varob View Post
    Thanks guys for all the tips. I've been looking around, and the amount of stuff out there is dizzying. So far I'm sure about a new trigger, hammer sights and grips.
    What are you looking for in grips? Just so happens that I have a Hogue wrap-around with finger grooves sitting in my safe collecting dust along with a standard set of rubberized grips. I went Micarta on my GI Champ and prefer those for my grip style.

    Check your pm's.

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    I'd personally say keep it like it is, just replace any parts that are worn or damaged as needed. Maybe get a new barrel if it is not accurate enough.

    There is something pretty about a plain, holsterworn gun with no frills that is simply reliable and accurate.

    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
    ---Carry options: G26/MTAC, PF9/MiniTuck, PPK/Pocket, USP40/OWB---
    ---NOTE: I am not an expert. If I ever start acting like a know-it-all, please call me on it immediately. ---

  12. #12
    Member Array chiefrcd's Avatar
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    Make the changes that make you happy. Here is a completely stock 92 year old pre-A1 that I put CTG on. Didn't really need any other work.

    30' two handed from the waist:

    Have Gun ~ Will Carry
    S-Safety
    M-Motivation
    A-Awareness
    R-Responsibility
    T-Training

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    Wow, that thing looks great for a 92yr old gun
    Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!
    -Tony Soprano

  14. #14
    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefrcd View Post
    Make the changes that make you happy. Here is a completely stock 92 year old pre-A1 that I put CTG on. Didn't really need any other work.

    30' two handed from the waist:

    Nice 1911.

    Is that a narrow spur hammer on it? If it is, the hammer has been changed out at some point, along with the slide stop.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Terrorists: They hated you yesterday, they hate you today, and they will hate you tomorrow. End the cycle of hatred, donít give them a tomorrow."

  15. #15
    Member Array chiefrcd's Avatar
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    Somewhere in it's lifetime it was sent to Anniston Armory (sp?) as it has the mark AA on it. It had been parkerized. I had a gunsmith look it over to maker sure it was still safe to shoot and I re-parkerized it due to finish wear. I've had it for 48 years and my Dad had it for 10 or so years and he got it from his brother and I'm not sure how long he had it. Been in the family a long time. Serial Number indicates that it was produced sometime between May 1917 and October 1917. I can honestly say I've fired thousands of rounds through it over the years and it will feed anything I want to put through it.
    Last edited by chiefrcd; August 5th, 2009 at 12:02 PM. Reason: update spelling
    Have Gun ~ Will Carry
    S-Safety
    M-Motivation
    A-Awareness
    R-Responsibility
    T-Training

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