View Full Version : Drop in parts?

November 4, 2000, 08:43 PM
I'm planning on buuilding my first 1911 and don' have all the tools for a gunsmith fit gun so I was going to go with all drop in parts. How well do they drop in? Do parts from the same maker fit together better than ones from different makers? Not looking for a tack driver but something that shoots straight. One that I can be proud of showing to others.

Thanks Cyric

Badger Arms
November 4, 2000, 11:25 PM
I did this once. I found that most still require some fitting. The gun was rather rough for a while but smoothed out after a while. There are many 1911 smiths here that will give you some excellent advice.

George Stringer
November 5, 2000, 09:11 AM
Cyric, no they don't all drop in and it won't make any difference if you buy them all from the same maker or not. A new part might drop straight in and work perfectly in one frame/slide but require fitting to work in another. There are just too many variables involved. Most fitting will only require the use of a small file and maybe a couple of stones. George

Ken Cook
November 5, 2000, 02:41 PM
Hi Cyric!
First of all, you need to understand that they only call them "Drop-in" parts for the sake of brevity.
They should actually be called
You get the idea.
The reason they DON'T drop in, is because of a phenomenon known as "Tolerance Stack-up"

Say you have 10 parts, each with a tolerance of +/- .003
If all 10 parts are -.003, you end up being .030 out of tolerance and this will usually translate into a gun that's so loose you need to hold a bucket under it when you shoot! (to catch the falling parts)
Obviously this is an over simplified example but suffice to say, you can run into serious trouble.
I'd really not recommend this if you're doing it with the intention of saving a little money, because your time and piece of mind may be worth more than your money by the time you finish.
On the other hand, it's a good way to learn and a GREAT way to exercise your patience and stress management skills.
There are some tools you WILL need, like a plunger tube staking jig.
*yeah, you can improvise, but unless you're REALLY talented and VERY lucky, it won't be secure*

I'm currently building a .45 for IDPA on a matched frame and slide from Les Baer which set me back about 850 bucks.
So it CAN be done, and it can be done well, just bear in mind that the first one is always the worst, it gets easier, and NEVER, EVER, think you can figure it out on your own.
Buy the .45 books from Jerry Kuhnhausen.
They're worth their weight in gold!
Good luck!

Your mind is your primary weapon.

November 5, 2000, 06:09 PM
I bought 3 grip safeties from 3 companys ALL
saying drop in parts,Colt was the worse,and some other I can't remeber, but one from Brownells the "KINGs 1911" came as close to drop in as you'd expect,I've bought at least
3 different companys products for the 1911'
except barrels and frames, Essex is the cheapest and well made, George has said it all on the 1911.

James K
November 6, 2000, 12:27 AM
The only true "drop in" parts are GI parts in a GI gun. Sometimes even those won't "drop in", but they come closer than anything else.