Recommend 1911 Upgrades - Page 2

Recommend 1911 Upgrades

This is a discussion on Recommend 1911 Upgrades within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Originally Posted by M1911A1 I agree with gasmitty in all respects except the following: • Have the feed-ramp and chamber polished, especially if you want ...

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  1. #16
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1911A1 View Post
    I agree with gasmitty in all respects except the following:
    • Have the feed-ramp and chamber polished, especially if you want utterly reliable feeding of HP bullets.
    • Be prepared to buy new magazines, and to throw away old ones. The 1911 depends upon its magazines, and their feed lips eventually deform or crack.
    • I believe that textured grip panels are not necessary.* The points of control are the front-strap and the mainspring housing. They should be checkered.
    • A "beavertail" grip safety makes things easier on your hand, but isn't completely necessary.
    • I shoot ambidextrously, so I like a safety lever on the other side, too.

    *Smooth grip panels actually make reloads easier. You will need to rotate the gun's grip in your hand, so that your thumb can reach the magazine release. Smooth grip panels allow easier rotation in both directions, once you've relaxed your grip.

    One important note that gasmitty covered was the need to retain the original, slotted grip-panel screws. Browning designed the 1911 to completely disassemble without any tools except parts of the pistol itself. The sear spring serves as the screwdriver for removing grip-panel screws.

    It's a personal matter, but I prefer a big, black rear sight. I prefer a big, painted-red front sight. In the past, I have seen light-pipe sights break from light-induced embrittlement, so I don't trust them.
    Correct me if I’m wrong...but weren’t the original grip screws actually designed to be removed using the rim of a .45 case, and the slots were dished instead of flat?
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  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    Correct me if I’m wrong...but weren’t the original grip screws actually designed to be removed using the rim of a .45 case, and the slots were dished instead of flat?
    You are correct, the sear spring will never remove a tight screw, it was meant to remove the magazine catch (if you try it, you'll see the sear fits the slot perfectly). On the true Browning designed pistols, the stock screws were removed with the case rim, it's why the slots on the original screws were concave.

    Name:  Sear spring magazine catch.jpg
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  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Lastly, if the stock hammer bites the web of your hand, you can replace it with an original-style Commander hammer that's shorter. I did that to my -A1 simply because I liked the look.
    Gary, didn't you have to change or modify it the grip safety to use the rowel hammer?

    Like so;

    Recommend 1911 Upgrades-cooper-retro.jpg
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  5. #19
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    Other than one that had to have a trigger job (needed block and tackle to pull trigger) the only changes I make is to change the grips to burl and take off the sharp edges of cheese grater triggers.
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  6. #20
    Senior Member Array M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    You are correct, the sear spring will never remove a tight screw, it was meant to remove the magazine catch (if you try it, you'll see the sear fits the slot perfectly). On the true Browning designed pistols, the stock screws were removed with the case rim, it's why the slots on the original screws were concave.
    Yeah. You're right about the sear spring and the magazine catch.
    Problem: Old-age brain fart.

    But I am not so sure that the rim of a G.I. case is thin enough to fit a grip screw.
    And, at the moment, I'm too lazy to drag a pistol out to try it. It's getting on dinner time.
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  7. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1911A1 View Post
    Yeah. You're right about the sear spring and the magazine catch.
    Problem: Old-age brain fart.

    But I am not so sure that the rim of a G.I. case is thin enough to fit a grip screw.
    And, at the moment, I'm too lazy to drag a pistol out to try it. It's getting on dinner time.
    It is, if you have an original screw, I know it works in my 1913, 1940, and 1950.
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  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    Gary, didn't you have to change or modify it the grip safety to use the rowel hammer?

    Like so;

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Cooper-Retro.jpg 
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    Good question, and only my late (c. 1992) gunsmith knows for sure. A drop-in beavertail grip safety from the Brownell's catalog was added at the same time as the "ring" hammer. I think Bill Kaswer (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...DfZH7l4-zkj9q7) recommended that part, but I don't recall for certain. Nonetheless, it's a combination that works well together.
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  9. #23
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    I will say this from experience. Every single part/component for the 1911 has an upgraded aftermarket part available out there.
    The questions that you need to ask yourself would be....is an upgrade of any particular part necessary and do you have the skill necessary to make certain that it's properly fit?

    I have personally done it extensively and just for the heckovit and enjoyed doing the work.

    Its an incredible learning experience to actually know how each part functions, fits, and interacts with other parts.

    It can also get to be an incredibly expensive undertaking as you can easily spend the retail price of the firearm on upgraded parts.

    I have a Combat Commander that does not contain even one original COLT part.

    How much of what I did was necessary? Very likely not much.

    Was it a great fun project to create THE supposedly indestructible Commander?
    It sure was and and I would do it again but, would probably not suggest that any other member do it....unless you just want to know how every aspect of the machine serves its functionality purpose.

    All of the above having been said...I would go with Chrome Silicon recoil spring.
    A short trigger if you don't like a long one.
    A flat or arched mainspring housing switch depending on which you prefer.
    A tuned and properly fit hardcore milled/machined extractor.
    And possibly an upgraded pin set.

    And any 1911 clone that has a MIM slide stop, thumb safety, and hammer....those should go Bye Bye.

    And I refuse to participate in any MIM (metal injected molded) parts debate.

    Admittedly jaded opinion because members will start telling me about how fantastic MIM jet engine parts are....which never gave me any warm and fuzzy feeling seeing broken hammers, slide stops, and thumb safeties.

    So...I won't endlessly get into it. Whatever floats your particular boat...go with it.
    Since any arguments about that would just be based on my personal opinion.
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  10. #24
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    Other than good sights the only thing I prefer in a carry 1911 is the Commander style hammer. A Commander style hammer should have no effect on reliability IMO. Just my .02 worth!
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  11. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Good question, and only my late (c. 1992) gunsmith knows for sure. A drop-in beavertail grip safety from the Brownell's catalog was added at the same time as the "ring" hammer. I think Bill Kaswer (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...DfZH7l4-zkj9q7) recommended that part, but I don't recall for certain. Nonetheless, it's a combination that works well together.
    Thanks Gary, that will give me something good to read later today. That's a great looking grip safety. I'm pretty certain the rowel hammers won't work with the standard GS, if you look at an early original Commander, they use a GS that looks like a standard Government GS, but the tang is way short, they're about the size of those used on the M1911 until 1924 and the M1911A1.
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  12. #26
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    Looks like this is what he used:
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  13. #27
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    A lot of great advice, and ideas!, in this thread. Thanks to all.
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  14. #28
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    The only things I had done on my Springfield Defender were a beavertail grip safety and ambi safety levers; both from Ed Brown, and installed by a local reputable smith.

    Nowadays I wouldn't even know who to take a 1911 to, in North Georgia.
    "If you make something idiot proof, someone will make a better idiot."

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  15. #29
    Senior Member Array M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by high pockets View Post
    ...Nowadays I wouldn't even know who to take a 1911 to...
    That's my problem too.
    Our local part-time gunsmith does good work, but I wouldn't give him a 1911 trigger job because he doesn't have the experience to know how best to do it.
    However, if you need a rifle re-stocked, or something like that, he's very good.
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  16. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    Do the least amount to it that you can.

    What is the main purpose of the pistol going to be? That can greatly affect the answers. Target, Carry, both?

    Keep it as close to Browning's original design as you can, the man knew his pistol better than any modern day guru does.

    "If it ain't broke, fix it until it is"
    ^^^^^ on this 100%
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