Dedicated frame for conversion

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Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by expendable on 1/12/2018, 9:39 am

I would like to set up a dedicated lower to go with my Nelson conversion, I'm currently using my colt 1991 lower.

I've been looking at Foster frames, but I'm not sure how much work would be required to get it put together and working correctly. 

Would I be better off buying a cheaper 1911 "S/A mil spec, Rem or similar" and just upgrading the trigger parts or going the route of the Foster?

Kurt

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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by javaduke on 1/12/2018, 9:47 am

Strictly IMHO, the amount of work needed to upgrade the mil-spec gun is comparable to building the lower from scratch. You will definitely need to replace sear, hammer and disconnector, most likely the trigger too, the mainspring will need to be replaced with a less strong one (16-17 lbs), you'd probably want a beavertail grip safety instead of the mil spec one, etc, etc, etc. You won't find much use for the original parts after the upgrade is done, plus you will have all the upper parts - slide, barrel, etc. just collecting dust. I would much rather buy a new frame and only parts that I need, build the lower and tune it the way I like (which is exactly what I did for my Nelson Smile )

Just my 2 shekels.

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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by Tim:H11 on 1/12/2018, 9:52 am

I think it would be cheaper to have the trigger upgraded in the Colt 1991 and continue to use it as your dedicated lower. But if you want your Colt back as a 45 and still want a frame for the Nelson then I suggest finding a used Springfield at a very affordable rate, sell the upper half off to recoup some money, and use the frame and it’s parts. 

After buying the foster frame, and all the parts, there is the fitting work that has to be done. If you plan to use a GI grip safety then that takes care of a lot of fit and blend work. But it still needs to be finished unless you go stainless.

If you go the GI route then make a parts list and price it out. Then compare. 

If you want an extended beaver tail grip safety, buy a Springfield for a donner frame and grip safety and use all the parts there until you can afford to upgrade the internals. 

I use a Springfield Range Officer frame for my Nelson for example. The only thing left on it that is still Springfield is the frame, thumb and grip safety, magazine release, trigger and pins. Everything else is aftermarket. Sear, hammer, disconnector, sear spring, mainspring, mainspring housing and it’s internals, and grips.
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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by JKR on 1/12/2018, 11:00 am

I've built a few dedicated lowers with Foster frames. Kind of a retirement hobby for me. A couple were for friends for the cost of the parts. If you go to Camp Perry you can get a great deal on a Foster from Caspian. You can still expect to sink five hundred or so into it if you use good parts. If you're mechanically inclined it's a lot of fun. If you're looking for the least expensive way to a dedicated lower, I'm not sure.

Jim

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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by Chris Miceli on 1/12/2018, 12:06 pm

JKR wrote:I've built a few dedicated lowers with Foster frames. Kind of a retirement hobby for me. A couple were for friends for the cost of the parts. If you go to Camp Perry you can get a great deal on a Foster from Caspian. You can still expect to sink five hundred or so into it if you use good parts. If you're mechanically inclined it's a lot of fun. If you're looking for the least expensive way to a dedicated lower, I'm not sure.

Jim
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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by jglenn21 on 1/13/2018, 12:34 pm

here is one man venture into building a dedicated lower

http://www.ktgunsmith.com/KTGS22.htm#_004

not my choice of parts that he used but an example... Tool  list is pretty close depending on your choice of grip safety.

unless you get a SA GI model dirt cheap( <600) I suspect you can build a lower a bit cheaper from scratch..  I don't recommend using cold blue to finish it.. at a minimum blast it and using parkarizing which is pretty easy to do frankly..

