Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

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Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by TexasShooter on Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:07 pm

Have a Nelson .22 conversion that I like really well, and I would like a dedicated lower. I'm thinking about getting a frame and all the parts and putting it together myself. I can field strip a 1911 for cleaning but pretty much clueless past that point. I'm fairly handy and like doing this kind of thing, and this seems like a fun way to educate myself a little more about 1911's.

I know fitting a slide, barrel, or bushing correctly is beyond my capabilities but what about the lower? Anything in there I should be worried about? In short, would this be a good way to learn something or just a really dumb idea? Any good books, DVD's, or other educational type materials that I should get? Suggestions, advice, tips are appreciated...

Thanks
Clay

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by Deerspy on Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:19 pm

I have a Nelson also and I bought a Foster frame (2nd) and put it to gather my self piece of cake I am not done with it yet i still want to try my hand at checkering front strap, but if I had it to do over I think I would get the Caspian (not sure that is spelled right). I think they are made by Foster and the good ones are Caspian and the Foster are 2ns's mine was rough it works for 22lr.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by mspingeld on Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:36 pm

Check out The M1911 Complete Assembly Guide by Walt Kuleck

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by Dr.Don on Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:44 pm

If you think you want to build a 1911 someday, a lower is a good place to start.  There is no slide fitting, bushing fitting, lug cutting, or barrel fitting required.  You will learn how to do a trigger job, fit a safety, fit a grip safety, etc.  Jerry Kuhnhausen's book on the 45 is also good.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by Joe L on Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:38 am

mspingeld wrote:Check out The M1911 Complete Assembly Guide by Walt Kuleck
Texas Shooter--I'll loan you my copy of this book.  I don't need it any longer, LOL.

I say go for building up your own frame.  Great project. 

Joe

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by mspingeld on Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:40 am

+1 on the Kuhnhausen book (actually two books). Great reference and a must-have for anyone interested in fixing/accurizing/building 1911's. The Kuleck book is more like a step-by-step and would be very helpful.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by BE Mike on Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:32 am

I built a 1911 from parts, many years ago. For the lower, IMHO, the biggest problems are fitting of the trigger, manual safety and grip safety. Getting a good trigger job is as much an art as science. I would opt for a Cylinder and Slide kit. Make sure that you have the proper stones and files before you start. BTW, get the highest quality parts available and if possible get the frame with the plunger tube already installed.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by DavidR on Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:00 pm

Its cheaper to buy a RO and just use the lower, then you already have the upper. Ive built several nice lowers, the cost of parts will end up being more than a whole gun unless you buy the cheapest parts.

DavidR
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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by BE Mike on Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:13 pm

DavidR wrote:Its cheaper to buy a RO and just use the lower, then you already have the upper. Ive built several nice lowers, the cost of parts will end up being more than a whole gun unless you buy the cheapest parts.
Either way, I'd swap out the MIM trigger parts for a Cylinder & Slide kit. I have a SA Loaded with a trigger job done on the MIM original parts. I have a SA Trophy Match with a Cylinder & Slide kit, which has tooled steel parts. There is a noticeable difference IMHO. The tooled steel parts being superior.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by TexasShooter on Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:07 pm

DavidR wrote:Its cheaper to buy a RO and just use the lower, then you already have the upper. Ive built several nice lowers, the cost of parts will end up being more than a whole gun unless you buy the cheapest parts.

I have an RO, great gun but the conversion doesn't work well with it (.22 just isn't enough to cycle it).

I have one of KC Crawford's triggers in it and really like it, so if I went that direction I'd probably have the cost of the RO + a new trigger + some springs + pay someone to swap it all out. And then I'd have a leftover slide which is a waste, so I'd have to buy a lower to go with that slide. It's a never-ending cycle (I had the same problem with Ruger 10/22's and I'm up to six of them now).

Within reason I'm not looking to save money - I figure education has a price, and I like the idea of learning more about how a 1911 works...

Thanks!

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by TexasShooter on Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:11 pm

BE Mike wrote:I built a 1911 from parts, many years ago. For the lower, IMHO, the biggest problems are fitting of the trigger, manual safety and grip safety. Getting a good trigger job is as much an art as science. I would opt for a Cylinder and Slide kit. Make sure that you have the proper stones and files before you start. BTW, get the highest quality parts available and if possible get the frame with the plunger tube already installed.

Trigger job was one of the things I'm worried about. I'm thinking either one of KC Crawford's or a C&S "drop in" kit. I hear nothing really drops in a 1911 but some are closer than others and both of these have good reputations (I have one of KC's in my RO and love it).

