View Full Version : 1911 Government Model frames and slides - who makes the best pieces?

Sid Post
July 25, 1999, 06:40 PM
I am looking at bare frames and slides for a standard single stack 5 inch Government Model 1911.

I have considered Rock River, Caspian, Les Baer, and (if they ever release them) Infinity in general. Who else have I forgotten....

There are so many companies making these parts and pieces, it seems you can get a very good value and the parts you want, they way you want them. But, it is also hard to sort them all out from each other.

In frames, it would appear that you want a 4140 billet steel model with a checkered front strap and bevertail grip safety cut with the high grip frame relief at the trigger guard. What have I missed? Who do you recommend?

In slides, it would appear a bar stock 4140 model would be best. I'm thinking I want the top of the slide flatten'ed and serrated beyond the standard stock slide features. What have I missed? Who do you recommend?

Would there be any hidden problems combining a slide from one maker to a frame from another? Perhaps I would be better off with something like a Kimber base model, give up the front strap checkering and slide with serrated top and just toss the barrel?

What I want is a 460 Rowland Government Model 1911 without canabalizing one of my current guns. Now I'm trying to figure out how to make it all happen cost effectively. It seems Clark Custom is working this direction for their "packaged" pistol solution.


July 26, 1999, 02:06 AM
Don't forget Wilson, which is the same as Kimber. Colt sells slides separately. Rock River and Les Baer are the same. They both come from the same manufacturer. Rock River is the best for less money. Before RR went into business my gunsmith had built a couple of pistols on Baer frames and Colt slides. Caspian is cast and I think Wilson is too.

Daniel Watters
July 26, 1999, 03:32 AM
Caspian only casts its frames. Its slides are machined from bar-stock. The Kimber (BUL, Wilson, CMC, and Nowlin) slides are machined from forgings.

George Stringer
July 26, 1999, 07:02 AM
Unless the customer specifies a particular frame I build my guns on Essex and Caspian. I have two on the Essex that have seen 15 years hard use and uncounted thousands of rounds without any sign of a problem from either. I'm not saying that they are the best. But, at $140 they're hard to beat. I saw a guy at the local range yesterday shooting a pistol I built for him on an Essex 2 years ago and it's still giving him 1-1/2" to 2" groups at 25yds. If the parts are fitted correctly and you choose the correct recoil spring for the load you shoot an Essex or Caspian should last your lifetime plus. George

Sid Post
July 26, 1999, 09:12 PM
Considering the stresses involved with the 460 Rowland and the lighter weight guys like 9X23, it seems like the additional strengths of premium steel are beneficial at reducing total life cycle costs.

The 45ACP round in its standard configurations seems to work well in almost any properly fitted pistol but, when you get to 45SUPER or more (460 Rowland) the guns take a beating and seem to give up sooner. I have also be lead to believe that 9x23 are hard on pistols as well due to slide velocity. Having the proper weight recoil spring helps but, there is still a lot of force at play here. Perhaps, I am off in left field and just need a good gun smith to smooth the rough edges for me? Thoughts anybody?


July 27, 1999, 06:40 PM
Sid, it is a juggling act. Factory 1911 with factory ammo should last a long time and only get loose slowly... It is the silly billy who wants a 1911 that will cycle with 185 grain powder puff loads and .451 Mags that is asking too much. Get the springs to handle the .451 Mag or 9x21mm hotrod (or whatever the latest name(s) is) and you shouldn't have too great an accelleration of wear especially with modern lubricants, but it is NOT gonna shoot 185 grain target loads except if you pull the slide back to cycle it. !! good luck.