I build all my families BE pistols and lowers and do some work on friends guns just like JKR.. almost all of ours started as bare slides and frames.  parts are cheap.... tools will kill you.. Smile
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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by Magload on 1/13/2018, 6:30 pm

I put my Nelson on a Rem R1 I had.  I did put a KC roll trigger in it and like it.  I shot the R1 in IDPA and liked the gun would kind of like it back as a SD 45.  I carried it for a while.  Dpn
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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by Keyholed on 1/16/2018, 5:43 am

I started with the Kitchen Table Gunsmith write-up...and very, very quickly went completely off the rails. It was a ton of work, but wasn't super-super difficult. I'd never done anything remotely like this before, so some things I spent an inordinate amount of time on. Let me try and list what I had to do. Your mileage may vary.

1 - Sanded magazine catch to fit frame, trimmed half a coil from magazine catch spring to fit.
2 - Filed, stoned, sanded grip safety tang to fit Caspian grip safety. Used various markers to judge where to remove material from. Used Dremel to polish out burr inside hammer notch on grip safety. Fit width of grip safety to frame.
3 - Sanded and stoned shoe of trigger to fit frame.
4 - Light stoning of trigger track to smooth.
5 - Polished sear area of frame.
6 - Broke dust cover edge to 45 degrees, polished inside of dust cover.
7 - Minor fitting of MSH. Polished some areas.
8 - Sanded pins to fit frame.
9 - Frame rails far too large for conversion. Stoning and polishing required. Accomplished this by hand (and totally shocked when it came out well).
10 - Fit .45-cal ejector to frame. Used file to cut wedge, pin pulls ejector tight to frame.
11 - Polished top of frame.
12 - Deep solvent cleanup. Lubed parts to protect during fitting.
13 - Test-fit of parts.
14 - Thumb safety fitting.
15 - Deep solvent cleanup #2.
16 - Applied grease lubricant to internals.
17 - Assembly and various safety/function checks.
18 - BANG. BANG. YAY.

All told, probably 35-40 hours. I used KC's roll trigger kit, and a stainless frame. It was brutal and it sucked and I didn't feel I was making any progress until I got the conversion to actually fit on the rails. Once I was done and had managed to build a working, safe gun without ruining a frame, I suddenly decided that I had had a lot of fun. I didn't bother polishing out the cosmetic casting flaws. I don't notice them very often, and most people seem to think it's a factory job (is that a compliment or an insult? dunno). It's more reliable than when it was on my Springfield frame, and feels a lot nicer to shoot.

Doing it over again? I would use a carbon steel frame and polish it out. Then I'd either use blue-in-a-bottle or have it finished. Sometimes I'm tempted to do things like blend the lines of the grip safety and frame and stuff like that, and then I remember that I still haven't ruined a frame. It's a shooter, it's not perfect, but it's mine.

Total budget was ~$700, including tools, minus conversion.

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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by SmokinNJokin on 1/16/2018, 7:57 am

Accuracy X is advertising a turn-key lower on their facebook page, if you want the super deluxe edition. $1495.

When shopping around for price, remember that you get what you pay for. More $$ generally means more man-hours spent stoning, sanding, fitting etc.

I used a rock island lower completed by a non-bullseye gunsmith for a long time because I wanted to save money. It was not terribly reliable and the trigger wasn't great. After getting a dedicated lower built by an excellent bullseye smith, the reliability has been flawless. Even filthy, it functions 100%. I really think this is an area to buy once, cry once.

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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by Jack H on 1/16/2018, 11:52 am

I am perfectly happy with a Range Officer lower.  The 45 upper will sit on the shelf. 
The lower got a KC Ax Hammer set (although I wish I had got the Commander style hammer), a Colt 3 finger spring, and normal pins and 18# mainspring in the RO MSH.
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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by james r chapman on 1/16/2018, 12:04 pm

I see both KC and Accuracy X offer dedicated lowers.
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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

Post by JIMPGOV on 1/16/2018, 12:33 pm

ROCK RIVER ARMS DOES ALSO. IT JUST NOT ON THE WEB SITE. JUST CALL AND ASK FOR MARK Z. HE'LL WRITE IT UP AND YOU'LL BE SET. JP

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Re: Dedicated frame for conversion

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