Thanks
Clay

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by marlin1881 on Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:36 pm

TexasShooter wrote:
DavidR wrote:Its cheaper to buy a RO and just use the lower, then you already have the upper. Ive built several nice lowers, the cost of parts will end up being more than a whole gun unless you buy the cheapest parts.

I have an RO, great gun but the conversion doesn't work well with it (.22 just isn't enough to cycle it).

I have one of KC Crawford's triggers in it and really like it, so if I went that direction I'd probably have the cost of the RO + a new trigger + some springs + pay someone to swap it all out. And then I'd have a leftover slide which is a waste, so I'd have to buy a lower to go with that slide. It's a never-ending cycle (I had the same problem with Ruger 10/22's and I'm up to six of them now).

Within reason I'm not looking to save money - I figure education has a price, and I like the idea of learning more about how a 1911 works...

Thanks!

I have a RO with the Nelson conversion kit and it works very well.  But, I did have to let Nelson know about the RO, when I bought the kit, as I ordered an 8lb recoil spring, in addition to the default 9lb spring.  Evidently, the .45 titanium firing pin takes a heavier mainspring to generate more hammer force, which will take more force to cycle the .45 slide while cocking the hammer.  The 8lb recoil spring on the kit allows this to happen easier.  Mine works well.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by TexasShooter on Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:01 pm

marlin1881 wrote:
TexasShooter wrote:
DavidR wrote:Its cheaper to buy a RO and just use the lower, then you already have the upper. Ive built several nice lowers, the cost of parts will end up being more than a whole gun unless you buy the cheapest parts.

I have an RO, great gun but the conversion doesn't work well with it (.22 just isn't enough to cycle it).

I have one of KC Crawford's triggers in it and really like it, so if I went that direction I'd probably have the cost of the RO + a new trigger + some springs + pay someone to swap it all out. And then I'd have a leftover slide which is a waste, so I'd have to buy a lower to go with that slide. It's a never-ending cycle (I had the same problem with Ruger 10/22's and I'm up to six of them now).

Within reason I'm not looking to save money - I figure education has a price, and I like the idea of learning more about how a 1911 works...

Thanks!

I have a RO with the Nelson conversion kit and it works very well.  But, I did have to let Nelson know about the RO, when I bought the kit, as I ordered an 8lb recoil spring, in addition to the default 9lb spring.  Evidently, the .45 titanium firing pin takes a heavier mainspring to generate more hammer force, which will take more force to cycle the .45 slide while cocking the hammer.  The 8lb recoil spring on the kit allows this to happen easier.  Mine works well.

Makes perfect sense. I've been using my Nelson on a Kimber frame, works fine and very accurate but the Kimber frame is alloy so much lighter and just feels wrong for a target 1911.

Thanks
Clay

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by BE Mike on Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:24 pm

TexasShooter wrote:
BE Mike wrote:I built a 1911 from parts, many years ago. For the lower, IMHO, the biggest problems are fitting of the trigger, manual safety and grip safety. Getting a good trigger job is as much an art as science. I would opt for a Cylinder and Slide kit. Make sure that you have the proper stones and files before you start. BTW, get the highest quality parts available and if possible get the frame with the plunger tube already installed.

Trigger job was one of the things I'm worried about. I'm thinking either one of KC Crawford's or a C&S "drop in" kit. I hear nothing really drops in a 1911 but some are closer than others and both of these have good reputations (I have one of KC's in my RO and love it).

Thanks
Clay
I didn't mean to say that the Cylinder and Slide kits are the only thing to do. My point really is that any high quality tooled steel parts worked over by a good smith would be the way to go IMHO. The C&S kits offer a crisp break. The KC trigger is a roll trigger, IIRC. Whatever floats your boat.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by TexasShooter on Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:38 pm

BE Mike wrote:
TexasShooter wrote:
BE Mike wrote:I built a 1911 from parts, many years ago. For the lower, IMHO, the biggest problems are fitting of the trigger, manual safety and grip safety. Getting a good trigger job is as much an art as science. I would opt for a Cylinder and Slide kit. Make sure that you have the proper stones and files before you start. BTW, get the highest quality parts available and if possible get the frame with the plunger tube already installed.

Trigger job was one of the things I'm worried about. I'm thinking either one of KC Crawford's or a C&S "drop in" kit. I hear nothing really drops in a 1911 but some are closer than others and both of these have good reputations (I have one of KC's in my RO and love it).

Thanks
Clay
I didn't mean to say that the Cylinder and Slide kits are the only thing to do. My point really is that any high quality tooled steel parts worked over by a good smith would be the way to go IMHO. The C&S kits offer a crisp break. The KC trigger is a roll trigger, IIRC. Whatever floats your boat.

