View Full Version : Parts suggestion for spriner mil spec

March 28, 2011, 01:15 PM
I, hopefully in a day or 2, will be trading for a springer mil spec. I would like to change the sights, hammer, trigger, add extended beaver tail and maybe change the main spring housing. I have never done this before and was hoping to get some advice on what tools I will need and if there are any products to avoid? I'd like to keep the price for parts below $300 if possible, but if that's not realistic for quality parts I may just leave it alone.

March 28, 2011, 09:41 PM
The first tool you'll need is a copy of Kuhnhausen's Colt .45 Automatic shop manual. I would get that and read it before buying anything else.

The front sight will be a staked tenon type. That requires a special tool (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=916/Product/1911_AUTO_FRONT_SIGHT_STAKER). The rear sight, assuming it doesn't require a Bomar type relief cut into the slide, should be possible to put in without buying a dovetail sight drifting adjuster. A brass punch will usually do, though the adjuster makes it easier to be precise. The beavertail may or may not require a fixture for filing down the frame ears, depending on the design. Though they will prevent pinching of skin between the hammer and safety, I have not found the drop-in type beavertail really satisfactory as the web that goes between the frame ears on those presses into my hand about the same as the standard military grip safety does, and that gets old after enough rounds of hardball. I've had good luck with Ed Brown's parts and tool (http://edbrown.com/cgi/htmlos.cgi/00290.1.812005782597010052), if you like his memory groove feature. If you don't, there's a Para Ordnance version without it, here (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=19850/Product/GRIP_SAFETY__BEAVERTAIL__BLUE).

Most of the rest of the work you describe may be done with files, unless you want to do a trigger job. A trigger job involves some skill, and I'd recommend you let someone teach you that part, if possible. It's common for first timers to make errors that can result in safety hazards: doubling or the gun going off or the hammer following the slide when the slide racks a new round are the most common ones. It seems to me I went through three sears and two hammers before getting some coaching and learning to do a decent job. Would have saved some time, money, and danger if I'd got myself coached first. A gun that fails to let the hammer drop at all is at the opposite end of the spectrum, but it can be just as hazardous to your health under the wrong circumstance.

Hammer and trigger are up to you. In general, the lighter aluminum or composite triggers have a safety advantage over heavier steel. You may or may not want a long trigger. It depends on your hand shape. I like long triggers for bullseye target shooting (my Goldcup has one), but a short one for fast two-handed shooting. The long trigger seems to be in the way at speed. I like a Commander style hammer so I can run a lanyard through the hole while I stand on it. I use that to cock the hammer in dry fire. The super skeletonized hammers look cool, and I suppose they shorten lock time a little, but they lack mass, which puts ignition reliability at risk. Besides, you should learn to control the trigger press so that you don't disturb the gun when you drop the hammer anyway. If you need a few extra milliseconds off the lock time to stop yourself from yanking the shot as far off target, your fundamentals are already bent too far out of shape for reliable accuracy.

I have a flat mainspring housing on my Goldcup, but an arched one on my Gunsite school gun. I find the arch seems to help my hand find the correct grip position in the presentation (fast draw). Without it I sometimes plant my hand a little low on the grip frame. But, again, this is individual. You may have to buy a flat one just to find out. I prefer one with vertical grooves over checkering because I don't want my hand to slide up into best grip when getting to the gun in the holster. I'm sure others will feel differently. My only point is the function and your personal preference in that context should drive the selection.

March 28, 2011, 10:50 PM
I own a Mil- Spec just for the reason you want to change. I have a Springer Loaded I want to have a arched grip put ion and remove the ambi safe level removed, I guess Iam just fool for the 70 model. Just goes to show we are all different and can change things to the way we want. Good luck

March 28, 2011, 11:58 PM
Unclenick, thank you for the thorough response. I will leave the trigger to someone else if I deem it necessary to have it worked on.

I have only owned 1911's with all the parts I'd like to change, so it's more a matter of what I'm used to than anything else. My friend has a mil spec and while I shot it surprisingly well, I did miss some of the extra features. I owned some nice 1911's, but the 2 I shot best were the 2 cheapest ones, a mil spec and a Kimber Ten II with no white dots on the sights.

I also just noticed the slide on the mil spec offered in trade says 1911-A1. That means the hammer is slightly shorter right? Were there any other changes to the A1?

March 29, 2011, 11:21 AM
The pictures on Wikipedia shows the differences, here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1911_pistol). I think the changes made by the military in 1924 as compared to the original Browning design were to add the arched mainspring housing and remove the lanyard loop, round the bottom of the firing pin stop to make the slide easier to rack (but that also increases muzzle jump in firing, so a lot of folks buy the EGW square bottom firing pin stops and fit them), shortening the trigger for small hands, and shortening the hammer spur and lengthening the grip safety tail to mitigate a tendency for bigger hands to get flesh pinched between the hammer and grip safety. There's a picture of both guns together about a third of the way down that Wiki page next to the Service History heading.