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Old June 14, 2018, 04:57 AM   #1
MarkJawn
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1911 parts interchangeability

Hey guys, I’m still sort of new to shooting (only a couple years under my belt) and I’m looking to get into some DIY ‘gunsmithing’.
I have an old Remington 870 that was passed down to me when my father died so I figured a good start would be trying to disassemble that as far as I can with the help of YouTube, and put it back together. It also has some minor pitting and rust so maybe one day I may even be able to practice that aspect of gunsmithing as well and try to remedy that issue once I’ve built more confidence.
I recently listened to a podcast that had some Gunsmiths on, and one of them said a good way to get started with this hobby would be to buy a cheap 5 inch 1911 and start changing parts on it over time. I figured that would be a great idea, I could also duracoat it eventually and maybe even engrave a pair of super cheap wooden grips if I feel capable after more YouTube studying.
My question is do you all agree?
If yes, my next question is which cheap 1911 would be a good ‘beater’ for this type of project? Rock Island? ATI? American Classic?
I assume it would have to be one that has strayed very very little from the main blueprint for a 1911 so that a lot of these spare parts I buy will fit it.
Another question I have is should I stay with 45 ACP or would 9mm be okay as well? My thought is that maybe the 9mm has slightly different internals and they could be more difficult to find?
Thanks for the help!
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Old June 14, 2018, 05:03 AM   #2
MarkJawn
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*********My thought is that maybe the 9mm has slightly different internals and ‘THE PARTS’ could be more difficult to find.*********

*********TYPO SORRY*********
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Old June 14, 2018, 06:21 AM   #3
4V50 Gary
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Easiest way to check anything is the parts catalog. Same catalog #, then same part!
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Old June 14, 2018, 08:11 AM   #4
jcj54
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1911 parts interchangeability

IF the 1911 you buy is made to military spec, most parts should be interchangeable.
The beavertail grip safeties from one maker do not usually interchange and must be used with the same maker's hammer.
As to the 9mm vs .45, the slide, slide stop, barrel, recoil spring, magazine, ejector and extractor are different but all other parts are the same.

Hope this helps.
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Old June 14, 2018, 10:01 AM   #5
T. O'Heir
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Do not get your training via YouTube. Anybody with Internet access can post anything there. Buy and read the assorted NRA Gunsmithing Guides.
Most aftermarket parts require fitting. Especially barrels.
"...which cheap 1911..." What do you call 'cheap'? There's a used Iver Johnson 1911A1 on Gunbroker with a starting bid of $575.00 with no bids at all, that'd do nicely.
https://www.gunbroker.com/item/771551891
Plus a grossly under valued 1918 vintage 1911 currently at $605.00. That's at least 2 grand under its value. GB item #775148263.
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Old June 14, 2018, 10:16 AM   #6
Nathan
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You are probably best if you get a 45, but 9mm is pretty std. there are numerous 9mm custom parts. I worry that a Tisas 1911 9mm might be a slightly different pattern.

You could buy a cheap 1911, but cheap 1911’s are made cheap! Buying a slightly better than cheap used 1911 might be a better way. Something like an SA milspec.
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Old June 14, 2018, 10:53 AM   #7
RickB
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First, buy the two-volume Kuhnhausen shop manual.
It has all of the parts specifications, so you will be able to tell if your gun, or your parts, are in, or out of spec.

I'd avoid 9mm. All the parts, other than pins and screws, are different from those in a .45.

You can usually expect parts to "drop in" only when the parts come from the same maker as the gun, but there's no fun in that.

Parts from parts makers are almost always oversized, and will require fitting.

I don't know that I'd want to put $300 in parts in a $400 gun, but, at the same time, learning the ropes on a $1000 gun might lead to tears.
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Old June 15, 2018, 12:58 AM   #8
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I suggest you start with a Nighthawk. That way you will be very careful with any modifications you do.
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Old June 15, 2018, 05:54 AM   #9
Nathan
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WHAT? Because the DLC finish is impossible to re-apply?
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Old June 15, 2018, 06:52 AM   #10
Don P
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Quote:
The beavertail grip safeties from one maker do not usually interchange and must be used with the same maker's hammer.
Nonsense, the part just has to be fitted. I have a Wilson Combat beavertail grip safety that I put on my Springfield and did not have to change the hammer. Just had to fit he part

Quote:
My thought is that maybe the 9mm has slightly different internals and they could be more difficult to find?
Thanks for the help!
With so many manufacturers making 9 mm 1911's the parts are plentiful
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Old June 15, 2018, 10:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
The beavertail grip safeties from one maker do not usually interchange and must be used with the same maker's hammer.

Nonsense
I wouldn't go so far as "nonsense"; you do have to match the hammer to the grip safety - you can't use an unmodified spur hammer with a beavertail - and the grip safety from one maker might not fit the frame from another.
There is a certain amount of matching that must be done.
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Old June 15, 2018, 02:40 PM   #12
Nathan
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Rick, good point by. Other than by experience and specific web searches, how do you know? I know SA loaded and Wilson are quite close!
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Old June 15, 2018, 03:02 PM   #13
RickB
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It's not always easy to know.
Even doing extensive research at places like 1911forum can result in confusion.
For instance, on their beavertail equipped models, Springfield Armory uses the "Clark/Wilson radius", sometimes also called "compound radius".

Most people seem to prefer the more recent ".250-inch radius" grip safeties, but they don't work very well with Springfield's Mil-Spec and G.I. models, so an aftermarket manufacturer, S&A, designed the .220" radius grip safety specifically for Springfields that were manufactured with a G.I.-style grip safety.

So, depending on which Springfield model you have, whether it's stock or modified, it might have any of a number of grip safeties that may or may not be interchangeable.

And, to confuse matters some more, there are beavertails available with a .245" radius, to help "save" a frame that has been overcut for a .250".
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Old June 15, 2018, 05:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Nonsense, the part just has to be fitted.
There are 3 common pivot point radiuses for beavertail safeties. They vary in the radius of the pivot point. If you buy a beavertail safety with the Wilson radius, you will have to do major work to get it to fit the Ed Brown radius. Same with others. You buy the grip safety and cut the frame to fit the safety you bought. If you want to change it, but the same type of grip safety.
Quote:
WHAT? Because the DLC finish is impossible to re-apply?
No. Because most people think about it really carefully before taking a mill file to a $3,600 1911.
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Old June 15, 2018, 05:48 PM   #15
xandi
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Why not just build your own? Your gonna change out everything anyways right?
There are kits out there
https://www.fusionfirearms.com/freed...t-gi-build-kit
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Old June 15, 2018, 06:33 PM   #16
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First off, disassembly and reassembly is not going to hurt anything. So, why buy a cheap firearm?

Just to provide you with another alternative, Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is going to be selling some U.S. Govt. M1911A1's this Fall. They are not cheap but there are three different grades, with varying prices based upon grade, to select from depending upon your random selected number. The lower your number the better you chance you have of buying the one which is right for you. There is a good chance in my personal opinion, they will not loose any value over the years to come unlike a new in the box firearm.

All the information is on the CMP web site.
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