I understand. I think they're both good - I have KC's in my RO, my wife has a C&S in her RO. I like the feel of either one. I had a local gunsmith install both and he said no real fitting was needed. Of course, no guarantees that will be the case next time.

C&S actually offers a 5 piece trigger pull set they call a Marine Corps 3.5 lb Trigger Pull Set. Part of the description: "This set was designed for use in military leg competition 1911 pistols to provide a spur hammer with superior trigger pulls and longevity over the standard military hammers and sears. The hammer hooks are .023" long to provide a roll off trigger pull. They must be shortened to provide a crisp trigger pull."

Thanks
Clay

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by Dr.Don on Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:47 pm

Since you described this effort as partly education for yourself, you should buy a simple sear jig, some stones, and at least experiment with doing your own trigger job.  (You can lower the hammer hooks without a jig by using steel shim stock and a stone.)  If you keep safety in mind, you will learn a lot about how a 1911 works by doing this.  You may well decide ultimately to drop in a kit by K.C. or C&S, and your own job probably won't equal those.  But you will learn a lot by playing with the sear, hammer, and sear spring yourself.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by TexasShooter on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:16 pm

Dr.Don wrote:Since you described this effort as partly education for yourself, you should buy a simple sear jig, some stones, and at least experiment with doing your own trigger job.  (You can lower the hammer hooks without a jig by using steel shim stock and a stone.)  If you keep safety in mind, you will learn a lot about how a 1911 works by doing this.  You may well decide ultimately to drop in a kit by K.C. or C&S, and your own job probably won't equal those.  But you will learn a lot by playing with the sear, hammer, and sear spring yourself.

I'll probably end up there. I still have the original trigger parts from the 2 ROs that we dropped trigger kits in. Since they're extras I figure if I mess 'em up I haven't really lost. I was just reading another thread where the Power Custom Series 1 Stoning Fixture was recommended. Do you know anything about this one? Other recommendations?

Thanks
Clay

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by Joe L on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:40 pm

Clay--I have some 1911 sear fixtures I can show you.  1911's are not difficult to tune yourself.  Sig's are difficult. CZ's are impossible.

Joe

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by Rob Kovach on Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:00 pm

TexasShooter,
All lowers can be tuned to work well with a conversion.  It's a balancing act between the ammo, the recoil spring, and the mainspring.  The stiffer the mainspring, the softer the recoil spring and vice versa.

Whether it's a Marvel, Advantage Arms, or Nelson, the recoil springs interchange.  I use the Marvel springs because they color-code them and they have weights down to 6lbs.  I don't have a 6lb spring in 1 conversion and a 7 in the other.  If you are running a stock 10lb spring, a stiff mainspring and use light ammo like Aguila, you are going to have cycling problems.

See if your conversion will work better with the 8lb recoil spring.

Rob Kovach
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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by LateBoomer on Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:23 pm

This thread has inspired me to start on my own Marvel-specific frame build.  Does anyone have any resources/insights other than the books mentioned above that I should look to purchase?  Is it better to start with a caspian frame or work from an older frame first and upgrade the parts.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by Froneck on Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:18 pm

I think you should do it! If in the end it's not a good shooter you will have a lot of experience and do it better next time. I would recommend finding a few cheap hammers, sears, Disconnectos and thumb safetys so you can practice fitting them. There is really not that much involved. Think and don't rush. Taking a lot of fine cuts with a very fine file is better  than cutting fast with a rough file. Less chance of an Oops!  I have built quite a few 45's When I first started I was good friends with Floyd Aikman and George Madore. When ever something wasn't going right I would call them for help. I did build from Scratch my version of the Russian Baikal IZH 35 Every thing except a few screws and some springs I made myself. I did make the Grips but got a set of Rink laminated at Perry. Shoots great!!
 If I were building it I would start with the Caspian Frame.

Frank


Last edited by Froneck on Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by Wobbley on Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:40 pm

Go for it.  The tricky stuff is setting upo the triggers and safeties, but the rest is just assembly.  Use good components and you'll do fine.  There are books available that cover all the fine points.

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by Froneck on Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:56 pm

One place you might try is Practical Machinist Forum They has a section on Gunsmithing. Problem with books is you can't ask questions

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

Post by LateBoomer on Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:30 pm

Thanks for the advise.  I bought a cheap beat up norinco to mess up first before moving to a caspian.  Next step is picking up a sear jig

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Re: Tell me I'm not nuts (or maybe I am)

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